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much divided. It was interesting to note that many
teachers gave both the advantages and disadvantages of
the system. The following quotation is typical :

The advantages of co-education are :

(1) Increase of emulation.

(2) Boys become less shy, and more gentle, and girls become

(3) Economy.

Its disadvantages are :

(1) If justice is to be done both to girls and boys, the curri-
culum tends to become very complicated.

(2) Unless care is taken the intellectual work suffers.

Several teachers stated that in mixed schools "the
work suffers because the girls keep the boys back".
Others assert " the girls work much more steadily". It
is a general opinion among those who believe in co-edu-
cation that one of its great advantages is that " there is
less foolish nonsense between girls and boys ". Several
teachers, however, asserted the exact opposite.

Several teachers suggested that " under existing con-
ditions head masters choose their men assistants far more
wisely than their women assistants ".

The chief reasons urged against co-education were :

(1) The health of girls is not so well looked after.

(2) Under existing circumstances, the head is invariably a
man, and the interests of the girls are likely to be sacrificed
both in the curriculum and in the staffing. (Several referred to

432 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

the lack of experienced women teachers on the staffs of mixed

(3) The girls' womanliness is not likely to be so carefully

(4) The ideal discipline for girls differs considerably from that
for boys.

It was pointed out that the economy of mixed schools
is lessened by the evidently growing opinion that a mixed
school to be satisfactory requires a larger staff than a
non-mixed school, because it demands more supervision
and more re-classification.

The chief reasons urged for co-education are :

(1) It is more natural, resembling a family.

(2) The greater variety in staff and pupils is more stimu-

(3) It is a better preparation for after life.

(4) Both boys and girls gain much from one another. (The
girls are generally supposed to gain courage, self-confidence and
broader views. The boys are supposed to gain in gentleness
and courtesy.)

(5) It is more economical.

Perhaps the most important argument from the moral
standpoint is the suggestion that by means of co-education
many serious difficulties between men and women in later
life can be avoided or be conquered earlier and under
better conditions. Another advantage urged for mixed
schools is the following : " Foolish adoration for the
teacher is less likely to occur ". A disadvantage frequently
mentioned was that " girls became very rough in manners ".
One teacher urged that " when a man taught boys and a
woman taught girls, both gave of their best. In a mixed
school neither gave of their best."

Under one County Council all mixed primary schools
of 400 pupils are divided into two schools of boys and
girls respectively, and an infant school of seventy pupils
becomes a separate department.

An Inquiry into Moral Education in Wales 433

Several precautions were suggested as necessary under

Co-education in weak hands has many disadvantages. Co-
education in strong hands has many advantages.

Great care must be taken in a mixed school that the greater
conscientiousness of the girls, due to more sedentary life, does
not produce over-work.

Girls naturally and inevitably work more unevenly than boys,
and this must be considered.

In a mixed school there should always be a very responsible
and experienced mistress, absolutely in control of the discipline
and social life of the girls, and her views should have great
weight in staffing and in the curriculum.

In one county it was arranged that there should always
be, if possible, a certified woman-assistant in every mixed
school when the head was a man.

In one case two separate county schools exist under
the same roof, share a common central hall and share
laboratories. Both heads state that no difficulties had
arisen. In another case two small separate county
schools about three minutes apart have found it advisable
to use one another's staff to some extent, and, in spite
of distance, to have some mixed classes. It has been
suggested that two separate schools could by some scheme
of this kind economise and at the same time reap most of
the advantages of co-education, with scarcely any of its

More than one teacher urged : " The advantages in
a mixed school are all in favour of the boys".

Several teachers who strongly advised co-education up
to twelve years of age were opposed to it for older

There is evidently much difference of opinion on this

subject, not to be altogether explained by difference of

experience. Some of those who taught in mixed schools

strongly objected to co-education, while others who

VOL. I. 28

434 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

taught in boys' schools and girls' schools much preferred
" mixed schools ".

39. A Teacher's Knowledge of the Children. Many
teachers urge that a great deal of moral education must be
largely individual, and the majority stated that it is im-
possible under existing conditions to gain that individual
knowledge of all the children which would enable them to
do all they could for their moral development. The
reasons given were chiefly the following :

(a) Over-large classes.

To develop the moral character of the children I should be
able to study the individual. This in primary schools is im-
possible, with classes of forty, fifty and seventy.

How can you study individual children with eighty in front
of you ?

The poorer and less satisfactory a district, the smaller should
be the class in the primary school.

It is interesting to note that while a large number of
teachers spoke strongly on the evils of large classes, very
few seemed to object to a large school. The ideal number
given for a class varied from fifteen to forty ; the majority
suggested from twenty to twenty-five. The ideal size
given for a school varied from one hundred to six hundred.
The majority suggested two hundred.

(b) Scattered Population. The scattered nature of the
population in certain districts makes it impossible for
the teachers to see anything of most of the children out
of school. " One-third of my children live far away."
" Many of my children come long distances by train."
On the other hand, one wise teacher remarks: "The
children who come long distances usually spend the lunch
hour in school, and I always see much of them then. I
preside over lunch." "The head and staff spend every
playtime in the playground with the respective classes.
Much observation of character takes place there, especially

An Inquiry into Moral Education in Wales 435

of boys who live some distance from school." Conditions
of course vary greatly in different places. For example,
one teacher says : " With the exception of three, all my
children live within three minutes' walk of me".

(c) Amount of Teaching by the Head.

Heads have to do too much teaching in small schools so
that they have no time to study all the children, and in the
large schools (chiefly because of clerical work) they have too
little teaching and do not come in touch with the children

(d) Clerical Work of the Head. The evidence clearly
showed that a very considerable number of teachers spend
much time and energy in seeing a good deal of the children
out of school hours. Many apparently teach in the
Sunday schools, and meet many of their children there.
They also come across them in Bands of Hope, Bible
classes, and at many social functions connected with the
different churches. Public opinion is again divided on
this point, as the following quotations show.

After school hours I prefer to have my leisure to myself.
I don't believe in school functions out of school hours.
I do not desire outside my teaching hours to get into touch
with my pupils.

. In connection with this point it is a little startling to
discover how many teachers appear to live quite outside
their school districts, and therefore cannot see children or
parents out of school hours.

Many teachers evidently arrange interesting evening
meetings for the children.

The staff give a certain number of lantern lectures in the
winter evenings, with tea before the lecture, and talk and a
dance after.

We have pleasant social evenings for the children. Twenty-
four boys and girls at one time, together with some teachers,
meet for dancing and music. I think that this is of much use.


436 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

40. The Parents Share in the Children's Education
A considerable number of teachers stated that a very
important part of moral education should not and could
not be done by the teacher but must be done by the

I am strongly against any movement that would tend towards
relieving the parents of the moral training of their children. I
would far prefer all moral teaching to be abolished in the
schools than that should happen.

In many cases apparently the parents are shirking this
duty, and many correspondents bore witness to the fact
that some late changes in education have given many
parents the idea that the teachers undertake the entire
moral and intellectual training of the children.

What is deplorable is the increasing lack of interest taken
in the children in many homes, and the shirking of their
duties and responsibilities by parents, who seek to do their
work by proxy through Sabbath and day school teachers.

Parents expect too much from the school, and complacently
shift the whole burden of the training of their children in
manners and morals on to the teachers, to the deplorable
neglect of home training.

A very large number of teachers complained of bad
home influence and of the slackened discipline of homes
and the very bad moral effect of this on the children.
Many declared it was steadily getting worse.

I fear that in most cases in this district the home training
undoes much of the good done in the school.

I should like to see some of the Spartan spirit in the parents
of my children. Far too often the child's will has the upper

41. Causes of Slackened Discipline in the Homes.
Many causes have been suggested for this very widespread
degeneration of discipline in the homes. I give those
mentioned most frequently.

An Inquiry into Moral Education in Wales 437

1. The spirit of the age is against strong discipline.

2. The knowledge on the part of the parent and of the
child that the child is having a better school education
than the parent ever had, makes the parent less willing to
order and the child less willing to obey.

3. The parents are inclined to think that the school and
the teachers have undertaken many of the duties which
formerly belonged to them. In connection with this
supposed cause, it is interesting to note that several
teachers considered that this mistake on the part of the
parents arose partly from the very early age at which the
children came to school, and suggested that five should be
the age at which they may come to school, and seven
when they must come to school. In that case the mother
would have much to do with her young children and
would count much more in their moral education. Several
infant school teachers said that a certain number of chil-
dren under three were constantly coming to school with
elder sisters, to the detriment of the classes.

Often the children rule the parents rather than the parents
the children.

4. A reaction from Puritanism and from an over-strict

5. In many parts of Wales economic conditions have
suddenly ended the isolation of centuries, and the rural
quiet has been disturbed by trains, coal mines, etc. This
industrial revolution has also caused in certain parts an
immigration of non-Welsh people and of Welsh people
from distant parts of Wales, who have thus suddenly
broken off connection with their old surroundings and old
traditions. The wealth of the working classes in these
districts has been suddenly increased. All these some-
what abrupt changes, combined with a far-reaching change
in the religious thought which forms so large an element

438 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

in Welsh life, have caused a considerable disturbance
which, among other effects, has led to slackened discipline
in homes.

42. Opportunities of Meeting Parents. There are an
ever-increasing number of opportunities for heads of schools
to meet parents prize functions, sports, school entertain-
ments, parents' day, etc. Many of the teachers take an
active part in the religious life of the community in which
they live, and some in its political life. A few share in
local administration, e.g., one teacher said he was a lay
preacher, superintendent of a Sunday school, and mem-
ber both of a Parish Council and a District Council.
Apparently a considerable number of teachers have the
opportunity of meeting parents in public as well as social
life. Many teachers obviously make considerable efforts
to become acquainted with the parents of their pupils.

I know the home conditions of each child thoroughly, and
make it a point to get into immediate and close touch with the
parents. Sociability spells much in a colliery district.

Several teachers stated that they were going to have
parents' days in the future, and some were going to
arrange social evenings for them.

I am going to start parents' evenings every quarter; the
work of the children will be shown, songs will be sung, and
papers on educational subjects read.

The heads of schools apparently have in many cases
more opportunities of meeting parents than have the
assistant teachers. Several assistants regretted this, and
urged that in a large school they were really most in
touch with the children, and that it was very desirable
that they should meet the parents.

But there is evidently a small section of teachers who do
not desire to see more of the parents.

An Inquiry into Moral Education in Wales 439

I never see the parents of my pupils.

I never seek actual contact with the children or parents out
of school, because parents would resent my interference.

I should not care to see some of the parents enter my school ;
it would do more harm than good.

43. Reports. It appears to be the rule in secondary
schools, and as yet the exception in primary schools, to send
terminal reports to the parents. The practice is evidently
spreading, and several teachers announced that they in-
tended to do this in the future. The practice of sending
reports is one of many methods by which the interest of
the parent can be aroused and maintained in the education
of the children. But one teacher states : " The influence
of the parents on the child is almost nil ; therefore it is no
use to send reports to parents ". Several teachers suggested
that an unfavourable report might produce much friction,
and possibly might require much courage to send.

44. Eisteddfods. Interesting evidence has been given as
to the moral effect of these characteristic festivals. They

open the way for a considerable number of persons to a some-
what higher plane of intellectual enjoyment than they would
have attained to without it, and any quickening of the intelli-
gence of a people must have a moral effect.

Again :

The subjects set in literature, and the musical works, are
almost all either of a religious or moral character, and tend to
draw the attention of the people towards religious and moral

The real education afforded by the Eisteddfod is obtained
not so much by the audiences in the national and local
meetings as by the performers "in the long-continued
preparation for these meetings, in which perhaps a third of
the population takes part ".

At an Eisteddfod only a small number of the competitors
come before the public, but a large number learn in the more

44 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

private preliminary adjudication to receive judgment upon their
work, generally with admirable temper and philosophy.

Taking a village in winter months, a few will spend much
time in poetic composition, and a large number will form a choir,
the training of the latter being of considerable moral value.

The absolute unanimity of the movements of the Welsh
choirs and their intelligent submission to their conductor is a
matter of constant remark by adjudicators.

The object of university education is to " further improve the
gathered few," but of the Eisteddfod " to give intellectual work
to the scattered many ".

An institution so ancient and so characteristic as the
Eisteddfod must embody valuable national instincts, and
the increasing number of school Eisteddfods suggests that
modern educational developments may modify and probably
alter, but will not destroy, this ancient institution. The
share taken by ministers of religion in the Eisteddfod is
significant of its moral effect

45. Causes against Effective Moral Education. Three
causes were given by many teachers as militating against
effective moral education and training at the present
time :

(a) Over-pressure. In secondary schools this was said
to arise chiefly from the pressure of public examinations
in the upper forms ; increased by the fact that the edu-
cational effectiveness of schools was largely determined in
official (and still more in public) opinion by examination
successes; and considerably intensified by the fact of
scholarships for university education (of extra value in a
poor country which values learning) being attached to
these examinations.

In primary schools over-pressure was said to arise
chiefly through clerical demands on the head, still more
from over-large classes, and in a few cases from under

In several secondary schools Scripture teaching has

An Inquiry into Moral Education in Wales 441

contracted to a single lesson a week, the minimum possible
under the county scheme, and is usually given to the
youngest form. In two cases the head considered that
the children had so much Scripture teaching outside the
school that it was not necessary to give it in the school,
but several deplored the lack of time for more Scripture

There is very keen, over-keen competition between the
schools in examinations. One has little time left to think.

An over-crowded curriculum, with its unending demands
upon one's time, makes it extremely difficult to carry out one's
wishes about moral education.

The educational rush is too great to produce the best results,
mental or moral.

The efficiency of a school is far too much gauged from the
intellectual standpoint only; the physical and moral aspects
are (apparently at least) ignored.

We are overcrowded with subjects and overdone with ex-
aminations. We want more moral training and fewer subjects.

The evil influence of examinations is aggravated by publish-
ing broadcast the results of each, and the subordination of the
curriculum to certificate-getting.

I am convinced that the mental growth of many girls and
boys in Wales at the present time is like the growth of plants in
a hot-house. It is not healthy, and further I believe that it
does not make for a good moral growth.

It was suggested by several persons that to prepare for
honours certificates in several subjects was crippling to a
small secondary school, and that it would be a great gain
if county scholarships were attached, at any rate chiefly, to
ordinary senior certificates. The opinion was expressed
also that a more leisurely, thorough and educational pre-
paration for junior and for senior certificate work would be
far more valuable than hurriedly taking honours work,
which in many circumstances could be more effectively
done in College.

The amount of clerical work required from the heads of

Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

schools was used as an argument by many teachers as a
reason why they could not effectively deal with moral in-
struction and training. The severity of complaint varied
considerably in different parts! of Wales, but it was appar-
ently very generally considered that the returns required
by the local authorities were much heavier than those
under the late school boards, and many complained that
the pressure was steadily increasing. It is thought that
many returns are obviously necessary, and quite a number
of teachers maintained that frequently the same return
is asked for more than once. Secondary schools are
of course liable to demands for clerical work from the
Board of Education, and the Welsh Central Board, as
well as from the local authorities. Various remedies were
suggested : that each secondary school should have a
secretary on the staff; that in a large primary school one
of the assistants should devote a certain proportion of his
time to clerical work ; that a secretary should be provided
for a group of primary schools and should give a certain
proportion of his time each week to each school.

A head is tending to become a mere clerk.
I do much clerical work at home, but can scarcely cope with
it even then.

() Lack of Training in Biblical Instruction for Future
Primary Teachers. This was a second cause alleged for in-
effective moral instruction. To Wales belongs the honour
of first utilising her secondary schools for the education
of pupil teachers, and this method has now spread almost
over the whole principality. So important is the person-
ality of the teacher in moral education that it is obviously
of great importance that embryo teachers in pupil-teacher
centres, secondary schools and training colleges should
have excellent opportunities with reference to moral
instruction and training. In pupil-teacher centres "the
divided interests of the pupils makes systematic moral

An Inquiry into Moral Education in Wales 443

training difficult " ; and " certain opportunities for inci-
dental moral instruction and training which occur in
ordinary secondary schools are not so likely to occur at
pupil-teacher centres ". " If you want to make your
teachers broad-minded you must educate them with other
pupils." When day training colleges were opened, the
college education of some of the embryo primary teachers
became for the first time non-religious. No instruction
is given them in the study of the Bible, and at any rate
not much practice or instruction in the teaching of
Scripture. Several teachers pointed out that the standard
of knowledge for secular subjects, both in quantity and
quality, had been raised and was constantly rising, and
it would become increasingly difficult to get good teachers
to teach Scripture, if they had no opportunity of studying
it in the colleges. One teacher said :

I have studied Latin for three years in College, and have
been taught how to teach it, but I have never had the opportun-
ity of studying the Bible in the same way, and my reverence for
it has made me decline to teach it without proper preparation.

To neglect the religious education of the younger generation
of teachers is to render any scheme for moral instruction ab-
solutely futile in the future.

I am sure that no scheme of moral instruction and training,
however good, can be of any use unless teachers have them-
selves been given a good religious training.

It is apparently becoming more common for teachers to
object for various reasons to teach Scripture. On the
other hand, admirable instruction in ethics is usually
given in a day training college, and if this were developed
it might become a most excellent introduction to the
giving of moral instruction in schools. I found that
several persons connected with our University Colleges
were very conscious of the loss resulting from the ab-
sence of a college chapel and college prayers.

(c) Effect of Specialist Teachers on Moral Training.

444 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

The proportion of specialist teachers in Welsh secondary
schools is apparently slightly larger than in England. It
has been suggested by several teachers that, when a child
is taught many things by the same teacher, the teacher
must be more conscious of the child's character as a whole
and consequently more interested in it, and also more
capable of affecting it.

The specialist teacher is much more in danger of over-
emphasising the intellectual and undervaluing the moral in

There is a tendency to overvalue examination results in one
subject ; and to think less of the balanced development of the

Online LibraryMichael SadlerMoral instruction and training in schools; report of an international inquiry .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 37 of 45)