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Massachusetts may well be proud of the prosperous condition of her common schools, as exhibited in these returns ; but even in her system, both as to organization and administration, as well as in the classification, instruction and discipline of the individual schools, there is occasion for great and immediate improvement.
EDUCATIONAL TRACTS. The series as originally planned was to embrace a number devoted to each of the following topics.
Condition of Education in the United States, according to the census of 1840, with an outline of the System of Common Schools in New York and Connecticut.
System of Common Schools in Massachusetts.
School Architecture, or plans and directions for the location, construction and internal arrangements of school-houses.
Outline of a System of Popular Education for cities and populous villages, with an account of the Public Schools of Boston, Providence, Portland, Philadelphia, Rochester, &c.
Outline of a System of Popular Education for manufacturing communities. Hints respecting the organization and arrangement of Public Schools in agricultural and sparsely populated districts.
Hints respecting the examination of teachers and the visitation of schools.
Library of Education, or a catalogue of books and periodicals, devoted to the theory and practice of education, with an index to the principal topics treated of in such volumes as are most accessible to teachers. Hints and methods for teaching the Alphabet.
Slate and blackboard exercises, with particular reference to teaching small children.
Duties of teacher and pupil in respect to the school-house.
Duties of parents to the school, with plan of an association of the females of a district or town, for the improvement of public schools.
Modes in which young men and young women can become qualified to teach schools.
Teachers' Associations—with plans of organization, and topics for discussions,
Teachers' Institutes—their history, and hints for their organization and management.
Normal Schools—their history in Europe, with an account of the Normal Schools in Massachusetts and New York.
Hints respecting physical education in public schools.
Hints as to instruction in manners and morals, with special reference to the conduct of teachers and pupils, during recess and intermissions.
School Libraries—their history, with a catalogue of suitable volumes, and an index to the most important subjects treated of in them.
Lyceums, Lectures and other means of Popular Education, with plans of organization, &c.
With the number already forwarded we hope during the month of January to supply each subscriber of the Journal with the following “ Tracts.”
No. 1. Condition of Education in the United States.
The preparation in part, and publication of these “ Tracts,” and of the Extra Journal, together with the preparation of a School Register, and attention to the regular duties of our office, have obliged us to postpone the printing of the Report, commenced in the first regular number of the Journal.
Died at Albany, on the 17th of December, Francis Dwight, Esq.
At the time of his death, Mr. Dwight was a member of the Executive Committee of the State Normal School at Albany, as well as Secretary and Treasurer of the Board ; Member and Secretary of the Board of Commissioners of the District Schools of Albany; and Editor of the District School Journal for the State of New York. Since 1838 he has labored with a zeal, devotion and intelligence surpassed by no other, in behalf of the various features of improvement which have been incorporated into the noble system of elementary instruction, of which the Empire State is now so justly proud. One of the first, if not the first Union School in the State, was established inainly by his efforts in the village of Geneva. The District School Journal was started originally at his own risk, as an indispensible auxiliary in the work of improving common schools. The system of county supervision, and of a single executive officer for each town, instead of the irresponsible and complicated plan of numerous commissioners and inspectors for each town; the origination and organization of the State Normal School ; the local improvements in the District Schools of the City of Albany, and the various conventions of County Superintendents, found in him an early and earnest friend, co-operator and advocate. He had consecrated himself to the great work of making education,-education in its large and true sense, the birthright and birth blessing of every child, whether rich or poor, within the bounds of New York; and for this object, he was willing to labor in season and out of season, and to spend and be spent. But in the midst of his labors and his usefulness, he has been cut down ; and to use the language of his associates in the superintendence of the Normal School,
in this sudden and afflictive event, we recognize the frailty of earthly anticipations, and that neither distinguished public services, nor the highest prospect of future usefulness, nor 6 troops of friends," nor high responsibilities, and far reaching benevolence, nor worth, nor talents, can avert the inevitable hour."
We dare not intrude upon the sacredness of private sorrow further than to add, that it was in the courtesies of private life, in the faithful discharge of all the duties of a friend, brother, husband and father, that the excellencies of Mr. Dwight's character were best seen, and it is in these relations that his death is most severely felt.
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 oflicial circulars, 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.
SOME OF THE MODES BY WHICH TEACHERS CAN IMPROVE THEIR
SCHOOLS THIS WINTER.
(Continued from page 30.) 6. They can cultivate the acquaintance and secure the coöperation of the parents of the children under their care.
The earlier a right state of feeling between parents and teachers can be established,—the earlier the home and the school can be brought into their natural alliance in the promotion of a common work, the better for both; and to secure this, teachers must not wait for parents to extend those courtesies and attentions, which every parent ought in common civility to show to a stranger, who is at the same time the teacher of their children. They must take the first steps, and in most cases, must go still further towards forming a personal acquaintance. They must introduce themselves, in the street, or at their homes, to the people among whom they dwell, and for whom they are laboring. A personal interview-an interchange of views as to the studies of the school, the books to be used, the importance of punctual and regular attendance, the desirableness of parental coöperation and visits to the school, and even upon topics of a more general character, will in many cases prevent the growth of prejudice and suspicion in the minds of parents.
go where he cannot go-to be with parents when he cannot be with them to confirm what he may have said, by the testimony and views of others, every teacher should provide himself with copies of one or more of the various Lectures, Essays and Tracts, in which the “duties of parents to their school” are set forth, and circulate them among the families of his district.
To aid teachers in their efforts in this direction, we publish the following “ Letter from a Teacher, to the Parents of his Pupils,” prepared at our request by one of the best teachers in New England, as one of the series of Educational Tracts.
Respected FriendS—The connection which subsists between us, as parents and teacher, induces me to address you, briefly, respecting some of our mutual duties,-upon the proper appreciation and due performance of which depend, in a great degree, the future success and welfare of your children. I feel that we are mutually engaged in a great work,—a work which demands our most serious consideration, and one which loudly calls for the exercise of our united wisdom and hearty co-operation :--this work is the training and disciplining the objects of your dearest affection, so that they may become virtuous and happy citizens, and “ act well their parts” on the busy stage of life ; alike an honor to themselves, to you, to me, and to the community.
As, therefore, we are engaged in a work at once so important and so interesting in its results, it seems to me extremely desirable that a good understanding subsist between us, and that we coöperate in every suitable manner and on every proper occasion. In sending your children to my school you have placed them under my care, and expect them to spend many precious hours of their youth under my immediate instruction and influence. You, doubtless expect much of me, and, if you faithfully perform your duties, you have a right to expect much. I feel, I trust, to some extent, the immense responsibility of my situation, and will endeavor to labor “ with all diligence” in the discharge of my arduous duties, and I hope I shall be enabled to answer every reasonable expectation on your part. But, that I may labor more successfully, as well as more cheerfully, will you allow me, in a plain, familiar manner, to call your attention to a few particulars in which your cordial coöperation is most earnestly and affectionately solicited ? I will promise, on my part, not to ask for any thing which shall not tend to the greatest advancement of your children, and to the promotion of their welfare.
1. I RESPECTFULLY INVITE YOU TO CONSIDER THE GREAT IMPORT
I have reason to believe that some parents have not given merited attention to these points. Do you not think that children are often kept from school, or sent late, without any sufficient reason? Perhaps you have never duly considered the evils incident to inconstant or "unseasonable attendance, and, if so, allow me to call your attention to one or two of them, and others will readily suggest themselves to your mind. Let us, then, notice the tendency, or some of the consequences of frequent absences.
1. If children are often allowed to be absent, for no good reason, they are, virtually, taught to look upon their school and its duties as of quite secondary importance. If the doing of some trifling errand, the making or receiving visits, or the participating in some pleasure excursion, is allowed to interfere with school obligations, your children will, most assuredly, consider the engrossing object, or objects, as of paramount value. Of course their interest will be diminished, and their progress retarded, in a degree proportionate to the extent and frequency of the infringement upon the claims of the school. you wished for a lad to assist you on your farm, in your shop or counting-room, you would insist upon having his undivided time and attention. This would be requisite for his good as well as for yours. If you should have, in your employ, an apprentice who should frequently absent himself, and allow unimportant engagements or amusements to absorb time and attention which should be devoted to gaining a knowledge of his trade, you would at once conclude that he would never become a proficientin it. And will it not be the same in school affairs ? Are not your children apprentices in the school of knowledge, which is designed to prepare them for the school of life? And have you ever considered that only the prompt and faithful discharge of the duties of apprenticeship can qualify them for workmen “that need not be ashamed of their work," when they shall have served out their time and taken their stand with the free actors on the stage of life? If you have not, let me beseech you, as you prize the good of your children, and wish their greatest advancement, to pause and reflect.
2. If children are often absent they will fall behind their classmates in their studies, and consequently, lose much of their interest in them, and, perhaps, acquire an actual dislike for school and all its crercises. Of necessity most of the instruction in large schools must