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are the "open door" to the introduction of the pupil from school to life and action; and it is with pleasurable pride that we announce the purpose of our School Board to introduce, if not estopped by present legislative enactment, at least kindergarten methods into the schools of our county, both white and colored, For our colored schools this is more important, if possible, than for our white schools, and for them we would particularly emphasize the “open door” to life and action through manual and industrial instruction.
COLORED SCHOOLS. We have been active in building large and properly equipped school houses for colored children, and school facilities for them now fairly meet their needs, except at one or two points. Their teachers are gradually improving both in scholarship and teaching ability, and the frequent meetings of their Teachers' Assocition gives us opportunities for developing the training class work begun in the Normal Institute, which was held for five days just preceding the opening of their schools for the present scholastic year on the urth day of September.
The Teachers' Institute for Colored Teachers was conducted upon the plan of the Summer School," with teachers' training classes, emphasizing the work of instruction in how to teach reading and other branches of study. The lecture plan was discarded, except one lecture given by me each day in the general session. Indeed, my inclination is towards the belief that the lecture plan, unless the teachers are provided with thoughtfully prepared syllabi that are pedagogically and psychologically sound in matter and arrangement, is the worst possible plan of teaching anybody, and must prove a fruitless means of educational improvement for our teachers and the unification of the schools of the State in matters of method and management.
CONCLUSION. Dr. Harris says: “Careful students of the history of education have noticed the fact that its reforms swing from extreme to extreme.” There was a time when our schools were conducted somewhat upon the so-called "Pueblo Plan," which has been described by its advocates, in the discussion of individual instruction, as having the pupil “work as an individual, promoted as an individual and graduated as an individual.” The element of recitation was almost entirely unknown, except as an occasional perfunctory and mechanical performance. Now the pendulum has swung to the other extreme and many of our schools have degenerated into recitation rooms and the teacher to a machine for hearing recitations.
Instead of teaching, study and current investigation, it is one weary round of recitation from morning to evening. The pupil must study at home, and what teaching is done is performed by the parent.
In the concluding paragraph in my “Manual of the Pubiic Schools of Maryland," for 1896-97, you will find the following: “The Examiner will understand that the recitation is a power wholly in the hands of the teacher, either for good or evil. The weakness or excellence of everything in the spirit, or government, or instruction, or discipline of the school will in some manner manifest and focus itself in the recitation; and, if he desires to uplift and do good for an inferior teacher and hopes to reform the mischievous practices in the work, the school process must be grasped and scientifically handled at this point.”
One of the specially weak points in our schools is the make-up of the programme. In grappling with this problem, teachers fail to consider many the factors that properly enter into this vital point of school management. For the teacher to keep in constant unity with all the grades and classes composing the school is one of the greatest strains to be encountered, and it cannot be even partially accomplished without a systematic programme or time schedule for the movement of the whole. In this the most thoughtful care should be expended upon the arrangement of the time-schedule for study and the desk-work period, class reciting being sure of engagement. The instructor who harbors the impression that teaching is hearing the recitation, is almost sure to leave pupils to shift for themselves out of it. But the teacher should exhibit as much skill, and should serve the pupil as efficiently, in providing for study and the deskwork period as in conducting the recitation. What the pupils are to accomplish during the desk-work period should be as definitely placed in the programme as the topic of recitation. The success of the work depends largely upon the preparation of the teacher in setting up for guidance and inspiration the ideal performance for each day. Without this there will be no assured precision of action, and no certainty and force in execution.
The whole purpose of the movement in the school process should be unity. The ideal to be secured in the grade, or grades, during the study and the desk-work period, is the greatest possible stress of attention on the thought or principle to be worked out. This is unity, not primarily of pupils among themselves, but with the teacher; although the teacher may at the time be employed, or conducting a recitation. If the pupils focus their attention on the thought which the teacher has planned for them, unity among themselves will be incidentally secured. But the great and principal reason for the programme of study and desk-work periods is the training of pupils into the power of self-limitation by imposing limits upon them. This gives the teacher the best opportunity for training the pupils to hold continuously to one object of thought-to the power of concentration and continued effort.
WASHINGTON County.--George C. Pearson, Examiner. In accordance with your request, I hereby offer a supplementary report.
The increase of our school population from year to year demands greater accommodations. Two or more rural school districts unite upon a location convenient to both districts and ask to be consolidated into a graded school, and these two causes, in connection with the results that time brings to all buildings, necessitates the building of new houses, which are constructed so as to give a greater degree of health and comfort to the pupils.
The pupil of the rural school who has passed through the fifth grade can secure a place in the most convenient graded school if he is able to pass its requirements for admission. Many of the children of the county have taken advantage of this opportunity and have increased the number in the higher rooms of the graded school, and thus they have been benefited by longer and better instruction, and the pupils of the rural school belonging to the five grades have a much better chance of improvement than they would if the higher grades remained in the country school, for reasons that are obvious.
The Pollard system of reading has been introduced into the first four grades of the graded schools the present year, but this system has been tried as an experiment for nearly three years in a few schools with much pleasure and success. It has been very gratifying to observe in the experimental school that the pupils who have been under this instruction find it a pleasure to do the work, and do it willingly, and are able to learn words entirely new to them. What a delight it has been to notice the face of a child beam with pleasure when he has, through his unaided efforts, discovered a new word!
In this way the child is taught phonics. It is not the barren way they were taught in years gone by, but by the law of association they learn to associate the sound and the objects (in the form of stencil pictures), which are impressed on the mind when memory is most lasting.
Five new buildings have been erected during the past year, two of which are graded schools. Both of these are the outgrowth of former rural schools and three of them are buildings of one room each. The School Board purchased one of the buildings heretofore rented for school purposes, and in this way. has added the past year six new buildings to the number already built. All of these buildings, save one, have been covered with slate roofs, and have received the improvements that the use of buildings built in past years have demonstrated to be better.
The public schools of the county would be benefited by some better method of supervision and construction of our public roads. Poorly constructed roads make the distances to schoolhouses much greater than if they were elevated and dry. Bad roads and epidemics contribute largely to a decreased average attendance of pupils.
The high schools of the county prepare boys and girls for college. Two members of the graduating class of '99 were admitted by an examination to Princeton College. Efforts have been made to give to those who expect to become teachers a course of study, looking forward to their life-work, and it has borne good results, as has been evidenced by a number of the graduating class who have entered the corps of teachers and are now at active or substitute work. It would be well if those who look forward to teaching could visit schools under the supervision of their teachers, instead of making these visits without them.
It would be well if some extended course of training in those branches pertaining directly to the profession of teaching could be engrafted into our high school work, as it would redound to the advancement of the schools of the county.
No examiner can successfully administer the important duties of supervision intrusted to him unless he has a source from which he can procure thoroughiy prepared teachers who have a live interest in the domain of education.
Report of the Board of Visitors and Governors of Washington
CHESTERTOWN, MD., November 15, 1899. To the President of the State Board of Education:
SIR-In compliance with the requirement of Section 17 of Article 77, of the Code of Public General Laws of Maryland, the Board of Visitors and Governors of Washington College make the following report:
During the past collegiate year there were in attendance at the College one hundred and eighteen (118) students, forty-one (41) of whom were in attendance in the Normal Department.
At the Annual Commencement of the College, held at Chestertown on Wednesday, June 21st, 1899, there were five (5) students graduated with the Degree of Bachelor of Arts (A. B.) from the Collegiate Department, as follows: Howard U. Clogg, T. Allan Goldsborough, Wm. C. Pool and Walter L. Wheatley, all of Maryland, and J. Hall Anderson, of Delaware. And from the Normal Department were graduated nine (9) students, as follows: Virgil F. Ward, and Misses Lillian P. Benton, Ida G. Deane, Cora C. Emory, Ethel J. Marlin, Eva H. Wallis, Lydia E. Whitworth and Lottie L. Woodall, all of Maryland, and Thomas H. Hudson, of Delaware. Each of the graduates from the Normal Department were given a certificate, as provided for in Section 3, of Chapter 63, of the Acts of the General Assembly, passed at the January session of 1896.
The Faculty of the College comprises nine professors and teachers, including graduates of the Universities of Virginia and Michigan, Dickinson College and the Woman's College of Baltimore.
The College is now in a more flourishing condition than for many years, and with a Faculty composed of intelligent educators gives assurance that a thorough education in the prescribed course of studies, is now within the reach of the youth of our section of the State.
Jos. A. WICKES, President of the Board of Visitors and Governors. MARION DeK. SMITH, Secretary.
ARBOR AND HIGHWAY DAY. Arbor and Highway Day was observed by all the public schools of the State on the 14th day of April, 1899, in pursuance of the following proclamation by His Excellency, the Governor: EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND.
PROCLAMATION. To the PEOPLE OF MARYLAND:
WHEREAS, by joint resolution No. 15. passed by the General Assembly of Maryland, at the January session of 1894, the Governor is authorized and directed to issue annually a Proclamation designating a day in April for the planting of trees to be known as "Arbor and Highway Day;" and
Whereas, it has been suggested to me that it would be appropriate, at this time, to call the attention to the necessity for the care and preservation of the birds of our fields and forests;
Now, therefore, I, LLOYD LOWNDES, Governor of the State of Maryland, do hereby designate Friday, the 14th day of April, 1899, as Arbor and Highway Day, and I do recommend that the day be devoted by the people of this State to the planting of trees, and I especially recommend to parents and teachers in our schools that they encourage their children or those under their influence to plant or transplant at least one forest shade tree on that day, by the side of a public road or about their schoolhouse, and that they be urged to study the habits and needs of our birds and their young, with a view to their preservation and increase.
It is hoped by the observation of this custom to counteract the evil effects resulting from the rapid destruction of forests and birds in our State, and to maintain a due proportion of forest land, which is essential to the comfort, health and convenience of every country.
Given under my hand and the Great THE GREAT SEAL Seal of Maryland.
Done at the City of Annapolis, on the MARYLAND. 23d day of March, in the year of our
Lord eighteen hundred and ninety-nine. By the Governor:
LLOYD LOWNDES, Governor. RICHARD DALLAM, Secretary of State.