« ForrigeFortsett »
and desirous of improvement, are ill-informed, and without tact in the management of a school.
For the improvement of these I would suggest that to every parochial school there should be a library for the master's use; and that, along with other books, there should be a selection of works upon school tactics.
The minutes published by their Lordships the Committee of Council on Education would form a useful part of such library
The visits of an organizing master should be sought for.
of the effects of these visits upon the improvement of masters I am able to speak, having witnessed them in my
district during last year.
The abilities and exertions of Mr. Tearle, the gentleman appointed to this work by the National Society, in the West, appear to entitle him fully to the responsible office he holds.
Schoolmasters' unions, when properly conducted, seem to offer considerable advantages to those members who are desirous of improvement.
At the annual or quarterly meetings, when the members assemble at some school where the children are examined by a competent person, peculiar excellences and existing defects, with suggestions thereon, are brought before their notice in a practical way, which cannot but be beneficial.
. The mere conference of persons engaged in the same work seems to be advantageous; as in the conversations which will naturally take place upon the common object they have in view, information will be obtained, plans of proceeding explained, and hints for improvement thrown out, together with mutual encouragement and advice.
In connexion with such unions, it seems desirable that circulating libraries, and an Educational Magazine, should be provided.
Means should be found for enabling the masters to visit periodically the best-conducted schools in their district.
If a man's eye be confined exclusively to the object close before him, it will grow contracted and his vision limited. This is practically the case in many of our parochial schools. An extended acquaintance with other schools, and those of a superior order, would enable many a man to see defects in his own school which now he does not suspect, and which, from the experience and encouragement of others, he would be induced and enabled to rectify.
Monitors :After all that has been said, there can be little doubt, I suppose, of the general inefficiency of existing monitors-or that this is one great cause of our present deficiencies. To remedy this, apprenticed pupil teachers should be introduced into our schools. Where these cannot be had, a certain number of the most intelligent children should be selected from the senior classes, who should be regularly paid for their work and properly instructed for it by the master. And here I would observe that it is not enough for a master to impart to his monitors the same information he does to the other children.
We must recollect that these are his chosen agents for a certain work, the officers of his school, and must therefore be properly instructed and duly exercised in that particular business in which they are to be engaged.
To accomplish this it will not only be necessary for the master to instruct them in extra hours when the other children are dismissed, but he must also stand over them, as occasions offer, when they are examining their respective classes, must watch their mode of interrogation, listen to their remarks, &c.; and then, at a convenient time, must convey to them his impressions upon what he observed.
If our monitors were properly rewarded for their labour in the school, and instructed at extra hours, not simply in matters of general import, but in those especially bearing upon their vocation, my impression is, that such privileges
, together with some little personal distinction which might easily be fixed upon by the managers, would be the means of retaining our most promising children to a later period than is now generally
One consequence of older monitors will be, that of retaining the junior children; for, as the unfitness of monitors is one great cause of the inefficiency of schools, which again causes the withdrawal of children—(the poor are acute discerners in this point, and see little advantage in keeping their children at schools where, as they term it, they“ get nothing")—so with the removal of these defects will depart that apathy of parents to the education of their children which induces them to sacrifice what they deem a doubtful good for some trivial pecuniary gain. In many
instances I find the parochial clergy undertaking to some extent the superintendence of the instruction of the monitors, not only on general subjects, but also especially in the art of teaching
This has been attended with considerable benefit.
In several cases where the master has stated to me that his limited time would not allow of carrying out any plan for the instruction of his monitors at extra hours, I have discovered that an hour, or an hour and a half, sometimes more, is spent every night in “ setting copies.” How very desirable it is that such time should be devoted to something more than mere mechanical work, which can be performed far better by printed copies—such, e.g., as those of Mulhauser, published by Parker;
and in what better way could it be devoted than in improving the minds and exercising the intelligence of those who are to carry out a great part of the school system?
Instruction: Of the defects in instruction, I would speak, first, of the want of correct classification, and of a change of classification for different branches of instruction.
It frequently happens now that children are classified from their age, or their height, in some cases from their payments.
All also are classified, for all purposes, according to their proficiency in reading
It seems desirable that, under ordinary circumstances, there should be at all events a separate classification for arithmetic.
In the small parochial schools of the West I frequently find the boys and girls in separate rooms; the former under an efficient master, receiving a fair salary; the latter under an inefficient mistress, generally the master's wife, receiving an almost nominal sum for her services.
In such cases, it seems well that the senior children of both sexes should be placed under the master in one room ; the juniors under the mistress in the other.
This arrangement to last during the forenoons. In the afternoon the girls may receive an hour's instruction from the master, and then be removed to the junior room to be instructed by the mistress in sewing, knitting, &c.; some of the most intelligent assisting the mistress in the management and tuition of the infants.
An untrained mistress is frequently possessed of that tact in teaching infants which renders her, comparatively speaking, a valuable instructress to them; whereas her want of training incapacitates her from teaching those of older growth.
By this arrangement infants of four and five years of age may be taken into the school, who on the other plan would be excluded, from the hindrance afforded by them to the instruction of the senior classes.
Simultaneous instruction is not duly appreciated. Masters who complain of inefficient monitors, and the impossibility of instructing their children unassisted, are frequently unaware that, by the simple process of uniting four or five classes for simultaneous instruction, they may multiply themselves four or five fold.
In many cases I find the clergy adopting this plan for religious instruction.
Grammar and etymology are still frequently altogether neglected.
The great object of instruction in these branches, as means to an end, does not appear to be generally understood.
In many schools I have still to regret the entire absence of geography and history, as subjects of instruction.
Books and Apparatus :Great defects still exist in many instances in books and apparatus. In many schools the Holy Bible is still retained as the general reading-book for the senior classes.
This is and must be a matter of great regret to all persons who have carefully considered the subject, and ascertained the effects of such a practice upon the progress, information, general intelligence, but, above all, upon the religious habits of the children. Two of the chief causes of this custom of using the Bible class-book
to be,1. A popular impression that a reading lesson from the Holy Scriptures is in itself religious instruction.
One consequence of this impression is, that the reading lesson from the Holy Scriptures is substituted for religious instruction.
This is fully borne out by evidence; for, as a general rule, I find those children less intelligent in religious matters where the Bible is the class reading-book.
The same may be said of those cases were selections from the Bible are in general use, such, e.g., as the “ Miracles of our Blessed Lord," "The Discourses," « Ostervald's Abridgment," “ Mrs. Trimmer's Selections from Old and New Testament," &c.
2. The other cause is the low price at which the Holy Scriptures are sold, much lower in proportion than other school reading-books.
It seems fit that a good selection of class reading-books should form a part of the machinery of every school, that the managers should consider the purchase of proper books an essential part of their outlay, and that periodical returns of the state of the school library should be made to them, in order that the stock may be kept up.
Maps in many instances still form no part of the school apparatus, and in many cases, when provided, are unused.
The study of geography, and the best mode of imparting instruction thereon, would seem to be a matter especially deserving the notice of masters.
The same remarks may be applied to black boards.
This instrument of instruction, so very valuable in the hands of a skilful master, is useless in those of a person untrained in the use of it.
Writing.desks are still in many instances placed along the wall. The great disadvantages of this plan, in connexion with the benefits resulting from a different arrangement, do not
appear to have forced themselves upon the notice of schoolmasters as generally as might have been expected.
Some intelligent masters have sought for and effected an alteration. In all cases where the desks have been placed in a gallery, or on the floor in parallel rows, their testimony to the success of the change is satisfactory.
An increased space in the area of the room has been gained.
The children write in copy-books, with their faces towards the master.
The slate is brought into use as an instrument in teaching writing correctly, which it can scarcely with fairness be said to do when the children have no rest for it except their hands, which gradually fall upon their left breasts for support.
Lessons in writing from dictation, and in writing abstracts of lessons from memory, are introduced at an earlier period as a part of class instruction.
The black board is brought forward as an intelligent part of apparatus in connexion with the slate, the children answering on the latter any questions which may be written on the former.
Class-rooms in many cases still form no portion of a school building
In several instances brought before my notice, this want is severely felt by the clergy, who require a separate room for the purpose of religious instruction.
In all cases it seems desirable that this deficiency should be supplied.
Of those schools which appear to demand especial notice, I would mention
Skenfrith, a small village school with a scattered agricultural population, under a mistress. The different branches of elementary education are satisfactorily carried out; the writing from dictation and geography very good; the religious instruction admirable. The great cause of the above satisfactory results is the laborious and painstaking exertions of the Vicar, assisted by the almost daily attendance of the daughters of the Squire, the Misses Crawfurd, who take a great part in the education of the children.
In all cases where such aid as this is given, under any conceivable disadvantages, I find, comparatively speaking, an efficient school.
Berrington is another small village school, where with defective machinery satisfactory results have been effected.
The population is small, and engaged in agriculture.
The instruction is confined to very elementary subjects, but in these the children are well taught.
The discipline and general tone of the school are admirable.