Development of Teacher Education:
The development of Teacher Education in U.S.A. is not an old one. The status of the teacher depends on his salary scale. Low salary attracted very few people to this profession. In 1839, a Normal Training School was established in Massachussets for the first time.
In 1857, first Normal School in Illinois was established. In 1873, Iowa University started part-time teacher training programmes. In 1879, Michigan University established Departments of Education and in 1887 the Columbia University established its Department of Education and started conducting teacher training programmes.
Admission Qualifications and Selection:
In America, there was no prescribed qualification for admission. In the beginning two year study at the secondary level after the education of the primary stage was considered sufficient. As soon as the duration of the training was changed from 2 year to 4 years, minimum qualifications for admission were also raised.
Information regarding the trainees’ health, educational qualification, character record, teaching aptitude and behaviour, etc. is obtained through interview at the time of admission in a normal school, training centre or training college. Importance is attached to the recommendation of the principal at the time of admission.
At the time of appointment of teachers, attention is paid to the different needs at different levels. There is no uniform pattern for selection in all the States. Generally for the primary level, teacher training is necessary, along with 2 year college education.
For secondary level, 4 year teacher training certificate with graduation degree is required. For selection to post, attention is paid to the temperament of the teacher, his health, religion, political views, his philosophy of life, etc.
Teacher Training Institutions:
(1) Normal Schools:
Generally, normal schools were considered equivalent to secondary schools because in the beginning, 2 year secondary level education was given after the primary stage education. In 1925 the need for trained and qualified teachers was felt and efforts were made to maintain some standard in the field of education. Consequently, the educational qualifications of teachers and training courses were widened. Thus all the normal schools were converted into training colleges.
(2) Teachers’ Training Colleges:
In 1988, a training college was established in New York. Upto 1920, ordinary training colleges which gave education in the science of education were established. The number of such college’s upto 1920 was about 45. Afterwards science of education was given a vocational form and along with general education, provision was also made for professional training of teachers.
(3) Schools of Education:
The institutions which provided an integrated curriculum for general education and laid special stress on the science of education were named schools of education. These schools are affiliated to some University. In these schools philosophy of education, different languages, literature culture, etc. are taught along with science of education. The courses are similar to those of training colleges.
(4) Departments of Education:
These departments are a part of Universities or Liberal Arts Colleges in the form of departments of education. These departments lay maximum emphasis on professional training of teachers. Here higher professional courses are conducted and provision is made for research work.
Four year training duration is divided into— (1) general education course and (2) professional training course. There is no common pattern of implementation of courses in the country. In some places first or last 2 years are devoted to teacher training and in other places general education and training courses are run together during all the four years.
Provision for Research in Education:
In U.S.A., after the 4 year teacher training course, there is one year specialisation course. Harvard University conducts country-wide special training for trained and in-service teachers. Antioch College is a pioneer in this respect. Several centres and camps attached to this college have been established.
In these camps, teachers in service increase their knowledge by doing research work and social service. After the completion of this 1 year course, the training is considered equal to 5 year teacher-training.
Distribution of Certificates after Training:
The degrees and certificates are arranged by local education boards or departments of education. Professional training degree is awarded by universities and training colleges. The ordinary lower level certificates are given for a fixed period on certain conditions. After the expiry of the period, the validity of the certificates ceases. In some states, a test is held before awarding the certificates. Through these tests, the teachers of different levels are examined and certificates are awarded accordingly.
Service Conditions of the American Teachers:
The American teacher gets pension, sickness leave and medical facilities like the workers in other professions. His services are permanent and secure. The appointment of teachers is made by local education boards through teacher employment agencies. The teacher sends his application to the agencies or boards directly.
The salary of the teachers depends on the funds of the local boards and the number of students in the schools concerned. The salary of the teacher is increased with increase in national income.