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It is gratifying to have to report that the relations between the committees and the head teachers have been of a friendly and often helpful character during the year. No complaints necessitating inquiry have been made, but often it has been a pleasure to hear committees speak of the teachers with unstinted praise. The head teachers of this district, as elsewhere, vary greatly in mental endowment, culture, and professional skill. Many of them, both male and female, would naturally be placed in the front rank of any body of teachers. These are doing high-class work, while the rank and file are not a whit behind them in honestly doing their duty, with whatever of skill, aptitude, and energy Nature has endowed them. The formal, apathetic, "go-as-you-please" feeling, very noticeable in past times, is now rarely seen. As far as one can judge, there is a more earnest spirit and a keener sense of their responsibilities among all classes of teachers, principal and subordinate.
The Provisional school teachers are, almost without exception, doing good pioneering work. Some of them, having taught for a number of years, produce results quite equal in value to what is found in the smaller State schools.
The head teachers, without exception, reported very favourably of the pupil-teachers, both as regards their general conduct and attention to duty.
For the month preceding inspections the average attendance in State schools was 8,2487, or 79-5 per cent.; and in Provisional schools 653.4, or 76-7 per cent. For all schools, both State and Provisional, the average attendance was 8,9021, or 79-3 per cent of the total enrolment.
In the best conducted schools the pupils are usually reported as quiet and well behaved, attentive, and alert during oral teaching or examination; steadily industrious and self-reliant at silent work; and at all times obedient, respectful, and polite in manners and bearing. Class movements are made with alacrity, sinoothness, and precision. In the moral lessons the duty of truthfulness, honesty, respect for parents and superiors, and consideration for the feelings and infirmities of their fellows, are inculcated, and as far as possible enforced. It is not only in the larger town schools that efforts are thus being made to form the character and to fit the pupils for the duties of life; but in many of the smaller and outlying ones, though, perhaps, not in so pronounced a form, there is evidence of a true conception of discipline and of patient effort to reach the ideal. In no case did the discipline fall below fair ; chiefly it ranged from very fair to excellent.
On the day of inspection, the enrolment in State schools was 10,200, and of these 85'6 per cent. were present. In Provisional schools, 838 were enrolled, and 82-9 per cent. of them were present at inspection. The following table shows the percentage of enrolment in each class :
The above figures show an appreciable improvement on those of the previous year, but the average age in each class varies little. The classification is usually satisfactory. The pupils are graded on their average proficiency and ability to work profitably with their class mates. In the larger schools, with a teacher for each class, and frequently for a division of a class, classification ceases to be a problem ; but in the smaller schools, with pupils varying in age and attainments, and only one teacher to meet all demands, a serious difficulty presents itself. Suggestions in such cases are freely given and readily adopted.
Taken on the whole, Reading has reached a fairly satisfactory standard. The improved methods of teaching the subject, and the greater interest taken in it, have led to considerable improvement. In my last report of the West Moreton District, I was able to report very favourably of the improvement in the lower classes, but only in qualified terms of the higher. During the present year it has frequently been a pleasure to listen to the reading of the higher classes. Explanations—pithy in character and reasonable in amount—had given such an intelligent grasp of the reading lessons that ease, fluency, and expression characterised the reading of most senior pupils. Especially was this the case with the reading of the “ Lay of the Last Minstrel.” Except when the classes are very large, the Fifth Class would gain much by being joined with the Sixth in the reading of the classic. In the previous year, and early in the present one, the Royal Readers had been discarded in many schools in favour of the Queensland School Paper, the schedule notwithstanding; the latter is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the former. That a lesson must be understood before it can be read with intelligence is generally admitted; but to secure ease and fluency plenty of individual practice must be afforded. Recitation is seldom an unqualified success. The pieces chosen are frequently quite unsuitable, especially in the lower and middle sections of the schools-pieces that lie quite outside the pupils' comprehension, and that make no appeal either to their interest or imagination, and, consequently, cannot be well recited. Except for the First Class, the reading books supply sufficient pieces of poetry suitable for recitation, and in the sixth book there are prose extracts that might be taken alternately with the poetical in the highest elass. One of the best recitations heard during the year was of a prose extract from the sixth book. Great strides have been made in oral composition since the introduction of the new syllabus. Monosyllabic replies are now as rare as they formerly were common. The reluctance of the older pupils to make connected statements of matters of fact, or in answers to questions, has, in great part, been overcome, doubtless owing to the more intelligent handling of the reading lessons. "Occasionally it might be desirable to take, orally, the exercise intended for written composition. Written exercises are faulty, chiefly in regard to spelling and grammar. In the latter, the errors are chiefly in the use of the past tense and past participle, and in the too free use of capitals. The spelling of ordinary words was often very disappointing. In other respects, however, the written composition, in letter-writing especially, is much improved; there is a facility of expression and fulness of ideas sadly wanting in those of former years. Inability to quote or apply the more common rules of syntax is not unfrequently met with, even among the older pupils; but generally very creditable work is done in grammar. Derivation is almost wholly confined to the memorising of prefixes, affixes, and roots. Word-building is rarely attempted. Writing in copy-books is generally neat, with fairly well-formed letters ; but in comparatively few schools is it formally taught. In the home exercises, and in dictation books, the writing is clear and legible; but, when called upon to do a written exercise at inspection, all grades of pupils using books write too slowly; neatness, legibility, and speed are all necessary to a good penman. Some few teachers have provided themselves with apparatus for giving their pupils a rational idea of length, weight, and capacity; but in too many of the smaller schools, especially, the inability to solve, mentally, easy little problems involving a workable knowledge of the relative value of the different denominations, forces upon one the conclusion that the rote method of teaching those tables still largely obtains. The simple tables, and money tables, are much better handled. The mechanical work in simple and compound rules is mostly satisfactory, but the solution of easy problems leaves room for much desirable improvement. The children in the First Class, almost without exception, acquit themselves very creditably, and are generally ahead of schedule requirements. In the earlier stages of vulgar and decimal fractions the ground-work is too hastily passed over in very many schools, with the inevitable result of a break down at a later stage. The most marked failures in arithmetic are in easy problems in these rules. The Sixth Class pupils in the Brisbane Central Schools acquitted themselves creditably in algebra and geometry. On the whole, the teaching in mathematics has much advanced since the introduction of the new syllabus. That branch of Nature Knowledge that may be said to have taken the place of the old object-lessons, is not unfrequently disappointing. Its limits are too cramped, mostly being understood to include lessons only in Botany, Geology, or Physiology. Enthusiastic teachers, who have mastered these sciences, will be able to do good work in lessons taken from them, but many teachers require a wider field. It does not really matter what domain of Nature the lessons are taken from, providing that by them useful knowledge is conveyed, the interest and curiosity of the pupils are aroused, and the observing and reasoning faculties are cultivated. Geography, in the junior classes, is now much more rationally taught than in former years, and is, on the whole, satisfactory. Good work is also done in physical and mathematical geography, but in the Fourth and Fifth Classes the teaching has been too desultory, chiefly through a misconception of what is meant by the correlation of history with geography. Lessons in geography have been too much swamped with history, and vice versa. Geography and history should certainly be linked together, as they always have been in the best schools. For this purpose, all that is necessary is that any interesting or notable event connected with the place or places named in the lesson should be told to the pupils, in order to arouse their interest and to fix in their minds the places under consideration. This can be done, however, without breaking the continuity of their geographical knowledge of a continent or country, and it is about all that can profitably be attempted in our schools. Generally too little ground has been covered in history as regards stories, important events, and leading dates. In every school where history is taught a scheme of lessons intended to be given should be drawn up by the teacher, so as to show in a bird's-eye glance the course of study. Free, line, scale, and geometrical drawing are successfully taught, and the easy model drawing of the Sixth Class is very creditable. In some country State, and almost all Provisional, schools the drill taught is of a perfunctory character; but in all the larger State schools, and not a few of the smaller ones, it varies from good to excellent.
State scholarships have been awarded to nine boys and one girl, State bursaries to three boys, and District scholarships to six boys and four girls, all attending the State schools of this district. The State scholarships were won by the boys of the Brisbane Central (5), Eagle Junction (2), Ipswich North (1), and Ironside (1). The one girl was from Indooroopilly. The bursaries were allotted to three boys, of whom one was from the Brisbane Central and two from Bulwer. District scholarships were granted to six boys and four girls. The boys have attended the Brisbane Central (1), Taringa (3), and Ipswich Central (2) schools; three of the girls are from Indooroopilly, and one from Ithaca Creek.
I have, &c.,
R. NEWCOMBE ROSS, District Inspector.
The Under Secretary, Department of Public Instruction, Brisbane.
REPORT OF MR. DISTRICT INSPECTOR KENNEDY.
Brisbane, February, 1908. SIR, -I have the honour to submit the following General Report for the year 1907 :
DISTRICT. Consequent on a re-allotment of districts at the beginning of the year, the West Moreton District, which had been in my charge for the ten years ending 1899, was again assigned to me for inspection. It included, as in the preceding year, a few schools in Brisbane and Ipswich; the schools on or near the railway line from Ipswich to Grantham; and those on or connected with the Fassifern branch line. The total number of schools within the foregoing limits was 103, of which 58 were State, 40 Provisional, and 5 Denominational.
The only new school that came into operation in the course of the year was a Provisional one at One Mile Lagoon, near Forest Hill; but the Provisional schools at Noogoora and Townson, which had been closed for a considerable time, were reopened; and an application for the establishment of a Provisional school at Mount Greville, about 17 miles from Boonah, was received and reported on.
Exclusive of three weeks' leave of absence, my time up to 21st February was occupied in valuing papers written at the preceding annual examination, compiling my general report for 1906, and attending a Departmental conference. On 21st October, I had to cease inspection in order to take up special duties in the Education Office, which, with work appertaining to the recent annual examination, engaged me till the close of the year. Between the dates mentioned, some interruption to ordinary work was caused by duties devolving upon me as a member of the General Committee appointed to make arrangements for the display of school work at the National Association's Exhibition; and a little time further was occupied in attending meetings of a sub-committee to consider the matter of adopting a uniform system of copybooks.
During the time available for work in the field, 84 schools were inspected, the remaining 19 being temporarily assigned to Mr. Inspector Gripp. In addition, an inquiry was held regarding the establishment of a new school; papers for use at the annual examination were drafted; and, with the permission of the Minister, I supervised three Commonwealth Public Service Examinations.
The pupils inspected amounted in all to 6,719, of whom 502 were presented by the 5 Denominational schools. The figures and remarks hereinafter appearing apply to only the 79 State and Provisional schools which I visited.
The school buildings generally afford ample accommodation. Those at Forest Hill, Tent Hill Upper, and Mount Forbes were found to be uncomfortably crowded at the time of inspection, but the two latter have since been added to; an addition has also been made at Ipswich West (Girls and Infants); and, while the Boys' and the Girls' schools at Leichhardt Street are not large enough for the attendance, the difficulty is in part met by working some of their classes in the Infants' school, which would otherwise be not more than half filled.
With the exception of the Provisional school at Springdale, which is a very rough structure, unsightly looking, and white-ant eaten, the buildings are mostly in good order and condition. During the course of the year painting and repairs have been carried out at many of them, included in the number being those at Ashwell, Boonah, Bundamba Upper, Burnside, Brassall, Ipswich West (Girls and Infants), Kelvin Grove Road, Ma Ma Creek, Mount Forbes, Normanby, Peak Mountain, Roadvale, Tallegalla, Tent Hill Upper, Franklyn Vale, Grantham Scrub, and Walloon; considerable improvements have been made at Milora; at College View a back veranda has been added ; new fencing has been erected at Leichhardt Street; and, at Breakfast Creek and Ropeley, playsheds have been built. It is pleasing to find also that the teachers' residences have not been overlooked, additions having been made to those at Tivoli, Templin, Engelsburg, Tent Hill Lower, and Laidley North.
The great bulk of the schools were sufficiently provided with furniture and material, but in a few Provisional schools it was necessary to draw the attention of the committees to the disadvantages and inconvenience arising from the want of a second blackboard, this being the case at Woodlands, Fordsdale, Limestone Ridges, Gehrkevale, Franklyn Vale, Fassifern Valley, Mount Forbes, Coochin Lower, and Grantham.
There has been little reason to complain of want of cleanliness or of neatness in the schoolroom and its appointments, most of the teachers seeming to be fully seized of the important if unconscious influence which tidy and tasteful surro
roundings exercise over children. For excellence in this particular the school at Leichhardt Street (Girls), and next to that at Milford, hold the foremost place, but are closely approached by several others. The need for the removal of dilapidated stock, for clearing up the litter with which the teacher's table was encumbered, or for making greater efforts to brighten up tho school walls, had, however, to be pointed out in a few instances.
remarks to the foregoing are largely applicable to the grounds, though, on the wholo, tree-planting and flower cultivation have not been as extensively or successfully attempted, as my experience of the district in past years led me to expect. The well-kept flower plots combined with other improvements at Leichhardt Street, the marked taste and care observable in every part of the grounds at Milford, and the many improvements made, and evident interest taken, in those at Ropeley, stand out prominently in my recollection of the schools visited; and mention may also be made of the experimental cotton-growing at Harrisville, and the fine gardens at the teachers' residences in Laidley North and Boonah. It should be observed that a portion of the garden at Laidley North, just alluded to, is allotted to and tended with much success by the pupils. Wire netting and gardening implements were supplied, through the Department of Agriculture, to four schools during the year.
STAFF8.—In the 52 State schools inspected, there were employed at the time of my visit 167 teachers of all grades, their sex and status being as shown in the table hereunder
The average number of pupils per teacher in these schools, based on the daily attendance during the month preceding inspection, was 31. The most notable departures from this average were found at Tent Hill Lower (46°6), Milbong (45), Lake Clarendon (44.5), and Tallegalla (43-3), and the "Unclassified” State schools at Bundamba Upper (8-5), Burnside (16'5), Alfred (217), Ebenezer (23), Hillgrove (23), and Mount Walker (25·1). "Three of the last-named schools were in the hands of the unclassified head teachers mentioned in the foregoing table, but one of these teachers received classification shortly after his school was inspected.
Fully half of the head teachers show good to excellent qualifications for their position; there are ouly eight whose efficiency fails to reach at least a very fair standard; and in absolutely no case has there been encountered any lack of diligent and conscientious effort. On very rare occasions some apparent want of energy on the part of assistants has had to be reported, but the great bulk are rendering efficient and loyal service. Of the pupil-teachers several are particularly capable, and there are very few who do not display at least fair promise. In this connection, I am glad to note a probability that at no distant date the children who become pupil-teachers will be afforded the opportunity of widening their attainments and increasing their general culture by a course of secondary education before taking up the active duties of their calling; and I venture also to express the hope that before long the wishes of the profession generally will be met by the establishment of a training college. The indisputable fact that under the conditions hitherto obtaining many highly successful teachers have been produced, is no adequate reason for regarding as unnecessary the increased facilities by which the same desirable results are likely to be secured to a still greater extent, and certainly more readily and surely.
The 27 Provisional schools employed 8 male and 19 female teachers, all of them unclassified; the average number of pupils to each (based on the daily attendance during the month before inspection) being 22-2, but this average being largely exceeded at Mount Forbes (38*5), Mount Whitestone (33-2), and Charlwood (328).
Seven of the teachers were doing very satisfactory work; 15 showed fair to very fair capacity; and there were 5 whose ability was below fair, marked inefficiency being displayed in at least one instance. Perfunctory or negligent discharge of duty is quite as exceptional here as in State schools; and, taking into consideration the very little previous experience or training which most of these teachers have had, the results produced by many of them indicate much natural aptitude, combined with vigour and commonGOVERNMENT.—There are very few schools in which the government is less than fairly satisfactory, in most it is good, and in many very good. As a rule the pupils were found to be orderly, attentive, and courteous, and worked steadily, cheerfully, and honestly, affording gratifying evidence of the healthy and beneficial school influences to which they had been subjected. In only two schools—both State-were these features conspicuously lacking; but it was occasionally necessary to comment on the over-passivity of the scholars, and to impress upon the teacher the desirableness of stimulating them to greater individual effort.
ATTENDANCE.—The number of pupils present at inspection represented 87*2 per cent. of the enrolment at that time, a proportion quite as high as usually obtains.
The average daily attendance for the month preceding inspection amounted to 79-4 per cent. of the enrolment at the close of the month—that is, of every 10 pupils on roll, 8 were ordinarily present.
Of the pupils enrolled during the quarter before inspection, 62-9 per cent. were present at least four-fifths of their school time.
For the district as a whole the foregoing figures are not at all unsatisfactory; but, nevertheless, the attendance at several schools was very seriously affected by outbreaks of whooping-cough, measles, and influenza amongst the pupils.
RECORDS.--Generally speaking, the records have been very well kept. Few inaccuracies-none of a serious character—have been observed, and in many schools a most praiseworthy degree of neatness is displayed. A little more care needs to be exercised in seeing that the promotions, and particularly the dates of leaving school, are regularly posted.
CLASSIFICATION. For the most part the classification was found to be judicious and suitable; though, in some half dozen schools, there were rather many drafts to be effectively worked by the one teacher in charge, while in three instances the grading was extremely faulty, many of the pupils being quite unfit for the status assigned to them.
INSTRUCTION.—The time-tables usually showed a due appreciation of the relative importance of the different branches of instruction, the chief exception being that sufficient provision had not always been made for composition. It was frequently necessary, however, to direct that they should be recast in order to avoid an undesirable accumulation at one time of written work, and at another of what should be oral lessons.
On the whole, the programmes of work, as submitted by the various schools, indicated a fairly creditable appreciation of the aims and requirements of the present syllabus, though it was necessary to devote a considerable amount of time to further elucidation of this matter; but it was somewhat surprising to find that in several instances the lines in arithmetic laid down in the former schedules were still being largely followed. The work-book entries generally showed a satisfactory mean between, on the one hand, vague generalities which left much in doubt or to be inferred, and, on the other, a burdensome mass of trivial details whose very multiplicity tended to defeat their object. I am glad to notice an almost total abandonment of the plan of prescribing the work for several months--sometimes half a year—in advance, as unforeseen hindrances--for example, extensive wet weather or sickness—often rendered worthless and misleading the programmes drawn up in this way.
The methods of instruction differ so widely that it is difficult to generalize regarding them; but it may briefly be said that, while in some instances they undoubtedly display a more or less pronounced lack of skill and a tendency to the over-mechanical, there are very many cases where they are particularly well adapted to cultivate and develop the pupils' powers of observation and reasoning, an essential to all true progress.
Under the present system of inspection it is possible to give the inexperienced teacher much more advice and assistance than formerly, and the inspections have thus become of greatly increased practical benefit. Even now, however, the time available for model teaching and the like is often found to be rather small, and in any case the majority of the schools are visited but once a year. The difficulty of providing fuller opportunities for instruction in method could perhaps be met by establishing, in certain selected country localities, small “ Model Schools” under approved teachers, which the Provisional school teachers around might in turn be allowed to attend for a week or two, in order to observe the modes of successfully carrying on the work.
Taking everything into consideration, I am of opinion that in the curriculum as a whole fairly creditable progress has been made during the year under review. In Reading, fair fluency and expression are usually forthcoming, but the subject matter is not as well comprehended as it should be, a contributing cause of weakness lying in an attempt to cover too much ground. Silent reading needs to be more largely practised, with the view of training the children to extract for themselves, from the printed page, the information there presented. Having regard to the desirableness of imbuing children with a love of reading, it is greatly to be regretted that school libraries, however small, are rarely met with : the difficulties in the way of their initiation and upkeep are obvious; but many suitable books are now to be had very cheaply, and any funds locally collected for their purchase might with advantage be liberally subsidized by the Department.
In Composition the outlook is encouraging, but the proficiency is relatively more satisfactory in the junior than in the senior grades. More time might beneficially be given to oral composition, especially in the upper classes ; where written composition is employed, the errors should not merely be corrected, but the reasons for the corrections should be intelligently explained, the faults of one child being thus made the means of correcting those of many others; and lists of words most frequently mis-spelt should be kept and receive special attention. A less mechanical treatment of Derivation has frequently had to be urged, and many specimen lessons have been given in order to show how the subject can be made