For the first time textbooks and other educational writings published in England and America in the three centuries before the 'modern' phase of English teaching (about 1700 volumes in all) have been subject to a detailed and scholarly examination. Most of the American material will be new to readers outside the United States and much of it is little known there. The writings vividly demonstrate the development of English as a teaching subject: when its varied components were first taught, by what kinds of teachers, with what intentions and by what methods. The volume covers the teaching of literacy, of oral and written expression, of literature (especially poetry) and of linguistic skills. It ends with the growth of examinations, the set book and the formal essay. Extensive quotation throughout the work serves to bring the teachers of the past - and by inference their pupils - vividly and robustly to life. Ian Michael has made a major contribution to the history of education and of literacy, and of English in particular.
Not only academic educationalists interested in the history of the curriculum, but teachers - from primary schools to university - who want to investigate the historical background of their subject and discover how their forerunners taught - will find this book of compelling interest.