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to elevate the character of teachers, elevates, at the same time, and in the same degree, the character of the schools which they teach, and enlarges and strengthens their influence upon the community. And whatever is done or suffered to lower the character of the teachers, must sink, at the same time and in the same degree, the character of the schools, and destroy or pervert their influence upon society. Many other considerations must be taken into account in organizing a perfect and an energetic system of public instruction. These are some of them; a generous appropriation of money to the purpose, a proper classification of scholars, an efficient and independent tribunal 'to ensure competency in teachers and to overlook, examine, and report to the public whether their duties have been faithfully performed, and lastly, good books. But all of these objects though highly important, are subsequent in their nature to the preparation of teachers. And no one of them can be attempted with a reasonable expectation of accomplishing it to the greatest advantage, till good teachers are provided and ready for the work.
It will do but little good, for example, for the legislature of the State to make large appropriations directly for the support of schools, till a judicious expenditure of them can be ensured. And in order to this, we must have skilful teachers at hand. It will do but little good to class the children till we have instructers properly prepared to take charge of the classes. It will do absolutely no good to constitute an independent tribunal to decide on the qualifications of teachers, while they have not had the opportunities necessary for coming up to the proper standard. And it will do no good to overlook and report upon their success, when we know beforehand, that they have not the means of success. It would be beginning wrong, too, to build houses and to tell your young and inexperienced instructers to teach this or to teach that subject; however desirable a knowledge of such subjects might be, while it is obvious that they cannot know how properly, to teach any subject. The science of teaching, for it must be made a science, is first, in the order of nature, to be inculcated.
And it is to this point that the public attention must first be · turned, to affect any essential improvement.
And here let me remark upon a distinction in the qualifications of teachers, which has never been practically
made ; though it seems astonishing that it has so long escaped notice. I allude to the distinction between the possession of knowledge, and the ability to communicate it to other minds. When we are looking for a teacher, we inquire how much he knows, not how much he can communicate; as if the latter qualification were of no consequence to us. Now it seems to me, that parents and children, to say the least, are as much interested in the latter qualification of their instructer as in the former.
Though a teacher cannot communicate more knowledge than he possesses; yet he may possess much, and still be able to impart but little. And the knowledge of Sir Isaac Newton could be of but trifling use to a school, while it was locked up safely in the head of a country schoolmaster. So far as the object of a school or of instruction, therefore, is the acquisition of knowledge, novel as the opinion may seem, it does appear to me, that both parents and pupils are even more interested in the part of their teacher's knowledge, which they will be likely to get, than in the part which they certainly cannot get.
One great object in the education of teachers which it is so desirable on every account to attain, is, to establish an intelligible language of communication between the in- · structer and his pupil, and enable the former to open his head and his heart, and infuse into the other, some of the thoughts and feelings, which lie hid there. Instructers and pupils do not understand each other. They do not speak the same language. They may use the same words; but this can hardly be called the same language, while they attach to them such very different meanings. We must either, by some magic or supernatural power, bring children, at once, to comprehend all our abstract and difficult terms; or our teachers must unlearn themselves, and come down to the comprehension of children. One of these alternatives is only difficult, while the other is impossible.
The direct, careful preparation of instructers for the profession of teaching must surmount this difficulty; and I doubt if there be any other way, in which it can be surmounted. When instructers understand their profession; that is, in a word, when they understand the philosophy of the infant mind, what powers are earliest developed, and what studies are best adapted to their developement; then it will be time to lay out and subdivide their work into an
energetic system of public instruction. Till this step towards a reform, which is preliminary in its very nature, be taken, every other measure must be adopted in the dark; and, therefore, be liable to fail utterly of its intended result. Houses and funds and books are all, indeed, important; but they are only the means of enabling the minds of the teachers to act upon the minds of the pupils. And they must, inevitably, fail of their happiest effects, till the minds of the teachers have been prepared to act upon those of their pupils to the greatest advantage.
If, then, the first step towards a reform in our system of popular education be the scientific preparation of teachers for the free schools; our next inquiry becomes, how can we soonest and most perfectly achieve an object on every account so desirable? The ready and obvious answer is, establish an institution for the very purpose. To my mind, this seems to be the only measure, which will ensure to the public the attainment of the object. It will be called a new project. Be it so. The concession does not prove, that the project is a bad one, or a visionary, or an impracticable one. Our ancestors ventured to do what the world had never done before, in so perfect a manner, when they establised the free schools. Let us also do what they have never so well done yet, and establish an institution for the exclusive purpose of preparing instructers for them. This is only a second part, a developement or consummation of the plan of our fathers. They foresaw the effect of universal intelligence upon national virtue and happiness; and they projected the means of securing to themselves and to us universal education. They wisely did a new thing under the sun. It has proved to be a good thing. We now enjoy the results of their labours, and we are sensible of the enjoyment. Their posterity have praised them, loudly praised them, for the wisdom of their efforts. Let us, then, with hints from them, project and accomplish another new thing, and confer as great a blessing on those who may come after us. Let us finish the work of our fathers, in regard to popular education, and give to it its full effect. Let us double, for we easily may, the happy influences of an institution, which has already attracted so much notice from every part of our country, and drawn after it so many imitations; and send it, thus improved, down to posterity for their admiration.
If a seminary for the purpose of educating teachers scientifically be essential in order to give the greatest efficacy to our system of popular education; then, in the progress of the discussion, the three following questions arise in the order in which they are stated. By whom should the proposed institution be established ? What would be its leading features ? And what would be some of the peculiar advantages to the public, which would result from it. To answer these several questions at length would require a book ; while I have, at present, only leisure to prepare one or two newspaper-essays. A few hints, thererefore, upon the above three topics are all that I dare profess to give, and more than I fear I can give, either to my own satisfaction or that of those readers, who may have become interested in the subject.
The institution from its peculiar purpose must necessarily be both literary and scientific in its character. And although, with its design constantly in view, we could not reasonably expect it to add, directly, much to the stock of what is now called literature, or to enlarge much the boundaries of what is now called science ; yet, from the very nature of the subject to which it would be devoted, and upon which it would be employed, it must in its progress create a kind of literature of its own, and open a new science somewhat peculiar to itself-the science of the developement of the infant mind, and the science of communicating knowledge from one mind to another while in a different stage of maturity. The tendency of the inquiries which must be carried on, and the discoveries which would be constantly made, in a seminary for this new purpose, would be to give efficacy to the pursuits of other literary and scientific institutions. Its influence, therefore, though indirect, would be not the less powerful upon the cause of literature and the sciences generally. These remarks may seem to anticipate another part of my subject; but they are introduced here, to show, that a seminary for the education of teachers, would stand, at least, on as favourable a footing in relation to the public as other literary and scientific institutions. It seems now to be believed that the Legislature of the State are the rightful proprietors of all public institutions for the diffusion of knowledge. And if they are of any, they certainly ought to be of one for such a purpose. Because there are none in which the
public would be more deeply interested. There are none, which would tend so much to diffuse knowledge among the whole mass of the people. And this, as has been before remarked, is a solemn duty enjoined upon our government by the constitution, under which they are organized, and from which they derive their authority. Besides it is the first impulse of every government, operating as quickly and as steadily as instinct, to provide for its own preservation. And it seems to be conceded on all hands, by the friends as well as the enemies of freedom, that a government like our own can only exist among a people generally enlightened; the only question as to the permanency of free institutions being, whether it be possible to make and to keep the whole population of a nation so well educated as the existence of such institutions supposes and requires.
Our government, therefore, are urged by every motive, which the constitution can enjoin or self-preservation suggest to see to it, that knowledge is generally diffused among the people. Upon this subject of popular education, a free government must be arbitrary. For its existence depends upon it. The more ignorant and degraded people are, the less do they feel the want of instruction, and the less will they seek it. And these are the classes of a community, which always increase the fastest up to the very point, where the means of subsistence fail. So that if any one class of men, however small, be suffered as a body, to remain in ignorance, and to allow their families to grow up without instruction, they will increase in a greater ratio compared with their numbers, than the more enlightened classes, till they have a preponderance of physical power. And when this preponderance becomes overwhelming, what hinders a revolution, and an arbitrary government, by which the mind of a few can control the physical strength of the many.
If this reasoning be correct, a free government must look to it betimes, that popular ignorance does not gain upon them. If it do, there is a thistle in the vineyard of the republic, which will grow and spread itself in every direction, till it cannot be eradicated. The ignorant must be allured to learn, by every motive which can be offered to them. And if they will not thus be allured, they must be taken by the strong arm of government and brought out, willing