« AnteriorContinuar »
effected by a constitutional provision permitting each State delegation to select its member of the nominating committee, leaving the president to select, as heretofore, for those States that decline or neglect to act. Practically, this would be a safeguard against any possible influence that might come from partisanship or political management, but it is quite difficult to conceive any circumstances wherein danger is to be apprehended from such source. All will agree, however, that the highest usefulness of the association depends on the complete subordination of the political partisan
We may here properly inquire what the legitimate results are which we should look to come from this annual gathering of teachers from the length and breadth of the land. The main answer to this is provided for us in the words of the original call issued in 1856. In the language already quoted, the association should "concentrate the wisdom and power of numerous minds, and distribute among all the experiences of all." This call was written by Dr. Daniel B. Hagar, then president of the Massachusetts Teachers' Association. It was stated at the Philadelphia meeting in 1857 that there were already in existence twenty-three State teachers' associations, besides larger and smaller associations not bounded by State lines-such, for example, as the American Institute of Instruction in New England, and the American Association for the Advancement of Education, which had been formed in Philadelphia. These associations had demonstrated the value of general conferences in which educational topics were discussed. The wisdom and power of many minds concentrated on the difficult problems of the profession brought light snch as none had seen before. The accumulated experience of all was thus distributed to each. The individual teacher, in his uneven development, strong in some points and weak in others, found complementary strength in the experience of his fellow-teachers, strong where he was weak and perhaps weak where he was strong.
The divine principle of vicariousness that prevails in the spiritual world, rendering it possible for each man, woman, and child to participate profitably in the experience of another human being-so that the spectacle of a deed and its consequences renders it entirely unnecessary to perforin the deed itself in order to get what of good comes from doing it as a life experience-this divine principle of vicariousness in the life of human souls at once explains for us the true function of teachers' associations and also the function of education itself in its entirety. What, indeed, is all education except the reenforcement of the individual by the experience of the family, the community, the nation, the race? Education is, therefore, properly defined as the elevation of the individual into participation in the life of the species. While the brute inherits organically in his muscles and nerves and brain the experience of his progenitors in such a way that the life of his race appears as instinctive impulse, man, on the other hand, not only inherits the results of the life of his ancestry in the form of instinets and aspirations, but he can by language receive and communicate the outcome of his life direct. Hence his ability to collect within himself the results of others' lives is increased infinitely beyond that narrow line of hereditary descent; for he can, through language, avail himself of the senseperception of others far removed in time and space, making himself thereby a sort of omnipresence in space and time. Then, too, he can avail himself in like manner of the thonghts and reflections of his fellow-men, especially the thoughts and reflec tions of those most gifted minds that have done most to solve the problems of life and explain the anomalies of experience. More than this, too, he learns not only through their perceiving and by their thinking on what they perceive, but he learns by seeing their doing, and by the story of their doing, what to do himself and what to refrain from doing. Thus by language the individual is enabled to live vicariously the life of the race, and to live his own life vicariously for others. Whatever one does goes into the reservoir of human experience as something of value; if it is a negative deed, bringing with it its punishment, the knowledge of it renders unnecessary the repetition of its like by others. If it is a positive deed, securing for it the normal development of the soul, then it is a precious discovery, and it may be adopted by all men as a new ethical form or moral law.
Thus the very principle of all education-the principle that makes possible what we value as civilization in contrast to savage life-this principle is appealed to as explaining and justifying the existence of a national educational association. "Concentrate the wisdom and power of numerous minds; distribute to each the accumulated experience of all."
Who can say, looking back down the ladder of thirty-three years, that this beneficent process of giving and receiving has not characterized every stage of its ascent? Spiritual giving, we are taught, is not a giving which diminishes the supply of the giver. In material giving there is a transfer which makes him who gives poorer by the amount of his gift. But he who imparts his experience to others possesses all the more firmly all the fruits of his own experience. Every teacher who has risen in this National Educational Association to expound his own observations or reflec tions, or to give the results of his experience, has, in the act of doing it, helped
himself first of all to see more clearly than before the true lesson of his life. In spiritual participation, there is no division or loss. In material things-in food, clothing, and shelter-to share is to divide and diminish the part that goes to each. But these general principles we may admit, and yet fail to see in the work of the National Educational Association anything worthy of being classed under such high rubrics. Let us, therefore, take up in detail, that all may recognize, some of the phases of the teacher's work that have been under discussion at the annual gatherings. I find, on looking over the table of contents of the annual volumes of proceedings, that there have been presented 241 papers on the five parts of the school system, namely, 28 on the kindergartens, 27 on primary work, 75 on high schools and colleges, 56 on normal schools, 45 on mannal training and technical schools.
These 211 papers have all related, incidentally, to matters of course of study and methods. But besides these there were 21 papers relating especially to the philosophy of methods, 81 to various branches of the theory of education and psychology, 29 to the course of study, 10 to the peculiarities of graded and ungraded schools, 25 to musical instruction, 10 to natural sciences, 40 on drawing, and 24 to the important subject of moral and religious instruction. These make 240 additional papers on special themes of course of study and methods of discipline and management-in the aggregate nearly 500 papers on these themes.
Besides these papers there are others-on building, heating, and ventilation, 3; national aid to education, 14; education for Chinese, Indians, and colored people, 8; on supervision of schools, 10; on the uses and abuses of text-books, 9; on examinations of teachers and of pupils, 8; on compulsory education, 3; foreign educational systems, 10; education and crime, 2; on the best methods of keeping statistics, 4; on the criticisms urged against our schools, 8; in all nearly 100 more papers on important questions.
Wo all remember with some remaining feelings of dismay the old-fashioned essays read at teachers' gatherings. The following titles will suggest them: "The teachers' motives," "The teacher and his work," "The causes of failure and success in the work of the teacher," and "The teacher's ideal." Very often such titles introduced only goody-goody reflections on the personal character of the teacher. In the early days of the association such essays were more frequent. One is glad to observe their growing arity, not only in the National Educational Association, but also in State associations and in educational magazines.
Of course these CO) papers, relating to various points of school management, were only the half of the intellectual pabulum set forth at the annual gatherings. It is safe to say that the impromptu discussions called forth were at least another half. Where the undisciplined mind had flagged and failed to follow the thread of the written discourse, the oral discussion brought out vividly the points of the paper, and by vigorous opposition or defense aroused the powers of the weakling. The vigorous oral debate has here its tremendous advantages over the printed paper read in the educational periodicals.
We have not mentioned the advantage of personal contact of mind with mind. In these gatherings the young teacher sees those who have grown old in the service and who have acquired reputation for their work. He meets his equals and measures their ideals by his own. He learns to see the details of his profession from many different points of view. The impression derived from the printed page differs from that derived from personal conversation. Each has its advantages. The personal impression is more stimulating and provocative of imitation. The cool study of the printed paper leads to deeper self-activity. Both are useful, nay, indispensable. It is obvious that for this personal lesson upon the teacher our recent large associations are far more valuable than the small gatherings of the early date; where three hundred met then, now we have three thousand. The visitor to the association now sees ten times the number of eminent teachers, and rejoices in a tenfold opportunity for profit.
I do not think that I overestimate the value of this feature of the educational association when I call it one-half. On this basis I shall call the direct aid received from the essays and papers read one-fourth; the direct aid from the debates and discussions, one-fourth; the direct aid from personal conversation with and observation of fellow-members of the convention, eminent persons, and otherwise, this, and the benefit of observation on that section of the country into which the association takes the visitor, amounts to one-half the direct aid that he gets at the association.
Since 1870 the association has been in process of forming departments for the further specialization of work. It has done this partly by absorbing existing associations devoted to special work, and partly by forming new departments direct.
It absorbed the normal school and superintendents' associations, and, in after years, successively the departments of (a) higher instruction, (b) elementary instruction, (c) industrial education, (d) the National Council of Education, (e) the kindergarten, () the art education, (g) music instruction, and (h) secondary instruction; thus making ten departments in all. There has been since 1884 an educational exposition, which may be called the eleventh department.
Since these departments provide for the much-needed specialization of work, and furnish a counterpoise to the mighty swing of the general meetings of the association, their influence is salutary. There is no doubt that much more can be done in this direction. There should be a department that unites those interested in the study of child life; another that unites the specialists who are at work in the mastery of foreign systems of education; one for students of the Herbartian educational experiments-those that make so much of Robinson Crusoe as a center of school work, and whose great word is "apperception." Those who have read the educational essay that has made so much noise in England, and which bears the absurd title of "A Pot of Greeu Feathers," I need not say, are already interested in this question of apperception, as the very center of educational psychology. The doctrine of apperception, briefly stated, is this: We not only perceive objects, but we recognize or apperceive them. When we apperceive we relate what we see to what we already knew before; we sometimes call this inward digestion of what we see. Now education, it is evident enough, deals with this matter of recognizing or similating (apperceiving) the new material learned by relating it to what we knew before.
If a department of psychology were formed that held two meetings at each annual session, I doubt not that it would soon prepare some work which would gladly be given a place on the programme of the general association, and certainly before it secured a place on the programme it would get into the old departments of elementary instruction or normal instruction, or into the superintendents' section or some other. I would lay emphasis on the specializing of work indefinitely. Apart from the national association such specializing would have its danger; but in the association it at once adds strength and gains strength. There could be a department of statistical study, wherein the few specialists who are interested in the science of statistics, in the new sense which is coming to be accentuated by sociologists, could confer together round a table. Round-table discussions over specialties is, in my opinion, what is needed to introduce a new fountain of vitality into the association. Not that the association is failing in vitality, for it never had so much at any former period as it has now. But this new element of specialization is a new element of vitality which may make the annual visit twice as valuable as it has been hitherto. I have mentioned by way of examples of these round-table departments, those that. should study child life, foreign systems of education (say French, German, English, Chinese, etc.), or pedagogical movements like that of the Herbartians, or, again, educational psychology, or statistics. I would add other examples of specialization. Let the specialists in teaching English literature have a round table; the specialists: in teaching ancient history or modern history or the philosophy of history; the specialists in teaching French or any modern language; those specially interested in teaching fractions or any other part of arithmetic. These round-table discussions. could be called for any year. They could not be expected to discuss the same subject for two consecutive years. Here is just the trouble with our present departments. They have worked over the material ready to hand, and have no new material in the process of making. The council of education has formed a list of committees on a variety of subjects and stereotyped it once for all. The members. of those cast-iron committees find themselves appointed to report on some subject which has no new fresh interest for them, and they do not see how to begin fresh work. We do not want any more reports on such general topics as high schools, or private schools, or coeducation, or moral education, or educational psychology, but we do want specialized reports which focus the whole mind of the subcommittees on some special topic, within those more general topics such as (in the domain of moral education) the freedom of the will in the light of Ribot's work on The Diseases of the Will; or (in the domain of educational psychology) the effect of committing to memory by the so-called aids or arts of memory; or on the formation of logical habits of thinking; or the best method of cultivating a convenient memory for names; the true remedy for duplicate registration of pupils attending both winter and summer schools, a duplication which is common in most of the State school reports; on a legitimate mode of interesting the people in electing good members to the school board; on the proper manner of securing the interest of the public press in the good features of the public schools; on the effect of the private schools in raising or lowering the standard of respectability in the profession of teaching; on the best method of securing literary and scientific culture in a corps of teachers. No one of these topics would do for a second report; no one of them would do for a first report made by members of the council not interested in it. The volunteer system is the only system for round-table work. It would be best generally to concentrate attention, and guide it by having a report made upon some particular book, like Lange's work on Apperception, or Mrs. Jacobi's book on Science and Language Study.
The general work of the association, as a whole, should go on in deep ruts, but the special work of the departments should be specialized and always fresh and new. This will take care of itself if there be a sufliciency of these small groups
encouraged. Perhaps there are only four persons in the entire nation interested in some special topic. The National Association, with its facilities for cheap transportation and cheap board, furnishes the best opportunity each year for the meeting of these four persons, or any other similarly interested four persons. Perhaps the attraction of the particular interest would not be sufficient to draw together the four specialists. But the National Association adds a host of other attractions, and in the aggregate these are strong enough to prevail.
We wish to produce as many growing teachers as possible-as many as possible who each year have found fresh leads and have distanced their former selves.
It seems to me, therefore, quite doubtful whether the division of the National Association into sectional associations, with which it alternates biennially, would not be rather a step backward. It would perhaps break the continuity which is essential as a kind of background on which the specialization which we have discussed can best take place. It will certainly make the familiar faces that meet us from year to year, coming from a great distance-as in the present meeting, from Colorado and Texas-it will make these faces less familiar to us, and different sections of the Union will be in less direct sympathy than formerly.
If I havo studied aright this problem, it is not the general association that is in need of reform, but only the departments. These departments, instead of breaking away from the type of the general association, as they should do, are imitating its organization when they ought to devote themselves to developing and fostering voluntary subcommittees or round tables devoted to special work.
The general association, with its wide scope, its great masses, its distinguished personalities, its cheap fares, its entertaining tours, and its spectacle of great combination, and, lastly, with the great interest and substantial tributes of respect which it elicits from the business men of all parts of the country, and from the world in general outside the scholastic field-the general association, with these reasons for being, should continue as it is.
CONSTITUTION OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION, 1886-1891.
To elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching, and to promote the canse of popular education in the United States, we, whose names are subjoined, agree to adopt the following
This association shall be styled the National Educational Association.
SECTION 1. It shall consist of nine departments: The first, of school superintendence; the second, of normal schools; the third, of clementary schools; the fourth, of higher instruction; the fifth, of industrial education; the sixth, of art education; the seventh, of kindergarten instruction; the eighth, of music education; the ninth, of secondary education; and a national council of education. SEC. 2. Other departments may be organized in the manner prescribed in this constitution.
SECTION. 1. Any person in any way connected with the work of education, or any educational association, shall be eligible to membership. Such person or association may become a member of this association by paying two dollars and signing this constitution, and may continue a member by the payment of an annual fee of two dollars. On neglect to pay such fee, the membership will cease. SEC. 2. Each department may prescribe its own conditions of membership, provided that no person be admitted to such membership who is not a member of the general association.
SEC. 3. Any person cligible to membership may become a life member by paying at once twenty
SECTION 1. The officers of this association shall be a president, twelve vice presidents, a secretary, a treasurer, one director for each State, district, or Territory represented in the association, and the presiding officers of the several departments and a board of trustees to be constituted as hereinafter provided. Any friend of education may become a life director by the donation of one hundred dollars to the association at one time, either by himself or on his behalf; and any educational association may secure a perpetual directorship by a like donation of one hundred dollars, the director to be appointed annually or for life. Whenever a life member desires to become a life director, he shall be credited with the amount he has paid for his life membership.
SEC. 2. The president, vice-presidents, secretary, treasurer, directors, life directors, president of the council, and presiding officers of their respective departments shall constitute the board of directors, and, as such, shall have power to appoint such committees from their own number as they shall deem expedient.
SEC. 3. The elective officers of the association shall be chosen by ballot, unless otherwise ordered, on the second day of each annual session, a majority of the votes cast being necessary for a choice. They shall continue in office until the close of the annual session subsequent to their election, and until their successors are chosen, except as hereinafter provided.
SEC. 4. Each department shall be administered by a president, vice-president, secretary, and such other officers as it shall deem necessary to conduct its affairs; but no person shall be elected to any office of any department, or of the association, who is not, at the time of the election, a member of the association.
SEC. 5. The president shall preside at all meetings of the association and of the board of directors, and shall perform the duties usually devolving upon a presiding officer. In his absence, the first vicepresident in order who is present shall preside; and in the absence of all vice-presidents, a pro tempore chairman shall be appointed on nomination, the secretary putting the question.
SEC. 6. The secretary shall keep a full and accurate report of the proceedings of the general meetings of the association and all meetings of the board of directors, and shall conduct such correspondence as the directors may assign, and shall have his records present at all meetings of the association and of the board of directors. The secretary of each department shall, in addition to performing the duties usually pertaining to his office, keep a list of the members of his department.
SEC. 7. The treasurer shall receive and under the direction of the board of trustees hold in safekeeping all moneys paid to the association; shall expend the same only upon the order of said board; shall keep an exact account of his receipts and expenditures, with vouchers for the latter, which accounts, ending the first day of July each year, he shall render to the board of trustees, and, when approved by said board, he shall report the same to the board of directors. The treasurer shall give such bond for the faithful discharge of his duties as may be required by the board of trustees; and he shall continue in office until the first meeting of the board of directors held prior to the annual meeting of the association next succeeding that for which he is elected.
SEC. 8. The board of directors shall have power to fill all vacancies in their own body; shall have in charge the general interests of the association excepting those herein intrusted to the board of trustees; shall make all necessary arrangements for its meetings, and shall do all in its power to make it a useful and honorable institution. Upon the written application of twenty members of the association for permission to establish a new department, they may grant such permission. Such now department shall in all respects be entitled to the same rights and privileges as the others. The formation of such department shall in effect be a sufficient amendment to this constitution for the insertion of its name in Article II, and the secretary shall make the necessary alterations.
SEC. 9. The board of trustees shall consist of four members, elected by the board of directors for a term of four years, and the president of the association, who shall be a member ex officio during his term of office. At the election of the trustees in 1886, one trustee shall be elected for one year, one for two years, one for three years, and one for four years, and annually thereafter, at the first meeting of the board of directors held prior to the annual meeting of the association, one trustee shall be elected for the term of four years. All vacancies occurring in said board of trustees, whether by resignation or otherwise, shall be filled by the board of directors for the unexpired term; and the absence of a trustee from two consecutive annual meetings of the board shall forfeit his membership therein. The board of trustees thus elected and constituted shall be the executive financial officers of this association, as a body corporate, as conferred by the certificate of incorporation under the provisions of the act of general incorporation, class third, of the Revised Statutes of the District of Columbia, dated the twenty-fourth day of February, 1886, at Washington, D. C., and recorded in Liber No. 4, "Acts of incorporation for the District of Columbia."
SEC. 10. It shall be the duty of the board of trustees to provide for safe keeping and investment of all funds which the association may receive from life-directorships, or from donations; and the income of such invested funds shall be used exclusively in paying the cost of publishing the annual volume of proceedings of the association, excepting when donors shall specify otherwise. It shall also be the duty of the board to issue orders on the treasurer for the payment of all bills approved by the board of directors, or by the president and secretary of the association acting under the authority of the board of directors; and, when practicable, the trustees shall invest all surplus funds exceeding one hundred dollars, that may remain in the hands of the treasurer after paying the expenses of the association for the previous year.
SECTION 1. The annual meeting of the association shall be held at such time and place as shall be determined by the board of directors.
SEC. 2. Special meetings may be called by the president at the request of five directors.
SEC. 3. Any department of the association may hold a special meeting at such time and place as by its own regulations it shall appoint.
SEC. 4. The board of directors shall hold their regular meetings at the place, and not less than two hours before the assembling of the association.
SEC. 5. Special meetings may be held at such other times and places as the board or the president shall determine.
SEC. 6. Each new board shall organize at the session of its election. At its first meeting a commit tee on publication shall be appointed, which shall consist of the president and the secretary of the association for the previous year, and one member from each department.
By-laws, not inconsistent with this constitution, may be adopted by a two-thirds vote of the association.
This constitution may be altered or amended at a regular meeting by the unanimous vote of the members present, or by a two-thirds vote of the members present, provided that the alteration or amendment has been substantially proposed in writing at a previous meeting.
1. At each regular meeting of the association there shall be appointed a committee on nominations, one on honorary members, and one on resolutions.
2. The president and secretary shall certify to the board of trustees all bills approved by the board of directors.
3. Each paying member of the association shall be entitled to a copy of its proceedings.
4. No paper, lecture, or address shall be read before the association or any of its departments in the absence of its author, nor shall any such paper, lecture, or address be published in the volume of proceedings without the consent of the association, upon approval of the executive committee.