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there is a en of the billionsi
in themed pline is excluded, the rod is not felt, but gentleness and kindness rule the
day. The children remain about five hours at school, Saturdays excepted, ility , Det
when three hours in the morning are thought sufficient; the time in the As in sch forenoon is fixed from eight o'clock till eleven, and in the afternoon from vand als two to four. The children recite in divisions, the youngest and oldest bebu had the ing separated, because the instruction they receive somewhat differs in
form. To create ambition among the pupils, at the end of each month dit bens places are assigned to them, the first place being the reward for the one d from it who behaved the best, and learned his or her lessons with the greatest De soket care during that time; testimonials, also, of behavior, and progress of the
scholars, are sent monthly to their parents. To this end the teacher keeps k the is a record of the good and bad marks the pupil has deserved during the the city' month; and there is no child that will run home with more joyous alaccion was i
rity, and will present with a sunnier smile to his mother, the testimonials of his good behavior and steady application, than a member of these prima ry schools furnished with good testimonials. It is well to remark here that parents take a vital interest in the training even of their youngest
offspring, and a beneficial home influence is felt throughout all these priof their mary schools. Teachers and parents walk hand in hand, and scatter flowers of edami of love over the path of innocent childhood, impressing the tender minds
with the necessity of taking upon themselves duties to perform, and of submitting their volition to a will restraining their own. Thus the little children are early taught to obey and to look up with respectful eyes
to a superior, who watches over the flock as a watchful sheperdess, whose and we task it is not only to try and instill some principləs of knowledge into the
young minds, but also, and perhaps mainly, to occupy the children in a manner useful and appropriate for their age and sex.
When children have arrived at the age of five or six years, they become members of the schools of the communities, similar to the ward schools in this country. The city is divided into four communities or wards; each ward having a main church and school-house. The school-houses are large, and have ample accommodations for the reception of the children. From this period of life the sexes are instructed separately, the boys and girls having their own departments. The pupil remains in the ward school two or three years, certainly two, as he has to finish the course of the two classes, each course lasting one year. The course is prescribed by the council of education, which has executive power. The teachers are mostly gentlemen, yet also ladies, with the necessary qualifications, are employed, especially for the female department; the boys stand only under the control of male teachers. In these ward schools the severe training so characteristic of the Swiss and German educational system, takes its beginning. The studies pursued are those that are called here - English branches,” yet much more weight and virtue, than in this country, is laid upon history and geography. The pupils have their rank according to their behavior and their progress, and the monthly testimonial tells the correct story of the improvement made by the ward scholar during this
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period of time. These testimonials are to be endorsed by the parents or guardians, and to be brought back to the teacher, who keeps them in his care. They have a square form, and are divided into columns, as they must serve for six months, the name of the month is written at the left margin of the document, and the number of good or bad marks the pupil has deserved during that month inserted under the different headings. At the end of half a year all the marks are summed up, and the pupil who has the most marks of diligence and good behavior, will rank the first ; the four best scholars are rewarded with prizes, consisting of books. The examinations that occur each half year, are public, and rather strict, since a pupil who has not the necessary qualifications to progress into a higher section of iis class, or into a higher class, is not allowed to be promoted, but is kept in his department till he is qualified to take his seat in a more advanced section.
School hours are every day from eight till elever A.M., and from two to four P.M., except Saturdays, when the exercises are not continued in the afternoon. School is begun with a short prayer by the teacher, when all the pupils rise, and it is closed in the same way; the Bible is not read. The classes recite, generally, one full hour, rarely only thirty minutes, and after the lesson, which was given to the scholars for study at home, has been recited, the lesson for the next recitation is prepared, that is explained by the teacher; thus the task of the pupil is inade easier, and he will be able to uudertake more studies. It is not the case that all the studies the pupil parsues occur every day, they come often on alternate days, and some only twice a week; the variety of study stimulates the young minds much more than an eternal sameness, which makes it often move not unlike a machine. It is an important feature in the system of these ward schools that especially the memory is acted upon. Yet the study of mathematics, whereof algebra, even in its simplest forms, is ex. cluded, begins to sharpen the intellect, and to bring into activity the reasoning powers; mental arithmetic, therefore, is one of the main studies. Loud reading, to form and strengthen the voice, is another and peculiar feature of the instruction, and connected therewith on the first principles of vocal music. Many persons in this country are often astonished that the Swiss and Germans are musical in so high a degree; is it to be wondered at, when the radiments of that noble and civilizing art, music, are instilled into the mind at the moment of life when the rosebud is trying to unfetter itself from its leafy surroundings? Yet with mental improvement is connected corporal development, as gymnastic exercises, adapted to the tender age of the scholars, are an obligatory pursuit; only deformity and constitutional weakness serve as excuses for not participating in those youthful sports. Thus we see not weakly emaciated and pale little forms, wander to the school-house, but you might predict a healthy and vigorous race on perceiving ruddy boys and girls bending with elastio step their way to their common resort of mental training.
EDITOR JOURNAL:-In compliance with your request, I will endeavor to furnish you a few items of interest respecting the public schools of this city.
They are on the Union Graded Plan, and have been in operation two years under this system. Three grades have been established, viz.: High School, Intermediate, and Primary. Of the highest grade there is one school which has been under the charge of the writer, with one assistant, ever since its organization. There are two intermediate schools, one on either side of Rock River, and each provided with two competent teach
The napiber of primary schools is six, one of which is furnished with two teachers; the reminder with one each. In all there are fourteen teachers; some of whom are very well qualified for the posts they occupy, earnest and zealous in their work, and doing something to elevate and improve the schools under their care. All of the number are not of this superior class, but a very manifest improvement has taken place during the two last years, which is to be attributed in part to the late Superintendent, through whose efforts the salaries and qualifications have been raised, and thus the poorer teachers have been superseeded by a better class; and in part to the influence of the weekly teachers' meetings, which have been highly serviceable in promoting concert of action among the teachers, in affording them an opportunity to compare views, and discuss modes of teaching, and in stimulating them to study. Until a recent date these meetings were well attended, but for some weeks past they have been neglected by a majority of the teachers. This is owing, mainly, to the change of superintendent, which took place at the annual election in May. The former excellent superintendent, O. B. Skinner, Esq., refusing to be a candidate for re-election. O. R. Gill, Esq., was appointed. One of the first acts of this new functionary was to discourage the teacher's meetings. He professed not to see their utility (which profession undoubtedly was sincere) and recommended that they be held less frequently, mainly for the purpose of communication with him. His next movement was, in conjunction with certain members of the Board, to expel the Bible from the schools, in which, however, they failed. The Board passed a resolution prohibiting the reading of the Bible, and all forms of prayer in the pablic schools of this city; but the teachers uniformly refused to comply with such an arbitrary, unjust rule. They regarded it as an unwarrantable assumption of power on the part of the Board, and consequently as not binding. Moreover, it was carried when there was not a fall Board, without previous discussion or notice of introduction having been given, and was in opposition to the views of our patrons. At the teachers' meetings we were repeatedly menaced with expulsion for non-compliance. These men
aces, together with the fact that the meetings were discountenanced by the Superintendent, soon destroyed all the interest formerly felt in them, and caused most of the teachers to abandon them. Probably they will pot flourish under the present administration, unless the teachers, sufficiently awake to their importance to attend them, although under the ban of the Superintendent.
At present he, with his co-adjutors, are zealously laboring to effect a reduction of salaries, for the purpose of driving away those teachers, obnoxious to them, by reason of the decided stand they took with reference to the Bible question. They have partially succeeded. The salary of the Principal of the High School has been reduced to $500. The present Principal refuses to remain any longer for such an inadequate compensation. Should any of his fellow-teachers be desirons of teaching for such a pittance, they had better make application at once for the situation.
Such are some of the discouragements with which Watertown teachers have to contend at present, but this state of things can not exist long. The Board will soon discover its mistake, and the community will demand a return to a more liberal line of policy.
W. O. S.
Mr. Editor :—The people of Fitchburg in this county, interested in common schools, got up a celebration and pic-nic dinner, both of which passed off very pleasantly, at True's Grove, on Saturday, 24th inst. Notwithstanding the hurry of rural affairs at this season, some 700, old and young, were in attendance, among whom some thirteen different district schools were represented. A portion of the schools took part in the exercises, by singing, declaiming, and reading, in a manner highly creditable to themselves and their teachers.
Addresses were made by John R. Baltezell, a young lawyer of this city, Rev. Mr. Gough, of Chicago, and other gentlemen present. Miller's Cornet Band added their fine music to the other entertainments of the occasion.
Much praise is due the good people of Fitchburg, Mr. W. C. Young, their Town Superintendent, and their accomplished and faithful teachers, for the success which crowned this affair, and which is abundantly attendant upon their schools.
If there are 700 persons, more or less, elsewhere, among your readers, who wish to enjoy themselves while accomplishing a good end in a good way,
let them “Go and do likewise." MADISON, July 26th, 1858.
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Mton is written, and more said, in this progressive age, concerning the eachers ou utility of normal schools. Many regarding teaching as a profession, think ith refera special preparation for the duties of that profession as necessary as for e salary a any other. They hold that a teacher should thoroughly prepare himself 1. The i
for his occupation as well as the divine, doctor, or lawyer.
This view is the correct one; but that normal schools should be established for the purpose of affording teachers this special preparation, seems absurd. Normal schools are intended to teach the best method of conveying instruction, the correct manner of governing a school, in short, to furnish a person with that knowledge which can only be learned by practice.
It is true, divines, doctors, and lawyers, and all members of the learned W. Ci professions often take a regular college course, and after that spend two
years in schools devoted to their professions. But is it for the purpose of learning the best manner of practicing, or only to obtain a thorough knowledge of the subject matter? Certainly the latter. The students in law schools may get up moot-courts and sham suits, and the medical student may try his skill in curing the diseases of some dumb brates; but such practice is of very little benefit, and is not the great object of such schools. The principal design is to give the student a thorough knowledge of the
subject-matter of each profession, and if ever, he become a great practiinterest tioner, it will be by actual practice.
Teachers are best prepared for their profession in a similar manner. hinsThey must first become thoroughly acquainted with the subjects they are 700, olid to teach. For this purpose they may take a college course, and then give erent is a special attention to the subjects which they intend to teach, until they in the á understand them in every particular, but the best manner of teaching can
only be obtained by actual experience in the school-room. No two schools
can be managed just alike. No theory will apply to all schools. Any pracof this tical teacher may be greatly benefitted by visiting the schools of others.
He can observe the manner in which his fellow teachers convey instrucf the i tion, and if he notices any new plan, he can try it in his own school. If
the new method appears to give his pupils a clearer view of the subject than the manner formerly employed, he can adopt it. If not, he can reject
It is of great advantage for practical teachers to assemble and relate their experience and success in different modes of teaching. All will get new ideas at each meeting, and will obtain more knowledge of the theory and practice of teaching than they wonld by attending a normal school for a long time.