Page images
PDF
EPUB

A glance at some of those countries where the whatever has been done has been effected solely experiment has been tried, will, perhaps, fur- by individual enterprise. Whenever in Parlianish the most satisfactory answer to this inquiry. ment or elsewhere, a government plan has been

The primary Normal School of Haarlem, in proposed, to diffuse the blessings of a common the centre of Holland, was founded by govern. school education among the masses, normal ment, as early as 1816. It was in reference to schools have of late, almost invariably, formed this school, and one other established the same a constituent part of all such plans. year, at Lierre, near Antwerp, that the cele. In 1835, Lord Brougham said in the British brated M. Cousin, in his work on the state of House of Lords, “the seminaries for training education in Holland, in 1836, said: “I attach masters are an invaluable gift to mankind, and the greatest importance to normal primary lead to the indefinite improvement of education. schools, and consider that all future success in It is this which above every thing we ought to the education of the people depends upon them. I labor to introduce into our system.” “These In perfecting her system of primary instruction, training seminaries would not only teach the normal schools were introduced for the better masters the branch of learning and science they training of masters." In travelling through are now deficient in, but would teach them what Holland, he was informed by all the school offi. they know far less—the didactic art—the mode cers he met with, that these schools “ had of imparting the knowledge which they have, or brought about an entire change in the condition may acquire-the best method of training and of the schoolmaster, and that they had given dealing wilh children, in all that regards both young teachers a feeling of dignity in their pro- temper, capacity, and habits, and the means of fession." The universal effect of the primary stirring them to exertion and controlling their schools of Holland upon her population, may aberrations." be read in an extract from the Third Report of In 1839, the Queen directed Lord JohnR us. George Nicholls, Esq., on the condition of the sell, to form a Board of Education. His Lord. laboring classes, &c., in Holland and Belgium ship's circular on the subject says:

" that among -"In Haarlem, with a population of 21,000, the chief defects yet subsisting, may be reckoned we were informed there was not a child of ten the insufficient number of qualified teachers, the years of age, and of sound intellect, who could imperfect mode of teaching, which prevails in, not both read and write, and throughout Hol. perhaps, the greater number of the schools. land it is the same."

Among the first objects to which any grant (of The first normal school of France, owes its money) may be applied, will be the establishorigin to a decree of Napoleon, issued on the ment of a Normal School. I beg leave, at the 17th of March, 1808, directing the organization outset, to state my opinion, that the establishof the university and the establishment of a cen. ment of a normal school for training mas. tral normal school at Paris. In 1829, there were ters in the most perfect methods of commubut thirteen of these schools throughout the em. nicating literary and industrial, as well as moral pire ; in 1832, there were forty-seven; in July and religious instruction, is the most pressing 1833, a law passed requiring the establishment and important of these objects,” &c. of one of those teachers' seminaries, in each of

Parliament refused to vote any grant of money the eighty-six departments. In 1837, there were to carry out the views of the Board of Educa eighty-three of these seminaries in' full opera. tion,* and England was left with two semination, “forming," as M. Guizot the Minister of ries for the education of teachers; for these, she Public Instruction said, “ in each department a was indebted to the exertion of individual be. grand focus of light, scattering its rays in all di. nevolence. rections among the people.” In concluding an

When we read such views and such recom. able speech in the Chamber of Deputies, he mendations, and read the result of them, we used these decided words : All of you are are prepared further to read such items as the aware that primary instruction depends alto-following, in English papers: "In three years, gether on the corresponding normal schools. in England, there have been 361,894 marriages; The prosperity of these establishments is the of these, 723,788 married persons, 304,836 measure of its progress..

could not sign their names." The estimation in which the French nation Although from this hasty view of the estab. hold these seminaries, may be learned from a lishment and operation of normal schools in Euprovision contained in one of their recent laws, rope, they would seem to be so indispensable in

that no schoolmaster shall be appointed who a well-matured educational system, as to be has not himself been a pupil of the school which founded and sustained by any intelligent governinstructs in the art of teaching."*

ment, desirous of a thorough education of its It only remains to be added here, that the people ; yet with two exceptions their introducFrench system is confessedly modelled after that tion to this continent has been the unaided of the Prussian ; that those who resort to them achievement of individual enterprise and bene. are not only educated but maintained gratui- volence. tously.t.

Their establishment has been repeatedly reEngland, with all her wealth and literature ; commended by the educational officer in Pennsylher munificent endowments of universities ; her vania. In the sixth annual report of the Hon. numerous and costly charitable institutions, as a Francis R. Shunk, superintendent of common government, has done very little for the educa. tion of her common people. She has never es.

* It ought, perhaps, to be stated, that the govern. ment bill

for the normal and common school, uncondi. tablished any general system of education ;tionally required that all the pupils should be educated

in the tenets of the Church of England. Against a * Connecticut Common School Journal, vol. I, p. bill containing such a sectarian provision, the entire 84, 87.

body of dissenters so strongly protested, that minis Hon. H. Mann's 7th Annual Report, p. 148. ters abandoned the whole plan.

schools, made to the Pennsylvania legislature, tion, the sum of ten thousand dollars, to be ex. March 3d, 1840, he says: " a more effectual pended in the qualification of teachers of com. method to increase the number of teachers, and mon schools, on condition that the legislature to furnish facilities for extending the knowledge would appropriate an equal sum to the same of the art of teaching, and improving this de. purpose. This proposition was communicated partment of public instruction, is by the estab- to the legislature on the 12th of March, 1838; lishment of teachers' seminaries, commonly i ten days after, a joint committee of the two called normal schools.” In his next annual re. houses reported in favor of accepting the propo. port of 1841, the same officer says, “the most sition ; resolutions, making the appropriation to obvious and direct means of providing competent that effect, passed the legislature almost unani. teachers, is by the establishment of seminaries mously," and on the 19th of April, 1838, re. for their instruction. A community, in order to ceived the signature of the governor. appreciate and compensate good teachers ade The Board of Education having the sum of quately, should be enlightened by the happy ef. twenty thousand dollars thus placed at their dis. forts of their labors ; a result which can never be posal, “to be expended in qualifying teachers produced by those who are inefficient and incom. for the common schools in Massachusetts," with petent.” In his report of January 1842, he re- the single condition of rendering an annual ac. newed his suggestions of the importance of count of the manner in which they had expended these seminaries for instructing teachers. The the money, felt themselves somewhat embar. government has, however, never made an appro- rassed in selecting the best method of carrying priation to aid even a normal school, but private out the intention of the private and legislative munificence and enterprise have established sevedonors of the benefaction. The propriety of es. ral in the state.

tablishing and liberally endowing a single school, In the annual reports of the trustees of the was considered and decided against mainly on school fund of the state of New-Jersey, 1839 the ground that if but one was founded, its sucand 1840, the following views are expressed on cess or failure could be known but to the citizens the subject of normal schools: “There seems of a small part of the state ; and it was deto be but one way in which a supply of good sirable that an experiment, in which the whole teachers can be secured. They must be trained people had a direct interest, should, as far as to the business of teaching. They must be practicable, be tried in presence of the whole taught the art of teaching. Those who are to people. The economy and expediency of en. instruct others, must themselves be instructed. grafting a department for the qualification of In short there must be schools for the education teachers, upon academies in different parts of the of teachers. To require that teachers should be state, was also examined. Against this plan it examined and licensed, will not answer the pur. was objected that such a department would be pose. When nearly all are unqualified, there is but a secondary interest in the school--that" the little room for selection. Their deficiencies in principal and assistant teachers would not be se. this way may be exposed, but how are they to lected, so much with reference to the incident, be corrected ?"

as to the principal object; and as the course of In his annual report, January, 1841, the su instruction proper to qualify teachers, must be perintendent of common schools of the state of essentially different from a common academical Ohio, says "the establishment of normal schools course, it would be impossible for any preceptor is the only effectual means for extending the duly to superintend both.” knowledge of the art of teaching, and placing this As the money seemed not intended to be in. department of public instruction on that elevated vested as a permanent endowment, and as it was ground that its vast importance demands. sufficient, with what it was reasonably expegted

The committee might continue to give these the friends of education would contribute to esfavorable opinions and sanguine recommenda. tablish more than one normal school, for a peritions of high official personages, but they content od of time sufficiently long to bring the useful. themselves with the general expression, that in ness of such institutions to the test of experi. nearly all the states where the subject of popular ence, it was finally determined to pursue this education has in any respect received an atten- course. The Board finding their present means tion from public men, at all commensurate with and encouragements for the future would justify the magnitude of interests involved, the establish the establishment of three schools with a fair ex. ment of normal schools has been the invariable pectation of sustaining them three years at least; means recommended to invigorate and improve decided to establish that number, and to locate common schools. But while state legislatures them in different parts of the state. The latter have generally neglected to test, by experiment, course was taken not only to bring within the the expediency or practical utility of these in reach of the people the means of partaking their stitutions, the Canadian parliament, at its very advantages, but of observing their usefulness ; last session, passed an act providing for their im with a view too of enabling the people under. mediate establishment in both the Upper and standingly to decide on the final adoption or reLower provinces.

jection of these seminaries as a constituent part While other states were deliberating, Massa. of the system of common school education.f chusetts acted, and now justly claims the honor In accordance with these views, a school for of first establishing institutions exclusively for the reception of females only, was opened at teachers, as part of a state system of common Lexington on the 3d day of July, 1839; another school education. But even her action was for the admission of popils of both sexes, was stimulated by individual liberality.

opened at Barre, in September of the same year! In 1839, a citizen of Boston, placed at the the third was established at Bridgewater on the disposal of the Massachusetts Board of Educa.

Mass. Com. School Journal, Vol. 1, page 35. * Edmond Dwight, Esq.

† Second Ann. Rep. of Board of Education.

same principles as the Barre school, in the during the year 1842 was about 45: that was the month of September, 1840.

number in attendance at the close of the year The Lexington school received no pupils for 1843; at the preceding term 72 were admitted. less than one year; each of the other institu. On the day when this school was recently visited tions admitted scholars for a less period. The by one of your committee, there were 42 pupils un. terms of admission were, that applicants, if der instruction, of which number 31 or 32 were fe. males, must have attained seventeen years of males. On examining the register of the school, age, and sixteen, if females — must on examina. 233 ersons were found to have been enrolled as tion appear well versed in orthography, reading, members since its organization in September, 1840. writing, English grammar, geography and arith This number includes several who did not remain metic-must be in the enjoyment of good health, through even one term. Ofthe whole number, 131 and'must furnish satisfactory evidence of good were known to have taught, after leaving school; intellectual capacity, and of high moral charac. 42 were attending school; 8 only (which includes ter and principles. The pupils were in addition two or three who were dead,) are known not to required to " declare it to be their intention to have taught; 5 others had never taught by reason become school teachers after having finished a of ill-health; 3 had married; 1 came from and course of study at the normal school." * returned to New-York; of the history of the re

The following course of study was arranged mainder the principal knew nothing. and recommended for each institution ; fully to The day spent by the chairman of your comcomplete it required three years :

mittee at this seminary, was occupied in attend. 1. Orthography, reading, grammar, composi- ing upon the regular exercises and examinations tion and logic.

of the classes, and in a brief visit to the model 2. Writing, drawing.

school.room. The normal school was opened 3. Arithmetic, mental and written, algebra, in the morning by reading a portion of Scripture,

geometry, book-keeping, navigation, sur. singing and prayer. The recitations, the ex: veying.

planations, the comments, &c., were all analyti. 4. Geography, ancient and modern, with ciro. cal and practical—and as far as practicable

nology, statistics and general history. subjected to the test of black-board demonstra. 5. Physiology.

tion. All seemed arranged and designed to make 6. Mental Philosophy.

every scholar thoroug" ly acquainted with the 7. Music.

subject and with the best method of elucidating 8. Constitution and history of Massachusetts, j and communicating it. and of the United States.

The rules of the institution require the pupils 9. Natural philosophy and astronomy.

to teach in the model school-room in rotation, 10. Natural history.

under the supervision of the principal. This 11. The principles of piety and morality compart of the school exhibited the effects of the mon to all sects of Christians.

too constant confinement of the principal in the 12. The science and art of teaching, with refer- general recitation room. ence to all the above named studies.

The usefulness of this seminary is greatly im. The first term, the Barre school, with one paired by the want of more teachers, and by the teacher and one assistant, received thirty-nine short and uncertain periods for which students pupils ; the fourth term it numbered forty. are received. A term of 14 weeks is hardly sufseven — twenty-six males and twenty.one fe fiicent for one man and his assistant to eradicate males; in December, 1841, the number of both bad habits of thinking and feeling, and implant sexes had reached seventy. In the year 1842 new ones in fifty or sixty minds, reducing the this school was suspended by the death of its whole to demonstration and to practice, in the principal, Prof. Newman.

model school. After this school had been in operation about

The normal school at Lexington, designed exeighteen months, it was officially said by the clusively for ladies, closed its first year in August, Board of Education: “ The scholars who have 1840, with 25 pupils; the second year numbered left this school have sustained a high reputation 40; the third year about the same number. Durin their professions as teachers. They appear ing the last year there were the first term 31; to be decidedly better qualified for their task, the second term 39; the third 42; the fourth 55; both by their thorough acquaintance with the at the close of the year the applications for the elementary branches of learning, and their fa- next term were 60; this was the number in atmiliarity with the principles and practice of the tendance the day the school was visited. art of teaching, than the majority of those gen. tion, consists generally of from 40 to 50 young chil.

The model school connected with this institu. erally employed in the care of schools." It was of this seminary that President Humphrey of dren, from the several school districts in the town. Amherst College, on visiting it, in December, This school, under the general superintend. 1841, said, "I was exceedingly pleased with ence of the principal of the institution, is taught the elementary and analytical processes in all mainly by the pupils of the normal school. The the branches taught in the school. Every thing principal visits this school daily as a listener and had a direct bearing upon the great business of observer, sometimes as teacher. Here, under teaching, for which the pupils were preparing." in the noble art of teaching—here theory is com

» the eye of a master, is a real apprenticeship served The Bridgewater school opened in September, 1840, with 28 pupils, of whom 21 were females; bined with practice—here principles are illusthe second term was attended by 35, of whom 26 trated by veritable examples. The model school were females; the last term of the year 1841 closed sustained in the vicinity a reputation so high, with 32 pupils. The average number of pupils that for the two or three first years a muck

larger number of children could be obtained for * Mass. Common School Journal, Vol. 1, pagos 96, 309. it, if it had been desirable to iacrease the num.

ber, and this too when the sending a child to

COMMUNICATIONS. that school was attended with a very considerable extra expense to the parent.

EXCHANGES. As pupils from the normal schools have gone out into the town to teach, parents have of late Mr. HOLBROOK has devoted a life of labor to been enabled to supply their children in their the cause of education. His leading object har own district schools with the same kind of su: been to establish a system of exchanges, by perior education taught in the model school; a in consequence, the number of pupils in the lat. which the minerals, fossils, shells, plants, &c., ler school has been reduced to some 25 or 30. A of different counties, states and countries could fact which shows the practical effect of the education and training of teachers at the normal be obtained with but little more expense than the school, that they acquire and that they can com- cost of transportation, each region supplying municate.

what is interesting and useful to that which ex. The day spent at the Lexington, seminary, changes with it. The following letter was not there were in the model school about 30 children, of ages and capacities as various as the same intended for publication, but its facts are inte. number exhibit in a common district school. An resting, and its suggestions sensible, and Mr. H. experienced and highly qualified teacher spends will therefore excuse us for thus making his all her school hours in this school; the more ad. vanced pupils in the normal school in rotation, plans partially known. are required to assist in classifying and arranging the children, hearing and explaining lessons, FRANCIS Dwight, Esq., teaching orally on the black-board, &c. All

MY DEAR SIR:-I send you a circular, touchpasses under the eye of the teacher, aided by the ing a subject which I know you appreciate frequent watchful suggestions of the principal. School Apparatus. It is especially designed for

Interesting as it would be to detail minutely common country schools, and with that view, the exercises in this room—the natural and suc. durability, with simplicity and clearness of il

. cessful means used to make the stay in the school- lustration, has been aimed at. The globe is room pleasant, instead of irksome-learning a solid, fitted for being suspended, also for a stand, delight, instead of a drudgery-even to children as different illustrations may require. The first of four and five years of age-the committee elementary ideas about our earth are certainly feel they must hasten to the normal school.room. given in no way so correctly or clearly, to a young Here the morning exercises were quite similar mind, as by a globe suspended by a cord. Not to those of the Bridgewater institution, except only the shape, motions, and general divisions that all, or nearly all of the pupils engaged in of the earth, but the elliptical form of its orbit singing; as it was “review day" at the semi-can thus be shown by actual experiment, also nary, a very good opportunity was presented of the forces keeping the earth in its orbit, and how learning the exercise and manner of study par: they give it an elliptical shape, may be shown. sued at the school. Great pains are taken in

The universality of the subjects illustrated by teaching reading, accent, emphasis, grammar, the apparatus fit'it alike for all countries, the colloquial and written. Spelling and punctua- manual of explanations excepted : and these, in tion are taught at the black-board.. A half hour missionary stations, where similar articles have spent by all the school in mental arithmetic, vul. heretofore been used to great effect, will be used gar fractions, rule of three, practice, interest, in their own translations. For Spanish America &c., showed great quickness in mental compu. a translation is about to be made, indeed hås tation. Several scholars described and demon. been made in part, in the city of Mexico, where strated problems in the various books of Euclid, the articles have already been ordered. stated and worked complex propositions in Alge

The exchanges already put forward by it, bra on the black-board with a readiness and have brought interesting specimens from differ clearness that evinced a perfect familiarity with ent countries, and will certainly, when carried those branches of mathematics. As there had been some change of principals oat, bring them in such quantities, as to be dis

tributed, not only to the interior of this state, since the organization of the school, no statisti; but to all the states. The following experiment cal information, to any extent, could be obtained is a specimen of the extent to which it may be as to the number of pupils who had taught or carried. Several months since, crowds of barewere now engaged in common schools. The in. stitution is now under the care of a principal and footed girls and boys were collected from the

streets of New York, by and for scientific lec two assistant teachers. Its usefulness, like that tures, given weekly, especially for them. After at Bridgewater, is somewhat circumscribed by entertaining them for an hour, outline prints of the want of more spacious buildings; each being animals, plants, or other objects of nature, geoat some seasons of the year crowded to its utmost metrical figures, geologicals, &c. &c., were discapacity—a most creditable fact, when it is re. tributed to employ their hands and minds at their membered that hitherto individual liberality, aid, homes. Among the fruits of these, were drawed by the bounty of the state, has only furnished ings, greatly varied, literally covering the side. tuition and rooms free of charge to the students. walks in the region of "Five Points," near

We shall continue our extracts from this able which the lectures were given; also, cabinets of document in our next number, commencing with minerals, shells, &c., made by many newspaper an examination into the effects produced upon boys, and others, in that and in various parts of

the city the cause of education in the state of Massachu.

Among the specimens thus produced, many setts, by the establishment of normal schools. were of so much interest as to be sent, at the res

a

quest of various strangers seeing them, to dif.

SCHOOLS IN HOLLAND. ferent parts of the world. Rev. Dr. Thomson, First part of the report on the establishments for ten years agent of the British and Foreign for public instruction in Holland by M. Cuvier. Bible Society, acting in Mexico and South Ame It would be difficult to describe the effect rica, when he arrived at the city of Mexico, produced upon us by the first primary school from a visit to this city, ordered a considera. we entered, on our arrival in Holland. I was ble quantity of specimens of different kinds, at one of those maintained at the public

expense, produced in part by those treet scholars. A the children of the poorest classes. Two large few days since, I received from him the third or rooms, well lighted and well ventilated, con. fourth package, containing some Indian curiosi- tained three hundred of those children, all ties. If the street boys and girls in New York cleanly dressed, arranging themselves without city can enter into exchanges with the Mexican any confusion, without noise, without rudeness, Indians, and in a manner to benefit schools doing all they were desired, in obedience to through our country, (for the specimens re- signals, without the necessity of the master ceived from Mexico have gone out io many parts sayıng a word. They learn by sure and ready of the country,) it will perhaps be difficult to methods, to read fluently, to write a good and propose any limits to the system of exchanges. correct hand, to understand such arithmetic as Surely New-York, with its admirable system of is required for ordinary life, both mental and county and town superintendents, can enter upon written, and to express their thoughts clearly it, and carry it out more completely, perhaps, in short written exercises. The books put into than in any other part of the Union,

their hands, and the examples they get to write, An exchange in county maps, simply, between advance by such judicious gradations, and the the schools of this state, would, as it seems to precepts and examples are intermingled so skil. me, be a great and good enterprise. These maps fully, that the children imbibe, at one and the might embrace, not only the geography, but the same time, the truths of religion, the maxims topography, geology, botany, and other depart. of morality; and that knowledge which will be ments of Natural History; also agriculture, useful to them, and afford them consolation in manufactories, internal improvements, educa. their unhappy lot. By means of frequent ques. tion, &c. &c., forming together, materials for tions, and by encouraging them to state their

New-York Book,” good for every school and difficulties, it is fully ascertained that they un. every citizen of the state. Please, my dear sir, derstand what they read. Prayers, and hymns to give that subject a thought.

sung by the whole school, both composed exI remain, as ever, with great respect, pressly for these children, and all breathing a Your friend,

spirit of duty and of gratitude, give a charm to J. HOLBROOK. the business of teaching, while at the same time

they imprèss upon it a religious and benevolent EXPERIMENTAL EDUCATION. character, calculated to produce lasting effects.

One master, and two assistants, who might [By the author of Popular Lessons, School Friend, &c.] themselves be taken for pupils, maintain com.

plete order among this large number of children, To Dr. Chalmers' treatise on Political Eco- without any speaking, or angry words, or nomy, is appended a note, from the communica corporal punishment; but by interesting them tion of a gentleman residing in Holland to an in what they are about, and keeping their at. other in Scotland, setting forth the favorable lention constantly alive. change that had taken place of late years in the The first sight of the school gave us an agree, general tone of manners and morals. The wri. able feeling of surprise ; but when we entered ter affirms that though the country had, during into an examination of the details, it was im. the last half century sustained many revolu- posible not to be sensibly affected, when one tions, and had suffered the decay of its com considered what these children would have come merce, and all the external evils incident to politi- to, had they been left unnoticed, and what they cal changes, yet the people were steadily advanc. then were. But we said to ourselves, this is ing in decorum, industry, intelligence, and com. perhaps a solitary case, the results of the exer. fort; and he attributed this manifest improvement tions of a wealthy town, or of the zeal of some in their character and condition to their schools. citizens of unusual liberality; we were assured,

A full exposition of the state of education in however, that the more we travelled through Holland has been made by Cousin, formerly the country the more we should see reason to minister of public instruction in France. alter that opinion ; and so it turned out, for

Cousin's report was made in 1836, and has since wherever we went, we found primary schools been translated into our language by Leonard on the same plan, with the exception of some Horner, Esq. His translation was published in few instances, in which superannuated teachers London, and has not been reprinted in this could not shake off their old habits of routine. country; but its subject matter, and undoubted Nor was it in the towns that we found them the authenticity, render it of great importance to best ; even on the frontiers of the country, in those who are seeking for all the lights of ex- Groningen, and many leagues from the great perience in practical education. A former com. lines of communication, we saw primary schools mission in 1811, had been entrusted by the in villages as numerously attended, and compoFrench government to the celebrated Baron sed of a better class of children, and altogether Cuvier, and the results of his statements are fully of a better description, than those in the great corroborated by the later report.

towns : in the latter, the children of the opulent The account given in brief' by Cuvier of the classes are educated at home, whereas in the schools he visited in Holland may be eminently villages they go to school like other children. instructive in this country, and on that account Wherever we went, we witnessed the same extracts from it are furnished to the Journal. gaiety, the same propriety, the same neatness,

« PreviousContinue »