Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

discipline is concerned, it matters little whether the teachers are present or absent, provided the monitor is at his post, and performs his duty. The higher branches of the mathematics, geography, grammar, history, composition, drawing, philosophy in its various divisions, chemistry, political economy; indeed, every thing to which the attention of the pupils is ...}. is pursued, so far as I could ascertain, in the same rational and thorough manner, as spelling, reading, and arithmetic. Not only is every thing rendered intelligible, but interesting; and the thinking wers of the pupil are called into useful activity. During my visit a course of chem ical lectures was commenced by an assistant, which promised to be highly practical and useful. Music is taught in the seminary, and a hymn is also sometimes sung in connection with the religious exercises. But what rendered this seminary most deeply interesting to me, was the conviction, which I was unable to resist, that all its methods, and plans, and processes, were eminently adapted to the development and formation of character. As a place of instruction, it justly ranks high ; and I do not believe it has been too highly appreciated. But, as a place of Education, it has still higher claims. Knowledge of the best kind is successfully inculcated by the best ineans; but the capacity i disposition to make a good use of knowledge, is regarded as of still more importance. In the first place, the maxim that a sound mind requires a sound body is not forgotten. The location of the seminary is peculiarly happy. The building is kept thoroughly ventilated, and a due regard is paid to temperature. Exercise receives a measure of that attention which its superlative importance demands. The importance of early hours is inculcated. i. thing which favors the health is remembered by the teachers, and, so far as circumstances may permit, controlled and directed. But the intellectual and moral habits of the pupils are also wisely regarded. Nothing struck me more than the cheerful love of order which seemed to prevail. It was not the order of a prisoner in the dungeon, but of the healthy, happy laborer. On the book containing the rules for each day, was written, in conspicuous characters, “ORDER is Heav EN's first Law;” but it was written in characters scarcely less legible in their words and actions. In securing such order, I noticed several things which appeared to have no small influence. Habits of punctuality.—When the hour arrives for opening the school, or sor any ex: ercise whatever, it is attended to. The teacher does not wait a few minutes beyond the time for tardy pupils—he is on the spot himself, and the work commences. In fact, he is often ready a few minutes before the time. The pupils know it, and they are convinced the teacher is in earnest. This makes them so. Nothing is hurried.—This is, in part, an effect of the former habit. If “time is taken by the forelock,” there is less need of hurrying. There will be time for every thing— and time to do it well. Every thing has its place.—There is no time lost by looking for things which have become misplaced. This is economical and favorable to good order. The teacher observes order himself—Every word, every step, every performance — I had almost said every look of the teachers—inculcate order and system. And the powerful influence of example is too well known to need any encomiums. I know not what other means of discipline may have been used in the seminary formerly; but am persuaded that those which have just been mentioned, have a very large share of influence, at present, in maintaining it. The habit and love of order and discipline secure order and discipline. So it is with motives to progress. The habit and love of acquiring knowledge, and of making improvement, appear to insure that knowledge and improvement, without the aid of emulation, which appears to be discarded. I know of no school for boys, where a better English education can be obtained. Were it not in vain, I could wish that the fathers and mothers of New England might all spend a few days in this seminary. If a knowledge of its actual condition should lead to nothing more effective, it might induce many to send their sons there for a few years, to have the unspeakable pleasure of seeing them molded into teachers of high-minded purposes, and |. self-denying character. May we not hope that a knowledge of what is effected at Andover will lead to the establishment of similar schools throughout New England—to be sountains of intelligence, and virtue, and piety?

Lectures on School-KEEping, by Samuel R. Hall, Boston, 1829, p. 135.

CONTENTS. Lecture I. Indifference to the importance, character, and usefulness of common schools; its origin and influence. II. Obstacles to the usefulness of common schools. Ill. Requisite qualifications of teachers. IV Nature of the teacher's o Responsibility of the teacher. Importance of realizing and understanding it. . Gaining the confidence of the school. Means of gaining it. The instructor should be willing to spend all of his time when it can be rendered beneficial to the school. VI. Government of a school. Prerequisites. Manner of treating scholars. Uniformity in government. Firmness. VII. Gov. ernment, continued. Partiality. Regard to the suture as well as the present welfare of the scholars. Mode of intercourse between teacher and scholars, and between scholars. Punishments. Rewards. VIII. General management of a school. Direction of studies. IX. Mode of teaching. Manner of illustrating subjects. Spelling. Reading. X. Arithmetic. Geog: raphy. , English, Grammar. Writing. History. XI. Composition. General subjects, not particularly studied. Importance of improving opportunities when deep impressions are made on the minds of the school. XII, W. of exciting the attention of scholars. Such as are to be avoided. Such as are safely used. XIII. To female instructors.

EXTRA CT FROM AN ADDRESS

By Ex-Governor GeoRGE s. nouTwell,
AT THE DEDICATION OF THE STATE NORMAL SCHOOL AT SALEM,

August 19th, 1854.

The house you have erected is not so much dedicated to the School as to the public; the institution here set up is not so much for the benefit of the young men and women who may become pupils, as for the benefit of the public which they represent. The appeal is, therefore, to the public to furnish such pupils, in number and character, that the institution may soon successfully enter upon the work for which it is properly designed. But the character and value of this school depend on the quality of its teachers more than on all things else. They should be thoroughly instructed, not only in the branches taught, but in the art of teaching them. The teacher ought to have attained much that the pupil is yet to learn; if he has not, he can not utter words of encouragement, nor estimate the chances of success. It is not enough to know what is contained in the text-book; the pupil should know that at least; the teacher should know a great deal more. A person is not qualified for the office of teacher when he has mastered the contents of a book; and has, in fact, no right to instruct others until he has mastered the subject.” Here then seems to be the gist of the whole matter. We in Maine have at length an opportunity to do something which may be made of great benefit to the public schools of the State, and, through them, to the cause of general good learning. This is to be done through the instrumentality of an institution—the Normal School. Very largely is this trust committed to the hands of the educational men of the present day among us. Future generations will hold us responsible for a right discharge of our duties. Let us not prove recreant to our sacred trust. When that great educator, who has left a bright and ineffaceable record upon the annals of the present age, heard of his election as master of the School at Rugby, he wrote to Dr. Hawkins, whose recommendation, in which he expressed his belief that Arnold would revolutionize the system of public instruction in Europe—had done most towards securing his appointment, in the following touching words: “I need not tell you how unexpected this result [my election] has been to me, and I hope I need not say also what a solemn and overwhelming responsibility is imposed upon me. I would hope to have the prayers of my friends, together with my own, for a supply of that true wisdom which is required for such a business.” The position of a Normal School teacher is one of “solemn and overwhelming responsibility,” and the person occupying it needs a wisdom that comes through communion with the Divine One. This institution, like the noble, the lamented Arnold, is nothing less than revolutionary in its relationship to the Common Schools. It will fail to accomplish its mission, or it will regenerate. It will give life, or it itself will die. It remains to be said—if indeed that be necessary—that I believe with De Gasparin and De Tocqueville, that in the universality of common instruction is the true superiority of Americans: that I believe, with the leading patriots of my country, that republican institutions can not exist for any length of time except they be enshrined in the hearts of an intelligent, liberty-loving people; that to retain the true superiority of which we, as a nation, are acknowledged to be possessed, we must retain and improve its cause—the public school system; that I believe, with the lamented Mann and Page, the living Barnard, the K. and eloquent Everett, and a host of other eminent educators, that the Normal School is a necessity—a sine qua non—for the perfection of a system of instruction for the people; and lastly, and consequently, that I would give to the Normal School its right to rank among the institutions which, as an harmonious whole, work for the preservation of American Freedom.

Let it not be thought, my friends, that I am an enthusiast in respect to the position which the Normal and the public school hold among the institutions of our nation, and the consequent glory of the profession of the popular educator. Here is a cause in which, surrounded by the safeguards of the Christian religion, one need not fear to be enthusiastic.

THE OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC SCIIOOL TEACHER

Before the public school teachers of this nation, there is opening a future, which, like every other prospective view in the time in which we live, is at once solemn and cheering. It is cheering to believe that we may live to see the day when education for the people shall be as much prized in the South as in the North; that from the “one true seed of freedom” which the Pilgrims of 1620 were commissioned of the Almighty to plant upon these then benighted shores, has grown the Tree of Life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nation. But it is solemn—0, is it not intensely solemn !—to reflect that upon our shoulders is to be thrown so great responsibility; that not alone upon the field of battle, but more certainly upon the field of moral thought, are to be laid the firm foundations of a regenerated republican liberty! American citizenship is, and is to be a grander, loftier thing in the future than it has been in the past. Our baptism of blood is to do its work of purification; and, thus, looking with the vision of a poet of the motherland, we discerned through the gloomy days of battle, through the fierce conflict of our nation's heroic period, the dawn-breaking of a more comprehensive, more brilliant social illumination. We said with Tennyson:

“Tho' many a light shall darken, and many shall weep
For those that are crushed in the clash of jarring claims,
Yet God's just wrath shall be wreaked on a giant liar;
And many a darkness into the light shall leap,
And shine in the sudden making of splendid names,
And noble thought be freer under the sun,
And the heart of a people beat with one desire.”

:k + :k :k sk sk #: +
“Let it flame or fade, and the war roll down like a wind,
We have proved we have hearts in a cause; we are noble still,
And all have awaked, as it seems, to the better mind;
It is better to fight for the good than to rail at the ill.”

The end of our conflict was not, when, with ringing of bells, with roar of deep-mouthed cannon, with bonfires and illuminations, with notes of praise, and with voice of silver-toned oratory, we celebrated the restoration of peace and union. For then came the necessity for the highest qualities of statesmanship, in State legislatures and a national Congress. And again, the end is not when the counsels of the statesman, under the blessings of Divine Providence, shall have settled the most complicated problems growing out of the present disjointed condition of our affairs. After all that, in the dim distant future, when you and I shall have acted well or ill our part upon the stage of life and shall sleep with the fathers of the Republic, the generations that will come will find a work high and glorious, made doubly sacred by the blood and prayers and tears of their predecessors.

The American citizen is to act a part in all this, and the American citizen is to be taught in youth in the public school. Will any one say that the position of a common school teacher is one of small account—will any gainsay his claim to a preparation for his professional duties at the expense of that people to whom his service is so important? True it is, as some one has said, “Let a people treat with scorn the defenders of its liberties, and invest them with the symbols of degradation, and it will soon have none to defend them.” There is no more sure defense to republican liberty than the public school; there is no truer personal defender of American institutions than the schoolmaster. Treat him with scorn, invest him with the symbols of degradation if you dare. God may give him grace still to labor on, but it will be with a saddened heart—a life without an earthly ambition.

THE NATIONAL TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION:
ITs NATURE AND OBJECTs.
my John D. PHILsnick,

Superintendent of Public Instruction in Boston, Mass.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:—The position in which I find myself placed by the choice of the association—a position unsought, undesired, and undeserved—bestowed no doubt, as a compliment to the section of the country, and particularly to the state in which I live and labor, and to be relinquished gladly at the close of this session,-imposes upon me the duty of inaugurating these proceedings by an introductory address.

And perhaps I may be expected to attempt, by an elaborate performance, either in the exhaustive treatment of some single topic, or in the presentation of a comprehensive summary of our proper aims and purpose, to strike the key-note of the occasion, and thus in a manner to give direction and tone to the discussions which may follow. But this is not what I propose. Indeed, since this meeting was determined upon, at a late day, it has not been in my power to make adequate preparation for such a task. But what, under other circumstances, and in quieter and happier times might have been expected, and might have been attempted, is scarcely required now. It is not from my lips, it could not be from any human lips, that that strain of eloquence, of learning, or of wisdom, is to flow, most competent to shape and inspire the debates and deliberations of this body of American educators, at this time and in this place.

The great and unparalleled conjuncture of our public affairs, the unprecedented perils in which our national existence has been, and is now involved, the sharp and tragic realities of our mighty struggle, demanding the work of all hands, the thoughts of all heads, and the devotion of all hearts, the sacrifice of so much of the best blood of the nation, the necessity to provide for the security of peace, whan peace shall come; these things are what must and will fire our hearts, and bias our thoughts, and direct our aims, and influence our speech and action. Till peace and union, and the set. tled state of order are restored, loyal hearts can not but everywhere, and at all times, vibrate in unison with the key-note uttered by the mouths of the cannon which spoke on the memorable 12th of April, 1861, from the casemates of Sumter, in defence of free government, of christian civilization, of the rights of man. That utterance meant duty, duty to God, duty to our country, duty to one another. And our topics, treatment, thoughts, views, must be moulded and tinged by the circumstances and exigences of this per ilous crisis, this mighty conflict, and as patriotic educators, we must necessarily keep uppermost in our minds, at such a time as this, the relations of education to the national life, to political morality, and the stability of free institutions of government. It seems proper, however that I should present, briefly, some facts and suggestions respecting the nature and objects of our association, and the sphere of its operations and influence. It is now six years since this association was organized. It originated in a call signed and issued by the Presidents of ten State Associations, inviting teachers throughout the United States to assemble in Philadelphia on the 26th of August, 1857, for the purpose of organizing a National Teachers' Association. It being the express design of the movement to institute a society which should be strictly professional in its character, the invitation was not extended to the friends of education generally, but was limited to persons actually engaged in the business of education. The language employed is this; “We cordially extend this invitation to all practical teachers in the North, the South, the East, and the West, who are willing to unite in a general effort to promote the educational welfare of our country, by concentrating the wisdom and power of numerous minds, and by distributing among all the accumulated experiences of all who are ready to devote their energies, and to contribute of their means to advance the dignity, respectability and usefulness of their calling; and who, in fine, believe that the time has come when the teachers of the nation should gather into one great educational brotherhood.” In pursuance of this call a meeting was held at the designated time and place. It was well attended, and was composed of gentlemen from the different sections of the country, many of whom had won-a title to confidence by their eminent services in the cause of education. These gentlemen proceeded to organize the association by the adoption of a constitution and the election of officers. On each of the three succeeding years, a large and successful annual

* Introductory Address before the National Teachers' Association in Chicago, August 4th, 1863; by the President, John D. Philbrick.

« ForrigeFortsett »