« AnteriorContinuar »
them being the head master, desire to keep their advantage of deviating from their old methods to school exclusively for the benefit of the higher suit new necessities. class?
The schools which have sent up successful “I do; and it was my impression that when candidates are, the High School of Stirling; the this Commission came into operation justice Free Church School, Anstruther; St Stephen's would be done, and that the benefits of Harrow School, Edinburgh ; Rose's Academical InstituFoundation would be extended instead of limited. tion, Nairn; Royal Academy, Inverness ; EdinI was very much disappointed when I read the burgh Institution ; Gilbertfield House, Hamilton; recommendations, but I believe the recommenda- John Watson's Institution, Edinburgh ; Wellfield tions were founded upon ex parte evidence.” Academy, Dunse. The Royal Circus Institution,
We do not mean to assert that there may not Edinburgh ; the Merchant Maiden Hospital, be good educational reasons for wishing the insti- Edinburgh ; Royal Academy, Inverness ; and tution of commercial schools in addition to the Rose's Academical Institution, Nairn, furnish the great public schools; but we are afraid that, female candidates. though some may be actuated by purely unselfish We believe that these local examinations may motives, there are others whose desire is to sepa- be of great service in stimulating education in rate class from class.
Scotland. There is a very great number of pri
vate educational institutions, for the character of EDINBURGI UNIVERSITY Local ExAMINATIONS.— which the public have no guarantee. The head A pamphlet has just appeared bearing the title, masters or principals are proprietors, and no one “ University of Edinburgh-Local Examinations has a right to interfere with their methods of -Examination Papers, with Regulations, Lists teaching or procuring teachers. These local es. of Examiners, &c., for the year
1865.' It is a aminations afford them an excellent opportunity model of what such publications should be, for of shewing what training is given in their schools
. everything which should be given is given with And the public schools of the country will also singular clearness and accuracy. Among other find it of advantage to enter into competition with things contained in it, is a detailed statement of these, and shew what stuff there is in them. the results of the local examinations held in June. We deem the examinations to be especially There were two local centres, Edinburgh and important as bearing on the education of females. Inverness. At Edinburgh there appeared eight There is a very large number of boarding senior male candidates and seven female, fourteen schools for young ladies in Scotland, where the junior male candidates and no female. At Inver- education given is of the most stupid, mechanical, ness there appeared six senior male and eight and lifeless character. We feel certain that senior female, nine junior male and six junior pupils brought up in them could stand no thorough female; four candidates, three male and one examination in anything whatsoever; and cerfemale, failed to make their appearance on the tainly this state of matters does not arise from day of examination. The number examined was the stupidity of the ladies, or a lack of ambition fifty-eight; of these, forty-six passed. The ques- to excel, or any other fault of theirs. It arises tions put to the candidates are given, and certainly solely from the absurd methods pursued, and the the examination is not such as is calculated to absurd way in which the young ladies are treated. deter. If the examiners have erred in any respect, We trust these local examinations will do much it is in giving too easy questions. There are to give a healthier, more vigorous, more thoughtexceptions to this statement, for some questions ful turn to female education. would puzzle the candidates, not in consequence It is curious to note that the subjects in which of their difficulty, but simply because most teachers the female candidates most frequently fail, are in Scotland do not teach the subjects in such a just the subjects on which so much of their time way that their scholars could answer these ques- is spent. Seven fail in French, five fail in history tions. At the same time there can be no doubt and geography, four out of five who try drawing that the examiners indicate by their questions fail in it, and three out of five fail in music. how the subjects ought to be taught, and the Seven of the twelve candidates who failed were pamphlet before us may suggest to teachers the females. We trust the ladies will persevere in their
* Published by Maclachlan & Stewart, Edinburgh. efforts, and come out more successful next time.
English Journal of Education.
HINTS ON A NATIONAL SYSTEM OF EDUCATION FOR SCOTLAND.*
E may safely anticipate the Report of | tends merely to demoralize the recipients. Thus
the Royal Commissioners, and say the aggregate number of persons committed to that the education of the poorer Glasgow prison was
6490 classes in Scotland has been sadly Could not write
3746 neglected. This fact, if it were not Edinburgh prison
5699 apparent to common observation, is made abun
Could not write
1759 dantly evident by the reports of the managers of Dundee prison
1296 prisons, which inform us that during the twelve Could not write
673 months prior to 20th June 1864 there had Paisley prison.
1246 been 24,828 commitments to prison, and of these Could not write
646 5166 could not read, and 11,450 could not Airdrie prison.
1015 write. Of these commitments, however, several
Could not write
619 had been recommitments, and therefore pro
969 bably not more than 20,000 persons had been Could not write
339 committed, and not more than 4600 could not But if the tendency of a little learning was to read, nor more than 10,000 could not write. demoralise, its effects would be most clearly maniStill these numbers are sufficiently large to justify fested by the young, who are most exposed to its us in saying that the education of the poorer influence; but here again there is the opposite classes, from which the criminal class is chiefly result, for in the places where there is least eduderived, has been greatly neglected. This charge cation and most crime, there also the commitof neglect, though applicable to the whole of ments of juveniles under eighteen are most Scotland, is not equally deserved in all parts, and numerous. it is interesting to notice that there is least crime Thus the commitments of persons under that where education most abounds, contradicting the age to Glasgow prison were .
515 common saying, believed in by an eminent philo- To Edinburgh prison
331 sopher and historian, that a little learning, which
To Dundee prison
112 the poor can only get, is a dangerous thing, and To Paisley prison
84 To Airdrie prison
139 * We commend these Hints to the attention of our readers. They are written by one who has long taken a practical in- To Aberdeen prison
18 terest in some schools in his own city, who has visited very Now as there is a good deal of truth in the many schools in England and Scotland, and who has done more perhaps than any other man in Scotland for the repression of saying, “ Once in prison, always a criminal," we crime by educational and other appliances.--Ev. Museum. may safely conclude that, in the matter of educa
tion, the country has been penny wise and pound The attendance of scholars should be limited by foolish, and the Commission need not give itself the size of the school, so that all overcrowding, much trouble in inquiring about the want of injurious to the physical and intellectual health education, which is so strikingly manifest, but of the children, may be avoided. should devote itself to the far more important There will be some difficulty with the existing question, How is the want to be supplied ? The schools, several of which, recently erected, are of first instalment of evidence does not throw much a superior description, especially those belonging light upon that point, for, with few exceptions, to independent bodies, charitable and otherwise the witnesses had never given it any considera- But a vast majority of the parochial and adventure tion. Most of them were very decided on the schools are unsuitable, and must be reconstructel absolute necessity of religious education in con- The private and adventure schools belonging nection with secular, but happily their views of to separate bodies must be acquired in some way, religious instruction were not very extensive, as they might interfere with the national plan, being limited to reading the Bible and commit- which ought to supersede all others, and by its ting to memory the peculiar dogmas of some de- extensiveness and comprehensiveness render any nominational catechism, which were said by one other unnecessary. or two to be utterly worthless.
The school managers having decided on the But if it were possible to give full effect to school or number of schools in each district, the these diverse opinions, still the question, How is next important matter for their consideration 2 the deficient education to be supplied ? remains be, where and how each school is to be built. No unanswered ; and without the universal diffusion it is plain, that it ought to stand high and dry, harof good school instruction, abstract theological ing a considerable extent of vacant ground around dogmata, however lodged in the memory, would it for healthful recreation. To attain these enda have little effect on individual character. The it will be better to build at some distance from Sunday schools now so common are admirably the centre of population than in a densely peopled adapted for this species of religious teaching, but locality. Though the distance may seem inconSunday scholars, unless taught at the week-day venient, far less injury will result to the children school to read, write, and cypher, are not fitted for from walking than from being kept all day in a the business of life. For, however glib at the badly aired place. The school, where possible, catechism and proofs, unless they can cypher, should stand north and south, having windows 61 write, and spell, they are of small value at the the east and west sides, and in the end frontis, counter or the desk, though they may shine as the south. The windows should have lesser seebright lights in the reports of the chaplain of the tions drawing from the top, by which means the prison. We presume, then, that the result of the greatest amount of light and fresh air, 80 conCommissioners' labours will be a liberal system ducive to the health of children, can be obtained of national education, superintended by school Having provided the schoolhouse, the next managers and a board of supervision. We are point to be considered is the arrangement of the not anxious about these, for if the boards are not furniture, and here we must state our entire distoo large, preventing individual responsibility, it agreement with what may be called the Governmatters little whether they are composed of heri- ment plan. The old method was to fix the writing tors, clergymen, or the elected of ratepayers, desks to the walls. In consequence of this, chilthough we should prefer the last. Give us a dren sat with their backs to the teacher, and were sufficient number of good schools and well paid thus able to play all manner of tricks with little competent teachers, and education will progress risk of detection. This is now altered, and paralsatisfactorily, without much interference from lel desks occupy the centre of the school in suflocal or central boards.
ficient number to admit all who are able to write Now here the first question that arises is, How at one time. This is no doubt an improvement, many schools are needed? And our answer is, for it affords the teacher a front view; but it has One for every three hundred of the population in this disadvantage, that it prevents him from corrural districts, and one for each five hundred in recting the faults of the writers, who consequently towns and villages. A male and female teacher assume the most grotesque attitudes, and blot and should be attached to each school. Where the blunder their copy books in a wonderful manner. population of a town exceeds one thousand, there These arrangements shew how little the art of should also be an infant school, a female and a teaching writing is understood, and indeed we boys' school, and so on, increasing in a propor- never met a teacher who considered the right tionate number with the increase of population. I poising of children at the desk a matter of any
moment. If any one had done so, he would have it could, before attaining that age. At any rate, found it impossible to place and superintend forty it is not possible to retain the great majority of or fifty children, all writing at once, in different these children at school after twelve, and the main stages of advancement, from long strokes to small object is to consider how best to improve the hand.
minds of the children before they leave. This The forms should be in sufficient number, we shall try to do in the subsequent pages. adapted to the size of the children. In order to 1. Where there is only one school for children be easily moved, they should not exceed six feet of all ages; and 2, Where there are separate dein length, and should all have rests for the back, partments for infants of both sexes, and for boys especially in infant and female schools.
and girls. The last thing to be noticed is the educational It is difficult to arrange a mixed multitude of apparatus, which we have generally found to be boys and girls of ages ranging from five to fifteen. lamentably deficient. A few torn maps, a black | We generally find the infants crowded into a bard worn nearly white, constituted the comple- corner, uncomfortably placed on high forms, and ment; and they, instead of having been provided superintended by a monitor or pupil-teacher; and by the heritors, had been supplied by the teacher. the elder boys and girls seated, sometimes apart And here we may state what apparatus we con- and sometimes intermixed at the desks, writing, sider requisite for educational purposes in every cyphering, or preparing lessons, while the teacher school. First, there should be a desk covered is occupied examining a class on one or other of with slate of sufficient length to allow a fifth or the various branches professed to be taught. The sixth of the scholars to write at one time. It evils of this method are obvious. The infants, ought to be placed a little way from the wall, under the lax discipline of the monitors, are having seats for the scholars between it and the drowsy, inattentive, or insubordinate ; and the wall. By this arrangement the teacher has a children seated at the desks are lazy, lounging, full view of the class, and can at once detect every and pugnacious, the attention of the teacher being erroneous movement. Instead of black boards, engaged with the class immediately under examithere should be two or three large slates fixed to nation. the wall, and a proper supply of (Nelson's) large When the attendance is small, an efficient
teacher may maintain discipline, and bestow a These observations are all preliminary to the considerable portion of his own time on each main object we contemplate, which is to state our class, and also on each individual ; but when the views on the best method of teaching children of attendance is large, the most efficient teacher can the working classes between the age of four and with difficulty preserve discipline, and the time
given to each class, even with the greatest number We have shewn that the teaching hitherto of school hours, is remarkably small, and altogether given has been deficient in quantity. It might incompatible with proper effective instruction. as easily be shewn that it is equally deficient in We have said that there should be always a quality. We are aware that there are many able male and female teacher in every mixed school. teachers in Scotland, but we also know that there In such a school as we have described, the infants, are far more incapable ones, and that the talent male and female, would be placed under the of the most competent is often neutralised by the direction of the female teacher, to be instructed in want of educational apparatus, and the neat ar- the manner we shall point out when we come to rangement of the school furniture.
speak of the infant school. The elder boys and How few of our rural labourers, how few of girls will be under the direction of the male our city artisans, can read with pleasure, cypher teacher for three hours, and instructed in the with accuracy, or write half-a-dozen sentences branches suitable for both sexes. During the without committing the grossest blunders in or- rest of the day (one or two hours), the girls will thography and grammar! The reasons usually be taught knitting and needlework by the female assigned for this defective education are, irregular teacher, while the boys will receive instruction attendance and the early age at which children leave from the teacher on subjects (geography, geology, the school. The first can easily be prevented by or drawing) deemed more essentially requisite offering the proper stimulants, attractive instruc- for their use and condition. tion and kindly discipline, for dra ng the children We come now to speak of the infant school. to school; and the age of twelve would not be It does not stand so high in public opinion as it reckoned too early for leaving it, if a satisfactory formerly did, and we have lately heard intelligent amount of education could be given, as we think teachers of juvenile schools say that they would
rather receive children altogether untaught than the infant school is only suitable for children be at the trouble of correcting the bad habits ac- between the ages of four and seven, it ought ever quired at the infant school. There is surely no to be kept in mind that the things taught should reason why bad habits should be learned there. be relative to this tender age, and great care taken Indeed, good manners and good habits ought to be not to overtask the mental or physical ability oi the things chiefly cultivated, as little intellectual the pupil. The little progress made in most instruction can be given to children under six infant schools, shews that this rule is not geneyears of age. It is true, however, that the art of rally observed, for it is well known that children infant teaching is yet in its infancy, and our have great aptitude, and readily learn thing visits to infant schools have seldom afforded us suited to their capacity, while they are unobeermuch satisfaction. The schoolrooms were ill vant of things in which they take no interest adapted for infant education, and there was a If during the three years which they may attend great deficiency of suitable educational apparatus. the mode of teaching has been appropriate, conA gallery, deemed essential; occupied nearly siderable progress will be made, and at seren a half the area of the school, and all the children, large proportion will be able, when they pass to seated in rows with their arms crossed, received the juvenile school, to read, write, and cypher there their oral lessons. But as their ages ranged with ease and accuracy. from three to nine or ten years, it was plain that When children under five years enter the school, these lessons could only be understood by a very they should not be put immediately to work few. While a number answered at random, the The great object is gradually to develop and far largest proportion appeared listless, weary, and strengthen the bodily and mental powers by unconcerned.
gentle exercise. They should be taught to sit, When the children left the gallery and were stand, and walk in a graceful manner, not sitting arranged in classes, it was at once seen that the cross-armed, or holding on by each other's dress classes were too large, and that the lessons, whether when they come into or go out of school. Their in reading, writing, or arithmetic, were imper- observing powers should be excited by objects fectly taught. A long time was spent in teach- and pictures, and they ought not to be considered ing the alphabet, and the reading, arithmetic, and idle when they are learning to play. When geograhpical books were generally uninteresting brought to the book-stand, the lesson exhibited or repulsive. In short, the first steps to learning should consist of words, not letters. The alphawere rendered as difficult and disagreeable as pos- bet is a wearisome study, and a very useless one. sible. But an infant school might easily be made The letters have so many different sounds when an animated hive of happiness and intelligence ; combined in forming words, that it is difficult to and to effect this, the gallery should be dispensed hit the right one, and children cannot understand with, and if one hundred and fifty were in attend- why a should sound differently in all and ale, and ance, they should be thrown into three divisions, c in city and cat. corresponding to the first, second, or third year's The proper sounds of letters can only be learned attendance, and each division placed under a when formed into words, and it is greatly to be competent teacher, consisting of a superintendent desired that the present false alphabet should be and two paid assistants. As these divisions would exchanged for a true phonetic one.
Till this is be too large for effective teaching, it would be done, good English reading will never become necessary to subdivide them into sections of ten general in Scotland ; but, in the mean time, much or twelve, placing each section under a monitor, may be done by our improved system to remery selected from the most apt scholars belonging to the defects of the present vicious one. And to the highest section of the first division. These this end we proceed to shew, how the first anú monitors should be constantly under the eye and subsequent reading lessons should be given. The direction of the superintendent of the division. In monitor will arrange the section, and print on arranging the divisions, one would be placed at the wall-slate the words from the lesson sheet, one end of the school, the second at the other end, naming each letter and word, and desiring the and the third in the centre. The respective super- class to pronounce it and point out the correspundintendents, after arranging the sections, should ing letter and word on the sheet. This should instruct the monitors what lessons were to be be repeated till each word can be named at sight, given. The lessons should be changed at least and the lesson read; but clever children will every half hour, to be followed by an interval of readily learn the lesson, and trust to memory ten or fifteen minutes for play, and the lesson rather than sight. To correct this, the monitor time should not exceed three hours a day. As I should make the lesson be read occasionally back