'Teacher training consists in the provision of
opportunities for a prospective teacher to acquire the
requisite body of knowledge, the professional attitudes,
the teaching skills, and capabilities for future growth,
which are demanded by the specific requirements of the
position to be filled.' This definition of teacher training
has been accepted for this study because it implies specialization. It suggests that the teacher of industrial classes
needs to have knowledge, attitudes, and skills which are
particularly necessary for teaching that type of class. The
teacher of exceptional children will need to have opportunity
to acquire other knowledge, attitudes and skills.
The problems selected for study are diverse. There will
be an attempt to study the adequacy of teacher training in
certain countries to meet these problems. The general purpose of the study, then, is to observe, analyze, and interpret teacher training practices and policies that are related
to the following problems: (1) Industrial Education
(2) Education of Exceptional Children (3) Agricultural and
Rural Education (4) Cultural Education (5) Religious
Education (6) Education for Homemaking and Family Life.
It is evident from the variety of the problems that all types
of institutions for the training of teachers will be studied.
The five areas, the United States, Ontario, France,
Scotland, and Germany were selected for the following reasons:
(1) The educational systems are varied (2) They were affected
in different ways by the Great War (3) The problems are
accepted in various degrees of importance in the different
countries (4) The writer has observed the teacher training
practices of Scotland, France and Germany in 1930 aid again in
1935 for a more definite opinion of the trends.
Although comparison will be made of conditions during the
last ten years, at times, statistics will be quoted which
include the years 1920 -24. If the time -year period which has
been chosen has not been the most progressive in educational
history, it has, perhaps, been subjected to the most extreme
economic conditions in the history of the countries of study.
The writer is aware of many difficulties. One of these is
that teacher training does not begin nor does it and in a
teacher training college. The candidate for the profession
is a product of a primary or secondary school system. He is
thrust into a world of professional change. Before and after
his formal preparation period, he is a part of the system.
Throughout his educational career, there are 'out -of- school'
influences that affect his teaching. While all this may be
granted, to try to judge the extent to which the training
colleges have advanced, relative to educational and professional
changes may serve a useful purpose. Do the training colleges
supplement or deter life experiences in the teacher's quest
for knowledge, attitudes and skills? A specific instance
of this would be the relation between the Normal School of
France and the apprenticeship system.
The diversity of systems in certain countries makes
comparison difficult. In the United States there may be
forty -eight or forty -nine answers to each problem, as many
indeed as there are states. Even in a single state, although
there is state certification of teachers, local training
colleges and those under State control vary in purpose, method
and accomplishment. The Ontario study is not so difficult,
because of the centralization of authority and administration.
France also has a centrally organized system; yet its training
colleges, although called Normal Schools, like those in Ontario,
are peculiarly French. The National Committee for the Training of Teachers directs training colleges in Scotland (a body
not found in the other systems studied). Thus the principal
object of enquiry is to assess the importance of training
colleges, in spite of varied administrative control and the
variety of types, for the solution of certain national
educational problems. A second object is to assess other
national and geographic agencies which influence the training
The difficulty of making quantitative comparison makes
certain phases of such a study seem isolated. For example
it is difficult to compare provision for instruction in
Religious Knowledge in various countries. The subject
appears on Training College programmes in Scotland and is
excluded from the greater number in the United States. Also,
the number of hours devoted to music is greater in Germany
than the number provided for training in this subject in
Ontario, but the attitudes of the two authorities concerned
are dissimilar. Certain statistical comparisons that
seemed possible at first had to be discarded as the problems
of the study were too varied to make the comparisons.
Realizing the many difficulties, the writer will
attempt to analyze the problems separaruely for each country
to discover their relation to the system of education and to
learn the extent and nature of the training of teachers to
meet the problem. An opinion of the adequacy of this
training will be added.