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physical and political, with topography and the construction of maps; English grammar, composition, vocal music, drawing and penmanship, physiology, spelling and reading, with modes of teaching all.
For the second or senior year, the studies are algebra, composition, vocal music, drawing and writing, with modes of teaching these; geometry, mental philosophy, natural philosophy, history of English literature, theory and art of teaching, with teaching exercises before the whole school.
Calisthenic exercises form a part of each day's work through the course.
The members of the senior class give object-lessons to primary classes from the primary school in the same building. They also obtain practice in teaching and governing, by supplying vacancies in the public schools of the city, and reporting the work done, on their return, for discussion by the class.
The general character of the work of the Normal School may be inferred from the following extract from the last report of the Principal :
The Normal School presents this year a graduating class of 26, with the average age of 19 9-12. The junior class numbers 29, with the average age of 18 9-12, making the whole nuinber 55, with an average age of 19 3-12. The whole number of pupils connected with the School during the year has been 79; the largest number at any one time, 68; the average number belonging, 56.
It is hoped and believed that the Board will find in the graduating class of this year faithful and efficient teachers, ready to help on the Schools of St. Louis to a higher and better standpoint than they have ever occupied. It has never been claimed by the friends of Normal Schools, that every graduate is a better teacher than any one who has not had special training; but simply that there is need of special training, and that a person with its advantages, will make a far better teacher than the same person without it.
It is self-evident that the only object in establishing and sustaining a Normal School, is that the public schools may be self-supporting and improved in standard: that is, that St. Louis need not be obliged to send for teachers from other cities and States, and that the schools may grow every year betterIts object thus exists outside of itself to a greater extent than that of any other school, and every thing in its studies and management must be made to subserve this object. Its teachers should be acquainted with the wants of the city schools, with the excellences and failures of their teachers, and should bend all their energies to the cultivation of those excellences and the prevention of those failures in their pupils.
Having then this special end in view, its training and management must essentially differ, in many particulars, from those of any other schools. No other can take its place or do its work, any more than a medical school can teach law, or a theological seminary, medicine. We are required not only to cultivate all womanly qualities, and to develop mental, moral, and physical powers, but beyond this, to call out and train certain qualities of mind indis. pensable to a good teacher; and regulations and methods are needed for this end, which would be out of place in a High or Grammar School.
The great difficulty which we meet on the threshold of our undertaking, is the general low estimate of the qualifications necessary for a teacher. Judging from daily experience, it would seem as if a large number of persons believed that all which was really necessary to secure one an appointment as a teacher of children, is the attainment of the sixteenth year, and the ability to answer correctly perhaps fifty per cent. of simple questions on the common English branches. For any other business they concede that there must be some train. ing, some apprenticeship; but “anybody can teach. Do we want our St. Louis schools to be taught by “ anybody?" Do we want them to stand still, or to improve? Shall we trust the training of the children to those who have never had a thought on what is necessary for that training, who know nothing of methods, who have had no opportunity to profit by the experience of others, and whose only object in applying for a situation as teacher, is drawing, I will not say earning, the salary attached thereto? or shall we do what in us lies to mature those minds, to develop them, to give them the results of the work of other teachers in the form of correct principles, on which they may base their daily work, some idea of its importance, and withal a love for it? There are some who have a special talent for teaching, we grant; but even a Raphael must learn the rules, and principles, and methods of painting, these being, in the same way, only the generalized experience of all who have preceded him.
If we desire our schools to be really good, we must have really good teachers, and no amount of special training is too much to fit them properly for their work. We do not trust an inexperienced blacksmith to shoe our horses' feet, and yet are willing to trust the education of our children's minds to any body who happens to need the salary. Against this low estimate of the necessary qualifications all teachers of Normal Schools must protest, and to mature and develop those who are under their charge, to give higher and truer views of the responsibilities of their position, they work day by day and hour by hour.
The teachers must consider always three things: first, scholarship; second, moral character; and third, aptness to teach.
Of these qualifications we must judge. And when to these questions, which are to be decided concerning every graduate, we add the doubt as to whether she can govern her school, which we can best solve by discovering whether she can govern herself, the difficulties which are our daily work may be understood. We have comparatively a short time. Two years is not long to touch all these different springs, with many others, of which we have here no time to speak. In so far as we can decide by all the tests in our power, we do so. Often, too, the decided strength of some one or two of these qualifications may fully make amends for the want of others; for example, a decided aptness to teach may more than balance a want of book scholarship:
These tests should be applied more rigorously each year, so that our standard may be rising. Where there has been found, after careful consideration, any hopeless want, by the direction of the Teachers' Committee, members of the school have been advised to leave, and to give up the idea of teaching, and have done so; while others have been obliged to review their junior year, and thereby to extend their course to three years. While we regret the pain and disappointment to the individuals, simple justice to the school and to the interests of the city schools, demands this course.
The Normal School can not always fully act up to its standard, because we do not start with as good material as we should have. If we could begin with cultured and matured minds, we could present far better results.
As the students are principally from the city, most of them board at home, and no arrangements for board are made by the institution.
The diploma given to graduates of the school entitles them to an appointment as teachers of the public schools of the city without further examination.
The number of students the last year was sixty-five.
CITY TRAINING SCHOOLS IN IOWA.
DAVENPORT, IOWA. The schools of Davenport have a high reputation for thoroughness of instruction and for successful results. Much of the success which has attended the operations of the school system in this city is the consequence of the special arrangements which have been made for the training of skillful teachers.
The Training School of Davenport was organized in September, 1863. It is under the general supervision of the Board of Education of the city, and the special direction of the city superintendent of schools. For two years after it was established, it was no extra expense to the city, the services of the pupil-teachers in the model or practice schools more than compensating for the extra expense of securing a trained and skillsul Principal who could instruct and direct the pupil-teachers.
The number in the class is not limited; any one who is able to pass a creditable examination before the county superintendent may be ad. mitted. The course of instruction is a year, and usually a new class is received at the beginning of each year. There is a nominal tuition fee of ten dollars a year.
The school has connected with it a model and practice-school of four rooms of fifty-six pupils each. The members of the Training School receive direct instruction from the Principal, in mental science, school economy, and the science of education and methods of teaching. About one hour and a half of each day is occupied with recitations in these branches, and the remainder of the time is passed in the model and practice-schools in observation and practice.
The pupil-teachers have regular classes in the schools of practice, which are changed occasionally; in the first term once a month, and in succeeding terms more frequently, if necessary to give each student an opportunity to practice in different grades and teach different branches. The instruction is similar to that given in the elementary training course at Oswego. It includes lessons with the children in the elements of natural science, object lessons, and the usual studies of common schools. With the exception of reading, most of the instruction is oral, being given without text-books. The lessons are carefully prepared by the pupil-teachers, and kindly criticised by the Principal, the good points being noticed, while the bad are corrected. The course has been found eminently useful in giving confidence and imparting skill to young teachers, while they become better acquainted with the philosophy of mind. The public schools of the city are supplied almost entirely from the Training School.
OTTUMWA, NAPELLO COUNTY, IOWA. The schools of Ottumwa were reorganized in the Autumn of 1865, under the supervision of L. M. Hastings, Jr., the city superintendent.
A fine public school building was completed that year, and the superintendent and School Board sought to adopt the best system of organization and instruction for the public schools. The schools were carefully graded under the personal supervision of the superintendent, and placed under the charge of such teachers as could be obtained. But it was found difficult to secure competent teachers, and the “old methods” of instruction were unsatisfactory to the superintendent and the School Board. The greatest drawback to the success of the system was “poor teachers.” The superintendent gave much of his time and attention to training and instructing teachers, and some improvement was seen the second year in the methods of instruction. But other duties demanded the time of the Superintendent, and the Board, in 1867, authorized him to establish a Training School for the special preparation of teachers.
The Superintendent was successful in obtaining a competent and experienced teacher, and the Training School was opened in the Autumn of 1867. Miss Pride, the training teacher secured, was a graduate of the Normal and Training School at Oswego, N. Y. Three classes of the graded school, comprising about fifty pupils, were constituted a model and practicing-school, and placed under the charge of the training teacher.
This Normal Training School is expected to be a permanent institution, and though established primarily as a department of the schools of Ottumwa, is open to all qualified to enter. Those only are admitted who show a natural fitness for teaching, and have literary qualifications sufficient to admit them to the High School classes. Tuition is free to all students residing in the district; others pay a tuition fee of eight dollars per quarter.
The class which entered on the organization of the school, in 1867, consisted of twenty-two; five were teachers from the Ottumwa primary schools, sixteen young ladies and one young man were from the High School. Several of these High School students bad taught before, and all were expecting to teach. They receive special instruction in methods of teaching the different branches taught in public schools, and then pass to the model and practice-school, where they put in practice the lessons received, conducting exercises in this department under the eye of the training teacher, who superintends the work and gives such counsel and directions as are needed.
During the last hour of the day the whole class of pupil-teachers meet for criticism lessons, and receive such suggestions and assistance from Miss Pride as are necessary to enable them to carry out the plans and employ the methods adopted.
As far as results can be estimated, they are very satisfactory. The change for the better in the primary schools is already apparent, and the difference between the new methods and the old is already marked.
MANCHESTER, IOWA. The Training Class at Manchester was organized in connection with the public schools in September, 1867. It was opened with two rooms, and the Superintendent, Prof. J. Piper, reports (1867) that "it bids fair to be a complete success.” Though its primary object is to educate and train teachers for the public schools of that place, all candidates properly qualified are admitted so long as there is room. The teachers have an opportunity to pursue studies usually taught in public schools. Instruction is given by lessons and lectures in methods of teaching, school organization and systems of education, and the students occupy a portion of the time daily in observation and practice in the model and practiceschools. It is intended that the course of instruction and training shall be very thorough. The requisites for graduation are a good knowledge of school organization, the principles of education, and methods of instruction and training, with successful practice in all the grades of the model schools. Only skilled teachers will be approved.