Imagens da página

parish consider the matter of salary and meeting-house, one or more of his own profession tests his fitness for the sacred calling, criticises his early efforts, and suggests means for professional improvement.

Unless a sense of professional dignity be aroused and maintained, there are reasons to fear that persons of self-respect will not long continue in a pursuit into which they are inducted, and in which they are governed by some who are not qualified to engage in the same work; yet such is the course to which the teacher is subjected. The necessity of an educator at the head of an educational system being clear, and his qualifications adequate, the question arises, In what mapner shall he do his office ? Briefly, to secure the greatest efficiency on the part of the teacher, and the best culture for the pupils.

It is in these things that the closest inspection is requisite. Let such an individual visit a school. On approachiug the house, he observes the least inappropriateness of its surroundings; nothing out of repair or uukept escapes his notice. Within, he exercises the same vigilance. It is quite possible that the teacher from being accustomed to seeing such things as they are does not see that they are not as they should be; hence the supervisor notifies him of what he can remedy, and suggests that he inform the School Committee of what they should improve.

In these respects, he can accomplish a work in practice, which the normal principal can only present in theory, or exhibit to pupils (not yet teachers) in the neatness and harmony of his own establishment.

But these things are exterior to the direct and essential labors of the teacher, and had much better be never noticed than be raised to such prominence that the teacher and pupils are more thoughtful and concerned about them than about culture. The “ right man in the right place," as supervisor, be he superintendent or committee, will be tender of the feelings of the teacher, and, while criticising the work in such a manner as will lead to improvement, will do so without belittling the teacher in the eyes of the pupils, or discouraging him from effort. A teacher, justly deserving such comment, ought not to become indignant or depressed on privately receiving, orally or by note, kindly meant words similar to those used by Dr. Hart, — not privately, as we here suggest, but publicly before his assembled classes. 6 Miss

gave the C class (in the Model School) a lesson in Elocution. She failed in teaching.

“The pupils read badly, and many errors were made, but there were no criticisms.

“The lady spoke in a very low tone, and seemed to be afraid of the class. She did not read a single line for her pupils. Reading cannot be taught properly by arbitrary rules, the voice of the living teacher is indispensable. Teaching average, 65." Miss gave the D. class a lesson in history.

She is one of the best teachers in her class. She is sprightly, animated, and critical. The lesson was well taught; a map having been neatly drawn on the board, the teacher required the most important places to be pointed out upon it. Teaching average, 100.” "

One of the most successful teachers in this State had, for her first school, a very difficult one. With some men in charge of it, she would have completely failed; but the physician who was local committee was a judicious, sensible, well-educated man, with considerable leisure. At the beginning of the term, he was present nearly every day. He took notes of everything which did not come up to his standard of excellence. He gave a copy of his notes to the teacher, and retained one for himself.

At each visit, he looked over his list, and cancelled the record of those defects which had been remedied. In less than one month, the teacher's watchfulness for anything which could detract from the real merits of the school was as keen as the doctor's; and in that brief time he had saved her to the profession, and made her selfconfident and efficient. Shortly after, the physician's years of service were out, and he declined to stand again, because his own professional duties had so increased as to require all his time. Nothing further need be said. One such instance is argument enough for normal or normal-like supervision, and because it is impossible to secure close, kindly and continued oversight from those outside the ranks of educators, as well as from a due regard for professional esprit corps, there should be placed over our schools persons of culture, who are devoting their life to the


N. E. W.


“ HAVE We a Grammar of the English Language ?" seems to be a superfluous question to any one who has tried to read Gould . Brown's huge monument to a schoolmaster's patience, The Grammar of English Grammars, and examine to some degree of thoroughness the five hundred treatises on the English language now in existence. Still, distinguished foreign professors insist we have no grammar. It is fruitless to discuss the merits of the excellent text-books in use everywhere; their number and diversity of plan prove, in the judgment of some, that we have no grammar of our language. Since grammar and rhetoric are two important helps to the study of our literature, it is of the highest consequence that they be clearly defined, and take a form giving them the greatest educational utility. Omitting for the present rhetoric, we ask, has this been done for the grammar of our language? If so, who will say by whom? The results obtained by long and painful study of grammar in our schools are such as to demand, on the part of all interested in education, an immediate and searching inquiry into the true cause or causes of their meagreness; so little reward for so great labor is discouraging both to pupil and teacher. The blame that attaches to the teacher might, in one or two terms, be pretty accurately ascertained by forbidding the use of any text-book on grammar in the class, have it taught orally, and have the same examination submitted to all classes of the same grade and age at the end of each term; by the end of the third term, certainly the fourth, this part of the mystery would be almost mathematically determined. It is an experiment well worth the trial, in our judgment. There couid be no loss to the pupils, for the extra effort of the teacher would awaken a new enthusiasm in the great majority; teaching ability would be discovered, as well as the want of it, and all teachers would receive by such a course an impetus in the direction of self-improvement that would be felt in all the subjects taught by them. I can imagine nothing in this direction, the study of grammar, that would so benefit the pockets of the people and the brains of pupil and teacher. Will Boston, and other cities with graded schools, make the experiment? There can be no loss, only gain, so great is the loss now in time and ambition. The excellent superintendent of the public schools of Boston, in his last semi-annual report, which every teacher should. read, shows very clearly that with his large experience and keen insight into the defects of our school-work, his patience cannot endure forever with the great waste of time on arithmetic as well as grammar. And instead of theorizing simply upon teaching a branch of great difficulty, of which theorizing we have more than enough everywhere, with great practical good sense he shows how the thing may be done with accuracy and brevity; we cannot have too many of such reports. If any one thinks it an easy matter to write out model lessons, let him try it, and besides benefiting others, he will be sure to be benefited himself. What Mr. Philbrick is anxious to do in arithmetic is of first importance to be done in grammar. Let the experiment of teaching without a text-book in the hands of the pupil with quarterly examinations, be tried, and by the end of the year, we should be able to furnish specimens of class-work in grammar of more value than all the lectures and theories yet given upon the subject.

If the plan here proposed to reform the methods of teaching and studying grammar does not seem practicable, or, for other reason, efficient, let other plans be proposed; for that reform is needed, no one will deny.

The French Academy of Sciences and Bureau of Instruction do something, as responsible, organized forces, for the instruction of the French people. We have no such active forces. We have much done for knowledge, little for instruction. What we need, rather, is the organization of the now scattered forces, which are sufficiently abundant, as our ingenuity in other things proves, of the teaching power of the country. Let the Board of Education Academy of Sciences, and Teachers' Association concentrate their forces, individually and unitedly, and in the exercise of their

best judgment bring to bear upon the different subjects of instruction the best available forces they can each, as an independent body, command; and furnish to the public, with the seal of their indorsement, the best possible treatise upon each of the different branches taught. Text-books, with such authority, would be of value.

Education demands it. Economy demands it. It is a shame, a reflection upon our judgment and integrity, that a poor man can hardly move from one district to another, with his half dozen children, without the tax of buying new school-books, before the ones they have are hardly begun. So that the education of some is simply the beginning of several different text-books. This evil is not so great in our cities, but it exists there. However great the importance of competition in book-making, it is also true that the best qualified talent will not enter into it.

Let the powers mentioned above be induced to enter the lists as competitors, and higher individual products would result. We should soon have a grammar of the English language, of which we will write next time.



APROPOS to the completion of the Suez Canal, and the contemplated one at the Isthmus of Panama, Dr. Page, in his “ Chips and Chapters for Geologists,” has presented a forgotten chapter from Verstegan's "Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities, concerning the most noble and renowned English Nation," which is entitled, “ the Ile of Britaine, sometime continent with Gallia.” The date of the old work is 1605. The chapter is quite lengthy," and will be very interesting to those who are students in physical geography or geology, showing them that the very arguments used to-day were used long before these sciences were known. Of these proofs we will first give one that is now familiar, choosing it for its quaintness and its concise logic.

“ The first appearance to moue likelihood of this thing is the neerness of land betwecne England and France (to vse the moderne names of both countries) that is, from the clifs of Dover vnto

« AnteriorContinuar »