Title & abstract of Wellness talk

by Paul Maharg on 07/02/2015

A couple of people have asked for title and abstract of my piece (not available via Forum website, maybe later – so busy commenting on others I forgot to post mine).  Anyway here it is below.  It will form one of two chapters on Eynsham County Primary School, in a book that I’m writing on Genealogies of Legal Education.  I’m looking back across the generations to see what we might have become, other than how we’ve turned out in legal education, and taking those forward into alternative futures.  Actually more like centuries, since I’m going back at least to the Scottish Enlightenment.  I’m most grateful to Judith Baines (nee Purbrook), wife of George Baines (and joint depositor of their archive in the Institute of Education, UL) for permission to quote from her work, and the work of George.

Judith and I have had conversations about their work at Eynsham.  It was truly inspiring, and she was articulate and witty about all their work.  If you’re at all interested in radical education, you must get to see it.  Sarah Aitchison, Head of Archives at the Newsom Library in the Institute, has expertly organised the archive, and there’s a brief introductory essay. Catherine Burke wrote a Guardian obituary on George.  Catherine’s work is excellent — see eg her article entitled ‘About looking: vision, transformation, and the education of the eye in discourses of school renewal past and present’ [paywalled] which in many respects isn’t far from what we were attempting to do in the Beyond Text books, for legal education (below, right).

For more background on what happened to progressive education in England, particularly the political dimensions, see Roy Lowe’s powerful The Death of Progressive Education.  How Teachers Lost Control of the Classroom.  

Well-being and learning: what legal educators and regulators can learn from progressive primary education

We can learn much about the conditions for learning and well-being by considering the ways that other types of education deal with these issues.  In this paper we shall briefly consider what English progressive primary education in the 1970s might hold for us as legal educators.  We shall take a single case study of a school in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, and outline the radical forms of learning and teaching that were enacted there.  This includes the redesign and reconfiguration of curriculum time and school space, teacher-pupil relationships, interdisciplinary learning, the motivational basis to learning, the results as documented in teacher diaries and student achievement, and in particular the forms of regulatory relationship within the school and between school regulators and the experimental school itself.   All these and other aspects of the school’s approaches will be applied to conventional legal education as practised in Australian and UK jurisdictions, and set within the wider context of radical educational history.

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