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of them. Since the State has assumed the instruction of the children at four years of age in our public schools, is it not under obligations to establish speed. ily better methods for instructing and training these children? In the work of improving our rural and ungraded schools, what action should the State now take? Should a course of study for these schools be presented in mere outline, or in full details, and then left to the voluntary action of the teachers and school officers; or should it be enforced by legisiative enactment? All the past educational movements of the State have discouraged the formation and continu. ance of private Academies; now, in what basis, as substantial and permanent, can the High School system be placed, so as to furnish the necessary secondary instruction? How can the evil, overshadowing almost all others, of the frequent changes of teachers in our elementary and graded schools, and of super. vising officers in all departments of the State, be gradually but effectually abated ? What general regulations can be enforced to prevent so large a number of inexperienced and incompetent teachers from being employed in our schools ?
The Convention of the Superintendents in the Holidays, was attended by thirty-two of their number — twenty-five from the counties and seven from the cities. Two afternoons were filled with the reading of unusually well written papers, and with animated discussions. In the latter, there were more pointed and careful statements than are generally heard. Three of the four lady county superintendents in the State were in attendance, and took prominint part in the exercises. We have never seen more earnestness and kindly spirit manifested by any other educational workers among us, than were seen in the members of this convention. The minutes published in this number, furnish an idea what :subjects attracted the most attention, and what views on them were expressed.
IN THE April number of the JOURNAL OF EDUCATION, we noticed the Historical Atlas of Wisconsin, which had then just been issued. We alluded in words of high praise to the work. We have since used it largely in our office, and find it exceedingly valuable as a book of reference. It should be placed in all prom. inent schools? We understand that only about one hundred copies are left unsold in the hands of the publishers. As an enterprise, it involved the loss of nearly $20,000, so great was the cost of the labor and materials required to make it as complete and accurate as we find it. The senior member of the firm which pub. lished the book, Mr. Snyder, of Milwaukee, labored so ardently in preparing it, that he literally lost his life in the work. Mr. Van Vechten, of the same city, another member of the firm, is now closing up the business and disposing of the remaining copies.
ONE of the members of the Association well said that Miss Swarts' admirable paper on geography" was a revelation.” The “possibilities” of the study, as set forth by her, are simply unbounded. It is true that not all schools can have teachers like the writer of this paper; but all schools ought to have teachers who can do a great deal more with this branch than hear meager lessons, well or ill
memorized as the child's capacity may happen to be, from a dry book. Geography, as a “ description of the earth,” is a platform upon which all natural science may be brought; a frame work upon which all the knowledge of teach. ers and pupils may be brought to view. It only needs the trained, intelligent, thoughtful, quick-witted teacher, to arouse all the enthusiasm of eager-minded youth by it; it only needs, in addition, proper method and proportion, such as should be set forth in the Normal Schools, and could be embodied in a suitable manual, to put all children in the way, not only of learning much of the world we live in, of its natural features, its products, its peoples, its life and activity, but of looking with observant eyes and thinking minds, in all after life, upon the world in its various phases, and in many instances becoming, in some chosen direction, as taste and aptitude might prompt, students and investigators. The average sm Αι rican, of the “ Yankee" persuasion especially, is anxious to invent some labor saving machine; but there is a broader and nobler field for mind to traverse, and it is about time that American mind was turned in that direction. Miss Swart's paper is a credit, not only to herself, but to the Oshkosh Normal School and to the teaching force of the State.
AND Prof. Kerr's paper is in just the right direction to counteract the tenden. cies that are in the way of living, intelligent, fruitful teaching. “Ruts" made by the constant, monotonous movement of hoof and wheel in the same paths, and in the same line. Once made, it is difficult to keep out of them. Ruts in education should not be allowed. There should be intelligent purpose, but not mecanical monotony, procustean uniformity, servile imitation. One of the chief dangers to which educational work is exposed, in its present transitional stage, is that of being stifled by mechanism. The mind of a child can easily be dwarfed, deadened and made repugnant to books and all they mean, by this kind of teaching, and teachers can be converted into machines by insisting that they shall use only such and such books, speak by fixed formulas, follow slav. ishly, whatever the peculiarities of the school, a prescribed course of study and method of teaching. A certain degree of sameness is a necessary evil, in all our school work; that is, in all educational work which comprehends several minds in its purposes and processes; but as each child is a living organism, a complex of powers and capacities just like no other one, that idea of education is soundest, that process of education is best, which most fully recognizes, respects, and develops that individuality. God made the child and each child as it pleased Him. Let not man wantonly mar his work.
Mr. Desmond's article on “ Ancient Irish Literature,” is not only meritorious in itself, but a good sign for the University. It is pleasing to see college students going beyond the daily round of study and recitation in the prescribed course, and cultivating literature and science on their own account. Prof. Anderson has partly promised us something on the Ogham Inscriptions, which he thinks have, in some cases, been deciphered. If so, if the key has been found, then like the famous “ cipher dispatches,” they must still further yield up their meaning.
We should note, by the way, that the “University Press,” which is now on its tenth year, is a constant and creditable evidence of the literary activity of University students. We are indebted to it for a series of extracts from Mr. Butterfield's very interesting and readable “Sketches of the University.”
The extract from Prof. Johonot's book is one that may be read with profit by parents and school officers, as well as by teachers. We shall follow it with another extract or two. Each school district would be benefited by owning this book, i. e. if it was widely read and carefully pondered.
We have seldom seen the nail hit more squarely on the head than by the writer in the Canada School Journal on “Mistakes in Teaching." He evidently has observed the tendencies to these mistakes to good purpose.
THE UNIVERSITY AGAIN IN MOURNING! Scarcely had the grave closed over the lamented Dr. CARPENTER, when it was announced that Death had suddenly claimed another victim — that Prof. NICODEMUS had followed his friend and brother to the unseen land. Thus in less than one short year, have three of the most beloved and useful of the teaching force of our State Uuiversity been taken away -FEULING — CARPENTER NICODEMUS!
WM. J. L. NICODEMUS was born in Virginia (near Hagerstown), August, 1, 1834. At the age of twenty, he entered as a cadet in the Military Academy, at West Point, and graduated four years later, in 1854. He was in the Utah Expedition, saw service in the New Mexican forts and in the Navajo Expedition, and on the breaking out of the Rebellion, he was promoted to a First Lieutenancy, and remained in service in New Mexico; was in the battle of Valverde, and was brevetted Major for gallant conduct, and subsequently made Colonel of the 4th Maryland Volunteers. He was afterwards in charge of the Signal Corps of the Army of the Potomac till the close of the Rebellion; he was detailed from the army in 1869, with the rank of Captain, for service in the Western University, at Pittsburg, and elected to the chair of Military Science and Civil and Mechani. cal Engineering in our University, in 1870.
His death was caused, immediately, we learn, from an overdose of laudanum, taken for insomnia, a trouble to which he had been subjected for some months, and resulting, we suppose, from an overworked brain. In this connec
ion, the recommendation of the President of the University, in his recent Annual Report, of an increase in the instructional force, is most timely. The professors have, we suspect, all been overworked, and dearly has the penalty been paid.
We have not space, this month, to speak at length of Prof. NICODEMUS' ability and usefulness as a teacher; but he will long be remembered by the students who have enjoyed the benefit of his instructions; and by all who knew him, as a most valuable citizen - a most genial man. His funeral was attended on the 8th inst., from his residence and from St. Raphael's (R. C.) Church, in this city, by a large sympathizing.concourse of students and citizens.
[DR. CARPENTER was a steady contributor to the JOURNAL. We think he made it a point of conscience to do something in this way to aid in sustaining the publication. Well would it be for the JOURNAL, and for its readers, if the number of such contributors was larger. A series of articles entitled “Rambles in the World of Words,” that has appeared on our pages during the past year, is one of the evidences of his varied and versatile scholarship.
His last contribution, which was in type awaiting his revision when the news came that he had gone from us to return no more, we give below. He has mean. wbile solved a problem of more serious import - one that we all shall soon be called to meet.]
Among the questions in Algebra submitted by the last Board of Examiners for state certificates was the following: Granted that x" — 1 is divisible by x-1, prove that any number, less the sum of its digits, is divisible by 9. I have been requested to give a general demonstration of this question, and as I have never met with such a demonstration, I herewith give one: Any number may be expressed thus:
ax" + bxn-1 + cxn—2,
....mx + p. These terms may be also given thus:
ax"=a (x*— 1)+ a.
mx +p=m (C-1) +m+p. Adding, ax + 6.20-1 + cxn—%..mx +p=a(2n — 1)+a+b (x2—1—1)+b+c (an—-1)+c+m (2-1)
+m (C-1). The right-hand member is divisible by x-1; hence the left-hand member must also be; but the left-hand member represents the number less the sum of the digits. On the ordinary scale, x=10.
S. H. C.
Co-EDUCATION.- The Christian Union holds forth as follows upon this subject; facts are certainly better than theories:
The best argument for any idea is its successful incarnation; one of the best arguments in the best country for co-education of the sexes is Michigan University, which combines in a fair measure the conservative thoroughness of the East with the radical progressiveness of the West. For the present school year, which opened two months ago, there are in all departments 128 young women. Of these seventy.two are in literature; forty-one in allopathic medicine; twelve in homeopathy; two in law, and one in dentistry. Yet is only three years since Michigan numbered the first young woman among her 500 annual university graduates. And as to scholarship and health, there seems to be no distinction of " sex in education."
RODERICK HUME. The Story of a New York Teacher. By G. W. Bardeen,
Editor of the (N. Y.) School Bulletin. Syracuse, N. Y.: Davis, Bardeen & Co.
This capital story appeared serially in the Bulletin. That it goes to the mark, is evident from the fact that many a teacher in that State imagined that he or she was the prototype of this or that character introduced. It is a genre paint. ing, as the experienced denizens of the school world will readily see, when they look upon it. To the overworked and harrassed teacher, we say, get the book, read it, laugh and be comforted. STEIGER'S EDUCATIONAL DIRECTORY. For 1878. New York. E. Steiger. 320pp.
8vo. In cloth, $1.50; in limp cloth, $1.00.
This is a supplement or continuation of the Year Book for 1878, issued by the same enterprising publisher, and noticed by us in our August number. It con. tains a large, and we judge, tolerably complete list of Educational Institutions of the United States, British Dominions Germany, and Austria, and has a very full catalogue of publications on Education and General Philology, and of books and other articles of interest to educators generally; also, a subject-index to books, etc., and some special notices of private educational institutions. An appendix brings much of the information down to a recent date. This book is very valuable in its peculiar line. ELEMENTS OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY. By E. M. Avery, Ph. M., Prin. of E. High
School, Cleveland, O. New York: Sheldon & Co. 456 pp. 12mo.
This is a fresh manual, prepared by a practical teacher, and strikes us with much favor. It covers just about the ground that can be gone over profitably in a good high school, and with a happy power of selection, brings out what is im. portant and interesting, and omits what would but encumber. Numerous problems are introduced, from which selections may be made at pleasure. DAVIES AND PECK'S COMPLETE ARITHMETIC. New York, Chicago, and New
Orleans: A. S. Barnes & Co.
This book is the work of Prof. Peck, but based on the methods of Prof. Davies, with whom he was so long associated. It is an excellent manual, and with the Elementary, admirably covers the whole ground for common school purposes.
THE DOMESTIC MONTHLY for January is a capital number. Besides its fashion articles, which we don't pretend to understand, but which the ladies highly approve, this magazine contains a tempting repast in its literary department, and a large amount of valuable information in household matters. It is pub. lished by Blake & Co., 849 Broadway, New York, at $1.50 per year, inclusive of pattern premiums. Specimen copies, 15 cents. Now is the time to subscribe.
OUR subscribers will do well to read carefully the new advertisements of Harper Brothers, and of Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor & Co., in this number. Houseslike these are quietly supplying the demand for “cheapened” text-books, and what is more to the purpose, good ones.