chapter  8
24 Pages

TEACHER TRAINING

A R E C R U I T M E N T OF TEACHERS BEFORE 1 9 0 0 The National Society and the British and Foreign School Society found it necessary to train teachers for their own schools; their courses were inevitably unsatisfactory through pressure of time and lack of adequate facilities. The Glasgow Normal Seminary was founded by David Stow in 1827, and this was a landmark in the development of teacher training. Its success resulted in attempts and proposals during the next decade to establish similar 'normal schools' elsewhere, such as at University College, London. In 1834 the Parliamentary Committee on the State of Education discussed in its report the question of teacher training and the social status of teachers. In reply to a questionnaire it was stated by one witness that one of the principal objects of the National Society was 'to promote the training of masters and mistresses in its own central schools . . . throughout the country' (1). Since all of those employed as teachers must have had some employment before the age of twenty-one, most of them, with very few exceptions, had been in some type of work other than school-teaching. This maturity was regarded as more valuable to the schools than greater academic proficiency acquired by younger boys given a superior education as schoolmasters. Sheer knowledge or academic ability was not regarded by the witness as sufficient; the teacher needed a flawless character, morally and religiously, and if a man were sufficiently skilled in reading, writing and arithmetic he might learn 'the difficult art of teaching' in three to five months!