Historians of Education in Scotland (HEdScot) conference 2011
Glenda White (University of Glasgow)
David Stow and teacher education
21 October 2011

Abstract: In his day job David Stow was a successful carpet manufacturer but when, at the age of eighteen, he joined St Mary’s Parish Church in the Trongate he quickly flourished as one of Thomas Chalmers’ ‘boys’. An enthusiastic activist, he taught for ten years amongst the rags and squalor of the east end, honing the teaching skills, philosophy, and attitudes to children which were to make him one of the most influential educators of his generation. With the growing need for trained teachers, two of his weekdays schools, St John’s and St Andrew’s, were selected as ‘model’ schools for the training of teachers. This quickly led to the foundation, in 1837, of the first teacher-training institution in Great Britain based on a Stow’s comprehensive but detailed ‘system’. This paper will critically examine the considerable contribution which Stow made to teacher education in Scotland asking, controversially, if we have made much progress.

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