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Poetry and Tasmanian institutions of learning 1840-1950

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Spaulding , RN (2005) Poetry and Tasmanian institutions of learning 1840-1950. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the teaching of poetry in Tasmanian institutions ofieaming
from 1840 to 1950. It identifies the poetry taught in government primary schools
from 1840, the poetry prescribed for secondary public examinations from 1861, and
that taught at the university from 1891. It examines the nature oftliis poetry and
methods of its teaching and assessment, and considers changes that occurred in the
pedagogical value and function of poetry during this period.
The poetry taught in Tasmania's primary schools during the nineteenth century was
included in school readers published in Britain and Ireland. This poetry reflected the
religious and moral values of the British and Foreign School Society and the
National Commissioners ofIreland, and the ideals of patriotism and imperialism
promoted by the British government. The thesis demonstrates the extent to which
these values and ideals influenced the selection of poetry, including Australian
poetry, for school readers published specifically for Tasmanian primary schools in
the first decades of the twentieth century.
The poetry taught and examined at secondary and tertiary levels in Tasmania during
the nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth century conformed to
British Public School and University syllabus requirements. The poems studied at
these levels were from the classical English canon of poetry, and this canon remained
largely unchanged until the 1940s when the University of Tasmania's Department of
English initiated its pioneering course in Australian literature.
By analysing courses of study, school inspection reports, and methods of teacher
training, the thesis demonstrates that poetry in the primary school served initially as a
means of teaching reading, speaking and recitation skills an, d of inculcating society's
values and beliefs. Poetry was not studied as a form of literature to be appreciated
and enjoyed until the early twentieth century. This change in the function of poetry
challenged both the traditional canons of primary school poetry and the methods of
its teaching. Similar developments occurred in senior secondary and university
English studies. Initially, poetry was a useful source for the study of grammar,
etymology and figurative language, before being valued and studied as a form of
literature in its own right.
The thesis considers the extent to which teachers were challenged by classroom
methods designed to stimulate and measure students' personal and critical
appreciation of poetry during the 1930s and 40s. It examines the tensions between
the traditional moral and linguistic approaches to the teaching of poetry and the
emerging application of Romantic ideologies that focussed on personal and creative
responses to literature, and demonstrates that these tensions were not resolved within
the timeframe of the study.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2005 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2011 01:37
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2016 01:48
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