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Efforts of Individuals.
161 It is peculiarly interesting in noticing the efforts of Russia, to observe that the blessings of a good common school education are now extended to tribes which from time immemorial, have been in a state of barbarism. In the wild regions beyond Mt. Caucasus, comprising the provinces recently acquired from Persia, the system of district schools is efficiently carried out. Ag early as 1835, there were already established in those parts of the empire, fifteen schools, with sixty teachers, and about one thousand three hundred children under instruction ; so that in the common schools of this new and uncultivated region, one teacher is provided for every twenty scholars. Besides this, there is a Gymnasium at Tiffis, in which Asiatic lads are fitted to enter the European Universities.
The model institution for teachers at St. Petersburg has been already mentioned. In 1835, seventysix teachers were graduated, and the number is every year increasing. Under the influence of this school, and other governmental arrangements, the methods of teaching are continually improving ; and, in his report for 1835, the Minister observes, that the moral improvement of both teachers and pupils, is such as to encourage the most pleasing hopes, that within the last two years, the national interest in the subject of education has very greatly increased, and that it has now become a matter of the deepest interest to the whole people.
Many facts are stated in the last report, in respect to the growing interest in the minds of the Russian people, on the subject of education, illustrating the important fact, that among whatever people a good system of instruction is efficiently carried out, a deep and general interest will be excited. The nobles and the commons appear to emulate each other in the advancement of this cause.
The nobility of Novgorod voluntarily contribute more than twelve thousand rubles a year for the gymnasium in that place, and at Wologda the nobility contribute, for a similar object, nine thousand a year. At Cronstadt, the citizens volunteered to sustain a school at their own expense. At another place on the shores of the White Sea, the citizens have not only volunteered to maintain the school, but have also, of their own accord, entered into an obligation to erect a large and handsoine stone building for the accommodation of the teachers and scholars.This was brought about by the zeal and activity of a single individual, whose name, though a barbarous one, ought here to be mentioned, -Wassiligi Kologriew. This gentleman volunteered as an agent to promote the cause of education in the place of his residence, and besides giving his time and efforts,
Means of Supporting Schools.
bore an equal share in all the expenses, and in addition made a distinct donation of 2500 rubles for the advancement of the cause.
Another gentleman at Archangel, by the name of Kowalewsky, made a journey to a distant neighborhood inhabited by Samoiedes, Sirianes, and other half barbarous tribes, to explain to them the advantages of education, and endeavor to establish a school among them. In this he was warmly seconded by the clergyman of the place, and as the result of it, a single peasant or farmer, by the name of Anuphriew, engaged to support the school entirely for two years, and after that, to contribute 300 rubles a year for five years longer, and, in addition to this, he contributed 1500 rubles for the erection of a school house. The chief magistrate of the place also contributed, and allured by these examples, the Sirianes put down nearly 15,000 rubles ; and as soon as the requisite preparations could be made, the school was opened with great solemnity, and appropriate ceremonies, in the midst of an immense concourse of intensely in terested spectators.
A merchant by the name of Pluessin, in Lialsk, made a donation of 10,000 rubles for the foundation of a district school in that place, and offered in addition, to have the school kept in his own house, and to furnish it with firewood for three years. Tschistow, a citizen of Moscow, gave 2300 rubles for the purchase of school books, to be distributed among the poor children of the first school district in that city.
Numerous other instances might be mentioned of donations from persons in all ranks of society-in money, books, houses, fuel, or whatever they had it in their power to give for the support of schools; but the above may be sufficient.
It must be observed that the government makes provision for the maintenance of all the district schools, gymnasia and universities; and that this liberality of private citizens arises from pure zeal for the cause, and is applied to the extending and increasing the advantages derived from governmental patronage, to the purchase of books and clothing for the poorer children, the establishment of school libraries, and the providing of suitable rewards for meritorious teachers and pupils, and securing the means of access to the school house, and proper furniture for it. Every effort is made to provide a plentiful supply of good school books, and to establish suitable libraries for the use of teachers. Quite recenily, a Russian lady, a Miss Darzoff, received from the government a premium of 2500 rubles for compiling a litile work, entitled Useful Readings for Children.'
In view of such facts as these, who is not ready to exclaim : Well done,cold, semi-barbarous, despotic Russia ! may other nations more favored by nature and Providence emulate thy example !
Fellenberg's Establishment described.
RECENT VISIT TO HOFWYL.
The following extract from the private journal of a traveller in Europe, will give the reader, in a familiar style, some idea of what is going on at this princely establishment. Surely, if we do not need Hofwyls and Fellenbergs in a republic, we need institutions as happily adapted to the supply of our physical, intellectual and moral wants, as those of Hofwyl are supposed to be to the supply of the wants of an aristocratical or monarchical community. The extract, we copy from the Sunday School Journal. The visit was made about the end of last summer.
The buildings of the school make a little town. My driver set me down at the gate of the Bureau, and asked whether I might see the establishment. I was invited in, and presented with a book in which to write my name. I opened it at random, and saw two American names, which, as is usual in such circumstances, seemed to be the names of ancient friends, although their owners were not personally known to me.
"The person in attendance could speak tolerable English, and obviously preferred it, in the present case, to French or German. He took me first into the School of Schoolmasters, where a number of men were in preparation for active duty ; then led me by the Female School, and Fellenberg's own house. He then showed me the school for what he called "great boys,' i. e. gentlemen's sons ; of whom there were eightyfour. The classrooms were ordinary apartments, with the usual complement of black boards and benches.
• In the drawing-room' I saw numerous plaster models of noses, eyes, hands, &c., as well as casts of the Apollo Belvidere, and other statues. There were also portraits of several of the boys, painted by the drawing-master. In the Chapel there was a sort of clothes-press or cupboard, containing an altar, for the edification of the Catholic pupils, which is carefully locked up when the Protestant boys come in to prayers, the worship of the two sects being perfectly distinct.
I was then introduced into the dormitories, two large halls communicating with each other. I admired very much the regularity and neatness, as well as the plan of these apartments.Provision is made for warming the whole in winter, and the teachers are so placed as to be at once retired and with the boys,
· Before I left this building, I was led into the music room, where I found two boys, one about twelve or thirteen, performing on the piano-forte, and another; somewhat older, looking on. 164
Necessity of training Teachers.
The music ceased when we went in ; but as we left the room, my guide informed me that the younger boy was an American. This of course took me back again, to talk with my young countryman, who told me that he was of New York city, and that there were several other boys from the same place.
"I then went to the machine-room, and saw various machines, constructed here, most of them agricultural. I likewise visited the blacksmiths', carpenters', shoemakers' and tailors' shops, and the bathing-place-a noble artificial basin. I was then taken into a cellar, where I saw a number of large shallow tubs full of fine rich milk.
By a natural transition, we then proceeded to a stable containing fiftyone cows. I also paid a visit to the twenty oxen, the sixteen working horses, and the eleven riding horses ; the riding-house, the wash-house, the gymnasium, and the poor boys' school. In the latter, there was a room adorned with columns and festoons of flowers in a very tasteful, though fantastic manner. This was done by the boys in honor of their master's birth-day, or perhaps his saint's day. The bed-rooms of the · poor boys' appeared very clean and comfortable. In passing through the house, I saw the workmen and servants at dinner, about sixty in number. On asking whether there was any thing to pay, my guide allowed me to contribute something to the poor boys' fund.
"As I returned through the play grounds, the boys nodded, and some doffed their caps, with a civility entirely European.I learned that there were pupils on the ground, from Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, North and South America, and two from Tiflis. Belonging to the establishment, at that time, were 400 pupils, 100 teachers, 300 acres of land, and 18 inhabited houses.'
The subject of Seminaries for Teachers is fast gaining ground among us; and we cannot but hope the time is not now far distant, when these invaluable institutions will be as common here, as normal schools are in the old countries. There is no reason arising from the nature of things, why the proper training of teachers, male and female, should not be a matter of as much importance on this side of the Atlantic, to say the least of it, as on the other.
Normal Schools in Holland.
But we have spoken frequently, and sometimes at length on this subject. Our present purpose is to introduce another speaker. It is the Rev. Charles Brooks, of Hingham, Massiuchusetts. In his lecture before the American Institute of Instruction, published in the last volume of that Society's proceedings, we find the following sentiments :
Cousin, who has given the whole force of his powerful mind and benevolent heart to the subject, says thus, in his · Report on Prussian Instruction :'~ ]he best plans of instruction cannot be executed except by the instrumentality of good teachers; and the State has done nothing for popular education, if it does not watch that those who devote themselves to teaching be well prepared.' Again he says, -' In order to provide schools with masters, competent and conscientious, the care of their training must not be left to chance. The foundation of Teachers' Seminaries must be continued.' He adds,- in each Teachers' Seminary the length of the course should be three years. The first should be devoted to supplemental primary instruction ; the second to specific and more elevated studies, and the third to the practice and occasional experiments in the primary schools, which should be annexed to every seminary. In his report he frequently says, that the Germans and Prussians believe these Seminaries to be the life-blood of the whole school establishment; and then adds with new emphasis, these words : I shall never cease to repeat,-as is the master, so is the school.'
· Philosophy and experience establish the truth of this Prussian maxim. Take the best town-school in New England, and put into that school a stupid, selfish, incompetent master, and he will assuredly run it down. Take the most backward school in the State, and put into it an intelligent, conscientious, purposely prepared teacher, and he will soon lift it up to himself. All streams flow level with their founts.
"But to return to the testimony of Cousin. He has just sent me four pamphlets, which, in the letter accompanying them, he calls fragments of a journey which he took six months ago into Holland, and a full account of which he is just publishing. He says,— This last work will be more useful to Americans, than any thing I have yet written on elementary instruction. In Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and Harlem, he examined the several educational establishments; and the same sentiments appear in every place concerning the indispensable importance of Teachers' Seminaries. He obtained the opinion of the most celebrated philosophers, as well as the most successful directors of normal schools, some of them having been thirty years in the service; and these are the words :-Holland has, by degrees,