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upon their health and strength. Neither of these considerations have been overlooked.
Teaching may be considered either as a science or an art. As a science it forms, of course, a distinct subject in the training establishments. But schoolmasters of superior ability and great experience feel very much the want of a complete treatise in which the processes of their art should be traced to, and tested by, the elementary principles by which they are more or less consciously guided in their practice. It is not to be expected or desired that the minds of these apprentices should be systematically directed to a subject at once so abstruse and so comprehensive. But I am happy to report that the ablest teachers in my district take pains to give good reasons for the methods which they direct their apprentices to follow, though without any technical terms or appearance of pedantry. They feel the importance of preserving harmony between the will and understanding of their assistants, and of thus preparing them for that methodical inquiry into the subject which will form the most interesting portion of their studies hereafter.
It is evident, however, that the apprentices should be instructed systematically and completely in the art of teaching, They should be instructed in the best method of teaching every subject, from the simplest elements to the highest branch of study introduced into the school course. They should understand how to manage a class under the eye, or in the absence of the head teacher. And they should have a clear, practical knowledge of all matters connected with the organization of schools. This most important subject has not been neglected. The Inspectors have sufficient opportunities of ascertaining the pupil-teachers' skill and knowledge; and the masters are fully aware how much the efficiency of their schools, and their professional reputation, depend upon their success. The results, I am convinced, are most satisfactory. If we were entitled to judge by comparing them with those of previous systems, they might be fairly represented as triumphant. The most objectionable features in the monitorial system have almost disappeared; and a man must be strongly fortified by prejudice who can pass a few hours in a school, where this system has been fairly tried, without recognizing its superiority to those where the masters have no assistants but untrained children. There can be no doubt that very great improvements can be made, and that the methods of teaching in all schools may be simplified and reduced to a more perfect system, but it is evident that what has been done is a guarantee that such ameliorations will be progressively introduced. At present it may suffice to state that, in my district, I have heard pupil-teachers give lessons in every subject that forms part of an elementary course of instruction, and that, after making some allowance for timidity, a fair proportion of them may be pronounced to be skilful teachers for their age. Some failures might have been anticipated ; many have required special admonitions and advice ; but I have not unfrequently had occasion to bestow just commendation, and have generally the satisfaction of observing that the lessons are given with greater animation, and on a more methodical system, at each successive visit of inspection.
The skill of the pupil-teachers in the management and discipline of their respective classes, and their general knowledge of all subjects connected with the organization of schools, are also fairly tested. The Inspector has some opportunity of observing their conduct, under very trying circumstances, during the examination of the school. I have been often surprised by their steadiness and self-command, and by the respect which the children evidently feel for their authority. They seldom fail in conducting those mechanical exercises which are required for preservation of order, and saving of time, and have more power over their classes, generally speaking, than could have been expected. The written accounts which are prepared after the second year of their apprenticeship have already been noticed, but I may state that they generally show that the teachers have taken pains to give them clear and accurate views of this subject. In fact, I am convinced that it is especially in this respect that the employment of pupil-teachers is to be regarded as one of the most effectual means of improving our system of national education. They will enter the training establishment with a practical and comprehensive knowledge of all points connected with the organization and management of national schools. They will be prepared to understand the further instruction which they will there receive in the principles and best methods of teaching. And though, when placed in charge of schools, they may be young in years (unfortunately very young considering the responsible duties which they must undertake, and the peculiar temptations to which they will be exposed), yet they will be old in teaching, since every advance in their mental development will have been combined with enlarged experience in the routine of school work.
Another very important point connected with the training of pupil-teachers is that which regards their physical condition, their health and strength. A report is made upon this when candidates are recommended; but managers are often disposed to select boys and girls who are not strong enough for ordinary industrial employments, and sometimes present children who have organic defects, or a manifest tendency to disease. It is well known how much some training institutions have suffered from this cause, notwithstanding all precautions. Medical men are not always sufficiently explicit in giving certificates of good health. It has therefore been my invariable practice to state to the managers, previous to the examination, that sound vigorous health is one of the most important qualifications of a pupil-teacher, and is indispensable where duties especially require serenity and cheerfulness of temper, and even a buoyant elasticity of animal spirits. I have often looked with deep interest and compassion upon adult teachers, who have been placed by the injudicious kindness of their patrons in a situation where the latent germ of consumption is rapidly developed, and the sufferings of a premature decay are embittered by the consciousness of duties if not neglected, yet of necessity imperfectly discharged. I have, however, the gratification of being able to report that these apprentices appear to enjoy more than an average condition of health and vigour; but if there be any exceptions, the responsibility must rest upon those who have selected them, having full opportunities of testing their physical condition.
The great importance of this subject has even induced me to go beyond the mere letter of my instructions; and, in every instance where it was practicable, I have adopted the following course, with the full concurrence of the managers, before I have recommended candidates. After completing their examination, I have had an interview with the parents in the presence of so many members of the School-committee as might find it convenient to attend. On such occasions, after a full statement of the present and prospective advantages held out to deserving apprentices, and of the responsibilities incurred by all parties on entering upon such an engagement, I have ventured to exact certain promises, to which every parent whom I have seen has been a willing party.
At the termination of the first year's apprenticeship of those pupil-teachers who were recommended in May 1847, I observed that some of the most intelligent and promising boys were looking rather pale and thin, and were evidently in a state of nervous excitement, which could not be attributed altogether to their anxiety about the result of the examination. Upon inquiry, it appeared that they had been over-worked, and that with their parents' consent, but not generally with the cognizance of the schoolmaster, they had sat up late at night, and given up to private study the hours which ought to have been reserved' for exercise and recreation. In fact they had attempted, or had been encouraged, very injudiciously, to master the subjects required for the second or third year's examination. It was also stated publicly about that time, by clergymen who felt deeply interested in the success of a system of which they perceived the great advantages, that the health of their best pupils appeared to them to be somewhat endangered, and that they were often in a state of feverish irritation. The only remedy for these evils is of course, to secure regularity in the hours of sleep, exercise, and recreation. I have, therefore, received a formal promise from the parents, first, that the apprentices should rise and go to bed regularly, at whatever hour may be agreed upon between them and the teachers and managers of the school as the most suitable for young persons in their situation ; secondly, that they should take so many hours for rest and exercise as should be determined in like manner, after due consideration ; and, thirdly, that they should pay especial attention to those habits of personal cleanliness which have so much effect upon the health and spirits of youth. I have not hesitated to call their attention particularly to the advantages, in a sanitary point of view, of frequent ablutions and friction of the body. No doubt the children are cleanly, but the habits of our industrial population are not favourable to such frequent and complete washings as are desirable or necessary for health.
In addition to these points, I have also reminded the parents that it is their duty and right to see that their children are in that state of vigorous and elastic health which will enable them to do their work without feeling it to be burdensome and distressing; If they have any reason to suspect the contrary, they should at once confer with the teachers and managers, who of course are only anxious to make regulations which may be most beneficial to the apprentices. It may be hoped that such promises, in addition to the solemn pledge, which they take at the completion of the indentures of apprenticeship, that their children shall be properly clothed, lodged, and boarded, will not be without effect. Leaving it thus to the discretion of the schoolmanagers to fix the hours for rest and recreation, the responsibility of seeing that those hours are observed is thus thrown upon those who have the deepest interest in the matter. Having already had occasion to revisit most of the schools in which this course has been pursued, I can state that these promises have been generally well kept, with the happiest effects upon the health and spirits of the apprentices. There is every reason to believe that they are in a condition every way favourable to their physical as well as mental development and training.
It may be interesting to add that the masters of several schools in large districts bring their pupils together for exercise, and form associations for the old English games, which are perhaps the best gymnastics for youths.
I may be allowed to hope that the first question proposed for consideration has been answered satisfactorily, and that there are good grounds for asserting that the present system is likely to form a class of religious, moral, well-informed, skilful, and energetic teachers. If so, the second and third questions are,
Metropolitan District of England. [1848-49. in point of fact, settled also; but a few observations
be called for on each.
There can be no doubt that the contributions of the State, towards the expense of conducting schools, are now upon a very liberal scale where pupil-teachers are apprenticed ; but it is equally certain that they could not have been bestowed in any form that would have told more directly upon their improvement in point of discipline, instruction, and general efficiency. The greater part of those schools, of which accounts are given in the statistical tables appended to this Report, may truly be represented as model schools in most essentials, and as very far superior to the generality of good schools on the former system. The masters in some of the most important institutions have distinctly expressed their opinion that the additional labour of instructing the apprentices is compensated by the assistance which they afford in the management of the schools; and even when they feel that the work is too severe a pressure upon them, they have generally declared that it would be impossible to carry on the instruction, or maintain the discipline in its present condition, without such aid. It may perhaps be conceded that in many schools the masters are over-worked ; and I am quite disposed to adopt the opinion that an adult teacher is required for every hundred children ; but until the incomes of the schools are very considerably augmented, any great increase in the proportion of teachers to scholars must be regarded as quite impracticable, and no other means have been devised or suggested by which they can be aided in the discharge of their duties. I have taken pains to collect the opinions of schoolmasters upon these points, and do not believe that two dissentient voices are heard in this district. The following extracts from letters lately received represent very fairly the judgment of the most practical and able teachers.
"Since the appointment of pupil-teachers the number of scholars in daily attendance has steadily increased, and a visible improvement has been effected in the discipline of the school.
“The following subjects have been introduced and systematically taught since the appointment of pupil-teachers :-mechanics, mensuration, history of the English language, ihe elements of astronomy and physical science, map-drawing, book-keeping, history of the Liturgy and Articles of Religion.”
As may be supposed from this enumeration of subjects, the school is now attended by the children of respectable tradesmen, who, however, are not separated in any way from the children of the poor. Again
“I will briefly add, that the appointment of pupil-teachers has been attended with signal success, though it has been a work of great labour, self-denial, and incessant vigilance."
Another master writes to me"Since I have had opportunities, I have carefully noticed the gradual