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ATTENDANCE OF A NATIONAL SCHOOL ON THE WEEK

DAY SERVICE OF THE CHURCH.

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Rev. Sir,—I was glad to see Mr. Bennet John's letter on the above subject. In corroboration of what he states, I beg to transcribe the testimony of the governess over the national school in this parish, given me of her own accord after reading Mr. John's letter.

“I know from experience the good arising from little children being allowed to attend daily service. I have several little ones with whom I find a difficulty in teaching to read words of two or three letters, but who will now join correctly in the church service; I have therefore been much struck with the truth of the letter on the subject in the Journal of Education. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, ANNE CHEEK.”

In addition to this I would remark—(not to speak of our pastoral duty to offer to our flocks, as far as in us lies, the daily spiritual food of the church)—it is a good thing, if only to open the day school with “ ing prayer ;” and as “ half a loaf is better than none at all,” let it be done at least on Wednesdays and Fridays as being litany days; it is sowing the seed in the fresh ground, and hence more care is required in the performance of it lest weeds should grow up.

Our old “ foundation schools” have it twice a day; why should not these new foundation schools, expressly founded in connection with the church—the schools of the poor-have the same opportunities for their souls' health as the schools for the rich ? though, owing to the poverty-stricken state of many of our parish churches (from the alienation of their tithes, scarcely providing for one parish priest, when there is ample work for two and a deacon), I am aware we can in these days only advance a step towards this desiderandum.

From the children of the village school coming to the public worship of the church during the week, much improvement will appear in their attention and accompanying in the Sunday services ; and I have found asking questions in, and explaining the lessons of the day, and other parts of the liturgy, either in church immediately after prayers, or during the day in the schoolroom, the very best channel of conveying religious instruction, especially as regards the all-important impression of the gospel, coming, as it does in the service, consecutively and repeatedly.

Hoping soon to hear that all our national schools are walking in, or towards the good old path of daily prayers, and hearing God's word “in the parish church or chapel, called thereunto by a bell being tolled a convenient time before the minister begin, to say the morning and evening prayer."

I am, Rev. Mr. Editor,

Your humble servant and brother, August, 1845.

W. W. MALET, Vicar of Yardley, Herts.

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REPORT OF THE SCHOOLMASTERS' UNION FOR THE

DEANERY OF BEDMINSTER.

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Although this is the third annual meeting of the schoolmasters'
union for this deanery, yet it is the first at which any report of the
proceedings has been drawn up. It therefore becomes necessary to
advert to the origin of that'union, as members of which we are this
day assembled. It may be well to premise, that it is to the bishops, as
the chief overseers of Christ's flock, that the charge is especially given
in the words of our blessed Lord, “ feed my lambs,” as well as,
my sheep.” In subordination to them, and according to the rules of
the church, which they require us, the inferior ministers, to subscribe,
it is our duty to catechise and instruct the little ones, and so prepare
them for the due receiving of confirmation. This principle it is neces-
sary for us to hold steadily to as our root. Whatever else is added, we
must take care that it be only the enlargement and maturity of this.
If the increase of civilization calls for, as it does, a greater amount of
knowledge in the rising generation than their forefathers possessed,
still we must remember, that we act under a responsibility, as the people
of God training up the children of God; we are but furnishing means
to Christ's little ones to keep their baptismal vows, by supplying means
whereby they may do their duty more efficiently in that state of life to
which it shall please God to call them. To do this with the hope of
God's blessing, we must do it in the unity of the church, and to pre-
serve this we must preserve our union with our bishops. We must
submit our efforts to their control in all things lawful, and bow to their
judgments as over us in the Lord.

This is but sketching out the principle of that which we have as an existing fact before us. In this diocese we have the diocesan board of education, under the presidence and guidance of the bishop; and that board is composed of the bishop's own delegates, the archdeacons and rural deans, ex officio, aided by some others of our brethren, who are elected into their number. This is the educational council of the whole diocese. But as ramifications, not offsets of it, the decanal boards are established, which are designed to bring its benefits more within our reach, by closer communication with us. And lastly, to carry out the contemplated objects more practically among our parishes, the Bedminster Decanal Board of Education put out this shoot-the schoolmasters' union.

At the beginning of the year 1842 this union was not in existence. On the 15th of February in that year, the decanal board of education was summoned to meet at Long Ashton, and there, after the desirableness of such a union as this had been determined, --it was resolved,

that the secretary of the decanal board of education be requested, with the permission of the several parochial clergy, to invite the schoolmasters of the deanery, whose schools are conducted on Church of England principles, to join in forming themselves into a union, governed by rules to be framed by this board,”--the Decanal Board of Education.

Thus we see this union, in the bud, clearly recognises as a means by which the decanal board desired to carry out the work, which, under the bishop, it was appointed to do.

Both the private declarations of those who were members of the board, and the resolution which they passed, clearly prove, that they did not intend to cast us off as a mere voluntary association of individual churchmen, unconnected with any thing but ourselves; but that they designed us to be still a part of them, subject to the same paternal direction as themselves. As they are subject to, and a part of the diocesan board, so are we through them; we are to be governed by rules framed by the decanal board, which they in turn lay before the diocesan board.

To pass on to the proceedings of the union itself. Its first meeting was held at Long Ashton, June 28, 1843, and its second annual meet. ing at Backwell. On both occasions there was a numerous attendance, and several of the laity have evidenced, both by their attendance and their liberality in offering prizes, that they are no unconcerned spectators of the labours of others, but take a warm interest in the education of their poorer and younger brethren. But at the same time that the zeal of several individuals demands this tribute, there is much cause to regret that the number of the lay members of the church who are alive to the vital importance of their doing their part towards the education of the poor, is so small.

At both the annual meetings, lectures were delivered by the late Rev. Diocesan Inspector of schools, and the Rev. E. P. Vaughan, respectively; the latter of which has since appeared in the English Journal of Education, conveying much practical instruction, not to masters and mistresses only, but to those who, as patrons or visitors, have much of the welfare of the schools depending on them.

Besides the annual meetings, half yearly meetings have been held, in December 1843 and December 1844; at the first of which a lecture on education was delivered by the rev. secretary of the diocesan board.

Another means of improving education among us, is the distribution of prizes.

A prize of £5 was granted by the liberality of the diocesan for the master of the best school in the deanery, and has since been continued by the Ven. Archdeacon Brymen, special commissary of the diocese.

A prize of £3 was given out of the funds of the union for the mistress of the best girls' school; and a prize of £1 from the funds of the union for the best essay on an educational subject. The subject given for 1844 was, “The best means of giving separate instruction to monitors.” Seven essays were sent in, all of which were pronounced by the judges to be very creditable to the writers; the prize was adjudged to Mr. Frost of Wraxall.

Prizes for the best and second best shirt were given by Mrs. Elton of Clevedon Court; and were awarded to Miss Cole of Backwell, and Miss Harding of Cleve, respectively.

Additional prizes were kindly promised by A. H. Elton, Esg, for the second best boys' school, and the second best girls' school, and by Mrs. Gordon for the best and second best pairs of socks.

264 ON TEACHING AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY IN COUNTRY SCHOOLS.

The merits of the schools are decided by the inspectors of schools. In 1844, Mr. Humphreys, master of the Clevedon school, received the prize for the best boys' school, and Miss Clouter, of Portishead school, for the best girls' school.

Another means of carrying out the objects of the union, has been the formation of a circulating book club among the masters and mistresses, who contribute 1s. per annum.

The books, when circulated, are to form part of a permanent library for the use of the members.

£5 was given towards it from the funds of the union; and books to the amount of £4. Os. 8d. were presented by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

Much benefit has evidently been derived to the schools of the deanery from this union ;' and it seems assignable to no one of the means used, so much as to the educational atmosphere, which they have all contributed to create around us.

The feeling of sympathy and brotherhood which has been elicited, has raised the flagging spirits of some, who, under unpromising circumstances, are engaged in the work of education, and stimulated others to increased and more wisely directed exertions.

Praise bestowed, and warnings given, in the course of the examinations or lectures ; hints casually dropped, and information given on educational subjects, imparted at the meetings, have shown their fruits in many practical improvements in various schools; and there is hope of still more widely extended benefits, in the deeper tone of feeling with respect to the objects and method of education which is being spread by the association of the clergy, and some of the gentry, with the teachers of schools.

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Rev. Sır-It being the avowed object of your excellent publication, to recognize any new plan tending to advance sound education, by encouraging in its pages friendly discussion, I beg leave to moot the above subject as one of importance, affecting, as it does, the interests of our agricultural districts, and I hope it may receive as large a share of attention from your readers as it deserves.

I cannot withhold my conviction, that the plan is practicable, and that ultimate good will result from its adoption. A spirit of inquiry will be awakened, which is in itself a desideratum, having a direct tendency to elevate the character of our farmers, and remove the stigma of ignorance with which they are charged as a body.

Allowing that religious instruction should occupy the first place in our schools, to what must we look for a second, but the imparting a knowledge of those things by which the child is hereafter to earn its livelihood ? To train the youthful mind to habits of investigation, to engender a thirst for the acquiring of principles and the reasons of

ON TEACHING AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY IN COUNTRY SCHOOLS. 265

things, are confessedly important features in education. The science of chemistry will be found a wonderful handmaid to the imparting of knowledge such as this. It will be found of essential service in ascertaining the constitution of plants, the composition, nature, and qualities of soils, and the various fertilizing properties of manures. Every farmer is a practical chemist, however deficient he may be in theory. His labours on the compost heap are unquestionably of a chemical character. Certain results, he knows, will be produced on the application of the mixture to the soil. How or why these changes are produced, he is in utter ignorance. Now an acquaintance with the subject in question would remove these difficulties; besides, as he would afterwards find, being beneficial in a pecuniary point of view.

It may be objected, that the science of chemistry is beyond the comprehension of children. So far as my experience has gone, I should be inclined to hold a contrary opinion. Be it understood, that I allude to the science as applied to agriculture. I have before me a small publication* which forms my class-book, and the preface to which I will take the liberty of transcribing.

To the Schoolmasters and Teachers of Great Britain and Ireland. Gentlemen,-Having written the present little work with a view to the more speedy improvement of the agriculture of our common country, I take the liberty of dedicating it to you. No class of men possesses in so high a degree the power of promoting an object so important to all. I am anxious, therefore, to secure, not only your willing support, but your cordial co-operation.

“The land from which our crops are raised must be rendered more pro. ductive, if food is to be grown at home for our increasing population. But the produce can be largely increased only by the application of increased knowledge to the culture of the soil; and it is the rising generation now under your care, which must possess and apply this knowledge. You can scarcely render a higher service to your country, therefore, than by imparting, along with your other instructions, the rudiments of that kind of knowledge on which its prosperity must so greatly depend. Few of your pupils will then escape from your hands so easily as not to have already learned what may enable them, on some spot or other in after life, to make two blades of grass grow where only one grew

before.

It is moreover added, that “any little apparatus he may require, will be readily obtained at the cost of a few shillings, from Richard Griffin and Co., of Glasgow.” Desirous of seeing abler pens at work on the above subject, I beg to remain,

Yours, &c.,
A COUNTRY SCHOOLMASTER.

* Catechism of Agricultural Chemistry and Geology, by Professor Johnson. Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and London.

See also Agricultural Chemistry for Young Farmers, by C. W. Johnson, Esq. Ridgway, London.-[Ed.]

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