Catholic Educators

Picture of Thomas Edward Shields

Thomas Edward Shields (1862-1921) may be the first professional Catholic religious educator in the United States. Trained as a biologist he quickly turned his attention to education. He wrote books on psychology and philosophy of education as well as religion textbooks for Catholic schools. Widely viewed as a Catholic progressive, he was responsible for training religious sisters in methods of teaching religion.

Biography

There are various sources for biographical information about Thomas Edward Shields, Professor at Catholic University of America from 1902 to 1921. In 1909 he published The Making and Unmaking of a Dullard describing his early childhood experiences as a backward child and his strenuous effort to educate himself. Justine Ward, a collaborator, used this book and her own acquaintance with Shields to write a rather personal and laudatory account of his life, Thomas Edward Shields: Biologist, Psychologist, Educator (1947). The most critical biography of Shields is John Francis Murphy's unpublished dissertation Thomas Edward Shields: Religious Educator (1971).

Thomas Edward Shields, "perhaps the leading Catholic educator in the U.S. during the first quarter of the 20th century" (Evans, 2003, p. 86), was born on May 9, 1862 to John and Bridget Broderick Shields, Irish immigrants, in Mendota, Minnesota, about six miles from St. Paul. The sixth of eight children he was educated in his parish school by Sisters of St. Joseph from St. Paul's. Removed from school as a dullard at the age of nine to work on his family farm, he busied himself with farm work and developed a machine for grubbing. From the years 1879 to 1882 Shields engaged in private study with his parish priest in preparation for entrance into a seminary to prepare for the priesthood. In 1882 he entered St. Francis College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a third year high school student, though he was already twenty years of age. He excelled in his studies and was accepted as a candidate for the priesthood by Archbishop John Ireland who sent him to St. Thomas Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota. While in the seminary Shields published his first book Index Omnium (1888), a reference book to correlate information from his wide reading, a book that was read avidly by his fellow students. Fr. Shields offered his first Mass at St. Peter's Church, Mendota on March 15, 1891 at the age of twenty-nine. The next year and a half he spent as an assistant pastor at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

Archbishop Ireland sent Fr. Shields to Johns Hopkins University to study natural science in preparation for a teaching post at the archdiocesan seminary. While residing in Baltimore at St. Mary's Seminary he gained a Master of Arts degree in 1892 in preparation for his studies at Johns Hopkins. At the same time he was enrolled in the newly established Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C., where he came into contact with Professor Edward Pace who was keenly interested in experimental psychology. Shields did studies in biology, physiology and zoology at Hopkins from 1892 to 1895. His PhD dissertation on The Effects of Odours, Irritant Vapours, and Mental Work upon the Blood Flow (1895) was based on experiments which he conducted. Although Catholic University was interested in his joining the faculty, he returned to St. Paul at the bidding of Archbishop Ireland to teach in the new diocesan seminary where he stayed from 1895 to 1898. From 1898 to 1902 he worked as an assistant pastor in churches in St. Paul until he moved to Catholic University in 1902, where he remained until his death in 1921.

At Catholic University Shields joined the Faculty of Philosophy lecturing on biology and physiology. However, in the words of his biographer Justine Ward (1947), "His own heart was elsewhere…his mind was turning more and more toward education as the great need of the day…. He bided his time, however" (pp. 127-128). In 1908 the trustees of the university gave approval to a Department of Education in which Shields functioned until his death. By 1904 he had also begun teaching at the newly established Trinity College, a higher education institution for women which was located close to Catholic University. In 1905 he also launched the Catholic Correspondence School which was conducted by professors of the university for the benefit of teaching sisters (V. Shields, 1962, p. 36). In 1906 Shields founded the Catholic Associated Press, later to be known as The Catholic Education Press, through which he published a number of his books. Shields also established a Sisters College at Catholic University in 1914.

Shields' first writings on education were in The Catholic University Bulletin. In 1911 with Professor Edward Pace of Catholic University he established the Catholic Educational Review, which he and Pace initially financed. The review published ten issues a year on such areas as curriculum, methodology, history, administration, philosophy, psychology, teacher training, and federal relations (Murphy, 1971, p. 134). Between 1911 and 1921 Shields authored one hundred signed articles plus book reviews. Notable were his surveys of the fields of both secular and Catholic education. The teaching of religion, however, became a main focus of many of his articles. The review continued after his death but ceased to exist in 1970. It has been noted that his pattern of control and his dedication to the review led to "a severe drain on his resources of time and energy which could have been directed to his textbook plans" (Murphy, 1971, p. 136).

Shields established a Program of Affiliation whereby schools became connected to Catholic University through a type of accreditation. Pope Leo XII had urged Catholic University to enter into such arrangements to oversee Catholic education. High schools were affiliated with the university in 1912. Together with Professor Pace, Shields through the department of education worked for the improvement of the Catholic school system throughout the country. The affiliated program included reports, inspections and examinations, most of which were conducted by religious orders of sisters.

Shields devoted a great deal of his energy to the establishment of a Sisters College, a teachers training institution. Before establishing the college he invited women religious to study at Catholic University in the summers when the male population was on vacation. He worked for the establishment of this college for four years. He purchased the land, designed the building and raised the money. Finally, in April 1913 the Board of Trustees approved the government of the college, calling it "The Catholic Sisters College." In 1914 it was constituted as a separate corporation and affiliated to the University so that it could grant degrees. A separate building was put up in 1915. Later in 1929-30 the Sisters College became a residence when the university was open to women students.

Shields' later years were marked by serious health problems. Though he suffered a heart attack in 1918, he still continued his strenuous schedule of teaching and writing. His teaching load in the fall of 1919 was three hundred and fifty students in three institutions: his teachers college, Trinity College and Catholic University (Murphy, 1971, p. 183). By December he suffered another heart attack but continued his administrative and teaching work until February 2, 1921. He died on the 15th of February, three months before his sixtieth birthday. (Murphy, 1971, pp. 183-4). Dr. Pace spoke these words at his funeral:

The final tribute remains to be paid not by one but by all, not in words but in deeds. The work which he began must be continued. The noble aims which he pursued must be completely fulfilled…. Thus shall we build the only monument that is worthy of him. None other would be have desired. (Ward, 1947, p. 281)

In 1921 an entire issue of The Catholic Educational Review was dedicated to an assessment of achievement.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FIELD OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION:

Thomas Shields can rightly be considered the first professional Catholic religious educator in the United States. He was in touch with progressive ideas in education and made a strenuous effort to infuse these ideas into Catholic education, especially with regard to the teaching of religion. He has been called "the great Catholic educational psychologist…the first who, while giving religion a central place, successfully utilized in his readers the best to be taken from the new psychologies prevalent in his time" (Buetow, 1970, p. 196).

Shields' influence came from his many initiatives, which have been described in the previous section. A second source of his influence was in the many books and articles which he published over the years. Though none of these are still in print, they represent a rich reservoir of learning and practical advice that can be mined by present day historians and religious educators.

Psychology of Education (1906) was Shields' first full length educational treatise and shows the influence of his studies at Johns Hopkins where he was introduced to the latest theories in psychology and their application to education. While Edward Pace contributed two chapters to the book the vision is essentially that of Shields. The stated purpose of the book was "to show in an effectual way the harmony that exists between the ascertained results of pedagogical science and the principles on which our Catholic system results. The central thought is this: possessing the truth we should gladly avail ourselves of every correct method by which the truth can be shared" (p. 2). Drawing on the work of G. Stanley Hall, William James and others he formulated principles which maintained that "educational endeavor has shifted from the logical basis of truths to be imparted to the needs and capacities of the growing mind" (p. 41). Shields condemned cramming truths into the child's mind as a violation and a desecration of the temple of life and thought, especially in the case of religious truths. For Shields religious truths were to be found in direct revelation from God, the beauty of nature, human culture, and human language, which truths were destined to bring children's conduct into conformity with Christian ideas and the standards of civilization (p. 38).

In 1907 Shields published The Education of Our Girls. The table of contents gives the broad view of this treatise: The Grading of School Children, Co-education and Marriage, The Vocations of Women, Domestic Science, The Social Claim, and the Woman's College of the Future. The book was praised by a reviewer "for its occasional flashes of wit, a genial humor at times, a logical sequence always, and a far-reaching philosophy. The reader is drawn into the circle at once and inevitably finds himself taking sides in the argument as his own views come up for discussion" (Antonine, 1908, p. 60).

Shields received a great deal of notoriety in Catholic circles when he engaged in a debate with Fr. Peter Yorke, a prominent social activist and educator. At the 1908 meeting of the Catholic Educational Association Shields appealed to scientific research in criticizing the catechism method of teaching religion. In this talk he presented almost all aspects of his approach to teaching religion. Fr. Yorke, who authored religion texts which included traditional questions and answers, called Shields' approach "nothing less than revolutionary" (Ward, 1947, p. 144).

In 1908 Shields published The Teaching of Religion in which he developed further his criticism of prevalent methods of teaching religion in Catholic schools, contending that "in the teaching of catechism the discrepancy between the accepted principles of education and the methods usually employed in our schools is perhaps more striking than in the case of any other subject" (p. 4). Catholic education for Shields should include exposure to "a scientific, literary and aesthetic, institutional and religious inheritance, the germs of which should be developed from the very beginning of [the child's] school life and … should be developed symmetrically" (pp. 111-112). Furthermore, they should be "woven into the single fabric of the child's education in such wise that each element… gives support and meaning to the others" (pp. 113-114). While with other progressives Shields stressed the freedom of the child in the learning process, he maintained that this freedom should be directed toward an unchangeable body of doctrine. (Murphy, 1971, pp. 108-109).

An important principle found in all of Shields' writings is the principle of correlation, by which he meant that religion was to be correlated or integrated into all other subjects of the curriculum: "to teach religion effectively it must be taught in connection with history and philosophy, with the growth of languages, the development of human institutions, and the works of God which meet us at every turn along the pathways of natural science" (1908, p. 18). Shields' opposition to public education lay in its failure to include religion within the curriculum.

Shields turned again and again to the teacher of religion who he felt should follow the example of Jesus in whose manner of teaching one could find the correct educational principles. Jesus for him appealed "to the most vital portion of the conscious content of his hearers' minds and hearts. His lessons were never couched in abstract terms; they always begin by something which is intensely real in the lives of those whom he would reach" (p. 32). Teachers were to realize that they were to be mainly concerned with the formation of character since religion was not "merely to increase the pupil's store of information about God, about man, or about subjects deemed important in the world of adults…; it must concentrate human instincts and lift them into habits that will safeguard the pathways of peace…." (p. 34)

Shields authored religion textbooks and readers for the first four grades of school. His Religion First Book (1908) contains the basic structure of his texts. The units of the book comprise elements of nature, home, religion and song. Nature study used the parables of Jesus. Experiences include those of the home, feeding, visits to the country, sickness, and birth. A connection is made between the child's experiences and certain aspects of Jesus' life. The books contain no questions and answers, separate lists of prayers or rules of the church. Murphy (1971) notes that the book "may have been overwhelming to a first grader, but it represented a major break in the pattern of religion textbooks for the teachers" (p. 115). The books clearly were progressive in that they were child and activity centered.

Though Shields' books were controversial he received praise in many quarters. He traveled the country giving courses on how to teach the new religion books, which were adopted in a number of dioceses including New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Peoria. Though accused of modernism by some, he had the support of the Pope's Apostolic Delegate to the United States and received an autographed communication from Pope Pius X wishing him well in his apostolate and imparting a blessing on all those who were receiving instruction from him (Ward, 1947, p. 178).

In 1917 Shields published Philosophy of Education, a work based on lectures that he gave at various colleges and teachers institutes between the years 1895 and 1910. This book is considered "the first Catholic book of its kind in English" (Evans, 2003, p. 83). Several chapters in the book were published in the Catholic Educational Review in 1916. Though the book contains many ideas of Dewey and other progressive educators, there is little direct engagement with John Dewey, whose classic Democracy of Education was published in 1916. Only one direct quote from Democracy and Education is found, a favorable comment on of Dewey's assessment that school curriculum and practices have not sufficiently been influenced by the advance of pedagogical science (1917, p. 408).

There are many similarities with Dewey's thought since both were drawing in part on the new biology and psychology and since both did their doctorate at Johns Hopkins, Shields in biology and Dewey in philosophy. Shields' main criticism of Dewey was in the latter's perceived atheism and in his argument that religion should be removed from the public school curriculum.

Shields divided his philosophy of education into three sections: the nature of educational processes, educational aims, and educative agencies such as the home, school, and church. For him philosophy of education is a branch of applied science whose "business is to apply the truths and principles established by pure philosophy to the practical conduct of the educative process" (1917, p. 23). True philosophy for Shields draws from the principles of Catholic philosophy recognizing "the existence of God and the continuance of personal consciousness beyond the grave" (1917, p. 24). His treatise is directly opposed to those naturalistic and materialistic philosophies of education which reject religious principles and have no place for religion in education. He sets himself especially in opposition to educators who reduce religious truths to psychological processes.

Impact on Shields Religious Education

Shields has generally received little recognition by those who have chronicled the history of Catholic religious education in the United States. Some early Catholic educators writing in Religious Education praised Shields' textbooks for their methodology but also noted they were controversial and not widely used (Elias, 2004). McGucken (1942) pointed out that his method "was revolutionary for that time. Shields banished the catechism and Bible History from the first three grades and discouraged the use of them in any grade. His texts were also to serve as the ordinary school readers as well as the textbook on religion…. Its merits lie in this that it was the first scientific effort made in America to vitalize religion teaching in the grades" (p. 227). McGucken also notes that Shields' books did not exert much influence on the practice of religion.

Gerard Sloyan, then chair of religious education at Catholic University, mentioned him in his article in the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) and in his survey article on the history of catechetics in the Living Light (1966-67). In Jungmann's The Good News Yesterday and Today (1962, pp. 214-215) Sloyan wrote:

In the first place there comes to mind the Right Reverend Thomas Edward Shields of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and the Catholic University of America. Shields knew what the Europeans had done in fostering learning-by-doing, discovering the laws of apperception, encouraging the use of "steps in learning, from orientation to culmination. Shields made Americans aware of the European stress on a new catechetical methodology…."

Harold Buetow, the historian of Catholic education, called Shields "the great Catholic educational psychologist…the first who, while giving religion a central place, successfully utilized in his readers the best to be taken from the new psychologies prevalent in his time" (1970, p. 196). Buetow details the many contributions that Shields made to Catholic education and places him in the company of such outstanding bishop educators as John Ireland, John Lancaster Spalding, and John England.

Archbishop Robert Dwyer (1969) compared Shields' efforts to those of John Dewey in introducing progressive ideas into Catholic education. He speculated on why he was forgotten and his achievements unrecognized. He wrote candidly that "…his manner and style were calculated to embroil him with those who were not wholly sympathetic with what they viewed as his uncritical acceptance of too much of the progressivist educational program. He lacked humor, an essential item in the teacher's equipment, and he lacked a broad historical vision, due, of course, to the limitations of his own youth and his constant sense of immediate urgency. He killed himself by shouldering a burden of work, administrative and pedagogical, far beyond human strength…. He was a man whom few could fail to admire, both for himself, his dedication, and his achievement, but whom few could love" (Dwyer, 1969, p. 7).

Murphy (1971) has provided the most detailed analysis of Shields' contribution to religious education and speculation on why his influence has not been greater. Religious educators have not traced modern developments back to Shields but rather to the influences of developments in Europe. None of his successors at Catholic University continued his work in the fields of pedagogy and psychology. His death left his textbook series incomplete. Shields was also victimized by the lack of scholarly work within the Catholic Church of his times because of the negative attitude towards modern thought. Shields' brand of progressivism was not widely accepted by Catholic educators who were turned off by the negative attitude towards religion manifested by John Dewey and other progressive educators. Murphy also points to Shields limitations in gaining support for his ideas and in his failure to collaborate with others even at Catholic University. He concludes his thorough study with these doleful words:

In terms of today's concerns about religious education, his contributions would have been a gift to this generation but he offered it to his day and on his terms and was unwilling or incapable of having it handled by anyone else. When he died, no one knew where to start…. His tomb is on Sister's College campus; it is unattended and marred with age. The sisters remaining on the unused campus are wondering what to do with the houses slowly emptying. Shields may be alone again." (p. 203)

Bryce (1978) has made a respectful effort to credit Shields as one of four Catholic pioneers and innovators in religious education. She credits him with developing a new religious pedagogy that relied on an understanding of human development. She praised his efforts to make sure that Catholic teaching sisters were academically prepared, a dominant objective from 1909 till his death. Bryce echoes Murphy's judgment when she notes that "in all projects he charted his own course on his own terms. He kept a control of each enterprise he inaugurated, shared no portion of authority and sought little or no assistance or advice" (p. S-45).

The latest treatment of Shields' influence on Catholic education is found in Thomas Wood's The Church Confronts Modernity (2004). In this treatment of Catholic intellectuals during the progressive era Woods argues that these intellectuals took the good elements in progressivism but maintained their commitment to sound Catholic teachings. Woods ascribes the label of progressive to Shields only in a qualified sense of "selective appropriation of morally neutral elements of the Progressive program, for a purpose that tended to undermine that program's goals" (p. 86). Calling Shields "one of the most important Catholic educational theorists of the Progressive Era" (p. 97) he emphasizes Shields' often repeated contention that the valuable elements in progressive education have long been incorporated into Catholic practice, especially the liturgy and sacraments of the Church. Shields along with other reformist Catholic educators charged that Catholic education had in recent years departed from sound principles, which were then being rediscovered by modern science and pedagogy. He and others decried dependence on memorization of catechisms which they contended were the tools for teachers and theologians. Woods praises Shields' insistence on the importance of art and music in religious education, especially his dedication to Gregorian chant. (Woods is an active member of a group that advocates a return to Latin in the liturgy).

It cannot be denied that Shields shared many of the ideas of the progressive educators of his time like Hall, James, and Dewey. He placed importance on student activity, the connection between impression and expression, the body-mind connection, the need for assimilation, the association of ideas, the needs and capacities of children as central, stages of development, a concrete approach to ideas, developing the powers of observation and reasoning. For him truths had to be adapted to the child's minds, abstract formulas rejected, perception, imagination, memory, judgment and reason stimulated. While he agreed with the progressives on the importance of socialization according to the laws of nature, he wanted teachers to exercise more control and direction over children's activity. Shields differed from the progressives in his basic philosophy of persons and the supernatural goal of education, eternal destiny with God. For him the natural tendencies of the child were to be directed to religious purposes. Religion was not only child centered it was also God centered. Eternal vocation was the goal of education not just good citizenship.

Unfortunately Shields showed no awareness that a group of religious educators were at the same time attempting to apply the ideas of progressive educators to the teaching of religion. These were the men and women of the newly founded Religious Education Association. If he had come into contact with George Coe, William Harper, Clayton Brower, Sophia Fahs and others he would have found like minded religious educators. But few Catholics were involved in that association in the early days and none of those were willing to challenge traditional theological concepts (Elias, 2004). However, Shields' dogmatism when it came to religious truths, would have limited his dialogue with these liberal Protestant educators.

Many of Shields' ideas have been accepted within Catholic religious education today, though he is given little credit for their acceptance by historians and religious educators. Despite all of his limitations, which others have pointed out, he deserves a more prominent role in the history of Catholic religious education in the United States.

The most prominent student of Thomas Shields was Dr. George Johnson, a professor at Catholic University and a major spokesperson for Catholic education for many years. Fr. Shields educated scores of priests and sisters who became leaders in Catholic education.

Works Cited

  • Antonine, Sister. (1908). The Catholic University Bulletin 14 (1), 57-62.
  • Bryce, M. C. (1978). Four decades of Roman Catholic innovators. Religious Education. Special Edition, 73 (5S), S-36-S56.
  • Buetow, H. A. (1970). Of singular benefit: The story of Catholic education in the United States. New York: Macmillan.
  • Dwyer, R. J. (June 29, 1969). A memory of an educator. Twin Circle, 7ss.
  • Elias, J. L. (2004). Catholics in the REA, 1903-1953. Religious Education 99 (3), 225-246.
  • Evans, J. W. (2003). Shields, Thomas Edward. New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13, 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, Vol. 13, 83, 1
  • McGucken, W. J. (1942). Renaissance of religion teaching. In R. J. Deferrari, ed. Essays on Catholic education in the United States. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press.
  • Murphy, J. F. (1971). Thomas Edward Shields: Religious educator. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University.
  • Shields, T. E. (1888). Index Omnium.
  • Shields, T.E. (1898). Effects of odours, irritant vapours, and mental work upon the blood flow. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University.
  • Shields, T. E. (1906). The psychology of education. Washington, DC: The Catholic Correspondence School.
  • Shields, T. E. (1907). The education of our girls. New York: Benzinger Brothers.
  • Shields, T. E. (1908). The teaching of religion. Washington, DC: The Catholic Correspondence School.
  • Shields, T. E. (1908). Religion first book. Washington, DC: The Catholic Correspondence School.
  • Shields, T. E. (1909). The making and unmaking of a dullard. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.
  • Shields, T. E. (1917). Philosophy of education. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.
  • Shields, V. (1961). The Catholic university press. The Catholic University of America Bulletin. 29, 2-4.
  • Sloyan, G. S. (1964). Introduction. J. Jungmann. The good news yesterday and today. New York: Sadlier.
  • Ward, J. 1947. Thomas Edward Shields: Biologist, psychologist, educator. New York: Scribner.
  • Woods, T. A. (2004). The church confronts modernity: Catholic intellectuals and the progressive era. New York: Columbia University Press.

Bibliography

Books

  • Shields, T. E. (1898). Effects of odours, irritant vapours, and mental work upon the blood flow. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University.
  • Shields, T. E. (1906). The psychology of education. Washington, DC: The Catholic Correspondence School.
  • Shields, T. E. (1907). The education of our girls. New York: Benzinger Brothers.
  • Shields, T. E. (1908). Religion first book. Washington, DC: The Catholic Correspondence School.
  • Shields, T. E. (1908). The teaching of religion. Washington, DC: The Catholic Correspondence School.
  • Shields, T. E. (1908). Third reader. Washington, DC. The Catholic Correspondence School.
  • Shields, T. E. (1909). The making and unmaking of a dullard. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.
  • Shields, T. E. (1909). Religion second book. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.
  • Shields, T. E. (1910). Religion third book. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912). Teachers manual of primary methods. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.
  • Shields, T. E. (1915). Fourth reader. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.
  • Shields, T. E. (1915). Fifth reader. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.
  • Shields, T. E. (1917). Philosophy of education. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Religion fourth book. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.

Articles

  • Shields, T. E. (1905). The teaching of pedagogy in the seminary. The Catholic University Bulletin, 11 (3), 442-449.
  • Shields, T. E. (1906). Catholic teachers and educational progress. Catholic World, 83, 100-107.
  • Shields, T. E. (1908). Notes on education. The Catholic University Bulletin, 14 , 590-599.
  • Shields, T. E. (1908). Notes on education. The Catholic University Bulletin, 14 , 692-3.
  • Shields, T. E. (1909). Notes on education: The teaching of religion. The Catholic University Bulletin, 14, 65-87.
  • Shields, T. E. (1909). The method of teaching religion. The Catholic University, 14, 156-180.
  • Shields, T. E. (1909). The method of teaching religion. The Catholic University Bulletin, 4, 199-237.
  • Shields, T. E. (1909). Notes on education: The teaching of religion. The Catholic University Bulletin, 15, 400-410.
  • Shields, T. E. (1909). Notes on Education. The Teaching of Religion. The Catholic University Bulletin, 15, 474-496.
  • Shields, T. E. (1909). Notes on Education: The teaching of religion. The Catholic University Bulletin 15, 566-583.
  • Shields, T. E. (1910) Instinct. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7.
  • Shields, T. E. (1910). Notes on Education: Religious readers. The Catholic University Bulletin, 16, 266-399.
  • Shields, T. E. (1911). University chronicle. The Catholic University Bulletin, 16, 90ss.
  • Shields, T. E. (1911). The teaching of religion. Catholic Educational Review, 1, 56-65.
  • Shields, T. E. (1911). The context method of teaching. Catholic Educational Review, 2, 146-154).
  • Shields, T. E. (1911), Fundamental principles in the teaching of religion. Catholic Educational Review, 4, 338-346.
  • Shields, T. E. (1911). Correlation in the teaching of religion. Catholic Educational Review, 1, 420-429.
  • Shields, T. E. (1911). Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 2, 531-549.
  • Shields, T. E. (1911). Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 2, 728-740.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912). The sisters college. Catholic Educational Review, 3, 1-12.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912). Catholic University extension work in Texas. Catholic Educational Review, 3, 126-130.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912). Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 3, 236-249.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912). Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 3, 329-338.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912), The Christian ideal in education. Catholic Educational Review, 4, 39-47.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912). Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 4, 61-69.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912). The quality of culture. Catholic Educational Review, 4, 317-326.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912). The cultural aim versus the vocational. Catholic Educational Review, 4, 389-397.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912), Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 4, 444-463.
  • Shields, T. E. (1912). Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 4, 530-546.
  • Shields, T. E. (1913). Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 5, 62-76.
  • Shields, T. E. (1913). Feeling and mental development I. Catholic Educational Review 5, 100-107.
  • Shields, T. E. (1913). Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 5, 139-156.
  • Shields, T. E. (1913). Feeling and mental development II. Catholic Educational Review, 5, 193-201.
  • Shields, T. E. (1913).Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 5, 230-249.
  • Shields, T. E. (1913). Survey of the field. Catholic Educational Review, 5. 419-436.
  • Shields, T. E. (1913). University degrees conferred on sisters. Catholic Educational Review, 6, 47-53.
  • Shields, T. E. (1913). The genetic school of education. Catholic Educational Review, 6, 54-70.
  • Shields, T. E. (1913), Teachers college of the Catholic University of America. Catholic Educational Review, 6, 314-337.
  • Shields, T. E. (1913). Home and school. Catholic Educational Review, 6, 442-450.
  • Shields, T. E. (1914). An international movement for home education. Catholic Educational Review, 7, 48-56.
  • Shields, T. E. (1914). Parental cooperation. Catholic Educational Review, 7, 240-252.
  • Shields, T. E. (1914). The Catholic university summer schools for 1914. Catholic Educational Review, 7, 289-305.
  • Shields, T. E. (1914). Vocational training. Catholic Educational Review, 7, 346-359.
  • Shields, T. E. (1914). Liberal and vocational educational. Catholic Educational Review, 7, 420-436.
  • Shields, T. E. (1914). Survey of the field. Liberal and vocational education. Catholic Educational Review, 8, 8-24.
  • Shields, T. E. (1914). Survey of the field: Vocational versus liberal education. Catholic Educational Review, 8, 124-137.
  • Shields, T. E. (1914). Sex instruction in the public schools. Catholic Educational Review, 8, 246-253.
  • Shields, T. E. (1914). The control of educational agencies. Catholic Educational Review, 8, 307-318.
  • Shields, T. E. (1914). The teacher's salary. Catholic Educational Review, 8, 413-424.
  • Shields, T. E. (1915). The summer sessions of sisters college. Catholic Educational Review, 9, 36-42.
  • Shields, T. E. (1915). Vocational education. Catholic Educational Review, 9, 289-303.
  • Shields, T. E. (1915). Primary reading. Catholic Educational Review, 9, 328-340.
  • Shields, T. E. (1915). Survey of the field: The cultural and vocational aims in education. Catholic Educational Review, 10, 46-56.
  • Shields, T. E. (1915). The pedagogy of reading. Catholic Educational Review, 10, 232-240.
  • Shields, T. E. (1915). The primary textbook and its selection. Catholic Educational Review, 10, 396-403.
  • Shields, T. E. (1916). Standards and standardization. Catholic Educational Review, 11, 3-13.
  • Shields, T. E. (1916), Physical and social heredity. Catholic Educational Review, 11, 57-67.
  • Shields, T. E. (1916). Educational and adjustment. Catholic Educational Review, 11. 97-112.
  • Shields, T. E. (1916). The culture epoch theory. Catholic Educational Review, 11, 233-247.
  • Shields, T. E. (1916). Mental growth. Catholic Educational Review, 11, 304-318.
  • Shields, T. E. (1916). Mental development. Catholic Educational Review, 11, 385-397.
  • Shields, T. E. (1916). Some relations between the Catholic school and the public school system. Catholic Educational Review, 12, 130-140.
  • Shields, T. E. (1916). Standardization of Catholic Colleges. Catholic Educational Review, 12, 193-203
  • Shields, T. E. (1916). The function of experience. Catholic Educational Review, 12, 250-269.
  • Shields, T. E. (1916). The ultimate aim of Christian education. Catholic Educational Review, 12, 300-310.
  • Shields, T. E. (1916). Physical education. Catholic Educational Review, 12, 424-434
  • Shields, T. E. (1917). Balances in development. Catholic Educational Review, 13, 3-18.
  • Shields, T. E. (1917). Education for economic efficiency. Catholic Educational Review, 13, 37-49.
  • Shields, T. E. (1917). The Catholic Church as an educative agency. Catholic Educational Review, 13, 97-110.
  • Shields, T. E. (1917). Primary methods. Catholic Educational Review, 14, 242-252.
  • Shields, T. E. (1917). Primary development. Catholic Educational Review, 14, 332-342.
  • Shields, T. E. (1917). Educational monuments. Catholic Educational Review, 14, 385-393.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Musical education in Catholic schools. Catholic Educational Review, 15, 3-11.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Primary methods: reading, writing and spelling. Catholic Educational Review, 15, 50-56.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). The sisters' college and the high schools affiliated with the Catholic university. Catholic Educational Review, 15, 97-105.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Syllabus for music in affiliated schools. Catholic Educational Review, 15, 106-108.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Primary methods. Catholic Educational Review, 15, 148-152,
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Primary methods. Catholic Educational Review, 15, 332-340.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918), Primary methods. Catholic Educational Review, 15, 400-428.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918), The submarine and the airship in the day-dreams of our forefathers. Catholic Educational Review, 16, 3-15.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Uninterrupted progress in Catholic schools, Catholic Educational Review, 16, 25-31.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Primary methods. Catholic Educational Review, 16, 43-50.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Primary methods. Catholic Educational Review, 16, 139-145.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Primary methods. Catholic Educational Review, 16, 239-248.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Primary methods. Catholic Educational Review, 16, 319-324.
  • Shields, T. E. (1918). Primary methods. Catholic Educational Review, 16, 382-386.
  • Shields, T. E. (1919). Music in the elementary school. Catholic Educational Review, 17, 17-27.
  • Shields, T. E. (1919). Primary methods. Catholic Educational Review, 17, 91-97.
  • Shields, T. E. (1919). Art teaching in the primary grades. Catholic Educational Review, 17, 230-237.
  • Shields, T. E. (1919). The function of music in character formation. Catholic Educational Review, 17, 289-295.
  • Shields, T. E. (1919). The Towner bill and the centralizing of educational control. Catholic Educational Review, 17, 326-336.
  • Shields, T. E. (1919). Vocal music in the primary grades. Catholic Educational Review, 17, 354-361.
  • Shields, T. E. (1919), The need of the Catholic sisters college and the scope of its work. Catholic Educational Review, 17, 420-429.
  • Shields, T. E. (1920). An educational ideal. Catholic Educational Review, 18, 65-75.
  • Shields, T. E. (1921). Catholic education: The basis of true Americanization. Catholic Educational Review, 19, 3-19.

Writings about Shields

  • Antonine, Sister. (1908). The Catholic University Bulletin 14 (1), 57-62.
  • Buetow, H. A. (1970). Of singular benefit: The story of Catholic education in the United States. New York: Macmillan.
  • Bryce, M. C. (1970). The influence of the catechism of the third plenary council of Baltimore on widely used elementary religion text books from its composition in 1885 to its 1941 revision. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The Catholic University of America.
  • Bryce, M. C. (1978). Four decades of Roman Catholic innovators. Religious Education. Special Edition, 73 (5S), S-36-S56.
  • Cantwell, T. S. (1949). A comparative study of the theories of self-activity and religion according to very reverend Thomas E. Shields and Monsignor George W. Johnson. Unpublished MA thesis, The Catholic University of America.
  • Catechetics. (1908). American Ecclesiastical Review, 39, 705.
  • Dwyer, R. J. (1969, June 29). A memory of an educator. Twin Circle, 7ss.
  • Evans, J. W. (2003). Shields, Thomas Edward. New Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13, 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, Vol. 13, 83, 1
  • Elias, J. L. (2004). Catholics in the REA, 1903-1953. Religious Education 99 (3), 225-246.
  • Elias, J. L. (2004). Thomas E. Shields: Religious educator. Proceedings of the Meeting of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education. Denver, CO.
  • Fujikawa, F. M. C. (1958). The educational contents and implications of The education of our girls by Dr. Thomas Edward Shields. Unpublished MA thesis, The Catholic University of America.
  • Jungmann, J. A. (1955). Handing on the faith. New York: Herder and Herder.
  • Jungmann, J. A. (1962). The good news yesterday and today. New York: Sadlier.
  • McGucken, W. J. (1942). Renaissance of religion teaching. In R. J. Deferrari, ed. Essays on Catholic education in the United States. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press.
  • Murphy, J. F. (1971). Thomas Edward Shields: Religious educator. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University.
  • Murphy, J. F. (1973). The contribution of the human sciences to the pedagogy of Thomas E. Shields. The Living Light, 10, 83-91.
  • Purcell, R. J. (1946). Shields, Thomas Edward. Dictionary of American Biography.
  • Shields, V. (1961). The Catholic university press. The Catholic University of America Bulletin. 29, 2-4.
  • Sloyan, G. S. (1964). Introduction. J. Jungmann. The good news yesterday and today. New York: Sadlier.
  • Sloyan, G. S. (1967). Catechetics. New Catholic Encyclopedia.
  • Sloyan, G. S. (1966-67). Developments in religious education since 1900. The Living Light, 87ss.
  • The Dr. Shields memorial number. (1921). The Catholic Educational Review, 19, 193-302.
  • Ward, J. (1947). Thomas Edward Shields: Biologist, psychologist, educator. New York: Scribner.
  • Wohlweni, M. V. (1968). The educational principles of Dr. Thomas E. Shields and their impact on his teacher training program at the Catholic university of America. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, The Catholic University of America.
  • Woods, T. A. (2004). The church confronts modernity: Catholic intellectuals and the progressive era. New York: Columbia University Press

Excerpts from Publications

Shields, T. E. (1917). Philosophy of education. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.

The attitude of man's mind towards the realm of nature has undergone many important changes in modern times, one of the most remarkable of which is the shifting of his center of interest from the static to the dynamic. Formerly man studied all objects in nature as if they had come to him unchanged from the hands of the Creator; today the processes through which these objects have come to be what they are hold the chief interest of all students. (p. 41)

The unchanging aim of Christian education is, and always has been, to put the pupil into possession of a body of truth derived from nature and from divine revelation, from the concrete works of man's hand, and from the content of human speech, in order to bring his conduct into conformity with Christian ideals and with the standards of the civilization of his day. (p. 171)

Christian education aims at transforming active instincts while preserving and enlarging their powers. It aims at bringing the flesh under the control of the spirit. It draws upon the experience and the wisdom of the race, upon divine revelation and upon the power of divine grace in order that it may bring the conduct of the individuals into conformity with the standards of the civilization of the day. It aims at the development of the whole man, at the preservation of unity and continuity in his conscious life; it aims at transforming man's native egoism to altruism; at developing the social side of his nature to such an extent that he may regard all men as his brothers, sharing with them the common Fatherhood of God. In one word, it aims at transforming a child of the flesh into a child of God. (p. 180)"

Shields, T. E. (1908). The teaching of religion. Washington, DC: The Catholic Correspondence School.

The Catholic educator, while eagerly welcoming each truth that is brought to light by various sciences which have for their object the formulation of the laws of the mind and human development, naturally turns in the first instance to the Master Teacher for the principle which must govern all correct methods of teaching, for who can ever know the heights and depths of human nature as Christ does? The faithful Christian brings the findings of science to the feet of the Savior and there examines their validity in the light of the method employed by the teacher of mankind. There he seeks the origin of all correct educational principles and here looks for their final authority. The work of science may sharpen his vision, it may bring to his attention many things which without its aid he would not have noticed, but he utilizes all these things for the purpose of gaining a clearer insight into the method employed by Jesus Christ and a firmer grasp of the principles upon which it rests. (p. 31)

Shields, T. E. (1909). Notes on education: The teaching of religion. The Catholic University Bulletin, 15.

The textbook in use for the most part a catechism of Christian Doctrine cast in the dryest of didactic forms and completely isolated from all the other subjects of the curriculum. The thought is abstract in the extreme and it is couched in language for which the child has no preparation either proximate or remote. There is no attempt made to build up in the child-mind vigorous apperception masses capable of aiding in the assimilation of the religious thought. The book seems designed solely for the production of a verbal memory product and as if there were no consciousness somewhere that this was the only end possible of attainment. The whole stress is laid on the form of question and answer which will facilitate a test of the capacity of the pupil's memory. On the practical side the work is no better. The content is not shaped so as to lead directly or immediately to conduct or to the formation of habits of thought and action. Back of this method there seems to be an incredible belief in the power of memorized formulae to translate themselves at a later period into vital elements in the conduct of the adult. (p. 159)


Recommended Readings

Shields, T. E. (1906). The psychology of education. Washington, DC: The Catholic Correspondence School.
Shields, T. E. (1917). Philosophy of education. Washington, DC: The Catholic Education Press.
Shields, T. E. (1908). The teaching of religion. Washington, DC: The Catholic Correspondence School.

Author Information

John L. Elias

John L. Elias (Ed. D., Temple University, 1974) is Professor of Pastoral Studies and Religious Education in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, Fordham University, Bronx, New York. He is the author of books in religious education, adult education, and moral education, including A History of Christian Education (2002). His article on Shields, Thomas E. Shields: Religious Educator, is found in the Proceedings of the Meeting of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education, 2004.

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
1-562-903-6000