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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

No Claim for Originality

No Claim for Originality.

I think I have now said all that it is absolutely necessary to say in explanation of my scheme. I say my scheme, but I am not at all sure of the novelty of it after all. As far back as the year 1885 I find efforts were being made by some to get the same principles recognised by the department. For instance, in the 'New Zealand Educational and Literary Monthly' for March of that year is the summary of a paper read at Christchurch before the North Canterbury Educational Institute by Mr George Hogben, M.A., entitled the 'Liberty of the Teacher.' The sentiments of this gentleman are so much in accord with what I have been saying that I will venture to quote a line or two from his paper. He says: "The rules of the (existing) system appeared to be framed on the assumption that all teachers were bad, rather than to aid and encourage the good ones, whose efforts were therefore cramped. A radical reform was necessary to give more scope to the individuality of the teacher, who was in bondage with regard to (1) the classification of his pupils; (2) the arrangement of his work; and (3) examinations. It was absurd to say that an inspector (an outsider) could classify the children better than the teacher who knew their capabilities, unless that teacher was unfit for his work. The inspector's duty was to criticise and comment on the classification. The arrangement of work was fixed by standards at a certain minimum per year, without regard to the child's capacity, in whatever place or district, town or country. Surely the teacher who knows the children under his charge best should be able best to say what each class can do in a given time." Whether Mr Hogben would approve of the practical proposals in my scheme of reform I do not know, but I could not wish to have the case for reform expressed better than it is here.