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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 41

The Training College

The Training College.

The best trained and most efficient of our young teachers, in

What pupil, teachers are.

general, are those who have first been pupil-teachers and who have afterwards passed a year at the Training College. The pupil-teacher is a boy or girl who, as the name implies, is at once learning and teaching; getting private lessons from the master and taking a class during the day. The pupil-teacher in theory passes an examination at entrance and an examination every year, and receives a small stipend, that is gradually augmented as the services paid for become more and more valuable. In some cases the pupil-teacher, on conclusion of a five years' course, becomes a trainee at a so-called Training College. This is a school in a large town, the head master of which receives a salary of £50 a year as training master, and a bonus on all the pupils he sends up who pass a successful examination. Besides this, he gains indirectly by securing the services of the best pupil-teachers in his school. From the school or district training college the pupil-teacher passes to the Training College in Melbourne, presided over by Mr. Gladman, and spends a year under the direction of teachers paid by the State in preparing for a final examination. If this is successfully passed, the trainee receives a certificate, and passes with credit into the State service.
The advantages of this plan are very great. In the first place,

Advantages of the pupil-teacher system.

it supplies the State with a body of efficient teachers, who could not be procured as cheaply, or perhaps at all, in any other way. In the next place, as the pupil-teacher has very commonly been a scholar in whom the head teacher took particular interest, the page 136 relation of these assistants to their head is often very cordial and pleasant; and many head teachers have told me how much they preferred the young people trained by themselves to the assistants sent them by the department. Lastly, though the beginning of educational work so early is necessarily accompanied with some short-comings in the pupil-teacher's literary accomplishments, it undoubtedly gives a command of teaching power which it is more difficult to acquire later in life. The pupil-teacher learns a little less than the teacher who has not graduated in class-work, but generally can communicate knowledge and enforce order very much better.

Defects of the present pupil-teacher system.

The defects of the present system are, however, very great. In the first place, the rule by which a pupil-teacher moves on a step every year is not rigidly enforced; and I am informed that some head teachers, anxious to retain the services of efficient pupil-teachers, will deliberately keep them back a year, to the loss of the pupil-teacher and the detriment of the public service. In the next place, the pupil-teachers are seriously overworked in their last year. Then it is that the great strain of preparing for the Training College comes upon them; and the attempt to combine four or five hours' class-work with several hours of preparation is often attended with serious injury to the health. I know that head teachers will extremely dislike to lose any part of their pupil-teachers' services in the last year, but in common justice to these young men and women it ought to be done. Thirdly, there is no common system at the various training schools, and the pupils come up in every stage of knowledge, to be put together in the same classes in Melbourne. But, lastly, the Melbourne Training College is itself most imperfectly organized. The scheme of work is too vast to be carried out; the teaching power is deficient;* and the pupils, living with their friends, or dispersed among different boarding-houses, never acquire that esprit de corps which it should be the function of a training college to impart.

Mr. Gladman has kindly drawn up a scheme for the requirements of pupil-teachers, which slightly increases the present demands on them, but not more than will be amply compensated by the increased time allowed them in their fourth year.

* This is now partly remedied.

Scheme for the instruction of pupil-teachers.

For the Fourth or Lowest Class—14 years of age.

  • Reading.—Prose and poetry in an advanced reading book.
  • Dictation.—From an advanced reading book.
  • Writing.—Text, round, small, and running hands.
  • Grammar.—Parsing and the inflexion of the parts of speech.
  • Geography.—To have a knowledge of the elements of geography, and of the outlines of the maps of the world and Victoria.
  • Arithmetic.—Compound rules (money, weights, and measures), and practice.
  • Needlework.—For girls. To sew neatly and to knit.
  • Teaching.—To satisfaction of the inspector.
page 137

Third Class.

  • Reading.—From an ordinary book or newspaper.
  • Writing, &c.—A short letter or theme on some simple subject, or to reproduce the substance of a simple narrative read slowly in their hearing twice over. Correct spelling and grammar, and fairly correct punctuation will be expected.
  • Grammar.—To know the first part, and first two chapters of the second part of Morell's Grammar; or their equivalent. Easy analysis of sentences and parsing.
  • Latin.—Declension of nouns and adjectives. (Principia Latina. Part I.).
  • Geography.—To know the geography of Australasia.
  • Arithmetic.—Simple and compound proportion, vulgar fractions, mental arithmetic.
  • Needlework.—Girls to exhibit increased skill in needlework.
  • Teaching.—Ability to give a class a reading lesson, and to examine on the meaning of what has been read.
  • Drill.—Ability to drill a class in marching, and in the extension exercises required for a license to teach.

Second Class.

  • Reading.—With improved expression and intelligence.
  • Writing.—To write from memory neatly and in small hand, with correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, the substance of a narrative read aloud.
  • Grammar.—To know the first two parts of Morell's Grammar, or their equivalent, with parsing and analysis of simple sentences.
  • Latin.—Declension of nouns, adjectives, and pronouns. The verb esse.
  • Arithmetic.—Vulgar and decimal fractions, percentages, mental arithmetic.
  • Euclid.—Book I.—Definitions and propositions, i.—xv. inclusive.
  • Geography.—To know the geography of Europe, and the first four chapters of Sullivan's Geography, Geography Generalized, or equivalent.
  • Needlework.—Girls to instruct the younger ones in sewing.
  • Teaching.—Any ordinary school subject to the 3rd or 2nd classes.
  • Drill.—To understand class drill.

1st Class.

  • Reading.—To the satisfaction of the inspector.
  • Writing.—To write plain prose on a given simple subject; to set fair copy head-lines.
  • Grammar.—To be able to parse and answer questions from any part of Morell's Grammar, or its equivalent; to be able to analyse and parse a short sentence from a reading book, and to explain the allusions, &c.
  • Latin.—Accidence.
  • Algebra.—Simple rules.
  • Euclid.—Book I.
  • Arithmetic.—To work sums and answer questions up to vulgar and decimal fractions, interest, and mental arithmetic inclusive, and to know the elements of book-keeping, and the mensuration of easy surfaces and solids.page 138
  • Geography.—To know the geography of the world, and the mathematical and physical geography of Sullivan's Geography Generalized, or its equivalent.
  • Needlework.—Girls to be able to cut out and do any kind of plain needlework.
  • Teaching.—Ability to give a gallery lesson, and to understand class drill.

It will be observed that this scheme assumes a capacity which I am afraid does not always exist on the part of teachers in Class E (85-105) to give instruction in Latin, Euclid, and algebra. With this exception, however, which I think is not a very important one, it presents, so far as I can judge, no practical difficulties.

Other proposed changes.

The other changes, as regards pupil-teachers, may be defined by two simple rules in place of those now existing under the Act of 1872.
In place of Rule 11, page 8, I would propose.:—

Every pupil-teacher shall be required to advance at least one class at each annual examination; and failing to pass, will receive no pay until he (she) is moved up.

As Rule 16 I propose:—

First-class pupil-teachers in their fourth year shall not work more than three hours in school, and the head teacher shall be allowed the services of an extra pupil-teacher in the first year as compensation.

Reasons for founding a central Training College.

I have alluded in my introductory Report to the grave reasons that exist for transferring pupil-teachers to a central Training College in Melbourne when they have completed their four years' course in the country. The present system is at once expensive and inefficient. It is expensive because it has naturally become an object of ambition with every township to have its school declared a training school, and we shall thus soon be paying twenty private tutors scattered over the country at a distance from inspection, when we might do the same work better with five or six teachers in Melbourne. It is inefficient, because twenty scattered teachers are never likely to teach on the same plan, and no one man is likely to teach five or six subjects as well as the University staff in Melbourne could teach them. Lastly, I venture to think that we shall never have a proper esprit de corps among our teachers till they are brought together in the same building and in the same lecture-rooms long enough to form friendships and exchange thoughts. I therefore venture to recommend most earnestly that the subjoined rules for "training," which Mr. Gladman has assisted me to frame, and in the propriety of which he entirely concurs, should be adopted:—


1.The training institution will consist of a head Training College in Melbourne.
2.Training will be conducted in the Training College by the principal, and a staff of tutors and lecturers.
3.Studentships will be awarded to first-class pupil-teachers, as also to assistant and other teachers of approved character, recommended by the inspector, and exhibiting special promise as teachers. Of these, all, except first-class pupil- page 139 teachers, shall have satisfied the inspector by examination of their capacity to follow the course at the Training College, and of their qualifications in the art of teaching. Students will be provided with board and lodging free of cost.
4.Every student will be required to enter into an agreement by himself (herself), and an approved surety, not to relinquish his (her) course of training without the permission of the Minister, and for four years after the termination of his (her) studentship [or two years if he (she) obtain a certificate of honor], to teach in any school to which he (she) may be appointed.
5.The course of instruction in the Training College will be free, and will extend over two years. University text-books will be provided free of cost.
6.During the first year students will be prepared for matriculation at the University.
7.The subjects which students will be required to present for matriculation will be English, Latin, arithmetic, Euclid, algebra, geography, and either chemistry or French.
8.While preparing for matriculation male students will be expected to perfect themselves in drill, and female students in needlework.
9.They will also be required to attend lectures and demonstrations on the art of teaching by the principal, and to pass a satisfactory examination therein.
10.Students who have completed their first year's course, and who have passed the matriculation examination, will, if their conduct has been satisfactory, be admitted to the second year's course as students.
11.Students who fail to pass the matriculation examination at the end of the first year's course may, on the recommendation of the principal, have their studentship suspended or forfeited altogether. In cases where it is only suspended, they may stay on at their own expense for another trial, and if they succeed in that shall have their studentship restored.
12.During the second year students shall qualify for the first year's examination in Arts, but shall omit Greek, and, if permitted by the University take up English in its place.
13.During their residence in the Training College students shall learn to give instruction in singing and in drawing; and males shall qualify themselves to teach military drill, and females to teach needlework; and all shall give instruction in schools under the direction of the principal.
14.Misconduct and idleness shall be a sufficient ground for dismissing a student or pupil from the Training College.

At the end of the second year students will be required to obtain certificates in teaching from the University. Such certificates shall be awarded to those who have passed the first year's course in Arts, and who have further satisfied inspectors appointed by the University to examine that they have mastered the art of teaching, and who, being males, can give instruction in drill and in singing or drawing; or, being females, can teach needlework and singing or drawing.

page 140

First-class pupil-teachers with a certificate from the principal shall be held to have satisfied all requirements as to the art of teaching.

16.Students who have obtained a certificate of merit in teaching from the University shall not be required to teach more than two years in bush schools, and shall be eligible at once for third-assistantships, and after two years to the headships of schools in Class II.
17.All matriculated students of the University shall be allowed to present themselves for an examination in the art of teaching, which shall be held twice a year, in the months of February and July; and having passed this, they shall be allowed to attend the second year's course at the Training College, with the view of presenting themselves afterwards as candidates for certificates of teaching.
18.Such candidates, on obtaining certificates, shall possess the same claims to employment as the students of the Training College, but shall be considered to rank below these in seniority—that is, the trainees who have obtained certificates of honor in a particular year will rank above outside students who have taken the same place, so far as seniority constitutes a claim on the department.
19.The female side of the college shall be under the charge of a lady superintendent, who shall have absolute control of the discipline during recess hours.
20.The lady superintendent and the vice-principal shall be responsible for the discipline of the female and male sides respectively out of class hours, and during the absence of the principal. These officers shall furnish reports on the regulations they enforce, and on the state of discipline, to the principal as he shall appoint; and he shall have power to cancel any regulations that interfere with the tuition of the college; and to suspend any officer, reporting his action in this latter point instantly to the Minister.
21.The principal shall have certain schools, town and country, assigned him by the department, in which the students of the Training College and those qualifying for certificates of competency may practice class-teaching under his direction.
22.Vacant sets of rooms at the Training College may be assigned by the principal to teachers wishing to pursue their studies at the University, or, failing these, to students under clause 17. Persons so admitted shall pay for their own board, at rates fixed by the principal, shall be amenable to ordinary discipline, and shall have no claim to retain their rooms more than a year.
23.The principal is empowered to suspend any student if in his judgment such a step should be necessary in the interests of the Training College. He will then refer the case to the Minister for his decision.
24.The principal is also required to report on the character and conduct of each student at the end of his or her period of training. This report will be considered and will be influential in determining the appointment of candidates to situations under the Department of Education.
page 141
It will be seen that I propose to change the course of study as

Change in the course of study.

at present prescribed, and to make our trainees correspond during their first year to students in a high school working for the University, and during their second year to first year's students in Arts. The extent of the changes, if the University allows English language and literature to be substituted for Greek, will amount to this, that the trainees will take English, Latin, and Lower Mathematics as at present, but will substitute the elements of Physical Science, Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Botany, for the elements of English and Australian history, unless the University is prepared to make a change on this point also. Personally, I should not desire it; I feel convinced that teachers will read up history by themselves, and I am not equally certain that they will or can master the rudiments of science when they are away from Melbourne. But if the change involved some slight loss, I should be prepared to submit to it, for the sake of the great good it would bring in compensation. It is most undesirable that our schools should be working up to different standards; that a head master should, as now, be preparing his upper sixth in one way for matriculation and his trainees in another for the Training College;* or that those who are to be the head teachers of our State schools should have a training different in character to that given at the high schools, to the headships of which they will aspire. On the other hand, it is very important that teachers should be trained, not as a caste apart, hut as men and women having a need for common culture with the members of other professions; that they should mix in the same lecture-rooms with their fellow-citizens, and should take the first steps towards a degree, to obtain which in after years will be the object of an honorable ambition.
The cost of the present system is estimated in a return for the

Cost of the present system.

year 1876 at £5,374 12s. 9d., for which 39 second and 75 first-year students received what was mostly a fractional education, only one of the 39 being a year in residence. Since then the salary of the superintendent has been raised, and as the attendance of the elder students has become more regular, the charge for their board has increased, so that last year's Estimates (1877-8) show a charge of £8,647 under this head. Were the 120 pupils whom I desire to see in the Training College at the rate of 60 a year paid for under the present system, the charge would be—
Teachers 1,922
Associates 850
Board of 60 second-year students 2,610
Board of 60 first-year students 2,610
Bent of college 200
Bonuses for associates, at £10 each student 600
page 142

Proposed college.

The plan I propose is that a college should be built on five acres of the ground which the State reclaims from the University. I assume that for £10,000 a building might be erected which would contain a principal's residence, with rooms for the lady superintendent and vice-principal, 160 dormitories, and six or eight lecture-rooms.

Organization and cost of the proposed Training College.

During the first year the students, 60 in number, would require the assistance of lecturers on seven subjects; but two or three of these might be taught by the vice-principal, who would have rooms in the college. The students' board would not, I think, cost more than £30 a head a year in an institution where there was no rent to pay, where it was no object to make a profit by them, and where the period of residence was not much longer than that required by the University, or say thirty weeks in all.
My estimate then is—
Interest on building, at six per cent. £600
Principal's salary 900
Lady superintendent 400
Vice-principal 500
Four lecturers, at £150 600
Teachers of singing and drawing, at present rates 70
Teacher of drill 50
Medical attendant 52
Board of 120 students, at £30 each 3,600

Economy of the proposed change.

Even this estimate represents a saving of £2,000. But it would be easy to show that the real saving will be greater. In the first place, as I have pointed out, the expense of training schools is a growing one, every rising township petitioning that its head teacher may be made an associate. In the next place, the teaching of the present Training College is so unsatisfactory that it has been reported against, and it could only be improved at increased expense. If a lecturer on drawing and a professor of music be appointed at the University, it might fairly be made part of their duties to teach the trainees. The charge for students' board is almost certainly in excess of what is required. Lastly, against the cost of a new Training College should be set the value of the land which will be liberated when the Training College is shifted, and which certainly represents a value of more than £200 a year.

Admission of other students.

It will be seen that I wish other students than pupil-teachers to be admitted into the Training College, and have suggested that forty sets of rooms should be provided for the accommodation of head and assistant teachers who may wish to pursue their studies at the University. One of the reasons that makes residence in the bush so unpopular as it now is with the profession is, that dwellers at a distance from towns find themselves debarred the chief means of self-improvement, cannot procure tutors or mix with fellow-students, and have a difficulty even in obtaining page 143 books. Now, it is at least as much the interest of the State as of the individual teacher that the latter should be constantly aiming at self-improvement and at professional advancement. I know no greater mistake than to suppose that man or woman can be over-educated for the position of teacher in a primary school, or that it requires less real ability to explain the elements of knowledge to unformed minds than to carry pupils with developed intelligence through the more advanced branches. What is true is that many teachers prefer the higher to the lower subjects. But as the new organization of the service puts Latin, Euclid, and algebra among the class subjects of a primary school, and assumes that the best teachers will be promoted to be inspectors and to be head masters of high schools, there will be a wide field for this class of mind within the service. Meanwhile I am sure that those who are reading for a B.A. degree will not teach English the worse because they can illustrate it from French or Latin or Greek, and will make their geography lessons the fresher for knowing something of physical geography and geology.
The difficulty with this class of students will be to enforce

Influence of the principal.

discipline, but it is a difficulty that an earnest principal—such a man as Arnold, or Temple, or Maurice—may easily convert into an advantage. The older students will undoubtedly give much of its tone to the Training College, and the principal must aim from the first at cultivating their friendship and securing their respect. He may certainly relax the usual college discipline in their favour, and he ought to have power summarily, but quietly, to remove any who are not in keeping with the character he wishes to impress on the place. Men and women who have given earnest of their wish to widen their culture and to achieve professional success by the sacrifice of a year's income are not likely to be idle or frivolous. But they may be coarse-minded or rough-mannered, or—what is perhaps most likely of all—look only to material results in their professional studies, may be careless of all teaching that does not bear on examinations, and inclined to approve all tricks by which success is enhanced. The Training College should not tolerate any but the highest ideal among its students.
At the same time I am most anxious that the Training College

Secondary uses of the Training College.

should to some extent perform the functions of a teachers' institute. Its library should, I think, be well stocked with the last reports on teaching, and open to all members of the profession; nor do I see why a reading-room, a conversation-room, and a coffee-room should not be added. As the ranks of our teaching staff are more and more recruited from trainees, the college will have associations which many will be glad to renew when they visit Melbourne, and a place where old comrades may meet again will become every year more and more desirable. It should be the object of the department to promote a strong esprit de corps among its subordinates, so that men and women may be kept in the service by something besides the hope of promotion, So far from thinking that organization among the teachers is to be dreaded, I would gladly see them allowed the use of a room to page 144 hold meetings in, and would give any organ that they may adopt in the press the benefit of departmental advertisements without respect to its views. From time to time such privileges will be abused. There will be foolish motions and factious speeches and groundless opposition in meetings and in the press to the department's best measures, but a wisely governed department can defy and will outlast these, and one that is not wisely governed will be the better even for rough criticism.

* This, of course, will not be the case so frequently when high schools have been instituted, but it may still happen in small townships.