Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

er who skilfully plays upon the whole range of children's higher motives, and so produces harmonies of action which the inefficient teacher harping unskilfully upon one or two of the lower motives can never evoke.

The popularity of a teacher is often held to be a measure of his efficiency, especially by those who can form only inexpert judgments. Popularity is such a dominant factor in politics that the force of it is apt to be felt in the educational field. And it may be admitted that a teacher popular with his pupils is usually so because he is possessed of amiable characteristics, and that such a teacher can do more and better with his pupils than can an unpopular teacher.

But popularity as a measure of efficiency should be used with careful discrimination. There is a superficial popularity of the kind sometimes tested by voting contests carried on by the newspapers. And there is an unwholesome popularity which is sometimes obtained by weak concessions to the whims of pupils, or by compliance with their desire to escape work, or by some form of coddling. Such a popularity does not argue efficiency.

Perhaps the most commonly used measure of a teacher's efficiency is the result obtained by examination of the teacher's pupils.

In the first place the teacher himself may be the examiner. By being the examiner, he can learn something of the merits and defects of his own methods of teaching, that is, can measure his own efficiency. All good teachers turn examiners from time to time in order to test their own work and incidentally to discover defects in their teaching. These they will remedy without, necessarily, disclosing them to another per

son. Next, the principal of the school may be the examiner. His purpose may not be to test the efficiency of each individual teacher so much as to determine the fitness of the several classes for promotion or to regulate the course of work in each teacher's room according to the plan prescribed in the course of study.

Going a long step further away from the teacher, we find the examiner to be the Superintendent of Schools. His examinations should be and are usually of the regulative kind, although the results of them may be used in the promotion of pupils. But they do not determine the relative efficiency of the teachers. Gross inefficiency is discovered in this way, but not the slightly differing grades of efficiency.

Still further away from the teacher are examinations held outside the school system altogether. Such, for example, are the examinations for admission to college.

It is not unusual to find teachers of preparatory schools counting the number of passes and of failures among their pupils in the college examinations for the purpose of estimating their own teaching power. This is a perfectly natural and right thing to do under the circumstances; but it is a mistake to make success of pupils in passing college entrance examinations the sole criterion of the teacher's efficiency. A far better criterion is found in the success with which these same pupils pursue their college studies after admission.

Time fails us for a full notice of many interesting characteristics which make for a teacher's efficiency. We must pass over such matters, as his scholarship, his joy in learning and equal joy in teaching, his knowledge of the principles and methods of education, his moral earnestness, his justice, his clemency, his firmness clothed in gentleness, his courtesy, his sympathy with the young and familiarity with their thoughts and ways, and last but not least his physical health. All these are inviting topics, but the final word shall be reserved for the crowning one of all, the distinguishing characteristic of all great teachers, the power of inspiration. This power of inspiration is the highest power; it transfuses and vitalizes all other powers; it kindles in pupils intellectual enthusiasm, moral enthusiasm, or both; it leads pupils to lay part hold on the higher purposes of education, and so it is the power whereby the teacher makes permanent impression on his pupils' characters.

It is power of inspiration that has made Thomas Arnold of Rugby remembered, and Louis Agassiz of Cambridge, and Mark Hopkins of Williams College, and Francis Wayland of Brown University. Your memories will extend the list.

It is this power of inspiration that has distinguished in greater or less degree all good teachers. In looking back over the course of our lives we all can remember some teacher who first awakened our interest in some department of knowledge or set our heart upon some worthy purpose, and so influenced the subsequent course of our lives. This is our conscious recognition of our teacher's power of inspiration. What this same power may have wrought in us unconsciously to ourselves we cannot directly know. That this effect may have been great we are prepared to admit by what we observe in others. Do we not sometimes recognize the past pupils of a great teacher by a certain stamp they wear in mind or character which came from him?

All teachers should desire to possess the power of inspiration and to possess it abundantly. For by this power, chiefly, is measured their efficiency; and by this power is determined the ultimate value of their work. All good teachers possess this power in greater or less degree. It is this that makes them good teachers. All good teachers seek to increase this power by keeping their minds ever open to the sources of inspiration. All good teachers know that work without inspiration is drudgery, profitless alike to teacher and pupil. Loss of inspiration means failure in the higher purposes of education.

If there were to be revealed to the oncoming host of young teachers in the land, as there was revealed to the Roman army under the first Christian emperor, a sign from heaven by which to conquer-hoc signo vinces—we might well expect that the sign would be this one word—inspiration.

ECONOMY IN EDUCATION.

WM. J. TUCKER, PRESIDENT OF DARTMOUTH COLLEGE,

HANOVER, N. H.

Contrary to the popular impression the immediate concern to-day in all enterprise and invention, certainly in all productive agencies, is economy in the use of power.

This is the ostensible reason for the vast concentration of capital which has been going on for the past decade. It explains equally the present tendencies in invention. Nearly all inventions repre

sent savings in the application of physical power. It is everywhere felt that prodigious as are the powers of nature there is a limit even here. Her resources are not inexhaustible. The rate of present use throughout the industrial world forbids extravagance or waste. We are coming to see that we must learn to make some very great economies through radical inventions, or be shut up to economies of the old time restrictive sort.

I am persuaded that the time has come for more attention to the principle of economy on the part of all who are concerned with education. The material sources of educational supply are far from being unlimited, and while the intellectual sources are illimitable, there may be an unpardonable waste in the use of these.

Let me revert for the moment to the material sources of educational supply. There are but two sources, the State and individuals able and willing to endow schools. The State gives through taxation, and in the laying of taxes the State is obliged to take account of many objects which are claiming support with increasing urgency, like the care of the insane, the feeble minded, the hopelessly poor, and the criminal of varying degree.

Turning to the private givers let us not be dazzled by a few magnificent gifts of the past decade to education. The great givers are as a rule men of the first generation, men who make the name of the family, whose inventive or productive skill has led straight to fortune. These are usually persons of simple and inexpensive tastes and habits. Their social expenditures are small because their social wants are small.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »