ePub 版

et his civil condition is hearia, teachers God, werd

and uurethat no conditionen (Const. of R.

or affect his civil capacity" (Const. of R. I., art. 1, sec. 3). It will be noticed that no condition is here interposed, but the liberty is complete and unrestricted. In Pennsylvania, teachers might constitutionally be required to "acknowledge the being of a God, and a future state of rewards and punishments” (Const. of Pa., art. 9, sec. 4), but in Rhode Island such a requirement would be unconstitutional. In practice, however, it does not appear that the people of the one State are less liberal than those of the other. For in Pennsylvania it is held that “church influence should never be permitted to swerve a director from the line of duty in the selection of teachers" (School Doc., No. 159); and “the reli: gious predilections of pupils and their parents and guardians, are required to be sacredly respected-sectarian instruction not being considered the province of the schoolmaster but of the parent or guardian, and the spiritual teacher selected by him (School Doc., No. 162). Consequently, sectarian works are excluded from the schools (School Doc., No. 187). But “the Scriptures come under the head of text-books, and they should not be omitted from the list” (School Doc., No. 186).

bar.Connecticut a afterwards Pront we find that France, Great Bm the

k first to became any for Schote con

TEACHERS' seminary was first established by Franke, abont

1704, at Halle, in Prussia ; and during the present century the example of Prussia has been followed by Holland, France, Great Britain, and Russia. In our own country, we find that as early as 1816 Mr. Denison Olmsted (afterwards Prof. Olmsted of Yale College) proposed for Connecticut a "plan of an Academy for Schoolmasters.” But we have no proof that this ever became any thing more than a suggestion. The State of New York first took definite action in so important a matter, in the year 1836, by adding a Teachers' Department to one Academy in each of its eight Senatorial districts. However, as these “ Teachers' Departments” were not a primary but a secondary object in the Academies, perhaps some would think they ought not to be considered an institution by themselves. At all events, it was Massachusetts that first established in this country the Normal School, so called,-a school designed exclusively for the training of teachers for the Common Schools. In 1838, the subject having been for some time a matter of interest with friends of education in the State, the generosity of Edmund Dwight, of Boston, placed at the disposal of the Board of Education the sum of $10,000 for this purpose, provided the Legislature would furnish an equal sum. This was done ; and soon after, aided by further contributions from individuals and towns, three Normal Schools were established, at Lexington, Barre, and Bridgewater. The State now has four,-at Bridgewater, Framingham, Salem, and Westfield.

We did not intend in this article to give any statistics of the rise and present condition of Normal Schools in the different States ; we have only given enough to tell of the beginnings of the system in this country. We have at present a few words to say upon the merits and faults of the system.

That the theory of Normal Schools is a good one, few will deny. Although observation confirms us in the belief that the best teachers have a natural aptness for their work,--an aptness which is better than all training, ---and that the faculty to teach, as well as the faculty to govern, is a gift ; although, too, on the other hand, no amount of training will make a good teacher of many a one we can think of, yet these are the extremes. The question is, whether those of moderate abilities and fair adaptation to such a work are not better qualified for it by a course of instruction under competent persons, which is designed to test and compare the efficacy of different methods, and to afford a sort of trial-ground for the practice of these methods ; also, whether even those of superior abilities and decided powers of adaptation are not thas roused to a keener interest in their work, if not to the discovery of new and improved methods ? AS for those whom nature never designed for the important work of teaching, and whom, consequently, no art can qualify, such a system ought, it seems to us, to do great good to the community by pronouncing them incompetent, and refusing to recommend them at the conclusion of the course of study. Certainly two years should be sufficient to sift out all such ; and perhaps, to be perfectly fair to them, unless in extreme cases, they should be allowed to remain through this time, that their mental status may be fully known.

Yes, we think the theory of the Normal School is sound ; and its prac tical workings have not prevented many great thinkers from giving testimony in its favor ; such men as Franke, Cousin, Lord Brougham, Dr. Channing, De Witt Clinton, etc., etc. There are only two points of difficulty, as it seems to us. First, there should be at the head of such schools superior men. They should be men of liberal education (not merely, as the phrase is, " liberally educated"); for if their knowledge is bounded by the limits of arithmetic, geography, and grammar, and a smattering of information on higher topics, their pupils will be very likely to be as superficial and pretentions as they are. They should themselves have been experienced and successful teachers; for thus only can they give practical instruction in the art of teaching. Moreover, they should be men of genial disposition and cultivated manners,-in one word, gentlemen ; for their anconscious influence in this very important part of education, upon those whom they are thus preparing for the teacher's work, will be again reproduced upon the more impressible minds of children. Again, there should be great care in pronouncing any fit to teach and recommending them to the public. In Prussia, besides the Teachers' Seminaries, there

is thus porto this schoo three years here has

is in many places a kind of preliminary school, “where pupils are received, in order to determine whether they are fit to become candidates to be candidates." If, from any failure of body or mind, one is here pronounced incompetent to teach, and dismissed at the close of his probationary term of six months, he is thus prevented from ever entering the Teachers' Seminary. Or if he goes on into this school, he has again to stand the test of a more severe examination after his three years' course of study. Saying nothing of such strictness as this, we are sure there has been with us too much laxness in this matter.

It is a failure in just these two points which we have noted, that has caused a deep-seated prejudice against Normal Schools in the minds of many of the community. Some of the States may have always had worthy men at the head of their schools of this class ; but we know of one, at least, the Principal of whose Normal School, while he is esteemed as a very good man, is far from commanding respect for his attainments. It is of no use to parade the names of any such on the pages of educational journals, nor to dub superficial Normal School teachers with the title of “ Professors ;" the better portion of the public soon detect the empty sound. Again, we are not the only ones who have met with graddates of Normal Schools whose want of knowledge has been as evident as their self-conceit has been disgusting. These are they who, from their talk, som to think that all the wisdom of the world is centered in some Normal School ; and when we associate their idea of wisdom with the fact of their ignorance, what wonder that the Normal School is brought into disrepute ? Now we do not think there is any thing in the system necessarily tending to foster this self-conceit ; we only say that such persons, male or female, should never be allowed to graduate. The evil, in a measure, works its own cure, for such superficiality generally soon spends itself, and teaching is abandoned ; yet even in this case, the reputation of the Normal School is injured, and the profession of teaching thought less of.

We consider the Normal School system an effective way of training Common-School teachers for their work, and the only effective way which bas yet been discovered. Horace Mann, at the conclusion of his term of office as Secretary of the Massachusetts-Board of Education, on looking back over the special instrumentalities used for twelve years to improve the Common Schools of that State, says': “I can not refrain from assigning the first place, in adaptedness and in efficiency, to our State Normal Schools." And the experienced visitors of one of the best Normal Schools in the country, in their last report, say : “After having shared in the benefits of the system for more than a quarter of a century, the policy of maintaining it may be considered as settled. It only remains to make it as perfect as the experience and observation of its friends may enable them to do.” From this we have no wish to dissent ; and any strictures we may have made have been only to the same end. The great need is of more thoroughness in education. Teachers are to be better qualified for their work ; scholars are to be made to understand that they must study. Nor is there less call for all this in our higher schools, and, alas ! in many of our colleges. When teachers, from highest to lowest, shall not be permitted to take their places before good evidence is given of their competency, and when such inducement of large and permanent remuneration shall be offered, as to draw men of decided talent, who wish also to secure a respectable livelihood, then teaching shall be established as a profession, and the best interests of education shall rapidly advance.



THE earliest aerostatic attempts on record were imitations of the

1 flying apparatus of birds. Archytas of Tarentum, a Pythagorean, is said to have constructed an automatic pigeon which could fly. In the thirteenth century a citizen of Bologna flew from the mountains of Bologna to the river Reno, and was so unfortunate as to sustain no injury ; for he thus drew upon himself the wrath of the Inquisition, which pronounced him in league with the devil, and put him to death. In 1742 the Marquis de Bacqueville advertised that on a certain day he would fly from his house on the Quai des Theatins to the Tuileries. He actually accomplished more than half the distance, when, losing his strength and being no longer able to use his wings, he fell into the Seine, where he struck a floating laundry and broke his leg.

BALLOONING. The first enunciation of the principles on which aerial navigation mast depend was by Roger Bacon, in the twelfth century. This indefatigable student had discovered that air possesses weight, and he therefore conceived that if a hollow globe of thin brass were filled with “ liquid fire or ethereal air” it would float in the atmosphere as a hollow vessel floats upon water. To what he referred by liquid fire and ethereal air can not be determined ; but these are generally known as alchemistic terms for rarefied air. But Bacon made no attempt to sustain his theory. It therefore fell into oblivion, and we hear of no efforts in this direction until the middle of the eighteenth century, when Cavallo experimented rather unsuccessfully with hydrogen.

In 1782, Stephen and Joseph Montgolfier, wealthy paper manufacturers at Annonay, noting that clouds and smoke rise in the air, concluded that a bag, made of light material, would also rise if inflated with smoke or some similarly expanded substance. They therefore made a small balloon,* of fine paper, and filled it with rarefied air by a fire of chopped wool and straw kindled underneath. When fully inflated, the apparatus rose with such ease that the brothers were encouraged to exhibit the discovery on a much larger scale. On this occasion a linen bag, twenty-five feet in diameter, was used. It rose rapidly to a height of one thousand feet, and, after some time, fell at a distance of three miles from its starting point. The discovery now attracted the attention of the French Academy, at whose request the brothers went to Paris, and there constructed a new balloon, seventy-four feet by forty-one, elegantly ornamented, and weighing one thousand pounds. When released from the ropes, this, with a load of five hundred pounds, reached an elevation of one thousand five hundred feet, where, unfortunately, a gust of wind overturned it, and caused such material injury that a new machine was necessary for further experiments.

The investigations of the French Academy appeared to prove that man could, by means of the new discovery, navigate the atmosphere ; and it was not long before persons of sufficient daring were found to undertake aerial voyages. Montgolfier having offered to make a balloon of more durable texture, M. Pilatre de Rozier consented to be the first aeronaut.

The new machine was seventy-four feet by forty-eight, weighed about one thousand two hundred pounds, and was ornamented with the zodiacal signs and the royal insignia. In this M. Pilatre made several ascensions, and on one occasion, accompanied by the Marquis d'Arlandes, attained a height of three thousand feet, and descended about five miles from Paris.

HYDROGEN GAS EMPLOYED. Ascensions in the Montgolfier balloons were always dangerous, and were never very extensive. To remedy these defects, Dr. Black recommended hydrogen as a substitute for rarefied air. Acting upon bis suggestions, the French Academy employed Messrs. Roberts to construct, under the supervision of Prof. Charles, a silken balloon, thirteen feet 'in diameter. When set free, this almost instantly attained a height of three thousand feet, and, after remaining suspended for three quarters of an hour, descended fifteen miles from Paris. This experiment was so successful, that a larger balloon, of twenty-seven feet diameter, was immediately made. In this, on December 1st; 1785, Prof. Charles with M. Roberts ascended six thousand feet, and, after an absence of one hour and three-quarters, descended twenty-seven miles from Paris. Here M. Roberts left the car, and, there being still some ascensive power, Prof. Charles reascended, rising almost immediately nine thousand feet, and ultimately, by throwing over ballast, ten thousand feet. When he left the surface

* So called from its resemblance to a chemical instrument then much used.

« 上一頁繼續 »