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Report of the Board of Education.
MASSACHUSETTS. Board of Education.—We have received the First Annual Report of the Board of Education,' for this State, together with the First Annual Report of the Secretary of the Board, the Hon. Horace Mann. It is a pamphlet of 75 octavo pages; and is a document of great value.The abstract of the School Returns of the Commonwealth, made out, in part, by the same officer, has been mentioned in a former number.
From the Report of Mr M., we learn that sometime during last summer, he addressed to the school committee of every town in the Commonwealth, a circular letter, embracing the following questions, though by no means excluding information on other topics.
1. Is inconvenience or discomfort suffered from the construction or location of school houses in your town, and if so, in what manner?
2. Are the requisitions of law complied with in your town, in relation to the aggregate length of time in which schools are kept; the different kinds of schools kept, and the qualifications of the teachers employed ?
3. Does your town choose a school committee each year? Do they organize as a committee, and do they visit and examine the schools, as required by law ?
4. Are school committee-men paid for their services? If so, how much?
5. Are teachers employed for the public schools, without being examined and approved, or before being examined and approved by the committee?
6. Do parents, in general, exhibit any public interest in the character and
progress of schools, by attending examinations or otherwise ? 7. Do the school committee select the kind of books to be used in schools, or is it left to parents and teachers ?
8. Do the school committee cause books to be furnished, at the expense of the town, to such scholars as are destitute of those required ?
9. Is there uniformity of books in the same school?
10. Is any apparatus used in your schools? If so, in how many, and of what kinds is it?
11. Have any teachers been employed who practise school-keeping as a regular employment or profession? If any, how many ? Are they male or female ?
Answers to these questions have been received by Mr M. from more than half the towns in the State; which have been to him, a source of very valuable information. He has also met conventions of the friends of education in every County of the State, except Suffolk, In doing this, be travelled between five and six hundred miles, besides going to Dukes County and Nantucket, and has visited many schools, and personally exainined, or at least obtained specific information regarding the relative size, construction and condition of 800 school houses, with much general information concerning at least a thousand more. It is
Dr. Woodward on Physical Education.
on such a basis as this, and from such sources as this, added to an extensive acquaintance throughout the State, that the report has been prepared.
We hope to present the reader, at some future time, with an extract or two from this work. It is a precious document, and should be preserved as such by all who receive it.
Lectures on Education. During the late session of the Legislature, the Board of Education had weekly lectures on the subject of education in the Representatives' Hall, some of which were well attended. Lectures weregiven by Mr Mann, Mr James G. Carter, of Lancaster, Rev. Charles Brooks, of Hingham, and others.
Schools of Boston.—Here, the 'march' of improvement, so far as the public schools are concerned, seems to be retrograde. For, to say nothing of the primary schools in addition to what was said in our last number, a strange course has been taken in relation to the grammar schools. Attempts to reform them, after having been partially successful, have at length failed altogether, and the enemies of improvement have obtained a temporary triumph. Their reigo, however, is short. A reform in the whole public and primary school system of Boston, is loudly demanded, and cannot much longer be resisted. The measures of today are not always to be counteracted by the men and measures of tomorrow, on the simple ground that they are an innovation on ancient usages, and have not been tested within the city of Boston.
Teachers' Seminary.—Ten thousanıl dollars have been recently placed in the hands of the Secretary of the Board of Education in this State, to promote the cause of Popular Education, on condition that the State will contribute the same amount from their unappropriated funds, and that the two sums, thus united, shall be applied under the direction of the Board of Education in qualifying teachers for our common schools.' The subject has been brought before the Legislature, and referred to the Committee on Education.
State Lunatic Hospital.— The fifth annual report of the Trustees of this Institution, including, as it does, the report of Dr. Woodward, is an interesting document, and affords not a few valuable hints to the friends of physical education. Dr W. represents masturbation as a great and increasing cause of an insanity, which is alınost incurable; and adds that i no effectual means can be adopted to prevent the devastation of mind and body, and the debasement of moral principle from this cause, till the whole subject is well understood and properly appreciated by parents and teachers, as well as by the young themselves.' Let those who sneer at such works as the “Moral Reformer,' the Library of Health,' and the Lecture to Young Men on Chastity,' consider what Dr. W. here says, and awake to the study of physiology and the laws of health.
ANNALS OF EDUCATION.
THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY QUESTIONS
ON COMMON SCHOOLS AND COMMON EDUCATION.
The following list of questions—with a few modifications, was prepared for the Annals of Education seven or eight years ago; but was withheld, partly from the fear that some of the suggestions were so much in advance of the public sentiment, that the article, as a whole, would be deemed visionary. We know not but such may be the conclusion of a few minds, even now; and yet we are unwilling to refrain longer from presenting the subject of Common School Improvement in this form ; because we believe it to be a way which is calculated to arrest attention.
We have arranged our Inquiries in four divisions :-1. General Inquiries ; 2. Physical Education ; 3. Intellectual Education ; 4. Moral Education :—though we do not pledge ourselves to adhere, in every instance, to our landmarks. It is somewhat difficult to separate moral and physical education, if we attempt it; and scarcely less so to separate general from particular inquiries.
1.-General INQUIRIES. What is the number of district or common schools in the township or society in which you reside ?
What number of persons compose your School Committee ? Was it ever less or more than now?
What were the apparent effects of increasing or diminishing its number?
Is it made the duty of your Committee to visit the schools as well as examine the teachers ?
Duties of School Visitors.
How many of them have themselves been teachers ?
many have ever taught in the district or town schools ? How many of them were liberally educated ?
Do the Committee organize themselves for the purpose of examining teachers, &c., by adopting a constitution?
What are the leading features of that constitution ?
Are your instructers required to be unexceptionable in their morals ?
What course do the Committee take in order to ascertain their moral worth?
How is it ascertained whether they possess a real love for teaching?
In what branches are they usually examined ?
Is the examination practical? In other words, are they examined with regard to their ability to communicate what they know ?
Are they ever examined more than once, in the same society or town?
Is their health, or cheerfulness, or temper, ever made a subject of inquiry?
What proportion of your teachers have had a college or university education ?
What proportion an academical one, merely ?
How many of them are acquainted with Anatomy and Physiology, and the laws of health?
Do district committees establish schools and employ teachers, without the concurrence of the proprietors of the schools ?
Is their selection of teachers made solely in reference to cheapness, or is it chiefly in view of more important considerations ?
Are the schools visited regularly by the Board of visitors ?
Do they appear to perform their work more faithfully when paid ?
Are the visitors passive at their regular visits to schools, or do they ask questions and give directions ?
Do they ever give the teacher counsel in regard to preserving and improving the health of his pupils?
Do they ever make suggestions in regard to the conduct of their morals?
Do they ever give directions in regard to the branches which shall be taught?
Character and Duties of Teachers.
Do they ever determine, or help to determine, what class books, apparatus, &c., shall be used?
Do they direct as to modes of instruction?
Do School Committees and Boards of visitors make the business of education a subject of daily study?
What books or periodicals do they have?
Are the instructers entirely devoted to their schools, for the time, or have they other employments?
How many have families, and how many are single?
How many of them intend to pursue the profession of teaching through life? Do they hold meetings for mutual improvement? How often ; and how do they usually proceed? How many of them study the subject of education? Do they visit each others' schools, and how often? How many months of the year are your schools usually taught? How many by male instructers? How many by females? How many vacations, and how long are they?
Do these vacations occur in the most pleasant or in the most unpleasant season of the year?
Is any thing done for the improvement of the pupils during the vacations?
What is the usual compensation of male instructers?
How many of your present teachers are natives of the town, and how many are strangers?
Is this proportion usual?
Has the assistant the whole charge of a certain number of pupils or classes, or is she under the general oversight of the principal?
Has she the exclusive charge of their instruction, or of thei morals and manners ; or has she something to do with both?
How long are instructers and assistants usually employed in the same school?
Why are not the same instructers retained longer?
What proportion of the instructer's wages and board are paid from public funds?