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REPORT, by John Gibson, Esq., on the Glasgow Normal
Edinburgh, July 3rd, 1841. ; I have now the honour to transmit my Report on the Glasgow Normal Seminary.
In the special instructions with which I was furnished, I was directed to report on the Model Schools in the usual forms, but with a degree of minuteness proportional to their importance and prominence in the public view. These Reports, which I now transmit, contain a representation of the condition of these schools, without a minute specification and examination of the nature and efficiency of the methods practised, and of the correctness of the principles recognised and acted on.
My Report on the Normal Department of this extensive establishment naturally divides itself into three branches—the first having reference to the condition of the students, in respect of literary attainments and extent of professional experience or training previous to the commencement of their attendance at this seminary; the second including a view of the means taken to supplement their deficiencies in the strictly technical branches of instruction, and to give practical value to their previous acquirements, by enabling them to bring them to bear upon classes of children of various ages, and at various stages of advancement; and the third pointing out the amount and nature of the attainments which
when the course of their attendance has been completed.
1.—The literary attainments of the students when they enter the seminary are very various. Some of these have enjoyed the advantages of a regular collegiate education, while others have attended only the burgh or parochial schools. The examination at entry, which is conducted by a Board composed of the rector and principal masters of the model schools, is therefore regulated by the circumstances of the applicants, embracing, in a few instances, classics and mathematics, but confined in the great majority of cases to the evidences of Christianity, the doctrines of Scripture, Bible history, such a knowledge of grammar as to enable them to parse with tolerable correctness and facility, a general acquaintance with geography, and a knowledge of arithmetic as far as vulgar and decimal fractions. A pretty accurate knowledge of the last-mentioned branches is the minimum of attainment, and the non-possession of it involves rejection. When a candidate for admission has been pronounced unqualified, “ he is either advised to prosecute his studies with a view to his examination at a subsequent period, or dissuaded from thinking of teaching as an employment.”
Of seventy-two individuals, who have during the past year presented themselves for examination, seventeen were rejected. Of the forty-one male students who have been enrolled during the preceding year, one is a preacher of the Church of Scotland,