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Report on the Chester Diocesan Training College, by the Rev.
H. Moseley, M.A., F.R.S. My LORDS,
In obedience to your Lordships' instructions for the inspection of the Chester Diocesan College, I proceeded to Chester on the 16th of November, 1846, and commenced my examination of that institution on the following day. With the interval of three days devoted to the schools at Leek, Siddington, and Stretton, the duty occupied me until the 27th of November. The number of students resident at the time of my inspection was 42, whose average age was 20 years : 20 of them were of the
of 20 and upwards, and five were under the age of 18. One-sixth of them had been resident about two years, one-fourth nearly a year aud a half, one-third a little less than a year, and the remaining fourth, three months only.
Of their attainments on their admission I have no other means of judging than such as are afforded by the papers of the candidates for admission, written in answer to the questions proposed to them at the examination next preceding my inspection. These were thirteen in number : I enclose one of the papers of each of these candidates for your Lordships' information. Seren of them can scarcely be said to have been able to write; as many were unable to spell a simple sentence correctly. The knowledge of arithmetic of six was limited to the first rules. Only four appeared to have any knowledge of geography. The papers of only two or three afford the evidence of a good plain education; and not one appears to me to have reached that standard of attainment which it would be reasonable to expect of them as candidates for admission to an institution whose function it is not only to add to the number of elementary schoolmasters, but to raise the existing standard of instruction in elementary schools, and whose course of instruction covers a period not exceeding on the average one year and a half. All of these candidates, except two, were admitted as students.
The course of instruction includes scriptural knowledge, church history, geography, arithmetic, geometry, mechanics, and agricultural chemistry
I have appended to this Report a copy of the daily routine of lessons (Appendix A.), together with a list of books used as classbooks by the students.
On each day of my examination I caused to be placed before every student a printed paper of questions, to which his answers were to be given in writing. Of these questions I have appended a copy to this Report (Appendix C.) In selecting them, I was guided by the information—not of a very definite characterwhich I had received as to the subjects which they had studied, and the progress they had made. Each student, moreover, read to me; and each of those, ten in number, who were about to complete their course of instruction and enter on the office of the schoolmaster at the following Christmas, delivered two lessons in the model school, at which I was present. Of these lessons I took notes.
I shall perhaps best convey to your Lordships the impression I have received as to the success with which the course of instruction prescribed in this institution is carried out, if I state, generally, what are the attainments of these ten students in respect to whom it is completed. I have appended to this Report a table in which these are stated in detail (Appendix D.) With one exception, they write remarkably well; I have nowhere seen examination papers so neatly written or so well arranged as here. Six of them have answered well the questions on Scriptural knowledge which I proposed to them, and as many, those in ecclesiastical history. Of the evidences of Christianity they know very little. Seven have answered well in English history, and six remarkably well in arithmetic; five have done tolerably well in mechanics, and three have exhibited some knowledge of algebra. Five have demonstrated a proposition from the First Book of Euclid correctly. Of agricultural chemistry they know little or nothing. Those subjects in which their deficiencies appear to me, however, the most remarkable are English grammar and reading ; only two of them can be said to have exhibited a reasonable amount of knowledge in grammar; and there are three who appear to be altogether uninstructed in it.
To read with a just expression and a correct emphasis, I have everywhere found to be peculiarly difficult to the adult students of Training Colleges.
In this locality I was moreover prepared to find superadded to this difficulty that of a provincial dialect; but I was not prepared for that defective utterance in reading which seemed to prevail. Three only of the ten students of whom I have been speaking could, I think, be said to read well—as to facility, utterance, and a just expression in reading.
With reference to that result of education which consists not so much in positive acquisitions in any department of knowledge as in the discipline of those faculties by which knowledge is acquired and by which it is applied—less in knowledge than in the power to know, to observe, to reflect, to reason, and to understand—and which adds to the thinking power, that by which our thoughts are expressed with clearness and facility by written language and by speech—some opportunity has been afforded of forming a judgment by the written compositions of the students now before me, and by the lessons I heard them deliver.
One of the ten of whom I have before spoken may, I think, be considered to have reached a standard of attainment which leaves nothing to be desired with reference to his qualifications for the office of an elementary schoolmaster. Three others may be considered to be well educated. Of the rest I cannot record that impression.
În respect to their skill in the art of teaching, although much improvement was apparent, as compared with my previous examination, very much yet remained to be done, and particularly with reference to that rapid and vigorous method of examination which awakens the attention of the children and keeps it on the alert,
In one respect I can, however, extend an unqualified commendation to their lessons, particularly their reading lessons. They exhibit a commendable desire to unite with them such topics of general information as suggest themselves at the moment, and serve to establish a connexion in the children's minds between the things of which they read and those with which their observation is familiar. This is, however, a difficult task; to accomplish it successfully, it is necessary to draw from a full mind, and from stores of knowledge not only varied and ample, but precise.
The science of common things admits of a simple exposition; but no teacher can undertake it with safety who is not versed in the principles on which that science rests, and these are not to be reached except by greater research than characterizes the studies of this institution.
The Model School. I turn with great satisfaction to the consideration of the model school : 120 children were present in it on the day of my inspection. In the morning they are collected before entering the school into a solid square in the play-ground: one of school songs--generally a patriotic song, of which they have an excellent selection is then sung; and as they sing they march to their places in the school in single file. At the opening of the school they are collected in two groups, each forming a solid square-an arrangement which is also adopted very advantageously for smaller groups or subdivisions, when under instruction in the class-room. A collect is then read, followed by a psalm or the lesson for the day. This is followed by an appropriate prayer and a short anthem. A text of Scripture having been appointed on the previous evening to be committed to memory, some of them are called upon to repeat it. This is followed by a short explanation of the text.
The doors having been up to this time closed, those boys who have since arrived are then admitted; and the names of all being called over, these answer, “Late.”
They then sing a marching song, and, as they sing, form their classes. I have thus particularly described the way in which the school is opened, because I have nowhere seen it done in so pleasing and so decorous a manner.
Of the whole number, 40 (being one in three) may be said to read with ease and correctness; being double the proportion usually found in elementary schools.
Specimens of their writing are before me: 28 have written a passage from dictation on paper, in a good legible small-hand, and some remarkably well." Nine have made no error in the spelling of this passage, and 19 only one error.*
Thirty have some knowledge of fractions, and 40 can work the Rule of Three. Twenty-five boys, composing the first class, are taught mechanics, and each boy is provided with a copy of Tate's Examples in Mechanics."
I proposed to them the following question in Mechanics, and it was worked correctly by 16 out of the 25, in somewhat less than seven minutes :- What must be the horse-power of an engine to raise 2 cwt. of coals
per minute from a pit whose depth is 40 fathoms ?”
The geographical lessons they receive are remarkable for the general information united with them, in respect to the natural history of different regions and their commercial relations. The children are interested in them: they obviously make them think, and they are calculated to make them read.
Forty-six are taught drawing; the models being the same as those used in the Government School of Design.
Nothing can be more healthy and cheerful than the moral aspect of the school. The boys obviously take a pleasure in their work, and are anxious to improve. The school is popular with the parents, and some of them make considerable sacrifices to secure for their children the benefit of attending it.
I have visited no school the mechanical arrangements of which seemn to me so skilfully contrived; nor any into the business of which vocal music has been made to enter with so much success, with so little sacrifice of the ordinary pursuits of a school, and so entirely into the hearts of the children. Here it is altogether a joyous affair; I have visited schools in which it is a very sorrowful
The master, Mr. Riley, was formerly a student of the college: I have great pleasure in recording the impression I have received of the zeal and ability with which he manages it.
No change had at the time of my inspection taken place in the officers of the institution. The Vice-principal has, however, since that time resigned, and his successor has not yet, I believe, been appointed.
In stating to your Lordships, in my last Report, that the whole
* The passage is as follows :-“It is altogether impossible to ascertain at what period the measurement of time by hours was introduced among the eastern nations. The first mention we are acquainted with is that of the sun-dial of Abaz, The sun is the cause and the easiest means of measuring time; and the sun-dial consists of a figured plate, with a rod to cast a shadow."
+ Or this the following instance came to my knowledge. The Bishop of Chester, being desirous to receive a boy attending the school into his service, was solicited by the boy's father, one of his Lordship’s servants, to allow the boy to remain longer at a school where he was deriving so much benefit.
of the correspondence of this institution was intrusted to the Principal, and that he had moreover been charged during the two previous years with the superintendence of the building operations, I have been mistaken, and I gladly avail myself of this opportunity (the first which has presented itself) of withdrawing that statement. It is due, however, to myself to add, that, although not charged with them, those duties were, in point of fact, in a great measure performed by him. I have reason, nevertheless, to believe that it is far from the wish of the Committee of the Diocesan Board to place any excessive burdens upon hiin, and that they have, on the contrary, sought on all occasions to lighten his labours, and that all the requirements he has intimated for additional assistance have been promptly and effectually, and according to his own wishes, supplied.
The resources of the Board enable it to give to the institution an efficient support; and its expenditure appears to me to be placed upon a liberal scale.
I have in my former Reports borne testimony to the commanding and appropriate character of the buildings. Since the date of that Report a commodious chapel has been erected: it stands apart from the general structure, but so near it as to enter as a part into its principal elevation. The style is the early decorated, with geometrical tracery. The cost has been raised by contributions specifically for this object, and chiefly by the munificent donations of a few individuals. It is expected that it will be completed in all its parts and ready for use by midsummer. The architect of this very beautiful structure is John E. Gregan, Esq., of Manchester.
I have the honour, &c.
To the Right Hou. the Lords of the
Committee of Council on Education.