Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/827

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THE PROFESSIONAL TRAINING OF TEACHERS.

The practice department of the normal school usually illustrates a thoroughly graded and classified school from the kindergarten to the high school, and is designed to embody three phases of actual teaching: In the first place, as has been said, pupil teachers are expected to witness model teaching that exemplifies the very best psychological principles in order that they may have the very best ideals set before them. Second, every pupil teacher is required to teach for a certain length of time in this practice department under skilled criticism. The critic teacher, who is usually an experienced and competent person, is careful to point out the defects which the student displays in his practice work, and to give him explicit directions how to overcome them, always aiding him in every way possible to apply readily and efficiently the principles he has gained in his theoretical work. In the third place, there is usually a spirit of investigation found in these practice schools, seeking constantly to improve upon the methods of teaching which may be in vogue at any time; and, as a general thing, freedom is permitted the apprentice to work out original methods, provided these seem to be in harmony with the fundamental principles of teaching. It is not too much to say that it is the aim always to inculcate among pupil teachers that broad, wholesome spirit that will look upon the teaching profession as a high and honorable one, where more worthy motives should prevail than those of mercenary gain or social preferment.

IV. The History of Education.—In order that a teacher shall thoroughly understand and appreciate what is being done pedagogically in these times it is necessary that he be led to see how the present state of things has been brought about, in order that he may put himself in line with the ascending tide in educational practice. The history of education, as a record of the development of educational ideas and practices, showing the transition from a period of unpedagogical and unpsychological procedure to one with more humane and intelligent methods, is as stimulative and beneficial a study as a teacher can undertake. The aim generally kept in mind is to trace the process of developing pedagogical ideas with the end in view to see that there is and has been a constant evolution along several distinct lines of educational practice, and that we are at present in a stage of that evolution process which seems in no wise to be near completion. The apprentice is led to appreciate that there has been in educational history much the same awakening to the consciousness that there is a teaching science, determined by invariable laws of mind growth and development, as is experienced by the ordinary teacher who has come to look at her work from a psychological rather than an academic standpoint. An effort is made to have