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We observe also, that in many schools sufficient attention does not appear to have been given to the lower classes.
Seventeen schools, including four infant schools, have playgrounds attached.
teen (including the infant schools at Great Driffield and Wansford) have no playground. We consider that a playground is an important adjunct to any school, and an indispensable accompaniment to an infant school.
We fear that the expense of the schools falls, in many cases, too heavily on the clergyman. The landowners generally contribute fairly; but we think that much more assistance might be given by the rest of the inhabitants.
We cannot help remarking, that the salaries are too often inadequate to secure the services of efficient masters and mistresses, being, in many places, really less than the wages of the labouring class. Sixteen schools have no teacher's house, or lodgings rentfree.
We recommend the adoption of a scale of children's payments, graduated, not according to age, nor according to attainments, but according to the condition in life of the parents of the children.
The standard of the efficiency of the teachers is decidedly too low. Only seven masters and four mistresses have had any pretensions to a proper training, and of these only two masters and two mistresses have a government certificate. In the whole district there is only one pupil-teacher, no stipendiary monitors, and four paid monitors or assistants.
We would recommend all managers to take advantage of the helps offered by government towards the improvement of education. These are fully specified in the Church Education Directory, published by the National Society. We altogether disapprove of the monitorial system, as usually carried out. In a school of more than forty children the assistance of a pupil-teacher (and in some places of more than one) is necessary to the efficient working of the school. We would also urge the importance of having all schools liberally supplied with books and apparatus: these are as necessary to the school as tools are to the workman.
In conclusion, we hope that all in their separate parishes will unite cordially in the furtherance of so important a work as the sound religious education of the little ones of the Church of Christ; that there may be no cause to say, in the words of the prophet, 'My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;' and that the rising generation may not have to complain in after-life, I had no place to flee unto, and no man cared for my soul.'-I have the honour to remain, &c. JOHN BLANCHARD, Rural Dean.
To his Grace the Lord Archbishop of York."
Committee of Council.
The Examination of Male Candidates for Certificates will be held in the various Training Schools on Monday, the 10th of December; to commence at 4 o'clock, P.M., and to be continued on the five following days.
The Examination of Candidates for Queen's Scholarships will be held at the same Training Schools on Tuesday, the 18th of December; to commence at ten o'clock, A.M., and to be continued on the two following days.
[The Committee of the National Society are thankful for any communication likely to assist SchoolManagers and Teachers, or otherwise promote the work of Church Education; but they do not necessarily hold themselves responsible for the opinions of the Editor's correspondents.]
To the Editor of the National Society's Monthly Paper.
Examination in Fixed Subjects.
Frant Vicarage, Nov. 23, 1855.
SIR, Mr. Richards, the excellent Master of the Central Boys' School of the National Society, has kindly favoured me with the subjoined copy of the list of subjects which he has prepared for the examination of his school next summer. May I therefore crave your permission to recommend it to the notice of schoolmasters and school-managers, and especially to the notice of Diocesan Inspectors, and of those on whom devolves the duty of regulating diocesan inspection.
To a master of Mr. Richards' experience the preparation of such a list is a very easy task; but to many engaged in regulating diocesan inspection it is not so. Having, therefore, the promotion of diocesan and ruridecanal inspection of parish schools much
at heart, to those who feel a difficulty in preparing such a list I would venture respectfully to suggest the adoption of Mr. Richards' list of subjects for the next year's examination.
It appears to me applicable, as it stands, to what may be the supposed state of townschools; whilst it may be well adapted to agricultural schools, or town-schools of a second order, by omitting the first-class subjects, and taking it up at the second.—I am, &c. H. THOMPSON.
Subjects proposed for the Examination of the Boys in the Central School, Westminster, at Midsummer 1856.
The books used for home work and lessons are purchased by the children. The cost of the requisite books ranges in the different classes from 4d. to 1s. Id.
W. F. RICHARDS,
THE CHURCH TEACHER, IN HIS SCHOOL, IN HIS STUDIES AND RECREATIONS, AND IN THE PARISH.
(Continued from the November Number.)
CHAP. VI.-Memory and Reason.
This chapter will conclude the first part of our subject, viz. the Teacher in his School. Having in our last article glanced at a few of the most approved methods of teaching, it may not be an unprofitable undertaking to consider the relative importance of two faculties which are involved in the work of education-the memory, and the reason. Each has its distinctive character, each has its office in the process of mental culture; and by inference, to say nothing of experience, each requires cultivation. It is possible to exercise the memory without exercising the reason; and, on the other hand, it is possible to exercise the reason and contribute very little to the power of the memory. Some men have the greatest facility in carrying on a logical process, but seem to be utterly at a loss in recollecting the facts which they require as data. They are obliged to seek, by the labour of constant reference to books or to men, what others can produce at
a moment's notice. On the contrary, there are those who are able to summon from the storehouse of the memory dates, facts, exact expressions, and connected passages from authors. These seem to start from some hidden recess; as if a secret spring were touched, or as if they were beckoned by a magic wand to stand forth. They present themselves in a clear and well-defined form. Those who thus summon them, however, cannot
always use them in any inductive process.
In times past the exercise of the memory was carried to an extreme. Day after day the pupil carried home a satchel full of books, passages of which were to be committed to memory for repetition in school. Master and pupil aimed at one object and one end, viz. verbal accuracy. This was the summum bonum. The tasks were said, others were prescribed, and the pupil was dismissed with his never-failing companions-his books-to con them in a corner. Day after day, week after week, and month after month, this toil went on. Not a word of explanation was thrown in, not one attempt at illustration was made to relieve the drudgery of the daily task. The pupil worked in the dark. could not see the end to be attained by so much labour. He had a faint idea that he had learnt something, a painful recollection of work done; but not the pleasing consciousness of intelligent progress. "What a cruel system!" some, perchance, will exclaim. "It cannot be too much deprecated," say others. Well, to some extent this may be true; but it must be confessed, that this system produced numerous accurate, clever, and intelligent scholars. Considering the paucity of schools, the want of competent teachers, and the inferior character of the school-books of the period, as well as the expensive nature of education generally, it is wonderful to remark how much the system did produce. It had its redeeming features. The pupil was thrown a great deal upon his own powers. The work was not done for him. Individual effort and application were made absolutely necessary. He was never a parasitical plant, but he frequently became a hardy self-dependent sapling. If he did not understand all he committed to memory, it was nevertheless his. It was safely stored in the garner of the mind, and subsequent requirements made him revolve it in his thoughts, seek the why and wherefore, and so supply in some measure that exercise of the reason which his teacher failed to give. The reason was neglected too much; but that faculty which is so often to us a dear and "secret source of pensive pleasure,” viz. the memory, was always cultivated with success.
This system, with all its failings and shortcomings, is no more, at least in our common schools. It has gradually disappeared before a new race of teachers, and a general movement and consolidation of educational forces. The system by which it has been superseded has been attended by more helps and appliances than the old system ever enjoyed. Improved and cheaper books, new apparatus, commodious and comfortable schoolrooms, skilful and numerous teachers, have been ushered into existence to give it due effect. Some of the first intellects of the day have made the system the subject of their attention. Large sums of money have been spent upon it; and we have indeed great reason to be thankful to the Author of all good for the measure of success which He has been pleased to grant to us. At no period of the world's history, perhaps, has the great cause of Christian training been made the object of so much solicitude; and there appears no reason to doubt that the great mass of our constantly increasing population have been much, very much improved by the efforts made since the year 1811, the date of the foundation of the National Society. During the last few years a great impetus has been given to the work of education in the way of increased grants to schools, grants on account of certificates to teachers, and in other ways. There has been a vast improvement in the machinery of education, so to speak. To improve the machinery, however, is not the same as improving the system. This latter may be very unsound; and, in fact, it seems to be worth our attention, whether we have not yet much to learn from our forefathers. If they rushed to one extreme as regards the memory, it is much to be feared that we are doing precisely the same thing in regard to the reason. In all our schools the instruction is simply oral. Oral lessons in quick succession have taken the place of book-work and committing to memory. The old plan of setting children down to tasks, to do a certain portion to be said to the teacher at the end of a certain time, has disappeared. We talk to children, and tell them every thing now-a-days; they have very little to do for and by themselves. We encircle them with props and aids, and lead them to lean much upon others and very little upon themselves. Will they become accurate scholars by the aid of a system which bids them trust to the teacher's mouth for all their knowledge? Trusting to the interrogative and lecturing method for every thing, will they even know how much they do know by having nothing "to get up" accurately from books? Or, in short, will the purely oral method of teaching ever make a person learn to concentrate his mind upon a subject, and perseveringly and unaided work on to the end? These questions seem to be worth our serious and deliberate reflection just at the
present time. Much depends upon their settlement; for though our present system has done much, the point we have to determine is whether we might not have done more ; whether, in fact, if our forefathers trusted too much to the efficacy of task-books, we have not trusted too much to the efficacy of the teacher.
And now the reader may say, "Granted; we perhaps do despise books and tasks too much; but would you have us go back to the old system again?" To this it may be answered, "Yes, to a certain extent." But it may then be said, "How far would you go back? the difficulty is to draw the line between what are called the old and new systems." In reply to this, it may be urged that it is not at all difficult to draw such a line. It has been drawn over and over in our best grammar schools, and the tutors in our colleges find no difficulty whatever in drawing it. Their plan is, to give certain portions of subjects to be "got up" by the pupil from books. In some cases these portions are to be accurately committed to memory, in others they are to be read over carefully several times by the pupil, until he thinks he has gained a good idea of his subject. He is unaided in either case. This may be called the preparatory course in the work of education. It is, in fact, "the old system;" and our predecessors were wrong only inasmuch as they trusted entirely to it. They neglected to illustrate and question. They were content with insuring verbal accuracy, and forgot the second step-the exercise of the mind upon the portion which had engaged the memory. There is no reason why classes should not be allowed in turn to con lessons silently, write them out, or commit them to memory, provided the teacher made each task so prepared the basis for explanation and cross-examination. By pursuing this course we should combine the new and old systems, and obtain the advantages of both. The classes.engaged in committing to memory would not require the immediate assistance of the teacher, who would thus be at liberty to give his undivided attention to those who were ready to say their tasks or show their work. The assistance of pupil-teachers could be taken advantage of as heretofore under this new régime, and time-tables might be constructed to regulate the working of the system. Two points should be constantly kept in mind: first, that the children who are in the same class should use the same books; secondly, that no lessons should be learnt from books which did not afterwards form the basis for oral explanation and questions. The success of the plan depends in a great measure upon an attention to these two rules.
The question is often asked "whether children ought to be allowed to learn by repetition, like parrots, things which they cannot understand?" It is generally put in a way that seems to anticipate that the answer will be "no." The answer ought to be yes." It is only another proof of the extreme to which we have carried our notions about memory and reason, to hear "no" so frequently given as the answer. Little children must learn a great deal which they cannot understand at the time. The memory is a storehouse, to be filled with pabulum meet for the process of digestion and salutary reflection in after-life, when the reason has developed itself. No one would object to teach a child that beautiful petition, "O Holy, Blessed, and Glorious Trinity, Three Persons and One God, have mercy upon us miserable sinners." Can a child understand the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity? Can an adult fathom it? The memory of a child should be stored with beautiful hymns. Most persons admit this. But let it be confessed, that even adults cannot understand every thing they love to learn. Few can understand such verses as,
"See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?"
THE RELATIVE VALUE OF STUDIES IN SCHOOLS.
In our last article we discussed the relative value of Holy Scripture, Catechism, Liturgy, writing, reading, arithmetic, geography, and grammar. Adverting to the arguments there made use of, we may now arrange these in the order suggested by their relative importance. They stand thus:
It may appear paradoxical to place grammar before arithmetic; but it must be borne in mind that the list presupposes that the seven first subjects at least enter into our
scheme of instruction, and that our present business is to assign to each its due relative value.
Those only can estimate the worth of grammar as an instrument of mental discipline, who have closely watched for its effect on a class of children of whose regular studies it has formed a part. It is not at all an unusual occurrence to find a class of boys as dull and obtuse as possible in comprehending the meaning and scope of any book that may be placed in their hands, and quite unable to spell correctly the commonest words, or to put their ideas on paper, while in arithmetic they are extremely clever. On the other hand, it will be seen that those children who are able to parse sentences correctly, and to point out any peculiarities of expression which they may contain, have a sufficient acquaintance with arithmetic for the ordinary purposes of life (if the subject has been taught to them at all); and in addition to this, they appear to have acquired a brilliancy of thought and a taste for what is beautiful in ideas and modes of expression, a power of piercing through the haze of language straight to an author's meaning, and a healthy balance of the rational and imaginative elements, which is much to be admired.
It has been remarked by those who have narrowly watched the bias of children, that they appear to turn from the study of grammar as if influenced by a natural antipathy to it, while geography seems to allure them by some inherent power of attraction. Hence some have argued that grammar should not be pressed upon them, but that their attention should be directed to geography instead. Is there not a fallacy in this argument? In fact, ought we not to suspect those studies which have this attractive influence with the young? A very great obstacle in the way of education is dissipation of the mind. It is an evil to which novel-reading, and desultory reading of all kinds, have a tendency more or less. But dissipation of the mind may to a considerable extent be consequent on a bad system of teaching. For example, we are too apt in the present day to draw the fangs or stings of study so much, by way of making it simple and attractive to children, that pupils have little or nothing to do for themselves. The teacher either avoids difficulties, or else, by continual lecturing and illustration, takes them upon his own shoulders. He seldom throws children upon their own powers and resources. If education be a means of intellectual discipline rather than the mere communication of knowledge, it is very evident that such a system tends to dissipation of the mind, and helps to rob education of its vivifying qualities, of all that makes it truly valuable. It is not always wise to evade difficulties, neither is it advantageous to substitute for a subject which children do not like one which they do. Those studies which are "dry," repulsive, and at first difficult, are generally the most valuable in the end, provided we have sufficient wisdom and perseverance to grapple in limine with their difficulties. Grammar is one of these dry and difficult studies. It may be likened to a temple full of many rare delights and useful appliances. The thorns and difficulties are stationed about the entrance. Once bring the child through these, and his subsequent course will be agreeable and profitable.
The study of grammar has never made much progress in our schools. It has suffered from the undue anxiety and attentions of its advocates, much in the same way as patients are sometimes smothered or killed by the extreme officiousness of their nurses. In some quarters there has been the endeavour to simplify it, and spare the pupil the sting which it at first entails. But parce, parce, was merciful and wise at Pharsalia, and is not always so in schools. Many have used grammar as a means of showing acuteness and research. The school is not the place for the display of these. We have at the present time some ten or fifteen books on grammar in circulation, and as many different systems. As these books are opposed to each other, they have the fatal character of pulling down instead of building up. The chief want is that of uniformity. Each succeeding author on grammar has added one book more to those already in the market-one more conflicting theory to the already overflowing flood of doubtfulness.
Grammarians are very combative and very predatory. They attack and prey upon each other, and all attack and prey upon Lindley Murray. One sets up a system, another knocks it down. Lindley Murray was ignored long since. After all has been said on the question that can be said, the point is by no means an insignificant one. No one who has to undergo an examination in the principles of the English language can be sure that his view of the subject, however accurate when determined by the particular system he has studied, will be identical with that adopted by his examiner. It would be a curious point in the statistics of education if the number of teachers could be ascertained who give up all thought of teaching their pupils more than the mere elements of grammar, simply in consequence of the want of uniformity in the books on the subject. Let us take a few examples. One author says there is only one mood in English, another says there are three moods, a third states five, and the fourth gives the number as six. In the question of tense they are equally precise, diverse, and unsatisfactory. Can one