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been designed, from the first, to embrace children of various denominations. The plan was to leave this part of the instruction of the pupils to the pastors of those churches to which they respectively belonged. The following were some of the regulations adopted by the commissioners.
• The ordinary school business, during which all the children, of whatever denomination they be, are required to attend, and which is expected to embrace a competent number of hours in each day, is to consist exclusively of instruction in those branches of knowledge which belong to literary and moral education. Such extracts from the Scriptures as are prepared under the sanction of the Board may be used, and are earnestly recommended by the Board to be used during those hours allotted to this ordinary school business.
One day in each week (independently of Sunday) is to be set apart for the religious instruction of the children, on which day such pastors or other persons, as are approved of by the parents or guardians of the children, shall have access to them for that purpose, whether those pastors have signed the original application or not.
The managers of schools are also expected, should the parents of any of the children desire it, to afford convenient opportunity and facility for the same purpose, either before or after the ordinary school business (as the managers may determine) on the other days of the week.
* Any arrangement of this description that may be made, is to be publicly notified in the schools, in order that those children, and those only, may be present at the religious instruction, whose parents or guardians approve of their being so.
•The reading of the Scriptures, either in the authorized or Douay version, is regarded as a religious exercise, and as such, to be confined to those hours which are set apart for religious instruction. The same regulation is also to be observed respecting prayer.'
What was the progress of this new system of education subsequently to the date of the foregoing, may be inferred from the following paragraph, extracted from the second Report of the commissioners, under date of June 13, 1835.
It will be found that we had, at the close of the last year, 1,106 schools in operation, which were attended by 145,521 children; that we had made grants towards the establishment of 191 additional schoolhouses, calculated to contain 39,831 children; that of the signatures to the applications made to us for aid, 140 are those of clergymen of the Established Church ; 180 of Presbyterian clergyınen; 1,397 of Roman Catholic cler
gymen; 6,915 of Protestant laymen; and 8,630 of Roman Catholic laymen; and that while the grants made by us towards the building and fitting up of schoolhouses, amount to £33,027, 7s., the local contributions for the same purposes amount to £23,142, 2s. 4d.
It thus appears that the system was very generally adopted, under the auspices both of Protestant and Roman Catholic clergymen and laymen; and that it proved quite acceptable to both. The Board have, indeed, at times, met with some difficulty on this subject; but it is believed, from examining the whole of the various reports, that all is now going on harmoniously and happily. We have more to say on this subject, however, presently. Respecting the general progress of the system, the third Report, dated July 13, 1836, thus says:
We established during the last year 150 schools, and agreed to grant aid towards the building of 78 others. We struck off 35 schools which were in operation at the time of our last Report, and cancelled 33 grants which we had then agreed to make. We have also incorporated 40 schools with others. We have in operation, at present, 1,181 schools. There are now before us upwards of 400 applications for aid towards new schools.'
The second Report of the Board of Commissioners, includes much valuable information in regard to particular modes of instruction, which prevail in the schools they have established. The following is their statement respecting school books.
We have published five lesson books, which afford information on different subjects of education, in regular succession. We have also published extracts from the Scriptures, consisting of selections from the book of Genesis, the Gospel of St. Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles, interspersed with passages from other parts ; and a volume of sacred poetry.
"We have also provided elementary books of arithmetic, bookkeeping, trigonometry and geometry, and a series of reading and arithmetical tables. These books have met with general approbation.' · We find in the same document a statement in regard to the religious infiuence which is exerted in these schools; of which the following is an extract.
• The importance of religion is constantly impressed upon the minds of the children, through works calculated to promote good principles, and fill the heart with a love of religion, but which are so compiled as not to clash with the doctrines of any particular class of Christians. The children are thus prepared for those more strict religious exercises, which it is the peculiar province of the ministers of religion to superintend or direct, and for
which stated times are set apart in each school, so that each class of Christians may thus receive, separately, such religious instruction, and from such persons as their parents or pastors may approve or appoint.
i The National Schools are, therefore, founded on principles which conscientious men of different religious denominations may and do embrace; and although from a misapprehension of the rules which the National System enjoins, respecting the use of the Scriptures, it originally met with much opposition, yet it has succeeded beyond our highest expectations; and reasonable men, of all parties, are daily manifesting inore and more their approval of it.'
In regard to the training of teachers for these schools—a subject which had been agitated in Ireland, and which, it appears, had engaged the attention of the Lord Lieutenant, and on which he had desired information of the commissioners-we find the following remarkable statements. We say remarkable, because they show how nearly the views of those who have investigated the subject of elementary education, in Ireland, correspond with those of intelligent men in France, Prussia, Germany, the United States, and many other countries.
'If we are furnished with adequate means by the State, not only for training schoolmasters, but for inducing competent persons to become candidates for teacherships, through a fair prospect of remuneration and advancement, we have no doubt whatever, that a new class of schoolmasters may be trained, whose conduct and influence must be highly beneficial in promoting morality, harmony and good order in the country parts of Ireland.
'It is only through such persons that we can hope to render the National Schools successful in improving the general condition of the people. It is not, however, merely through the schools committed to their charge that the beneficial effects of their influence would be felt. Living in friendly habits with the people, not greatly elevated above them, but so provided for as to be able to maintain a respectable station ; trained to good habits ; identified in interest with the State, and, therefore, anxious to promote a spirit of obedience to lawful authority, we are confident that they would prove a body of the utmost value and importance in promoting civilization and peace.'
İn regard to carrying out and completing the noble plan contemplated by the Board, the Report has the following language. Formerly, nothing was attempted in elementary schools fur
ther than to communicate the art of reading, writing, and arithmetic, with some knowledge of grammar, geography and history. Latterly, teachers have made use of the reading lessons to convey information. Writing has been made subservient to the teaching of spelling, grammar and composition, and also to the fixing of instruction in the memory. Arithmetic, instead of being taught by unexplained rules, has been made the vehicle for conveying the elements of mathematical knowledge, and training the mind to accuracy of thinking and reasoning. Reading books have latterly been compiled on these principles, the lessons being so selected as to convey the elements of knowledge on a variety of subjects. And this introduction of intellectual exercises into the teaching of these elementary arts, has been found to produce a reflex effect upon the progress of the pupils in learning the arts themselves. Children are found to be more easily taught to read, when, while they are learning to pronounce and combine syllables and words into sentences, they are receiving information. Their writing proceeds better, when, while they are learning the mechanical art, they are learning the use of it; and they become better arithmeticians when the principles on which arithmetical operations are founded are gradually developed to them.
"To teach upon this principle, it is absolutely necessary that the teacher not only be able to read, and spell, and write well, and be a good practical arithmetician, but that he be a person of general intelligence, having an extensive and accurate knowledge of the subjects treated of in the reading lessons. He must know much more than is expressed in the lessons themselves, or he will be totally unable to explain them familiarly, to correct the mistakes into which his pupils fall, and answer the innumerable questions that will be put to him as soon as the understanding of his pupils begins to be exercised on any subject.
It is, therefore, necessary that teachers should not merely be able to teach their pupils to read, write, and to conduct schools upon an approved system of discipline, but that they be able to aid in forming the minds of children, and directing their power of reading into a beneficial channel. The power of reading is frequently lost to children, and even becomes a source of corruption and mischief to them, because they bave never been directed to the proper use of it, and it is, consequently, of the highest importance that, while they are taught to read, their thoughts and inclinations should have a beneficial direction given to them. To effect this, manifestly requires a teacher of considerable skill and intelligence.
"To secure the services of such persons, it is material that
suitable means of instruction should be provided for those who desire to prepare themselves for the office of teaching, and that persons of character and ability should be induced to seek it by the prospect of adequate advantages.
With these views, we propose establishing five professorships in our training institution. 1. Of the art of teaching and conducting schools. The professor of this branch to be the head of the institution. 2. Of composition, English literature, history, geography and political economy. 3. Of natural history in all its branches. 4. Of mathematics and mathematical science. 5. Of mental philosophy, including the elements of logic and rhetoric. We propose that no person shall be admitted to the training institution, who does not previously undergo a satisfactory examination in an entrance course, to be appointed for that purpose ; and that each person who may be admitted shall study in it for at least two years, before he be declared fit to undertake the charge of a school ; that during this time, he shall receive instruction in the different branches of knowledge already specified, and be practised in teaching the model school, under the direction of the professor of teaching.
We are of opinion that, in addition to the general training institution, thirtytwo district model schools should be established, being a number equal to that of the counties of Ireland ; that those model schools should be under the direction of teachers chosen for superior attainments, and receiving superior remuneration to those charged with the general or primary schools ; and that, hereafter, each candidate for admission to the training establishments should undergo a preparatory training in one of them.
We think the salary of the teacher of each model school should be £100 a year, and that he should have two assistants, baving a salary of £50 a year each.
We consider that the teacher of each primary school should have a certain salary of £25 a year; and that the commissioners, for the time being, should be authorized to award annually to each a further sum, not exceeding £5, provided they shall see cause for doing so in the Inspector's Report of his general conduct, and the character of the school committed to him. We are also of opinion, that each teacher should be furnished with apartments adjoining the school.'
Appropriations appear to have been made by the government to enable the commissioners to carry out their plans ; but to what extent we have, as yet, been unable to learn. The only information we can obtain is from the third Report, and is contained in the following paragraphs.