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the result of these conditions acting upon various things, and thus to discover laws and test them as often as he wishes. Few other sciences are so favored in this respect.
The geologist, for example, can reproduce in the laboratory but few of the world-building forces of nature which he wishes to study. So,
$ too, the astronomer has little control over the phenomena which interest him, and in order to study them has to await their natural occurrence. Moreover, chemistry and physics are, in a sense, fundamental sciences; the other sciences being more or less highly specialized applications of these, and a certain knowledge of chemistry and physics being necessary to their proper understanding. It would seem, then, that chemistry and physics are the best adapted for educational purposes in the secondary schools; but with those who think otherwise I shall have no controversy. At least physics and chemistry are the sciences most usually taught in the secondary schools.
With the time at the disposal of the classes in the high school it is, of course, impossible to master any single science. The greatest evil of our present method of teaching science in the secondary schools is, it seems to me, a tendency to cover too much ground. This, of course, comes from the desire to gain as much information about the science as possible; but it makes more difficult the more important point — the gaining of scientific training. We can gain information all our lives; with many the high school offers the only opportunity to gain scientific training. This attempt to cover much ground necessitates dealing with more or less isolated facts, the connection between which may or may not be pointed out by the teacher or the text-book, but which is rarely appreciated by the pupil. The pupil is hurried from topic to topic, without taking time thoroly to understand the relationships of that which he has studied. In the laboratory especially is the evil effect of this hurry noticeable; the feeling of haste and pressure, consequent upon this desire to get on, is directly and fundamentally opposed to the conditions for successful laboratory work. It causes the pupil to slight the experiment in some essential detail, the “one step omitted which nature never pardons ; causes the experiments to be only partially successful.
The continued performance of experiments which are only partially successful is worse than no experiments at all; it causes the pupil to lose confidence in himself and in the science; it develops nothing of that feeling of strength and power which is the result of successful laboratory work.
This custom of covering a large amount of a science in an insufficient time accentuates what is almost a national characteristic - a feeling of haste, a lack of appreciation of the importance of small things, and a disinclination to stick to one thing until it is mastered. It does nothing toward developing what is called the scientific attitude of mind.
Instead of attempting to gain what is sometimes called a “broad view” of the science, it seems to me that it would be better to get a deep view ; better to get the fundamental, basic facts of the subject thoroly in mind in such a way that the pupil is convinced of their truth by his own powers of observation and reason. Let the theories of the science follow the facts which they are to explain ; let their relationship to the facts and to the science as a whole be carefully considered, always remembering that future discoveries must modify them, and perhaps render them entirely untenable. Encourage the pupil to form his own estimate of the value and probability of a theory, basing his estimate upon the evidence, upon its reasonableness, and upon its usefulness to the science.
Successful laboratory work requires patience, close attention to detail, and close powers of observation. To cultivate these the feeling of haste, their greatest foe, must be overcome. The pupil should feel, when he undertakes laboratory work, that he has all the time necessary to perform the experiments with the greatest possible care, in order to get the best possible results ; to repeat the work, if necessary; to take every precaution that will add to the accuracy of the results. He must learn to be unwilling to leave an experiment until he thoroly understands it and its bearing upon the subject in hand.
The pupil cannot, of course, get all of his facts from his own laboratory experience. This is neither necessary nor desirable ; he must, indeed, depend largely for his facts upon the experience of others. My point is that he should get a few facts, and get these few fully and thoroly, from his own work. This will give him the most desirable laboratory training; it will enable him to understand the methods of getting nature's facts ; and it will give him, therefore, a keener appreciation of all the facts which he uses, tho they are not the result of his own experience.
In selecting the experiments to be performed by the pupil constant regard should be had to the pupil's laboratory experience and advancement, to his skill and ability to perform them successfully. Every experiment should either illustrate some important principle or some important property of the thing under consideration. It is usually not worth while to illustrate by experiment phenomena that are occurring about us all the time, and are already familiar to the pupil, or can be made familiar by simply calling his attention to them.
For example, it is scarcely worth while to perform experiments in the laboratory to distinguish between chemical and physical action, while we are continually surrounded by examples of each in nature, to which the pupil only needs to have his attention called in order to get as perfect an idea of physical action as he will by heating a platinum wire in a Bunsen fame, or as perfect an idea of chemical action as he will by heating a testtube containing sugar. For the purpose of the kind of training which laboratory work so well gives, experiments should be selected which require some skill and thought to work out, and, wherever possible, they should be quantitative.
I do not sympathize with the tendency to make the laboratory experiments for pupils as simple as possible, and to take the fact that an experiment can be performed with ordinary kitchen utensils as ample reason for introducing it into our school courses. I do not like an experiment which requires an affirmative answer to the frequent question : “ Is that all there is to it?" Such experiments are in large part responsible for the prevalence of that unwholesome dread of experiments which require some time and skill for their performance, which is so prevalent among the students entering our colleges. Experiments which require little thought are very apt to receive it.
As a whole, I believe physics has certain advantages over chemistry for high-school work, because it deals with phenomena that are more apparent to the senses, and with phenomena which permit of a readier quantitative study ; but chemistry also has certain advantages peculiar to itself. Since, however, chemistry and physics are no longer independent sciences, I believe the ideal course of experimental science for secondary schools will be one which makes no effort to keep them differentiated, but, rather, which unites in one course as much of both as is needed to gain a thoro understanding of the phenomena studied. I feel very sure that a twoyears' science course in the high school, based upon such lines,would give most satisfactory results.
Finally, in all science work, but especially in the laboratory, very much depends upon the teacher. School authorities do not, as a rule, sufficiently appreciate the demand made upon the time and energy of their teachers by laboratory work.
The instruction in the laboratory being largely personal, a teacher cannot successfully handle here such large classes as in the recitation room. In the laboratory the pupil must be constantly watched, and not allowed to acquire slovenly habits of work ; laboratory notes must be looked over, and errors of observation and conclusion pointed out and corrected ; teachers must use every opportunity to converse with the pupil about his laboratory work, to draw him out, and to direct his attention to certain points by questions; for thus an experiment which may be of almost no value to the student unaided may sometimes be rendered a mine of information. All of these duties make large demands upon the time and working power of the teacher.
The importance of a good teacher outweighs all other considerations. President Eliot has said : “Two kinds of men make good teachers — young men and men who never grow old.”
Good science teachers have three indispensable qualifications — they inust know their subject, they must love their subject, and they must have an enthusiasm for work.
DEPARTMENT OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION
FIRST SESSION.—THURSDAY, JULY 13, 1899
Owing to the unavoidable absence of two speakers on the program, the two sessions arranged for were merged into one. In the absence of the regular chairman, E. E. Barthell, Nashville, Tenn., was elected temporary chairman.
Eric Edward Rosling, Esq., Tacoma, Wash., read the first paper, entitled “Employ. ment and Dismissal of Teachers.” He was followed in a discussion of his paper by Samuel F. Smith, San Diego, Cal., and E. Morris Cox, Santa Rosa, Cal., and a number of the members of the Teachers' Federation of Chicago.
William George Bruce, Milwaukee, Wis., then read a paper entitled, “Quo Vadis, School Board ?"
This was followed by a paper read by Dr. Ella J. Fifield, Tacoma, Wash., entitled “The School Board and the Press."
The nominating committee, which had been appointed at the beginning of the meeting, then reported the following-named officers for the ensuing year:
For President- Hon. E. E. Barthell, Nashville, Tenn.
Lyman Evans, Esq., Riverside, Cal.
E. B. Kruttschnitt, New Orleans, La.
WM. Geo. BRUCE,
PAPERS AND DISCUSSIONS
EMPLOYMENT AND DISMISSAL OF TEACHERS
BY ERIC EDWARD ROSLING, ESQ., PRESIDENT OF BOARD OF EDUCATION,
TACOMA, WASH. “Good Lord ! How many good and clear wits of children be now-adays perished by ignorant schoolmasters," wrote Sir Thomas Elyot in 1531. Centuries have come and gone since then-centuries whose educational reformers, like Comenius, Milton, Locke, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, and Spencer, have accomplished wonders for the schoolboy:
yet even now we can occasionally hear this sentiment echoed, at least faintly, from both rural and urban districts, because there are still a few school boards which are either ignorant or regardless of their trust, or have a crude conception of it.
In our city lives a man who has for several years vainly placed himself “in the hands of his friends" as a candidate for school-board honors. In urging his claims for my support in our last contest, he laid emphasis upon his four or five years' experience as a teacher in an eastern state. Surprised at learning of this qualification, I pressed the subject further, and was gravely informed that the school board under which he served followed the very excellent and economical plan of annually offering the position to the lowest bidder, and with pardonable pride he added that he received the appointment every year for several years.
Scarcely less questionable, or more conducive to the promotion of the welfare of the schools, is the similar economic plan adopted by some boards, in both city and country, of fixing the salaries of their teachers at the lowest schedule upon which any teacher, almost regardless of qualifications, can possibly be obtained, and then justifying their course by demonstrating that their teachers rarely leave them for other schools. They do not seem to realize that the teachers for whom their schedule was an attraction would hardly be the ones for whom other and wiser boards would be seeking; and that "the very foundation of the whole commonwealth is the proper bringing up of the young" is believed as firmly today as when Cicero proclaimed it centuries ago. And as the other mighty factors in the make-up of the education of our youth, namely, home, society, and church, cannot be universally and infallibly relied upon to do their whole part, the people believe in education thru the medium of the public school. Allow our school system to degenerate thru the introduction and retention of incompetent teachers, and we allow the foundations of our governmental structure to be seriously undermined, and at the door of the department of school administration may largely and justly be laid the blame.
Am I putting that too strongly? I believe not. Chosen by the people, who thus delegate largely parental responsibility, and created and clothed with extraordinary powers and authority by the state, our boards of education, as we are called in the state of Washington, are made the legal guardians of our schools, the business managers of the system, and held strictly accountable to the general public and the state for the manner and method of our administration.
Ventilation, heating, lighting, recreation, and seating, each present problems for our solution that are both perplexing and difficult; but overshadowing all these, in its importance and far-reaching influence upon the welfare of children, community, state, and nation, is the subject of this afternoon's paper, the “Employment and Dismissal of Teachers."