Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Campbell, Bishop Alonzo Potter, Horace Mann, Edward Everett, Prof. Palfrey, Prof. D. P. Page, and John A. Dix, strongly commending the establishment of special schools for teachers on general principles, and on the results of actual experience at home and abroad. The committee add: “So deeply was Mr. Cousin, the eminent French philosopher and educationist, impressed with this truth, (that good schools could not exist without qualified teachers, and that teachers could only become qualified by previous training, or actual experience)--that he declares it as his opinion that the State has done nothing for popular education, if it does not provide that those who deyote themselves to teaching be well prepared. This, in the opinion of the committee, is one of the first duties of a State with regard to schools.” “The most efficacious means of securing well qualified teachers is to be found in Seminaries, where a number of young men or women, intending to become teachers, are collected together, receive a common instruction in the subjects required for the schools in which they propose to teach, have lessons given them in the science and art of teaching, and practice the art under intelligent supervision. In this way, will the occupation of teaching be raised to the dignity of a profession. The teacher's respectability will then be secured, by the considcrable attainments exacted of him. A strong esprit de corps will be produced among masters, which cannot fail to interest them powerfully in their profession, to attach them to it, in their eyes, and to stimulate them to continued efforts at self-improvement. Thus also will a standard of examination in the theory and practice of education be furnished for all candidates who have chosen a difficult access to the profession.

In 1855, Mr. John T. Clark, Principal of the Public School of New Brunswick, read an essay before the State Teachers' Association held at Trenton, (Jan. 18 and 19,) on the “Necessity and means of advancing the interests of common school education in New Jersey," in which he advocates “the establishment of a State Normal School with a Model School attached, wherein our young men and women shall be fitted for teaching, in the same manner as persons are fitted for other vocationsby an apprenticeship, as a business for life;" and in this connection the encouragement of Teachers' Institutes.

The same general views were presented by other parties, at the County Teachers' Institutes, Educational Conventions and Associations, and in the reports of the State Superintendent. In 18534–5, Henry Barnard, of Connecticut, presented the subject of the professional training and improvement of teachers, at Institutes held in different parts of the State, and particularly in the State House at Trenton, before the State Teachers' Association, on the 18th of January, 1855, in which the experience of the principal States of Europe and of several of the United States in this direction was set forth. In that year the State Normal School was established by the appropriation of $10,000 annually for its current expenses, leaving it to the town where the school should be located, to provide suitable buildings and outfit in consideration of its local advantages.

The Normal School of New Jersey was opened in rooms temporarily provided in the city of Trenton, on the first of October, 1855, with fifteen pupils. The number was increased during the first term to forty-four. A new building, erected by private enterprise, was completed ready for use on the opening of the second term, and was occupied by the school the 17th of March, 1856. The Model School was opened at the same time in rooms prepared for it in the normal building. The prosperity and success of both schools soon made it necessary that additional room should be provided for the model department.

Through the liberality of an association of gentlemen of Trenton, a lot adjoining the Normal School was procured, and a Model School building erected and completed in 1857. This was rented to the Trustees of the Normal School for a term of years. The Trustees continued to hire the buildings occupied by the Normal and Model schools until 1865, when the Legislature passed an act authorizing their purchase.

As the effect of this act and the contract with the Normal and Model School Associations, the buildings, fixtures, library, apparatus and grounds of both schools, became the property of the State. The lot includes over four acres of ground, and with the buildings and fixtures, is valued at $120,000.

The difficulty of obtaining board for the students at reasonable rates, led to the purchase and fitting up of a building which wouid accommodate the female pupils and teachers who had not homes in the city. By means of this arrangement a considerable reduction was made in the cost of board to the students, and they were brought together near the school under the eye of the teachers. The cost of the boarding houses, which are the property of the State, was $30,000.

Besides the Normal and Model departments at Trenton, there is an auxiliary school at Beverly, known as the Farnum Preparatory School. This was founded in 1856, by the munificence of Paul Farnum, Esq., of Beverly, who gave the house and grounds, valued at $50,000, and $20,000 additional in cash, on condition that the school should receive from the State a small subsidiary grant. The Principal of the Normal School is ex-officio Principal of the Farnum Preparatory School. The total amount of property in grounds and buildings used by the Normal School and its auxiliaries, belonging to the State, is $200,000. If to this is added the $20,000 in bonds, the gift of Mr. Farnum, the income of which is for the support of the school, the total is $220,000.

The school is under the direction of a Board of Trustees, appointed by the Governor by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. There are two Trustees for each Congressional District, so that all parts of the State and both political parties are equally represented. This intention has been faithfully observed in the appointment of Trustees, there being five from each political party.

The Trustees appoint the teachers, have a general oversight of the school, and make an annual report to the Legislature.

Mr. Wm. F. Phelps, who had been for some years connected with the State Normal School of New York, was appointed the first Principal of the Normal School of New Jersey, and continued in charge from its organization until 1864, when he resigned to take charge of the Normal School in Winona, Minnesota.

John S. Hart, LL. D., who had for eighteen months been Principal of the Model School, was unanimously chosen his successor.

CONDITIONS OF ADMISSION.

The general conditions of admission and the regulations for the students, are:

Applicants must be at least sixteen years of age, and of unquestionable moral character. They must be in sound bodily health, and able to sustain a good examination in Spelling, Reading, Arithmetic, Geography and Grammar. They must declare their intention to teach in the public schools of this State for at least two years.

The candidate must present a certificate to the following effect from the Superintendent, the School Committee, or the Board of Education, of his township or city: This is to certify that of the township (or city) of

county of - , New Jersey, aged years, desires to obtain admission as a pupil in the State Normal School, and has given to me a declaration of intention to engage in the employment of a common school teacher in this State, for at least two years, and being satisfied that is of good health, and proper moral qualifications, I do recommend - as a person suitable by age, character, talents, and attainments, to be received as a pupil of the Normal School.

By the terms of the act establishing the State Normal School, "each county is entitled to fill three times as many seats in the school as it has representatives in the Legislature.” In case any county is not fully represented, additional candidates may be admitted from other counties, on sustaining the requisite examination, and producing a proper certificate as above.

The candidates, on their admission, are required to sign the following Declaration and Agreement, which document is a permanent record with the Institution :

“The undersigned, having received certificates of admission as pupils in the New Jersey State Normal School, hereby declare that it is their intention to engage in the employment of teachers in the common schools of this State, for at least two years, and that their object in resorting to this school is the better to qualify themselves for that responsible duty. The undersigned also hereby agree to report themselves semi-annually, in writing, for the aforesaid period of two years, to the Principal of the State Normal Scbool, in case they enjoy its privileges for one term or more.”

Candidates are examined by the Faculty inmediately on the presentation of the certificate before mentioned. This examination is confined to the topics named above, namely, Spelling, Reading, Arithmetic, Geography, and Grammar. Those wishing to be admitted to an advanced class, are likewise examined upon all the studies which have been attended to by the class to which they wish to be admitted.

COURSE OF STUDY.

The school is divided for recitations into four classes, all of which have Composition, Elocution, Drawing, Penmanship, and Vocal Music. The other studies of the D. class, are Geography, Arithmetic, Grammar, and History of the United States.—Of the C. class, Geography, Intellectual Arithmetic, Grammar, Constitution of the United States, Botany, and General History.—Of the B. class, Algebra, Physiology, Natural Philosophy, Rhetoric, and English Literature.—Of the A. class, Geometry, Trigonometry, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Geology, Mental Philosopby, English Literature, American Literature, and Theory and Practice of Teaching

Much attention is given in all the exercises to the cultivation of the power of expression. This is made a prominent object, not only by lectures and lessons upon this point, but by constant attention in every exercise. The student is taught to select the best language to give expression to his ideas, and to illustrate whenever necessary or practicable, by the use of the black-board and crayon.

The teacher of a class, after hearing part of a lesson, often calls upon a pupil without any previous notice, to take up a portion of the subject and examine his classmates upon it, neither he nor they having any book to refer to. Another practice which has been found quite successful, is that of frequent reviews. One lesson in the week in each branch, or every fifth recitation, is devoted to a review of the four preceding lessons, and on this review day, each pupil is subjected to a test so that his proficiency and power of expression may be ascertained and marked. The teacher never stops in the midst of a lesson to mark a pupil, but at its close marks those who have left upon his mind a distinct impression of their proficiency, or the reverse. By these various means, the daily recitations are made to contribute powerfully towards begetting in the pupils a habit of readiness and self-reliance, and a facility for verbal expression,

PRACTICE TEACHING.

Practice in teaching is secured in two ways—first, by members of the Normal School taking classes in the Model School, and giving instruction in assigned subjects, to these classes, under the general supervision of one of the teachers of this department; and second, by having practice teaching in the Normal School itself, one of the students taking a class in this school on certain designated days, and in subjects assigned by the Principal of the school.

To secure the best results in the employment of the latter method, the Principal, once a week, makes out a programme of exercises, with the names of those who are to teach during the following week, and the classes and lessons for each. This enables the pupil teachers to prepare themselves fully for the exercise. It is an indispensable condition in all these exercises that the lesson be given without the use of the book. When the pupil enters the room to teach an assigned lesson, he brings with him only a crayon and a pointer; he takes the entire charge of the class, maintaining order, questions the members of the class, corrects mistakes, illustrates the subject if necessary by diagrams or experiments, and in all respects acts as if he was the regular teacher.

During the exercise, the regular teacher sits by, observing in silence, ard at the close of the day enters in a book prepared for that purpose, a full and detailed criticism of the work of the pupil teacher, giving an average mark for the same, the maximum being 100. These criticisms, together with the teaching average, are read to pupil the next day by the Principal, in the presence of the class, and additional comments are made on any methods or principles of teaching involved in the criticisms.

The following notes on this method of practice teaching, are from the report of the Principal for 1868, and serve to give a good idea of the work:

NOTES ON PRACTICE TEACHING.

Miss gave the C class a lesson in Elocution. She was animated and energetic in giving the vocal exercises, but she pitched her voice too high. The same shrill tone characterized the Concert reading. Many of the criticisms given by pupils were not loud enough to be heard by the whole class. One of the ladies, in giving a sketch of Shakspeare, said, “his principal work was Much Ado About Nothing, Merchant of Venice, &c. ;” but the error passed unnoticed by pupils and teacher. Miss herself said “Hamlet thought it wasn't him." She marked the pupils too high-the worst readers in the class receiving 8 and 9. Teaching average, 85.

E. Miss gave the D class a lesson in History. She was well prepared with the history lesson; but she allowed the pupils too long a time to think and guess. A Chronology lesson is dry and uninteresting; and unless the teacher calls upon the pupils in rapid succession, thus keeping them wide awake, the interest will tlag, and even good pupils will be inattentive. Miss marked the pupils very judiciously. Teaching average, 90.

E. Miss gave the D class a lesson in Arithmetic. She assisted the pupils too much. She did not require them to be accurate enough in answering questions; otherwise she taught very well, the subject being rather a difficult one. Miss marked the pupils judiciously. Teaching average, 85.

M. Miss gave the C class a lesson on the Constitution. She was quick in conducting the recitation. The entire period was spent in repeating mere words of the book; but once or twice the lady asked for the explanation of clauses, and then the answers given were neither full nor satisfactory, yet the lady ventured no comment of her own. Many practical questions might have been given by the teacher respecting the executive departments, ambassadors, consuls, treaties, and impeachments. The lesson contained many subjects of interest sufficient to occupy more than the allotted time. Teachers should call more frequently for definitions, and always take it for granted that their pupils are ignorant of the meaning of even the simplest words. I venture to assert that more than one-third of the class left the room without knowing the difference between a reprieve and a pardon. Teaching average, 80.

E. Miss gave the D class a lesson in Grammar. She has improved since teaching for me before, but she still lacks energy and decision. She gave the pupil who was reciting all her attention; thus allowing an opportunity to some, (who took advantage of it,) to assume lounging positions in which to wait lazily for their turn to recite. Some remained wide awake, and embarrassed Miss

by speaking at any time, even interrupting her in the middle of a sentence to ask questions. Teaching average, 87.

Miss gave the D class a lesson in Elocution. She cannot become a successful teacher until she studies the pronunciation of words. Not only did she permit mistakes made by the pupils to pass unnoticed, but she mispronounced many words herself; as, hos-pit'-a-ble, for hos'-pit-a-ble, in'-tense for in-tense', etc.—the errors consisted chiefly in changing the accented syllable. In the word machination, however, though the accent was correctly marked, she taught the class to call it “mash-in-a-tion." There can be no possible excuse

[ocr errors]

H.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »