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house. It is uncertain whether any time would have been granted for this purpose, had not the Principal of the McGill Normal School exerted his influence in bringing it before the Executive Committee.
This however is not my main purpose in writing this letter. The country teachers have a grievance, and a serious one. Ever since the meetings of the Convention became permanently located in Montreal, the country teachers have gradually lost the influence they possessed formerly, when the meetings were of a migratory character. This can be readily seen in the result of the election of officers for the ensuing year. The retiring President, the President elect, two of the three Vice-Presidents, the Treasurer, the Recording Secretary, the Corresponding Secretary, the Representative to the Protestant Committee of Public Instruction, and one of the Pension Commissioners, are all engaged in school work in the City of Montreal. It is perhaps preferable that the Treasurer and Corresponding Secretary should reside in Montreal, but surely there are men to be found-and women too—in the ranks of the country teachers who could acceptably discharge the onerous duties of one or more of the remaining posts of honor.
When I add that the retiring President, the President elect, one of the Vice-Presidents, the Recording Secretary, the Corresponding Secretary, one of the Pension Commissioners, and the Representative to the Protestant Committee are all connected with the High School, Montreal, it does seem as though the Convention were either trying to honor one institution to an extreme extent, or were anxious to pay all the compliments they could to its much esteemed head. If the Montreal teachers wish to make the Provincial Association of Quebec Protestant Teachers a local affair, by all means let them do so, but let me respectfully suggest to them the propriety of changing The trouble is that everything connected with the Association is run on the "Ring" principle. The Executive Committee must always have a "Montreal" majority so long as the Annual Conventions are held there. Of course the country teachers have the privilege of combining to carry any particular point, as the City teachers do, but they never have a chance of coming together excepting at the time of the October meeting, and there is therefore no chance of united action on their part. I know for a fact that many of them are disgusted with the whole business. At several meetings I have heard the expression-"This is the last Convention I shall attend in Montreal, but the following year sees them in their accustomed places, and they do nothing to remedy the existing state of things.
Personally I enjoy these annual gatherings very much. Independently of the pleasure of meeting old friends, I always manage to pick up some new ideas which are of use in my profession, and am old enough to feel more amusement than chagrin when I see office after office thrust on to one or two men whom we all delight to
honor. There are several other points upon which I would like to write, but feel that this letter is too lengthy as it is.
To the Editor of the Sherbrooke Gazette:
JOHN L. WAlton.
Without attempting a discussion of the Hon. Judge Lynch's remarks in regard to our Academies, I wish to take exception to the somewhat sweeping condemnation, in your editorial of last week, of our Common, or more properly Elementary, schools.
You speak, at the outset, of the injurious effects of the large number of books required, the frequent changing of books, (and) the multiplicity of studies imposed in our . Common Schools. A sweeping statement like this is easily made, but let us look carefully at the facts. If we examine the Authorized Course of Study for Elementary Schools (see 2nd page of cover of the School Register published in your office) we find that in the 1st and 2nd grades, or the youngest pupils, almost no books are required, and comparatively little actual study. In grade 3, the number of books and studies naturally increase, and passing to the 4th or highest grade, we find the following, which can hardly be termed a very formidable list: "Book IV. (reader), spelling book, arithmetic, grammar, geography, Canadian history, copy-book, blank book, drawing-book, (the last three being simply exercise books, costing, in all, 25 cents), and by examining the list of studies of grade 4, we find that these books cover all that is required in the way of study or work. Elementary French may be taken if desired, in which case another book may be needed. Now, how much have we here beyond what you have specified as essential? Only Canadian history and drawing, neither of which is intended as a daily exercise. There are no other lessons required to be learned. In view of these facts, it strikes me that your complaint is decidedly overdrawn. I may suggest that in my view, very much of the complaint of "crowding" arises from the willingness, if not anxiety, of parents, (too often encouraged by the teachers), to press children forward into grades beyond their age and capacity; the unavoidable alternative being poor work or overwork.
The grievance of the "frequent changing of books," so far at least as the elementary schools are concerned, is wholly imaginary, as there has been almost no changing since the introduction of the present authorized series, some eight years ago. I venture to assert that for no other period of equal length during the past 35 years, has there been as much quiet and stability in text-books as during the last five years. In fact, it is a question whether more change would not be advantageous. An occasional changing of school books is not necessarily an evil. It is a very general opinion among experienced educators that a period of five or six years is as long as one series of readers should be used. "But," you will say, "think of the expense." True, the expense is worthy of consideration, but it is not the only point to be
considered. How often does the farmer or mechanic, regardless of the expense, throw aside a partly worn implement to purchase a new one which he thinks will do better work? and is better work in the education of our children matter of less moment?
Your rather trite reference to the ignorance in common things often shown by college graduates can, I think, hardly be regarded as being especially apposite to our schools; unless it can be shown that Quebec graduates are more faulty in that regard than others. It is well for complainers to bear in mind that it is much easier and cheaper to pull down a poor, or a fairly good structure, than it is to replace it by a better one. I leave the position of the Academies for others to discuss, offering only this suggestion, that if parents will persist in crowding their children, who ought to be in the elementary schools, into the classes of the Model schools and Academies, they must not be surprised if they find them overworked. My object has been to show the true position of our elementary schools, and that the complaints as to books and studies in these schools are largely imaginary. It is not, perhaps, undue vanity for me to claim that I am in a position to know that under the present system there has been decided advancement "along the whole line." If "reforms" in minor details are needed let us have them, but let us not condemn wholesale without examination.
Will you allow me a word in closing, upon another point. Many who declaim strongly against the multiplicity of studies in the schools have some additional pet object which they claim should be introduced. Judge Lynch's subject is agriculture; and he expresses regret that the teachers had refused to admit it as a school study. Now, I may be thought heterodox, but from my experience as a farmer for more than 20 years of my life, and as a teacher having it occasionally thrust upon me as a study, as well as upon general principles, I regard the idea of teaching agriculture, at least in the common schools, as nonsense. As well may we try to teach painting or any other art by a mere abstract study or theory. The fundamental principle of all education, "We learn to do by doing," applies emphatically to agriculture and all like subjects. I would by no means discard theory or science in farming, but let it be acquired in connection with practice, and do not attempt to cram it as abstract study, into the minds of children. H. HUBBARD.
Nov. 9th, 1891.
To the Editor of the EDUCATIONAL RECORD:
DEAR SIR,-Mr. Walton has written to the Montreal Witness, a communication which perhaps you will hardly dare re-publish, seeing it refers to those all-powerful combinations that seek to rule the affairs of the Teachers' Association. He may perhaps find further food for comment in the appointment of the sub-committees, where Mr. Hewton's name occurs at the end of every committee. Perhaps the
addition was only an afterthought on the part of those who prearranged that he should not be our representative.
Yours respectfully, A TEACHER.
SHERBROOKE, Que., Nov. 16th, 1891.
To the Editor of the EDUCATIONAL RECORD:
DEAR SIR, At the last Convention three important papers, viz. that of Mr. Parmelee, that of Dr. Harper and that of Mr. Alexander, were crowded off the programme. As these were all on subjects in which we are greatly interested, I beg leave to suggest that they he printed in the RECORD, and opportunity given for discussion. Two purposes would thus be served: these papers would be brought to the notice of teachers, and teachers would be induced to communicate their criticisms of them to the only educational paper published in the Province. Yours truly, R. J. HEWTON.
Books Beceived and Neviewed.
-Through arrangements made by us with that popular juvenile, Harper's Young People, we are enabled to offer to all teachers and school-officers who are our regular readers a Portrait of Christopher Columbus. This portrait is 11 x 14 inches in size, and is printed upon paper suitable for framing. It bears no advertisement. It is after the original in the Naval Museum of the Spanish Government. All you have to do to secure the portrait is to write to Harper's Young People, Franklin Square, New York, mention this paper, and enclose a 2-cent stamp to pay postage. This portrait, when framed, will be found a capital thing for any school-room, and very timely at the opening of the Columbian anniversary year.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION,
Which day the quarterly meeting of the Protestant Committee of the Council of Public Instruction was held.
Present The Right Rev. James W. Williams, D.D., Lord Bishop of Quebec, in the chair; The Rev. John Cook, D.D.; Sir William Dawson, C.M.G., LL.D.; R. W. Hencker, Esq., D.C.L., LL.D.; The Ven. Archdeacon Lindsay, M.A.; George L. Masten, Esq., The Rev. W. I. Shaw, LL.D.; A. Cameron, Esq, M.D., M.P.P.; A. W. Kneeland, Esq., M. A.; E. J. Hemming, Esq., D.C.L.; The Very Rev. Dean Norman, D.D.; The Rev. Dr. Cornish; and the Rev. E. I. Rexford, B.A.
The minutes of the previous meeting were read and confirmed. The following correspondence was submitted for the consideration of the Committee.
1. From the Secretary of the Provincial Association of teachers, announcing the election of the Rev. Elson I. Rexford, B.A., as representative on the Protestant Committee.
Nominations were then received for an Associate member to succeed the late Rev. Dr. Weir.
The names of the Rev. Mr. Rexford, the Rev. Mr. Love, and Dr. Robins having been submitted, it was moved by Dr. Shaw, seconded by Dr. Cornish, "that the election be made by ballot." Carried.
It was agreed that balloting should be continued until some nominee should receive an actual majority. Two ballots having been taken without a majority being polled for any candidate, it was moved by Sir William Dawson, seconded by Dr. Cornish, "that the election be postponed till next meeting, to be taken as the first item of business." Carried.
2. From Messrs. E. L. Curry, B.A., and A. W. Strong, B.Sc., submitting Extra-Provincial diplomas and certificates and asking for exemptions from examination under regulation 40.
It was agreed that Messrs. Curry and Strong may be exempted from examination for second class Academy diplomas in all subjects excepting School Law and Regulations, and French, and in the latter also if they furnish the Secretary of the Central Board with satisfactory evidence of having passed in that subject after doing as much work as is demanded by the syllabus of examination for the Province of Quebec.
3. From the Kingsey Falls school, asking for examination and inspection as a superior school.
The Committee agreed to request the Inspector of Superior Schools to inspect and examine the school and report to the Committee.
4. From the Rev. W. Percy Chambers, Knowlton, A. W. McEachern, Ormstown, W. H. Lambly, Inverness, and F. E. Gale, Waterville, concerning grants to the superior schools in these places.
The Rev. W. P. Chambers of Knowlton appeared before the Committee and explained the difficulties connected with the examinations at Knowlton. After a full statement of the case, it was agreed that the matter was of sufficient importance to engage the attention of a sub-committee; accordingly Dr. Comish, Dr. Kneeland, and Dr. Shaw were appointed to examine the question and report at the next meeting.
The Inspector of Superior Schools stated that the school buildings in Ormstown were entirely unsuitable, and that the commissioners had already been requested to improve affairs, particularly in relation to the primary department, and had not done so.
It was then agreed that the Secretary should be instructed to inform Mr. McEachern that his letter having been received and examined, the Committee feels that it cannot alter its decision.
The Secretary was instructed to say that there is no Academy in the Province of Quebec in which there are not three teachers except Inverness Academy, and that the committee must insist that the