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vitality. Any institution deriving the means for its support and aivancement from different sources, without any power to enforce the observance of the rules prescribed to those who may desire to participate in its benefits, but the forfeiture of moneys conditionally offered for acceptance, must necessarily be somewhat complex in the arrangement of its details to ensure a proper administration of the law for its government, and a faithful application of the funds dedicated to its maintenance. Of the amount annually contributed for the support of our common schools, more than two-fifths is appropriated directly from the two funds set apart for that purpose, and from a tax upon the property of those who either cannot directly enjoy any of the benefits resulting from their establishment or voluntarily choose not to do so. A great public exigency fully justifies the exercise of this taxing power, and that exigency demands the most scrupulous application of the means thus provided for the attainment of the objects contemplated by the imposition of the burthen. The state has as good right to know whether the money it contributes to sustain this institution has been faithfully applied and expended, as it has to be informed of the manner its canal finances are conducted, and to hold all to a rigid accountability. The property holder has a right to ask, if this power of taxing is enforced against him, that some legal wall be established to guard against the waste and misapplication of funds which he contributes to the welfare of the state. Some complaints are made against the system as being too complex. It is believed, however, that these objections will diminish as opportunity is afforded to become more intimately acquainted with its various provisions, and the permanence now given to the office of trustee, will no doubt exert a most salutary tendency towards removing these objections.
Such are some of the important statistics and suggestions of this valuable report. We missed in its perusal any extended notice of the Normal School at Albany; but this omission is supplied in the “ Annual Report of the Executive Committee of the State Normal School,” which we have just received from the kindness of our friend, S. S. Randall, Esq. This institution was established under an Act of the Legislature of 1844, by which $9,600 was appropriated the first year, and $10,000 annually for five years thereafter, and until otherwise directed by law, for the support of a “Normal School for the instruction and practice of teachers of common schools, in the science of education, and in the art of teaching." It is under the supervision, management and direction of the Superintendent of Common Schools, and the Regents of the University, who act through an executive committee of five persons, whose duty it is to make “full and detailed reports of the progress, condition and prospects of the school.” On each of these points this Report is perfectly satisfactory. It proves that the progress of the school has been rapid, . that its present condition is highly prosperous, and its prospects of future usefulness, all that its best friends can wish. We shall present our readers with copious extracts in the next Extra Journal.
RHODEISLAND INSTITUTE OF INSTRUCTION.
The JOURNAL OF THE RHODE ISLAND INSTITUTE OF INSTRUCTION will be published on the 1st and 15th of every month, until a volume is completed by the publication of twelve numbers.
Each number will contain at least sixteen pages in octavo form : and in addition, from time to time, an EXTRA will be published, containing official circu. lars, notices of school meetings, and communications respecting individual schools, and improvements in education generally; and one of a series of “ Educational Tracts," devoted to the discussion of important topics, in some one department of popular education.
The volume, including the Extras and “ Educational Tracts," will constitute at least three hundred pages, and will be furnished for fifty cents for a single copy; or for three dollars for ten copies sent in a single package ; and at the same rate for any larger number sent in the same way. The subscription must be paid on the reception of the first number.
HENRY BARNARD, Commissioner of Public Schools, Editor.
THOMAS C. HARTSHORN, Business Agent. PROVIDENCE, March 16, 1846.
PROGRESS OF EDUCATION IN OTHER STATES. We continue our extracts from various official documents, showing the condition and prospects of public schools in other states, where this subject has received, or is now receiving particular attention.
STATE NORMAL SCHOOL AT ALBANY.
Extracts from the Annual Report of the Executive Committee of the
State Normal School, January, 14, 1846." Building and accommodations. In the building which the city of Albany had placed at the disposal of the committee, eight rooms have been fitted up for the exclusive use of the Normal School, viz: two study rooms, four recitation rooms, a lecture room, and one apartment for the library and apparatus. The study rooms are provided with comfortable desks and seats, affording accommodation for about two hundred pupils. Males and females occupy the same rooms, the latter being seated in front, next to the desk of the teacher, while the males are placed immediately in the rear of them. Each study room has a clock, which is indispensable wherever punctuality is so much insisted on as it is at the Normal School. The lecture room is a commodious apartment which will seat three hundred and fifty persons. These eight rooms are in constant use as recitation rooms, and are all provided with large black-boards.
Statistics showing the progress of the school. The first term began (December 18th, 1844, with twenty-nine (thirteen males and sixteen females,) pupils, and closed March 11th, 1845, with ninety-eight pupils, sixty-nine of whom were “ State Pupils," selected by the County Superintendents, who received a weekly allowance of money, (females $1 25, and males $100,) towards their board, and the rest were “ Volunteers," who were admitted on examination, and received tuition and the use of text books free of expense.
The second term commenced April 9th, with one hundred and seventy pupils, and closed August 27th, with one hundred and eighty-five pupils, (one hundred and nineteen State Pupils,” and sixty-six “ Volunteers.") More than ninetenths had been teachers. The allowance to each Staté pupil was $1 00, Thirty-four at the close of the term, completed the course of instruction and received a diploma.
The third term commenced October 15th, with one hundred and eighty pupils, and has now increased to one hundred and ninety-seven, one-half of whom are females, and one hundred and twenty-two “State Pupils,” (who receive seventy-five cents per week,) and seventy-five “Volunteers." All but twenty-one have taught before. Every county is represented. Provision will be made next term for two hundred and fifty-six pupils, to be selected from the counties according to the ratio of representation, and each will receive an allow. ance sufficient to meet the travelling expenses to and from the school.
Pledge to teach —All the pupils on entering the school are required to sign the following declaration.
“We the subscribers hereby declare, that it is our intention to devote our. selves to the business of teaching district schools, and that our sole object in resorting to this Normal School is the better to prepare ourselves for that important duty.”
The committee felt themselves imperatively bound to guard the trust committed to them from abuse. The design of the Legislature was not to endow an institution, whither any or all might resort, who desired to obtain a solid educa. tion; the act expressly declares, that it was founded “ for the instruction and practice of teachers of common schools in the science of education and in the art of teaching. The end of the law would therefore have been defeated, if the doors of the school had been thrown open to any who would enter. This consideration induced the committee to demand the above pledge, which they wished to make as stringent as possible. And it gives them pleasure to state, that they have not the shadow of a reason for doubting the honesty of the pupils who have signed it. It may also be stated here, that of the thirty-four graduates of the school, thirty-three are actually engaged in common schools, and one is fulfilling the duties of a county superintendent.
Organization and instruction. The school was opened under David P. Page, of Newburyport, Mass., as Principal, and George R. Perkins, of Utica, Professor of Mathematics, and instructors in music and drawing. Their first object was to imbue their pupils with a sense of the importance of the teacher's work, and of the necessity of high qualifications for the successful discharge of a teacher's duty.
To accomplish this a course of lectures was at once commenced by the Principal, on the “ Responsibilities of the Teacher;" the “Habits of the Teacher;"
Modes of Teaching ;" “ Modes of Government,” “Qualifications of the Teacher;" “Securing Parental Co-operation ; " " Waking up Mind in School, and in the District;" « Motives to be addressed,” &c. &c.
A very commendable spirit soon manifested itself in the school, in the teacha. bleness of the pupils. It was found that the most of them were willing to descend again to first principles, and to lay anew the foundation stones of a good education. Thus, too, the way was prepared for the classification of the students, a duty always difficult and often unpleasant for the teacher, especially when the pupil shows an unwillingness to take his proper place, thinking more favorably than his teachers of his own proficiency. But the influence of these lectures carried the majority of the students to the extreme, the opposite of self-confidence, for they seemed to feel that they had every thing to learn, and they were willing to be classed among those who were to acquire the elements of know. ledge.
When the way was thus prepared for labor, the instructors, to make themselves useful to the school, relied mainly upon actual teaching and thorough drilling. The classes were soon formed, and the elementary branches thoroughly taught, and at every step with a special reference to the manner of teaching them again in the district school.
The teachers had no desire to introduce novelties or extraordinary methods to the attention of the school. It was their desire rather to bring before them such
methods, as their own experience had proved to be most useful. « Not how much, but how well,” was one of their mottos, and “ Books are but helps,” was another. They endeavored to awaken an interest in the subjects treated upon, while books were regarded only as instruments. Above all, it was kept steadily before the minds of the student that he was receiving, that he might again dispense; hence the question was so often asked, “ How would you explain that to a child ?” that it was not unfrequently anticipated by the reciter; who would say, “ If I were teaching a class, I would explain it thus."
Much time was spent during the first term upon the common branches_reading, spelling, writing, geography, arithmetic and grammar. For it was soon discovered, that in the various schools, where these pupils had been educated, these branches-the first two especially-had been almost entirely neglected for the pursuit of the higher branches. Many had studied philosophy, whose spelling was deficient; and others had studied algebra, who found it very difficult to explain intelligibly the mystery of" borrowing ten and carrying one" in simple subtraction. And yet a large number of these pupils had been engaged in teaching the district schools of the state.
It was therefore believed, that the usefulness of the Normal School would be best promoted by at once directing attention to these little things. Reading and spelling became therefore daily exercises, and were conducted with special reference to the manner of teaching these branches most thoroughly in district schools.
In teaching reading it was thought of the utmost importance, to break up the mechanical mode in which it is too often taught in the schools. Reading, it was believed, had its rules and reasons and principles, as much as any other branch of study, and the point sought was to lay hold of these principles and to develope them in other words to teach reading philosophically, and not mechanically. This was attempted and prosecuted by Mr. Page in the following
It is well known that there are about forty elementary sounds in our language. The first step therefore was, to teach every pupil the utterance of these sounds. For this purpose a chart was prepared with much care by the Principal, upon which these sounds were indicated by their most common repre. sentatives. After this, the less frequent representatives were explained under the name of equivalents. When the students were able to give perect utterance to the "simple elements,” they were next exercised upon a series of combinations of these elements, until many of the most difficult in our language were mastered. Thus words were analyzed into their elements, and the elements again combined into words; and then the whole was applied to the reading lessons. The effect upon the tones of the voice, and upon articulation was speedily obvious to all. When perfect utterance was acquired the first essential step toward good reading or speaking-then the inflections and modulations of the voice, pauses and emphasis, quantity and force, in a word, all those nicer variations, attention to which make the perfect reader, were not neglected.
No unimportant part of the instruction in reading, was that devoted to giving an idea of the best methods of tegching children to read. Here, instruction in the elementary sounds at a very early stage of the child's progress was earnestly urged.
Spelling was taught to a considerable extent by the use of the slate. It was believed that oral spelling had been too much relied on in district schools; and the evil of such exclusive reliance is apparent from the fact, that good oral spell. ers frequently commit mistakes, when called on to write. Various methods were therefore practised, not only with the view of immediately benefiting the pupils, but also to furnish them with the means of securing an interest in this important branch of education, when they were called to teach.
In teaching geography, the great aim was, to fix in the mind of the pupil an idea of the shape, extent and general features of a country; the character of the surface, as level, undulating, ħilly or mountainous; the course and extent of the mountains, the basins or great reservoirs for the streams of the uplands ; the position of the cities; the canals, railroads, &c. To accomplish this, the students were required to draw at home an outline map of the country, delineating, as far as possible, these general features. And from the instruction in drawing, which had been imparted, the students executed this task with much accuracy and even beauty. Then in the class, they were required to draw, from memory the same map upon the black-board, which after some practice, they were able to do with despatch. After this, they recited, somewhat in the form of a lecture, all the information which they had acquired concerning the history of the country, including the form of government, language, religion, laws, customs and remarkable events. At this point, the teacher, either by questioning the other pupils, or by his own statements, corrected mistakes, or communicated such additional information, as he deemed to be important.
A very thorough course of lectures was also delivered by the professor of mathematics, on the use of the globes and on mathematical geography, in which many of the elementary principles of astronomy were appropriately introduced.
In commencing the matheinatical course, it was thought that thoroughness alone could secure a pleasant and profitable progress. To gain this, instruction commenced at the fundamental principles of arithmetic. The students were required to solve orally and without the aid of a book, all the questions in “ Colburn's Intellectual Arithmetic.” After the attainment of considerable proficiency in this exercise, they were allowed to propose to each other, such ques. tions as involved the principles already acquired. 'This gave additional interest to the subject of study; while the brevity and clearness displayed in stating the questions, and the facility and ingenuity in solving them, clearly proved, that the students were making not only a thorough but rapid advancement.
In teaching written arithmetic, great care was taken that the principles on which the rules were grounded, should be fully comprehended. To this end, the pupils were required to go to the black-board, and taking the position of a teacher, to go carefully through the analysis of each topic; while any member of the class was permitted to point out whatever he deemed incorrect or defective, and the temporary teacher was called on to defend his course, or to correct his mistake. Thus rigid criticism was encouraged, and no subject was dismissed, until it was so well understood, that any of the class could act the part of a teacher, and explain it at the black-board. Frequently several members of the class were called on in succession to elucidate the same subject; thus affording an opportunity comparing the relativ merits of ious methods.
The same course was pursued in algebra and geometry.
In order to be certain that the instruction was thorough frequent reviews were required; and the maxim was continually repeated“not how much, but how well.”
After all the elementary studies were thus reviewed, some of the higher branches were taken up: Among the number were natural philosophy and human physiology, besides higher arithmetic and algebra, of which 'mention has been already made. Composition and declaration were also regularly attended to.
Vocal music has been taught elementarily, so as to prepare the pupils for teaching it to others in a proper manner. Care has also been taken to familiarize the students with many of the little songs adapted to childhood, in order that the graduates may be able to carry into their schools such music as shall be attractive
Drawing, also, it was thought, ought to be taught to all children, no less for its direct utility than for the influence it would have in the cultivation of all their powers, by disciplining the eye, improving the taste, and by awakening the observation both of natural and artificial forms. Besides, a knowledge of drawing greatly facilitates an instructor's power to teach ; and in the absence of apparatus, it is his only way of addressing the eye.
Sub Lecture Exercises.-The course of instruction during the second term did not materially differ from that pursued before. Experience of course sug. gested some modifications, and among these was the introduction of what is familiarly called the “ Sub Lecture Exercise.” Shortly after the middle of the term, a demand was made by the county superintendents, for teachers who should assist in the county institutes, which were to be convened during the approaching vacation of the Normal School. In order therefore to prepare the students for this duty, by improving their ability of communicating their knowledge, the “sub lectures" were introduced. Some fifteen of the more advanced pupils were appointed weekly, who were expected to prepare themselves to elucidate a given topic on the following. Wednesday. The pupil, in the presence of the whole school, was then required to assume the attitude of a teacher, and by means of diagrams on the black-board, &c., to explain, as best he could, the par
to the young