German Teachers' Institute (Kansas, USA)

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The German Teachers' Institute (Kansas) was organized through the efforts of H. A. Goerz, Peter Balzer, H. D. Penner, and others. The first Institute met 6 August 1894 at Hillsboro for two weeks. After the first session of the Institute the Mennonite Teachers' Association became the sponsor. Its officers were also the officers of the Institute. A curriculum (Lehrplan) for the Institute was produced and revised a number of times. The attendance at the Institute ranged from 25 to 57 during the years 1894-1905. Sessions took place at Hillsboro, Bethel College, Newton, and Buhler. Mennonite congregations contributed toward the financing of the Institute. Later teachers lectured without compensation.

The purpose of the Institute was to foster and promote the German schools and to raise the educational and spiritual level of the Mennonite constituency by reassuring the teacher in what he already possessed, by making him conscious of his need for further study, and by training him in the art of teaching. It also aimed to achieve uniformity in methods of teaching and to make the teacher aware of the fact that teaching is a profession. The Institute usually was held in August. A three-year curriculum was covered during the session including Bible, psychology, grammar, principles of education, history of education, methods, etc. Demonstration lessons were presented on various levels in Bible and church history for observation and criticism.

In 1908 the two-week term was reduced to one week. Sunday-school teachers and other Christian workers were also invited to attend. Later the term was reduced to three days. During World War I the Institute was discontinued. German and Bible were now taught in summer Bible schools where mostly voluntary workers with little preparation were employed. Gradually the change from German to English was completed.  The German Teachers' Institute fulfilled well a difficult task during the days of pioneer education and the transition period.


Lehrplan für das Deutsche Lehrer-Institut.

Peters, H. P. History and Development of Education Among the Mennonites of Kansas. Hillsboro, KS, 1925: 85 ff.

Author(s) Cornelius Krahn
Date Published 1956

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MLA style

Krahn, Cornelius. "German Teachers' Institute (Kansas, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1956. Web. 27 Jan 2021.,_USA)&oldid=169738.

APA style

Krahn, Cornelius. (1956). German Teachers' Institute (Kansas, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 January 2021, from,_USA)&oldid=169738.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 481. All rights reserved.

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