Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

Building New Bridges - Bâtir de nouveaux ponts

 | 
Jeff Keshen
, 
Sylvie Perrier

6 – Reading Books/Reading Lives

Culture, Language and Power in Nineteenth-Century School Readers

Barbara Lorenzkowski

Texte intégral

  • 1 University of Waterloo, Doris Lewis Rate Book Room, Breithaupt Hewetson Cleric Collection,“Diaries (...)

1Written in pencil, the letters on the page are fading, yet still convey a boyish exuberance. “Today,” Louis Breithaupt scribbled into his diary on March 21, 1867, “I received a beautiful picture from Mr. Wittig (the German teacher at school) because I read from page 120 to 215 in the German reader. I’m good.” In deciphering the Gothic print of his German reader, the twelve-year heir of one of Berlin’s premier families enjoyed a distinct advantage. Louis was growing up in Waterloo County, the heartland of German settlement in nineteenth century Ontario, whose residents lived their lives in both German and English. His diary is a humbling reminder that learning depends more on a child’s social world than it does on textbooks, teachers, and curricula.1

  • 2 As Mary P. Ryan has observed in her analysis of Victorian child-rearing practices, the “sly manipu (...)
  • 3 “Diaries of Louis Jacob Breithaupt,” March 5, 6, and 19, 1867; April 1, 1867; May 13, 1867; July 1 (...)

2When Louis immersed himself into the pages of his “German reader,” his reading of religious verses, moral tales, and edifying fables was filtered through the lenses of his ethnicity, class, and gender. To the classroom, the twelve-year old brought not only a ready command of oral and written German, but also a familiarity with German culture and lore that helped him unravel the cultural connotations of the lessons. The values of thrift, hard work, piety, character, and obedience, in turn, which mid-nineteenth century school readers sought to inculcate, resonated with the expectations of Louis’s family that was bourgeois in its ownership of a leather tannery, but essentially middle class in its outlook.2 Because of his gender, finally, Louis spent far fewer hours in the classroom than his younger sisters. Readily, Liborious and Katharina Breithaupt pulled their eldest sons out of school to work at the leather tannery, run errands, buy staples, help on the farm, and tend to pigs, cows, and horses. The demands of the family economy valued children’s labour over regular school attendance, thus teaching lessons in living more varied, and perhaps more colourful, than those learned at the school bench. While Louis’ comments on his schoolwork were brief and perfunctory, he meticulously chronicled his father’s business-trips, negotiations, and investments, growing into a world of work that gradually began to overshadow his life as a pupil. In the fabric of Louis’ life schooling is represented but one thread that was tightly interwoven with many others.3

  • 4 Elsie Rockwell, “Learning for Life or Learning from Books: Reading Practices in Mexican Rural Scho (...)

3In providing a privileged inroad into a world of childhood where family, work, school, and church were inseparably intertwined, the diary of Louis Breithaupt suggests new ways of thinking about school readers as an historical source. By shifting attention from the texts of the readers to actual reading practices, Louis’ diary reveals, in tantalising glimpses, how the world beyond the classroom translated into classroom understandings and gave meaning to letters deciphered and stories read, much as Elsie Rockwell has observed in her perceptive study of reading practices at rural Mexican schools. “Local cultures,” Rockwell writes, “moulded the actual everyday life in schools” and thus mediated the cultural messages of textbook lessons.4 As such, they deserve as much attention as the discursive universe constructed within the readers themselves.

  • 5 Quoted in Ibid., 113.

4This paper seeks to uncover reading practices in Waterloo County’s public schools by blending two approaches that often remain quite separate. It is interested both in the textbooks’ cultural narratives that constitute a fascinating repository of cultural values and a purported instrument of social control, and the social history of the classroom. How did the county’s schoolchildren, who poured over German and English textbooks, learn to read in the decades between 1850 and 1914? Which books were assigned for classroom use? Upon which educational theories did their teachers draw when instructing their young charges? What were the “protocols for reading,” to quote Roger Chartier, that were “encoded” in the textbooks themselves and helped determine the manner of reading?5 In which ways, finally, did the local world of Waterloo County, with its unique patterns of language use, shape the use of textbooks in the classroom?

  • 6 Linda Clark, Schooling the Daughters of Marianne: Textbooks and the Socialization of Girls in Mode (...)
  • 7 Bruce Curtis, “Schoolbooks and the Myth of Curricular Republicanism: The State and the Curriculum (...)
  • 8 Marc Depaepe and Frank Simon, “Is there any Place for the History of ‘Education’ in the History of (...)

5To situate the text of school readers into a specific local world is a challenging undertaking since it means examining cultural practices that have left few traces on the historical record. It is a quest largely ignored by the international literature on textbooks that has probed the construction of social identities instead, offering richly textured accounts of the cultural meanings of virtue, class, gender, race, empire, and national belonging, as they were both reflected in and shaped by school readers.6 Other scholars still, Bruce Curtis foremost among them, have characterized school readers as instruments of governance that replaced local knowledge with state-sanctioned lessons in morality and citizenship and drew local communities ever closer into a system of state education.7 What has escaped the attention of both cultural and sociopolitical historians is the everyday reality of the classroom - the proverbial “black box” of educational history, as Marc Depaepe and Frank Simon have called it.8

6This paper pieces together the disparate clues on reading practices and reading protocols that can be gleaned from children’s diaries, teaching manuals, German and English school readers, inspectors’ reports, visitors’ books, private correspondence, government records, and school board minutes. As we shall see, the inter-cultural setting of Waterloo County that was home to a predominantly German-origin population, and yet shared many characteristics of the surrounding “British” counties, not only brought to the fore conversations on reading practices, but also infused these conversations with an added passion; for at stake seemed both the “Canadianness” of the school system and the “Germanness” of Waterloo County. That these debates unfolded in often unexpected social constellations - it was the German settlers of Waterloo County, for example, who lobbied vigorously for a more “Canadian” series of school readers - is vivid testimony to the agency of local society in moulding the province’s emergent public school system. And neither was reading a passive process that saw children simply absorbing the moral tales of authorized textbooks. Rather, local authorities re-fashioned teaching tools and pedagogical discourses to suit the changing language patterns of Waterloo County, while readers imbued the German- and English-language lessons with a meaning all of their own.

Whose Textbooks?

  • 9 Report of the Minister of Education for the Years 1880 and 1881 (Toronto: C. Blackett Robinson, 18 (...)
  • 10 Memorial to the Council of Public Instruction of Upper Canada from the Board of Public Instruction (...)

7In 1865, the Board of Public Instruction of the County of Waterloo published a scathing critique of the Irish readers that had served the county’s schools ever since Egerton Ryerson, the superintendent of public schools, had made their adoption all but mandatory in 1846.9 “In what respect,” the board asked, “can these School [sic] books be fairly defined as the ‘National Series’ when the name Canada is scarcely mentioned in their pages, or only obtains a passing and contemptuous reference?” The defects of the readers were many, the board held. “Canada is invariably treated as a foreign, a wild and uncultivated country; as being barren, covered with dreadful forests (some books have ‘frosts’) and hideous marches, as once offensive to the senses and injurious to the human constitution.” In embracing the language of progress, so characteristic of nineteenth century boosterism, the elected officials of Waterloo County pointed to the fact that “Not a word is said about the industry and intelligence of the people of Canada... nor indeed of anything which the reader can treasure in his young mind, and which shall foster the love of country and the pride of citizenship.” In moral values, too, the board alleged, the Irish readers were sadly lacking, for they employed “such words as ‘debauchery’, ‘licentiousness’, ‘concubine’, ‘pregnancy,” that offended Victorian sensibilities and were “only calculated to call up unchaste images.”10

  • 11 See Egerton Ryerson’s rebuttal in the Annual Report of the Normal, Model, Grammar and Common Schoo (...)

8Egerton Ryerson responded with a passionate defence of the Irish readers and an indignation that was, perhaps, predictable. For him, a graded series of textbooks which carried the stamp of official approval had long constituted the cornerstone of a more uniform and effective school system. Eventually, however, he had to bow to mounting public pressure. In 1868, the Canadian Readers replaced the Irish series of National Readers as Ontario’s authorized textbooks, only to be superseded by the Ontario Readers in 1884.11

  • 12 Rafferty, “Balancing the Books,” 82, 84, and Bruce Curtis, Building the Educational State: Canada (...)
  • 13 In calling for a greater Canadian sentiment in school readers, Waterloo County’s school promoters (...)
  • 14 The classic formulation of the influence of local society in shaping the emergent public school sy (...)

9The politics of the textbook is a familiar tale that is commonly viewed through the lenses of state formation. As Oisin Patrick Rafferty has argued, the introduction of a new series of readers “signalled a tightening of the central authority’s control over the educational machinery of the province” and led to "diminishing local autonomy.”12 But as the example of Waterloo County vividly illustrates, local society, too, could appropriate the language of nationalism to lobby for a series of readers it regarded as appropriate.13 These local school promoters, for one, did not reject the policy of standardization as it was symbolized in the state-sanctioned textbooks, but they insisted on shaping its overall thrust. To this end, they entered a conversation with educational authorities that featured co-operation, persuasion, and compromise, and was not above cheerful evasion, whenever the politics of the provincial government clashed with local educational wisdom.14

  • 15 Kitchener Public Library (KPL), Waterloo Historical Society (WHS), WAT C-87, “Report on the Public (...)
  • 16 Regulations and Correspondence relating to French and German schools in the Province of Ontario (T (...)

10And nor should we assume that the world of literacy to which Waterloo County’s schoolchildren were introduced between the mid-nineteenth century and the Great War consisted of authorized English-language textbooks alone. In the early 1870s, fifty to seventy-five per cent of the county’s schoolchildren – “yes, in some sections, even 100 per cent” - made their first attempt to speak English when they entered school. By 1874, sixteen per cent of the county’s schoolchildren attended German-language classes that offered up to twelve hours of weekly instruction in reading, writing, and grammar.15 The strongholds of German-instruction were located in towns and incorporated villages - Berlin, Preston, New Hamburg, and Waterloo Village - that enrolled roughly equal percentages of German- and English-speaking children in the late 1880s.16 In the absence of authorized German readers, the county’s teachers and trustees introduced a variety of German-language textbooks into the classroom that had been published both locally and in the United States. Unbeknownst to the Department of Education in Toronto, a chorus of different German voices thus joined the approved English-language reading fare.

  • 17 Kenneth McLaughlin, “Waterloo County: A Pennsylvania-German Homeland - Revised and Revisited,” Pap (...)
  • 18 Benjamin Eby, Neues Buchstabir- und Lesebuch, besonders bearbeitet und eingerichtet zum Gebrauch D (...)

11The choice of German readers reflected the changing cultural mentalities of Waterloo County’s residents. Settled by Pennsylvania Mennonites in the early nineteenth century, the area later attracted Catholics from Germany and Alsace, who worked as day labourers on Mennonite farms until they could afford their own parcels of land. As the historian Kenneth McLaughlin has suggested, the relationship between Mennonite settlers and subsequent Catholic and Protestant arrivals was characterized not by conflict, but manifold interactions and cultural exchanges - a fluidity that hardened only later in the nineteenth century.17 The pan-Christian spirit that imbued these early encounters is captured in the first locally-published German primer, the Neues Buchstabir-und Lesebuch (1839) by Mennonite Bishop Benjamin Eby. Infused with religious imagery, the primer’s tone is one of inclusion and tolerance. “All Christian denominations,” young readers learned, “enjoy equal rights and unlimited freedom of conscience in Upper Canada.” The “Church of Christ,” the lesson continues, includes “Episcopalians, Lutherans, Reformed, Presbyterians, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Mennonites, Quakers, Tunker, Evangelicals, Congregationalists, and others.”18

  • 19 Ibid, 131: “Good children are attentive, obedient, peaceful, God-fearing and as orderly in the pre (...)
  • 20 For the early school history of Waterloo County see National Archives of Canada, MG 30, B13, vol. (...)

12Drawing heavily of the conduct manuals of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Benjamin Eby’s reading lessons spelled out the rewards of virtue, obedience, diligence, religious devotion, and hard work. Instruction was firmly centred on the nuclear family and the classroom, with frequent admonitions to learn cheerfully, guard against indolence, and honour parents, elders, and teachers, the latter of which were invariably God-fearing, learned, and beloved.19 While this idealized world of the classroom may have borne little resemblance to the informal and haphazard nature of schooling in early nineteenth century Waterloo County, whose teachers were mostly “mechanics who during the winter months would engage to teach” and commonly restricted their lessons to “very elementary reading, writing and arithmetic,” the ritual use of the German language likely resonated with the county’s schoolchildren, as did the omnipresence of God in the school lessons.20

  • 21 Rockwell, “Learning for Life or Learning from Books,” 124.
  • 22 Jacob Teuscher, ABC Buchstabir und Lesebüchlein mit Rücksicht auf die Lautiermethode, für die Elem (...)

13In the early 1850s, Jacob Teuscher published a German primer that was less overt in its religious imagery and more firmly “embedded in the oral discourse of the community,” to borrow Elsie Rockwell’s succinct phrase.21 It went through six editions between 1855 and 1866. Although cultivating a heavily moralistic tone and peopling his lessons with angelic boys and girls, Teuscher broadened the social setting of his stories to include villages, towns, fields, woods, and rivers. His was a child-centred world anchored not in abstract spirituality, but in pastoral landscapes, German folk songs, family, school, and agricultural work. Where Bishop Eby had sought to teach reading through spelling exercises, which were recited in unison and later memorized, Jacob Teuscher embraced the phonic method (Lautiermethode) as it had been pioneered by Pestalozzi. By breaking down the units of instruction into their simplest elements - be they letters or syllabi - children were introduced to the sounds and patterns of language in systematic fashion. The language in the early lessons was simple and direct, whereas later lessons introduce more complex and challenging word and sentence structures.22

  • 23 Vicki Spencer, “Herder and Nationalism: Reclaiming the Principle of Cultural Respect,” Australian (...)
  • 24 Otto Klotz, Leitfaden der deutschen Sprache oder kurzgefasstest Lehrbuch der deutschen Sprache in (...)
  • 25 Barbara Lorenzkowski, “Border Crossings: The Making of German Identities in the New World, 1850-19 (...)

14To this was added in 1867 a German handbook by Otto Klotz, Waterloo County’s longest-serving school trustee, that promised a concise introduction to the grammatical rules which governed the German language. If the Table of Contents dryly lists the subjects under discussion - among them adjectives, articles, verbs, and punctuation - the six-page introduction offers a fascinating tribute to the science of language as it had been formulated by German philosophers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, foremost among them Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803) and Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814).23 Not only did Otto Klotz endorse Herder’s contention that languages embodied a nation’s soul, he also followed the lead of Fichte in declaring the German language superior to all others.24 In an age of national movements, Klotz upheld the German language as a badge of honour, rather than a medium of communication, as Eby and Teuscher had done in earlier decades. In this, he was not alone. As a reading of the local German-language press reveals, German ethnic leaders in Waterloo County began to embrace the language of cultural nationalism in the latter half of the nineteenth century, in the process ascribing a new symbolic significance to the German mother tongue.25

  • 26 Regulations and Correspondence, 110.

15In later decades, these local German primers would be supplanted by readers published in the United States, where German-American communities sustained elaborate German-language programs at both public and private schools, and German-American pedagogues debated teaching strategies with passion. Although these pedagogical discourses rarely crossed the border into Canada, they were “encoded” in the textbooks used in Waterloo County’s classrooms, among them the Milwaukee Readers and the readers by Schatz, Resselt, and Ahn. It was precisely this diversity of German-language textbooks that produced a provincial commission in 1889, which was charged with investigating the conditions of minority-language schooling in Ontario. Professing itself delighted with the fact that the “learning of German does not seem to have interfered with the progress of the pupils in English or in other subjects,” the commission nonetheless recommended the authorization of just a single series of German readers.26

  • 27 Annual Report of the Minister of Education for the Province of Ontario (Canada), 1890 (Toronto: Wa (...)

16A rationale for standardization was furnished not by the commission itself but by the Ontario Education Department that would authorize the “Steiger German Series of Readers” (more commonly known as the Ahn’s Readers) in the following year, stating concerns over the denominational content of other German-language textbooks and suggesting that the “considerable diversity in the German text-books used... is found to be inconvenient and expensive.”27 These objections, to be sure, had never once surfaced in local school records, nor had they unduly concerned the commissioners. More likely, uniformity was pursued for the sake of uniformity alone, making German-language readers conform to the precedent set by a single series of English-language textbooks. If the educational bureaucracy in Toronto had been able to read the German textbooks it so heartily endorsed, it might have reconsidered its decision; for the Ahn’s Readers presented a radical departure not only from the “Canadian” world which the Canadian and Ontario Readers sought to construct, but also the pedagogical assumptions that underlay reading lessons in authorized English-language readers.

“Protocols for Reading”

  • 28 Emphasis in the original. See Canadian Series of School Books: First Book of Reading Lessons, Part (...)

17The “Canadian Series of School Books” which Egerton Ryerson had reluctantly launched in 1868 embodied a new approach to teaching reading. In strong terms, it discarded the alphabetical method of reading instruction that saw students mechanically reciting the letters of the alphabet or spelling isolated words pointed out by the teacher. Instead, teachers were encouraged to print entire sentences on the blackboard, pronounce each word distinctly and lead the class in recitation “until the children can read the sentence as a whole.” Assimilation of reading materials through the recognition of “word-forms” was meant to promote understanding, where the alphabetic method had provided for mere mechanical competency. Teachers were called upon to explain the meaning of new words in familiar terms and to use words “from the lessons” (as the Canadian Readers took pains to emphasize) in new combinations on the blackboard. Creativity was encouraged only within tightly drawn boundaries, lest individual teachers subvert the pedagogical wisdom of the textbook. In adopting the phonic method, the Canadian Readers organized lessons around the “letter-sounds of the language,” proceeding from “monosyllables” (“which are commonly met with, and more easily pronounced by, children”) to "easy words of two syllables." If spelling was attempted at all in the classroom, the textbook advised teachers "to give the words in short connected phrases, and to call upon each pupil to spell all the words of a phrase." Reading was a means to an end, with each word being embedded in larger sentence structures and webs of meaning that connected pupils with the world beyond their classroom.28

  • 29 For a stimulating discussion of narratives of gender, virtue, national identity, and empire see Ha (...)
  • 30 Canadian Series of School Books, First Book, Part I, 20 and Canadian Series of School Books, First (...)
  • 31 Peter Hunt, An Introduction to Children’s Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 12 (...)

18Although the Canadian Readers endorsed a new approach to reading instruction, their discursive universe was firmly rooted in an earlier time period.29 For children still struggling with “Is it an ox?,” the moral injunction “If we are bad, God will not love us; and we can not go to Him when we die” just four pages later, must have proved challenging indeed. Whenever pupils strayed from the rules of acceptable behaviour, judgment in the Canadian Readers was swift and harsh: “Harry Badd is a sad dunce, and so he cannot get his sums right. I think he does not try much, for one can see at a glance that he does not give his mind to work.”30 Yet perhaps the starkest difference between the Canadian Readers and the Ontario Readers, which superseded them in 1884, was what the literary scholar Peter Hunt has called the “implied reader.” “In any text,” Hunt writes, “the tone of features of the narrative voice imply what kind of reader - in terms of knowledge or attitude - is addressed.” In his analysis of nineteenth century children’s literature, Hunt observes a shift from a “directive narrative relationship” with children to an “empathetic” one that seeks to engage children on their own terms and values entertainment over “didactic intent.”31

  • 32 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, Authorized for Use in the Public Schools of Ontario by the Min (...)
  • 33 Canadian Series of School Books, First Book, Part II, 98 (“George and Charles are both good boys.. (...)
  • 34 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, “The Lazy Frog," 132-33 and “The Fox and the Crow,” 15-17.

19While the Ontario Readers, too, sought to impart moral lessons, they did so by telling stories that viewed the world through a child’s eyes, displayed touches of humour, and allowed for transgressions that were gently corrected by wise mothers and grandmothers. When playing truant or disobeying elders, children were portrayed not as innately bad (“a sad dunce”) but merely misguided.32 In the narrative world of the Ontario Readers, the literary protagonists soon internalized their lessons, making obsolete the omnipresent narrator of the Canadian Readers who had praised virtue and denounced disobedience.33 Only in fables was deviant behaviour punished promptly, as in the tale of “The Lazy Frog” which was killed unceremoniously by the “butcher-bird,” whereupon the sparrow flew home and told her children “that it was of no use to be able to hop well, or to be a fine swimmer, if one only sat all day on a bank; that dinners didn’t drop into people’s mouths, however wide open they might be; and that the sooner they could manage to fetch their own worms the better she should be pleased.”34 Fables allowed for the stern warnings and admonitions that had characterized an earlier generation of textbooks, yet softened their impact on young readers’ minds. Their inclusion in the Ontario Readers reflected the rise of the new education in the late nineteenth century.

  • 35 Report of the Minister of Education for the Year 1887 (Toronto: Warwick & Sons, 1888), xxxvii.
  • 36 Much like other textbooks of the time, the Ontario Readers self-consciously sought to construct an (...)
  • 37 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, 5-6 and The Ontario Readers: Third Reader, Authorized for Use (...)
  • 38 The Ontario Readers: Third Reader, “Egypt and Its Ruins,” 143-48, “The Thermometer,” 182-86, and “ (...)
  • 39 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, 6 and The Ontario Readers: Third Reader, 4.

20The new “principles of pedagogy,” wrote the Minister of Education, George Ross, in 1887 in his annual report, “led to more scientific methods of teaching, and... forced educationalists everywhere to consider the preparation of text-books in conformity with these principles.”35 These principles were spelled out at length in the preface of the Ontario Readers. In seeking to make the lessons more child-centred, the textbook advised teachers to engage children in an on-going conversation on the meanings of words, phrases, and lessons, thereby leading them “to observe, compare and judge, and state in words the results of their observations, comparisons, and judgments.” Illustrations, as well, were to develop the “power of imagination” by becoming a focal point of discussion between teachers and pupils and reinforcing “the ideas involved in the lessons.”36 The authors of the Ontario Readers recommended object lessons and field trips as a supplement to the botanical lessons they provided in the Second Reader. Their scientific ambition was reflected in lessons on "natural objects" that introduced children to black bears and polar bears, lions, tigers, elephants, and ostriches, thus offering education and enjoyment in equal measures (or so the authors hoped).37 Later textbooks included lessons in history and physical science, integrating reading instruction into the larger curriculum and building bridges between core subjects.38 In a marked departure from the Canadian Readers, teachers were encouraged to use their own judgment in preparing exercises, introducing new words and concepts, and teaching their students to think independently.39

  • 40 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, “A Reindeer Drive,” 38-41," “The Whale,” 63-66, “Shapes of Sno (...)
  • 41 For a discussion of representations of race, ethnicity, and the nation in school readers see Timot (...)
  • 42 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, “Tea,” 43-45, “Coffee,” 68-70, “Sugar,” 84-86, and “Cotton,” 9 (...)
  • 43 Jeffs, “‘Snips and Snails’ and ‘Sugar and Spice’,” 56, and The Ontario Readers: Third Reader, “A C (...)

21The scientific tone of the readers notwithstanding, they reflected and reinforced notions of gender and race that were widely shared in white, middle-class, Anglo-Saxon Ontario. In textbook tales, fathers and uncles served as guides to the natural world by recalling reindeer drives in Lapland, describing whale hunts in the Arctic, and examining the shape of snow-flakes with their children, while mothers and grandmothers provided emotional warmth and moral guidance. Not coincidentally, the latter appeared in poetry, the language of the heart, while the former spoke in prose, as befit matters of the mind40. Just as the gendered precepts of Victorian Canada entered the Ontario Readers, so, too, did the rhetoric of white supremacy.41 Illustrations featured black sharecroppers in a romanticized plantation setting. Dressed in the rough cloth worn by the slaves of ante-bellum America, they harvested coffee, sugar, and cotton. More graphic, still, was the characterization of Chinese farmers picking tea leaves. The “busy Chinaman, with his small, funny-looking black eyes, and long pigtail hanging down his back” was denied even the quiet dignity of labour that characterized illustrations of African-Americans. Exotic and different, “the Chinaman” was “the other” against which an imagined “white” nation of Canada defined itself.42 Not for him was the Dominion of Canada that the Ontario Readers celebrated in references to Canadian artisans, Canadian folklore, and an increasingly Canadianized landscape of lakes and “Canadian” trees.43

  • 44 Report of the Minister of Education for the Year 1887, xliii.
  • 45 P. Henn, Ahn’s First German Book (New York: E. Steiger & Co., 1873), 36, 37, 51, 52; P. Henn, Ahn’ (...)
  • 46 Ahn’s Third German Book, 78, 83.

22The Canada that Waterloo County’s schoolchildren encountered in the newly authorized “Steiger German Series of Readers” - the Ahn’s Readers - was markedly different. At a time when George Ross, the Minister of Education, called for a greater “Canadian sentiment” of textbooks that “could be recognized as our own, without looking to the title page,” the mental map of the German-American readers was firmly centred on the United States.44 The lessons’ protagonists resided in New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, Baltimore, and Brooklyn; they strolled down Broadway and visited Central Park; they celebrated George Washington’s birthday and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”45 In the Ahn’s Readers, it was Canada that represented “the other.” It was a nation defined by its climate (the proverbial “long cold winters and short hot summers”), characterized as colonial (“Canada belongs to the British”), and renowned only as a convenient way-station for steamships travelling from Boston to England via Halifax.46 This, ironically, was the very image of Canada that Waterloo County educators had so vigorously attacked in their criticism of the Irish Readers in 1865.

  • 47 Susan Bayley, “The Direct Method and Modern Language Teaching in England, 1880-1918,” History of E (...)

23Yet even more so than in their content, the Ahn’s Readers differed from their English-language counterpart in the way they sought to instil knowledge. Their pedagogical principles dated back to the mid-nineteenth century, when modern languages had first “won inclusion in the liberal curriculum by capitalizing on their similarity to the classics as subjects with complex linguistic textures and rich literatures.” In an academic culture that regarded conversational skills as a “trifling accomplishment,” modern languages were cherished not as a medium of communication but as a means to sharpen the intellect.47 Self-consciously, the Ahn’s Readers embraced the “grammar-translation” method, as it had been pioneered in the teaching of Latin and Greek. Each lesson opened with the discussion of a grammatical principle that was reinforced through a series of fifteen to twenty sentences. The result was a collection of disjointed phrases, whose only commonality lay in the illumination of grammatical rules:

“Cotton”: Illustrations in the Ontario Readers upheld the notion of white supremacy. They depicted African Americans in subservient roles: as sharecroppers in a romanticized plantation setting. Source: The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, 44.

“Tea”: A story on the origins of tea featured this stereotypical portrayal of the Chinese. The accompanying text introduced pupils to the “busy Chinaman, with his small, funny-looking black eyes, and long pigtail hanging down his back.” Source: The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, 98.

  • 48 Ahn’s Second German Book, 84.

Your forks are too large and too heavy. Where are your sisters now, Miss Lee? They are in New Orleans. Oysters are nutritious. These needles are very good. Your pens are too soft. These flowers are for Lizzy... Do you believe the lessons are too long? No, Sir, I believe they are not long enough. These roses are splendid.48

  • 49 Ahn’s Second German Book, “On objects seen at school,” “On objects seen at home,” “On parts of the (...)

24Conversational exercises were relegated to the readers’ closing pages, where they sought to engage children in conversations about the everyday world and matters of history, geography, and science. Even here, however, the structure of conversational exercises mirrored the question-answer scheme of religious catechisms that did allow for just one correct answer, rather than the more emphatic, storytelling tone of the Ontario Readers.49

  • 50 These examples are taken from the entire “Steiger German Series of Readers.” For the explanation o (...)

25It was translation, not conversation, that represented the organizing principle of the Ahn’s Readers. The early lessons of Ahn’s First German Book provided word-by-word translations into the English, with English words being dwarfed by the far larger Gothic print of their German equivalents. Small figures reminded pupils that the word order in German sentences differed from that in English ones. Parentheses, in turn, indicated words “not to be read, but translated,” whereas “words within brackets [] are to be read, but not translated.”50 In alternating paragraphs between the German and the English, the Ahn’s Readers created a bilingual world that, never once, allowed children to immerse themselves into the sound and sight of the German language alone. In so doing, the readers violated the cardinal rules of German-language teaching as they had been formulated by the National German-American Teachers’ Association in the early 1870s.

  • 51 This discussion is based on an examination of the association’s journal that appeared under the ti (...)
  • 52 For the impact of the “natural method” and “direct method,” as it was advocated by German-American (...)

26In discarding the conventional grammar-translation method, the association had stipulated that language lessons ought to teach children how to speak the German language fluently, correctly, and clearly. Hearing and speaking, its members urged, were the foundations of all language teaching. Instead of submitting children to a torturous course of grammatical rules, conjugation, and declension, they were to learn grammar inductively. Conversational exercises and a systematic course in oral instruction were to supplant formal lessons in grammar and translation. In heeding Pestalozzi’s advice to see the world through the child’s eyes, teachers should proceed from the simple to the difficult, from the concrete to the abstract, from the known to the unknown. Instruction in reading and writing should be postponed until the children had immersed themselves into the sounds of the German language, able both to understand the teacher (who, of course, spoke German only) and formulate simple thoughts of their own.51 It was not before the turn of the century that the suggestions of the National German-American Teachers’ Association were embraced by Anglo-Americans. Yet given the association’s role in shaping national debates on modern-language teaching, it is startling to find not even an echo of its recommendations resonating in the Ahn’s Readers.52

  • 53 Waterloo County Board of Education, Wilmot Township, S.S. 2 (New Hamburg), School Board Minutes, 1 (...)

27Little wonder that the readers were rejected as “unsuitable for our primary German classes” by the New Hamburg school trustees in November 1890. In asking the Minster of Education for “his sanction for the use of Resselt’s 1st Lesebuch,” this local school board, for one, opted for a reader that introduced children to the German language through stories, proverbs, and folk songs, rather than dreary grammatical treatises.53 In the two decades to come, Waterloo County’s residents would continue to shape the use of authorized textbooks in the classroom by translating their cultural messages into a language of their own.

Reading Practices

  • 54 Archives of Ontario, RG 2-109-130, Box 2, Misc. School Records, “Report on the Public Schools of t (...)
  • 55 Waterloo County Board of Education, Woolwich Township, S.S. 8 (St. Jacobs), Visitors’ Book, 1861-1 (...)

28The annual reports of County School Inspector Thomas Pearce provide glimpses into the reading practices at Waterloo County public schools. Finding “reading and spelling... very much neglected” in the county’s rural township schools when he began his annual rounds in 1872, Thomas Pearce soon noted improvements “beyond my expectations.”54 And yet, he encountered a source of constant frustration in the children’s English that, although competent, was heavily accented. With more than a note of exasperation he remarked upon a visit to St. Jacobs in March 1880 where the “pupils did fairly in the subjects in which I examined them, except in reading, which is, apparently, very difficult to teach in this place.” When visiting the county’s Roman Catholic Separate School in 1876, he found “room for improvement, perhaps, in the subjects of reading and arithmetic” in an otherwise glowing report. Two years later, having paid a courtesy visit to the school once again, he declared “Reading on the whole good - making allowance of course for the strong German accent of many of the pupils.” In 1894, he reported rather regretfully that still “distinct articulation, good inflection and naturalness of expression are heard in few schools.”55

  • 56 “Report on the Public Schools of the County of Waterloo, for the Year 1875,” 7.
  • 57 Manuscript Census of Canada, 1901, and Berliner Journal, May 6, 1880 and June 3, 1884.
  • 58 See Steven L. Schlossman, “‘Is There an American Tradition of Bilingual Education’: German in the (...)

29The repeated references to children’s German-accented English revealed Inspector Pearce’s deep-seated reservations against enrolling “very young children” in German language classes. This practice, he charged, led “to such confusion of sounds of letters and pronunciation of words in the minds of the little ones as greatly to retard their progress in both languages.” In attributing the low standing of several rural schools to the attempt “to lead children to this bewildering maze,” Pearce recommended to reserve German-language instruction exclusively for the higher grades.56 Written by a man who would later send his own daughter Harriet to the German Department at Berlin’s Central School, this was a criticism not of German language instruction per se, but of bilingual instruction in the children’s early years.57 Seemingly unaware of the success of bilingual school programs in the United States that enrolled elementary schoolchildren as young as five years, Pearce reasoned that children could not simultaneously assimilate the sounds and structures of two different languages.58 But his suggestion went unheeded.

  • 59 Waterloo County Board of Education, “Minute Book of Berlin Teachers’ Association, October 1891 to (...)

30In introducing their young flock to the English language, Waterloo County’s teachers likely met with greater success than Thomas Pearce’s exhortations. At a meeting of the Berlin Teachers’ Association in May 1895, “Miss Scully” presented a step-by-step manual on how to teach composition to “Junior Pupils, especially German Children.” Rather than relying on the rehearsal of grammatical rules, she regarded oral lessons - the hearing and speaking of English - as the key to learning. She granted her pupils the time to assimilate the structures of the English language inductively before moving on to written exercises. Gentle coercion, as well, played an important role in Miss Scully’s teaching arsenal. She confined the use of German to the German-language classroom and insisted that children spoke English even on the playground. In practising the children’s writing skills, she favoured the writing of simple stories (“Going to School” “What I would do if I had $ 10?”) over having the children copy English-language lessons at their desks.59 Intuitively - by drawing on her experiences in the classroom - she had arrived at much the same pedagogical principles that the National German-American Teachers’ Association was advocating south of the border. In her classroom, the textbook constituted just one teaching tool among many.

  • 60 Ibid., May 11, 1900. See also Berliner Journal, June 7, 1900 and Berlin News Record, April 27, 190 (...)
  • 61 Quoted in the Berliner Journal, July 4, 1900.

31It was rare that teachers lavished such care and attention on reading instruction. In the annual school examinations in turn-of-the-century Berlin, reading ranked lowest on the list, which provided teachers with little incentive to correct the children’s accented English or invest time in reading lessons. Given the “crowded curriculum” at Berlin’s public schools and the “large amount of German spoken at School and at home” reading skills remained uneven, as High School Inspector Seath observed in February 1900. The Berlin News Record could not agree more: “That the Queen’s English is murdered on every hand is admitted,” the editors wrote and were quick to point out the reasons why. “Oral reading will not reach the highest standards in North Waterloo for several generations, owing to the difficulties that pupils of German descent have to surmount in mastering the English tongue.”60 Always striving for excellence in schooling, the Berlin Public School Board instructed Inspector Pearce to submit “a report on the situation,” which the latter promptly delivered. “I was more than surprised to find children of British parentage reading and speaking fully as ’broken’ as those of German parentage,” he wrote. The reason, Thomas Pearce reiterated, was simple. By allowing young children to study German and English simultaneously, their minds were “confused with the sounds of letters and the pronunciation of words of two languages in many respects so very different.” Was it not a matter of common sense to limit German-language instruction to the upper grades?61

  • 62 Ibid., June 29,1900 and June 27,1901.
  • 63 For a point of comparison see Herbert J. Gans, “Symbolic Ethnicity: The Future of Ethnic Groups an (...)

32Thomas Pearce was unaware that he had stirred up a hornet’s nest. At a time of heightened ethnic nationalism, the outcry in the community was almost immediate. It was the craftsmen of the singing society Concordia, supported by the German-language weekly Berliner Journal, who organized an indignation meeting on 22 June 1900 to discuss “the better development of German instruction in our public schools.” Confronted with the determined campaign for German-language schooling that united Berlin’s political, economic, religious, and intellectual elites, Inspector Pearce made one feeble attempt to clear up the matter and then fell silent. In future years, he seemed determined to avoid any further controversies by describing the reading ability of Berlin’s pupils as “generally speaking, good.”62 He evidently had misjudged the quiet, but powerful, current of ethnic identity that he had so successfully navigated for over three decades. As an object of cultural heritage, German continued to command powerful loyalties even as enrolment in the county’s German-language classrooms was steadily declining.63

  • 64 Waterloo County Board of Education, “Berlin Board Minutes, 1898-1908,” September 1, 1903 and Decem (...)
  • 65 Berliner Journal, February 12, 1903; June 25, 1903; July 23, 1903; June 21, 1905; and December 5, (...)
  • 66 Ibid., December 27, 1900; January 4, 1905; December 5, 1906; April 8, 1908; January 6, 1909; and J (...)
  • 67 “Berlin Public School Board Minutes, 1908-1915,” November l7, 1911.

33The German School Association (Schulverein), formally founded in August 1900, suggested substituting the provincially authorized German readers for a new series of textbooks. In January 1904, the children in Berlin’s German-language classrooms opened their new German readers, which had been sanctioned by the Schulverein, local trustees, and provincial authorities alike.64 The association continued to create a climate conducive to German-language learning. It subsidized the children’s school readers, organized school picnics, and awarded prizes to outstanding students.65 Honourary German school inspectors helped develop a curriculum of German-language schooling, examined the language and teaching abilities of German-language teachers, and alerted school trustees to weaknesses in the present system of instruction.66 The number of school children enrolled in the German-language program subsequently increased from twelve per cent in 1900 to sixty-seven per cent in 1912, among them many British-origin children whose work garnered praise from German school inspectors. In November 1911, the Berlin School Board went further still. It instructed the German teachers in its employ “to make more use of conversational exercises and not to lay so much stress as heretofore on reading and writing.”67 The pedagogical principles of the Ahn’s Readers, which Berlin’s schools had abandoned in 1903, officially belonged to the past.

34The teaching of German, once intimately linked to the textbook, now lay in the hands of individual teachers who created exercises of their own imagination. The newly re-discovered orality of instruction allowed language lessons to be shaped by local values and experiences, rather than by distant textbook authors. As the dependence on German textbooks lessened, so, too, did the reliance on the Ontario Readers. By the early twentieth century, the intensive reading of a single series of authorized textbooks was giving way to extensive reading practices. Berlin’s school libraries expanded as they acquired books for “supplementary reading” in 1905 and purchased the “Young Folks’ Library” in 1908. Although the textbook would remain a mainstay of instruction in Waterloo County, proving its resilience well into the twenty-first century, it no longer demanded its students’ exclusive attention, if, indeed, it ever had.

Drawing Conclusions

  • 68 University of Waterloo, Doris Lewis Rare Book Room, Breithaupt Hewetson Clark Collection, Box #8, (...)

35This study, then, is a cautionary tale of the role of textbooks in Canadian classrooms. History’s linguistic turn has encouraged historians to probe the discursive universe that unfolded between the covers of these slim volumes. Less often do they reflect on the pedagogical principles that shaped the content and form of reading lessons, and more rarely still on the way local societies responded to the authorized readers by rejecting, embracing, or ignoring them. While Bruce Curtis has portrayed textbooks as instruments of state governance, this study has found local school promoters who viewed the officially sanctioned reading lessons through the prism of their own values and needs. From their actions and negotiations emerges a picture of education more colourful than that of a uniform, centralized school system: the diversity of (German-language) readers was far greater than provincial authorities ever expected; the pedagogical assumptions and cultural messages of the Ahn’s readers ran counter the policies of the Department of Education; Waterloo County’s teachers devised their own program of literacy instruction that relied heavily on conversational exercises; and local trustees substituted authorized readers with books of their own choosing, after having secured the approval of Toronto authorities. Not content to replace the Ahn’s Readers with another series of textbooks, Berlin’s community leaders launched an elaborate program of German-language instruction that fostered reading skills through extra-curricular activities and a new curriculum, supervised by local German School Inspectors. Little did it matter that, by 1913, even the president of the German School Association, Louis Jacob Breithaupt, was writing to his children in English, not German, thus revealing a language shift in the most "German" of families.68 As a symbol of ethnic identity, and a medium of oral conversation, the German language continued to exist independent of the reflections it cast into the school readers of the time.

Notes

1 University of Waterloo, Doris Lewis Rate Book Room, Breithaupt Hewetson Cleric Collection,“Diaries of Louis Jacob Breithaupt,” March 21, 1867, and Neil Sutherland, “The Urban Child,” History of Education Quarterly 9, No. 3 (Fall 1969): 305.

2 As Mary P. Ryan has observed in her analysis of Victorian child-rearing practices, the “sly manipulations of maternal socialization” were intended to implant “the usual array of petit bourgeois traits-honesty, industry, frugality, temperance, and, pre-eminently, self control.” See Cradle of the Middle Class: The Family in Oneida County, New York, 1790-1865 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 161.

3 “Diaries of Louis Jacob Breithaupt,” March 5, 6, and 19, 1867; April 1, 1867; May 13, 1867; July 12, 1867; October 17, 1867; June 22, 1868; October 7, 1868; and November 13, 1868.

4 Elsie Rockwell, “Learning for Life or Learning from Books: Reading Practices in Mexican Rural Schools (1900 to 1935),” Paedagogica Historica 38, no. 1 (2002): 134.

5 Quoted in Ibid., 113.

6 Linda Clark, Schooling the Daughters of Marianne: Textbooks and the Socialization of Girls in Modern French Primary Schools (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984); Cynthia M. Koch, "The Virtuous Curriculum: Schools and American Culture, 1785-1830" (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1991); and Stephen Heathorn, For Home, Country, and Race: Constructing Gender, Class, and Englishness in the Elementary School, 1880-1914 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000).

7 Bruce Curtis, “Schoolbooks and the Myth of Curricular Republicanism: The State and the Curriculum in Canada West, 1820-1850,” Histoire sociale/Social History 16, no. 32 (November 1983): 305-29. See also Oisin Patrick Rafferty, “Balancing the Books: Brokerage Politics and the Ontario Readers Question,” Historical Studies in Education/Revue d’histoire de l’éducation 4, no. 1 (1992): 84,92.

8 Marc Depaepe and Frank Simon, “Is there any Place for the History of ‘Education’ in the History of Education?: A Plea for the History of Everyday Educational Reality in and outside Schools,” Paedagogica Historica 31, no. 1 (1995): 10. See also Harold Silver, “Knowing and not Knowing in the History of Education?” History of Education 21, no. 1 (1992): 104-105.

9 Report of the Minister of Education for the Years 1880 and 1881 (Toronto: C. Blackett Robinson, 1882), 222. Although school trustees retained the right to choose books of their own liking, they did risk “losing the government grant if they persisted with unauthorized texts.” Susan E. Houston and Alison Prentice, Schooling and Scholars in Nineteenth-Century Ontario (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988), 238.

10 Memorial to the Council of Public Instruction of Upper Canada from the Board of Public Instruction of the County of Waterloo (Galt: Jaffrat Bros., 1865), 6-8.

11 See Egerton Ryerson’s rebuttal in the Annual Report of the Normal, Model, Grammar and Common Schools in Upper Canada for the Year 1865 (Ottawa: Hunter, Rose & Co., 1866), 9-11; Houston and Prentice, Schooling and Scholars, 237-46; and Curtis, “Schoolbooks and the Myth of Curricular Republicanism,” 305-29. For the authorization of the Canadian and Ontario Readers see Report of the Minister of Education for the Years 1880 and 1881 (Toronto: C. Blacken Robinson, 1882), 222.

12 Rafferty, “Balancing the Books,” 82, 84, and Bruce Curtis, Building the Educational State: Canada West, 1836-1871 (London: The Althouse Press, 1988).

13 In calling for a greater Canadian sentiment in school readers, Waterloo County’s school promoters coached their criticism in the language of nationalism: "Should not every leaf of these little volumes while conveying the seeds of elementary knowledge to the children of the land, stimulate their youthful patriotism and exalt their love of country?” See Memorial to the Council of Public Instruction.

14 The classic formulation of the influence of local society in shaping the emergent public school system is D. A. Lawr and R. D. Gidney, “Who Ran the Schools?: Local Influence on Education Policy in Nineteenth-century Ontario,” Ontario History 72, no. 3 (September 1980): 131-43.

15 Kitchener Public Library (KPL), Waterloo Historical Society (WHS), WAT C-87, “Report on the Public Schools of the County of Waterloo, for the Year 1875, by the County Inspector Thomas Pearce” (Berlin: Telegraph Office, 1876), 6.

16 Regulations and Correspondence relating to French and German schools in the Province of Ontario (Toronto: Warwick & Sons, 1889), 110-14.

17 Kenneth McLaughlin, “Waterloo County: A Pennsylvania-German Homeland - Revised and Revisited,” Paper presented to the Canadian Historical Association, Sherbrooke (Quebec), June 1999. See also Hans Lehmann, The German Canadians, 1750-1937: Immigration, Settlement & Culture (St. John’s, Newfoundland: Jesperson Press, 1986), 66-79 and Elizabeth Bloomfield, “City-Building Processes in Berlin/Kitchener and Waterloo, 1870-1930” (PhD diss., University of Guelph, 1983), 50-52.

18 Benjamin Eby, Neues Buchstabir- und Lesebuch, besonders bearbeitet und eingerichtet zum Gebrauch Deutscher Schulen, enthaltend das ABC, und vielerlei Buchstabir- und Leseübungen (Berlin: Heinrich Wilhelm Peterson, 1839).

19 Ibid, 131: “Good children are attentive, obedient, peaceful, God-fearing and as orderly in the presence of their elders, teachers, and superiors as they are in their absence.” See also Michael V. Belok, “The Courtesy Tradition and Early Schoolbooks,” History of Education Quarterly 8, no. 3 (Fall 1968): 316.

20 For the early school history of Waterloo County see National Archives of Canada, MG 30, B13, vol. 9, “Statistics and history of the Preston School compiled and written by Otto Klotz for the use of his family,” 58; Tomas Pearce, “School History, Waterloo County and Berlin,” Waterloo Historical Society 2 (1914): 33; KPL, WHS, Manuscript Collection 53, “Rev. A. B. Sherk,” 23-25; KPL, WHS, Manuscript Collection 71, Isaac Moyer, Biography and Reminiscences, January 1 st, 1915,” 11-13.

21 Rockwell, “Learning for Life or Learning from Books,” 124.

22 Jacob Teuscher, ABC Buchstabir und Lesebüchlein mit Rücksicht auf die Lautiermethode, für die Elementar-Schulen in Canada (Waterloo Village: Bödecker and Stübing, 1866).

23 Vicki Spencer, “Herder and Nationalism: Reclaiming the Principle of Cultural Respect,” Australian Journal of Politics and History 43, no. 1 (1997): 13; F. W. Barnard, Herder’s Social and Political Thought: From Enlightenment to Nationalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 57; Elie Kedourie, Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), 58-62.

24 Otto Klotz, Leitfaden der deutschen Sprache oder kurzgefasstest Lehrbuch der deutschen Sprache in Fragen & Antworten (Preston: Im Selbstverlag des Verfassers, 1867), 1-6.

25 Barbara Lorenzkowski, “Border Crossings: The Making of German Identities in the New World, 1850-1914” (PhD diss., University of Ottawa, 2002), 20-57.

26 Regulations and Correspondence, 110.

27 Annual Report of the Minister of Education for the Province of Ontario (Canada), 1890 (Toronto: Warwick & Sons, 1891), 65.

28 Emphasis in the original. See Canadian Series of School Books: First Book of Reading Lessons, Part I (Toronto: James Campbell and Son, 1867), 13-14, and Canadian Series of School Books: First Book of Reading Lessons, Part II (Toronto: William Warwick & Son, 1867), Preface.

29 For a stimulating discussion of narratives of gender, virtue, national identity, and empire see Harro von Brummeleen, “Shifting Perspectives: Early British Columbia Textbooks from 1872 to 1925,” BC Studies 60 (Winter 1983-84): 3-27, and Lauren Jeffs, “’Snips and Snail’ and ‘Sugar and Spice’: Constructing Gender in Ontario Schools, 1846-1909” (Master’s research paper, University of Ottawa, 1998).

30 Canadian Series of School Books, First Book, Part I, 20 and Canadian Series of School Books, First Book, Part II, 73.

31 Peter Hunt, An Introduction to Children’s Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 12,30, 59.

32 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, Authorized for Use in the Public Schools of Ontario by the Minister of Education (Toronto: Canada Publishing Company, 1884), “The Idle Boy,” 12-14, “The Little Girl That Was Always ‘Going To’,” 34-36, “No Crown for Me,” 47-51, and “Tommy and the Crow,” 76-82.

33 Canadian Series of School Books, First Book, Part II, 98 (“George and Charles are both good boys... These boys do not waste their time at school. They try to learn fast, so that, when they grow up they may be of some use to those whom they love. They know that they cannot go to school, when they grow to be men, for all men have to work for their food; so they try to learn, and their papa is pleased to see them so good.”) and 66 (“Ah, Carrie, it would have been well, had you done what mamma thought was best, and left your sweet doll at home.”).

34 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, “The Lazy Frog," 132-33 and “The Fox and the Crow,” 15-17.

35 Report of the Minister of Education for the Year 1887 (Toronto: Warwick & Sons, 1888), xxxvii.

36 Much like other textbooks of the time, the Ontario Readers self-consciously sought to construct an ideal reader by giving detailed instruction on how to read.

37 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, 5-6 and The Ontario Readers: Third Reader, Authorized for Use in the Public Schools of Ontario by the Minister of Education (Toronto: W. J. Gage Company, 1885), 3-4. For botanical lessons, see The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, “The Root,” 154-56, “The Leaf,” 160-63, “The Flower,” 166-71, “The Fruit,” 175-79, “The Seed,” 182-83. For discussions of the natural world see “The Black Bear,” 19-21, “The Boy and the Chipmunk,” 23-27, “The White Bear,” 31-32, “The Lion,” 72-74, “The Tiger,” 89-93, “Elephants,” 106-110, and “The Ostrich,” 110-13.

38 The Ontario Readers: Third Reader, “Egypt and Its Ruins,” 143-48, “The Thermometer,” 182-86, and “Heat: Conduction and Radiation,” 194-99.

39 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, 6 and The Ontario Readers: Third Reader, 4.

40 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, “A Reindeer Drive,” 38-41," “The Whale,” 63-66, “Shapes of Snow-Flakes,” 125-27, “My Mother,” 46-47, and “Grandmamma,” 114-16.

41 For a discussion of representations of race, ethnicity, and the nation in school readers see Timothy J. Stanley, “White Supremacy and the Rhetoric of Educational Indoctrination: A Canadian Case Study,” in Jean Barman and Mona Gleason eds., Children, Teachers and Schools in the History of British Columbia (Calgary: Detselig Enterprise, 2003), 113-31, and Stuart J. Foster, “The Struggle for American Identity: Treatment of Ethnic Groups in United States History Textbooks,” History of Education, 28, 3 (1999), 251-78.

42 The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, “Tea,” 43-45, “Coffee,” 68-70, “Sugar,” 84-86, and “Cotton,” 96-99.

43 Jeffs, “‘Snips and Snails’ and ‘Sugar and Spice’,” 56, and The Ontario Readers: Third Reader, “A Canadian Boat Song,” 73, “Canadian Trees, First Reading,” 202-206, “Canadian Trees, Second Reading,” 210-14.

44 Report of the Minister of Education for the Year 1887, xliii.

45 P. Henn, Ahn’s First German Book (New York: E. Steiger & Co., 1873), 36, 37, 51, 52; P. Henn, Ahn’s Second German Book (New York: E. Steiger & Co., 1873), 103, 123; P. Henn, Ahn’s Third German Book (New York: E. Steiger & Co., 1875), 58; P. Henn, Ahn’s Fourth German Book (New York: E. Steiger & Co., 1876), 128, 146,164, 168.

46 Ahn’s Third German Book, 78, 83.

47 Susan Bayley, “The Direct Method and Modern Language Teaching in England, 1880-1918,” History of Education 27, no. 1 (1998): 39, 42.

48 Ahn’s Second German Book, 84.

49 Ahn’s Second German Book, “On objects seen at school,” “On objects seen at home,” “On parts of the human body,” “On clothing and food,” 188-92; Ahn’s Third German Book, “The Seasons: Winter and Spring,” “Geographical Topics,” “Historical Topics,” 82-84; and Ahn’s Fourth German Book, “The Atmosphere, Rain,” “Flax, Linen,” “From General History,” 178-80.

50 These examples are taken from the entire “Steiger German Series of Readers.” For the explanation of the system of brackets and parentheses used, see, for example, Ahn’s First German Book, 37.

51 This discussion is based on an examination of the association’s journal that appeared under the titles Amerikanische Schulzeitung, Erziehungs-Blätter für Schule und Hans, Pädagogische Monatshefte/Pedagogical Monthly: Zeitschrift fiir das deutschamerikanische Schulwesen, and Monatshefte fiir deutsche Sprache und Padagogik. See Lorenzkowski, “Border Crossings,” 311-56.

52 For the impact of the “natural method” and “direct method,” as it was advocated by German-American pedagogues, see E. W. Bagster-Collins, Studies in Modem Language Teaching - Report Prepared for the Modern Foreign Language Study and the Canadian Committee on Modern Languages (New York: Macmillan Company, 1930), 88-91.

53 Waterloo County Board of Education, Wilmot Township, S.S. 2 (New Hamburg), School Board Minutes, 1875-1896, November 3, 1890, and Herman Resselt, Das Erste Lese- und Lehrbuch fiir Deutsche Schulen oder Erste Übungen im Lesen, Schreiben und Zeichnen verbunden mit Denk- und Sprachübungen (New York: E. Steiger, n.d.).

54 Archives of Ontario, RG 2-109-130, Box 2, Misc. School Records, “Report on the Public Schools of the County of Waterloo by the County Inspector Thomas Pearce (for 1872)” (Galt: Hutchinson, 1873), 5.

55 Waterloo County Board of Education, Woolwich Township, S.S. 8 (St. Jacobs), Visitors’ Book, 1861-1912, March 26, 1880. See also earlier entries on reading on April 29, 1875 and August 31, 1875; KPL, WHS, KIT 6, “Visitors’Book: Roman Catholic Separate School,” June 2, 1876 and February 6, 1878; KPL, WHS, WAT C-67, “Twenty-Third Annual Report of the Inspector of Public Schools of the County of Waterloo, for the Year ending 31st December, 1894.”

56 “Report on the Public Schools of the County of Waterloo, for the Year 1875,” 7.

57 Manuscript Census of Canada, 1901, and Berliner Journal, May 6, 1880 and June 3, 1884.

58 See Steven L. Schlossman, “‘Is There an American Tradition of Bilingual Education’: German in the Public Elementary Schools, 1840-1919,” American Journal of Education 91, no. 2 (February 1983): 139-86, and L. Viereck, Zwei Jahrhunderte Deutschen Unterrichts in den Vereinigten Staaten (Braunschweig: Friedrich Viereck und Sohn, 1903).

59 Waterloo County Board of Education, “Minute Book of Berlin Teachers’ Association, October 1891 to November 8, 1912; May 10, 1895.

60 Ibid., May 11, 1900. See also Berliner Journal, June 7, 1900 and Berlin News Record, April 27, 1900.

61 Quoted in the Berliner Journal, July 4, 1900.

62 Ibid., June 29,1900 and June 27,1901.

63 For a point of comparison see Herbert J. Gans, “Symbolic Ethnicity: The Future of Ethnic Groups and Cultures in America,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 2, no. 1 (1979): 1-19, and Jeffrey Shandler, “Beyond the Mother Tongue: Learning the Meaning of Yiddish in America.” Jewish Social Studies 6, no. 3 (2000): 97-99.

64 Waterloo County Board of Education, “Berlin Board Minutes, 1898-1908,” September 1, 1903 and December 31, 1903. Eight years later, these textbooks would, once again, be substituted by Wilhelm Gelbach’s Erstes Deutsche Lesebuch für Schule und Haus (New York: E. Steiger & Co., 1906). See Ibid., “Berlin Public School Board Minutes, 1908-1915,” August 18,1911.

65 Berliner Journal, February 12, 1903; June 25, 1903; July 23, 1903; June 21, 1905; and December 5, 1906.

66 Ibid., December 27, 1900; January 4, 1905; December 5, 1906; April 8, 1908; January 6, 1909; and June 28, 1911.

67 “Berlin Public School Board Minutes, 1908-1915,” November l7, 1911.

68 University of Waterloo, Doris Lewis Rare Book Room, Breithaupt Hewetson Clark Collection, Box #8, “Catherine Olive, née Breithaupt (1896-1977), Letter by Louis Breithaupt, September 3, 1913.”

Table des illustrations

Légende “Cotton”: Illustrations in the Ontario Readers upheld the notion of white supremacy. They depicted African Americans in subservient roles: as sharecroppers in a romanticized plantation setting. Source: The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, 44.
URL http://books.openedition.org/uop/docannexe/image/1066/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 76k
Légende “Tea”: A story on the origins of tea featured this stereotypical portrayal of the Chinese. The accompanying text introduced pupils to the “busy Chinaman, with his small, funny-looking black eyes, and long pigtail hanging down his back.” Source: The Ontario Readers: Second Reader, 98.
URL http://books.openedition.org/uop/docannexe/image/1066/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 75k

Auteur

Is an Assistant Professor of American history at Nipissing University. Her work explores questions of ethnicity and modernity, community and nation, public culture and trans-nationalism. She is the author of several articles and book chapters, including the prize-winning “A Platform for Gender Tensions” in the Canadian Historical Review in 1998

© Les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa | University of Ottawa Press, 2005

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Acheter

Volume papier

amazon.fr