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tants. They considered it a useless innovation, ers that are qualified and none other, and by a and after considerable altercation succeeded in thorough supervision and inspection of the expelling it from the school room. Now, with schools by the inspectors, deputy superinten. all due sympathy for the teacher, and without dents, and the inhabitants themselves. But as palliating at all, the ignorance or the conduct of many of the inhabitants are poor, and the dishis district ; we may be permitted to say that tricts in most cases are small, they have hardly we want, if possible, teachers of sufficient the means to defray the expense of a school, weight of character, discretion, and with all 'even for the length of time required by law to confidence in their own plans to encounter such entitle them to a share of the public money. If obstacles successfully, without compromising, a male teacher of the requisite qualifications is their views of right, or plans of instruction. employed, an enlargement of the districts seems This, although an extreme case, will serve to il. to be necessary. This, in many cases, can be lustrate others less aggravated, but of the same done with the greatest ease. I know of sec. general kind.
tions of this county, where three, and in some
instances, four districts can be united in one, Resort is had less frequently to corporal pun while the public generally would be great.
without any serious inconvenience to any one, ishment and other arbitrary measures than form. erly. Teachers, under ihe influence of doc. would have further to go to get to school, but
ty benefitted by it. True, some individuals trines somewhat extensively promulgated, are from this union of strength they could command almost universally inclined to endeavor to suc. funds sufficient to ensure a good school at all ceed without appeal to the rod. That this is times. But if a union of districts cannot be ef. desirable, and to a considerable extent practica. ble, is confirmed by extensive observation. -- fected, the expenses might be greatly lessened Those schools that afford the best specimens of and the moral and literary character of the discipline and of good order, in which obedience An objection to this, however, is that while fe.
schools greatly enhanced, by employing females. is prompt, and as it were a matter of pleasure, males are better calculated than males, to deal have not been made such to any extent, by the virtues of the rod. A different kind of influ. with children under the age of 12 or 15, they are ence has operated ; in some this instrument has from 15 to 20 and upwards. But this objection
not so well calculated to instruct male pupils not been introduced at all. With the full con
can be removed by establishing in every town viction that the use of it is an evil, yet we re. gard it as a less evil than insubordination in to accommodate all male scholars of the last
a sufficient number of schools, taught by males, school. There are respectable teachers who named ages, leaving the younger pupils to be cannot in all instances sustain their authority taught by females in the districts as they now without resort to it; I know pot but some may are. If some plan of this kind could be adopted do it ; certain it is they can do it in some places and schools could be established on the common -possibly in all. This however, so far as my school system, by dividing a town into two, three observation has extended, is yet a matter of ex.
or more districts, as circumstances might re. periment. I am apprehensive from what I have observed, be instructed, it is believed the progress of pu
quire, where all the larger class of pupils might that there is danger that teachers, in their anx. iety to refrain from this vulgar mode of punish the expenses of the system would be diminish
pils generally would be greatly increased, while ment, may in some instances run into another ed. Male pupils from fifteen to twenty years of extreme by which they measurably compromise age, or twelve years of age, might walk two or their authority. They have recourse to a spe. three miles to a good school, without much dif. cies of coaxing or fattery, which tends very ficulty. much to weaken their authority in the estima
Something seems necessary to be done to raise tion of the scholar. The impression is made
our schools from the condition in which they upon his mind—an impression that he very now are, and place them in the condition they readily receives, that the teacher does not really should be, and it is to be hoped that parents expect to exact implicit confidence, and conse. quently that he is not under obligation to render who have a regard for the welfare of their off
Now in dispensing with the rod, the spring, who wish for happiness and repose in teacher does not surrender one iota of his au subsequent life, and who love their country, will thority. He is only supposed to resort to a beto give this subject the consideration which its ter mode of effectually sustaining it. Some teach-importance requires at their hands.
ROSWELL K. BOURNE, ers will tell you they never punish ; yet they
Dept. Supt. of Com. Schools of Chenango co. pull or cuff the ears, pull the hair, throw violently upon the floor, and resort to other similar
Pitcher, Sept. 10th, 1842. modes of correction. This is the most excep.
CLINTON COUNTY. tionable kind of corporal punishment.
Dept. Supt. Chautauque county. I shall divide teachers in reference to their Westfield, Sept. 30, 1842.
qualifications, into four classes : The first class
is composed of those teachers who combine the CHENANGO COUNTY.
ability to impart instruction in a plain, varied and interesting manner, and the ability to go.
vern, which consists mainiy in interesting, and This can be done by building good and con- making permanent the interest of the pu. venient school houses, taking care that they pils, with a consistent and abiding conviction of have the necessary appendages, providing the the high responsibilities and important duties necessary fuel, apparatus, &c. employing teach-involved in the office of instructor. The se.
CHARACTER OF TEACHERS.
MEANS OF IMPROVING THE SCHOOLS.
cond class consists of those who perhaps attach knowledge to the best advantage, in being as much importance to the business of teaching, useful to themselves and beneficial to their fel. and are as anxious to excel, or rather to become low creatures, by adapting that knowledge to the successful teachers, and labor with untiring ordinary occupations of life: but confine their and commendable zeal; but from want of suffi- attention to the book, and in too many instances cient experience, natural tact, or ability, fail in hear the lesson without giving any explanation some points, but are generally acceptable teach to the scholar or any illustration of the exer.
The third class is of those possessing cise, and the scholar leaves the teacher without much ability not brought into requisition, who receiving any benefit from the recitation. One teach while they abhor the business; because of the most prominent faults of teachers is, with them it is the easiest way to make money. that they do not illustrate the different rules Some of these have sufficient principle, others of arithmetic or grammar, as much as they sufficient pride to induce them to do their duty; ought, but permit their classes to pass over while others labor as little as possible, and their lessons instead of understanding them, or dread the calls of visiters and inspectors, dig. giving evidence of a perfect knowledge by a pronifying them with the name of interlopers. The per explanation, pointing out a reason for each fourth class of teachers are those who are to operation. Another fault in most teachers is, tally unfit for the business, and contrive to while their failure to convey a instruction to the away the time in a monotonous series of most scholars in language suitable to their capaci. melancholy exercises of some of the physical ties; the child not understanding the meaning of organs, without ever disturbing the death-like the words, takes no interest in the exercise, quiet of the mental energies. Of this class I and receives no instruction or advantage. Ano. say nothing, fearing this is not a case where ther obstacle in the way of improvement in our andurance ceases to be a virtue. Of the first common schools is, that scholars are advanced too inentioned class there are only about 20; of the fast, not understanding their lessons as they prosecond class there are about 100; of the third ceed, and are put into studies above their capa. class about 50; of the fourth class about 30. city, and being incapable of comprehending the
The demand for good teachers is increasing, subject of their lessons, make no progress, thus and higher wages are offered than formerly. not only wasting their time and the means of Many districts, where the people were satisfied improvement, but become discouraged, and nevwith cheap and incompetent teachers, now de. er make that proficiency which they would have mand good teachers and offer good compensa- made if they had not been improperly taught tion. Cheap teachers are not considered the when commencing their education. I have best teachers.
seen scholars who were studying philosophy
town, read intelligibly or even spell correctly.
CONDITION OF THE SCHOOL HOUSES. rians that unless they were covered I should re. port every case of delinquency to the Depart. Perhaps the best barometer to ascertain the ment. In a majority of the cases the books importance attached to the cause of education, have all been read by the reading part of the and the interest manifested towards it, by any districts, and sometimes hall, one-third, and community, is the school house ; and certainly frequently all the books are in circulation. In nothing affords more tangible evidence of the the joint library of this village there are over want of interest exhibited by the inhabitants one thousand volumes, with an average circula. of this county, towards district schools, than tion of one hundred volumes. The books are the number school houses in a dilapidated state beautifully covered, and the affairs of the libra. which are still occupied though entirely unfit for ry well managed.
schools. In some the broken windows are D. S. T. DOUGLASS, nailed up in such a manner, as to admit the Deputy Superintendent. wet and keep out the light in many instan.
ces hats are used to supply the place of boards COLUMBIA COUNTY.
and glass, as more convenient, not only to keep MODE OF TEACHING ADOPTED IN THE SCHOOLs. moved with less exertion. Some have the doors
out the cold and keep in the heat, but can be With some exceptions the teachers have been broken off from the hinges and then broken to superficial in their manner of instructing; pieces, rendering it almost impossible to secure and although they differ in many respects, yet the tenement from being occupied in the night the greater proportion of them agree in not re. as a stable; in others the clapboards are wanting quiring their pupils to investigate the subject of in sufficient numbers to admit the pupils with. their studies for themselves, do not teach them out the inconvenience of opening and shuiting how to learn in such a manner as to apply their the door. The roofs of some are so destitute of
METHOD OF TEACHING.
shingles that rain, and in winter snow, is admit. without having any opportunity of explaining led in such quantities as to cause the plastering to or illustrating the lesson. fall, and leave a free circulation of air through That a more thorough examination of teach. roof and wall overhead. Others are in suchers and schools is required, in order to promote condition that the scholars cannot be warm or their welfare, is evident; and until this is accomfortable in ordinary weather, in the winter. complished, our schools will not flourish, and af. Others are in such a situation, that a good ford suitable means for the improvement of the teacher will not engage in the school on account juvenile mind, or satisfy the expectations of of the condition of the house. Others again the community. are located in a place, the most unpleasant for
DAVID G. WOODIN, children, near a swamp or marsh, as the land Dept, Supt. Com. Schools of Columbia Co. there is of the least value, or on some bleak sum. Austerlitz, Sept. 29, 1842. mit, rendered inaccessible by ice or sņow a con. siderable portion of the time in winter, or on
CORTLAND COUNTY. the north side of a hill, the last place which should be selected as a site for a school house, with no play ground to make it a pleasant retreat
The cardinal, and to a greater or less extent, for children. And a privy is considered as such universal defect in the system of teaching in our an unnecessary appendage to a school house, schools, consists in a constant appeal made to that there are a number of towns in this county the memory, instead of the understanding—the that have none in them. In other towns they thinking and reflective faculties. The higher are not, I regret to say, in a much better situa. powers of the mind are thus not called into action, on account of their being kept in such a tion. Mere names or facts, isolated from their miserable condition. But there are districts meanings and logical connexions, though stam. which have large and commodious school houses, ped in characters seemingly indelible, on the kept in good repair, with seats furnished with memory, are soon swept away by the abrasion backs for the smaller scholars, and arranged in of that mighty current of incidenis which fill up such a manner as to make them comfortable the sum of human life; and if retained, to what for the whole school. The room being ventila. end? The boy who has been shewn merely ted in the proper manner, by lowering the up. mechanically, how to obtain the answer to his per sash of the windows, to let the impure air problem, though he should be able in after life pass off and to protect the children from cur- to recollect the process, so far as that particular rents of air; these have a good supply of fuel for problem is concerned, is as incapable as he winter, wood sawed and piled up in the wood. would otherwise have been, of solving other house, ready for use, and a good well of pure questions resting on principles precisely analowater near, with fit accommodations for the gous. Instead of a principle, he learned a fact children to enjoy exercise.
-a mere fact, barren and worthless for all the practical purposes of life.
I do not believe the full and glaring extent of There is evidently an improvement in the the evil here complained of, is known to the character and condition of the district schools proprietors of our schools. It was not certainly in this county. In many districts a higher grade by myself, before the execution of official duties in the qualification of teachers is required; and forced upon me the painful discovery. If the the people realize that the character of the evil is generally understood, its consequences school depends entirely upon the character of would seem to be but very imperfectly appreci. the teachers. Acting upon this opinion, the ser. ated. Take, for example, the study of our lan. vices of those teachers are secured who can ac- guage. The pupil is taught to spell words—to complish something more than merely in. read words-and as if to carry absurdity to its struct the young, in the first principles of an climax, to parse words-utterly ignorani of the education;-who inspire a thirst for knowledge, meaning of those words ! Not only their prebelieving the object of school instruction is to cose definitions are not known, but in the words implant in the youthful mind a desire for im. not in common colloquial use, in most instances provement, and to teach things and not words. no approximation to their meaning can be giv. But still there is very much to be done. In some en. And, as would be the natural inference, districts there is a diversity of opinion upon the where such a state of things exists, this igno. subject of our schools, some wishing to employ rance is not confined to the pupil. Many teach. a teacher who is well qualified, and others act- ers of much experience, and respectable reputa. ing upon the principle that a cheap teacher will tion, when called upon to define the words they answer and endeavor to thwart the designs of have pronounced for spelling, heard read, and those who want a good school; thus causing a heard parsed for twenty years, fail utterly! division, and the consequence is they have no Resolvable to the same radical error in the school for half
of the time, and the school while theory of teaching, the want of a systematic ha. continued is often worse than none. In many bit of familiar explanation and demonstration, schools, the scholars are so irregular in their of analysis and synthesis, on the part of the attendance that they make but little or no profi. teacher and pupil, is observable in the other de. ciency in their studies. Another evil loudly partments of science pursued in our schools. In complained of is the variety of text books. arithmetic, for example, though the black-board Teachers cannot classify their scholars; in nu- hangs in the school-room, it was rarely used for merous instances, there are as many different explanation or demonstration, when I entered books as scholars; thus preventing any arrange. upon my official duties. The ability to explain ments of pupils into classes, obliging the teach and elucidate is one of the highest and rarest er to hear each scholar separately, the recita. accomplishments of the teacher, and one which lions being gone through in a hurried manner, I does not always accompany the highest grade
of scientific attainment. The evils which result all intermediate times, the air and aspect of a from its disuse in schools are obvious. Un-beast of prey ready to pounce upon its victim. practised by the teacher, the more intricate “I do not find it necessary to whip often," is propositions in the higher branches of study are the self-gratulatory remark frequently made by not clearly grasped by the yet untrained mind such men, “but when I do, I make a business of the pupil; unpractised by the pupils, in the of it." first place, the teacher can have no surety that That order and obedience are the first aim of the proposition is fully mastered by the learn. school government, is most true. That it is er; and in the second, if so mastered, that the im necessary for the good of the scholar, for its pression on the understanding and memory are effects on his mind and character, as well as on sufficiently clear and well defined to be perma- his present literary progress, is a proposition nent. No scholar can be unaware of the fact which will never be disputed by a man of intel. that the mind will often grasp with seeming ligence. But in securing this end, the teacher clearness, the solution or demonstration given should never forget that he is dealing with moby another, yet if left here, will subsequently ral and accountable beings. Children are capa. find itself utterly unable to repeat the steps of ble of understanding and appreciating the disthat solution ; and the indistinct perception of tinctions between right and wrong, far earlier the truth will grow dimmer and dimmer until in life than is generally supposed. Appealing entirely lost.
to these considerations, teaches the child self
respect. “ Treat him like a man," as the GOVERNMENT AND DISCIPLINE.
phrase is, and he will attempt to act up to the That the government of the school should be character thus assigned him. I have seen a a moral government, instead of one of mere boy who had been pronounced an incorrigible force; that the higher and better parts of the reprobate, and flogged almost into a state of child's nature should be appealed to, to keep physical callousness, become dutiful, affectionhim in the path of duty, instead of his dread of ate, and emulous in the path of duty, by a new bodily suffering, is a truth much more generally teacher assuming the control of him, who com. recognized and acted upon than formerly. The menced by treating and trusting him as if he had practice of laying down a set of rules, or by. never departed from that path. The teacher laws, for the regulation of the school, and using who assumes the charge of a school should for. the rod or the ferule for every infraction of tify his mind with more than " triple brass” them, the only gradation in punishment being against the entrance of those prejudices against in the number of the blows inflicted, is fast particular pupils, which injudicious persons are wearing away. So far as severity or laxity of usually found so willing to instil into him, under discipline is concerned, in the ordinary accepta. the mistaken idea that they are friendly cautions. tion of those terms, more err on the side of the And should there be those, who by their own or latter than the former. Yet, among those who by the fault of their teachers, have become harincline to neither extreme of bad government, it dened and are prone to disobey, they should, is rare to find a decided instance of good govern- beyond all question, be objects of peculiar cha. ment.
rity and forbearance-of the gentle and attractThe mild, dignified and uniform exterior, the ive inflences of sympathy and kindness. Where same to-day and to-morrow, and under every force has been tried and failed to break the change of circumstance; the earnest anl ever stubbornness of the disposition, its continuance manifest solicitude in the pupil's welfare; the only hardens, as pounding hardens steel; the kind and well timed word of encouragement to attempt should then be made to fuse the feelings the well-doer; the no less kind, and the servent of the offender in the crucible of love. appeal to the moral sense, the pride and the That the rod must be resorted to in some exfeelings of the wrong-doer; the cool, patient, treme cases, cannot be denied. Its use is sancand strictly equitable examination, and subse- tioned by intelligent experience, and if it were quent punishment in cases of gross delinquency; wanting, the high authority of inspiration. But how rarely do we find qualities and practices I hold the following to be well established prin. like these united in the same person?
ciples: That it should not be used, except as a There are, in fact, very few teachers who last resort, and after all other suitable means properly appreciate the high importance of a have failed; that its use should never be threatcorrect system of school government, or have ened, as "'do this, or I will whip you," or con. given to the subject anything like a proper de. sidered the common and only penalty of offence; gree of investigation and reflection. And the that it is better for both teacher and pupil to public have investigated and considered the sub. to keep the rod out of sight, as if it were ex. ject still less. With both, the mere preserva. pected and anticipated that it would never be tion of a certain degree of order, or rather, a necessary to resort to it. certain degree of silence and submission, during Grotesque punishments, calculated to expose school hours, appears to be all that is regarded the offender to laughter and derision, though as coming within this department of duty; and frequently very effectual in deterring from the it would seem to matter little by what means repetition of the offence, are not, on the whole, subordination is preserved, if it can be done profitable. They blunt the sensibilities and de. without too great a severity and frequency of grade the pupil'in his own estimation With corporal discipline. If it is effected by hiring, what hope of success could the higher and bet. by scolding, by threatening, or by a mixture of ter feelings and principles of the child be invok, all three, it is all the same ; and I have seen ed, who had just been treated as if he possessed teachers who were regarded as prodigies of none, and made to play the ape, for the diver. successful government, who kept their pupils sion and scorn of his fellows? in a state of crouching alarm, by occasional in. The best method to keep children orderly in stances of terrible severity, and by wearing at schools is, as a general rule, to keep them em.
AGENTS OPERATING AGAINST THE IMPROVE.
ploved and amused. Should any reasonable advancement of education. Many of them ori. man expect the child of five or six years, or in- ginally the pioneers in an untrod wilderness, deed of any age, to sit bolt upright for three few or none of them having possessed early adwhole hours, except during one or two recita vantages at all equal to those which their la. tions of five minutes each, and a play spell of bors and their privations have procured for about the same length ? Should the scholar, their children, they little dream that they can during the remaining two hours and three-quar- become the efficient coadjutors of scholars and ters, be required to sit immovable and silent as educationists, in the high task of improving our a statue, with the mind and body equally unem. common school system; still less, that their coployed, and this too, on a seat, as it often hap-operation would prove the mightiest lever of pens, too high to allow his feet to reach the educational progress. To correct this error, floor, with no back to it, or one which is entirely and enlist this co-operation, I conceive to be one perpendicular? Let him who thinks so, try the of the first and most important duties of a deputy effects of such an experiment on himself. There superintendent. are innumerable devices by which the teacher
The District School Journal.-This valuable of tact can divert the attention of his pupils, and publication, containing in a condensed form the preserve them from lethargy on the one hand, most important educational statistics and inforand disorder, uneasiness or mischief on the other. mation of the day, and by a beneficent provision More frequent play spells, in the case of very in our laws, sent' gratuitously to every school small children ; permitting them to stand on district in the state, is doing an incredible their feet when fatigued ; the use of slates to amount of good, in popularizing a species of form letters or pictures, and a thousand inde; knowledge so important, and hitherto so little scribable expedients, conduce to this end, and attended to ; and by keeping every portion of add to the happiness, progress, and the physical the state advertised of the educational improve. health of the pupil. When it actually becomes ments, discoveries, etc., made in the most fanecessary to directly punish with the rod, the vored 'regions of it, and in other countries. As circumstances of the case should be coolly and the vehicle of the official communications of the patiently inquired into ; the decision or sentence Superintendent, it possesses a peculiar value to pronounced without anger, and on strict princi. all in any way connected with our common ples of equity; and the penalty inflicted as schools. 'Yet I am ashamed to say, there are though it were a painful but unavoidable duty. districts in Cortland county which do not take When revenge nerves the arm and anger gives this paper from the post-office. The prejudices impetus to the blow, and when these passions and misapprehensions which have existed in respeak their revolting language through the lation to it, are however fast wearing away. countenance and the words of the misnamed instructer, it requires no vaticinatory spirit to foretell the effects of his ministrations-of the living example, opposed though it may be, to the dead precept.
Districts too large or too small.-In densely
populated districts, particularly in villages, the AGENTS OPERATING FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF school is frequently entirely too large to be
placed under the care of a single teacher, and As a general thing, the great preventive of in sparsely populated country districts, the oppopular co-operation, is popular apathy, or ra. posite evil prevails. In the former, the overiher a want of knowledge of the necessity of tasked teacher has no time to do justice tv his such co-operation. It is common to charge the school. Every suggestion for improvement is inactivity of the people in educational matters, met, and necessarily so, with the plea of a want entirely to indifference in reference to the whole of time. Every exercise is hurried, and the subjeci, in other words, indifference to the good proper explanations or illustrations are entirely of their offspring. Observation has brought me precluded. Schools in many of our villages, are to a different conclusion. That there are in. kept in this condition for years, from a reluc. stances of stolid and brutal indifference; that tance to weaken them by division. If the dis. there are occasional instances of those who are trict is divided, and as it would generally result, so ignorant themselves as to be entirely insensi. two small ones forned out of it, the expense of ble to the benefits of education, is no doubt true. maintaining two highly qualified male teachers, But having again and again seen the tear of un. becomes onerous. The gradation or union sys. controllable emotion start from the eyes of those tem ofiers a ready and unexpensive method of pronounced the most callous and indifferent, at obviating the effects of an over-crowded school, even the casual praise bestowed on the progress without falling into the opposite difficulty. By and attainments of their children ; having again placing the advanced scholars under a teacher and again listened to the earnest and feeling of corresponding altainments, and the smaller promise" to thereafter discharge the duties under a female teacher whose services can be wbich a parent owes to the schools," from not more cheaply obtained, and who is better calen. only those who are usually the most active in lated to teach them, the progress of both desuch matters, but from men even whose entrance partments is sutliciently accelerated to far more into the school-room excited a smile of wonder ihan compensate for ihe small additional exand derision, I have learned to be slow in arri- pense. Strange as it may appear, a system, ving at that conclusion which pronounces a fa. ihe benefits of which would seem to be so obvi. ther or mother ever indifferent to the welfare of ous, is too great an innovation on long estab. their offspring. The people at large have not lished customs, to be introduced without ditli been taught that they have a duty and a labor culty. Crowded districts continue to sub to perform in this matter, or brought to the mit to the disadvantages of their situation, knowledge that they can so effectually aid in the or prostrate their energies, and place it out of
MENT OF OUR SCHOOLS.