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its highest perfection, and that the most perfect society is but the aggregate of the best and wisest individuals. But if we accept such a definition of education as this, it follows that we have a measure by which we can try, at least in its general results, the value of the claims of each subject and method of study. Those studies must be best which bring us most into sympathy with human beings, and which enable us best to understand and to serve them ; those methods must be best, which best develop the qualities of highest service to mankind. If it should prove that our present systems lead us in the true direction, we may be well contented with them as relatively perfect : but should they prove to be based on unsound principles, and so lead to worse practice—then it is time to consider to some purpose how this may be best remedied. What then, seen from this point of view, is the worst defect of female education, at the present time ? Is it not that it appeals too much to vanity? That instead of resting upon sympathy, the grand social virtue, it is too often rooted and grounded in selfishness? From the first lessons in the nursery to the latest school-room drill, it is often one continuous preparation for social display, less often for social service. Truth is another of the great social virtues. How should a woman's education, as ordinarily conducted, foster her love of truth? The direct influence of slovenly methods of teaching, must be to train to habits of untruthfulness. Where there is half knowledge, trickery, deceit, on the part of an unqualified teacher, what must be expected from the pupils ? Is it not true that the demoralisation of character is consequent upon careless and incompetent teaching, and superficial learning is incomparably more mischievous than any lack of positive information ? Need we speak of justice--the crown and flower of all the social virtues? How should women be just? How far does their education prepare them for a clear apprehension of the relative merits and claims of others—that justness of perception, upon which alone justice in action can be based ? What breadth of view, what liberality of sentiment, what superiority to prejudice can be expected from an ordinary woman under ordinary circumstances ? In so far as the present condition of female education is unsatisfactory, the cause appears to lie chiefly in false notions, on the part of both parents and teachers, as to the true scope and purpose of education-a mistake so fertile in evil consequences that we might perhaps say that it is the one ground and occasion of all other mistakes, and that when once a juster view is acknowledged and acted upon, we shall be in a fair way for all other improvements; but till then, amendments in detail can produce no permanent advance. In this matter, we cannot expect society to make all at once a rapid progress. We may be well content if, little by little, sounder views gain ground. There are, however, certain practical measures which admit of present consideration, and, perhaps, of immediate action. Among these, the testing of teachers occupies an important place. Whilst there are many teachers thoroughly in earnest in their work, trying to do their duty, it remains sadly true that no profession is more disgraced by incompetent members. In part this is a passing evil, which time will remedy-an evil arising from the exigencies of modern society, which demand that a greater number than ever of women of the middle classes should be self-maintaining, conflicting with certain foolish theories which make it a degradation to a woman of those classes to earn her own living. The position of a governess seeming to offer more of the shelter and protection of a home than did many other pursuits, it has become the resource of multitudes every way unfitted for the work they have thus taken upon themselves. How best to protect the public from such is a question of great interest. Possibly a scheme of examination may be devised which will guarantee some degree of qualification on the part of teachers. Let us admit at once that no examination whatever can test all the qualifications of a good teacher, and that it by no means follows that the first on the examination list would be the best in the school-room ; it yet remains true that there are certain qualifications scarcely less essential that an examination can test, and that we should thus securely eliminate a vast mass of incompetence. Until a comparatively recent date our middleclass schools were destitute of any external test or guarantee whatever. We need not recal, now that the era of improvement has set in, the former condition of many of these schools. Much of the improvement is due to the multifold system of examinations, which has sprung up throughout the country, and which cannot fail to exert an enormous influence on middle-class education. But the improvement ought not to be confined to boy's schools. The agency which has shown itself so potent for good in their case admits of being applied with like valuable results in the improvement of the education of girls. Nor need there be any long delay in making the experiment. It is an admirable feature in the University Local Examinations that they make imperative a reasonable amount of accurate knowledge and careful work in those elementary branches of education, which in girl's schools, perhaps even more than was ever the case in boy's schools, are apt to be neglected, whilst, on the other hand, the number and variety of the voluntary subjects allow of great latitude in the qualification of individual tastes and the development of individual talents. It can only be by free experiments such as these, carried on in good faith and with persevering industry, that we can arrive at any real certainty as to what knowledge and what mental discipline are best adapted for women and most needed by them. We must protest against any prejudging of a question so important to the best interests of society. We desire, on behalf of girls and women, the utmost liberty of experiment, feeling assured that under such
conditions alone can the true process of natural selection develop that which is best. The brief period of a girl's life allowed to be devoted to serious study is a great hindrance to the adoption of the best methods of teaching. Something of this evil is perhaps due to the present extravagance of school fees.
It may be possible, by various methods of combination amongst teachers, to secure a wiser economy; and this is perhaps one of the matters which an actively co-operative board of teachers might most usefully consider and experiment upon. At present it is too much the fashion to consider a girl's early education as of no moment whatever, and to expect a couple of years' expensive instruction to correct all defects. On the other hand, the finishing process is brought to a close at an unreasonably early age. When a girl has learnt in the school-room how to learn, and has acquired a real love of knowledge, she has done much, and, in spite of many hindrances, this is sometimes accomplished even now. Why, then, should the next few years of her life be spent in carefully undoing the work of the schoolroom ? Is it necessary that the first years of opening womanhood should be consecrated to frivolity, often to the utter disgust and weariness of the unhappy victim? When will it be understood that the only guarantee for happiness is to have real and unselfish interests in life, and that frivolity is at once selfish and unreal ? Are we never to have for women the equivalent of the university training, and of the discipline of early professional exertion, which prove so profitable to most men ? An outcry is sometimes raised against what is called over-education. We are told of fading health, broken spirits, and increased cerebral disease. All this, it is said, is the result of your advanced and improved systems of education. We take leave to deny the charge. Memory may be sometimes burdened, sedentary pursuits too much indulged in, physical training neglected ; but this is the fault, we venture to say, not of overeducation on the part of the pupil, but of under-education on the part of the teacher. No person ought to direct the studies of young people, who is not well aware that a true education involves the harmonious development of all the powers of the human creature. This, at least, we are inclined to believe ; that amongst women at the present time a hundredfold more illness might be traced to a lack of healthful mental stimulus than to its too free application. The best corrective of any excess of the latter kind lies in the careful fulfilment of the daily social or domestic duties which fall, or ought to fall, to the lot of almost every woman. In what, then, do these views bear upon the question before us—“What better provision ought to be made for the education of girls of the middle and upper classes ?" The primary necessity is to ensure the fitness of teachers by the best methods of examination that can be devised. It must also be desirable to apply a practical scheme of examinations of pupils, to test and improve the quality of the instruction
given ; to extend at both ends the period of systematic instruction, in connection with which it would be well to consider the application of endowments and the practicability of co-operation amongst teachers to lessen expense.
The working range of our present ladies' colleges should be widened and their numbers increased, whilst, if possible, some means should be attached to them of teaching how to teach. In the last place, we would offer to women, as well. as girls, the opportunity of real study, and the means of satisfactorily testing their acquirements. It is hoped that ere long the University of London will lend a helping hand in this matter. If so, it is much to be desired that the examinations for women may be not less searching and comprehensive than those of men."
A paper by Miss Beale, of Cheltenham, followed, in which the writer took it for granted that the question had no longer to be discussed as to whether education in the fullest sense of the word was desirable for girls ; but that the aim was simply to discuss what methods were best. Woman had been endowed with mental and moral capacities, and it was intended that these should be cultivated and improved. The education of girls was too often showy rather than real and useful. Accomplishments had been made the main thing, whilst those branches of study calculated to form the judgment and character had been neglected, and the moral ends of education had too often been lost sight of. It was little suspected by many how the great rudiments of education were neglected, and'illustrations of this were given. Miss Beale stated that in some instances the daughters of the higher and middle classes were often more ignorant than the children of the national schools. One cause was that parents too often trusted where they should have inquired, and whilst spending £100 to £200 a year on the education of their daughters, they paid little attention to their real progress. If parents were unable to examine their daughters themselves, there should be a proper system of competitive examination for the purpose of testing what had been done. Their girls were often placed under inferior teachers until they were fourteen or fifteen years of age, and then sent to some school of high repute, where it was thought their education would be sufficiently finished. From her wide experience as to the merits of the home, school, or college systems she was enabled to pronounce in favour of the college system when it was properly carried out. There was, however, some danger in a removal from home if the home influences were neglected. Miss Beale expressed a hope that the inquiry into the important subject of girls' education, which had been instituted by the Royal Commissioners, and the discussions of that Association, might be productive of good. The necessity for some sort of inspection was urged, though she did not think the pian for admitting girls to the same examinations with boys in the University
Local Examinations a wise one, as the subjects seemed to her in many respects unsuited for girls, and further, such an examination as the one proposed was, she thought, likely to produce a spirit of rivalry most undesirable. She did not think a desire for distinction should be made in any degree a prime motive, for it should be remembered the moral training was the end, and education, the means. The excitement of light literature was to be guarded against even as a mere question of bodily health, and the provision of wholesome occupation for the higher classes especially was advocated.
A discussion ensued.
Dr. Hodson said, "he was glad to see that the views respecting the desirableness of encouraging and promoting to a much greater extent education amongst females was gaining ground, and that those who had formerly looked upon the subject with indifference, were now beginning to look with more consideration. It had been objected that the subjects which were suitable for teaching to boys were unsuitable for girls; but he had not yet seen the force of the objections, as those who advanced them were seldom able to find any special subjects. Classics had been mentioned as suitable for girls providing that the books were expurgated. But it was also just as necessary that purity of morals should be maintained in the education of boys, and generally he considered that no individual subject could be pronounced fit for the study of boys that was not also fit for girls. The next matter to be considered was the method of teaching, and afterwards to what extent the various subjects should be carried. He would draw no line of demarcation, so as to limit the extent of knowledge, whether for boys or girls, but would allow each just so much as time and circumstances would allow.”
Mr. Gillespie remarked that “boys ought to be trained physically, morally, and intellectually, and he did not see why the same should not be applied to girls. In order the better to provide for the education of girls in the upper and middle classes, there ought to be more means for the practice of calisthenics, and in this respect there was some improvement required in the case of boys. The out-door school ought to be attended to as well as the indoor school.”
Dr. Hancock said that with regard to the education of the poorer classes, the State provided for both boys and girls, and wherever a boy's parish school was found there was generally a girl's school also. But in the case of the middle and upper classes there was a difference, as the State did not interfere so much ; and in the case of girls it was left altogether for private enterprise to carry out the system of education. But the means for the education of females of the middle and upper classes were especially defective, as, whilst for boys there were grammar schools and other schools endowed by the State, endowments were not provided for female schools. One of the grievances complained of