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mal Schools shall serve as an entrance to work in the public schools
The time allotted to this paper forbids that I should attempt to speak of the details necessarily involved in the plan proposed, or of the advantages that would be likely to result from the practical working of such a plan.
Thus much in answer to the question, By whom should teachers be examined ?
II. My second question is, What qualifications are needed in a teacher?
1. Right moral character. By this I mean not merely freedom from gross vices. I mean a character that embraces loftiness of motives, fidelity to trusts, freedom from undue selfishness, self-control, and thorough conscientiousness in the discharge of duty.
2. Right intelectual character, including commonsense, good judgment, tact, ability to perceive and comprehend scientific truths and to arrange them systematically, and ability to analyze the complex and skilfully combine the simple.
3. Good personal address, including refinement and politeness of manners, courteousness, and, in general, those qualities that manifestly distinguish the real from the sham gentleman or lady.
4. Knowledge. (a.) A knowledge of human nature, of the laws of mind.
(6.) A knowledge of the subjects to be taught. (c.) A knowledge of some collateral branches.
(a.) Especially a knowledge of the best ways and methods of developing mind and of imparting instruction.
5. Practical skill in teaching and in exciting mental activity.
6. Ability to govern a school on right principles.
7. Physical strength and endurance sufficient for the proper discharge of one's assigned duties.
These are the most important qualifications of a teacher.
III. The question now arises, How shall the possession of these qualifications be ascertained? My answer is, by personal inspection and observation ; by formal examinations, written and oral; and by the testimony of trustworthy persons.
Let us see how far these means apply to the several specified qualifications.
1. The possession of a right moral character by a candidate for appointment as a teacher cannot be ascertained by a formal examination, for one may correctly enunciate sound moral principles, and yet his practice may be far from praiseworthy. We must here depend upon personal knowledge, or upon testimony which ought to be obtained with the utmost care. As the moral influence of the teacher upon his pupils is of the very highest importance, too much importance cannot be given to this qualification.
2. The possession of right intellectual character can be measurably ascertained, partly by competent testimony and partly by the manner in which the candidate develops the subjects 'presented in the written examination, and by the clearness, fulness, and readiness with which he expresses his thoughts in the oral examination.
3. The possession of a good personal address, agreeable manners, and kindred qualities can be determined largely by observation, by conversation with the candidate, and by the evidence of those who have intimately known him.
4. Knowledge. A written or oral examination, wisely conducted, can be made to show whether or not a candidate has a knowledge of the laws of mind. Such an examination should relate especially to those principles which are of practical use in education, and need not include the less important discussions of psychological science.
That a candidate has a knowledge of the subjects he is expecting to teach, and of some collateral branches, can be best obtained by an extended written examination, which shall present an ample variety of topics in each branch of study. Reliable testimony may also be considered, and the examiners ought to inquire as to what opportunities for obtaining an education the candidate has had, in what schools and by what teachers he has been taught, and what is the evidence which those teachers give in regard to him.
In regard to written examinations with reference to the possession of knowledge, we may properly inquire, What should they embrace, and on what principle should they be conducted? The studies they should include, so far as a particular candidate is concerned, depend upon whether that candidate is expecting to be a general teacher in a certain grade of schools, or a special teacher in a certain department. In the former case, the candidate ought certainly to be well acquainted with all the studies he is to teach ; but the examination should, in my opinion, be chiefly directed to the principles involved in those studies, rather than to a knowledge of individual facts. For example, to be able to state good ways of developing and teaching the topics of geography is more important than to exhibit a minute knowledge of geographical facts; and in
arithmetic, to be able to unfold principles and clearly to explain processes is vastly more important than to be able to solve certain difficult problems.
The examination should, as far as possible, give : proof of a knowledge of right ways of teaching, in preference to a technical knowledge of facts; for whoever has the former can readily make up deficiencies in the latter.
This is the main principle as to the character of the examination.
If a candidate expects to teach as a specialist in a particular department, he ought to be chiefly examined with reference to his specialty. Thus, a college graduate, who at some time may have been thoroughly acquainted with the entire curriculum of college, may for years have devoted himself to some one science, as chemistry, or botany, or mathematics. He expects and is expected to teach in his chosen departinent and in no other. Suppose it to be that of chemistry ; shall he be required to pass a critical examination, or any examination, in Greek and Latin and mathematics and logic, as an indispensable condition of being permitted to teach chemistry?
We must also take into account, in the case of the general teacher as well as of the specialist, what his experience has been. Thus, a good general scholar becomes a professor of Latin in some college or other institution. For years he devotes himself to the study of that language. As a natural consequence, he gradually becomes forgetful of many things which he once well knew in other studies, and which, if need be, he can soon recall. If critically examined in those other studies to-day, he would probably fail. Sball he, there
fore, be deemed incompetent to take charge of a high school or an academy? How many college professors of five years' standing can pass as good an examination in all the studies required for admission to college as can the boys fresh from the high school or the academy? And my query implies no disparagement of the professors. They do not profess to know everything, or to remember everything they once knew. To retain fresh in mind the new freshman's particular knowledge can be accomplished only by perpetually fresh labor on the freshman's preparatory studies; and a professor of five years' standing, who has kept himself qualified to pass a critical examination in all the studies required for admission to college, may be justly suspected of neglecting, in some measure, the duties of his professorship, in order to keep himself prepared to become a freshman. So, too, with principals of secondary schools. For twenty years it was my work to prepare boys for college ; and yet to-day, after having been thirteen years employed in doing a different work, I should certainly shrink from the examination for entrance to Harvard.
It follows from these and similar considerations, that while a technical examination has its value, it does not, after all, afford the most trustworthy means of determining who are the best fitted to perform satisfactory work as teachers. Young men and women, fresh from their studies, ought to pa-s better examinations in the details of those studies than those who, although once familiar with them, have been for years engaged in teaching only a part of them, and at the same time, perhaps, in successfully conducting the affairs of a school. I expect that, as a matter of course, the graduates of high schools who enter my own school will