First Public Normal School

Ever wonder how teacher education got its start? It all began in this building in Lexington, Massachusetts in 1839.

The first public normal school in the country was founded here, with a focus on teaching its students how to formally educate in a classroom.

Its first class had three young women as its first students under the direction of Principal Cyrus Pierce. “It was the first attempt to try a standard where teachers were being taught to teach,” Lexington historian Mike Daru told Wicked Local in a 2013 story. “America’s public school system was in pretty rough shape because it didn’t have any standards and teachers had zero training. In some cases they didn’t know much more than the students they were teaching.”

Essentially, Lexington Normal School became the birthplace of American pedagogy. It created standard curriculum, to model classrooms where teachers and administrators would test out potential scenarios.

The school moved to Newton, Mass., in 1844 and it is now the Masonic Lodge. Lexington Normal School is now Framingham State University.

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