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A history of teacher training in the city of Boston and the role of the laboratory school as an integral part in the preparation of teachers

Francis Stephen Murphy, University of Massachusetts Amherst


From the inception of teacher training in Boston, the Laboratory School had a key role in teacher preparation. The rationale behind the Laboratory School approach was that beginning teachers could best learn their craft by observing and imitating experienced teachers. Down to the present time, teacher training is conducted by placing student teachers in classroom situations with experienced professionals.^ Boston established its Model or Laboratory Schools when the City decided to train teachers at a Normal School supported by municipal tax revenues. Through the years, public schools were chosen to serve as sites for preparing teachers. Outstanding pedagogists were carefully selected by the school system administrators to serve as training teachers.^ The students learned from an instructor who served as a role model.^ Other Normal Schools in the State of Massachusetts adopted the same method and established their own Model Schools. Today, Bridgewater State College, Salem State College, and Tufts University have campus Model Schools.^ When Francis W. Parker (1837-1902) served as supervisor of primary schools in Boston, and as Superintendent of the Quincy, Massachusetts, Public Schools, he became familiar with the Model Schools in Boston and Bridgewater. When Parker became head of the Cook County Normal Schools in Chicago and, at a later date, the School of Education at the University of Chicago, he established Model Schools designed after the Massachusetts training program.^ The Teacher's College at Columbia University developed the Horace Mann Laboratory School under the direction of John Dewey who had been at Chicago and had witnessed the success of Parker's teacher training.^ The concept of the Normal Schools and the later teachers' colleges using a controlled school situation for preparing teachers spread to all sections of our nation. Teacher education became a national philosophy that had an effect on all teacher training institutions.^ A close examination of teachers' training today reveals a continued use of Laboratory Schools. ^

Subject Area

Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Murphy, Francis Stephen, "A history of teacher training in the city of Boston and the role of the laboratory school as an integral part in the preparation of teachers" (1989). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9001543.