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to condemn or sneer at normal school and colleges. Teaching becomes a profession just in proportion to the number of teachers who have been professionally instructed, trained, and approved by educational experts. If we cannot now fill all positions with professionally educated teachers, let us nevertheless aim at the gradual elevation of teaching until finally it shall become, and be recognized as, one of the learned professions.
DR. JAMES M. MILNE, State Normal School, Oneonta, N. Y.-Wouldn't it be a good idea for those who criticise the normal schools to know the normal schools of to-day, and not base all their criticisms on their knowledge of the normals of twenty-five years ago? There has been a great advancement all along the line, and the normal schools have been in the van of the movement. Child study is no new thing in the normal schools. Science work in lower grades is no longer a novelty with us. The enrichment of the courses of the grammar grades was initiated long ago.
Now, with reference to the city training schools. They come into competition in no sense with the normal schools. City training schools are bred in local influences, and the particular needs of each city determine their work. Their motto is, to do just as the teachers are now doing in the city systems, only more so. Normal schools, however, have a wider, a more general outlook, and have to satisfy a more general demand. The assertion that the students in a city training school are more mature than those in a normal school is not at all warranted by facts.
All that have taken part in this discussion have presented their ideas from their own system of schools, and have assumed that the general likeness is complete. We all know how far this tops short of the truth in reference to either training schools or normal schools. Of course, we all regret the good superintendent's ignorance of psychology; but we cannot charge it to his strength, but rather to his weakness. Things that we do not know are not of necessity worthless or untrue. Let fairness prevail and let this good experience meeting go on.
DR GORDY, Athens, Ohio.-Of all the work in the world the most difficult and delicate is that of training children. Hence, the training of those who are to do this is the most important thing in the world. The work of the city training and normal schools is distinct. The office of this body is, not to take an attitude of opposition to either but rather that every man be convinced that both are necessary. When Horace Mann was pouring out his life for the common schools, he received 110 sympathy from the colleges. This illustrates the attitude of people of culture to-day towards the normal schools.
DR. E. E. White of Cincinnati objected to that portion of the report which related to the study of adolescence. He thought that physiologists had pushed this matter too far. That the less our young teachers and would-be teachers had to say about this subject the better.
Dr. E. A. SHELDON of Oswego stated that he had had experience in both city training schools and normal schools, and thought it well that their faults be brought out in this discussion. The normal school men have been too ambitious to have large schools. The most essential condition in training teachers is that they teach. A training teacher cannot work properly with more than tirenty pupils. The pupil-teachers should take all the responsibility of the management of a school. This they cannot do if the school is large. There should be in the normal school more careful study of children-more extended preparation in scholarship. The pupil-teacher must have a school in which to practice. The office of the critic is to build up, and not pull down. Pupil-teachers must be left more to themselves to work out their own results in their own way.
PRESIDENT MAXWELL emphasized that portion of the report which demanded a higher scholarship for those who are to be teachers.
SUPT. H. S. TARBELL, chairman of the committee, in closing the discussion, referred briefly to Dr. White's criticism, and said that Dr. Wihte had not caught the meaning of the report. That the study of adolescence was not recommended for the elementary normal schools, but only in the colleges; for teachers, not pupils.
Second, that in regard to the relative merits of city training schools and normal schools, the committee had expressed no opinion, believing that both have valuable functions.
Mr. Tarbell thought that normal school men were too sensitive with regard to criticism upon the normal schools. He believed that superintendents and teachers should be recognized as knowing something which differentiates them from other educated persons. It should be understood that scholarship plus experience does not necessarily make teachers.
The normal school men have gained the ground so far as elementary schools are concerned. When educators have established in the mind of the public the same conviction in reference to higher schcols, then we may expect a more satis. factory education in all.
CHANGES—WISE AND UNWISE-IN GRAMMAR AND IIIGH
BY ORVILLE T. BRIGHT, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, COOK COUNTY,
It is surely impossible to speak with definiteness of the beginnings of the great changes which occur in our institutions. Especially is this true of religious and educational institutions, founded, as they are, so largely upon traditions, and possibly on that very account the most sacred to the hearts of the people. In these matters even formal changes are not lightly to be entertained, while attempts at changes fundamental are naturally received with profound distrust and often with determined opposition.
Generally, however, the opposition of the people to changes proposed in matters of study has not been active, but their sympathy has been withheld from the progressive teacher, and this lack of sympathy is sure to affect the relations of the children to the school. Often the press, notably in Chicago, has tried to damn the best work of teachers by crying "Fad!" and indulging in rank personal abuse. But there has been many a long step forward, and rarely has one to be retraced, notwithstanding. There have also been, during the last ten years, many battles-royal among educational men and
women; and, thank God, they are still on. The issues involved are tremendous, and fortunately time cuts no figure as to the result. It is safe to say that the years from 1880 to the present time have been more charged with changes for the betterment of the public schools than were the fifty preceding years; aye, the one hundred. To note all the changes in grammar and high schools that have come about or have been well launched within the years mentioned would make little more than a catalogue of a forty-minute paper. I shall note only a few of the most important.
From an artistic, convenient, and sanitary point of view, the schoolhouse has become a subject of serious study for architects only within the past ten or fifteen years. Improvements have been most marked in matters of ventilation and lighting, and in these respects the best modern schoolhouses leave little to be desired. A fan is now considered as necessary a part of the Chicago school. house as is a chimney; and the same is true in many other cities. Natural forces, also, have been utilized with great skill in thousands of smaller places, and excellent ventilation secured-second only to mechanical.
While the tendency in the respect referred to is all in the right direction, the issues involved are so vitally important, as affecting the health and even costing the lives of children, that the splendid improvement of the past ten years seems all too slow. It must be confessed, that, in the great majority of schoolrooms throughout the country, the children are still suffering from lack of pure air and proper lighting. There is quite as often too much of the latter as too little; and while it is rare to find cases in which the children are obliged constantly to face the light, it is just as rare to find cases in which the teacher is not obliged to do that very thing. There is no shifting the responsibility for the unsanitary condition of the older schoolhouses. It is almost wholly the fault of school superintendents and teachers. The elements of this fault are apathy, lazi. ness, and lack of intelligence. Thorough study of the subject and the interest and vigorous action sure to follow on our part will produce results for the next decade which will discount those of the last.
Another change well under way, and one which is sure to sweep the country, relates to school furniture. Compared to the slab seats which some of us used years ago, with no backs, and over which our legs flopped from one side to the other as we studied or recited, the modern school desk is a luxury and a thing of beauty. Compared to what it should be considering the health and comfort of the child, and what it might be with very little additional cost, it is sadly defective. Think of fitting a desk for a child from the reader he is in
or from his years of age! Almost without exception in our city and village schools the desks in any given room are of exactly the same size and of exactly the same height. You might as well fit a suit of clothes to our honored president on the strength of his being superintendent of schools in Brooklyn, and another of exactly the same size to Superintendent Jones of Cleveland because he happens to belong to the same class.
The children in any grade will vary from six to twelve inches in height, or even more; and while the smallest in a class sit with legs dangling in the air, the largest crowd themselves most uncomfortably into the desk space. And it follows that either of the extremes must sit in great discomfort and in exceedingly unhealthful positions during school hours. It is astonishing, indeed, that superintendents, principals, and school officers seem to think little or nothing about this matter. I recall an instance of a magnificent schoolhouse, built at a cost of $100,000, in which my rule showed the variation of the height of the desk above the chair used by the under-sized six-year-old in first grade and that used by the overgrown eighth-grader to be exactly two inches. The difference between the first and the fifth grade desk was one inch. The schoolhouse in which this barbarism occurred was built within ten years. indignant protest, the principal said blandly, "I declare, I hadn't thought anything about that.”
We cannot excuse ourselves for this sort of thing. Is anybody so deaf, dumb, and blind that he cannot see the absolute necessity of adjustable desks and chairs in every schoolroom? The chair should in no case be a part of the other fellow's desk. And if it could be made to turn a little, to assist the occupant to attain the upright, so much the better. The trouble is not altogether in the seat being too high or too low from the floor. The desk, in its effect upon the arms, chest, shoulders, and spine, is just as deleterious to the health as is the seat in its effect upon the lower members.
Have you ever carefully examined the children in your schools, having in mind well-developed chest and erect position as to spine and shoulders? If not, make a careful trial—if possible in company with a sympathetic physician. Make notes of results in any one schoolroom, and then study causes. I do not intend to say that all of the malformation found is the result of school-sittings. The simple question for us to determine is, whether the school furniture tends to increase or diminish these deformities, and there can be but one answer to this question. The struggle for a better class of school furniture, one that can be fitted to the size of the child instead of the class he belongs in, is well begun, and adjustable desks have already come into use in many towns within the last two or three years. Within a few days I have seen five different patterns of adjustable desks. The next ten years will probably produce fifty of them; and thousands of children will be comfortably and healthfully seated in school where now there are tens or hundreds.
After comfort and healthfulness, schoolrooms should be attractive attractive in the same sense that a comfortable home is. Nothing is more charming to note than the positive movement in this direction, although it is by no means general. In an eloquent lecture delivered by Prof. Albion Small the other evening, occurred this sentence, “The enjoyment of beauty is nature's first and purest tonic for tired mind and exhausted body.” If this sentiment is a true one, and it surely is, and if children become tired during the school sessions, as they surely do, then the silent instructor referred to should find place in every schoolroom.
The enjoyment of beauty which comes from a cultivation of taste is something that has very little entered into our teaching in the public schools of America. In proof of this, one needs but to call attention to the utter lack of utilization of color in the furnishing of schoolrooms. Almost invariably there is a zone of grained wainscoting, a zone of blackboard, a zone of blank white wall, and a deadwhite ceiling,—until softened by dust and grime,-hardly the purest tonic for tired mind and exhausted body, both of which are apt to seek tonics of a nature to disturb the school serenity. Tinted walls and tasteful application of color in painting certainly would be no additional expense. Tastefully papered walls would cost but very little. A few pictures or casts, which may be both artistic and inexpensive, prettily draped windows, growing plants and flowers, and, above all, a case of well-selected books—all these things constantly appealing to the children, would be wonderfully effective teachers; not only instructing but controlling children. Many such rooms may now be found in almost any system of schools in this country, with a gratifying increase each year. In short, they are living-rooms, arranged under the impression that the children are living while at school--not merely getting ready to live; that, indeed, school-life ought to be the richest part of the whole span, be it longer or shorter. I know full well the difficulties surrounding the accomplishment of what is here indicated, and I know just as well that those difficulties may be overcome.
One would be a stupid observer, indeed, who has not noted with pleasure the vast difference which the last few years have brought about as regards the sympathy existing between teacher and pupils. The study of the children has brought consciously to the knowledge of the average school teacher the fact, that the controlling motive in school must be interest; that the love for learning cannot be secured