Friday, September 28, 2012


As the story goes, John Baldwin’s personal commitment to education spawned from an incident concerning his mother. He was aware that she was denied a college education because of her gender. The documented evidence of Baldwin Wallace University’s commitment to producing well-trained teachers can be traced through Baldwin Institute, Baldwin University, and Baldwin Wallace College catalogues. [The italics are taken from the catalogues.]

Students observing a teacher.

  The 1847 Baldwin Institute Catalogue documents the origins of the Normal Department:

“This department is designed particularly for those preparing to teach. The exercises will consist chiefly of a through and practical course of training, in the elementary branches, designed not only to instruct in the most thorough manner, but to illustrate the art of teaching. It will be sustained chiefly by the Acting Principal”

The next year an additional statement was issued: 

 “Those wishing to qualify themselves for teaching, will receive special instruction in a normal class.”

Students enrolled in  1849 might take courses such as reading, spelling, arithmetic, and penmanship.  However, it was noted that:  “Ladies who desire a more ornamental course may substitute Drawing and Painting for Latin, each quarter. Ladies or gentlemen of correct deportment, who thoroughly accomplish the course of study prescribed, will receive a diploma.”

In 1856, there was a designed “Teacher’s Class.”
“It is the design to organize a Teachers’ Class, composed of members of the Institution and others, on Tuesday, November 3d, 1856, near the close of the First Term—Course, two weeks—during which time a series of Lectures will be delivered, on subjects appropriate to Teachers; and the members of the Class will be drilled in those studies generally pursued in Common Schools. Efforts will be made to provide, on a reasonable terms, board, during the course, for those Teachers who are not members of the Institution. Tuition for the course—to members of the Institution, $1.00; to others, $1.50.”

Two years later, in 1858, the description for Education majors was fleshed out a bit more:

“Normal Institute:
Ira Pool graduate from Baldwin University. He
became a teacher, but his career was cut short
because of the Civil War. He fought and died
for the Union. 
It has been customary, at some suitable time during the year, to form a class of those wishing to teach, and to deliver lectures on subjects appropriate, as also to drill the class in studies generally pursued in Common Schools. As an improvement upon the plan, it is proposed the ensuing year to hold in this place a two weeks Normal Institute.

J. Ogden, general agent for the State, has been employed to give a course of lectures on the Science of Education and the Art of Teaching, and to give such other instruction as may be demanded.

Prof. J. Tingley, of this Institution, will give a course of lectures and experiments in Practical Chemistry, in which the nature and uses of apparatus will be taught and explained.

Classes in the common branch will be formed either in connection with or separate from those in the University, so that Teachers may have an opportunity of reviewing their studies before applying for certificates for their winter schools.

The Institute will commence Tuesday, Sept. 7th, 1858. Boarding can be had at the Hall or in private families at $2,00 per week, or in self boarding clubs at from 70cts. To $1,00 per week. Tuition $1.00 per week."

By 1888, a college degree became invalabule for anyone wishing to teach. This is evident in the first line of the description:

The time is past for thinking that “any body can teach school.” The demand for trained teachers is growing more emphatic every year. Boys and girls who have scarcely become acquainted with the branches of common school study will find here long that they are not welcomed as teachers by those who have charge of the district schools.

Personal fitness, substantial knowledge, some acquaintance with the nature fo the minds and bodies to be cared for, and special knowledge of the approved methods of teaching are soon to be required of every candidate for admission to the teacher’s desk.”

In order to graduate, a student must be examined and produce a thesis:

Examinations and tests of the Normal students will be frequent, and so thorough as to leave no doubt of the student’s knowledge upon the branches of study in hand.
Every student will be required to take his final examination before the Board of Examiners of Cuyahoga County, and receive from that Board grades, not one of which shall fall below eight-five percent .
The graduating thesis must be upon some subject connected with the profession of teaching.

By 1901, practice, or student teaching, had become part of the degree requirement:

“A Practice school has been secured for the coming year, and all those expecting to teach must take some training in this department. The school is divided into grades and the student will have an opportunity to do work along the line that he is preparing to teach. Practice allows theory and proves the worth or worthlessness of the theory. No student will receive a diploma from the Normal Department who has not had four weeks’ training as a minimum.”

By 1942, the curriculum became very similar to what is required today:

“The courses in education afford the student intending to teach opportunities for securing theoretical knowledge and practical experience in this vocation. Most states now require professional training as a prerequisite for a certificate to teach.”

A student wishing to teach in 1942 would have to take courses such as: Intro to teaching/ history of education/ educational sociology/ educational psychology/ vocational and educational guidance/ classroom management/ principles of teaching in secondary schools/ principles of secondary education/ adolescent psychology/ mental hygiene/ educational statistics/

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