Editor: E. W. SCOTT.
There seems to be little doubt that the part the six Houses are playing nowadays in School life is much less important than formerly. Even House Teas are now almost things of the past. This winter only two have been held and these, be it noted, by Mallinson and Spivey, who were celebrating their attainment, after five years of growth, of the same status as the other Houses, and whose members were enjoying their first experience of House Teas-sufficient explanation of the survival of the function in these two cases. If this loss of vigour in the Houses was not being counterbalanced by many beneficial tendencies, it would be regrettable. The House System, besides making the running of the School considerably easier, has real value as an educational instrument. The encouragement in the individual boy of enthusiastic loyalty and service for something that is beyond his own personal interests is part of the task of every school. How this encouragement can best be brought about is a very interesting question. Probably in his heart of hearts the young boy is more concerned with the welfare of his form's football team than that of the School in general. This is quite understandable. Service for a school is often too vague an idea to make much appeal to the young boy. He must have something more obvious as a motive for action. And this is frequently supplied by the form of which he is a member. His efforts for his form, because it is a much smaller unit, will have a more pronounced effect and a better chance of recognition than his efforts for his school. And just as the form encourages loyalty that might otherwise flag, so does the house: it is a smaller unit than the school, and as an object of service it is thrown into sharp relief by rivalry with other houses. Of course, as a boy grows older, his early loyalties become less keen. But the important thing is that his capacity for loyalty and service should be developed while he is still young. The House System, then, has its advantages from an educational point of view; but it is not irreplaceable. Indeed, it has many disadvantages, also from an educational point of view. Obviously, educational ends are better served by loyalty, say, to a literary society than by loyalty to a football team. And as the House System is, or is at any rate in most secondary schools, concerned almost exclusively with sport, clear opportunities for improvement are indicated. Further, what is called the "House Spirit" often stops short at mere moral support: you are a good member of your house if you encourage it lustily from the ranks of the spectators. A more active participation in school life must be demanded of a boy if he is to receive its full educational benefits. What, then, are the reassuring tendencies that are counterbalancing the decay of the House System in our School ? They are seen primarily in the increasing strength of the School Societies. There exist now societies, all in a state of healthy growth, catering for every taste, including that of the very young, and providing boys with opportunities not only for loyal service but also for incr~asing their skill or their knowledge. As for sport, the life-blood as it were of the House System, it seems to have been in no way adversely affected by the loss of stimulus provided by House competition. Interest in football has never been keener, a result of the excellent policy of more trial games and more School matches for the younger boys. It is remarkable that the year that has shown a weakening of the House System should have been the most successful one ever experienced by the School football teams. Finally, during the past two or three terms, both swimming and athletics appear to have taken a new lease of life. After the very successful gala held last September, swimming training has been provided during the winter for those who desired it, and it is symptomatic of the times that this year, owing to the new training methods introduced by Mr. Ninnim, the various Houses are no longer responsible for the athletics training of their members.
During the term a party from the School consisting of boys who learn German went to the Academy Theatre to see Emil and the Detectives. The picture was thoroughly enjoyed by all. We should like to see the idea extended and visits to cinemas showing worthwhile films become a common feature of School life. For good or for bad the cinema is inescapably attractive to the average boy. This is not a lamentable fact except, of course, in so far as the unsavoury subject matter of many films makes them unfit for youthful consumption, for the film has its educational advantages. Even a poor film can serve as a jumping-off point for inquiry into dramatic, literary, and artistic values of many kinds, and for the discussion of broader questions of life. Many a class would doubtless become more articulate when dealing with a film that it found attractive than with a school classic that it certainly did not. Finally, the educational benefits that might accrue to a boy from an intelligent attitude to the films could be heightened by advice given at School as to the films most worth seeing. In this way, too, the objections to the demoralising effects of the films could be overcome. Perhaps it will not be long before a film society is as necessary an institution in a school as a dramatic society. We think there is room for such an addition even on the very long list of our own societies. The managing of a society is admittedly difficult, though it is easy to make the task more difficult than it need be, Most of the work devolves, of necessity, on the secretary. Now it so happens that every year the time of many boys who would be otherwise eminently suitable for the position of secretary to a society, is made precious by an approaching examination, either the General or the Higher School. Consequently the boys best suited for the position are generally those who are enjoying a lull between the two examinations. It is not without significance that many of the most active societies in the School have had as their secretaries members of the First Year Sixth. This consideration will doubtless be borne in mind when the officials of the societies are elected at the beginning of next term, when it is expected that there will be a large number of such eligible boys. Given an efficient secretary or, at any rate, an efficient committee, half the battle is won. Full plans of the future activities of the society would he laid down at the beginning of the Christmas Term and strictly adhered to; the extensive publicity necessary for the life of the society would be undertaken; and all clashing with other School functions would he avoided. Finally, it would greatly help the societies if teas at reasonable prices could be provided for all those boys who have interests to follow in School after 4 p.m. It is not unlikely that next term something will be done in this direction.
Editor: P. A. Timberlake.
"What's the good of all this education, anyway?"
If this question were heard only from the lips of the workweary prospective General School candidate, it would give no cause for comment. But, in point of fact, it is voiced less often by the schoolboy than by the disappointed parent whose newly matriculated son has tried and failed to get work, or by the triumphant parent whose boy has "got a job" without having received the advantages of a secondary school education. What is the good of all this education? Education is preparation for citizenship. The most decisive influence in a boy's education is that exercised in his home before he reaches school age. This determines how and to what extent he will be affected by the new influences, which he will encounter when he starts school. The elementary school, also, plays a large part in moulding the boy's character and in training his mind and determining his attitude to his fellows. A young man whose schooling has finished at the elementary stage should be able, after consideration and comparison, reasonably to choose his way of life and his opinions from those offered him. He has become discriminative. But a boy who has had a secondary education should have learnt to think for himself. He has not only been taught to be receptive and critical'; he has been encouraged to be original. He should be able to form opinions of his own, to originate new ideas which are to be accepted or rejected by his fellows. And since his originality is of no value to others unless he can't express himself freely and clearly, the secondary school education is intended not only to encourage him to be original, but also to enable him to make his ideas known by providing him with a mastery over his language, and by teaching him to think and to argue in a logical maimer. We see around us to-day schools organised in many different ways according to many -different theories of education. By what are the sources of these methods and the correctness of these theories to be judged? By examination results? We think not. The test of education is not to be found in mark percentages. The success of the method adopted in a secondary school is revealed in the originality of the scholar who has come under its influence, in his ability to think logically and to express himself correctly and convincingly. Surely, there is no better medium for the exhibition of these achievements than the School Magazine. A boy begins to form his opinions when he is at school. The influence of the school and its activities has some immediate effect in determining his attitude to life. The success or failure of the methods employed in this School could be reflected in the Monovian if more boys contributed. Never before in history has good education been so necessary for the well-being of the world as it is to-day. A generation of well-educated men and women would ensure a future of peace and happiness for mankind. A badly-educated generation would allow humanity to be plunged into another world war, which might see the end of civilisation. It is vitally important that those in authority should know how far educational methods are succeeding in our secondary schools, in this School. The Monovian has perhaps not yet sufficiently played the role of revealer of the mind and the outlook of the School. This we feel it should do, and we appeal to the boys of the School to show greater enthusiasm and greater conscientiousness in contributing to its pages.