Page images

women teachers obtaining a university degree.

The second qualification required by the council is a certificate in the theory and practice of education. This badge of distinction is again no absolute proof of efficiency. Educational experts are not yet agreed whether a technical training is a necessity. That some sort of preparation is advisable is allowed by most, but what form it should take is still an open question. Training colleges offer obvious points of attack. On some minds a system of routine has a crushing and depressing effect: a knowledge of the theory of education, of metaphysics, of psychology, of hard-andfast rules of method, is not invariably helpful to the practice of teaching. It has been observed that a teacher who has been trained at a training college is able to do a particular thing in a particular way; but if when she begins work in a school as a regular teacher the head-mistress suggests that it might be well to employ a different method from that practised in the training school, she is often unwilling, if not unable, to answer the call. Another defect is to be found in the kind of practice in actual teaching obtainable by the students of a training college. It is mostly of a fictitious character: teaching in the so called practising schools attached to some of the institutions, isolated visits to schools to take a class in them, cannot teach the art of managing classes, throws no light on the details of the successful working of a school, does not aid in develop

ing resource-one of the most important and most necessary qualities of the teacher-and gives her judges and critics little or no opportunity of discovering how her personality and influence impress themselves on her pupils. The importance of character and moral force in a teacher cannot be rated too highly; it has even been said that in a day-school it is of no importance, but that is surely a fallacy. Young people imitate unconsciously the tone and bearing of those who are set over them, and from the general demeanour of a class in a school, a fairly correct judgment may always be formed of the character of the mistress at its head. What we want to know about a teacher is what is the result of her work from a mental and moral standpoint on the children under her care. In order that such result shall be satisfactory, those who intend to become teachers cannot begin too early to teach, to come into personal contact with the taught, to learn to know them, their wants and needs, and to sympathise with their difficulties and limitations. To do this effectively, more years of practice and experience are needed than life in a training college ordinarily guarantees.

It has often struck us that, as a body, the elementary women teachers, whatever their comparative deficiencies in scholarship or higher culture, are, as practical teachers, superior to the secondary teachers. The reason of the superiority is to be sought in the fact that the elementary teachers practise actual teaching at a much earlier age than the secondary teachers.1 If a girl goes to the

1 To raise the age at which pupil-teachers shall begin to teach is perhaps, in view of the hard work required of them, a wise regulation on the part of the Education Department, but it would be a vast pity to curtail in any way the purely practical side of their training.


university at eighteen, and afterwards to a training college, she will be twenty-three before she begins practical teaching, and that is much too late. As a proof of this argument, we may state that inspectors of elementary schools sometimes find that a pupil-teacher at the end of her preparatory course at the pupil teachers' centre-drawing our illustration from the system of the London School Board - is a far better practical teacher than when she comes away from the two years' course at a training college which follows the four or five years' preparatory work. During those two years she has lost touch with actual pupils, and it sometimes takes her very many months to regain it. It has been observed, too, that in talking to a young elementary teacher about her work, she will betray intense interest in "her children "-i.e., her pupils: a like sympathetic interest is often lacking in young secondary teachers.


there is not time for anything be-
yond their daily work. Whatever
means we take of training them,
we should endeavour to dispel that
idea. The best teachers are un-
doubtedly those who
care for
things besides teaching; and it
is extraordinary what a cultivat-
ing, civilising influence such women
have on their pupils—even on the
minds of average, not to say dull,
girls. The fact that girls who go
to secondary schools do not al-
ways come from cultivated or en-
lightened homes is not sufficiently
kept in view. It may happen that
in a class of girls ranging in age
from fifteen to eighteen, several
will not have read or heard of
incidents as notorious as England's
difficulties in the Transvaal or in
Venezuela; others again may not
have access in their homes to the
most ordinary book of reference, or
to any standard volume of history
or poetry. It is with such girls
and their parents that the teachers
have to reckon-a fact that women
fresh from the university and the
training college are too apt to lose
sight of. The decentralisation
advocated in Sir John Gorst's
bill would, if adopted, have done
something to remove that diffi-
culty. A very different curricu-
lum and method of education is
required in schools of the same
character in different districts. It
is quite possible that a system
which works well at South Ken-
sington will be less successful at
Brixton. It is therefore of the
greatest importance that teachers
should take into account the
social position, the ability, and
the general environment of their
pupils, things that can only be
learnt by practical experience
and some knowledge of the world.
That capacity in a teacher, again,
is not always obtainable in a train-
ing college.

The Registration of Women Teachers.

Another objection to training colleges is that very often, from the nature of the work done and the kind of teachers usually employed in them, they scarcely promote in the students an interest in outside things, in current events, for example, or in general literature, art, and science. It is of the greatest importance that teachers should have outside interests, the more and the wider the better. The present headmaster of Harrow once said that schoolmastering was of necessity a somewhat narrowing profession, because it chiefly consisted in telling other people what to do. For that reason he advised his assistants to do something outside their work—to travel, or to write books. Among women teachers there is far too great a tendency to narrow their interests, and to think that

One of the arguments put for ward by the advocates of a strictly technical training for teachers is that it is the only profession for which a proper preparation is not compulsory. That argument contains both truth and reason, and is difficult to oppose. Granting some preparation is needful, what constitutes the best method? It is too large a question to answer here. Teaching is neither an art nor an exact science; it partakes of both, and lies in a region between them. While there is practically only one way of interpreting statute law, or of treating some particular disease that runs a well-known course, there are many methods of giving a lesson, dependent on the numbers, ages, abilities, and general environment of the pupils. No examination like those by which men are admitted to the medical register or to the solicitors' roll can with real efficiency test the teaching capacity of women intending to become teachers. A literary examination may eliminate the hopelessly ignorant it cannot assert authoritatively that the examinee is a competent teacher. If it is found that a technical training is indispensable for teachers, the classes of a training department attached to a large and efficient school offer the sole trustworthy field for acquiring technical efficiency. It is there possible to gain at the same time a practical knowledge of teaching by working under the supervision of teachers of repute, and to learn from actual observation something of the details of organisation. It is often said that in such a system the children suffer from the mistakes of the teacher. The grievance is much exaggerated. A woman who does not begin practical teaching till she is twenty-three will make

quite as many mistakes as a student teacher of fifteen or sixteen, and she will in all probability make many more.

Testimony to knowledge and scholarship can already be obtained by intending teachers from one or other of the recognised examining bodies of the country. It would seem, then, that unless a teachers' register satisfactorily proves that the persons whose names it enrols possess ability to teach, it would be somewhat of a superfluity. A categorical proof of such ability in print is no easy thing to produce. But if a register is to be created, it might be enacted that no teacher should be placed on it unless she has been actually teaching for a continuous period of not less than three years, and can produce testimony to her ability as a teacher from her employers. In addition, it might be made one of the duties of the most experienced inspectors of the Education Department to be present at several of the lessons of teachers desiring to be placed on the register. They would be able to report to the proper authorities concerning the fitness of the teachers in question for their work. The inspectors would have the opportunity of noting to some extent the effect of the character and influence of the teacher on her pupils, and their reports would furnish an allround guarantee of efficiency. It would also be their duty to inquire concerning the previous education and training of the teacher: such data would help towards forming the ideal teacher of the future. The method will probably strike the framers of parliamentary bills as cumbersome and unpractical: it would entail much more trouble than merely looking at a piece of printed paper, but it would secure efficiency in the teacher as

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

young have to be educated through the heart as well as through the head; the subtle influence of the teacher's character, his love of truth, his disinterestedness, his zeal for knowledge, should act imperceptibly upon them. . . He who is capable of taking an interest in each of his pupils individually; who by a sympathetic power can reach what is working in their hearts or perplexing their unfor them that he has acquired the derstanding; who has such a feeling right to say anything to them-has in him the elements of a great teacher."

Those qualities in a teacher are not ensured by the possession of a university degree or a training certificate. We are aware that Education Departments would regard Dr Jowett's words as a counsel of perfection. Nevertheless in these days, when "doubts, disputes, distractions, fears" are almost synonyms for the term education, it is well to keep in view the ideal of the great Oxford teacher.


AMONG the standing controversies of history is the question of the guilt or innocence of the Jesuits implicated in the Gunpowder Plot. The most favourable, and perhaps the most probable, view is that Fathers Greenway and Garnet knew what they did know through the confessional, therefore could not reveal the facts even indirectly, and had to content themselves with trying to restrain their penitents from their murderous design. But even the most lenient Protestant writers add to this verdict a rider on the crying sins of the Jesuits-namely, dissimulation and equivocation-so justly detested by the English people.

If Catholic apologists for the Jesuits in the Gunpowder Plot care to use against Anglicans the argument of Tu quoque, they have a serviceable example ready to hand in the case of Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester. A Tu quoque is not a very noble weapon; and we learned from these early casuists, our nurses, that "two blacks do not make a white." Still, the analogies and points of difference in the cases of Atterbury in 1722, and of the Jesuits in 1605, are curious and interesting. These lines, therefore, are not written for the purpose of proving that all Jesuits have George Washington's regard for truth, or that the Church of England inculcates dissimulation, while her prelates cultivate a taste for flat perjury. It will be apparent, however, that a peculiarly Protestant Bishop was capable, in a political cause, of conduct, and of a defence, compared with which the conduct and defence of Fathers Garnet and Greenway are mere venial errors.

Atterbury, as all the world knows, was condemned for a treasonable conspiracy, and was exiled in 1723. The Bishop was tried before the House of Lords on a Bill of Pains and Penalties. The legal procedure was most undesirable; but the contemporary evidence leaves in a candid mind no room for moral doubt of Atterbury's guilt. His character, however, his learning, his friends the wits, and his harsh treatment in prison, combined with Jacobite prejudice, obscured the question till he more or less openly joined the Jacobites. Finally, in 1847, the publication of Atterbury's Letters, from the Stuart Papers at Windsor Castle, demonstrated beyond cavil that he had long been engaged in a conspiracy, and a very ugly one. Unlike the Jesuits of the Gunpowder Plot, Atterbury was as deep in oaths to George I. as Bruce's ally, Lamberton, Bishop of St Andrews, was engaged to Edward I. and Edward II. Like other partisans, he was "skilled in the oath," as Homer observes of Sisyphus. Atterbury, unlike the Jesuits, was not fighting for but against his religion when he strove to bring in "a Popish Pretender." In fact his case is, prima facie, much blacker than that of Fathers Garnet and Greenway, especially as, unlike the Jesuits, he was not caput lupinum, not a kind of proscribed vermin, but protected by the popular reverence for a bishop of the Church of England. He risked less, since, far from running peril of torture, he was a man whom no Government would have dared to condemn to capital punishment.

Some readers may admit all this, but reply that Atterbury

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »