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fillment. A teacher may impress upon his pupil a form of life into which he will grow, not as a statue out of marble, but rather as an oak tree out of an acorna work of Deity. And herein, life seems to share in the possession of creative power.
I have answered thus imperfectly the question in part, from the standpoint of my view; for the function of a faculty or power is defined as its natural or assigned action. It is the function of the eye to see. It is the function of supervision to realize in human life its ideals.
What more is vital to this question? Two elements are of infinite importance. 1. The quality and worth of the supervisor's ideals.
2. Whether, these being worthy, he can incorporate in practice the thought embodied in these words of Lowell, "Endurance is the crowning quality and patience all the passion of great hearts." And first, let me remark upon the ideals of the supervisor.
Does one ask what is the crowning evil or weakness of supervision? I will answer in a word. It is the combination of power with low ideals as to the purpose of education. I have heard many times the tribute-and a just one, too— paid in this department to the influence of the superintendents of this country upon the future of public school education. But often it may be said of teachers, when one thinks of what stands for supervision over them, "Thou art mated to a clown, and the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down." I recall Arnold's statement to the effect, that he knew no sight more pitiable than the yoking of a bright, gifted boy to the neck of an incompetent teacher. I recall the words attributed to Napoleon, “Better an army of deer led by a lion, than an army of lions led by a deer."
Now, briefly, what are some worthy thoughts of the supervisor's work? That power is more than knowledge? Agreed. That character is the end of life? Agreed, if it be modified to meet the saying of Richter, "I have made out of my life all that the stuff would admit of." But what is character? Who are educated? One has said, "We are the residuum of all that we have done, or felt, or thought," implying that the end of education is the securing of a noble residuum. To come down to more concrete and minute examples. Our pupils are said to be able to read perhaps fluently, but not tenderly, thoughtfully, appreciatively. They are said to know the forms of things; not to realize their contents. They are said to have "eyes which see not; ears which hear not;" it having been forgotten that eye and ear must be attached to the soul if they would perform the work for which they were created. Are these commonplaces? Granted. It is the business of life to invest the commonplace with significance.
Education means the conversion of one's seeing "in a glass darkly" into the "seeing as face to face." Education means the realization, as by Peter of old, that "What God hath cleansed" we are not to call "common or unclean." And what is common or unclean upon which his hand has rested? Nay; true education is identical with religion as defined by Jonathan Edwards, consisting of "Ability to know what things are really great; what things are really small."
True education is the cleansing of the world for man. It is the taking of nature out of the commonplace and making it glad with intelligence, with thought, with love. It is the peopling of streams, of fountains, of woods, of meadows with greater than the divinities of Grecian mythology; with God himself. It is the investiture of man with the glory of his birthright; for if one turns to human relations and human endowments, education is again the ideas of Herbart, those ideas of freedom, of efficiency of the will, of good will, of equity, of justice, which, once gained, make their possessor immortal and earth a vestibule of heaven.
The fact is our best teachers stand round about us on every side. It is but the simple truth that principalities and powers stretch out toward heaven from every individual.
Archimedes once said, "Give me where to stand and I will move the world." Is there such a place? Verily. Where a man stands is the place of power or weakness. And Emerson expressed it when he said, that, if we would make ourselves sound and self-sufficient, we would be felt to the uttermost parts of the uni
Suppose now, that, by thought, meditation, the reading of great books, communion with noble souls, praying to a great Father,—not a being dragged to the human level but the Maker of heaven and earth, and one who has said, "If a man lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth liberally to all men and upbraideth not, and it shall be given,"-the supervisor comes to his kingdom, what then? What then? The world becomes invested with significance and life filled with a perennial interest and charm.
Then childhood begins to receive its proper investiture. Possibilities expand. Self-complacency, conceit, narrowness, pride, the pride which Emerson called the soul's curse,-fly out of the soul as bats out of lightened chambers.
Then what does the supervisor become? He becomes a healer of souls; bringer of sunshine; one whose feet are as the feet of messengers of peace upon the mountains; a presence with anointing oil summoning some ruddy shepherd boy from the flock, and sending him along a career, shining more and more unto the perfect day. This is the very essence of supervision, for here is power. It is the power which transforms the world; better yet, transfigures it. It is the power that Dante felt when threading with Virgil the Inferno; that power manifested when thought and will are one.
What more can be said? Many things. But these two must be said, viz.: First, that the great objective point of the supervisor's art and power must be the teacher, for whom he must have sympathy; and to whom and whose work he must apply the law of compensation, remembering, that, while to some are given gifts of intellect, so that they can "rightly divide the word," to others are given the power to apply truth, and possessed of a grace of manner and a charm of disposition, are able to realize the notable utterance, "Out of the heart are the issues of life." All this, for "as the teacher so the school." And second, and lastly, it must be said that the supervisor, in common with the teacher, must dwell with children if he would receive perennial strength.
There is a deep and abiding truth in Dr. Parkhurst's description of teaching as being an incarnation, a descent to narrow limits in order to lift life up, in illustration of which he cited the Oxford professor who so loved his little child of feeble mind that, daily, he descended to his narrow limits until he lifted him up to bear off a prize at Oxford. We speak reverently here, but we speak truthfully. The power of the Great Teacher was anticipated in Socrates surrounded by Athenian youth. It was illustrated in Pestalozzi kneeling beside the beds of his orphan children at Stanz and teaching them until they fell asleep. It was illustrated in the person of Dr. Howe, when he descended through a single sense into the narrow life of Laura Bridgman, and led it out into a marvelous light. But, ah! the reward of it; the glory of it. Life here and life forever with him who set the great example, and who gave to us this saying, "Unless ye become as little children, ye cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
SUPT. J. H. PHILLIPS, Birmingham, Ala.—The spiritual element as an essential characteristic in efficient supervision has been eloquently presented and forcibly emphasized in the discussion of this topic. To all this we most cordially assent,
but we should not overlook the fact that the essence of school supervision implies other and more practical phases. I wish therefore to call attention briefly to the practical element in supervision. Contact with actual conditions as found in the average school system, managed by an average board of education, is not calculated. I fear, to develop the spiritual nature of the average superintendent.
The topic as given in the program would suggest that there is some one essential function or essence that must characterize all school supervision, including that of several provinces widely differing in their requirements, such as state supervision, county supervision, city supervision, and the supervision of a single school. If we eliminate all elements of difference in these several spheres of supervision, and reduce those requirements common to all into a single essence or function, what shall that function be denominated? It would seem to me that the essential essence of all school supervision is intelligent, sympathetic, and conservative leadership. This characteristic must be a primary qualification in every sphere of school supervision.
If we undertake to describe more in detail the practical phases of this essential element, I would point out, first of all, what I may call the pedagogical function. The superintendent must be able to lead his teachers in the actual work of the schoolroom. Professional skill and practical common sense are here indispensable. In the next place may be mentioned the executive function. The superintendent must commend himself to the school authorities as well as to the public by his business qualifications. He must have the ability to manage, if necessary, the business affairs of the schools in a thorough, efficient, and also in an economical manHe must be a good business man. Again, I would mention, with some degree of diffidence, a phase that most superintendents are compelled to recognize the political function. The superintendent of a city school system, or of a state school system, if he be successful in accomplishing anything, is forced to be, within his particular sphere, a tactful politician. He must come in contact with politics in its various forms, and must have force of character, tact, and energy, in order to protect and advance the interests of the schools. He must, from his position, advise and direct his board of education, and in order to gain and retain their confidence, he must not be afraid to assume responsibility. Boards of education, as a rule, are precisely what superintendents make them. When a board of education assumes the entire control of the schools without consulting the superintendent; when it examines and appoints teachers, examines and promotes pupils, constructs courses of study, selects text-books and dictates methods, it is because some feeble superintendent, too weak or timid to assume responsibility, has shirked his duties and placed them in the hands of the board. History shows, that, when power is once acquired by any body of men, that power is yielded with great reluctance. Boards of education must, as a rule, get their conceptions of school management through the superintendent, and superintendents are responsible largely for the deplorable conditions found in many school systems. The school superintendent, if he is fitted by nature and education for his position, must meet the conditions and requirements of educational leadership, and he must be courageous enough to assume the responsibility such leadership entails.
WHAT IS THE BEST USE THAT CAN BE MADE OF THE GRADE MEETING?
BY EDWARD C. DELANO, ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, CHICAGO, ILL.
It may seem unnecessary to state that the purpose of education is physical and spiritual growth. On this point there is practically perfect concentration of opinion. While general unanimity as to purpose exists, unanimity as to the processes and methods of education is far from being a universal fact. While all desire and seek the same end, there are disagreeing, if not conflicting, theories concerning the means by which the end sought may be most successfully and expeditiously attained.
During the present decade educational minds have been exceedingly active in the attempt to raise all forms of educative work to a higher plane, more completely in accord with the accurately determined and clearly expressed psychological ideas of the day. It is one of the most hopeful signs of the times to the leaders of thought in the educational world that the study of mind, in all its varied forms of activity, is so earnestly and generally pursued on account of its practical bearing on the work of the schoolroom. The natural order of mental development, the action of the mind under the influences of its more or less fixed or ever-changing environment, its tendencies in different stages of development, the regulation and proper direction of its ceaseless activity, especially during school life, have become subjects of absorbing interest and of paramount importance to a constantly increasing number of teachers in the elementary schools of our country. It may still, however, be safely assumed to be true, that a large proportion of elementary teachers, even in cities, has received but little instruction of a strictly professional character as a preparation for rational and efficient service. Normal schools and schools of pedagogy are becoming more numerous, but their graduates, though annually increasing in number, constitute at present but a small fraction of the great army of teachers employed in our public schools. The deficiency in normal or pedagogical training must be supplied, if supplied at all, by the supplementary work of other agencies having in view a similar purpose. Among the notable instrumentalities for the improvement of teachers and increasing the value of the work done in elementary schools may be mentioned university extension, the summer school, the state association, the county institute, and the teachers' reading circle. These agencies, working in different ways for accomplishing the same end, have inspired many teachers with a desire for progress
and self-improvement, which have acted very beneficially on the schools with which they are connected.
At this hour I have been requested to consider the teachers' grade' meeting as a means of modifying and improving educational work. Education, it is true, is a continuous process from the beginning to the end of life, and the multifarious influences, direct and indirect, which make for education in one form or another are continuously active, more especially during the period of childhood and youth. There is a natural sequence in the development of mental power to which all educational methods and processes must conform if the great purpose of education is to be accomplished even to a moderate extent, and the division of this most important period of intellectual growth into subperiods, each requiring mental action in kind and degree appropriate to the developing soul of the pupil as suggested by a close and accurate observation of nature, is based upon a worldwide experience.
The arrangement of pupils in grades is followed by a corresponding classification of teachers when practicable. As in the industrial world, so in the sphere of educational activity, the division of labor has come to be recognized as of paramount importance. Whether the application of this principle, so efficient in the production of material things, to educational work is wise or unwise is still, in the minds of many competent judges, a question not yet satisfactorily answered. But the grades we have; grades of pupils, grades of teachers. Has the graded school attained the highest degree of efficiency, or is there a plane of nobler achievement than that on which the best of such schools now stand?
If our graded schools are to become more efficient in the production of results most to be desired, the grade teachers upon whom the work of instruction chiefly devolves must become more thoroughly acquainted with the true principles and the natural methods of teaching. Not only must knowledge of educational principles be more widely diffused, but skill in their successful application much less rare than it is now. The great and rapidly increasing body of elementary teachers must also be inspired with a desire to perform their work more efficiently and to utilize to the utmost every available means, every accessible source of power, for the realization of that desire.
Before considering the utilities of the grade meeting as a means of rationalizing-perhaps, revolutionizing-the processes of teaching prevalent in many graded schools, it may be well to survey hastily some of the marked defects observable in such schools.
With all the obvious and manifold advantages of the graded system, defects exist which must be corrected or eliminated before the