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tion of a State series of text-books was one important measure to be acted upon; recommended the appointment of committees on school laws and State Normal School; and summed up the improvements made in the school laws during a period of four years.
George W. Minns delivered an address on "Methods of Teaching."
Mr. Swett, who was appointed to present the subject of "Object Teaching" and "Gymnastics," introduced first an object lesson, and then a gymnastic class from the Rincon School, which went through with double and single dumb-bell exercises, free gymnastics, calisthenics, wands, and Indian club exercises.
James Denman delivered an address on "School Discipline." Mr. Sparrow Smith moved that a committee of three teachers be appointed to report on establishing a State Teachers' Journal, and Messrs. Smith, Gates and Minns were appointed.
George W. Minns was made Chairman of a Standing Committee on Text-Books, to report at the next Institute. Mr. Smith, of Sacramento, from the Committee on State school journal, reported in favor of appointing a standing committee to devise ways and means for publishing such a journal, and after the appointment of this committee, the Institute adjourned sine die. The proceedings were published in pamphlet form.
4. SECOND STATE INSTITUTE.
The Second State Institute was convened in Sacramento by Superintendent Moulder, September 23, 1862, and continued in session three days, with an attendance of 100 members.
Superintendent Moulder made a brief introductory address. Mr. George W. Bonnell delivered an address on the "Art of Memory," illustrated by a pupil from his school.
Mr. Minns, Chairman of Standing Committee on Text-Books, made a lengthy report on that subject. Union resolutions were unanimously and enthusiastically adopted.
Mr. Pierce, of Yolo, introduced a resolution in favor of a law requiring a uniform State series of text-books, which after a long debate was passed by a vote of 26 to 24.
Mr. Sparrow Smith introduced a resolution, which was adopted, to appoint a standing committee of twelve on State Teachers' Journal.
Mr. Minns delivered a very eloquent and able lecture on "Moral Instruction."
Supt. Moulder then closed the Institute with the following remarks:
Before putting the question to adjourn sine die, I desire to express my earnest thanks for the kindness and consideration you have exhibited toward your presiding officer, and more especially for the warm and flattering terms in which you have seen fit to speak of my official action during the past six years.
It is deeply gratifying to find that I have met the approval of those who ought best to know how I have performed the duties of my office, and whose good opinion is therefore most to be desired.
My connection with you, fellow-workers in the cause, has always been harmonious and agreeable. In retiring to private life, I shall retain a pleasing recollection of our long association. From the bottom of my heart I wish you all a prosperous and happy career. Thanking you again for your unvarying courtesy and your kind expressions of approval, I bid you farewell, and declare this convention adjourned sine die.
The proceedings were published in pamphlet form.
At this Institute, the State Board of Examination, consisting of the State Superintendent and six County Superintendents, held an oral examination and issued 5 State grammar school certificates and 12 "Mixed School" certificates, valid for two years.
5. THIRD STATE INSTITUTE.
The third State Institute, called by State Superintendent Swett, assembled in San Francisco, May 4, 1863, in the New Music Hall, the largest and finest hall in the city. Four hundred and sixty-three registered members were in attendance. The daily sessions were also attended by hundreds of other persons, and at the evening lectures the hall was filled to its utmost capacity. In the circular announcing this Institute is found the following on the benefits of Institutes:
No argument is needed to prove the great advantages resulting from Teachers' Institutes. They are not intended as substitutes for Normal Schools, nor can they educate teachers to the business of their profession; yet they serve the most admirable purpose of improving those who are only temporarily engaged in the profession, of furnishing those who are not systematically trained, with the best methods of instruction, and of increasing the efficiency of professional teachers.
The exercises of an Institute involve an outline view of subjects relating to the proper mode of imparting instruction, present the latest information regarding the progress of education in our own and in other countries, and afford an occasion for experienced teachers to present practical views, which cannot be obtained from books. The best thoughts and best acquirements of the most original teachers are elicited and thrown into the common stock of professional knowledge. They influence public opinion, by bringing the teacher's labors more prominently before the community, and by promoting a higher estimate of the Common School in its vital relation to society and the State. The routine of a teacher's daily life limits his influence to the narrow sphere of the school-room; but the proceedings of an Institute are carried by the press to thousands of families in the State, and his views become an active element in public opinion. No obstacle to the progress of Free Schools is so formidable as the apathy and indifference of the people. Eloquence the most winning, and logic the most convincing, alike fall dead upon the ears of those who see nothing in the establishment of Common Schools but an increase of the rates of taxation. But let the true relation of schools to property be once clearly seen, let it be generally known that the value of property increases with the excellence of the schools, and real estate cheerfully consents to be taxed, from motives of self-interest. The axiom in our American system of Free Schools, that it is the bounden duty of the property of the State to provide for the education of all the children of the State, rich and poor alike, is in accordance with the spirit of our Government, and should be insisted on by the people to the very fullest extent. If the people of our State are indifferent to Public Schools, it is only because more absorbing topics engage their attention, while the educational interests are not urgently and persistently presented to their view.
Association in some form is one of the most powerful agencies of the times. In conventions of industry and arts, mind is dignifying the labor of the artisan. Farmers have their agricultural societies, and hold their annual fairs, in which are exhibited the best stock, the choicest varieties of grain and vegetables, the most approved agricultural implements, and the best labor-saving machines. inventions, improvements, and discoveries of one, thus become the common property of all..
And while Institutes have accomplished so much in introducing better methods of instruction, they are no less beneficial in their effects on the mental habits of the teachers. Constantly imparting to minds inferior to his own, his faculties exercised in one direction only, his full strength seldom called forth, he needs the stimulus of contact with his equals, or superiors. A vigorous contest in a new arena lessens his self-conceit, and brightens his faculties.
It is a common notion that the occupation of teaching makes a man narrow-minded, or leads him into eccentricities, which stick to him like burs; but it is not true of a teacher who has in him the elements of living scholarship. He may, it is true, run in the grooves of daily habit, until he becomes a machine for dragging the dead weight of a school; but, on the other hand, he may, while im
parting to others, himself drink from the perennial fountain of true scholarship.
But no occupation is more exhausting to nervous force and mental energy than teaching; and the teacher needs, above all others, the cheering influences of pleasant social intercourse with those whose tastes and habits are similar to his own.
No wonder, then, that the schoolmaster, buried in some obscure district, surrounded only by the raw material of mind, which he is trying to weave into a finer texture, without access to books, his motives either misunderstood or aspersed, his labors often seemingly barren of results, his services half paid, with no amusement but the collection of delinquent rate bills, and no study but "how to make both ends meet; no wonder that he sometimes becomes moody and disheartened, loses his enthusiasm, and feels that the very sky above him is one vast blackboard, on which he is condemned to work out the sum total of his existence.
He only needs the social intercourse of institutes, and the cordial sympathy of fellow-teachers, there evoked, to make the heavens. glow with hope. There he finds his difficulties are shared by others, his labors are appreciated, and his vocation respected.
The duties of the teacher are not limited to the school-room; his influence should extend to society around him. If teachers fold their arms in listless apathy, it is not strange that public opinion is "dead as a door nail" to their demands. There was a time when a man taught school because he was fit for nothing else; but all such fossils lie buried in the strata of past educational epochs. Now, a living man is asked for, not an abridgment of mathematics. While a State Institute is designed more especially for the teachers of public schools, professors and instructors in colleges and private institutions of learning are hardly less interested in the success and influence of this educational meeting. The interests of colleges and collegiate institutions are intimately connected with those of the public schools. All those who acquire an elementary education in the common schools, necessarily seek in private institutions of learning to complete a full course of instruction. The better the public schools, the larger will be the number of those whose minds shall be awakened to pursue a course of study beyond the range of the common school. Before our higher institutions can produce disciplined thinkers, and thoroughly trained professional men, the elementary schools must be carried to a corresponding degree of excellence.
As teachers, we are debtors to our profession; and our patriotism ought to incite us to an earnest devotion to the advancement of our system of Free Schools; a system essential to the existence of a free people, and the permanence of a free government.
It is our duty to cultivate in our schools a higher regard for freedom, a sounder faith in the fundamental principles upon which a representative government is based, and a higher estimate of the incalculable blessings conferred by the Constitution-firm in the conviction that our country is working out for the future, amid the present storm, a higher order of civilization and a nobler conception of liberty.
The course of lectures was as follows:
George W. Minns: Physical Geography of the United States. Prof. J. D. Whitney: Character of Humboldt. Rev. Thomas Starr King: James Russell Lowell, or the "Bigelow Papers.' John Swett: Duties of the State to Public Schools. Prof. S. I. C. Swezey State Normal Schools, and how to teach English Composition. Rev. S. H. Wiley: The Place and Relations of the College in our System of Education. H. P. Carlton: Object Teaching. D. C. Stone: Grammar. Bernhard Marks: Waste in School. Supt. Swett: Common Sense applied to Teaching. John E. Benton: Elocution. John S. Hittell: Defects in Teaching. Dr. F. W. Hatch: Need of Good Teachers. Hubert Burgess: Linear Drawing. Ahira Holmes: Report of State Normal School.
The proceedings were published in a neat pamphlet form of 166 pages, and an edition of 2400 copies was distributed among teachers and school officers.
One of the most important results of the Institute was the action taken in favor of a State tax for the support of schools. The State Superintendent urged this measure in a lengthy address.
The recommendation for a State tax met the approval of the Institute; and the State Superintendent was instructed to prepare a form of petition to the Legislature on the subject, and to circulate it in every school district in the State.
The following form was accordingly prepared, circulated and signed by more than six thousand voters:
PETITION FOR STATE SCHOOL TAX.
To the Honorable the Members of the Legislature of the State of California:
WHEREAS, We believe that it is the duty of a representative government to maintain public schools as an act of self-preservation, and that the property of the State should be taxed to educate the children of the State; and whereas, the present School Fund is wholly inadequate to sustain a system of free schools; we, the undersigned, qualified electors of the State of California, respectfully ask your honorable body to levy a special State tax of half a mill on the dollar during the fiscal years eighteen hundred and sixty-four and eighteen hundred and sixty-five, the proceeds of the same to be disbursed in the same manner as the present State School Fund.
The next important measure was the action relating to a State educational journal.