The University School, formally known as the Laboratory School, Training School and Model School, was for preparing teachers and used for the demonstration, experimentation, and practice of proper teaching methods. The University School's mission was to prepare students who wanted to become teachers with the proper and most effective methods used in teaching as well as to experiment and develop new teaching methods and styles
Student teachers had the opportunity to observe and be observed in a classroom setting and were able to receive constructive criticism in order to learn the most effective methods used in real-world settings. Student teachers were also able to shadow the professional teachers and participate in classroom instruction.
As part of Indiana State Normal School's mission when it opened in 1870, Indiana State students were training primarily to become teachers for Indiana's growing primary and secondary schools. To achieve this goal of training teachers, Indiana State Normal School operated its own primary and secondary school for Terre Haute children. Although the name of the school would change over the years reflecting changing methodologies of the teaching profession, the school left a lasting legacy with the student teachers and the students they worked with.
Originally opening as the Model or Training School, the school shared the same facilities with Indiana State. Recognizing the need for a dedicated building for its students, the Indiana State Normal School appropriated funds for the construction of a separate Training School Building on the grounds of the Indiana State campus. The Training School would continue to operate from this facility until 1935. Federal funding from the Public Works Administration allowed for the construction of a new facility for the school that would become known as the Laboratory School. For the next forty years, the Laboratory School would continue to offer educational opportunities for primary and secondary students as well as Indiana State student teachers.
By the 1970s, the Laboratory School was increasingly being recognized as a distracting and costly endeavor to Indiana State University's mission of postsecondary education. The broadening of Indiana State's programs meant that student teachers no longer formed a clear majority of Indiana State's student body as it once did earlier in its history. In 1978, the Laboratory School closed its secondary education classes and still enrolled students had to transfer to the Vigo County School Corporation. Still operating as a primary school for fourteen more years and changing its name once again from Laboratory School to University School, Indiana State University would close the operation of the school altogether in the spring of 1992.
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