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cheating. Well, so does the actual world for that matter. But cheating, wiiether in the world or in school, is in the long run unprofitable and easily detected. An observing teacher can easily detect work which is above the level of the pupil's own powers; and the school, by trusting its pupils to be fair and honest, and at the same time exposing and punishing dishonesty and unfairness when it is detected, can introduce a moral discipline of great value in connection with this kind of examination. And even if the work is to some extent done dishonestly it can not all be done unfairly; and even the neat and orderly and intelligent copying of work has some educational value, even if it has no value as a test and less than none from a moral stand-point. Notwithstanding this single objection, such collateral and original work, representing the best the pupil can do with plenty of time and plenty of books, in the same freedom and responsibility as he will have in later life, may fairly enter as the second of the three elements, determining his promotion.
The third kind of examination should come at the end of the course. This final examination should aim to test solely the pupil's comprehension of the subject; his appreciation of its main features and more important bearings. The questions should be set by the teacher, or by the superintendent with the advice and consent of the teacher, and with special reference to the points emphasized by the teacher in the final review. These questions should never go into the details of particular lessons. They should be confined strictly to those prominent features of the subject which have been so reviewed, reiterated, and dwelt upon that every pupil who has paid attention and taken an interest in the subject will be perfectly familiar with them. The questions on the final examination should be based on the review as conducted by the teacher, not on the text-book. The questions should be suggestive to the thought rather than reininders to the memory. The pupils should be told plainly and repeatedly that this final examination will be such that no amount of cramming of the text-book will help them to pass it; that all that will be necessary is a clear understanding of those main topics which have been dwelt on in the class during the final review. Such an examination will be as easy as play to those scholars who have been atten. tive, interested, and thoughtful. It will be blind as Egyptian hieroglyphics to those who have been listless and indifferent. It will be impossible for any one to pass it who has learned the book by rote, and done nothing more.
This examination, too, has a great educational value. It furnishes an objective point toward which the oral instruction of the teacher way be directed in the last few weeks of the term which are devoted to como prehensive review. It will help to fix in the mind those leading features of the subject which such a review, as conducted by a good teacher, seems to bring out. It cultivates in the pupil the habit of thinking about his studies, and accustoms him to see the meaning of what he learns.
The results of this examination may rightly enter as a third element in determining a pupil's promotion.
Now, putting the results of these three kinds of examination to. gether we know all that we need to know respecting a pupil's attainments in his studies and his fitness for promotion. We know, with respeet to each pupil, how well he has learned his daily lessons; we know how intelligently, neatly, and effectively he can put in practice what he has learned, and we know how firm a grasp he has on the broad outlines of the subject as a whole. We have secured these ends without worry or fret on the part of the pupil; without subjecting our teachers to distrust or constraint, and without the bother of any nice mathematical calculation on the part of the examiner or superintendent. We have given each type of mind among our pupils a fair chance to do his best on his owo lines. The memorizer has had his opportunity in the frequent reviews. The careful, plodding, painstaking pupil has had his chance to take all the time he needed to do his best on the work to be handed in; and the pupil of quick, keen, intuitive perceptions has had his turn in the final examination. Every pupil who is fitted for promotion on any ground whatever has had a fair chance to make his fitness manifest. And more than that, our examinations have in every case been important instruments in furthering the acquisition of accu. rate, available, and significant knowledge, as well as tests of its possession. Such a system of examination meets every requirement for the sake of which examinations are advocated, and avoids every evil on account of which they are opposed. At the same time, by making the final examination only one of three determining considerations, it accomplishes the end aimed at by those who do not lay much stress on the final examination; and by making this final examination of such a broad and general nature that it will be easy as play for the faithfal, and difficult for none except the listless and inattentive, it attains the end of those who examine one portion of a class and exempt the other.
Such a system of examination gives the pupil definiteness and stim. ulus iu study, with no temptation to cram and no occasion to worry. It gives the teacher freedom in the methods, and enforces responsibil. ity for the results of his teaching. It enables the superintendent to know and appreciate every kind of excellence in his teachers, and to judge them by a broad and just standard, and to know and appreciate every kind of capacity and attainment in the pupils, and to grade and promote them on the basis of a fair and comprehensive exhibition of proficiency and power.
It insures an education which is neither so loose as to be desultory and demoralizing, nor so mechanical as to fall into narrow routine and dead uniformity; an education which thoroughly masters details, while it does not overload the memory with unwieldy burdens of disconnected facts; an education which puts its knowledge into practice, and yet does not allow principles to be forgotten; an education which is broad aud comprehensive, without becoming vague and superficial.
In a word, examination thus conducted is a system. It recognizes that there are more types of mind than one, and that knowledge has mavifold processes, as apprehension, application, and comprehension. It gives to each type of mind and to each process of knowledge scope and recognition, and at the same time holds them all in due subordina. tion to the great governing aim of education, which is to develop in symmetry and harmony the minds of all its pupils.
EXAMINATIONS FOR PROMOTION.
BY WILLIAM M. GIFFIN,
Newark, N. J.
Mr. President, Ladies, and Gentlemen : This is a timely subject, one that has been far too long neglected. I desire, independently of any. thing that has been or may be said on the question, to offer a few earnest
a protests. Let me add, however, as an introduction, that I am in full sympathy with the following thoughts which must have been written by a practical teacher, inasmuch as they show a perfect familiarity with the subject, and the opinions are expressed as only a man of experience can express himself. They are as follows;
Examinations, as ordinarily conducted, do not give the results of good teaching, because they are based upon the supposition that knowledge is everything. A cross, selfish, and even brutal teacher may make good text-book scholars.
They may know a wonderful number of facts in history and geography, they may be quick in mathematical calculations, and excellent in the languages, and yet with all this they may send their pupils out into the world fit only to become Wall street sharpers, boodle, vicious, and tricky politicians. But are these things the measure of their success? By no means. Just such men pulled Rome down, and just such men will cause the ruin of our country should it fall. The imparting of knowledge is of minor importance. We are running wild over strength of body and mind, and neglecting the culture of the soul.
There are some who will say that all this is nonsense," preaching," and all that. It is not nonsense, and if it is preaching, the more of it the better. We want some earthquake that will shake a few of these fundamental truths into the inner consciousness of thousands of teachers who are wild over facts. They are everlastingly asking, “ Who?" "What?" 66 When?" "How?"
This is the beginning, middle, and end of all their teaching. If they find a pupil who can tell the name of Queen Victoria's great-grandmother, or conjugate the Greek irregular verbs, and give Cicero's idiomatic ex
pressions, they at once pronounce him “excellent." Special results stand at the end of all their ideas of school work.
Taking this, then, as a text, I protest (1) against any of the powers that be, so arranging their course of studies, and so conducting their exam. inations, and so judging their teachers as to make them (the teachers) feel that not only their salaries and their positions, but almost their “everlasting salvation," depend upon just such teaching as abovo described. How absurd to judge of the competency of the teacher by the results she may obtain from term or annual examinations, thus causing her to become a machine for cramming, pouring into, and stuffing the minds of her pupils with words, words, words, in order that she may prepare them for the annual farce, causing her to give as much time to the G. C. D. and the L. C. M., and that other father of frauds, alligation (because, you know, they may be in the examination), as she gives to the common sense practical' principles of arithmetic.
It also tempts her to compel her pupils to con by rote the chronological tables in history so that they may be up in all the dates, thus making the settlement of New Hampshire or the battle of the “Kegs” of as much importance as the discovery of America or the Declaration of Independence; and hence instead of awakening a love for history in the minds of the pupils, causing them to acquire a life-lasting dislike for one of the grandest studies in the curricula of our public schools.
(2) I protest against the unkind, unjust, and arbitrary regulation in too common use, which says that a child cannot be promoted who ob. ' tains less than sixty-five per cent. in any one study.
I am willing to have any amountof patience with a child who knows four of five studies so well as to be able to obtain an average of seventy-five per cent. when getting absolutely nothing in the fifth study. Heaven only knows where we would have been to-day had we, when at school, been obliged to obtain sixty-five per cent. in our spelling examination.
We were filled with admiration for Sir Isaac Newton; we admired Benjamin Franklin; we appreciated the plays of Shakespeare; the force of Webster; the statesmanship of Hamilton, and the generalship of Washington; but these did not awaken our indescribable wonder, our unbounded amazement, as did the performances of Mr. Philips, of Hoosier schoolmaster fame. It was 'way beyond our comprehension how any man, woman, or child under the starry-decked beaven could roll out letter after letter which, combined in regular or irregular, wise or otherwise order, make up the words of our English language.
And yet such ability was or is no more an evidence of brains than the horns of a snail are an evidence of rapid transit.
I have a dear friend, who towers head and shoulders above me intellectually, who can write page after page of manuscript without so much as thinking of consulting the dictionary. He is also well up in bistorical information; he can, at almost a moment's warning, give wings to his imagination and fly off into space, filling page after page with beautiful
word pictures. Yet, even to this day, let him be soaring ever so high heaven ward, I can bring him down to earth more quickly than Darius Green ever thought of coming, by simply putting the following question to him: John is thirty-six years old, and one-fourth of his age is threeninths of William's; how old is William ?" Not only will it bring him down to earth, but unless instant relief is given there are alarming symp. toms of a congestive chill. Oftentimes have I been riding in the horsecar with him, when, seeing a dime in his hand, I have taken it, placed a nickel there, and when the conductor came in I paid both fares; he in the niean time looking at me in a dazed sort of way, says, " Well, I sup. pose that is all right, but I'll be hanged if I understand it."
Many of the brightest lights ever known could not have been promoted under such a system; e. g., John Locke, who could write a masterly work on the understanding, but who, it is said, did not and could not master the multiplication table.
(3) I protest most emphatically against the too common practice of measuring the child's brain by the answers he may give to a set of pet questions proposed by a disinterested, fully-matared, non-professional committeeman who has no more knowledge of the principles of teaching .than has a frog of the tonic sol-fa system of singing, and who is just about as successful as an examiner as is the frog as a songster.
(4) I protest against the idea that a pupil may spend the whole year in acts of pure cussedness, idling away his time day after day, using up more of the teacher's nerve force than any other half-dozen pupils, and finally receive a promotion to a higher grade because he sat up until the “wee small hours” during the last month of the school year learning the words of his text-book by heart, and on the examination day gave three-fourths of his answers to the above-mentioned pet questions correctly, and who, notwithstanding his wordy description, e. g., of the battle of Gettysburg, could not tell whether it were fought in Pennsylvania or the Fiji Islands were he given all the glittering gold of California and the sparkling diamonds of Brazil for doing so.
Do not conclude from these remarks that I have no sympathy for the unruly element in our public schools.
I had occasion not long ago to express my views on the subject under the following circumstances: I enter a class-room from which a class has just been excused and there find the young teacher with a pale, care-worn face. I ask why she looks so care-worn. She tells me she feels down-hearted and discouraged, in short, like giving up entirely. " Why?" I ask. " Well," she answers, "Johnnie Blank is so bad; I 6
66 do not see any improvement in him; I fear I shall never reach him. Why not suspend him? I could do so much better were he out of the class." “Let me see," I reply; “how long have vou had the class ?'' “ Eight days.” “Indeed, so long! What is expected from your class in language this term ?” (The work as laid down in the manual is here explained by the teacher.) " Has Johnnie mastered the term's