5 incredible teachers who revolutionised education - History Bombs
Articles / History Bombs

5 incredible teachers who revolutionised education

Throughout history, there have been some influential teachers who have done more than just teach; they’ve helped to shape the world of education itself. 

These educators went beyond the usual lessons to make learning accessible for everyone, bringing new ideas, fighting for everyone’s right to learn, and showing us that education can be a powerful tool for change.

Here’s a look at some of the most influential teachers from history and how they have helped to make the world of education what it is today.  

1. Anne Sullivan

Anne Sullivan is known as the teacher of Helen Keller, who was an American author and disability advocate who had lost both her sight and hearing when she was 19 months old. Sullivan, who was visually impaired herself, was able to overcome Keller’s lack of language through her teaching and enabled her to learn to communicate and become a world-renowned author and activist. Through her teaching, Sullivan changed the perspective of people with disabilities.

Anne Sullivan

2. Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery in Virginia in 1856. Following the abolition of slavery, Washington wanted an education, but had to work from the age of nine to support his family. By the age of 16, he gained the opportunity to pursue his education, undertaking a 200-mile journey on foot to attend school and working as a janitor. 

Washington was a staunch advocate for the idea that education was essential for African Americans to achieve equality in the United States. He pursued a career in teaching, eventually leading Tuskegee University in Alabama. He emphasised the importance of education through public speaking and served as a consultant to presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, and was the first African American to be invited to dine at the White House.

Through his fundraising and advocacy, he contributed to the establishment of more than 5,000 schools for African American children in the southern United States. His work significantly contributed to the development of educational opportunities for African Americans during a time of deep racial segregation.

Booker T. Washington

3. Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule was one of the first female teachers in India. Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she played an influential role in women’s education during the British Raj, and  established the first school for girls in Pune in 1848. She advocated for the abolition of discrimination against gender and caste, laying the groundwork for educational reform in India. 

4. Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune was an American educator, stateswoman, and civil rights activist. In 1904, she founded an industrial school for African American girls in Daytona Beach, Florida, which later became Bethune-Cookman University. Bethune’s educational philosophy emphasised the importance of education for African American girls as a pathway to improving racial equality in the US. 

As a leading figure in education, she also served as an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, advocating for the breakdown of segregation and improving educational opportunities for all children. She is known as the “First Lady of the Struggle” for her commitment to helping to improve the quality of life for black Americans. 

Mary McLeod Bethune with girls from her Literary and Industrial Training School

5. Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason was a British educator at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century who developed an educational philosophy that advocated for a holistic and child-centred approach to education, which included a focus on subjects like art, music, and poetry. She placed emphasis on students spending time outdoors and engaging with nature and fostering a child’s natural curiosity. 

Her educational philosophy has had a lasting impact on homeschooling methods and progressive education reforms around the world. Her ideas and principles continue to inspire educators who want to create holistic learning experiences for children. 

Charlotte Mason

At History Bombs we believe that teachers hold the power to creating engaging classroom experiences for their students. Our teaching resources can help you nurture your student’s natural curiosity and love for learning, allowing you to focus on delivering unforgettable lessons.

Get full access!

Watch, learn and revise with full access to our award-winning video lessons.