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who is talked of as the first man of his year, or the best classic, or the future senior wrangler, on that ground alone, but rather observe whose demeanour, habits, and reputation, bear most the impress of steady principles, and upright and moral training; by no means forgetting right views in religion.
W. W. (To be continued.)
ON SCHOOL APPARATUS.
My Dear Sir,-In every plan which can be formed for improving the education of the people of this country, the whole seems to me to turn on the means of raising up an adequate race of teachers, and being able to provide incomes for them when raised up.
But at present the only question of importance is, the formation of such a body of instructors as shall be fit for the work. It is true, that fit masters and mistresses are very poorly paid; but I fear that the mass of those who conduct our schools, are remunerated beyond their deserts, Therefore at present our object is to create a race of teachers who shall properly carry on the work of education. This is the great educational desideratum.
The means by which this want may be supplied, are two. By training young teachers, and by improving those who are already engaged in the work. Now there are two branches of knowledge in which it seems necessary that every teacher should be well instructed, and to one of which very little attention appears to me to be paid.
A teacher should know the subject on which he gives instruction, but it is equally important that he should know how to impart the knowledge which he possesses; and I cannot help hoping that some hints on this subject may be beneficial to both training schools and to existing teachers, and call forth from experienced masters, observations which may assist in diffusing this part of the art of teaching, which seems, I confess, to be unduly neglected.
The first subject which I shall mention is
SCHOOL APPARATUS, In which most schools, particularly training schools, appear to me to be singularly deficient. Under this head I comprehend large slates, black boards, globes, sections of the spheres, maps, scales of mountains and rivers, chronological tables, fractographs, abacus, historical prints, &c. &c. All these are, as it were tools, by which information is imparted, and with every instrument of this sort, the teacher under training should be rendered as familiar as possible. He should learn how to use the tools of his art.
The only argument which I have ever heard against their introduction, consists in the expense, which, however sound with regard to village schools, is absurd when applied to a training establishment. Most of them may now be obtained at the Christian Knowledge depôt at a very small charge, and any intelligent master who has once seen their advantage, will soon devise substitutes for most of them for a mere trifle. And in a training school, economy in such a department, would resemble the wisdom of a government which furnished its troops with deficient and ill made arms, for the sake of saving money. Of the use of large slates and black boards, I need say little, except that every monitor ought to be provided with one, and exhibit all he wishes to explain, by writing it in chalk before the class. There is no lesson in which a wise teacher will not employ this instrument, and an unframed slate, which will cost 6d., will answer his purpose. Sections of spheres are easily made by cutting out half a dozen circles of the same size in paper, doubling them through the centre, and sticking them together, so as to exhibit parallels of longitude, &c. Maps may now be obtained at a very small charge, and the best chronological table for a school, with which I am acquainted, may be bought for 2d., and if stuck on a piece of deal board and hung up in the school, will give even the youngest children some idea of dates. And for want of these subsidiaries, children who can read and write tolerably well, do not feel sure that Abraham did not live in Europe, or whether he preceded our Saviour by hundreds or thousands of years.
With a view of persuading managers of schools to procure these necessary instruments of teaching, and of showing teachers how they may use them, I shall venture to be tedious to those who have made any progress in the art of teaching, and address what I have to say, to such as will not be offended at being esteemed ignorant, in the hope that we may together learn something.
At the same time, since I am not disposed to quarrel with, or to reject those who know more than I yet offer to the public, I will ask them to communicate to the Editor any experience in teaching which they may possess; and while they excuse my garrulity and other faults, to show that I am wrong, by giving directions which shall prove more useful to those who are engaged in the most important of all works, the education of the rising generation.- I remain, &c. May 11, 1843.
No. I. ---On the Use of a Chronological Table. The sheet, price 2d., consists of two tables, which should be kept distinct from each other, as they are arranged on different scales. The first contains the history of the world, the second the history of the Jews.
We will suppose then, that the table containing the history of the world, has been pasted on a piece of deal board, and is standing in the centre of a class on the chair. That the monitor has his monitorial slate and piece of chalk ; that each of the children are provided with their slate and slate-pencil.
I ask, How many years ago is it since the world was created ? The only datum which I shall give is, that it was created four thousand and four years before the birth of our Saviour.
According to the intelligence of the children, a small or large number of them, will answer this simple question. When those who have correctly answered, have been placed at the top of the class, I begin by asking the highest child who has not answered, and if he cannot answer, going round to those who have done the sum—What do you do first? Why do you put down 4,004 ? Again, How many years is it since our Saviour ? Why do you add these two together? What is the sum of these numbers ?
While this was going on, the monitor would perform the work on the monitorial slate, with chalk, so that all might see it.
2 Quest. Abraham was born two thousand and eight years after the Creation, how many years before Christ was that?
3 Quest. How many years ago was the birth of Abraham ?
4 Quest. The Exodus took place fourteen hundred and ninety one years before Christ, what year of the world was this?
5 Quest. How many years ago did the Exodus take place ?
6 Quest. The call of Abraham took place two thousand and eighty three years after the creation; the dedication of the second temple took place five hundred and nineteen years before Christ : how many years was the call of Abraham before the dedication of the second temple ?
It is obvious that questions of this sort may be multiplied to any extent, and the children, while they are learning to do sums in addition and subtraction, will acquire all the knowledge of dates, which is required for understanding the history of the Bible. But unless the chronological table and the large slate be provided, and the use of them enforced, the same time in instruction may be employed without any corresponding benefit. We are not to suppose that these mechanical contrivances are to supersede intelligent teaching, but such contrivances will greatly assist even the most intelligent, and will enable those who can only impart their knowledge mechanically, to do so to the greatest advantage.
It may be remarked of these tables, that the plan on which they are drawn up is to fix the great dates by some known event, which the memory will easily retain, in order that the pupil may be able to employ it as a fixed point, by which he may prevent any great inaccuracy with regard to relative dates. Thus if he remembers that the birth of Abrabam was about two thousand years before Christ, and the Exodus about fifteen hundred, he cannot place the famine in Egypt very far from the truth.
In reading history, the date of every event should be pointed out, its place on the table should be shown, in the same way as the locality of every place should be pointed out on the map. The object is, not to make the scholars skilful in chronology and geography, but through these arts to enable them to comprehend the history of the Bible.
MISCELLANEOUS HINTS TO SCHOOL MANAGERS ;
TO THE LORD BISHOP OF OXFORD,
SCHOLARS to be classed according to their attainments in English ; that is, by their ability to understand, according to the measure of a child, the principal reading book appropriated to their class.
Where the method of mutual instruction is employed, the monitors to receive special training and instruction.
In most, if not all cases, where no fee is demanded, the parents value the education of their children at what it costs them. See Reports, National Society, 1839-1831. Uniform payments are also generally desirable. Extra charges for writing and arithmetic are very objectionable. Also it is better to provide the scholars with all requisite school materials, as copy books, slates, pens, slate pencils, &c., out of the school funds, (raising, if necessary, the regular school fee,) than to leave them to be provided by the master to his own profit.
Every lower class, as well as upper, to be systematically instructed and examined by the master (mistress) in person ; the more advanced scholars being employed only as preparatory monitors. In schools so organized, the characteristic principle of the “ monitorial system,” or method of mutual instruction, is abandoned; but the mechanical arrangements are in a great measure retained. Upon this system, or method of organization, the master resumes his proper place, and teaches the several classes in succession. Hence this method of organization may be called the Successive System. The master will often find it convenient to throw two or more of the monitors' classes into one, when he wishes to give them oral instruction.
The exclusion of English grammar from the course of instruction in our English schools is one of their great defects, and one principal cause of their inefficiency. See Report, N. S. 1841.
To have time tables. These to be hung up in school-room. Length of each lesson in lower classes to range from 20 to 30 minutes ; from 30 minutes to 40 in upper classes. Desks to be always occupied.
Registers of admission and attendance to be regularly kept. Forms may be procured from S. P. C. K.
To have “teachers' marked book.” See Bell's Manuals of the Madras System. (Rivingtons.)
To keep register of daily work of each class. See Catalogue S. P. C. K.
Instead of a single cupboard for books, &c., to have box seats for Monitors. These are of two kinds : boxes which are also used as seats; and seats which are also boxes. The latter are the best. They consist generally of a very short form, having a deep narrow box between the legs and under the seat, which turns on hinges and serves as a lid.
The general want of definiteness in the registers made it difficult to ascertain the average daily attendance, and to judge whether that attendance was regular and punctual. In some instances, the Master or Mistress reported the attendance to be “ regular,” when all that they really meant was, that the majority of those scholars who were absent, had some reason for their absence, which was accepted by the Master or Mistress as valid. In the majority of cases, I found the attendance to be very irregular ; in several it was tolerably steady; and in some, it was remarkably uniform.
Corporal punishment, in moderation, and administered judicially, appears to be preferable to any others of the primary class. On secondary punishments, see Bishop of Sodor and Man's " Hints on School-keeping.” (S. P. C. K.) Monitors should never be allowed to strike or shake the children. In large monitorial schools, these little deputy rulers—who have sometimes, and not always undeservedly, been called tyrants in rags”—are very apt to become petulant, conceited, and capricious. Girls especially, and sometimes mistresses, are hereby rendered harsh and overbearing in manner, tone, and temper. Conscious of their inherent weakness, they mistake domineering for government; and do violence to their natural kindliness, fearful lest its indulgence should prove fatal to their power.
Every scholar to be provided with an unframed slate, to hang by a tape or string from his neck. Slate pencils to be fastened in reeds or tin holders.
A clock is desirable in all cases.
On warming and ventilation, see Minutes of Committee of Council on Education. Ventilation is almost always imperfect; the great defect being that there is no free admission for fresh air from below.
Where the master is tolerably competent to give instructions and to conduct the business of a school, but is unacquainted with the technical details of school routine, considerable benefit would probably result from the temporary assistance of an Organizing Master. See Report, N. S. 1842.
Ertracts from Charges.
ON THE EXCLUSIVE USE OF THE BIBLE IN SCHOOLS.
“ Some of the evils which result from the exclusive use of the Bible in schools, are pointed out in a letter in the Educational Magazine for 1840, (vol. I. pp. 111-115). Mr. Field too, in his valuable report on the state of Education in the diocese of Salisbury, (p. 136,) says: 'I found an increasing conviction that it is right and necessary to introduce more books of secular and general knowledge into our schools, if only for the purpose of elucidating and applying the Holy Scriptures. And I observed, that where such books and subjects had actually been introduced, there was no apparent deficiency of instruction, or knowledge in religious truths. I also heard doubts sometimes expressed, about the expediency and propriety of using the Bible, or portions of it, for instructing children to read and spell.
* This is a matter of no slight importance. I cannot but believe that one of the causes which have kept our National Schools hitherto from being as efficient as they ought to have been, for the religious, no less than for the intellectual education of the people, has been the common practise of using the Bible as the one class book for every lesson. Being rightfully resolved to withstand those pseudo philosophers, who maintained that religious knowledge lies beyond the reach of a child's mind, we ran into the opposite extreme. We did not duly consider that the course of nature, which also is God's ordinance, is to train and unfold our minds in the first instance, by the training and unfolding of our senses, and to lead them through the knowledge of outward things to the knowledge of inward, through the things which come home to the understanding and heart of the natural man, to those things which can only be apprehended by the higher exercises of reason, of imagination, and of faith. Hence, while we sin against the child, if we confine ourselves to the development of its lower faculties, we cannot fulfil our duty to it, if neglecting and overleaping the lower, we only give heed to the higher.”—Charge by the Venerable J. C. Hare, Archdeacon of Lewes. 1841. Note B. pp. 70, 71.
“ The right course of education is stepwise, not leapwise, with open eyes, not blindfold. To remedy these evils, and to render our national education more efficient, it were greatly to be desired that a set of books, treating of such subjects as the children of the poor are familiar with, of such as lie within the reach