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Society. Their plan was, as far as it went, an intelligible, a consistent, and a wise one. They sought to bring within the knowledge of schoolmasters some of the best thoughts and speculations about teaching which were entertained in a region beyond the limits of the profession itself. They sought to strengthen teachers, ab extra, by bringing into contact with them, men whose views of their special work necessarily differed, in some points, from their own; and this was, in itself, an undertaking of no mean importance. We have in this country many persons of learning and of influence, who are more or less connected with the higher departments of education, and who are making the improvement of popular instruction a subject of great attention: these are the persons, for the most part, who originate and direct the great public movements on the subject. There is, also, a large body of indefati. gable men and women, who, meanwhile, are doing in silence the work of education with various degrees of success, but whose duties neces
cessarily confine them to a narrow range of experience and observation. These two classes have hitherto been kept too far apart. The Society of Arts aimed at bringing them together. It considered that in inviting the men of the former class to address those of the latter, it was doing a greater public service than in merely drawing schoolmasters together to confer with one another, and to exchange their professional experiences and theories. There can be no doubt that had they adopted this second scheme, they would have conferred an advantage on teachers which would have been fully appreciated ; but the first design was unquestionably a valuable one, and it is not reasonable to blame the Council of the Society for choosing the first and omitting the second. The time and means at their disposal were limited, and their plan, therefore, only comprehended one of the courses we have mentioned. It seems fair, therefore, to judge their performances rather by the standard which they themselves endeavoured to realize, than by any other test.
We have two reasons for thinking that the Society of Arts have exercised, on the whole, a wise discretion in this matter. First, because the thing which they are blamed for not doing is one which may be done very well without their agency; and, secondly, because that which they have attempted to achieve was not only a most valuable object in itself, but was precisely that which was least likely to be attained by other means. Schoolmasters undoubtedly need many opportunities for mutual conference and discussion ; but this want is, to a great extent, supplied already. Teachers' Associations are daily multiplying and increasing in efficiency, and among the many important purposes which they serve, it is not the least that they afford fitting opportunities for discussing all purely professional questions, for investigating the details and methods of instruction, and for comparing each other's experience in regard to discipline, organization, or general results. Teachers, however, need something more than this : they want to know what people in other professions have thought about them and their work; they want to have their own doings estimated from some other than the purely professional point of view. We believe that the very nature of a schoolmaster's duties often tends, especially if he be conscientious and devoted to their fulfilment, to give him a narrow and inaccurate view of what he himself is doing, and of the relations in which his own labours stand to those of others. There is no one profession whose members are more interested to learn how their work appears in the eyes of others, or can make better use of suggestions which come from unprofessional quarters. And in this country there is no lack of men competent to make such suggestions : professors in universities, whose lives have been spent in elaborating some particular branch of learning; school inspectors, who are daily comparing various forms of educational mechanism, or testing their results ; and public men, who have acquainted themselves with the systems of instruction pursued in foreign schools, or who represent influential sections of popular opinion on the general question of education, are among the most prominent of these. Many of them have opportunities of judging of the state of primary instruction among us, such as schoolmasters themselves could never obtain; and this class of men have much to say which teachers especially require to hear. Their knowledge of details is, of course, limited; but they have wider experience, and, perhaps, a clearer knowledge of our present wants, our future prospects, and the aims we should realize, than those who are confined to the routine of daily work in a single school.
While, therefore, we would by no means assert that all the topics of discussion were judiciously chosen, or that all the lecturers kept the practical design of the Exhibition sufficiently in sight, we think it but just to the Society of Arts to express our conviction that the principle on which they acted was a sound one, and that if their purpose was to stimulate educational movements generally, and to give them a rigbt direction, they have, on the whole, adopted the most efficient mode of accomplishing that end.
We have left ourselves little room to comment on the material part of the undertaking—the Exhibition itself. It was deficient in many things wbich the programme, published in our last, would have led us to look for. The foreign contributions were scanty and partial ; Sweden, France, Germany, and the United States, being the only countries tolerably represented. There had been far too indiscriminate an admission of articles. Many things were heaped together, under the vague name of Results, which illustrated nothing and proved nothing, and, we are sure, interested nobody. Of models of school rooms and class rooms--perhaps among the things which, in these dar: ot general re-construction and re-fitting, were most anxiously looked for in the Exhibicion -- there were comparatively lew; and there was, throughout the whole, a lack of methodical arrangement, wbich sadly diminished the value of the collection.
Notwithstanding these defects, many of which may be excused on the ground of the novel and unprecedented character of the undertaking, the Exhibition was a highly interesting and valuable one. It comprised specimens of all the best educational appliances used in Europe. Maps, charts, diagrams, pictorial and other devices for illustrating lessons; drawing models in every variety of material; philosophical apparatus, from the most expensive telescopes and microscopes to the humblest illustrations of the lever or the screw; globes, raised maps and diagrams for the blind ; pens, inkstands, rulers, and drawing materials, in every variety of form and price; school books and tabular lessons,—were exhibited in great profusion. In regard to mathematical and linear drawing, we were particularly struck with the excellence of the French books and copies, while some of the best geographical and ethnological illustrations were to be found among the contributions of Germany. Some very simple and ingenious toys, intended to exercise the inventive faculties of very young children, were also exhibited in the foreign department; and a collection of exercise books, from a school in Sweden, served to remind us how little the character of a teacher's daily work differs in various countries, and how much might be gained by more intercourse, and a better understanding of one another's methods, among the teachers of primary schools throughout the several states of Europe.
To country teachers, such an Exhibition was particularly instructive, and we have reason to know that it was greatly appreciated by a large number of them. No one at all interested in the improvement of a school could have spent an hour in St. Martin's Hall, without receiving some hints which he could turn to good account; and though more might have been learnt, had the objects been better classified, the lessons which were accessible to the thoughtful and observant visitor were full of interest, and will, we believe, result in a marked improvement of the matériel of education in almost every school in the country. Though fully sensible of the deficiencies which characterised the undertaking, we are yet disposed to regard it as an honourable, a well-intended, and successful one. It has been made spontaneously, and at some pecuniary sacrifice, by a Society not immediately interested in elementary education, or pledged to take any share in promoting it. It was set on foot in a fair and creditable spirit, and has been carried out on right principles. No public movement of late years, except those of the Government itself, has done nearly so much, either to reveal the deficiencies of existing educational machinery, or to point out the right remedies,
In this opinion, we are sure, many of our most earnest and reflecting readers will concur. We have all felt, as teachers, that we need new strength, both from within and from without our own circle. From within, we must gain it by unity, and by a spirit of mutual confidence and helpfulness, which will make our existing associations still more serviceable to us than they are; and, from without, we want the interest and sympathy of public men--the knowledge which scholars and thinkers can impart to us in the higher branches of the subjects which we teach--the visible illustrations of those subjects, which Government, societies, and official persons can alone collect--and such hints and counsel as can only be furnished by men of wider observation and greater knowledge of the world than is usually accessible to ourselves. These external advantages we could not have secured by any organization of teachers alone. The most sanguine promoters of Teachers' Societies could not have hoped to realize, even after years of prosperity and success, such results as have been attained by the St. Martin's Hall Exhibition. We could not, by ourselves, have gathered so many objects illustrative of the art we profess; we could not have brought around us so many eminent and infiuential men; we could not hare secured to ourselves and our work so large an amount of public attention. And though we believe that the Society of Arts might have done all these things more thoroughly, and perhaps in a manner more acceptable to some teachers, it would be wogracious io deny that the schoolmasters and mistresses of this country owe a deep debt of gratitude to that body for the services they have rendered ; and that the Exhibition just closed was one of the most remarkable of that series of enlightened and vigorous efforts for the promotion of popular education, which form the most hopeful feature of our age.
HINTS TO FEMALE TEACHERS INTENDING TO COMPETE
FOR CERTIFICATES OF MERIT. Before naming the subjects, a knowledge of which is required in competing for a certificate, a few hints may be useful.
In studying any subject, do not attempt too much at one time; a little carefully prepared, and made thoroughly your own, will go farther towards your success than a superficial knowledge of many things. Aim at clearness and precision in expressing your information, and, as aids to this, be careful of punctuation and penmanship. A clear bold hand will prevent many mistakes.
Try and write at once on the examination paper your answers; do not waste time by making rough notes before you commit yourselves to the formidable task of writing on a Government paper ; often the most carefully prepared answers never get beyond the owner's possession.
It is advisable that a question be selected from each " section;" a concise but comprehensive answer to a question in every section, is better than an elaborate description, that may, perhaps, take half the page.
Use one good text-book upon a given subject, and let all others be merely works of reference;. this, perhaps, will help to prevent distraction of thought upon a subject.
The books named in the following paragraphs are only suggested for the sake of those who, perhaps, may not be in a position to readily select for themselves.
LANGUAGE.—This subject takes rather a wide range. Questions are given testing the knowledge of the rules in etymology and syntax. Exercises are given in
parsing ; also testing the acquaintance with the rules of syntax, analysing, para. phrasing; roots, Saxon, Latin and Greek, and the history of the English language ; Biographical sketches of the best writers, and some acquaintance with their works, their characteristic style, and form of expression, are expected. This will give some idea of the scope of the subject, and its telling character upon the general information of the candidate. The character of the composition is noticed in all the papers.
Text Books.-Cornwell's “ Grammar;" “ Composer.” For Reference.-Latham’s
English Language;" Chambers's “ Literature." ARITHMETIC.-In this subject the requirements for the female candidates are not very extensive. All the common rules, as far as and including decimal fractions, should be understood, and the explanation of the processes in every rule should receive considerable attention, that they may be clearly described. By female teachers the rules of arithmetic are often better taught verbally than expressed in writing. They should not neglect either point.
Text Books. - Hind's, Colenso's, and Crossley's “ Arithmetic.” For Reference. --De Morgan's “ Principles.” A valuable book for assisting the teacher in explanation.
GEOGRAPHY.--A perfect acquaintance with the geographical details of Great Britain and its dependencies, and a general knowledge of the great divisions of the earth, and the chief countries of the world, are expected ; also some knowledge of physical geography, especially such subjects as tides, currents, winds; giving particular attention to their cause, the influences they exert, and the benefits resulting from their existence. Maps from memory of the British isles, whole or in part, and of the chief divisions of the world.
Text Books.—Cornwell's “ Geography ;' Hughes's “ Physical Geography.” If practicable, some reference to a larger work on physical geography would be desirable.
History.—The information on this subject should be something more than a mere outline of English history. Many parts should be studied in their character; causes that operated in producing remarkable changes; the influence that great events bave exerted upon the social and political condition of the nation; also, some account of the government, laws, institutions, &c.
Text Book.—Keightley's “ English History,” 2 vols. For Reference.-Hallam's “ Middle Ages ;" “ Pictorial History of England."
School MANAGEMENT.—The very title of this subject will suggest to practical people how little is to be gained from books—the school and the class-room are the best studies for the teacher on this subject. Methods of organization with pupil. teachers, for a given number of children, and “occupations of time," or tables," should be planned, together with the best means of teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, &c., in schools. Many valuable hints may be gathered for the teacher's own use from the “ Principles of Teaching, or Normal School Manual.”
Domestic ECONOMY.-Added to what is usually understood by this term—viz., common household matters—is a knowledge of the symptoms of prevailing diseases, and the most common remedies; the cures and remedies for accidents which might occur among children ; general and useful receipts; the rules for guidance in the choice of fabrics for the dress of emigrants and the lower classes ; the selection of appropriate and economical food for the poor; and many other things, which are admirably taken up in the “ Manual of Domestic Economy."
Text Books." Manual of Domestic Economy,” by Tegetmeir ; “ Plain Household Matters,” by a Lady : Parker, Strand.
Closely connected with the preceding subject is
NEEDLEWORK.—The proficiency in this part of the examination is tested in a very practical manner. Candidates are required to cut out, fix, and work at some particular part of a garment selected by a committee of ladies.
Music AND DRAWING.--These subjects are receiving increased attention every year. It is best to refer the student to the examination papers of the former years ; they will furnish more accurate hints as to the right preparation, than any suggestion which can be offered here.
TEACHERS' ASSOCIATIONS IN RELATION TO EDUCA.
TIONAL PURPOSES. Notwithstanding the success which has already attended Associations of School. masters, and the increasing interest which, we are glad to find, is felt in their proceedings, it may be fairly doubted if, up to the present time, these useful Societies have directed as much attention to results as they have to means. By a kind of tacit consent, they seem to have taken it for granted, that when their attention and efforts have been directed to the improvement of the teacher, and the perfection of his plans, they have reached the close of their active career. It would, however, be wise, if means were taken to collect all the facts in relation to the schools they represent, and to record them for present and future comparison. Might not registers be kept for plans which have been found successful, both in matters of discipline and instruction, and for instances of success which have come to hand in relation to present or former pupils : of the outgrowth of their moral character; of their elevation in society, in consequence of their education and conduct; of their successes in life; and of the interest with which some remember the institutions in which they acquired the first rudiments of useful knowledge ? The statistics of our schools would exhibit much that is interesting, instructive, and suggestive, and our Teachers' Associations would render a service to popular education by turning attention to the subject, which they might do by considering the best points on which to seek information ; preparing suitable books for its collection; assisting the least experienced in overcoming the first difficulties in using them ; and, finally, by summing up this information by the time of the meeting, and announcing the result, both in the aggregate and the mean. This might prove of advantage in several ways, but let us take one. Suppose that at the last meeting it were announced that the average of absentees in the aggregate of schools amounted to twenty-two per cent., but that such and such schools showed a rate of absenteeism considerably above the mean; it is not unreasonable to hope, that a stimulus would be given to the teachers of such schools to endeavour to reduce their absentees to at least the mean by the next meeting; and if the same efforts were made by others, the probability is, that the next summary would exhibit a rate of twenty, or even less, per cent. of absentees.
An Association of Teachers might advantageously serve the cause of education by encouraging a comparison of work done in our schools, and a friendly competition both in the excellence and the amount of what is performed. There are several reasons, and very rational ones, too, urged by many among us, why the handwriting in our schools is, on the whole, so much inferior to what was accomplished in years gone by. Whether the performances of the past were really so good as we are expected to believe, matters very little ; that the productions of the present are open to great improvements admits of no question ; and it is a little remarkable, that here and there are to be found schools in which great excellence is aimed at, and attained, sometimes amid circumstances of much difficulty, and apparently without sacrificing anything else to its realization. Now, would it not be well if, at a meeting of teachers in a given Association, an exhibition of the writing in each school were made, and such information respecting the writers, as would be necessary to enable a spectator to institute a fair comparison ? The same remarks hold good in respect to drawing, in which, considering how much is attempted, a remarkably small amount of positive excellence is attained.