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REPORT OF THE SUB-COMMITTEE ON THE TRAINING OF
BY H. S. TARBELL, CHAIRMAN.
This report treats of the training of elementary and secondary teachers, considering first that training which should precede teaching in elementary schools. By elementary schools are meant the primary and grammar departments of graded schools, and ungraded or rural schools.
That teachers are “born, not made,” has been so fully the world's thought until the present century that a study of subjects without any study of principles or methods of teaching has been deemed quite sufficient. Modern educational thought and modern practice, in all sections where excellent schools are found, confirm the belief that there is a profound philosophy on which educational methods are based, and that careful study of this philosophy and its application under expert guidance are essential to making fit the man born to teach.
CONDITIONS FOR PROFESSIONAL TRAINING-AGE AND ATTAINMENTS.
It is a widely prevalent doctrine, to which the customs of our best schools conform, that teachers of elementary schools should have a secondary or high school education, and that teachers of high schools should have a collegiate education. Your committee believe that these are the minimum acquirements that can generally be accepted; that the scholarship, culture, and power gained by four years of study in advance of the pupils are not too much to be rightfully demanded, and that as a rule no one ought to become a teacher who has not the age and attainments presupposed in the possessor of a high school diploma. There are differences in high schools, it is true, and a high school diploma is not a fixed standard of attainment; but in these United States it is one of the most definite and uniform standards that we possess, and varies less than college degrees vary or than elementary schools and local standards of culture vary.
It is, of course, implied in the foregoing remarks, that the high school from which the candidate comes is known to be a reputable school, and that its diploma is proof of the completion of a good four-years' course in a creditable manner. If these conditions do not exist, careful examination is the only recourse.
If this condition, high school graduation or proof by examination of equivalent scholarship, be accepted, the questions of the age
and attainment to be reached before entering upon professional study and training are already settled. But if a more definite statement be desired, then it may be said that the candidate for admission to a normal or training school should be eighteen years of age and should have studied English, mathematics, and science to the extent usually pursued in high schools, should be able to write readily, correctly, and methodically upon topics within the teacher's necessary range of thought and conversation, and should have studied, for two or more years, at least one language beside English. Skill in music and drawing is desirable, particularly ability to sketch readily and effectively.
TRAINING SCHOOLS. The training of teachers may be done in normal schools, normal classes in academies and high schools, and in city training schools. To all these the general term “training schools” will be applied. Those instructed in these schools will be called pupils while engaged in professional study, and pupil-teachers or teachers-in-training while in practice-teaching preparatory to graduation. Teachers whose work is to be observed by pupil-teachers will be called model-teachers; teachers in charge of pupil-teachers during their practice work will be called critic-teachers. In some institutions model-teachers and critic-teachers are the same persons. The studies usually pursued in academies and high schools will be termed academic, and those post-academic studies to be pursued before or during practiceteaching as a preparation therefor will be termed professional.
ACADEMIC STUDIES. Whether academic studies have any legitimate place in a normal or training school is a question much debated. It cannot be supposed that your committee can settle in a paragraph a question upon which many essays have been written, many speeches delivered, and over which much controversy has been waged.
If training schools are to be distinguished from other secondary schools they must do a work not done in other schools. So far as they teach common branches of study they are doing what other schools are doing, and have small excuse for existence; but it may be granted that methods can practically be taught only as to subjectsthat the study done in professional schools may so treat of the subjects of study, not as objects to be acquired but as objects to be presented, that their treatment shall be wholly professional.
One who is to teach a subject needs to know it as a whole made up of related and subordinate parts, and hence must study it by a method that will give this knowledge. It is not necessary to press the argument that many pupils enter normal and training schools
with such slight preparation as to require instruction in academic subjects. The college with a preparatory department is, as a rule, an institution of distinctly lower grade than one without such a department. Academic work in normal schools that is of the nature of preparation for professional work lowers the standard and perhaps the usefulness of such a school; but academic work done as a means of illustrating or enforcing professional truth has its place in a professional school as in effect a part of the professional work. Professional study differs widely from academic study. In the one, a science is studied in its relation to the studying mind; in the other, iu reference to its principles and applications. The aim of one kind of study is power to apply; of the other, power to present. The tendency of the one is to bring the learner into sympathy with the natural world; of the other, with the child world. How much broader becomes the teacher who takes both the academic and the professional view! He who learns that he may know and he who learns that he may teach are standing in quite different mental attitudes. One works for knowledge of subject-matter; the other that his knowl. edge may have due organization—that he may bring to consciousness the apperceiving ideas by means of which matter and method may be suitably conjoined.
How to study is knowledge indispensable to knowing how to teach. The method of teaching can best be illustrated by teaching. The attitude of a pupil in a training school must be that of a learner whose mental stores are expanding, who faces the great world of knowledge with the purpose to survey a portion of it. If we insist upon a sufficient preparation for admission, the question of what studies to pursue and especially the controversy between professional and academic work will be mainly settled.
Professional training comprises two parts: (a) The science of teaching, and (b) the art of teaching.
In the science of teaching are included: (1) Psychology as a basis for principles and methods; (2) methodology as a guide to instruction; (3) school economy, which adjusts the conditions of work; and (4) his tory of education, which gives breadth of view.
The art of teaching is best gained: (1) By observation of good teaching; (2) by practice-teaching under criticism.
RELATIVE TIME. The existence and importance of each of these elements in the training of teachers are generally acknowledged. Their order and proportionate treatment give rise to differences of opinion. Some would omit the practice-work entirely, launching the young teacher
upon independent work directly from her pupilage in theory. Others, and much the greater number, advise some preparation in the form of guided experience before the training be considered complete. These vary greatly in their estimate of the proportionate time to be given to practice during training. The answers to the question, "What proportion ?" which your committee has received, range from one-sixteenth to two-thirds as the proportion of time to be given to practice. The greater number, however, advocate a division of time about equal between theory and practice.
The normal schools incline to the smallest proportion for practice. teaching, the city training schools to the largest. It should be borne in mind, however, that city training schools are a close continuation, usually, of high schools, and that the high school courses give a more uniform and probably a more adequate preparation than the students entering normal schools have usually had. Their facilities for practice-teaching are much greater than normal schools can secure, and for this reason also practice is made relatively more important. As to the relative merits of city training schools and normal schools, your committee does not desire to express an opinion; the conditions of education demand the existence of both, and both are necessities of educational advancement. It is important to add, however, that, in the judgment of your committee, not less than half of the time spent under training by the apprentice-teacher should be given to observation and practice, and that this practice in its conditions should be as similar as possible to the work she will later be required to do independently.
SCIENCE OF TEACHING-PSYCHOLOGY.
The laws of apperception teach that one is ready to apprehend rew truth most readily when he has already established a considerable and well-arranged body of ideas thereon.
Suggestion, observation, and reflection are each most fruitful when a foundation of antecedent knowledge has been provided. Hence, your committee recommends, that, early in their course of study, teachers-in-training assume as true the well-known facts of psychology and the essential principles of education, and make their later study and practice in the light of these principles. These principles thus become the norm of educational thought, and their truth is continually demonstrated by subsequent experience. From this time theory and practice should proceed together in mutual aid and support.
Most fundamental and important of the professional studies which ought to be pursued by one intending to teach is psychology. This study should be pursued at two periods of the training school course, the beginning and the end, and its principles should be appealed to daily when not formally studied. The method of study should be both deductive and inductive. The terminology should be early learned from a suitable text-book, and significance given to the terms by introspection, observation, and analysis. Power of introspection should be gained, guidance in observation should be given, and confirmation of psychological principles should be sought on every hand. The habit of thinking analytically and psychologically should be formed by every teacher. At the close of the course a more profound and more completely inductive study of physiological psychology should be made. In this way, a tendency to investigate should be encouraged or created.
STUDY OF CHILDREN.
Modern educational thought emphasizes the opinion that the child, not the subject of study, is the guide to the teacher's efforts. To know the child is of paramount importance. How to know the child must be an important item of instruction to the teacher-in-training. The child must be studied as to his physical, mental, and moral condition. Is he in good health? Are his senses of sight and hearing normal, or in what degree abnormal? What is his temperament? Which of his faculties seem weak or dormant? Is he eye-minded or ear-minded? What are his powers of attention? What are his likes and dislikes? How far is his moral nature developed, and what are its tendencies? By what tests can the degree of difference between bright aud dull children be estimated ?
To study effectively and observingly these and similar questions respecting children is a high art. No common-sense power of discerning human nature is sufficient; though common sense and sympathy go a long way in such study. Weighing, measuring, elaborate investigation requiring apparatus and laboratory methods, are for experts, not teachers-in-training. Above all, it must ever be remembered that the child is to be studied as a personality and not as an object to be weighed or analyzed.
A part of the work under this head must be a study of the mental and moral effects of different methods of teaching and examination, the relative value of individual and class instruction at different periods of school-life and in the study of different branches. The art of questioning is to be studied in its foundation principles and by the illustration of the best examples. Some review of the branches which are to be taught may be made, making the teacher's knowledge of them ready and distinct as to the relations of the several parts of