vigorous young man, accustomed to take considerable exercise daily in the open air. But the temperature of the school-room ought to be uniform ; hence the necessity of having some more certain means of regulating it than the sense of heat or cold experienced by the master.

The summer temperature of a room warmed by the thermometerstove, and the atmosphere of which is constantly refreshed by a supply of pure air equal to that corrupted by respiration, is the source of sensations entirely new in their character, and which afford a full compensation for the absence of the beautiful object of a bright fire, which our familiar associations make uš unwilling to relinquish, notwithstanding the manifold inconveniences which attend it. The adoption of more scientific methods of warming and ventilation in the rooms in which children are educated throughout the country is, however, a subject of such grave importance as affecting the public health, that the promoters of schools ought to be guided in the selection of those means by purely rational considerations.

Minute respecting Sélection of Site. The situation in which the school-house is erected is by no means of slight importance. It is desirable to avoid the neighbourhood of any place of public resort, where the children would be exposed to the influence of bad example. The noise of a much-frequented street or highway, arising from the passage of wheels over the pavement, from the cries of street-hawkers, &c., is the source of serious interruption to the school. The vicinity of any noxious trades; of a marsh or stagnant pool; of streets known to be frequently infested with fever, is liable to objections on sanatory principles, as well as the choice of a low site, from which there is no sufficient drainage.

Bleak and unsheltered situations on the one hand, and sites on a dry sandy soil where the school-houses are exposed to concentrated radiation, with little ventilation, are not unfrequently chosen in rural districts, exposing the children, during many months in the year, to noxious natural influences, which often cannot be remored by artificial means.

Sometimes it be desirable that two or more parishes should unite for the erection and support of a common school-house. The site will, under such circumstances, be determined in a great degree by an estimate of the nearest distance to be traversed by the children coming from all parts of those parishes. Such unions of parishes for the maintenance of a common school can at present take place only by the concurrence of the inhabitants, without any security being afforded by the law for the maintenance of the school by the permanence of their co-operation. Under such cir


cumstances, though much expense might be saved by the erection and maintenance of common schools, and though a much greater degree of efficiency might be attained in the conjoint than in the separate management of them, the concurrence of parishes for the maintenance of a common school is rare.

In selecting the site it is very important to provide an enclosed exercise ground for the children. In the absence of a school play-ground the street becomes the resort of the children after school-hours; there they are remote from the influence and superintendence of the master; they meet with vicious men and women, and with children of their own age, who have been corrupted by vicious parents or other bad example, or even with children trained to desperate courses by thieves. In a rural parish there is little chance of their meeting with children expert in vice and knavery; but if the master be unprovided with an exerciseground, he is without the most effectual means of ascertaining, by being a spectator, or joining in their sports, the characters of the children under his care, and of training their habits. At the best, the teacher of a day-school cannot hope altogether to correct the effects of evil example at the child's home; and therefore, to increase the beneficial influence of his own more elevated mind on the thoughts and habits of his scholars, he should possess the means of attracting them to spend a large portion of the time devoted to exercise in the neighbourhood of the school-house, where the development of character may proceed under his better than paternal care.

The physical training of the children may therefore be usefully provided for on other grounds than its tendency to develop the muscular powers, and to render the scholars robust and vigorous. The physical exercises of the playground extend the moral influence of the teacher, by encouraging the children to remain under his care during the hours of recreation,

Minute on Methods of Teaching Reading, Writing, and Vocal

Music, published by direction of the Committee of Council on

Education. The Committee of Council on Education deemed it important to ascertain at an early period in their labours, whether the methods adopted in the best elementary schools in this country resembled those sanctioned by the experience of the best primary schools of the Protestant States of Europe. Varieties in method may be attributable solely to differences in detail, or they may result from the influence of principles essentially distinct. It appeared important that such varieties should be analyzed ; and differences in detail, referable to similar principles, separated from varieties created by principles essentially distinct.

Among the varieties of method observed in the best primary schools of Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and Prussia, two principal classes attract the attention even of a cursory observer: 1. Methods of a synthetic or constructive character. 2. Analytic methods.

The Socratic* method might be pursued either synthetically or analytically, but it was most commonly employed in the former mode. Pestalozzi was the chief restorer of the synthetic methods to Europe, and Jacotot and others have endeavoured to propagate peculiar developments of analytic processes.

Mere dogmatic teaching cannot be said to belong to either class, but when followed by explanations may be regarded as an analytic method. An attentive examination of the details of school-management in great numbers of elementary schools throughout Protestant Europe shows that the synthetic or constructive methods prevail in Germany, Switzerland, Prussia, and Holland.

The authority of Pestalozzi's teaching is acknowledged in Holland, Switzerland, and some parts of Germany. In other provinces, where the methods are strictly constructive and closely resemble those pursued by him, they are not so directly attributed to his influence.

The Committee of Council having recognised the general prevalence of the synthetic or constructive methods of instruction in elementary schools in Protestant Europe, have deemed it desirable to furnish the schoolmasters and promoters of schools in this country with examples of the application of such methods of three departments of instruction, viz. — reading, writing, and vocal music.

Before describing the application of the principle to these divisions of elementary instruction, the general relations of the principle itself deserve some consideration.

* The method of a logical arrangement of questions,

During infancy the child has to become acquainted with the external world: his senses are in incessant activity; the sense of sight has to be placed in harmony with the sense of touch and of muscular movement ; the distance, form, weight, and other qualities of objects have to be determined; the child is making continual discoveries; it constantly presses upon the region of the unknown. This process is chiefly synthetical. It is by the acquisition of new facts, and their combination with those already known, that the child gradually acquires knowledge, and corrects the errors into which he has fallen.

In the acquisition of language he is greatly aided by his faculty of imitation. In the use of this faculty he proceeds in two separate directions. In the imitation of sounds he first tries those which are shortest and simplest, and gradually acquires the more complex. A similar law determines his progress in all that relates to the structure of sentences. He acquires the names of objects with which he is familiar, and first of those which interest his affections. Then he learns to name the qualities of those objects. Their motions, actions, and influence on other bodies follow ; and in these and every other part of his acquirements the simple precedes the complex. By this constructive process all his early acquirements are made.

Pestalozzi proposed to imitate this process in the further education of the child. Analysis appeared to him the duty of the educator, and the necessity for education was equivalent to the need of an interpreter of natural and moral phenomena.

The influence of tradition, and of more sure and permanent records on civilization, are in harmony with this view of the means and limits of self-education, and of the first duties of a teacher.

In determining the mode of applying this process to any subject of instruction, that subject may be regarded from many points of view, and in each of these directions it may be found important to apply the same process. For example, language may be analyzed :--1. In relation to the sounds of which it is composed. 2. In relation to the signs of those sounds, as a printed or written language. 3. In relation to the combination of those sounds from words into sentences. 4. As respects the objects and subjects of which it treats. 5. As respects the laws of its structure, and modes in which it may be employed.

A child has commonly made considerable progress in the first and third of these departments of language, by combining such sounds as he finds it most easy to acquire, before he has been called to examine the second ; and here it is evident that his powers of analysis, or of any useful acquisition, would fail, without the aid of a skilful interpreter of the printed or written sign.

It is at this point that the instruction given in an elementary school ordiņarily commences; and the difficulty of teaching to read the English language by any clearly constructive process ha frequently engaged the attention of persons who have written on this subject, and has been the object of many very ingenious methods, which, however, from their imperfection, have been only partially adopted.

Consequently, the masters of elementary schools have generally persevered in a purely dogmatic method of instruction in reading, exercising no faculty but that of memory, and requiring, from that faculty, exertions greater than are demanded at any subsequent period of instruction.

The difficulties experienced by all who have attempted to introduce more rational methods of teaching to read have arisen from the great variety of the sounds which are represented by the same signs in the English language, and the variety of the signs which are frequently used to denote the same sound. This complexity has appeared too great to be surmounted by any attempt to arrange the signs of sounds in a rational order, ascending from the simple to the complex. A proposal made by Mr. Edgeworth contained in it the principle which has been adopted with greater or less success in those countries in which elementary education has received the most skilful development, and it happily describes the common errors. *

In teaching a child to read, it is necessary first to teach him to recognise the simplest elements of sounds, and to show how they are combined to form the words with which he is familiar. In selecting words for this purpose the teacher is careful that they shall contain elementary sounds of the simplest kind, and in their simplest combinations, first—and then to proceed to those which present somewhat more difficulty.

The child is accustomed by frequent repetition to this reconstruction of words, thus analyzed by the teacher. It acquires by degrees a knowledge of the simple sounds, and is enabled to recognise them in the words which it hears. It is thus prepared to understand that letters represent the sounds of which words are composed, and with many of which it has become familiar. The remaining difficulties would soon be surmounted if the sounds were all simple, and if they were invariably represented by the same letter, or if the same letter did not often represent more than one sound. Some of the radical sounds of the English language are, however, compounded of two simple sounds.

This complexity renders any phonic † analysis of the language exceedingly difficult. The preface to Walker's Pronouncing Dictionary enumerates the chief yarieties of sound which occur, and the various modes of representing them by letters; and at first sight it would appear rather to cause an increase than a dimi

* Practical Education, chap. ii., on ‘Tasks,' vol. i. + Analysis according to the sounds of which the spoken language is composed.

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