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EDUCATION BY POST., Observer, Volume 7, Issue 170, 15 December 1883
EDUCATION BY POST.
*T.his is .an era of educational experiments. Since the time when the great Swiss teacher and reiormeivPestalozzi, was found in his garden with liis head buried in his hands and bitterly roproachang .himself with what ho considered the f aihire «f his "method," Germany, Austria, Holland, tJweden, and Belgium have followed the lead of Switzerland ; and of recent years France and ISngland — and we must not forgot Scotland and .Ireland — have caught something of tho enthusiasm «of education. One of the latest experiments in -this line is of purely British origin. Of course the idea of carrying on instruction by writing, and without oral communication, is by no means new ; it must have been practised at all ihnes and in all countries to a loss or greater oxUeht. But the -organisation of a complete course of education on this plan, embracing the chief subjects of study, and oxtcnding over a number of years, is an idea of recent growth, emanating ironi Cambridge, and adopted by tho Glasgow .Association for the Higher Education- of Women. Glasgow Correspondence Classes have been in existence for four years, and their success has i>een such that a great future may be safely propUiesied for them. They have npt merely taken -firm root in Scotland and Great Britain generally, i>ut have obtained a footing in many Continental iovras where British residents are to be. found. ' Anglo-Indians have eagerly availed themselves «f the new" instrument, pf culture, and have recognised in it a means of closer contact with Emro"igpean ideas. It is difficult to. say how far the consequences of this movement may not extend; Sf education by correspondence, has succeeded in '"knocking at the door of India, there i 3 no reason Tvhy it should not find its way. to all our colonies ; .and the Glasgow Correspondence . Classes may a-eckon clients and. adherents in all countries of , 4he world whore the English language is spoken. TThere is something fascinating about tho vision of
our mail steamers carrying put, besides the or.dinary complement of private and business «orresporideuce, a number of . letters of scientific And literary import, and tlius keeping all the ;. lrranch.es of the English family en rapport with the latest ideas of the mother country, and opening *ip avenues of communication and S3 r rni:>athy between enterprising and thoughtful spirits in widely, distant parts of the globe. Jt "would be a mistake to imagine that the correspondence between tutors and pupils is a dull or' monotonous affair. ' The .scheme of the classes includes subjects of the most wide and .varied interest, and .the questions or answers freqiiently give lise to animated discussions, carried on through several successive papers. An intelligent .pupil has the means of bringing 4he questions which most interest him ov iier to a fair discussion, and of receiving light upon them by communication with * ii man of culture, who has made some of them his special study ; and experience shows that the pupii does not fail to . anake use of the opportunity. There is probably no nation in Europe which pan boast so widely diffused an intellectual interest among its wprnen as England. The German girl has doubtless, as a rule, . iiad amoro systematic and complete edujcati&n; she is more unimpeachable upon the subjects ' which every properly I)rought-up person ought to know ; but ■we doubt very much whether she has ■the same intellectual ambition which . .English and ' Scotch girls exhibit. Education by. post, seems to have met most successfully a national need, by providr lug young persons of both sexes with the means .of keeping their intellectual life active, and making it bear fruit profitable to themselves and society. lii order to exhibit more clearly the -scope and importance of the Glasgow ; (Correspondence Classes', we will pass in rapid survey some of the prominent ieatures of the scheme, and cast a glance at the branches of study which it embraces. The subjects are classified in four stages Firstly, there is a general elementary class, which includes three classes, one in English, history, • geography, anc^ arithmetic ; another in Scripture Jiistory, and a third in Latin. This is intended either for junior pupils or for those whose elementary education has been neglected, and would doubtless be skipped by pupils who do not come under either of these categories. Secondly, there 3s a course of special subjects intended for junior pupils who are -in possession of the elements of an, ordinary education; this course includes thirteen classes, ivom which pupils may select -what suits them best, and offers an opportunity of studying English (composition and literature), history and geography, Scripture history, Latin, T"rench, German, easy mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, botany, zoology, physiology, and geology. Thirdly, we have a course for senior students, including, "besides all the subjects of the jxwior classes - carried' further, classes - in. political economy and logic. Finally, the provides a course for most advanced Here ' the subjects and classes are divided' into five departments : (1) English (including the history of the language and literature) ; . (2) foreign languages (Latin, G-reek, JTrench,' German, and Italian), with reference in ■ •each case to the history of the literature ; (3) mathematical sciences ; (4) logic, metaphysics, " lhoral philosphy (including political economy),, .ana. l^istorj ■ (p) in^?^ 6 sciences (chemistry, botany, geology, zoology, 'arid paysio'-ogy). This is indeed a large and comprehensive programme. It is not too much to saj that a student applying > to the honorary secretary can be provided wibh a " tutor in any of the branches of a liberal education. The text books recommended are in most cases admirable ; and the iniporbance of a suitable textbook' where oral instruction is entirely absent oannot be over-estimated. A mere collection of
for instance, in arithemtic, with, a few dry ..mechanical rules to apply to them, would be -of the very slightest value. Books therfore of Jthe 'primer typ t e are wisely avoided, for their . .chief use is to. ggi've as a resumh of the lessons £^ delivered in thejpass room, and a support to the •^pupil's memory. * What is aimed at in v the se,lec4 boQks f or the<cdrrespondenee / pupils is to s<ji||Jwidej J;hera yyith .reading of a l ' stiniulating l^peSar^ifpr^which^ should make an appeal' to their
i pupil ; they can be assimilated by the governess, in the evening when work is over, or by the clerk in the intervals of business- Besides this, they are invested with the charm of epistolary intercoarse, and must have a certain element of excitement in them, even fco the mosfi phlegmatic pupil. We do 1 not believe that in normal cases the tutor's paper remains long unopened ; on the contrary, we suspect, it is not unfrequenfcly read and rel'ead while other correspondence i*emains waiting on the breakfast table. The Glasgow Association has further the advantage of being directed by a lady to whom the onerous duties of her position are a labour of love, arid who is ever ready with advice and suggestions to aid the pupils, in whom she takes warm personal interest. Yonng women or young men who are 'in doubt as to how to direct their studies find a wise .counsellor in the' honorary secretary*, and never fail to elecifc a sympathetic reply. ' In conclusion we wish all prosperity to the Glasgow Correspondence Classes and think that a great- debt of gratitude is owing to those, by whose energy and self-denial the scheme has attained so large a measure of success., IPoi' the benefit of pupils in England who may wish to go up for examination, the > Glasgow University Local Examination Board has formed a centre in London.— The Queen.' ■ * Miss Jane S, jyTacartJiuiv ± Buckingbara-street, Hillbead, Glasgow. ' .
' When the ill-fatod ship Triumph left Auckland i only two -vaen sailed in. her fcliat had formed parb of the • original Gi'e.V'-th'S rest had cleared, leaving their places ' :to %c filled up with Aueklanders or QUinatften, Wlien the rock ran into the ship's tll6 COdl p>l!oflophical way in. which everj-oue, from the <jaj}©.ln downwards, took the matter was rather. catioiW, and causedsorae very coiriuiendatory ns well &S condemaatory reniarts. Only one man seemed ttiiSet, as will be seen. \>y tho following converjsafcipn '(rtot reporfcefl. hy the Star Special) overheard, the speaker heing oue oc the original ovew - ._«• "vVjell, Bill, I suppose the skipper will lose his Itlooining certificate. I'm' sorry .for him, he warn't a had 3ort." "No," replied .his mate, "he warn't, but what's his loss to iaine? He has a chance of getting his certificate, Mt 1 can't get the bran- new suit of clothes I hove lost, bought at some place m Hobsou-i-stuaet, where I psM cash, and they gave me back five bdli as discotmt, whatever that is ; and now I have no | lnore money/ " Oh, is that sill ?'•' said an Auckland man. •' Then^t's all risfh't, I know the place, Munro and | Milhgan ; . the best pla,ce m Auckland for a suit of 'clothed, can go and get another suit, and pay when you like, oldjnan, that's how I got my clothes ; the last suit I Jmd, % Yyas made of tweed, and it isr one of the only places in Auckland where you can getidfee real Mosgiel /twee*." '^his is a fact. jit f^if/
scale to be comprehensible to the solitary student. For it is the results of the student's own work with which the tutor has in the first instance to deal, though in testing it he has abundant opportunities for opening up new points of view. This leads us to consider a moment the peculiar character of the method,, of instruction by correspondence. *It is obviously not intended for those who are not anxious to learn. Everything depends on' the hearty co-operation of the pupil,, and the thorough efficiency and tact, of the tutor. A pupil who does her work in a perfunctory manner gives her tutor no opening for exercising his functions, beyond the administration of a rebuke, which would doubtless be gentle and polite. On the other hand, a tutor who is a mere mechanist in teaching, who has no living enthusiasm for his subject, will certainly fail to stimulate his pupils to do their best. We are glad to see that the association has decided to select its tutors from among university graduates. The list includes a number of men who have taken the highest honours in Scotch universities and at Oxford. "We can heartily congratulate the authorities upon the teaching power at their command. With such men to guide the studies of earnest students, really excellent work can be done, and is done. In proof of this, it is only needed to refer to the list of successful candidates at the Glasgow University Local Examination. Ever since the classes were formed, correspondence pupils have taken some of the highest bursaries ; and of the students who have passed the Higher Examination for Women, almost all have been prepared, either partly or wholly, by correspondence. ' ' : . The classes for theory of music have also been very successful. All the candidates who went up for the Examination of the Society of Arts have passed. But this is only what may be expected ; the tutors spare no pains; sometimes they send back whole sheets of remarks bearing upon the work of the pupil, and show that they itterest themselves deeply in the progress of those committed to their charge. -It is no mean privilege to be brought into contact with such men ; and the opportunity of profiting by it is brought to the dooi's of ali. The lessons by correspondence may be taken at anj time convenient to the
EDUCATION BY POST., Observer, Volume 7, Issue 170, 15 December 1883
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