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Mathematics, Science, Physical Training were included.
the conception of the work and the ideals of the teacher of to-day have entirely altered during the last twenty years. Miss Richmal Mangnall taught facts, more or less accurately. So did the early High School teachers. They aimed at instruction, while the modern schools recognise that training the intelligence mainly by observation must go before instruction in facts.
"It is better to turn out one thinking man than a score of learned men."
This conception of what is required from the teacher has led to one great difference in the manner of teaching, and has made for progress which affects the work in all subjects. It is that the lecture system in girls' schools is a thing of the past. Note taking is discouraged; notes when taken are rarely copied
This is what one of the most successful teachers who taught in the early days of High Schools writes on this point:
"I think the great difference was in the teaching. It was certainly superior to private teaching but also very inferior to what is given now. I taught history by lectures, and had no idea of questioning or adapting my lecture to the capacities of the girls. In class I simply ran along during the whole hour and expected it all reproduced. The girls ran after me taking notes at the top of their speed and afterwards vied with each other in the number of pages they sent me in. The only text book I had was 'Smith's Hume.' I made up my lesson from that and learnt it by heart. I taught facts and nothing else. I had neither the knowledge of history nor of teaching necessary, and I believe most of us were equally limited. The Mathematical Mistress knew only two books of Euclid and the Science Mistress's Botany would be scoffed at now. Of course my own sense soon taught me to do better, but I expect many mistresses went on in the same way for years."
Subjects are now valued for the training they give, for their disciplinary value, as well as for the information gained in their study. This is the great distinction. The recognised subjects of a liberal education are all part of the general teaching and
training of every pupil, and the time table for each girl is arranged with a view to the supplementary value each subject has for the other. There is less rigidity. Too many subjects are not taken at the same time. Up to a certain stage, say a Lower Vth, good all round work is the aim as a preparation for the specializing which is then gradually introduced in Classics, Modern Languages, Mathematics, in English History and Literature, in Natural Sciences, in Drawing, and Music. The Vth and VIth Forms are allowed Free hours, and in them the girls are expected to work by themselves and read for themselves under guidance only from the teacher. Thus the subjects are lessened and the girls are encouraged to work for and by themselves.
Progress is also the direct result of the great improvement in the teaching power in Schools. Every year the number of women who leave the Universities to take up teaching in Schools increases. They have been trained and taught at School and College in a scholarly way; they have learnt at first hand from those who are masters of their subject. They have acquired a certain amount of scholarship themselves. Through them the education given to girls in the best High Schools is advancing by leaps and bounds. The debt the Schools owe to the Colleges for women, and to the Universities which receive them and teach and examine them, is a great one. The Schools are beginning to repay it by sending each year to the Colleges girls who are better prepared to begin at once to take advantage of the special teaching the Universities offer. I can remember the time when it was the exception for a girl to take the Previous Examination, at any rate Part I., Latin and Greek, before the end of her first year. From the best and most ambitious schools it is now the exception for her not to have taken the whole or its equivalent before she comes into residence, or at the end of her first term. Progress has also resulted from the view now taken in the best schools of examinations.
In early days there was an almost feverish desire on the
part of the teachers for public examinations. All untrained as they were, they limited their teaching to facts, and really believed the aim and object of their lessons was success in examinations.
But as the Schools have become conscious of their progress, university examinations have taken their proper place in the scheme of work.
Inspection all through: Viva voce examinations of the lower and middle Forms (personally I would cheerfully dispense with these), the Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination papers for the higher, and the Oxford and Cambridge Higher Certificate and University Scholarship Examinations for the highest Forms make a satisfactory scheme of Inspection and Examination. It ensures thoroughness and gives encouragement to work done on the right lines.
The best authorities now agree that while it is well for a girl to pass a good examination before she leaves school, it only narrows the limits of her education for her to take public examinations too early. The standard reached by many VIth Form girls is shewn by their performance in Scholarship Examinations, and by the places subsequently taken by them in University Honours Lists.
I have had no means of finding out the complete number of University Scholarships won by public schools in any one year, but from the Girls' Public Day School Company's schools last year, 1899, 24 out of a possible 30 Scholarships were gained. If more Scholarships were offered the number is lamentably small-I have no doubt that High School girls would be immediately found competent to hold them. It is not want of brains, but want of scholarships, and means, that prevents many promising girls from sharing the great advantages of University life and training.
In 1899 in the Final Honours Schools at Oxford two former High School girl's (Girls' Public Day School Company) were in the Mathematical List, five in the History, four in the
English Language and Literature. In Moderations five were in the Classical List, four in Mathematics and one in Modern Languages; a total of 21.
In the Cambridge Tripos lists two were Wranglers, two were Senior, four were Junior Optimes, three were in the Classical lists, five in the Natural Sciences, ten in the History, five in the Modern Languages; total 31. Fourteen took a London M.B., M.A., or B.Sc. degree, one a Durham, and three a Victorian degree.
The total number representing 26 schools-70 for one year.
The great progress which cannot fail to be recognised in our Schools is due :
To improved methods of teaching.
To the improvement in the teaching power of Schools, notably by the employment of Specialists and trained teachers. 3. To the view now taken of the place of Examinations in School work.
Improvements in certain directions have also resulted from the conferences held from time to time, at which Papers on special subjects are read by experts and discussed by persons practically engaged in teaching them.
That there is much still to be done I should be the last
The problem how best to fit girls for their home duties and for the occupations of life and for the professions has been met; but how to make the most of the girl with rather less than average ability, the girl who is so little benefited by the ordinary High School curriculum; how to enforce the training which should bring with it to a greater number of girls the real love of learning and the desire to continue learning when the guidance of school is at an end: all these and many other problems remain to be solved we hope in the schools of the future. Time does not allow me to say all I should like to on the modern teaching of important subjects.
S. M. L.
With regard to mathematics I do not propose to enter into the improved methods of teaching any of its branches. I will only compare the words of Professor Maurice, "We are aware that our pupils are not likely to advance far in mathematics,” and those of one of the Royal Commissioners, "It would be an affectation to say a word on behalf of the Arithmetic taught by ladies; it is always meagre and always unintelligent," with the numerous mathematical scholarships won at the Universities by schoolgirls and the report of the Oxford and Cambridge Schools examiners in arithmetic for 1899, "The result showed that arithmetic has been carefully and systematically taught in the Schools-that in nearly all the classes some girls, and in some classes a considerable proportion of the girls, had acquired a thorough grasp of the subject and reached a high degree of excellence as arithmeticians." The teachers in all cases were women. Equally good reports are given on the Euclid and Algebra.
Modern languages: In the early days of High Schools these were taught by means of written exercises full of stereotyped sentences, English into French or German, French or German into English. Grammatical rules were learnt, great stress being laid on all the exceptions to the rule, and any curious and unimportant (to the general learner) peculiarities of form and language. Translation followed, but the number of books thought suitable for school use was lamentably deficient. Conversation as part of the School teaching was not recognised. There was method in the work and a certain amount of training and education to be got out of it, but the results were not to be compared with those which follow the consecutive and continuous teaching on a more modern scheme.
In the excellent scheme of which I have some personal experience, teaching in the lower forms is chiefly oral, but the pupils all through the lower and middle forms are encouraged in every possible way to apply for themselves in sentences and