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Teaching Children ScienceHands-On Nature Study in North America, 1890-1930$
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Sally Kohlstedt

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226449906

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226449920.001.0001

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Establishing Professional Identities

Establishing Professional Identities

(p.145) CHAPTER SIX Establishing Professional Identities
Teaching Children Science

Sally Gregory Kohlstedt

University of Chicago Press

Introducing nature study into the curriculum at the turn of the century was simultaneously challenging and exhilarating as normal schools, school systems, and individual teachers experimented with ways to define and shape the subject. Positions for women had opened up in private schools for girls earlier in the nineteenth century. During and especially after the Civil War, women moved on in ever-increasing numbers into urban, rural, and suburban public schools. The nature study movement provided a niche for women, one where they could not only teach scientific subjects in public and private schools but also write textbooks, join the faculties at normal schools and women's colleges, and become local administrators and national leaders. Teaching positions attracted primarily single young women who sought to earn an income by teaching for a few years before marrying, but a significant number made teaching their career. The expanding opportunities in nature study during the twentieth century's first two decades enabled a number of men and women to follow career trajectories that moved across boundaries among normal schools, colleges and universities, and public institutions.

Keywords:   professional identities, nature study, curriculum, teaching positions, young women

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