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has a place for every fact, phenomena, experiment and theory. His knowledge, so cared for, is ready for use - comes when called for: he knows, indeed, where to call for it, and when; and how to apply it when it comes. He now acquires with vastly more ease, and incomparably greater profit Having knowledge generalized, one truth is a representative for innumerable other truths. Identities, similarities, differences and contrasts, the mind loves to seek after, and easily retains. These afford increasing satisfaction, and diminish, or dissipate the burden, which otherwise clogs the memory, and paralyzes thought.
INVESTIGATION.—The third method of mental training is Investigation. A teacher or scholar who has been trained in generalizing, will almost necessarily become an original and independent observer, investigator, and thinker. He ceases to answer, when called upon for a reason, a proof, or demonstration—“It is so in the book.” The ipse dixit of a book, so far from satisfying him, wakes up in his soul a desire to KNOW rather than to remember. He seeks to satisfy that desire by consulting other books, observing nature, or studying the objects themselves, instead of the books which describe them. He observes, he experiments, he REASONS, he THINKS. He learns to apply his knowledge to the common and uncommon affairs of life; to see the truths of science at every turn, in every object, in every association with other minds, in every operation of his own. Truth is thus purified as well as increased ; dioss is separated in the furnace of observation and experience; it shines with new and increased brilliancy from the polish acquired by application and use.
COMMUNICATION.-The fourth method of Mental Training is Communico tion. The scholar may have acquired vast stores of knowledge, and indeed accustomed his mind to systematic activity in acquiring, classifying, and investigating ; yet, from want of suitable and sufficient training in the communication of his knowledge to others, be utterly inefficient as a teacher, public speaker or writer.
Communication then should commence with early training. The use of the
pen for the expression of thought should be its first use, with all children. The ready and accurate enunciation of one's own thoughts should surely form an indispensable element in the training of Teachers, Lawyers, and Clergymen.
The plans of training scholars in the art and power of communicating their own thoughts in a coherent and impressive manner, are numerous. All these plans should aim at clear and logical thinking. There is no evidence of systematic and correct thonght, aside from its form of expression in being communicated to others. Nowhere in all the range of the mental and moral, is the saying of our blessed Lord, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” more pertinent than in this particular of communicating, rather than in being satisfied with acqniring, alone. Of the many plans adopted for securing logical thinking, and impressive writing and speaking, I shall notice but a few :
1. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. They should never be relied on, to any
great extent; hut may be used in connection with other plans, with judgment and skill, as an efficient means of arousing and directing thought, and stimulating its correct and forcible expression. Too often the question-andanswer inethod prevents any improvement in communicating, and exhibits a teacher as poorly trained as his scholars.
2. TOPIC-SYSTEM. The plan of assigning topics to scholars in recitations for them to discuss, requiring preparation on the whole lesson for such discussion, has been adopted with favorable results. It may commence with young scholars, they being prompted and guided in part by questions.
3. REPORTING BY MEANS OF OUTLINES. Aside from the general lesson, a special subject may be assigned to an individual, who is expected to report to the class, with or without the outline on the blackboard. The outline is first furnished by the teacher to the class, who copy it into their note-books in systematic order, with other outlines. Any scholar to whom a subject is assigned, is expected to give his report “without notes," and to deliver it in as connected and interesting a manner as is possible for him. At the conclusion of his report, brief criticism follows, on the spelling, pronunciation, definitions, arrangement, demonstrations, etc., by the scholars; the teacher closing with any additional corrections and remarks, desirable.
4. DECLAMATION OF ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS. Such compositions should be written according to some well defined plan, and elaborated with all the knowledge and skill that the scholar may possess; then memorized according to such system. The delivery, by continuous training in the principles of elocution, in connection with this method, will become, in the majority of pupils, as easy and natural to the speaker, as it is entertaining and instructive to his hearers,
SUNNY SIDE: A convenient, roomy and well-ventilated school-room, with black-boards, globes, maps, etc., etc.; a good stove, and plenty of good dry wood. A goodly number of bright, intelligent scholars, who are willing and anxious to learn. The love of the scholars and the confidence of the parents, and a manifest interest on the part of parents and others in the welfare of the school. These constitute the teacher's paradise. He is conscious that his labor is not in vain. In the bright inquiring glance of the intelligent eye, he feels repaid for his wearing toil.
SAADY SIDE: A little, low, cold, rickety school-room, containing a stove that draws the wrong way, and wood that is a little more than half water. The room crowded with boisterous, unruly, backward and awkward scholars, who don't appreciate kind treatment, or if they do, will repay it with insolence and disobedience. With the parents ready and anxious to hear every minute particular of every little transaction that can be construed against the teacher. Get these things together and you have the Teacher's Pandemoniuin. New LONDON.
B. FRANK DORR.
For the Journal of Education,
Τ Η Ε
M A IN
MAPLE GROVE, Dec. 1st, 1857. Messrs. Editors. After the ordinary opening exercises, Mr. Broadhead, according to previous arrangement, continued his discourse upon our system of superintendency, as follows:
Mr. President.- At a former meeting, we presented several prominent and acknowledged faults in our present school system, and proposed as a remedy a system of county superintendency. These objections we will consider in their order as presei ted.
1st. Perhaps that which stands most in the way of success is the want of competent and thorough examination to test the qualifications of teachers, and judge in regard to the comparative merits of different schools and systems of instruction.
But it is asked, What will be gained by the proposed system, and “who would insure us against men too lazy to teach, third rate lawyers, hungry politicians," and in general against persons unfit for the office, when any thing like a paying salary is attached to it. Now, that any office under such circnmstances should ever be found perfectly free from such characters is not a supposable case, but that which is now the rule may, under a proper and well guarded system, become the exception. Suppose it to be advertised in London, that a ship-master is wanted to take charge of the Great Eastern, that such officer must have the general supervision, wait upon company, smoke Spanish cigars in her principal saloon, and receive $5000 a year while the ship herself is to lie safely moored in some harbor. Under such circumstances, what would be the general character of the applicants and the probable qualifications of the successful candidate we may easily conceive. But on the contrary, let it be advertised that she is to go out upon the broad waters, to face every danger of every sea, to battle with the hurricane of the torrid zone, and ply among the rocks and ice-bergs of the stormy north, and that a ship-master is wanted who is responsible and qualificd to take immediate charge in every emergency, no man would have the audacity to apply for the position who had not had many years experience mid the howling tempests of the sea, among the rattling ropes of a bounding ship, and jarring machinery of an ocean steamer.
Again, let any legislative body or constitution create the office of State superintendent of schools, attaching to it common honors and a reasonable salary, and give to it indefinite duties, as the disbursement of school. moneys, a general over-sight of schools, the visiting of different parts of a State to give general lectures, &c.; and then permit the officer either to perform these duties himself, or send at pleasure, in these days of political strife and office-seeking, it would be a matter of mere chance if any well qualified person could obtain the position. But if, at first, extensive experience in promoting education, and other necessary qualifications were positively required; and the laborious and important duties properly belonging to the office were made definite, and required at the hands of the officer, we should see a very different state of things.
Now let this principle be applied to the office of county superintendent; let the law creating such office demand on the part of the officer experience and success as an educator, and give to the office its appropriate and important duties, and also require them at the hand of the officer, as before said, what is now the rule would become the exception.
2d. Another fault, and one most disastrous to our schools, is the almost necessary neglect of duty on the part of town superintendents. Indeed many of them cannot afford to neglect their own business for so small a compensation, and consequently, being irregular in the labors of the office, they soon lose all interest, and the schools are left solely in the hands of teachers. The State superintendent of Pennsylvania says, “A county superintendent should devote his time and energy solely to the duties of the office. Let this be the case in the proposed system, and the objection referred to would be principally removed.
3d. Town superintendents are elected yearly, and therefore have not time to establish and carry out any system of improvement. To obviate this the county superintendent should, with good behavior and success, hold his office at least three years. In some of our States the superintendent is elected for eight years.
4th. Town superintendents are elected by the people, and often not on the ground of merit, but on account of political preferences, and thus their usefulness is destroyed. In the case of a county superintendent, this difficulty may to a great extent be avoided, by their being hired, appointed, or otherwise chosen by the county board of supervisors, or by any other competent board thus representing the people. Teachers are now hired on the same principle, and are rarely selected on account of their political proferences.
5th. There is no concert of action among our town superintendents; one adopts one system, another another system, and a third pone at all; one adopts one standard of qualification for teachers, another another standard, while a third adopts none at all, and grants certificates even without any examination. “This want of concerted action is sufficient of itself to preclude all hope of a uniform improvement in our schools." The author of the Ohio School Library, speaking of Maryland, says: “There is no
uniform system of public schools, each county being lest at liberty to adopt its own system ; in consequence of which there is the most gross inequality of school privileges." If we but substitute the word town for county, wo may very properly adopt this remark in reference to our own State. To secure a desirable co-operation of superintendents, much may be done by oonstituting each county superintendent a member of a State Board of Education, requiring such board to hold annual sessions of sufficient duration to ascertain the condition and progress of schools in the various parts of the State, to establish a regular system of graded certificates, and a uniform system of examination of teachers; to adopt a uniform system of reports, and a regular programme for school visiting and teacher's meetings; and, as far as possible, to adopt a uniform and most approved method of giving normal instruction at teachers' institutes, to be held semi-annually in the soveral counties of the State.
Other objections were mentioned, but we have not space to consider them at the present time. /
Mr. Stone asked, “Why our schools and school-system have so good a roputation abroad if they are really so defective ?”
Mr. Broadhead continued : “Mr. President-Wisconsin is a favored State; she has a healthful and vigorous climate, her soil is fertile, her surface is beautifully interspersed with lakes, rivers, woodlands and prairies; her bosom is filled with rich minerals; her brow is washed by the oool waters of Lake Superior ; in her right hand she holds the river of rivers, through which she gathers wealth from the prairies and mountains of the west, and from the cities of the south ; in her left she holds the most beautiful of the great lakes, through which she gathers rich stores from the oast. All these natural advantages have conspired to invite hither the energetic and far seeing from almost every nation on the globe. The various colleges and other institutions of learning in the east and west, havo sent hither persevering, philanthropic, educational men, by whose individual exertions some of our schools have been raised to the highest degree of excellence. But, sir, although three or four such schools are sufficient to give us note abroad, they are not sufficient to educate the children of the State. To show that these superior school privileges in some of our cities and villages are not thc offspring of our general system but of individual offort, we need only refer to the fact that in nearly all these places the schools are oporating under special acts. This is working mischief in our State, and soon wo shall have as many school systems as we have cities and villages.
We are sorry to stop as it were in the middle of the subject, but timo forbids us to proceed. The convention adjourned to meet at the call of the president.
The spring of courage and devotion is a firm faith in Immortality. The heroic, trusting soul is brave, because Iminortal ; and patient also, because of the eternities. The Sisters.