Thayer on Making Curriculum Relevant

V.T. Thayer was an American educationist, writing in 1928 of the passing of whole-class recitation and its replacement by a more relevant curriculum. In counter-distinction to mimetic home economics pedagogy, Thayer suggests an alternative that is more authentic and synthetic in character:

When [home economics] courses were first introduced, they were defended almost exclusively upon grounds of adult values. It was pointed out that under present social and economic conditions large numbers of girls were securing no training at home for intelligent home making and in many instances the training received was actually a handicap. Consequently, schools were urged to instruct girls in those principles of home economics which they should need when they set up housekeeping for themselves. The eye of the teacher was predominantly upon womanhood and not upon girlhood …

If one turns to a progressive course of study in home economics today, he will discover a different emphasis. While the eye of the teacher is still upon the proper management of the home when the pupil has attained maturity, it is realised that these objectives are best achieved by concentrating upon the present activities which girls now perform in the home.

But it is present worthy home membership that is emphasized. Consequently, when studying the relation of food and health, attention centres upon breakfast, lunch etc … The aim … is … to give her ideas and ideals as a basis for worthy home membership by helping her to participate more effectively in the life of her own home. And the study of clothing is organized with reference to the problems of dress etc., which concern girls of the age enrolled in the course.


Thayer, V.T. 1928. The Passing of the Recitation. Boston: D.C. Heath. pp. 130–131. || WorldCat


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