List of abandoned education methods

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This is a list of education practices which have been replaced by or abandoned in favor of newer (or older) practices. To maintain a balanced point of view, each example should provide a source showing that the practice was abandoned or replaced. A practice abandoned by one school, for example reform mathematics, may still be in adoption by other schools, so opposing methods may both appear on this list at different times or locations.

  • One-room schools: The advent of school buses and better transportation led to consolidating schools into larger buildings in the early 20th century. Such schools are now rare in developed countries.
  • A-b-c-darianism: an archaic approach to teaching the alphabet in one-room schools, phased out by the 1860s.[1][2]
  • New Math:[3][4] abandoned and discredited by the late 1960s.
  • Open classroom:[5] some schools still use this model, but no longer as predominant as it was in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Initial Teaching Alphabet: this 1957 regularization of standard English spelling was intended to permit exception-free learning of the rules, yet was strongly reminiscent of traditional spelling, and was intended to allow easy transition to the latter. The extra letters in fact had the opposite effect of confusing young readers, and by the 1960s, the issue of distinguishing the multiple sounds assigned to one letter was addressed with other methods such as Words in Colour and diacritical marks.


  1. ^ Barnard, Henry (1863). "A-B-C Books and Primers". American Journal of Education. Hartford: Henry Barnard. XII: 597.
  2. ^ Twenty-Second Annual Report. New York (N.Y.). Board of Education. 1864. pp. 101–102.
  3. ^ "the new math was too complex for most students to grasp. The movement failed, but not before it created a generation of adults who hate mathematics [1][2]
  4. ^ Greenberg, D. (1995). And 'Rithmetic, Free at Last - The Sudbury Valley School. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2006-09-20. The open classroom: schools without walls became all the rage during the early 1970s. Were they just another fad? Education Next, Spring, 2004 by Larry Cuban