In what ways did Charles Dickens in his novel "David Copperfield" criticise the Victorian schools and methods of education?  i would like to know in detail about the question asked how did charles...

In what ways did Charles Dickens in his novel "David Copperfield" criticise the Victorian schools and methods of education?

 

i would like to know in detail about the question asked

how did charles dickens present the victorian schools in david copperfield

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Similar to his work, Hard Times, Dickens, in David Copperfield, makes the argument that an educational system that is designed and executed without feeling for the rights and understanding of children is one that is doomed to fail.  This can be seen in the early phases of David Copperfield when Jane and Edward Murdstone attempt to tutor David through belittling, abuse, and emotional distance.  The reader can see that this type of education does not seek to enhance the child's understanding.  It deepens the resentment and anger of the child, thereby denying any educational merit to enter into the equation.  Dickens was ahead of his time in suggesting that an education system that is driven by "drill and kill" instruction and authority for authority's sake will only deepen anger and resentment in a child.  Learning cannot enter this setting because opposition already has taken hold.  This is a criticism of English schools at the time, and Victorian educational institutions that fostered a sense of fear and misguided respect, in place of genuine connection and authentic instruction to students. When David is shipped off to Salem House, this theme is repeated with figures who exercise their power for power's sake, and whose environment is "forlorn."  Dickens is pointing out that such "schools" fail in their basic and most elemental mission becuase they seek to take the emotional and sentimental nature of children into account.  Compare David's excitement and imagination into entering London with the stark reality of the vision of the school.  With this, Dickens is suggesting that Victorian schools should not stifle or inhibit a child's imagination.  Rather, he is asserting that a good school will excite such internal workings and advance a child's sense of the capacity to dream.