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The recent report on the Education of the Adolescent points the way to a future-one fears a rather remote future in which post-primary education in one form or another shall be available for every child who has completed a primary course ending about the age of eleven. At present, as every one knows, the provision of post-primary education is, by very general consent, utterly inadequate. There was a time when the State, exercising its functions, first by parliamentary action, and then through its able and devoted officials, had to goad the parent into sending his child to school and keeping him there. Now it is the turn of many a parent to bewail the tardiness of the State in providing the means by which an extended school education may fall to the lot of his child. Such an education, instead of being regarded as a right, is still regarded as an exceptional privilege. One of the inevitable consequences of this dearth of opportunity is the tremendous competition which now exists for junior scholarships tenable at Secondary or central schools; and a further consequence is the invidious task, laid upon the responsible authorities, of selecting the most promising among what amounts in London, for example, to an army of child candidates. The problem, then, is one of selection, of discovering talent and promise of talent. It is "a quest for capacity." To use a metaphor rather sadly current among teachers in elementary schools, it is a process of skimming the cream. The hitherto accepted method of selection is that of an external examination. Since 1889 in Wales, and since 1902 in England, a great deal of experience has been gained in the conduct of these examinations. Perhaps the safest generalization that can be made is
that, if one's purpose is to select the kind of ability that tells in the secondary school course, one had better concentrate on English and arithmetic. Failure in other subjects can be righted later on, but failure in these is fatal. Even so, however, it is alleged that the process of selection, especially when the number of candidates is large and their antecedents various, has been uncertain and indeed haphazard in its working. The results have been too much coloured by the idiosyncrasies of the examiner, or perhaps a rather large staff of examiners What is needed, it is thought, is a set of objective standards and methods which will bring out the same results, whoever the examiners may be.
This subject has been pursued with relentless logic, and, granting his presuppositions, with convincing force, by Mr. B. C. Wallis, in his book entitled "The Technique of Examining Children."* Mr. Wallis speaks from an experience which, we should imagine, is without parallel. And he speaks with no uncertain voice. He envisages the problem with studied simplicity. Out of a very large number of children the examiner has to select a small number of the most promising. To perform this task well, the examiner has to develop a technique of his own. So entirely different is his job from that of the teacher, that it is only by chance that a good teacher makes a good examiner. And so little has examining (for the purpose in question) to do with teaching that we must definitely abandon the notion that one purpose of examining is to improve the teaching. If a child gets a correct answer by a bad and clumsy method, he must still get full marks, because the child is being examined, not the teacher. If the questions are devised with a view to the objective "markability" of the answers, the examiner, so far from being able to teach the subject, need not even know it. And in any case, skill in the technique of examination is far more important than a thorough knowledge of the subject. Mr. Wallis has developed that technique to a point which extorts our admiration. We can well understand that, with the help of a corps of trained assistant examiners, and an efficient clerical staff, he is able, with great confidence to carry through, impersonally and with no impertinent human touch, the big job of selection. The manipulation of mass results, so ardently cultivated in America, has thus invaded our shores.
Of course the human touch may subsequently be added by means of school reports and interviews. Or, on the other hand, it may not be. Even so, however, we may be permitted a few reflections. Mr. Wallis should, we think, have made an explicit distinction between the examination which is a means of testing and improving education, and the examination which is merely a means of selection. That would have saved him from the error of including in the same category school-leaving examinations, and the keenly-competitive scholarship examinations which he has chiefly in mind. Next, we fear it is useless to tell teachers to take no notice of the works and ways of examiners. At the close of his book Mr. Wallis puts in an almost pathetic plea that the teacher should ignore the examination and forget the examiner. "Nothing doing," says the teacher in effect, 'the competitive pressure is too great." There is far too much evidence that, in spite of all precautions, the junior scholarship examination is responsible for cram, and for concentration on a meagre curriculum. Its effects are felt even in the infant schools, where teachers * Macmillan & Co., Ltd. 3s. 6d.
are urged by parents to bestow premature attention to reading and writing, in order that children of tender years may be equipped for the inevitable race that lasts between the ages of seven and ten or eleven.
Taking the immediate view, we should say that Mr. Wallis's book will be, and ought to be, read and pondered by all who are responsible for examining, on a very
extensive scale, the children in elementary schools who are candidates for the privilege of further education. Taking the long view, we should say that Mr. Wallis is trying to make the best of a bad business, and that the only wise way out of our present discontents lies in more extensive provision for the education of the adolescent.
OME 2,000 teachers in elementary schools assembled at Margate during Easter for the annual conference of the National Union of Teachers. A smaller number belonging to the Schoolmasters' Association, restricted, as the name implies, to men teachers, met at Bristol. At the National Union Conference the discussions followed accustomed lines. There was the usual protest against external examinations, and resolutions favouring the raising of the school age to fifteen, with maintenance allowances where necessary, a demand for smaller classes, and improved accommodation for medical inspection, for the teaching staff, and for games. Mr. F. Mander, in his presidential address, urged the need for variety, differentiation, and inequality. "Children were not born equal, nor could they be made equal," and a child's right to education should be based on its ability to learn and not on its parents' ability to earn. Teachers would refuse, except under compulsion, to substitute harshness and cramming for sympathy and sound teaching, to replace the brightness of cheerful industry by listlessness and grudging service.
Association of Schoolmasters.
HE National Association of Schoolmasters is waging an implacable sex-war in relation to teaching. Mr. R. J. Anderson, the new president, declared himself emphatically in favour of men teachers National for boys, and a resolution was adopted, repudiating the suggestion that men and women teachers are interchangeable and affirming that this policy would lead to the disappearance of the man teacher and to consequent weakening of the moral fibre of the nation. In its opposition to external examinations, however, the Association is in sympathy with the Union. The new teaching, one of the speakers said in the discussion on external examinations, gave prominence to the three i's-imagination, initiative, and individuality--whereas mechanical tests tended to retard the progress of true education, and to convert teachers from artists to artisans. A resolution was also adopted declaring that the use of the word "teacher" in describing the name of any body of persons which is an adjunct to any political party is derogatory to the teaching profession. Politics is threatening to take the place of religion as the bone of contention in our schools. There was a great danger, Mr. E. J. Higgins said, in moving the resolution, that political considerations would arise in connexion with appointments and promotions.
schools during the last thirty years, and he advanced good reasons for his conviction that, notwithstanding current criticism, the instruction given in these schools is far more fruitful of the best kind of results than was the case when an external examination was imposed, and "payment" was made on "results" which were by no means of the best kind. And he was unquestionably on safe ground when he asserted that school is now a much happier place, alike for teachers and for taught, than in the bad old days, which he so graphically described. We are not quite able to follow him, however, when he admits that the purely external examination, though an unnecessary evil in the elementary school, becomes a necessary evil in the secondary school. Here he touched upon what shows signs of becoming a burning question in the not distant future. His suggestions as to the award of scholarships to elementary school children are well worth serious attention. Viewing the matter from the inside, he is well aware that the present examinations make for illicit cram and meagre intellectual fare. The suggestion that to each elementary school should be assigned a proportionate number of scholarships, and that the scholarships should, under proper safeguards, be awarded on the recommendation of the head-teachers, will, we hope, be given a fair trial, at any rate, in suitable areas.
THE Board of Education's Circular 1390, beating upon the question of full-time service for the purposes of the Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1925, is intended to help Local Education Authorities and Governing Bodies in determining what is, and what is not, contributory service under the Act. It will now be for the Local Authorities and Governing Bodies to collect contributions on the basis of Circulars 1286 and 1311, as modified by this new Circular, and to make their annual returns, directing the Board's attention to any doubtful cases. A large amount of detailed correspondence with the Board will thus be avoided. One hopes that unnecessary troubles about full-time service are now at an end. The original Circular on the subject was certainly an extraordinary document. It seemed to contemplate no perceptible difference between teaching a first standard in an elementary school and teaching a sixth form in a secondary school or lecturing in a training college. Teaching, for the purposes of the Act, was assumed to involve in all cases standing face to face with one's pupils, at whatever age or stage, for thirty hours a week during thirty-six weeks per annum. Of course, this naive view of the situation was soon modified by another Circular which gave weight to such sundries as preparation, marking of time-consuming exercises, and so forth. The new Circular clears up certain other matters, such as general administrative duties, work in connexion with school libraries, clubs, and societies, and supervision at
school assembly, at meal-times, during recreation, and
THE profession represented by this Journal may truly be said to have a special interest in the question, usually debated at this period of the year, of fixing Easter Day, as Christmas Day A Fixed is fixed. School authorities well know the problem of fixing terms and vacations so as to steer clear of all the difficulties arising from the fact that Easter Day may fall as early as March 22, and as late as April 25. We need not here repeat the explanation of our moon-wandering Easter dates " which is to be found in the ordinary books of reference. Suffice it to say that the varying date of Easter Day determines other dates, such as that of Whitsuntide; that the inconvenience, so far from being limited to schools, spreads throughout the social and business world; and that, to crown all, the whole trouble arises out of a mere accident of ecclesiastical history. An International Fixed Calendar League, largely of American origin, exists for the purpose, first of securing a fixed date for Easter Day, and then for securing further desirable reforms in the direction of a simplified calendar. Obviously the path to reform would be cleared if the sympathy of the Christian churches, and especially of the Roman Catholic church, were secured, and such sympathy seems to be now an accomplished fact. The League to which we have referred takes the whole matter so seriously that its pamphlet on the Mosaic Calendar makes stiff reading. All we can say is that we wish all success to the movement.
VERY widespread interest in the subject of homework in secondary schools has been revealed in the correspondence which has lately been taking place in the Press. It is evident that
Homework : thoughtful parents are considerably
exercised in their minds over the excessive amount of homework which is often required of their children, and that teachers, who have to set this homework because they are in the grip of the examination system, have grave doubts as to the effects which such close application is producing on their pupils. Indeed, the note of criticism and of warning which has been struck is so persistent that the question is now one that can scarcely be left to settle itself. We have already expressed the view that the increasing difficulty of examinations is a sin against childhood, and especially against girlhood, and we should like to add that the excessive amount of homework which is exacted from boys and girls as a preparation for these examinations is no less deserving of censure. Although the girl may as a rule suffer to a greater degree than her brother because she is more conscientious, many boys are quite as thorough as girls; and if some there be who are not so, it is educationally unsound to set work which may be neglected with a reasonable margin of safety. As things are, both teachers and pupils know that what is set cannot be satisfactorily done except by the most brilliant boys and girls. And if it is being done by these at the cost of overstrain, is it worth while?
information should be available, and secondly, that organized action should be undertaken if the What should facts justify a reform. It may, perhaps, be done? be thought that what we have said commits us to one view of the question, but we do not wish to be understood in this sense. If examinations and continued pressure of homework are necessary in the best interests of school children, we suppose that these must continue. But we have been greatly impressed by the argument that homework as frequently set imposes such an intolerable burden that it deadens all interest in work, and that the pupils who suffer under it become so disgusted that nothing can persuade them to continue any branch of study for themselves on leaving school. If this is true, it alone is sufficient condemnation of the present system. We think there might be considerable value in the suggestions made by our correspondent, "Custos," in the present issue, and although we are not prepared without further consideration to take the action he suggests, we should welcome further opinions on the subject from teachers, parents, employers, and, indeed, any one who may be interested. Our deep desire is that, if possible, some authoritative consensus of opinion should be secured on this question.
T is fitting that Mr. F. J. R. Hendy, Director of the IT Department for the Training of Teachers at Oxford, should expound a high philosophy in respect of the training of teachers. He dislikes the word" training." Teaching is a practical art, but it rests on philosophy and science. The notion still prevails, he says with truth, that education is merely character-training-something to be inflicted on children to enable them to endure boredom and injustice. Two fundamental ideas on which all educational theories should be based are, first, the idea of development or the growth of the immature mind, and, secondly, the idea of education as a preparation for life, involving knowledge, on the part of the teacher, of social science, aesthetics, morals, and much beside the actual subjects he is required to teach. These pertinent comments were addressed to a meeting of the Parents' Association. Mr. Guy Kendall, in the course of the discussion, said that the training of teachers at Oxford and Cambridge had had a bad start because, in the beginning, men tended to take it to cover their educational deficiencies. Conversion of our public schools to a belief in training is slow and hesitating, but Mr. Hendy's principles should find wide acceptance.
THE Congress of University Students at Bristol must have been well attended, if we may judge by the voting on the motion-" That the House views with
University Students' Congress.
alarm the time when its own generation will be in authority," the motion being defeated by 169 to 82. Fortunately for the world, youth is always confident, and no one would expect a public admission of youth's inability to face the world's "increasingly perplexing problems." The National Union of Students of the Universities and University Colleges of England and Wales is doing much useful work. The threat of Cam
WE have seen something of the burden imposed by bridge University to withdraw from membership of the
the present system upon adolescent boys and girls and we are of opinion that some definite procedure is called for in order that in the first place, the fullest possible
Union owing to constitutional difficulties is unfortunate, but not without precedent. We hope that a solution may be found, for, under the conditions obtaining to-day,
a policy of isolation cannot be in the best interests of our ancient universities.
Teachers' Registration Council.
HE results of the recent election of non-university candidates for the Teachers' Registration Council are a triumph for the professional associations whose nominees were returned unopposed, or by large majorities. The number of voting papers sent out was 73,332 and the cards returned by voters were If the new Council contains few outstanding names, it represents a good standard and great variety of teaching experience. It will hold office for a period of five years to June 30, 1932. One result of the new method of election should be to ensure greater publicity for the work of the Council. The registered teachers who are now accorded the privilege of direct representation may rightly claim to be informed systematically of the issues before the Council and the decisions taken. We look forward also to increased influence on the part of the Council on all professional questions and a sane and good-tempered reaction to public controversies relating to education. There is a long row to harrow before the profession of teaching attains to the esteem and dignity of some other professions.
R. EDWIN DELLER'S article on The Idea of a University' in the United States," printed in the Contemporary Review, brings out the lights and shadows of the vast edifice of higher education which America has established. There are, of course, many contrasts to our older and more conservative traditions of university education. Much of the work of the American universities, particularly as regards undergraduate education, Dr. Deller admits, is mediocre and some is definitely bad; but it must be remembered that undergraduate or "college" education is not regarded in America as the characteristic work of a university. Contrasted with the English universities, the standard of undergraduate teaching suffers through the deficiencies of the secondary education system in the United States, and special difficulties arise, as Dr. Deller points out, from the low standard of English, the disinclination towards private reading, the lack of an historical perspective, and the advanced democratic conceptions of the social structure. On the other hand, the American universities-especially the State universities—are developing the idea of public service. A State university may "inspect dairy cows and vaccinate cattle, assist in the eradication of pests, enforce pure food laws, and do a hundred things which in England would be a function of a department of State."
LORD LYTTON, who is about to relinquish office as
Governor of Bengal, has shown great interest in educational developments, particularly in connexion with the universities of Bengal. The problem Calcutta of Calcutta University is stupendous University. and baffling. The best is often the enemy of the good and the scheme for the reform of the University, propounded in the Report of the Sadler Commission, has proved a tragic realization of the proverb. But the leaven is working slowly and opinion in favour of reform, Lord Lytton declares, “will before long express itself in an insistent demand for action." Meanwhile, young lives are still cheated of their highest aspirations by inadequate teaching.
Calcutta is not the only capital city in which controversy in relation to university education flourishes. In India, as in other countries, walls are required, not brickbats. "It is easy enough," Lord Lytton said in a memorable phrase, to die for a cause, but to live for it is harder."
HE London County Council has clung obstinately to the idea of retaining full executive powers in its own hands. The result has been bloated agenda papers, delays and waste of time, without any countervailing benefits. We note with. pleasure that the Education Committee has accepted a new scheme of delegation to its subcommittees, and to its education officer. The new proposals affect some fifty-six matters of routine administration, including the appointment, retirement, and resignation, but not dismissal, of non-teaching and minor technical staff, whose salaries are not more than £208 per annum (pre-war basis). Sub-committees are to have power to incur expenditure up to £200 instead of £100 as at present, and the education officer may spend £40 in any one case and authorize other chief officers to arrange for carrying out of work of current maintenance, or supplying equipment or materials for current use. All this will be welcome news to the secondary schools and other institutions administered by the Council, which have hitherto groaned under a senseless tyranny. Public administration, if it is to be efficient, must assimilate its methods to those adopted by commercial and industrial firms.
HE Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised to relieve from income tax the profits of public schools and other similar trading profits of charities. This is the gratifying result of the repreIncome sentations made by a deputation headed Tax. by Mr. J. J. Withers, Member for Cambridge University, which waited on the Chancellor in consequence of the Brighton College case in the House of Lords. In future, any balance of income over expenditure in schools and other institutions of a public character will be devoted to improvements and developments without deduction of tax. The amount involved may not be large in terms of money, but the principle established is sound, and the heads of institutions will be spared the labour of filling up income-tax returns and answering the embarrassing questions of assessors. To those who fought the Brighton College case in the House of Lords and followed up defeat in that judicial tribunal by victory in the High Court of Parliament, the thanks of the teaching profession are due.
'HE disbandment of the O.T.C. Contingent at King Edward VII School, Sheffield, by the Higher Education Committee of Sheffield on the ground that military forms of teaching in schools are wrong, raises questions of more than local interest. It is clear that the political policy of the Local Education Authority has overridden the wishes of the parents of the boys attending the school. The question at issue is not purely educational, but the teaching of tactics and other military subjects for Certificate A has an educational value, and the withholding of the privileges conferred by this certificate will prejudice the interests of the boys in the event of another war. The "municipalization" of secondary schools was accepted in many cases without enthusiasm,
but it is fair to say that there have so far been few grounds for criticism of the administration of the Local Education Authorities. How far the arrangements made by the Government for national defence should be within the purview of Local Authorities is a question raising constitutional issues.
ATa branch meeting of the Science Masters' Association, recently held at Newcastle, the question of the teaching of biology in schools was discussed. Practical difficulties are formidable, especially in Biology in Schools. town schools; but Mr. H. W. Cousins admitted that it was experience gained in large town schools which led him to a determination to teach biology. We sympathize with his view that the beautiful things of nature should be brought to the town, and that money may be as well spent in building something like a palm house as in purchasing expensive physical apparatus. Chemistry and physics gained an initial advantage in our schools and colleges owing to their utilitarian character, but biology now offers many attractive appointments at home and in the tropics, and the problems within its scope, such as those relating to plant and animal diseases, are as important as the chemical and physical problems to which so many students from the universities dedicate their lives. Many a budding Fabre must have been wasted because secondary schools have failed to stimulate a latent interest in biology.
Teachers of Domestic Subjects.
HE only institution in Wales for the training of THE teachers of domestic subjects is the Cardiff Training College of Domestic Arts. It was established originally by the co-operation of Cardiff, Glamorgan, Monmouthshire, and certain of the large boroughs. About a year ago, attention was directed, in the Cardiff Education Committee, to the considerable volume of unemployment amongst teachers trained for such work, and it was decided to withdraw from the joint scheme on the ground that Cardiff was paying for the training of students who were destined to serve in other areas. The cost per student was estimated at from
sixty-five to eighty pounds per annum. Recently a joint meeting of the associated authorities was held to decide on the control and organization of the institution for the future. It was stated that the College had had an average output of from fifty to sixty students for the last fifteen years. The Committee of Management had come. to the conclusion that the College was overproducing. The Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Department stated that the Board considered that thirty such teachers were required per annum in South Wales. Of 310 domestic science teachers in Wales, seventy-two were not trained in South Wales. The Board would be sorry to see the College go, and would welcome cooperative arrangements tending to more economical and efficient working. It was suggested in the course of the discussion that Glamorgan might ultimately make arrangements for training its own teachers of domestic science at its Training College at Barry.
MUCH dissatisfaction has been caused by the omission of a representative for Wales from the
Teachers for Rural Wales.
the Welsh Department to meet this criticism, stated that the Board considered that Wales was already proceeding to meet the problem in its own way through the deliberations of a committee, consisting of representatives of the various training colleges, which has been considering the matter for some time. This committee has had under consideration the question of establishing an examination to take the place of the final examination of training college students. It is proposed to set up a Delegacy, on which training colleges will be adequately represented, to conduct this examination. When this is at work, Wales will have secured an important piece of educational autonomy and forged a desirable organic link between all the training colleges in Wales, and between them and the University consideration will be given to alternative courses which might be introduced to meet the need of teachers intending to serve in rural Wales and also to any examination, thought to be necessary, for admission of students from rural areas, as an alternative to the examination of the Central Welsh Board. Wales will then have her own ad hoc committee in permanent being for dealing with her own problems of teacher supply and training. This pronouncement has met with some criticism, but, on the whole, it is considered as a perfectly sincere and valid statement of a step forward towards the fulfilment of Welsh educational aspirations.
THE decisions of the Councils of the University College of Swansea and Aberystwyth as to the appointment of new Principals are expected very shortly. Meanwhile, a national movement has been initiated. Welsh University for a testimonial to Sir Harry Reichel, Matters. late Principal of University College, Bangor. A letter of appeal has just been issued to the nation. It is signed by a long list of persons distinguished for their work for Welsh education, and by honorary graduates of the University. The appeal directs attention to Sir Harry's forty-three years of service for higher education in Wales. He has been vice-chancellor of the
University no less than six times: every movement concerned with the advancement of secondary and university education has found him in the forefront. Though not a Welshman, he has evinced an ardour for
the native culture and ideals of Wales which it would be difficult to surpass. The controversy as to the exact standing of the Medical School at Cardiff in the University of Wales is still unsettled. A number of Welsh authorities who pledged themselves in 1922 to levy a rate of one-eighth of a penny in support of the institution, are now withholding the money, putting it into suspense accounts, or not collecting it until the controversy is over, in the hope that such action will compel a solution. A motion designed to cause Glamorgan to take this step was defeated at the last meeting of its Education Committee. The appeal for funds for the National Library is being supported by a series of county meetings. At a recent meeting in Cardigan the vice-president, Sir Evan Jones, said that the National Library had developed to an extent that had surprised the whole of the library and educational world. They had buildings costing a quarter of a million pounds holding 420,000 books (printed and manuscript).
WE have grown accustomed to foreigners who chose hayligh as their literary medium-Joseph Conrad
committee recently set up to inquire into the training of teachers for rural areas. A circular recently issued by and Maarten Maartens at once come to mind; we are