street, with fifteen school-rooms, and requiring seventeen teachers. The pupils below the grammar department in this building, are divided into six distinct grades of two schools each, one for boys and one for girls. Another building of similar size and plan is under contract, and will soon be completed.

This gradual change in the size of school buildings and in the grading of the schools, is instructive. It suggests the inquiry, How many pupils does a perperfect system of classification require to be brought together? Mr. Philbrick, Sup't of the Boston schools, devotes considerable attention to this subject in his last semi-annual report. The conclusion he reaches is, that the best possible classification of a graded school, not including the high and primary grades, requires five hundred pupils. When the sexes are separated in the lower grades, the number required exceeds five hundred. Has Cleveland finally reached the true basis ? This subject has hitherto received too little attention. Many thousands of dollars are annually invested in school buildings which subsequent experience shows to be ill adapted to an improved grading and classification of the schools accommodated.

Another feature in the management of these schools, is worthy of notice. It has been the policy of the school authorities, for many years, to employ the best teachers the salaries paid would command, without respect to their place of residence. The opposition to “foreign" teachers, which is chronic in many localities, has never seriously manifested itself in Cleveland. The result is the board has been free to seek for experience and competency, and has been able to demand of applicants comparatively high qualifications. Few cities in the West have proportionally so many thoroughly educated and accomplished female teachers. In the primary and secondary departments are found a considerable number of ladies whose scholarship is adequate for positions as teachers in high schools. This fact has contributed not a little to the marked efficiency of the schools.

The same policy has been substantially carried out in the employment of principals. A majority of the principals appointed in the past fifteen years, have been men of liberal education and successful experience. At one time most of the principals selected were recent graduates of eastern colleges, who, as a general rule, accepted their positions to obtain means to enter some other profession. They had had little experience in the management of graded schools, and on account of the temporary character of their engagement, manifested little interest in the elevation of the profession either in the city or in the State. This error was, however, soon corrected by the employment of men of riper experience and of worthier professional spirit and purposes. Practical experience in teaching and managing schools and probable continuance in the profession were again required with evident gain to the schools. For several years past eminent teachers in other schools have been sought out and employed to fill the vacant principalships. They have come, bringing with them the best methods of teaching and the ripest experience to be found in their late localities, thus aiding in the better management of the schools and in keeping the instruction out of ruinous ruts.

In another article we propose to trace the progress made in these schools in fifteen

years with respect to supervision and instruction.


CORPORAL PUNISHMENT. Corporal punishment” has at last taken rank among national questions. General Sickles recently issued an order prohibiting flogging as a punishment for criminal offenses in his military department. Whereupon a committee composed of such North Carolina dignitaries as Governor Worth, Chief-Justice Ruffin, Ex-Governor Swain, and Nathaniel Boyden, wait upon the President praying that the unconstitutional order may be rescinded, and the sovereign State of North Carolina protected in the right to flog men and women-a right she has long and vigorously exercised as thousands of scarred backs testify. As a reason why the order should be revoked, the President is informed, in a communication addressed to his Attorney-General, that, under the laws of North Carolina, white men and white women are flogged as well as persons of color! By hanging for major offenses and flogging for minor ones, the State has no need of a penitentiary !

The President has the question under grave consideration, and as he is personally familiar with the practices and wants of the South, the flogging system will doubtless triumph. Meanwhile, Congress is turning its attention to the matter, with a view of protecting the freedmen from brutal treatment, and it is not improbable that General Sickles' order may become a national law, and be made applicable to all the unrepresented States. The merits of the system of flogging men and women for criminal offenses are at least to have a congressional airing. We trust the discussion may also reach the matter of prison discipline, North and South. It is only a few years since flogging was allowed, and frequently resorted to, in the Ohio State Prison. Does the barbarous practice still exist in any northern prison, either under the sanction or silence of law ?

Army discipline ought also to receive attention. The inhuman treatment to which the American soldier is sometimes subjected, is a national disgrace.

But we took up our pen to refer to corporal punishment in schools—a subject which seems to be passing through one of its recurring periods of public discussion. Even political papers, which usually eschew all school questions, are making some bold ventures in this direction.

What we wish to suggest is, that those who oppose all resort to corporal punishment, ought to show how such punishment may be dispensed with, and good discipline be still maintained in our schools. There are thousands of conscientious teachers—and, we might add, parents—who would be glad to abandon entirely the use of the rod if they only knew how to do it. They must maintain proper discipline; must secure compliance with their rightful commands. To permit the children committed to their care, to become disobedient, lawless, insubordinate, reckless, is criminally to fail in duty. Here is the grave responsibility that rests upon teachers and parents—the stern fact that confronts them.

Nor will it suffice to say that there are teachers so richly endowed for their work, that they can govern their pupils without ever resorting to corporal punishment. Agassiz may do this, and no one questions his assertion that he has done it. Many others may possess the same power. But the practical diffi

culty is, such teachers are too rare. Doubtless, as Horace Mann once said, an angel coming down from Heaven, would find little difficulty in managing children without resorting to any punishment whatever. But the fact is, the angels do not come down to engage in this business, and until their services can be secured, there must be punishment of some kind and to some extent in most schools and families. The necessity of punishment is a fact which no amount of discussion can remove. The practical question to be considered is, “What kinds of punishment are proper and feasible ?" A practical answer to this question would be welcomed by many thousands of teachers and parents. The following note, recently received from a young teacher, contains an urgent request for such assistance:

MR. EDITOR :-Having read an article in the November number of your MONTHLY from “ Y. T.,” in which he proposes a topic for discussion, I, as one of the younger class of teachers in our State," would send an urgent request that the topic named be freely discussed by some of your able correspondents. The question is this: What other forms of punishment than corporal are proper in the administration of school government? Grant us some advice in this direction. We need it and need it immediately, as every month is forming our character as teachers.

Let us hear soon from you.

ADOLESCENTULA. This appeal calls for something more than a simple enumeration of proper kinds of school punishment. What is needed is a practical exposition of a system of punishment feasible in schools, with the principles which should govern its administration,-a system that shall recognize the temporary and limited control of the teacher over his pupils, and also his want of clear legal authority to expel permanently the insubordinate and incorrigible. School punishment has limitations and conditions which do not belong to that of the family or the state. The teacher's control is not continuous; his pupils pass daily beyond his jurisdiction. A due consideration of these facts may show that while the rod is never necessary in administering civil government, there may be occasions in the school when no other form of effective punishment is practicable. Indeed, rebellion against rightful civil authority seems to have but one remedy—the bayonet. Besides, the infliction of proper bodily chastisement upon a child by a teacher or parent is a matter very different from the flogging of men and women by civil officers.

But we do not propose to enter upon a discussion of this subject at this time. The appeal of “Adolescentula” is addressed to our "able correspondents," and we hope she may soon hear from them. We merely venture the opinion that efficient school discipline may ordinarily be maintained by punishments which are but the natural consequences of wrong doing—the self-administering checks and correctives which may be made to stand sentinel at the gateway of misconduct.

[ocr errors]



Years ago my class-room was so situated that I could not avoid hearing much of the recitations in an adjoining apartment.

The teacher's habit was to pitch her voice in a high key, as we are wont to do in addressing foreigners and deaf persons, so as to make her auditors clearly understand her questions;

and her pupils as uniformly replied in a low monotonous tone, but perfectly distinct. The marked contrast daily exhibited could not fail to be ludicrous, and somehow her manner of speech came to be associated in my mind with the story of an old Scotch lady, which runs thus:

A lad in reading the Scriptures to his grandmother, a Covenanter abiding steadfast by the solemn league, attempted to improve his elocution by imitating the lengthened accents of the minister. Whereat his grandame, wroth at his intrenchment on reserved rights, gave him a heavy buffet over the ear, and sharply queried whether it was fitting for the likes of him to be putting on the holy whine ?

So now in visiting schools, I have often occasion to call up the old association when I hear a teacher endeavoring to articulate distinctly by splitting her throat in shrieking out her questions, and can not avoid saying to myself, There

goes the 'holy whine' again.” abit is second nature, and I doubt not that many are not aware how forced and unnatural is their manner of speaking when conducting a recitation; nor how much easier for themselves and more agreeable to their pupils would it be if they would only use the socalled conversational tone of voice.

We hope that the conventional school ma'am is passing away, and that with her will pass that stilted, strained, and strident screech that corresponds to the once familiar “holy whine” of a race of preachers, also departing.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


The changing of type has caused a week's delay in the issuing of this number.

The premium of Webster's New Dictionary offered for the largest list of subscribers raised in the months of November and December, 1866, is awarded to Samuel Bartley, Waverly, Pike county, Ohio, who has sent us forty-four subscribers. The second premium, Brown's Grammar of English Grammars, is awarded to I. P. Hole, Akron, Ohio, for thirty-four subscribers.

We offer the same premiums for the largest and second largest number of subscribers raised in the months of January and February.

A YEAR'S WORK.—The year just closed has been to us one of arduous labor. The closing duties of our official term crowded us until the middle of February, and demanded much of our time one month longer. Institute engagements followed immediately, filling up about one-half of the succeeding weeks with exhausting labor, the extent of which may be judged from the statement, that it involved (including a few lectures before associations and meetings) the delivery of about three hundred lectures and the traveling of over five thousand miles. The editing and publishing of the Monthly, a heavy correspondence, and various other duties, public and private, demanded more than the remainder of our working hours. Indeed, pressing duties have waited at the portal of each hour, often enough to fill it three-fold. We refer to this subject to explain the little delay which occurred in the issuing of several numbers of the MONTHLY.

CINCINNATI NORMAL INSTITUTE.—This institute was organized at the opening of the Public schools in August, 1865, and sessions were held on twelve consecutive Saturdays. The teachers were not required to attend, and only a few, comparatively, availed themselves of its benefits. The institute was re-organized at the beginning of the present school year, and the teachers were required to attend under penalty of loss of salary for the day, in case of absence. This provision was made by the Board before the teachers were appointed for the year and in view of the large increase in the salaries paid.

The first meeting of the institute for 1866 was held on Saturday, September 8th. The entire corps of teachers was divided into four sections. The first section was composed of teachers of the intermediate schools, and of grades A and B of the district schools; the second was composed of teachers of grades C and D; the third, of teachers of grades E and F; the fourth, of the teachers of German, who were instructed in the German language, by the first German assistants.

In the first three sections, there were three different exercises each morning, of fifty minutes each. Classes of children were introduced, for the sake of illustration, in each of the sections, whenever found necessary.

The instructors who were appointed by the School Board, were Messrs. Stuntz, Schmitt, Hotze, Crosby, Strunk, Reynolds, Fillmore, Carnahan, DeBeck, Morgan, Raschig, Wheeler, Woollard, Sands, and Kidd—all of whom served without extra compensation except Prof. Kidd who gave instruction in elocution and vocal culture,

The exercises were under the efficient direction of Sup't Harding, whose zeal and ability is a guarantee of success in whatever he undertakes. The large majority of the teachers were interested in the exercises and greatly profited thereby.

The closing session, which we had the pleasure of attending, was held in the Council Chamber on Saturday, December 15. The exercises consisted of brief addresses by the several Principals, and also by Col. Fisher, President of the School Board, A. J. Rickoff, White, and Sup't Harding. There was some difference of opinion among the Principals respecting the success of the institute, yet the assurance was given that it is no longer to be regarded as an experiment, but as a part of the school system. Its continuance can but result in great good.

AN AMERICAN SCHOOLMASTER ABROAD.-A Bostonian has suggested the idea of sending an American schoolmaster, with his school, to the Paris exhibition. The New York Independent opposes the project, on the ground that we should export the defects instead of the merits of our school system. It affirms that in methods of instruction we are still behind the most advanced nations of Europe, that “our teaching is far more a matter of rote, and less a matter of intelligence.” One merit of the American system could be seen even after transportation, viz: the relation of the sexes in education. On this point the Independent admits America can instruct Europe.

MAINE.—G. M. Gage, Principal of the State Normal School at Farmington, announces his intention to start a new educational journal, to be called “The Maine Normal.” We second the suggestion of the Massachusetts Teacher that this title be improved by inserting a noun after the adjective "Normal.” But we shall welcome the new journal whatever may be its title.

MICHIGAN.-Prof. D. P. Mayhew has been elected Principal of the State Normal School at Ypsilanti. The Teacher, edited by Wm. H. Payne, Ypsilanti, entered upon its second volume in November. It is full of good things, and is beautifully printed. The State Teachers' Association met at Kalamazoo on the 26th, 27th and 28th days of December, 1866.

« ForrigeFortsett »