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PUBLICATIONS OF THE NATIONAL HERBART SOCIETY (now THE

NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF EDUCATION)-
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FOR SALE BY DEALERS OR THE PUBLISHERS

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS



THE SECOND YEARBOOK



OF THE



NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE SCIENTIFIC
STUDY OF EDUCATION



PART II

THE RELATION OF THEORY TO PRACTICE
IN EDUCATION



MEETINGS OF ACTIVE MEMBERS FOR THE DISCUSSION OF THESE PAPERS WILL

BE HELD AT BOSTON, BRUNSWICK HOTEL, MONDAY, JULY 6,

4:00 P.M., AND TUESDAY, JULY 7, 9:00 A.M., 1903



THE SECOND YEARBOOK



OF THE



NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE SCIEN
TIFIC STUDY OF EDUCATION



PART II

THE RELATION OF THEORY TO PRACTICE
IN EDUCATION



MANFRED J. HOLMES, LEVI SEELEY,
AND JOHN A. KEITH



MEETINGS OF ACTIVE MEMBERS FOR THE DISCUSSION OF THESE PAPERS WILL
HELD AT BOSTON, BRUNSWICK HOTEL, MONDAY, JULY 6, 4!00 P.M.,
AND TUESDAY, JULY 7, QrOO A.M., IQ03



EDITED BY

CHARLES A. McMURRY



CHICAGO

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS
1903



COPYRIGHT, IQOS, BY

CHARLES A. MCMURRY
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS



NOTICE TO ACTIVE MEMBERS.

There will be two meetings at Boston for the discussion of these
papers by the active members. It is requested that the active mem-
bership as far as possible attend these meetings and come prepared for
careful discussion.

In the Summer Sessions of Normal Schools and Universities, in
different parts of the country, meetings will be held for the discussion
of these papers.

Those holding such meetings should send to the University of
Chicago Press for books to be sold at such meetings. Any of the
previous YEARBOOKS of the society or of the former National Herbart
Society can be secured from the University of Chicago Press, Chicago,
Illinois.



OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

OF THE

NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF
EDUCATION

WILBUR S. JACKMAN, School of Education, University of Chicago, President.
CHARLES DE GARMO - Cornell University, New York

WILLIAM L. BRYAN - - University of Indiana, Bloomington, Ind.

DAVID FELMLEY - - State Normal University, Normal, 111.

C. P. CARY State Superintendent, Madison, Wis.

CHARLES A. McMuRRY, Northern Illinois State Normal School, DeKalb,
111., Secretary -Treasurer.



PREFACE.

These papers on the Relation of Theory to Practice in Education
form Part II of the YEARBOOK for 1903.

The same topic will be further discussed in the papers to be pub-
lished in Part I of the Third YEARBOOK, which will be published for
discussion at the Atlanta meeting in February, 1904.

The present papers are chiefly devoted to the discussion of the
Normal School Problem. Those of the following YEARBOOK will treat
the subject from the standpoint of the University.



CONTENTS.

PAGE

The Relation between Theory and Practice in the Training of Teachers.
A paper prepared by the Faculty of the State Normal University,
Normal, 111.; David Felmley, Miss Elizabeth Mavity, and Manfred
J. Holmes, Committee - - 9

Paper by Levi Seeley, State Normal School, Trenton, N. J. - - 39

"General Plan for the Study of the Relation of Theory to Practice," by

John A. Keith, Northern Illinois State Normal School, DeKalb, 111. 58

Minutes of the last Meeting at Cincinnati, February 25, 1903 - 60

List of Active Members - - - - - .. . -61



THE RELATION BETWEEN THEORY AND PRACTICE IN
THE TRAINING OF TEACHERS.

PRESENTED BY THE FACULTY OF THE STATE NORMAL UNIVERSITY, NORMAL, ILL. 1

INTRODUCTION.

The specific problem under discussion. Ever since normal schools
were called into existence they have had the benefit of adverse criti-
cism. The most helpful criticisms have always come from the really
able and earnest men in the public schools and the field of higher
education, and from the progressive men in normal-school work.

In a recent address before the National Educational Association,
President Butler of Columbia University said :

Two generations ago it became patent to the people of this country that
mere scholarship was not a sufficient preparation for teaching, and schools
came into existence whose object it was to prepare teachers by a study of
method. That was a desirable, indeed a necessary, reform, if the schools
were to increase in efficiency beyond the point they had then reached. But
I am clear that that movement has now gone too far, and that teachers of
method have now become enamored of method for method's sake. They
have forgotten that method is a means and not an end, and their fine-spun
analysis and long-continued preparation is like placing a great, huge vestibule
before a very small and insignificant house. It makes education wasteful in
a very high degree.

Perhaps this is the most general, as well as the most serious, of all
the charges brought against the normal school. It is said to be "top-
heavy" in theory: that its courses present a great body of theory which
does not find concrete embodiment in the normal school itself nor in
the actual school work of normal teachers ; it wastes its energies in
striking the air.

That such charges have usually been exaggerations there is no
question, but there has always been enough truth in them to keep the
schools examining the reasons for their existence and, in the light of
clearer understanding, readjusting themselves to render a maximum
of substantial service. Each individual normal school has been tak-
ing form under the pressure of its own local environment; hence,

1 Committee making the report: President David Felmley, Professor Manfred J.
Holmes, Miss Elizabeth Mavity.

9



10 THE SECOND YEARBOOK

many local varieties have been produced. Today there is not one,
probably, certainly not one of the better schools, that is satisfied with
itself; and it is believed that comparison and discussion, and a frequent
measuring of the normal school as it actually is with what it ought to
be will help to promote right development and efficiency.

A specific form of the above criticism is that the theories and
methods taught by the various departments are not put into practice by
the student when he teaches in the training school. It has been thought
that the general criticism can be met by answering this specific form
of it. If the normal-school instructor holds himself responsible for
understanding just what is needed, and what is practicable, in the
public schools ; if he remembers that his department exists only for
the purpose of contributing to his student's power, resources, and skill
in teaching in those schools ; and if the student's teaching in the train-
ing school measures the value and tests the practicability of the
instructor's work, and is its final stage then he will abandon unpracti-
cal theory and be anxious to supervise this final stage of his own
work under conditions over which he himself has at least co-operative
control. Guided by this thought, more and more normal schools have
been getting their training schools and normal departments organized
into closer working unity.

Purpose and scope of this paper. This paper is a report rather than
a discussion, and is submitted to the Society for the Scientific Study
of Education in response to the invitation to the Society's executive
committee, with the hope that it will receive the critical study of really
serious students of education, and thereby, through discussion and
comparison, promote improvement in this decidedly unsettled prob-
lem of educational work. The report aims to show the relation
between theory and practice in the training of teachers as that relation
exists in the normal school. It does not assume to speak for all nor-
mal schools; but simply tries to show how one school is trying to
solve the problem of the relation between theory and practice by bring-
ing about a close and effective unity between the instruction in the
normal classes and the work in the training school.

The report is organized under the following topics :
I. The function of the normal school.
II. The organization as determined by its function.

1. The course of study.

2. The equipment.



THEORY AND PRACTICE IN TRAINING TEACHERS 1 1

3. The faculty.

4. The working program.

III. The work of the normal department as related to the training
school.

1. General pedagogy.

2. Special departments, illustrated by
a) Literature.

d) Geography.

IV. The training school.
V. Limitations.

THE FUNCTION OF THE NORMAL SCHOOL.

Rational origin of the normal school. Whatever calls a thing into
existence is the key to an understanding of its purpose. It has always
been recognized that the rulers of a state should be educated ; there-
fore, in a self-governing society all the people should be educated.
We are also familiar with the dictum that it is the duty of the state to
educate its citizens. This duty carries with it the necessity of estab-
lishing schools and supplying the teachers. Everybody in this day
accepts the proposition that teachers must be specially educated and
trained to do their important and difficult work. Hence the American
normal school has been called into existence to do this special service
to contribute to the realization of the American ideal of what it is to
live.

Its technical function in "training" teachers. "The purpose of the
normal school is to fit its students fdr teaching children. It is a tech-
nical school in which knowledge is held of value as it ministers to an
art. What anatomy is to the surgeon or mathematics to the engineer,
the various branches of study are to the teacher. In a sense they are
the instruments of his art. No teacher can really be at home in his
profession until he feels that the value of every subject, topic, or ques-
tion is to be found in its influence in the development of the child ;
that lessons are to be judged, not in their individual nature, but in
their final outcome. In the normal school the various branches of
study are to be organized in the consciousness of the student, not so
much with regard to their inner logical relations as with regard to the
interests and aptitudes of children. The question is not merely, What
is this body of thought we call geography? for example ; nor yet, What
portions are of most practical worth ? but, How shall the child proceed



I 2 THE SECOND YEARBOOK

in acquiring this knowledge ? What is the value of these experiences
in his unfolding life? Normal-school instructors should feel that
their departments exist only that teachers may be prepared for their
work."

Its cultural function in the education of teachers. While the above is
universally accepted as true and marks off the normal school in its dis-
tinctive character, yet every thoughtful person knows that strictly scien-
tific training is only a part of what makes a teacher. Personal quality
and social worth, all those finer elements that go to make up the better
type of manhood and womanhood these are absolutely indispensable
in the make-up of a teacher. Therefore the general culture studies
all those that give a broader and more accurate view of the world and
enlarge the sympathies are justifiable in the normal-school course in
so far as they help to make the student a more efficient teacher. We
must still keep in mind that, while the subjects are acquired as the
instruments of teaching, they must serve as means for the education
and cultivation of the would-be teacher himself. The normal student
needs the educative influence of natural science, history, the social
sciences, literature, and art, and to live as much as possible in the
atmosphere of these phases of truth and life. These are the influences
that mature the natural endowments of personality.

Summary. It is common knowledge that the highest degree of
efficiency in any work can be attained only when the workman has a
clear notion of the purpose of his work, the nature of the means or
instruments he must use, the nature of whatever he is to transform or
change, and the nature and mode of the process by which the trans-
formation is to take place. Such preparation for the work of teaching
is the distinctive function of the normal school; but along with its
work of technical training it must carry, in as high a degree as possible,
those influences that make for liberal scholarship and general cultivation.

THE ORGANIZATION OF THE NORMAL SCHOOL AS DETERMINED
BY ITS FUNCTION.

General principles. The law of adaptation of structure to function
in a given environment is universal in organic life. It is equally valid
in social and institutional evolution ; but the fitness of an institution
to survive is measured, not by its capacity for self-preservation, but by
the extent to which it renders the service for which it was created.
This should be kept in mind when examining the working organization



THEORY AND PRACTICE IN TRAINING TEACHERS 13

of any normal school ; and there need be no surprise to find legitimate
and necessary variety according to the local environment in which the
school must render its expected service and thereby justify its existence.
The normal school must be organized to face in two directions : first,
it must keep before it actual conditions and needs in order to render
immediate and substantial service; second, it must not take for its
standard the current conditions and merely try to prepare teachers
that will fit into the present order, but it should encourage and press
forward advanced standards and ideals in every line and aspect of
educational work, inspiring its students with zeal and initiative impulse
to realize such ideals.

Course of study in the normal school. There are provided :

1. Courses in general pedagogy.

2. Courses in special method of the various branches taught in
primary and secondary schools, including art, singing, and manual
training.

3. Additional courses providing for teachers means of liberal cul-
ture in physical and biological sciences, literature, history, art, music,
economics, and other social sciences.

4. A course of training in practical teaching under close supervi-
sion of critic-teachers.

As in most western normal schools, provision is made for at least
three grades of students.

a) For graduates of the best city high schools is provided a cur-
riculum, partly required and partly elective, extending over two years.

b) For graduates of village high schools, teachers of maturity and
experience, and others of equivalent preparation, is provided a cur-
riculum three years in length.

c) For students having little high-school preparation, including
especially graduates of the state course of study provided for rural
schools, is arranged a four-year curriculum.

These curricula contain the same required courses in general peda-
gogy and the same amount of practice teaching. They differ in the
attention given to the academic phases of the work in special method
and the number of possible elective courses providing general culture.

Equipment. Since the normal school is largely to determine the
standards of excellence that will be carried by its graduates into the
public schools, it is of the highest importance that in all matters of
material equipment it keep pace with the current progress in educa-



14 THE SECOND YEARBOOK

tional appliances. Its library should be well stocked, and contain
practically everything in the way of books and pictures that can be of
material value to the teacher. There should be an ample stock of
maps, charts, and every other species of apparatus that is of real value.
No small part of the furnishing of the teacher is an acquaintance with
all available aids in instruction supplemented by skill in using them.
The normal school itself as a whole and in detail should be a demon-
stration of the ideals it stands for, of every doctrine it advocates. If
a certain principle or any other aspect of method, a course of study or
any equipment, is advocated in science, history, literature, general
pedagogy by any department or any teacher there should be
means and opportunity to observe and study this in course of objective
demonstration. Therefore a well-equipped training school is neces-
sary which should first of all be a demonstration of the science and art
of education under actual conditions of public-school work. The
training school here consists of a kindergarten, of eight grades of the
Normal public schools, and six classes in the high school. The teach-
ing corps for this department is made up of the kindergartner, one
regular critic-teacher for each of the eight grades, a supervisor of train-
ing, and the city superintendent, who has complete charge of the pro-
motions and general charge of the discipline of the school and of all
relations between the normal school and the local school board and
the parents of the community.

For all students there are three terms of teaching in the training
school. This teaching is put late in the course, in order to secure
the maximum in scholarship and theory. The preliminary prepara-
tion for teaching in the training school has two aspects. It consists,
first, of knowledge and special method of the studies taught in the
public schools ; second, of at least the first two terms in general peda-
gogy-

The faculty. No matter how excellent the course of study may be

nor how perfect the equipment, the success of a school will always
depend upon its faculty. It is a question whether anyone can become
a really successful normal teacher unless he has taught children. In
all his instruction there must be in the background of his conscious-
ness this knowledge of actual school conditions ; he must know the
practicable and possible in the schools of this generation. Teachers
of the normal school must be men of ideals, who with prophetic vision
behold what ought to be and is to be in education. At the same time



THEORY AND PRACTICE IN TRAINING TEACHERS 15

they must know that heaven is not gained at a single bound. With a
clear comprehension of present conditions and tendencies, they can
intelligently direct the line of advance.

The working program. The working program aims to bring about
such a working unity between the normal department and the training
school as will make the whole normal-school process one, logically
and psychologically, and not two isolated lines of work instruction
and theory on the one hand, practice on the other. Since the normal-
school instructor regards the students' work in the training school as
the final stage of his own work, we shall find him at work in at least
two places in his class-room and in the training school. In the
class-room he is helping his students to acquire knowledge, ideas of
method, principles and aims of education, habits of thought, and ele-
ments of character all of which constitute a progressive preparation
for teaching. In the training school he co-operates with the critic
force in the supervision and criticism of the student-teachers, and care-
fully watches the working and effects of the course of study and sug-
gests needed improvements in both selection and organization. We
also find him in individual and collective conferences with the critic-
teachers. This last aspect of his work is exceedingly important; for
the economy and success of much of the work of both critic-teacher
and head of department depend upon clear mutual understanding and
close co-operation.

Certain essential requirements are imposed upon the working pro-
gram : (i) Every part of it should be made to subserve the normal-
school purpose as a whole. (2) It must recognize the legitimate and
necessary part that each department and study should contribute to the
work as a whole, and provide the needed opportunity. For example,
the normal-school instructor should be free to visit the training school
during the hour in which classes are reciting in his subjects. (3) As
far as possible it should secure logical and psychological arrangement
and sequence ; for example, it should arrange to give instruction in
subject-matter and theory of teaching a subject before the student is
called upon to teach that subject in the training school ; also, as much
as possible of the general pedagogy should precede the teaching. Yet
part of the theoretical work should be in progress while or after the
student does his practice teaching; for just as his early pedagogy work
helps to make possible his practice teaching, so in turn does that teach-
ing illuminate any further study that he makes of method. (4) It



1 6 THE SECOND YEARBOOK

should bring all the parts and forces of the school into harmonious
unity, free from mechanical conflict or hindrance. There should be
the much-needed opportunity for conferences between the heads of
departments and students and critics. The critic must know the
point of view of the department with regard to subject-matter and
with regard to method. The work of the practice school exemplifies
the theory of the other departments. This can be achieved only so far
as the critics know what goes on elsewhere. The normal-school
instructor should also have time to do some teaching in the training
school. It is a place for trial of method as well as for other purposes
we have named. The theorist finds there whether his ideas will work.
The heads of departments in consultation with the critics make the
course of study for the training school. By visitation and conference
they become thoroughly familiar with the practical working of the
course. This reacts upon their teaching in their own classes. But for
the best results in certainty of method the teachers of theory ought really
to teach children. Opportunities for such teaching have not been
frequent. When one of them has taught he has expressed this as
a result : the teaching serves the threefold purpose of satisfying his
mind as to the adaptability of his course to children, of giving him
first-hand knowledge of the teaching of children, about which he is all
the time theorizing in his normal classes, and of acquainting the critic
with what she may expect in preparation of the student-teachers who
come from his classes to work in her room. The same result of greater
certainty of method on the part of both the head of a department and a
critic is furthered by the attendance of the head of a department upon
the illustrative model lessons, or "critiques," in his subject, and the
occasional teaching of a class of children in such lessons this entirely


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Online LibraryNational Society for the Study of EducationThe relation of theory to practice in education → online text (page 1 of 6)