Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
William G. Wraga
A pioneering English sociologist and popularizer in the United States of Social Darwinism, Herbert Spencer's principal contribution to education came in his influential 1860 book, Education: Intellectual , Moral, and Physical , in which he coined the curriculum question, “What knowledge is of most worth?” and proposed categories of life activity that comprised the sources of educational objectives. Born in Derby, England, Spencer (1820–1903) received his elementary education at home and at day school. His secondary education involved study mostly of scientific, mathematical, and political subjects with little attention to foreign languages or the classics. Spencer received no university education. Upon completing his formal education, Spencer became a civil engineer for the railway, a position he held until 1846. After a disillusioning stint in radical politics, Spencer tried ...