« ForrigeFortsæt »
experiment at local self-government and the preservation of it by common School Education.
You too, like ourselves, have your conservative support in the education of the youth, and your movements in this great cause have attracted our attention for a long time. The honored names, honored wherever educational history is studied, the honored names of Ryerson, Hodgins and Ross, stand for us as significant of new departures full of promise in educational methods and organizations. We thank you for your hearty reception; we congratulate you on the liberty and the prosperity which you enjoy within the old national family. May the day when you shall feel a necessity for a separation from that family never come. But let another and different day draw near when all English-speaking people shall form one grand confederation of independent nations-settling all questions of difference by international conferences. On the basis of local self-government there is no limit to the extent of territory that may be united, for, according to its principle, each province, each section, governs itself in all local interests. Only in common interests is there a common authority. Only in supreme concerns does the supreme power interfere. Let us all who have a common share in Runnymede and in Shakespeare, and who love England and Scotland as the home of our ancestry, let us study here the problem of education in the light of our similar social and political problems, being assured that a civilization whose symbols are the railroad, the public schools, and the morning newspaper, shall find in this study the best key to its sphinx riddles and the perplexing issues which the time and spirit offer to our people. Teachers and citizens of Canada, we, as your cousins and brethren, thank you."
Editorial Notes and Comments.
-As a sequel to the article inserted in our last issue on Moral Training, we venture to publish this month a somewhat honestsounding plea for the right understanding of the scope of such moral training as may be supervised in the Common School. In these days, when the purer citizenship of Canada is wrestling with wickedness in high places, and when the origin of the political obliquity, whose exposure has brought so much shame to the whole country, is being searched for, it will be all but a marvel if the blame be not laid by some one on the early training provided by our school systems. The Common School has become more or less of a scape-goat in these days; and
yet, in discussing this question, we must not lose sight of the fact that, though the responsibility of a national depravity does not rest altogether upon any individual social element, the corrective of such is, for the most part, to be found in the family and in the school. There is a responsibility in this matter which the supervisors of our school systems cannot afford to overlook. The shirking-or, to put it in a milder phrase, the overlookingof this responsibility has been indirectly referred to by the Phrenological Journal in a second article on the question, and, should any of our readers think we have been taking up too much space on the subject, our escape from blame is in the following:
"A dozen or more periodicals devoted to education in different spheres, from the Common School to the University, are before
We have scanned them in vain for a vivid suggestion that may be employed in this discussion. A variety of topics of pedagogical interest appear, many of them considered in the definite and direct style of the experienced teacher. Special directions are given with regard to teaching. this or that department of study, as arithmetic, history, reading, grammar, elocution, the classics, the sciences, etc., etc., all, doubtless, of value to the teacher who would obtain good results in his classroom. We note two or three essays in mental philosophy, in which the nature of consciousness, of its "varying states" of mediate and immediate knowledge, of perception, etc., is the burden of talk, and in the manner of the current treatises. We note also a brief note or two in the line of school discipline. The writers tell how attention may be kept, and conjecture the reason why some teachers are incompetent in managing a room full of pupils, for the most part attributing their unsuccess to "bad methods," with a possible want of "knowledge of human nature." This last phrase we assume to mean a natural gift in the discernment of character, an element that seems to be wanting in most teachers of the day, especially the younger class."
Though the writer seems to have but a limited knowledge of the many educational periodicals of the continent, and is a little too sweeping in its animadversion on our teachers, it is impossible not to agree with him in his plea for more than a mere teaching faculty in the teacher :
"We hold that the good and thoroughly capable teacher is well endowed with the faculty of human nature. The careful study of pedagogical methods by one who has a well-stored mind and fair self-control may fit him to form the duties of a
teacher as they are commonly discharged, but such study will not compensate altogether for want of intuitional perception of character and capacity. The teacher who conducts a school by rules obtained from manuals or lectures on pedagogics, and does not know his pupils, cannot come into that close and sympathetic relation with them that is essential to the best success. He may train their intellect and keep them rigidly up to grade in the various studies that are pursued, but there will be a certain narrowness and coldness of spirit pervading the atmosphere of the room, and a constant want of healthy stimulus to the work of both teacher and scholars. The teacher who works by rule merely is stiff and mechanical, while he who works through his understanding of special dispositions is easy and tolerant. He may not exploit a single rule, yet have nearly every pupil earnestly striving to please him because he has won their respect and confidence."
-A few sensible remarks from a practical educationist are always in season, and we give the following clipping, which has been sent to us, a place of honour among our editorial paragraphs: "Nothing gives more pleasure than to stand upon a street corner and watch the pupils of our schools as they issue from the doors of their several schoolrooms and throng our walks with one long, joyous procession of bright, happy youth, the pride of many loving parents, the joy of many a household, the hope of our country, the pride of our nation. What a striking contrast to the uncouth, dirty, smoking, beer guzzling, gambling pack who congregate about the doors of the saloons and gambling places, or promenade the streets by night or day polluting the air with the fumes of whisky, beer and tobacco smoke, and shocking the sensibilities of all decent people with their profanity and obscenity. Both the conditions above briefly pictured are the result of education, but how widely different are the sources of education. The first is the legitimate result of our grand common school system, the latter the damning effect of the saloon, and carelessness of parents in not insisting upon the proper attendance of their children at school and the criminal negligence of those intrusted with the management of our public schools in not providing ample and suitable places for the accommodation of all who wish to avail themselves of the benefits of school, and in not procuring competent and acceptable teachers to guide their minds in the right direction. We are aware that the common district school is the poor man's college, and that a large portion of the young people of the land never get farther than their own
district school, yet there is always a time when the brightest and most intelligent of the pupils of the district school seek an opportunity for higher courses of study and deeper draughts of knowledge than can be obtained at the little country schoolhouse, and are not yet fully prepared to enter on a regular college course, or may not be able ever to avail themselves of the higher courses of study. For this latter class the high school is their only hope of obtaining those medium acquirements which will fit them for usefulness in life, and give them that degree of culture and refinement which shall so stimulate their self-respect as to lift them above the temptations and dissipations of the ignorant, and save them from a life of uselessness or crime. For these reasons we believe that our graded schools should be most generously and carefully provided for, and nothing left undone which will enhance their usefulness or enlarge their facilities, and that city or village which is the most generous in providing for the wants of the surrounding country will attract to itself the most intelligent and enterprising citizens, will fill the streets and houses with the brightest young people, and build up the material and the financial interests of the community."
-Teachers, according to Mr. Grant Allen, are in a sad way. Writing to the Pall Mall Gazette, he laments the fact that "it is unfortunately impossible to educate our educators." According to Mr. Grant Allen, "two grand errors still pervade all their thinking: First, that mental training is more important than knowledge; second, that useless things train better than useful ones." He holds, on the contrary, that "the best kind of training is the acquisition of knowledge; and the knowledge itself is more important than the mental gymnastic of obtaining it." Mr. Allen's contention is true or untrue, according to the meaning we attach to the terms he employs. As a disciple of Herbert Spencer, he would hardly go against his master's theories. Spencer certainly says, that the needful mental discipline can be obtained in connection with the acquisition of useful knowledge, as well as by that of information which will be of little, if of any, service in after life. But Mr. Allen surely does not seriously mean to argue that the development of physical, mental, and moral faculties is of less consequence than the acquisition of knowledge, useful or otherwise. This would be to assert that what a man is, is of less importance than what a man knows. Knowledge is only of use as it can
be used. Surely the faculty to use is of more consequence than the possession of the thing to be used? The ability of the workman is of greater importance to success than the quantity of material on which he works.
-There is unceasing interest in the village library, and let us hope that the reaction will not come until there is the nucleus of a library laid in every village in the Province of Quebec. Mr. Hutchins is engaged in establishing such libraries in Wisconsin, and the editor of the RECORD, who, in another capacity, is engaged in the same work, takes great interest in the progress of his work. Correspondence from all parts of the State," says a contemporary, is coming in to Mr. F. A. Hutchins, in the State superintendent's office, which indicate a rapid growth of libraries all over Wisconsin. These are town libraries under the state law, high school libraries built up by the enterprise of principals and the help of the communities, and free public libraries. The appointment of Mr. Hutchins to aid in this work was a fortunate and very valuable movement, as he has had long experience in library matters and brings to the office well matured and very practical views. He is ready and anxious to aid in the formation of libraries in any way in his power, and all interested in building up such enterprises will find it to their advantage to consult with him.
The reports about the opening of the "New McGill," as it has been called, is of the most gratifying character. The number of new students entering the Faculty of Applied Science is much larger than has ever been known before. In fact, over seventy have already entered their names in the register. This number is almost as great as the whole number of students in the Faculty last year, so that we have suddenly increased from about 73 or 74 to over 120. This large increase has doubtless been due to the magnificent equipment for the scientific study of the profession of engineering in all its branches provided by some of the new McGill's benefactors, but notably by Mr. W. C. Macdonald. Indeed, it may safely be said, without any undue exaggeration, that the new buildings and equipment will be second to none either on this continent or on any other. The professorial staff has also been largely increased, and the school can now offer to future students every facility for scientific investigation which the development of modern science requires. The most gratifying feature in connection with this development, is the fact, that manufacturers, engineers and merchants generally have shown a marked interest in the work. This cannot be more emphatically shown than by the simple statement that