« PreviousContinue »
of observation, imagination, and memory. such a course the skilful teacher directs the will of the child, and cultivates all his moral characteristics.
The kindergarten is the only system which furnishes the means and the methods, and is systematically arranged to provide such a training as is suitable to children when they first enter the public schools; and the public-school system can never be complete until the kindergarten, the genuine Froebel system, is made the first step in the course. The natural exercise of the body is provided for in the games, the little hands and fingers are made skilful by the occupations, the senses are made acute by gifts, and all the faculties of the childish mind are set into activity; while at the same time a knowledge of number, form, color, symmetry, and language, is being naturally acquired.
During the later years of the elementary school, a similar course should be maintained, that would furnish all the facilities for the proper development of the physical, mental, and moral powers in their due proportion. The kindergarten work, and especially the true kindergarten spirit, should be made a part of the primary-school course. Drawing, paper-cutting, modelling, carving, sewing, etc., should occupy a fair portion of the time. It has been found that five hours of a day are too much for the intellectual labor of a child : the afternoon of school-work is of very small importance in the primary school, unless devoted to light occupations. The ordinary studies of the elementary school may be used to develop power, provided they are used according to the true principles of education. Reading, spelling, penmanship, and language are taught as one, by methods that cultivate the observation, the conceptive faculty, and the imagination. The early lessons in number, form, and drawing, tend towards the same end. Following these subjects comes geography, not to train the memory, but to further cultivate the observation and the imagination primarily. The outgrowth of this boundless study brings the child to a knowledge of other elementary sciences and of history, by all of which the faculties of the mind become exercised in the complete unfolding of all the powers of the man."
The mistake made by the majority of teachers is in the method of presenting the subjects for study, and the methods are at fault because the purpose of study is lost sight of. The school curriculum is taught for the knowledge to be imparted instead of the power to be developed. The teacher is not alone to blame for this state of things: the examiner deserves the greater blame.
He asks how much the child knows: consequently the teacher devotes her time to imparting knowledge, by oral teaching, by explaining all difficult examples, and, in short, by doing most of the pupil's work. Why? "Because it takes too much time to wait for the children to do for themselves," and because the pupils are not able to do for themselves, and need the teacher's help, and thus, as Spencer says, "Having by our methods induced helplessness, we make helplessness the reason for our methods." On the other hand, the teacher who teaches for the sake of the pupil and not for the sake of the subject, who employs methods that tend to develop mental power, creates self-activity, and furnishes her pupil with the means by which he can make himself his own teacher.
The elementary schools having served the purpose for which they were established, it becomes the province of the high school to make use of those powers of the mind, and acquirements in the further training of the intellectual faculties, in which, as Currie says, the mind begins to feel interest.' The work of the high school is designed for the cultivation of the higher faculties of the mind. The ideas already acquired are to be elaborated by generalization, judgment, and reasoning.
The unity of such a system lies in its purpose; namely, the development of power at each stage of the child's growth. Each grade or step furnishes the proper material and the proper studies for the exercise of his powers. There is an order of studies; but the order does not depend merely upon the relations of the subjects to each other, but upon their fitness for the work of development. The arrangement of studies from this standpoint differs much from old courses of study. For instance penmanship is now taught from the beginning because it belongs with reading; lessons on hygiene and physiology begin as soon as the child is able to observe the parts of his body, and to understand their uses and need of care; and so other elementary sciences are used to cultivate the observation of our little children. History is also taught in the primary schools to cultivate the imagination, and to awaken a love for our country and its heroes. At the same time the primary arithmetics have been purged of much of the oldtime puzzles and conundrums, while the rules of technical grammar have been deferred till a later day.
The normal school educates those who have an aptitude for teaching, a love for children, and a desire to learn to train young minds. Its methods tend to strengthen the judgment and administrative powers, and the ability to put to
practical use the knowledge acquired, and are based upon the same principles of education that govern the methods of the earlier schools.
Such a system is consistent in all its methods and aims; it maintains a constant unity of purpose; while each department is distinct in its own individuality, and bears a proper relation to the whole. C. E. MELENEY.
MR. MATTHEW ARNOLD'S REPORT ON ELEMENTARY EDUCATION ON THE CON
MR. MATTHEW ARNOLD has but lately resigned the office of her majesty's inspector of schools, a position which he has filled for many years with credit to himself, and with great benefit, we are sure, not only to such schools as have come under his immediate supervision, but also to English educational interests in general. One of his last official duties of any importance was to visit Germany, Switzerland, and France, and to write an official report on certain specified points connected with elementary education in those countries. Some portions of that report were used by Mr. Arnold in his address before the University of Pennsylvania, which was printed afterwards in the Century magazine. But the entire report is of the liveliest interest to American educators; for several of the points investigated by Mr. Arnold are those to which no little attention is being paid in this country, and all the information gathered by him is part of the material to be used by the comparative method in studying educational institutions and methods.
By the terms of Mr. Arnold's instructions, his attention was to be more particularly directed to Germany and Switzerland, and the points he was to study were four in number: 1°. Free education; 2°. Quality of education; 3°. Status, training, and pensioning of teachers; 4°. Compulsory attendance, and release from school. Only fourteen weeks were given to the inquiry; and of these, five were spent in Prussia, two in Saxony, two in Bavaria, two in Switzerland, and three in France. Mr. Arnold's latest mission, as he expressly states, differed from those of 1859 and 1865 in that he did not go now to study systems of education, but only to report on the four above-mentioned points. These points Mr. Arnold takes up in order.
Under the head of free education, he was instructed to ascertain whether gratuitous education is confined to elementary schools, or extends to other schools or colleges; what reasons induced the state to establish the gratuitous system; in what way (directly or indirectly) the lower classes
of society are made to feel the weight of the expenditure on education; in what way the dirty and neglected children in large towns are dealt with, and especially whether all descriptions of children are mixed in the same schoolroom; whether there is a legal prohibition against charging fees in public schools, even if parents and children are willing to pay; whether the attendance of children has increased or diminished since the establishment of free schools, Mr. Arnold answers these questions first with the information gained by him in Prussia. In the Prussian constitution of 1850 is this provision: In der öffentlichen volksschule wird der unterricht unentgeltlich ertheilt. But this provision has generally remained inoperative, because the popular school is to be maintained by the Gemeinde, or commune, and the communers have not in general found themselves able to forego the income from school fees. And, on the other hand, the state has not been able or willing to provide gratuitous instruction in the communes. Some few communes, however, have been able to throw their popular schools open to all classes of the population, free of all charge. Düsseldorf has done so: so has Berlin. The Berlin schools have been free since 1870, and last year it cost more than 6,000,000 marks to support them. At the time of the introduction of free schooling, the municipality had 49 communal schools, with 31,752 scholars; in 1885 it had 146 such schools, with 132,889 scholThese communal schools are the only body of schools in Berlin or throughout Prussia in which school fees are not paid. Herr von Gossler, minister of education, was found by Mr. Arnold to favor making the communal schools free everywhere, and Prince Bismarck is said to agree with him. But among the public generally, including the teachers themselves and the government officials, the weight of opinion is against such a course. Even where school fees are charged, they meet but a small portion of the total expense. On an average for the whole of Prussia, school fees furnish 20.58 per cent of the cost of teaching in the popular schools; endowments, 12.02 per cent; the communes, 55.26 per cent; and the state, 12.14 per cent. In some towns, Cologne for example, where the popular schools are not free, provision has been made for giving free instruction to poor children in schools by themselves. But in Berlin the children of the working and middle classes all attend school together. The only distinction made on the ground of poverty at Berlin is that school-books and school-material are supplied gratuitously whenever the teacher finds that the child cannot afford to buy them.
But throughout Germany, payment is the rule, free schooling the exception. The popular school is a municipal thing, and is paid for out of municipal taxes. No special school tax is levied.
In Switzerland there is also a constitutional provision determining free schooling. Article 27 of the Federal constitution of May 29, 1874, says, "Primary instruction is obligatory, and in the public schools gratuitous." So jealous are the cantons of their local independence, that there is no national department of education. Yet each canton has complied with the above article of the constitution. Mr. Arnold takes as examples canton Zurich, which is Protestant and industrial, and canton Lucerne, which is a mountain canton and Catholic. In Lucerne the child must come to school at seven years old, and may come at six his day-school course lasts until he is fourteen; and he has then, unless he goes to some higher school, to attend a fortbildungsschule for two years more. In Zurich the child must come to school at six years old: his day-school course lasts until he is twelve; and he must then spend three years at an ergänzungschule, besides an hour a week at a singing-school. All these schools are free, and in canton Lucerne the higher schools are free also. Religious instruction is given in the popular schools in the several cantons according to the faith of the majority. Catholic instruction is given in Lucerne, Protestant in Zurich. There is, according to Mr. Arnold, no unfair dealing, no proselytizing, no complaint. In Switzerland there is no separate provision for dirty and neglected children, because there is no such class. Fifteen years ago there were 1,500 pupils attending the great town-school of Lucerne : now there are 3,300. "I regard free schooling, however," says Mr. Arnold, "rather as a part and sign of the movement of advance in popular education than as itself the cause of the movement."
In France, Mr. Arnold found that the payment of fees in public primary schools was abolished in 1881, and that attendance at school is obligatory for children of both sexes between the ages of six and thirteen. This is ascribed to no constitutional provision, as in Germany and Switzerland, but to l'idée démocratique, a moving cause at which Mr. Arnold sneers a little. No religious instruction is allowed in these schools, for democracy in France is at war with clericalism. The result is that there is much complaint, and rival schools, established by private effort, are numerous. The Catholics alone have raised for their schools in Paris over 15,000,000 francs in the last six years, and at the present time educate in their schools one-third of all the school-children. of Paris. As to how these public
primary schools are supported, the report summarizes thus: "The communes had formerly to maintain their primary schools out of their own resources, supplemented, if necessary, by an addition of four centimes to the four direct taxes for the commune; further supplemented, if still necessary, by an addition of four centimes to the four direct taxes for the department; supplemented finally, if still necessary, by a grant from the state. These eight centimes for the commune and department have now been made regular and fixed taxes paid to the state. Since 1882 the state has relieved of all further charge for their primary schools those communes which could not meet such charge out of their own resources. Only the five chief cities of France have undertaken so to meet it, Paris, Lyons, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Lille. In all the other communes of France the cost of primary instruction is met out of the public taxes by the state. When, therefore, it is asked how the lower classes feel the weight of the expenditure on education, the answer must be, so far as they feel their share in the general taxation of the country to be increased by it. And this probably they do not feel at all.”
Mr. Arnold found a very large increase, both in the outlay for primary schools and in the number of children attending them, since he last saw them in 1859. At present the state bears ninetenths of the annual expense of primary instruction, and spends over 80,000,000 francs on it. The municipality of Paris had, in 1884, 361 primary schools, with accommodations for 121,798 scholars.
The second subject of inquiry related to the quality of the education given; and Mr. Arnold speedily found that the suggestion of his official instructions, that he determine this by having the teachers set papers in arithmetic and dictation on the model of those set in England, could not be carried out, because the whole spirit and course of teaching was opposed to setting in school-hours a number of sums, and leaving the children to do them by themselves. So Mr. Arnold determined to secure an answer to this question by seeing and hearing what the scholars did; and the popular schools of the free city of Hamburg he chose for the test. He concludes that in German schools, as a rule, the programme is fuller, the course longer, and the instruction better, than in England. The methods of teaching seemed more gradual, more natural, more rational, on the continent than in England. He wrote again and again in his notes, The children human.' As to the school course at Hamburg, we read, "The fixed matters of the course are religion, German language, English language, object-lessons, his
tory, geography, natural history, arithmetic and algebra, geometry, writing, drawing, singing, and gymnastics. English must be taught in the popular schools from the third class upwards, and French comes in as an optional matter (the only one), and to take it the consent of the oberschulbehörde is required. The two lower classes have each of them 26 hours of schooling a week, the class next above them has 28, the four higher classes have 32 each. Some of the popular schools in Hamburg, like those in Berlin, meet once a day only. In summer the schools meet at 8 in the morning, and the different classes go on till 12, 1, or 2 on different days in the week, so that each class shall make its proper number of weekly hours. In winter they meet at 9 and go on an hour later. No week-day is a holiday, like the Saturday with us and the Thursday with the French. Other schools have two daily meetings, from 8 to 11 or 12, and from 2 to 4, the proper number of hours for each class being again always made. Local convenience determines whether the school shall have two daily meetings or one. The pressure which the long attendance from 8 to 2 or from 9 to 3 would seem likely to exercise is remedied by an arrangement which I found general in German countries, and which works very well. At the end of each hour the class disperses to the corridors and playground, and the teachers to the teachers' meeting-room. In ten minutes a bell rings, and the classes and teachers re-assemble refreshed. How much the work of a long morning is lightened by this simple plan may be observed by any one of school experience who will pass a morning in a German or Swiss school."
In German grammar the children learn the declension of nouns, comparison of adjectives, and conjugation of verbs. In history, where the prescribed aim is to make the pupil acquainted with the prominent persons and points in the development of mankind in general, and of the German nation in particular, biographical notices form the principal subject-matter. In religion, parables and hymns are learned and said by heart, and instruction is given in the literary history and translation of the Bible. Everywhere in Germany Mr. Arnold thought the text-books used, good. The following passage merits quotation in full: "In the specially formative and humanizing parts of the school-work, I found in foreign schools a performance which surprised me, which would be pronounced good anywhere, and which I could not find in corresponding schools at home. I am thinking of literature and poetry and the lives of the poets, of recitation and reading, of history, of foreign languages. Sometimes in our schools one
comes across a child with a gift, and a gift is always something unique and admirable. But in general in our elementary schools when one says that the reading is good, or the French, or the history, or the acquaintance with poetry, one makes the mental reservation, 'good, considering the class from which children and teachers are drawn.' But in the foreign schools lately visited by me I have found in all these matters a performance which would be pronounced good anywhere, and a performance, not of individuals, but of classes. At Trachenberg, near Dresden, I went with the inspector into a schoolroom where the head class were reading a ballad of Goethe, 'Der sänger.' The inspector took the book, asked the children questions about the life of Goethe, made them read the poem, asked them to compare it with a ballad of Schiller in the same volume, 'Der Graf von Habsburg,' drew from them the differences between the two ballads, what their charm was, where lay the interest of the middle age for us, and of chivalry, and so on. The performance was not a solo by a clever inspector the part in it taken by the children was active and intelligent, such as would be called good if coming from children in an altogether higher class of school, and such as proved under what capable teaching they must have been. In Hamburg, again, in English, and at Zurich in French, I heard children read and translate a foreign language with a power and a pronunciation such as I have never found in an elementary school at home, and which I should call good if I found it in some high-class school for young ladies. At Zurich, I remember, we passed from reading and translating to grammar, and the children were questioned about the place of pronominal objects in a French sentence. Imagine a child in one of our popular schools knowing, or being asked, why we say on me le rend, but on le lui rend, and what is the rule on the subject!"
And the instruction is better in foreign schools, because the schools are better organized, and the teachers better trained, than those in England This brings us to the third general subject treated in the report, the status, training, and pensioning of teachers.
To begin with, it may be safely said that teachers in Germany, France, and Switzerland, come from the same class of society as do teachers in England. For mention of all that is interesting and valuable in Mr. Arnold's report about the training of teachers, we have no space but we give an abstract of the training in a typical instance, in Saxony.
The training-school course there lasts six years.
But a youth enters at the age of about 14, with the attainments required for passing an examination for the entlassungs-zeugniss, or certificate of discharge, from a mittlere volksschule, or popular school of the second grade, a school which in Saxony must be organized in at least four classes, with a two-years' course for each. In the training-school, instruction and lodging are free; a small sum is paid for board, but a certain number of free boarders, 'gifted poor children,' are admitted. To the training-school is attached a practising school, organized as a mittlere schule, a middle school with four classes and 155 scholars. In this school the students see and learn the practice of teaching. Their own instruction they receive in small classes which may not have more than 25 scholars. Their hours in class may not exceed 36 a week, not counting the time given to music. The matters of instruction are religion, German language and literature, Latin, geography, history, natural science both descriptive and theoretical, arithmetic, geometry, pedagogy including psychology and logic, music, writing, drawing, and gymnastics. All of these matters are obligatory, but after the first year students of proved incapacity for music are no longer taught it. One-third of the teaching-staff of the training-school may be distinguished elementary teachers without university training, but this proportion is never to be exceeded. Each teacher, exclusive of the director, is bound to give 26 hours of teaching in the week. There are half-yearly examinations: the six years' term may be lengthened by one year for a student who is deemed not ripe for the leaving examination, which comes at the conclusion of the course. At the end of the course, when the student is about 20 years old, he undergoes the schulamtskandidaten prüfung, or examination for office. The examination is both oral and in writing, and turns upon the work of the student's course in the training-school. The examining commission is composed of the Minister's commissary, a church commissary, and the whole staff of the training-college. The staff conduct the examination, the Minister's commissary presides and superintends. If the student passes, he receives his reifezeugniss, or certificate of ripeness, and is now qualified to serve as assistant in a public popular school, or as a private teacher where his work has not to go beyond the limits of popular school instruction. After two years of service as assistant, at the age of about 22, the young teacher returns to the trainingschool and presents himself for the wahlfähigkeitsprüfung, or examination for definitive posting. For this examination the commission is composed of the Minister's commissary, a church commis
sary, the director of the seminar, and either two of its upper teachers, or else other approved schoolmen named by the minister. This examination again is both written and oral. Mr. Arnold attended the oral part on two days, and heard and saw candidates examined in religion, music, German language and literature, the history of education, pedagogy, psychology, logic, and school law.
Training-schools for women are much less numerous in Germany than those for men, because women are much less used in teaching than men; the presumption being that women cannot teach satisfactorily certain matters of instruction in the upper classes of a popular school. The result is that in Prussia there are 115 trainingschools for men, and 10 for women; in Saxony, 16 for men, 2 for women.
As to teachers' salaries and pensions, custom and law vary greatly. In Prussia in 1878 the average salary of a schoolmaster was £51 12s. per annum. In Berlin the average salary was £103 3s. In France the primary-school teachers must rise through a series of grades, to each of which a fixed salary is attached, varying from £36 to £48 for a man, and from £28 to £36 for a woman. If a school-mistress marries in Germany, she loses her situation. In all the countries visited by Mr. Arnold, teachers have retiring pensions, to establish which a deduction is made from their salary.
In respect to the fourth and last subject of inquiry, that as to compulsory attendance, Mr. Arnold quotes Saxon law as representative for all the countries visited by him. It is thus: "Every child has to attend, for eight years uninterruptedly, the common popular school in the school district where it resides; as a rule, from the completion of the sixth year of its age to the completion of its fourteenth. Children who by the end of their eighth school year do not attain due proficiency in the principal matters of instruction, that is to say, in religion, the German language, reading, writing, and arithmetic, have to attend school a year longer. The holidays for the popular schools in Saxony are fixed by law, and amount to 44 days in the year. In general the school meets for a minimum of three hours in the morning and of two hours in the afternoon. Parents and guardians are bound,' says the law, to keep children of school age to a regular attendance in school hours. As a general rule, only illness of the child, or serious illness in the child's family, is ground of excuse for its missing school.' Absences, with their causes, are entered daily by the teacher in the school registers. At the end of every month he hands a list of them to the managers, whose chairman has to bring, within