Late 1900s: Stanley Hall

Diana Lang

Stanley Hall and Pedagogy

elementary students in a classroom
Figure 1. Children in a classroom environment.

Hall was one of the first scientific psychologists who gained notoriety as an educational expert; his work was often geared toward parents and educators in addition to psychologists.[1]

Hall presented public lectures to educators on the psychology underlying childhood and how to “best” teach children (otherwise known as “pedagogy”).  This work made significant contributions to the study of, and improvements within, parenting and educational practices.

Hall believed that a child’s nature should guide educational practices so children could become healthy, productive members of society.  Overall, Hall’s in-person presentations started the movement for the U.S. to integrate psychological and scientific studies within educational endeavors.[2]

Key Takeaways

  • One of the first psychologists to be known as an educational expert.
  • Developed “pedagogy” (how to “best” teach for optimal learning).
  • A child’s nature should guide educational practices in order to become a healthy, productive member of society.

  1. Ross, D. (1972). G. Stanley Hall: The psychologist as prophet. University of Chicago Press.
  2. Young, J. L. (2016). G. Stanley Hall, child study, and the American public. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 177(6): 195-208.

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