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books to the pupils, has done invaluable service to us, and is in fact the closing link to our system. The want of a stock of German juvenile books has been felt severely for a long time by the teachers of that language, who assert that even a small collection would help very efficiently in their work. I am inclined to believe that by the granting of this request, good results might be gained at a comparatively trifling expense.



Assistant Superintendent of Public Schools.


It is obvious that the efforts directed to perfecting the organization of a system of schools growing as rapidly as our own, are of first importance. Even good teachers cannot be expected to secure good results if they are not assisted by organization. It is organization and system that effectually comes to the aid of the individual and reinforces him where his inequalities manifest themselves. Idiosyncrasies belong to us all as individuals; those who are most cultured and freest from them, are the individuals who have learned to avail themselves of the aid of organizations, or institutions, in accomplishing their aims and purposes.

From year to year as our system of schools grows more extensive the internal arrangements by which we connect the results of all with each, and of each with all, must be modified to suit the new emergencies. The plan of which I spoke last year has been carried out, as far as possible. I refer to the


The principals of the First class schools (i. e. Grammar schools), in all about twenty in number, have been acting to some extent as local supervisors of the primary schools situated in their respective districts. In the first trial of the plan, only advisory powers have been delegated. To examine classes, to observe the methods of instruction and discipline, and to re

port on each occasion to the superintendent, besides holding consultation with the principal of the subordinate school-this is the extent of the duties imposed on the local supervising principal. An organization of a committee of principals, including with the above named also those of the High, Normal, and Intermediate schools, has been in session with the superintendent almost weekly, for the discussion of practical questions relating either: I, to the Course of Study and Methods of Instruction, or, II, to Discipline and Management. Comparison of views on various topics suggested under these heads, and a discussion of the methods suggested for accomplishing desired results, have been very serviceable. The chief benefit derived consists in getting methods into an articulate shape, so that the defect of individual teachers may be measured by the standard of correct work, and the cause of failure pointed out. As an illustration of this, a discussion of subjects under Discipline and Management has drawn out the following sources of want of success on the part of the teacher to keep up a spirit of work among the pupils in her room. Listlessness in the school-room is traced to,

1. Lack of proper ventilation.

2. Too long recitations for the strength of the pupils.

3. Indjudicious and too frequent concert recitation.

4. The practice of "keeping in" pupils at recess or after school for failure in lessons or misbehavior.

5. Lack of definite analysis of the subject of the lesson by the teacher during recitation.

6. Substitution of individual explanation on the part of the teacher for correction (in the class) of bad habits of study.

The special phenomena in each case have been discussed fully; I have given the following description of them:

On entering the room of a careless or inexperienced teacher, the visitor is struck by the lifeless atmosphere that seems to pervade both teacher and pupils. The pupils all turn their gaze upon him as he enters and stare abstractedly, forgetful of the presence of the teacher and of the purpose of their attendance at school. The teacher languidly, or with a slight flush of surprise and embarrassment, invites to a seat. After a little, the pupils settle back into the condition prevailing before the entrance of the visitor. The pupils at their seats are variously employed: many are leaning over their desks, their faces full of ennui; others are endeavoring to relieve the tedium of the

slow creeping hour by ingenious devices of their own -pin-traps, spit-balls, picture-books under the desk, writing notes to their fellows, making caricatures on slates, scratching furniture, telegraphing on a small scale, etc.,—some have books open before them, others not; the class that is "on the line" for recitation are leaning against the black-boards behind them, or against the desks in front of them; some are paying attention to the lesson, others are busied with the pupils at their seats. The teacher is distracted and confused.

Take the room as a whole, and the lack of the one spirit that should prevail in it is painful to witness. The almost audible sigh of the whole is: "Oh, that school were out!" The visitor thinks of the Lotos-Eaters and of the


In which it seemed always afternoon;

All round the coast the languid air did swoon,

Breathing like one that had a weary dream."

The visitor (who has come to inspect the school) looks carefully into the methods of instruction and discipline in order that he may discover the primary causes of this failure, and suggest its remedy.

He notes: "This teacher has no force; she has no hold over these pupils; she does not make up her mind at the outset that she will have this and not that; she commands incessantly, and does not wait to see whether any command is obeyed; she obviously has not prepared herself on the lesson before coming to school, for, sce, she holds the text-book in her hand and is closely confined to the text while she asks questions; at obvious allusions to the subject of the previous lesson she does not pause to call it up, nor does she illustrate the difficult portions of the lesson for to-day; while she is looking in the book for the next question a pupil has answered the previous one inaccurately, or has omitted the essential point; she treats the important and unimportant questions alike. No wonder the pupils are listless l❞

But he sees that this phase is not the only one wherein the teacher acts like a novice; in the more general programme similar defects manifest themselves, which he notes accordingly:

"The class is too large and too much time is taken to hear it; the lesson for the next day is too long, and no directions are given as to how to study it; all those who fail are kept in at

recess or after school; some receive individual explanations, and consequently get in a habit of crowding around the teacher's desk, and of depending on his direct assistance. Added to this, the teacher hears many parts of the lesson in concert, and the consequence is, only those portions of the lesson are dwelt upon that are most mechanical, for only such can be recited in concert-all discriminating and original answers cannot be in concert-concert answers must be something verbatim and short answers: "yes, sir," "no, sir," "Atlantic Ocean," and the like. Complete answers are made by the smart pupils, while the dull ones follow the lead and join in towards the end of the answer. The bright pupil answers the whole: "twenty-five thousand miles;" the less bright one says: "five thousand miles ;" and the dull one: "thousand miles;" the dullest comes in at the word "miles." These pupils have not the power or discipline of mind to concentrate their attention for so long a recitation; they get fatigued before it is through, and listlessness is the result."

Again: "The ventilation is not attended to, and the impure air causes incipient congestion of the brain, and a few of the delicate ones have headaches, while all feel that apathy and indifference which is its premonitory symptom."

"Most important failure of this teacher: she does not practise a system of definite analysis of the lesson at recitation. She asks probing questions only seldom; the pupil is not made to seize the subject and analyze it till he thoroughly understands it. The consequence is, he does not know how to study the next lesson, nor know when he has learned it, and therefore does not study at his seat, having no definite sense of his deficiency and of his ability to overcome it."

These causes of failure when generalized may be traced to one prevailing defect on the part of the teacher. And this may be described thus: The teacher fails because she does not pay careful attention to the power for work which her pupils actually possess, and so lay oat tasks and secure their accomplishment as to increase constantly this power for work. Previous preparation on the part of the teacher is indispensable for this result. Everything should be digested by the teacher before entering the school-room; she should re-inforce the moments by the hours, and thus be able at all times to bring to bear the entire weight of her character upon the pupil. The practice of keep

ing the pupil in at recess for failure in lessons is very baneful in its effects. The cause of the failure is probably owing to inability to concentrate his mind, and here the cure prescribed is calculated to heighten the disease. The teacher should get the lesson into such shape that the pupil can master it by a general assault, and he should not be allowed-at home or in school-to make a dissipated, scattering attack on it.

Ability to recognize at once the symptoms of any particular form of abnormal action in the school room is an essential qualification for the supervisor of schools. It is this that we aim to develope in the sessions of the "Principal's Committee."

Judging by the present results of the plan of supervision, it is destined to achieve far nobler ends than its advocates here had expected. In Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, the plan has been fully adopted after a thorough trial. I have no doubt of its success here. We have seen, thus far, in its trial that it is efficient in securing good work even from teachers that have failed signally when left themselves. The direct and vigilant care of the principal adds a support to the assistant, which converts wavering capricious efforts into irresistable method.

In conclusion I would say that more room has been taken up in this report by printed questions than usual, for the reason that a demand has been felt in the community for the publication of specimens of the school-work required. Most other cities publish such specimens annually. Much can be inferred, as to tendencies of instruction, from the quality of examination questions. I have therefore given specimens for all grades of pupils.



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