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to commit the same error, we must state that the leading features of the following observations apply pretty equally to all parts of Germany, but more particularly refer to Prussia, which country, even amongst the German Confederation, ranks as one of the first, as far as universal education is concerned.
The principle which characterizes public education in Germany, and forms the fundamental difference in this point with England, is to be found in the eminent part which government takes in this matter. Government always considered it their right and duty to guide and control education, and take care for its efficiency ; this forms one of the great branches of administration, like that of military, commercial, or political affairs; a minister is at the head of the department,-its organization spreads over the whole country.
As a first consequence of this principle, all schools, from the highest to the lowest, are public establishments, supported, if necessary, and superintended; the teachers trained, nominated, and controlled by government; and the more general regulations are the same all over the country. Secondly, the means of acquiring the necessary knowledge suitable to the different stations in life are placed within the reach of every one. Colleges and commercial schools are in sufficient number, and at convenient distances; at least one elementary or national school is to be found in every parish ; there the poor are received with the wealthy either gratuitously or at reduced terms. But, on the other hand, there is also obligation for parents to have their children instructed during a certain period; from the age of six to twelve or thirteen children are bound to attend school.*
* Any word like compulsion sounds harsh to English ears, and many persons may, in their jealousy of personal liberty, from one such expression be induced to condemn the whole system in question. A few remarks on this point are, therefore, not out of place here, and will perhaps serve to modify a one-sided or hasty judgment. All sensible parents do not, of course, want any additional stimulus for sending their children to a place where they get suitable instruction. There are but very few, and those of the lowest class in moral and social station, who, from indifference, or in order to reap some trifling alvantage from the labour of their children, perhaps even from worse motives, would keep their children from school, and allow them to grow up in a semi-barbarous state. For such unscrupulous parents and guardians the coercive measures are intended; and the question with them is, whether, means for education being provided by government, there is not, besides the undeniable moral obligation, also a social one to avail themselves of the advantages thus offered; whether the community, whom we expect to protect lives, property, and morals, and to prevent crimes, has only duties, but no claims in this respect, but must quietly look on, that, through want of proper dispositions in parents or guardians, the germs of future offences and crimes grow up in the midst of civilization. Such a view of the case is more prevalent in Germany ; little or no objection is entertained against accordant regulations; and, nevertheless, this fact must not be ascribed to indifference in such matters. A recent trial to introduce stricter measures for the proper keeping of the Sunday, such as are, with general approbation, in force in England, excited a great deal of indignation and opposition ; similar outcries might have been heard on that occasion as compulsory measures for attending a school would meet with in England. Thus every country has not only its particular opinions and feelings, but also special favourite objects to apply the same ; but right consequence in thinking and acting is as rare in the masses as among individuals. However, these national particularities, should they even incline towards deceptions or prejudices, must be taken into consideration before the introduction of innovations ; but if a double view of a question can be taken, public opinion may at least have a chance of knowing both sides, and afterwards decide accordingly.
The same principle likewise entitles government to protect public scheuns against rival private establishments, and the latter are almost rendered impossible,-at least to the extent in which they exist in Es zand. Grammar schools or gymnasiums, as well as commercial 8+. mis, enjoy several privileges referring to military service and examiBuitious for the universities; the lower or elementary schools do not even want such privileges, as their general efficiency and cheapness escludes all competition. Moreover, no one is allowed to establish a private school, or give private lessons, without having submitted to an examination, and acquired a certificate of capability. In towns a few private establishments may be found, but parents often prefer sending their children to the parish school.
Besides the moral and material support given by government, there are many causes which contribute to the proficiency of national or parish schools : the interest which parents, or rather the population at larre, naturally take in them,--the suitable training and general character of the teachers,-finally, the continual control and efforts for improvement.
The proper training of those who devote themselves to the education and instruction of the people has always been a point on which the attention of government was chiefly directed, and nothing is spared in this respect. Young persons who feel inclined for this vocation genemaily continue at school when their companions are dismissed, occasionally assist with the junior classes, and by private lessons from the respective masters and study, prepare for an examination which admits them to a so-called seminary or training college for teachers. Here they enter at the age of about eighteen, and reside there for two years.
The course of lectures and study during this period is not so much calculated to augment the real store of knowledge as to give an idea of the most rational and effective method to be followed for each object. In fact many branches of instruction—as grammar, arithmetic, singing,--are more or less minutely gone through as in an elementary class, in form of model lessons. There is also a common parish school attached to each of these establishments, and there the lessons on method are not only often illustrated, but the young men themselves have to practise them under the eyes of experienced masters. After two years of such training, an examination decides the number (from One to Three) of the final certificate ; and thus qualified and authorized the young candidates, before they obtain an independent situation, in many cases enter first as assistants in a larger school.
But even after their dismissal from the seminary and entering into actual service, care is taken, means and stimulations for improvement are afforded by continual surveillance over the efficiency of their efforts, and by regular meetings for educational purposes. In large towns, all schoolwasters of the place, in the country from twenty-five to thirty belonging to a district, assemble at fixed intervals, under the presidency of a clergyman, and spend a day or part of it together. Either a lecture is given, essays on a subject before agreed upon are read and discussed, books and periodicals exchanged, circulars and other rescripts communicated, part-songs executed, and very often also a regular lesson given in the respective school, to be afterwards made a subject of discussion. Several publications in form of pamphlets, books, or periodicals,
emanating from such associations give evidence of the impulse which is imparted by those meetings. Sometimes the schoolmasters of many districts assemble for similar purposes ; and of late regular festivals have taken place, chiefly for the cultivation of singing; and on such occasions a large concourse of people takes place to listen to well-executed performances.
The administration and immediate surveillance of a parish school devolves, in the first instance, upon a local committee, consisting of the clergyman as chairman, the mayor, and two or more of the more influential resident heads of families. With them rests the election of three candidates for each vacation, the final nomination depending on the decision of a higher authority. They also once or twice a year call together the new pupils, or occasionally dispense them from school-going for a certain time, and finally dismiss them after an examination. They take care that everything which is wanted in school be properly provided, and the general regulations observed. The next superior is the Inspector, already mentioned as president of the regular meetings, who every half-year visits all the schools of his district, and generally
as mediator between the local authorities and higher boards. Each regency—the civil administrative body for about half a million of inhabitants—has one special member or counsellor for school affairs, who likewise occasionally takes a tour of visitation ; but even the highest functionaries do not omit to visit sometimes an humble village school on their road.
The social position of national schoolmasters, as may be easily inferred from the whole of the foregoing statements, is superior to a similar situation in England. Besides a more suitable education and higher duties, the greater consideration they enjoy is owing to the intercourse they necessarily have with all the families, even the wealthier ones, in a town or village ; and in many cases they derive additional claim thereto from special causes, as leader or member of a choir or musical society, and from similar occupations. The pecuniary situation leaves much to be wished for, although government does as much as possible to make salaries more agree with the acknowledged importance of the duties and exertions. Positive numbers, however, might easily mislead those who are not acquainted with the respective value of money in the different countries.
The results of this system of public education are generally quite satisfactory. Not only is scarcely a young person to be found who cannot read and write, but no one will deny that the great improvement in the intellectual and social condition of the lower classes is, in a great measure, attributable to the direct or indirect influence of this universal training. There are, of course, different degrees in the accomplishments attained by the parish schools, according to the number of classes, that of pupils in each, the time and regularity of attending school, and many minor causes.
In lower country schools and manufacturing districts, where insurmountable obstacles render a relaxation of the stricter rules necessary, the lessons are limited to the most requisite objects, including reading, writing, arithmetic, elements of grammar and compositionsinging, with so much knowledge of national history, geography, and other useful knowledge as the general reading-book offers. In more favoured establishments in towns or large country-places, where several
masters are engaged at the same school, the above limits are considerably extended ; in the upper classes a regular course of sacred and national history, geography, arithmetic, with the elements of geometry, natural sciences, grammar, letter-writing and other compositions occurring in common life, singing (part-songs), is gone through ; whilst carefully elaborated reading-compendiums in verse and prose introduce a great many other objects, and are intended, under an experienced master, to open the mind to higher ideas, and dispose the heart for everything that is noble and elevated. Such instruction is quite sufficient for the respective classes of inhabitants in town and country. Tradesmen of all descriptions, merchants and their clerks, who do not require the knowledge of foreign languages, and all persons standing on a level with them in the social scale, before they enter into business, frequent no other but parish schools ; and besides this the latter also supply well-prepared pupils to the Latin colleges and commercial establishments.
The due influence of religion and church-authority upon education is secured by those dispositions of the law which grant to the clergy an important part, especially in the immediate or local administration of parish schools. One difficulty, which in England arises from the claims of so many different persuasions, does not exist to the same extent in Prussia and the adjoining States. Entire liberty of conscience is an acknowledged principle, but two persuasions—the Evangelical or Protestant, and the Roman Catholic,—are recognized as being entitled to equal rights and support from government. But as no fixed dogmas are strictly enjoined by the established Protestant Church, a much greater liberty and variety of opinion exists between its members than is possible in England without one party being compelled to separate and form a distinct community of dissenters. Therefore schools of the said two denominations suffice for almost all places; and wherever it can be possibly done, one of each persuasion is established. If a family, through isolation, is obliged to send its children to a school of different persuasion, little inconvenience is to be feared from such a circumstance; partly on account of a general spirit of toleration, partly because the strictly religious instruction is seldom given during regular school-bours, very often in church, and of course without any compulsion for parents who object to it.
OUR GOOD QUALITIES.—It is generally admitted, and very frequently proved, that virtue and genius, and all the natural good qualities which men possess, are derived from their mothers.—Theodore Hook.
CONSOLATION FOR THE DULL.—There is no talent so useful towards rising in the world, or which puts men more out of the reach of Fortune, than that quality generally possessed by the dullest sort of people, and in common speech called discretion—a species of lower prudence, by the assistance of which people of the meanest intellect, without any other qualification, pass through the world in great tranquillity, and with unusual good treatment, neither giving nor taking offence. -Swift.
FIRST LESSONS IN ARITHMETIC.
BY CHARLES LACUS HERMANN.
ORE than a hundred different works on Common Arithmetic were printed in England since the beginning of this century; nevertheless, the following little essay claims admission on account of several characteristics which essentially distinguish it amongst so largea number.
The great majority of the above-mentioned books are intended for the use of the pupil
, and merely contain the necessary mechanical rule for each arithmetical operation, with more or less copious and variegated examples, these latter to be solved by applying, quite mechanically, the given rule. It is evident, and many authors openly avow, that their only aim is to impart a certain practical skill, to enable the pupil to solve easily and quickly those arithmetical problems which may occur in common life. There is no pretension to look upon
this branch of instruction from a higher point of view, and treat the subject, besides imparting that desirable practical skill, at the same time as a most suitable means of developing the mental faculties of a child. Some few writers acknowledge the eminent usefulness of mathematical subjects for that purpose ; but although they prefix to the title of their book the words“ Intellectual,” “ Rational,” or other such-like expressions, they either confine themselves to problems to be solved by Mental Arithmetic only, or, seeking the great point in the different arrangement and selection of the problems, make at least no attempt to introduce a rational method into the very act of teaching this science. Even the most explicit, as far as method is concerned, of modern writers on Arithmetic, give comparatively few hints to the teacher, how he may bring his pupils to think about their operations, find out for themselves and thoroughly understand the rules, and be convinced of their correctness.Again, with the exception of two or three, who shortly mention the use of strokes on the black-board, or balls and other material objects, for illustrating the primary arithmetical notions and operations, all books on arithmetic suppose, in their beginning, a previous knowledge of numbers, and the original operations of adding, subtracting, &c. perhaps, be amongst the number of books above given, one or another which more approaches to the form I have in view, but if I
it over unnoticed, I do so unintentionally. Besides a great many school-books on Arithmetic, which I had known before, I lately examined for a long time, and with much trouble, those which were to be found at the British Museum, but was very often disappointed by looking in vain for a copy which ought to have been there. However that may be, it is certain that a rational method of teaching the first principles of Arithmetic is far from being generally used, or even thought of, in most schools ; and a great many guides for the teacher may be published yet to promote that more effectual primary instruction which forms now the object of so many claims and efforts.
The form in which the following sketches appear, that of dialogues, is undoubtedly the most natural, and best adapted to give a correct idea of that rational method which awakens and exerts the mental faculties,