The History of Education in the Western World Since 1500

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 2230
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 2230 explores the history of education in western societies from 1500 to the present, employing both chronological and thematic analysis of selected topics.
Major themes include: scholarly approaches to the study of education; the rise and transformation of educational institutions; the relationship between schools, professions, and society; the professionalization of teaching; educational policy, curriculum and pedagogy; the politics of education; streaming, vocationalism, testing, and inclusivity; and the ways in which gender, social class, and ethnocultural identity have shaped the experiences of students and teachers.
Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

  1. Introduction
  2. The Transformation of Education from the Classical World to the Renaissance
  3. Literacy, the Printing Press and the Transformation of Learning
  4. Education, the Enlightenment, and the Nature of Childhood
  5. Common Schooling and Elite Education
  6. Education, Aculturation and Assimilation in an Industrial Era
  7. Progressive Education: Child-Centred Education and Scientific Management
  8. Separate and Unequal: Indigenous Children and Schooling
  9. Schools, Militarism, Nationalism, and Education for Democracy
  10. Becoming a Teacher
  11. School and Society in the Cold War Era
  12. Education for the Workplace, Education for the Professions
  13. Contested Terrain: Contemporary Debates
  14. Histories of Education in the Twenty-First Century
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include facilitation of student-led projects, student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Means of Assessment
Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.
Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.
The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:
Attendance, Participation, In-Class Activities 15%
Seminar Presentation 10%
Historiographic Essay 10%
Reading Notes 15%
Primary Source Analyses 20%
Research Essay and Presentation of Research 30%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history)

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Course Readers may be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically.

An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned. Additional reading lists and links to specific resources also may be provided online or in the instructor’s course outline.


Axelrod, Paul. The Promise of Schooling: Education in Canada, 1800-1914. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.


Burke, Sara Z., and Patrice Milewski, eds. Schooling in Transition: Readings in Canadian History of Education. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011.


Miller, J. R. Residential Schools and Reconciliation: Canada Confronts Its History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017.


Thomas, Gary. Education: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.



One 1000-level History course; or permission of the instructor





Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 2230
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX HIST 2XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 2XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG HIST 2XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU EDUC 250 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HIST 2XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW HIST 2XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO HIST_O 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV HIST_V 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 2XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HIST 2XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC HSTR 2XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU HIST 2nd (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2024