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hood. I am sure that I have not here stated the teacher's problem too broadly, although I am quite ready to grant that most of his time and efforts should be directed to developing the intellect of his pupils.
The human mind, then, is that upon which and for which the teacher is to work, chiefly. It would seem to be a matter of prime importance, therefore, that his work of preparation should include a careful study of the human mind, in respect to its laws and methods, both of work and of growth. A writer on Mental Science compared the human mind to a complicated musical instrument, as the piano or the organ; and he alludes to the absurdity of one's attempting to play upon such an instrument, or to teach another to do so, without a knowledge of its manner of working, on his own part. The absurdity is sufficiently patent in the case supposed, and may illustrate the preposterous blunder now making in thousands of Schools in our country, whose teachers are as thoroughly ignorant of Mental Science as it is possible for one to be in respect to an organ.
But the illustration here given is seriously at fault, inasmuch as it is quite inadequate. If the organ, in addition to the fact of its present delicacy and complexity, were constantly growing into an instrument differing in form and power and purpose, from the present instrument, as much as the full-grown oak differs from the tender sapling—in that case, it would more correctly represent that wonderful organism which the teacher has to deal with. Nor is this enough; if the musical performer were obliged to operate with not one only of these wonderful, growing instruments, but with twenty, or forty, or sixty of them;-and, further, if all these instruments, in addition to the grand, general characteristics of structure and movement in which they should agree, should be found, in the case of each individual, to possess certain peculiarities or personal idiosyncrasies whose presence should modify the operation of the general laws, in endless variety; then might the work of that performer pretty fairly illustrate the task attempted by every teacher of a Common School.
Now, these aspects of the task itself cannot be greatly changed. But the preparation for the work, surely, should take them into account, and prepare the candidate to deal with them in the best possible manner. No Normal-School work is rightly planned that does not include the study of the human mind, both as regards the general laws of its action and growth, and some of its peculiar phases as well. To be sure, there is little time, and there may be small ability, to attempt the solution of that multitude of philosophical and speculative questions with which Psychology abounds. Nor need very much attention be given to the history of the science, nor to a review of the battles that the giants have fought on its fields. But the Normal student should get sure and clear possession of its settled principles and laws, and that, too, with special reference to their bearing upon the work of the school-room. I think it is much to be regretted that no master hand has yet, in brief, clear and compact form, embodied these principles in a text-book, which at the same time should assist the learner to understand how these principles may guide him in his work as a teacher. I can hardly conceive a greater service to the Normal-School workers of the country than the preparation of such a book.
Of course, the Normal student, in his study of the material on which he is to work, must not confine himself to the intellect alone. His study of Mental Science will not be complete if it ignore the Heart and the Will. Nor can we afford to neglect the domain of the Conscience. Could all our teachers be skilled in training their pupils to know the Right, to love the Right and to do the Right, and all this simply because Right is right; and would they exercise their skill faithfully in this direction for twenty years; the hearts of the next generation would not be pained as ours are by the daily story of fraud, corruption and outrage, in high places and low places, in public life and in private business, in the home and on the street, in the church and in the world.
Nor must pupils' bodies be forgotten; the laws of their structure and growth, of health and disease. We have made some progress of late in this direction; we are coming to feel that, no matter how keen the blade, it can do but little if the handle be weak or decayed; no matter how able or cultured the ethereal tenant, his comfort and usefulness will be seriously impaired, if he dwell in a house that hourly threatens to tumble on his head. So, the Normal student's study of the material on which he is to work should embrace the whole of human nature,-that entity of which so few acquire a thorough or a scientific knowledge; but of which people little versed in books sometimes show an astonishing practical knowledge, -a knowledge often designated by that nebulous term for a very real and valuable thing, viz., Common Sense.
We conclude, then, that the range of Normal-School work must embrace a careful study of man and of the laws of his being, in respect both to action and to development.
This study must regard intellect, heart, will, conscience and body; and its limit will be suggested by its purpose, viz., a preparation for the work of the teacher.
Secondly, let us consider the MATTER with which the teacher is to work. By this, I mean the Subjects he has to teach. It is very evident that he cannot teach others that which he does not know himself. But, here I am well aware that I am treading on disputed ground, and that many will disagree with conclusions to which I have deliberately come. Well, friends, "strike, but hear me." My opponents will say that the Normal student should have made himself master of the school studies before going to the Normal School; that the Normal School is to teach him how to teach, not what to teach; that the work of the Normal School should be purely professional-it cannot concern itself about increasing the pupil's knowledge of school studies. I take issue with such, on this question. I assert that one of the highest duties of the Normal School is to be sure that the student knows well anything that he proposes to teach to others. If he enter its portals well furnished with such knowledge, it is well; let the fact be clearly ascertained, and there is no need of further solicitude on that point.
But, it is certain that our Normal Schools cannot be filled with pupils of this class. Multitudes are actually teaching in the schools of every State, who do not understand the subjects they profess to teach; and we cannot expect to fill our Normal Schools, at present, with pupils better prepared in all those things on which the examination for a teacher's license will
test them than those who every month are passing this ordeal and receiving the license. These facts are a sufficient answer to any amount of theory, however beautiful it may be. And the most ready way to remedy this state of things seems to be, by sending out from our Normal Schools those who thoroughly understand what they are to teach, as well as how to teach it. And I will add that this deficient knowledge of the fundamental branches of Common-School study is not exhibited by those only who come from the country district, but by those from High School, Seminary and even College, as well. I know whereof I speak, and my knowledge on this point is not confined to one State.
Nor is the necessity of giving instruction in the branches of study in our Normal Schools-academic work, as it is called,-an evil so unmixed as some of our theorists would have us believe. If I want to show one how to teach Grammar, for instance, it is not altogether an evil that I am called to do it in teaching him Grammar by a correct method. I think it is certain that every one, when he undertakes to teach any subject thoughtfully, is likely to revert, in his mind, very frequently, to his own experience in learning that study; and, if his judgment approve the method that was taken with him, it will be easy for him to apply that method, with such modifications as may be necessary, to the case in hand.
But, we are told over and over again that the true work of the Normal School is professional. That is true; it ought to be professional, all of it. But is it absurd to assert that you can teach a young man cube root in such a way as to do the very best professional work towards preparing him to teach cube root to others? There is a marked difference between the professional work that prepares for teaching, and professional work that prepares for other professions. I think this difference is often overlooked. When a young theologian is receiving instruction in pastoral duties, for instance, his preceptor is not performing pastoral duty in giving that instruction. When the student of Medicine is pursuing the study of Pathology, his teacher is not, by the very act of teaching him, either investigating a case of disease or prescribing for a diseased patient. When the Professor of Law gives instruction in pleading, he is not in that very act preparing a brief nor addressing a jury. But, when a teacher in a Normal School gives instruction of any kind and on any subject, he is doing at that moment a branch of that very work which his pupil is studying to perform.
III. I conclude, then, that Normal-School work must embrace in its range an assurance that the pupil is master of those subjects that he proposes to teach, at least so far as a good knowledge of their fundamental truths and principles is concerned.
Before leaving this part of our discussion, two or three other things demand our attention. The power to express thought clearly, tersely and pointedly is a power that no man in public life can afford to regard with indifference. To the successful teacher, it is indispensable. Hence, in all Normal-School work, the cultivation of this power should receive the most careful attention. Not only should the pupil be taught how to express himself correctly, both orally and with the pen, but he should be held to correct and well-chosen expression in every exercise he undertakes. The
miserable fallacy contained in the words, "I know, but can't tell," should never be tolerated for a moment.
Once more; it must never be forgotten that the teacher impresses himself on his school almost as forcibly by his manners as by his words,— sometimes more forcibly in this way. If then we hope for a generation of courteous and gentle men and women, we must take measures to furnish the Schools with teachers who are courteous and refined in manner. Hence, the Normal School should train its teachers in this respect; and this will appear the more neccessary when it is remembered that most of these pupils the brightest and the best of them-often come from the homes of the hard-working and the poor,-homes in which little attention is paid to the graces of life. These young people need to be shown how to exhibit these graces themselves, and how, by precept and example, to develop them in others.
It has been said that whatever a nation desires to have appear in its people, it must put into its Schools. It is certain that this nation ought to wish to see far more intelligence among the masses of its citizens, respecting the government under which we live, and also in respect to those principles of social and business life, an observance of which would forever prevent the recurrence of such disgraceful scenes as have alarmed and disgusted us during the last month. Can our Normal Schools, then, be allowed to neglect the careful instruction of their pupils in the plain principles of social and political economy? They must be studied both as they relate to government-especially to our government-and as they relate to the life and business intercourse of men with their fellow-men.
IV. Hence, the range of Normal-School work should give a prominent place to the expression of thought, to the cultivation of good manners and to instruction in the practical application of the principles of political and social science.
Finally, let us consider the teacher's work in respect to its METHODS. Instruction in methods is the peculiar work of the Normal Schools; none question its place there. Some, as we have already said, seem to believe that these Schools have no business with anything else. But, I infer that many have a very mistaken notion in respect to what Normal Schools should do in regard to methods. They seem to suppose that there is some "best method" of teaching Arithmetic, Geography, etc.; of suppressing whispering or any other evil of the school-room; of awakening an interest in study, etc., etc. How often have I been asked to exhibit to an Institute, in half an hour, my method of teaching Arithmetic! It seems to be the opinion of these people that the pupil of a Normal School ought to come forth furnished with the one best method of doing each thing that he will have to do as a teacher. I need not take time to show to this audience the folly of all this.
The truth is that, in all this work, much more time should be given to underlying principles than to particular methods. Principles are unvarying; good methods are as numerous as the circumstances that attend each particular case. At best, the Normal teacher will need to caution his pupils not to attempt to use his methods without modification, in the schools that they will have to teach. This is the very mistake that often causes the partial or total failure of the Normal pupil. He must be taught to
recognize the principles that give efficiency to good methods, and to apply those principles in accordance with varying circumstances.
Neither will mere lecturing upon methods, nor the abstract study of methods, however well conducted, answer the purpose. The pupil must put his methods into practice under the eye of his teacher. This may be done having his own classmates, or some other group of his schoolmates, for his class; and, in many very good Normal Schools, nothing more is attempted. But it seems to me that such work must be very imperfect. I cannot think that a Normal School is fully equipped, if it has not a Model or Experimental School connected with it, in which the pupil may both observe the methods used in the actual instruction of children, and test his powers by actual teaching. I learned long since to base my estimate of a pupil's power to teach almost wholly upon the success of his efforts in the Model School. For, I have found by experience that many of my pupils who are brightest in their own recitations and who can tell very clearly how a thing ought to be taught, are by no means successful when they attempt actual teaching. This is the crucial test; and it should be endured under the teacher's eye, subject to his wise criticism and to the help of his practiced hand.
And, we must not forget that method has to do not with the work of instruction alone. It must be studied with reference to the management and control of Schools, and to the relations of the teacher to the community, no less than with reference to the work of instruction. And the same care in respect to the relation of principles to specific methods is needed here as in the matter of instruction.
V. The range of Normal-School work, then, must include a careful study of the principles that underlie the methods of instruction, of School management, and of intercourse of the teacher with his patrons. And, as far as possible, these methods should be tested in the presence of the Normal Instructor.
A word in conclusion. I have spoken of the Normal School as a place for the instruction and training of teachers. I have made no distinction in regard to the grade of the Schools those teachers are expected to have in charge. This was necessary, because our Normal Schools are ungraded, almost without exception. It is true that in some of our cities, the graduates of High Schools and others are put in charge of Special teachers to be trained for the work of particular grades. The work in such cases has reference almost wholly to methods; and such are usually termed, very properly, "Training Schools," and not Normal Schools. But who can doubt that our Normal Schools could do vastly better work, if they were graded? I think many of our great States have made a sad mistake in establishing several Normal Schools of the same grade, and to do the same work. It would have been better to have one Central Normal School with an extended course of study, to prepare teachers for the higher, graded Schools; and then to have several smaller Schools, with a much shorter course of study, to fit the teachers who will teach our country schools for a few terms, and then leave the business; and, who, knowing this, can never be induced to take a course of even two years at a Normal School in preparation for a service whose term is to be so brief. As it is,