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difficult to recommence the onward movement. The subjects placed before each class should come in a natural order and succession, according to the previous advances of the mind.
The first efforts should be directed to the most simple perceptions. The blending of manual exercises and singing with the earlier lessons, deprives them of their dry character, and assists to keep up the attention, by bringing them to the level of the infant mind. The repetition of very simple rhymes, accompanied by amusing exercises, and rendered instructive by simple explanations, is also of great use in these first stages of instruction.
Whatever is useful and necessary to man, possesses an interest for the child. It wants to know about the food it eats—the house it lives in the uses of each article of furniture-of tools men use-about its clothes—who makes them, and how—what they are made of-of its own body--of every thing relative to man, as well as the babits and economy of animals and plants; in fact, its curiosity is insatiable, because a knowledge of these things is necessary to its existence and well-being. It is evident that by taking advantage of this propensity, while only gratifying a natural impulse, an immense amount of information may be imparted, and at the same time the perception and the judgment cultivated.
Modes of Intellectual Instruction. The different modes of intellectual instruction may be divided into
Ist. Intuitive teaching, by which the senses and perceptive faculties are trained. and the mind stored with a knowledge of surrounding things. This in an infant school is the first and most important mode.
2d. By Comparison—as when you exhibit two objects or pictures, and lead the pupil to observe the differences between them and guess at their causes.
3d. By Pictures and verbal descriptions—which depends for its success on the first having preceded it.
4th. By Questioning—which is chiefly valuable as it leads the mind of the learner to form conclusions of its own; or when, by questions put to the teacher, the pupil seeks to supply imperfections in his own conception of the subject.
5th. By Ellipses—a most valuable method of securing attention to any historical or descriptive lesson. It consists in interrupting the sense of a passage by omitting some necessary part, and leaving the pupil to discover from the foregone sense the suppressed word or phrase.
6th. By Imitation--as in writing, drawing, music, &c. To these
may be added exercises of the memory, as recitation and spelling. We do not mean that these various modes are always to be separately employed; on the contrary, some of them are generally combined with advantage ; we only point out the distinct nature of each.
Intuitive teaching embraces all our perceptions of the external world through the senses, as form, number, size, position, motion, texture, color, sound in all its varieties, taste, odor, temperature and resistance. These qualities occurring in varied combinations in nature, it is the teacher's business to separate and present them in a simple, striking manner, so that the pupil may get a clear notion of the nature of each, and be able to trace its existence wherever it occurs, or to understand what is meant when the term expressing it is mentioned. But in imparting this knowledge, frequent recourse to comparison is necessary. In colors, for instance, shades of the same color become more evident when compared ; differences of weight are more clearly perceived by the same means, as well as degrees of light and sound. Opposite qualities are also rendered more palpable by contrast, as transparent and opaque-solid and fluid.
It is plain that, without this preliminary knowledge, no description can be understood. We may, indeed leave its acquisition to chance and casual observation, but this will take too long for the purposes of education, and after all, will be a most imperfect process. It is better to overcome the difficulty at once by supplying systematically those elements upon which the future education is based. Second only to this direct knowledge of things present, are the notions derived from models and pictures. This is the first extension upwards of the previous foundation, and prepares the mind to receive and comprehend history and description.
Reading and the analysis of words become, from the first, an exercise of the reasoning powers, and should therefore be taught gradually and with care. If a judicious system is followed, the art of reading should be acquired without painful difficulty or overstraining the mind; it is, indeed, often forced on too fast, and then becomes mere parrot-work; the interest in reading will infallibly cease if what is read be not thoroughly understood.
The natural bistory of living things is exceedingly interesting to children when taught in a manner suited to their age, that is, with full illustration by pictures and by description.
Every thing must be first taught as a whole, without regard to niceties of structure : if an animal, its general form, color, size, motion, habits, &c.: and less striking points may be afterwards brought out by contrasting it with other species.
Geography, treating as it does of such vast subjects, should be very gradually approached. Ideas of time and space arise but very slowly in the mind; and it is only by carefully extending these conceptions that any approach to a just notion of the surface of the earth can be given. It is best to combine natural history and descriptions of the manners and customs of nations, with geographical teaching, so that, from the first, ideas of real things may be associated with names of places, otherwise unmeaning.
Narrative is always delightful to children, and may be introduced as the judgment of the teacher directs, to secure attention to the subject, whether moral or intellectual.
The education of the hand and eye in drawing, and of the ear in singing, not only cultivates the taste and refines the feelings, but also affords a pleasing variety of occupation and a relief from more intellectual studies.
The recitation of simple poetry, while it cultivates the memory, also serves a most important purpose in imparting a correct and pleasing pronunciation. As the first difficulties of reading tend to embarrass and retard speech, some counteracting process is required, and none is so pleasing to the child as repeating rhymes.
The arrangement of these several subjects in such order as shall give to all their due share of attention, and, at the same time, by their judicious alternation, produce the least fatigue to the learner, should be carefully studied by the teacher. Rest, both to men and infants, is often only another name for change of occupation; and it is possible, by a proper management of school business, greatly to lighten the labor of each successive study.
In concluding this subject, we beg to call attention to the following “ Hints to Teachers,” by an eminent authority, which we have found by long experience to be most useful and important.
Hints to Teachers.
1- The best for the teacher's ease; (such as the books in “question and answer,” which the learner is set to get by heart; for him the books are ill adapted, but they are good for the writer and bookseller because they sell; and for the master because they save him trouble.)
2–The best to make the pupil show off at a made-up examination.
3—The best for grounding him speedily and soundly in the science.
All teachers question their pupils, if there is even any attempt or pretense of advancing them properly.
Questioning is of three kinds1. Preliminary (or preparatory]* questioning (relates to the future.) 2. Instructive questioning (to the present.) 3. And examination questioning (to the past.)
All three very few persons employ designedly: the last two are used by all who at all deserve the name of good teachers : the third alone is employed by probably the majority.
1. The first consists in asking (orally or on paper) questions relative to what the pupil is about to learn, to try what notions or guesses he may form on each point.
This is an increase of trouble to the teacher, and, in the outset, taxes the efforts of the pupil by compelling him to think. In the end it will be found that he has learned much more rapidly and with more interest, more correctly and more permanently.
This mode is seldom employed designedly; but a man often finds how advantageously he has employed it for himself by accident; when he has learned a subject, for instance, by sitting down to write a book upon it. .
If the teacher will have the courage to use this method systematically, by every day putting before his pupils questions relative to what they are next to learn, he will find himself doing wonders.
2. The second consists in asking questions as to the lessons actually before the pupils, to see how far they understand each passage, and can state it in their own words.
3. The third consists in examining them as to what they have learned, to try how well they retain it.
These three processes have been compared to the plowing, the sowing, and the harrowing of a field.
N. B.-You will judge from what has been said, what is the best and what the second best mode of advancing your pupils.
N. B.--You should frame examples for them and teach them to do so themselves.
It is not necessary that they should remember quite perfectly and rapidly each lesson before proceeding to the next; but they should clearly understand as they go on; and they should not advance far a-head of what they have perfectly learned. In particular, the technical terms and definitions should be as familiarly known as the alphabet; for technical language is an incumbrance to those not quite familiar with it, and a great help to those who are.
* Please to observe that the square (brackets) as distinguished from the common (paren. thesis) denote a word or phrase equivalent to one before: and are used to guard the learner against mistaking it for a different thing. It is thus I should speak in geometry of Trilatera figures,” (or "Triangles.")
Physical Education. All children require sound sleep, regular and wholesome meals, cleanliness, warmth, light, fresh air, and frequent exercise.
Mr. Wilderspin observes—“ An inactive and healthy child under six years of age is never seen. * * * Children must exert all their muscular force, and employ all their ingenuity, in order to gratify their curiosity, and satisfy their little appetites. What they desire is only to be obtained at the cost of labor, patience, and many disappointments. By the exercise of body and mind necessary for satisfying their desires, they acquire agility, strength, and dexterity in their motions, as well as constitutional health and vigor; they learn to bear pain without dejection, and disappointment without despondency."
In winter time it is necessary to induce the children to exert themselves, by joining in and promoting their games; and when in the gallery on cold days, their lessons must be interrupted by vigorous manual exercises, to restore the animal heat, and with it cheerfulness and attention; while in summer it is equally important to promote quiet amusements, which do not heat or exhaust the children.
Every school-room should be well lighted, and the means of free ventilation provided. But this alone is not sufficient; relaxation in the open air is also necessary to health, for if kept constantly in the school-room, infants will not remain healthy.
The general rule for infants is, short lessons and frequent exercise. Overstraining the attention and intellectual powers, would infallibly injure the health of the child.
11. QUALIFICATIONS OF THE TEACHER.
“He, whene'er he taught, Put so much of his heart into his act, That his example had a magnet's force,
And all were swift to follow whoin all loved." The person who undertakes the charge of an infant school should be prepared to undergo much labor and anxiety, and to meet with many difficulties. On the other hand, it is a work full of interest, and yielding peculiar pleasures to those engaged in it. The dispositions necessary for success are kindness, gentleness, and patience towards the children, steadiness of temper, a habit of observation, cheerfulness and activity. To the usual branches of education the teacher of infants should add a knowledge of the elements of music, drawing, natural history, and as much general information as possible. The habit of study and observation must always be kept up, whether