Date of Award
Doctor of Education
George H. Akers
Problem: The Avondale school in its initial era is regarded by some Seventh-day Adventists as the denomination's model school. At the time when the pioneers were establishing the school they spoke and wrote about their educational goals and methods in a variety of contexts. Since that time the denomination has published many of the statements on goals and methods and has continued to regard these as normative guidelines for the entire Seventh-day Adventist educational system. However, in their published form the educational goals statements retain little of their historical context. This fact leads to perplexities when attempts are made to analyse the development and true nature of the educational goals. Furthermore, the relevance of the statements for a modern milieu are difficult to ascertain. The purpose of this study was to trace the history of the Avondale school (1894-1900) and thus provide a gestalt for an analysis of the fundamental educational goals enunciated by the pioneers.
Method: This study utilised the historical research method. The problem was approached by reading the letters, diaries, manuscripts, and periodical articles of individuals closely associated with the establishment of the Avondale school. Minutes of various committees were also examined. During the reading of these documents the historical, topical, and biographical details were noted and assessed for reliability. The most relevant and reliable details were selected and incorporated into the narrative. At times, less than reliable material was discussed in the course of evaluating the historical evidence. Subsequently, an analysis of Avondale's educational goals was made with the historical context in mind.
Conclusions: 1. Leading Seventh-day Adventist schools at the time, in addition to the St. Kilda school in Melbourne, were considered by key pioneers such as S. N. Haskell and E. G. White to be unsatisfactory. Therefore, the Avondale school was established because of real needs both in the Australasian constituency and throughout the entire denomination. 2. The pioneers regarded the establishment of Avondale school as an opportunity to treat its development as an experiment in order to improve and vindicate their educational ideas. 3. There were two basic goals associated with Avondale school: the institution was established primarily for the conversion and character development of youth, and it was also regarded as a place where denominational workers could be suitably trained. 4. The individuals who oriented the direction of campus activities used deliberate methods to achieve the goals of the school. These methods included a rural location, Bible study, and its integration into all subjects, local missionary activities, manual labour balanced with mental work, and a ban on time consuming games for those training as denominational workers. 5. By 1900, after a few years of successful experimentation, pioneers such as E. G. White and W. C. White advocated that the Avondale school be regarded as the model school for the entire denomination. 6. The nature of Avondale's goals imply their increasing relevance for today. The rationale originally given for the methods used at Avondale imply their validity for determining methods for use in modern Seventh-day Adventist schools.
Hook, M. R. (1978). The Avondale school and Adventist educational goals, 1894-1900 (Doctoral dissertation). Andrews University, Avondale Campus, Australia: Andrews University.