Billeder på siden

to obtain that supply-adding to the status and dignity of the profession, improving its prospects and conditions, and a better education and training. Turning to Continental educationalists, we find many corroborative remarks. When the education of Finland was organised, the great educational genius, Cygnæus-who undertook the work, is reported to have said, "I will begin at the logical beginning, at the most fundamental point, I will first start a training college for teachers. If I have a supply of able and effective teachers, that is the most important thing."

The very obvious moral of all this is that millionaires, wishing to invest large sums of money in the excellent object of helping education, can make that money most fertile for good in the form of scholarships for embryo teachers.

And now let us go back a hundred years, and see what chances the teachers of England had at that time of a liberal education, sound knowledge, and a professional training. Unfortunately for England a most undesirable gulf has separated the teachers in our secondary schools from the teachers in our elementary schools. We can afford to speak of it now because it is fast vanishing. Different ideals, different conditions, different methods, have existed on the two sides of that gulf, and we are practically forced to consider the two sides separately. I will take first secondary education for two important reasons.

Secondary education is first chronologically. Matthew Arnold tells us that "the secondary school is the most ancient of existing educational institutions. *** By its side the primary or elementary school, springing up as it does from needs and ideas that are comparatively modern, seems but a creature of yesterday." Dr Jessopp was nearly right, not quite, when he said the other night that there was practically no elementary education in the year 1800, there was at any rate very little, and secondary education was far more advanced.

Secondary education under certain conditions is more important than elementary education. In any country really democratic

in government, secondary education ceases to be the education only of a class but is also the education of the clearest thinkers, the ablest brains, the real leaders of the nation, i.e. it becomes primarily the education of the real aristocracy of the nation. English education is obviously moving towards this democratic goal, and when it is reached, secondary education is obviously more important than elementary.

Alas! even in secondary education we must again classify, for there are deep trenches, almost gulfs, even in this educational field. We have, first, the famous Public Schools, and those grammar schools which are profoundly affected by them. Secondly, the mass of middle class schools for boys. Thirdly, secondary schools for girls. The trenches between these three divisions are not as wide in 1900 as they were in 1800, but they still exist.

The first class, the big Public Schools and grammar schools, drew their teachers a hundred years ago as now almost entirely from the two old Universities, and we must go there to see what chances those teachers had in 1800. "The curriculum at either university was narrow, and was neglected with impunity, and distinctions were awarded under the most arbitrary rules, when they were not a matter of pure favouritism. Residence for four academic years was the one qualification for a degree." The weight of antiquity rested heavily on both universities. Oxford was governed by statutes accepted in 1636, and the Cambridge code dated from 1570. It is refreshing to remember how things have changed for the better since 1800 in our two old Universities. Still the advantages they offered at the beginning of the century were great and obvious, and when in the middle of the century a Royal Commission examined the class of schools which they most influenced there were no great abuses such as were found in the middle class schools. The masters of the big Public Schools and best grammar schools were then as now the aristocracy of English teachers, best educated, best paid, teaching under the best

conditions, in many ways most typically English, and embodying the best traditions of English education. These are the only possible leaders of an united profession of teachers in England. We still wait for that union, and we still wait for

our leaders.

It is of importance to remember that such advantages as the two great English universities offered to teachers in 1800 excluded three bodies of teachers. First, all who could not afford the expense of a somewhat expensive university life. This would exclude practically all elementary teachers, and a large number of middle class teachers. Secondly, all who did not conform to the doctrines of the Church of England, i.e. Nonconformists, Jews, and Roman Catholics. “At Oxford a dissenter was not suffered to matriculate at all, or to enjoy the instruction or any other privilege either of University, College, or Hall. At Cambridge he might become a student, but in other respects he was in nearly the same position then as the 3rd class of excluded teachers—women—are now. He then, as they now, "could obtain no degree, hold no office, receive no emolument, and take no part in the government of the University." Thus poor teachers, all Nonconformist teachers, and all women teachers were excluded from the advantages of an university education in the year 1800.

There was a slow but steady improvement in middle class teachers and women teachers from the beginning of the century to the sixties, when important Royal Commissions give us a very faithful picture of our lower secondary schools and teachers, and a sad picture it is which Dr Scott painted for us the other day. If we paint the shadows a little darker and put in a few more gloomy colours, we have a fair representation of the Secondary Teachers and Schools of 1800 for girls and for middle class boys.

The first important date in this century for secondary teachers in England is 1828, when two important events occurred. Dr Arnold went to Rugby. The Master of Trinity

has already told us how great was this effect on the masters of our great Public Schools, and, later, his influence profoundly affected the less fortunate middle class teachers and women teachers. His appointment is worth considering, because it throws much light on what English people considered to be the necessary qualifications for a teacher, indeed for a Headmaster. A scholar he was undoubtedly, but he had had practically no experience in public school teaching. Still he was regarded as "the right kind of man" and I have been much struck by the frequency with what I have heard English Heads of schools say with reference to the appointment of Assistants, "Is he, or she, the right kind of person?" However indifferent we have been in the past to other necessary qualifications, I think we have always valued highly character in teachers, and have believed profoundly in the importance of personality in teachers. This, combined with great freedom, has certainly, I venture to think, enabled our great teachers to count for more than the great teachers of some other countries. I would put this as one of the advantages we have enjoyed even in the midst of our educational chaos, an advantage which I hope we may continue to retain in the educational cosmos towards which we are trending. It is interesting to note Dr Arnold's own views about the requirements of a teacher. "What I want is a man who is a Christian and a gentleman, an active man, and one who has common sense, and understands boys." He would like scholarship, but if he had to choose he prefers "activity of mind and an interest in his work to high scholarship."

In 1828 there was also started in London the University College. This was an event of great importance to teachers, because it was the first of many colleges which offered University education for a comparatively small fee, irrespective of creed, and, at a later period, irrespective of sex, thus enfranchising the three classes of teachers disfranchised in 1800. In four cases, universities have arisen from university colleges,

S. M. L.



namely, Victoria University, the University of Wales, London University (I refer to the newest phase of it), and finally our newest university, that of Birmingham. This development of university education has profoundly affected the great mass of teachers who could not have entered the old universities. examining university of London has also been of considerable advantage in giving a status to teachers debarred from Oxford and Cambridge, although it has had the serious disadvantage of severing to some extent an university degree and university teaching. The year 1828 had thus great importance for all classes of teachers in England.

The next important date was 1846, when the College of Preceptors was opened. That quaint old-world name covers an heroic, if not altogether successful, attempt at a reform of education, especially interesting because it was made chiefly through the improvement of teachers, the easiest of all methods of educational reform. Believing as I do that not only complete successes but also partial failures sometimes count for much in real progress, I venture to say that the College of Preceptors has been an important item in the history of the training of teachers in the present century. The start was typically English, and I will therefore describe it. A few teachers in Brighton met, formed a committee, and began more or less informally to help one another and to help other teachers. The Association soon moved to London, and in 1849 obtained its charter. The function of the college was declared to be "the advancement of education especially among the middle classes," and "to give professional knowledge and professional diplomas, especially to teachers of private schools." Its mission therefore was to that large section of secondary teachers outside the area of the big Public Schools and endowed grammar schools, and I would remind you that fifty years ago neither university help, nor State aid, nor enlightened public opinion were at hand to stimulate, test, or criticise this large area of schools. Even half a century ago the enlightened founders

« ForrigeFortsæt »