Scholars have historically associated John Wesley’s educational endeavours with the boarding school he established at Kingswood, near Bristol, in 1746. However, his educational endeavours extended well beyond that single institution, even to non-Methodist educational programmes. This book sets out Wesley’s thinking and practice concerning child-rearing and education, particularly in relation to gender and class, in its broader eighteenth-century social and cultural context.
Drawing on writings from Churchmen, Dissenters, economists, philosophers and reformers as well as educationalists, this study demonstrates that the political, religious and ideological backdrop to Wesley’s work was neither static nor consistent. It also highlights Wesley’s eighteenth-century fellow Evangelicals including Lady Huntingdon, John Fletcher, Hannah More and Robert Raikes to demonstrate whether Wesley’s thinking and practice around schooling was in any way unique.
This study sheds light on how Wesley’s attitudes to education were influencing and influenced by the society in which he lived and worked. As such, it will be of great interest to academics with an interest in Methodism, education and eighteenth-century attitudes towards gender and class.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1 Child-rearing and Education in Eighteenth-century England; 2 Influences that helped shape John Wesley’s Educational Thinking; 3 The Implementation of John Wesley’s Thinking on Education; 4 Educating Pauper Children: 1723-1780; 5 Kingswood Boarding School: 1746-1780; 6 Growing Tension between Education and Evangelism: 1760-1791; 7 Educating Pauper Children after 1780; Conclusion
Linda A. Ryan is a mature researcher with an interest in early Methodism, and more specifically eighteenth-century attitudes to children, education and gender. She has previously published articles in Wesley & Methodist Studies and the Journal of Religious History, Literature and Culture.
"What Linda A. Ryan has offered the field of Methodist Studies with John Wesley and the Education of Children is precisely what she promises, "a body of knowledge which for the first time accurately places John Wesley's educational programme in its broad social and cultural context" (1). Rather than exploring only a single aspect of class and gender analysis, the scope of Ryan's work expands to take in the full range of these concerns in the _educational milieu of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which both formed Wesley and received his impact. "
- Natalya Cherry, Brite Divinity School