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most loudly for their discontinuance have failed to point out a substitute for them. This really has nothing to do with the merits of the case. An evil is acknowledged to exist; it should therefore be abolished. Surely the alternative cannot be worse than the present reality. The subject of the relations between examination and education have now been sufficiently studied to permit actual experiment with the many suggestions that have been offered from all parts of the English-speaking world. The subject is one on which it is difficult to say too much, but it is also one that calls for action. It is, of course, too much to expect a sudden and complete abandonment of examinations on all sides, but surely there are men who have sufficient courage to put into practice some of the suggestions that have been made. A modest step in the right direction would be to examine topically. Give the student ample time and opportunity with a wide margin of subject, and let him tell or write out as much as he can within certain limits. Make the examination, not a series of identical answers, the very reading of which is liable to produce congestion of the brain and a dozen minor ills, but a simple story of the knowledge the student has gained. In some branches such a system is not practicable, especially in algebra and arithmetic, and in these great care is required. In these branches a favorite suggestion is the use of original problems, so as to show a knowledge of principles and their practical application. But the heat of an examination is not a good place to judge of the powers of application. The good students are too nervous, and the bad ones too indifferent. Be this as it may, however, topical examinations cannot help being fairer than those that call for the knowledge of specific facts. It is easy, in such an examination, to distinguish between work and play, between study and cram. Such a test will be welcomed by the better students, and dreaded by the worse. These last will know that without constant work throughout the term it will be impossible to write a satisfactory paper. And further, if the examination is held without notice, as it should be, cramming will be altogether out of the question. The two objects of examinations will therefore be accomplished. They will show what the student really knows, by inviting him to tell as much as he can on essential points, and they will compel the indifferent ones to give attention to their work, as otherwise they would be unable to pass. And finally they will afford no opportunities for that bugbear of examiners, cramming.
In the schools, especially the lower schools of our public system, these remarks do not, of course, apply. We cannot well hold topical examinations on the rudiments. But we can at least do away with catch questions and traps. It has become the fashion lately to collect amusing replies to examination questions. These collections teach the utter failure of many of the modern methods. They are largely based on questions that would not be thought of were it not for the purpose of perplexing the child. All this is out of place in sensible teaching, but just so long as there are teachers unacquainted with the broader views of the ends and aims of education they will continue to be asked and passed around the world as specimens of childish stupidity. The great need of the lower schools is the abolition of catch questions, the propounding of difficult problems, the insisting on unimportant details, and a thorough circulation of good common sense among the teachers. An instructor of the young, especially in the earliest years, has the means at his hands to powerfully impress the minds committed to his care. He can, to a great degree, influence them for the good or for the right. He can make good, law-abiding citizens of them, or he can make careless, indifferent, thoughtless, fretful men. He can, if he choose, become the most active influence in these young lives, and yet how few grasp at the opportunities thrust upon them. The mechanical system of our public schools wearies both pupil and teacher. The one is viewed by the other as a machine bound to do so much work every day, and forgotten as soon as it is done. It is time that this is changed. Our schools must hold their proper place as guides for good in the life of our children. The teachers must become inspired with the nature and importance of their work, and we must not hesitate to take the first steps in this direction because we may not see the end.
HE longer I live, the more certain I am that the great difference between men, the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is energy and invincible determination, a purpose once fixed, and then death or victory. That quality will do anything that can be done in this world; and no talents, no circumstances, no opportunities, will make a two-legged creature a man without it.
SIR S. FOWELL BUXTON.
SPOTS OF WEAKNESS IN TRAINING.
BY ADELINE A. KNIGHT.
HEN our classes read Xenophon's speech to the Ten Thousand on that fateful morning when Cyrus was dead, and how he managed by vote the long march to the sea, we lead the boys and girls to observe that the letter and spirit of popular institutions were carried into the field; that his army was a commonwealth.
His steel-clad host has vanished. There is nothing left but the plain story of its march through countries of interminable extent and stillness, when some village whose strange sweet name savored of dates and of palm wine veiled itself behind, and leagues and leagues away and around spread glimmering sheets of sand. But we, earth dwellers of today, are for the moment all there is left to represent the great of history; and we find ourselves put for life in another republic, in which to expend what force and fire is in each of us. Our republic possesses the spirit of the old Greeks, and it has similar drawbacks of weakness within. Its enemies are not lithe figures flashing to and fro, mercurial and savage. They are keen people who stingingly comment on us. They pronounce our thinking more or less raw, underbred, vague and ineffectual.
The truth is largely with our scorners in this regard. There are people everywhere who are conscious of not knowing how to study, of not knowing how to think, and who feel that the results of their thinking are largely erroneous. A person of my acquaintance of this class, between six and twelve years of age spent about six terms in the schoolroom. One term only was in a public school. The grading of this was poor, and not much time was given to the little folks. He cannot recall one mental stimulus gained by the term; no doubt, though, the tuneful singing, the teacher's pleasant ways, and the afternoon lights and shadows playing upon the walls against which small heads leaned sleepily, had a civilizing influence. The other school life of this period was in a private school decidedly a refuge of the plucked, and not a place of learning. Long, sunny vacations stretched between these fragments of
schooling. At thirteen he was given a term at boarding school and a vacation until fifteen, when a drill at a public school of fine character began, and did something to round a very unsymmetrical mind. At seventeen, in a fit of unrest, the pupil left school, to teach.
My friend drifted easily out of the country schoolroom-to which he had brought a mere impulse of change to his father's tobacco farm. Here he rose early, directed Canadian field hands vigorously, and was too tired after supper to find any refreshment in literature. He had plenty of money, from his father's mistaken notion about the rights of boys who work hard; and a silk-coated trotter and light buggy carried him through the solemn stillness of twilight to a billiard room at the other end of the decorous village.
After a strict morning church going, Sunday afternoons were tedious; whist "in the boys' room" whiled them away. The boys were not usually scrupulously conscientious, and did not think the Golden Rule could be obeyed. They did not believe the creeds read to them when they joined the church, but they had a horror of dissent which took people out of the church. By and by my friend married, with little thought of the sacredness of the sacrament, and like his friends around him, moved into a house too fine for a country village, and sat down to a table lavishly supplied with plated silver. The community of cousins now spent Sabbath afternoons lounging in each other's houses, with conversation depending upon mere impulse in its selection of subjects.
Tobacco was overproduced, finally, and the general shrinkages touched my friend unmistakably. A talent for bargaining has kept him on his feet, but his house is painful to visit, with its shabby gorgeousness and worn velvet chairs. No new books are in it. A magazine is sometimes lying about-a fashion magazine. He has a thin lacquer of polish and a real ignorance and mental impoverishment. And so this person goes on toward his grave; this man of the nineteenth century, inheriting its strange web of belief and unbelief. A better education would have jostled him against the thought of the world and might have given him some philosophy. As it is, he has little confidence in principles, does not believe, does not dare to quite disbelieve, and is easily influenced by low grades of thought in politics and social science. If my friend were "in business "as town pursuits are usually named,
he would live well, drive a pretty turnout, and be sharp and sly. When men of his sib emigrate to the West, they soon absent themselves from church, listen silently to the apostles of various isms, but still listen, and in the end contribute to the moral deterioration of the community.
The class to which my acquaintance belongs shows lifelessness before error. It has no force. It has no force. Much of this defect is due to lack of discipline, restraint, and courage in the trying years between fifteen and twenty-five. A part of this discipline family life should have given, but failed to give; otherwise, the stimulus of a real teacher the person of quick, deep sympathies - who could set thought and fancy flashing between soul and soul was needful. A desultory education of a careless type and a parental interest of minimum value have withered and maimed this man's value as badly as an ice storm distorts and disfigures the maples of a New England village.
In the interior of Massachusetts there is a village hidden in a fold of the hills, but proclaiming its vitality by a blue pillar of smoke from the great factory which makes it live. On the first morning of a school year the teacher of the Intermediate room noticed a new boy of unusually good appearance. He was fourteen probably, Irish unmistakably, erect, good looking, carefully neat, and with some reserve of manner. He was respected by the school children because he had earned a man's wages in the factory where there was "a steady place" for him if he liked. His father had removed him to the schoolroom-somewhat against his son's will-from a determination to give his boy opportunities. John submitted with indifference, and certainly looked indisposed to give trouble. For a few weeks his deportment was onehundred. During that time the school was put in running order, and he found himself tryingly behind his juniors. For instance, he read aloud but poorly, and failed constantly in geography. The teacher compassionately allowed him separate recitations in arithmetic, but his awkward figures laboriously put upon the blackboard excited little boys' smiles. To put examples upon the board was a rule of the school. It did not occur to her to make an exception in John's favor. She would in fact have feared his taking liberties in behavior from any such special license. John flushed, but worked on bravely. The teacher did not enter into his feelings about his deficiencies: girls who are taught carefully