Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Primary School system some valuable improvements. The work is progressing quietly, but surely, and we anticipate highly favorable results Most of the schools are now graded, so far as the present accommodations will permit. The plan is to place in one room only one class of papil, that is, only pupils of equal attainments, so that they may be taught, to a great extent, by the collective method. Six grades or classes are recognized in the system. Formerly, all these classes were in each room. The new arrangement, now generally adopted in the city, affords the compe tent teachers superior facilities for the application of improved methods of instruction and discipline.

But what is needed more than any thing else for the improvement of primary education is a high degree of the spirit of progress among the teachers themselves. Where a good share of this element has been or is now wanting among teachers, the blame is not altogether theirs.

How little have they been encouraged in their efforts for advancement! How inadequately have the best been appreciated and rewarded !

We hope for better things to come. Let every one see to it that he performs his own duty respecting this great interest. Much more extensive means must be provided for the training of teachers previous to their en. tering upon the responsibilities of their office. Oommittees must pay good salaries, and then insist upon high qualifications. Teachers must be content with pothing less than the highest success.

In relation to this subject Rev. Dr. Lothrop, in the last annual report of the School Committee of Boston, presents the following just and liberal view:

“As parts of a great system of public instruction, it is scarcely possible to attach too much importance to the Primary Schools. They are the base of the pyramid, and in proportion as the base is enlarged and its foundations strengthened, the superstructure can be reared with ease and rapidity, in graceful proportions, and to a towering height. Under the improvements which are now in operation, and others that will be introduced, it is hoped that the children in the Primary Schools will be rescued from that waste of time and misdirection of powers hitherto unavoidable, and so instructed and carried forward, as that every child, on attaining the requisite age, shall be competent and qualified, not only to enter the Grammar Schools, but to improve the privileges and advantages there offered. And in proportion as the children entering the Grammar Schools come thoroughly qualified and prepared, these schools themselves will be improved, and a large number of papils pass through them at an age sufi. ciently early to allow them to enjoy the benefit of the High Schools, before the time arrives at which they wish to leave school for some active em. ployment. Thus by improving the Primary, we improve the Grammar, extend the advantages of the High Schools and make our whole system of public instruction, of popular education, what it onght to be, progres. side and not stationary."

[ocr errors][merged small]

Apparatus.—A blackboard ; a chart of easy words of one syllable; an ulphabet chart; & set of alphabet cards, with a grooved stick, called speling-stick, in which the cards may be inserted in spelling words; and a late and pencil for each child. ;

Preliminary Training.-Ohildren should not be put to reading immedi„.tely upon entering school for the first time. Judicious preliminary exerises will render subsequent progress, not only in this but other branches, nore rapid and satisfactory. The object of these exercises should be to rain the ear to distinguish sounds, and the organs of speech to utter them; o form habits of attention and of prompt obedience to all directions; and o excite the curiosity, or desire to learn something. Such being the obects, the judgment of the teacher must guide in the selection and adaptaion of the exercises.

Lesson. The proper preparatory training having been given, the teachr will select a single letter to begin with; it matters little which. Supose it to be a. The card containing it is placed in the spelling-stick in iew of all the class.

T.--" You see this lettter. Now look at me. You all know me when ou see me. Now I wish you to look at this letter, so that you will know t whenever you see it. It stands for a sound. Listen, and hear me give he sound.”

Having enunciated the sound distinctly several times, taking care to seure the attention of all, the teacher might ask if any one has ever heard he sound before. Some may remember it as given among the elementary "ounds of the language. If so, they are pleased to find that the lesson is onnected with something learned before. If it is not recalled, give the rowel sounds promiscuously, requesting all to put up hands when they Tear it.

T._"Now all give the sound after me; again, again. That is what his letter pays. When you read it, you give the sound. You may take "our slates, and see if you can make one like it.”

Only a few, perhaps, will try at first. But the teacher passes rapidly round, giving a glance at the slates, sbestowing commendation on the vest efforts.

T. -"Erase it. See me make it on the blackboard. I begin here, and o round in this way. You may try it again on your slates."

The slates are inspected as before; the timid are encouraged, and the ətter written for them on their slates. Then the drill on the sound is reeated, and afterward individuals called up to say it.

If this is found to be enough for one lesson, when the course is resumed, be exercises on a should be reviewed. The teacher will then proceed vith another letter in a similar manner, taking one that with the preced

ing will make a duo-literal word. Suppose it is t. The letters are placed together,

T._“You see I have put together the two letters you have learned, and they make a word; wouldn't you like to read the word? Hear me say the sounds, and see if you can tell what the word is. I will give them slowly-a, t. Can you tell the word ?”

After several repetitions, perhaps some one will combine them and say,

hat.

[ocr errors]

T._“Yes, at; that is right. Now you have read a word. You often use the word. I am at the desk; you are at school. Say, We are at school. I will write them both on the board, I will begin thus and make the other, and cross it thus. You may take your slates, and make them."

Now the reading-lesson is changed for writing or printing. This having been pursued long enough, the alphabet, chart is suspended before the class, and the pupils requested to see if they can see the word. The first who raises his hand is allowed to come out and point to it.

If any time is allowed to elapse befor3 presenting another letter, these steps should be reviewed. The next letter to be learned should be one which with at will form another word. Let it be r. The same course as before is pursued. First the attention is called to the form. Next, the sound is learned. Then it is written, exercising the conception and imitation, and fixing the form in the memory. The three letters are then placed in order, to form the word rat.

T._“You see the three letters you have learned. They make another word. Hear me give the sonnds; and then see if you can tell the word, r-a-t. You may give the sounds after me."

If this process is well managed, some one will catch the word. Now as many individuals as possible should be called upon to repeat the sounds while pointing to the letters, and then pronounce the word. It is then written as before. This might be followed by some simple story read or related about the rat. Then the pupils might be asked to tell any thing they know of the rat. The same process as before with the charts. Keep in mind the maxims-one short step at a time, constant reviews, vigorous exercise of the mind during the lesson.

In the same way make the words, bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, sat, vat.
The letter n might come next. This placed after a, we have the word

Then m, which placed before makes man Ard so make tan, ran, fan, pan, can. For the next vowel take i, with n making in. Then, as before form pin, bin, din, fin, sin, win.

Thus proceed through the first reading chart, always using every word learned in oral sentences, and training the class to make them for themselves.—Mass. Teacher.

an.

DIFFIO ULTIES.

THERE has, perhaps, been no time in the history of the present class of students who now fill, or have just filled our many excellent institutions "of learning, when the world looked so dark to them, when they could look

around and behold so large a wreck of disappointed bopes, as at the pre3. sent. They are aware that the present pressure of the times, the many 5 pecuniary embarrassments have driven many from our higher schools, and DE are withholding many more who have been waiting for a long time to make mi a commencement, Many students who have been much attached to their

studies, have looked with deepest concern apon the impending crisis, feeldiing that at each step of depression it was crowding their chance of gainding a liberal education into a still more narrow compass, until at last the

decision was forced upon them, to quit school for the present, and seek some other pursuit. Many of these students will never return to books and studies again.

As they mingle in the world, and seek and prosecute some other avocation, their affections will, in some cases, be won from books and study, by the scenes into which necessity has thrown them. Many will find it difficult to throw ap the new business when the present monetary pressure shall be relieved, and many will perhaps go murmuring through a long life

at the cruel freaks of Fortune, that their bright hopes have vanished, that their dreams all prove untrue, while their classmates, the sons of the liwealthy, still go on. Many of these disappointed students will thus repine

at Fate, and call this world unkind. But to those whose hopes are thus seemingly destroyed, this may prove & lesson of value. Not that they have been spenthrifts, and thus wasted the means which might have carried them some farther on the educational course, but the present disappointment, the first great stroke to many minds, will teach them that the path of life is full of obstacles, and not by close discerning can we escape difficulty. Even the air is tainted, the soil is cold, the ocean writhes beneath the tempest, and unseen exigencies meet us at every hand. We may read of cloudless skies, of fields where perpetual sunshine reigns, and the

ripening grain needs but the sickle, but who finds them, certainly not the student, especially in these times. 6 Paradise is always just ahead of the emigrant, and the fairest pleasures of fancy oft fade just as we are about to reduce them to possession. But these conflicts are not all injurious. Difficulties invigorate the soul; they are conditions essential to thought. They are but an exercise in moral calisthenics, which is to give increased strength to that strong arm of the mind-human will.

The arm of the smith gains strength from the weight of the hammer. The laborer gains hardihood from elemental contact, and the mind of the student gains power from this very obstacle which has arisen in his path.

[ocr errors]

It may be asked, who is the greatest reasoner? He who habitually strug. gles with the worst difficulties which can be mastered by reason. Were there no obstacles in the path to education, the mind would become so weak from inactivity, ere it had reached the end of its course, that education would be of little value. Were there no new seas to explore in science, invention would die from inactivity; the same were there no obstacles in life's path, mind would die for the want of something to do.

But how are you going to meet the present hinderance in your course! Difficulties develop resources; necessity is the mother of invention. Many of your number have gone to the district school-room, determined there to gain enough to proceed again in the coming spring; but the district school-houses will accommodate but a few of the many who have withdrawn from our higher institutions. Where have the others posted themselves? Wherever you stand in the rank and file of humanity, stand determined to act somewhere upon the broad plain of this world. Act with the determination of accomplishing something. Be industrious. Plunge into the difficulty; cross the Rubicon; keep the pole star of your first parpose in view, and at the earliest opportunity return to your studies again; gather up the wreck of your scattered hopes and go on.

There is scarcely any difficulty which perseverance can not overcome. Trace any great mind to its culmination, and you will find that its ascent was slow and by natural laws, and that its difficulties only such as ordinary minds can surmount.

You have hundreds of examples before you of cases more aggravated than your own. Cases which will prove to you that the most of human ills are only imaginary, which fly at the approach of a determined will. The simple resolution to surmount an obstacle, reduces at least half of the dread, while the determined reduction of the other half will call together such a concentration of the noble powers of the soul, that one will be astonished as well as repaid for the extra effort. Student! if disappointments have stopped you in your course, stand your ground, don't forever yield up those dreams of education. Prepare yourself, and at it again. The honor is only to the conqueror, and now is your chance, for there are no laurels to be won in a sham battle; if you gain it, it is a real victory. GENEVA, Nov., 1858.

H. M.

COMPOSITION AS A DAILY EXERCISE IN SOHOOL.

MR. EDITOR:- What think you of the introduction of Composition as a daily exercise in our common schools? It is certainly a very necessary

a of one's education to be able to express, with readiness and ease,

« НазадПродовжити »