Caitlin Daniels and Dr. Dennis Wright, Religious Education
The Kirtland school house restored by the LDS Church was built by studying the building’s history using historical records and research. However, little research was done into how the school operated during its time. Throughout the project, we collected and analyzed primary and secondary research concerning the school, including the educational practices and laws of the time. This information was composed into an organized report divided into specialized sections which allow the reader to easily identify different aspects of the school house and how it was run.
The report begins with the development of the school system in Ohio, from private to public education and the formation of districts, and its effects on Kirtland specifically. We identified the original methods for teaching children in Kirtland and followed their development to the decision to build the Kirtland School house. Along with these topics, we discussed the salaries of teachers, their qualifications and backgrounds and how the profession of teaching evolved during this time. Also, we looked at the methods of teaching and testing students, including textbooks and daily schedules. We examined the daily life of a student and what was expected of them, as well as games they played during recess and their lives outside of school.
We concluded by focusing on the school house as a place for not only education, but for community. The Latter-Day Saint pioneers played a large role in the history of the school house and several important meetings in church history are believed to have been held there. We also looked into LDS education beyond the school house including the temple and printing-press basement as a school. Along with this, we discussed the importance of schooling for LDS and non-LDS children and cultural expectations for education at the time.
My experience in gathering, sorting and analyzing this information was extremely beneficial to me. Dr. Wright helped me refine my writing skills and guided me in how he wanted the report formatted. He also helped me by giving me a lot of room to work things out on my own and figure out how to get things done by myself. This was by far the greatest part of my experience. I had to be highly organized and keep track of references and formatting. I was dealing with over six binders full of information and had to decide what was important and what should be included and how to present the material.
The biggest problem I had was referencing. Some of my material was lacking a reference, so I had to go and find the information somewhere else or drop it all together. This was frustrating when I thought I had found something interesting to include and couldn’t find it in another source. I was limited by the fact that the binders had been put together by another student and I was lacking the original document, so information the student may not have found relevant, I would have liked to have had. The binders were very helpful however, in condensing all of the information into one place, thus saving me a lot of time.
I have sent in my final report to Dr. Wright, who is revising and editing. I have not yet designed a pamphlet as I planned, but I believe Dr. Wright intends to finalize the paper and have it published eventually.