The New Zealand 'normal school'
thesisposted on 13.12.2021, 02:03 by Neuberg, Klaus
The term 'Normal School' as currently used in New Zealand and as used in this thesis refers to the school attached to a Teachers' Training College. In many countries the term refers to the Training College itself: as it did also in New Zealand until early this century.
The term Normal School comes from the German 'Normalschule', which was the name given to the school attached to a teachers' seminary. In some parts of Germany the terms 'Musterschule' and 'Uebungs-schule' later came into use, but in Austria, even today, the primary school attached to a 'Lehrerbildungsanstalt' or Training College is known as 'Normalschule'. The German teacher training institutions, particularly those in Pruasia, served as a model to other countries. But in the 19th century the Prussian influence came via France. A Frenchman, Victor Cousin, had made a detailed survey of 'The State of Public Education in Prussia', and the translation of his report in 1834 greatly influenced teacher training in England and the United States. Cousin, however, used the word 'Ecole Normale' to refer to the German seminary. He had in mind the name given to the short-lived teacher training institution established by the Convention in 1794. That too owed its existence to German influence. But for some reason or other the French applied the German term 'Normalschule' to the Training College itself. One possible explanation is that while there were few students in training , the 'Seminar' and the 'Normalschule' were sometimes combined in one and the same institution which went under the name of ' Normalschule '.
The current use of the term ' Normal School ' in New Zealand is therefore not as much out of place as is often supposed