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At Hays the equipment both in home economics and basic chemistry courses is quite inadequate. The home economics staff consists of two instructors and is consequently not sufficiently specialized for the best work. The curriculum contains 24 hours of work in home economics and is of weak character, although this amount is more than two instructors should be expected to carry. There is indeed at the institution no considerable interest in home economics; so that during the second semester of the year just closed there were but 21 young women majoring in the department.
In view of the general situation in home economics instruction at the normal schools, the commission recommends that only the Pittsburg Normal School be authorized to continue a four-year curriculum in that field. It seems certain that the interests of the State would be much better served if only the first two years in the four-year curriculum were given at Hays and Emporia. Students who finish these first two years would then be able to proceed to Manhattan, Lawrence, or Pittsburg for the remaining two years.
The commission assumes that the Pittsburg Normal School, the same as the State university, should confine its home economics activities to the training of teachers and to general cultural courses. The agricultural college at Manhattan is well able to supply all other demands in connection with professional home economics work.
Exactly similar conditions to those in home economics exist with respect to the preparation of teachers of manual training and trades and industries. The equipment at Pittsburg is so superior to that at the other normal schools as to give that institution a clear advantage in that field. Last year, 1921–22, there were 64 students majoring in this field at the Pittsburg Normal School. When this condition is considered in connection with the equipment at the agricultural college and the university there seems good reason to doubt whether manual-training courses at Hays and Emporia should exist for any but service purposes.
The training of teachers in other vocational fields at the normal schools the commission feels should, for the most part, be confined to not more than the first two years of work. Such, for example, should be true of the preparation of drawing teachers and physicaltraining teachers. On account of its excellent equipment an exception might be made in favor of Kansas State Normal School respecting physical-training teachers. Only the university is in a position to train teachers of commercial subjects in a four-year curriculum of high grade. Arrangements should be made to do so at once.
As has already been indicated, the commission is aware of the great social service which can be rendered through music at all of the higher institutions, and it commends the lively interest which has been taken in this form of culture at the normal schools as well as at the university
and the agricultural college. In this field as well as many others, however, there is considerable danger that departments may not make their first obligation the training of teachers for the public schools, and the developing of a widespread appreciation of music among students who are majoring in other fields. The preparation of professional specialists in various forms of music is, as has already been stated, the obligation of the State university. It seems to the commission, therefore, that the degree of bachelor of music should be abandoned at the normal schools and the same degree, bachelor of science in education, granted for a major in this field, as for other teacher training majors.
THE TRAINING SCHOOLS.
The training schools at a teacher training institution are the very life center of the institution. They are as essential to the full development of a prospective teacher as a laboratory is to a budding chemist. It is a well-known fact that a student may master the subject matter of his prospective teaching work, and yet, on account of his unfamiliarity with the method of imparting it to others, be relatively an unprepared teacher. It is therefore essential that students who are in training for the teaching profession should have ample opportunities to practice the art of teaching under the careful supervision of experienced masters of teaching.
The securing of adequate opportunities for practice teaching has been one of the most difficult of modern normal school problems. It has sometimes been possible to make arrangements for students to do practice teaching and observation work in local public school systems. This arrangement has seldom been satisfactory to the normal schools, however, because often the local school authorities refuse to yield complete supervision and control of the practice teachers' work, which of course is one of the chief objects in view.
For this reason it has usually been necessary for normal schools to construct training schools. These training schools form one of the largest items of expense at a normal school, but they are none the less desirable and necessary.
Fortunately, at Hays a happy arrangement has been made with the local authorities whereby the town turns over to the normal school the public schools for practice and observation purposes. In other words, the town pays the expense of buildings and the salaries of teachers. On the other hand, the normal school supplies a superintendent and all supervisors of teachers' work and nominates the regular teachers in the schools. This arrangement is highly satisfactory for the teacher-training purposes, and the commission congratulates the school on so desirable an arrangement.
At Kansas State Normal School there is one good-sized building devoted to the elementary training school. High-school classes are
scattered in the several buildings in order that teachers may avail themselves of the laboratories for biology, physics, home economics, agriculture, and manual training.
At Pittsburg there is no training school building even for the elementary school which is housed in one wing of the first floor of the main building. The senior high-school classes are scattered all over the campus in order that students may be accommodated in the shops and laboratories as at Kansas State Normal School.
These inadequate building and equipment facilities for high-school work at Pittsburg and Emporia, and even for elementary school work at Pittsburg, are among the chief deficiencies at these institutions. The commission is convinced that training school buildings and equipment are among the greatest needs of these two institutions.
It is assumed, of course, that all the faculty of a normal school, whether in subject matter or professional department, are vitally interested not only in teaching students subject matter, but in suggesting to them continually desirable means and methods of imparting this knowledge to others who in turn become their students. This opportunity the commission believes to be the peculiar advantage which a normal school has over other institutions with so great a variety of students and interests. It is for this reason that the commission looks jealously on the introduction of extraneous interests at the normal schools which may in any manner detract the faculty from the single but all important function of training teachers.
Nevertheless, particularly in normal schools which train both elementary and secondary school teachers, it is necessary to organize the training schools in order to secure maximum efficiency. The practice teacher, of course, has the double task of selecting and using her subject matter wisely and correctly and also of imparting the lesson content to her students in the most effective and approved professional manner. Obviously, the practice teacher needs supervision from both points of view, and it is therefore desirable that supervising or critic teachers should not only be thoroughly acquainted with the general principles and methods of good teaching but that they should also be specialists in the subject or subjects which they attempt to supervise, particularly in high-school work. An ideal arrangement, therefore, would be to have in the department of education a sufficient number of full-time specialists to supervise all the practice teaching. Naturally, these specialists should maintain close contact with the respective subject-matter departments, but effective teacher training calls for placing responsibility on the professional department to see that the principles and theories of teacher training are carried out in the practice teacher's classroom.
In a normal school which concentrates on its function of teacher training there need be no subdivision of the faculty for administrative purposes, except into departments. Usually it is feasible and desirable to reduce the number of departments to a small number in order that a large proportion of the faculty may be free from administrative details. In general, the normal schools in Kansas have a larger number of departments than seem necessary, and particularly is this true respecting the professional work in education. At Hays there is a department of education which supervises the training school. There is also a department of rural education, which is largely engaged in promotional and extension work. At the Kansas State Normal School there are the departments of school administration, rural-school administration, and the teacher-training system which includes teachers who teach courses in methods and supervise practice teaching in the training schools. At Pittsburg there are departments of education, rural education, and methodology.
The division of the professional work at Hays between the two departments seems in no way to interfere with effective work because the department of rural education is, as has been stated, primarily interested in promoting the consolidation of rural schools. At Emporia also the division is of such a nature as not to complicate the situation. At Pittsburg, on the other hand, there is the anomalous situation of a department of methodology, apart from the department of education, in which are located the critic teachers for the elementary grades and the junior high school. In other words, the courses in methods of teaching are given in a different department from that in which the principles of education are taught and by a member of the faculty who has no relation with the critic teachers and no way of seeing that the practice teachers carry out the lessons they receive in methods classes. A far better way, it appears to the commission, would be to have the teacher of methods a member of the department of education and under the head of that department. In this way there would be better assurance of proper coordination between principles and methods and closer relationship between the methods instructor and the critic and practice teachers.
At Pittsburg, also, the number of full-time supervising teachers seemed quite inadequate. There are one for the kindergarten, four for the first six grades, a principal and three supervisors in the junior high school, and a principal of the senior high school, with no fulltime supervisors. At Emporia, on the other hand, there is in the kindergarten a head supervisor and one additional supervisor, a head professor of primary education and four supervisors of primary grades, a head of the intermediate grades and four additional supervisors, a principal of the junior division of the high school and three additional supervisors, a principal of the senior division of the high school with one full-time teacher of English. Over all there is a director of teacher training.
At both Pittsburg and Emporia practically all the supervising of practice teaching in the senior high school is done by persons who are members of the respective subject-matter departments of the normal school. This arrangement has been resorted to because a fulltime supervisor in each subject is scarcely necessary and also because the training-school students are compelled to use the same shops and laboratories that the regular normal-school students use. At Emporia there is cooperation between the director of teacher training and the subject-matter departments in the choice of the supervisor and in the direction of his supervisory work. At Pittsburg, however, the director of the senior high school, who is in the department of education, has nothing to do with the selection of the supervisors for the senior high-school work and nothing to do with the direction of their work. These matters, as well as the enforcement of practice teaching, are entirely in the hands of the subject-matter department. The supervising teachers in the junior high school are responsible to the director of that school who is in the department of education. The head of this department directs the work of the supervising teachers in the primary and intermediate grades.
The lack of an effective organization for the practice teaching at Pittsburg, together with other insufficient facilities, is doubtless largely responsible for the failure to require practice teaching rigidly. For example, last year among the 83 degree graduates 5 were graduated with no practice teaching; 15, including 10 with credits for teaching experience, had less than three semester hours to their credit; and 10 had teaching experience only to their credit. Similarly, among the 217 who received life certificates, 37 had no practice teaching; 44, including 15 with credits for teaching experience, had less than three hours; and 9 offered experience only for credit in practice teaching. The commission is of the opinion that not only should there be a larger number of supervisors at the Pittsburg Normal School, but that the direction of their work should be much more centralized in a director of teacher training who is either in the department of education or who is the head of that department. A normal school, far from being niggardly in the number of trained supervising teachers and other teacher-training facilities, should seek to excel in this field, and no pains should be spared to insure the proper performance of the supervising function through adequate administrative organization.
In connection with the situation in the training schools it also seems desirable to call attention to the fact that in expanding into other fields of activity than teacher training the normal schools have neglected the subject matter of elementary-school subjects. Glancing