Page images

school work, the elementary schools should be cared for with the most intelligent and unrelaxing vigilance. It is evident to the most casual observer that there is an immense work yet to be done in many parts of the State to bring the ungraded schools of the rural districts to the degree of efficiency and success which the law contemplates, and which the public interests require.

It is a deplorable mistake to underestimate the importance of the primary schools, and it is almost a criminal neglect of duty to put them in charge of teachers who are not thoroughly qualified by education and capacity for this most delicate and difficult field of labor. A better grade of qualifications must be brought into the service before these schools can be made what they ought to be. It should never be forgotten that the teacher makes the school; yet, in practice, this fundamental truth is too often disregarded, and when it is, school children are cheated out of their birthright and the reputation of the State deservedly suffers.



'HE best law we know of demanding

ments of propriety and decency is that of the State of New York. It was passed by a unanimous vote of the Legislature at the urgent solicitation of Deputy Supt. Skinner. The Pennsylvania bill was presented in the Senate by Hon. John H. Landis, of Lancaster county, and, if he had done nothing besides during the entire session, this would be more than enough in the way of substantial good to the State.

This subject was presented as part of a very practical article on "School Architecture," read before the Convention of Superintendents held in February, 1891, by County Superintendent Jos. S. Walton, of Chester county. There is probably no better, more conscientious, or more intelligent Superintendent in the State, and what he says upon "Outhouses,'


printed here from his paper, which appears in the April number, 1891, of The School Journal, should be pondered by Superintendents, Teachers and School

Directors in every part of Pennsylvania. We quote as follows:

"The marked disparity between the average school-house and its outhouse accommodations is so striking that if man has planned and cared for the one, surely Satan must have planned and cared for the other. The school system of this great Commonwealth will never merit the praise it receives until this crying evil is removed. The tumble-down, wooden, sin-scratched, hell-sodden sheds that stagger and leer at you from the rear of over fifty per cent of the school-houses in this State, make the heart sick when we think of the injured health and blasted morals of the boys and girls therein educated. Churches that hold their revival or other religious meetings, refusing to recognize this evil and to aid in removing it, are building upon false foundations. Christian fathers and mothers who pray for their children and fail to investigate these evils, are simply 'beating the air.' The school man that fails to do his duty here, fails in the first principles of a proper education; and the instructor who neglects this matter of supreme importance has failed in the first duty of the true teacher. School Directors who neglect to furnish and keep in repair the needed outhouses are responsible for results. They have surely made their little ones 'to offend.'

"The condition of public school outhouses, their structure, location, and

og at

tervals by a properly authorized commission or officer, and if not up to the full standard required by decency and the best law upon the subject that can be framed, they should be condemned without mercy. If that condemnation caused the district to forfeit its annual State appropriation, the condition of these houses in the State would be radically improved within a single year. This subject is far more worthy the attention of the Legislature of the State and of the Christian Church than many things that are regarded of much greater importance, and of which much is said and written.

"Separate outhouses, one for the boys and one for the girls, substantially built, pebble-dashed, and sand-painted, under lock and key if approached from the outside, are a necessity. They should be situated somewhat to the rear of the house, and yet within range of the teacher's vision. Hard dry walks leading to these are essential. A fuel-house and

cloak-room opening into one of the rear corners of the school-room and leading on into well-equipped accommodations for the girls, can be so arranged as to violate no hygienic requirements, and would certainly be of unspeakable advantage."

As if to show the estimate put upon this paper by the Superintendents of the State, it was ordered by a special vote of the convention that it be published in full in The Journal. The law desired by Superintendent Walton and the convention at large is now upon the statute books. Let it be rigidly enforced.



N the Toronto Exhibit at the World's Fair one can see this kind of writing in contrast with the usual slanting script. The greater legibility of the former is apparent at a glance. Many schools in England and on the Continent are making experiments with this new kind of penmanship. In some places the teachers are said to be unanimously in favor of its introduction. They claim that it is more easily taught, that it facilitates a more correct position on the part of pupils, that the vertical letters cause the pupil to face his writing, and thus save him from the twist of body and neck always

observable in those who write slantwise,

and that one cause of spinal curvature is thus obviated. A school principal of Brooklyn has been testing the legibility of various kinds of lines. Upon a sheet of paper he draws four vertical marks, then four slanting lines, and lastly, four that are horizontal. Holding the sheet before the pupil he directs him to walk away from the paper, and to tell when he first loses sight of any of the lines, and which marks can be distinctly seen at the greatest distance. "In every instance but one," says this educator, "I have found that the vertical lines can be seen at the greatest distance. It does not indicate any peculiarity of eyesight to see them farther than horizontal lines, but simply that they are more legible to ninety-nine pairs of eyes out of one hundred. The one exception I met with was that of a person whose eyes were crooked. The writing of the future-the ideal writing-will be formed entirely of perpendicular lines. The English Civil Service System now requests its candidates to write in that manner. In the

first place, it is the most rapid form of chirography; and the length of the stems between the parallel lines of a given length apart, must of necessity be shorter than the length of the slanting stems between such parallel lines. Then, too, perpendicular, or what is called backhand writing, is much more legible, and to me is more business-like, if not more artistic."

It does not follow from such investigations that every teacher should drop the old and try the new, but the results should be tested and verified or rejected by experts in teaching penmanship. The sanguine expectations of those who advocate the new system may not be realized. In the meantime, however, the live teacher will question those who write much, and will watch the unconscious testimony of their handwriting. In taking down a telegram the operator aims at speed, as well as legibility. The practice of these and other men of affairs may be helpful in reaching reliable conclusions. And teachers who take no interest in such investigations, are sure to die professionally before they are physically ready for burial.



found elsewhere in this number, and HE eloquent words of Prof. Wilson,

to which the attention of the reader is directed, enforce the importance of proper training of the hand. Harm is often done at school by busy work, Work assigned for the mere purpose of keeping pupils quiet is injurious and unjustifiable. It fatigues the arm, the hand, and the eye, and stimulates the development of these organs before their period of normal growth has been reached. There is a time when the upper arm grows rapidly; next follows a period when the forearm develops; and later still the hand and the fingers enter upon a period of rapid growth. If too much exercise is demanded of these in advance of nature's time, abnormal development is the result.

A lawyer of prominence, living in a city noted for its advanced methods, complained of the illegible penmanship of a very bright graduate of the High School. "I asked him," said the lawyer, "to prepare some manuscript for the court. The scrawl was so bad that I had the work done over again on the type-writer.

Why do the young not learn to write as fair a hand as they did when you and I went to school?" The attorney's conclusion may not be based upon a sufficiently wide observation of facts. But in so far as the allegation is founded in fact, may it not be due partly to the custom of teaching children to read and write script or print at the same time, and from the beginning of their school life? If it should be established beyond doubt that the period of most rapid development for sight does not coincide with the corresponding period of development for the arm and the hand, a revision of some of our methods may be necessary, and the introduction of methods like those in use at Hazleton, Tidioute and elsewhere may be absolutely essential. Many progressive teachers are anxious to gain new light on this question.

Next to holding and handling a fork at table, the ability to wield a pen is the

most universal accomplishment of civilized life. Can we hope to produce a strong nation if our schools simply train the muscles that wag the tongue and wield the pen? The training of all the muscles and functions of the human body, is essential to the normal development of a human being; but Nature has endowed man with the special gift of free motion in any direction in the mechanism of the arm and hand. The same end can, of course, be attained without a skeleton; the tip of the tongue can be readily trained to move in any conceivable path within the buccal chamber. But when strength and dignity are to be given to the human frame by a skeleton, mobility. by articulations as we find them in the arm and hand are exquisitely adapted to the manifold needs of a gifted race.

If a

The science of mathematics aids in the appreciation of the wonderful mechanism of the human arm with its hand. pencil be attached to the end of a revolving radius, the curve described is a circle. If the pencil be fastened to a second radius, revolving around the extremity of the first while it is moving around the original centre, the result is a more complicated curve. If a third be attached to the end of the second and all be set in motion, the curves by which the ancient astronomers explained the movements of the planets may be described. If the arrangement be extended to a fourth, a fifth and a sixth radius, each revolving around the end of the preceding, any

curve may be described by varying the length and velocities.

Now this system of revolving radii every person carries in each of his arms, the shoulder being the first centre, the elbow the second, the wrist the third, the joints of the fingers constituting the fourth, fifth, and sixth. Shall this wonderful mechanism be trained simply to handle a fork at table and to guide a pen upon paper? Have its marvelous capabilities been exhausted when the boy has learned to catch and pitch a base ball? If equal interest could be concentrated upon the development of useful skill, our schools would send into the world a generation of boys and girls who could have nothing to fear in competition with the educated labor of foreign lands.


THE Epices of the Pittsburg Times
Tauspices of

Educational Excursion under the

would in former ages have seemed like a tale of the Arabian Nights. On New Year's morning the announcement was made that fifty teachers would be taken to Chicago and given ten days at the World's Fair free of all expense. Twenty were to be selected by vote from Pittsburg, ten from Allegheny, and twenty from the surrounding districts. Over four million seven hundred thousand votes were cast, each vote representing a coupon cut from the Times. By reason of several tie votes fifty-two teachers were finally selected, and invitations to accompany the party were sent to Supt. Luckey and to the present State Superintendent and his wife. A similar invitation was sent to Dr. D. J. Waller, who was in office when the excursion was first announced. On Monday, July 24, the magnificent Hoe presses and other equipments of the Times Building were thrown open for inspection. At the Union Depot the party accompanied by four members of the Editorial Staff, were entertained with an elegant supper, and there was no dispute about upper and lower berths, for one section had been assigned to each member of the party. At Chicago palatial quarters were assigned to them in the Lexington Hotel, where President Cleveland had stopped during his stay in the city, and in addition an envelope was handed to each person containing twenty dollars to cover admissions and expenses

to the grounds of the Exposition. Nothing was left undone to make the trip pleasant and profitable; and all the teachers added each day a new petition to their prayers of blessing upon Chris. Magee and the Pittsburg Times. When the educators of other states learned the facts, some declared that Pittsburg had furnished to the Columbian Exposition the two things most unique in all the world, the big Ferris Wheel and the Times excursion, and others expressed their conviction that at last teachers were given a place among the princes and rulers of the land.

It is true that similar trips were given by other papers, either to teachers, or pupils, or news carriers, but none can rival that of the Pittsburg Times in perfection of details, skilful management and largehearted liberality. Historians tell about a stone age, a bronze age, a golden age, and instead of calling the latter half of the nineteenth century the age of iron or of electricity, were it not better to call it the age of the teacher and the pupil? Diesterweg says that two centuries ago teachers had their lodgings among the cattle in the barn. To-day the teacher sits in the finest rooms, travels in palace cars, and enjoys all the comforts and the honors of our advanced civilization. Truly, the world does move!

[blocks in formation]

position, held under the charge of the National Association of the United States of America, begun July 25th, and continued for four days. The opening addresses were by representative educators of the world. The first was by Rt. Rev. Samuel Fallows, of Illinois. He touched upon the great material progress of the city of Chicago. We have a right to boast of our public schools, he said, even in spite of the criticism that has been passed upon them. Mrs. Charles Henrotin and Mrs. Wilmarth, who have been so active in the work of these world's congresses, both gave words of greeting to the visiting educators. Dr. S. H. Peabody of Illinois added to the words of welcome and outlined briefly the educational exhibit, after which Dr. W. T. Harris, U. S. Commissioner of Education, reported for the committee of ar

[ocr errors]


rangements of the congresses. Albert G. Lane, who had very effectually aided Dr. Harris in the arrangement of these congresses, welcomed the delegates on behalf of the city of Chicago. After giving an account of the various educational and literary institutions in the city, he continued: 'Agitations, unrest, and social revolutions, conflicts between capital and labor and the struggle for selfgovernment, characterize the history of all the nations of the earth; the irrepressible conflict is the struggle of mankind against all opposing forces, to attain to that which is highest and best. The stability of this country rests upon popular education. Popular education is necessary to the perpetuity and well-being of any people."

President James B. Angell, of the University of Michigan, permanent chairman of the general congress of education, in outlining the purpose of the meetings said, "The work of these educational congresses underlies in some sense the work of all other congresses which have been or which may be held. I might say the work of these congresses overreaches and encompasses the work of all the other congresses, just as the sky enfolds and encompasses the earth. For all art and all sciences-what hope of progress and of perpetuity for them is there except as the moral or intellectual discipline which we are engaged in cultivating are preserved?

The addresses of the foreign delegates were unusually strong. The first of these was by Dr. Stephen Waetzoldt of Germany, who spoke of some of the school reforms in his country. The next speaker was Prince Serge Wolkonsky of Russia, whose eloquence and earnestness won the admiration of all. Education, unless it inspires feelings of universal brotherhood, is a dead letter. May this congress proclaim that each one of us belongs first to humanity and second to one or another nation. M. Benj. Buisson, of France, who represented his government at the New Orleans exposition in 1885, brought greetings from the French republic; and Dr. G. W. Ross, minister of public instruction in Canada, discussed the relation which his provinces sustains to these educational congresses. The N. E. Journal of Education presents a brief but interesting sketch of the proceedings of this four days' Conference of the representative educators of the world.


HARRISBURG, September, 1893.

Ters Institute will be held in the different

'HE annual session of the County Teach

counties of the State at the times and places which are here named:

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


THE directors or controllers to provide

HE act of May 18, 1893, makes it the duty

for the return of and for the safe keeping and care of the books" which are furnished at the expense of the district. To avoid loss of time, waste of money and the formation of bad habits by the pupils, a careful system of distribution should be adopted before the opening of the schools, and a strict account should be kept of the books furnished either at the opening or during the term.


though the law has wisely left the details to the discretion of each school board, the experience of the districts which have had free text-books for several years may be helpful in this connection. Supt. W. H. Slotter, of Bucks county, writes that the following method has given most satisfactory results in that county: "All books are bought by and shipped to the secretary of the board. He, after taking account of them, labeling them and numbering the same, distributes them to the schools and charges each teacher with the books belonging to the school. The teacher in tnrn charges each pupil with the books he uses. The teacher uses a page or more in the Monthly Report Book,' The names of the pupils are placed on the side, the names of the branches taught at the top in the spaces intended for the attendance, and the numbers of the books below the branch and opposite the pupil's name. The pupils' names are grouped in the corresponding grades to which they belong. At the close of the school term each pupil's books are collected and put together. The books of each grade in the school are placed together in the book-case. At the opening of the following term each pupil, except in cases of promotion to grades requiring another grade of books, will receive the same books used the term before. This is an incentive to take good care of the books. The pupils, as a rule, are allowed to use the books as their own, taking them home if they wish, except during vacation. If the pupil loses a book the parent is required to replace it or pay for it. If a book is soiled or abused the parent is charged with the loss. The teacher is required to examine all books frequently. In case a book is lost or abused, the teacher presents the facts with a bill for the loss to the parent. If the parent refuses to pay the bill or to replace the books, the teacher presents the bill and facts to the secretary of the board, who in turn brings it to the attention of the board. Where the teachers have exercised good judgment, the directors report the plan a success.'

Superintendent Hoffecker, of Montgomery county, writes: "Every district has or will have by the end of the year a large bookcase in each school house in which the books

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »