Page Twelve ’31 YEAR BOOK On Normal School The vagueness of the title may be a presentiment of what follows. But at least, it gives so wide a scope as to forestall the accusations of discursiveness. This is merely a candid state¬ ment of what the writer thinks of Normal School as education in the broadest sense. And, Elam-like, 1 do not care to recognize the orthodox limitations of the best essay usages. Sated with High School’s fact knowledge, I first looked for contrasts between Normal School and the carking cares just over and I found many. Here the objective of learning and the justification of assignments are made equally apparent. Before, the mere existence of a course on the Programme of Studies was the only motivation we had. We took binominal theorem and all the irregular verbs to finish the more quickly as the complete and final products of those Punch-and-Judy factories, our High Schools. How different now. The use of everything, however humbling it may seem, is made reasonable by our patient Instructors. “May their tribe increase!” And again, in discipline the difference is apparent. Imposed restrictions have given place to a code of self-control, subject to a super control, a control intangible enough to bear every semblance to perfect freedom. Not only is this system much the preferable but it has been undoubtedly successful and I attri¬ bute this success largely to our Principal—witty yet earnest, kindly yet vigilant, scholarly yet magnetic. He makes us want to do the thing we ought to do. The last of the important contrasts is the “Dutch Uncle” custom here. I mean the relegation of each of us to be the especial interest of one particular Instructor, whom we are at liberty to burden with our maladjustments, failings, transgres¬ sions and so on. I think this humanizes any school, a human¬ izing so sadly lacking in high school. It gives a kinship between Instructor and student that helps one to “scorn delights and live laborious days” in the struggle towards pedagogical perfection. Parenthetically ' , I have not intended any undue criticism of our high school teachers. The shortcomings are perhaps due to causes beyond their control. But to go on, Normal School is in itself unique among edu¬ cational institutions. It not only gives us a profession (the utilitarian in education) but it means liberal development (the cultural in education) and is therefore a golden mean between two extremes. In no other school may a student receive special¬ ized training with mental enrichment, not even at University. And so we are led back to Normal School as the source of every good and perfect gift. Now supposing we were not going to teach; I still extol Normal training. Some of its uses are obvious. The successful have a means of living and these are times of uncertainty. But this is mercenary. I can see definite value in every course here. Our interest in and understanding of human nature (with which we must deal in whatever walk of life) are quickened and de¬ veloped by Psychology and Practice Teaching. The present is ex¬ plained and made meaningful by History, Geography and History of Education. A method of studying and appreciating Literature, as well as one of teaching it, is given by our English. Our “awareness” is heightened by Natural History ' . Health is made vital by Hygiene and Physical Education. Even that depressing trivium of Art, Penmanship and Music are educative humilia¬ tions. Lastly, Primary Methods should make us the better par¬ ents, if ever, in dealing with the child—“Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie thy soul’s immensity.” All this I believe Normal to be, culturally. I suppose it would be rather strange if I thought the system perfect. But I have only one criticism. The virtues of Normal training would be immeasurable if the course were two years instead of one. Forgetting the financial objections, it would have many advantages. Paramount among these would be the effect upon those contemplating entering Normal. They would prob¬ ably regard school teaching not as a means to an end (as so many do now) but as an end in itself, as a worthy career. These two years would impress tiie laity as serious preparation for serious work; not as the one year impresses now—short training for a remunerative position of about a year’s duration and then Law, Medicine, or something else. Then, only too often, I have heard an Instructor say, “But we haven’t the time. You should look into it however.” And this usually comes at a most interesting time. Not that I w’ant all my education by the spoon but I do wish there were lime to get more of the subjects I especially like. In conclusion, I offer, no summary, but only repeat these are as nearly unprejudiced opinions as I can write. I don’t regret coming to Normal School. MARK McCLUNG.
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