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44-A spelling exercise was conducted, to show a new method of teaching orthography.
In the evening the ample hall was crowded again, and Prof. Welch gave an interesting lecture on conversation.
Wednesdag, * A. M.--Devotional exercises and singing. 94 A. M.--Prof. Welch; primary drawing, lines and letters.
101 A. M.--Superintendent; multiplication, and several proofs.
114 A. M.--Prof. Welch; primary drawing and learning alphabet.
2 P. M.--Prof. Welch; methods of teaching composition.
21 P. M.-Superintendent; subtraction and the two theories of its explanation.
3 P. M. ---Prof. Abbot; English grammar.
44 P. M.--A general oral exercise in numbers, on Prof. DeMorgan's rules for rapid calculation,
The evening was occupied by the Superintendent, with a written address on educating agencies.
Thursday, 8: A. M.--Devotional exercises; after which a reading class was conducted by one of the lecturers.
91 A. M.--Superintendent explained the divisions of Geography, and the modes of teaching it.
114 A. M.--Prof. Welch explained the laws and methods for the general management of schools.
2 P. M.-Superintendent; division, its theories and proofs. 3.P. N.-Prof. Abbot; the English verb and tense. 4 P. M.-Prof. Welch; analysis of the verb.
4 P M -Another spelling exercise in illustration of a method of teaching.
In the evening a crowded house listened to a lecture by the Superintendent on the government of children.
Friday, 81 A. M --As this was the last day, the house was filled early, and a short lecture on the properties of numbers was given, till the proper hour for opening.
8; A. M.--Devotional exercises.
9 A. M.-- Superintendent; prime and composite numbers. 94 A. M.----Prof. Welch; conscious and unconscious teaching. 104 A. M.-Superintendent; physical education.
11 A. M.--Prof. Welch; essential qualifications of a good teacher-firmness and kindness The last half of this hour was devoted to rhetoric.
2 P. M.--Prof. Abbot; verb, tense and participle. 3 P. M.--Prof. Welch; mode, tense, &c.
4 P. M.-Superintendent; theory of teaching. Seven essential conditions of all true teaching. Final address to teachers on their responsibilities and rewards.
In the evening the house was again thronged, and Prof. Fisk lectured on Meteorology, &c.
The attendance at this Institute embraced over two hundred teachers, besides the large numbers of school officers and citizens, in daily, to witness the exercises. The utmost earnestness and anxiety was manifested by the teachers to learn all that was possible about their work, as teachers.
The reports do not show any considerable growth of this important department of our educational interests. The number of volumes reported in the district libraries, was 103,747; an increase of 3,768 for the year. The number of volumes in the township libraries was 57,982, showing a net addition of only 447 volumes during the year.
It cannot be concealed that no very general popular interest is felt in these libraries. This is evident from the small sums appropriated for their support. Each township is allowed, under the law, to appropriate, by a vote at the annual spring elections, so much as it chooses of the two mill tax, for the support of the libraries. Out of 658 townships making school reports, only 85 voted any appropriation for libraries, and the aggregate amount thus voted was $3,058 04. The failure to make any appropriation arises, doubtless, in many cases, from forgetfulness or neglect on the part of the township inspectors or others, to have the question presented to the people. In other cases the vote is taken when the voters have nearly all retired from the polls, and the friends of the libraries have no opportunity to properly represent their claims.
The amount received from fines, penalties, and forfeitures, under the penal laws of the State, and which are by both the State constitution and statutes devoted to the libraries, was $7,593 90, which was $1,235 68 more than was received from the same source the preceding year. It is confidently believed that if the moneys collected as fines, &c., were all paid in, and apportioned, as required by law, the revenue to the libraries from this source would afford to each library almost an adequate support. Many irregularities and violations of the law have come to my knowledge during the past year. The fines are often retained by the justices, or other officers collecting them, under the plea that they are all absorbed in paying costs of prosecution and collection, although the Supreme Court of the State has decided that no such use can be legally made, the entire amount collected belonging to the library fund. In one instance, at least, the board of supervisors of the county de. liberately voted to violate the law by directing the treasurer to transfer these moneys to the general fund. Of course, this action was of no force and void, and neither compels nor au thorizes the county treasurer to make so glaring a misappra priation of these moneys, nor will it protect him in any such violation of his oath of office. The townships may still de mand and collect such moneys.
The amounts of fines reported in a few of the counties may be taken as an index of the amount of revenue that should be derived from this source. Barry county reports $1,090 36; Berrien $636 36; Kalamazoo, $1,500; Oakland, 795 53; St. Clair, 431 94; Wayne 1,032 41. The treasurers of Kent, Branch, Livingston, Jackson, Van Buren, Monroe, Macomb, and several other counties, 23 in all, report no money apportioned. In several large and populous counties, the sums were meagre and insignificant.
One may well wonder at the apathy exhibited by many of the districts and townships, in regard to so valuable and economical an educational agency. A brief consideration of the subject will convince any unprejudiced mind of the value of these libraries, and that a true economy and wise policy demand that their maintenance be placed upon as solid a basis, and be as regularly cared for, as that of the schools themselves. The libraries conduce to the same ends, and are the necessary adjuncts of the schools. The one is incomplete without the other; and it might even be questioned whether a district without a library is not as defective in the means for a thorough enlightenment of its children as a district without a school. If it be replied that the children will find some books at home for reading, when there is no library, it might be answered that they would also find some instruction at home if thero were no school. The truth is evidently this: children need both school instruction and library reading. The school teaches to read; the library furnishes the books for reading. The school teaches to think; the library furnishes the food for thought. The school awakens the mind to an active desire for knowledge; the library is the open store-house of knowledge. The school aims to awa. ken a taste for literary pleasures; the library is the only means by which this taste can be gratified. Thus these two-the school and the library-stand over against each other, and are mutual helpmeets and co-workers in the common work of educating men. If the school gives to the library intelligent readers, so on the other hand the library sends back to the school interested pupils. The school furnishes the seeing eye; the library affords the illuminating light, and the former can no more say to the latter, “I have no need of thee,” than can the latter retort, “I have no need of thee.”
No intelligent parent or teacher will willingly forego the aid of a good library in the work of educating the young. The child who has imbibed a taste for reading, such as a well chosen library is almost sure to awaken, and is furnished with a supply of good books, such as a good library alone can afford, will derive more advantage from three months a year of schooling, than he would from six months without the aid and benefit of the library. He will come to his studies with an awakened intellect, and a knowledge of language, which will easily make his progress twice as rapid as it would otherwise be.
How often does the teacher hear, from the pupil who is accustomed to read books, the delighted exclamation, “I saw an account of that in a book I read,” when some fact in geography or history is reached in the lesson, and how often will he be asked by such pupils, to explain some seeming discrepancy between the statement of the text book and that of some library book!
Ten dollars expended in increasing the district library, will often contribute more to the education of the children of the district than twenty dollars paid for teachers' wages. How utterly unwise, therefore, is that policy so prevalent at present, of devoting the entire amount of the public moneys to the support of the schools, and refusing a dollar to the maintenance of this equally important agency of instruction. I am aware that it is often urged that the children have books at home, that reading matter is so abundant that the necessity of the library is done away. But these statements are made without sufficient inquiry or reflection. Books, and especially books suited to the wants of children, do not generally abound in our homes. Let any one who doubts this statement, visit any ten families taken in order, in any district, and make an investigation of their literature. The eagerness with which the children even in our large villages, and from our best families, crowd to a well sustained district library, is a sufficient proof of the need of these libraries.
Another argument, sometimes urged against any new appropriation for buying library books, is not only contradictory of the foregoing one, but is self answering. It is that the books are constantly wearing out. What were they bought for but to be used; ani is worn out in use, then they have fulfilled their purpose. Who objects to buy more clothing for his chil