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Maud May Babcock.
The evolution noted in the education of the blind has kept pace with the advancement of education in other lines. The purpose in establishing institutions for the blind was in the first place,the same charitable motive which has opened asylums for the feeble minded and insane. Since the blind are not able to care for themselves and are a hindrance to the family and its maintenance, it would be a blessing to bring the blind together in an asylum where the state and charity could carry the burden.
This old idea is still in the minds of many people and therefore they have a horror of sending their little ones to such a home or asylum. But the blind institutions of to-day are no longer places of refuge and confinement for the good of the community at large, but altogether schools, where the purpose has entirely changed, and that purpose now is to make our blind brothers and sisters independent citizens and, as far as possible, self-supporting. Not to take them away from society, but to send them back useful members; not to take them away but fit them for life.
The idea that the blind child needs different treatment from a seeing one has also been discarded. It is not now thought necessary to lead the child from room to room and building to building, but they are trained through a sixth sense— directed experience-to find their way themselves: in fact not to emphasize the difference between blindness and light but to make the blind to see, through training. In line with this old conception of education for the blind, traning schools
for teachers of the blind were once established, but now new teachers for the blind are selected from the best teachers of seeing children. One of the foremost superintendents of one of the largest and oldest schools for the blind in this country, told me that all the new devices, new methods, and new ideas for the training of the blind, in his school, had come from new teachers right out of the public schools.
The idea that the blind could be taught to use their hands without eyes to direct them, was considered so marvelous that the making of brooms, hammocks, brushes, baskets, cane-seating chairs, etc., was given a larger place in the curricula. than is done to-day. Trades are now and always will be taught the blind. but rather for the development of their powers of usefulness than that they may earn a living thereby. Superintendent Wilson says, in his address as president of the American Association of Instructors for the Blind,
the students follow the course of study as in the seeing elementary" and high school, and to those who have the ability and inclination the University and Colleges of the seeing are open to them. With this scholastic training instruction in in music for professional purpose, and handiwork form an important part.
The training for trades is being taught by visiting teachers or in industrial schools, or workshops to the adult blind to whom scholastic education might not appeal.
If one would know what the institutions for the blind were fifty years ago, he should pass down the Boulevard Montparmasse toward
the Hotel des Invalides, where the remains of Napoleon the Great lie, and turn in at the gate of the National School for the Blind, of Paris. One rainy day I passed this way and into the green court yard which with the beautiful chapel were the only inviting spots at this institution. The buildings elsewhere were old, gloomy and prison-like, and forbidding in the extreme.
I was conducted through the trade rooms, where brushes made, chairs, cane-seated, rope work taught, and saw the girls knitting, crotching, etc. The dining room, with long tables of slate, only add to the prison-like appearance. The dormitories are more airy and pleasing, with the single beds covered. with turkey-red calico, and a small box at the head of the bed to hold the toilet articles of the children.
The boys and girls with their coarse, grey suits and black sleeved aprons, (the boys and men wear these aprons as well as the girls) and the heavy-nailed shoes appear a mournful, pitiable body, a sight to bring the tears to your eyes.
We saw the children in their class rooms being instructed in the simplest, most elementary, mental studies, very formal and primitive, the highest grade being about the equivalent of our fourth grade. Then we beheld the girls in their cement floor gymnasium, marching dolefully around the room, in lock step, hands on shoulders. We watched them take their neighbor as a partner and do a funereal polka, the nailed shoes sounding as from a tomb on the cement floor.
The hand work was in part superior, and in part inferior to other schools for the blind which I have visited. Much time is devoted to hand work in this school, and music, piano tuning and piano manufacture are also taught here.
I visited the school again to listen to a concert on the pipe organ given by one of the graduates of the school, assisted by the students. The chapel was filled with handsomely dressed people who paid from two dollars to sixty cents a seat for the concert, the purpose of which was to assist the graduate blind to obtain employment. The pupils came in looking much brighter in their Sunday best, but still they came in that prison formation with hands on shoulders, lock step. They were assisted by attendents each move, so that their helplessness in getting around the room and to their seats was very depressing.
to come on the occasion of the Annual Prize Festival. Gladly I accepted and left London one beautiful afternoon in July for Upper Norwood. The narrow road passing the wall of the school brought us to the main entrance which we entered and found ourselves on a beautiful grassy terrace with one of the cottages to our right and the gymnasium on our left, and the and the walk and path with steps leading to the main building directly in front of us.
We found Doctor and Mrs. Campbell on the terrace in front of the cottage and were by them presented to some of the distinguished guests. Doctor Campbell asked us to inspect the classes which had been brought out on the lawns, under the great trees for the day. A small organ
was in evidence and we listened with pleasure to the little girls in their choral work. At one table we watched a geography lesson, and there at another, a history lesson, and here a primary lesson in botany. The piano tuning school was instructive and my heart warmed to see a class in the gymnasium using the Sargent (American) developing apparatus.
The crowd were now passing into the main building and we followed fearing we would not be able to get a seat. But we were gratified that the card which Doctor Campbell had given us not only gave us a chair near the front but a place with the honored guests. We listened to a beautiful concert, and what a contrast to the one in Paris of a few weeks previous! The students marching in free, took their seats. The choruses were especially fine and were conducted by Doctor Campbell himself. The piano playing of Master Kershaw, a fine lad of ten or so, was that of a genius.
After this delightful hour we were seated on the walk and terrace while we witnessed the pupils pass out of the building and receive their prizes from Lady Hyde who was on the porch of the building. The prizes were numerous-prizes for scripture, sewing, knitting: prizes to the best soprano: prizes to the junior choir, senior choir, and to many pupils in special classes; prize from Mr. Hammond of the Hammond Typewriter Company for typewriting; prizes for best work of pupil teachers; for gymnastics, walking and then about the same number of prizes for the boys. A vote of thanks was moved by Lord Selby, McJ. Drummond, Lady O' Hagan, and Doctor Wm. H. Cummings, which our hearts seconded. and then tea and cakes were served on the terrace.
Later we witnessed on the parade ground the finest marching, wand and parrallel bar work it has been our pleasure to see. Mr. Campbell (a son of Doctor Campbell) is the instructor and the freedom, precision, unity, and splendid posture of the students brought joy to the heart of a teacher of gymnastics. This was the reason these blind children walked and heard with such ease-gymnastic training! In the report of the school we notice that Doctor Campbell, in his course of instruction, places Physical Education first, and in the paragraph in Gymnastics says,
"Gymnastics (German, English, Swedish, and American), dancing, deportment, drill, swimming, skating, rowing, cycling, and other sports are taught."
We would also select this paragraph from Doctor Campbell's report,
"An eminent educator has said that success or failure of our Physical Training does not relate merely to the size or strength of the muscles, but is measured, in part, by our achievements in the domain of mind and conduct. It is for the latter object that I have always urged that physical training must be the foundation of any system of education that aims at preparing the blind for self-maintenance. They must overcome the feebleness, awkwardness, and helplessness which characterize so many of them; they must gain activity, courage, and self-reliance; they must be inspired with energy perseverance and hopefulness."
After the gymnastic exhibition we saw the girls enjoying roller skating, the smaller children at their games, and the older boys at out door sports and cycling. The exhibitions of diving, swimming and life saving was most splendid. We passed to other buildings, watched the girls with their sewing, the babies do the kindergarten weaving, paper folding, etc., and the junior boys in the sloyd room. It had been such a delightful, interesting,and inspiring day that we parted with Doctor and Mrs. Campbell with regret, and with a promise to return and see the school in regular session.
The second day was as enjoyable as the first. We visited the classes in the different departments and were charmed with the same wonderful spirit, enthusiasm, and splendid work that was remarked in Prize Day. The details of this day may be wearing, suffice to say, we could only tear ourselves away in the anticipation of another day to see the out-door sports. This day had to be postponed on account of the weather, so we were disappointed and had to leave England without the pleasure of the third day at Norwood.
I would pay a feable parting tribute to these two great souls who
have been willing to leave native land, and labor in a foreign country for the benefit of their fellow beings. Doctor Campbell is one of the grandest, most simple child-like men it has been my pleasure to know. His great desire is to return to his native land and spend his last days here. He had planned to return the year I saw him, but the King and Queen and the English people have persuaded him to remain a few years longer, they need him.
I suggested to this man, whom Kings and Queens have honored, that it would be fitting for him to return to America and take the superintendency of a great school, which had just then lost its superindent. "No," he replied, "my ambition is to go back to the dear little Kentucky school which gave me my training, and give the experience What true greatness! What a grand my life, and my last days there." woman that wife who has stood by this man all these years and been eyes for him!
One who had never visited a school for the blind and who had the good fortune to visit first the school at Norwood would come away feeling that blind men and women can and do acomplish all that seeing men and women do, and thank God that He has thus made them see, made them useful contented and happy. Doctor Campbell feels that his blindness is a blessing, since as a compensation he has been able to accomplish much that he thinks he could not have done otherwise, since no distracting views are his. After visiting this school when teachers and pupils are inspired with this optimism, one comes away feeling that "God's in His world," and that he has been on holy