Dr. Paul Robert Hanna

Known for his exuberant energy, the oft-ignored Hanna built Stanford University’s education college into a powerhouse, founded and impacted several of America’s leading educational organizations, and became the father of the modern social studies curriculum.

Paul Robert Hanna had an immense, lasting impact on education in both the United States and abroad. Over a career of more than fifty years, his diverse contributions included a curriculum design that became the standard for elementary school social studies instruction, new formulations of the community school concept for international development education, the production of dozens of textbooks, and the creation of an important resource for research in the instrumental uses of education.

Analyzing and placing in context Hanna’s vast contributions, Paul Robert Hanna: A Life of Expanding Communities (Jared R. Stallones, 2002) illuminates the life of a man who played a major role in the history of education in the twentieth century. From the beginnings of his career in the rural Midwest to its peak as a leading figure in education, these chapters reveal the personal “expanding communities” of influence Hanna achieved throughout his life, including his work at Teacher’s College of Columbia and Stanford University, his establishment of the Stanford International Development Education Center, the development of the analysis of the relationship between schools and modern social, political, and economic institutions, his role in founding and leading professional organizations for educator, his consulting work in foreign countries in East Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central and South America, and much more.

His major publications include:

  • Geography in the Teaching of Social Studies, Concepts and Skills, 1970
  • Spelling: Structure and Strategies, 1970
  • Power to Spell, 1972