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their approval. That approval having been obtained, and the promise of a grant given sufficient to cover the greater part of the outlay necessary (the remainder being met by voluntary donations), the works were at once commenced. The premises in their present completed condition comprise the noble room in which we are assembled, an infant school-room behind it, separate play-grounds, &c., for boys and girls, and a commodious master's house."
The examination then took place, and passed off in the most gratifying manner. At its conclusion the distribution of prizes took place. The “ National Anthem" was then sung, and the meeting separated.
THE RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION OF PUPIL-TEACHERS.
That the moral and religious qualifications of a teacher have far more to do with his success than the possession of any attainments is universally admitted. Every parent who is anxious that his child should live a life of honour and usefulness, knows well that this great end is less likely to be secured by the acquisition of knowledge, however valuable, than by the possession of those dispositions, motives, and aims, which are the result of wise moral guidance, and of the influence of true religion. In order that schoolmasters and mistresses may furnish this guidance and communicate this influence, it is indispensable that they should themselves be persons of high character, of religious principles, and of noble aims-men and women in whose own persons are constantly exhibited the self-restraint, the firmness, the high principle, by which the Christian profession is at once realised and adorned.
It is satisfactory to know that this primary necessity is recognised by almost all the parties engaged in the promotion of public education in England--not only by the various religious denominations as such, but in movements unconnected with any particular church. The State, in dispensing a large annual sum for the promotion of education, has from the first insisted on the condition that religious truth shall form a part of the instruction given in every school which receives pecuniary aid. It has not undertaken to prescribe the form which that instruction shall take, but it has uniformly refused to sanction any system of education into which this element of instruction does not enter. We cannot doubt that in insisting on this condition, the Government has truly embodied the national will, and given expression to a conviction very deep-seated among Englishmen—that character is of more importance than knowledge; and that religious truth ought to lie at the basis of all really sound education.
Yet our readers will not need to be reminded that, in the case of British and other Protestant schools not exclusively connected with the Established Church, it has been found difficult, and, indeed, practically impossible, to set up any standard of religious knowledge and character which shall be recognised alike by all the friends of education, and by which teachers belonging to different denominations of Christians could be satisfactorily measured. Accordingly, a concession has been made on the part of the Government in regard to such schools, the terms of which are well known. The official inspectors are not empowered to report upon the state of religious knowledge in the school, nor to examine the pupil-teachers in the Holy Scriptures, nor to make any inquiry into the religious opinions or attainments of the schoolmaster or mistress. On all these points the Committee of Council is content with a guarantee from the managers of the school attesting that they are satisfied with the religious instruction imparted to the children.
Those who claimed this concession as a right were induced to do so, not by indifference to the great subject of religion, but by a desire to secure the liberty of belief, and by a solemn sense of the mischief which might arise from placing the religious
teaching of the whole community under any central authority. Those who made the concession made it on the distinct understanding that the trustees and managers of unsectarian schools would secure for the teaching of Christian truth its rightful supremacy in those schools.
On the part both of the State and of those who accepted its grants, there was a full recognition of the paramount importance of moral and religious instruction, although a difficulty existed in measuring that instruction by any simple test.
We recall the attention of our readers to these facts--trite and notorious as they are-because we believe that they involve a very heavy and deep responsibility on the part of all persons who are concerned in the management of British schools. Those schools have for many years claimed and received the support of Christians of all denominations on the assumption that the Holy Scriptures are read and thoroughly taught in them. They continue, we are glad to know, to maintain a high character for the soundness of the religious instruction, and the healthfulness of the moral influence which they impart. Yet we must not conceal from ourselves that teachers and managers are subject to certain temptations to negligence in this respect. It is possible for pupil-teachers to pass their annual examinations successfully without giving the same kind of evidence that they have studied the word of God that they are required to give of having learnt geography and history. It is equally possible, as far as the Committee of Council are concerned, for a school to obtain high commendation in official reports, without affording any formal proof that the highest of all requirements has been met in its daily teaching and routine. These simple facts constitute a strong and urgent reason for great watchfulness on the part of those to whom the responsibility of the religious teaching in British schools has been confided by the public. It is well to be aware of the danger that lurks in them. Young people are naturally apt to pay more attention to those studies, the result of which they know will be rigorously tested, than to any others. Unless, therefore, the supervision of the pupil-teachers in British schools is as chorough and systematic in regard to scriptural as to secular knowledge, there will be great danger that the former will he undervalued, if not disregarded. Schoolmasters necessarily look forward anxiously to the period of the inspector's visit. It is probably the only occasion in the year when their work is thoroughly gauged. Their professional reputation, and, in many cases, a part of their emoluments, depend on the report which the inspector makes. It is not surprising if their attention is directed, throughout the year, especially to those subjects on which the inspector is most likely to fix. It would, indeed, be strange if, unless there were some counteracting influence, the teachers' own estimate of what a school should be, and of what he ought to teach, did not gradually narrow itself to the area which the inspector's examination covers. Here, then, is another source of danger; and in both cases, unless the greatest and most conscientious diligence be exercised, a tendency to lose sight of the supreme claims of religious instruction may possibly be generated by the very freedom which British schools enjoy, and the peculiar circumstances in which they are placed.
It must be acknowledged with thankfulness that hitherto these circumstances have in no respect led to any deterioration in the character of British schools. The candidates for the office of teachers under the new system bave been not less generally characterised by fixity of religious principle than those who presented themselves before that system was in operation. A very large proportion of the young people who go out from the training colleges from year to year have previously associated themselves as members of some Christian community; and very few cases have occurred in which the evidence of moral character, on the part of those who have completed their term of apprenticeship, has proved unsatisfactory. It is gratifying also to know, that in British schools generally, the standard of scriptural instruction is not only sustained, but is steadily rising from year to year. But it is the anxious wish of all the friends of religious education that still greater advance should be made in this respect. Scriptural knowledge and Christian influences ought ever to keep pace with the advance of secular knowledge. The more rapidly general education and mental activity are spread among our people, the more is it necessary that religious instruction should assume a higher and more influential character. We desire, therefore, to indicate a few of the precautions which need to be taken in British schools, especially in regard to the selection and training of the pupil-teachers. For it must ever be remembered that on the character of these young people very much depends. They generally give the tone to the schools in which they are apprenticed, and exercise great influence for good or evil on all the children of those schools. And in their subsequent career as students in normal college, or as masters and mistresses of schools, the entire success and value of their work depends on their being not merely well stored with professional knowledge, but deeply influenced by Christian principles, both in heart and life.
Great care should, therefore, be exercised in the choice of candidates for the office of pupil-teacher. It would be premature at the age of 13 or 14 to insist on any very formal evidence of religious decision, but such indications of character as may reasonably be looked for at that early age, should be very carefully watched. At any rate, regard should always be had to the family and associations of the candidates before they are selected as pupil-teachers. It is of the highest importance that they should be taken from orderly and religious homes, and that when out of school they should be surrounded by influences calculated to foster right habits, and to strengthen, not neutralise, the religious teaching of the school. This is a point which is generally and very properly left in the hands of the master or mistress; but it is one also of great interest to the managers, and ought, in every case, to receive their attention. A member of a British school committee, who becomes a party to the indentures binding a lad to the profession of a teacher, and who does not take pains to ascertain that the selection has been wisely made, is guilty of a grave dereliction of duty. It is right that in every case the parent of the candidates should be brought into communication with the responsible members of the committee as well as with the teacher, and that the serious nature of the engagement, and the moral obligations it involves, should be recognised by all the parties interested in the contract.
A fixed and definite arrangement for the religious instruction of the pupil-teachers ought to be included from the first in their scheme of study. In the first year, two or more Bible lessons should be given each week by the teacher. In the second, third, and fourth years, besides such lessons, two or three good text-books on the Bible should be taken up, analysed, and thoroughly taught. Nichol's “ Help to Reading the Bible,” Angus’s “ Bible Handbook,” Kitto's “ Palestine,” and Archbishop Whately’s “Christian Evidences,” may be mentioned as suitable works for this purpose. In the fifth year, Paley's “Evidences of Christianity,” or a volume of Church History might be studied with advantage ; and, concurrently with this, there should be in each of the last two years of the apprenticeship a systematic and minute examination of some one book in the Bible, and a careful analysis of its matter, its allusions, its chronology and history, and of the circumstances under which it was written. It must be remembered that on every one of those secular subjects which are comprised in the annual examinations of her Majesty's inspectors, the information is required to be detailed and exact; general impressions derived from miscellaneous reading will not suffice; the results of real study and work are demanded. The teachers of British schools should take care that the religious knowledge they require from their pupil-teachers should be not less detailed and exact. They should lay out a scheme of study embracing the history, geography, and interpretation of a portion of Holy Scripture for the entire five years. This scheme should be as definite in all respects as the well-known curriculum of the Broad-Sheet. The periodical examinations should be as searching and thorough as those of the inspectors. The apprentices should be made to feel that they are not a whit less important in the estimation of their teacher, and that their success in these examinations has even more to do with their future status as British teachers than any other single circumstance.
Here, again, is a matter especially demanding the attention of committees in British schools. Unless they strengthen the teachers' hands by taking a personal interest in these scriptural examinations, it will be next to impossible to maintain in the minds of the apprentices a due sense of the importance of the subject. Secretaries and managers of British schools are made legally responsible for the religious training of the pupil-teachers; they are morally responsible in a still higher degree. They cannot discharge their responsibility unless they examine and sanction the scheme of religious instruction laid out by the master or mistress, unless they are either present at the scriptural examination or cognizant of the results, nor unless their personal influence is frequently brought to bear on this subject, and their own interest in it made constantly manifest to the apprentices.
It is the practice in every good British school, also, to take measures with a view to secure that the leisure hours of the pupil-teachers, and especially their Sundays, shall be properly spent. If the teacher of the school possesses the moral influence he ought to have over his apprentices, he will be able to direct their miscellaneous reading, in a great measure, as well as their studies; he will know how each Sunday is employed; he will provide literature of a suitable kind for the time not spent in Divine worship; and he will exercise a kindly and judicious supervision over their pursuits and associations out of school. The committee of the school should sym. pathise in all these efforts, and should manifest that sympathy in every possible way. It is especially their duty to provide an ample and well-chosen library for the pupilteachers, and to take care that other resources for innocent recreation are accessible to them. They will also do a great service to the young people, if they will meet them periodically for the purpose of friendly intercourse and counsel. No means by which the general refinement and social improvement of the pupil. teachers can be advanced should be neglected, and it is in this respect especially that gentlemen of station and education among the supporters of British schools can render the most important services to the future masters and mistresses of those schools.
These brief hints may suffice to suggest to teachers and managers other means whereby the moral training of pupil-teachers can be promoted. We shall have pleasure in giving publicity to any plans having the same object in view, which have been found successful, and which may be communicated to us by our correspondents.
THE EDUCATION COMMISSION. SINCE the publication of our last number, the Education Commissioners, who were appointed by the Crown on the motion of Sir John Pakington, have begun their work. The Duke of Newcastle presides over the Commission, which consists of Sir Jobn Coleridge, Mr. Goldwyn Smith, Professor of History in the University of Oxford, the Rev. C. Lake, the Rev. W. Rogers, Mr. Nassau Senior, and Mr. Edward Miall. The Commissioners are directed to inquire into the present state of popular education in England, and to consider and report on any measures which may be required for the extension of sound and cheap elementary instruction to all classes of the people.
A Blue Book has recently appeared, containing the first fruits of the Commissioners' labours. From this document it appears that ten Assistant Commissioners have been appointed, and that the instructions communicated to them are very complete, and have been very carefully devised. They are desired “ to dismiss from their minds any conclusions they may have personally derived from the public discussions of late years, because the value of their investigations would be entirely destroyed, if they
were influenced by any controversial bias, ecclesiastical, political, or economical.” After this cantion they are directed to the general heads of inquiry, viz., (1) The Statistics, and (2) The Condition, Methods, and Results of Popular Education. Tabulated forms are furnished, in which they are required to enter information on these points, in reference not only to public but also to private, Sunday, evening, and factory schools.
In carrying out these inquiries, it has been determined not to attempt an exhaustive or complete survey of the whole of England, but to select ten districts-two agricultural, two manufacturing, two maritime, two mining, and two metropolitan—as types of the rest, and to pursue the investigation more narrowly and thoroughly within this limited range than would otherwise be possible. One such district is assigned to each Assistant Commissioner. The following extracts from the paper of instructions will serve to indicate the precise nature of the duties assigned to these officers, and the spirit in which their inquiries are to be conducted :
Condition, Methods, and Results of Education.
1. The supply and demand of education. 2. The mode of education. 3. The subject-matter of education. 4. The results of education.
The Supply and Demand of Education. You will be supplied with a statement (calculated from the census of 1851) of the estimated number of children, between the ages of 3 and 15, living in your district. You will find out the number of schools, whether public or private, or whether day schools or evening schools, existing in each parish, the number of scholars in attendance, the average period of their attendance, and the amount of accommodation which the schools afford. This will enable you to determine, approximately, how many children there are in your district for whom no means of education are provided, and to form an opinion as to the age at which boys and girls respectively usually leave school. You cannot bestow too much labour in ascertaining this cardinal point with accuracy, and in grounding your conclusions on sound, clear, and tangible evidence. It forms the basis of all the questions which relate to the will and power of parents to send their children to school, and to keep them there.
In further illustration of the grounds of unwillingness, you will inform yourself as to the age at which the labour of children becomes a source of profit in your district, and you will inquire whether the practice of making it a conditiou of the parent’s hiring ihat be shall send his children to the same master prevails anongst the employers of labour. You will inquire whether it often happens that girls are kept at home to take care of the house, and whether the habits of business are such that the mothers of families are extensively employed in daily labour, so that the elder children's education is neglected in order that they may take the place of their mothers. You will also attempt to ascertain which parts or what description of education the parents value the most, as directly improving the practical capacity or prospects of their children.
In all these inquiries you will remember the importance of taking the evidence of the parents of the school children, as well as that of the patrons and managers of the schools.
If the non-attendance of children at school arises from the inability of the parents to send them there, you will inquire into the cause of that inability. Does it arise from poverty, which prevents the parents from paying school fees, or from providing their children with decent clothing, or from the want of school accommodation? If the latter cause is assigned, you should test the truth of the assertion by inquiring whether the parents have attempted to obtain admission into schools for their children; whether they have in any instances paid for part of their education, or for the education of part of their family only, or for that of the whole of them during a short period, and whether they liave arailed themselves of any ragged schools which may be within their reach.
The Mode of Education. You will attempt to obtain trustworthy information as to the amount of voluntary subscriptions for educational
purposes made throughout your district, and as to the ratio of its increase or diminution during a period covering that in which the system of Government help has been developed; and you will also ascertain whether in particular instances the prospect of obtaining Government assistance has repressed or stimulated private liberality. It is asserted that the terms upon which the Government grant is made are such as to interfere with the independent management of the school. You will inquire into the grounds of this opinion, and you will also collect evidence as to the nature of the cases (if any) in which the committee of management have given up their own views in order to obtain grants by complying with the views of the Committee of Council. It is also asserted that the competition of schools assisted by Gorernment is found to be so strong as to drive