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THE NEW YEAR AND NEW VOLUME. In order to include the proceedings of the Educational Conventions, held at the close of the old year, we have delayed the first issue of the New Volume a few days, but not so long as to forbid us to send out a New Year's greeting to all our readers and friends. Instead of multiplying words, we will simply say that we have entered upon a year, in which more than ever, work needs to be done. Our State is rapidly expanding, and no need is more imperative than that all concerned in the work of education put their shoulder to the wheel, in an unselfish, united and vigorous effort to lift it up and move it forward. So far as the JOURNAL OF EDUCATION is concerned, we mean that it shall do its part; but that it may properly perform its mission, it needs the assistance of our friends. The two things that materiaily help a periodical of this nature, are good, practical articles, from the pens of experienced teachers, and a good subscription list-paid up.
To make room for the proceedings above mentioned, and not exclude our usual variety, eight pages extra are given in this number-as our friends will please take note.
FEMALE EDUCATION IN THE UNIVERSITY.
The LADIES HALL of the State University, was opened with appropriate exercises, Tuesday December 21, 1871. The building is substantial and commodious structure, capable of accomodating nearly a hundred young ladies. The rooms are handsomely furnished at a low cost. In spite of the cold weather a large number of citizens and patrons from abroad visited the building, and expressed themselves highly pleased with its arrangements.
The building of this structure inaugurates a new era in the educational history of the State. Hereafter our young women are to have equal facilities with the young men, and in some respects better than they–in the acquisition of a broad and thorough culture. The Board of Regents, President Twombly and the Faculty and the whole people of the State have reason to congratulate themselves upon the present state of things. No better place for the education of young ladies can be found than in the Halls of the Wisconsin University.
THE HELP OF THE LADIES.-Appropos of the opening of the new Female College buiding, we would have our readers take note that most of the original articles in this number are from the pens of our lady correspondents. We take this as a good omen, and feel assured that the state will be repaid many fold for all it expends in affording the gentler sex the advantages of superior education.
GOVERNOR FAIRCHILD. As will be scen elsewhere, the Principals' Association passed, unanimously and most heartily, resolutions expressive of their thanks to Gov. FAIRCHILD for his courtesy to them and for his deep and abiding interest in the cause of education, A record of which any public officer may be proud, has been the record of the Gov. ernor, especially as regards the advancement of our educational system. Under his administration some of the most important measures have been devised and consummated to render that system e igjent and enduring. Among these are the
setting apart of our magnificent Normal School Fund, the reorganization of the Wisconsin University and the admission of women to equal privileges within its halls. The good will and good wishes of all concerned in our educational work, will follow Governor FAIRCHILD into his retirement to private life, and attend him in any post of honor or usefulness which he may occupy in the future.
THE CONVENTIONS. We give up a large portion of our editorial pages to the proceedings of the joint. gatherings of Principals and Superintendents. As will be seen, the work was in the right direction, contemplating more unity and efficiency in our educational matters, and aiming to supply our most pressing wants. The Convention exhibited a becoming spirit of prudence, in the advocacy of radical changes. The experience of other States has shown that we must “make haste slowly,” in order to advance securely. We commend our readers to the proceedings themselves for a knowledge of what was done.
In future numbers, we shall endeavor to discuss the more important matters which came under consideration, and hope that others will do the same. We already have promise of several articles, from prominent educators.
WISCONSIN PRINCIPALS' ASSOCIATION.
MADISON, December 27, 1871.
Geo. Beck, Platteville.
B. M. Reynolds, Madison.
H. H. Drury, Fond du Lac.
W. F. Bundy, Sauk City.
C.F. Viebahn, Sauk City.
A. Brown, Ironton.
E. Marsh, Waterloo.
0. Arey, Whitewater.
J.Q. Emery, Grand Rapids.
A. L. Williams, Jefferson.
A. Earthman, Reedsburg. After prayer by State Superintendent Fallows, Prof. G. S. Albee opened the meeting in a few appropriate remarks.
The reports of the committees appointed at the last session being called for, A. Earthman submitted the following:
Your committee, to whom was referred the subject of Uniformity of School Reports, beg leave to report the following rules for the guidance of Principals in preparing School Statistics for publication. These rules are the same that have been adopted by the principals of Illinois:
1. Every pupil, upon entering the school, prepared with books and other requisites for performing his work, shall be enrolled as a member of the school, and the record of every pupil so enrolled shall be preserved, and enter into, and form a part of the record of the school, whether he be a member for one day, for one week, or for one entire term.
2. Every pupil who shall have beeen in attendance during half or more than half of a given session, shall be accounted present for that session; otherwise he shall be accounted absent.
3. The name of any pupil who shall have been absent five consecutive days for sickness, shall be dropped from the rol); and the name of any one who shall have been absent for three consecutive days, shall be dropped from the roll, as soon as the teacher has positive knowledge that he has left and does not intend to return.
4. No record of attendance shall be kept for any half day, unless the schools shall have been in session for at least one-half of the half day.
5. Any pupil that shall be absent from the school-room at a definite time, previ. ously fixed for the beginning of the session, shall be marked tardy; except in case where a pupil, after having been present in the school-room, shall be sent by the teacher into other parts of the school building or upon the school premises, to attend to business connected with the school.
6. The average number belonging shall be found by dividing the whole number of days of membership by the number of days of school.
7. The average daily attendance shall be found by dividing the whole number of days present by the number of days of school.
8. The per cent. of attendance shall be found by dividing one hundred times the average daily attendance by the average number belonging.
Committee. After a somewhat lengthy discussion, by Messrs. Arey, Salisbury, Graham, DeLaMatyr, Reynolds, Stewart, and North, the above report was ordered 'printed for distribution among the members, to be taken up again at a subsequent session.
The subject of school statistics was discussed at some length, and finally referred to a committee consisting of Messrs. Arey, Graham and Purdy, said committee to report at a subsequent session. Adjourned to 2 P. M.
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. State Supt. FALLOWS made the following report upon the Institute and Normal work of the State:
Your committee to whom the subject: “What training will best fit the teacher for his work?” was referred respectfully report: That in their judgment a thorough course of instruction in our Normal Schools would give the training necessary to fit the teacher for his work. They believe that the Normal Schools of Wisconsin, in the curriculum of study laid down down, and in the methods of instruction pursued, afford the best facilities for securing this training, that can be found in our midst. As it is the fact, however, that comparatively few persons pursue the full course, your committee are of the opinion that provision must be made, for giving the best training possible in the circumstances, to teachers, by means of Institutes, of a few weeks duration, held in connection with these schools As our Normal Schools are yet few in number, and somewhat limited in their influence, your committee believe that Normal Institutes of several weeks in length, are at present, an actual necessity, in places remote from the Normal Schools. The reports of the results already secured through the influence of these Institutes, are of the most gratifying character. They hope for still better results another year, from the experience of the past; from the awakened!enthusiasm displayed, and from the intentions expressed for the future, by all interested in their working. A greater uniformity in the course of study and methods of teaching can hereafter be secured.
Your committee further believe that it should be the settled policy of the Board of Regents of Normal Schools, to make each school responsible for the Institute work of the counties adjoining. They believe that two or three institutes of about eight weeks in length, embracing the teachers of several counties, might profitably be held in convenient localities, such institutes to have a full crops of teachers. They also believe that the short term institutes are of vital importance in the training of teachers, and should be rigorously maintained. S. FALLOWS,
J. B. PRADT,
Committee. In the discussion of the subject, Pres. O. Arey, of Whitewater, gave a history of the origin, the first trials, and the growth of the Normal School idea; stated, at some length, the methods of instruction pursued in the Normal Schools in the east, and in that of Whitewater, in this State; claimed that, under present circum
stances, academic instruction is absolutely necessary to be given in Normal Schools, and that academic instruction and theory and practice must run parallel to each other, and that the two cannot be separated. The speaker gave it as his opinion that we need one central Normal School with other schools of a secondary nature grouped about it.
Prof. R. Graham, of Oshkosh, fully agrees with the preceding speaker. In this connection, questions like the following, naturally arise: Is training in Normal Schools essential? If not, where can teachers obtain it? How shall the great body of teachers be reached? Can the attendance of teachers be obtained upon the long-term Institutes? The speaker claims that short-term Institutes have done a good work, but instruction in them must necessarily be fragmentary. Normal Schools should be given a certain extent of territory for Institute work.
Rev. J. B. Pradt, Assistant State Superintendent, claims that teachers need special training for their work. Our whole educational work is, at present, in a sort of crude, embryonic state, which it will require many years of hard, untiring labor to mature. The people are too easily content with imperfect work. He agrees fully with Prof. Arey, that academic instruction and training can not, at present, be separated. All children should be properly instructed and trained by Normal methods; and afterwards, those who intend to make teaching their life-work, should receive special instruction in the art and science of teaching.
Prof. C. H. Allen, Agent of the Board of Normal School Regents, had hoped the discussion would take a more specific turn; he wants to know what the inside workings of a Normal School should be; what should be the daily programme and course of exercises in such schools.
Pres. Arey stated that Whitewater has thus far graduated 18 pupils; 110 pupils are, at present, teaching in country districts; whole number of students 475.
Dr. Towmbly, President of the State University, fully believes that every teacher needs preparation for his work; the teachers of common country schools need a somewhat different training from Principals and graded school teachers. Those who have received a specific training in any branch, are more likely to become more self-conceited and self-important than those who have had a general comprehensive training. While he believes fully in the benefit of the former, he must insist upon the latter. He has seen teachers dwell day after day and week after week, upon some nice point in, perhaps, Arithmetic, which would have been well enough if the pupil intended to live upon Arithmetic, but wholly out of place in preparing the pupil for the active duties of after life. The speaker believes that Normal instruction should be given in connection with High Schools, Colleges and Academies.
Superintendent A. O. Wright, of Juneau county, does not believe that education can be obtained or dealt out by rule. Men easily become fossilized, whether in the Common School, the High School, the College or the University. He thinks that the terms in the Normal Schools ought to be so arranged, that long vacations occur during the winter, to give pupils a chance to go out and teach. It is his opinion that long terin institutes are preferable to short ones.
President Albee, of Oshkosh, thinks that the training persons receive in schools, whether they be common, high or normal, is not the only training that fits them for the work of teaching. Experience is worth a great deal. A teacher who has stumbled over obstacles time and again, and who has met with difficulties day after day, is more likely to give proper instruction than one who has had special training, but no experience. The speaker would by no means place those young
persons who have gone through a special course of instruction in the Normal school, in the same category with those who have fitted themselves for their work, by long years of experience. He doubts whether teachers have a true regard for the specific work they have to do. As a general thing, teachers fail to get at the beauties of the elementary branches; they see more beauty in geometry than in arithmetic; more in Latin than in English; and teachers having a higher education do not respect teaching enough to take hold of country schools, and throw their whole heart and soul into the teaching of the common branches.
State Superintendent Fallows believes that the entire being should be thoroughly trained; the teacher requires the same course of training as the pupil who is to be trained by him. Occupying the highly responsible position to which he has been called, the speaker wishes to know how to deal fairly with the 5,000 teachers in this State, during the coming year; what is the best training we can give teachers, under existing circumstances ? What are the workings of Normal Institutes, as they have been conducted heretofore ?
Supt. C. F. Viebahn, of Sauk county, gave an outline of the Institute work in his county;
much is accomplished in the way of training teachers by some of the principals in his district; he thinks we should look more to the principals in the State for the training of efficient teachers than even to the Normal Schools and Institutes.
Supt. J. Q. Emery, of Wood county, thinks the man should be educated before the teacher; hence we must begin with the primary school, and then go up to the higher grades. He does not believe that short-term institutes are to be looked upon as places of amusement and simply social enjoyment, but that much hard work has been done and much good accomplished by them. The practice of holding institutes, either long or short, should, by all means, be continued.
Supt. A. F. North, of Waukesha county, thinks that, in the training of teachers, three ideas should be had in view: 1st. They must obtain general knowledge; 2d. They must have a special training in what they are to teach; 3d. They must be trained how to use the knowledge obtained to the best advantage in the school
Prof. B. M. Reynolds, of Madison, spoke of the benefits arising from teachers' institutes, one of which is the puffing instructors receive in educational journals. The speaker last summer conducted a four-weeks' institute, and gives it as his opinion that institutes should be organized as schools, and treated as such; otherwise they cannot be profitable.
I. N. Stewart, of Waukesha, sees no difference between a Common and a Normal school, except that, in the latter, teachers are selected with special reference to the performance of their work in a proper and systematic manner; knows, by experience, the value of short institutes, but thinks they should be lengthened and take the place of Normal school training.
After farther discussion, the subject was laid over for future consideration. Adjourned.
THURSDAY, Dec. 28, 1871. Additional members reported:
W.D. Parker, Janesville.