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the district are to pass their school-days, and receive the most durable impressions of their lives. The only satisfaction to be gained from a consideration of this matter is in the fact that improvements are being made, and that these conditions, so disreputable to the people who are responsible for them, are undergoing a change for the better.
The school-house should be conveniently and pleasantly located, and well-built. It should afford ample protection from the weather, and it should be arranged for the comfort of the pupils. Attention should be specially given to the admission of light, and to the heating and ventilation, so that a uniform temperature may be preserved, and an ample supply of pure air secured. At the present time there can be no reasonable excuse for poisoning pupils with foul air. In other respects the schools should be supplied with those conveniences which are considered indispensable to respectable households.
Apparatus and Books. - Another defect in the country schools generally is the want of the apparatus and books necessary for successful instruction. No man would think of employing a farm laborer without supplying him with the tools for farm-work; and it is no less absurd to expect a teacher to do the best work without apparatus than to expect a laborer to make the best crop without a plow and other farm implements. The neglect in this direction is in part owing to a mistaken notion in regard to the importance of apparatus, and in part to the desire to reduce the expenses to the lowest possible amount. Economy, however, it is easy to show, is on the side of wise and proper expenditure, as by it the efficiency of the schools is so greatly increased.
Costly apparatus is not needed in the average country schools. Most of the things needed to illustrate instruction can be collected by teachers and pupils at very little expense. The things which are indispensable to the best results are a globe, a set of outline maps, local maps of the town and county, a large amount of excellent blackboard, and a cabinet containing specimens sufficient to illustrate the elements of the different departments of natural history, and the different manufactures. The books indispensable are an unabridged dictionary, a comprehensive history of the United States, a biographical dictionary, and some brief encyclopædia of science. An encyclopædia of general knowledge, freely used by pupils would so multiply the general results of education as to pay for itself each year. After the books enumerated have been provided, the expenditure of a small sum each
year will soon procure a valuable library of reference which will
be a source of enlightenment not only to the school, but to the whole neighborhood. In the selection of books the needs of the school should be considered, and all trash excluded. - From JAS. Johonor's " Principles and Practice of Teachers," Published by Chas. Scribner's Sons.
MISTAKES IN TEACHING.
It is a mistake to try to teach without having good order. No teacher should think of teaching at all until he has established between himself and his class a perfect understanding regarding this matter; until he has clearly shown his pupils that it was necessary that one person should be absolutely master, and that he was the person entitled to that position by virtue of his office, his superior intelligence, experience, and force of character. Without order in his business and among his employeș, no business man can hope to be successful. Without the perfect order which we call discipline in an army, it is a disorganized mob, incapable, unmanageable, and at the mercy of its foes. Without order in a school, at least one-half of a teacher's power is wasted, partly through the inattention of the scholars, and partly in reducing the disorder to what some teachers regard as endurable limits. Experience has proved this, and therefore every good teacher insists on having good order before attempting to teach. 66 The husband who starts in his matrimonial career as lieutenant never gets promotion." A teacher is rarely promoted in a school in which he has not earned his position by the close of the first day. There is a lamentable weakness about a teacher who allows his scholars to form the public opinion of his school, and establish its character independent of him.
It is a mistake to suppose that children like to have their own way at school. No greater mistake could be made. Children like order better than disorder. So would all grown people, if they had been properly trained at school. Children are most joyous and happy, and therefore most thoroughly educated, in those schools where discipline is strict without being severe. There is no quicker way for a teacher to lose the respect of his pupils than by over-indulging them. They will not chafe long under just restraint. Control develops reverence.
It is a mistake to think that order means perfect quiet or stillness. Many classes are quiet through sheer listlessness or dullness. What
is needed in a school is the order of life, not the order of death. Order means having every child in a school attending to his own duty, and to that alone, and attending to it, of course, in the quietest possible manner. So long as no individual in a school is attending to another's business, or doing anything to attract the attention of any person else, I would not sacrifice efficiency for the sake of silence. A good stiff breeze is better than a dead calm. The breeze is all right if it does not come in squalls. Perfect order may be quite in harmony with a considerable amount of noise. In a factory for instance, although the noise of machinery may be deafening and the bustling of the workinen may appear quite confusing to an outsider, everything is usually in the most perfect order. Order does not necessarily mean repression. The order needed in school is work systematized. This is genuine order, and the only kind that will last.
It is a mistake to try to startle a class into being orderly. Some teachers strike the desk; stamp on the floor; call" order;" or ring a bell to cause quietness. A thunder clap startles us into stillness for a few moments, but even thunder would soon lose its effect if controlled by some teachers. Disorder should be subdued, not terrified. It would be a poor way to calm a nervous child by firing cannons near it. A teacher must be deliberate, not impulsive and explosive. If he wishes to secure good order he must be orderly himself. Even the occasional ringing of the bell for order is a mistake. It disturbs every pupil, while perhaps only two or three are offending, and after a time loses its effect, because it speaks directly to no one, and gives in general terms to a whole class, what should be given particularly to certain individuals. Tho bell is a valuable aid in securing discipline. It may be used with great profit instead of the teacher's voice. as a signal for commencing, changing or closing exercises; or for standing up, sitting down, assembling, dismissing, etc., but it never should be used to give a direct command for order.
It should never convey a demand that does not apply with equal force to each member of the school.
It is a mistake for the teacher to try to drown the noise of his pupils by making a greater noise himself. Some teachers attempt to force out disorder by talking in a loud tone and on a high key. They may avoid hearing any noise but that made by themselves in this way, but they are certain to increase the noise made by their pupils. The pupils will have to speak louder in order to hear each other. A low tone is much more certain to produce quietness than a high tone.
There are certain noises which render children nervous and irritable. The noise made in filing a saw, and that made by a teacher talking in a high key, are two of them.
It is a mistake to call for order in general terms, however quietly it may be done. Disorder always begins with one or two, and no rational teacher allows it to proceed until it has spread throughout the whole class before stopping it. It should be quieted as soon as it commences. This should be done by a meaning look, a question quietly asked, or in some natural way that will attract the attention of no person but those immediately concerned. It is enough that the disorderly pupił should lose his time without compelling the whole school to listen to an absurd method of quieting him.
It is a mistake to ask questions to pupils in rotation. Many commence at the head of the class, facing the pupil there, and after putting him through as though he were the only pupil in the class, they get over number two in a similar manner, and so on to the end of the class, if happily that part be reached before the time for closing the lesson. They can teach but one at a time. The class of such a teacher sbould consist of one little pupil, so that he could see the whole of it at once.
No pupil should ever know who is likely to receive a question until it has been given. No name should be mentioned, no motion made or look given to indicate who is to answer, until the question has been asked. Many teachers make the mistake of looking steadily (while proposing a question) at the pupil whom they expect to answer it. This should be so carefully avoided as to leave every pupil completely in the dark as to the intentions of the teacher. Each pupil should know that he may be asked to answer every question. Every one will thus be compelled to attend all the time; while if questions are asked in rotation, a pupil, after answering his question, may discuss the circus, or the last lacrosse match, or the next base ball match, or any other appropriate topic that may chance to come into his mind, until his turn is coming again. It is impossible to maintain good order in a natural way by such a method of questioning.
It is a mistake to repeat a question for the sake of those who do not hear it the first time. To do this is simply an extra inducement to the scholars to be inattentive. If a pupil knows that your question is only to be asked once, he will listen to it the first time. If he knows, that when you wish him to answer, you will shake him to get his attention, and then repeat your question, he will wait for his shaking.
A pupil deserves more punishment for not knowing the question, than for not being able to give its answer.
It is a mistake to look fixedly at the pupil who is reading or answering. If there is one pupil who does not need watching, he is that one. He is certain to be attending to his work. We should attend to him with the ear, to all others with the eye. Many teachers, while teaching a reading lesson, divide their attention about equally between the book and the pupil who is reading. Such teachers never have good or interested classes. In reality, neither the book nor the pupil reading should need the attention of the teacher's eye.
It is a mistake to give out lessons without previously explaining them. One of our most important duties as teachers is to teach children how to study and what to study most carefully in connection with each lesson. To assign a lesson to a child without giving him some idea of its leading features; what will you expect him to know or explain, or prove next day; and how and where he can obtain most light on difficult parts, seems a good deal like sending him into a wilderness to fetch something he has never seen, and which you have not even described to him.- Canada School Journal.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
Q. If business is transacted at a first meeting, after the election of officers, none of whom then file an acceptance, but do so soon after, is such business legal?
A. The proper way is to adjourn, in such a case, and await the acceptance; but the business done besides the election is not necessarily void, nor would such action be set aside, unless some good reason were shown for it.
Q. Is it absolutely necessary that the supervisors of both towns meet in all cases of an alteration of a joint district ?
A. No alteration of a joint district can be legally made without such joint meeting and action.
Q. If after meeting all the expenses of the year, a surplus is found in some fund, may it be devoted to some other purpose ?