Normal Schools

Normal Schools were first established by provincial departments of education in mid-19th-century British N America as institutions to train teachers for the rapidly expanding tax-supported public education systems of the day. The term "normal" derived from France's École normale supérieure of the 1790s, and implied that teaching methods used therein would become the norm for all schools within the government's jurisdiction.

For a century or more, Canadian normal schools remained under the direct control of provincial departments of education, and were criticized for strict adherence to established and prescribed methods of instruction. Alberta in 1945 was the first province to transfer teacher training from normal schools to university faculties of education. Other provinces followed suit, although some went through the intermediate step of provincially controlled teachers' colleges before transferring teacher training to university faculties of education.