Origins and Development of Teacher Education in America

  • Christopher J. Lucas


Until approximately the first third of the nineteenth century, the notion that prospective schoolteachers needed formal preparatory training for their work, apart from whatever regular academic studies they might have pursued, would have attracted scant attention and even less popular support. Even after the mid-1800s, the overwhelming majority of people would have found anything much resembling the modern idea of teacher education wholly unnecessary and likely incomprehensible. It is helpful to recall, perhaps, that throughout the colonial and early republican periods, only a minuscule proportion of the population attended any school whatsoever. Among those who did, attendance was apt to be both brief and irregular; and formal learning beyond the most rudimentary level was rarely deemed important to success in the trades and agrarian occupations most people were destined to pursue. Hence, the thought or expectation that a classroom pedagogue might require formal preparation for the lowly task of instructing schoolchildren would have been quite unthinkable.


Prospective Teacher Teacher Training Elementary Teacher Teacher Preparation Normal School 
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© Christopher J. Lucas 1999

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  • Christopher J. Lucas

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