Imagens da página

with far more profit to each individual, than if the same amount of time was divided up among four classes, each containing onefourth of the whole number. When the class is large, there is a spirit, a glow, a struggle which can never be infused or called forth in a small class. Whatever time is spent upon a few, which could have been as profitably spent on a larger number, is a loss of power and time to the extent of the number who were not thus benefited. The recitations of a large class must be more varied, both as to order and methods, so as to reach those whose attention would wander if not under the pressure of constant excitement, or might become slothful from inaction or a sense of security. Some studies will admit of a larger number in a class than others.

“ The number of classes for recitation in the same apartment, by one teacher, should be small. This will faciliate the proper division of labor in instruction, and allow more time for each class. The teacher intrusted with the care of but few studies, . and few recitations, can have no excuse but indolence, or the want of capacity, if he does not master these branches thoroughly, and soon acquire the most skillful and varied methods of teaching them. His attention will not be distracted by a multiplicity and variety of cares, pressing upon him at the same time. This principle does not require that every school should be small, but that each teacher should have a small number of studies and classes to superintend.

“In a large school, properly classified, a division of labor can be introduced in the department of government, as well as in that of instruction. By assigning the different studies to a sufficient number of assistants, in separate class-rooms, each well qualified to teach the branches assigned, the principal teacher may be selected with special reference to his ability in arranging the studies, and order of exercises of the school, in administering the discipline, in adapting moral instruction to individual scholars, and superintending the operations of each class-room, so as to secure the harmonious action and progress of every department. The talents and tact required for these and similar duties, are more rarely found than the skill and attainments required to teach successfully a particular study. When found, the influence of such a principal, possessing in a high degree, the executive talent spoken of, will be felt through every class, and by every subordinate teacher, giving tone and efficiency to the whole school.”

To facilitate the introduction of these, and similar principles of classification, into the organization and arrangements of the schools of a town, as fast and as far as the circumstances of the population will admit, Mr. Barnard suggests that the following, among other provisions, should be engrafted into the school sys


the same school, which now crumbles the teacher's time into dust, would be avoided; the female schools would be lengthened one half; and the length of male schools would be doubled, and for the increased compensation, a teacher of four-fold qualifications could be employed. * * * We have not yet brought the power of united action to bear with half its force upon the end or the means of education. I think it will yet be found more emphatically true in this department of human action, than in any other, that adding individual means multiplies social power.”

“By the establishment in each society," says Mr. BARNARD, “ of one Central School, or one or more union schools, for the older children, and more advanced studies, the district school will be relieved of at least one half the number of classes and studies, and the objections to the employment of female teachers in the winter, on account of their alleged inability to govern and instruct the older boys, will be removed. As the compensation of female teachers is less than one half that paid to males, every instance of the employment of a female teacher in place of a male teacher in the district school, will save one half of the wages paid to the latter, which can be expended in increasing, partly the wages of the former, and partly the wages of the male teacher in the Union or Central School. It will be found that the same amount of money now expended in three districts, on three female teachers in summer, and three male teachers in winter, will employ three female teachers for the whole length of the summer and winter school, and one male teacher for the winter, at an advance of one third or one half of the average rate of wages paid to each.

“ This arrangement will thus lead to the more permanent employment of a larger number of female teachers, at an advanced compensation, thus holding out an additional inducement to females of the right character and qualifications, to teach in the district school. It will also reduce the demand for male teachers, except of the highest order of qualifications, and increase the wages of those who are employed. In both ways it will diminish the expense, the loss of time, and other evils of a constant change of teachers in the same school, and give permanence and character to the profession of the teacher. It will enable the teachers of the several schools to introduce studies, discipline and instruction appropriate to each. In the district primary school, the younger children need no longer be subjected to the discomforts and neglects which they now experience, or primary studies be crowded one side, to make room for the higher branches. In the Union or Central School, the scholars, coming, as they would, from the primary school, well grounded in the fundamental branches, will be prepared to enter profitably upon studies which are now pursued to advantage only in Academies and other private schools of a similar grade. Thus, all that is now accomplished in the district school, will be better done, the course of study very much extended, and the advantages of a more thorough and complete education be more widely diffused."



If it should be found impracticable for each town to maintain a Central School, whose highest department should be able to fit youths to enter our Colleges and Universities, then a County High School should be provided for that purpose; and in both the Town Central School, and the County High School, tuition should be equally free as in the primary schools, and provision should be made for their sharing in the School Fund apportionment. Then we should have a complete public educational system, graded from the primary school to the State Universityin which, too, at the earliest possible period, instruction should also be made entirely free. By such a graded system, Academies and private schools would necessarily be supplanted by cheaper and better educational institutions; and they ought to be, as from their very nature, the poor would necessarily be excluded from their privileges and benefits-for we do not often find such a friend of his race as J. L. PICKARD, of the Plattville Academy, who has generously educated, free of charge, many a poor youth thirsting after knowledge. With such a system, we should soon find not only our State University, but all our other Colleges and Universities, filled to overflowing with the noble-hearted, ambitious youths of Wisconsin, earnestly seeking the highest intellectual attainments within their reach, preparatory to entering upon the largest sphere of human usefulness.

STATE SCHOLARSHIPS. In 1853, the Legislature of Massachusetts passed a law providing for forty-eight State scholarships—each of these scholars properly prepared to enter college, and having undergone a thorough examination, is selected by the State Board of Education, and is entitled from the State to $100 per yearfor his four years collegiate course in any college within the State he may select for the purpose. Twelve are chosen annually from districts in their proper order; and so, in the course of four years, the full complement is made up; and ever after, as twelve graddate yearly, that number must be annually chosen to supply the vacancies. At the close of each year, each of these State scholars, before being able to draw his hundred dollars, must produce a certificate from the President of the college he is attending, to the effect that he ranks, in point of scholarship, with the first half of students of the institution; and failing in this, his scholarship is declared vacated, and is filled by the appointment of some one prepared to enter the same class left vacant, so as to keep up the regular number of annual graduates. Preference in the selection is given to those most meritorious and most necdy.

“Sufficient time has not elapsed," says the Report of the State Board of Education of 1856, “ to justify an opinion of the merits of this measure, based upon experience; yet every circumstance known to the Board of Education leads to the conclusion that the expectations of the State will be fully realized. The specific object of the Act is to furnish competent teachers for the High Sceools; and there has never been a time when the demand for such teachers was greater. There are probably one hundred High Schools in Massachusetts, and the number of towns required by law to maintain such schools is annually increasing. "These schools ought all to be supplied with well educated, thorough teachers. In addition to this manifest want of our own, there is a constant, and in some cases, pressing demand, for teachers of different grades to go into other States. This demand has in a few instances borne hard upon our own schools. It is not, of course, the primary object of our system to furnish teachers for other States, nor does it seem to be wise to attempt any restriction. It is no trifling compliment to our system of public instruction, that it furnishes teachers whose services are desired by the citizens and governments of other States.”

Something of the kind, I venture to suggest, would prove exceedingly useful and desirable in our State. It would stimulate the youth in our primary and higher schools to noble emulation. The State scholarship, while it would assist and encourage many a poor young man to pursue a thorough collegiate course, should yet be regarded as a reward of the highest merit. Let there be established one hundred State scholarships, one for each Assembly district, and the remainder to be chosen from the State at large-twenty-five to be appointed annually, by the State Board of Education, upon recommendation of the County Superintendents, or other proper persons, after due examination, and thorough preparation to enter college; and for a period of four years, if a certain required scholarship be maintained, in the State University, or other regular College or

« AnteriorContinuar »