A PhD for Ruth at 88

January 19, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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A Sydney educator who conceptualised and implemented important programs for Jewish day schools in the 1980s has been awarded a PhD in education by the University of Sydney at the age of 88.

Ruth Wilson

Ruth Wilson was the driving force behind Project Heritage and the Living Historians Program and designed the three-fold educational structure for the Courage to Care exhibitions in the 1990s.

Milestones in a Reading Life: Jane Austen and Lessons in Reading, Learning and the Imagination’ is the title of Ruth Wilson’s thesis.

The study develops a research model for reading and learning in senior secondary high school which draws on both the remembered pleasures of reading Jane Austen’s fiction and the empathic nature of learning inspired by the Child Survivor Holocaust intergenerational oral history project conducted at Masada College, Moriah College and the Emanuel School in 1992.

Both examiners of the thesis are experts in the field of Austen Studies. They described the research model as an original contribution to knowledge in the field of educational theory and practice, ‘advocating a new kind of pedagogy that could be extremely valuable to teachers’.

Ruth Wilson told J-Wire: “Many people have asked why I have spent the past five years at my desk rather than relaxing over coffee. I explain to them that this is my way of repaying my debt to the great works of literature which have illuminated my inner world.

I discovered my love of reading in the company of Jane Austen and her heroines. Naturally, I love other writers and their characters, too, but it was mainly from Austen that I learned that reading is pleasurable, valuable, and profoundly personal.

The idea of exploring the pleasure of reading and examining where it came from have gradually formed in my mind as the sense of reading as a lost art started to emerge. As these reflections took shape I developed an irresistible urge to explore the challenges of reading the fiction I had most enjoyed, and reflect on how it might be read to retain its freshness and meaning for young people growing to adulthood in today’s troubled times. My conclusions are inscribed in the thesis.”

The degree will be conferred in September, the month during which Ruth Wilson will celebrate her 89th birthday.


2 Responses to “A PhD for Ruth at 88”
  1. DAVID SINGER says:

    Kol Hakavod and mazal tov Ruth.

  2. David Wilson says:

    Good on you Ruth! Family so
    proud of you

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