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DELAWARE STATE NORMAL UNIVERSITY.
The Delaware State Normal University was organized, November 19th, 1866, and incorporated, January 23d, 1867.
The necessity of a Seminary, or some institution “wherein students might receive a professional education which should peculiarly qualify them for instructing and disciplining youth, had attracted the attention of prominent friends of education in the State of Delaware before 1866. It was believed that the establishment of a Normal School would be the most efficient means for elevating the standard and increasing the usefulness of Common Schools.
As the school was to be commenced without any aid from the State, and to be dependent upon the voluntary patronage of the people, a subscription of more than twenty scholarships was secured before the school was opened. Besides the Normal School course, the institution provides for a business education in its Business Department, and has also a department in which teachers are prepared to take the charge of academies and high-schools, where the classics, modern languages and higher mathematics are taught.
In the report and catalogue of the school, there are given the names of the Board of Trustees, consisting of twenty-eight gentlemen representing different positions and avocations in life, a visiting committee of nine, and a faculty of five gentlemen employed as professors or instructors, and one lady, a teacher of music.
For admission to the Normal course, the candidate must be at least fourteen years of age, of good health and moral character, and be able to pass an examination in reading, spelling, penmanship, arithmetic, grammar and geography.
The course of study requires three years, and includes, besides the usual High School or academic branches, the following subjects:
School Government, Principles of Education, Theory and Practice of Teaching, School Economy, Mercantile Calculations, Commercial Rules, Double Entry and other forms of Book-keeping, Business Correspondence, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Conversational Lectures upon the methods in teaching each of the branches pursued.
The average annual expenses are for tuition, $54; text-books, $7,25; board, thirty-seven weeks, $188,75. Total, $200. For male students, from $200 to $240 for the year.
LOUISIANA STATE NORMAL SCHOOL.
The State Norval School of Louisiana was established by an act of the Legislature passed in 1858, and modified by subsequent enactments of 1859 and 1860. It was located in New Orleans, and organized in connection with the public schools of that city. Its first session opened in 1858, and the school was continued in successful operation till April, 1862.
The Legislature in 1860 appropriated ten thousand dollars to aid in the erection of a suitable building; a similar appropriation was made the same year and for the same purpose by the common council of the city. Of these sums ten thousand dollars was received, five thousand dollars from the State and the same amount from the city for the building, when the work was stopped.
A memorial was addressed to the Legislature in 1867, asking for a new appropriation for its re-organization and support.
The school was under the charge and supervision of a Board of Direct. ors that visited it, examined the classes, and reported annually to the State Superintendent of Public Education. It numbered more than one hundred on its register in daily attendance, and the interest in the school was annually increasing up to the time of its suspension.
It has recently been revived through the voluntary efforts of the State Superintendent and a few zealous teachers who have given their time and services to the instruction and training of the students assembled. One hundred and forty were in attendance in February, (1868). Normal classes have also been organized in some of the best schools and colleges in the State.
CITY NORMAL SCHOOL
AT ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI.
HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION.
The St. Louis Normal School was opened in October, 1857, and placed under the charge of Richard Edwards, LL. D., now President of the Illinois Normal University. It continued under his superintendence as a distinct and separate school till the close of the year 1861, when the Board of Education, finding themselves in circumstances of great financial embarrassment, were obliged to effect a reduction in the expenses of the schools. For this reason, the Normal School was temporarily made a department of the High School, and Mr. Edwards became Principal of both, entering upon his duties as such in January, 1862. In March of the same year, Mr. Edwards resigned to take charge of the Iilinois State Normal University. Mr. Thomas Metcalf then took charge of both schools till September, 1862, when they were again separated, and the Normal School was placed under the charge of one of its graduates, till January, 1863, when its present accomplished Principal, Miss Anna E. Brackett, was installed over the school.
This school is intended for the training of persons of both sexes who desire to become teachers in the public schools of the city.
The school is under the immediate supervision of a sub-committee appointed by the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Public Schools. This committee visit the Normal School, note the methods of discipline and instruction, and report at the close of each quarter, the condition and prospects of the school. The present faculty of the school consists of one Principal and two assistants, all ladies, and two part-time teachers for music and drawing.
ADMISSION OF STUDENTS.
All persons who have graduated at the High School, and other persons, residents of St. Louis, of the age of sixteen years and upwards, who pass an examination satisfactorily, in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, geography, arithmetic, algebra, history of the United States, and music, may be admitted to the school on subscribing a declaration, declaring their intention to devote themselves to the business of teaching in the public schools of St. Louis for at least two years; and pledging themselves to continue in the Normal School for at least one year.
COURSE OF STUDY.
The course of study requires two years.
For the first or junior year, the studies are arithmetic, including mental and written; geography, physical and political, with topography and the construction of maps; English grammar, composition, vocal music, drawing and penmanship, physiology, spelling and reading, with modes of teaching all.
For the second or senior year, the studies are algebra, composition, vocal music, drawing and writing, with modes of teaching these; geometry, mental philosophy, natural philosophy, history of English literature, theory and art of teaching, with teaching exercises before the whole school.
Calisthenic exercises form a part of each day's work through the course.
The members of the senior class give object-lessons to primary classes from the primary school in the same building. They also obtain practice in teaching and governing, by supplying vacancies in the public schools of the city, and reporting the work done, ou their return, for discussion by the class.
The general character of the work of the Normal School may be inferred from the following extract from the last report of the Principal:
The Normal School presents this year a graduating class of 26, with the average age of 19 9.12. The junior class numbers 29, with the average age of 18 9-12, making the whole number 55, with an average age of 19 3-12. The whole number of pupils connected with the School during the year has been 79; the largest number at any one time, 68; the average number belonging. 56.
It is hoped and believed that the Board will find in the graduating class of this year faithful and efficient teachers, ready to help on the Schools of St. Louis to a higher and better standpoint than they have ever occupied. It has perer been claimed by the friends of Normal Schools, that every graduate is a better teacher than any one who has not had special training; but simply that there is need of special training, and that a person with its advantages, will make a far better teacher than the same person without it.
It is self-evident that the only object in establishing and sustaining a Normal School, is that the public schools may be self-supporting and improved in standard: that is, that St. Louis need not be obliged to send for teachers from other cities and States, and that the schools may grow every year better. Its object thus exists outside of itself to a greater extent than that of any other school, and every thing in its studies and management must be made to subserve this object. Its teachers should be acquainted with the wants of the city schools, with the excellences and failures of their teachers, and should bend all their energies to the cultivation of those excellences and the prevention of those failures in their pupils.
Having then this special end in view, its training and management must essentially differ, in many particulars, from those of any other schools. No other can take its place or do its work, any more than a medical school can teach law, or a theological seminary, medicine. We are required not only to cultivate all womanly qualities, and to develop mental, moral, and physical powers, but beyond this, to call out and train certain qualities of mind indis. pensable to a good teacher; and regulations and methods are needed for this end, which would be out of place in a High or Grammar School.
The great difficulty which we meet on the threshold of our undertaking, is the general low estimate of the qualifications necessary for a teacher. Judging from daily experience, it would seem as if a large number of persons believed that all which was really necessary to secure one an appointment as a teacher of children, is the attainment of the sixteenth year, and the ability to answer correctly perhaps fifty per cent. of simple questions on the common English branches. For any other business they concede that there must be some train. ing, some apprenticeship; but "anybody" can teach. Do we want our St. Louis schools to be taught by “anybody?" Do we want them to stand still or to improve? Shall we trust the training of the children to those who have never had a thought on what is necessary for that training, who know nothing of methods, who have had no opportunity to profit by the experience of others, and whose only object in applying for a situation as teacher, is drawing, I will not say earning, the salary attached thereto? or shall we do what in us lies to mature those minds, to develop them, to give them the results of the work of other teachers in the form of correct principles, on which they may base their daily work, some idea of its importance, and withal a love for it? There are some who have a special talent for teaching, we grant; but even a Raphael must learn the rules, and principles, and methods of painting, these being, in the same way, only the generalized experience of all who have preceded him.
If we desire our schools to be really good, we must have really good teachers, and no amount of special training is too much to fit them properly for their work. We do not trust an inexperienced blacksmith to shoe our horses' feet, and yet are willing to trust the education of our children's minds to anybody who happens to need the salary. Against this low estimate of the necessary qualifications all teachers of Normal Schools must protest, and to mature and develop those who are under their charge, to give higher and truer views of the responsibilities of their position, they work day by day and hour by hour.
The teachers must consider always three things: first, scholarship; second, moral character; and third, aptness to teach.
Of these qualifications we must judge. And when to these questions, which are to be decided concerning every graduate, we add the doubt as to whether she can govern her school, which we can best solve by discovering whether she can govern herself, the difficulties which are our daily work may be understood. We have comparatively a short time. Two years is not long to touch all these different springs, with many others, of which we have here no time to speak. In so far as we can decide by all the tests in our power, we do so. Often, too, the decided strength of some one or two of these qualifications may fully make amends for the want of others; for example, a decided aptness to teach may more than balance a want of book scholarship.
These tests should be applied more rigorously each year, so that our standard may be rising. Where there has been found, after careful consideration, any hopeless want, by the direction of the Teachers' Committee, members of the school have been advised to leave, and to give up the idea of teaching, and have done so; while others have been obliged to review their junior year, and thereby to extend their course to three years. While we regret the pain and disappointment to the individuals, simple justice to the school and to the interests of the city schools, demands this course.
The Normal School can not always fully act up to its standard, because we do not start with as good material as we should have. If we could begin with cultured and matured minds, we could present far better results.
As the students are principally from the city, most of them board at home, and no arrangements for board are made by the institution.
The diploma given to graduates of the school entitles them to an appointment as teachers of the public schools of the city without further examination.
The number of students the last year was sixty-five.