Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Curriculum and Instruction PhD

First Advisor

Paul S. Brantley

Second Advisor

William S. Green

Third Advisor

C. Mervyn Maxwell


"If we don’t understand our roots, we lose sight of our mission" (G. Ralph Thompson). Alma E. McKibbin, the first Seventh-day Adventist church school teacher in California, is little known among Seventh-day Adventists outside that state, where she began teaching in 1896. She developed a Bible curriculum that was used for over half a century in the Seventh-day Adventist church school educational system—a private, religious, parochial organization of over four thousand schools all around the world.

The purpose of this study is to document the contributions she made to that system, with a special emphasis given to the analysis and description of her classroom teaching methodology and of the content of her Bible textbooks, which were written tor grades four through nine. A secondary purpose is to examine the integration of her values and philosophy with the content and methods she used in her textbooks and instruction.

This study is presented within a chronological, biographical framework, and includes a brief, contextual background of the educational milieu of the small, rural, multigrade classrooms o f the late 1890s, into which the seed of the church school fell. Although the major focus of the study is on elementary education in the state of California, where most of Alma McKibbin's writing and teaching took place, information on her secondary, college, and Sabbath school teaching is also included.

Major sources included historical documents from archival and personal collections of materials, oral histories, books, and Seventh-day Adventist periodicals, and from over one hundred interviews by the author. Sources for contextual background included the qualitative studies of Barbara Finkelstein (Governing the Young) and Larry Cuban (How Teachers Taught).

In the conclusion, an initial list of implications reflects several of the church school dilemmas and critical challenges o f religious education and teacher training pertinent to the 1990s.

Subject Area

McKibbin, Alma Estelle Baker, 1871-1974; Seventh-day Adventist elementary schools--History


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