Imágenes de páginas

In planning the study it was decided to follow what we like to call the engineering method, that is, first to assemble all of the essential and relevant facts: to learn exactly where we stand, and to comprehend fully all of the conditions and limitations of our problems, as well as to arrive at an adequate understanding of the methods and agencies through which to arrive at their solution. In accordance with this principle the investigation was divided into a sequence of stages, and an estimated time requirement was set for the completion of each stage. These stages and time allotments are as follows: first, a period, estimated to require one college semester, was set aside for what may be termed a reconnaissance. During this period it was planned to visit a rather large number of the more important institutions; to confer with faculties, committees, and individuals; to appraise in a general way the work of the institutions; to learn what constituted the most pressing problems with which they were confronted; and finally, to estimate the effectiveness of the agencies, namely, the committees, through which the work would later be done. At the same time the interest of the colleges in the undertaking was aroused, and invitations to participate in it were extended. Second, a period of one year was devoted to a thorough analysis of all important phases of engineering education; to the assembling of the basic facts, not only those relating primarily to the colleges themselves, but also to the work of engineering graduates in industry and professional practice; to the relationships of engineering colleges and the professional bodies of engineers; and to other important aspects of the general problems of engineering education. This stage of the work was completed in the spring of 1925. Reports were then prepared which embody a considerable proportion of the results. The third stage, which has been in progress during the present college year, has been devoted to an analysis and interpretation of the facts gathered in the preceding stage. This study has been made by the faculty committees, general committees of the society, and by the headquarters staff. In this way the bearing of the evidence upon the purely local, as well as upon the general, situation has been studied. It may be remarked that it is in just this way that the cooperative method is of greatest value. It permits the institutions not only to contribute directly to the general result, but gives each of them a strong impetus to compare their own situation with the general one and thus to discover their strengths and weaknesses. During this third stage study has also been given to the preparation of recommendations and to the formulation of plans for those constructive measures which should follow as the outcome of the undertaking. The fourth and last stage will be launched at the annual meeting of the society about two weeks hence. It will be devoted to putting the plans for betterment into effect through concerted action by all of the colleges.

In addition to this division into stages, the investigation has been divided into five major groups of projects, as follows: first, studies of engineering curricula and methods of instruction; second, studies of the personnel of engineering education-students, teachers, and graduates; third, studies of the services,

facilities, and costs of engineering education; fourth, studies of relationships with the national engineering societies and with American industry; fifth, studies of engineering education in Europe. In each of these major divisions the work has been subdivided into a number of specific projects. Each project has been carried out according to a definite plan of procedure, and the work mapped out in considerable detail. Some of the projects were undertaken by all of the affiliated colleges. Some were undertaken, upon invitation, by a limited number. A few special studies were assigned to single faculty committees. A special group of studies was undertaken by the major engineering societies. All studies of the engineering curriculum were undertaken by the United States Bureau of Education. In most of the studies forms were prepared on which results could be submitted in a uniform manner, thus permitting comparisons and summaries. The plans for the various projects were made in consultation with general committees of the society; in fact, one such committee sponsored and supervised each division of the work. The committees were chosen so as to represent all types of engineering colleges, all sections of the country, and the various faculty ranks. Since there was such general representation of the colleges in the general committee memberships, the faculties themselves had no hesitation in carrying out the various projects. It may be worth while to indicate by one illustration how this plan has worked. In studying problems connected with teaching staffs it appeared desirable to learn quite accurately the financial status of our teachers. It will probably be appreciated that it is a rather delicate matter to attempt to obtain accurate information on personal incomes. Yet the attempt was made. In planning the study it seemed necessary to go to the teachers themselves for the information. Accordingly, all of the teachers in seventy-five representative institutions were asked to give confidential information regarding their academic salaries, their incomes from professional practice and from invested savings, length of teaching service, and other information. At the same time the college authorities were asked to supply figures on their salary scales. Over 80 per cent of all teachers from whom the information was asked gave the desired figures. Of the college authorities, not one refused the information. The result has been an accurate analysis of the financial status of our teaching staffs, and the mere publication of these facts is bringing about changes for the better. It has been possible to prepare recommended scales of salaries based upon actual facts instead of upon conjecture. This is but a single illustration, and the speaker would not give the impression that we have been concerned chiefly in this particular phase of the study.

In all of our studies we have been concerned with two principal problems: first, how to adjust our programs and methods to the needs and abilities of our students; and second, how best to supply the needs of industry and the profession for technically trained men. From the results of the investigation thus far, the speaker, at least, is convinced that we shall go a long way in the search for the best solutions of these problems.



Charles W. Hunt, Dean, School of Education, Cleveland

Professional training for teachers under this name covers a period of about one hundred years in the United States. The first normal school was founded in 1823. As far back, however, as 1756, Benjamin Franklin, whose remarkable genius faced in so many directions, saw the problem and helped to establish an academy of liberal training for various kinds of leadership and especially for those of the "lesser sort" who might be teachers. The undesirable distinction between teaching and the other professions still exists to a degree, but, fortunately for the profession and, I think, for the welfare of our institutions, the distinction is less deserved than it once was.

It is beyond the function of this paper to trace the development of higher standards, but it will be suggestive if we report the changes which have come about in one institution for teacher training in the last thirty years. In 1896 there were thirty graduate students in the Teachers College of Columbia University. In 1926 there were 2,471 graduate students. It is also significant that the undifferentiated curriculum of 1896 in this institution has evolved into thirty different lines of specialization in the catalogue for 1926. From an institution admitting students who had the desire to secure professional training it has now come to admit only graduate students, that is, with previous training of four years in the standard college. This is an extraordinary record of growth and improvement in standards in an institution which trains the leaders.

The experience in Cleveland is fairly typical of the country for training the rank and file. In 1875 a requirement of one year of professional training was set up in connection with a high school course. In 1900 the course was made two years, and this spring it was made three years. A separate training school for elementary school teachers had meanwhile been set up, with an elaborate plan for training teachers-in-service, and with higher salaries for higher levels of training.

Even in this country of rapid changes this is unusual. What are the reasons which lie back of these phenomena? It will readily be agreed that this development of standards in teacher training cannot be explained simply by referring to the mechanics of administering these institutions. The genius of the American people has placed its faith in the public school system. The development of this great democratic institution, tax supported, has created a demand for trained workers. The very magnitude of the organization has differentiated their work into many well-defined fields. The school superintendent, the school principal, the teacher of special subjects, the psychologist, and the visiting teacher are only a few of the headings which we have come to expect in a well-organized school system. All this indicates, in the first place, an economic basis for train

ing. The individual planning his career can look forward to a position which will at least modestly repay him for his expenditure of time and effort. It further indicates the pressure under which the schools of education have developed their standards in the last fifty years. The social pressure and the economic background have been especially favorable, therefore, for the development of professional standards. In view of our increasing interest in the control of human behavior this situation is likely to continue and make increasingly heavy demands upon our teacher training institutions.

This explanation of these changes would be superficial, however, were it not to include other aspects of the problem. In the last hundred years we have changed from the medieval and philosophical attack on our problem to a more modern and scientific method. The roots of this movement may be traced to Europe, and especially to Herbart, a German. Herbart taught that the mind can be systematically studied and scientifically described, and that in this study lay an empirical science comparable with the physical sciences. He it was who first made the comparison between reform through personal insight and reform with scientific controls. Wundt, following this lead, developed psychology as a science. Stanley Hall and Cattell were students who went from the United States to study with Wundt in Germany. Titchner, Münsterberg, and a host of others came to know the laboratory method under his direction. They brought the scientific attitude to the United States, and it soon found practical application in our school problems. To Edward L. Thorndike, a student of James and Cattell, we must ascribe the major portion of the credit for this application of scientific method to our school problems. Everything which exists, exists in some quantity and can be measured. Accurate measurement means control in directing human nature as well as in the direction of physical forces. This is the essence of his attack, and its influence has been felt in all phases of both teaching and administration in our school system.

Scientific research in the field of human behavior has developed a new psychology, a new teaching, a new supervision, and a new technique of school administration. The materials of instruction in the field of education have thus expanded enormously in the last thirty years. While the roots of this movement go back about a hundred years, it is only within the last thirty years that the movement has been accelerated. The difficulty now is that instruction in the professional field will become academic because of the feeling that all that has been learned by those engaged in research must be learned by those who are going to practice the profession. There is a new movement well defined to take out of this body of materials that which has a definite relationship to a given position.

This brings us to a second major influence in improving the quality of work required, namely, the organization of instruction around the specialized need in the field. One vice of the school teacher has been that he has always tended to formalize his instruction. The demand of a great public school organization



for efficient workers in given positions has forced schools of education to provide workers who are equipped with the specific skills and knowledges required to be superintendents of schools, high school principals, teachers of English in the junior high school, visiting teachers, specialists in measurement, and so on through the whole list. This tendency to professionalize and specialize the instruction has had a major influence upon the materials and methods of instruction. This, together with the influence of the scientific attack and the constant flow of new materials from research, has protected us from the vice of incrusted formalism. Using another terminology, job analysis, while in its infancy, has had a very large effect on the character of instruction in our professional schools.

The new scientific attack on school problems has attracted large bodies of students. This has enabled the schools to finance their program directly, and also indirectly. It has enabled the schools to raise their standards and eliminate the unfit. The higher forms of academic recognition and the increasing difficulty of the course have brought a superior type of student and have improved the morale in the leadership of the group. It is clear also that the more the position depends upon scientific knowledge, the more secure the tenure. The conditions under which the workers in the profession do their work, and the methods of training, inevitably have a great influence on the kind of workers who come into the profession.

I have purposely kept away from mechanical explanations for the improvement in standards of teacher-training. It seems clear, however, that some emphasis should be given to one point in administration. Schools of education have become increasingly independent groups in the university organizations. Where the professional group is responsible for its own curriculum and for its own financial program the progress has been marked. Where the education group has been subordinated to the traditional liberal arts program few changes have come about. It appears that a group of people who have a direct responsibility for producing effective field workers must be responsible for this field. Otherwise, professional progress is smothered by the vested interests of traditional academic instruction. Of the dangers to the professional group of divorcing its training entirely from the liberal training I could speak, but I have no reason to in this paper. The standard of training for field workers has been materially influenced by training-in-service. Supervision has brought the new materials to the teachers in their classrooms. Field courses have been set up in the local communities by professional schools. The summer sessions have been very largely attended-a stimulus to the student and to the teacher training groups as well.

The lessons to be learned from this, if we agree with this analysis, are these: first, to demand skilled and specialized workers for the field; second, to find the facts relating to the field through research; third, to organize the materials around the specialized job; fourth, to keep the worker everlastingly at the job of being better prepared for work.

« AnteriorContinuar »