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end the second stage of education—(primary and secondary schools?)
112." Is the actual organisation of primary and common instruction on a basis sufficiently large, solid, and complete, to provide the children of the poor and of the working classes, with all the elementary knowledge requisite for exercising and developing all their faculties?113. What becomes generally of the children of poor families, on their leaving the primary schools?—and what means have they to indulge a disposition for cultivating and maturing the first instruction which they have received? 114. What becomes generally of the children of rich families, on their leaving the same schools? General Considerutiom.
115. Is the actual manner of bringing up children, till their seventh or ninth year, the same as formerly,—or rather in what consists the difference which may be discerned between the new and the old mode of education?116. What are the improvements or the changes introduced within ten years in primary and common education?117. What inconveniences can be pointed out in the system actually followed;—or what are the essential advantages which appear to result from it? 118. Of what improvements does it appear to be susceptible? 119. Are primary schools maintained in large manufactories, in hospitals designed for the reception of children, in corps or regiments;—and how are they organised? 120. What are the best works written, in the particular country, on primary education ?—or what are those which parents and teachers are most in the habit of consulting?PROPOSALS FOR FORMING A SOCIETY OF EDUCATION. The establishment of a society for any of the numerous objects connected with human improvement, is a thing of so common occurrence, as hardly to call for apology or explanation. In the present state of the public mind with regard to the subject of education, in particular, prefatory discussion seems unnecessary. The conviction appears to be universal that the happines of individuals and of society is dependent, to a great extent, on the information, the discipline, and the habits, which are imparted by physical, intellectual, and moral exercise, regulated by good instruction.— Some of the considerations however which seem most strongly to urge the measure now proposed, are entitled to particular attention-.
The progress of improvement in education has not hitherto been duly aided by combined and concentrated effort,—by mutual understanding and efficient co-operation. That this advantage is highly desirable needs not to be inculcated on any one who has attentively observed the operations or the progress of the religious and philanthropic institutions of the day. The piety and benevolence of separate individuals might have done much for the happiness of man, but could never have achieved the magnificent result of translating the scriptures into the languages of so many nations, nor that of turning a whole people from the rites of idolatry, or the habits of barbarism. It is matter of regret, that, whilst the zeal of thousands has been made to meet on so many other objects, and push them onward to brilliant success, no such union has hitherto been attempted in the great cause of education. Here and there we have had an excellent school-book, an eminent instructer, a vigilant and faithful school-committee, a distinguished institution, a memorable endowment, or a local arrangement which has justly immortalised its projectors. But there has not been any attempt made to offer to the country at large, the benefits likely to result from an association of men eminent and active in literature, in science, and in public life; from an extensive interchange of views on the part of instructers or from an enlighted and harmonious concurrence in a uniform set of books fitted to become the vehicles of instruction, and rendered as perfect as the united judgement of literary men and of teachers could make them. School-committees have labored industriously, indeed, but from the want of a proper channel of communication, they have not acted in concert. Endowments have, in not a few instances, been conferred with so little judgement as to become disadvantageous rather than beneficial; and town and state policy in regard to education has, though admirable in its temporary results, and its restricted sphere, been so cramped in respect to time and place, as to lose much of its proper influence. A society such as is proposed, would, in all probability, do away these and similar impediments to the career of improvement, and prove a powerful engine in accelerating the intellectual progress, and elevating the character, of the nation. 1. As the earliest stages of education require, from their prospective importance, as well as their natural place, the peculiar attention of parents and teachers, the proposed society would direct its attention to every thing which might seem likely to aid parents in the domestic education of their offspring, or in the establishment of schools for infants. 2. Another object of the society would be to aid instructers in th»
discharge of their duties. So much has recently been written and so well on this subject, that it seems to require but little discussion here.* Let it suffice to say that every effort would be made, which might seem likely to be of service to teachers, whether by the training of youth with reference to the business of teaching, by instituting lectures on the various branches of education, by suggesting methods of teaching these branches, by using, in a word, every means of imparting a facility in communicating knowledge and in directing the youthful mind; so as to furnish instructers with the best attainable knowledge and the best possible qualifications in the branches which they might wish to teach. A school or college for teachers, though an excellent and a practicable object, cannot be put into operation in a day, nor by any single act of legislature, nor by the solitary efforts of any individual. If there is a season for every thing under the sun, there must be, in this undertaking, an incipient stage of comparative feebleness and doubt and experiment and hazard, which, however, will no doubt give place to a day of ample success, in an unparalelled amount of private and public good. The only questions are, Where shall this undertaking be commenced?—when?—and by tcAom?— Should a simultaneous movement to effect this great object be made, as in all probability it will in New-York, in Connecticut, and in Massachusetts, and perhaps in other states,! such a society as is now proposed might contribute valuable services to the measures which might be adopted for this purpose. The society ought not to restrict its attention to instructers of any order, but should endeavor to embrace the services and the duties of all, from the lowest to the highest in the scale of advancement; and the mutual understanding, and the universal co-operation thus secured in the business of instruction, would probably be one of the greatest advantages resulting from this society .J
3. An object of vast importance in the formation of a society such as is contemplated, would be the collecting of a library of useful works on education. The members of the society would, by means of such assistance, proceed more intelligently and efficiently, inth« prosecution of their views; and if the library were made to comprise copies of every accessible school book, American or Euro- • We refer lo the interesting publications of Messrs. Gallaudet and Johnson, and the merges of Governors Clinton and Lincoln, as well as occasional articles in several periodical works, and recent pamphlets on education. t See the messages of Governors Clinton and Lincoln, and the report of the committee of the Legislature of Connecticut.
J See J union's Questions on Education in Nos. 7 and 8 of this Journslt
pean, it would furnish its readers with the means of valuable and extensive improvement in their respective branches of instruction. The advantage thus afforded would be equally serviceable to such of the society as might be employed in aiding teachers by lectures or otherwise, and to those teachers themselves. 4. A subject closely connected with the preceding would be the improvement of school-books. It is a thing not merely convenient or advantageous to education, and to the character of our national literature, that there should be a uniformity in school-books throughout the country: this subject possesses a political value, which reaches even to the union by which we are constituted a powerful and independent nation. Local peculiarities of sentiment, and undue attachments to local custom, are the results in a great measure, of education. We do not surely lay ourselves open to the imputation of being sanguine, when we venture to say that a national uniformity in plans of instruction, and in school-books, would furnish a bond of common sentiment and feeling, stronger than any that could be produced by any other means, in the season of earlylife. The precise extent to which this desirable improvement might be carried would, of course, depend, in some degree, on the feelings of individuals, no less than on those of any society. But every rational and proper effort would no doubt be made to render such arrangement agreeable to the views and wishes of instructers, and of the authors of school-books, throughout the United States. 5. In the present early stage of this business it is thought better not to multiply or extend observations, but to leave details for a more matured stage of procedure. A useful guide to particular regulations is accessible in Count De Lasteyrie's Nouveau Systeme d'Education. See that pamphlet, or the translation of part of it, given in the appendix to Dr. Griscom's Mutual Instruction. Another useful guide will be found in M. M-A. Jullien's Esquisse d'un Ouvrage sur l'Education Compan'c &.C, mentioned in the last note on the preceding page. 6. The vastly desirable benefit of complete and harmonious cooperation, would require that several, if not all, of the large towns and cities in the United States, should contain a central committee for managing the concerns of such a society; as auxiliaries to which and modelled on the same plan, professional men and teachers, as well as other persons interested in education, and capable of promoting it, might associate themselves in every town or convenient vicinity. A corresponding member from every such association, and one or more from a central committee, might, with great ease and dispatch, conduct all the business of the proposed society in any one State; and a similar arrangement on the great scale, might complete the organisation of the society for the United States. The whole affair offers nothing either complicated or troublesome: all that is wanted is a sufficiency of zeal and enterprise to commence and of perseverance to sustain the undertaking. For an idea of the good likely to be accomplished by a society for the improvement of education, reference may be made to the proceedings of the French Society of Education, or to the present condition of the primary schools of Holland, which have attained to that condition through the efforts of a society duly impressed with the value of education, and vigorously devoting themselves to its improvement. The result of that society's labors has been nothing short of an intellectual and moral regeneration in the sphere of its action, accomplished, too, in the brief space of thirty years. Mention might here be made also of the British and Foreign School Society which has done so much for the dissemination of improved instruction at home and abroad; and which has rendered the benefits of education as accessible to the people of England, as they have been or are to those of Scotland, of New England, or of Holland. We might mention, too, the Infant School Society as an institution which is dispensing the blessings of early instruction and moral refinement, among the youngest class of British population. The subject of this article is one in which we hope all our readers will feel an interest; and we would take this opportunity of inviting persons who have been revolving this or similar subjects in their minds, to favor us with their thoughts in any form which may suit their own views. We shall be happy to select such communications as may suit for insertion in the pages of the Journal, for the purpose of increasing public interest in a topic so important to national improvement, and of accelerating the formation of such a society as has been proposed.
An Address delivered at the Collegiate Institution in Amherst, Massachusetts. By Heman Humphrey, D.D. on occasion of his Inauguration to the Presidency of that Institution, October, 15,1823. Boston: 1823. pp. 40.
The main subject of this address has lost none of its merits from the length of time which has elapsed since it was delivered. After Vol i. 0.2