Although considered a figure of great importance and influence by his contemporaries, Edmond Holmes has been consigned to relative obscurity in the progressive educational tradition. This book reinstates Holmes as a key figure in the history of progressive education, both as a school inspector and educational thinker, who was instrumental in forming a set of ideas and principles which continue to resonate in education today. Combining biographical detail and key critical analysis, Edmond Holmes and Progressive Education brings together the key ideas and aspects of Holmes' life and establishes his writings as amongst the most insightful ever produced by an educationalist.
Throughout his inspectorial career, Holmes scorned mechanical obedience in the classroom and was appalled by the inability of teachers to allow pupils to express themselves freely and imaginatively. His seminal publications positioned him at the vanguard of educational reforms. His work, however, was not exclusively educational, and throughout his life Holmes published on religion, philosophy, poetry and literature, subsuming his educational viewpoint into a much wider `philosophy of life'. His spiritual leanings and call for an improved education system, which would draw out the potential for development from within the child, inspired successive generations of progressive educators.
In studying Edmond Holmes in detail, this book makes an important contribution to current debates surrounding creativity and the curriculum, in particular, the need for alternative educational voices within the state system of regulation. This book will be key reading for postgraduate students and researchers who are interested in progressive education, the history of education and educational policy and politics.
John Howlett is Lecturer in Education Studies in the School of Social Science and Public Policy at the University of Keele, UK.