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Woodring, P. (1975). The Development of Teacher Education. In K. Ryan (ed.

), Teacher Education (74th Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. Part 2, pp. 1-24). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


The Development of Teacher Education


The oldest form of teacher education is the observation and emulation of a master. Plato learned to teach by sitting at the feet of Socrates. Aristotle, in turn, learned from Plato. Throughout history others have learned both how and what to teach from their own teachers. If teacher education is defined simply as the education of those who become teachers, its history is coterminous with the history of education itself. Advice to teachers and instruction in methods were available in written form long before there were special schools for teacher training. Roman teachers could read Quintilian's advice on teaching, sixteenth-century teachers could learn from the writings of Erasmus, and seventeenth-century teachers could read the Didactica Magna in which Comenius said his main object was " ... to find a method of instruction by which teachers may teach less, but learners may learn more...." A form of teacher education was provided by medieval universities where the master's degree was a certificate of admission to the guild of professional teachers. It might be noted, too, that the word "doctor" meant scholar or teacher long before it came to mean physician. But special schools devoted exclusively or primarily to the education of teachers are of more recent origin.

Institutions for the Education of Teachers


Although the normal school (ecole norma/e) had its origin in France during the seventeenth century, such specialized institutions for the education of teachers did not flourish until the eighteenth


century when efforts to extend public education to all social classes greatly increased the demand for teachers. During that century, it was Prussia that led the way. Although Frederick the Great has often been given the credit, it was his father, Frederick William the First, who first promoted a compulsory school law, and in 1734 issued his Principia Regulativa which prescribed the training of teachers as well as the school curriculum. 1 After Frederick the Great came to power, Baron von Zedlitz, who was his minister of public instruction from I771 to 1798, established pedagogical institutes and also promoted the university study of pedagogy. He was responsible for the establishment of the first chair of pedagogy at Halle. 2 The Napoleonic wars caused a hiatus, but during the period of French occupation that followed the Treaty of Tilsit, in 18o7, young Prussians were sent to study with Pestalozzi in preparation for their participation in the development of normal schools throughout Prussia. In the British Isles, where Scotland led England in providing opportunities for elementary education, David Stow of Glasgow was responsible for the establishment of a normal school at Dundas Vale in 1836. The school was well financed, the first rector was sent to visit normal schools in Germany and France in preparation for his work, and graduates of the school were soon in great demand.3 Within a few years normal schools or similar institutions were established in other European nations and in the Americas.

The founding fathers, well aware that a self-governing nation could not survive without a literate electorate, began shortly after the Revolution to expand the systems of public schools that had been established during the colonial period. Several decades were


Thomas Alexander, The Training of Elementary Teachers in Germany York: Teachers College Press, 1929), p. 2 ff.

z. \Villi2m Boyd, The History of Western Education, 7th ed. (New Ymk: Barnes and Noble, 1965), p. 3"
3 Abrjorie Cruickshank, A History of the Training of Teachers in ScotLmd (London: University of London Press, 1970), p. 46.

3 to elapse, however, before any concrete effort was made to prepare teachers for those schools. During the I 8zos a few private academies began offering a modicum of teacher training and in 1834 the New York regents were authorized by the state legislature to subsidize teacher training in selected academies in that state. During the two decades that followed the establishment of the first publicly supported normal school at Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1839, normal schools were established in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota.4 Most of them were poorly supported, however, and enrollments remained small. Prior to the Civil War the great majority of elementary teachers continued to teach without professional preparation and in most cases without much education of any kind. After the Civil War new normal schools were established all across the nation. The National Education Association Proceedings for 1874 reports 67 state and 54 private normal schools while the Proceedings for 1898 reports 166 state and 165 private ones. Many cities also supported their own normal schools and county normals were established in some states. Wesley estimates that normal school enrollments grew from ten thousand in 1870 to seventy thousand in I9oo. 5 Although reliable statistics are hard to come by, it appears that by I9oo the majority of teachers in urban elementary schools had received at least a short period of normal school instruction. Rural schools, however, continued to employ many teachers who had only an elementary school background plus perhaps a few weeks attendance at a teachers institute. All the early normal schools offered instruction of a practical nature in "schoolkeeping" as well as a review of the common branches, with discussion of the methods of teaching them. Some offered much more. In I 85 I Henry Barnard reported that the normal schools in Massachusetts were offering courses in algebra, geometry, astronomy, natural philosophy, intellectual philosophy,
4 Charles A. Harper, A Century of Public Teacher Education (Washington, D.C.: National Educational Association: 1939), p. 8.


5 Edgar Wesley, NEA: The First Hundred Years (New York: Harper
& Row Publishers, 1957), pp. 79-So.


natural history; a critical study of the English language, an outline of the history of English literature; the history of the United States; and historical geography. 6 This, plus a review of the common branches, some professional courses, and practice teaching seems a great deal to cram into a program of at most two years. Probably the subjects listed were not pursued in any great depth, but at any rate it seems clear that an effort was made to provide liberal as well as professional education. The early normal schools admitted students who had only an elementary education, but during the last three decades of the nineteenth century the rapid development of public high schools in all parts of the nation made it possible for most normal schools to begin requiring a high school diploma for admission. As a result, they were able to extend their programs, upgrade their instruction, and offer instruction at the college level.

After 1900 the number of private normal schools declined sharply because they were unable to compete with the publicly supported schools that charged little or no tuition to the students. Meanwhile, the state normal schools began transforming themselves. Nineteen changed their names to "teachers colleges" or "colleges of education" between 1911 and 1920, sixty-nine more between 1921 and 1930, and most of the others between 1931 and 1940, by which time the term "normal school" had become obsolete. Consequently, the entire history of American normal schools spans only a single century-approximately 1840 to 1940. Several forces contributed to the change to college status. Particularly in the western states, where liberal arts colleges were less abundant than in the East, normal schools had for a long time attracted many students who did not plan to teach but were seeking postsecondary education at low cost. Such students naturally wanted their schools to become real colleges, and state legislators thought it reasonable that a state-supported school should offer the kinds of prograxns that the people wanted. And although some professional
6. Henry Barnard, Normal Schools and Other Agencies, and Means Designed for the Professional Education of Teachers (Hartford: Case, Tiffany
& eo~

ts51 >,





educators insi5ted that the normal schools should be devoted exclusively to teacher education, many of the teachers in those schools thought it would be more prestigious to be professors in a college than instructors in a normal school. American institutions, like individual Americans, have always enjoyed greater opportunity for upward mobility than their counterparts in Europe. Where such opportunity exists, both institutions and individuals become concerned about status. And normal schools, even at their best, lacked status. A speaker before an academic group (or a radio announcer of football scores) could always get a laugh merely by mentioning "Slippery Rock State Normal School." Students and faculty members in such institutions were sensitive to their lack of status and hence eager to transform the normal schools into colleges. The change from normal school to college status was made legitimate by the fact that most of the twentieth-century normal schools admitted only high school graduates, and, by 1925 or 1930, most of them offered four years of college-level work, a major portion of which was academic in nature. Many of them offered college degrees even before they changed their names. And a steadily growing number of the faculty members held the master's degree and the Ph.D. in the various academic disciplines. State teachers colleges, however, had a short life. Within twenty years after they had emerged out of the normal schools they began changing themselves into multipurpose state colleges or state universities which granted liberal-arts and other degrees as well as degrees in education. The change came first in the Far West and Midwest and later in the Northeast, where private colleges resisted the efforts of teachers colleges to take on new responsibilities which would bring them into competition with private institutions. After the teachers colleges became multipurpose institutions the proportion of their graduates who were prepared for teacher certification declined rapidly, but, because their total enrollments increased very rapidly between 1950 and 1970, the actual number of certified teachers graduating from these institutions continued to increase. These colleges continued to be a major source of supply for elementary teachers and an important source of high school


teachers. By I970, the single-purpose teachers college had become almost as obsolete as the normal school.

After the establishment of the first university chair of pedagogy at Halle in I779 similar positions were created in other European universities, in most cases in departments of philosophy. Herbart was called to the chair of philosophy and pedagogy at Konigsberg in r8o6 and held that position for nearly a quarter of a century. 7 In the United States, several universities offered professional courses for teachers during the r84os and rBsos but on an occasional basis and without the formal establishment of special chairs in pedagogy. Horace Mann was offering instruction in pedagogy at Antioch College in r 852 but this was in addition to his many other duties, including the presidency of the college. Different historians give credit to various American universities for being the first to establish chairs or departments of education. In part the disagreement is a matter of definition. When the State University of Iowa created a chair of didactics in 1873 it was careful to explain in its catalogue: "Didactics, in the higher sense, is a liberal study. It includes the philosophy of mind, the laws of mental development, and all those branches of study and methods of instruction that are employed in general education." 8 Between I88o and 1900 nearly all the state universities, as well as several private ones, created professorships of education or pedagogy. Many of them were within departments that combined education with psychology and philosophy. Although it now seems archaic, such a combination had the advantage of promoting a degree of integration that is now made difficult by the specialization of university departments. For a-time it was not unusual for a single professor to teach all the courses for teachers, but after 1900 the discipline of didactics, pedagogy, or education was divided in most universities into
7 William Boyd, op. cit., p. 311.
8. Ernest Stabler, ed. The Education of the SecondaT:y School Teacher (Middletown, Ct.: Wesleyan University Press, 1962), p. 37

7 at least three subdisciplines: philosophy of education, history of education, and educational psychology. Courses in methods and in classroom management were also offered and practice teaching was available. The first professors of didactics, pedagogy, or education, had to be recruited from the older academic disciplines, most often philosophy, for the obvious reason that advanced degrees in education were not yet available. After candidates with doctoral degrees in education became available, early in the twentieth century, more and more of the professorships of education were filled with men and women holding the Ph.D. in education or (later) the Ed.D. Such individuals were more likely than their predecessors to have had some public school teaching experience and to be committed to education as a career. But their appearance on university faculties led to complaints from members of the older disciplines that professors of educational philosophy were not really philosophers, and that professors of the history of education were insufficiently grounded in history. Some universities responded by creating joint professorships, recruiting educational historians, for example, who were acceptable to both the department of education and the department of history. When psychology broke away from philosophy and became a separate department, it became necessary to decide whether professors of educational psychology should work within the department of education or the department of psychology. Some universities took one course, others took the alternative. Even today educational psychologists in some universities and colleges work within the department of psychology while those in others are in the department of education. During the first half of the twentieth century, most of the state universities developed large and comprehensive schools or colleges of education, offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees in education for school administrators, specialists, and future professors of education, as well as for classroom teachers. Some private universities followed the same course. Teachers College of Columbia University played a special role. Chattered in 1889 as The New York College for the Training of Teachers, it changed its name to Teachers College in 1892 and



shortly afterwards became associated with Columbia University, although 12oth Street which separates it from the University has been called "the widest street in the world." "T.C.," as it was widely known, soon took on a national and international character, playing a major role in preparing men and women for positions of educational leadership throughout the world. Instructors in normal schools throughout the United States flocked to Teachers College to get their master's degrees, or doctorates. They chose T.C. over other graduate schools because that institution was more sympathetic with their problems, less rigorous in its demands upon them (no thesis or oral examinations were required for the M.Ed.), and more willing to let them do most of their work during summer sessions. During the 1920s it was not unusual for a normal school to boast that more than half its faculty held degrees from Columbia's T.C. The large T.C. faculty, which included many famous names, offered an enormous variety of courses in every conceivable education specialty. A wide range of educational philosophies was expounded by educators as diverse as Bagley, Kilpatrick, Counts, and Rugg. But after about 1925, conservative voices were in the minority and T.C. came to be widely recognized as the fountainhead of "progressive education." And T.C. impressed its own philosophy on normal schools and teachers colleges throughout the nation. When progressive education became a target for attack, T.C. received most of the blame, or credit, for whatever was considered bad or good about progressive education. Departments and schools of education within universities have been victims of recurrent attacks from academic professors in other disciplines. Regardless of the attacks, most state universities have continued to accept teacher education as one of their proper responsibilities and to suppon it in proportion to the need for teachers. Private universities have not felt the same compulsion-different universities and university presidents have reacted differently to the criticism. During the 193os, President Conant of Harvard saved and rebuilt the Harvard Graduate School of Education at a time when the President of Yale was rejecting teacher education as a university responsibility and was liquidating his own school of education. Stanford and Chicago, like Harvard and Columbia's


T.C., no longer give primary attention to the preparation of beginning teachers. They have become exclusively or primarily graduate schools of education, stressing research on teaching and learning, on administration, and on the social and psychological foundations of education. Throughout much of our nation's history, private and churchrelated liberal arts colleges not associated with universities provided a high proportion of secondary school teachers. Since 1900, the proportion of students in such colleges preparing to teach has steadily declined. In 1975 only 25 percent of all American college students are enrolled in nonpublic institutions and half of these are in universities rather than separate liberal arts colleges. Meanwhile the proportion of secondary teachers coming from state-supported institutions has continued to expand. Some of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges no longer show much interest in educating teachers. In the future it seems certain that most of our secondary as well as elementary teachers will come from state colleges and universities.

Changing Philosophies and New Psychologies


The men who established the first American normal schools were not strong on pedagogical theory. Most of them were ministers or statesmen rather than educators. They saw the need for morality, literacy, and a modicum of factual knowledge, but were not greatly interested in promoting creativity, imagination, or independent thought in children. They wanted the United States to become a politically stable nation of thrifty, virtuous, hard-working citizens and saw the public schools as instruments for promoting that goal. It was not their intention that normal schools should become institutions of higher education. They did not think it necessary that an elementary teacher should be liberally educated; it was enough that the teacher should have a sound knowledge of the subjects taught in the elementary school, be virtuous, industrious, dedicated to the work, and obedient to superiors. Some of the principals and faculty members in the early nor-




mal schools had broader views-at least a few of them had read Rousseau's Emile and the works of Pestalozzi and Froebel-but the impact of European pedagogical theory was not felt in any substantial degree prior to the establishment of the normal school at Oswego in 186o. Because Pestalozzianism came to be known in the United States by way of Oswego, it came to be known as the "Oswego Method." From Pestalozzi came a new concept of the worth, dignity, and individuality of the child. Oswego Pestalozzianism also gave new emphasis to the role of the senses in learning and stressed a basic reform known as "object teaching." From about 186o until 188o the Oswego version of Pestalozzianism was dominant in American normal schools. Herbartianism came later. Although Johann Friedrich Herbart had died in 1841, his influence did not become significant in American normal schools until the last two decades of the nineteenth century. In this country it radiated from the school at Normal, Illinois, and for a time replaced Pestalozzianism. Teachers of pedagogy who had formally stressed sense perception, oral language, and the object lesson shifted their attention to apperception and became convinced that sound teaching must consist of five formal steps: preparation, presentation, association, generalization, and application. But Herbart's influence was dominant for less than two decades. By 1895 John Dewey was challenging some of his views. By 1900 the teachers of American teachers were becoming aware of the work of William James and G. Stanley Hall and were ready to develop the first truly American educational theories.

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, American teacher education-particularly the education of elementary school teachers-was greatly influenced by a complex, and sometimes contradictory set of theories, points of view, attitudes, and practices that came to be known as "progressive education." Progressivism had many sources. Although John Dewey has often been called "the father of progressive education" he denied the paternity and later became highly critical of some of the theories



and practices he observed in "progressive" schools. Cremin, in his definitive history of progressive education, says, " ... throughout its history progressive education meant different things to different people ..." 9 Professor Bode of The Ohio State University, an early leader in the movement and later one of its thoughtful critics, said in 1938, "While the movement has never been sharply defined, its most prominent connotation has been one of 'child centeredness' in the sense that it has been guided largely by such concepts as 'interest,' 'freedom,' and 'self-activity.' In its psychology, progressive education has leaned toward the point of view indicated, somewhat vaguely, by the phrase 'learning by doing.' In its social philosophy it has stressed the importance of superseding habits of competition with habits of cooperation.'' IO Progressivism in education was related in a loose way to social and political progressivism-it meant using the schools to improve the lives of people. It meant adapting the schools to children instead of requiring the children to adapt themselves to the schooL It proposed to give the school responsibility not only for academic instruction but for the total development of the whole child. In the normal schools and teachers colleges the effect of the progressive movement was to encourage teachers to become more permissive and less authoritarian, and to accept more responsibility for the social and personality development of children as well as for their recreational activities. Teachers were urged to adapt the curriculum to the interests of children and to make less use of competition as a motive. Campus and laboratory schools become far more "progressive" than the public schools in which the students were preparing to teach. They could do this because classes were small, superior facilities were available, and in many cases the pupils in campus schools were highly selected by virtue of the fact that preference was given to faculty children. But when graduates completed their

9 Lawrence A. Cremin, The Transformation of the School (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Random House, 1961), p. x.
10. Boyd H. Bode, Progressive Education at tbe Crossroads (New York: Newson & Co., 1938), p. 3



practice teaching and moved into public school teaching positions, they often discovered that neither .the principal nor the children were ready for the kinds of teaching and curricular changes they had been taught to believe were desirable. Some graduates tried to change the schools but many adapted themselves to the schools in which they worked and complained that the instruction they had received in teachers college was "unrealistic" or "too theoretical." During the 192os and 193os, educational progressivism as a reform movement splintered into many separate groups, some of which took on a distinctly cultish nature, and because the leaders of these cults were professors of education, the prestige of education as an academic discipline suffered within the academic community. Critics complained that professors of educational philosophy had become propagandists rather than true philosopohers. By 1940, progressive education was losing influence in the colleges of education, partly because educators had become reluctant to be identified with the movement. In 1955 the Progressive Education Association closed its doors and gave an official closing date to the movement that had dominated educational thinking in America for half a century. The influence of the movement continues, however, because progressive education was to some extent a victim of its own success. By mid-century all schools, whether or not they called themselves progressive, had become more humane institutions. Nearly all teachers had become aware of individual differences in learning capacity, of the imponance of interest in learning, and of the fact that a child learns what he does rather than what the teacher says. All schools had become more "child centered" than they were in 1900. And nearly all programs for teacher education had incorporated some of the best features of progressive education while discarding the excesses of the movement.

Twentieth-century educators have made a determined effon to base their pedagogical practices on the latest psychological theories, assuming that "latest" must mean "best." The task has been complicated by the fact that the theoretical underpinnings of American psychology have shifted from structuralism and functionalism to



associationism, to Gestalt psychology and psychoanalysis, and theri to a sort of eclectic, functionalistic behaviorism-all within seventyfive years. William James' Talks to Teachers, first delivered orally and then published as a book in 1899, was widely read in teacher-training institutions. James offered many applications of psychological principles to the teaching-learning process and his combination of psychological knowledge and common sense provided a sound basis for teaching. He saw, however, the danger in trying to reduce teaching to a science. "Psychology is a science," he said, "teaching is an art, and sciences never generate arts directly out of themselves. An intermediary inventive mind must make the application, by use of its originality." n At about the same time a group of psychologists under the influence of G. Stanley Hall focused their attention on evolutionary theories of the development of mind and the related problem of maturation. Partly as a result, "child study" became a required subject for instruction in normal schools. Also as a result of Hall's writing, secondary teachers became aware of adolescence as a special period in an individual's life. In 1909, Henry H. Goddard, one of Hall's students, brought the Binet test to America, translated it into English, and restandardized it on American children. In 1916 another of Hall's students, Lewis Terman, published the Stanford Binet and the testing movement was off and running. Within the next twenty years hundreds of tests were developed for the measurement of intelligence, special aptitudes, achievement of various kinds, interest, and personality traits and many of these were widely used in the schools. As a result, courses in "tests and measurements" came to be included in nearly all programs for teacher education. The behavioristic revolution that swept over American psychology between 1914 and 1920 had profound implications for teacher education. The early behaviorists, under the leadership of John B. Watson, not only reformed psychology. They redefined it-as the science of behavior rather than the science of conscious11. William James, Talks to Teachers (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1958), pp. 13-14.



ness or of mind. To many educational psychologists it seemed to follow that the teacher's job is not to help the child enhance his understanding, improve his insight, or increase his knowledgesince these are vague and "mentalistic" terms not easily reduced to behavior-but rather to teach him to behave in certain ways. But educational psychologists found it difficult to accept all the restrictions that the early behaviorists would place on their research. Partly for this reason they turned to Edward L. Thorndike who, during the 192os, became a leader in educational psychology. Althougli he placed the major emphasis on learning, Thorndike did not ignore the importance of inherited individual differences, as Watson did, and although he had begun as an animal psychologist, Thorndike was more willing than the behaviorists to move experimentation out of the laboratory and into the classroom. Thorndike's many publications were widely read by professors of education and students in teachers colleges. In the late 1920s and early I9JOS, the Gestalt psychology of Wertheimer, Kohler, and Koffka, which had been influential in Germany since 1914, began to influence American psychology and education. Gestalt principles were particularly attractive to progressive educators because they seemed to justify the position that progressives had already taken against rote learning and in favor of insight as an educational goal. Gestalt psychology also made it unnecessary to rely on the conditioning process to explain all human learning. The interest of educators in Gestalt psychology remained high during the 1930s but after 1940 it gradually declined, partly because Gestalt psychology was being absorbed into the mainstream of American psychology and partly because of the difficulties that educators encountered in trying to develop effective institutional techniques based upon the concepts of closure and insight. Psychoanalysis, although it had its origins before 1900, first had a substantial influence on American education during the 1920s and 1930S. This was a time when educational theory was moving away from an exclusive emphasis on academic learning and toward a more comprehensive view of education which held the schools responsible for the child's social development and emotional health


as well as for his intellectual development. Psychoanalytic interpretations of personality development and psychoanalytic explanations of maladjustments had wide appeal. In 1938, behaviorism was given a new lease on life by B. F. Skinner who enlarged the field by distinguishing between respondent behavior which is elicited by particular stimuli and operant behavior which is emitted by the organism without any specific identifiable stimulus to account for it. The new concept of operant or instrumental conditioning offered a possible explanation foror at least a description of-many varieties of classroom learning that could not be adequately explained by classical conditioning. By 1940 most of the authors of textbooks on educational psychology had become convinced that they must present a variety of psychological theories-behavioristic, association theories, Gestalt, and psychoanalytical interpretations including those of Jung and Adler as well as of Freud. But educational psychologists, like' other psychologists, found it impossible to integrate these conflicting points of view into a single system. As a result, textbooks in educational psychology became eclectic, presenting conflicting theories of child development, learning, motivation, and emotion, and leaving it to students to achieve an integration which the professors and the textbook writers had failed to achieve. The 1950s and 196os saw a renewed interest in the thought processes and learning experiences of young children. The work of Piaget, which had been well known to educators during the 193os, was rediscovered. Creativity replaced intelligence as a trait to be investigated and as a basis for selecting talented children for special attention in the schools. At the same time an increased concern for socially disadvantaged children resulted in vigorous attempts to find ways of compensating for early childhood deprivation. During the first three quarters of the twentieth century a vast amount of research, ranging from the trivial to the profound, has been reported in the literature. Though further definitive research is always appropriate, the primary need now is for a better analysis and interpretation of evidence already available in order that the conclusions from research may be applied to classroom practice.



Teacher Education Comes to Maturity: 1950-75


Soon after the end of World War II the public schools came under sharp attack from dissatisfied parents, academic professors, journalists, university presidents, a famous admiral, and a popular writer who was convinced that someone named "Johnny" was not learning to read. Much of the criticism was focused on teachers and the kind of education they were receiving. It was charged that, because of excessive requirements of professional courses prior to certification, teachers were not being liberally educated and that they had insufficient knowledge of the subjects they were teaching. It was also charged that teachers were being indoctrinated with educational philosophies unacceptable to the majority of American people. Although a substantial number of professional educators were aware of weaknesses in existing programs of teacher education, and were eager to correct them, the vigor of the criticism threw them on the defensive. As a result, many educators spent more time fending off the attacks than in improving programs. Some went so far as to insist that nothing at all was wrong either with the schools or with teacher education and to countercharge that all those who offered criticism were "enemies of the schools." In fact only a very few of the critics were enemies of good education, as they themselves defined it, but some were indeed misinformed. And many of the charges made were greatly exaggerated. The critics who charged that the schools had become too soft and permissive and who blamed the sofmess on the teaching of Dewey's philosophy, obviously had never read Dewey. Although there was legitimate room for debate concerning the methods of reading being taught in 1950, it was not true that any large proportion of school children were unable to read. The charge that graduates of European secondary schools were better educated than graduates of our high schools ignored the fact that the word "secondary" has different meanings in different nations as well as the fact that European secondary schools were far more selective than


Many of the critics of teacher education seemed to believe that all or most teachers were graduates of "teachers colleges," whereas in fact, of all those newly certified in 1950, only 335 percent of the elementary teachers and z6.8 percent of the secondary teachers were graduates of teachers colleges. 12 The others came from colleges of liberal arts or general studies and from universities, both public and private. The novelist who wrote in Life (under the pseudonym of John William Sperry) that he had visited many teachers colleges and had found that "all were distinctly inferior to every liberal arts college that I have even seen," 13 apparently had never been west of the Hudson. The most effective reply to the latter charge came from a former president of Harvard, James B. Conant, who said, "Nothing revealed by a close study of institutions designated as 'teachers colleges,' compared to those designated as 'liberal arts colleges,' justifies a sweeping assertion that one type of institution consistently gives the student a better education than the other." 14 But the fact remained that many programs for teacher education in colleges of all kinds were highly vulnerable to criticism. Standards were much too low. Many of the colleges preparing teachers-church-related liberal arts colleges as well a state colleges -had no entrance requirements other than high school graduation and admitted all or nearly all applicants into teacher education programs. Universities that held to high standards for entrance into the other learned professions were all too willing to admit poorly qualified students into teacher education programs. In the programs required there was too much trivia, and sometimes what passed for educational philosophy was really propaganda for one point of view. In the larger schools of education the number of different professional courses had multiplied to such an extent that duplication of content was inevitable. At mid-century, certification laws often were specific in requirn. Timothy M. Stinnett, "Accreditation and the Professionalization of Teaching," Journal of Teacher Education 3 (March 1952): 30-38. 13. John William Sperry, "Who Teaches the Teachers?" Life 29 (October 16, 1950): 146-54

14. James B. Conant, The Education of American Teachers (New York: McGraw-Hill, 13), p. 77



ing professional courses for teachers but extremely vague about the academic requirements, even for high school teachers who were preparing to teach the academic subjects. In this, some academic scholars thought they saw a conspiracy on the part of professional educators to take the responsibility for teacher education away from academic scholars and to impose an educational philosophy which deemphasized scholarship and smacked of anti-intellectualism. While there was, of course, no real conspiracy, it was quite true that the responsibility for the education of elementary and secondary teachers had been allowed to slip out of the hands of academic scholars. During the first half of the twentieth century, while academic scholars were loftily ignoring the problems of teacher education, a group of school administrators, professors of education, and educators in state departments of education with the support of the National Education Association had come to agreement among themselves on the necessity for professional preparation for teachers and had transmitted their convictions into certification laws. It was during this same period that many educators, faced with the problem of educating children of all social classes and all intellectual levels, had come to accept a philosophy of education that differed sharply from the traditions of higher education-one that placed less emphasis on academic scholarship and more on understanding the child and the learning process. This new philosophy also was reflected in the certification laws. When academic professors became aware of what had happened, some of them saw a need to return the control of teacher education to the total academic community. Bestor, one of the foremost critics, but one who was far better informed than most, said in 1955, "The training of teachers for the public schools is one of the most important functions of the American university. It ought always to be treated as a function of the university as a whole. In recent times it has not been so treated. The blame rests squarely upon the faculties of liberal arts and sciences, who have simply abdicated their responsibilities." 15 In the late 1950s, a growing number of academic scholars were
15. Arthur Bestor, The Restoration of Learning (Alfred A. Knopf, Random House, 1955), p. 141.


willing to accept Restor's challenge and to give attention to teacher education. And a growing number of professional educators had become willing to work with professors from other departments on the improvement of teacher education.

During the controversy of the 195os, many academic scholars gained the unfortunate impression that professional educators were so preoccupied with professional training that they had no interest in the liberal education of teachers and no concern for their knowledge of subject matter. Meanwhile, some professors of education gained the impression that their academic critics were opposed to all professional education for teachers. In both cases these were the ,;ews of only the extremists, but it was the extremists who had received most of the attention from 1950 until about 1957 Three conferences called by the National Commission on Teacher Education and Professional Standards (TEPS) in 1958, 1959, and 1960, went a long way toward dispelling these erroneous impressions. These differed from previous TEPS conferences in that many of the participants were academic scholars from disciplines other than education. When educators and their critics sat down together around the conference tables they quicky discovered that they were not as far apart as many had thought. Participants from varied backgrounds and many academic departments were able to agree that prospective reachers should be both liberally educated and professionally prepared. The clear consensus was that a sound program of teacher education must include: a broad and liberal general education, a srudy in depth of at least one academic field, solid preparation in professional education, plus an internship or an extended period of practice teaching. There was agreement, too, that it would be a mistake to emasculate one important element of teacher education in order to strengthen another. And since it appeared that four college years were insufficient to provide all the ingredients essential to sound reacher education, these TEPS conferences gave support to the already existing trend toward extending the period of preparation to at least five years beyond high school.



It was agreed at these conferences that scholars from the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences, should cooperate with professors of education in planning programs for teachers. The immediate result was the development of interdepartmental committees on teacher education in many universities and liberal arts colleges. (Such committees had existed in teachers colleges for a long time.) For a time, academic professors played an active part. By 1970, however, the interest of academic scholars in teacher education, particularly in the larger and more highly departmentalized universities, was again declining. Having established their right to participate in planning programs for teachers, many found the task too demanding and time-consuming. Retaining the assistance and support of academic scholars remained a continuing problem for schools and departments of education.

During the 195os and 196os, numerous efforts were made to find new and better ways of educating teachers. Some of the new programs prepared individuals for team teaching instead of for selfcontained classrooms. Some prepared teachers to make better use of television, teaching machines, and other new kinds of equipment. Some substituted extended internships for the traditional period of practice teaching. Some replaced conventional courses in education with seminars taught in conjunction with the internship. Some postponed all professional courses until the fifth college year. And all these new programs met opposition from one or another professional organization or group because they challenged deeply held convictions of older educators and of professional organizations. Many of the innovative programs,_ including some of those most controversial, received support from philanthropic foundations. In 1951, the Fund for the Advancement of Education, which had recendy been established by the Ford Foundation, lent its support to a plan to reorganize teacher education throughout the state of Arkansas-a plan to which the Fund eventually committed nearly three million dollars. The intent of the plan was to provide, for all future teachers, a four-year program of broad liberal education, followed by a period during which an internship would be com-


bined with professional studies. All colleges in the state-state teachers colleges, liberal arts colleges, and the state university-were to participate. The plan met with angry response from professional organizations and professional leaders who resented the fact that they had not been consulted in advance. It ran directly counter to the prevailing trend toward integration of professional and liberal education during the undergraduate years. Because the grant came from outside the state and because it involved a substantial amount of money, it was labeled "The Arkansas Purchase" by bitter educators. In the face of opposition, the plan was repeatedly modified to such an extent that the original plan cannot be said to have been adequately tested. It stirred widespread interest in teacher education that led to reforms in other states, but when the assistance from the Fund terminated, most of the colleges in Arkansas went back to more conventional programs. Other innovative programs, in many parts of the nation, were designed to tap an additional source of teacher supply-older liberal arts graduates who wanted to become elementary teachers but were reluctant to enter upon the programs of professional studies required for certification. In these programs the number of professional coursfjS required was reduced and a paid internship replaced the traditional practice teaching. When the teacher shortage ended, in the late 196os, most of these programs were absorbed into the general programs for teachers, but the certification requirements for older beginning teachers remained somewhat more flexible than they previously had been. The Master of Arts in Teaching program, which gained widespread attention during the 1950s, had its origins two decades earlier. In 1936, President Conant of Harvard, who had become aware of the conflict of view between academic scholars and professional educators, saw a need for a new kind of preparation for secondary teachers which would incorporate the best thinking of both groups. He initiated a proposal for a new program,, first described in the Official Register of the Graduate School of Education for 1936-37. The purpose was to provide a graduate-level program open to arefully selected liberal arts graduates, which combined advanced



smdy of a scholarly discipline with a sequence of professional seminars and a period of internship. During the early years the program did not attract many students. The demand for teachers was limited and salaries were too low to attract able liberal arts graduates into teaching. But after World War II the simation changed. The demand for teachers was much greater and salaries were higher. Some of the better-paying school systems were located in affiuent suburbs where most of the parents were college graduates who preferred teachers with a substantial background of liberal education. In 1951 the Fund for the Advancement of Education made it possible for Harvard to enlarge its MAT program by providing financial support for a plan under which twenty-nine distinguished liberal arts colleges agreed to carry on a vigorous recruitment campaign to arouse interest in secondary school teaching on the part of liberal arts graduates. After receiving the A.B. degree these smdents entered Harvard for graduate work and, during their internships, received an annual stipend of $1500 out of a Fund grant. Other universities from New England to California developed similar programs with assistance from the Fund and other philanthropic foundations. Although leaders of the movement hoped and predicted that the MAT program would become the primary source of secondary teachers, it soon became apparent that the number of graduates of prestigious, private, liberal arts colleges who were eager to become teachers was far too small to provide more than a small percent of the teachers needed by the public schools. However, some of the principles basic to the MAT were accepted into the programs offered by graduate schools of education which recruited many of their students from state colleges and which offered the M.Ed. rather than the MAT. The emphasis on academic subject matter; for secondary school teachers was substantially increased and, in many instimtions, extended internships (often with partial salary) replaced the old practice teaching. Numerous other innovations appeared in teacher education during the 196os and early 1970s. "Microteaching" spread from Stanford to many other institutions. Teachers were prepared to teach the "new mathematics" and to use new and improved techniques


for the teaching of foreign languages. Many candidates for teaching became familiar with programed learning. The Supreme Court ruling on racial segregation of 1954 and the civil rights movement of the 196os led to a new emphasis on preparing teachers for work with socially disadvantaged children. An effort was made to recruit more teachers from minority groups and to provide all teachers with a more sympathetic understanding of the problems of minority groups. During the late 196os the schools and teacher education came under fresh attack from a group of critics whose views were almost directly opposite to those of the critics of the early 195os. These new critics, Paul Goodman, John Holt, and Edgar Friedenberg, among others-who were variously described as "liberal," "radical" and "romantic"-held a view of individual freedom and of the corrupting influence of society that was reminiscent of Rousseau and some of the early progressive educators of the 192os. Some of them contended that, because schools often do more harm than good, attendance should not be compulsory. All of them were highly critical of the way teachers were educated and contended that conventionally educated teachers were prone to force children into conventional molds. They supported the development of "free schools" with teachers selected on the basis of their personal traits and social attitudes rather than their professional or academic education. These critics achieved a large following among those who were, :rt the time, highly critical of "the establishment" but their influence on teacher education was restricted by the utopian flavor of their proposals and their reluctance to work cooperatively with either the academic or the professional groups within colleges and universities. After 1970, the growing oversupply of teachers made it possible for the colleges educating teachers to shift the emphasis from numbers to quality. Some of the innovations of the 1950s and 196os were incorporated into the standard programs. In a number of states, five-year programs became the standard for permanent certification for both elementary and secondary teachers. Entrance standards gradually rose, though not rapidly enough to reduce the supply to the limited demand. But a new generation of educators, who had forgotten the past,



or had never become familiar with it, reopened many of the old controversies: liberal vs. professional and vocational education, content vs. process, freedom vs. restrictions, whole vs. part learning, society vs. the individual, and even heredity vs. environment as a basis for individual differences in learning capacity. As we enter the last quarter of the twentieth century it seems clear that teacher education, like education itself, will remain a subject for controversy.