Saskatoon Normal School ~ Education is the movement from darkness to light.

30 May

Naturally Fresh ~ Spring LIlac by Julia Adamson (AumKleem)) on 500px.com
Naturally Fresh ~ Spring Lilac by Julia Adamson

Education is the movement from darkness to light.

The Saskatoon Normal School (1912-1953)

The Saskatoon Teachers’ College (1953-1964)

University of Saskatchewan ~ Avenue A Campus (1964-1970)

University of Saskatchewan College of Education (1927-present)




E.A. Davies Building, Saskatoon Normal School, Saskatoon Teachers College, University of Saskatchewan Avenue A Campus



Saskatoon Normal School Building (now E.A. Davies Building)


“Undoubtedly there should be a very close relation between the kind of training pursued in a Normal School and the philosophy of education upon which the institution is based. Bismarck is reported to have said, “What you would have appear in the life of the nation, you must first put in your schools.” Might I add that what you would have appear in the life of your pupils, you must first put into your teachers.” ~ Mr. R. W. Asselstine, Principal of the Normal School, Saskatoon
The Normal School’s standard yearbook – The light. 1931-1932

The historical account of certifying teachers in Saskatoon has grown and developed over the course of the last century. Teacher training began where classrooms and instructors were available, and the first permanent building for teacher training, the Saskatoon Normal School, was opened in 1923. Saskatchewan saw rapid growth and expansion in the early 1900s. Pioneering homestead families with young children created a dire demand for teachers in communities.

Saskatchewan’s pioneer slogan, “A new school every day for twenty years,” is paralleled by the need to staff these new schools. To keep these schools open, the Department of Education desperately required teachers.

From these humble beginnings teacher training programs were developed and refined. The one room school house gave way to the consolidated school. Classrooms and educational trends diversified to meet the changes in society through the twentieth century and into the twenty first. From the early beginnings when the Normal Schools provided teacher training, now the College of Education maintains a professional academic curricula on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon.

During these early years of settlement in the Northwest Territories trained teachers were recruited from overseas, and eastern Canada normal schools. When there was no teacher available, local pioneer residents with education were requested to provide education services in public school classes.

Fledgling school districts relied upon their school inspectors to aid them in procuring a teacher. Additionally, in the late 1800s and early 1900s the community could place a request for a teacher who could provide instruction in a foreign language.

Union schools provided early teacher education classes. “The first such classes were offered as “The Science of Teaching” and “School Law”” Horseman Under the 1888 Ordinance of the Northwest Territories, classes were provided wherever there was a two room union school and ten or more pupils desiring teacher training relates Ken Horseman in his article written for the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Teaching inspectors were called upon to provide teacher training, and early union schools in Estevan, Moose Jaw, Moosomin, Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton, and Weyburn offered classes to obtain a third class teaching certificate.


“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” said G.R. Anderson, Principal of the Normal School, quoting Henry Brooks Adams. “

Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. June 20, 1946.

The early history of the city of Saskatoon began when the scouts for the Temperance Colony Settlement arrived on the shores of the South Saskatchewan River in 1881. Colonists from eastern Canada began settling in 1883. The first permanent school was ready by 1887, and was known as the “Little Stone School”, though classes had begun in temporary locations as early as 1884. This was the beginnings of the village of Saskatoon.

In 1891, the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railway Company bridge and railway station on the west side of the river saw the start of a settlement across the river from the original Temperance Colony Settlement. In 1901, this growing community was large enough to incorporate as a village, and took the name Saskatoon. The pioneers on the east side changed the name of their settlement to Nutana.

Another group of pioneers settled down also on the west side of the South Saskatchewan River, but across the tracks from the village of Saskatoon. This new community incorporated as Riversdale.

By 1896, 258 students were taking Normal School classes in the Northwest Territories, and the first official Normal School was established at Alexandra School on Hamilton Street (the Red School) in Regina, provisional district of Assiniboia, Northwest Territories. Teaching classes moved out of the Regina Union School on Hamilton Street and 11th Avenue (the White School) at this time.

“The purpose of the Teacher Training College is to afford opportunity, both theoretical and practical, for the training of teachers, of both sexes, for kindergartens and elementary schools and secondary schools, of principals, supervisors, and superintendents of schools, and of specialists in various branches of school work, involving normal schools and colleges” ~New York’s Teachers College, 1888, later the Columbia University, 1893

The number of public schools established by the turn of the century was 574 which were served by 592 teachers. According to Statistics Canada, the population of The Territories was booming, growing from 56,446 persons in 1881 to 66,799 in 1891, and more than doubling to 158,940 by 1901.

In 1905, there were 869 school districts in operation according to Ronald A. Manzer. It was in this self same year, on September 1, that Saskatchewan became a province. Until this date, Saskatoon lay within the provisional district of Saskatchewan, in the Northwest Territories.

The growing communities of Saskatoon, Riversdale and Nutana merged together as the city of Saskatoon in 1906. It was during this year, that the number of schools in the province nearly doubled since 1900 coming to a total of 942 schools in existence, with 1,193 teachers serving these schools.

Saskatoon was chosen as the site for the University of Saskatchewan in 1909. The initial buildings were contracted out in 1910, the College Building, Saskatchewan Hall student’s residence, Agricultural Engineering, Stock Pavilion, barn and Poultry Science building.

In 1909, Deputy Minister of Education, W.P. Bate published an article in The Daily Phoenix (Saskatoon’s Newspaper) urging students to send in their applications if they desire training at a Normal School in Saskatoon. Applications were received, however the number was below the needed ten applications to warrant local sessions.

In the early years of the twentieth century, Saskatchewan would boast that new schools were forming at the rate of one for every day of the year ( not including Sundays and holidays ). 1909 figures showed 1,958 public school districts serving the province, with an additional 31 Roman Catholic Public school districts, twelve Roman Catholic Separate School districts, and two Protestant Separate schools. These numbers rose in the 1910 school year, in 1911, there were 2,251 school districts in the province of Saskatchewan served by a corresponding increase in teachers who now number 2,973.

There was a tendency of the one room school house to expand. Communities rebuilt older schools or moved in additions forming two room union schools or three room consolidated schools. The number of schools in the province climbed to 2,468 school districts by June of that same year. The growth and prosperity of the province showed the rise in population which was seconded by the increase in school districts needed by the burgeoning population. Such an increase in population and the education of its children demanded, as well, an increase in the numbers of teachers available.

The population of Saskatchewan was mainly of a rural nature, Statistics Canada recording 73,739 persons residing rurally in 1901, and 361,067 by 1911 increasing 390%. The urban population increased from 17,550 persons to 131,365 an increase of 649 per cent. The population of Saskatchewan had an increase in population of 401,153 or 439 percent jumping from about 91,279 in 1901 to 492,232 by 1911. (Saskatchewan populations were estimated for 1901 when it was part of the Northwest Territories.)

Nutana Collegiate Institute.  In the years 1912-1913, the Normal School rented rooms from the Saskatoon Collegiate Institute (later known as the Nutana Collegiate) for classes Nutana Collegiate Institute.  In the years 1912-1913, the Normal School rented rooms from the Saskatoon Collegiate Institute (later known as the Nutana Collegiate) for classes

Saskatoon Collegiate Institute (later known as the Nutana Collegiate)

In the years 1912-1913, the Normal School rented rooms from the Saskatoon Collegiate Institute (later known as the Nutana Collegiate) for classes, this was a temporary location. On August 20, 1912, the Saskatoon Normal School began, with twelve second class student teachers and fifty third class students. In 1912, the University of Saskatchewan also rented rooms from on the third flow of the Saskatoon Collegiate Institute.

In 1913, Dr. J.A. Sneel presided as principal of the Saskatoon Normal School.On Campus News  A.J. Mather was principal of the Saskatoon Collegiate Institute between 1908-1915, followed by A.J. Pyke. The Saskatoon Collegiate was erected in 1910, and gave up the name Saskatoon Collegiate when Bedford Road Collegiate was constructed in 1923 on the “Saskatoon side” or west side of the South Saskatchewan River according to Eric O. Burt. 55 students from were enrolled for the first session held between August to October, 1912. During this time, President Murray of the University of Saskatchewan provided lectures on the philosophy of education, and Normal School students attended lectures offered to the agricultural students at the U of S as well.


“There is one thing lacking in this country … I would like to see some way to make the teaching profession a real profession – a profession that a man or a woman can spend his or her life at – giving sufficient returns for the labor and brains demanded, and the time and money spent in preparation for it – carrying with it the honor that attaches to other professions, not the mere unwritten honour of work well done, but something tangible and recognized.

” ~ Chief Justice Haultain May 31, 1913. Bocking. 1979.

Buena Vista School opened 1913-1914, the Normal School rented four rooms and relocated to this location in 1914 Buena Vista School opened 1913-1914, the Normal School rented four rooms and relocated to this location in 1914

Buena Vista School

When Buena Vista School opened 1913-1914, the Normal School rented four rooms and relocated to this location in 1914 for two years. The Saskatoon Normal School began as did the Regina Normal School utitlizing temporary locations until a permanent building could be built. It was May 30, 1913 when the cornerstone was laid by Haultain for the permanent location of the Regina Normal School on College Avenue and Broad Street, Regina. It would be another ten years before the Saskatoon Normal School held classes in the Saskatoon Normal School building.

Construction began in 1914 on Student’s Residence No. 2 in the University Campus. When the building was completed by 1916, it received the name “Qu’Appelle Hall.” The University of Saskatchewan converted dormitory rooms on the first floor to house the Saskatoon Normal School. Classes commenced in the new location in 1916.

By 1916, the minimum number of persons applying for normal class rose from ten students to 25 persons who indicated a desire to attend third class school sessions. Only fifty students were to be accepted for third class classes in Regina and Saskatoon, however first and second class sessions were also offered in both Provincial Normal Schools in Regina and Saskatoon.

St. Thomas Presbyterian Church now St. Thomas Wesley United Church.  Classes for the Saskatoon Normal School relocated in 1919, to both St. Mary's separate school, and St. Thomas Presbyterian Church which provided space for classrooms. St. Thomas Presbyterian Church now St. Thomas Wesley United Church.    Classes for the Saskatoon Normal School relocated in 1919, to both St. Mary's separate school, and St. Thomas Presbyterian Church which provided space for classrooms.

St. Thomas Presbyterian church now St. Thomas Wesley United Church.

Classes for the Saskatoon Normal School moved again in 1919, St. Mary’s separate school, and St. Thomas Presbyterian Church provided space for classrooms. St. Thomas Presbyterian church was constructed at the intersection of Avenue H and 20th Street in 1908, and expanded in the fall of 1911. In 1934, the Riverside Methodist Church on Avenue G and 19th Street (later named Wesley Methodist Church) and the St. Thomas Presbyterian Church both united and became known as St. Thomas Wesley United Church. St. Mary’s Community School, now demolished, was designed by David Webster in a Collegiate style in 1913.

St. Mary's School built 1913. now demolished.  Classes for the Saskatoon Normal School relocated in 1919, to both St. Mary's separate school, and St. Thomas Presbyterian Church which provided space for classrooms.
St. Mary's School built 1913. now demolished.  Classes for the Saskatoon Normal School relocated in 1919, to both St. Mary's separate school, and St. Thomas Presbyterian Church which provided space for classrooms.

St. Mary’s Separate School

If 25 students submitted applications for Third Class sessions, then centers at Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton, Estevan, Prince Albert, Moosomin, Weyburn, Swift Current, North Battleford and Moose Jaw would establish classes for teacher training in addition to classes held at the Saskatoon and Regina Normal Schools. This was a change from the earlier minimum of ten students required to mandate a class at a Union or Normal school.

In 1919 discussions arose to the permanent location of the Normal School site, whether the teacher training school should be located on the University of Saskatchewan campus grounds or elsewhere. Discussions ensued between Walter C. Murray (President of the University of Saskatchewan 1908-1937), the Government of Saskatchewan Department of Education, University of Saskatchewan architect David Brown, Saskatoon Normal School board trustees especially Dr. J.L. Hogg, and Dr. George M. Weir Principal of the (Saskatoon Normal School 1918-1924).

The first option offered on the University campus consisted of four acres, however, ten acres were requested by the Saskatoon Normal School. At this same time, the University of Saskatchewan was considering requests by the government for a tuberculosis sanatorium and a School for the Deaf.

By the spring of the following year, 1920, the decision was made after consideration of several sites, to construct the Saskatoon Normal School of brick and Bedford stone in the gothic architectural stylings overlooking the west side of Saskatoon atop the hill on Avenue A North.

While the Saskatoon Normal School building was under construction, the teacher training sessions were held at St. Paul’s school on 22nd Street. St. Paul’s School had constructed a temporary building on the corner of 22nd street and 4th avenue in 1913 which was replaced by a permanent building in 1926. Prior to this, St. Paul’s school held classes in St. Paul’s church basement which had served since 1911.



E.A. Davies Building, Saskatoon Normal School, Saskatoon Teachers College, University of Saskatchewan Avenue A Campus



Saskatoon Normal School Building (now E.A. Davies Building)


The Saskatchewan provincial population continued to swell, reaching 757,510 by the time of the 1921 census count showing an increase of 265,078 persons since 1911, or 54 per cent growth. At this time, there were 538,552 persons residing rurally in Saskatchewan compared to 218,958 in urban centres. This represented an increase of 49 per cent in the rural population since 1911 and showed 66 per cent in urban growth.

It was February 12, 1923 when the Provincial Normal School was officially opened in Saskatoon. The cornerstone was laid on May 24, 1921 by Lieutenant Governor, The Honorable H. Newland following architectural plans drawn up by the provincial architect, Maurice W. Sharon. The Saskatoon Normal School was one of the projects undertaken by Saskatoon architect David Webster under the supervision of Sharon. The building opened March 1922 at 1030 Avenue A North (now known as Idylwyld Drive North).

Dr. George M. Weir, principal of the Saskatoon Normal School between 1918 and 1924, went on to become the “first professor of education at the University of British Columbia, first director of the UBC Department (later School) of Education, and co-author of Survey of the School System.”Lord p. 8

The provincial normal schools sought to increase the understanding the realities of rural life and teaching in a rural setting. To this end, Normal School students were offered opportunities to practice teaching under the watchful eye of their fellow normal school classmates and instructors. Weir was followed by Dr. J.S. Huff as principal of the Saskatoon Normal School, for a time period between about 1924-1927 which was actually Dr. Huff’s second term as Normal School principal.

Table Showing Number of Pupils, Teachers and Schools 1904-1920 in Saskatchewan, Canada
Table Showing Number of Pupils, Teachers and Schools 1904-1920 in Saskatchewan, Canada

Student enrollment during the 1923 school term showed 404 student teachers at Regina Normal School and 335 enrolled in the Saskatoon Normal School. This trend of a higher student teacher population in the southern portion of the province continued in 1924 with 466 student teachers enrolled in the Regina Normal School, with 381 in Saskatoon. The Saskatchewan Correspondence School arose in 1925 to offer classes for secondary schooling supplementing the province’s seven initial collegiate institutes.


“The purpose of education is to fit the soul of the child. No system of education can give an education to a child. He must get it for himself. All we can do is to provide the facilities for so doing and we never must lose sight of this fact; that the purpose of education is not to make people farmers or mechanics, not to keep them in any particular walk of life. The objective is to see the boy and girl gets the facilities for the development of his moral nature, intelligence and physical nature. Let him develop his intelligence so he may know; give him the moral training so that he can do properly; house that spirit in a body that is clean and sound. This is just as good for the non-English speaking people as it is for the English speaking people.” ~ Honourable S. J. Latta Minister of Education
The Morning Leader. Jan. 15, 1926.

The large number of students applying to the Normal School for admission resulted in additional criteria for acceptance and a higher competitive admission standard. To be accepted in 1926, students applying for classes must submit diplomas and certificates from Saskatchewan institutions attesting to their standing. The Moose Jaw, Weyburn, Estevan, Moosomin, Yorkton, and Prince Albert centers were to provide special sessions for third class teacher training if there are a minimum 25 students registering at each local rural center. In 1927, the Moose Jaw Normal School opened for teacher training sessions.

The staffing at the normal school consisted of permanent teachers along with school inspectors during the winter months. The school inspectors brought practical lessons and how to overcome problems faced directly in the country school. Serving at the Normal school, the inspectors kept in touch with the latest advances in education which they shared on their visits to the one room school districts. Following Dr. Huff, Principal Joseph A. Snell, M.A. LL.D. was appointed the principal of the Saskatoon Normal School serving the years around 1927 and 1929.


“I am not properly qualified to advise farmers as to the education of their sons, but being country born and bred I sometimes date to think what I should like my school education in the country to be if I had the privilege of living my life over again….I should like that there should come to me a leader or teacher – call him or her what you will – who could lift me out of my littleness, my narrowness of vision, my wrong conceptions, my crudeness in thought and manner, and make me able to appreciate the true, the beautiful and the good, make me able to understand the beauty and opportunity in my own environment and, above all, anxious to live and serve with the great and good of all time as my models and inspiration. I should not care to hear about crops and stock and poultry all day long. Virtue is more to be desired that prize stock and a happy home than a good bank balance. ” ~ A farmer’s letter quoted by the Honourable S. J. Latta Minister of Education
The Morning Leader. Jan. 15, 1926.

According to Karen Briere, “the College of Education with practice schools became a realty in 1927 when a School of Education was established under the College of Arts and Sciences.” In 1928, the University of Saskatchewan established the College of Education. The Saskatoon Normal School remained under the jurisdiction of the provincial Department of Education.

Mr. R. W. Asseltine as the Principal of the Saskatoon Normal School was quoted for his memorable speeches during his tenure 1930-1934. Saskatchewan recorded a growth in population in the decade 1921-1931 of 24.33 per cent reaching a population count of 921,785. The rural population was enumerated at 630,880 persons, with the urban centres at 290,905, over this decade, the rural areas showed a growth of 17% and the urban centres of 33%. Over the year of 1928, there were 4,489 more students enrolled in primary and secondary schools over 1927. Elementary schools grew from 211,599 pupils to 215,968, an increase of 4,369, high schools increased by 120 pupils. 51 new school districts formed over the 1927-1928 school year bringing the total to 4,826 in the province, (this number includes the eight Protestant and 24 Roman Catholic separate schools).

In response to this growth, 1,866 teachers received licenses in 1928 for Normal School Training. In the field there were 8,397 teachers and of these 7,192 were trained with higher than a third class certificate, or 86% of the teachers in the 4,826 school districts. The Department of Education’s Report dated December 31, 1928 urged increased Normal School accommodation, with the possibility of opening a fourth Normal School. “At the present time our Normal Schools at Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw are overcrowded and yet we are scarcely training a sufficient number of teachers to supply the demand.”The Morning Leader. Feb. 17, 1930


“Twenty years is a long time in the life of an individual; it is infinitesimal in the life of an institution. The life of either, however is important not so much on account of the number of years each has lived as it is for what each stands.” ~ Mr. R. W. Asselstine, Principal of the Normal School, Saskatoon
The Normal School’s standard yearbook – The light. 1931-1932

Estimate of Population of Saskatchewan 1931-1950 Chart
Estimate of Population of Saskatchewan 1931-1950 Chart

As the new year began in 1931, 7,619 pupils were recorded increasing by 140 students over the previous year. The enrollment broke records held for student population in Saskatchewan.
Principal C.P. Seeley served around the years 1935, 1937 and 1938.


The development of character is the supreme task and privilege of the training school of today. The future of civilization will depend upon human beings who know social righteousness as well as scientific truth. Enlightenment without ethics is a social menace and an educational fraud.” Dr. G.M. Anderson, Principal Saskatoon Normal School.
Saskatoon Star Phoenix June 22, 1951.

The number of school districts increased rapidly across the province with the influx of settlement. By 1937 Manzer reports 5,146 school districts, an exponential increase of 590%.

Examination results following the Normal School sessions were published in the local newspaper announcing the names of those students who successfully earned their interim first class teaching certificate, second class certificate or Third Class Licenses.


“The ideal of the Normal School…was to give the students some idea or ideal of the teaching profession and to help them build up the correct professional attitude.”
Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. May 15, 1933.

Seeley spoke to the advantages of converting rural one room school houses into larger school units enumerating several benefits; among them, the “ability to adjust teachers more wholesomely to the life of the community; elimination of the “army of amateurs” who experimented on the lives of children and provision for the possibility of better supervision.”Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. October 4, 1938.

The school term over the years 1939-1940 included 344 student teachers enrolled for teaching sessions at Saskatoon, 272 at Regina and 211 at Moose Jaw. In the summer of 1940, classes were relocated to Lakeview School in Regina, as the Regina Normal School was taken over for military purposes. However, classes proceeded as usual at Saskatoon and Moose Jaw Normal Schools.

Over the school term 1940-1941 there were 877 student teachers enrolled for teacher training classes. The decade of 1931-1941 showed the first signs of a dramatic population shift from rural areas to urban centres. Rurally, 600,846 were enumerated, compared to 995,146 representing a negative trend of 5 per cent rurally since 1931, and a huge 242 per cent growth to the urban centres over the decade. To compare the rural and urban populations since the beginning of the century, rurally Saskatchewan expanded from about 74,000 persons in 1901 to about 601,000 in 1941 a growth of 715 per cent, whereas, the urban centres swelled from 17,550 to 995,146 showing an increase of 5,570 per cent over this same 40 year time period.


Teachers according to Salary Received in Saskatchewan 1969
Teachers according to Salary Received in Saskatchewan 1939

“We can’t afford to neglect our children, …They are our greatest natural resource and we neglect them at our own peril and the peril of the future.” ~ Professor Carlyle King. Saskatoon Star Phoenix Dec. 2, 1942.

According to Professor King, there were five problems in the educational system, “the inability of many school districts to finance rural schools on a decent educational standard, inadequate facilities and rapid deterioration of rural schools, inadequate teachers’ salaries and scandalous arrears of those salaries which were forcing teachers to other fields, inequality of educational opportunity and the hopeless inadequacy of the present course of studies, particularly in high schools, to fit the student for modern living.” Saskatoon Star Phoenix Dec. 2, 1942.

In the summer of 1941 the Saskatoon Normal School officials surveyed vacant public school space for the continued operation of the teacher training classes in the event that the Normal School building is given to the Defence Department.

The Normal School gave up its building on Avenue A North (Idylwyld Drive North) to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, and the first class of the Initial Training School (ITS)#7 were held December 8, 1941 in Bedford Road Collegiate. The Normal School location was chosen as the site of the ITS administration office and Royal Canadian Air Force R.C.A.F. recruit dormitories. The Normal School and Bedford Road Collegiate were supplemented by new buildings beside the Normal School for additional training purposes.

Enlistment in the war effort drained the provincial educational staff of personnel. Summer teacher training classes were offered to address the teacher shortage. A huge enrollment of 800 students registered for one of these sessions.

During this time, Lorraine Blashill, relates that the School Board made accommodations at Wilson School for the Normal School sessions offered by the Department of Education. To further accommodate the war effort, students from Wilson School were then themselves relocated to North Park or King Edward Schools. Wilson school, in a new 8 room building, had opened for classes in the fall of 1928 had served the City Park area. Erected on Duke Street and located between Seventh and Eighth Avenue Wilson replaced wood frame school houses. North Park school was located on the corner of Balmoral Street and 9th Avenue. King Edward school built in 1904 by R.W. Caswell was located in Saskatoon’s down town (on 25th Street at the corner of 6th Avenue) six blocks from Wilson School. Used for public school classes, King Edward School was sold in 1911 and served as Saskatoon’s city hall, and the second Kind Edward built.

Even in these new temporary accommodations, the school year of 1941-1942 showed an enrollment of 950 students taking normal school sessions in the province of Saskatchewan, and 486 the following year, 1942-1943. The next school term showed a drop in student teachers electing to take teacher training with only 450 student teachers attending classes.

Education Minister Woodrow Lloyd announced that the Regina Normal School was to close in the fall of 1944 due to declining student enrollment. The Saskatoon and Moose Jaw normal schools remained open to continue teacher training services. In the 1945-1946 school term, the Saskatoon Normal School had an enrollment of 617 student teachers, 76% were women. During this time period, it was estimated that there were in excess of 2,500 teaches with temporary certificates teaching in the province of Saskatchewan.

During the second world war, a four-year undergraduate program was designed by the College of Education. Although teacher-training was conferred to universities across Canada, the declaration of war in 1939, put many educational policies and procedures of advanced education in the background. Military training, scientific developments and research into social problems were brought to the forefront for post-school education.


“Education….is not for ourselves. It is for the training of human personality to serve the community….You will by your example, create the moral force of human character, the basis of society.” Reverend A.B.B. Moore Principal-elect of St. Andrew’s College at the 1946 Saskatoon Normal School graduation.
Saskatoon Star Phoenix June 20, 1946.

Teacher training standards were raised to a two year minimum to receive certification, the classes could be taken at either of the Normal Schools or the University of Saskatchewan, College of Education. Classes could be shared between the two institutions, with a year taken at the Normal School, followed by a year at the University.

In the fall of 1948, the Moose Jaw normal school had 220 enrolled, and the Saskatoon normal school 280. Students were trained for the 38 week course rather than the six week short course, as there were already study supervisors in the school districts filling in for the teacher shortage. Students graduating from the 38 week course earned interim first-class certificates. In comparison, the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Education showed an enrollment of 400 students, 20 per cent less than the previous year.


“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~William Arthur Ward.
Edudemic 2012.

Dr. G.R. Anderson served as principal of the Saskatoon Normal School until June 1954. Dr. Anderson noted that between the two provincial normal schools and the University education department 750 students would graduate in 1951. However, an estimated 2,000 places were expected to be vacated by beginning of the fall school term. The teacher’s shortage arose from matrimony, economic and social conditions. At this time, “500 rural schools in Saskatchewan were staffed by student supervisors, with limited academic and no professional training. Still another 400 to 500 classrooms were staffed by teachers holding temporary and conditional certificates. Worst of all, 1,000 of the 7,2000 teachers now teaching in Saskatchewan Schools [1951] did not intend to continue in the profession next fall.” Saskatoon Star Phoenix June 22, 1951

At the Saskatoon Normal School convocation in 1951, 75 percent of the graduates were women of the 348 receiving graduation certificates. Concern was raised over the number of teachers available in the teaching profession, if the shortage was due to matrimony along with social and economic conditions.


“You need never apologize for being a teacher. You have set your feet on the path chosen by many of the world’s truly great men. … The teacher takes the living mind and moulds it.” ~ Lorne F. Titus Chief superintendent of Saskatchewan schools.

“Teacher’s College” was the new name given to the provincial normal schools in 1953. Students received teaching education rather than teacher training. There was much call to re-open the Regina Normal School to assist the Moose Jaw and Saskatoon Teacher’s Colleges with teacher education classes. The Regina Normal School building on College Avenue and Broad Street re-opened its doors in 1957 under the new name, the Regina Teacher’s College, however this same year, the Moose Jaw Teacher’s College closed its doors.


“You are handling the most precious commodity in the universe, human personality.” ~ Premier T.C. Douglas.

By 1960, the Saskatoon Teacher’s College recorded an enrollment of 523 student teachers. Even though there were more stringent enrollment requirements for students registering due to the high numbers of students submitting applications, 584 students attended the Saskatoon Teacher’s College during the 1961-1962 school year. Across the province, the larger consolidated schools with many classrooms had replaced the rural one room schools serving districts approximately an area four miles square.


It is essential for the children to get better education, and we adults must practice what we preach, otherwise, no change will take place in our society.” ~ Dr. W. Steinson, principal of the Saskatoon Teacher’s College.

In 1964 both the Saskatoon and the Regina teacher’s colleges closed, and all teacher education came under the jurisdiction of the University of Saskatchewan. The architectural design for the original Normal School building accommodated 360 students. And although the Saskatoon Teacher’s College now came under the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Education, classes continued in the building at 1030 Avenue A North. The new name of the Saskatoon Teacher’s College became University of Saskatchewan Avenue A campus and the Regina Teacher’s College became University of Saskatchewan ~ Regina Campus. The building on Avenue A in Saskatoon remained in use until the University of Saskatchewan constructed an education building on campus.

The 1964-1965 school term received 8,070 registrations at for classes at the University of Saskatchewan ~ Avenue A Campus compared to 1,840 students expected at the University of Saskatchewan ~ Regina Campus. A quota was set at accepting a maximum of 450 students because of space available at the Avenue A Campus. “In 1964 the program of the normal schools was accredited by the University of Saskatchewan as a year of work toward the bachelor of education degree, and the institution became recognized as a junior college of the university.”

University of Saskatchewan College of Education
University of Saskatchewan  College of Education University of Saskatchewan  College of Education
College of Education University of Saskatchewan

The August 22, 1964 Saskatoon Star Phoenix reported that student teachers wishing to teach grades one through nine could achieve their Interim Standard “A” certificate after one year of education at either of the two campuses which were now amalgamated under the University of Saskatchewan. Certification of teachers remained with the Department of Education, and teacher education was placed in the domain of the University of Saskatchewan.

During the 1964 school year, 396 students received classes from the Avenue A Campus, and 6,927 applicants applied for classes in the 1963-1964 school term. During this same year, 1,003 students were expected.

Between 1967-1970, the Education Building was constructed on the University of Saskatchewan campus, with the first classes held in the spring of 1970. This new building was constructed to serve “2,500 university students, 200 graduate students, and 120 faculty members.”The Phoenix Sept 22, 1984 Teaching requires a post-secondary Bachelor’s Degree, such as a Bachelor of Education to be qualified as a teacher.

It was in 1986, that the building used by the Saskatoon Teachers College was re-named E.A. Davies building to honour Fred Davies, principal of the Canadian Vocational Training School, the precursor training institute of Kelsey Institute of Arts and Sciences (Now Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology SIAST.)


“This building was named the E. A. (Fred) Davies Building on February 10, 1986 by the Honorable George McLeod, Minister of Advanced Education and Manpower.
This building is dedicated to the honour of E.A. (Fred) Davies, pioneer of technical education in Saskatchewan since 1941. In 1947, he became the principal of the Canadian Vocational Training School, an early vocational centre located on the present campus of Kelsey Institute. In 1963, Mr. Davies accepted the position of Consultant to the Principal of the newly opened institute. After his retirement from post-secondary education at the age of 71, Mr. Davies was ordained as a deacon and served for another twelve years as the priest of St. Luke’s Church in Saskatoon.

In 1975, Fred Davies was honoured as Saskatoon’s “Citizen of the Year” in recognition of his outstanding contributions to education, community organization and church activities. This building, appropriately renamed in his honour, has served Saskatchewan residents since 1923, first as the Normal School and later as the Teacher’s College.

Government of Saskatchewan

Premier Grant Devine.”
~Plaque installed within the E.A. Davies Building along with the portrait of E.A. (Fred) Davies.

A reflection on the progress of teacher training and teacher education in Saskatoon, honours the era of the Saskatoon Normal School, and embraces the remarkable journey to the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. As Dr. Fast, Director of Education says, the schools of today are building on the tradition of excellence begun by those of yesterday, preparing new generations for the challenging and changing world they will soon enter.”Blashill p. 155 Every generation, since time immemorial, has passed on its knowledge, traditions, values, skills and beliefs its stock of values, traditions, methods and skills to the next generation. The role, curriculum, and course of study for the teacher varies, however the main thrust; to facilitate student learning by a method of instruction remains the same. The normal schools provided the pioneering rituals, traditions and standards, nay the “norms” for teaching behaviours, specialized education, values, and code of ethics to maintain the teacher in good professional standing. Teachers colleges provided teachers with the ability to successfully meet or exceed the public expectations to educate the nation’s children. “The College of Education is the second largest college at the University of Saskatchewan and has graduated over 30,000 students in its 80-year history. To become an educator through the U of S College of Education is to join a tradition of excellence in teaching and learning.”~College of Education 1994-2009.


“In the long story of the struggle of mankind to fit its youth better for the activities of life, there has been a great variety of aims, and that the most common characteristic in all these was the tendency to throw the whole emphasis on some one factor. At oem time it was the acquisition of knowledge and information; at another the supreme importance lay in the development of the individual, then the welfare of society and the production of workmen skilled in some particular vocation by means of some specific study.
 

Probably a more fitting comparison could not be found than in the fable of “The Six Blind Men from Hindustan.” Like the elephant in this fable, education has many parts, many factors, none of which we can afford to neglect; and like the elephant, too, doubtless there are some of them of greater importance than others. The tail, the trunk, the leg do not constitute the elephant; it is something vastly more important than one of these or all of them put together. How much truer is this of the individual whom we wish to educate, and of the idea which we call education.

” ~ Mr. R. W. Asselstine, Principal of the Normal School, SaskatoonThe Normal School’s standard yearbook – The light. 1931-1932

Article written by Julia Adamson

Note the majority of sources gave the name Asseltine in this spelling, though it was given as Asselstine as well.
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Bibliography

Mirror Webpage on Saskatchewan One Room Schoolhouse Project


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