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latter, and thus were they hurried to a premature and perhaps a pauper's grave.*
In Germany and other countries in Europe where the law obliges parents to provide for the education of their children, how different is the state of the working classes ! There, should the parent be selfish enough to detain the child from attending school for the sake of enriching himself with the small remuneration paid for his labor, he is prevented ; and succeed. ing generations must feel the influence of so just a law.t The parents being educated themselves, they appreciate education too well not to have their children educated also, consequently there is a willingness on their part to contribute to the fund set apart for popular education. In countries where so much attention must be paid to the education of youth, the necessity for Evening Schools does not exist as patently as in those where the education of the child rests solely on the will of the parents. A single glance at the social condition of the Working Classes of both countries will be sufficient to show the happy effects arising from enforcing education among these classes, and the evil consequences of leaving it optional with them as is in these kingdoms.
Inability to pay the school fees cannot now be alleged by parents as a cause, justifying them in permitting their children to grow up uneducated, for too many schools exist, wherein they may receive an education gratuitously and of a very superior
* The aged operative is now almost unknown, bis old age is the wrinkle on the brow of youth, cheeks sunk with premative labour, hair grey with juvenile debauch. Neither is he ever young! his childhood has passed away without a single childish reminiscence_he is initiated in the gin glass almost from his mother's milk, he lives with the practised vices and is pinched with the true misery of grown up men. And if he flies for consolation at home, he has no true home, a wife sickened over with the same wretchedness as himself, giving birth to children dying from their birth, a progeny, numerous, ricketty and scarcely able to sustain the burthens of life, till they reach the age when they too shall be devoted at the same altar! this is the perspective on which his thoughts of the future must rest, this is the inheritance which he is to leave to his country. From this serious error in the physical manage. ment of his class necessarily flow a series of intellectual and moral evils.lyse on Educalion Reform, Vol. I. Page 324.
† Yet we are told that all Government interference with the education of the people is at variance with sound principle, involving a departure from the legitimate province of the Government. Against this declaration the proceedings of the National Association have been a strong and unwavering protest in the name of liberty and of progressive civilization--Public Education, by Sir James Shuttleworth, Bt. Page 46.
nature. Therefore, when we see so many of our working classes ignorant, we can only attribute it to the indifference of their parents, and the low estimate in which they held the education of their children.
But even adopt such measures as may seem best calculated to remove this evil, and prevent the same indifference to education in the rising generation.
The plan that strikes us as the most effectual is the opening of a well conducted class of Evening National Schools throughout the most populous districts, and enlisting in their support the patronage and interest of the most influential gentlemen residing in the vicinity in which they may be situated. We admit that attempts have been made to establish this class of Schools and have failed; but there is no effect without a cause, and the causes of the failure of these Schools, in Dublin at least, we shall endeavour to explain, and at the same time suggest the means that seem to us best calculated to ensure their future success.
It is greatly to be feared that the failure of these schools is to be attributed to the want of co-operation on the part of those who should evince the greatest solicitude in their promotion, and also to indifference and want of energy in the teachers. Long experience and careful observation justify us in making an assertion which we otherwise would be most careful to avoid. We have already adverted to the great anxiety manifested by the managers of day schools for the education of the children of the poor, an anxiety which must awaken in their hearts feelings of the deepest gratitude in years to come, and entitle, as it does, those gentlemen who labor so energetically in the cause of Popular Education to the respect of all parties anxious for the moral and social improvement of the poorer classes of society. But what we urge is, the necessity of providing for the education of those who have been compelled at an early age, either to seek their own maintenance, or assist their parents in providing for that of their families, whilst by this means they are prevented from availing themselves of the opportunities which our daily National Schools afford for their improvement.
The managers of most, if not all, the National Schools in Dublin are clergymen whose influence, if brought to bear on the adults of their parishes, could not fail to sccure the fullest
attendance.* None can promote education among our laboring poor so much as the clergy, for once their interest is enlisted in the education of their flock, very little is to be feared for its success, and in no country is this more strikingly exemplified than in Ireland.
What we require therefore, is the co-operation of managers, united with that of other influential gentlemen, anxious to promote education among our industrious poor. Could this be effected, we have every reason to believe that most satisfactory improvements would soon be visible in the moral and social condition of the latter.
We are not at all surprised at the want of success that has marked all the efforts bitherto made to educate the working classes of this country, when we reflect upon the small amount
of energetic influence that was exercised in its behalf, and • the miserable salaries given the teachers for this purpose, which
but half stimulated their efforts, and made them indifferent to the success of so laudable an undertaking. That such is, and has been, the case, the failure of evening schools alone affords sufficient proof. Another cause to which we may justly attribute the failure of our efforts to promote education among this class of society, is the fact of having the same teachers to discharge the duties of both day and Evening Schools. Any person acquainted with school teaching knows, if justice be done the pupils during the day, the teacher must necessarily be too fatigued to resume the still more arduous duties of an Evening School a few hours afterwards. We hold, therefore, that no teacher should be allowed to exercise the duties of both schools, and, indeed, such is the opinion of those most competent to judge on matters pertaining to education. Knowing from experience how injurious such an arrangeinent has proved to the cause of Adult Education, we feel justified in urging its discontinuance, aud in recommending that teachers be selected whose business would be to educate our working classes only. This, no doubt, would create additional claims against the funds of the Commissioners of Education, but so trilling, that it should not form an objection to an arrangement being made, calculated, as the one proposed is, to
Tlie clergy have their duty to perform, but they have also their rights. The most important branch of education belongs to them, they ought to be reciprocally associated in its general direction and supportWyse on Education Reform, Vol. 1. Page 270.
promote the advancement of the operative classes in those departments of literature most conducive to their interests and social improvement.
The want of an effective “ teaching power" has also contributed to the failure of Evening Schools in Dublin : we must state that, with one single exception, we have never seen in any of these schools what we could terin an efficient staff of teachers. The consequence was, that the adult pupils requiring more attention than could possibly be given them, left, and in leaving, spread the report abroad that proper attention was not paid them, thus injuring both the character of the teacher and the school.
We have now stated what to us seem the true causes of want of success in the Evening Schools of Dublin ; and though there may be many divisions of opinion on the subject, yet . we feel convinced that were these causes removed, the result would be that these schools could compete in success with the daily National Schools of our city, and most materially advance the education of our laboring poor.
Having stated that we would suggest the means that appear to us calculated to remedy the defects of the system at present adopted in conducting Evening Schools, we now proceed to do so, and for this purpose we deemn it expedient first to offer a few observations on the qualifications and duties of the teachers to whose charge those schools should be confided.
Besides their literary attainments there are other qualifications which we hold to be of great importance in all teachers, but especially in those conducting Evening Schools attended by pupils who, perhaps, have already attained the age of manhood. They require to have a knowledge of the social condition of such pupils, and also of the nature of their different employments, in order to instruct them in those subjects most likely to conduce to their advancement in life. Adults require to be treated very differently from children ; and this it is which leads us to believe that the system on which our daily National School is conducted, is not at all calculated to succeed in an Evening School. Iu the first place, that passive obedience which is yielded by a juvenile pupil can never be expected from an adult, nor should a teacher demand it. Every teacher, who has had any experience in conducting Evening Schools, will admit how imprudent such a line of conduct would be; he must be aware of the unpleasant consequences that enfore
ing obedience generally entails. We would strongly urge that teachers appointed to the management of evening schools should divest themselves of that imperative tone of voice, and set aside the airs that so frequently mark the man of petty authority, and assume that frank and easy manner which characterizes the man whose education consists, not merely in BOOK LEARNING, but in a knowledge of the world also. They should be affable and kind to their pupils when imparting instruction, for many of them being fatigued from the weary toil of the day, if treated with harshness are likely to retort, and bid defiance to the teacher's authority, and from experience we have found that a rebellious pupil meets many others to sympathize with him. Kindness, therefore, should be shown to those pupils, for they must be well disposed and deserving, or they would not be found attending these schools, evincing as they do the greatest anxiety to improve. It behoves every teacher to gain, evening after evening, on the affections of his pupils by his kindness and affability, and by conforming himself to their views so long as it does not compromise or interfere with bis own authority, of which, by the way, he should not be over tenacious on some points. In a school where a teacher governs by affection every thing goes on well. The greatest and most learned teachers have governed their schools in this way, and most gratifying were the results, both in the moral and intellectual improvement of their pupils.* Perhaps this will be found even more necessary in governing adult pupils : in fact we hesitate not a moment in asserting, that it is the only way by which a teacher can hope to secure their attendance. In no case is it judicious to resort to corporal punishment; with such pupils it can effect no good, but leads to very unpleasant consequences. Adults see their own interest as clearly as a teacher does his; they have already experienced the many disadvantages arising from the want of
The teacher knows little of his profession if he does not understand that no faculty in a child is more powerful than example. Let him be his lesson and it will soon penetrate. Let him, in the intercourse of every day, every hour, seize every avenue to instil by deed the sacred theme. Let him be just and generous, and mild and kind, himself, and he will have already preached, and more than preached, those virtues to his scholars. In the silence of the young heart their unobtrusive voice will be soon heard.
He will be surprised by the blossom and the fruit even before he imagines the root has struck. Virtue is to be caught; it infects as well as vice. - Wyse on Education Reform, Vol. I. p. 242.