« PreviousContinue »
but in spirit, not in the abundance of that which he knows, but in his ability to so present knowledge, that whatever the child has acquired by diligent study may become the germ of inward growth, inducing thought, self activity; awakening him to "the inner consciousness of his powers, which is the object of the education of nature." There is time to briefly consider one other point. The education most prevalent in this country has hitherto had chief reference to brain training
There is a strong feeling that now the great question is, how can we best fit the child for the duties of social life and of citizenship. If we could reach him in the family, the question could be more easily solved. If you are not convinced of the magnitude of this question, go just at dark, after the hours of labor into the lanes and alleys of any city, and see the crowds of children swarming from out their dirty squalid homes, wallowing in the dirt, growing up in filth, ignorance, and sin. The great hope of the patriot, the philanthropist, the christian, is that many of these children are in our free schools.
The spirit of the new education would lead us to teach these children, not only the laws of personal health, but so much of social science as pertains to cleanliness in all the surroundings of their homes; 50 much of political science as pertains to the mutual dependence existing between labor and capital; so much of patriotism as pertains to the blessings of a free, firm, enlightened government; so much of morals as pertains to questions of right and wrong; and so much of religion as pertains to immortality. In dealing with children conscience is the surest ally we can have. It is hers to unbar the windows, take down the shutters, and throw wide open the door, that the light of God's truth may have free access to the soul within.
I have not advocated the adoption of the new education in all its details. I believe the most we can do is to catch its spirit, to study its principles, and to build them as elements of strength into our American system. I commend them with the more earnestnes to every teacher, because there is not a social, moral, religious, or political question of the day the solution of which will not be effected by the instruction in our common schools. So great are the interests committed to our charge.
LET two young men of equal natural ability be instructed for the same lenth of time ; one on the principle that knowledge is the chief end of education, and the other, that the great end is to form right habits by vigorous training, and then let them be left to make their way in the world. Though possessing less information at first, you will soon see the latter distancing the former in the race of life.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
DISTRICT IN A VILLAGE LENGTH OF DISTRICT. Q. Can the town board alone alter a district lying partly in an incorporated village ?
A. Not if the village was incorporated by special act. In that case the trustees act with the town board. (Sec. 422.)
Q. Can a district be more than six miles in length?
A. An attempt was made three or four years ago, to procure legislation prohibiting districts in the form of a fishing-pole or corkscrew, but it was not successful. A district cannot contain more than thirty-six sections, but they may be continuously in a line, extending thirty-six miles.
CITIES. Q. Are the "independent cities " exempt from the operation of the general school laws?
A. They are not, except as their charters expressly or by necessary implication provide that they shall be, or as the general laws themselves so provide. (See secs. 515, 703.)
Q. Has a city board of education power to contract with teachers who hold no certificates ? A. That would be directly contrary to sections 448 and 438.
EXAMINATIONS, ETC. Q. Upon what authority can a superintendent refuse to examine a teacher who lives outside the county he superintends?
A. There is no authority for such refusal. The business of the superintendent, ordinarly, is to examine those who present themselves, without regard to previous residence in the county. There may be good reason for giving employment, other things being equal, to teachers already resident in the county; but on the other hand an importation of good teachers, especially in the newer parts of the State, may be a public benefit. It is conceivable that a superintendent may have good reasons for refusing examination, in a particular case, apart from previous non-residence.
Q. Is it the duty of the superintendent to send their standing to candidates who fail to pass, or is the sending merely an act of courtesy?
A. The law gives no direction upon the subject. Most superintendents, it is supposed, send the insufficient standing, if a certificate is not obtained. This is not only courteous but reasonable. But if the superintendent having much work on his hands, says to the applicant, at examination, “If you do not receive a certificate within such a time, you may infer you have failed," that would have to suffice, until he had more leisure. In the larger counties, superintendents have much to do and many things to think of, and should not be complained of lightly.
Q. What can I do, the clerk without any reason refusing to draw an order to pay my wages, until he gets ready?
A. You can petition the county judge to remove him that another person may be put in his place; you can compel performance by mandamus. But probably a little patience, with the friendly countenance of other members of the board, would be a wiser resort.
Q. Can a pupil be legally detained after school hours ?
A. There are cases where it would be quite justifiable. The teacher should be discreet and reasonable in doing it.
Q. Can a teacher legally punish pupils for misdemeanors committed on the way to and from school?
A. Yes. See discussion of this point, and the whole question of punishment, in the July number, page 303. Read particularly the last paragraph but one on page 305.
Q. What length of notice is necessary when a pupil is to be expelled from school?
A. No notice is necessarily to be given. Expulsion is somewhat in the nature of arrest. It might be necessary to expel a pupil in the most peremptory manner. Ordinarily expulsion would be preceded by remonstrance, by punishment, or perhaps by suspension.
Q. Can a teacher dismiss school on "circus day," "commencement day,” etc., the scholars all wishing to be absent?
A. The teacher has no such power. If she takes the responsibility of closing the school, she loses the day. The board and teacher may agree that such a day shall be a day of vacation. The law dismisses the school on a legal holiday.
Q. If a teacher's wages become due on the 4th of July, when is she to be paid ?
A. It would be reasonable that she be paid the day before, and more convenient probably for all parties.
ANNUAL MEETING OF INSTITUTE CONDUCTORS.
LA CROSSE, Monday, July 7, 1879. Meeting called to order by State Supt. Whitford, at 9, A. M., and prayer was offered by Hon. W. H. Chandler, after which the meeting organized by electing Supt. Whitford, chairman, and Fred. W. Isham, secretary.
Mr. Chandler opened a discussion on institute work, with a paper on “The Objects of the Institute.” He said the institute was neither a common school, an academy, nor a patent arrangement to enable teachers to prepare for county examinations, nor was it merely an occasion for social or professional intercourse; on the contrary, the design was to train and discipline, to elevate the teacher's conception of educational work, to inspire a love for the work, and a de. sire for better preparation. It was expected that conductors would present models in matter and method.
Prof. Robert Graham continued the discussion with a paper on “Methods." There are two important questions, what is the end of education, and how se. cured;
method solves the second of these questions. In institute work there should be a well defined purpose; instruction suited to the needs of the class; no more attempted than can be thoroughly comprehended; the attention and intellectual activity of the class secured; fullness and distinctness of vocality. Some meth. ods should be inaugurated to further stimulate and interest the people.
Next followed the consideration of “Future Plans,” by Prof. Albert Salisbury. The plan inaugurated three years ago had been sufficiently successful to deserve continued support. Whenever a new course should be needed, its outlines in any one branch should be prepared by one person, with the subject more fully elaborated, and the natural order followed. The institute should exercise more immediate control over the work, more money should be expended in se. curing a corps of institute lecturers, and the coerced attendance of teachers upon institutes seems desirable.
An extended discussion followed in which Messrs. North, Salisbury, Albee, Graham, and Thayer participated, the general opinion being that there should be a thorough preparation of the daily lessons of the institute, but that attention should be given to a proper way of preparing, and to an effort to consider every subject in its broadest relations.
After a short recess, Prof. J. Q. Emery read a paper on reading, urging greater attention to analysis of thought and expression. Next Prof. Salisbury consid. ered the function of Orthopy in teaching reading, urging its importance, in that the senses of the race as they grow more and more acute will make severer de. mands for the development of the voice. A discusion followed: Supt. Whitford believed the management of inflections to be a very important matter in reading. Prof. Westcott would give less attention to teaching diacritical marks, and more practice in the actual pronunciation of words ir common use. Prof. Graham said that ninety-nine one-hundredths of our reading being silent, orthopy is im.
portant only in ascertaining whether the pupil has attained the thought and can express it.
The afternoon session was opened with a paper on “Functions and Forms of Verbs,” by Prof. A. F. North. A plea was made for the rational and not dogmatical teaching of Grammar; the English language is not fossilized, but is progressing towards simplicity; the advantage of the English verb is its simplicity and freedom from forms.
Next a paper was read on “Sentential Analysis,” by Prof. H. D. Maxson. Proper analysis necessitates comprehension; its object being to develope the fac. ulty of discrimination and to cultivate this faculty, it should be rigorously logi. cal; the proper place to pursue it is in connection with the reading lesson. Many idiomatic expressions which do not conform to the general laws of the language were considered, many of which have no place in class work.
Prof. Westcott followed with a paper on “ Word Analysis.” A knowledge of etymology is necessary to good spelling, a knowledge of ancient languages is helpful, a familiarity with the rules of spelling is important; no one has any excuse for poor spelling; a persistent daily study of the dictionary will make amends for lack of opportunities. “The Means and Methods for Securing Good Spellers,” was considered by Prof. A. A. Miller. Two results are desirable – clearly-defined and lasting impressions in the mind, and the ability to recall these impressions. Some admirable rules for teaching spelling were laid down.
Next Prof. J. B. Thayer presented an Exposition of the Syllabus, on the topic of Arithmetic.
The evening session was devoted to the consideration of " A Course of Study for our Ungraded Schools.” Supt. Lunn read a paper on “ Adaptation,” fol. lowed by a paper on “Introduction,” by Prof. Graham. An extended discussion followed, participated in by Messrs. Briggs, Graham, Lunn, Stockwell, Sprague, North, Albee, Chandler, Reynolds, Isham, Misses Hosford and Clapp, and others, in regard to the feasibility of grading country schools. All recog. nized the need of such a course of study for securing more definite work, but the outlines should be more specific; while continued effort should be made in this direction, still all were satisfied that years would be required for the perfection of any plan.
TUESDAY, July 8, 1879. Meeting opened at 9, A. M., with prayer by Pres. Albee.
Further attention was given to the subject of Arithmetic as laid down in the syllabus, by Prof. Thayer and Pres. McGregor.
Next followed a paper entitled “The Teachers Instructed in our Institutes," by Supt. Whitford. It is conceded that the institute instruction in Wisconsin is not surpassed, but more stringent regulations seem necessary to secure a gen. eral attendance. Two reasons for continuing institute work, – the inconstancy of teachers in the work, and the incapacity of Normal Schools to train all who desire to teach. The chiefest purpose must be to quicken the energies of our teachers, to train minds to steady and constant work; only free, self.active, and vigorous movements of the mind will effect such results. Prof. North urged clearness in asking questions by conductors; Mr. Chandler said county superin. tendents showed too much indifference; they should abide with the institute.