THE POST-WAR TEACHERS COLLEGE PROGRAM FOR THE TRAINING OF SCIENCE TEACHERS

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<ul><li><p>THE POST-WAR TEACHERS COLLEGE PROGRAMFOR THE TRAINING OF SCIENCE TEACHERS</p><p>GERALD OSBORNWestern Michigan College of Education^ Kalamazoo, Michigan</p><p>This is part of a report presented before Dr. Grays TeacherCollege Conference at Chicago on May 4, 1943. Teachers Col-leges from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mis-souri, and Wisconsin are members of this conference. Since theprimary interest of the representatives at this conference wasteacher education, this report is devoted to the post-war trainingof science teachers.</p><p>In Michigan according to a report issued in 1934 by theCouncil of Teacher College Presidents, about 44% of the train-ing of Michigan High School teachers for the year 1931-1932was obtained in the four teachers colleges; 71% of the trainingof our elementary teachers was obtained in the same colleges.In the year 1939-1940 the state of Michigan1 certified 1361 highschool teachers, of which number SS9 or 43% were trained inMichigan teachers colleges. If poor science teaching is found inMichigan high schools, the teachers colleges must assume re-sponsibility for such a condition since they are the largest singleagent in the production of teachers. In 1932 Professor S. R.Powers2 was inclined to place much of the responsibility forpoor preparation of science teachers at the feet of the teacherscolleges. He especially pointed to the poor quality of teachercollege science faculties. He made an analysis of the training ofthe science faculties in the teachers colleges of certain states andfound that only 25% had attained the doctorate degree, while inthe state universities and recognized colleges of the same states62% of the science faculties had the doctorate degree. Thestates selected for this study included Arizona, Colorado, Ohio,Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. A more recent re-port3 states, "The teachers colleges are becoming better staffedancT more critical in their standards. . . . But, with all theseimprovements the beginning teacher of science or mathematicsis seldom adequately prepared for the kind of teaching he mustactually do."</p><p>1 Michigan State Department Report, Unpublished.2 "A Program for Teaching Science," Thirty-first Year-Book of the National Society/or the Study of</p><p>Education, pp. 325-344, 19323 Cooperative Committee oii Science Teaching, "The Preparation of High School Science Teachers,"</p><p>SCHOOL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS, 42, pp. 636-650, October 1942.</p><p>817</p></li><li><p>818SCHOOL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS</p><p>I think that we will all agree that teachers colleges, in orderto prepare good teachers of science, must meet the following re-quirements :</p><p>1. An adequately trained faculty.2. Adequate space in the form of well-planned lecture rooms</p><p>and well-equipped laboratories.3. Careful selection of candidates for such training.4. Well organized curriculum for the training of science</p><p>teachers.</p><p>To be sure, other requirements could be added such as adequateplacement facilities, suitable system of follow-up (in-servicetraining), etc. Let us apply the above criteria to thirteen of thefifteen teachers colleges represented at this conference.As a result of a questionnaire sent to the participating col-</p><p>leges, the data given in the table were obtained. Two of thefifteen colleges failed to answer the questionnaire.</p><p>PRESENT STATUS or SCIENCE FACULTIES IN THIRTEENMIDWESTERN TEACHERS COLLEGES AS or</p><p>JULY 1, 1942</p><p>School</p><p>1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.</p><p>10.11.12.13.14.15.</p><p>Total</p><p>Tot.. Sci.Fac.</p><p>2i157</p><p>12249</p><p>111022</p><p>456</p><p>10</p><p>156</p><p>No. inTr. Sch.</p><p>120031301</p><p>010</p><p>1</p><p>13</p><p>No. of Ph.D. Teach.Sci. Spec.</p><p>121237</p><p>116879</p><p>324</p><p>5</p><p>89</p><p>Ed. Spec.</p><p>1 .00000000</p><p>000</p><p>1</p><p>2</p><p>Members on Leave</p><p>Military</p><p>310111003 </p><p>012</p><p>0</p><p>13</p><p>Other</p><p>400010101</p><p>3?00</p><p> 0</p><p>10</p><p>PercentPh.D. 58.3%</p><p>There are a total of 156 teachers of science on these facultiesand 91 or 58.3% hold the Ph.D. degree. Two of these specialized</p></li><li><p>POST-WAR TRAINING OF TEACHERS 819</p><p>in education; all the rest have specialized in some field of science.In the main, I would say that the college presidents of thesethirteen teachers colleges have science faculties far superior tothe ones described by Dr. Powers in 1932. True, the doctoratedegree is not necessarilythe criterion of a good teacher. We can allcite illustrations to prove this point. However, it does indicatethat the science faculties are well groundedintheirsubjectmatter.Let us now consider the second criterion^ namely, the matter</p><p>of adequate space. Some states have done better in this respectthan others. I envy science teachers in some of the teachers col-leges in Illinois. Normal University at Normal, Illinois has arecently built scierice building which seemed most adequate tome when I visited it two summers ago. I understand that therehave been provided excellent modern science buildings atCharleston, Carbondale, and DeKalb. The school at Macombdoes not seem to have fared so well. The four teachers collegesof Michigan hav^ not fared so well either. I am sure that thepresidents of these schools would agree that the science depart-ments of all four schools are inadequately housed. The pasttwenty years have seen these four schools go from two-year nor-mal schools to four-year teachers colleges and in every case thescience classes are still housed in the same old cramped quarters.The Michigan State Normal College at Ypsilanti is in theprocess of building an annex. In one of our Michigan cities arelocated a private liberal arts college and a state teachers college.The liberal arts college had. in 1940 an enrollment of 400 stu-dents arid the teachers cdllege had an enrollment of over 2600.The liberal arts college had devoted to chemistry, in a buildingbuilt in 1927, 18,000 square feet; the teachers college had atotal of little over 5000 square feet. To be sure, a larger per-centage of the students of the liberal arts college were takingchemistry; that year, 200 students were in the chemistry depart-ment of the liberal arts college while the teachers college had alittle over 400 students enrolled in chemistry. The above is notan isolated case. Why do I make so much of this point? For thisreason: after the war is over, beyond a doubt, enrollment inteachers colleges will take a big jump. The impetus given to thestudy of physics, geography, and other phases of science willgreatly strain the present science building facilities of some ofthe teachers colleges of this region.</p><p>Going now to the third criterion, recently Dr. Ralph W. Tyior4* Tyier, Ralph W. "Trends in the Preparation of Teachers," TheScUool Review, 51, pp. 207-212,</p><p>April 1943.</p></li><li><p>820 SCHOOL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS</p><p>of the University of Chicago called attention to the need ofbetter selection of teacher candidates. Too often students enterthe teachers colleges to take pre-professional work and laterwhen they find that they have done too poor a grade of work foradmission to a professional school, they stay on in the teacherscolleges and in some cases are permitted to prepare to teachscience. They are not suitable material for the medical profes-sion or for the law, and yet they become teachers of our boys andgirls. It would seem that not later than the beginning of thejunior year, some selective system should weed out all undesir-able candidates for the teacher training courses. Not havingdone work in this field, I hesitate to suggest any mechanism forthe purpose. However, it would seem that such a system musttake into account the complete individual; scholarship aloneshould not be the hurdle. The medical profession makes use ofpersonal interviews, aptitude tests, and recommendations ofprevious teachers of the candidate.We now come to a very important part of our report, the cur-</p><p>riculum. The present program for the training of high schoolscience teachers too often follows one of the following undesir-able plans:3</p><p>1. A student takes a smattering of courses in the variousfields of science and never gets beyond one year of work inany of the fields.</p><p>2. A student becomes interested in one science field and ispermitted to pyramid in that field to the exclusion ofother fields of science.</p><p>The departmental system is probably the main contribut-ing factor to the second undesirable plan. An over-zealousdepartmental head of chemistry, for example, permits a studentto take 40 semester hours of chemistry without taking any workin biology or the earth sciences. When this student first goes outto teach, he will probably have to teach in a small high school,acting as instructor for all of the science courses, along withsome courses in mathematics. Since this is true, the teacherscolleges should give the student a program which will trainhim to be a high school science teacher rather than a programfor special subject fields such as biology, chemistry, or physics.For this purpose some plan of divisional organization within theteachers colleges is needed. Questionnaire answers indicate that</p></li><li><p>POST-WAR TRAINING OF TEACHERS 821</p><p>some of the 15 teachers colleges of the conference are so organ-ized. Do not let me be misunderstood; I feel that, in the largercolleges, departments are necessary, but over the departmentsthere should be a divisional director or divisional committee.The idea here expressed is not that we should become universitieswith separate schools.</p><p>After having carefully considered the recommendations ofthe Cooperative Committee of Science Teaching,3 various re-ports of the National Committee on Science Teaching,5 and astudy developed at Syracuse University,6 the following conclu-sions can be drawn:</p><p>1. An adequate curriculum for the training of science teachersmust meet at the same time the need for depth andbreadth of training.</p><p>2. The semester hours devoted to science courses must totalbetween 52 and 60.</p><p>3. The science teacher must have taken additional courses infields of social sciences and the humanities and arts, alongwith required work in education.</p><p>The report of one of the sub-committees of the National Com-mittee5 would require 12 semester hours of functional socialstudies, 12 semester hours of functional arts and humanities,and 24 semester hours of education, methods work and directedteaching. This report justifies this requirement by further stat-ing that the well-trained science teacher</p><p>(a) should take an active part in community life,(b) should appreciate the evolutionary nature of American</p><p>democracy and not accept without question a mode ofliving just because it exists today,</p><p>(c) should learn the scientific method by practicing it. Heshould examine what people actually do when engaged inscientific research. He must learn to find problems insituations and find ways of solving them. For example,if the high school teacher be employed in an agricultural</p><p>6 National Committee on Science Teaching(a) "Science Teaching for Better Living"(b) "Redirecting Science Teaching in the Light of Personal-Social Needs"(c) The Education of the Science Teacher"</p><p>Pamphlet reports sponsored by the American Council of Science Teachers, N.E.A. 1942.6 American Council on Education, "A Fundamental Program of Teacher Education," pp. 160-182.</p><p>Published by the American Council on Education in 1941.</p></li><li><p>822 SCHOOL SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS</p><p>region of Kansas where soil erosion is a problem, he shouldtake an active part in helping the community to solve theproblem. Furthermore, he should be trained to cope withcontroversial issues such as racial prejudice, sex educa-tion, and evolution.</p><p>Let us now consider just what use should be made of the 52to 60 semester hours in science. At least four fields of sciencemust be considered:</p><p>1. Biological sciences2. Chemistry3. Physics4. Earth Sciences</p><p>The following requirements would be in keeping with the morerecent reports mentioned above:</p><p>1. One major of 20-24 semester hours in one of the abovefields.</p><p>2. Two minors of 12-16 semester hours each from two of theother fields.</p><p>3. In addition, certain requirements in mathematics shouldbe made depending upon the high school background andalso upon the major field selected.</p><p>4. Professional orientation and philosophy of science teach-ing, 4-6 semester hours. This requirement would be apart of the 24 semester hours required in education. Prac-tice in organizing science subject matter fields along theline of functional areas would be stressed. Such functionalareas as the human life span, conservation, maintenanceof personal and public health, and the nature of the earthand the universe are good examples.</p><p>The above program for post-war training of science teacherswould not offer too much opportunity for free electives. How-ever, within the various fields of requirement there would beopportunity for choice.The matter of the post-war science program of teachers col-</p><p>leges in its relationship to the training of elementary teachersshould be given consideration. The present writer is not anauthority in this field. Recent articles, the present questionnairestudy, and conferences with experts in this field seem to in-dicate:</p></li><li><p>POST-WAR TRAINING OF TEACHERS 823</p><p>1. Too little has been done in this field.2. Since departmental teaching is not encouraged in the ele-</p><p>mentary field, each elementary teacher should have somevery definite experience in science work.</p><p>3. The subject content78 of science for the elementary schoolshould be a broad program of elementary science ratherthan nothing but nature study.</p><p>If the above statements are true, it would seem that broadsurvey courses in the physical sciences and in the biologicalsciences accompanied with some selected laboratory workwould be the desired courses that should be required of all ele-mentary teachers. One of the colleges of this conference reportedas a recent change in the training of elementary teachers, theminimum requirement of four quarter hours from each majorfield of science.Two of the colleges of this conference reported that for the</p><p>elementary teacher they were placing much greater stress onthe contributions of science to agriculture and to health.As scientific problems of the present war have arisen, the</p><p>scientists have met them. I refer to the large-scale productionof synthetic rubber, magnesium, 100-octane aviation gasoline,and similar achievements. Likewise, I am confident that theteachers within the science departments of the teachers collegeswill be able to solve the many problems of the post-war periodas they arise.</p><p>7 Curtis, F. D. The Teachers of Science in Grades 1 through 6," Review of Educational Research^12, pp. 369-374, October 1942.</p><p>8 Robertson, M. L. "The Emerging Curricula in Elementary Science," Science Education, 26, pp.178-186, December 1942.</p><p>THIRD SEARCH STARTSThe third annual Science Talent Search is now under way in the nations</p><p>high schools. This month 40,000 high school science teachers will be askedby Science Clubs of America, which conducts the search under the sponsor-ship of Science Service, to aid in the selection of the 40 most scientificallytalented seniors of the class of )44. The forty boys and girls finally selected,on the basis of an essay (on the subject "My Scientific Project"), a stiffaptitude test...</p></li></ul>

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