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EDUCATIONAL CONVENTIONS. For the purpose of indicating the great degree of interest felt in the promotion of education throughout the country, by those who are most directly engaged in this work, and the character and amount of effort already employed, we give, in this connection, a brief account of some of the meetings held by several important educational associations during the last year.
THE NATIONAL TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION. This body met Wednesday morning, August 17, in the hall of the Central High School, Cleveland, Ohio, the president, D. B. Hagar, of Salem, Massachusetts, in the chair. An address of welcome by E. R. Perkins, president of the Cleveland board of education, was happily responded to by the president, in behalf of the association, who then proceeded to the delivery of the annual address, giving an interesting review of the history of the association, including its organization in 1857, the nine annual meetings since held, and the changes in its constitution, closing with a recommendation of its reorganization on a more comprehensive plan.
A report was then presented by S. H. White, of Illinois, on “the revision of the constitution,” submitting a plan for the consolidation of the three national associations into one organization, under the title of The National Educational Association, with four departments, to wit: School superintendence, normal schools, elementary schools, and higher instruction. The constitution was unanimously adopted.
Dr. J. W. Hoyt, of Wisconsin, presented a report on a “national university,” stating concisely the leading offices of a true university, and the need of such an institution in this country. On the question of ways and means, the how of the undertaking, the committee wisely asked for more time.
Dr. J. B. Thompson, of New York, gave a valuable report on the “ decimal system of weights and measures,” closing with the following resolutions, which were adopted :
Resolved, That a universal system of weights and measures, founded upon a common standard and the decimal notation, is alike important to commercial intercourse between different and distant nations, and to the progress of science and civilization throughout the world.
Resolved, That in the opinion of this association the metric system is nearer perfect than any other yet reached, and, therefore, has the strongest claims for universal adoption.
Resolved, That we recommend its early introduction into our schools and seminaries of learning, as the best means of popularizing the system, and securing its general use among the people.
E. A. Sheldon, principal of the Oswego Normal and Training School, presented a paper on the proper work of a primary school,” in which the author's views on primary education were given, urging the importance of the training of the senses by means of object lessons, in which the teacher is the guide, and claiming that more progress is made by pupils in reading, spelling, arithmetic, &c., when such additional lessons are given than without them.
Two lessons given to classes of small pupils, by Misses M. A. Lanyea and Kate Stephan, teachers in the public schools of Cleveland, followed; the first to illustrate the method of writing numbers by the decimal notation, and the second being an object lesson on knives.
The address of the evening was by General Eaton, national Commissioner of Education, on the relation of the National Government to education,"commencing with a history of the colonial and early action of the Government; noticing the things that Congress may not do in relation to public education; and next, mentioning some of the things which the Government may do in relation to education, viz: it may do all things required for education in the Territories ; in the District of Columbia; by its treaties with and its obligations to the Indians; it may do all that its international relations require in regard to education; may call persons or States to account for whatever has been intrusted to them by it for educational purposes ; may use either the public domain or the money received from its sale for the benefit of education; may know all about education in the country, and communicate of what it knows at the discretion of Congress and the Executive; may make laws for these several purposes, and the federal courts may adjudicate questions under them. In accordance with these laws, plainly the Government should provide a national educational office and an officer, and furnish him clerks and all means for the fulfillment of the pational educational obligations; and it may take such exceptional action as exceptional circumstances may require-for the public welfare; for the assurance of a republican form of Government; for the protection of the liberty of those lately slaves; for the security of their citizenship; for the free exercise of the right to vote; for the equality of al men before the law; and for the fitting of any citizen for any responsibility the nation may impose on him.
The committee appointed to report on the address of General Eaton, subsequently submitted the following resolutions, which were adopted:
Resolved, That we hoartily approve the views and recommendations therein so ably stated and urged.
Resolved, That we respectfully petition Congress to make a larger appropriation of money to meet what seems to us the first claims of general education upon the national Bureau.
Resolved, That General Eaton, together with the presiding officers of this association, be a committee to press the matters here referred to upon the attention of Congress.
Thursday's proceedings included
1. The election of officers, consisting of Hon. J. L. Pickard, Chicago, Illinois, president; John Hancock, Cincinnati, Ohio, secretary, with twelve vice-presidents and twonty-seven directors.
2. An excellent paper by Professor Eben Tourjee, director of the New England conservatory of music, Boston, on “music in its relations to common school education.” He presented cogent arguments in favor of the general introduction of music as a branch of school education, and referred to the musical instruction in the schools of Boston as an illustration of methods and results. The paper was followed by a brief discussion.
3. A model lesson in vocal music, by Professor Miller, of Illinois, the members of the association forming the class; and a musical exercise with a class of girls, conducted by Professor N. C. Stewart, of Cleveland.
4. A discussion on the motives and means which should be made prominent in school discipline and instruction, which was participated in by Hon. J. L. Pickard, and Hon. E. Weston, Illinois; Miss Eliza Schofield, Pennsylvania; J. H. Hoose and Mr. Johonnet, New York ; President E. T. Tappan, President J. H. Fairchild, and E. E. White, Ohio. It was generally agreed that natural incentives should be used in preference to artificial. Natural incentives were divided into higher
and lower, and the preference given to the former, when they can be made effective. The discussion was pointed, practical, and sensible, and, as a consequence, it was listened to with very great interest.
5. An instructive address by J. W. Dickinson, of Massachusetts, on the “schools and educational system of Germany." He gave the results of his observations with respect to courses of study, manner of teaching and government, compensation and qualification of teachers, &c. Many facts were stated in answer to questions, and, at the close, a hearty vote of thanks indicated the interest and satisfaction of the audience.
The principal exercises of Friday's session were-
1. A practical paper by J. H. Blodgett, of Illinois, on “ the claims of English grammar in common schools, which was followed by a spirited discussion, participated in by Z. Richards, Washington; Hon. B. C. Hobbs, Indiana; and others.
2. An able paper by. William T. Harris, superintendent of public schools, St. Louis, on “ the use and abuse of text-books." After a suggestive review of the history and growth of systems of teaching, he considered the comparative merits of oral and textbook instruction. He conceded the value of object-teaching in primary schools, but objected to allowing oral instruction too large a place. He favored text-book teaching. The subject was discussed by Superintendent J. W. Bulkley, Brooklyn; Doctor Spear, Philadelphia; Doctor McGuffey, Virginia ; Z. Richards, Washington; A. E. Sheldon, Oswego; and others.
3. An able and eloquent address by Hon. F. A. Sawyer, United States Senator, South Carolina, on the question, “What can free schools do for a State ?"
Commissioner Eaton followed with a few remarks; the customary resolutions of thanks were passed; President Hagar congratulated the members on the harmony and success of the session, and the association adjourned.
The great feature of the proceedings was the consolidation of the three national associations into a national educational association, with four departments, as follows:
National Educational Association.—President, J. L. Pickard, Chicago, Illinois ; secretary, W.E. Crosby, Davenport, Iowa.
Normal school department.--President, S. H. White, Peoria, Illinois; vice-president, C. C. Rounds, Farmington, Maine; secretary, A. L. Barbour, Washington, D. C.
Department of higher instruction.-President, C. W. Eliot, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; vice-president, N. S. Cobleigh, Delaware, Ohio; secretary, S. G. Williams, Cleveland, Ohio; corresponding secretary, Eli T. Tappan, Gambier, Ohio.
Elementary department.-President, E. A. Sheldon, Oswego, New York; vice-president, A. C. Shortridge, Indianapolis, Indiana ; secretary, W. E. Sheldon, Waltham, Massachusetts.
National School Superintendents' Association.—President, W. D. Henkle, Columbus, Ohio; vice-president, W. M. Colby, Little Rock, Arkansas; secretary, Warren Johnson, Augusta, Maine.
AMERICAN NORMAL ASSOCIATION. This association met in the hall of the Central High School, Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday morning, August 14, with an unusually large attendance. The president, Professor John Ogden, of Nashville, Tennessee, delivered an able address on the “Condition and wants of Normal Schools." As evidence of the utility of normal schools, he cited the fact that those States and countries that have made the most liberal provision for normal training have the best public schools; and, as evidence of the popularity of these schools, he alluded to the assumption of the name by institutions which have no just title to it. He urged that normal schools must be placed upon an elevated, rational, and substantial basis, and that they inust do the work of first-class professional schools. They must produce skillful teachers; not hobbyists, nor copyists, nor idealists, but large-liearted, clear-headed, stroug-handed teachers; and they must produce such teachers in greater numbers than other institutions. To this end, normal schools should not be subordinated to any other class of institutions. In its highest departments the normal school should be purely professional. Its mission is in the direct line of professional training, and to other institutions must largely be left the work of imparting a knowledge of the branches of study. Its course of study and training should be arranged with the strictest reference to its application in the work of teaching. The normal school should be endowed by the State, as a means of providing trained teachers for all her schools, and to it should be attached a model school-a complete school of observation, study, and practice, and a model in all its appointments.
Professor William F. Phelps, principal of the State Normal School, Winona, Minnesota, read a valuable report on the course of study for normal schools."
A discussion of the paper followed, at length, in which Hon. B. G. Northrop, of Connecticut; L. R. Thompson, of West Virginia; Hon. B. C. Hobbs, of Indiana; S. H. White, of Ilinois; W. E. Crosby, of Iowa; Dr. Daniel Read, of Missouri; C.C. Rounds, of Maine; Oliver Arey, of Wisconsin; W. E. Sheldon, of Massachusetts; and Mrs. A. J. Rickoff, of Ohio, participated. Quito a difference of opinion was expressed, the general drift, however, being in favor of two courses of training, an elementary and a more advanced course, the former having direct reference to the wants of primary schools,
S. H. White, esq., principal of the City Normal School, Peoria, Illinois, then read a paper on “the means of providing the mass of teachers with professional instruction.” The papers of Messrs. Phelps and White were referred to a committee of eighteen, with instructions to consider certain topics in each, and report to the association. (These papers appear in another branch of this report.)
Å large audience assembled in the evening to hear an address by Hon. J. L. Pickard, superintendent of public schools, Chicago, Illinois, on "the human body a subject of study for the teacher.” The importance of good health to the teacher was strongly presented. A good physical presence exerts a powerful influence, and the posture and movements of the body are real educational forces. The clear utterance which physical vigor gives, imparts weight to words of wisdom and moral precepts. The ease with which a healthy teacher works is of incalculable value. I health is the mother of petulance, and bad digestion furnishes many occasions for the use of the birch. These and other considerations make the understanding of his physical nature, and a compliance with its laws, an imperative duty on the part of the teacher. The speaker's next plea was for the little ones, whose physical needs should be the first great care of the teacher. Health of bodily powers is not only the condition of successful physical labor, but also of the highest mental attainments. To all intellectual progress the body hangs as a clog, or acts as a helper. The teacher must be able to direct the physical activities of children, and this can never be wisely done by one who does not understand their nature, their condition, and their needs. The popular excesses in physical training, as in rowing, base ball, &c., were noticed and condemned.
At the opening of the session on Tuesday morning, a committee was appointed to wait on President Grant, then in the city, and invite him to visit the association. The President called at the lower front hall of the building, where he was met by the members, who were personally introduced by General Eaton, national Commissioner of Education.
Miss Delia A. Lathrop, principal of the Cincinnati Normal School, read an able paper on “the value and place of object lessons as a course of study."
Professor J. W. Dickinson, principal of the State Normal School, Westfield, Massachusetts, read a scholarly paper on the application of mental science to teaching." It was a thorough analysis of the mental powers, with a concise statement of the laws of their growth,
and the manner in which these facts should be applied in teaching Each of these papers was followed by a discussion in which the philosophy of objectteaching was specially considered.
Professor Moses T. Brown, of Massachusetts, gave a brief address on “ Dickens as a reader," and as an illustration of his style, read an extract from "Dombey and Son," eliciting hearty applause.
At the evening session the report of the committee on a course of study for normal schools was adopted, and a paper on the treatment of dunces, by Miss M. F. Jackson, Philadelphia, was read by Miss Howard, of New York. This was followed by brief addresses by Dr. Reed, of Missouri ; Mrs. Mary Howe Smith, of New York; W. E. Shel-, don, of Massachusetts; William T. Phelps, of Minnesota ; J. W. Dickinson, of Massachusetts; John Hancock, Hon. Anson Smyth, and R. H. Holbrook, of Ohio.
AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF INSTRUCTION. The forty-first annual meeting of this association was held in Worcester, Massachusetts, commencing July 27, 1870.
Professor S. S. Greene, of Providence, Rhode Island, president, called the meeting to order at 11 o'clock a. m. Prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. St. John, followed by an address of welcome by Hon. James B. Blake, mayor of the city.
Professor Greene, after happily responding to the mayor, and complimenting Worcester for its early efforts in securing a system of graded schools, read his annual address as president of the institute. Referring to the influence of this association, he stated that it originated before boards of education, or normal schools, or systems of graded schools to any extent, or State or city superintendents. He then enumerated some of the important changes of the last forty years, and pointed out the forces at work to produce them, claiming for the American Institute of Instruction a large share in this work.
Rev. A. A. Miner, president of Tuft's College, read a paper in the afternoon on the duty of our larger towns to support evening schools. This was followed by an extended and animated discussion of the paper, and an illustration of the method of teaching singing in the primary schools of Boston, by Mr. L. W. Mason.
In the evening Professor J. L. Diman, of Brown University, gave a lecture on “the poetry of education, which was enjoyed by a large audience, in Mechanics? Hall. Commencing with a beautifully-expressed eulogy on Charles Dickens, he referred to the charms of school-boy life in England, as described by Thackeray, Tom Hughes, and other English writers. The origin of the nine principal English schools was given, and the opinion expressed that more had been done by such schools as Rugby, Eton, Harrow, and others of that class, than by Oxford and Cambridge, illustrating his ideas by sketches from the school life of several distinguished graduates from these schools. He thought great good would result from the endowment of such schools in this country, and that a better educational influence would proceed from them than is now exerted by the ambitious, self-styled universities, from which the country is flooded with meaningless titles.
The first paper of the second day was on “the relation of academies," by Rev. Mr. Gow, of Worcester. He claimed that academies are needed to supply three classes of wants. First, to supplement the high schools, as many, from their situation or age, cannot attend the high schools, because they afford a higher course of study to many who cannot otherwise obtain it, and on account of their distinct religious character. He said more than 10,000 persons are annually found in the academies of New England.
A discussion followed, in which D. B. Hagar, of Salem; A. P. Stono, of Portland, Maine; D. N. Camp, of Connecticut; Rev. D. Leach, of Rhode Island; Z. Richards, of Washington, D. C.; Rov. Mr. Clute, of New Jersey; D. Crosby, of New Hampshire, and others, participated.
Dr. Stockbridge, of Providence, next read a paper on the system of education in Prussia," which, he said, rested on two great principles that education should be universal, and that it should be compulsory. Under the second head, he said, all youths must attend schools. Every parish must sustain a school, or, if poor, it will be aided. Teachers must be educated, and provision is made for this at the public expense. Teachers are assured of competence while teaching, and of support if disabled or superannuated.
În the afternoon a new draught of the constitution, with various amendments, was presented, and unanimously adopted.
THE BIBLE IN COMMON SCHOOLS. Rev. A. P. Peabody, D. D., professor of theology in Harvard University, gave an able address in the afternoon on “the Bible in common schools." To banish the Bible, he said, was to garble history, for there was much history of which it was the only source. Christianity is the great factor in the history of the world. If moral philosophy is to be taught, it must be Christian ethics. For the culture of the taste and imagination the Bible transcends all other literature. Our English Bible has rendered important service in preserving our language. It is the key to the best English diction, as is manifest in the purity with which it is spoken in New England, because the Bible has helped to form the diction of every child. We are also a Christian people. This we recognize in oaths, in prayers in the legislature, and in other ways. Our children should not be kept in ignorance of this. Sectarian religion should be excluded; but this can be done only by having infidel teachers or giving an unsectarian book. The Bible is such a book. It was not made by the Puritans. The Puritans are the only class that might complain, as at the use of the word “bishop," to translate what is in other passages rightly translated “overseer." Enlightened Roman Catholics admit that our translation is not unfavorable to them. But what they want is the division of school funds; and this would be the destruction of our common-school system; this wonld be suicidal, and cannot be allowed, for each sect would then have separate schools. But would you compel children to hear instruction to which their parents object! Yes, unless parents indemnify the State from their children becoming paupers or criminals. There is danger of children being left to moral ignorance and degradation.
After an animated discussion of some length on the address of Dr. Peabody, and upon the following resolution, offered by W. C. Collar, of. Boston Highlands, the resolution was adopted almost unanimously:
“Resolved, That, in the opinion of this association, the public safety and the highest interests of education demand that the Bible should not be excluded from the public schools."
The evening session was occupied by a lecture by Dr. George B. Loring, on “the higher education of women.”
The first paper on Thursday, the third day of the meeting, was by Professor W. P. Atkinson, of Cambridge, on “a general course of study," in which he showed the relation that education bears to the Government, and claimed that this should be provided for all by the States rather than the General Government, and that the very best is not too much to be demanded. The use of scientific knowledge in the future development of this country was dwelt upon; and in addition to teaching in science and English literature—the latter being important to make our boys and girls brave, earnest, and true—there should be much more of instruction in beauty, as seen in poetry and art.
After a full discussion of this paper the report of the treasurer was read, showing the receipts of the year to have been $776 29, and the expenditures $494 83.
COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE. In the afternoon this subject was taken up, to allow Hon. Joseph White, secretary of the Massachusetts State board of education, to address the institute. He said that the questions of school attendance and school supervision were among the most important for their consideration. It would not be denied that it was the duty of the State to provide the means of education, or the duty of parents to avail themselves of these privileges; and, to go even further, it was the duty of the State to compel parents and guardians to avail themselves of the privileges. The law punishing parents who, in good circumstances, fail to provide children with food and clothes, was a good law, and there should be the same provision for intellectual food. Mr. White read the compulsory law passed in 1642 relative to children and apprentices, making it the duty of air to see that the children in the families of their neighbors had sufficient learning to enable them to read the English language perfectly, with other acquirements. Today we recognize the same principle in the law requiring children between the ages of eight and twelve years to attend school six months in the year, and children from twelve to fifteen years of age, three months. When a law was made compelling attendance at school and enforcing it, “to let” would be inscribed on the door of the State prison,
and we should live in an age of prosperity such as we have not known since the days of the Puritan fathers.
Some minor topics were discussed in the afternoon by gentlemen from various parts of the country:
Mr. Fordice Allen, of Pennsylvania, spoke of the progress of education in his State, and invited the institute to visit the State and hold an annual meeting there.
Abner J. Phipps, agent of the Massachusetts board of education, was elected president for the ensuing year, D. W. Jones, Boston, secretary, and George A. Walton, of Westfield, treasurer.
CENTRAL COLLEGE ASSOCIATION. More than thirty college presidents met at Oberlin, Ohio, Tuesday, August 23, to attend the second meeting of the Central College Association, an organization for the advancement of collegiate and higher education, designed to operate in the Mississippi Valley.
Vice-President Tappan, of Kenyon College, occupied the chair. In his opening address he urged strongly the establishment of some kind of national union in the higher education of the people, and advocated the acceptance of the proposition from the National Teachers' Association to organize under the department of “higher instruction."
Wednesday morning was occupied by a report of the executive committee, followed by the reading of a paper upon the history of the Greek language, by Professor Anagnostopoulos, a native Greek, who also included in his subject the methods of teaching the classics. He insisted that the modern and ancient Greek languages are identical, with due allowances for corruptions and unimportant changes.
In the afternoon a discussion on classical academies was continued; also the subject of the “marking system, examination, and degrees.” A committee previously appointed, consisting of Professors Ellis, Martyn, Cobleigh, Olney, and Vincent, reported à resolution approving the organization of a department of higher education, as pro