REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT 1961-1962
During the year, 1024 students were enrolled in the Faculty of Education. There were enrolled in the first year 633 students, nearly double the number in the previous year, in the second year 210, in the third year 113, in the fourth year 66, and in the Diploma course there were two. In addition to these, a large number of teachers from the city schools were enrolled as partial students. More than half the students in the University were enrolled in the Faculty of Education.
In the first year, the examination results were very gratifying. Most of those who did not pass in all subjects in the final examinations will be able to complete their year by writing supplementary examinations or by attending the Summer Session. The results in the other years were better than we have ever had. This is very encouraging, and augurs well for the teaching profession.
In spite of the large number of students in the first year, an effective guidance programme was carried out. Each instructor was responsible for a group of students. He met them periodically in groups, and was available to them individually during office hours for discussion of their various problems. The opportunity for individual guidance helps students to feel at home in the University and to adjust more readily to their new environment. It is felt that the success of the students in their first year is due in large measure to the guidance given.
The Education students in the other years seek advice when necessary from the Dean and members of their Faculty, and from the Departments in Arts and Science in which they are doing their major and minor studies.
The sharp increase in the numbers in each year of the degree programme, almost double in some years, necessitated additional groups in the courses offered. This, together with the offering of two new courses, made additional staff imperative. We are happy that approval was given for the appointment of six additional staff members for the next academic year.
Improvement in Teacher Preparation
Two years ago changes were introduced in the first year of the four-year programme for high school teachers. All students were required to take mathematics and either a language or a science in addition to English and the professional courses. The students have done exceptionally well in the additional required subjects. Those who teach at the end of the first year are better prepared in the subjects they will be required to teach, and those who proceed to the second year have an early start in academic subjects, thus enabling them to acquire greater depth over the four years.
The Five-Year Course, introduced two years ago to prepare specialist teachers, particularly in the sciences, languages, and mathematics, is attracting the better students, and several have already embarked upon an Honours Course in their special field of study. As the specialist teachers graduate and enter the teaching field, the need for qualified high school teachers will be met, and the quality of work done in the high schools should improve.
One Year Programme
This year we offered a one-year programme for primary and elementary school teachers who plan to spend only one year at the University. The record shows that most of the students preparing for primary and elementary teaching do not return to the University following their first year of study. It was anticipated that at least one hundred students would elect to take the terminal course. Only thirty-six students registered. It is possible that some thought that they might return to the University, while others may have thought that the programme was inferior. Whatever the reason, it is obvious that, unless more students register for the programme in the next academic year, we shall have to decide whether it should be continued.
We continue to be concerned about the speech habits of those offering themselves for teaching. All students are tested, and those whose speech is satisfactory are not required to take the course. This enables us to have smaller groups, and so give more individual attention to those whose need is greatest. The programme is designed to meet the peculiar needs of the students, and the results are very gratifying.
Many students who plan to teach kindergarten children have no knowledge of piano. Individual instruction in piano was again offered this year for those who wished to register and could afford to pay the fee. It is regrettable that some could not receive instruction because of lack of funds.
Next year we plan to have three programmes in singing to meet the special needs of those planning to teach the primary, elementary, and high school grades, instead of one programme in which an attempt was made to meet the needs of all.
In the past, we have had one programme in art. Beginning next year, three programmes will be offered to meet the special needs of those who plan to teach in the primary, elementary, and high school grades.
Observation and Student Teaching
Up to this year, we have always been able to place all our first year students in the city schools for observation and student teaching. This year, with the sharp increase in the enrolment in the first year, we were able to place the students in the primary and elementary grades only with the greatest difficulty. Only a small number of those in the high school division could be placed, and it was decided not to send any high school students to the schools. A programme of varied experiences, including demonstration lessons, was carried out at the University. This programme was very profitable, but can never take the place of observation and teaching in the public schools.
Direct experience in the classroom is an essential part of the preparation of a teacher. We have held meetings with the school principals, and it is increasingly apparent to all concerned that the provision of direct experiences in the classroom is one of the major problems of teacher education in Newfoundland at the present time. It is a matter to which we have been giving serious consideration during the present year. Our efforts to solve the problem will be continued next year, and all concerned with the preparation of teachers for our schools must become actively involved.
Work conferences were held in St. John's and in other areas of the Province during the year. The members of the Faculty were happy to participate in them. We are very pleased to be associated with the officials of the Department of Education, the School Supervisors, and the Newfoundland Teachers' Association in the in-service training of our teachers. We commend the supervisors for their initiative in this matter, and congratulate them on the manner in which the conferences were planned.
Cooperation with Department of Education
The Education Department of the University endeavours to work closely with the Provincial Department of Education. The Joint Committee, representing the University, the Department of Education, and the Newfoundland Teachers' Association, and through which matters affecting the preparation of teachers is channelled, is continuing to provide a very satisfactory means to mutual understanding and cooperation.
Participation of Staff in Educational Activities
The members of the Department continue to participate in various educational activities in the community. We were represented during the year on the Advisory Board of the High School Testing Project, and at the meeting of the National Conference of Professors of Education. At the local level, we are represented on the Curriculum Committee and on several of its sub-committees. We have been called upon to address various groups on educational matters.
During the year, the members of the Department contributed to the Journal of the Newfoundland Teachers' Association, to the Department of Education News Letter, and to professional magazines.
The Education Society and the University Branch of the Newfoundland Teachers' Association provide a common meeting ground for students in Education. The activities sponsored by these two organizations contribute much to the social and professional maturity of its members.
The students in Education play a prominent part in other extra-class activities, including the Council of the Students' Union. It is felt that the senior students in Education continue to be a good influence in the University and contribute much to it.
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