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Published: 18 May, 2020

School journeys and the future citizen

NEWS School journeys were implemented to modernize education as a means to modernize society and to contribute to the progress of the nation, according to a new dissertation by Inês Félix at Umeå University, Sweden. She has been researching the history of school journeys in Portugal, focusing on State regulation, educational discourses, and school practices.

Students were taken out of the school to observe, study and actively experience historical heritage, industrial processes, natural objects and phenomena, and societal achievements 'in situ' (in place)

The dissertation examines school journeys in secondary education in Portugal between 1890 and 1960 to shed light into the history of one of the most enduring activities introduced in schools at the turn of the 20th century. 

The research shows that the advent and naturalisation of school journeys in Portugal were deeply connected to the idea of education as an instrument of societal renewal and progress of the nation in which learning was intricately connected to narratives of national belonging.

“Indeed, activities based on observation, study and experience were connected to knowledge transfer as much as to the production of subjectivities,” says Inês Félix, doctoral candidate in History and Education.

School journeys were to take the students out of the school to observe, study and actively experience historical heritage, industrial processes, natural objects and phenomena, and societal achievements in situ (in place). They were to help transmit the knowledge and values attached to the places visited in order to produce a metamorphosis from student to a citizen.

Multitude of entry points

The research also shows how an activity introduced to modernise schooling developed in combination with long-established school practices, and how an educational method towards the students’ active engagement and emancipation became reliant on once perceived traditional forms of teaching and learning in which the students’ engagement was restricted to that of observers, readers, listeners and writers of notes. This instigates a critical perspective on how we think about the modernization of education and the education of future citizens.

According to Inês Félix, school journeys offer a multitude of entry points into the history of educational modernity and of the ideas and practices of schooling. “Their historical understanding”, she argues, “has the potential to push forward our understanding of present school practices”.

Download the dissertation School Journeys – Ideas and Practices of New Education in Portugal(1890–1960)

Inês Félix comes from Portugal and has a background in Art History from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and in Art Education from Universidade de Lisboa, where she became interested in the relationship between cultural heritage and schooling.

After completing her doctoral studies at Umeå University, Inês Félix aims to continue researching in history of education focusing on the students’ perspectives and visual representations of schooling.

About the act of defense

Friday May 22 Inês Félix will defense her dissertation, within the field of History and Education, School Journeys – Ideas and Practices of New Education in Portugal(1890–1960).

The act of defense will take place at 10.15 am to 12 am at The Humanities Building, HD 108, Umeå University. Opponent: Daniel Tröhler, Professor in Educational Sciences, Institut für Bildungswissenschaft, University of Vienna.