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TIIE TRAINING OF PUPIL-TEACHERS.

At the November meeting of the British Teachers' Association, held at the Society's House, Borough Road, there was an unusually large attendance of members. The subject, “On the Training of Pupil Teachers," was introduced by Mr. e. Roberts, of the Somers-town British School, who entered at considerable length into the general question, and gave his own plans and time-tables, &c., in detail. An accidental delay in the transmission of the MS. has prevented the insertion of a summary of this essay. We are informed, however, that it is intended to publish it shortly, without abridgment.

The discussion on the Essay was commenced by Mr. Lundy, who, among other remarks, complained of the diversity of books in use among those who were preparing pupil-teachers; and suggested that it would be well if the authorities of the Training Colleges would put forth a scheme, showing what lessons should be taken in each year, what books should be used, and what portions of each work should be prepared. He thought it desirable that the text-books used throughout the pupil. teacher's course should be the same as those studied in the College after the expiration of the apprenticeship.

Mr. J. C. Curtis, B.A., the Vice-principal of the Normal College, remarked that the religious training of pupil-teachers was a matter of great concern to all conscientious and pious teachers. He would call attention to one or two points. Whatever other means were employed, it was very desirable that a systematic course of Scripture reading should be gone through in a devout, prayerful spirit. The careful study of one of the gospels, some of the epistles, &c., with all the aids that criticism, archæology, history, geography, &c., could supply, would be of inestimable service, at once largely augmenting the knowledge of the apprentices, and suggesting the proper method of studying the sacred records. Nor should the diligent perusal of such works as Paley's Evidences of Christianity be undervalued, as they would thus be further fortified against the insidious assaults of that scepticism which ever lies in wait for the young and inexperienced. Their moral training would depend, to a large extent, upon the personal influence of the master. Christ instructed as much by his life as by his words. Let a teacher's bearing be manly, earnest, christianlike; let his character be transparent, and those under him would imbibe his spirit and emulate his example. Opportunities, also, would be found, when judicious praise or censure might be very profitably awarded, and thus incidental occurrences might be made far more effective than regular prelections on moral duties.

It was a matter of complaint with some in the profession, that the course of study required by Government for pupil-teachers was too extended and severe, He thought, notwithstanding, that some additional subjects claimed attention, and might be easily taught. He would instance one-the Elements of Political Economy. Some means also should be adopted for exercising the memory, and selections from our poets should be learnt, which might assist in cultivating the imagination and in refining the taste. Many pupil-teachers lacked the power of expressing their thoughts in an easy, fluent style. Their composition was crabbed and disjointed, and they exbibited a peculiar fondness for tabulating their information. To give them facility of expression, he suggested that they should be in the habit of writing out lessons and of composing essays, letters, &c., and that they should be subjected to frequent written examinations. He considered that great advantages would ensue, if masters would interest themselves in the private reading of their apprentices. A vast amount of pernicious literature was in circulation, and there was some danger that it might fall into their hands, unless their attention was directed to suitable works, which, recommended by the master, would be carefully read. Much interesting and valuable information would be gained in this way.

In regard to professional training, he remarked that it was necessary for the teacher to teach classes in the presence of his apprentices as often as possible, so that they might have a model by which to guide and measure themselves. They might, also, give collective lessons to the scholars, under the criticism of the master and the

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other pupil-teachers. Occasional lectures might be read on the best method of teaching the several subjects included in the school course, as well as on school management, discipline, &c.

There would be considerable advantage in allowing the apprentices to have the charge of their classes for lengthened periods, if they were held responsible for their progress. This progress should be tested by regular and systematic examination of the sections. Besides this, the master should keep a journal, in which might be entered the time at which each apprentice arrived; the way in which his lessons were said ; the character of his teaching during that day, as far as observed, and other general remarks. Each pupil-teacher should copy out, into a journal of his own, the part referring to himself. This should be signed by the master, examined at regular intervals by the parents, and annually presented to the inspector.

Mr. Curtis, in conclusion, referred to the nature of the relationship which should exist between the master and his apprentices, stating that he thought that respectful freedom of intercourse should be allowed, but that all approaching to undue familiarity should be checked.

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Mr. Gover, of Limehouse, in the course of his remarks on the general subject, suggested that the pupil-teacher's knowledge of etymology was often very unsatisfactory. He did not think it sufficient that a number of Latin words should be committed to memory, with a list of English derivatives. In his own school he always insisted on receiving, in the form of written exercises, sentences containing each of the derived words, and illustrating their meanings. It was only in this way he could assure himself that such derivatives were thoroughly understood.

Mr. White, of Abbey-street, in adverting to the qualifications which should be possessed by a boy before he was selected as a pupil-teacher, remarked that power was indispensable. It was important that the candidate should be one who was looked up to, and whose influence was felt by the other boys. After all, it was character we wanted ; a certain moral force and strength of will, which would carry a boy through difficulties, and give weight to all his acts. If this were possessed, other acquirements could soon be met; the necessary grammar and geography, and arithmetic, might soon be taught; but all these, without teaching power, and some ability in controlling the minds and characters of children, were useless in making teachers. He referred with satisfaction to the youths who had gone out from his own school, and who had received their professional training from himself. He thought it a great proof of the success of such training, when every one of the apprentices, on the expiration of his term, continued desirous of becoming a schoolmaster. In many cases the pupil-teachers went off to other occupations, and when this happened, he could not help thinking that the teacher had to some extent failed in his duty. At least, the duty of kindling in the youths some pride in their profession and a warm interest in it, and love for the work of teaching, was a very important one, although it might not be prescribed in a broad-sheet, or tested by an Inspector.

Mr. Baines, of Clapham, in reference to some remark which had been dropped by the last speaker, vindicated the course of study which had been laid down by the Committee of Council for pupil-teachers in the successive years of their apprenticeship. Routine was absolutely necessary, and on the whole he did not think a better routine could be well devised. Liberty and originality of thought were of course very much to be desired, and each person should learn to cultivate whatever special gift lay in him; but there were matters which could not be provided for in a systematic course of instruction for young learners; and whatever might be the future development of a boy's mind, it was always good for him to be fixed in early life to a regular and definite course of study, which had not been specially adapted to his own case in any way, but had been framed in accordance with general principles, and on a plan suited to the majority of cases.

Mr. Drewett, of Kingston, then detailed his own course of proceeding with his pupil-teachers, and in particular spoke of the advantage of giving much of their special instruction early in the morning, instead of in the hours immediately after school was over. In his own case he found no difficulty in assembling his pupil.

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teachers at half-past six during the summer months, and at seven in the winter, and had experienced much satisfaction with the result.

The discussion was closed by Mr. R. Saunders, the Secretary of the Association, who directed the special attention of the meeting to the importance of selecting candidates who were in good health. It not unfrequently happened that the boy of studious and retiring habits, indisposed for play, and fond of his books, was also one with a latent tendency to disease. Now, teachers were likely to take special interest in such a child, because he would give no trouble, and would do all his lessons probably with greater earnestness and success than others; and thus his physical weakness would be overlooked, and his mental fitness for the office of a pupil-teacher would alone be regarded. But this was a great mistake. Considerable bodily energy was needed, not only for the right discharge of the functions of a schoolmaster, but also during the long period of preparation and study at the Training College. The sedentary and reflective habits which the necessary course of training encouraged, were likely to aggravate any tendency to pulmonary disorder, and therefore to be peculiarly injurious to those youths who were in weak or doubtful health.

He thought sufficient attention had not been paid to this matter in the selection of can. didates, and therefore urged it the more strongly upon the consideration of the meeting. In conclusion, he referred to the influence of the teacher's own personal character upon that of his pupil-teachers. : Circumstanced as the apprentices were, no formal religious training could ever have much effect upon their minds, unless the example, the tone, and the whole bearing of the master illustrated the power of Christian principles, and were such as to inspire respect. He attached more importance to this, than to giving set lessons on Scripture history and evidences, although these of course could not be dispensed with. If the religious teaching of a school. master was to be worth much to these elder pupils, it must be supplemented and enforced by his own Christian bearing and habits, and by the manifestation of the influence of religion on his own daily life.

After a few words from Mr. Roberts, in reply to remarks which had been made upon the Essay,

The President of the Association (Mr. Fitch) took a brief review of the whole subject. His own experience enabled him strongly to corroborate what Mr. Saunders had said respecting the health of the candidates. Teachers were apt to pet the studious and delicate boy, and thus often, without intending it, to encourage weak and effeminate habits. They should beware of this, and especially of selecting such children for pupil-teachers, for teaching was a laborious profession, requiring healthy animal spirits and much bodily vigour to perform its duties with cheerfulness and success. Moreover, it was a very undesirable thing for any child, whatever might be his future calling, to acquire a premature love of study, or of retirement. Such a child was almost invariably sickly, or if not, carried in him the seeds of disease. In these cases, and indeed throughout the whole of the pupil-teacher's course, it was the duty of the teacher to encourage athletic exercises, and to bear in mind that country excursions, and everything that could conduce to healthy physical development, were of no slight importance.

In regard to the selection of pupil-teachers, it was also of great consequence to consider the social status of the families to which they belonged. It was to be regretted that in the report of Mr. Cook, one of H. M. Inspectors of Schools, a somewhat extraordinary recommendation had recently been given on this point. That gentleman had said—“That the male pupil-teachers were now, he believed, taken from poorer families than formerly, and that he did not regret the change;" for that "it had always been intended that the pupil-teacher system should act upon the home, as well as the school, and the payments should be a real benefit to the parents :" moreover, he believed “ that the best teachers are those whose sympathies will be with the class to which they belong, and which they will have to educate.”

Now, such sentiments were likely, if acted upon, to prove very mischievous. The men who were really to elevate the moral character of the poor must be taken from a higher grade than those whom they were to teach. It was of the highest importance that the future teacher should be surrounded in early life with right associations, and should be brought up in a religious and well-ordered home. The possible influence of the pupil-teacher training on the members of his own family was not to be thought of for a moment, in comparison with his influence over his future scholars.

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In selecting a candidate, the question should be—not “Whose relatives will be most benefited by the choice?" “ Whose parents will find the stipend most acceptable ?” but “Who will make the best schoolmaster?” And in answering this question, it would always be found that home-training of a superior kind gave a pupil-teacher an immense advantage, and largely increased the probability of his usefulness. For in regard to manners and refinement, and moral influence generally, a man cannot raise his scholars above his own level; and it was therefore necessary that he should be as decidedly superior in all these points to the class he had to instruct, as he was in the possession of knowledge. Let the schoolmaster, then, seek the candidates, when possible, from the upper ranks of his scholars, as far as social station was concerned ; he would find the parents of such children more disposed to be satisfied with the stipend and less influenced by the temptation to obtain employment more immediately lucrative. Moreover, it would certainly be found that, other things being equal, such youths would be more respected in the school, and more successful in after-life.

In reference to Mr. Lundy's remark concerning text-books, the President observed that he should be sorry to see such a suggestion carried out. Of course it was desirable that a certain routine of work should be prescribed by authority ; but it was not desirable that this routine should ever become so far stereotyped as to prevent the teachers from

adopting the course of instruction or using the books which they most approved. Every teacher should use the text-book from which he felt he could teach best; and in this way the instruction would be far sounder and less mechanical than if the Government or the authorities at the Training College were to narrow the course by any further restrictions.

He wished to speak with the more earnestness on the subject of the moral and religious training of the apprentices, because this was not tested in any way by the annual examination of the Inspector, and was left, to a great extent, to be determined by the master, and his own conscientious sense of its importance. Every teacher ought to assure himself that their Sundays were rightly spent, and that the reading and other recreations of their spare time were of a healthy and innocent kind. He should not be content to direct their studies, he should feel himself bound to exercise a moral supervision over their whole conduct; should be prepared to recommend suitable books for their lighter reading, and should require an account of the expenditure of their leisure time. If his own personal influence over the pupil-teachers was what it ought to be, his authority on all these points would be cheerfully recognised by them; and, indeed, he should never forget, that to make a thorough schoolmaster, a lad should not only be trained up as a scholar and a good teacher, but also with the habits and language of a gentleman, and with the feelings of a Christian.

In conclusion, the President advised the teachers present to avail themselves of any special gift or talent which the pupil-teachers might possess, and turn it to account for the good of the school. There was always some subject which the teacher himself was less interested in than the rest, or was less qualified to teach well-music or drawing, for example; and it was wise to encourage a pupil-teacher to make such a subject his specialité, and undertake the task of superintending it. In this way the school would be benefited, and the responsibility thus attaching to the pupil-teacher would identify him more closely with the school, and perhaps develope resources which otherwise would not be called forth.

The meeting then adjourned,

NORMAL COLLEGE, BOROUGH ROAD.--CHRISTMAS

EXAMINATION. Previously to the examination of the students in the Normal College by Her Majesty's Inspectors, at the ordinary annual competition for certificates, another examination took place, in order to determine the place of the students in the college lists. The following were among the questions proposed :

SCHOOL MANAGEMENT. 1. Describe the mode in which you would introduce the subject of geography to a class of begin. ners, and the order in which you think it right to teach its main truths.

2. What is the best way (1) of introducing, (2) of giving, (3) of testing, a gallery lesson on a familiar subject, addressed to a class of young children? Give an outline of the mode in which you would treat one of the following subjects :

The British constitution.
The moon.

The nervous system. 3. State the truths which ought to be comprehended by children before working sums in one of the following rules :

Simple subtraction.

The double rule of three.
And show the method by which you would illustrate and explain either of these rules.

4. What are the means you propose to adopt in order to secure efficient control over the children of your school ?

5. Describe the mode in which you would make the following returns from the ordinary school register :

(a) A return of the average number in daily attendance throughout the quarter.
() A return of the average sum per week received by way of school fees.
(c) A return of the number of children who have been present for a given number of days each.
(d) A return of the number who can read the Second Daily Lesson Book, or who can work

sums in Practice. 6. What are the points to be chiefly kept in view in religious teaching ? State the general principles on which you propose to conduct the scriptural instruction in your schools.

7. To what extent do the health and physical culture of children fall within the province of a British schoolmaster? State in detail any plans by which you hope to be useful in these respects.

8. How may the moral influence of a public-school teacher be best secured out of the school-room

GEOGRAPHY.
The first question in each section is intended for students of the first year, and the second

for those of the second year. 1. Describe the coast of

(a) China, from the Gulf of Tonquin to the mouth of the Hoang-Ho.
(6) Africa, from Sofala Bay to Table Bay.

(6) South America, from Trinidad to the mouth of the San Francisco. 2. Draw a map of the United States of America, showing the principal physical features and political divisions, and also the situations of the following towns :- Boston. New York. Baltimore. Phil. adelphia. Washington. New Orleans. San Francisco. Cincinnati.

3. Give a concise but complete account of the river system of Ilindostan.

4. Give a complete list of the British Possessions, and name those which are valuable rather as military or naval stations than as colonies.

5. What are the chief mineral products of Asia, and from what districts are they severally obtained ?

6. Name the ports on the East Coast of America in order, from North to South, and describe the character of the trade carried on at each.

7. State the chief volcanoes of the world, with their heights. Contrast those of the old with those of the new world. What regions have been subjected to earthquakes? And state what connection there is supposed to be between earthquakes and volcanoes.

8. Describe the mountain chains of the Spanish and Scandinavian peninsulas.

9. Give an exact account of the physical geography of Belgium, and name also those places in the territory to which an historical interest attaches.

10. Give a concise account of the geography of India. What districts have been recently annexed to the British Empire ?

11 Write the notes of a lesson upon the River Rhone.

12. Show the commercial importance of an easy communication between the Mediterranean and Red Sea. Between the Gulfs of Darien and Panama. What advantages or disadvantages arising from their situation have the following countries as regards commerce P-Switzerland. Austria. Russia. North Asia. Central Asia.

13. Draw a map of that part of Africa which is South of the equator.

14. Where and what are the following ?--Kunchinginga. Aconcagua. Mulhacen. Mount Erebus. The Sihon. The Hudson The nd. L. Van. Moultan. Cuzco. Khiva. Bassorah

15. Draw a map of Australia.

16. Name some of the differences between the flora and faunu of the old and new world. In what districts are the following found ? -The marsupial animals. The tapir. The puma. The cacti. The Victoria Regia.

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