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The higher department is under the charge of Mr. E. B. GRAY, who is wining golden opinions on every side. His discipline and scheme of exercises are admirable, and the interest and thoroughness evinced by the different classes in reciting during my short stay, spoke creditably for both teacher and pupils. Mr, GRAY is well worthy the trust placed in him by the citizens of Palmyra, and the school under his management will soon be rated, as it really is, among the first in the State.
The other departments I had not time to visit,'but was informed that they were in the hands of teachers equally qualified to fill their stations. I shall be traveling through the State a considerable part of the time, the coming summer, and will endeavor to drop you an occasional line from the different schools I may visit.
W. Shall be glad to hear from you, friend "W.," at all times.—[ED.)
FROM THE MILWAUKEE “SENTINEL" OF MARCH 26TH. "The winter term of our city schools closes to-day, and two weeks vacation follows. Those of onr readers who enjoyed the sight of a spacious, airy, welllighted and neatly furnished school-house, filled with happy, intelligent, and cleanly children, and conducted by zealous, competent and experienced teachers, can not fail to be gratified by a visit to the Seventh Ward School during the day.”
We dropped into the above-mentioned school and spent an hour a short time since, and can testify that the encomiums of the Sentinel are well deserved. Mr. McKindley, Mr. Coe, and their able assistants are doing a good work, and parents can not spend a half a day to better advantage to themselves and their children, than in visising the school.
We also looked into the Fourth Ward School for a few minutes, and though unable to visit all the departments, are gratified to know that with a new and commodious school-house, and faithful teachers, they are moving on in the right direction, and justifying the liberal expenditure of money on the part of the tax-payers. Though unacquainted with the principal, Mr. Davis, we found our former co-workers, Miss Teal and Miss Sacket, still in the harness, and recognized many a familiar face among the pupils.
The Board should immediately supply another assistant in the primary department as two teachers can never do justice to one hundred and sixty pupils.
ITEMS. Mr. C. K. Martin, formerly of the Fourth Ward, has taken the situation lately occupied by Mr. McWhorter in the First Ward. The Board can not do better than to engage Mr. Martin the coming year, as he is a good disciplinarian and a
A short visit to the Third Ward School found Mr. Pomeroy and his assistants working as hard as ever. There are few schools in which there are guch unity of
aim and effort as in this. The teachers have confidence in each other, a:d work heartily for a common object. There have been fewer changes of teachers in this than in any other school in the city, a just tribute to their worth and fidelity.
We shall visit the other wards early in the next term.
The Columbia County Teachers' Institute, meets at Kilbourn City on the first Tuesday in May next, it is hoped that the teachers in that county will make it a point to attend the meeting, as, if properly conducted, a great deal may be learned and much good done.
THE Marquette County Teachers' Institute meets at Berlin the 2d week of this month.
Look at our new advertisements this month. We have not room to speak of them. Will do so next month,
The Atlantic Monthly for April is received, and is an unusully interesting number. It opeas with an article on “ The flundred Days" of Napoleon, graphically written by an eye-witness of the events which he describes, and portraying in vivid colors the peculiarities of that Imaginative people, who worshiped the gifted, but misguided genius, whose nephew Dow rules over France.
The “ Catacombs of Rome" is continued, and “The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table," gives us another chapter of wise and witty sayings.
For sale by Bliss, Eberhard & Festner,
We have neglected to notice the improved appearance of the Massachusetts Teacher. It came to us at the commencement of the year with a new and rich, though plain dress, and in regard to matter, our frequent quotations from its pages, show the estimation in which we hold it. Long may it prosper.
The Nero Hampshire Journal of Education is also enlarged and improved, and is worthy of an extended patronage from teachers and friends of education in the “Old Granite State."
PROMINENT among our newspaper exchanges is the New York Independent, a weekly relig. ious eight paged paper, edited by an association of Congregationalist clergymen, and published by Joseph H. Ladd, 22 Beekmen Street, New York, at $2,00 a year in advance. Though its conductors are Congregationalists, it is a liberal, outspoken sheet, giving religious intelligence generally, without neglecting any denomination,and besidesfurnishing the current news of the day, is thought by many to be the best financial paper in circulation. Rev. Geo. B. Cbeerer, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, and Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, are regular contributors, besides an extensive list of correspondents in various parts of the world. Send two dollars to the publisher and try it for a year.
A NUMBER of articles, notices, etc., are crowded out of this Number, Will appear in our next,
We have waited for some of our fellow teachers to send us some arti. cles on “Practical Teaching," but we bave waited in vain, and in default of other, we shall give a little of our own experience, in reference to various studies. And first, how shall spelling be taught? We need not reiterate the oft-repeated assertion, that this receives too little attention. If any teacher doubts it, let him examine his scholars. Select fifty words, and with proper precautions that the examination is in all respects fair and jast, require your pupils to write them, then take the examination papers and see the result. No matter how much previous experience you may have had, you will be astonished at the deficiency which the examination will reveal. If you are not, your experience will be different from ours. I have examined this way scholars sixteen and eighteen years of
who have spent their lives in the school-room, and I have often found from thirty to fifty mistakes in spelling seventy-five words, I Love examined those who could show me the diploma of some institution, and have not unfrequently found them unable to spell five out of teu of the more difficult words in McGuffey's Spelling Book. Teachers, if you think this defect is exaggerated, try the experiment in your own schools. Try it faithfully, not for the purpose of convincing your scholars and yourself that they can spell well, but with the intention to reveal, as clearly as possible, the amount of deficiency which really exists.
For six years, Spelling in the schools under our care has received special attention. We have labored faithfully to find the best method of teaching it, and we know that much which is said about it, comes from mere theorists—those who do not begin to know the magnitude the work which
is to be done. During the time (a space of two years and a half) in which we have been connected with the schools of this city, no school, from the lowest to the highest, has been allowed to neglect this study, and our teachers are ananimous in the opinion, that accuracy in spelling is more difficult to be obtained, than accuracy in any other branch. Many theories have been suggested in regard to it, and the tendency now is to substitute written for oral spelling. Some teachers discard the Spelling Book, and require the pupils to spell only the words of their reading lessons, and scarcely any, at least among those of our acquaintance, devote that amount of time to spelling, which is necessary to ensure accuracy.
The course which we have pursued, embraces both the oral and written methods. Every pupil, upon entering school, is required to have a slate, and as soon as he begins to combine letters into words in reading, bis oral and written, or rather printed spelling commences. The words which he is to spell must be printed on his slate and be brought to the recitation for examination. Spelling is taught not less by the eye, than by the ear, and by these printing exercises, the child at any early age, becomes familar with the form and appearance of words. This exercise is not an occasional It must be as regular as the recitation itself.
The next point is the degree of thoroughness which shall be required. This can, in the case of yonng children, be carried to the very maximum. In the schools of this city, we use the Indiana First and Second Reader. In the spelling tables in the First Reader, there are about nine hundred words. In those of the Second Reader, there are about seventeen hundred. No class is allowed to pass out of the First Reader, unless able to spell accurately all the words in it. The examination is conducted by the Superintendent, and from two hundred to three hundred of the most difficult words are pronounced to the class for oral spelling. These words are not merely pronounced once, but the same word is repeated again and again, withont indication from the examiner as to its having been spelled correctly. It is very generally the custom to re-pronounce only the mis-spelled words. There is manifest injustice in this, for the second scholar has the advantage of the previous one's mistake. The re-pronouncing of a word should be no indication of correct or incorrect spelling. This should be avoided, not only as being unjust, but because such a method can never induce accuracy.
Words having different combinations of letters, but a similar pronounciation, should be given out in connection. In a word, make the
, examination as rigid as possible, and you will, after a time, obtain all you could desire. Of seven classes, in Primary Schools, examined in this way during the past fortnight, to which at least twelve hundred words were pronounced, but three words were mis-spelled. It is possible in Primary Schools to obtain almost perfect accuracy in spelling. With a very few exceptions, the writer has not for the past two years allowed a scholar in the First or Second Reader to pass out of it, if on these examinations he bas missed two words.
This obliges the teacher to resort to every method to test the scholar's knowledge. The attention is called to all words of peculiar orthography. When the pupil passes out of the First Reader into the Second, the same course in oral and written spelling continues, with this exception, that at this stage, the scholars begin to substitute written for printed characters. The same plan is adopted to secure certainty. The lessons are recited, not so that the scholars may pass, if possible, but so that he must fail if he is not certain as to the whole. It is not always best to pronounce the words in the order of the book, but in such a manner as to bring two words having a similarity in pronounciation but a difference in orthography together. If you find one scholar not accurate, do not indicate it to the class, but try another and another. This not only secures thoroughness, but the plan commends itself to scholars by its exact justice. The common method of passing a word mis-spelled by one scholar, to another, is so unjust, that separate from its faliure to produce accuracy, it should be discarded. The second scholar has two chances, where the first has one: very often there is but one point in the orthography of a word which presents any difficulty; then, the failure of the first scholar determines the point, and the second scholar has the credit of success which accident and not study gave him. I recollect a case in point. A class of twentysix was reciting. When a failure was made, the word was passed to the next. The lesson was pronounced several times. At its close twelve scholars had failed. These were required to go to their seats and re-learn their lessons. The teacher meant to obtain accuracy. I then took each scholar separately, selecting tbose words which, from their similarity in pronunciation, would be most likely to produce mistakes, occasionally stopping the recitation of a scholar suddenly, and passing the word to others, no matter whether it had been correctly spelled or not. At the expiration of five minutes I found there were but two who had not failed; some having missed two or three words. By a further trial I found that those two had the lesson thoroughly. In all the public schools of this city, scholars commence the spelling book at the same time that they onter the Third Reader. Different points are assigned for examination, as, for example, when the pupils reach the thirty-fifth, the fiftieth, and the seventy-fifth page. At each advancing stage, the scholar is also held answerable for the previous ones. With the exception of the printing and writing exercises, oral spelling, in the three lower grades of our school, or until the scholars reach the fiftieth page of the spelling book, is mostly relied upon. At this point, however, the usual daily recitations in this branch, are in writing, with however, frequent oral spelling, especially in the form of constant reviews. On Friday of each week, especial time is devoted to this exercise. It is impossible by writing alone, to accomplish the amount of work which is needed in this department. In the fligh School-for as yet this study, even here, forms an important branch, though we anticipate the time, when the labor performed in the lower departments will render this unnecessary-the writing is conducted with