educational institutions that train teachers for the secondary level in general-education schools.
In Russia the first teachers’ institute was opened in 1817 in association with the Chief Pedagogical Institute in St. Petersburg. This first institute trained teachers for uezdnye uchilishcha (district schools) and prikhodskie uchilishcha (parish schools). It closed in 1822, was reopened in 1838, and was closed for the second and last time in 1846. Most students at the institute were children of teachers or of lower clergy.
Beginning in 1872, socially restrictive teachers’ institutes were established to train teachers for urban schools. After the Revolution of 1905–07 in Russia, the teachers’ institutes became open institutions; they accepted males from all social and economic strata. The number of students increased substantially. Among the students admitted were graduates of urban schools and public school teachers who had completed teachers’ seminaries. Later the institutes accepted graduates of higher elementary schools as well. The institute program lasted three years and provided good pedagogical training. It included psychology, pedagogy, the history of pedagogy, and methods of teaching. Much attention was given to practice teaching. Graduates of the teachers’ institutes taught in urban and higher elementary schools. In 1917, Russia had 58 teachers’ institutes with about 4,000 students.
After the October Revolution of 1917, the teachers’ institutes were transformed into pedagogical institutes or institutes of public education. In 1934 and 1935 a large network of teachers’ institutes was established to meet the need for teachers created by the introduction of a mandatory minimum of seven-year education for all children and by the resulting increase in the number of seven-year schools. These institutes offered a two-year program that trained teachers for the fifth through seventh grades. The RSFSR alone had 130 teachers’ institutes in 1940. The USSR had 187 teachers’ institutes in 1945 and 236 in 1950–51. Each institute included divisions of physics and mathematics, natural science and geography, history, and language and literature. Some also had a physical education division. The institutes accepted applicants with a general secondary education or a secondary pedagogical education. Educational work was organized for the most part according to the pattern that prevailed in pedagogical institutes.
In the 1950’s, owing to the growth in the network of complete secondary schools and to the necessity of increasing the number of teachers with a higher pedagogical education, the largest teachers’ institutes were transformed into pedagogical institutes, pedagogical schools, and other types of educational institutions.