"The peripatetic normal school": teachers' institutes in five Southwestern cities (1880-1920)
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This dissertation represents an investigation of teachers’ institutes in the American Southwest. Continuing professional development was, unquestionably, desirable for teachers in Progressive era schools. The teachers’ institute was a popular form of in-service education used during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, sometimes described as a “peripatetic teacher’s seminary” or a “peripatetic normal school.” Importantly, though, this form of in-service education was not a normal school. Rather, teachers’ institutes represented opportunities for free and low-cost professional development, much of which was mandatory. These institutes followed national trends and targeted local issues. Many superintendents used these meetings to push personal ideologies and teaching agendas. Certainly, institutes shaped teacher’s perceptions of their profession. Because school districts located within major urban centers had the most extensive in-service programs, this dissertation focuses on five Southwestern cities with a high population density for the period of this inquiry. They are Houston, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; Denver, Colorado, Phoenix, Arizona; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Chapter one briefly summarizes the nature of teachers’ institutes during the 1880-1920 period and provides a context for the individual city accounts that follow. Each of the individual accounts portray institute programs in individual cities, overview background historical context on the geographic region and explain of all forms of teacher institute programs in the area. These chapters also include a detailed portrayal of one particular type of teacher institute. Chapter two focuses on Houston city institutes, Chapter three on the San Antonio School of Methods, Chapter four on Denver summer institutes, chapter five on Santa Fe county institutes and chapter six on Phoenix joint county institutes. Chapter seven offers themes and conclusions that emerged from the research. The epilogue offers reflections and new directions for future study.