« EelmineJätka »
istics; but, under any circumstances, however broadly it may be labelled normal school training, if the quality of conscious action is lacking, that is what it is not.
We can not reasonably argue that the normal school must not do any academic work. Taking into account the classes of persons from whom teachers must be drawn under present circumstances, a large share of the training of most teachers' schools must be academic. Institutions of this class do not become culpable until they crowd out the professional work they may justly be expected to do and allow the opposite quality of training to supplant it.
We must hold clearly before our eyes the fact that the difference between academic and teacher's training is a qualitative and not a quantitative one. There is a qualitative difference between general psychology and educational psychology ; between a general knowledge of tho nature-sciences, language, history, or mathematics, and a teaching knowledge of them; between the history of education for general intelligence and the same facts organized to enlighten the process of teachiing, and between that view of organization, government, recitation, and other sub-processes of the school which serves all classes of people, and that view of them necessary to wield the school as an instrument. Whether the course extends over a week or over four years, whether it trains in butone subject or in the whole curriculum of subjects, this qualitative difference is the organizing principle of all normal school work.
The normal school exists to make its pupils conscious of this difference, conscious of the sharp contrast between the action of miud in the one kind of exercise and its activity in the antipodal kind. Such schools find their lasting reproach and disgrace in allowing their pupils to step back and forth between academic knowledge and what they call professional training, without any consciousness of the fundamental distinction in the quality of thought in each. The moment the normal school fails to realize this end, it may be a teachers' school in name, but it is not so in fact. Its halls may be filled with academic specialists, who are stars of the first magnitude; it may be equipped with libraries, laboratories, museums, and every other form of appliance, but the presence of specialist and appliance serves only to emphasize the all-pervading poverty in the essential elements of teachers' training.
In schools in which the two kinds of work must go on side by side, the destruction of the professional quality by academic training is prevented by rendering the pupil conscious of the difference, whenerer lie comes within the field of either, in their purpose and means. He must understand that both forms of knowledge are modes of thinking objects as ideas. In academic thought the powers of the mind are applied to dissolving facts in the crucible of understanding. Consciousness is directed toward the objects upon which thought is exercised, without direct reference to the mode by which means may be used to reproduce the train of thinking which constitutes this consciousness. The pro
duct of such action is a series of conceptions which, as Hamilton says, is logical in point of form and possesses that correspondence of idea and object which we denominate truth. It is formed without any thought as to how the process which creates the conceptions may be reproduced in another mind. But in all teaching knowledge the question is constantly present, How can this train of thought be used to reproduce itself or its related counterpart in the mind of another person? What is the value of this series of ideas in stimulating a given class of minds to realize their possibilities of action? How can the value of this forin of mental activity be expressed in terms of the development of mind ?
Finally, to reduce teaching knowledge to the simplest form, it is a kind of introspection. Perhaps the thought is nearest the truth when we say that it is a special application of what Porter calls the philosophic consciousness to the problem of mental growth under stimulation. A good name for it is the teaching consciousness. The presence of this form of consciousness is the essential characteristic of normal school work. The purpose of the normal school is to confer the habitual and studied power of this phase of introspection. Its presence constitutes growth of any kind professional teachers' training. Its absence de. cides beyond question that the thought in which it is lacking is academic in quality. Psychology, method, school-economy, and the history of education are as thoroughly academic as chemistry, astronomy, and the calculus, without they are accompanied by this form of introspection and by the thought of the conscious use of subjects and faculties as means for the production of definite and ordered development.
The city normal school exists for the purpose of conferring the teaching consciousness on its pupils, or, at least, advancing as far toward this end as its circumstances will permit. If this principle be admitted as a fact it is plain that its end is to secure thinking and power of a certain quality. The amount of exercise the school can bestow must be fixed by the environment in which it exists.
The means of the city training school. The conception which is complemental to the idea of purpose is, of course, that of means.
Definite conception of tho purpose for which anything exists is itself a means to enable that object to realize its design. Purpose is a general category and must be carried into the details of exercises, lessons, and subjects, no less than into the thought of the nature of education. It is the major of the two great organizing conceptions of training, its complement being the category of instrumentality. As an organizing idea it demands quality of thought as its predominant element and quantity of ideas as a secondary consideration to this.
The principal means in school education of whatever kind is the free action of the pupil's powers. Everything else is subordinate to this. It is the agency at the centre of the process. Results flow directly from it. The teacher is a director of these powers. He supplies occasion for their exercise by wielding them upon the subjects of instruction.
882-No. 2 -5
The secondary instrumentality that conscious teaching uses most directly is the stimulation of the pupil's powers by some ideal of action, which is possible to the will, presented as a thought to the intellect. The pursuit of this end furnishes activity, out of which come habit and growth.
The teacher is a primary means in another sense. Through him the pupil is furnished conventional forms for his activity and thus saved the effort of repeating the tiresome toil of the race in discovering culture.
The guidance of the course of study and the use of text books, libraries, laboratories, seminaries, classes, etc., are secondary means. Through them the teacher wields the pupil's powers upon subjects and moral acts. They are convenient devices for fixing lines of action for the pupil's thought and effort and for the teacher's direction.
As the purpose of the city training school is qualitatively distinct from that of other schools, so must be its means.
In academic study the powers are exercised on the general relations of things for the purpose of understanding them. These relations are the ones that give insight into the place of their objects in the world of nature or of spirit. Through them the object is classified, generalized, and explained. Its relations of time, space, cause, substance, part, contrast, and design are traced with a view of reducing it and the way it acts and reacts on its environment to terms of thought. The result is a knowledge of the thing as a reality possessing possibilities, which plays a part in the infinite warp and woof of material being or of spiritual existence. This mode of exercise of the human powers is designed to give what Rosenkranz calls a view of the world. In its acquisition consciousness is directed toward objects in its single or undivided form. The mind is not concerned with the processes by which results are reached, but with the results themselves.
In the training of the city normal school the faculties are exercised on the same objects and the same general relations as in the graded school, academy, and college, but the knowledge and power sought are different. They are to serve another end; they are to give special intelligence in the directing of one mind by another for the purpose of school training. In the particular nature of this exercise of the powers of body and mind is found the qualitative difference between the means of normal school and academic instruction. The quality of the means is in the way the act of thinking or doing is performed. The subject studied or the deed done may be the same as that employed for graded school, high school, or college work, but the mode of thought or action differs according to the purpose which it serves. In the fact that every lesson studied and every exercise participated in must be consciously examined in its bearing on the school process is the most comprehensive conception involved in the consideration of the means of the city training school. If this relation is lost sight of, the study or act at once langes into the means of the high school or other institution of that In the exercise of the faculties for their training in teaching power, as in the act of teaching itself, there is involved a double consciousness. On the one side this consciousness thinks the idea as a thought or truth, on the other it looks at the activity involved in it as a means of devel. oping the mind of another. This duality of consciousness is, without exception, characteristic of all normal school means. It is as distinct from the consciousness of ordinary thought as perception is from memory. Its use goes into every lesson and every exercise of the teachers' training school, and gives it, as a means, a quality its ideas did not before possess.
As the purpose of the normal school is to bestow this form of consciousness, so its presence in every part of the curriculum is the most characteristic means employed. These two facts—the purpose sought and the presence of this purpose in every exercise of whatever kindare the organizing laws of the normal school. They constitute the governing chart for its conduct and furnish the true criteria of its success.
Criticism of existing schools on these principles. The author of this paper regrets that the time was too short to collect information as fully as seems desirable. This fact will excuse any generalizations that seem hasty.
Out of twenty-five courses of study inquired into sixteen were one year in length, five were one and one-half years, one two years, one three years, and two four years long. Schools having a one-year course, as a rule, spend one-half this time in practice teaching. This reduces the time given to professional study to something like twenty weeks. In this short period the student is expected to acquire a working knowl. edge of educational psychology, method, school economy, and the his. tory of education. That amount of time is not sufficient for any one of them.
In fourteen out of the twenty-five schools examined, after subtracting from the faculty the teachers in the schools of practice, the professional instruction is given by one person, a condition which renders specialization of teaching impossible. This arrangement virtually reduces what is denominated a school to a chair of didactics, with a practice school attachment. The chair of didactics is not adapted to the wants of high school graduates.
The shortness of the course in most of these schools is due to two causes. In all except three of the twenty-five schools, graduation from high school, or its equivalent, is the condition for admission. Owing to the confusion which exists in even inteiligent people's minds concern. ing what constitutes preparation for teaching, and in consequence of the belief that high school training constitutes preparation for the duties of the school-room there is no demand for a long course of teacher's training. Further, the persons who enter city training schools are women, who take up the business of teaching for a time, but not with the expectation of making it their life-work.
Those schools having courses three or four years long? are more properly high schools than normal schools. In one of these, out of a total of fifty-two subjects, eight are professional, and forty-four high school academic. In another of them, in a total of 3,648 exercises, constituting the course, 364, or 10 per cent. of the whole, are of a professional nature. Indeed, these schools, for those who become their pupils, take the place of the city high school.
The general belief in the efficiency of practice, or experience, as an agency for fitting teachers is attested by the fact that eighteen out of the twenty-five schools, whose workings have been examined, have practice schools as part of their equipment; seventeen of these are of the number of schools which have courses of training not to exceed one and one-half years long. Thus in nearly all cases, fully half the time of preparation is devoted to the practice of the art of teaching. As previously pointed out, practice and criticism are alike empirical. Perhaps the explanation of the presence of this large element of unscientific effort is due to the failure of didactics as a science to assert itself with authoritative force, owing to its own indeterminato and empirical nature. Much of the want of direct connection between the theoretical and the practical elements, plainly apparent in most city training schools, may, we think, be traced to the same source.
In the curricula of the twenty-five schools examined there is a great variety of terms applied to what is called professional work : “ Science and Art of Teaching," 6 Theory of Teaching," “ Educational Science," • Didactics," " Pedagogic Method," and the like. These terms show the curricula to which they belong to be wanting in an organizing idea ; they are characterized by the diffuseness which springs from lack of organization.
Educational science, looked at quantitatively, falls into four kinds: 1. A study of the mind as an activity developed by conscious meansPsychology; 2. A study of the modes by which the pupils' faculties and particular subjects are adjusted to each other-Method; 3. A study of the school as a process involving Organization, Government, Study, Recitation, Play, and Æsthetic and Religious Training-called, for want of a better name, School Economy; 4. A study of the historical de. velopment of the teaching consciousness-History of Education. The subjects named are the special applications of the principle of the teaching consciousness to the process of training, and comprise the entire scope of the normal school curriculum. They represent the systematic means of teaching organized about one comprehensive and dominant thought.
The gradual increase of city training schools shows a rising barometer of popular appreciation of the conception of trained teaching, and an awakened consciousness of the value of professional training, among
Examples of these are the Girls' Normal School, of Philadelpliia, and the Normal College, of the city of New York.