Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

a

a

soon lessened by new views that sprang up in many quarters. It was said, that education had not had a fair trial, and that mistakes had been made. Some asserted that the Bible had been made too common; others, that the subjects taught had been limited; a third party, that the memory had been unduly exercised, and the reason neglected ; and a fourth, that a universal system was required. Assuming (but only for argument's sake) that there is a grain of truth in each of these, there may be some advantage in turning our attention to one of them, viz. that the number of subjects taught had been limited. Those who asserted this, proposed as a remedy an increase in this number; and thus, in course of time, a scheme of instruction has formed itself embracing some twelve or thirteen branches of study, each of which affords ground for very extensive reading. Thus our time-tables have been constructed to include Scripture, Catechism, Liturgy, reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, music, geography, drawing, English history, mechanics, and common things. Of these it may be said, that they are all good, if we had time to teach them ;

but it is precisely at this point that the difficulty steps in. It is ascertained beyond a doubt that not more than twenty-three per cent of the children attending our schools remain with us beyond the age of ten, and very few after reaching their eleventh year : during this period their attendance is extremely irregular. In the majority of instances this state of things has its origin in the cupidity, apathy, or necessity of the parent. The present is weighed with the future, to the fatal disadvantage of the latter. The motto adopted is the old phrase, vivere in diem. Seeing, then, that any course of teaching we adopt must depend upon the time our pupils remain with us, it is a very necessary act to consider the relative value of the various subjects taught in schools.

Before we attempt to adjust the educational balance between what is desirable on the one hand and what is really practicable on the other, we must answer the important question, What is the end of education ? Perhaps the most correct definition we can give is that to which most will agree: 1. To impart religious truth and impressions. 2. To give the mind an aptitude to master difficulties by concentration, and to gather knowledge in after-life. This definition excludes the idea of merely storing the memory with facts. If this were all, education would be of little value. The facts would slip from their storehouse much faster than they were lodged there, and give the mind a residuụm of barrenness because of inaptitude to supply their place.

In looking at the list of subjects given above, the three first appear to be highly necessary in national schools: they are Scripture, Catechism, and Liturgy. Although coming under the head of "religious instruction,” they should be taught as distinct subjects. Of Scripture it is not necessary now to say much, for no one who reads this article would consent to omit or undervalue it. The same remark applies to the Catechism, embracing as it does the principles of faith and practice. Liturgical teaching, though probably not so general as that founded on Scripture and the Catechism, is nevertheless very important. It may well deserve at least one lesson in the week. The Liturgy is made familiar to our children ; the prayers they know best are taken from it, and, with their Bible, we trust it will be a companion and solace to them in manhood and old age. But in order that they may derive full benefit from it, they should be able to classify its parts under certain heads, as praise, instruction, &c. Its language requires explanation, and phrases which are antiquated, yet familiar, must be exchanged for modern English, if the hearer would drink in their meaning and love their fulness. Thus, then, we may safely conclude that Scripture, Catechism, and Liturgy cannot be omitted in our national schools. The same observation holds guod in regard to reading, writing, and arithmetic. It has been well said, that arithmetic is the mathematics of the school. As the means of training the mind to habits of close reasoning, it stands second in order. It is useful, too, in the common transactions of life; but as few persons require rules beyond proportion in daily business, it must be viewed as chiefly valuable (beyond this point) for the great scope it gives for the important elements concentration and logical deduction.

We have now to compare two subjects not equally popular in schools, geography and grammar. With the latter we may connect such correlative studies as composition and dictation, for skill in these depends on a knowledge of our own language. In comparing the claims of the two subjects in question, it may be well to state the arguments which have been urged in favour of each. Of geography it has been said, that it is practically useful because of the great extent to which emigration to other lands is carried on. Admitting the force of this in a certain degree, it may be answered, that the geography usually taught in our schools is not that which an emigrant requires. If he were about to settle in New Zealand, for example, all the geography he could get in national schools would be of little service to him, so far as the knowledge of his “new home" would be concerned. His want would be best served by consulting such a work as the Emigrant's Guide to New Zealand. This would give him the kind of geography he really required. So far, then, the argument founded on emigration falls to the ground. Neither is it logical to say that children feel a great interest in the subject, and therefore that it should form a prominent part of their instruction. Robinson Crusoe would be more interesting to them than their ordinary secular reading-books; but no one would think of putting these aside for Defoe's popular work. Geography, therefore, is useful only so far as it enables children to understand better what they read. It gives little scope for the reasoning powers, except when the mathematical part of it is taught. It must not be entirely omitted in our course of instruction, but too much time must not be wasted on it. Now compare it with grammar. Language has been termed the medium of thought, and precision in the one is generally precision in the other. That close discrimination which the study of language demands, tells with immense force on the reasoning powers. Language and mathematics have ever been considered the best instruments for developing the intellectual faculties ; in ordinary schools grammar and arithmetic answer to these. Without a good knowledge of our own language and its construction we cannot enjoy books. In its general application, as connected with our reading, it stands before arithmetic, and certainly deserves more attention than geography.

A. (To be continued.)

SketchES OF SCHOOL-WORK.
[The first of these sketches appeared in the August Number.]

Health and Cleanliness. No. IV. On a dark and foggy afternoon in November I found myself in the girls' school at W- listening to a lesson on “common things” given by the mistress to her first class. I fear I was somewhat prejudiced against “common things," never having (nor have I to this day) heard a clear statement of what is meant by the term. I had witnessed two or three attempts in a boys' school to teach this subject; but they were emphatically failures, consisting for the most part of bewildering flights into the worlds of chemistry, geology, pneumatics, mechanics, and meteorology. It was said at the time, and with some show of reason, that if we were to attempt to teach children the philosophy of things'' that are “ common,

we should find these so numerous that there would be little time left for any thing else. I have every reason to be satisfied with the lesson which forms the subject of this paper; but I suspect that Health and Cleanliness hardly come under the head “common things,” at least I have never seen them so arranged.

The mistress began by saying, that much of the illness which people suffer might be prevented by due attention to health and cleanliness. She drew attention to the skin, as filled with pores or tubes, of which 3500 had been counted in a square inch. These were said to be the natural drains of the body, throwing off constant perspiration and other injurious matter, which if checked would be absorbed, and lay the foundation of many diseases. In noticing the extent of these pores, it was remarked, that if put side by side in a continuous line they would reach nearly seven miles. It was then said, that nothing would more effectually clog them than the neglect to wash the whole surface of the body every day, and that delicate persons might begin by using tepid water in the operation. Friction, or rubbing the body with a coarse Baden towel, or what is better, with a hair glove (made without fingers), was pointed out as a most necessary part of this daily cleansing. The advantages were stated to be increased health, vigour, freedom from weakness of nerves, and a pleasing serenity of mind. The advantage of a regular change of under-clothing was spoken of, and of gentle exercise to produce a moderate perspiration,

The mistress then changed the subject by speaking of the necessity of obtaining a sufficient supply of pure air. Air gives vital property to the blood. Blood is carried through the frame from the heart by the arteries in the quantity of ten pounds per minute. It returns to the lungs by the veins deprived of its vital property and changed to a dark red colour. Here it comes into contact with the air, and is changed to a bright red, and becomes fitted to impart health and strength to the body. If, however, the air with which it comes into contact is impure, the health of the person is much impaired, and death may be the consequence, as in the cases at the Black Hole of Calcutta.

A person vitiates ten cubic feet of air per minute ; and if the same air be breathed over and over again, as in crowded and ill-ventilated rooms (especially bedrooms), the body and mind are brought into an unhealthy state. Hence, at the tops of windows, or in the chimney, or through the ceiling, means should be provided (by the insertion of perforated plates of metal, or in other ways) for letting out the impure air. Cesspools, heaps of vegetable and animal matter, and other nuisances, should be at a great distance from houses. Sinks, drains, and ash-pits should be kept clean. Corners, and spaces under beds should be well swept, floors should be regularly. scrubbed, and walls frequently lime-washed.

She ended by making a few observations on the maxims to be adopted for promoting health and cleanliness. I may write down these maxims, as they seem to be worth the attention of any teachers who may see fit to give occasional lessons on such subjects. They are of course best fitted for girls' schools.

Maxims.-1. Wash the body all over every day with cold water, and use friction. 2. Cleanse the nails with a stiff brush, and the teeth. 3. Frequently change under-clothing. 4. Open doors and windows frequently to ventilate rooms. 5. Air well all articles of clothing. 6. Remove far from the dwelling-house every thing that may render the air impure before it can enter the house. 7 Avoid the excitement of spirit-drinking. 8. Let not the mind dwell on troubles. 9. Guard against wet clothing and shoes.

I left the school fully persuaded that such instruction was admirably adapted to those who were one day to be servants and mothers of families.

A. (Arithmetic will be the subject of the next sketch.)

ScHool SONG FOR Boys.-Tune, “ Pop goes the Weasel."
Up and down life's broad highway,

When your angry passions rise,
With its pleasures hollow,

Be the last to jangle;
When wild comrades bid you stray,

mper wrath by soft replies:
Stop! do not follow.

Stop! do not wrangle.
There's a eup the drunkard sips,

Three great foes you vowed to fight,
Pleasant though you think it,

Oft when cannons rattle;
Dash the poison from your lips:

Prudence is the soldier's might:
Stop! do not drink it.

Stop! wins the battle.

E. E.

CORRBXPOXDENTS' ANSWERS TO INQUIRIES. C. H.” will find that the work on Domestic Economy best suited for a teacher is the one written at the suggestion of the Rev. F. C. Cook, entitled A Manual of Domestic Economy, by W. B. Tegetmeir. Groombridge, Paternoster Row. 18. 6d.

A. Z.

INFORMATION WANTED.

INQUIRIES BY CORRESPONDBYTS. T. J. J.” wants a good work on Paraphrasing. "W. P. H." wishes to know the best kind of copy-books to teach writing in a National School.

"Lingua” wishes to know the best method of imparting instruction in an ordinary school to two deaf and dumb boys.

“A. B. C." wants a book for the use of boys, who are well up in English Grammar, adapted to the purpose of composition.

“R. S.” asks where, and at what price, he could obtain a good book on Object-lessons; also the meaning of the words “common things,” and where, and at what price, a book could be purchased which would enable a master to impart knowledge of that kind.

SIR,-Two or three years ago I met with a very nice collection of school songs, but have quite forgotten the title of the book. May I ask permission, through the medium of your excellent Paper, to request some of my fellow-teachers to oblige me with the title of the publication alluded to, and the name of the publisher, if possible.

As a clue to the required information, I may state, that the following were among the songs contained in the book : Village Bells—"Hark, 'tis the bells of a village church," &c. The Lark-"Hark! hark! the lark we bear on high,” &c. "Ere around the huge oak," &c. "Bo-peep," &c. " School is begun," &c. “We all love one another,” &c. Trusting you will insert the foregoing in your next Monthly Paper,-I remain, &c.

A SUBSCRIBER.

Schoolmasters' and Schoolmistresses' Associations, WENTWORTI ASSOCIATION.-The first annual meeting of this Association was held at Wentworth on Friday, October 5th. The morning was spent at the Wentworth Barrow School. Mr. Murray, the master, having opened school in the usual way, gave a lesson from Joshua ix. The lesson was not specially chosen, but the one which came in the regular course. Mr. W. Bamford, of Hoyland, then gave a reading-lesson (from the 3d Irish Book) to the middle section of the school ; after which Mr. Murray gave a short lesson on “ Ratio and proportion.” Next followed a lesson on “. Iron,”. by Mr. W. Pearson, of Brampton; and the morning's proceedings closed with a lesson on “ Climate," by Mr. W. Berridge, of Elsecar. The members, patrons, and friends, now adjourned to the Mechanics' Hall, where a luncheon was provided. The chair was taken by the patron of the Association, the Right Hon. Earl Fitzwilliam, K.G. At the conclusion of the repast, his Lordship called upon the Secretary to read the report. It stated, that the Association had been formed to meet a want which was felt in the district. It commenced with six members; now its number (including mistresses) exceeds twenty. The meetings are held monthly, at each member's house in turn, when a class is assembled to receive a lesson, and afterwards a paper is read. The report further stated, that they

А

had purchased a few standard educational works as the nucleus of a library; they have also in circulation some of the educational periodicals.

Earl Fitzwilliam then addressed the meeting at some length, urging the necessity of moral training over mere instruction; not that any thing he had heard in the lessons, or in the report, made him in the least suspect that such views were not held by the assembled masters, but, as his Lordship remarked, “a good thing cannot be too often repeated."

The Rev. F. Watkins, after congratulating the Association on its comparative success, detailed the plan just issued by the Government, of awarding certificates of character to the elder children of our elementary schools, showing at the same time a specimen certificate. Mr. W. also spoke of the prize schemes for coal and iron districts, and related many interesting particulars; after which the noble chairman kindly promised to give his influence in the establishing of a prize scheme for the South Yorkshire coal-field.

The members, and others, took the opportunity of going through the beautiful gardens and menagerie attached to Wentworth House, and re-assembled for tea at five o'clock.

The officers for the ensuing year were appointed, viz. Mr. Murray, chairman; Mr. J. Brown, Hemingfield, treasurer; and Mr. w. Berridge, of Elsecar, was re-elected secretary. The meeting shortly after separated, much pleased with the day's proceedings.

VALE OF AYLESBURY ASSOCIATION.-This Association held a meeting, which was numerously attended by the clergy and schoolmasters of the neighbourhood, in the Aylesbury National School. paper was read by Mr. Eggleton, of Great Kimble, ou “ The necessity of a religious education for the people of England.” Mr. Eggleton argued very earnestly, and with much force, that a religious education is essential to the happiness of every individual both in this world and that to come; that it conduces to the best interests of society, and to the prosperity of the whole nation. After the reading of this paper, a few of its most prominent points were discussed; and a short conversation followed upon "Time-tables." Prayers were then read, and the meeting dispersed.

BRISTOL Association. The members and friends of this Association held their annual meeting at the Barton School, St. James's, Bristol, on the 6th October last. Mr. Ullathorne presided; and Mr. Serjent gave a lesson to a class of boys on “ Vapour." After tea, Mr. Biggs, the treasurer, presented ihe audited account, which showed a balance in favour of the Association; and Mr. Wilson, the secretary, read the report, of which the following are extracts:

“During the past year the progress of the Association has been such as to verify the anticipations of its friends; for although the number of members is not much larger than at the last annual meeting, yet, as might be expected, with enlarged experience, its operations have been more systematic, and the benefits resulting from it more highly appreciated. Since the report of last year was read, eleven members have been admitted, and eight, from various causes, chiefly that of distance, have withdrawn. The number of members is at present twenty-four.

The agencies employed by the Association for the accomplishment of the objects for which it was established are four in number, viz. 1. Lessons, and criticisms upon them; 2. Essays, and discussions upon them; 3. Circulation of periodicals; and 4. Friendly intercourse.

The lessons and criticisms deservedly occupy the first place; because in the lessons the members have set before them the methods employed by different teachers of communicating knowledge to the young mind, while in the criticisms the individual opinion of each member upon those methods is ascertained.

In the last twelve months twelve lessons have been given on the following subjects : · Elijah's sacrifice on Mount Carmel;' "The cocoa-nut;' . The widow's mite;' • The cow;' • Introduction of Christianity into Britain ;' Parable of the lost sheep;' • The ocean;' 'Influence of mountains on climate;' • Subtraction;' • Lakes ;" * Distribution of Man;' Vapour.'

With regard to essays, the past year contrasts favourably with its predecessor, inasmuch as nine essays, against six in the previous year, have been read on the following subjects : 'Music, and the method of teaching it in our schools ;'' Art of teaching; ' ' Disputed points of English grammar;' "Origin of the English language, and early education;' • Teaching common things ;" * School government;' The teacher's joys and sorrows;' Teaching arithmetic;' Teaching reading.'

Two of these essays were written by ladies; and all have answered their purpose, by eliciting the opinions of members the discussion by which each was followed.

In conclusion, we may say, then, that our career is one of progress. True, like every thing human, we have our imperfections; but even these, with care, may be either entirely removed, or rendered less imperfect; and as members of a Christian association, we cannot but entertain sentinents of devout gratitude to the Giver of all good for the blessings we have as well collectively as personally enjoyed, and for preserving us as an association and as individuals through a year so eventful as the past. With these encouragements, the concluding language of last year's report may be confidently reiterated, “That a lengthened existence, and a wide, useful influence, may be safely augured for the Bristol Church-of-England Schoolmasters' and Schoolmistresses' Association.'"

BRIGHTON AND Sussex AssOCIATION.–The annual meeting of this Association took place on the 20 October in the National School at Brighton. The Rev. George Wagner occupied the chair. The report was read by Mr. Jones, the Honorary Secretary; and the meeting addressed by the chairman, Rev. J. Ellerton, Rev. W. Michell, Rev. A. B. Frazer, and several of the masters present.

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE AND West LINCOLNSHIRE AssociaTION.-The usual quarterly meeting of this Association took place on September 8th, in the Trinity Schools, Nottingham. A useful paper was read before the members by Mr. Osmond, of Newark, on " Education--its social bearings, and its moral effects.” The subject discussed in the afternoon was “ Home lessons-of what they should consist, and the beneficial results likely to follow." The general experience of the members was favourable to the practice, not only as being beneficial to the scholars, but also agreeable to the parents, affording them an opportunity of observing the actual progress of their children.

YORKSHIRE ASSOCIATION.-A meeting of teachers in connection with this body took place at Leeds on Saturday, October 13. Upwards of twenty masters attended as delegates from various local associations in the county, and the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

“ 1. That this meeting, having had under its consideration the resolutions passed by the Church Schoolmasters' Association at Northampton, June 1, 1855, resolved, That the objects of Schoolmasters' Associations, being of an entirely professional and practical character, will be best promoted by the associations being confined to the teachers in charge of elementary public schools in connection with the Church of England.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

2. That the secretary of this Association be requested to write to Mr. Farnham, the secretary of the Associated Body, to ask for full information respecting the expenses which have been incurred by that body; and stating that, should a full and satisfactory account bę rendered, this meeting feels disposed to take steps to assist in liquidating the debt incurred by the Associated Body.

3. That our secretary be requested to give notice to the secretary of the Associated Body, that a proposition will be submitted to the annual meeting of that body at Christmas, having for its object the alteration of Rule XI., to the effect that, before any fundamental rule of the Association be altered, every member of the Association shall be entitled to a vote, whether present at the meeting or not."

The meeting also determined upon the officers whom it would support at the ensuing annual meeting at Birmingham. Other business of a local character was transacted before the meeting separated.

GLOUCESTER ASSOCIATION.-The following memorial has been addressed to the Right Hon. Earl Granville, Lord President of her Majesty's most honourable Privy Council, by the members of this Association:

Memorial. “That your memorialists are engaged in promoting the education of the lower classes, either as managers or teachers of elementary schools, and are earnestly desirous of improving the education given in such schools; that they sympathise heartily with the feelings which have prompted various members of the Legislature to undertake to promote education by further legislative enactments; that they thankfully acknowledge and bear witness to the great benefits which elementary schools have received from the judicious plans and arrangements which, from time to time, have received the sanction of the Committee of Council on Education; that they believe that an extension and enlargement of these plans will secure, without a further parliamentary scheme, the due and sufficient education of the lower classes of this country. Your memorialists, therefore, most respectfully deprecate the adoption of any such parliamentary scheme, as unnecessary, as involving a new and expensive machinery, and as being likely, at least for a time, to retard the very cause which it is intended to support.

Further, your memorialists desire most respectfully to submit to your Lordship and the Committee of Council on Education some suggestions whereby it appears to them that the existing machinery of the Committee may become more available for securing a sound and liberal education.

And your memorialists would venture to state, that they are actuated by the simple desire to remove practical difficulties whose existence their own experience has amply proved.

It appears to your memorialists

1. That the door might safely be opened more widely for the admission of existing schools under the provisions of the Minutes of Council. Many schools are excluded by the condition, that teachers shall be certificated or registered before pupil-teachers can be assigned to them. This might, to some extent, be remedied, by requiring teachers to pass an advanced pupil-teacher's examination (say that for the third year) before pupil-teachers can be granted. Then after two or three years the teachers might be required to offer themselves, at least for registration, the restriction as to age being modified. It is believed, also, that by some such plan the simultaneous examination of teachers and pupils, which all must feel to be objectionable, would be removed.

2. That teachers having once obtained a certificate of merit should not be allowed to present themselves a second time for examination ; but that the certificate should be raised or the augmentation increased by length of service and by the more efficient state of their schools. This provision would tend to remove much restlessness, and prevent unreasonable abstraction of time and thought from the affairs of the school; and in connection with it, much good might be effected if it were generally understood that greater weight would be attached to school-management in examinations both of teachers and pupil-teachers.

3. That it would be desirable to make the examinations of teachers for certificates of merit, or for registration, and of pupil-teachers for their stipends, much more uniform than at present.

4. That the present scale of grants in aid for school materials might be modified with advantage. A grant of half the cost to meet half would go far to remove difficulties, which have existed in poor districts, in providing an ample supply of books, maps, and other school-requisites.

5. That the same modification might well be applied to alterations in floor, desks, or generally in school-premises; with the additional provision of being liable to inspection only for a term of

years. Your memorialists venture to make this suggestion of being liable to inspection only for a term of years, on the ground that if an alteration is to be made, because it is required by the rules of the Committee of Council, it is only reasonable to ask that the managers should not be compelled to bind themselves and their successors in perpetuity.

6. That it is most important to extend Capitation Grants to corporate and other populous towns. Your memorialists believe that this would give a great impulse to efforts there to secure a more efficient education. Their experience leads them to the conclusion that in many large towns may be found schools which stand most in need of assistance in this form; the population being almost exclusively poor, and the incomes of the clergy very small. And as there is no instance of a local rate for educational purposes, your memorialists are of opinion that there exist no valid reasons for excluding such towns from the benefit of such a share in Parliamentary Grants for educational purposes. The number of days' attendance (176 at least) required of every child for whom a Capitation Grant is sought may well be maintained.

1. Thai some relaxation of restrictions with respect to Capitation Grants is desirable; and that such grants may wisely be extended to all children attending the specified number of days, whatever weekly or quarterly payments are made, and whether such payments are made by the parents of the children or not. Under the present regulations on this subject, managers are excluded from receiving Capitation Grants, either where the poverty of the parents prevents their paying for the education of their children, or where the managers or private individuals are induced, by the circumstances of the case, to take the payment upon themselves. There appears to be good reason why the grants should be conceded, where the managers consent to receive scholars without payment, either for good conduct and proficiency, or in consideration of the conduct and character of the parents.

8. That great advantage would arise from the partial prepayment of assistant and pupil teachers, especially the former. The present system, under which it not rarely happens that their services are rendered for fifteen months or more before they receive any stipend, exposes assistant-teachers to the danger of debt, and is the means of subjecting the parents of pupil-teachers to great inconvenience. It appears to your memorialists that a remedy for this might be found in partial prepayment, or in giving authority to managers to advance a portion of the stipend in the course of the ycar; the penalty for a bad examination or misconduct being the forfeiture of an increase in the sipend for one year,

« AnteriorContinuar »