The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Volume 14, 1903, pgs. 151
House of Education, Ambleside
Examination in the Theory and Practice of Teaching (Method, History, Psychology and Practical Teaching), Christmas 1902.
The written part of the examination consisted of three papers, one on Method, a second on the History of Education, and the third on Psychology. Of these, the paper on Method was answered with the greatest success. There was ample evidence that the students understood the principles on which effective teaching depends.
The papers on the History of Education and on Psychology were not quite so well answered as the paper on Method. The answers showed some want of exact, though plain, information. A very fair standard of merit was, however, generally maintained. It is gratifying to notice that so large a proportion of the students are placed either in the first or second class.
T. G. Rooper,
Report on the Inspection of the House of Education, 1902
In consequence of the unfortunate indisposition of Mr. Rooper, whose interest in the system of education carried on here from its inception to the present time has been unabated, thoroughly in sympathy as he has been from the first with the ideas of the founder, I was invited to represent him in regard to that part of the duties of an examiner which involves personal inquiry. It was with alacrity that I responded to the call, knowing. as I did. something of the character of the aim kept in view, and the anticipation I had entertained of pleasure in this. my first visit. was more than gratified . . .
It has been said that, "to understand is to enjoy!" This, I take it, is what has, of set purpose, been adopted as the guiding principle on which, so far as the mental faculties are concerned, the training of the students here has been directed. Given, first of all, that moral basis which is indicated by the choice of Dante's umile piante [humble plant] for the seal of the House, the main object beyond this is to open out as far as possible to the choice of the students the whole cornucopia of interests that Nature and Art offer, in order that they may be able to lay out a fuller and ampler map of life before the children who shall in future be under their charge. The importance of this aim, its influence in moulding, enlarging and brightening the lives of the coming generation, can hardly be overestimated. And certainly this aim is reached in the House itself. It is impossible, in visiting it, not to be struck with the abounding vitality and the consequent happiness of all its inmates. Yes, it is very much alive, and its atmosphere is one of happy delight in the varied work and employments. At the same time, whatever is attempted, even down to the handwriting—in which the simple but artistic design of Mrs. R. Bridges is adopted—is done as a thing to be done well; with a conscientious care that would have delighted Ruskin, "in the eyes of all, good, irreproachable, and without flaw," according to the maxim of some old Deutschland trade corporations. One reason why these ideas can be actually carried out, is that not too much is done in the way of writing in exercise books; at the same time the beauty of the students' written exercises—on Nature lore, for example, illustrated by themselves as these are with pictorial representations of the objects seen in their walks in the charming country around them, which in themselves are quite works of art, needs no praise from me. It has, as was to be expected, been awarded the bronze medal of the recent Nature Study Exhibition.
At my visit, besides inspecting the Handicraft Specimens, including cardboard sloyd, leatherwork, bookbinding, clay-modeling, needlework, &c., of the children in the practicing school, and of the students, and the Museum, and noticing the recently instituted Botanical Garden in which plants of various orders are grown in accordance with a scheme arranged by the Rev. W. Tuckwell, and the superintendence of which has for the benefit of the students, kindly been undertaken by Miss Armitt, a lady living in the neighbourhood who is proficient in such lore; and besides being entertained by the students themselves, among other ways, by a little theatrical performance in French, in which their at-homeness with the language was well displayed, I systematically heard lessons given by the 17 students of the second year, and also by the several mistresses. The lessons given by the students, as ought to be the case, and in accordance with the custom in vogue also in the Government Training Colleges, had been chosen and drawn out by themselves. Of the three lessons thus drawn out by each student, one was given before me. In perusing the notes, I was much pleased to notice that, whatever the subject was, true comprehension of principles, and the meaning and rationale of processes were throughout given a prominent place. I was also glad to see that the children taught were in the habit of quite freely asking questions about any part of the lesson they had not grasped. It should also be mentioned that there is no stint in the provision of illustrative apparatus, and that always of the best that is known.
Among the mistresses, Miss Sumner gave some information on photogravures, &c., and then specially directed the attention of the class to the subject of the art of Velasquez. The subject belongs to a branch of knowledge of which Miss Sumner had evidently made herself entirely in command, and she was able to direct the students' attention to many points, suggested by the pictures, in such a way as to give them real insight into the art of the painter. I afterwards saw the class busily engaged, under her able direction, in painting the life figure of one of themselves in the picturesque peasant costume which she had worn in the little French play.
Miss Stirling comes in from Ambleside to give lessons on Physiology, in which she is well versed. Her subject was the Human Ear, and the lesson she gave was remarkable for the way in which it advanced, in treating so complicated a matter, step by step, without pause and without hesitation or faltering, and yet with security that each point was well grasped before the next was taken up.
Mdlle. Mottu gave an admirably sustained lesson on a passage of French poetry to an advanced class on the Gouin System, and I also saw her engaged in giving a composition lesson on a historical subject, the students showing facility in writing French grammatically and idiomatically as well as in speaking.
Fraulein Diez also gave an excellent lesson on some verses of Heine, which the class took up well.
Miss Barnett gave a well illustrated and instructive lesson on Protective Adaptation of Green Leaves against Insects, one which was well calculated to stimulate the observation of the students in their rambles. Miss Barnett also superintends, with eminent success, the teaching of the various handicrafts.
Miss Firth, the daughter of the lady who so kindly interest herself in giving "Art Talks" to the students, was engaged in one of the rooms I visited in giving a Cookery lesson, combining, as I think, therein the artistic with thoroughly scientific method.
Once more, in concluding this somewhat lengthy report, I cannot but express my most hearty admiration of the animation and enjoyment with which the students enter into their daily occupation, and my appreciation of the determination displayed in the conduct and management of the House to bring to the fore all that is known as the best, whether in method or apparatus. I have already spoken of the charm of the happy spirit that pervades the House .
Late One of the H.M. Chief Inspectors of Schools
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Report. Examination of the National Health Society.
Passed: H. Wix, D. Thomson, W. Tibbits, W. White, E. Brookes, B.
P.N.E.U. Translation Society.—Subject for February: From one of the Racine's Plays
P.N.E.U. Literary Society.—Subject for February: From Shakespere's Sonnets
C. Agnes Rooper, Hon. Sec.,
Pen Selwood, Gervis Road Bournemouth,
Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, Feb 2009
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