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even the amount of instruction they are now forced to receive, and scores of men begin practice every year all over the country who have never heard a lecture at all, or, at the most, have attended but one course.
But the public, with a wise instinct, is beginning to say, in unmistakable language, that it demands a thorough education in its medical men. Let the members of thó profession call to mind how many of their brethren of late years have, after some years' study in Europe, gained almost instantly a remunerative practice. What does this mean, except that the public is shrewd enough to believe that a thorough education, such as a man can get in Europe, is a better qualification for successful practice than the hurried and imperfect training he generally obtains here?
Brethren, let us gibbet the ignorance inside our profession as well as the quackery outside. Let us get over the idea that a man who butchers his mother tongue is good enough for a healer of mankind. Let us win from the intellects of men the consideration we used to demand from their manners. Let us add to the charity which blossoms in our hearts the knowledge that our work and our times demand. Let us train our minds for the consideration of the problems we have to study, as other professions are trained. Let us widen our intellectual vision and increase our material for thought. So shall the science of medicine, enlarged, purified, and triumphant, at last emerge from the conflicts of the schools above the petty jealousies of the hour, comprehensive and beneficent as the air.
CHAS. WARREN, A. B., M. D.
At the annual meeting of the American Normal Association, held at Cleveland, Ohio, August 15, 1870, the following papers were presented, and were very fully discussed, the general doctrines of each being warmly approved. They were referred to a committee, to be reported upon at a future meeting of the association, with reference to action upon the plan presented by Professor Phelps. Having been kindly furnished by their authors for the use of this Bureau, they are commended to the careful perusal of educators.
THE MEANS OF PROVIDING THE MASS OF TEACHERS WITH PROFESSIONAL
INSTRUCTION. By S. H. WHITE, Esq., Principal of City Normal School, Peoria, Illinois. The most reliable statistics place the total number of teachers in twenty-three States, the omitted ones being Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vir: ginia, and the Territories, at 164,729.' It is estimated that the number in the whole country is 200,000.
According to the report of the State superintendent of common schools of Pennsylvania for the year 1868–69, 15 per cent. of the teachers engaged for that year had bad no experience in their work, and 15 per cent. more had had an experience of less than a year. Thirty per cent., then, of the teachers of that State are new to the work each year.
The opinions of other State superintendents have been asked upon this point. So far as they have been expressed, they are that from 10 to 50 per cent. of the teachers in their respective States are aunually supplied from those who have had no experience.
It is probably safe to say that, taking all sections of the country into consideration, this number would be about 40 per cent.
The total number of pupils attending State normal schools for the year named is 5,884. In case all the students in normal schools become teachers, we have still 97 per cent. of the inexperienced teachers of the country entirely destitute of any instruction from State normal schools. From the best data available, it is estimated that the number of teachers receiving special instruction in city and private normal schools, normal classes, and by other means, is about equal to the number in the State normal schools, 3 per cent.
That ninety-four out of every hundred enter the ranks but slightly comprehending the laws of physical and mental growth, and of development in harmony with those laws, that they are entirely without any special preparation for the work before them, and that they have but slight appreciation of its magnitude and responsibilities, aro facts worthy the earnest attention of all who desire the highest development of our : people.
Two questions present themselves for consideration :
I. Can the present system of State normal schools be extended so as to supply the, want of trained teachers for the common schools? The annual expense of a school
which will send out-not necessarily graduate--250 pupils, is from $15,000 to $20,000. Allowing that after States have become settled and their communities established, not more than 30 per cent. of the teachers change to other employments annually, the State of Illinois would need 24 such schools ; Michigan 12; Pennsylvania 20; Massachusetts 10. The annual expense of these schools would be, to Illinois not less than $360,000; to Michigan $180,000; to Pennsylvania $300,000; to Massachusetts $150,000. However profitable such an investment might be to these States, it would be impossible now, or at any time in the near future, to persuade tho people to make so largo appropriations for this purpose.
II. Is it desirable that normal schools, as at present organized, should be so multiplied even were it possible? In the normal schools of Massachusetts, having a course extending through two years, about one-half the students complete the course ; in the Illinois Normal University, having a three years' course, about three-fourths of the students remain a year or less ; in the Kansas Normal School about four-fifths of the pupils leave by the expiration of the first year. These institutions, the youngest of which has a history of five years, may be considered as fair representatives in this respect of the whole class of normal schools. May we not consider, also, that their experience indicates the situation and the urgent need of the great mass of the teachers of the country? Do not those needs point to a graded system of normal schools? If from one nalf to four-fifths of the pupils in the well-established schools of the country do no more than complete the studies of one year, wbat is the advantage of establishing schools with a two or three years' course for them to attend ?
If only one-half to one-twentieth of the pupils entering a school complete the course, why should there be any greater than such a proportion of schools of the highest grade? It is apparent that the experience of the country demands the establishment of a system of normal schools which shall embrace in their course of study only branches taught in common schools, with some instruction in methods and school management.
It is quite useless to suppose that the large portion of the teachers of the country to which reference has been made, will be willing to devote more time to the preparation for their work.
It is urged then that the present system of State normal schools for the preparation of all teachers to teach is impossible, because of its expense to the State; because their course of study is not adapted to the circumstances of the great mass of teachers. It is claimed that a system of graded normal schools will more cheaply and more completely meet the wants of the great majority of teachers. In support of this claim the item of diminished expense to the individual may be urged. The necessity of many teachers too frequently interrupts that course of study for the purpose of gaining å living, forbids their traveling far to reach school, or being at great expense for board, &c., while there. If schools are established at points accessible, at short distances, where students can have facilities for obtaining supplies from home, these objections will be largely obviated. Each school would offer its advantages to an entirely different *class of teachers without diminishing perceptibly the attendance upon another. About
80 per cent. of the pupils of the Massachusetts State normal schools live within twenty miles of their respective institutions. The same state of affairs is largely true in other States. Of the 69 pupils attending the Peoria County Normal School, in Illinois, during the past year, not more than two would otherwise bave attended the Stato Normal University, about sixty miles distant.
Whatever the plan adopted, the preliminary steps of building, &c., should be as light as possible. A western educator conveyed a forcible truth when he said: “A Bunker Hill Monument, with a few school-rooms at its base, doesn't pay."
If a debt is to be incurred, as is generally the case, it were better that the towers, the Mansard roofs, the porticos, &c., be omitted. If the money is in hand, it were bet ter to expend it inside the building, in procuring libraries, means of illustration, and giving more liberal salaries to teachers. The expenditure of $250,000 or $300,000 to furnish buildings and grounds for a State normal school, is not securing the greatest amount of aid from the money. Every cap-stone to the tower of an extravagant school-house has prevented the laying of the foundation-stone to many less pretentious structures, of the same sort. The school should be fitted with accommodations for from 75 to 100 pupils. By the curtailment of the cost, what would have been expended in erecting one large and extravagant building, would suffice for from two to four smaller ones, with accommodations, in the aggregate, for at least double the number of pupils.
As has been already estimated, the course of study in these schools should be primary in character, embracing but little more than the studies required by law to be taught in the common schools. The fact that about 40 per cent. of the teachers of the country teach not more than a year, and then make some other occupation their pursnit for life, is convincing proof that they look upon the business of instruction as a mere make-shift, and that they will make no greater effort to fit themselves for it than public opinion requires. Let it be required of these teachers to thoroughly know
the branches to be tanght by them; for a very great part of the work to be done in these schools must be academic in its character. Let this knowledge be imparted, systematically, by skilled teachers, whose instruction will unconsciously be a model for them; let the consideration of methods accompany the daily lesson; let the pupil have a short drill in actual school management, under the direction of an efficient training teacher, and more will be done to elevate the character of the common schools than can possibly be done by State normal schools, as at present organized.
It may be objected to this plan, that it would operate to lower the standard of attainments among teachers, degrade the profession from its highest position, and subvert the means by which it can be fitted to accomplish its noblest results. Not by any means. The highest department of a system of learning is reached through those that precede it. Its real strength will depend upon their efficiency. This rule will obviousIy apply to normal schools. Let them be graded, the greater part of them being adapted to the necessities of the mass of teachers, and others having a more professional character for those who make teaching a profession for life. These higher schools would thrive with the lower, and would attain to greater excellence because of them. It may not be expecting too much to hope that there might be, here and there, ono which could give attention to normal methods of instruction in the classics, and higher departments of science, and literature. From such schools could be drawn a supply of efficient instructors for high schools, seminaries, and colleges.
But it will be a long while before any system of normal schools will succeed in reaching all the teachers of the country. Teaching, as a business, must be more permanent, and offer better remuneration, before many of those engaged in it will make it an employment for life. The fact that the graduates of the normal schools of Massachusetts teach an average of only three years, is a forcible illustration of this position. The conveniences for normal instruction must be greatly increased before a title of the demand for teachers can be supplied from that source. Meanwhile other means must be utilized. There is a large and increasing number of graduates from academies, high schools, and colleges, very many of whom enter upon the work of instruction. They have been through a course of study generally more comprehensive than that taught in the normal schools. In scholarship, save, perhaps, in the common school studies, which were laid aside when they commenced their higher course, they are prepared to commence their work. But their instruction has been academic. They need to review the primary studies with methods of instruction in the same, and to have the benefit of practical work in the class-room, under the eye of an efficient training teacher. In view of their more general scholarship, and of the mental discipline acquired from long-continued study, two or three terms in a normal school would do much to prepare them for their work. The establishment of training schools in many of the larger cities is a step in this direction, many more of which should be taken. When the number of graduates is not large enough to justify the step, a few months in a primary normal school might well be substituted."
Teachers institutes furnish a powerful and efficient means for instructing and inspiring teachers. They may be considered as normal schools, of the lowest grade, af. fording the only means by which the great mass of teachers can, at present, be reachel, and some better ideas of school instruction and school management can be imparted. If these are well-conducted-if the plan is devised beforehand-if the work is done by skilled teachers who have given special attention to it, and in such a way as to elicit active thought and work from the institute, it is doubtful whether an equal amount of expense and labor to the same end will accomplish so valuable results. But the practice of gathering teachers together, and promiscuously parceling out the work to be done, without reference to time or system, is apt to be more corrupting than elevating in its results. It is desirable that the number of institutes be largely increased. The fact that in several States, one is held in every county, yearly, and in some cases halfyearly, while in others not more than one-tenth of the counties hold them, is evidence that much more is attainable in this direction than has yet been accomplished,
The work done in the institute, like that of any other school, will depend upon the teacher. Of the institute it may be remarked, however, that since it continues for a shorter period, generally for a week, greater skill at organization, greater promptness of action, are required of the conductor than of the ordinary teacher. An institute should have the best possible talent secured for its exercises. The employment of one or more corps of instructors, whose whole time should be given to holding institutes in different parts of a State, would produce a greater immediate effect upon the schools of the country than any other agency. Upon these institutes the teachers should be compelled to attend, without losing time, if their schools are in session, or furnish evidence of having attended a more extended course of instruction of similar character.
I cannot better call attention to the preparation needed by the teachers in country schools than by quoting a few words from the observations of Rev. Dr. Ryerson, superintendent of public instruction for the province of Ontario, on “The American School System.” They are taken from his report on the systems of public instruction in Europe and the United States. He says:
“Taken as a whole, I do not think, from my best observation and inquiries, that there is a country in the world in whose cities and towns (except Leipsic, in Saxony) the systems of education are so complete and efficient as in the neighboring States, especially in Boston, Providence, New York, Philadelphia," &c. “Nothing but a personal visit and inspection can convey an adequate idea of the comprehensiveness, completeness, and even in some instances grandeur, of the establishments and systems of education in the cities, and in not a few towns of our American neighbors." “But here, in most of the States, the work has begun to halt, and the patriotic objects of its (the system's) projector have been disappointed.” “There is no adequate provision to secure the operations of a school in a single neighborhood, much less to secure properly qualified teachers where schools are established. The result is, that when you leave the cities and large towns, and go into the rural parts of the State, the peculiar field of a national school law, and system, you there find that our American neighbors are not so successful in their public school economy, and accomplish results far below, and short of the State appropriations they make, and the machinery they employ for the sound education of all the people.”
REPORT ON A COURSE OF STUDY FOR NORMAL SCHOOLS.
By Professor WILLIAM F. PHELPS,
Principal of the State Normal School, Winona, Minnesota., The committee appointed at the last meeting of this association, to consider and report upon the subject of a course of study adapted to normal schools, would beg leave to submit:
That they have given to the subject as much time and attention as other absorbing duties would allow; that they have not deemed it necessary to discuss, in detail, the relations which the different branches of study sustain to the work of mental development; nor have they attempted the impossible task of laying down a curriculum, applicable alike to all circumstances and places, but they have contented themselves mainly with the presentation, in a suggestive form, of such a plan of professional training as seems well adapted to the preparation of teachers for the lower departments in our graded school system, and for the mixed schools of the rural districts; reserving for the future the consideration of a course suited to the wants of instructors in the high schools and colleges.
The committee have been led to pursue this plan for reasons which will now be stated :
First. These lower schools present altogether the most difficult problems in respect to methods of instruction and administration with which educators are obliged to deal. Hence the greater necessity for that intelligence, skill, tact, patience, and energy on the part of the teacher, which a careful special training is so well calculated to develop.
The committee do not feel that it is necessary to enlarge upon this proposition. The truth itself is too obvious to all who have seriously thought and labored in the field of popular education to require any demonstration at this time. It is an admitted axiom that the post of difficulty and responsibility is in the primary school, and in those grades of instruction most nearly allied to it.
It is comparatively easy to fill the professorial chair of the high school or college. Here the mind of the student is far advanced in its stages of development; his habits have been, in a measure, systematized, and his power increased by a long course of previous training; he is better prepared to help himself; he requires less aid from bis tutor, and that aid when needed is of a more simple and direct character. Hence the duty of the instructor here is comparatively easy. With a thorough knowledge of the subject-matter, it is not a difficult task to employ the method best suited to the work before him. From these considerations it follows that the peculiar needs of special training as a preparation for teaching are down at the base of our system of public education.
Secondly. By far the greater number of the children of this country obtain their only educational advantages in the schools of the rural districts, and in the lower departments of the graded schools in the larger towns and cities. This is a proposition 80 self-evident as to need no discussion. We speak entirely within bounds when we affirm that not less than nineteen-twentieths of the children and youth of our country fail to reach the high schools and colleges during their brief educational career. For this reason, every effort within the power of the Government and people should be put forth to improve and perfect these agencies for elementary instruction. They are the only colleges which the masses can reach. If they fail us, therefore, upon what can we rest our hopes for the universal diffusion of education.
Thirdly. The gradation of the work of instruction in our public schools necessitates a similar gradation in the agencies for the special preparation of teachers.
The work of the primary teacher is so distinctive and peculiar in its character and aims as to demand a distinctive and peculiar training therefor--a training especially suited to the circumstances of the case.
In like manner the instructor in the higher departments of education has a work more especially his own, differing widely in its motives and methods, and demanding attainments and qualifications very different from those of the elementary teacher. Hence the training of those who are to occupy these higber walks of educational effort should be suited to their condition and necessities; and it follows, also, that the appliances for their preparation should be modified accordingly. In other words, the necessities of our system of public education at the present time demand not less than two grades of normal training schools-one for the preparation of elementary teachers, and another for school officers and instructors in the higher departments. And it would, in the judgment of the committee, vastly increase the efficiency of our normal school system if these two classes of institutions conld be organized and conducted as separate establishments, each suited to its special work.
Fourthly. The courses of academic study in many of our existing normal schools have become expanded to such an extent as to have greatly overburdened them, and to have largely diverted them from their special work, thus diminishing their influence and usefulness as agencies for the professional training of teachers.
That this state of things has been brought about by the urgency of the public demand for teachers in the higher schools, in consequence of the withdrawal of many for more lucrative employments, is freely conceded; but the fact itself is none the less disastrous to the cause of elementary instruction. The committee beg leave to reiterate the statement that our inost pressing wants, at the present time, are in the domain of elementary education. We must ever keep in view the primary school and its immediate adjuncts. We must not neglect that knotty problem, “the district school as it is." We must remember its difficulties. We must reflect that the common schools are the only “colleges for the people.” We must have trained skill here, if anywhere; because failing here we shall fail altogether, and succeeding here we shall succeed altogether. It is down here where the great industrial classes, "the bone and sinew" of the land, come to take their only chance for that training which is to lift them from sensuality to rationality and clothe them with the attributes of citizenship in this land of free thought, free speech, and free suffrage. And be it remembered, too, that it is down deep in this soil where the seeds of higher culture must be sown and where they must germinate and attain their earlier stages of growth. If we plant, and water, and cultivate hero as assiduously and carefully as we may and should do, we shall not only lay broad and deep the foundations of general intelligence among the people, but by these means hundreds will demand the aids to liberal culture where now, amid neg. lect and inefficiency, only here and there one aspiring genius rises superior to the obstacles which environ him.
In this connection the committee take the responsibility of broadly asserting that while much has been done for the improvememt of elementary instruction, especially in the cities and larger towns, yet that, as a whole, the schools forming the lower parts of our system are deplorably deficient. They are mainly in the hands of ignorant, unskilled teachers. The children are fed upon the mere husks of knowledge. They leave school for the broad theater of life without discipline; without mental power or moral stamina; with minds distorted; too often with hearts corrupted, to swell the ranks of the lawless and to recruit the army of ignorant voters who are ever a menace to the peaco and security of the country. And here let us refer to a fact which cannot become too soon or too widely known, and which ought to arouse the educators and the statesmen of the country to the most vigorous exertions. We allude to the fact of the great increase of the ignorant voting population in these United States. This unwelcome phenomenon has its causes. It is not due alone to the enfranchisement of the slaves, The fact of such increase remains after full allowance is made for the addition of the blacks to the ranks of those who are entitled to suffrage. And we are forced to account for it largely by the utter inefficiency of thousands of our elementary schools, and their failure to do their assigned work. Poor schools and poor teachers are in a majority throughout the country. Multitudes of the schools are so poor that it would be as well for the country if they were closed. They add nothing to the intelligence or moral power of the country. They waste its resources. They teach nothing positively good, but much that is positively bad. They are little else than instruments for the promotion of mental and moral deformity. They repress the native aspirations of the child for knowledge. They foster habits of indifference and carelessness, which are the bane of his future life.
That eminent statesman and philosopher, Guizot, never uttered a more palpable truth than when he declared that “a bad school-master, like a bad parish-priest, is a scourge to the commune."
That the inefficient and worthless character of so many of these lower schools is a prolific cause of ignorance and its increase is proved by the fact that whenever good schools take their places a large increase of attendance at once occurs, and the " noble army” of truants and absentees is correspondingly diminished. Thus poor schools not