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Matthew Arnold: A voice for today - Arnold and education

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Time: 6.00pm - 7.15pm
Venue: JG0003, Penrhyn Road campus, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE
Price: free
Speaker(s): Dr Martin Corner - Licensed Lay Minister, All Saints Church Kingston

Matthew Arnold: A voice for today - Arnold and education

The Victorian poet, school reformer and cultural critic Matthew Arnold was one of the most provocative and original thinkers of his generation.

A century and a half since his work Culture and Anarchy was published, the profound problems which exercised Arnold have resurfaced to confront us again today: deepening economic and social divisions and the implications for a shared culture; the state of public education and the fundamental purpose of education; and the relationship between religion, society and the state - now in a multi-faith Britain.   

Three free-standing discussions will explore key dimensions of Arnold's thinking, focusing on the implications and lessons for us today, introduced by Dr Martin Corner, former lecturer in English and American Literature at Kingston University, drawing in the thoughts of practitioners grappling with the same issues today.

Arnold and education

Respondent: William Richardson, Chief Executive, The Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference; formerly Professor of Education, Exeter University

A concern for culture necessarily led to the questions about education, Arnold's professional concern and intellectual preoccupation. The Second Reform Act in 1867 both widened the franchise and gave notice that further change would follow, prompting the well-known comment from Robert Lowe that 'We must educate our masters.'  And in 1870, responding to the involvement of the (male) working class in elections, the state took direct responsibility for education for the first time.

Arnold was sent abroad to investigate the educational systems of continental countries, and returned to deplore what he saw at home. He hated the narrow payment by results system he was forced to administer as HM Inspector of Schools.  His vision was altogether different.

A century after Arnold, we seemed to be reaching a consensus about education.  That is gone - we are back to the deep disputes which exercised Arnold.  What is education for?  Who should be in charge of it?  What is the consequence of a state education system which the most powerful in society have not experienced, do not trust and avoid sending their children to?

This discussion will explore Arnold's analysis of these issues; his vision of how good education should help bring about a good society characterised by his celebrated 'sweetness and light'; and the lessons for us today.

Tea and coffee will be served from 5.30pm.

For further information about this event:

Contact: Andrew Williams
Tel: 02084172940


Directions to JG0003, Penrhyn Road campus, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE:

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