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In the normal school the drawing must be rapid and clear: for the teacher, who will presently have to correct thirty or forty bad drawings at least twice in half an hour, must draw quickly or leave half the work undone; and must draw clearly, or be only half understood. Fine drawing is, therefore, most essential; and exercises which at first take half an hour to get through ought to be repeated until they can be done easily in ten minutes.
Memory and dictation drawing are also of the highest importance to teachers, and should, therefore, form a due proportion in their studies.
It is by no means essential that a power to draw very elaborate or difficult subjects should be possessed by the common-school teacher, but rather the power to draw simple things accurately, quickly, and without a moment's hesitation. That is what will give them the confidence of their pupils, and, what is quite as necessary, confidence in themselves.
Leaving the specialities of the graded schools, I would like now to address to you some general observations on the work of all.
I have put the time given to drawing in all the schools at two hours per week in the class-room ; and, to make it efficient, as much time should be given outside. Little has been said about drawing on the black-board by pupils, because, as the same remark would apply to all the grades, it has been left to be said now.
Every pupil in all the classes and schools, with the exception of the three first classes of the primary
schools, should draw every week upon a large scale on the blackboard; and to make this practical, when three lessons per week are given, one-third of the class should draw each lesson, so that, after three lessons, i. e., the work of one week,-every pupil will have drawn on the board. That applies only to such exercises as consist of outline drawing. Shading ought never to be attempted on a blackboard, nor exercises in color either.
It is safer to keep the lessons a little below the capacities of the pupils than a little above them, and thus to expect better results in the way of clearness and finish than would be possible if the pupil had to struggle hard every new lesson to keep up to his fresh difficulties. And one principle must be ever remembered ; viz., to set our faces steadily against the making of pretty or very elaborate drawings, which consume too much of the little time that can be given to the subject in day schools; also to impress on the minds of the pupils that drawing is not done for its own sake, but learned as a means of understanding other things: it is illustrative rather than objective.
In the discharge of my duties in the State of Massachusetts, I have drawn up a table of the arrangement of studies as described in this paper, so that those who may not have given as much time and attention to the subject as I have might see in a tabulated form what seemed to me to be the best course of study in all the graded schools. It is intended for circulation in the State through the Board of Edu
cation; but, in order that you might the more clearly comprehend my views upon the matter, I have had copies of this scheme struck off for distribution among those teachers who feel interested in the subject, and have put them into the hands of the officers of the Association to be so distributed.
I have to ask your acceptance of them as my contribution towards the object of this meeting; not that I consider the scheme by any means complete, but suggest it, under our present circumstances, as a rough plan of operation in a new field by one who, laboring in that field, has borne a fair share of the burden and heat of the day in days gone by and in countries far away.
I shall further trespass on your forbearance to listen to a few concluding remarks.
After a year's experience in examining and inspecting the teaching of drawing in the schools of this country, I am convinced that there is here a great practical genius for education, which is competent to grasp and comprehend any new subject in a much shorter time than it takes to introduce it into the older countries. Though the schools are not yet perfection, nor the whole of the teachers as highly trained as they might be, I have seen drawing taught in class-rooms in this State by teachers who never had a lesson in drawing in their lives, yet who taught it better, and incomparably better, than I ever saw it taught in any European country.
I think that is something to say; and it fills me with the profoundest satisfaction to be able to say it. Though I have been studying this subject, and teaching the subject, all my working-life, it has been my good fortune to listen to teachers here who have taken it up as one of many subjects they were required to teach, and have seen them give drawinglessons with a clearness, a precision, and practical skill on the blackboard, surpassing any teaching of the kind I ever saw.
That is the ground of my confidence in the teachers of our common schools being perfectly competent to teach drawing. There is yet an absence of the appliances with which to teach ; but we shall get all these in time. It is not possible for this country to remain definitely behind other countries for a long time in anything which is necessary to human progress, or which increases human skill; for, when that is the case, America will have ceased to exist.
Some European countries have had a hundred, some fifty, and some thirty years' start of us in this subject; and that is handicapping us rather heavily in the race for distinction in art-education.
Yet, in these days, progress does not depend so much upon the time we have been traveling as the rate of speed at which we run, and the straightness of the road along which we are progressing. From my own observation, I judge that the balance is considerably in our favor in these respects; and, therefore, though we have yet something to learn, we have happily nothing to unlearn: and the progpects of our winning the race are so good, that I expect to live in the days when European travelers will come across the Atlantic, to study the art-education of America.
This, if it becomes a reality, will be brought about in our common schools more than by schools of art, and by regular teachers like you rather than special teachers like myself: for it is the education which children get that forms the character of a nation ; and the demands of an art-loving people will at all times produce a race of ministering artists.
Let the teaching of drawing in the public schools be sound, practical, and sensible, and art schools, museums, and galleries will as inevitably come as that harvest follows seed-time.
The foundation-stone of American liberty says that all men are born free and equal: as teachers, it is our business to see that this means freedom from ignorance, and equality with the best.
The time-honored arts have not been the monopoly of a race or a period : their features may have changed in revolving centuries; the theatre on which their excellence has been displayed' has shifted from place to place: yet, wherever there has existed a happy combination of freedom, peace, and prosperity, and love of education, there the arts have flourished, and shed lustre and glory upon the race and epoch which have been free, educated, and artistic.
It falls legitimately within the righteous ambition of any nation to desire that its citizens shall be capable of exercising all the nobler faculties of human nature, among which is a reverence for and love of