My Back Pages
Frontiers in Education (1946)
Those looking for perspective on the current debate over the best way to prepare new teachers will enjoy the entire November 1946 issue of Educational Leadership on the theme "Frontiers in Education."
Read the issue: "Frontiers in Education" (1946)
Among the case studies of notable programs and black-and-white photo montages with titles like "Adventures in Pre-Service," one piece that stands out is "Teacher Education Needs Renovating," a passionate editorial from New York University professor Samuel J. McLaughlin.
Although the piece contains many suggestions for reform, McLaughin most ardently argues that teacher education must encourage more contact with a broad swath of society and, in particular, with children: "Ample opportunity must be provided in the pre-service education of teachers for them to have wide experience in community living, rubbing elbows with the rank-and-file and contacting real socioeconomic problems."
He decries the limited contact in many programs, usually consisting of some student teaching, and cites the work of Cornell College, at which he previously worked, involving pre-service teachers in summer activities such as camp counseling and recreational centers.
McLaughlin fears that without reform, "schools will be staffed principally with the dull, uncreative individuals who lack social vision." Yet, his passion for developing well-rounded teachers as the means of developing well-rounded students leaves the reader with a measure of optimism. What, one wonders, would McLaughlin make of today's teacher education system?
In "My Back Pages," we look at important issues through the historical lens of the Educational Leadership archives. ASCD members can access EL issues from 1943 to the present by logging in.
David Snyder is a reference librarian in ASCD's Information Resource Center.
ASCD Express, Vol. 7, No. 10. Copyright 2012 by ASCD. All rights reserved. Visit www.ascd.org/ascdexpress.