Queen's University

The History of Ontario Education

Christou, Theodore Michael (2012).  “Progressive Education:  Revisioning and Reframing Ontario’s Public Schools.” Toronto:  University of Toronto Press

Over the course of the twentieth century, North American public school curricula moved away from the classics and the humanities, and towards ‘progressive’ subjects such as health and social studies. This book delves into how progressivist thinking transformed the rhetoric and the structure of schooling during the first half of the twentieth century, with echoes that reverberate strongly today, and investigates historical meanings of progressive education.

I closely examines the case of interwar Ontario, where the entire landscape of public education, including curricula and avenues to post-secondary study, were radically transformed over just twenty years. I contextualizes this reformist thinking in light of a social, political, and economic climate of change, which seemed to demand schools that could actively relate learning to the real world. Through its examination of educational journals published throughout the interwar period and previously unexplored archival sources, this book illuminates how the present structure of curricula and schooling were achieved.

Other Selected Publications:

Christou, Theodore (2015). “We Find Ourselves in the World of the Present: Humanist Resistance to Progressive Education in Ontario,” History of Education Quarterly 55 (3): 273-293.

Christou, Theodore (2015). “History of Education Crossing the Street: Exploring the Tenuous Place of Educational History in Canadian Historiography,” Acadiensis 43 (2): 157-167.

Christou, Theodore (2014). “Balsam Boughs and Ontario’s Isolated Peoples:  The Railway School Cars as Expansion of Educational Opportunity,” Country School Journal 2 (1): 24-34.

Christou, Theodore (2014). “Progressivist Rhetoric and Revised Programmes of Study:  Weaving Curricular Consistency and Order out of Diverse Progressivist Themes in Ontario, Canada,” Curriculum History 13 (1): 61-82.

Christou, Theodore and Sean Cousins (2014).  “Canada’s Educational History:  Themes, Movements and Moments,” In Education in North America, D.H. Mulcahy, and Roger Saul, Eds.  London:  Bloomsbury Press, 25-48.

Christou, Theodore (2013). “Schools Are No Longer Merely Educational Institutions: The Rhetoric of Social Efficiency in Ontario Education, 1931-1935,” History of Education 42 (5): 566-577.

Christou, Theodore (2013). “Character Education as a Theme of Progressivist Schooling in Interwar Ontario,” Childhood Education 89 (6):  356-361.

Christou, Theodore (2013). “The Complexity of Intellectual Currents:  Duncan McArthur and Ontario’s Progressivist Curriculum Reforms,” Paedagogica Historica 49 (5):  677-69

Christou, Theodore (2009). “The Complex of Intellectual Currents:  Reception of Duncan McArthur’s Early Educational Reform in Ontario, 1934-1942,” Regions and Communities:  Alternative Experiences in the History of Education:  Proceedings of the 15th Biennial Conference of the Canadian History of Education Association: 31-32.

Christou, Theodore (2009). “Justifying Conceptual Generalizations in Educational History:  Framing Educational Progressivism in the Context of Interwar-Period Ontario,” Graduate Student Symposium:  Selected Papers 4: 52-67.