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GUILDFORD.—The occasion of the meeting here was the laying the corner-stone of a new room adjoining to and at a right angle with the present, which is in future to be appropriated to an infant department.
CRAWLEY.-The meeting at Crawley was held to commemorate the extinction, by voluntary contributions, of a debt of upwards of £1,000, incurred by the erection of new and very eligible school buildings, comprising teachers' residences, a large room for a mixed, and another for an infant school, with open and covered playgrounds.
FOLKESTONE.—The annual public examination of the children in these schools was attended by an unusually large number of friends, who manifested very great interest in the proceedings of the morning. The chair was taken by Robert Offor, Esq., who, after a few preliminary remarks, called upon the children to commence by singing a piece. A class of boys and girls from the middle section of each school then read from their lesson book, and were questioned on the history of the Hebrew nation. A second piece was sung, after which a class from the first section of each school was examined in grammar, concluded by a parsing exercise. Another piece having been sung, a large class from the first and second sections of each school were questioned in geography and history, followed, after an intervening song, by mental arithmetic. The examination was concluded by a class from the first section of each school reading a chapter in the New Testament, upon which they were very closely questioned by Mr. Vardy, and subsequently, at his request, by the chairman. Mr. Vardy spoke at some length, and referred especially to the excellence of the scriptural instruction of the children in these schools, after which the chairman addressed the meeting, and eulogised especially the unsectarian character of the British Schools. He had come to these schools for the first time that day, and he should show his appreciation of the principles on which they were founded by giving a donation of £5 to the funds. The Mayor (W. R. Boarer, Esq., who is honorary secretary of the schools) then read the report. Francis Place, Esq., then, in a few words, moved the adoption of the report, which was seconded by Lieut. Newman, R.N., and carried. After a vote of thanks to the chairman, the national anthem was sung by the children, and the meeting separated.
OPENING OF NEW SCHOOL ROOMS. CHIPPENHAM.-A public meeting was held here on the 2nd of August, to celebrate the completion of the new British School Rooms, which will accommodate nearly 300 children. The rooms are on the ground-floor, and can be thrown into one by the removal of a framed partition. The town is mainly indebted for these excellent premises to the indefatigable exertions of the Rev. B. Rees, who, at a very advanced period of life, has encountered much toil in procuring the funds necessary for their erection.
About 300 persons assembled at tea in the Town Hall. A public meeting was afterwards held, at which Henry 0. Wills, Esq., of Bristol, presided. The assembly was addressed by Handell Cossham, Esq., the Rev. Messrs. Shaw, Pratt, Price, and Rees, and by Mr. Baxter. There was a large attendance, and the meeting was characterised by a deep interest in the business which had occasioned it.
TEIGNMOUTH.—A new school has recently been opened in this town, under the care of Mr. Hoskin, formerly at Gascoigne Place, Shoreditch. About 180 children are already enrolled, and the school, considering the short period of its existence, presents encouraging prospects of success. A meeting, to celebrate the opening of this school, was held in the Athenæum on the evening of August 24th. About 200 persons took tea together. A public meeting followed, when J. Wreford, Esq., was called to the chair. J. P. Nicholls, Esq., of Exeter, Rev. C. Clem. ance, B.A., Mr. Hoskin, and Mr. Wreford, addressed the meeting briefly, but
effectively; after which, Mr. Baxter, at some length, delivered a practical address, directed chiefly to parents, and pointing out to how great an extent the success of the school, in relation to their children, would depend upon their own well-directed efforts, especially at home. The meeting was well-attended, the audience attentive and interested, and all the circumstances warranted the hope that a successful enterprise had been commenced.
NEATH.—The new schools at Neath have been recently opened under very encouraging auspices. The cost of the three school-houses is £970, and the total expenditure, in the purchase of freehold land, buildings, furniture, books, maps and apparatus, is £1,530. Of this sum, the Committee of Council have contributed £733, and the remainder has been met by a liberal private subscription. More than 300 children have already been admitted, and the schools are working in a most satisfactory manner.
EXAMINATIONS FOR CERTIFICATES, 1858. Teachers of schools, who propose to attend the Examinations for Certificates of Merit at Christmas next, are reminded that it is desirable to make early application to the proper authorities for permission to sit. If the teacher who desires to obtain a certificate is not in charge of a school under inspection, his application must be made first to the authorities of the College in which he received his training. In this case, he will not be eligible unless his period of training extended at least to one year. Teachers who are already in charge of inspected schools, must apply in the first place to the Secretary of the Committee of Council on Education. Such teachers must, in every case, have attained the age of twenty-two years, and have been favourably reported on, at least once, by Her Majesty's Inspector. In either case, the application should be made not later than the 1st of November.
Some misapprehension having arisen, in reference to the position of teachers who have been placed in the schedule at the examination, it is necessary to state that such persons are regarded by the Committee of Council, in all respects, as untrained teachers—unless they reside a second year in a Training College. No scheduled teacher can therefore be admitted to the examination for certificates, except under the conditions described in the second of the above cases, viz., he must be twenty-two years of age; must be in charge of an inspected school; must have been favourably reported on by Her Majesty's Inspector; and must obtain the consent of the Committee of Council.
SCHOOL LIBRARIES. The paper which appeared in our January number, from a correspondent, on this subject will, we trust, be productive of much practical good. The teachers of British schools know as well as any how to turn a good suggestion to account, and what use to make of such facts as embody the successes of their fellow-labourers in any department of their work. It is this conviction that makes communications containing such facts always welcome to us, and gives us the greatest pleasure in making room for them in these pages.
Adverting to the means by which a school library may be provided, even where a “want of funds” may be the obstacle, one correspondent has shown us a very simple but effective method of accomplishing his purpose. We have received from the British schoolmaster of Leamington the following details of the method which he adopted, two years ago, to realise this desirable object. He says :
“I taught my scholars a number of pieces of school music, and gave a public • Juvenile Singing Entertainment.' The words of the songs were printed, and the programmes sold at a penny, by which we realised a profit of 50 per cent. The programmes were placed conspicuously in the windows of the houses and shops of the children's parents and friends, and by this means we succeeded in extensively advertising the concert. The charges for admission were, one shilling, sixpence, and threepence; and the boys were indefatigable in their efforts to dispose of the tickets among all classes of persons who took an interest in the school. About 450 tickets were quickly sold, and I was, at length, obliged to refuse to issue any more, for want of sufficient accommodation in the school-room. The effort proved in all points very successful; for, in addition to the gratification afforded to all who came, the sum of eleven pounds was realised for the library, and several donations of books from benevolent persons interested in the object contemplated.”
By this simple method was this school supplied with its library. It has now been two years in existence, and has already grown to nearly 600 volumes. About 100 boys subscribe one halfpenny a month, and the proceeds, £2 10s. per annum, are found amply sufficient for the preservation and extension of the library.
In relation to the management, the following particulars are worthy of notice :
“I requested the upper section of boys to elect by ballot a treasurer, two librarians, and a committee, from among themselves, to whom the management of the library might be entirely entrusted. These meet periodically to examine the accounts, to inspect the condition of the books, to enforce fines, and to make or alter rules. These meetings are conducted in an orderly and praiseworthy manner by the boys, and help to train them to business habits. I, of course, hold the office of president, and to me the settlement of cases of difficulty is referred.”
The following special rules are found to work very advantageously, namely
“ The parents and friends of the boys may share the benefits of the library on payment of one penny per month.” And
Boys confined at home through sickness are entitled to two volumes a week, instead of one."
A second concert has been given by the boys, which produced £10. A supply of philosophical apparatus is now contemplated by the master; and we heartily wish him success in his efforts to improve his school by every legitimate means at his command.
Another mode of realising this object has been communicated by a master who took charge of his school at the commencement of the present year. It may be instructive to young teachers, as showing what is possible to a resolute worker, just to state a few details relating to the master's entrance on his sphere of duty. He says:
• When I opened school, on January 4th, I had but one pupil from 9 till 9.45 a.m. I had twelve by noon. By the beginning of March, by dint of hard work, and two music classes on week evenings—one for children, and one for adults -I had about forty children, with an average attendance of about thirty."
To these thirty he introduced the question of a school library. Here is his own account of the matter :
“ I called the two upper classes, and told them to remain behind one morning, as the children were leaving. I represented to them how advantageous a library would be to them, and how necessary it was to them to read many books. I named some, such as · Robinson Crusoe,' . Uncle Tom's Cabin,' Natural Histories, &c., &c.,
which would be in the library. I then asked them if we could not collect some money, and it does my beart good while I write to think of the smile of hope which instantly lit up their faces. Many said • Yes.' I then procured a dozen penny memorandum books, and on the first leaf of each I wrote a little heading stating the object of the collection, the name of the collector, and placed my own name below. Eleven boys and girls volunteered to take a book each. As a further incentive, I offered a book of the price of 3s. to the one who would collect most money, provided that it amounted to at least 8s. I also limited the time to two days. I expected to receive at the end of that time about tbirty shillings, but they brought me £4 58. One boy collected £1; several bad 8s. They left no stone unturned.
“The parents were as pleased as I was to see the spirit the boys had.'' The provision made for the management of the library is further described :
“I constituted the first and second classes a library committee, of which I am chairman. All the affairs of the library are transacted by this committee. I attach considerable importance to this committee, and think it well to have as many officers in connexion with it as possible. We have the following :--Treasurer (the master); Secretary (a boy); Librarian for. Select Library, and Assistant ; Librarian for General Library, and Assistant.
“Only the best boys, of course, fill these positions. All the proceedings of the committee are entered in a minute-book, kept by the Secretary.
To obtain money to get new works the collectors keep their books, and get what they can. A half-yearly prize of the value of 3s. is offered for the largest collection, provided it exceed 8s. We have fines also for not presenting the book at proper time-one halfpenny a day. We exchange the books once a fortnight.
“We have at present 104 children in the school.”
LEARNING BY HEART.
The practice of committing lessons to memory is one against which some very natural prejudices are entertained by many intelligent teachers. Those who in their youth were taught everything by mere rote associate the exercise of memory with so much that is mechanical, and with so complete an absence of all really effective and rational instruction, that they generally entertain a strong objection to rely on it. It is, indeed, true that the practice of confining all the exercises of school to the learning of a few lessons is a mischievous one, that it deadens the imagination, and dwarfs the intellect of a learner; but it should nevertheless be remembered, that a serious error may be made if a teacher re-acts so far from one form of error as to fall into another. The wise course is to employ the understanding and the memory together, and to recognise the lawful claims of both upon the care and cultivation of a teacher.
In British schools there has been too great a tendency to neglect the memory, and to rely almost exclusively on questioning, and such other school exercises as are intended to promote the general mental activity of the pupils. All rote-work has been regarded as mechanical and unintelligent. But there are some very important purposes to be served by exercising the mere verbal memory; and for the neglect of them no sharpness and quickness can entirely compensate. As a mere exercise in fixing the attention all memory-work is valuable. It challenges greater effort; it enforces greater accuracy; it is an exercise in which no one can help another, but in which each learner must stand alone, and be forced to rely on his individual exertions. It helps to fix truths in the mind with steadiness and definiteness; and, above all, it tends to strengthen and enlarge a faculty, on the due development of which, much of the success of a learner must depend. We believe that any school course, which does not include in its daily routine some lesson to be committed to memory, is seriously defective; and we will briefly instance one or two points in regard to which this is especially true.
I. All the definitions and rules of grammar ought in every case to be learnt by heart. It does not suffice that they shall be understood. To many teachers it seems enough to secure that their pupils see the meaning of the rule, give an illustration of its use, and apply it to practice in the construction or analysis of sentences. All this may be obtained undoubtedly by learning the substance without the letter of the rule. But, beyond this, it is also necessary that the pupil's knowledge of the general principles of language should be thoroughly accurate; he should know each important truth in a form which is at once comprehensive and concise ; exact in statement, and suited for constant reference and quotation. On this account the language employed for definitions and for all the rules and fundamental statements in good grammars is always carefully chosen, and intended to be the best language in which the required truth can be expressed. A good teacher will always insist on exact quotation. He will, of course, want something more than this ; he will question on the meaning of the words; he will explain and vary the illustrations in the book, and require others to be furnished by the learners; but, at the same time, he will refuse to receive a rule or definition in any other than the precise pbraseology of the text-book, even when it is well understood.
II, For similar reasons the main principles and axiomatic truths of arithmetic require to be learnt by heart. It is very difficult and almost impossible for a young learner to state the reason of a rule in perfectly correct language. Abstract principles are in their very nature difficult; yet, since all good teachers are accustomed now to teach the principles of arithmetic, and to attempt some kind of mathematical discipline in connexion with the working of sums, a few abstract truths must be learnt and frequently quoted. It is far better on every account that the learner should always quote verbatim, whenever he refers any operation of arithmetic to a general truth. This is especially true of Euclid's Elements, in which the misplacing or alteration of a single word often invalidates the whole reasoning, and renders the exercise useless. But it is also true in the case of arithmetic, for one great part of the usefulness of mathematics consists in the exactness of thinking which it cultivates. But exactness of thinking cannot be secured without exactness of statement; and there is bere, therefore, a very legitimate field for memory-work.
III. Select pieces of poetry, and verses of suitable hymns, are most useful exercises of memory. There should be a systematic provision in every school course for learning them. A good deal of care and forethought will be required, on the part of a teacher, to select a sufficient number of appropriate verses to form a complete course for several months ; but when this has once been accomplished, the results will always justify the effort. Experience shows that among all classes of persons rhythmical language is pleasant to the ear, and finds a readier acceptance in the memory than prose, Hence verses of hymns are very frequently used, especially by the uneducated, in giving utterance to religious feelings ; and educated and uneducated alike draw many of their happiest thoughts in solitude, and much of their most precious consolation in sickness or trouble, from the recollection of sweet verses which have, at some former time, attracted their ear, and sunk down into their memories. Every child who goes from school with a good store of pure and elevating verses in his mind, is greatly the richer for the possession. They will not only rise pleasantly into his thoughts in future years, and thus afford him gratification, but will do much to elevate his taste, and, even when he is unconscious of their influence, to improve his own tone of thinking. The advantage of learning poetical extracts by heart is, therefore, rather practical than disciplinal. The exercise demands no great effort of mind, and mere precision of language is of little consequence for its own sake; but its value is to be measured by considering the amount of truth which may