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Apr 09

Educating The Whole Child in 1882

Posted on April 9, 2020 at 6:34 PM by Bill Sowers

Course of study for the Kansas Normal Institutes, 1882

Normal schools were established in Kansas starting in 1860s to train individuals to be teachers by educating them in the norms of pedagogy and curriculum. Fort Hays State Univeristy, Pittsburg State University and Emporia State University all started as normal schools. Local normal institutes were also held periodically throughout the state as a means of training teachers within counties or regions.

In order to maintain uniformity in local schools the Kansas Department of Public Instruction published handbooks for those who ran these institutes as well as the teachers who attended. They were used not just within the normal institutes but also by teachers on the job in establishing curricula for their classwork.

These normal institute handbooks were published from the 1870s into the late 1920s. This week's State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library Blog promotes one volume within the series, the 1882 Course of study for the Kansas Normal Institute.

OK, it might sound a bit dull, but the 1882 Handbook is a cool look at educating children in the late 19th century as well as a peek into the social history of both Kansas and the United States. You get an idea of how the state and nation attempted to instill in its young citizens a world view that would give them skills to succeed as well as inculcating a moral code of behavior and patriotic spirit in tune with society at that time.

Below are two examples of what the 1882 Handbook covered:

XIV. Define the terms root, prefix, and suffix, as applied to words. Bring to the class a list of words from which to show the meaning of at least ten prefixes in common use.
XV. Bring to the class a list of words from which to show the meaning of at least ten suffixes.
XVI. Analyze the following words, giving the root, prefix and suffix of each, and the meaning of each part: Amiable, emanate, su?perficially, intermit, conversation, purity and remittance.


I. Position and carriage of the body. Sitting: Management of the body, the feet, hands, head and eyes; exercises in changing position. Standing: Two primary positions; study each carefully. Exercises in taking these positions, and changing from one to the other, by individual members of the class, and by the entire class in concert.
II. Class drill in taking and changing position; movements of the body for exercise; manner of taking position upon and leaving the rostrum, and of holding the book. Different members of the class should be required to take a correct position; criticism by teacher and students.III. Class drill and exercises in breathing. Management of the lungs.
And here's a link to the full Handbook:

Course of study for the Kansas Normal Institutes, 1882