« AnteriorContinuar »
portment towards pupils, by ornamenting and making comfortable the school-room and grounds, by providing facilities for pleasant and profitable out-door exercises, music, calisthenics, etc. More important than the first, but still not absolutely necessary.
3. By the power of intellectual leadership and predominance in awakening ambi. tion and stimulating the mind. A necessary and powerful means of accomplishing the end aimed at.
4. By the power of personal friendship. Love of the teacher will awaken love for the work of the school-room. Hate and fear are fatal foes to interest in study. This is a mightier agent in awakening love of study than any yet named.
5. By the contagious power of enthusiasm and interest. All affections of the mind are violently contagious. A cold, uninterested, inert mind will never awaken others to intellectual activity. A soul that is energetic, glowing, red-hot, will impart its life and heat to all who are brought within its influence. It is by far the most powerful and indispensable agent in arousing the latent energies of a pupil's mind. A teacher who is devoid of it should relinquish his vocation and seek some field of employment where he can do less barm.-Prof. H. L. Smith in the North Carolina Teacher.
How Shall We Teach CHILDREN TO STUDY?—This question has met my eye in two recent numbers of The Teacher, and my heart goes out in sympathy to the questioner, for we, too, have been perplexed over this important subject. After an experience of twenty-five years in the school-room in various grades of school-work, we venture a few suggestions, which we trust may not be wholly unprofitable to any earnest worker of inexperience who has a desire to succeed. First, the only successful way to teach scholars to study is to lead them to love it. This may generally be done in the primary school, beginning with the smallest classes. Talk with the little ones about their simple lessons; tell them stories about them, and create in this way a desire to find out things for themselves. We encourage them to write little stories; we try to lead them on by easy steps, until they are eager to read and relate what they have read. In this way the study of history and geography becomes but a pleasant pastime, and not an irksome task. We have no sympathy for the failure of that teacher who drives a student to learn a hard lesson. We have many times, in our early teaching, kept scholars after school, or deprived them of recess, to commit a lesson in which they had failed; but we cannot remember that we have ever succeeded in seeing the lesson successfully conquered. A pupil cannot learn who studies with a punishment held over him. If possible, we think it a good plan to tell the class at the close of a lesson something about the lesson for the following day; not enough to make the pupils feel that they know it, but enough to cause them to want to know more. In spelling we like to give a few easy words to be made into sentences, in which scholars will not fail to show a wonderful interest. Of course, when scholars have started wrong, have been allowed to get words without ideas, it is harder to lead them in the safe way; but we think it may be done by talking with them, by encouraging them to talk, and, above all, by breaking up the ruinous habit of studying without thought. There are many methods which will suggest themselves to the fertile mind of the thoughtful teacher. To all such we extend the hand of sympathy, exhorting them not to be weary in well-doing.– The American Teacher.
The Report of the Commissioners of Education for 1882-'83.
The thirteenth annual Report of the Commissioner of Education, just issued, a volume of 1165 pages, is fully equal to its predecessors in point of interest, in the importance of subjects discussed, their methodical arrangement, and wise treatment, while the information presented is of much more recent date than that usually given in reports whose information is collected from such a vast territory and through so many instrumentalities, covering, as it does, the year closing June 30, 1883. In this respect the report under review has made a decided gain over its predecessors, made possible, we are informed, by the fact that a larger number than usual of educational systems and institutions have been able to bring their reports up to date.
Little space is given in the report to a statement of the general work of the office aside from the summary of educational data which is prepared annually, as anything like a full statement of such general work would require more space than the Commissioner has at his disposal.
The communications sent out numbered 30,745, and those received 67,875. The documents distributed numbered 323,592, and were usually mailed in separate packages. One document was asked for by as many as ten thousand persons. This distribution of documents has favorably affected many educational methods and appli. ances. The teachers' institutes have been much more freely supplied than before. Circulars and bulletins were sent to 406 institutes, held in twenty-three different States. Seventy-eight of these teachers' gatherings in a single State were furnished these publications.
Offcial American Correspondents of the Office who Furnish Statistics.—The American correspondents of the office at the head of systems or institutions of education furnishing the information contained in the report, numbered 10,128, an increase for the year of 1,354, and since 1872 of more than 7,500. This system of voluntary statistical information, depending on co-laborers so widely scattered, is believed to be the most extensive of its kind in existence, and it is constantly improving in completeness and exactness.
The Library of the Bureau.—The collection and care of a library containing educational reports, pamphlets, catalogues, school journals, and other pedagogic publications, is one of the first necessities of an office charged, as this is in the statute establishing it, with the duty of collecting “statistics and facts showing the condition and progress of education in the several States and Territories," and diffusing“ information respecting the organization and mangement of schools, school systems, and methods of teaching," of such character as may promote “the establishment and maintenance of efficient school systems," as well as the “cause of education" in ger.eral.
The collection of State reports, city reports, college catalogues and publications, academy catalogues, programmes and circulars of professional and special schools, now in the possession of this library, is far superior in quantity, quality, and interest to any other general collection in the world, and, in most cases, more complete than the series belonging to the offices and institutions in correspondence with the Bureau.
Another important part of the collection is the periodical literature of American education. The value of such publications, as preserving the very “age and body of the time” in which they appear, and recording countless facts, opinions, names, and dates that would otherwise be lost beyond recall, is conceded in all other branches of study, and must, of necessity, be allowed in this also. By exchange, subscription, purchase, and gift, the library now possesses, and is daily adding to, a collection really unique in the world; by no means complete, for there are important lacuna that may never be filled, but, despite these, more full, various, and valuable than that in the possession of any other corporation or individual. · In the same way a large collection of foreign reports, catalogues, and educational treatises have also been obtained, nearly every civilized country and its colonies being represented therein.
State Systems of Public Instruction.-The total school population in the States and Territories is 16,000,000, more than 10,000,000 being enrolled in public schools ; the sum of those in average attendance in each State being 6,000,000, under 290, 000 teachers; the whole public school expenditure amounting to over $91,000,000 during the year : an increase over the figures of the preceding year of about 364,000 in school population, of more than 153,000 in public school enrolment, and of nearly 454,000 in average attendance. Adding the reported attendance in private schools (18 States and 2 Territories failing to report), gives over half a million more, making 10,581,700 pupils under instruction during the year. This is 21 per cent. of the entire population as given in the United States Census of 1880, and about 65 per cent of the youth of legal school age.
The length of the school term varies greatly, ranging from 199 days in Maryland to 62'2 days in North Carolina.
The number of public school teachers reported is, for the States, 290,028; for 9 Territories, 3,266; total, 293,294, being an increase of 4,135 over the number reported in the year 1881. The sex of teachers is not reported from Georgia, Maine, Mississippi and Idaho Territory; so far as the figures are given, the number of men is 106,676, and of women 166,705. Both numbers show increase over the same for 1881, but the proportion of women is greater than at the last report. Even in the frontier States, the relative number of women engaged in teaching is rapidly increasing.
There is an upward movement in teachers' salaries, eigbteen States showing in. crease in the average salaries for both sexes.
The suggestion of a minimum salary fixed by State law meets with approval in many States. Hon. C. W. von Coelln, State Superintendent, Iowa, calls attention to the fact that the salaries of teachers of ungraded schools in his State do not average over $150 per annum, whereas a common laborer receives $200 with board, and is not expected to dress well and has no examination or institute fees. Mr. von Coelln adds significantly: “ The salaries of teachers are the only salaries of public employés” wholly within the control of the people.
There was an increase during the year of more than $6,000,000 in public school income and expenditure, of near $5,500,000, it is estimated, in the value of public school property, and over $5,000,000 in the amount of permanent State school funds. In per capita expenditure for public schools, Massachusetts stands first, Alabama last, the former State expending $15.40 for each pupil enrolled, the latter $2.27. Local taxes are the main support of the public schools in a majority of the States, a condition that seems essential to a progressive, efficient system of free schools, and the
figures show increase in the amount realized from this source in twenty States. The favorable view of the public schools presented in the statistics is confirmed by the verbal reports of superintendents and other officials, and accords with the impression the Commissioner received from personal observation in various parts of the country. Progress is not limited to the increase of scholars, teachers, funds, &c., but appears in the organization of the school systems, in the greater efficiency of the work carried on in the schools, and, what is still more important, in a deeper and more intelligent interest on the part of the people. Everywhere there is evidence of a clearer understanding of the purposes of the schools, of their relation to our civil rights and liberties, and a readier disposition to adopt measures for their support and improvement.
The improvement of school buildings is noticeable throughout the country, provision being made in a number of States for their periodical inspection.
Sixteen States, three Territories and the District of Columbia have laws, more or less efficient, to insure the attendance of children at school.
Summary of Education in Virginia.-With over half a million youth of school age (according to the census of 1880) Virginia, in 1882, reported an enrolment in public schools of 257,362, with 144,904 in average daily attendance, an increase for the year of 18,316 in the number enrolled and of 10,417 in average daily attendance. The enrolment included over 172,000 white youth and over 35,000 colored, the total school population comprising nearly 74,000 more white than colored. Of the whole increased enrolment 9,947 were white children and 8,369 colored, the increase in average attendance being nearly equally divided between the two races. There were 205 more public schools taught (123 more for white pupils and 82 more for colored), the average term throughout the State being nearly a day longer. Almost $57,000 more were expended for public schools. The average monthly pay of teachers increased slightly and 205 more were employed. Although a large proportion of this increase was among colored teachers, there were still 438 colored schools taught by white teachers. The Superintendent calls attention to this fact, and says that these schools should be taught by competent colored teachers, and that many more schools for colored children should be opened.
Education in the Southern States.-In sixteen Southern States and the District of Columbia, having a white school population of over 4,000,000 and a colored of nearly 2,000,000, there was an enrolment in public schools of over 2,200,000 white children and of nearly 803,000 colored, the percentage of enrolment of youth of school age ranging from 36 to 73 for white children and from 17 to 69 for colored. There was an increase for the year of over 92,000 white youth of school age and over 14,000 of the same class enrolled, while the colored school population increased by more than 15,000 and their enrolment by only 610. A comparison of the figures in this report with those for the year 1876–77, the first in which this table appears, will show the remarkable work that has been accomplished in the Southern States since that date-an increase of 13 per cent. in the white school population and of 23 per cent, in the number enrolled in public schools, colored school population having increased 28 per cent, and enrolment 40 per cent. The expenditure for public schools has also steadily increased during this period, and this increase in enrolment and funds corresponds to a radical change in the sentiment of the people. A free, impartial system of education is recognized as indispensable to the future prosperity of the States.
Both races now share alike in the school fund, excepting in Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia, in which special provision is made for the colored race, and in South Carolina, where the basis of apportionment is the same for each race, but the amounts realized depend upon the extent to which the people avail themselves of the provision by attendance upon the schools. Since the date of the Commissioner's last report, Kentucky has abolished all discrimination between the races in respect to the distribution of the school funds, the act to that effect bearing date April, 1882.
A general disposition in the South to deal impartially with both races in the matter of providing educational facilities is reported, notwithstanding the much larger percentage of white school population under instruction.
Since the Commissioner's last report two notable benefactions have been made to promote the cause of education in the South, one of $1,000,000 by John F. Slater, of Norwich, Conn., for the benefit of the colored race, and another of $701,926 from Mr. Paul Tulane, of Princeton, N. J., for the promotion of intellectual, moral, and industrial education among the white people of New Orleans, La.
The disbursements from the Peabody Fund amounted for 1882 to $80,334, a larger sum than has been reported in any single year since 1877. In addition to the sub. stantial aid afforded by the money, an immense impetus has been given to the cause of education by the efforts of the general agent, Hon. J. L. M. Curry, LL. D. Legis. lation has been stimulated by his eloquent appeals, while his counsel has determined many practical details of school organization and his vigilant supervision has been felt throughout the States participating in the benefit of the fund.
The course pursued by the trustees and the agent of the Peabody Fund in concentrating the money upon the training of teachers has accomplished more than auy other single agent in creating throughout the Soutb a just appreciation of the paramount importance of this part of public school work.
Higher Schools for the Colored Race.—Above the public school system such provision as is made for the education of the colored race is afforded by 56 normal schools, having 8,509 students; 43 academies or secondary schools, with 6,632 stu. dents; 18 colleges and universities, with 2,298; 24 theological schools, with 665; 4 law schools, with 53, and 3 medical schools, with 125. The total number of schools affording higher instruction, as far as reported, is 16,477, and total number of the colored race under instruction in them, 852,505.
Normal Schools and Teachers' Institutes--The total number of public institutions reported is 119, with 1,045 instructors and 28,711 students, viz: 21,296 normal students and 7,415 other students. These schools comprise 97 supported by State, i by county, and 21 by city appropriation. The private normal schools number 114, with 655 instructors and 22,421 students. The number of graduates from public normal schools in the last year was 2,568, and the number who have engaged in teaching 1,836; the corresponding numbers for the private normal schools are 1,034 and 708.
The increase of normal schools in the Southern and Western States is a noteworthy feature of progress.
Teachers' institutes and summer normals are considered of great value to rural school teachers (few of whom are normal school graduates) in affording them, at small expense, some knowledge of approved methods of instruction and school or. ganization. Every State should place these agencies un a sure financial basis, and it is recommended that attendance on them should be made one of the requisites for