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Sir Walter STIRLING, Bart., seconded this resolution, which, like the former one, was unanimously agreed to.
Mr. EDWARD BALL, M.P., moved :“That the thanks of the meeting be presented to the Duke of Bedford for his munificent subscription, and to Lord J. Russell for his attendance on that occasion.”
He expressed his conviction, that nothing but a religious education would prove really valuable and elevating.
Mr. FORSTER seconded the resolution.
Mr. Price expressed his admiration of the conspicuous kindness of the Duke of Bedford, and his gratitude to Lord John Russell for his courteous and conciliatory conduct at that meeting.
The resolution was then carried unanimously.
He begged to return to the meeting his most sincere acknowledgments. He did not wish again to revert to a discussion of the peculiarities of those doctrines in which they had already been engaged, but he thought that the case on the part of the Unitarians had been stated fairly, and with great temper, though he did not see that they ought to attach any authority to Mr. Dunn's pamphlet. There were some things, however, which could not be departed from by the Society, such as the full and free interrogation on the sacred Scriptures, in order that those that learnt them might understand them also ; and he should be sorry to think that anything that bad happened that morning could be considered as showing that the principle of religious toleration, on which the Society was based, had been encroached upon. Such an encroachment would be a loss of character, for the very principle on which it stood was religious liberty and religious toleration. By religious liberty he understood that all men were free to choose and follow whatever religion they preferred as most true; by religious toleration he understood that every man was to bear with the opinions of others, and look with Christian love upon those who differed from him, provided he was convinced that they were honest and sincere in their convictions. Those principles would be maintained by the Society to the fullest extent. He would not detain the meeting with any lengthy remarks, but merely add that he did not think that any system of education could be established in this country which would be really useful to the people, unless it was based on religion. If religious instruction was not admitted, they must exclude all moral instruction whatever, and so injure the better half of man's nature, and merely cultivate his intellect, forgetting his heart, his duty, and obligations to his fellow-creatures, or they must take another course entirely. The other course was to teach morals from the works of approved moralists, but moralists not deriving their authority in any way from the Holy Scriptures. By this method the difficulty was apparently got over, but in reality it would only be to fall into a yet more serious one-namely, that of attempting to teach morality without admitting that all morals derived their sanction from the immortal book that our duties and obligations were derived from a higher than natural source. Secular education was a scheme which at first appeared plausible, and which caught the sanction of many; nevertheless, he believed it was worse than impracticable. If it was impossible for all religious persuasions to combine in one system of education, then let there be total separation, which would be a far less evil, and would lead to lesser evils than might be feared from purely secular education.
The proceedings then terminated.
AGENCY AND INSPECTION. North of England. In addition to visits which Mr. Davis has made to schools in Manchester and other towns in Lancashire, he has been engaged in the counties of York, Chester, Durham, Cumberland, Northumberland, Lincoln, Nottingham, and Derby. Forty-two towns and villages have been visited, and some of them more than once. Forty-nine separate educational institutions have been inspected. Public examinations have also been conducted, meetings addressed, and conferences held with committees.
Eastern Counties.—Mr. Baxter has now completed his tour of inspection among the schools of this district. He has visited fifty-five towns and villages, examined seventy-two schools, addressed ten public meetings, and conducted six public examinations.
Metropolitan.-In and around London, Mr. Saunders and Mr. Milne have been actively engaged in the inspection of schools. Several places lying beyond the London district have also received visits from Mr. Saunders for various purposes in connexion with education.
North Wales.-Forty-four towns and villages have been visited by Mr. Phillips for the delivery of lectures, holding public meetings, conferences with school managers, and the inspection of schools. He has also been much engaged in the advocacy of the new Normal College for Wales. At Carnarvon, the foundation stone of new school rooms has been recently laid, which will be the largest British school premises hitherto erected in North Wales. The meeting was presided over by R. D. Williams, Esq., of Carnarvon, and the proceedings of the day were highly satisfactory.
South Wales.-Mr. Roberts has been engaged among the agricultural districts of South Wales, where he has visited twenty places, and some of them repeatedly.
SCHOOL ORGANIZATION. At the request of several teachers, we make one or two extracts from a paper which was read at the last meeting of the British Teachers' Quarterly Association by Mr. White of Bethnal Green.
Arrangement of Furniture. The main room may be divided into three equal sec. tions by means of moving partitions or curtains. At one end of the room there should be an open platform, two feet high, and from four to six feet wide. The three sections of the room may be fitted up differently, in accordance with those plans which experience has shown to be the most convenient; and as children work better when under the eye of the master, these different kinds of arrangement should be so contrived that, throughout all the sections and in all the exercises, the scholars face the platform, from which it is presumed the master can see them.
The section of the room nearest the platform, if occupied as a reading station, will not require seats or desks. Here the scholars may be drawn up in a standing posture, either in large or small groups, according to the teaching power of the school. Each draft station should be provided with a strong hard-wood box, capable of containing the reading books belonging to the several classes that may in succession assemble there; when closed, these form seats for the monitors or teachers.
The middle section of the room, used chiefly for those exercises which are quiet, and which require the scholars to be in the writing posture, must be fitted up with one or more groups of parallel desks, according to its dimensions. Generally speaking, a group should not consist of more than five desks, capable of accommodating eight or nine scholars each ; these will form a compact body, being nearly square when properly placed. An open space should be left, so that the teacher may pass freely round the group ; in front this space should be from four to six feet broad, that an object table, or a black board may be used conveniently. The desks and seats should be moveable, but always set to the same places, which places may be marked on the floor by copper nails.
The third section of the room, farthest from the platform, adapted to oral instruction, and those other school exercises which are working largely as an educational instrument, may be fitted with one or more galleries, according to its size. These galleries, not merely seats rising one above the other, should consist of a series of moveable seats and desks, like those in the middle section of the room ; but instead of being arranged on the level floor, may be placed on stages, elevated one above the other, for they will stand just as firmly there as on the level floor.
By thus dividing the room into three sections, it may be arranged so that, wbile the scholars occupying the two extreme sections are in the one case employed in reading, and in the other in receiving oral instruction, those in the middle sections may be employed in writing, or other exercises producing scarcely any noise. Such arrange. ments, together with the use of curtains or partitions, greatly reduce the inconvenience arising from the noise consequent on teaching large numbers in one room.
Besides the main room, there should be class-room accommodation equal to onefourth of the entire superficial area provided for the whole school. This may be divided into one or two rooms, according to the magnitude of the school.
Where there are two class-rooms, one should be fitted in a manner similar to that section of the main room adapted to oral instruction, but with a space of at least ten feet in front of the group of parallel desks; the other room may be left with open floor, or provided with one line of seats all round. These rooms, if used for those exercises which on the one hand are too noisy for the great room, or on the other require more quietness than can be reasonably demanded there, will prove of great value.
Agency.-In British schools at the present time this consists of four grades of workers; the master, assistant, pupil-teachers, and monitors. All these grades are not found in every school, but are found among all the schools. My business is chiefly to show where they are to be placed in the school, how occupied, and subordinated to each other, so that the greatest possible amount of their educating power may be brought to bear upon the scholars. The assistants and pupil-teachers should not be individually responsible to any party but the master. The monitors of each class should be responsible, first to the teachers of the class where they are employed, and, of course, through him, to the master. The entire agency should act together, be animated by the same spirit, and subject to the same will, namely, that of the master.
An assistant, or pupil-teacher, should be appointed to every division consisting of about fifty scholars on the book. Of this division he should have the general charge, subject, of course, to the more general charge of the master. Four monitors should be appointed to assist him in taking the reading drafts ; these he should train to their special duties once a week, at least.
The teacher should remain long enough in charge of the same division to test the efficacy of his methods, and to see some of the results of his labours. It should be at least a twelvemonth. In schools above 150, the master should not have a division resting on him entirely for instruction ; on the other hand, however large his school, he should never give himself up entirely to the business of governing and watching the school, to the neglect of personal teaching. To ain sympathy with his assistants, he should teach at least twice a day. In a smaller school, the master may have a division depending on him for instruction, with the aid of a junior pupil-teacher, or good monitor. No class or division should ever be left without a ruler. As in the army, so in the school,' provision should be made for the transmission of authority. In the event of the usual officer failing, or being called to other duties, it should be known who will next take the command.
Where there are several teachers employed, either of one grade or another, their separate duties should be distinctly mapped out, and where the obligation of one teacher begins, and another terminates, should be as plainly discernible by the teachers themselves, as the difference between night and day. Ground for jealousy, irregularity, or dissatisfaction, there will be none if this be attended to.
The assistants and pupil-teachers should also be able to learn from the plan of occupation the number of lessons they are respectively required to give within a specified time, the subjects on which they are to be given, and the duration of each. In addition to this, each teacher should know precisely what school materials and furniture are committed to his charge, including all those things which belong peculiarly to his class, together with such portion of the school apparatus, common to the use of all the classes, as the master may appoint. A list of these materials, and the several duties he has to discharge, should be plainly written down, in a prepared page of the school minute-book. The grade of the class, or division, may stand at the top of the page; the several items for which the teacher is responsible may be entered at the side; towards the right-hand side of the page there may be thirteen columns ruled, one for each week in the quarter. Once a week the master should require the teacher to account for the discharge of their duties one by one. A short remark or sign should be entered, indicative of the character of the performance of each. Such as
yes,” “no," “ in part," “ two left out,” “omitted," "done well," "one minus" These quarterly reports become the written character of the teacher, and are useful in many respects afterwards. For the monitors, a similar scheme should be carried out, but, of course, less in magnitude.
EXAMINATION OF CHILDREN IN BRITISH SCHOOLS.
From a Correspondent. Seeing in the Record for April an article headed “Systematic Examinations of Sections under Pupil-Teachers,” I was led, owing to the general interest I had already taken in the subject, to give it a very careful perusal. I was rather disappointed in not finding more of the real advantages set forth by the writer, which are derivable from the working of such a scheme.
Every earnest and right-minded teacher will agree that the subject is very im. portant, and one that demands the most serious attention of those who have apprentices entrusted to their care. Indeed, I can conceive of no school organization, whether conducted on the purely monitorial or pupil-teacher system, complete without some such plan. It may not prove altogether uninteresting to your readers if I bring before them a scheme which has successively stood the test of five years' trial, and produced results the most valuable in a school of 280 boys, with a staff of seven pupil-teachers. Before entering fully into the plan of examination, it will be necessary to explain a few particulars respecting the organization of the school, and the agency employed.
The school is organized on the quadri-partite, or four part system, viz., into four sections, eight classes, and for the purposes of mere technical instruction (under moni. tors) into twenty-four drafts. Each section occupies alternately galleries, desks, draft positions, and class rooms, and is under two pupil-teachers.
Each class on an average contains thirty-five boys, and is under one pupilteacher. Each pupil-teacher, on taking charge of a new class (which is done at the end of every six months) is provided with a written account of the standard of attainments to which he is expected to bring his boys in a given time,-either in one, three, or six months,--with a set number of lessons on each subject, appointed for that class by the master ; so that whenever the master enters any one class, for the purpose of examination, he has only to refer to the book of attainments to ascertain how far Such class should have progressed in each subject since the last examination. Each class is examined by the master at least once a month, assisted by the several pupilteachers.
Further, each pupil-teacher, during the period in which he has charge of his class, is held responsible for the personal cleanliness and neatness of each boy,their attainments and attendance; he reports, in writing, twice daily to the master the cause of absences-takes charge of, and keeps in repair (as far as able) all the apparatus necessary for his class and examines daily, with care, the home lessons.
By the above arrangement, each pupil-teacher will have passed through and have taught in every section of the school in the space of four years. In the first half of the fifth year he passes rapidly through the same classes again, so as to enable him to get a clear conception of the working of the school, as a whole, in all its details; whilst in the second half of the same year he has the task of superintending, examining, and teaching one half the school, just as if he were the appointed master of the same. By this latter process he is the better fitted to discharge the important and responsible duties devolving upon him in after life.
The scheme embraces two distinct sets of subjects :- 1st. Those taught at school under the care of pupil-teachers. 2ndly. Those pursued at home by the boys themselves, with little or no help or supervision from the elder members of the family. These latter, or home lessons as they are called, form an important feature in the daily routine of the school, and are examined by the pupil-teachers in the following manner : thus
1. By a careful inspection of slates and books.
4. By requiring them to reproduce from memory, on their slates, any one of the subjects learnt at home.
Each teacher then registers the character of the home work done, in a rough note book kept for the purpose. An account of this, with the general progress made at the school, &c., is sent to the parents once a month.
It should be stated here, that each class is provided with a graduated course of home studies, so arranged as to be auxiliary to, and correspond with, the subjects taught at school. This enables the master to extend the period of school life, not merely because it adds the hour's work every evening to that done in the day, but because it allows him to make use of the time in school for the higher purposes of education-an end to which instruction is but a means.