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STATE TEACHERS' ASSOCIATIONS.
CIRCULAR The undersigned will devote as large a portion of each number of ine "American Journal of Education," for 1864 and 1865, as shall be found necessary, to a minutely accurate, but condensed, account of the State Teachers' Association, or in the absence of any distinctly professional organization, of any State Educational Association, and in the absence of any such State organization, of any similar County or City Association for each of the United States. For this purpose, he will be happy to receive communications from the President, or Secretary, or from a committee who may be instructed to furnish the same by any Association, covering the following particulars.
I. Any historical data respecting any Educational Association, prior to the organization of the present State Association.
II. The establishment, including the date, names of the original movers, the Constitution, or Articles of Association, and the first officers, of the present Association.
III. The officers, place and time of each regular meeting, the Subject of each Lecture, Written Report, or Paper read at each meeting, with the name, residence, and professional designation of author, with the Subjects of discussion, and Resolutions relating to schools and education—for each year.
IV. List of any printed documents issued at the expense, or under tho auspices of the Association.
V. List of members, with the name of the institution, or educational office, with which they are connected, and their Post Office Address, who attended the last (one or two) regular meetings of the Association, held before the date of the sketch.
To give personal interest to these historical summaries of the doings of the several State Associations, the editor will be happy to insert brief biographical notes of the educational activity of the teachers, whom their associates have selected to preside over and engineer their movements, together with the portraits of the same so far as reliable data for such sketches, and the portraits shall be furnished.
Editor of the American Journal of Education, HARTFORD, Conn.
The undersigned, while laboring in the educational field since 1837, has been engaged in collecting the material for the Historical Development of Schools of every grade, and of Education generally in the United States, including Biographical Sketches of Eminent Teachers, and others who have been influential in framing or admiuistering school systems, in founding, endowing, and improve ing institutions of learning, or in calling public attention to desirable changes in school-houses, apparatus, and text-books, and to better methods of school organization, instruction, and discipline. His plan has embraced particularly the following subjects:
I. NATIONAL ALD STATE ASSOCIATIONS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION, IN THE UNITED STATES, with Biographical Sketches of their Founders and Presidents.
II. THE LEGISLATION OF DIFFERENT STATES IN REFERENCE TO SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION, with an Outline of the System, and the Statistics of the Schools at the time of publication.
III. SYSTEM OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND AGENCIES OP POPULAR INSTRUCTION IN THE PRINCIPAL CITIES of the United States, including Public Libraries, Museums, Galleries, Lectures, and Evening Classes.
IV. HISTORY OF THE PRINCIPAL UNIVERSITIES, COLLEGES, ACADEMIES, FEMALE SEMINARIES, AND HIGH SCHOOLS, which have permanent or reliable funds for their support, in the several States.
V. PROFESSIONAL AND SPECIAL SCHOOLS, such as Normal Schools and other Agencies for the Training of Teachers, Schools of Theolgy, Medicine, Law, Agriculture, Navigation, Engineering, Mining, War, or for exceptional classes—the Deaf, Blind, Imbecile, Orphans, Criminals, &c.
VI. EDUCATIONAL BIOGRAPHY—or the Teachers, Superintendents, Benefactors, and Promoters of Education in the United States.
VII. STATISTICS, and extracts from official documents, and other authentic information respecting schools of every grade at different periods.
VIII. EDUCATIONAL BIBLIOGRAPHY-a Catalogue by Authors and Subjects, of American Publications on the Organization, Administration, Instruction, and Discipline of Schools, and on Education generally.
IX. SCHOOL ARCHITECTURE, or Contributions to the Improvement of Edifices and their Equipment, designed for Educational Purposes.
X. REVIEW of the Past and Present Condition of Schools and Education in the United States, with Suggestions for their Improvement.
Much of this material, and all the compilations and résumé, made by the undersigned, will be published in the American Journal of Education, and so far as there may be a call for the same, in separate treatises.
The coöperation of all persons connected with or interested in any one of the above class of schools, or in any department of education, in forwarding documents, personal memoranda, history of institutions, biographical data and sketches, or suggestions of any kind, is respectfully solicited.
HENRY BARNARD, Hartford, Conn. December, 1865.
XI. FORMATION OF MORAL CHARACTER
THE MAIN OBJECT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL.*
BY N. P. COWDERY,
Superintendent of Public Schools in Sandusky, Ohio.
There is a sentiment of very long standing with the great public, that book knowledge is the first object of school instruction, and the formation of character, if a legitimate object of school life at all, quite subordinate to the first. We desire to have this order inverted, changed end for end in the estimation of society, and in the labors of teachers. Practically it is so changed in some cases, and by some teachers, already. It is also changed in the minds of many of the parents who send to our schools—very possibly this may
be now nearly the public sentiment of the city. But if there is now this union of hearts, it is time there was a union of hands; an open, public solemnization of the contract. If the formation of character is to stand first in the order of importance, and instruction in science second, and this by common consent of the people, teachers will be relieved of some embarrassment, and will know more definitely how to expend their strength with their pupils, if the sentiment is authoritatively recognized. It would be very easy to show that it is the true doctrine to adopt, but I trust that before this audience such a proposition needs no argument.
I have another sentiment to propose, which may or may not be received with the same unanimity. It is, that the right formation of character should be the chief end of school instruction for a child. It is simply carrying the former proposition to its logical conclusions, and yet, stated in this form, it may not receive the full assent of those who have not given the subject special attention. I offer it here this morning, however, not as a mere speculative belief, but as a practical question of the gravest importance to the school interests of the city, and if this is really the right position to be taken for common school instruction, I desire that the same may be distinctly avowed and our schools placed squarely upon it as early as practicable. I ask your careful consideration of the following statements and explanations regarding the proposed change :—First, it is not intended or believed that instruction from books will be any less in quantity or quality than now. It would be simply zeal without knowledge, to undertake to form a child's character without giving him something to do. It is the special province of all wise instruction to arouse the sluggish to activity, and then to keep such and all others most diligently employed. This, without reference to choice, becomes a pure necessity, if the teacher would keep temptation and wrong-doing at a safe distance from his pupils. Next, it is not contemplated that peculiarities of religious creeds shall in any manner mingle with the proposed better formation of character. While the foundation principles of integrity and purity must be drawn from the Scriptures, and can by no possibility be drawn from any other source, these may be instilled into the hearts of children without giving offense to any right-minded parent. For, surely, no father can desire to see his son grow up utterly outside of all the precepts and influences of Christianity, soon to be shipwrecked, and a nuisance to the world. And if, in the depths of his depravity and hostility to revealed truth, he should so wish, is there any good reason why his desire should be gratified? Our city authorities do not allow a material nuisance to be kept, even a few hours, on any man's premises. Is there any greater abridgment of civil or relig ious liberty in restraining a man from turning a moral nuisance loose upon community, to strew desolation and ruin in his path until an indignant public shuts him in prison, or death ends his career? It may be well further to remark, that no sudden or violent changes are contemplated in the school instruction, by the adoption of the principle proposed. While a change in the direction of the teacher's labor is expected at some time and to some extent, this change must be gradual, so that all duties and labors shall harmonize.
* An Address to Teachers and Citizens, Sandusky, Ohio, March 3, 1866.
Next, let us thread out in practice some of the results of a general public recognition of the doctrine, that the right formation of character is the chief end of school instruction. In the administration of school discipline teachers meet with cases of vicious conduct, sometimes restricted to one or two pupils, and sometimes amounting to clanship and threatening to undermine the authority of the teacher, or to exert a demoralizing influence upon the school, and yet there is such a sort of surface civility that no investigation may be undertaken or, if undertaken, the teacher is at once reminded by the offenders, and probably by their parents, that the teacher's duty in the school-room extends simply to giving instruction and keeping order. It would be some satisfaction at least, in such cases, that the teacher should be able to point to well-settled authority to probe all
disorderly conduct to the bottom, and when sullen and sympathizing witnesses are asked to give information, that they shall not evade the command by any direct or indirect appeal to want of rightful authority of the teacher to demand his testimony. Make character the chief end of school instruction, and the rights and duties of all parties become clear in such cases.
Again, let us see how our teachers and grades of schools would stand in relation to each other, under the proposed new arrangement. If the time shall ever come when there shall be any marked success in building up strength and solidity of character, that work must be commenced in the primary school, and the teacher must enter her school-room with the clear and explicit understanding that this is to be the first and chief end of all her labors, and all other things subordinate. She must clearly understand that the first great work for the child must be done in her school-room. That it will be a sad and sorrowful task for the teacher in the grade above, to find two years lost, far worse than lost, to the child in its moral training. All this must not only be distinctly understood as a matter of theory, but it must enter into all her plans of labor in the school-room, and into all her convictions of duty and usefulness for this world. And she must hold herself responsible, other teachers must hold her responsible, and the public must hold her responsible, that all that the circumstances will allow her to do for the right training of her pupils must be done.
But how shall such work be commenced? First, it would be necessary for the teacher, as early and as rapidly as possible, to become personally and intimately acquainted with each pupil. The family circumstances and the family discipline at home should, as far as possible, be at once understood. Then the habits of the child, its health, its peculiar disposition, its associates in school and out of school, should be inquired into, so that, besides all general methods employed to make children dutiful, the teacher can treat each individual pupil as its case may require. Using the general methods now common in our schools, for interesting all the children in right conduct, more frequently, and more faithfully and spiritedly, will be the first work to be done. Very probably, in a school of fifty scholars, there might be groups of six to ten that might need similar words of reproof or encouragement, by themselves; and again, half that number might require specific instruction of another sort.
Lastly, each individual pupil should be a subject of special study by the teacher, for each will probably need specific instruction of some sort, if not for any present wrong-doing, then to fortify against