Alternative Tales from School

Nicholas Tucker


The desire to believe in essential childhood goodness has preoccupied writers ever since Rousseau’s revolutionary novel Émile appeared in 1762. Some British authors followed on with this theme in their own novels while others rejected it, creating characters and situations suggesting a view closer to existing notions of Original Sin. A few, like Charles Dickens, had it both ways, with saintly naturally well-spoken Oliver Twist sharing the same space as that unrepentantly villainous cockney the Artful Dodger.

Continuing debates about childhood innocence surfaced with new force under the influence of Freud. His analysis of the different stages that children go through and the disasters that can follow when these are mishandled encouraged some parents and teachers to back away from previous more punitive attitudes. By no longer surrounding the young with the various inhibitions of old it was hoped that they in turn would go on to enjoy a largely contented, guilt-free childhood. A cluster of newly established Progressive Schools took this notion particularly to heart, insisting that pupils...


Educational alternatives; progressive education; alternative education; difference; educational theory; educational philosophy; home education; education policy


n/a to be different...

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