Category Archives: Reading Analysis

Fourth Analysis

History of Childhood and Education in Canada

The three articles we read this week were based around some interesting concepts that dominated the Canadian view of children and education during the first half of the twentieth century, focusing in the time of World War II. The article by Meyer focuses on the direct effects that the militarization of Canada during World War Two had on legislation regarding children and family and that it also directly affected the curriculums and learning environments of children in the education system. Roy’s article is focused on the educational conditions of Japanese individuals who were placed into internment camps and the strong communities that provided for their members. Lastly, Gleason theorizes that the end of world war two marked the change in Canadian society wherein psychiatry and psychology are considered valid scientific practices which ultimately leads to the weight of blame for the deviance of children to be squarely laid on the shoulders of the parents, focusing mostly on mothers, and results in the change of the responsibilities of the members of the family unit comparable to the last monumental change to the family unit resulting from the introduction of the industrial era.

The period in all these pieces are in the same timeline and relate to one another in regard to the different changes in the requirements of educational bodies to provide specific curriculums to students, the overbearing legislations handed down by the government to prevent child deviancy, and tones of anti-Semitism that resulted from the conflict of the time. The articles are all well written and researched. They provide interesting social narratives in all three concepts which overlap with one another.

The question I would be most interesting in exploring regarding these articles would be a comparison of the information provided in Meyer’s article regarding the increase in juvenile crimes and research into each individual and whether the increase could be directly related to parents or other individuals who provided for the family being drafted into the war effort and whether those crimes were mostly related to the curfews and perhaps thefts to provide for families struggling with providing for themselves after the loss of the main bread winner.

Third Analysis

Analysis of Women Teachers in Canada, 1881-1901 and I Am Here to Help If You Need Me’: British Columbia’s Rural Teachers’ Welfare Officer, 1928-1934

By Philip Godin

These two articles are similar in nature, though cover very different aspects in a common historical premise, women in teaching roles. Sager uses an extremely detailed investigative method to uncover the vast reasons that potentially could impact the nature of teaching as a female dominated profession during the last half of the nineteenth century. He primarily focuses on the impact that the exceptional salary in comparison to other positions traditionally offered to women during this period impacted households in a beneficial way. Wilson’s work, in comparison, offers a look at the teaching conditions, primarily in the form of interpersonal relations, through the journals of an officer appointed to aid in these matters and extrapolates that the rural difficulties faced by women in these positions were often strenuous or even dangerous. Sager’s use of census data, government records, and other bureaucratic information is substantively different than Wilson’s use of personal correspondence, and journal entries. I found sager to be a much dryer read in comparison to Wilson, mostly for empathetic reasons.

Sager’s work provides us with important information regarding the economic impact that teaching as a mandatory profession had on the industrial burgeoning happing in what were rural occupations. The fact that it provided a substantive income in comparison to other mainly female occupations was interesting in the idea of heavier cost comparisons for large farmsteads and the aid it provided families that could spare female children to the profession. Also, the potential for independent females to be able to provide for themselves individually. When contrasted with Wilson’s work though we see that this income came at a cost. Most positions were not city positions and the ability for the women to socialize was severely restricted. In some cases, the hardships were even too much for the individual to endure. There was also little in the way of support networks for those who opted for this profession and the bar against marriage ultimately left them isolated, though there were exceptions to this.

Sager’s cold calculations are a necessary part of the historian’s job. Data, though is just that data. Though he did include some interpersonalization with the reader though the inclusion of the McQueen dialogues in his paper, it was ultimately a very hard read. It would be useful for an individual to comb for necessary facts to support an argument, but not palatable to the average reader. Wilson’s use of empathy in his article through the personal history of an individual directly involved with the strife of the subjects being examined is much more readable to the average person and is written in such a way that provides a running narrative for the reader to follow. Though I know the necessity of works like Sager’s, I feel they are important resources for fellow historians, I believe that works like Wilson’s are far more apt to allow for common individuals to take interest in the history presented. This leads me to the importance of the writer to know the audience he intends to engage with his piece.

Second Analysis

Analysis of Motherhood and Public Schooling in Victorian Toronto

By Philip Godin

The authors main thesis is that by examining the journals of the Truant Officer W.C Wilkinson appointed by the Toronto Board of Education in 1872 we can make reasonable observations about the reasons that children were absent for their mandatory education requirements prescribed by the government, the monetary structure of the individuals and families of the people he interacted with, family hierarchies of the individuals and families he interacted with, and how the strict schedule of the school system affected individuals and families. The document was written to provide a general perspective of the new appointment of Truant Officer that came with mandatory education laws and explore the observations provided by a primary source. This article provides insight to the family hierarchy, the difficulties of monopolizing the time of children both for the family and from the prospective of the authorities attempting to educate them, and the affects that the structured time restrictions had on family lives. The examples provided and general observations are convincing.

The author mostly relies on excerpts from W.C. Wilkinson’s journal but also references various federal documents from the period. Observations from the journal and records of conversations and instances from the Truant Officers activity allow him to draw various conclusions. This article provides a great secondary source for the historiography’s regarding the change to the scheduled day and how exact time became more important with the advent of industrialized work days, family hierarchies in Victorian Canada, and the difficulties of establishing mandatory educational requirements by government legislation. The content regarding family helps cement some of the ideas of the Hidden Workers article we read last week.

I wondered what forms of intimidation that were mentioned were used by W.C. Wilkinson in the article were. I also wonder what were the exact numbers of households visited in a year and the differences of truancy statistics based on the month of the year, whether there were significant flux’s during the winter months as the article had significant focus on the gathering of fuel for poorer households. There were many references of punishment for parents who allowed their children to evade their school responsibilities. Most of the arguments seemed relatively well thought out and I had no confusion. I would like to examine the classes perspective on paid apprenticeship instead of mandatory schooling as an option for children.

I believe that mandatory reading, writing, math education is necessary. A lot of what is considered necessary education today is superfluous. Instead of music, social studies, literature, and arts being offered in public schools’ classes regarding national law, tax responsibilities and the current political budget, computer skills, budgeting, work studies, and home economics should be mandatory. The other subjects could be electives or offered in specialty art schools.

Analysis of The Boys in the Nova Scotian Coal Mines: 1873-1923

By Philip Godin

The thesis statement of this article is that the advent of mandatory schooling coincided with the restrictions placed on the age of workers in unionized industries like coal mining reducing the options for apprenticeship of young children. It was written with the express purpose of examining the impact on child labor in the mining industry, their responsibilities, and impact on that industry. The article sheds a lot of light on the opportunities offered in small single industry towns and how the industries were designed to include the children of a community and provide additional incomes to the families that relied upon it. The argument is well developed and seems unbiased.

The author uses records from mining industries, the observations of various journalists at the time, and government records. By using these records, they provide a strong idea of the working roles of the children in these mines, the conditions they faced, the demands that they put on the mines they worked for, and how the limiting of their inclusion in the work forced the mines to change policy. This document supplements existing topical discussions on child labor, the prevalence and effect on children, and how the application of mandatory education changed the qualities and environments of major industries. This gives us a more rural understanding of the effect the institution of government mandated educations effect on communities.

This article made me think a lot about how apprenticeship was phased out of education and whether that was ultimately a good thing. It also suggested how industries now are much harder pressed to find a cyclical labor source to provide essential materials to the economy and whether that is a good or bad thing I have difficulty deciding. I wasn’t surprised by the age of the children who worked in the mine, but was surprised of the lack of mention of the average lifespan of a young worker who worked the mine from an early age. My understanding of coal mines is limited but I believe that croup and the black lung were often aliments that caused miners to eventually fall ill and die. I think that this further establishes my want to question the class about early life apprenticeships and their potential benefit for low income families and children.

I think mandatory schooling should be implemented, however, opportunities to learn a trade early in life as an alternative, supplemented by regimental school for fundamentals, is ultimately a feasible integration that was outlawed instead of reformed.

First Analysis

Analysis of Egerton Ryerson and the School as an Agent of Political Socialization

By Philip Godin

At the beginning of this writing we are provided the statement:

“that children can acquire basic knowledge, values, and attitudes that

influence their future behavior as citizens and political actors; and second,

that all political regimes accept pre-adult political education and learning as

a necessary prerequisite to their survival.”

This is a red herring and the actual purpose of this paper is to demonize the institutionalization of political theory and education to the masses as a brain washing tactic to pacify the underclass. The argument is well developed and uses the personal correspondence, writings, and statements of Egerton Ryerson, who held the office of superintendent of education, to prove an insidious propaganda behind the instillation of public office that “enforced government and council regulations prescribing required training, the curriculum (in great detail), working conditions, holidays, professional development, and, in the early days, personal conduct as well as teaching methods.”

Early on the author focuses on Egerton’s trip to Europe and personal correspondence there of discussing the various social education systems in relation to one another. He attacks the personal views of Egerton as a staunch supporter of the constitutional monarchy by ridiculing his distaste for the republic social systems of France and America as Egerton instead prefers the systems drawn from Prussia, Bravaria, and Holland. The author does a very good job, however, of explaining the political instability that was dominating Canadian politics at the time and relating them to Egerton’s forthcoming actions.

The author is insistent that Egerton’s ultimate goal throughout the paper is to create an agent of the monarchy in the form of a general education system that would prevent change and pacify the populous. I don’t believe that he did this well because I came out of the experience nodding my head and entirely respecting the efforts taken by Egerton to create a system of education that would not only integrate the different social classes (effectively creating the social connections between the upper class intellectuals, that he indicates make up the eventual political leaders of the country, and labour class), but also educate the masses on the way the government worked to prevent the ability of the radical party politics of the time to control them by making promises of radical change and promote the idea that stable gradual change to legislation was beneficial to every individual in the country.

It is my belief that this article is a targeted rally against the idea of political manipulation of the masses with prejudice to the understanding that such efforts are required to maintain peace in an organized society. In his conclusion, the author is extremely negative of Egerton’s utopian views, I just think he was an optimist.

Analysis of Reform, Literacy, and the Lease: The Prince Edward Island Free Education Act of 1852

By Philip Godin

The main thesis of this author is to find the answer two questions regarding the Free Education Act of 1852, firstly why the poor agrarian populous would be so interested in enacting it and secondly, why it was the first to do so. The author points out some contrived ideas that had been reported as potential subjects of note before this, mostly regarding the reduction of the ability of radical political sects to influence the populous but quickly dismisses them with satisfactory competence. This is followed by an extremely well-developed reminder of the colonial nature of our past as a country. The idea of serfdom is often fondly remembered as a relic of the landed nobility of Europe but we often forget that the rights of land owners and the sale and ownership of colonial lands were common practice during the development of our country. This reminder adds a vibrant potency to the arguments of our author.

Most of the evidence provided to us is legal in nature, case histories, statements, lease records. There are also journals from the assembly, personal accounts, and even a jaunty ballad to be had. These combined with the secondary and tertiary stories lend to a very convincing and enlightening argument. As an agent landlord myself, I found some very interesting parallels to equivalent situations in the management of property today. I find the advent of the population mentioned to advocate for education with the express notion of being able to understand and confirm their rights to be apt. I always provide new tenants with a copy of their rights and go over the contract of their tenancy in detail, but often find that they do not take the process or information seriously and this usually leads them to being uniformed when they breach said contract and I have to perform disciplinary action as is my fiduciary responsibility to my clients. As in the previous article I viewed we find that the institution of education to be a tool for social reform and to enable the masses to create and protect a provincial doctrine that helps provide for them.

I really enjoyed the impartial nature of this authors writing style. Rather than trying to impress a biased opinion, he proposed a question and by using facts and logical recourse allowed the reader to join him in the natural conclusion of the provided evidence. He could have attempted to shroud James Horsfield Peters as a tyrannical dynamo intent on destroying the claims of the populous just by omitting some evidence or focusing on the rather strict nature of his proprietary attitude towards his job. Instead we are provided the evidence that though strict and unforgiving of intentional belligerence he was a capable and fair administrator and even lenient to those who had previously been left to their own devices on the land that he was responsible for. He was also lauded for his due diligence in settling disputes and providing proper documentation in all his negotiated deals with tenants.

I was quite surprised that PEI was the first colony to adopt the idea of freely provided education for the masses subsidized by the government. After reading the well devised arguments in this article I see why it would have been so important and I agree with the conclusion of the author that the jeopardy faced by tenant immigrants and occupants of the island colony, combined with the learned distrust of the organized legal elite, and the remnants of the chaotic settlement of the colony lead to the population being so perfunctory in enacting this piece of legislation.

Analysis of Hidden Workers: Child Labour and the Family Economy in Late Nineteenth-Century Urban Ontario.

By Philip Godin

The main thesis of this author is that in the change from rural to urban lifestyle most families were not spared the use of children in domestic labor; instead they were more often exploited/required as additional income workers to provide for poor to lower-middle class families. The article is written to provide an insight to the necessity of children during the industrial revolution to provided menial labor for family benefit and were often unable to attend educational institutions because of those responsibilities. This article stresses the typical majority of urban families and their struggle to maintain a comfortable existence in a changing economy. The argument provided by the author is well developed, though I found it specifically designed to inspire compassion for the individuals of this period when the sources provided make emphasis that this is the common occurrence for families of this time. The focus on the lack of “upwards mobility” created for the discussed class of citizens during a time when such ideals were uncommon and survival still the primary focus of most urban populations worldwide seems idealistic at best to me.

The evidence provided mostly comes in the form of public records, archives, news articles, journals, and personal correspondence. In relation to the other articles provided this week, this one delves into the difficulty of trying to integrate the philosophy of required practical education and the difficulties in trying to enforce said social reform. The change from rural to urban environments did not instantly change the historical practicality that children were practical and even sought-after aids in the economic needs of a household. This article presents the evidence of this fact very well.

As I am often want to do when presented with a singular facet of an individual, I believe that I would want to personally delve into the information regarding J. J. Kelso. His interference on the mercantile pursuits of the newsboys and development of the Children’s Aid Society impart on me the impression of a very interesting individual and an interesting brand of politics. I was also slightly confused by the brief focus on social differences regarding the expectations between male and female children. It seemed to be superficially glossed over and I am interested in the intentions of the author regarding this. With regards to the idea of apprenticeship and the prevention of the development of criminal elements in society I think that a good conversational topic in class would be what would be a good alternate schooling system for those who are not susceptible to the system of education developed during this period and as an individual who started working for wages at the age of twelve the collective philosophy on when children should be allowed to work. Another good topic would be the foster system as this article made many good points on the abuses that can happen in said system and whether the government has an obligation to provide better options for those individuals, perhaps in some sort of public institution.