The Schoolchildren Will Come to Salute the Sun: The Making of Uruguay's Public Education System, 1830s Open Access

Camou Viacava, Juan (2016)

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This dissertation explores the first ten years of the Uruguayan public school system. Postcolonial Orientales believed public schools would assist them in building a new society, one ideologically conceived as a voluntary association of formally equal individuals. The new society contrasted with the corporate and overtly hierarchical sistema colonial, hence the pedagogical mission to create a new type of man, the idealized and homogenized citizen. The 1830s witnessed the increasing ascendancy of the state over all educational matters, resulting in the partial displacement of traditional pedagogical agents, practices and institutions, such as the family and the Church. The new republic was responsible for building schoolhouses, recruiting and training teachers, and standardizing elementary education under a single set of pedagogical and organizational rules. In order to achieve its standardizing goals, the government enforced the implementation of Lancaster's monitorial school, a pedagogical institution perceived as the best to rapidly produce a future generation of citizens. This work also examines the role of teachers and the mobilization of the local communities, the pueblos and vecindarios, whose ideological commitment was crucial for the success of the new educational project. Public school teachers developed their occupational identity as state agents, surrogate parents, and priests of a modern kind; they connected students, families and parochial communities to the universalistic ideals of a "higher" cosmopolitan culture. Apart from spreading literacy and instilling scholarly ideals of cultivation, meritocratic individualism, and progress-oriented agency, the modern school also emerged as a prolonged initiation ritual, a rationalized and intentional process of socialization which incorporated young children into the envisioned national community.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: The Ideological Roots of Modern Schooling 37

The Social Experience of Time

History and Revolution in the Banda Oriental

Modern Society, an Association of Individuals

The Rise of the Nation-State, the Padre Amoroso de los Pueblos

Creating Citizens, the Actors of Modern Society


Chapter 2: Teaching, Learning and Evaluating: the Lancasterian System 114

The Lancasterian System: from England to Uruguay

The Lancasterian System: Implementation

The Lancasterian System: Standardization

The Lancasterian Classroom: Theory and Practice

The Teaching of Writing

The Writing Masters, the Art of Calligraphy, and the English Round-Hand

Teaching and Learning to Write: Method and Script Standardization

Student Evaluation: State Tools for the Assessment of Educational Performance

Three Surviving Collections of Planas

Public Examination Ceremonies


Chapter 3: Un Trabajo tan Penoso: the Public School Teacher Profession 200

The Delegation of Pedagogic Authority

The Teachers' Limited Pedagogic Autonomy

Hiring, Training, and Delegating Authority

Teachers as Civil Servants: Prerogatives and Bureaucratic Rites of Consecration

Career, Labor conditions, and Wages


Chapter 4: Vecinos and Vecindarios: Schools and Local Communities 259

Vecinos and Vecindarios

The Political Initiative to Create New Public Schools

The Subscripciones: Fundraising Efforts in the Vecindarios

The Teachers' Relationship with the Vecinos

The Teacher Gabriel Lezaeta and the Vecindario of Las Piedras


Conclusion 317

Bibliography 325

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