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Education and ambition in Anne of Avonlea

Education and ambition in Anne of Avonlea Researchers of the history of women teachers have included fiction, as well as memoirs and history, as an important part of that testimony. The aim of this article is to examine the novel, Anne of Avonlea (1925) by Lucy Maude Montgomery as both a source of information about the working life of a woman teacher and, due to the immense popularity of the book, as a shaper of how women understand and enact teaching. Anne is a young teacher in her first posting consisting of a rural Canadian one‐ teacher school. She struggles to resist using corporal punishment in favour of winning her students respect, stimulating their minds and finding a ‘genius’. However, the local community, fellow teachers and her students have different notions of how teachers should behave. Her beliefs are further undermined when in a fit of anger she succumbs to beating one her students. Her reflections on what drove her actions are realistic and contain warnings for contemporary teachers to appreciate the often fragile hold they have on their espoused educational philosophy. Another danger revealed is the unconscious leaking of the shadow side of the psyche in the necessary close but dangerous relationships between students and teacher thereby providing a complex view of what motivates young women to teach and how they approach their work. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Education and ambition in Anne of Avonlea

History of Education Review , Volume 38 (2): 12 – Oct 14, 2009

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/08198691200900017
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Researchers of the history of women teachers have included fiction, as well as memoirs and history, as an important part of that testimony. The aim of this article is to examine the novel, Anne of Avonlea (1925) by Lucy Maude Montgomery as both a source of information about the working life of a woman teacher and, due to the immense popularity of the book, as a shaper of how women understand and enact teaching. Anne is a young teacher in her first posting consisting of a rural Canadian one‐ teacher school. She struggles to resist using corporal punishment in favour of winning her students respect, stimulating their minds and finding a ‘genius’. However, the local community, fellow teachers and her students have different notions of how teachers should behave. Her beliefs are further undermined when in a fit of anger she succumbs to beating one her students. Her reflections on what drove her actions are realistic and contain warnings for contemporary teachers to appreciate the often fragile hold they have on their espoused educational philosophy. Another danger revealed is the unconscious leaking of the shadow side of the psyche in the necessary close but dangerous relationships between students and teacher thereby providing a complex view of what motivates young women to teach and how they approach their work.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 14, 2009

Keywords: Women teachers; Teaching methods; Ambition; Educational philosophy; Students

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