Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

shall operate. The child has enough to do, so long as he is really a child, in exercising his receptive powers, in storing up facts and ideas all associated with a proper choice of words and phrases, and in cultivating at once the habit of seizing an idea in the imagination, and reproducing it in appropriate language.

The importance of these processes is certainly not yet fully understood in the method of primary education. The practical neglect of the representative powers, and particularly the faculty of expression, is observable throughout the whole range of my official duties. Out of 500 or 600 pupil-teachers who pass under my examination yearly, there are twenty at least who can work the mathematical questions given out with perfect accuracy, to every one who can grasp a passage of prose or poetry in their imagination, feel its beauty, appreciate its fulmeaning, and then re-produce it in an appropriate and expressive phraseology. No doubt their social relationships are far from being generally favourable to the cultivation of such a capacity, but much of the deficiency is, I think, fairly attributable to the want of direct attempts to cultivate the imagination and to develope the power of expressing ideas in appropriate and correct language.

Such a culture as this lies at the basis of all true mental education. It is as necessary to the proper growth of the mind as food is necessary to the growth of the body; and surely if the Almighty planner of nature and history intended all His intelligent creatures to share in the gifts of a progressive civilization, it is not for us to grudge, but in every way to aid onwards the universal diffusion of these best of all terrestrial blessings.

With efficacious attention to the mind's nourishment and growth during these early stages of its history, that is, with due regard for its physical vigour, careful training of the perceptive faculties, and progressive exercises calculated to strengthen the memory, enrich the imagination, and develope the power of expression, we need have no fear for the subsequent vigour of the intellectual and reasoning powers.

Although little may be done in the primary school, with a direct reference to the faculties of abstraction, generalisation, and scientific thought, yet if the basis is laid in an abundant stock of ideas, together with the power of combining them and expressing them in correct language, the natural force of the human reason will be sure to manifest itself in due time, amply sufficient, at any rate, for the wants of those whose sphere of life is to be conversant with practical rather than scientific pursuits.

The proper preparation for all abstract thinking consists, I conceive, in a sound explanatory teaching of the principles of grammar; and the best of all roads towards the habit of generalisation, is probably an elementary introduction into the theory of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. These are generally favourite subjects of pursuit with intellectual teachers, and are pretty sure not to be neglected by them, if they can only get a number of sufficiently advanced and intelligent pupils to enjoy the intellectual excitement of such lessons.

With a large and increasing staff of teachers, coming fresh from the lecture-rooms of our several Normal institutions, there is no doubt but we shall experience a constant tendency towards intellectualising the routine of the primary school. The notion, therefore, I wish to convey, as the moral of all the above suggestions, and as a caution peculiarly necessary at the present juncture of educational affairs is this—that more care is and will be necessary to bring the elementary training of the scholar into a sound and healthy state, than to perfect the more advanced and intellectual processes; and that if the purely intellectual processes are begun too early, and without sufficient basis being laid beforehand, they may prove not merely nugatory, but actually antagonistic to the natural course of the mind's expansion.

I have the honor to be, &c.

J. D. MORELL. To the Right Honorable

The Lords of the Committee of Council on Education,

SUMMARIES OF TABULATED REPORTS, FOR 1853–4, ON SCHOOLS

INSPECTED BY J. D. MORELL, Esq.

SUMMARY A.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

The amount of accommodation in square feet, divided by 8, will give the number of children who can be properly accommodated. Calculations of area in school-rooms, as compared with the averago attendance of scholars,

should be made upon this basie. + At the date of closing this return.

These per-centages are confined to boys' and girls' schools, and do not include infants,

SUMMARY B.

Aggregate Annual Income, as stated by Managers, of 175 of the Schools

enumerated in Summary A.

[blocks in formation]

General Report, for the Year 1854, by Her Majesty's Inspector

of Schools, MATTHEW ARNOLD, Esq., M.A., on the British Schools, and the Wesleyan and other Denominational Schools, inspected by him in the Midland and Southeastern District of England.

Change in limits of district.

MY LORDS,

London, January 1855. I HAVE the honor of presenting to your Lordships my general report for the past year.

I have once more to record a change in the limits of my district, by which its extent has been still further diminished, and the facility and convenience for inspecting the schools which it contains, still further augmented. A fourth Inspector of British and Denominational Schools has been appointed by your Lordships, and the arrangements consequent on his appointment have relieved me of that part of my former district which was most distant from London, and substituted for it counties more easy of access.

Four counties in North Wales, and seven of the North Midland and Eastern Counties of England have thus been taken from my district; while there have been added to it the counties of Kent, Sussex, Buckingham, Oxford, and Worcester.

My present district contains an area of 11,476 square miles, and a population, by the last Census, of 6,140,621 inhabitants; a population greatly exceeding that of the district of any one of my three immediate colleagues. The schools in it, however, are many of them in London and its neighbourhood, and few are very difficult of

access.

Such changes ne

I hope that the present arrangement of districts may continue cessary, but unchanged for some time. The changes which have taken respects in place have been, no doubt, of the greatest convenience to me convenient, personally, by transforming into a manageable district what

was at first a most laborious and embarrassing one, and I am under great obligation to your Lordships for sanctioning them. Change was, indeed, necessitated by the work of inspection of British and Denominational Schools out-growing in quantity the physical powers of those who were set to do it; so that what at first could be done by one Inspector now demands the labour of four. Still, every change, though necessary, has not been without its transient inconvenience; each has entailed, at first, a certain amount of irregularity on the Inspector's part, pending the complete arrangement of his time to meet all the claims of his new district, in visiting some of the schools under his inspection : hence delays in the transmission of annual grants, and inconvenience to teachers

« ForrigeFortsett »