ABSTRACT

Building from extant scholarship on normal schools, this essay takes up a complementary but less well-examined topic: state teachers’ institutes of the nineteenth century and the short-term practical training and professional guidance they provided teachers. Focusing on California’s state-sponsored institutes held from 1861–1863, this study examines the ways these institutes promoted the new progressive European pedagogy. More significant, extending an ecological approach to historical analysis, this essay proposes that the relationship among normal schools, teachers’ institutes, and some faculty from select eastern colleges may have been closer than has been suggested. Thus, this analysis suggests a more complex and integrated history during this period.

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