Imágenes de páginas

planning a course of school work, mechanical methods must be avoided, so easy for any system to fall into, so deadening in their effect. The course given is arranged in five progressive steps, which may cover one or more years, according to conditions.

The first step would lead the child to observe carefully and justly in the world outside himself. Leaves, grasses, or other forms may be presented, and after a few remarks on the form or color of each, let the child try to represent them. After his first attempt, made up chiefly from his own conception, let him add more of beauty from suggestions drawn from the model. Other exercises may consist of symmetrical arrangements of two, three or four leaves, or they may be placed in rows to form borders, thus giving some notion of design. Picture-making should be occasionally introduced also.

Secondly, the child now out of the kindergarten is beginning to feel his own force, but is without a code of action; animal spirits dominate; he needs drill to teach him that all true liberty must rest on the observance of fundamental laws. In the class, he learns of structure as a basis of design; he learns to see how order produces beauty; he makes symmetrical arrangements of his own, and places units, either flowers or simple geometrical forms, upon given structures. The varied results will show the variety to be found within given limitations. The child learns to handle his tools and work more accurately.

Thirdly, attention is directed to detail; structure alone is not enough. The repetition of a unit is more interesting when the units have individual interest and variety; show how truth of part may suggest the whole, and learn by practice the beauty to be found in placement and balance of parts within given limits.

Fourthly, freedom of expression should be encouraged: find the harmonious balance between structure and detail; learn something of the possibilities of black and white (or any two tones), and find original examples of artistic principles.

Fifthly, design should be applied to practical ends, and a little of technical necessities taught, and special attention may be given to color; originality and expression of personal taste should be encouraged.

To sum up the first, steps lead from self to beauties in the world without; from personalities to generalities; from detail to mass. The later steps lead from generalities to detail, to completeness, to individuality.

Such a scheme, could it be adequately carried out, should give the pupil an insight into the ideals and aims of art, and should enable him to perceive its relation to daily life. He should see that the scope of æsthetics extends from the ideal to the practical without break or jar; that harmonious relations may be established anywhere; that if the mind is open, beauty may be seen on every hand, and that he himself may bring it to bear, in his own way, upon his own life.

With such a training anyone who has an aptitude for a career in art may be saved some mistakes, and with a wider outlook pursue his course when school is over; while many who now rush blindly into so-called art training, with little idea of its meaning or what it can do for them, might be spared this waste of time and energy for some real accomplishment, and all might be led to regard art as a precious heritage of the race, in which each may share, regarding it not as a craft alone, not as a luxury for the ultra-cultured, not as a mysterious realm lying outside the round of life, but as a real, a necessary feature of life itself, -embellishing, enriching, beautifying.




God mouldeth some for a schoolmaster's life.- Thomas Fuller. The teacher's profession is a fountain of youth.—James B. Angell.

What better, what greater service can we of to-day render the Republic than to instruct and train the young?-Cicero.

The teacher of the future must have a comprehensive idea of the condition of modern thought in all departments, and the power and learning of a master in that which he assumes to teach.-M. B. Anderson.

Much as I value the knowledge of the principles which underlie the art of teaching, I set a far higher value on the thor


ough mastery of the subjects taught. . . . And so I say that the first duty of the teacher, and one which demands special emphasis at this time, is the duty of scholarship.-John Tetlow. The true teacher is one who both knows and grows.-Vermont School Committee.

HE estimation in which the teacher of youth is held is a

sedly no higher work than the right training of the young. In order to do such work successfully natural qualifications need to be wisely cultivated. The spirit, if we may use so vague a word, which a teacher brings to his work is a matter of the first importance. While this is true of all great pursuits in life, it has nowhere a finer illustration than in the schools of the people which stand in intermediate relation between the home and later life. The right attitude of the teacher to pupil and instruction wins and holds the confidence of the youth. Some teachers make knowledge attractive and desirable, because they possess in addition thereto that higher wisdom or character which contributes to a tranquil and strong life, and thus makes everything valuable. What we call the atmosphere of a school is formed by many influences flowing from home, pupils and community, but a chief element in its creation is the teacher. The larger part of New England public school teachers is composed of women. Recent figures are as follows:


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The excess of female teachers is thought by many a defect in the teaching force of the schools. None dispute the value and necessity of woman's work in education, but the part as

34th Vermont School Report, by State Superintendent Hon. Mason S. Stone, October, 1896.

signed to her seems disproportionate. Here considerations of economy may have exercised more influence than is conducive to the best interests of education. Whether woman's service as teacher should be cheaper than that of man is variously regarded, but as a question of fact the average salary of the female teacher is much less than that of the male teacher, as appears from the above table.

The element of cost has evidently contributed to the disparity in the number of male and female teachers. A larger number of male teachers would, probably, strengthen the efficiency of public education. Let the selection of teacher, and discrimination as to sex, be determined by the character and needs of the school, rather than by a false idea of economy. To administer school resources with care and wisdom is a public duty; but it is evident that a cheaply conducted school is frequently a waste rather than economy of resources.

The tenure of teacher's office is brief and insecure in many New England schools. This is especially true of the smaller places where the salary is meager, and the conditions unfavorable to good schools. School officials in such places frequently lack intelligence and proper conception of their duty. The interests of childhood, and of the public, are, as a result, sacrificed, and the common school fails of its high mission. In stronger communities and cities a better condition generally prevails, and many public school teachers have had long and honorable careers in their profession in the larger towns of New England. The proper selection and adequate moral and pecuniary support of teachers, especially in the numerous small communities, would lead to more continuous and progressive school work. The damage done to schools by frequent breaks and changes in teachers is so great that a more comprehensive plan of management seems necessary to lift the numerous small schools out of present petty conditions. The extension of town and state authority has brought about improvements in some localities, and will probably prove a wise general plan.

The training of teachers has held a prominent place in the thought of the educational leaders of New England. As a result a considerable number of normal schools have been founded and maintained at public expense for the purpose of preparing teachers

for public school work. The state normal schools of New England are as follows:

[blocks in formation]

The pupils at the normal schools are almost all female. Recent reports show ninety-three per cent female pupils for Massachusetts, ninety-nine per cent for Connecticut, and almost one hundred per cent for New Hampshire.

These schools are worthy of high praise. attention to the theory and practice of teaching. generally reflect honor on normal institutions.

They give much

Their graduates

The plan of New England educators which led to the foundation of these schools has yielded good fruit. It aimed to secure special professional training for the teacher which was not furnished elsewhere. The criticism is sometimes passed on the normal school and college that the graduate of one knows how to teach, but has nothing to teach; the other knows something, but cannot teach it. There is a grain of justice in this criticism. It appears, however, that in both cases the difficulty rests not wholly with normal school and college; a part of the responsibility must be borne by the educational public. There are short cuts to professional life in clerical, legal, medical and other professions. Candidates knock for admission at the normal school, as at other professional schools, with scant preparation. The true remedy lies in a higher general standard for the teaching and other professions, and such demand is evidently growing.

It is also regretted by some friends of education that the locations of some normal schools are so far removed from centers of education. A closer connection by location would probably tend to the good of both normal school and college. Greater harmony of spirit might thus be secured, and each institution might bring to the other its peculiar advantages. Such a result would be

Two normal schools recently established at Lowell and Hyannis, Mass., are not here


« AnteriorContinuar »