« AnteriorContinuar »
the administration of the grant in special cases, lists of certificated teachers, examination papers, and the general reports of each of the Inspectors. The following is an abstract of the year's expenditure :
£ S. d. In building, enlarging, repairing, and furnishing elementary schools
43,412 4 11 In building. enlarging, repairing, and furnishing normal or training schools
16,677 3 In providing books and maps
1,782 15 4 In augmenting salaries of certificated schoolmasters and schoolmistresses.
37,646 15 0 In paying salaries of assistant teachers
2,634.17 6 In paying the stipends of pupil-teachers, and gratuities for their special instruction... 138,355 10 10 In capitation grants (under Minute of 2nd of April, 1853)
5,957 7 8 In annual grants to normal schools
39,394 4 2 Industrial schools
147 1 Inspection
30,443 14 5 Administration, office in London..
7,589 0 23 Poundage on post-office orders
1,007 190 Agency for grants of books and maps
497 4 4
It appears from this statement, that a sum of nearly one-third of a million sterling has been distributed through the hands of the Committee during the year, showing an inorease of £77,670. on the expenditure of 1853. This sum has been appropriated in the following way :To schools connected with
31,681 4 87 To Wesleyan Schools
14,049 8 107 Tu Roman Catholic Schools (Great Britain)
10,907 12 97 To Workhonse Schools
19,193 13 54
21,895 917 Episcopal Church..
1,366 2 33 Administration
7,589 0 23
The Reports of the Inspectors on this year are singularly fertile in valuable experience and in practical suggestions. Although the circumstances of different districts vary considerably, there is a remarkable uniformity in the testimony of the several Inspectors on two or three main points. It is satisfactory to learn, that on the whole there is a steady improvement in the character of the schools under inspection, and in the work done in them. On this point, Mr. Brookfield's remarks may be taken as representing the general result, as far as National Schools are concerned.
"I wish to conclude the Report by expressing my couviction that the cause of elementary instruction has made steady, increasing, and very satisfactory progress in the South-Eastern District. I do not mean that any fresh and startling phenomena have developed themselves year by year. I do not mean to say that the good schools of three years ago have become twice as good as they were six years ago; that would not be true. Even the good schools, however, have improved in discipline-in methods - in attainment-in influence upon their neighbourhood-but not in the same ratio as in the first three or four years of the operation of the Minutes of 1846. So rapid an advance could scarcely be expected. Their population of scholars has changed, perhaps, three times since I first visited them. Under the best instruction, therefore, a school of this class will reach its limit for the present, or, at least, a limit beyond which, in the present order of things, it cannot proceed very far. What I mean, then, is, not that such individual schools have largely and visibly and palpably advanced, year by year, but that the number of such schools has very greatly increased ; that the number of bad ones has very greatly diminished; that there are more fair schools than moderate; more decidedly good than only fair; and that there are an increasing number excellent, which I hope may, ere long, outnumber all' inferior designations. I find, in all te cardinal subjects of instruction, much improvement. Reading, penmanship, arithmetic, geography, Scripture, needlework-in all these there has been great progress.”
Mr. Bowstead also speaks to the same effect in reference to the British schools of his district :
"In regard to the practical working of the schools visited during the past year, it will be seen, from mý tabulated Reports, that I have, in a great majority of cases, felt justified in making a favourable report. There are few schools in which my second visit did not bring to light some marked improvement in one or more branches of instruction ; and there is no subject ordinarily taught in elementary schools, which is not on the way to be better taught than heretofore."
Most of the Inspectors pay a bigh tribute to the general character of the persons engaged in instruction, and to the great improvement in the elementary teachers as a class. We are the more pleased to record their opinions on this subject, because we are convinced that on the elevation of the character of teachers themselves, and on their consequent advancement in social rank and importance, the future prospects of education in our country depend more than on any thing else. Mr. Moseley
“If, indeed, reference be had chiefly to the power of imparting knowledge, and to the matter of instruction only in so far as it regards the educational end to be accomplished, I believe it not to be inconsistent either with the facts or the probabilities of the case, to claim for the class of elementary teachers the character of the best teachers in the country; for they are the only teachers who, as å class, have made teaching the subject of special and systematic study, who have practised it under the direction of careful instructors, and whose success as teachers is officially recognised and rewarded.”
Of the pupil-teachers in his district, Mr. Watkins observes :“The very small number of dismissals is surely a creditable testimony to the right working of the system, and to its intrinsic value. It must be remembered that pupil-teachers are all between the ages of thirteen and twenty years. I have no hesitation in saying, that the conduct of these young people, at this most critical period of life, and placed in circumstances both of trial and temptation, is exceedingly satisfactory, and not surpassed by that of any other body of young people in any class of life.”
In concluding his Report, Mr. Arnold also remarks, concerning the teachers of schools generally throughout his district :
“No one feels more than I do how laborious is their work, how trying at times to the health and spirits, how full of difficulty even for the best; how much fuller for those, whom I too often see attempting the work of the schoolmaster-men of weak health, and purely studious habits, who betake themselves to this profession as affording the means to continue their favourite pursuits ; not knowing, alas, that for all but men of the most singular and exceptional vigour and energy, there are no pursuits more irreconcileable than those of the student and of the schoolmaster. Still, the quantity of work actually done at present by teachers is immense; the sincerity and devotedness of much of it is even affecting.'
While fully recognising the great labour and diligence which characterise teachers as a body, and the superiority of those who have obtained certificates over the race whom they are superseding, the Inspectors do not fail to point out certain dangers to which the new generation of teachers are especially liable, and certain defects of character which are apt to be produced by their peculiar training. On this subject, Mr. Blandford's very judicious and kindly hints, which we printed in our last, are well worthy of attention, and to them we now add the remarks of Mr. Watkins, who says, in reference to certificated teachers :
“In attainments, we may say at once that they are more than sufficient. In power of imparting their knowledge-dependent as this power must be on natural gifts, aided by special instruction whatever their deficiencies may be, the modern teachers are far above those who have gone before them. All of this which art can give, they ought to learn at the training college. All which nature alone can give, the speaking as well as the seeing eye, the touching as well as the commanding voice, the eloquent though silent gesture,—these, and other such excellent gifts, should be recognised as such, and improved to the utmost in the course of training. As instructors, there can be no doubt that they have great advantage over that race of teachers which is now passing away.
“But as trainers-as formers of the heart as well as of the mind of the working classes-as engravers of that character which should be stamped upon them- how do the certified teachers stand ? They, for the most part, have one obvious and great disadvantage. They are very young when they enter upon their duties, and they have to deal with very young children. But the younger the children to be trained, the older within certain limits should the trainer be. He has more need of experience, of self-knowledge, of discernment in child-nature, and sympathy with child-life. He has before him a more delicate and continuous work than he who acts upon the juvenile boy and girl. From some observation, I am inclined to think that many of the certified teachers of the present day-men, perhaps, more than women-several of those especially of higher attainments, are not good trainers or managers of their schools. They either trust to a sharp but unintelligible discipline, and enforce a rule where they ought to uphold a principle; or they are altogether unobservant of little things, as if they were trifles, instead of steps to great things ; they often spend the school time in lecturing rather than teaching, and in displaying their own treasures rather than in increasing the little store of the children's knowledge.”
The one great and serious evil revealed by the whole of the Reports is, the insufficient attendance of children at school. It appears that the average time during which boys of the lower classes remain under instruction is regularly diminishing There is a remarkable concurrence of testimony from all parts of this country on this subject. Mr. Moseley states, as a general truth :
“There are probably as many people as ever in this country, in proportion to the whole population who are growing up unable to read or write. Every other impediment appears in process of removal but
this. We seem to be in the way of getting schools, which, if they were duly appreciated by the poor, would, perhaps, be adequately maintained, and we are getting excellent teachers; but in this respect no progress is being made. The children of the poor leave school as soon as-indeed, sooner than they ever did.”
The Yorkshire Inspector speaks to the same effect :"Yorkshire suffers from this evil more than any other part of England. About 324 per cent. of her school children are only of, and under, the age of seven years; of the remainder, only 31 per cent. are above the age of thirteen years. It is simply useless to expect any real improvement in the knowledge and habits of the working classes, as long as such a state of things, from any cause whatever, exists in our schools."
Again, in Mr. Bowstead's district :
“ The proportion of children under ten years of age to the whole number on the school registers appears to have been considerably larger in 1854 than it was in 1853; whilst for children above ten years of age that proportion had decreased in a corresponding degree. Thus, in 1853, the per centage of children on the books under ten years of age was only 55.22; but in 1854, it had risen to 65.13. On the other hand, the per centage of children over ten years of age was 44:78 in 1853; but had fallen as low as 34:87 in 1854. Again, the per centage of children who had been on the books less than one year was 48.94 in 1853, and had risen to 54:54 in 1854."
And in the manufacturing districts of the north :"In the counties of Durham and Northumberland children are seeking employment in labour at an earlier age every year. It is not usual to find the average age of children in the first class of an elementary school higher than 10:5 years. In schools in pit villages the average is often much lower. As the age of the children in attendance at a school decreases, so also does the standard of instruction maintained in that school.
“There is a very good ground for fearing that the majority of the children now leaving schools for labour at factories or pits has not mastered the ordinary difficulties of reading and writing. If there are any evils allied to ignorance it is but too clear that they will abound under such conditions."
For this growing and threatening evil various remedies are suggested in the Reports. We hope to offer a summary of these, and some remarks upon the plans proposed, in a future number. Meanwhile we content ourselves with reprinting one or two practical pieces of advice on school work, among which Mr. Mitchell's hint as to the keeping of a daily report-book is not the least valuable.
"In each school a daily report should be kept of the instructions actually given collectively to the whole school, and individually to each class, stating the subject of the lesson, the notes of which should
also in classes, of what book was read, what page or pages of it, what sums worked, what maps drawn, what writing of dictation, what sentence parsed, &c. Such reports, in a copy-book kept by the pupil-teachers, would at once be useful to the masters and managers, as showing them by comparison the actual progress made in their schools, would prevent a repetition of trite and tame subjects, and would be a help to the Inspector in determining the condition of the school. I am induced to recommend this, as from the examinations in the gallery on geography, grammar, &c., the Inspector is often pained at the mindless style of question and answer which the scholars are too frequently con demped to listen to."
Mr. Moseley thus sums up the requisites indispensable in giving a good lesson :“Of the three qualities required in being able to give a good lesson,—1st, a knowledge of the subject, matter; 2nd, judgment in selecting from it what is adapted to the instruction of children; 3rd, a good manner of teaching,--it is rare that all are found in the same teacher. Of a simple unaffected teacher, with plenty of life and spirit, but imperfectly instructed, I have recorded in my notes of his lesson, that he taught the children effectually the whole lesson, blunders and all; of another, who had a dreamy, helpless way of teaching, but plenty of information, that if the children had carried away one quarter of what he told them it would have sufficed-three quarters were spilt; of a third, that althoughı he was said to be a man of good ability, and to know many things, yet he showed poverty of knowledge as to the lesson he had undertaken to teach, and great want of judgment as to the matter in hand, which was the teaching of children. In examining a school, it is casy to find out which subject the master knows the best. It is that which the children know the best. “And by the same rule it is not difficult to find out, in a school which has more than one teacher, which is the best teacher. There is no better test of a lesson than to consider how much of it the children have carried away; nor any better test of a teacher than to observe whether in his school the children have learned to attend."
It is often complained, by those not intimately acquainted with the elementary schools of the country, that the religious teaching, about which so much is said out of doors, is practically inefficient and worthless ; and that, after all, the subject which makes so great a figure in all public discussions on education, is the least attended to of all the branches studied in schools. Against such objections we are glad to set the testimony of Mr. Cook, whose experience has extended over a very wide field.
“I do feel bound once more to record'an opinion, deliberately formed, and confirmed by a long and minute acquaintance with the working of clementary sc:ools, that the one great influence which lias elevated and developed the intelligence of these children, which has given Clearness and accuracy to their perceptions, which has moulded their judgment, exercisel their reason, and expanded thcir imagination, has been the careful daily and uninterrupted study of the Word of God."
be preserved ;
We conclude our notice of this volume, for the present, with the final passage of Mr. Bowstead's report on the state of the Normal College, Borough-road :
“It is, perhaps, not on the whole to be lamented that the very highest influences, those which affect man as a moral and spiritual being, are the least capable of being submitted to any test. They are all-important, however, in the case of those to whom the training of youth is to be confided, and no normal institution would discharge its duty which did not in its daily routine treat them as being of paramount interest. That they are so regarded by the authorities of this Institution is apparent from the uniform tenor of their public statements, froin the teaching practised in their schools, and from the whole scope of their internal arrangements. The utmost care is taken to lead the minds of the students by gentle means in a right direction, and to inculcate a spirit of genuine piety, unalloved by sectarian bitterness. A tone of cheerful mental activity, tempered by religious sentiment, pervades the establishment, and conveys an unmistakeable impression that its purpose is to make its inmates not only abler scholars and more skilful teachers, but better men and truer Christians."
So many jocular stories are extant concerning schools in which children are supposed to learn “manners,” that one cannot seriously commence a short paper under such a heading as this, without incurring the risk of making his readers smile. Nevertheless, two things are well known and understood on this subject; first, that there is ery little teaching, either direct or indirect, of good manners in our elementary schools ; and secondly, that if it were possible to give such instruction, schools would be much more valuable institutions than they are.
In regard to grown persons, we are apt to say that manners indicate character ; or that the outward behaviour and habits of the man are determined wholly by the degree of inward refinement he possesses; and perhaps this is generally true of adults. But with respect to children, manners really make the character to a great extent. We mean, that if we can artificially convey to a child certain rules of conduct, and cause him habitually to act up to them, the outward actions so learnt soon influence his character; the use of the forms of courtesy will in time beget courtesy itself. Even in later life, the manners which distinguish a man in society, and which lie as it were on the surface of his character, do not always spring out naturally from the state of his mind. Outward conduct and inward feelings act and react upon each other ; and while on the one hand many who behave politely do so because they first are truly refined and unselfish in their natures, many others become more refined and less selfish simply because they have first learned to behave politely.
And so, though it is often very plausibly said, that nothing but right principles and right motives will ever make a good man; that the only way to regulate the outward behaviour is to purify the heart; and that Christianity is the only true agent in the civilisation of our race; teachers should beware lest some practical fallacy lies hidden in these statements. True, it is their highest business to implant sound principles and to awaken the conscience; but it is also their duty to watch the manners and deportment of their scholars, and to bestow much separate attention upon the regulation of them. Let them not suppose that this will be substituting mechanical for moral training. A scrupulous attention to little things, to points of decorum and good breeding, however mechanical it may seem, is moral training, and answers far higher purposes than are at first apparent. It may seem paradoxical, and perhaps extravagant to assert it, but there is not a teacher, even of the humblest and poorest village school in the kingdom, who ought to be satisfied with teaching any branches of mere knowledge, and who ought not to aim at making the children gentlemen as well as scholars. What is it to be a gentleman ? Is it not to be modest, courteous,
ful, selfdenying, yet self-respecting ; fearful of giving offence, watchful of the feelings of others; ready to oblige, and giving honour where honour is due: Are not such the qualities which ever since the days of the brare and loyal Bayard have been
recognised as the characteristic marks of a Christian gentleman? It is a trite thing to say that birth or fortune are not always attended by these qualities, and that there is no one station in life to which they are more suited than another; yet it would seem that society has almost ceased to expect them from the poor and the lowly; and has learnt to acquiesce in the fiction which regards a gentleman as a man possessing a certain income, and respectability as synonymous with good circumstances and easy living. It is the business of a schoolmaster to remember, that such a character as we have described is attainable in every position in life, and should be as earnestly striven after in a Ragged School as in Eton or Harrow. The habits of courtesy and good breeding are not innate in one class of people more than another ; they are like all other habits, to be acquired by repeated acts, and they are only to be strengthened by watchfulness and constant exercise.
It is far less by systematic oral lessons on the subject of good manners, than by the teacher's own example, that this end may be obtained. The first step necessary to secure the right tone of a school is, that the master should himself be a gentleman-that he should be very careful to regulate his own habitual behaviour by the rules which he wishes to inculcate. Unless he is thus attentive to himself, all attention to his pupils will be vain. He must remember that he is perhaps the only person of superior cultivation and knowledge with whom during childhood they come into near personal contact. In their eyes he will be the model, the highest type of what a gentleman should be--they will take their notions of decorum from him; and if the influence which his position ought to give him be rightly used, these notions will cling to them through life. Children are great observers, and far severer critics of the personal habits of their teachers than those teachers often suspect. Let us enumerate one or two of the chief points in which the example of a schoolmaster or mistress is especially influential.
The teacher's dress and appearance are by no means insignificant matters. He should be scrupulously clean and neat. It is a great mistake to suppose that anything is good enough to be worn in a school; or that in a small town, where everybody knows the teacher, it no matter how he looks. He dishonours his profession, he loses his influence, and he deserves to lose it, if he is slovenly in his person, or if he adopts the costume of a shopman, or a railway clerk. It is not necessary to dress expensively; but it is necessary to dress in good taste, and to exercise more care in the choice of clothes than persons in trade need do. Teachers like to be regarded as professional men ; they ought to be so regarded ; but they should recollect that the men of all other professions are generally distinguishable by their manners and their dress; they do not indulge in striking colours, in coats of unusual cut, or in eccentric-looking hats. When such garments have been well worn, they give an unseemly and disreputable look to the whole person, and it is this which every teacher, however poor he may be, is bound to avoid.
Connected with this we may mention, that all the appurtenances and furniture of the school should also be clean and well arranged. To a person of true refinement the sight of dirt is offensive, and a teacher who has rightly cultivated his own habits in this respect, will never be easy while his school-room is untidy, the maps irregularly hung, the desks in disorder, or anything about the premises out of its place. The teacher should show that the sight of such things is disagreeable to him, that he is restless and ill at ease until they are remedied. It will not be long before his own habits are communicated to the scholars, and their eyes too will become so accustomed to symmetry and order, that it will make them uncomfortable to see a dirty and disorganised school-room. Let the master consider for a moment how valuable this state of feeling may be when carried home, and how often such a habit of mind will be a safeguard against disgrace, and even sin, in after life, and he will see the importance of giving especial attention to this subject.
In his language, also, the teacher should be habitually careful to avoid what is