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“Where is Turkey ?” asks the examiner.
“Tureen is the cappital of Chiner; the peepul there lives on burds nests and has long tails.”
Gibberralter is the principle town in Rooshia.” “What do you know of the patriarch Abraham ?”
“He was the father of Lot and ad tew wives-wun was called Hishmale and t’uther Haygur. He kept wun at home and he turned the t'other into the desert, where she became a pillow of salt in the daytime and a pillow of fire at nite.”
“What do you know of Joseph ?”
“He wore a coat of many garments. He were chief butler to Faro, and told his dreams. He married Pottifier's dorter, and he led the Gypshans out of bondage to Kana in Gallilee, and then fell on his sword and died, in the site of the promiss land.”
" Give the names of the books of the Old Testament?'
“Devonshire, Exeter, Littikus, Numbers, Stronomy, Jupiter, Judges, Ruth, etc.”
" Who was Moses ?”
“He was an Egy pshion. He lived in a bark maid of bullrushers, and he kep a guiden carf, and worshipt braizen snakes, and he het nuthin but kwales and manner for forty years. H was kort by the air of his ed while riding under the bow of a tree, and he was killed by his son Abslon, as he was a-hanging from the bow. His end was pease.”
“What is a miracle?” “ Don't know.”
“If you saw the sun shining overhead at midnight, what would you call it?”
" The moon.”
A remark lately made by my little grandchild four years old, further illustrates the imperfection of knowledge gained through the ear alone. She had been singing a stanza of a negro melody running,
“ They have stole my love away,
and her aunt remarked, “ That was very cruel of them Elsie, was it not ?"
Now the little one had never before had her attention directed to the word toil; but she knew what toilet was—and what oil was—a word somewhat resembling toil. So, putting her positive knowledge forward to supply the defects of her ignorance, she answered :
“Why no, aunty Fanny; for when she has put the oil on her hair and finished her toilet it will be all right,”
But in spite of these facts, these admitted defects of oral instruction, I plead for its retention in elementary schools. I plead for the exercises technically termed "oral work.” Too much must not be expected of it; grind”
especially that must not be expected of it which it is confessedly unable to perform. But a just expectation will find it productive of admirable results. In fact it is mainly through oral communications or the ordinary one-sight reading which is practically identical with them, that the great majority of men obtain their vocabularies and the chief part of their available knowledge. The separate products of what we teach orally in our schools may not bear a rigid examination; but in their aggregate, they rightly inform and furnish the mind.
I come now to the summing-up of these reflections. A change in the studies of elementary schools is imperative; but it should be effected through the modification rather than the curtailment of the course as it now exists. I should deplore a return to the old system of “ anything approaching it. For what is actually the trustworthy report from our schools ? What is their condition as measured by genuine tests? What better test can be had than the evidence of the mental capacity of the American masses as displayed in the late Paris Exposition ? While the exhibit from America in that great display was comparatively small, it was large enough to achieve the triumphs of acknowledged supremacy in most of the leading departments of practical art. Even of products that demand the utmost cunning of a master-band, --whose perfection displays the dreams of the subtlest fancy wrought into visible shape with exquisite taste and consummate skill; a perfection which has been for centuries the exclusive boast of Parisian craftsmen-America divided the honors with France itself. How has this marvel come about? Whence this inexhaustible stock of resources, this fertility of invention, this nicety of taste, this mastery in manipulation; and that, not in one direction alone but in every direction in which the American mind has chosen to signalize itself? Whence but from the diffused intelligence of the American masses obtained in the public schools ?
In the main then, our children are taught in the wisest way; our system is radically excellent; it needs only to be pruned and toned down. Let our teachers continue to be free; let them continue to pour out from their storehouses of knowledge—but let them learn, meanwhile, that silence, at times, is better than speech. Let the studies be arranged in such order as not to alternate too frequently, harrassing the minds of the scholars by forcing sudden changes in their trains of thought. Let the old standard subjects of arithmetic, geography, and grammar be brought within reasonable proportions; and let the “oral work” be prosecuted under wise limitations and with a clear understanding of its legitimate advantages. Then I firmly believe that all carping criticism will be prevented and our schools move on in the glory of unexampled success.
The Hon. J: D. PHILBRICK read a paper on
EDUCATION AT HOME AND ABROAD. [This paper Mr. PAILBRICK declined to furnish for publication.-Secretary.] The Hon. J. P. WICKERSHAM who had been appointed to open the discussion of this paper declined to do so on account of the lateness of the hour, On motion, Mr. WICKERSHAM was urged to proceed with the discussion. Before the motion was adopted Mr. WICKERSHAM had left the room. Dr. E: BROOKS of Pennsylvania said the time was too short for a proper discussion of the paper and that it was unjust to ask Mr. WICKERSHAM to proceed under existing circumstances. He also alluded to the fact that once before, at the Boston meeting in 1872, Mr. WICKERSHAM had been appointed to open a discussion [on Compulsory Education] but the length of the Hon. Newton BATEMAN's paper had prevented him from doing so.
On motion of E. E. White, of Indiana, Mr. WICKERSHAM was allowed a half hour at the opening of the session on Thursday morning to discuss Mr. PHILBRICK's paper.
On motion, the Association adjourned till 8 P. M.
The Association was called to order at 8 P. M.
W: F. Phelps from the Committee on Nomination of Officers reported the following officers for the next year:
For President.-J. ORMOND Wilson, of D. C.
For Vice-Presidents.--Norman A. Calkins, of N. Y.; David N. CAMP, of Ct.; Edwin C. HEWETT, of Ill.; GEORGE W. FETTER, of Pa.; GRACE C. BIBB, of Mo.; HENRY F. HARRINGTON, of Mass.; JAMES M. GARNETT, of Md.; W. COLEG ROVE, of W. Va.; J. C. GILCHRIST, of Iowa.
For Secretary.-W: D. HENKLE, of Ohio.
For Counsellors at Large.—John Eaton, of D. C.; John HANCOCK, of Ohio.
For Counsellors.—John D. PHILBRICK, of ass.; Mrs. M. A. STONE, of Ct.; A. M, GAMMELL, of R. I. ; EDWARD DANFORTH, of N. Y.; W. N. BARRINGER, of N. J.; J. P. WICKERSHAM, of Pa.; D. W. HARLAN, of Del.; HENRY E. SHEPHERD, of Md.; J. H. Peay, of Va.; T. M. MARSHALL, of W. V.; GUSTAVUS J. ORR, of Ga.; W. P. HAISLEY, of Fla.; W. H. BARTHOLOMEW, of Ky. ; HELEN HOADLEY, of Tenn. ; REBECCA D. RICKOFF, of OH10; E. E. WHITE, of Ind. ; S. H. White, of Ill. ; Lewis McLouth, of Mich. ; John P. BIRD, of Wis.; W: F. Phelps, of Minn.; J. L. PICKARD, of Iowa; W: T. HARRIS; of Mo.; ALEXANDER Horg, of Texas; ZALMON RICHARDS, of D. C.; A. B. CORLiss, of Vt.
The report was adopted.
Resolved, That the Committee on Publication be and they hereby are instructed to place a copy in pamphlet form of so much of Dr. John D. PhilBRICK's paper, read before this body, as refers to the Bureau of Education on the desk of each Senator and Representative in the Congress of the United States at the next session thereof.
The Rev. A. D. Mayo, of Springfield, Mass., read the following address entitled
THE NEW TEACHER IN NEW AMERICA. Going to my office one Monday morning, some twelve years ago, in Cincinnati, Ohio, I found the stranger's chair occupied by a representative man. A small and rather ague-smitten, youngish gentleman, in dilapidated coat and trowsers, legs almost buried in a huge pair of Virginia cavalry boots, and head covered by a “shocking bad hat;” with a visible crack across the right eye of his spectacles, he was evidently more unfortunate left by the ebb tide of civil war in that world's receptacle of “odd fish;”—the Great West. His story was soon told in faultless English, and with a depth of earnestness which went to the heart.
He was a scion of a highly-respectable family” in that Paradise of respectability, an old city of Massachusetts. At the call to arms he had left the very “select school” in which he polished a limited number of youthful respectabilities, and marched, in full force, upon the spunky little nation of South Carolina. His chief conquest in that turbulent realm had been a confiding widow, of middle age, who, at the close of the war, entrusted her small patrimony to him as an investment in the saw-mill business, in Western Virginia. Like the prophet of old, our adventurous friend narrowly escaped being sawn asunder" in his own mill; and was only saved from a grave in the wilderness by another “gentleman from Boston,” who bought him out at a frightful discount;the two gay deceivers leaving the South-Carolina widow in the lurch.
He appeared in my study in a penniless state, offering to be the travelling tutor of a gentleman's son desirous of making the European tour. An hour's probing revealed the fact that he was one of those small, tinted tapers of knowledge that gracefully adorn the ornamental candlestick of a very limited "select school for young gentlemen,” in an old eastern city. We advised him to turn his steps eastward, and reinstate himself in his old position. “That I have thought of, seriously,”-said he, with charming naiveté, —" but, it seems to me, every man of culture, whose circumstances permit, owes it to his country to be a missionary of the higher civilization to the Great West.” We assured him that the Queen city of the Ohio Valley was not yet far enough along to appreciate the spirit of self-sacrifice that prompted him in this forlorn hope. Nevertheless, by the kindness of a rich city cousin in the whiskey business, he was put into a nice suit of clothes, with a pair of whole spectacles, and ticketed through to Chicago.
My memory goes back to the day when this type of schoolmaster was a good deal in vogue in eastern cities, and occasionally sent forth as an agency of civilization and culture “out West” and “ down South.” This sort of schoolmaster was, indeed, often a schoolmistress, whose method of instruction was eminently "polite"; looking to the rescue of a select class of educated young women from the common herd, rather than lifting the people into higher realms of spiritual freedom, knowledge, and power. A generation ago, the man who ventured to address a national audience on “The New Teacher in New America” would naturally have understood by that teacher a cultivated man or woman, educated in some famous college or seminary East of the Alleghanies and North of Richmond, who was contemplating a venture as the tutor or governess in a respectable family in the South, or a professor or "preceptress” in a boy's college or female academy in that far-off land of big trees and malaria, whence we welcome to-day, the representatives of some of the best schooling in America, and the honored President of our National Convention of Teachers. And these people, themselves, would have been rather mild specimens of the British methods of instruction, half a century ago, than American teachers in any original sense of the word. Yet, even then, the dawning inspiration of a new life was in our national schools, and many a young man and woman who went out on this mission of culture, became, in due time, a power in a new State, or a pillar of beauty in a New American Home.
But all this is changed, and he who addresses you to-night, on the New Teacher in New America must put away all provincial ideas and try to comprehend the full circle of the mighty field to be tilled before he can draw the portrait of the national husbandman of souls whom the people will recognize as their leader to the New American Kingdom of Heaven. The one fact that is yet hidden from great masses of our population, indeed has hardly risen on the horizon of the average American statesman; is that the old American Republic no longer exists. Like Saul of old, who went out to seek his father's asses and found a kingdom; the old South, in 1860, went forth in quest of a “Southern Confederacy,” but finds itself, to-day, the heir of a new Republic. Under the pressure that tremendous conflict these states of ours were forced to live through a century in 20 years, and to come out one of the foremost powers in the world. The one radical result of the great war was the destruction of provincialism in the American Union. Old Boston and old New-England, no less than old Charleston and old Virginia, alike “went up” during those years of destruction; and when the sulphurous cloud lifted we saw a new heaven and a new earth. A new America from the woods of the Aroostook to the sands of the gulf of California. All the might of men is impotent to carry back the valley of the Connecticut or the valley of the Rio Grande to its old estate.
Standing here to-day, as teachers and friends of the children and youth of this new world, let us proclaim this fact in the face of all comers, and, whatever others may do or forbear to do, let us steadily fix our eyes on the new Education that is the same all round the national domain ; and the new Teacher who can be alike the master of souls and the captain of the New Civilization in the log school-house of the freedman in Georgia, or in the President's chair of the oldest University of the land. For the birthday of the New America was the birthday of the real sovereignty. of the American people. All little expedients for outwitting the masses of the people and governing the new Republic by cliques of gentlemen, scholars, priests, or politicians are now only like animated chips striving to direct the tide on which they are whirling out to sea. We shall live or die, as a nation, as the voting and acting majority of the people can be persuaded to follow the load-star of truth and love in public policy and