The Free lance. (State College, Pa.) 1887-1904, April 01, 1887, Image 5

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FOR some time the educational pa
pers of Pennsylvania have been
calling attention to the Normal Schools
of the State, the character of their
work, their inability to give an educa
tion broad and extended enough to
meet the requirements of teachers at
the present time, etc., etc.
The interest awakened by the dis
cussion of this subject warrants its in
troduction in a College paper, and this
more especially, since it seems conceded
by all that the Colleges of the State
must take up the work of training
teachers for the common schools.
The ventilation of this whole sub
ject was begun by Dr. E. H. Magill,
President of Swarthmore College. He
believes that teachers require the same
careful and elaborate preparation for
their work that is required for entering
upon the other professions. He also
considers the courses of study in our
Normal Schools inadequate and partic
ularly deficient, because the attempt is
there made to train, in methods of in
struction, those who are not familiar
with the subjects to be taught; after
quite an elaborate statement of the de
ficiencies existing in the Normal School
system and practice he suggests what
is termed the “new plan.” This he
presents in six propositions :
i. Stop all appropriations to Normal
schools, and cancel the mortgages held against
these schools, as they were built by individuals
and corporations, on the faith of the state that
they would continue to be State institutions.
2, Open all Colleges in the state to men and
women on equal terms.
3. Establish professorships of pedagogics in
certain colleges (say ten or more) at the expense
of the state.
4. Give state aid to these colleges in pro
portion to the number of students in pedagogies
in each.
5. Require all preparing to teach to take
the course in pedagogies for say the last two
years of the college course.
6. Require a regular diploma, and the cer
tificate in pedagogics combined, for all to be
employed as teachers after a fixed date, say 189 s
pr 1900 ; and subject such to no further examina
This “new plan” of Dr. Magill’s
has been commented on by a number
of men more or less prominent in the
educational work of the state. First
among these is Dr. Wickersham, the
father of the present Normal School
system. He, of course, condemns the
“new plan” and endeavors to show that
the present system is not only an admi
rable one but perfectly adapted to the
needs of our teachers in every particu
lar. Among the most elaborate objec
tions he offers to Dr. Magill’s plan is
That lectures on theoretical pedagogics may
be delivered in a college with good results as a
department of instruction in psychology or meta
physics, but such a course supplies a very small
part of the preparation a teacher needs. It is fat
more important that he be allowed to sec the
best teaching, to teach himself under directions,