« ForrigeFortsett »
ment last September. It will be seen from this brief sketch of the organization and condition of these classes, that a wider range for culture and mental improvement is here afforded than in any Normal School in the country. He who would with a liberal education prepare himself for teaching in Academies and High Schools, has here an opportunity for so doing. He, again, who would pursue a shorter yet thorough course, can accommodate himself to his wishes and circumstances. And yet, again, he who wishes to combine the advan tages of tho Normal School and Teachers' Institute, may attend a course of lectures during the autumn and spring.
Again, it will be seen that the exercises appropriately belonging to the Department are strictly didactic, not academic, the latter being furnished by the college courses. The question is not, have you attended to such a branch? but, how would you teach it to a beginner? How to one more advanced? What means would you adopt to secure order and thrift in a school? To inspire the pupil with enthu. siasm? To create a love for study? To raise him to a perception of what is noble, and worthy of his aspiration? And yet, it is obvious that every branch taken from this point of view assumes a new and peculiar interest, which leads to a far better comprehension of the branch itself, than when learned merely as a school task. A task accomplished simply for the recitation room, is often only half learned; it is committed to the memory, rather than the understanding. But when learned by one who feels himself responsible for an explanation of every idea it contains, it must be thoroughly learned. He must know not only the lesson itself, but its various relations to collateral subjects. He cannot slight it, and then expect to teach it successfully. Hence, although the student, on entering this department, is supposed already to know what he is now learning to teach; yet he will find his knowledge of the various branches greatly improved from the new impulses under which they are reviewed.
The tests to which candidates are usually subjected in examina. tions, make known only their literary qualifications. Little is learned of one's aptness to teach, power to interest and secure attention, ability to control, fruitfulness in expedients, skill in adapting instruction to age and capacity of children, and force and impressiveness of illustration. But it is obvtous that these didactic exercises, in no inconsiderable degree, test the capacity of the candidate in all these.
Hence the advantage which school committees and supervisors may derive from an acquaintance with the members of these classes, and progress which they have made in all the characteristics of the good teacher.
It is equally obvious, that the Department will afford peculiar facilities to those who aspire to good situations, and would be placed in a position to make themselves known. I am often applied to for suitable persons to fill all classes of vacancies, from the High School down to the Common District School.
Hoping that this imperfect outline may in a measure answer your inquiries,
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAMUEL S. GREENE, Prof. of Didactics in Brown University.
APPENDIX No. 11.
LETTER FROM REV. E. M. STONE.
HON. ELISHA R. POTTER:
PROVIDENCE, Feb. 11, 1852.
DEAR SIR-When I promised, at your request, to prepare an article on Evening Schools for your Annual Report, it was my intention to have given to the subject the detailed consideration its importance demands. From the fulfilment of this intention I am precluded by an unusual press of duties, and at this eleventh hour can only say a few words as an expression of my unabated interest in a class of institutions that must, from necessity, fill an important place in the educational movements of the day.'
In 1849 I prepared, at the instance of your predecessor, Hon. Henry Barnard, an account of Public Evening Schools in this country, embracing notices of all that were then known to be in operation. This account was published in his final report to the General Assembly. Since then, similar schools have been established in New Orleans, Newburyport, (Mass.,) Portsmouth, (N. H.,) Portland, (Me.,) and several other places: all of which have fulfilled the expectations of their friends.
Eighteen years have passed away since the first Public Evening Schools were opened in the United States, and the conviction of their utility has been gradually gaining strength in the public mind. The National Convention of the friends of education held in Philadelphia in 1849, and again in 1850, one of the most intelligent bodies that has been convoked in this country on any occasion, took up this subject as one of commanding importance, and at the recommendation of a committee who, by Prof. Hart, their chairman, made an interesting report on the subject, adopted the following resolution :
Resolved, That this Convention recommends to the earnest con
sideration of the community in the several States, the propriety of establishing generally, free Evening Schools for adults and for young persons who are not in attendance upon the day schools."
From the report to which I have referred, I transcribe and enclose several paragraphs embracing statements worthy of profound consideration.
These statements confirm the opinion I have long entertained, that something should be done to meet wants that are not met by our day schools. In every manufacturing village are to be found many children and youth like those described in these extracts. There is also another class, a large portion of them foreigners. They are ignorant, often, of the simple rudiments of learning, and are precluded, by age, pride, or false shame, from entering a primary class in our public day schools. They form, to an extent, a distinct order, and if educated at all, must be approached in a way that does not arouse either of these hostile feelings. It is easier to form an evening school of fifty boys fourteen or fifteen years of age, who cannot read and write, than to induce five of that number to attend a day school.
In a manufacturing State, like Rhode Island, having so many of this class amoug its population, these considerations bear with great force. Evening Schools should be established in every village for the benefit of its juvenile operatives, and of all others who need their advantages. It is not merely the dictate of philanthropy, but of enlightened policy, to encourage in such the spirit of intellectual culture, never, indeed, losing sight of their moral and religious development. Intelligence is essential to the growth of the morals of the young, as it is to the improvement of their manners; and to permit a generation to grow up among us without education sufficient to qualify them to transact ordinary business, or to give them correct ideas of our political institutions, is to violate a principle upon which their permanency rests.
In conclusion, I have only time to add, that the efficiency of Evening Schools may be greatly promoted by the appointment of an outdoor assistant for each school, whose duty it shall be to collect scholars, visit their homes to ascertain the cause of every absence, and to gain the co-operation of parents and employers in securing a regular attendance. Very sincerely your friend,
EDWIN M. STONE.
EXTRACT FROM REPORT ON EVENING SCHOOLS.
BY PROF. HART, OF PHILADELPHIA.
While speaking of the large proportion of the population that now, in many states and cities, attend public schools, we are apt to forget that not more than one-third of the whole number attending school ever advance beyond the Primary. The High School and the Grammar Schools are, indeed, open to all; but all, unfortunately, have not the leisure to advance to those open doors. Idleness and vagrancy, no doubt, contribute to this result; yet, for the most part, it is stern necessity, work-want of bread-that compels more than two-thirds of the children of the public schools, to complete their schooling in the Primary. Having barely learned to read and write, and perhaps knowing something of the first four rules of Arithmetic, they are taken by their parents to assist in the mill, the workshop or the factory, or to become errand boys and news boys. Experience has shown that a large number of these boys, thus early withdrawn from school, would, at the age of ten to twelve, and even much later, be glad to avail themselves of any opportunity of pursuing their studies, that did not interfere with the daily pursuits by which their subsistence is procured. Wherever night schools have been opened a large number of such boys have been among the applicants for admission. If there be any class of the community that more than others have a claim upon the public for special means of instruction, it is those who, through a grinding necessity, are unable to attend an ordinary day school, even though it be entirely free.
There is another important aspect of this case. The attention of those engaged in the cause of education has been occupied so exclusively with the instruction of the young, that we had well nigh forgotten the existence among us of an ignorant adult population. The number of illiterate adults will be yet further and largely increased by the constant tide of emigration from abroad.
Some isolated and not uninteresting efforts have been made, heretofore, to introduce the number of ignorant adults by the establishment of schools expressly for them. But it is not until very recently, that anything like a general effort, in this direction, has been attempted.