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To the Editor of the EDUCATIONAL RECORD:
DEAR SIR,-In my late travels through this District, my attention was drawn on three or four different occasions to pupils, at their homes, busily engaged, as I imagined, with their home lessons, but to my surprise I afterwards learned that they were "pouring" over works of fiction-dime novels. Now, as the subject matters of such books have their origin in the imaginations of their authors, the great majority of such works afford very poor food, indeed, for young minds, and yet, like most besetting sins, the more we would indulge in such light and unprofitable reading, the acquired taste becomes stronger.
I have witnessed young people who persisted in reading such novels "night, noon and morn," and oh! what a waste of precious opportu-, nities in the "spring time of life!" when leisure hours could be devoted to the perusal of useful and profitable study.
Our literary tastes are not all alike, yet the field of useful knowledge is very wide. Had we not, even in the School-room, a Curriculum (Course of Study) I believe many of the useful studies, if left to the choice of the students, would not be "taken up." There are subjects which appear dry" and uninteresting to some, yet, by perserverance an acquired taste will in time manifest itself.
The Book of books gives us a full account of God's dealings with man, the consequences of the latter's disobedience, and the mode of escape from everlasting punishment. The Natural and Physical Sciences reveal Infinite Wisdom, or God in Nature, and the more closely the student will follow up such studies, the stronger will be his aversion for the erratic imaginations and sceptical "bosh" which the books of Ingersoll and others contain.
What interesting studies are Astronomy, Hydrostatics, Pneumatics and Electricity! The almost infinitesimal sub-division of matter on the one hand, and the infinite expanse of space on the other, are worthy of deep thought.
What an interesting study is Animal and Vegetable Physiology! The construction of the human eye is, of itself, a marvellous mechanism; the ear; the frame-work of the human body; the bones, shaped to give the greatest possible strength with the least possible volume; yes, a bone where a bone is wanted, supplied with ball and socket, and lubricated with ever-flowing oil, working with faultless accuracy! One of my favorite poets, Cowper, watched intently the movements and habits of a small insect, and afterwards examined its construction. Then he wrote:
"How sweet to muse upon this skill displayed,
To trace in Nature's most minute design
His mighty work, Who said, and it was done.
The loftiest minds the world ever saw were diligent seekers after useful knowledge-not dime novel readers, but diligent searchers after truth-humble believers in the hereafter.
Addison's hymn of praise and adoration to the Great Architect of the Universe begins :
"When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
To the Editor of the EDUCATIONAL RECORD:
DEAR SIR, I promised to send you some recollections of " ye olden time" for the EDUCATIONAL RECORD. About five years ago a young teacher, speaking of the schools of the past generation, said to me, "I suppose you see a great parallelogram between things as they were then and are now." My young friend is now a student in the University. It is likely that he saw a parallelogram between his English and that which prevails in his alma mater. However, he is an excellent young man, one who will do good work if he be spared. My friend's thought was right, however misguided was his speech. Nothing is now as it was then. Webster's Spelling Book, the New Testament, Murray's English Reader, (Murray was a Friend or Quaker, and his book was very grave, heavy and moral, containing few, if any, selections that a child would read willingly), and a History of the United States. This last was about as near to truth as the writings of Baron Munchausen. Blackboards, mural maps and globes were unknown, nor did I ever see any one of them till I introduced them into my own school. Many things were common sixty years ago that would not now be borne for a day. My first day at school is fresh in my memory. I had learned to read before going to school. Indeed, I cannot recollect the time when I could not read. The teacher did not believe me, and put me at the a, b, c. I did not like that, and succeeded in telling her so with fear and trembling, although at first she was not inclined to think I was speaking the truth. Punishments were very often savage. To tie a cord around the wrist, draw the arm to a perpendicular, and tie the other end of the cord to a nail in the ceiling, and then, in addition, make the child stand on one foot, was one mode. Another was to make the child hold a slate, with two or three books on it, at arm's length. The language used by the master can hardly be repeated. "Sit down, you villain, and you, too, you dunce," was the kind of orders given to the boys in olden times, and worse than that. "I'll make Irishmen of yez, ye American brats," "Confound you, I'll whitewash the wall with that numskull of yours," were among the choice sayings sometimes used.
"What part of speech is thing?" I asked an advanced student
when I was a little boy. "An adjective," said he, and he went on to tell me that a word that made sense after good was an adjective. I believed him then. I doubted after. "Have you studied Greek?" said a student to me. "No," said I. "You should, it is a beautiful language; the infinitive always has an article." I thought that a language whose infinitive always had an article must have other beauties. I think I have seen Greek infinitives without the article. I knew a teacher who corrected compositions by beginning the definite adjective the with a capital. The same person reversed the common mode of teaching geography, e. g., "The Mississippi rises in the Gulf of Mexico and flows north, and empties into Lake Itasca." I have known teachers who would ask other teachers who were visiting their schools to join classes in reading and spelling. I can, in fancy, my dear sir, see how you would look if a teacher asked you to join in a class in the Fourth Book. One fault in "ye olden time" is very common now that is teaching the how and not the why.
H. T. G., AN OLD TEACHER.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION,
QUEBEC, 20th March, 1891.
Public notice is hereby given that an examination of candidates for the office of Inspector of Protestant Schools will be held at the Department of Public Instruction, Quebec, at 9 a.m., on Saturday, the 9th of May next.
Candidates are requested to send their applications and certificates, accompanied with a deposit of six dollars, to the Secretary of the Protestant Committee of the Council of Public Instruction, Quebec. GÉDÉON OUIMET, Superintendent.
THE NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION.
The following official circular has been issued to the teachers of the Province:
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION,
To the Teachers of the Province of Quebec.
QUEBEC, 4th April, 1891.
I have the honor to inform you that the Convention of the National Educational Association of the United States will be held in Toronto in July next. The convention will continue in session four days, July 14-17, and about 15,000 teachers are expected to be present. By
selecting Toronto as the place of meeting the Dominion has been honored, and the greatest educational gathering of this continent has been brought within reach of the teachers of Canada. I desire to urge upon the teachers of the Province the importance of being present at Toronto, to give a cordial welcome to the visiting teachers of the United States and to profit by the many advantages which such a gathering affords. GÉDÉON OUIMET,
Arrangements have been made to hold four institutes during the second week in July next. The institutes will open Tuesday, July 7th, at Inverness, Sherbrooke, Cowansville and Lachute. Rev. Elson I. Rexford and Inspector Parker will conduct the institute at Inverness, Dr. Harper and Mr. R. J. Hewton at Sherbrooke, Dr. Robins and Inspector Taylor at Cowansville, and Professor Parmelee and Inspector McGregor at Lachute. Full information concerning the work of the institutes will be given in our next issue.
The following teachers, who attended the Teachers' Institutes in July, 1890, have submitted satisfactory answers to the institute questions, and have received their certificates of attendance:
Lennoxville Institute.-Bissell, Hattie M.; Bennett, Helena M.; Berwick, Susie ; Cleveland, Ella M.; Glass, M. E.; Ives, Caroline L.; McLellan, Maggie C.; Marlin, Eliza; Pearce, Jennie M.; Simpson, Sara F.; Stobo, Annie L.; Stobo, Kate E.; Stevens, Louisa S.; Stacey, Idelia; Young, M. A. (Mrs.); Munkittrick, Cora.
Inverness Institute.-Allan, Maggie D.; Andrews, Mary M.; Bailey, Christina C.; Jamieson, K. M.; Kerr, Annie M.; Longmuir, Agnes; McKillop, Kate E.; Patterson, Jessie; Reid, Maggie; Thompson, Elizabeth M.
Shawville Institute.-Allen, H. Allie; Dods, Mary W.; Corrigan, Maggie E.; Dahms, Maud O.; Dahms, M. Amelia; Dahms, Lucy; Edey, Lucy W.; McJanet, Agnes; McJanet, E. Lavina; McRae, Laura; Ostrom, Mary; Telford, Jane U.; Young, Janet E.
Cowansville Institute.-Aiken, Orlando E.; Burnett, Myrtie M.; Bulman, Mary E.; Beach, Hattie M.; Bulman, Catherine J.; Booth, Archer H.; Davis, Jesse S.; Emerson, Mary; Fuller, Geo. D.; Fuller, Alex. L.; Hawk, Emma H.; Hayes, Nancy L.; Hurlbut, Bertha; Hawk, Fannie; Howard, Catherine; Ingalls, Roxie A.; Jewell, Mary E.; Joyal, Florence; Libby, Ruth E.; Miller, Lila J. ; Marsh, Eloise; Marsh, Maud; Primerman, Annie; Sulley, Nellie G. Scott, Mabel K.; Stone, Effie; Short, Marion; Teel, Ruth M.; Truax, Agnes A.; Vaudry, M. Olive; Williams, Lucy A.; Washer, Martha; Winchester, R. T.; Pickle, Nina M.; Patton, Jennie; Goddard, Anna M.
LEEDS, July 17th, 1890.
To the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
SIR, I have the honor to submit my first report with reference to the state of education in my inspectorate. I send with it the statistical table for the scholastic year of 1889-90.
In my inspectorate, which comprises the Protestant schools of the counties of Megantic, Lotbinière, Dorchester, Levis, Portneuf, Quebec and Quebec city, there are thirty-three scholastic municipalities, containing one college, two high schools, one academy and seventy-seven elementary schools.
As it was late in October when I was appointed to office, I was not able to visit all the schools twice. The schools of Quebec city, the county of Levis, and several in the county of Megantic I have visited twice; the other schools, once. I experienced some difficulty on my first tour of inspection. Many of the municipalities are not carrying out the regulations with reference to the time in which their schools should be in operation. Here is an example:
Teachers are engaged to commence teaching on July 1st. Two weeks holidays are to be given during the hay-making season, two weeks in harvest, two weeks at Christmas, and two weeks during potato-planting time. Now, I had the misfortune to travel ninety miles to visit schools in the month of May, being ignorant of the existing custom which prevailed in these municipalities; the result was I had to return home, as the schools were closed. I was thus compelled to make another visit later. Again, there are other municipalities in which schools are in operation but five months in the year, viz., June, July, August, September and October. These schools. were closed before I could visit them. I visited several of them this year, however, during the month of June, and as they had been in operation but a few days, I was not able to report favorably. I shall visit them again before they close, and, by so doing, I shall be in a position to note what progress has been made.
In the statistical table I have reported seventy-seven elementary schools under control. There were in attendance at these schools 1,785 pupils. The two model schools reported were attended by 135 pupils. There were in attendance at the high schools and academies 352 pupils, making a total of 2,272 pupils, with an average attendance of 1,762. I have reported in schools under control 10 male and 91 female teachers. In the elementary schools there are only two teachers without diplomas.
I inspected the elementary departments of Inverness academy, Leeds model school and St. Sylvestre model school. These have been reported in the bulletins of inspection. I visited the other high schools for the purpose of obtaining the necessary statistics.