Imágenes de página

sense, and began to introduce changes into the schools under their direction, and to urge government to proceed in their plans. Thus it may be truly said, that out of this attempt, which in its immediate consequences proved a complete failure, the present improved state of education in Prussia took its rise.

As soon as the inefficiency of Zeller's exertions was fairly proved, the institution underwent another change, which brought it much nearer to the present arrangement of the seminaries. It was ordered that the pupils, whenever they showed talent and inclination for teaching, should be instructed in the institution up to their eighteenth year, and then sent to some of the most intelligent clergymen, who were to employ them as assistants in the elementary schools till they had completed their twentieth or twenty-first year, when they might become schoolmasters. But this plan was not long adhered to, as, in the mean time, attempts had been made to establish seminaries for schoolmasters in other places, and these attempts had been more successful. A way was thus pointed out, by following which it seemed probable that undertakings of this description would be attended with such results as government desired. Those institutions therefore in which unsuccessful attempts had been tried were by degrees reduced to the form of those which promised a fair success, and among these was the Orphanotrophy of Königsberg.

This seminary has the advantage, as already mentioned, of having connected with it a preparatory school.

It owes this advantage to its having been ingrafted on a charitable institution which previously existed ; for such a preparatory school is not considered as a necessary part of a seminary, and most seminaries in fact are not

supported by such an auxiliary institution. As far as we know, preparatory schools are only connected with two others of these institutions, the great seminary at Bunslau, in Silesia, and that at Yenkau, near Danzig ; and in both places the preparatory schools owe their origin to the existence of charitable institutions for education before the erection of the seminaries. But though these preparatory schools seem by no means to enter necessarily into the plan of a seminary, they are considered decidedly advantageous for the instruction of teachers of the lower classes; and this conviction has given rise to the idea of connecting a preparatory school with every seminary in Prussia as soon as the requisite funds shall be provided.

The preparatory school is, properly speaking, the school of the ancient orphanotrophy. But it differs from it materially in not giving any longer to its pupil a classical education, but only that of a good middling school. The number of orphans amounts as formerly to about thirty, who receive in the institution board, lodging, and instruction gratis, just as it is ordained in the statutes of the foundation. Those who show talent, and manifest a decided inclination for the vocation of schoolmaster, are then prepared by a suitable instruction for the seminary. The subjects of instruction for these pupils do not differ from those taught to the other orphans; but some of the branches are taught with more particular care: such as arithmetic, calligraphy, geometry, the vernacular language, reading, history, geography, natural philosophy, and natural history. To this is added instruction in music; which is however of a practical kind, and affords the boys an exercise in playing the piano-forte and the violin. Besides this, the elements of the Latin language are taught, because it frequently happens that the schoolinasters of the townschools are required to give private lessons in that language, and this seminary is partly designed for educating teachers for the middling schools. It must of course be expected that, among thirty boys, the number of those who have talents and inclination for teaching cannot be large, and in fact the number last year did not amount to more than five. Government therefore has opened this school to other boys who are not orphans, and who show a disposition to become schoolmasters. These boys attend the school gratis, but are provided with board and lodging by their parents and relations. The number of such pupils amounted in 1834 to twenty-three. Before these boys are admitted to the preparatory school, they must submit to an examination, in which they have to prove that they have been completely instructed in the subjects taught in the elementary schools. They must show that they have acquired, 1, a legible hand ; 2, a knowledge of the most simple rules of arithmetic, and a certain dexterity in applying them; 3, the elements of geometry, and that they are acquainted, 4, with the principal rules of orthography and orthoepy, and 5, with the catechism of Luther, and with the history of the principal events in the Bible. Lastly, it is required that they must have an ear for music and a voice for singing. Every year at Easter an examination for this purpose takes place; and those boys who prove that they possess the required qualifications are admitted into the school, and attend it till the completion of their sixteenth year, when they are sent to the seminary


2 M

To be admitted into the seminary, it is not absolutely necessary that the students should have been in the preparatory school. A considerable number of those who attend the seminary have been previously instructed by other persons, frequently by clergymen ; but all must submit to an examination before they receive permission to attend the instruction of the seminary. In this examination the candidates have to prove that,

1. They have acquired a more complete and more exact knowledge of the historical portions of the Bible.

2. That they can explain the more easy passages of the Bible.

3. That they begin to master their own language, which is to be proved by writing a composition on some easy subject; as, for instance, the true signification of a proverb, the description of some historical event, or of some natural phenomenon, &c. This exercise ought to be free from any orthographical mistake, and must not contain gross violations of grammatical rules.

4. That their handwriting is not only legible, but good.

5. That they have had some practice in singing from written music.

6. That they have studied an instruction-book of music, and know how to play the pieces from it on the piano-forte, as this degree of proficiency qualifies them to attend the instruction on the organ, and on the theory of music.

7. That they have acquired some knowledge of the organic kingdoms of nature, and are acquainted with the most remarkable plants and animals: a knowledge of mineralogy is not required.

8. That they are likewise acquainted with the principal facts of the history of their own country and of general geography.

9. That their knowledge of geometry is at least equal in extent to what is taught in the better kinds of elementary schools; that is to say, it must comprehend the elements of form, and the most simple properties of angles, triangles, &c.

10. That they are acquainted with fractions, and have also acquired some idea of the reasons on which this portion of arithmetic rests.

The seminarists remain three years in the institution at Königsberg, which is the time required in most of the Prussian seminaries of schoolmasters for the lower classes. Though there are still a few in which the whole course of instruction, together with the necessary practice in teaching, is included in the course of two years, it begins to be plain that this term is too short. When both complete instruction and the practice of teaching are to be acquired in the short period of two years, it is necessary to form a plan by which both objects may be forwarded together; but in such an arrangement the interruptions of the instruction must be frequent, and the mixing up of both objects must be attended with some confusion, which is found by experience to impede the progress of the students. When, on the contrary, the term is extended to three years, the first two are chiefly employed in completing their acquaintance with the subjects of instruction; and the last year is mainly, if not exclusively, appropriated to acquiring the art of teaching under the guidance of one of the teachers in the elementary school annexed to the

« AnteriorContinuar »