One of the first ‘Normal’ schools, the École Normale Supérieure (“Normal Superior School,”) was established in Paris in 1794. Based on various German exemplars, the school was intended to serve as a model for other teacher-training schools. Later it became affiliated with the University of Paris. (Britannica)
On July 3, 1839, three young women reported to Lexington, Massachusetts, with hopes of attending the first state funded school specifically established for public teacher education (what were then referred to as ‘normal’ schools.)
A normal school is a school created to train high school graduates to be teachers. Its purpose is to establish teaching standards or norms, hence its name. Most such schools are now called teachers’ colleges.
In Hawaiʻi, as early as 1845, a Department of Education was organized with its own Minister. Two years later, the position of Inspector General of Schools was established.
In 1895, it was decided that the work of instructing the teachers already in the employ of the Department should be undertaken by the Summer School and the preparation of those wishing to enter the service, by a special Normal class in the High School.
This class has developed into the Normal and Training School, the only Normal School in the Territory (1895,) it trained elementary school teachers; it was first housed at Honolulu High School (former Hale Keōua, home of Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani – the site of the present Central Middle School.)
James L Dumas was hired by the Department of Public Instruction to head the government’s normal school (he had been teaching teachers at Lahainaluna.) In his initial year, he had 29-students, ten of whom were only 16-years of age and with an eighth-grade education.
At his request, the Board of Education agreed to build a ‘practice school’ for his teacher students; two classrooms were added to the site as a training school for the normal school. A later disagreement with the Board led to Dumas’ resignation. (Logan)
In 1899, the Normal and Training School moved to the old Fort Street School. This change of location made possible a much needed enlargement of the training department as well as a considerable development of the other departments.
The course was changed from a two years’ course to a four years’ course for graduates of the grammar school and a one year course for graduates of a regular four years’ course in a High School. Certificates were granted to those completing three years of the four years’ course. (TN&TS, 1910)
In 1900, when Hawaiʻi became a territory of the US, the position of Minister of Education became that of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Although changes in the school system have taken place from time to time, the large administrative unit as a whole, has remained. (Wist, 1922)
Honolulu Normal and Training School relocated to Lunalilo and Quarry streets in 1905 and was given a new name, Territorial Normal and Training School. (TGI)
The purpose of the school was (a) to aid the student in acquiring the art of teaching by practice under intelligent direction, and to instruct him in the science of education; (b) to teach the subject-matter of the elementary and High School courses, and such subject-matter of collegiate rank as will give background for the work of teaching and supervision. (TN&TS)
The Normal and Training School occupied two buildings; the main building was 100 by 70 feet and had three stories and a basement. It is of Flemish bond brick with terra cotta trimmings.
On the first floor are six class rooms, an office, a supply room, a library, and a cloak room. On the second floor are eight class rooms, and on the third two class rooms and an assembly hall.
The Manual Training building, near the main building, had two rooms. One room was devoted to woodwork and the other to domestic science. There are benches for about twenty pupils per period in the woodworking room, and accommodations for the same number in the room devoted to domestic science. (TN&TS, 1910)
Although the program had grown steadily, it had not been able to furnish enough teachers to keep pace with the rapidly increasing population. The Department appointed approximately 200-new teachers yearly; about half of these were trained locally in the Normal School, the other half being imported from the mainland US. (Wist)
Since the Normal School trains elementary teachers only, the University opened a department of education for the training of high-school teachers, all of whom had previously been imported. (Wist, 1922)
“During the past year (1924,) the Territorial Normal School was placed on the list of accredited teachers’ colleges of the United States. It is rapidly becoming an institution that will rank with the best mainland normal schools.”
“High-school graduation is the entrance requirement for all students. The two-year Course is equivalent to two years of college work. (Report of the Governor, 1924)
“In 1929, the Territorial Normal School, which had outgrown its buildings on the side of Punchbowl, acquired land at the corner of University Avenue and Metcalf Street, and a building plus an annex were erected.”
“A large campus with several buildings was planned for the site. However, in 1931, the legislature merged the TNS with the University (of Hawaiʻi,) creating the Teachers College (TC) … (in 1951) the Regents named the TC Building Wist Hall.” (UCLA)