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Rules of School Examiners.
Special Board for this purpose in other districts, is appointed annually, one from each township, by the County Board; to which number the Clerk of the County Board is always added, and is required to attend their meetings.
The times and places of holding meetings for examining teachers, usually twice a year—are also fixed in the code of by laws, and published in the papers, so that they may be known throughout the county. Even the very hour and the particular school house in which to meet are designated. --The number of each Board, including the County Clerk, is, of course five; but any three of them may form a quorum for business. A record is made by the Clerk of their proceedings.
The following are the Regulations of the Special Examiners, as published in the form of a circular, in the Cleveland Obser
'T. Candidates will be expected to pass a thorough examination in Spelling, and in the Rudiments of the English language, as contained in the ordinary Spelling Books.
2. They will be required to write a fair hand, both coarse and fine.
3. They must be good readers both in prose and poetry.
4. No Female Teacher will be entitled to a certificate, who does not give evidence of a thorough acquaintance with the fundamental rules of Arithmetic, Compound Numbers, Vulgar and Decimal Fractions, Interest and the Rule of Three ; and no Male Teacher who does not possess a thorough knowledge of the whole Arithmetic.
5. Those who are examined in other studies, such as Geography, Grammar, Philosophy, &c., will not be allowed a certificate to teach them, unless they make it evident that they are well qualified to instruct in these respective branches.
6. Candidates for certificates will be expected to furnish evidence to the Board of good moral character.
7. In cases where the candidate, though deficient in qualifications, gives evidence of ability to teach a PARTICULAR school, the Board may, at its discretion, give a certificate to teach that school for six months only ; but in no instance shall a certificate of this kind be given the second time to the same individual.'
All this is well, and we rejoice at any efforts whi h are ale to reduce what has hitherto been a matter almost of hap-hazard. In any thing like order and regularity. Perhaps, moreover, the Cleveland Board have done quite as much as the public sentiment in that region will sustain.
And yet a great deal more is desirable. All which appears to have been hitherto attempted in the examination of candidates
for school teaching seems to us to fall exceedingly short of what is desirable. Nothing is more obvious than that a teacher may understand every thing which the Examiners in Cleveland county or in any other county require, and yet be but poorly qualified to teach. The power to communicate what we know is vastly more important to a teacher, than the mere knowledge itself. Nor is this sufficient. A person may understand all mysteries and all knowledge,' and even be able to communicate it fluently, and yet for want of judgment or tact in applying it in suitable portions and under suitable circumstances, as the learner is qualified or prepared to receive it, he may utterly fail of performing his whole dury. He may, indeed, keep a quiet and orderly school, and his pupils may love and respect himwhich is certainly of very great importance-but after all there will be little real progress. Nay, more still.
Nay, more still. The teacher who is even wise enough to do all which we have named, may fall short of the highest point desirable. If he regards the mind of his pupils as a mere storehouse, or receiver, or supposes it is to be enlarged by accretion, instead of being developed from within by the judicious exercise of its own powers, he has yet to learn an important point of his duty.
We would have the examinations of teachers—to say the least of it-inore practical. What is usually done is very well, but there is a great deal more which should not be left undone. It inay serve to give our readers some idea of what we mean by examining teachers practically, if we present the following remarks on a branch of the subject before us, made by the editor at the Annual meeting of the Norfolk Association of Teachers,' at Dorchester, Sept. 11, 1833.
• After ascertaining whether the candidate understands a given branch, say arithmetic, why should he not be asked, How would you teach arithmetic to your pupil ? Would you commence, if he had never studied it before, by requiring him to commit to memory all the rules, explanations, cases and tables, say as far as Reduction, before you allow him to use a slate at all? Or, would you begin with questions in mental arithmetic, and defer for a time the consideration of written arithmetic ? Or, rather, would you begin at the same time, or nearly the same time, with both ? Would you make any use of sensible objects, in illustrating the properties and relations of numbers ; such, for example, as balls, blocks, cubes, beans, corn, panes of glass in the windows, &c.? Or should you reject all these as useless innovations ?
• To these and similar questions, those who had taught before, might answer verbally. And if the inexperience and diffidence
and consequent embarrassment of very young teachers should forbid their developing their views before the board, they might be permitted to prepare and present thein beforehand, in writing, 10 be read at the ineeting and made the subject of remark.
• The objection that he who is as yet without any experience in teaching, cannot be expected to have a plan, must not, for a moment, be admitted. No person is justihed in commencing a school without a plan. Not a general plan, merely; but a particular one. He who commences at random, without having made up his mind as to the best method of classing, arranging, and governing his pupils, and elevating their morals, nay, he who has not determined how he will teach the alphabet, spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, geography, bistry, geology, geometry, che ristry; and in short every thing which he may be required to teach, will find his situation perplexing and intolerable. He must immediately summon all his energies, and devise a system of some sort, at once, or he cannot proceed with profit to his pupils, or comfort to himself. It is true, he will find many parts of his pre-conceived system impracticable, and will therefore be under the necessity of modifying it, from time to time, as experience may require. But a plan of some kind-I repeat it --is indispensable.
• Hence one advantage which will be likely to grow out of the method of examination bere proposed. Every teacher would be obliged, from the very nature of the case, to devote much thought to the subject, and make much inquiry in regard to the most approved methods of discipline and instruction which prevail, in order to present a plan which shall meet the approbation of the committee. Most persons have too much self respect to present views so crude as to expose their entire ignorance of instruction. And can any method of examination be devised, which, without an increase of expense, shall, in the same time, be so advantageous to a person who is looking forward with intense anxiety to the time when he shall appear before the public as an instructer ? What other plan will compel a person to study the writings of those who have embodied their experience and wisdom in books and periodicals? More than all this, what else will so effectually compel all candidates for teaching to study themselves, to go back, in imagination, to the time when they acquired the elements of knowledge, and retrace, if possible, the very first steps they took in their first endeavors to climb the hill of science ? He who can best retrace his own progress, other things being equal, will best know how to become a guide to others.
Character of Teachers Defended.
I have much confidence in town, and county, and state, and national conventions on education; I have still more hopes of the weekly meetings of the teachers of a single town for mutual improvement; and I believe great good results to teachers, also, from visiting each other's schools. On these points I shall speak more at length, presently. But what I would say in this place, is, that I know of nothing of the kind which could, for the short period of one or two duys, be more interesting and improving to all who should be permitted to attend them, than the examinations I have mentioned. More real practical information would thus be elicited, there could be more and juster comparisons made of the different views of various teachers, and the results and conclusions to which their experience had led, than under any other circumstances whatever.
• In many places it is thought unnecessary to re-examine those teachers who have already been examined and taught once in a society, at least, if they have ever taught in the same school. But the law, I believe, if strictly adhered to, would, in most of the states, require it; and taking the present view of the subject, I am quite sure that public opinion too, ought to require it. Nor would any teacher object to it, if conducted on the plan which has been proposed; for he would rejoice to attend, and state what would be, in effect, the results of his experience, for the sake of learning that of others in his turn. Teachers of common schools are not that stupid or reckless set of men, which few among us have supposed. Admit that in some cases, they are ignorant, and consequently liable to imbibe prejudices, the usual results of ignorance ; still, even these persons are not wholly stupid. They have, like the more intelligent class of teachers, and like other inen, a reputation to acquire and maintain. Grant that they only attend to the business of teaching, as a temporary employment, as a mere stepping-stone to something else which may offer of a more profitable nature,-still, is this a reason, or does it even operate as a reason why they should be indifferent in regard to success, while they are in actual employ? Is it then of no advantage, either to men or women, even as a passport to other employments, to have it known abroad, that they have been faithful teachers? Who ever heard that teaching a good school a few seasons, or a few years, unfitted either sex for other avocations? If such is in any instance the fact; if there are teachers, who, Gallio like, care for none of these things, they are a grade lower in the chain of animated nature than I have ever supposed.
* But to return to the subject of examinations. Let us suppose ten or a dozen candidates for teaching, assembled in some
Teaching the Alphabet.
convenient place, with as many members of the school coinmittee, together with the district committee who employs each candidate. Let us suppose, for the present, no one else is admitted, unless it be a few classes of children to assist the teacher in illustrating such parts of his plans as might not otherwise be perfectly intelligible. Does any one believe that such a meeting, for such purposes, would be uninteresting ? On the contrary, I think it would ultimately awaken the attention of parents themselves.
* I know of no reason why meetings-anniversaries, if you choose to call them such-on this subject should not come in time to awaken as much interest as those which relate to the improvement of our ineans of defence-or even of our breed of cattle ? Is not the mind of as much consequence as the body? And are not our children of as much importance as our calves and lambs, and colts and pigs?
• Having assembled, the question is put to the teachers in succession, What method would you pursue to teach a child the Alphabet?" Or, if bis views have been presented in writing, they will perhaps be read. One, for example, will pursue the old fashioned plan of beginning with the capitals at A., and proceeding, in the order in which they usually stand in the book, to Z., at each lesson, till his pupil remembers them; with an occasional inversion of this order, by beginning at Z. and going to A. Another proceeds in nearly the same way, but finds it letter for his pupils, as well as more econornical, to class them for this purpose. Another would never teach the alphabet in course, but always promiscuously, beginning with those which from their resemblance to objects with which the child is familiar, will be most likely to be remembered. Probably most of the teachers, in the case supposed, will have found it as useful to class scholars in A. B. C, as in any branch, and for similar rea
A fourth would only present a single letter, or at most, two or three, at the same lesson, lest he should confuse the learn
A fifth would begin with the small letters, rather than with capitals. Another still, would not begin with letters at all, but whole words; and would teach the letters, or analyze those words afterwards; on the plan of Mr Worcester. Some will
the necessity of not imposing any thing on the learner as a task, and will insist on the importance of rendering the exercise mere play; while others will insist as strongly that it should be attended to for the time as business, but that their undivided attentic should be required for a short time only, to guard against fatigue and disgust. Some few will assure the Committee that they find it highly beneficial for every pupil to write the letters