I have recently completed a series of archival studies of the contribution and involvement of New Zealanders in the global Progressive (or New) Education movement of the 1920s-30s. From 2009-2014 I made four visits to the New Education Fellowship files in the archive of the London Institute of Education. I became curious abut the founder of NEF, Beatrice Ensor, who hasd come to 'New Education' via her involvement in Theosophy. Before NEF, she had established a global Theosophical Fraternity in Education. Were New Zealanders involved, I wonbdered. This puzzle took me to the International HQ of the Theosophical Society in Chennai, India. Two major papers have resulted from the work on NEF and its predecessor, The Theosophical Fraternity:
Sue C. Middleton, (2017) "New Zealand Theosophists in “New Education” networks, 1880s-1938", History of Education Review, Vol. 46 Issue: 1, pp.42-57, doi: 10.1108/HER-10-2015-0024 Permanent link to this document:
Middleton, S. (2013). Clare Soper’s hat: New Education Fellowship correspondence between Bloomsbury and New Zealand, 1938–1946. History of Education: Journal of the History of Education Society (UK), 42(1), 92-114.
I had begun work on NEF in part as a result of an earlier project on Sylvia Ashton-Warner, who trained as a teacher, began her teaching career and started writing at the time the NEF and its ideas were gaining traction amongst teachers and education policy-makers in New Zealand. Yet critics had argued that Sylvia Ashton-Warner’s educational theory was in contradiction with those of her time and place. My project took a different view by exploring how her ideas emerged from "inside" her New Zealand setting. It explored theoretical ideas in the local and international educational environment in which Sylvia lived and worked. The following publications resulted:
- Sue Middleton. 'Ashton-Warner, Sylvia Constance - Early life and marriage', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 6-Dec-11
- Middleton, S. (2011), Putting Sylvia Ashton-Warner in her Place: History, Geographical Theory and the New Education. Paedagogica Historica, First published on: February 24 2011 (iFirst) DOI: 10.1080/00309230.2010.534102, URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00309230.2010.534102.
- Jones, A. and Middleton, S. (2009). Introduction. In A. Jones and S. Middleton (Eds.).,The kiss and the ghost: Sylvia Ashton-Warner and New Zealand. Wellington: NZCER Press (NZ edition) and Rotterdam and Taipei: Sense (Rest of the World edition), pp. 1-8 (Sense edition page numbering)
- Middleton, S. (2009). Sylvia’s place: Ashton-Warner as New Zealand educational theorist. In A. Jones and S. Middleton (Eds.).,The kiss and the ghost: Sylvia Ashton-Warner and New Zealand. Wellington: NZCER Press (NZ edition) and Rotterdam and Taipei: Sense (Rest of the World edition), pp. 35-50 (Sense edition page numbering).
- Middleton, S. (2006). “I my own professor”: Ashton-Warner as New Zealand educational theorist, 1940-1960. J. Simon and K. McConachie (Eds). Provocations: Sylvia Ashton-Warner and Excitability in Education, New York: Peter Lang pp. 41-73. For a link to the publisher of this book, and details about it, click here.
Early drafts available on this site:
- Middleton, S. (2008). Sylvia’s place: Ashton-Warner as New Zealand educational theorist. Paper presented at the International Sylvia Ashton-Warner Centennial Conference, University of Auckland, Epsom Campus, August 9-10.
- Middleton, S. (2003). “I my own professor: Sylvia Ashton- Warner writes theory, 1940-1960.” Paper presented in the international symposium, ”˜Provocations: On Sylvia Ashton-Warner and Excitability in Education’ at the Combined Conference of the New Zealand and the Australian Associations for Research in Education (NZARE and AARE), Auckland: Hyatt Hotel and Auckland University, October 30-December 3.
The book The kiss and the ghost: Sylvia Ashton-Warner and New Zealand was produced on the initiative of Prof. Alison Jones, Faculty of Education, Auckland University after the faculty's hosting of the International Sylvia Ashton-Warner Centennial Conference, University of Auckland, Epsom Campus, August 9-10. The book includes edited versions of selected papers from the conference. Some of the papers that could not be included in the book were later revised and included in a special section of the Waikato Journal of Education, Vol 14, pp. 31-34.