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Nor is this all. There is unquestionably a choice of studies to be regarded here. The studies to be pursued in our training schools for elementary teachers ought in a measure to be determined not so much by the branches which are but which ought to be taught in the common schools. There are some things attempted to be taught, especially in the district schools, which ought to have no place there, since they exclude other studies of far greater use to the people. We might instance algebra, higher arithmetic, mental arithmetic, pursued as an independent study, and carried to the extreme of abuse in enforced logical processes beyond the apprehension of children. We may also mention surveying, natural philosophy, and astronomy, out of their proper order and connection. Of the excluded studies we will merely name the elements of the natural and physical sciences, especially physics, chemistry, and botany, in their relations to agriculture and the mechanic arts. These are studies of the first importance to the industrial classes, and as far as possible they ought either to accompany or supplement thorough instruction in the so-called common branches. With our elementary schools properly regulated; with the studies clearly defined and limited as they should be; and, above all, with a generation of teachers such as the American people need and must have, these things will be practicable. Under an organization and administration of our school system in all its parts corresponding with the necessities and the wealth of the nation; with the studies suitably selected and limited, and with a supply of teachers worthy of their high vocation, we should see the rising generations in our country better trained, better educated, better fitted to enter upon the work of life at the age of twelve years than most young men and women now are at eighteen, or ever thereafter. There are those here who believe this possible, because they have seen the truth of the statement repeatedly verified. There is a vast waste of time, treasure, and power growing out of the imperfect organization and direction of the educational forces of this country, which goes far to account for the waste in every other direction.
A course of studies for the schools of the people should be wisely adapted to the condition and wants of the people. It should be such as promises them the broadest, fullest development possible within the limits of time which they can devote to it. It should be such as will, to the greatest practicable extent, aid them in their occupations, and fit them for their duties as men and citizens. It should be such as will stimulate them to the life-long duty of self-culture after the temporary aids afforded by schools are withdrawn. As only the few are able to ascend so far as to claim the privileges of the higher institutions, the courses of study for the elementary schools should be selected less with reference to a preparation for the higher courses, if need be, than for the duties of life. As the common schools are for the masses, and as the masses cannot go beyond them, the interests of the higher institutions, when necessary, must yield to the interests of the masses.
The committee have suggested that a course of study is only one of the means by which the ends of school training are to be realized. Our children and youth should not only learn the right, but learn to do the right. It is essential that they practice as well as know the truth, and this is the essence of the training system. That school stops far short of its true goal which neglects the assiduous cultivation of the personal habits, manners and morals of its pupils. Carelessness slays its thousands and wastes its millions annually. Wantonness destroys more than prudence saves. Hundreds of our American schools are little less than undisciplined juvenile mobs, knowing and respecting no law save the wild passions of the hour. The representative young American is a child that neither reverences nor obeys his superiors; is impatient of restraint, and seemingly bent upon “rule or ruin.” Multitudes of our school-houses and their appurtenances bear witness to this truth, resembling the sad relics of an ill-spent life.
Now the committee feel compelled to suggest that this subject of discipline and the formation of character comes legitimately within the scope of the present discussion. It matters not how complete our scheme for intellectual culture may be, if we neglect the personal, social, and moral habits of our youth it is all in vain; it is worse than useless. In these evil tendencies there is a profound significance, an ominous import. Here is the key to the lawlessness, corruption, wastefulness and other wrongs which menace the peace and safety of our society. These evils have their root in the slip-shod discipline as well as in the superficial teaching of the common schools. The committee believe that it is the supreme function of every school to aim directly at the habits and character of its pupils, and not alone at the technical instruction of the text-books and the intellectual routine of the class-room.
The professional training schools afford the means whereby the work of reformation in these respects may be begun. The teacher, the teacher, is the central power and the inspirer of all reforms in education. “Whatever you would have appear in the life of a nation," say the Prussians, “ you must put into its schools.” And, we venture to add, that whatever you would put into its schools you must first put into its teachers through the agencies which prepare them for their great work.
In proposing an outline of a course of study and training for elementary teachers, it seems necessary to fix upon some definite standard of admission as a basis of the course. This is a somewhat perplexing task, owing to the varying standards of teaching in different localities. The normal school is compelled, by the necessities of its position in the system, to adjust itself to the condition and circumstances of the subordinate parts of that system. It must at first let itself down so far as to be accessible by average of those who have received their preparation in the lower schools. Otherwise its rooms would be tenantless and its occupation would be gone. Gradually, however, it can and should elevate its standard of admission, and by this means, as well as through the influence which its graduates will exert by their superior methods of teaching,
it will constantly raise the character of the schools in the community. We propose a standard which is limited in the extent of its requirements. But this would be compensated for in the rigor and thoroughness of the preliminary examination. “Not how much, but how well,” should be the test of admission to a training school for elementary teachers. The subjoined standard may be lowered when necessary to meet the exigencies of particular location.
Without further remark, the committee suggest the following as a suitable standard of admission to an elementary normal school:
1. The ability to spell correctly. 2. A free and legible handwriting. 3. The power to read fluently and to enunciate with distinctness all ordinary words of the language.
4. The ability to parse and analyze any common English sentence.
5. The power to perform with facility all the processes of elementary arithmetic to percentage.
6. A knowledge of the leading facts of mathematical geography, and of the political geography of the United States.
7. Satisfactory evidence of good moral character. 8. A sound, healthy body.
Assuming this as a basis, the committee suggest the following as affording an excellent course for the preparation of elementary teachers, covering a period of two years. Both the standard of admission and the course itself may be modified-either raised or lowered, to suit the necessities and circumstances of particular localities. It is impossible to lay down a course that will meet the demands of all places.
In presenting this course we assume also that one of the best methods of teaching how to teach any subject is actually to teach that subject upon the most approved plan. This method, however, is but one of many, and should never be exclusively relied upon. Special drill in the art of teaching should be a constant accompaniment of the course.
Proposed course of study and training in a normal school for the preparation of elementary
teachers. Time, two years; each year to be subdivided into two terms of twenty weeks each.
Parts of speech and their properties.
Composition. Parsing and analysis of
sentences. Elementary arithmetic, including mental Processes and principles from the beginprocesses.
ning to percentage. Mental practice.
Methods of rapid calculation. Writing and drawing
Theory and art of penmanship. Free draw
United States and Europe comprehen
sively studied. Map drawing. Botany, as a means of cultivating observing Morphology of leaves. Stems. Roots. powers, (8 weeks.)
Use of schedules. Physiology, (12 weeks.) To follow botany.. General outlines of the subject. Hygienic
rules. Theory and practice of teaching
Observation and criticism of teaching
exercises. Lessons in teaching primary
reading and number classes. Vocal and physical training
Free calisthenic exercises. Musical nota
tion and reading through key of C.
Simple chorus practice. Ethical instruction......
Manners and morals. Formation of right Proposed course of study and training in a normal school, 80.-Continued.
English grammar, (completed).
Analysis and parsing completed. Im
promptu composition. Brief essays and
theses. Elementary arithmetic, (completed) Percentage. Ratio and proportion. Roots.
Alligation. Mensuration analysis. Mental processes. Commercial calculations.
Methods of rapid calculation. Drawing.
Perspective. Drawing of simple objects. Botany, (8 or 10 weeks)
Continued to analysis and classification
of plants. Use of schedules continued. Geography, (completed)
Asia comprehensively. General review of the geography of the world. Map con
struction. Methods of rapid delineation. Geometry ...
Geometrical facts. Lines. Figures. Defini
tions inferred. Theory and practice of teaching-(Con- Lessons and criticism of methods in lantinued.)
guage, form, and place. Book-keeping...
Theory and practice in double entry and in business
forms. Vocal and physical culture
Reading and singing in all scales and
keys. Written exercises. Rythmic exercises. Transposition. Chorus practice.
SECOND YEAR-FIRST TERM.
Phenomena of ocean and atmosphere.
Geography. (To follow reading)...
Nomenclature. Study of elements. Ex
perimental practice in laboratory, Calisthenic exercises. Chorus practice. Practice and criticism of object lessons.
Management and methods with advanced classes.
Elements and compounds. Lectures. La
boratory manipulation. Geology..
General principles. Field work. Classifi
cation of specimens. Geometry, (4 books)
Demonstrations inferred from facts and
Resumed and completed. Theory and practice of teaching.. School organization, discipline, and man
agement. School laws. History of educa
tion. Philosophy of education, including mental Nervous mechanism. The senses. Sensaphilosophy.
tion, perception, observation, memory reason, imagination, &c. Principles and methods of training inferred from the above.
For the purpose of indicating the great degree of interest felt in the promotion of education throughout the country, by those who are most directly engaged in this work, and the character and amount of effort already employed, we give, in this connection, a brief account of some of the meetings held by several important educational associations during the last year.
THE NATIONAL TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION. This body met Wednesday morning, August 17, in the hall of the Central High School, Cleveland, Ohio, the president, D. B. Hagar, of Salem, Massachusetts, in the chair. An address of welcome by E. R. Perkins, president of the Cleveland board of education, was happily responded to by the president, in behalf of the association, who then proceeded to the delivery of the annual address, giving an interesting review of the history of the association, including its organization in 1857, the nine annual meetings since held, and the changes in its constitution, closing with a recommendation of its reorganization on a more comprehensive plan.
A report was then presented by S. H. White, of Illinois, on “the revision of the constitution,” submitting a plan for the consolidation of the three national associations into one organization, under the title of The National Educational Association, with four departments, to wit: School superintendence, normal schools, elementary schools, and higher instruction. The constitution was unanimously adopted.
Dr. J. W. Hoyt, of Wisconsin, presented a report on a “national university,” stating concisely the leading offices of a true university, and the need of such an institution in this country. On the question of ways and means, the how of the undertaking, the committee wisely asked for more time.
Dr. J. B. Thompson, of New York, gave a valuable report on the “decimal system of weights and measures,” closing with the following resolutions, which were adopted;
Resolved, That a universal system of weights and measures, founded upon a common standard and the decimal notation, is alike important to commercial intercourse between different and distant nations, and to the progress of science and civilization throughout the world.
Resolved, That in the opinion of this association the metric system is nearer perfect than any other yet reached, and, therefore, has the strongest claims for universal adop- . tion.
Resolved, That we recommend its early introduction into our schools and seminaries of learning, as the best means of popularizing the system, and securing its general use among the people.
E. A. Sheldon, principal of the Oswego Normal and Training School, presented a paper on the proper work of a primary school,” in which the author's views on primary education were given, urging the importance of the training of the senses by means of object lessons, in which the teacher is the guide, and claiming that more progress is made by pupils in reading, spelling, arithmetic, &c., when such additional lessons are given than without them.
Two lessons given to classes of small pupils, by Misses M. A. Lanyea and Kate Stephan, teachers in the public schools of Cleveland, followed; the first to illustrate the method of writing numbers by the decimal notation, and the second being an object lesson on knives.
The address of the evening was by General Eaton, national Commissioner of Education, on the relation of the National Government to education," commencing with a history of the colonial and early action of the Government; noticing the things that Congress may not do in relation to public education; and next, mentioning some of the things which the Government may do in relation to education, viz: it may do all things required for education in the Territories; in the District of Columbia; by its treaties with and its obligations to the Indians; it may do all that its international relations require in regard to education; may call persons or States to account for whatever has been intrusted to them by it for educational purposes; may use either the public domain or the money received from its sale for the benefit of education; may know all about education in the country, and communicate of what it knows at the discretion of Congress and the Executive; may make laws for these several purposes, and the federal courts may adjudicate questions under them. In accordance with these laws, plainly the Government should provide a national educational office and an officer, and furnish him clerks and all means for the fulfillment of the national educational obligations; and it may take such exceptional action as exceptional circumstances may require—for the public welfare ; for the assurance of a republican form of Government; for the protection of the liberty of those lately slaves; for the security of their citizenship; for the free exercise of the right to vote; for the equality of all men before the law; and for the fitting of any citizen for any responsibility the nation may impose on him.
The committee appointed to report on the address of General Eaton, subsequently submitted the following resolutions, which were adopted :
Resolved, That we heartily approve the views and recommendations therein so ably stated and urged.
Resolved, That we respectfully petition Congress to make a larger appropriation of money to meet what seems to us the first claims of general education upon the national Bureau.
Resolved, That General Eaton, together with the presiding officers of this association, be a committee to press the matters here referred to upon the attention of Congress.
Thursday's proceedings included
1. The election of officers, consisting of Hon. J. L. Pickard, Chicago, Illinois, president; John Hancock, Cincinnati, Ohio, secretary, with twelve vice-presidents and twenty-seven directors.
2. An excellent paper by Professor Eben Tourjee, director of the New England conservatory of music, Boston, on "music in its relations to common school education.” He presented cogent arguments in favor of the general introduction of music as a branch of school education, and referred to the musical instruction in the schools of Boston as an illustration of methods and results. The paper was followed by a brief discussion.
3. A model lesson in vocal music, by Professor Miller, of Illinois, the members of the association forming the class; and a musical exercise with a class of girls, conducted by Professor N. C. Stewart, of Cleveland.
4. A discussion on the motives and means which should be made prominent in school discipline and instruction, which was participated in by Hon. J. L. Pickard, and Hon. E. Weston, Illinois ; Miss Eliza Schofield, Pennsylvania; J. H. Hoose and Mr. Johonnet, New York; President E. T. Tappan, President J. H. Fairchild, and E. E. White, Ohio. It was generally agreed that natural incentives should be used in preference to artificial. Natural incentives were divided into higher and lower, and the preference given to the former, when they can be made effective. The discussion was pointed, praetical, and sensible, and, as a consequence, it was listened to with very great interest.
5. An instructive address by J. W. Dickinson, of Massachusetts, on the “schools and educational system of Germany." He gave the results of his observations with respect to courses of study, manner of teaching and government, compensation and qualification of teachers, &c. Many facts were stated in answer to questions, and, at the close, a hearty vote of thanks indicated the interest and satisfaction of the audience.
The principal exercises of Friday's session were
1. A practical paper by J. H. Blodgett, of Illinois, on “the claims of English grammar in common schools, which was followed by a spirited discussion, participated in by Z. Richards, Washington; Hon. B. C. Hobbs, Indiana ; and others.
2. An able paper by William T. Harris, superintendent of public schools, St. Louis, on “thc use and abuse of text-books." After a suggestive review of the history and growth of systems of teaching, he considered the comparative merits of oral and textbook instruction. He conceded the value of object-teaching in primary schools, but objected to allowing oral instruction too large a place. He favored text-book teachirg. The subject was discussed by Superintendent J. W. Bulkley, Brooklyn; Doctor Spear, Philadelphia ; Doctor McGuffey, Virginia ; Z. Richards, Washington; A. E. Sheldon, Oswego; and others.
3. An able and eloquent address by Hon. F. A. Sawyer, United States Senator, South Carolina, on the question, “What can free schools do for a State ?"
Commissioner Eaton followed with a few remarks; the customary resolutions of thanks were passed; President Hagar congratulated the members on the harmony and success of the session, and the association adjourned.
The great feature of the proceedings was the consolidation of the three national associations into a national educational association, with four departments, as follows:
National Educational Association.—President, J. L. Pickard, Chicago, Illinois; secretary, W.E. Crosby, Davenport, Iowa.
Normal school department. -- President, S. H. White, Peoria, Illinois; vice-president, C. C. Rounds, Farmington, Maine; secretary, A. L. Barbour, Washington, D. C.
Department of higher instruction.-President, C. W. Eliot, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; vice-president, N. S. Cobleigh, Delaware, Ohio; secretary, S. G. Williams, Cleveland, Ohio; corresponding secretary, Eli T. Tappan, Gambier, Ohio.
Elementary department.-President, È. A. Sheldon, Oswego, New York; vice-president, A. C. Shortridge, Indianapolis, Indiana; secretary, W. E. Sheldon, Waltham, Massachusetts.
National School Superintendents' Association.-President, W.D. Henkle, Columbus, Ohio; vice-president, W. M. Colby, Little Rock, Arkansas; secretary, Warren Johnson, Augusta, Maine.
AMERICAN NORMAL ASSOCIATION. This association met in the hall of the Central High School, Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday morning, August 14, with an unusually large attendance. The president, Pro