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edifice, it forms a decided acquisition to the town. The institution is adapted to give instruction to 500 children. There are two large rooms, the one for girls, the other for boys; also a room for an infant school : in addition to which there will be two class rooms and two drawing rooms. The master's home is closely adjacent to the school. The expense incurred in building is about £3,000, one half of which will be contributed by the Committee of Council, the other half having to be raised by the promoters of the school.
MINUTES OF COMMITTEE OF COUNCIL ON EDUCATION,
1857-8. The volume containing the Reports of her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools, the statements of expenditure, and the letters and other regulations which have issued from the Council-office during the past year, has just been laid before both Houses of Parliament. It comprises a mass of facts respecting the state of popular education in England; and affords, on the whole, a very hopeful view of the national prospects in this particular. We extract, first, a statement of the year's expenditure, which exhibits a total increase on 1856-7 of about £136,000.
£ S. d. In building, enlarging, repairing, and furnishing Elementary Schools.........
117,771 9 6 In building, enlarging, repairing, and furnishing Normal or Training College
1,892 19 5 In providing books, maps, and diagrams
5,462 5 7 In providing scientific apparatus...
2,345 15 11 In augmenting salaries of certificated schoolmasters and mistresses
61,490 14 10 In paying salaries of assistant teachers
5,544 4 6 In paying stipends of pupil-teachers, and gratuities for their special instruction 192.248 8 0 In capitation grants
39,362 5 0 In annual grants to Training Colleges
57,220 16 11 Reformatory and Industrial Schools
19,104 10 7 Pensions
717 18 Inspections
34,434 4 111 Administration (office in London)
16,731 1 5 Poundage on Post-office Orders
1,710 10 3 Agency for grants of books, maps, and diagrams..
937 15 0
£559,974 3 63
The official instructions issued to the Inspectors, and the brief document to which the
“Minutes” is strictly applicable, always form an interesting indication of the aims of those who administer the parliamentary grant. From these papers we gather that, during the year, increased attention has been directed to Industrial Instruction, and that special grants will in future be made to such free or ragged schools as afford scholastic instruction combined with the teaching of trades or handicrafts. Several of the new regulations also urge increased attention to the subject of drawing, and make special provision for furnishing apparatus, &c., in schools where it is taught. But lest these regulations should in any way be supposed to encourage a neglect of more elementary subjects, the letter to the Inspectors contains the following passage, which, for the sake of its importance, we extract:
The precision which drawing requires gires it much of the same educational value as attaches to the practice of a handicraft, while on the other hand it requires, comparatively, so little additional apparatus, and has so much in common with writing, and with geometry, that its introduction entails a much less wide departure from the ordinary course of lessons than most other industrial subjects. My Lords wish the introduction of it into elementary schools to be generally encouraged; and it is important, with this object in view, you should endeavour to disabuse persons of the notion that the kind of drawing which has been hitherto known as an accomplishment in schools for the rich, is that which would be taught, under the present Minute, in schools for the poor. The kind of drawing which it is proposed to teach is, in the strictest sense, an education of the eye and of the hand, such as may, indeed, be the first step in the career of a great artist, but must at any rate enable the commonest work. man to do his own work more neatly and better.
So far as the introduction of drawing may seem to add another item to a list of subjects already too great for young children to learn, I am to observe, that the knowledge which my Lords wish to see all children bring with them from school, is,
1.-The power to read easily and intelligently enough to make reading a pleasure, II. - The power to write easily and legibly; and, III.-The power to perform, and to apply to every-day matters, the common operations of arith
metic, at least as far as practice and the rule of three inclusive, rapidly, accurately, and with as much comprehension of the principles as is practically necessary for this
purpose. As to other subjects, the walls of a school carry maps and diagranis; every reading lesson, every dictation lesson, must be about something or other ; the trained and certificated teachers have been highly educated themselves, in order to be able to connect and to explain as much of history, geography, grammar, and the rudiments of natural science, as occur in all the reading books commonly used. While, however, the teacher's general knowledge is thus employed in giving life and interest to the entire course of instruction, and rescuing it from that character of mere mechanical drudgery in which it was formerly too apt to fall, the main stress, nevertheless, of the instruction should turn rather upon what the children are to be enabled to do, than upon uhat they are only to answer about.
In the Reports of the Inspectors may be found, as usual, many important facts as to the excellences and defects of the various methods which they have observed, be. sides practical suggestions for their improvement. We regret that we have room for very few extracts, which must be of a somewhat miscellaneous character.
Very satis factory testimony is borne by the Inspectors generally as to the working of the pupil-teacher system, and as to the steady improvement which is being effected by it in the elementary schools throughout the country. Nevertheless, it is suggested by several of the Inspectors, and especially by Mr. Fussell and Mr. Cook, that these young people are, in too many cases, looked upon as instruments of present usefulness, and not sufficiently as apprentices learning a profession. The latter gentleman thus urges the special need of a more direct training in the art of teaching.
First, with regard to the professional training of pupil-teachers :-(1.) I hold it to be self-evident that in the course of five years all apprentices should see the working of every part of a school. They ougnt to lave followed and practised every step in every elementary subjectf of instruction. This cannot be done unless they have charge of different classes in different years, or unless they are released at intervals from the care of their own class, and allowed to watch the work of one of their more experienced colleagues, or of the master. Most good teachers are careful in this matter. It is not, however, always attended to. It sometimes happens that a pupil-teacher has been confined to one or two divisions of a school, and is either practically ignorant of the best system of teaching each elementary subject in all its stages, or imperfectly conversant with its principles and details. (2.) There is a great variety of opinion as to the length of time during which pupil-teachers should be in charge of a class. Some limits to the admissible variations may be fixed by general consent. It is clear that a teacher ought to remain with one class long enough to know each child thoroughly, and to be responsible to the head teacher for the general progress. One month appears to be the minimum for these objects. On the other hand, I should think a year is about the maximum, and I should prefer six months. With the latter arrangement, every part even of the largest schools may be brought successively under the ob. servation of the apprentice.
The proportion of certificated teachers is steadily on the increase, and a corre. sponding improvement is remarked in the general character and standing of the masters and mistresses throughout the country. Mr. Brookfield pays a high tribute to the teachers of his district, and the testimony of his colleagues is generally in accordance with his own.
I feel justificd, by deliberate observation and belief, in saying, that no class of persons in the community, numerically equal to the existing elementary schoolmasters and schcolmistresses, excels them as a body in the amount of knowledge necessary for their employment, in a humble and couscientious sense of duty, in professional devotedness, or in predilection for their calling.
Mr. Morell makes some observations on the necessity of a more accurate classification of the schools, and of a better graduation of subjects throughout the lower classes, which well deserve the serious attention of teachers.
I might almost say, that the prime difference between a good and a bad school lies in the gradations of progress, visible throughout the whole, as you ascend from one section to another. It is a grand weakness, which I have often to experience in the course of my inspection, that the children forming the first class can make a very decent appearance; while, the moment you go one step below them, you seem to be stepping at once into mental darkness and confusion. The aggregate excellence of a school consists in the combined excellence of every part, and it is only when each class is in its proportion equally well taught, and equally well advanced, tliat real efficiency is, or can be, secured. Eminently
is this the case in the school to which I am now referring ; so much so, that if a child passes only through two or three of the lower sections, and then leaves, still it must have experienced a mental training, and acquired a facility in elementary subjects, which may always prove tlie starting-point of self-improvement in the future.
An investigation of the advantages and disadvantages of collective or simultaneous methods of teaching occupies nearly the whole of Mr. Laurie's Report. very strongly the need of supplementing all gallery lessons by rigorous individual examination. We give the following passage from his remarks on this important subject:
The machinery of the simultaneous method being set in operation, the paramount difficulty of the schoolmaster seems conveniently overcome, universal activity appears to prevail. The most seruliniz. ing teachers, however, both in my previous and in my present district, have found that, when they supposed this activity to be genuine, they were labouring under self-deception. It is true that, in the perfected form of the method, mechanical activity may be secured, i.e., words may be enuuciated with satisfactory accuracy; but close observation will determine that it is only a very small proportion of the class who are in any way conscious of a connexion between the sound and the sense of the words they utter. And this is a perfectly natural consequence, seeing that in sinultaneous reading, for ex. ample, every individual effort is concentrated on the anxiety to keep the measured time. While, there. fore, the bare art of collective utterance may be conveniently cultivated under this system, the entire aim of learning to read, to wit,-the habit of accompanying comprehension,-is, on the whole, foiled.
It would nevertheless, be some recommendation of the system, were even technical accuracy attained as a general rule. But, from its certain liability to abuse, this is far from being the average result; for in ordinary cases, the apparent activity of the majority of a class amounts, in point of fact, merely to an external lip movement, which has little connexion with articulate utterance; and there are always some who make no semblance of an effort at all.
As a proof of the excessive blindness to genuine practically available results, which the exclusive, or nearly exclusive, use of the simultaneous system is apt to engender, I may here mention that frequently, on pointing out the faulty character of the reading of individual pupils, I have been triumphantly referred to the simultaneous performances. But in what state, as regards reading, is a pupil who cannot acquit himself even in a tolerable manner without the aid of that “sympatlıy of numbers” so much vaunted by some advocates of the simultaneous system? I have heard a class read simultaneously with striking effect, producing at first a most favourable impression; which inpression, however, was completely and very unpleasantly dispelled in the course of the next ten minutes, when the pupils were tested singly. About oue-fifth of the whole may have read as well as the class collectively appeared to do, while the rest fell various degrees short of the proficiency which they ought to have attained, and which an unwary observer would have imagined they had attained. The class, on the whule, when tested individually was found to read badly, though, when tested simultaneously, it seemed to read well. In fact it is difficult, not only for the mere spectator to escape deception under this system, but even for monitor, apprentice, and the average teacher. If it is argued that all this is true of the system when abused, not used, I can only reply that unfortunately such abuses constitute the general result of its application in the schools I have inspected. My position with regard to the system is precisely that of drawing attention to its actual abuse, and its inherent liability to abuse.
Mr. Mitchell, whose long experience enables him to estimate the progress of edu. cation during the last few years, and to compare our present with our former condition, in this respect, thus sums up the result of recent educational movements :
Eleren years have elapsed since the Minutes of 1846 were brought into operation. That period is not so long ago but that most persons can remember what was then the state of schools for the working class :s. The buildings since erected prove by contrast how deficient the school accommodation thien was, and yet we were told, twenty years ago, that there was no need for interference,—that the country w. is as well educated as it could be, or as it ought to be. But not only was the accommodation insufficient : in how few schools were there any but the hardest and most unintelligible reading books, and those cl vefly confined to religious subjects, treated in a manner which, if it enjoyed the advantage of being dce p, possessed also the misfortune of being dry. No geography, no maps, no grammar, no history (except in comparatively few cases); while the apparatus, the fittings, and in many cases the general equal or, excited disgust, rather than inclination to enter them. I shall say nothing of the teachers. Of all the schools in England, notwithstanding all the advantages offered by the Govern. ment, compara tively few teachers attended the examinations in 1847, 1848, and 1849. Their assistants in tlie schools were then only boys and girls of ten to twelve years of age; and with this help a teacher was considered , incompetent if he did not manage to educate from 150 to 250 children ; and persous cren were four ac] to assert, that the teacher diıl educate them.
Thank God, such delusions are now dispelled; that state of things has passed away, let us hope, for ever. At present the schools under inspection are mostly well-built, well-found, well-managed, and cared for; able teachers, ably assisted by competent pupil-teachers, every year increase in number. Better books have been written, more subjects introduced, and we are working, wherever inspection goes, in most places, fairly, in some, excellently. But, we are now only in our commencement. We have to wait for the harvest. In the mean time there is quite sufficient result to prove that what has been done is a blessing; and to excite a hope that, when what remains to be done is completed, that blessing will be yet further extended.
LESSON ON THE USE OF LAWS. The following illustration of a conversational lesson, which was given by the teacher to the elder boys of an elementary school, has been forwarded to us by a correspondent :
Each time I come to school I pass a watchmaker's shop; inside the window are several gold watches, while outside there are many people passing, all of whom, no doubt, would like to have some of these watches ; the only thing that separates them from the people is a thin piece of glass, yet no one attempts to break through this to get at the watches ; can you tell me why? -Because they know it is wrong. Is it the fear of doing wrong that keeps all from trying to steal them ?--No, Sir. Then what does keep those from doing wrong who do not mind doing what they know to be wrong?--They are afraid of being caught and put into prison. What do you call such a fear ?- Fear of punishment. Right; but who have the power of punishing thieves ?--The magistrates and judges. And what gives that power?The law. If there were no law for punishing theft, could there be any fear of punishment ? ---No, Sir. And we have seen that it is this fear only which keeps some from stealing. Now, if that fear were removed, could the watchmaker's property be as safe as it is now ?--No, Sir. And what makes it safe now ? -_-The law. What word may we substitute for makes - safe ?--Protects. And what is anything called that protects ?--A protection.
By means of several inductive questions, the boys were then led to see that the law is as effectually a protection to property as if it were a material barrier ; that it thus protects the shopkeeper's goods, the farmer's crops, the trees, shrubs, and flowers of public parks, and property of all kinds. From these illustrations they were able to answer the following questions :
Now tell me, as clearly as you can, what is the principal use of law ?-The chief use of law is to protect property, both private and public. We have spoken of material property only; are there any other kinds of property that need protection ? -Yes, Sir; our lives, and our characters, and our peace. And it does this, as you all know, by punishing those who commit murder; and those who maliciously speak evil of us; and those who make rows. A better word than“ rows ?"-Disturbances.
Now use the word “ wealth" instead of a material property," and tell me more fully what are the uses of law ?--The uses of law are to protect persons' wealth, lives, and character; and to keep order. And how does it do this ?-By punishing those who break the lows, and so making others afraid to do so. What people are those who require to be restrained from doing wrong by fear of punishment ?--The bad people.
We have been speaking of law only as a means of protection ; is there no other way of protecting our rights ?--Every man could protect his own.--What! even if a man were attacked by one stronger than himself ?--Men could join together to protect each other's rights. That is sometimes done, when there is no constitutional law, and I will tell you how the plan succeeds.
I then gave a short account of the state of things as they existed at the diggings of California and Australia, showing how insecure life and property are in the absence of law. From a few illustrations, gathered chiefly from the newspapers, I
showed how frequently offenders escape punishment, and how often, too, when caught, the punishment is disproportionate to the offence. From such illustrations my class deduced the truth, that constitutional law is better than individual or mutual protection, because with it (when properly executed) there is a far greater probability that the offender will receive just punishment.
You all know that men labour to obtain wealth, what do some hope to do with it when obtained ?--To enjoy it. And others ?—To increase it. In which cases they convert part of their wealth into capital. Name some kinds of capital.—Houses, land, ships, railways, canals, factories, machinery, raw materials. Would men change their money into these things if they had no security for keeping and using them !--No, Sir. And what gives them this security ?--The law. If in England there were no such security, what would the industrious, skilful, and economical men do, to whom the capital of the country belongs ?--They would not work so hard, or
But there are some men who must from their very nature be industrious and saving, and who could not live in such a state of things, what would they do ?-Go to other countries where property is safe. And what would prosperous, happy England then become ?- Very poor and miserable.
In this way the children were thus led to see that national prosperity is as dependent on the goodness of the laws, as on any of the sources of wealth.
We have now seen that property of all kinds is secured by the laws; tell me what benefits arise out of this security ?-We are prosperous and happy. Do you think you derive any benefit from the goodness of the laws ?--(No answer.) Think a little ; how do your fathers get money to buy food and clothing, and to pay rent for you? --By working. Out of what part of their wealth do masters pay their men ?--Out of their capital. And we have seen the capital cannot exist, unless protected by law; therefore, without this protection there would be no factories to work in, no machinery to work with, no raw materials to work upon, and no money to pay for labour. Now tell me whether you derive any benefit from the laws ?-Yes, Sir.How ?--We get food, clothes, and shelter, that we could not get without. And therefore we say you have an interest in the existence of the WS; so have I; so has every one.
This being the case, what is it every one's duty to do, when the laws are in danger of being broken? To do all they can to prevent their being broken. Why?Because law is for the good of all.
STYLE AND LANGUAGE IN TEACHING. A COMPLAINT not unfrequently made against teachers is, that they lack variety and flexibility in their language. It is said that even when the subject of the instruction is understood, the phraseology in which it is conveyed is too often bookish and technical, and that in this way the teaching of elementary schools is not only less interesting, but far less effective than it should be. There is too much truth in these accusations. The most pains-taking and conscientious teachers of course get up the knowledge of their subjects from books; but they often aim only at conveying that knowledge in the language of those books. The best lessons are marred by the too frequent use of technical terms. The master learns teaching as a profession, and therefore throws much of his instruction into a professional form. Hence there is a want of life, of vividness, of force, of adaptation to the real needs and comprehension of children, and therefore a want of interest and practical value in a large majority of school lessons.
It is not difficult to assign, at least in part, the causes for this state of things. One may be found in the character of the ordinary school-books ; which are for the most part, as indeed they ought to be, filled with information put in a concise and condensed form. The language employed in them may possibly be the best lan