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1911: New methods for Teaching and Learning History

 Sussex Agricultural Express - Friday 29 December 1911

DRAMATIC HISTORY.—The dry-as-dust methods of educating children appear to be passing away, and the steps now taken in many public elementary schools to increase the knowledge of the scholars make learning a real pleasure. 

Cuckfield schools have long been noted for the deep personal interest which the teachers, from the headmaster downwards, have taken in the educational welfare of their charges. For instance, the lantern plays prominent part in the teaching of geography, and eagerly looked forward the occasions when it is brought into action. On Thursday afternoon we had the privilege of witnessing what is styled the dramatic method of teaching history. Other schools in the country have tried it with success, and Cuckfield school, as we have previously mentioned, believes in it; marching with the times. 

Cuckfield Holy Trinity School c1900 (colourised)

The scholars in whom the initiative faculty is strong have taken to the dramatic method with as much readiness as ducks do to water. Most interesting was it to watch them on Thursday. The paraphernalia they used was of their own making, and they assumed airs of dignity and importance well befitting the roles they were assuming. The programme presented comprised “The Passing of the beginner; the Naming of Cuckfield; the Armada; Alfred and the Cakes: Canute on the seashore; His game of bowls; King John; on Walter Raleigh and His Court; and Men of Calais.” Undoubtedly the dramatic method of teaching history has much to commend it. Young people do not find it difficult to live in a world of make-believe, and it pleasing them be able to give their imagination free play. The meaning also developed more easily the dramatic methods.

The boys and girls we saw taking part in the above-mentioned pieces did what was required of them in a very natural manner. They lived the past over again, and the stirring incidents associated with the periods with which they were concerned in probability will never be effaced from their minds. 

In commending the scholars for their performances we must not omit congratulating their teachers. 



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