The Free lance. (State College, Pa.) 1887-1904, April 01, 1887, Image 6

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    to associate with those of like aims and aspira
tions, and above all to breathe a professional at
mosphere and live a life full of the spirit and
zeal that alone can give a promise of professional
The reason which ex-superintend
ent Wickersham places above all, viz:
“to breathe a professional atmosphere,
etc,” is one of the strongest arguments
that can be presented against the pres
ent plan. It is a notorious fact and one
admitted by men who have experienced
the evil, that Normal life really injures
a man seriously because he is led to be
lieve that there are no attainments be
yond and that his course of study has
embraced everything worth knowing.
Young people preparing for teachers
are all the better associating with per
sons securing training for other profes
sions. It enables them to measure their
capacity for development with those
who'like them are to do the work of the
world, and their preparation would tend
to be all the more securely and intelli
gently made under such circumstances.
Other writers follow Dr. Wickersham
with their opinions. Mr. McAllister,
Superintendent Phil’a city schools, and
Profs. James and Thompson, of the
Pennsylvania University, are among the
most prominent of these. While they
do not all agree in detail with the “new
plan” prepared by President Magill,
they do agree in pronouncing the Nor
mal school education inadequate and
the need of some more extensive train
ing for teachers. One of the strongest
and most convincing articles recently
written on this subject is by Prof. Groff,
of Bucknell University, Lewisburg.
Dr. Groff is himself a graduate of one of
the best Normal schools in the state,
and he speaks from personal experience
and observation. He also points out
some features of the law governing these
institutions which have done much to
ward rendering them inefficient, and
closes his suggestive article by affirming
that he agrees with Dr. Magill’s propo
sitions if he amends the third and fourth
as follows :
3. Every college in the state should have a
professor of Pedagogy.
4. Every school in the state should receive
,state aid in direct proportion to the number of
students it teaches."
So much has recently been written
that it is almost impossible to say any
thing new or suggestive. It is certainly
gratifying to see the drift of thought on
this subject among our leading educa
tors. They evidently express the senti
ment of all believers in a sound and
broad education when they demand for
all teachers, even of the most elementa
ry grades, a thorough, extensive course
of study. The common schools of our
state are not doing the work they
should or could do. They never will
until the teachers are better prepared—
I mean until they secure, themselves, a
broader and sounder education. With
all the effort to require teachers to un
derstand something of psychology,
theory of teaching and school manage-