In the past, a normal school was an educational institution where teachers learned to teach. These days, nearly all normal schools have been replaced with education departments at colleges and universities.
The earliest normal schools existed in 16th-century France, where they were called écoles normale. The name, directly translated from French, comes from the idea that students learned the norms or standards of teaching by watching experienced educators in action. Normal schools in the U.S. mainly trained future elementary school teachers; these became known as "teachers colleges" by the mid-20th century.
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