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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 41



I have indicated in my introductory report the strong reasons that exist for increasing the staff of inspectors and their remuneration.

Importance of a highly organized system of inspection.

The three conditions of efficient teaching in this colony are, so far as I can see, the maintenance of a good supply of pupil-teachers, an improved training college, and a thorough organize tion of the inspectoral staff. I am aware that North Germany has relied till very lately on the services of local inspectors, whose office was more or less honorary; and that in America the superintendent is elected annually by the school committee, and is often rather a head master than an inspector. But I venture to think that the examples of Holland and of Great Britain, where the inspectoral staffs are highly organized, are more appropriate to ourselves. In North Germany the clergy, till lately, were the ordinary inspectors; and the object undoubtedly was to enlist the spiritual influence of men whom the people respected on the side of education. That need has ceased to be felt in Germany, and is not acknowledged here. In America the State systems differ; but I notice that a school commission, appointed in 1866 by the City of Boston Board to report on the systems prevailing in other States, declared that the New York system was largely indebted for its good results to the wide powers over all schools in the city with which the superintendent was invested.* The want of a central system of inspection for each great State is, I believe, due only to the great respect with which the free

* Report on the Public Schools of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, pp. 31,32.

page 55 action not only of each State, hut of each county and every township in a State, is commonly regarded. While half Massachusetts refuses to enforce the compulsory law, we can hardly wonder if country districts are not solicitous to receive inspectors from Boston.
The use of inspectors is to make the teaching efficient and

Use of inspectors.

fairly uniform, and to guard the teacher against an ignorant or prejudiced public feeling. I almost hesitate to say that private schools are held in check by the intelligence of the public, who refuse to take a bad article, knowing as I do that the public is often obliged to take whatever it can get, and that the best schools in England have solicited the universities to give them the boon of inspection. But I think it is fair to say that, as long as the law allows any man to open a school, it is a matter between himself and his patrons what he imparts. On the other hand, where, as in Victoria, the State makes it practically impossible for private persons to establish primary schools, and forces citizens to send their children to the State schools, it is bound to see, not only that qualified persons are made teachers, but that they do their work. Again, it must, within certain limits, enforce uniformity. A school cannot be allowed to suffer because its teacher has grown old in a certain routine, and will not adopt the best text-books or the last improvements in organization. Lastly, the teacher is especially interested that a qualified person, trained in educational work, should report him, rather than a board of advice or the correspondents of a local newspaper. An inspector may and does constantly arrange differences between a teacher and the parents of his pupils, pointing out where fault has justly been found, and where the demands made on the teacher have been unreasonable.*
The inspectoral staff at present consists of an inspector-general,

Present and proposed organizations of the inspectoral staff.

with ten inspectors—one of whom is always employed in office work—and seven assistant-inspectors. The inspector-general gets £700 a year; the inspectors range between £400 and £550; and the assistant inspectors at present get between £300 and £330, at a total cost of £7,850 in the year 1877.
I have before adverted to the lamentable insufficiency of these salaries. I recommend in place of them—
Inspector-general £800
Adjutant inspector-general 700
Ten inspectors at £375 to £650, say (in the first year) 4,251
Ten assistant inspectors at £300 to £375, say 3,600

The two examiners, who are wanted for office work, should not be classed with inspectors, though they ought to have passed through the training of inspectors.

* I may perhaps add that if untrained inspectors, such as clergymen, were employed in lieu of our present staff, a great loss of time would be entailed. Our present inspectors, when they began to examine for the standards, took eight minutes to each child. They now do the same work in less than four. We cannot afford to have studies interrupted for six days instead of three in our large schools.

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With this increase the inspector-general will still be very poorly paid, and the post of assistant inspector will barely tempt, though I hope it will tempt, the head master of a second-class primary school, making under the new system a possible £426 a year, and living comfortably in one place.

Hitherto the name assistant inspector has only meant junior inspector. The assistant, like the inspector proper, was in sole charge of a single large district with undivided powers and responsibilities. The Minister of Education holds that it would be better to make the assistant what his name implies—a junior, working in company with a chief, and under that chief's orders. This is very nearly the system pursued in England, where, however, the "inspector's assistant" has not quite so honorable or important a part as our own assistant inspectors will be called upon to fill. I believe there are strong reasons in favor of this change. It is very useful for a man new to his work to work under supervision; and there are many cases in which time will be economized, if an inspector can set his junior to do some of the clerical work, which, under any improvements, must remain to be done. Not unfrequently the presence of the inspectors will tend to make the work of inspection even, and will be a guarantee of fairness to the masters and to the department. Of course it is not necessary that the inspector and his assistant should always be together. Very often the inspector will reserve an important or difficult school for himself, while he gives his junior work in an outlying district. The single objection to the scheme, that it will sometimes entail a slight loss of time, is becoming of less importance every day, as railways and roads and schools are multiplied. Were it greater than it is, it could hardly be supposed to outweigh the other considerations. It is more essential to have work well and thoroughly than quickly done.

Minor grievances of inspectors.

There are two or three minor grievances to which inspectors are at present subjected. One is, that at the end of the financial year they are sometimes kept waiting two months, or nearly so, before their claims for travelling expenses are satisfied. This may easily be remedied if the department will next year take credit on the estimates for thirteen months' probable expenditure instead of for twelve months only. A second is, that they have no allowance for outfit, though all are obliged to keep a horse and buggy. An allowance of £50 for outfit when they enter the service, half to be repaid if they leave within three years, would go far towards rectifying this grievance. Lastly, the allowance for travelling expenses, though ordinarily sufficient for men who live like Rechabites, and do not hire a private room at an hotel, is insufficient in districts where forage is high and in some large towns. I think actual and necessary expenses of this kind should be allowed and compounded for, as it is not desirable that the inspector should be fined for doing duty in what may be the most important part of his circuit.

Promotion of inspectors.

There is one point besides pay on which the inspectors are naturally anxious: the question of promotion among themselves. At present this is so far respected, that the four senior inspectors page 57 have been habitually employed in Melbourne and the adjacent districts, where it is the ambition of all in the service to work; so far disregarded, that a junior was promoted for examiner's work in the office. I cannot myself see that any hard and fast line can be drawn in these matters. Where the work is all of one description it is natural that promotion and pay should be by seniority, but I do not think it would be wise to interfere with the Minister's discretion of appointing the most competent inspector, even though he were not the senior, to the posts of examiner, adjutant inspector-general, or inspector-general. On the other hand, I think it would be very desirable, as I have before said, that qualified inspectors, being university graduates, should be regarded with favour if they apply for the head-masterships of high schools. The value of these posts will, I think, be a little higher than that of inspectorships, and many will be glad to exchange the incessant knocking about and mechanical work of a school inspector for that of a schoolmaster.
I have allowed in my estimate an average of about 80 schools

Comparison of inspectoral work in Victoria with inspectoral work in other countries.

to each inspector. This average, though still large when compared with that of England and Scotland, is small compared with that of France, where, in 1859, 275 inspectors were entrusted with the surveillance of 65,000 schools, divided among them in most uneven proportions.* But in France the teacher, having gained a position more or less in proportion to his brevet de capacité, is paid in proportion to the number of his pupils, and the inspector has only to decide that his teaching does not fall below the just requirements of the service. In Victoria part of the salary depends on what are known as "results," that is, on the quality of the teacher's work as estimated by the inspector; and while I propose that two elements which the teacher cannot control—the attendance of scholars and their ages—should be eliminated from this, I have no wish to see the torpid and inefficient teacher drawing his salary with as much certainty as the active and successful. Now I need not say that the inspector must work more carefully, and spread his work over a longer time, when he is deciding results on which the proportion of a teacher's income depends, than when he has to certify that the man is not too bad to be kept in the service. Moreover, he must visit more frequently when children have to be liberated for profitable labour than when there is no obligation of the kind. Altogether, I do not think it is too much to say that he should try to visit every school four times a year; and if we consider distances, holidays, days of bad weather, and the time consumed over exceptionally large schools, this will mean on an average two schools a day. To do this in school hours will require good arrangement, but will I think be just possible, now that the colony is traversed in every direction by fairly good roads.

I propose that two of these visits, those in the first quarter of each half-year, should be visits of inspection rather than of examination.

* Arnold's Report, pp. 65, 80.

By the new scheme it is proposed to reduce this proportion from a possible third to a possible sixth of the whole salary.

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Visits of inspection.

In these the inspector will try to drop in suddenly and see that the rolls of attendance are properly checked, and the time-tables duly kept; will watch the pupil-teachers in their class-work, and examine them in private to see how they are prepared; will give hints on discipline and teaching. Children anxious to pass the standard may be presented and examined on these occasions, but no others; and it will not be necessary to invite the attendance of the board of advice for these visits. In the second, which may be rather the longer portion of each half-year, the inspector will examine for results, taking one-half of his district in each half-year. In assigning marks for these he will, in future, only have to consider whether the class is efficiently taught, whether the discipline is good, and whether the teaching is intelligent. By efficient teaching, I mean that the pupils should be making progress in reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography; by intelligent teaching, that they should be making this progress with the least possible cost of time, and in the most thorough possible way. I propose that three-fifths of the marks should be assigned for efficient teaching, and I think most teachers ought to get this, and the allowance for discipline. The test of the best assistant teachers will therefore be that they should get the extra twenty per cent, for teaching their pupils to think, teaching them to answer unexpected questions, and teaching them to answer outside the school text-books.

A class to be examined in its own work.

Hitherto every class has been examined in the work of the class below it, on the principle, I believe, that scholars who have just joined a class could not be expected to know its work. This system has led to several bad results. The worst undoubtedly is that it tempts teachers to promote in batches just before an examination comes on, so that Class IV. is really Class III. examined in its own work. A minor form of this evil is when children are taken off the work of their class to go over old ground again because the inspector is coming in a fortnight. I see no reason why each class should not be examined in what it is doing, the more so as in a large school, where each teacher is confined to a single class, there is a certain hardship in testing a teacher's division by the work for which another teacher is mainly responsible. At the same time, as some of the children may have been recently moved out, the examination might embrace part of the work in the class below.

System of estimating results.

Starting now from the principle that every assistant teacher can get ½ marks for discipline, ½ for intelligent teaching, and 4½ for efficient teaching, the inspector will allot them thus in the result examination—
  • Discipline, 1½, 1 or ½ (good, fair, or indifferent).
  • Intelligent teaching, 1½, 1, or ½.
Efficient teaching, in a class of 20, where each scholar can get 7 marks—
  • 4½ for 90 or more.
  • 3 for 75 or more.
  • 1½ for 60 or more.

The asistant may thus get any number between 1 and 15, but a page 59 failure to get 3 should, I think, in general he considered proof of absolute inefficiency.

The fixed rules by which the inspector should be guided in assigning the marks of efficient teaching should be that every child should pass, on an average, from one class into another in the course of a year, so that a child joining school at 6 should be in the sixth class at 12.

The scheme I propose, and which was suggested by Mr. Brodribb, allows for dullards in the proportion of 35 per cent.

To work it easily, the teacher should hand in with every class

Details of examination.

a list showing the time the pupils have spent in the class, and the pupils promoted during the half-year by the head master should count for good if they pass muster in the class to which they have been promoted. The difficulty of verifying these lists ought not to be very great. A more real difficulty, but one that exists at present, will be that bad weather, or a funeral, or some other such cause, may thin a class on a particular day below the point at which it can be fairly tested; or the head master, knowing that the inspector is to come, may persuade the duller pupils to stay away. The remedy for this, where the inspector thinks the absence exceptional, or suspects trickery, must be that he decline to examine the school or a particular class on that day. But if an effective Compulsory Act, increasing the days of attendance, is enforced, no solicitations from a teacher will procure the absence of his pupils.
In assigning marks for discipline, the inspector may easily

Discipline: how estimated.

guide himself by the simple plan of giving one mark for careful rolls, punctual attendances, cleanliness in dress, clean books and copy-books; another for the absence of noise, whisperings, and foot-shufflings in class, and concentrated attention; and a third for good manners and a sense of honour. It is customary in many schools to mix classes during examination, so that every pupil sits between two of another class and has one of another class directly below. This plan of course reduces the chance of copying indefinitely, and I am far from saying that it is not a good plan to adopt with the younger children. But in the fifth and sixth classes the inspector has, I think, a right to demand that the sense of honour shall have been cultivated; and should leave each class to do its paper-work by itself with no further supervision than is necessary to prevent disorder, and no further check than to know the order in which the pupils are seated. There will be many attempts to deceive at first, but a trained examiner is rarely or never taken in where his work is within manageable compass, that is where, as in a State school, he never has more than about fifty papers of the same kind to examine.
The tests of intelligent teaching are of course numerous, and

Some tests of intelligent teaching.

I only touch on the subject to allude to one or two points which have attracted my attention. The first is, that only the grammar used in teaching should be examined from. The

Only one grammar to be examined in.

department gives a certain latitude to teachers as to the textbooks they will use. This I think is as it should be. It is desirable that books in use should be changed from time to time as they are superseded, and teachers who make experiments with page 60 new books at a certain risk to themselves are not to be discouraged. But there is a tendency among teachers to do more than this, and to assume that anything taught in a standard grammar is to be counted right in an examination. For instance, in looking over the papers of a fifth class, on which the inspector was engaged, I found a sentence of this kind, "St. Petersburg is north of Moscow," and a general tendency to describe "north" as a substantive. This the head master admitted to be wrong, as the students had learned Morell's grammar, and Morell would call "north" in such a sentence "an adjective;" but he pleaded that it might be treated as a substantive. I have taken this instance in particular, because I believe four out of five grammarians would unhesitatingly class "north" as an adverb; and from this point of view it makes no great difference whether it be miscalled substantive or adjective. None the less, I should condemn any student who did not give the teaching of the book he had learnt. Such teaching is certain to be more or less homogeneous, and to mix it up even with sounder conclusions from more authoritative grammars, is simply to confound the pupil's notions of analogy. Therefore I think that an inspector should first ascertain what grammar is in use in a school, and then hold the students rigorously to it. This need not hinder the teacher from now and again giving them what he thinks a sounder view from another grammarian; but it will force him to master one system thoroughly.

Comparative grammar and foreign derivations not to be taught.

As the beginner should be confined to one structural system of grammar, he should also, in primary schools, be taught the grammar of one language only. No doubt, the boy who can compare the Latin and French or the Latin and German grammars with the English ought to master his work more intelligently than the pupil of a single speech; but practically, children under 12 years old cannot be expected to understand even the rudiments of comparative philology. For instance, I would not attempt to teach children learning the rudiments, that many languages, of which they know nothing, do by inflections what we do by prepositions. The age when a child enjoys teaching of this kind is after 12: the time he can profit by it is when he is studying another language. More strongly still would I reprobate the committing to memory of long columns of derivations from unknown tongues. In England, where this worthless branch of knowledge was once cultivated with great assiduity, I have read over hundreds of papers, exhibiting every variety of mistake; an Anglo-Saxon root described as Greek, or a word explained by a synonym with which it had no connection. Here the evil is comparatively a small one; but Sullivan's Spelling-book Superseded, which the department supplies, contains many hundred words which a young child cannot understand and therefore need not learn,* many questionable derivations, and a host of explanations that explain nothing. No doubt, the teacher should be able to explain a hard word that occurs in the course of reading; but to

* Such as asbestine, bade, coriaceous, dicotyledon, exergue, flambea, &c.

Such as "verdure," from the Latin "Viruliri;" "causey," from "calcutus;" and "wick," a bay, from "vicus."

Such as "fancy," from "phantasy;" "frenzy," from "phrenesy;" and "proxy," from "procuracy"—the meaning of the older form not being given.

page 61 make young pupils commit lists of exotic words to memory seems rather like the freak of that Mantchu Emperor of China, who constrained his Chinese subjects to learn by heart four thousand Mantchu words.
Assuming then that the pupil is restricted to one grammar and

Abbot's "How to tell the Parts of Speech."

one language, how is the inspector to test intelligent teaching? I believe such questions and such exercises as are given in Abbot's little book, "How to tell the Parts of Speech," will supply the answer. In the first chapter of that little book "on Nouns," which may be applied indifferently to any grammar, the pupil is taught to give instances of nouns, to find nouns in sentences, to explain why a word is a noun, and even to construct nouns. Of course, the higher forms will do more than this. The sixth class is at present required to explain syntax, the structure of words, and analysis. There is much in the structure of words that may be taught without travelling out of English; and such a title would, I presume, include cases where the function of a word changes with its form, by varying an accent, a vowel, or a consonant, as well as the more common cases where words are built up with affixes or suffixes, or compounded one with another. Where foreign forms have to be mentioned, I am inclined to think, the fact of their derivation need not be insisted on. I have said, as regards analysis, that I should like to see composition substituted for it in primary schools; and if this were done it would be easy to teach syntax intelligently. Many teachers, I am glad to find, practise their elder pupils in writing letters to them. An easier test at examination would be, that the highest class should reproduce on paper the main points in a paragraph or a chapter that had twice been slowly read out to them.
This leads me to speak on the subject of reading aloud.

Reading aloud.

When I visited schools in America, nothing impressed me more than the general excellence of the recitation, and the fearlessness with which questions in class were answered. At American public meetings the general fluency of comparatively untried speakers is common matter of remark among Englishmen. Shyness, in fact, seems to be unknown, except by report as "the English malady." I think much of this facility in expression is attributable to the early training in the State schools. Mere children are taught to speak out so that they may be heard by a large number in a large room, and are, in consequence, obliged to practise modulating the voice, speaking articulately, and speaking slowly. Personally I entertain no doubt that the correct pronunciation of the English aspirate, on which Americans pride themselves, is very much due to this public training. It is impossible to mumble and slur a word; and the pupil is forced to elect in every case of difficulty according to knowledge. I think inspectors might do much to aid the attainment of such results as the American by forcing classes to recite during examination from a distance. As it is, pupils in general take a particular interest in this part of their work. Were more prominence given to it, I believe all offensive peculiarities of idiom might be obliterated in the course of a generation.
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Arithmetic is one of the subjects which State schools have most thoroughly mastered, and about which I have least to say. Yet I do not feel sure that our system has said its last word in the matter of simplicity of process. There is a tendency to overload the mind of the pupil with the ramifications of obsolete weights and measures, and to make sums, simple in their principle, formidable by the intricacy of their elements. There is also a tendency to teach a great deal by memory that admits of being taught intelligently. I have never seen a more striking difference of method than between the teaching of the addition and subtraction tables in two large State schools. In the one the head master gathered round him a little knot of eager animated children, who were assisted in their mental work by the sight of counters in his hand. In the other an assistant teacher, armed with a pointer of ominous dimensions, elicited answers by rote from an apathetic class, glancing towards but not assisted by the ball-frame. Above all, even in the simplest rules, there should be a constant habit of testing, so that no one rule should be taught independently. Thus division may be tested by multiplication and subtraction, e.g., having divided 28 by 7 we may multiply 7 by 4, or subtract 7 from 28 till we get no remainder. With multiplication the steps are similar; and the advantage of proving every step from the very beginning will be felt by the pupil throughout his afterwork. Above all it should be borne in mind that the chief value of arithmetic is to concentrate the attention, and that nothing does this more effectually than mental arithmetic, especially in its simplest operations. There is danger that a clever careless student may work out a question in practice or rule of three by some imperfect method if it be not corrected on paper; but no one can trust to anything but the undivided attention for multiplying seven figures by two or three in the mind.


Mr. Robinson, in his excellent work on "Method and Organization," to which I am much indebted, quotes a letter, addressed by Lord Palmerston in 1852 to the Council of Education, in which the Premier of England recommended that "Pupils should be taught rather to imitate broad printing than fine copperplate engraving."* Mr. Robinson adds three recommendations from his own experience with which I entirely concur. The first is, that children should be taught to write on paper and not on slates, and should not even be allowed to use slates in their earliest efforts at writing. The two materials, slates and paper, are so dissimilar, and the strokes formed by the slate-pencil are so unlike those formed by the pen, that practice with the former rather unfits than prepares for work with the latter. The second is that, where it is practicable, engraved copies, which are too good to be properly imitated, should be replaced by headlines written by the teacher. I say where it is practicable, for I do not wish to see any but indispensable work laid upon many of our teachers; but there are differences in schools and classes, and that may be practicable with one school or in one class which is

* Manual of Method and Organization, p. 83.

page 63 not practicable in another. The third of Mr. Robinson's recommendations is so entirely consonant to my idea of what a State school should attempt, that I do not scruple to recommend it, though it will probably be received with some disfavour as it is opposed to general practice. It is that "large hand" be left to the last, if taught at all, and that children be trained from the first in writing more or less the kind of hand they will use in after-life. In short, where it is important to economize time, the child should write none on a material or in a style he will not employ in later life. I may add that the earlier the child works upon paper the more likely he is to acquire habits of cleanliness in writing, and the more he is practiced with home exercises the sooner will he be able to write fast.
A geography has lately been published, Nelson's, which is so


good that our chief grammar schools have adopted it, and so superior to the manuals in use in our State schools that I think it ought to be substituted for them as rapidly as consideration for the pockets of parents will allow. Its great merit is, that it gives the chief points and no more, while text-books generally are loaded with details, as if the compiler's object had been to pack as many facts as possible into the smallest possible space. Naturally it is weakest, where for Victorian purposes it should be strongest, in the geography of Australia; and I would suggest that the department arrange with the publishers to have that part re-written in England, or here, on the same model, though with larger lines. Meanwhile the Australian series published by Collins may very well be used to supplement Nelson's, as, in fact, a general manual can never supersede the use of special text-books for our own country.
The geography taught in State schools must be chiefly political

Character of geography taught.

geography. It is more important for a child to know the boundaries of Spain, what people inhabits it, what are their chief cities and products and manufactures and colonial possessions, how they are governed and what rank they take in the world, than to learn that Spain consists essentially of a great mountain plateau, traversed by chains that continue and run parallel to the Atlas, intersected by valleys and skirted by lowlands in parts of the south and east. But the inspector may easily test the intelligence of the teaching in geography, by putting a few questions to see whether the teacher has been contented with learning the manual in and out, or has read and taught outside it. The position of Spain, for instance, has connected it first with the Azores and afterwards with America, and so with the Philippines; its climate and geographical formation have determined its products; and its mountain chains have at once isolated its provinces and made their permanent occupation by invaders difficult. A little knowledge about Columbus and Cortes; and a few facts about Spanish wine and merino sheep and the quicksilver of Almaden; a bare acquaintance with the outlines of Spanish history and the war of emancipation; in a word, less than Sullivan's outlines give, though differently put, will make the difference between suggestive and valueless teaching.
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History not to be taught in primary schools.

I may here say briefly what I have said at more length in my report upon high schools, that I do not think it possible to teach history to young pupils. But even were it so, it would, I think, be unwise to introduce it into primary schools. We want these to be reduced, not enlarged, in proportions, and to transfer most of the higher work that they are at present doing to high schools. We want, if compulsion is to be enforced, that our children should get through their necessary work by the time they are twelve years old. Thoroughly to do this, I propose that the term of attendance should be increased, the work simplified, and all that is not strictly necessary retrenched. To add such a subject as history to our programme would mean that certain hours in the week should be struck off from subjects bearing on the standard, and, as an inevitable consequence, that children should be kept three months or six months or a year longer in school.

But history and other subjects may be read in schools.

It is another question whether the upper classes in a State school may not be encouraged to read manuals of history or agriculture or the laws of health instead of using the present volumes of extracts. The department has already made a beginning in this direction. Lacoppidan's Elements of Agriculture seems all that can be wished for as an introduction to that science,* and the Health Society has recommended a little treatise on the laws of health to the Minister's favourable notice. A short history of Australia, like those which Mr. Marcus Clarke and the Messrs. Sutherland have brought out, would be entitled to rank high among books of this kind, and I see no reason why a sixth or upper sixth class should not be taught out of it. It will, of course, be understood that there is a wide difference between the intelligent reading of one or two text-books of history, not examined in afterwards, and the study of history.

The upper sixth extras.

It is part of my scheme that every large school should contain an upper sixth class, and that, having worked in this for a certain term, should confer the privilege of paying half fees at a high school. The pupils in an upper sixth should learn Euclid and algebra, and might be taught part of their Latin accidence. These subjects should therefore be struck from the list of extras, for which the teacher receives payment from the parent; and this will reduce the list of extras to French, trigonometry, mensuration, book-keeping, and the elements of natural science. French and book-keeping will long continue to be sources of income in country districts. Meanwhile, I would recommend that the inspectors should consider it part of their duty to examine not only the higher teaching of the upper sixth, but the character of the teaching in extra subjects. Having looked through a good many exercises and been present at some class lessons, I am very doubtful as to the quality of the instruction generally communicated in these subjects by teachers, whose knowledge of Latin or French has been acquired in a year of multifarious preparation, and whose knowledge of science is probably derived from

* While saying this I am bound to remark, that the translation published under sanction of Government is far from accurate, and that I do not think the errors contained in it are covered by the author's permission to the translator to make alterations.

page 65 a course of lectures. I do not think the department will find it easy, though I hope it is just possible, to fill up the head-master-ships of the new high schools from its present staff. Yet in language and mathematics the high schools will profess to teach nothing that is not taught after a fashion at our State schools.
In estimating the work of a head teacher the inspector is met

A head master should have some voice in choosing his teachers.

at the outset by the great difficulty that the head teacher does not choose his own staff, and is constantly forced to work with imperfect material. I have proposed to meet this, partly by assigning a small allowance of 10 per cent, in estimating the results of class teachers. But the department may, I think, meet it more adequately in a way that can hardly be defined by fixed rules, if it will allow the masters of large schools to nominate one of their old pupil-teachers, let us say, to every third vacancy. This will foster the kindly relations between teacher and pupil-teacher that are one of the brightest features in our present system, and will give the head master the best of all possible premiums upon good training. I think, too, inspectors should be instructed not to try

Character of districts to he allowed for.

schools by a hard and fast line, comparing them with what is; absolutely best, but taking into account every circumstance that may fairly be considered. So far as I can judge, the most intelligent scholars are to be found in large towns, and the most favourable conditions for a school, all things considered, in a small town of from 2,000 to 6,000 inhabitants. The inspector will therefore be justified in expecting greater results of teaching in Melbourne, Ballarat, or Sandhurst, and better discipline in Hamilton, Bairnsdale, or Warrnambool, while he must make great allowances for schools that have been recently opened or in parts inhabited by a migratory or by a scattered population.
The work of organization is that which especially distinguishes


the most capable head masters. It is for the head master to assign their work to the assistant teachers; and it may be his duty to give a low class to one who is high in the service and vice versâ. To do this without exciting discontent is a good test of capacity. Generally, I think, a head master in a large school ought not to take a class, but it may be necessary for him to do so, and to depute an inefficient assistant to do clerical work, such as registration. Where the inspector finds that this is done, he should examine the assistant in class-teaching, and report on his capacity or want of capacity to the department. But generally the head master can create an esprit de corps, and work up all but the most backward to something like relative efficiency. My experience goes to prove that the men who do this best are sometimes rigid disciplinarians, and sometimes men of exceptional geniality and tenderness, but are always men who trust and inspire trust; and I regard it as a sure sign of incompetent management when a head teacher keeps a diary in which he records his grievances against his assistants. Next, the head teacher must assign his pupils throughout the school to their proper classes. It may be desirable in doing this to disregard rules that are generally wise; to put an over-grown lout, who would only create disorder among young children, into a class where he can barely work with the page 66 rest; to give quick promotion to those who would he disheartened by staying too long in a class with their juniors; or to keep back those who are not solidly grounded. I dislike the present system of results for nothing more than that it forces a teacher to classify by rule of thumb; to ask how long the pupil has lived, not what his powers and disposition are, before moving him. Thirdly, it is for the head teacher to construct the time-table of the school; to see that a long room is not filled with several classes speaking at the same time; to regulate the proportions of the studies; and to see that the younger children get frequent intervals of rest and changes of work. Fourthly, as it seems most important that the pupil-teachers, who are now heavily overworked, should be spared half their work in the fourth year, the head master must arrange for throwing half their burden on other shoulders, and for relieving them of some part of the task of enforcing discipline by the appointment of monitors. Lastly, it is for the head master to see that no time is lost in beginning work; that there are no undue absences from the school during school hours; and that the pupils take their places and quit the school without noise or confusion.


To some extent the discipline of a school depends on the class-teachers, and the head master must be judged by their performances. If he is tolerant of whisperings, shufflings of feet, listlessness and inattention in all who are not actually repeating a lesson, his assistants will often be careless about enforcing order; and on the other hand, though a single class may now and again defy the head master's vigilance, the tone he gives to the school will be generally felt. There are again some matters for which only he is responsible. It is he who must devise the mechanism by which needless absences in school-time, especially of boys and girls together, are prevented. It is for him to see that his assistants attend punctually, and that the home exercises are scrupulously overlooked and corrected. It is he on whom the tone of honour in the upper classes will depend—who alone can make the elder pupils feel that any form of dishonest sharpness is criminal. But he may be better judged outside than even within the school. It was my fortune to live for some years in England in the neighbourhood of two of our most famous public schools, each supplied with an admirable staff of masters, and each getting excellent results in scholarship. But I could not avoid noticing that, whenever I drove into the little town where one was situated, I found a party of the boys throwing stones in the street at one another; while I never detected an Eton boy in any act of license or rowdyism. I think an inspector will be justified in judging a head master's qualifications for discipline by the conduct of his pupils in the play-ground and in the street as well as in the class-room. Provided the results are desirable, I would leave each man free to attain them in the way he thinks best. So long as only the head teacher or his deputy inflicts corporal chastisement, and so long as every punishment inflicted is registered, that form of correction is not likely to be carried to serious excess; and the tone of districts differs so much that four canings a day may imply less severity in one school than four a page 67 week in another. But I hold that the teacher is bound to aim at something more than unquestioning obedience during lessons, and must be held to have fallen short of the highest requirements if his elder pupils are rough-spoken or rough-mannered, are not quiet and courteous.
It is the head master, even more than the assistants, who is

Intelligent teaching.

responsible for intelligent teaching in a large school, inasmuch as the head master's work is to examine classes and form teachers rather than to take a class himself. Here the experience of a thoroughly trained man gives him a great advantage even over the admirable teachers whom an improved training college turns out year by year. They will sometimes know more of books than their chief, but they ought never to know as much of human nature, of what points the child is likely to apprehend imperfectly or misapprehend, at least until they are worthy to take the highest place. The head teacher, again, has to harmonise the teaching of the assistants as well as to correct the deficiencies of the pupils. There are differences of method between one class-teacher and another which, as every schoolmaster knows, involve a loss by friction of the first two or three weeks to every child that passes out of one class into another. Ideally, therefore, the best plan is to let every assistant take not a class, but a subject, and to let children rise in each subject, grammar or arithmetic, without regard to their work in other departments. But this plan requires a large staff, and could only be carried out in a few State schools, if in any. Practically the head master must continue so to harmonise the routine that the difference of method between class and class may not be such as to embarrass the pupil, while at the same time the teachers are not restrained from working according to their bent. In one case the head master is bound to impart instruction. He must bear the chief responsibility of preparing his pupil-teachers himself; and though he is stimulated to do this by the credit and the reward if a pupil-teacher passes, his efficiency as a trainer must be taken account of by the inspector under the head of intelligent teaching.
The work of those head teachers who, taking small schools, take

Proposed method of calculating head teacher's results.

classes themselves, will be valued by the inspector from a double point of view: they will take marks as head teachers and as assistants. Assuming the assistants in a large school to earn four-fifths of the results, the head master's results will stand thus—
Assistant's results 6 × 6 = 36
Allowance 5
Organization (possible) 20
Discipline (possible) 10
Intelligent teaching (possible) 20
Total 91
80 being the lowest that will count as 5
60 being the lowest that will count as 4
40 being the lowest that will count as 3
20 being the lowest that will count as 2

Cases in which 5 is secured ought to be common.

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The marks for the infant school—that is, for all children under Class I.—and similarly the marks for an upper sixth or for divisions of any class under a separate teacher, must he thrown in with the other marks of assistant teachers, and reduced to the standard of 100.

Amount of work thrown on an inspector.

If the inspector has checked the rolls of each class, when he visited the school in the early part of the year, he will have scarcely any clerical work to do when he returns on a formal visit of inspection. As the effect of registration and compulsion will be to pass nearly all children through the primary schools by the time they are twelve, the attendance of those who are under twelve will be enormously increased, while children between the ages of twelve and fifteen will practically disappear. The regulation making the upper sixth class a passport for cheap entrance to high schools will also attract a good many who are now cared for in private schools. Altogether I think we must expect to have at least 120,000 on the rolls; and of these, allowing 16 per cent., as is done in Scotland, for those kept away by unavoidable causes, rather more than 100,000 will present themselves for inspection. This gives each inspector more than 5,500 pupils to examine in twelve or thirteen weeks of five days; and, allowing for public holidays and for days when the attendance is thinned by rough weather, we may probably say that he will have to despatch 100 pupils a day. I notice that Mr. Newell, one of the Irish inspectors, reports that he can only do justice to 50 fairly classed pupils in a day;* and in exacting from our own inspectors a larger number than this, I rely on the saving of time that will be effected when they are no longer obliged to check lists of ages and names, and on the use they will be able to make of the teachers in examinations. I think they ought to be able to examine a sixth class pupil in five minutes, and any other in three. But even so, the day's work will be from five to six hours in school work, and the inspector will have to write his reports, and travel in such other time as he can make for himself.

Results ought not to be averaged.

Teachers have an idea that inspectors rather favour a system of averaging results, so that no one shall get the highest or the lowest possible percentage. When I have told a head master that he ought to represent a case of defective early training and get an allowance for age from the inspector, as is permitted by the regulations, I have sometimes been answered, "It is no good. The inspectors tell me that I can't complain of my percentage, and make no allowance." The department disclaims encouraging this practice, if it be a practice; and I think it unfortunate that its existence should be believed in. No doubt it is unpleasant for an inspector to feel that, if he gives low marks, the teacher will be mulcted in a part of his small salary; and, on the other hand, I can understand a certain reluctance to give the highest marks where the school, though good, has not reached the inspector's ideal standard. But if results are to be retained at all, the standard must be applied fearlessly. A thoroughly inefficient

* Appendices to 43rd Report of Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, p. 97.

page 69 teacher had better be drafted out of the service before he is too old to employ his energies more usefully; and, on the other hand, a good teacher is entitled to his year's results even though they may be due in some slight measure to the chance of having exceptionally bright scholars or of having had an easy examination. On one point, that of accurate class-rolls, the inspector ought, I think, to be inexorable. Whenever, entering a school fifteen minutes after roll-call, he finds that the rolls have not been properly marked, it should count against assistant and head teacher in estimating their percentage for discipline at the end of the six months. In the much worse case, where rolls are stuffed, as, for instance, where children are allowed to go home when they have answered their names, the matter should be instantly reported to the department.
Some teachers complain that the inspector's power over percentages

number of questions asked should be increased.

is very much increased by the small number of questions he sets: three, two of which must be answered. It is argued that where he has reported unfavourably upon a school it is always in his power to vindicate his verdict by setting what are called "catch questions" at the next examinations. We need not ask whether this charge is purely imaginary to examine the fairness of the present system. It is quite possible to hold, as I do, that the inspectors are honorable men, doing a difficult duty most conscientiously, and yet to hold that they work under a system, the balance of which is easily disturbed. Nor does the check devised by the department, that the inspector must keep a record of the questions he asks, seem to me quite sufficient. What we have to guard against I am convinced is not unfairness, but unintentional inequality; and the smaller the paper of questions is the more difficult will it be to rectify this. I think it will not be any sensible addition to the work of inspection if capacity to answer the best three out of five questions in grammar and geography be substituted for capacity to answer the best two out of three, and if a single mistake in arithmetic be allowed in the first class as it already is in every other.
The greatest safeguard for teachers, however, will be that

Reports should be published.

inspectors' reports should be published year by year, and that all in the service should be entitled to claim promotion by the published report. I do not wish absolutely to restrain the inspector from sending in private reports. There are merits and deficiencies of which the most competent judge can only say, "nequeo monstrare et sentio tantum;" where the precise measure of praise and blame cannot be indicated by line and plummet. No one, I think, can wish that an inspector should be debarred from saying that such a teacher has the true instinct and genius of his profession, and that such another, though faultless, is a mechanical worker. With a larger inspectoral staff the inspector-general will be easily able to test the value of praise or blame of this kind, and to quicken or retard promotion accordingly by two or three years. Even in these cases I think some form should be devised to apprise the profession that certain of their members had been marked out for honorable notice independent of per- page 70 centages. But the great point is that no man should be liable to be superseded, or transferred to a worse post, or kept back for any long time in the list of promotion, unless the action of the department is justified by the inspector's public and published reports. Under the system, by which I propose that promotions should be regulated, the chance of such grievances will at first be comparatively small, as rank throughout the service will be determined by certificates of teaching power and reports on teaching efficiency, each bearing a distinct numerical value. But as competition becomes keen there will no doubt be many on a list with equal claims to promotion in every respect except seniority. It is in these instances that I would give the department a limited right of promoting or passing by, and would not allow it to deny promotion altogether.

The expense of publishing such reports as I recommend will be considerable, but if they come out in parts, each of which contains a separate school district, I think a large sale for them may be anticipated. As it is, publishers find it worth their while to collect the school averages and percentages and edit them in almanacs. But the question of expense becomes trifling in comparison with the question of efficiency. Such a publication will go far to promote the spirit of professional emulation, and will give every efficient teacher an indisputable record of faithful service.*

I append a form of return. As it seems desirable that there should be some definite system of awarding marks, I have intended that in the case of the head teacher the marks allotted for each characteristic should be divided in regular proportion as each school is summed up to be very good (v.g. = 20); good (g. = 16); fair (f. = 12); moderate (m. = 8); and indifferent (i. = 4). In the imaginary schedule given below, the head teacher having a faulty time-table cannot get the highest marks for organization, and fails of the highest for intelligent teaching from shortcomings in geography. In discipline the more serious faults of unpunctuality and copying reduce his average even more. He therefore falls short of the highest place, but short by so little that he ought to count on retrieving his position at the next examination.

Thuringa State School, No. 146.
Head teacher, George Sullivan
Pupils on rolls. 800 Average attendance. 716

Organization.—Time-table suitable but not strictly adhered to. Distribution of teachers good. Classification faultless. G. = 16.

Discipline.—Teachers punctual but not pupils. Order and attention excellent. Manners good. Cleanliness. Some copying in examination. F. = 6.

Intelligent Teaching.—Grammar and arithmetic well taught. Writing excellent. Geography weak. G. = 16.

* The publication of the "tabulated reports" of the condition of each school has been discontinued in England), a piece of economy, as I think, to be regretted.—Fraser't Report on America, p. 230, note.

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Efficient teaching. Discipline. Intelligent teaching. First assistant ... 4 ½ + 1 + 1½ = 7 Second assistant ... 3 + 1½ + 0½ = 5 Third assistant ½ 3½ + 1½ + 1 = 6 18 Counted as 36 Head master's marks— 16 + 6 + 16 + 36 + 5 = 79 = 4 (Signed) June 1879. Inspector