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their power to support schools of the first rank, comparatively wasted, before the same experi. by division.
ence can be attained by a new teacher ? No Small schools and weak districts are frequent- idea can be more erroneous, or inischievous in ly unavoidable, without embracing an extent of its consequences than the one that a frequent territory, which would render it difficult for change of teachers is necessary to sustain the those living the most remote to reach the school interest and continue the advancement of the house, during the more inclement periods of the pupil. As well might it be asserted that the year. It is doubtless better for the pupil to hand skilled to touch every chord, to avoid its submit to some inconvenience, to obtain the be. discords and draw forth its harmonies, would nefits of a good school, than to be furnished with better be supplied by one which is a stranger to a poor one near at hand. When the burthen of the instrument. supporting the teacher falls on a few, it is rare The length of time during which a teacher to find a sufficient combination of wealth and has taught in the same district, should be republic spirit, to hire teachers of the first grade. garded as an index of the estimate placed on A short school and a poor school, is the too fre. his services by the inhabitants of the district, as quent result. The children fall behind, and re. well as of his own stability of character. And main behind those in more favored sections. in the case of the really qualified teacher, it is A class of teachers spring up and are retained equally an index of the stability of his employin these backward schools, which, as an impor. ers. tant obstacle to the advance of popular educa. Dissentions in School Districts.-It is humili. tion, demands a separate consideration. ating to enumerate contention between neigh
Poor Teachers for Poor Schools.-Parents and bors, as one of the hindrances to the success of trustees are often found entertaining the opin. ren must drink at the same common fountain of
our schools, or to think that men whose child. ion that a poorly qualified teacher • will answer knowledge, should pollute and dry up the wa. all the purposes” for a backward school. Iters by animosities, often as trivial in their inhave been repeatedly informed by inspectors, ception as they are desolating in their effects. that it is a common occurrence for the trustees Yet that such a state of things exists with far of these backward districts to present a teacher too great frequency-that the disease oftentimes concededly deficient, for examination, and de. mand a certificate for him almost as a matter of assumes a chronic and almost incurable form
an educational officer constantly traversing the right, on the ground that he is “qualified to school districts, holding intercourse with their teach their school, and they are able to employ inhabitants, and often compelled to act as the no other." And inspectors have frequently giv. I arbiter of their differences, cannot but know. en their certificates to such applicants, on con. dition that they should teach a particalar speci. witness neighbors, men sometimes of conceded
It is surely a painful and revolting spectacle to fied school of this class!
It requires no spirit of prophecy to foretell respectability, banded against each other in the inevitable result of views and practices like every thing pertaining to the school, with a these. The backward school will ever remain heated political factionists, making their first
zeal and acrimony equalling that of the most a backward school--the unqualified teacher, ever annual struggle for ascendancy at the annual unqualified. There are no districts which are unable to minority refusing to enter with cordiality in!o
meeting for the election of trustees, the defeated maintain a female tencher of the first gra le of the support of the school, withdrawing their qualification such are infinitely preferable to children on frivolous pretexts, and oftentimes half.qualified male teachers, in the winter as attempting to destroy the reputation and the well as the summer school. Should there be usefulness of the teacher, yet black as is the those among the older pupils so lost to propriety picture, its counterpart is not wanting in noto. and decency, as to forcibly resist the authority rious and undeniable reality. of a female teacher, the law arms trustees with power to remove such moral nuisances from the school. Should it prove unavoidable, a prompt exercise of this authority in one or two instan. ces, would render a further resort to it unneces.
The basis of apportionment being made
to depend upon the number of children residing sary.
in the several districts, without reference to at. Change of Teachers. The constant change of tendance at school, operates unequally, and teachers is a great obstacle to the success of our gives to a certain class of districts privileges not schools. It takes the teacher a considerable enjoyed by others. In the country there are portion of his first term to become acquainted few children of the proper age who do not atwith the capacities, the dispositions, the springs tend the common schools during a greater or of action-ihe mental and moral idiosyncracies less period annually, and share in the advantaof his several pupils, and consequently, of the ges of the public money. In villages where course to be pursued and the motives to be ad. there are more who do not attend, and where dressed, to urge each one onward in the path of other kinds of schools usually withdraw a con. duty, and in the acquisition of knowledge. siderable portion, those who attend the common Teacher and pupil should know each other, and schools receive the benefits of a larger share of always be able to calculate the precise effects public money than those do who attend in the of a given line of conduct, on each other. When country. Indeed, by these means, the village all this is accomplished,' and in the case of a schools become, in some instances, in effect, alteacher in whom full confidence is reposed, most or entirely free schools. It certainly would what can be the practical advantage of throw. produce a more even and equitable distribution ing, it away, and requiring the same steps of the school moneys, to make attendance the to be retraced, and an equal amount of time basis of apportionment, instead of mere resi.
BASIS OF APPORTIONMENT OF THE SCHOOL
MONEY IN THE DISTRICTS.
AN EXERCISE ON TOPICS.
dence. It might not be expedient, however, to the essential duties of the teacher, and until they place the minimum of attendance higher than are fulfilled, our schools will continue to disappoint two or three months, for this purpose. HENRY S. RANDALL,
the hopes of parents and philanthropists, and betray Dept. Supt. for Cortland Co. the highest interests of society.
To aid in displacing bad, and introducing good DISTRICT SCHOOL JOURNAL. methods into our schools, is a leading object of this
Journal; and in laboring to accomplish it, we have ELECTION OF TRUSTEES.
presented the various plans in use in the best schools We republish Sec. 12 of the new School Act, that of this country and Europe, and we trust, not withthose districts who choose these important offices in out effect. At this time, we shall briefly describe the autumn, may act for the best interests of the an exercise, which we found some years since in schools. Upon the trustees mainly depends their successful operation, in a small district school in improvement ; with their zealous co-operation, the Ontario, and which we have since introduced into district school may be made the nursery of an in many schools in this county with gratifying results. telligent, virtuous and prosperous people.
Though original with the young teacher from whom Sec. 12. The trustees of each of the several we borrowed it, it is almost identical with exercis. school districts next hereafter to be chosen, shall be es that have long been popular in the best schools of divided by lot into three classes, to be numbered one, Europe. two and three ; the term of office of the first class shall be one year, of the second, two, and of the
At the beginning of the last half hour of the third, three ; and one trustee only shall thereafter annually be elected, who shall hold his office for day, when the pupils are usually too weary to study three years, and untií a successor shall be duly elect- with much profit, and too restless to be controlled ed or appointed. In case of a vacancy in the office without difficulty, let the teacher by signal, direct of either of the trustees, during the period for which he or they shall have been respectively elect the books to be put aside, and the pupils to ar. ed, the person or persons chosen or appointed to fill range themselves con niently for him to talk to such vacancy shall hold the office only for the unex- thein familiarly, and for them to reply in concert. pired term so becoming vacant.
The teacher announces something familiar and inter. LIBRARY MONEY.
esting, as the subject of thc exercise. Suppose it to
be iron. The children are first asked to name the We call the attention of trustees to the following common metals. They reply iron, lead, copper, tin, important provision of the School Law :
silver, gold. Which are the precions metals? What Sec. 15. And no portion of the library money shall is the most useful mctal ? What are its uses? Or be apportioned or paid to any district or part of a what is made of it? Let the children name over district, unless it shall appear fro:n the last annual report of the trustees, that the library money re- everything they know to be made of iron, and if ceived at the last preceding apportionment was duly any of the more apt scholars anticipate the slower expended according to law, on or before the first minds, let the teacher so order the exercise that day of October subsequent to such apportionment.
every child will impart all the knowledge he pos
sesses. In this manner they will be taught to think; METHODS OF TEACHING,
and the same children who a few moments since The rotc method, the mere repetition of words, were sluggish, wayward and restless, will now be although the worst, is the most common in our animated and happy. The teacher next tells them schools. It appears most frequently in teaching some interesting facts about iron ; in what state it grammar, where technical rules are often applied is found ; how it is separated froin the ore ; made with exactness to the difficult poetry of Milton and into steel, and of its immense increase of value by Thomson, by pupils who cannot write a simple being formed into the springs of watches, &c., &c. sentence withont violating the most common prin. The children are then told to write it on the last ciples of language; and the same evil pervades to page of their copy books with the date of the month. some extent, every branch of education. What is A subject is now given out for the morrow. Supin the book is recited, but not understood; the memory pose it to be salt This is written on the black is often crowded with facts, that lie like foreign board, or on a slate hung on the wall, in large let. substances in the mind, imparting no vigor to its ters, and the children are directed to come prefaculties, because not assimilating with the knowl- pared to tell all they know about it ;-how, and edge already acquired.
where it is made ? Where it is found in masses ? To break up this slavish dependence upon the book, Where there is a salt mountain? A salt desert ? to awaken curiosity, animate and guide inquiry, What is the comparative strength of our salt springs, formn habits of thinking soundly, judging independ- and of ocean brine? What are the uses of salt, &c., ntly and acting rightly;—these are the appropriate. &c. The following day the exercise is attended to; the word written in the copy book and the date ;
HOW TO TEACH. and a new subject written on the black board. On each succeeding day there should be a similar exer
Albany, July 15, 1843. cise, and on the last day of the week, all should be FRANCIS DWIGHT, Esq.
Dear Sir:-The objects of education are, to reviewed.
illustrate the duties of life, and qualify for their The topics must be selected with care, and vari- performance; and to be truly valuable, it must ed to keep up the interest. The different articles of embrace all the necessary branches, and enter food and dress ; the instincts of certain animals; in this communication, to specify the branches
thoroughly into each of them. I do not design Washington, Franklin, truth, attention, &c. all are which a finished education should include ; I well adapted to interest and improve the children. shall rather confine myself to what constitutes THE ADVANTAGES OF THIS EXERCISE.
a thorough and proper acquaintance with any
of them, and the difficulties in the way of their It redeems a sixth part of the school time, the acquisition, in a proper and adequate degree, in last half hour,—which in a great majority of our our common schools. schools, is almost lost,-making it the most usefal
It is a sage and familiar aphorism, that,
what is worth doing at all, is worth doing and interesting portion of the day.
well.” By parity of reason, what is worth It awakens the interest of the children in the ob- learning at all, is worth learning well. And jects about them, teaching them to observe closely, every branch of knowledge, whether in a comand question freely of their properties and uses; worthless-not to say dangerous—in proportion
mon or liberal education, is either valuable or while every advance in knowledge, opens new sour. as it is thoroughly or imperfectly understood. ces of thought.
The reader, however excellent and well-cultiva. It awakens the interest of the parents. The child's ted may be his voice-however clear and dis
tinct his articulation-however just and proper questions at home, will compel the parent to recall his emphasis-however manly and appropriate his own knowledge, and the book will be resorted to, his tones, if he but fail in propriety of accentuto solve the difficulty. Thus an interest in reading is ation, can never be heard with pleasure, and
will often fail to give the sense of his anthor. promoted, and the District School Libraries are made In spelling, if the simple and obvious fact be useful.
overlooked, of the tendency of a, o, and i, in It com pels the teacher to improve himself ; for final unaccented syllables, to slide into the sound he must prepare for these exercises ; it is not all of short u; and of e, in the same situation, to
acquire the short sound of u or i; though every laid down in a book, with a key to make it easy; other principle of our extremely irregular, perit must, much of it, come out of the head, and un- plexing and disgraceful orthography, be comless preparation is made, the questions of the chil. pletely mastered, scarcely can a single line be
written, without giving frequent proofs of igno. dren will soon sound the shallows of the teacher's rance. And to take an illustration from gram. ignorance. A good teacher will not like it the less, mar, who, however perfect in other respects his that it imposes the task of self improvement, and grammatical knowledge may be, if he has failed since our District Libraries furnish the means, unite to change the present tense of verbs gen.
to learn, that contingency and futurity must wherever there is zeal and fidelity, there will be erally, and the present and imperfect of to be, no dificulty in preparing for this exercise. from the indicative to the subjunctive form, can And what we deem most important, it will force write even a familiar letter, without offering
violence to the " the school out of the deep rut of routine, in which it vernacular tongue? Now, what is true in rela
jus et norma loquendi” of his has been dragging along for so many years, and by tion to these branches, is equally true of all making one change for the better, make other re.) others; this needs no proof. forms easy.
Few, comparatively, of the young misses of
our land, on finishing their last term at school, At the examination, and no school should ever can tell how much a dress would cost at a close without an examination, the copy books contain- given sum a yard. And quite as few of the ing the lists of topics should be handed to the visitors, young men of our country can tell the value with the request that they will question the chil. three-fiřths a bushel. Why is this so? Not,
of thirty bushels of wheat, at ten shillings and dren. We have examined a school where the to- certainly, because there has been no school in pics of seventy conversations were thus entered, and their districts a sufficient length of time; nor we have seldom witnessed so much delight as beam- then is the reason? Simply this. The course
because they are incapable of learning. What ed in the faces of every parent present. They felt and manner of instruction in most of our comthat their children had learned something. mon schools, is radically defective and inade
quate. It is not thorough. In every philosoSTATE CERTIFICATES OF QUALIFICATION, phical plan of study, is there a commencement, a as teachers of common schools, under the 10th sec- progress, and a completoin; but to the blundertion of the late school act, have been granted to the ing methods of teaching in most of our schools, following individuals:
there is neither beginning, middle nor end. All William W. Foster, of Cortland.
is anarchy and confusion, and the eflect of such Arch'd Nichols, of Salisbury, Herkimer. la course upon the pupils, is, to confirm them in
ignorance. Let me illustrate the subject. Far. And not more difficult will be the perception, mer Slack has a garden, which, with proper that almost every other rule in arithmetic, is culture, might become an Eden of beauty and only a modification of this.--(To be continued.) fertility. But he does not know what proper I am, dear sir, yours respectfully, cultivation is; he does every thing in the wrong
JOHN REYNOLDS. time, and then only half does it. He half fences it-half ploughs it-half seeds it-half weeds it
GERMAN SCHOOLS. -half watches it, and after all this half-way work obtains not a quarter of a crop ; though We extract from a paper in the first volume he bas spent more time and labor on it than of Essays on Education, published by the Cenwould have been necessary with proper appli- tral Society of England, the following passages cation, to furnish vegetables for half the town. in reference to the kinds of instruction adopted Very like this garden and gardener are many, in the German Schools. They will be found very many of those fields of mental and moral full of valuable suggestions. The schools of improvement, upon which the benefactions of Germany have gone through several stages, and the state are literally squandered. What though have arrived, in some parts of the country, at a the sunbeams and showers of heaven fall upon state which we may hope our own will hereaf. the garden, and warm and fertilize its soil? ter reach. Before 1770, they were in as low a The hand of the cultivator is not guided by sci condition as any now amongst ours, and for ence and philosophy, and those gifts of Provi. similar reasons. Any person was deemed comdence might as well have fallen upon a rock. petent to give instruction; and it was not un. And what though the fostering care of our lib. common for persons, who had failed in other eral and enlightened legislature, is in every pursuits, to have recourse to teaching as a last school house in the state, if the districts will desperate resort. About the beginning of the not lend their co-operation ? All depends upon present century, a great change took place. the people—the sovereign people. They can Teaching was admitted to be an art requiring scoui ignorance from our borders, and breathe as much preparation as any other, and in which the breath of life into science, morality, and im. no one could hope to excel who had not learned provement; and when they will it, it will be done. its principles from some one competent to teach, I take no pleasure in writing such hard things or from long experience and practice. Schools against our schools. I state them because they for teachers were established, and the occupaare facts; and because I desire, by arousing the tion became a profession. Modes of instruction people to the reality of their existence, to work came to be considered quite as important as the their extinction; and thus open the way for such branches taught, and were gradually improved. improvements in the methods of instruction as are They are not yet considered as brought to per. indicated by the spirit of the age, and the accu- fection, but are the objects of special attention, mulating results of philosophy and experience. particularly at the Normal Schools. In these, inductive, systematic, thorough-going, “ The first leading principle, which may be demonstrative instruction, is a prominent fea- considered as including all the others, is, that ture. Applied to arithmetic, they require the instruction is not the same thing with stuffing learner, in the language of an eminent master the memory of children with a great number of of that science-10 " understand every thing as facts and notions. It is rather to be directed to he goes along." The first principles should be the other mental powers, which are to be rous. thoroughly understood in the first place, and ed, developed, exercised, and cultivated. It their application afterwards. I shall not here farther has to refine and moderate the passions, point out any particular method of attaining to cultivate the religious and moral feelings, and these ends, for no iwo accomplished teachers to direct the mental activity to good purposes. would probably agree upon any one, to the ex. It is evident that this object cannot be attained clusion of all others, nor applying the same to by pursuing one general plan of instruction, and different minds, or the same mind under differ. that the individual qualities of every child must ent circumstances. That teacher who is not not be lost sight of. Instruction, therefore, aequainted with the philosophy of mind, and ceases to be a handicraft, to be exercised accannot modify the general methods of instruc- cording to a few simple rules, in a uniform man. tion to the complexional varieties of intellectual ner; it becomes an art; and, as the intimate character, has mistaken his calling. The doc- combination of extensive knowledge, sound trine that I wish to lay down here, is, that nu. sense, and a profound acquaintance with hu. meration should be accurately, thoroughly and man nature, is required, for the purpose of exfamiliarly understood by the pupil, before he ercising it with good success, it may with truth advances to addition, and each of the fundmental be called a very difficult art. rules, before he proceeds to the next; that he “ Teaching, in its common signification, and should know the nature of simple numbers, be instructing, are by no means synonymous; as fore he proceeds to compound or denominate the former generally implies only the imparting ones, and how multiplication and division are of some kind of knowledge, and the impressing concise methods of performing a series of addi. it strongly on the memory of the student. But tions and subtractions ; that he learn the pro. instructing means to help the student in ac. perties of fractions, vulgar and decimal, and quiring or appropriating to himself any kind perceive the reason for all the steps in reduction, of knowledge, or in forming the habit of perbefore he enters upon the rule of three. In forming certain tasks with facility. This can. learning this rule, his first acquisition should not be effected without a steady activity of the be, an accurate acquaintance with the doctrine mental powers on the side of the student; and, of proportion. From this,' the transition will where this activity is not excited and kept up, be easy and natural, to a clear comprehension the desired end cannot be attained. In endeav. of all the principles of the rule in question. oring to create this activity, the art of the teach. er displays itself most conspicuously. His bu- These preparatory exercises may be made in siness is not to save to the students all trouble the fields, or in the school. In summer, the and labor by explaining everything to them ; teacher takes the children to the fields, and dibut he must have sufficient sagacity to distin: rects their attention to every object that occurs guish where, and how far, the knowledge and to their eyes. Distances of the road are estimental powers of the child alone are sufficient mated, and then measured by paces; flowers for the performance of the task, and where, and are looked at, and their single parts examined ; how far, his own interference is required. A stones are picked up ; and butterflies, chafers, teacher who, following up this idea, has acquir. and worms, are not permitted to escape attened by experience a certain tact in thus dealing tion. Their observation is directed to hills and with the children under his care, may be certain valleys, rivulets and brooks, ponds and ditches, that he will succeed in exciting and maintaining gardens and meadows, fields and woods. But their attention, and in implanting in their minds it is not the eye alone which is to be exercised; a thirst for knowledge and the habit of mental the ear also must be learning to discriminate, activity.
and every sound must be followed up for the " Explanations on the side of the teacher, purpose discovering whence it proceeds. The and performances on the side of the children, other senses, also, are sometimes used, espewill therefore follow one another alternately: cially in the examination of plants and flowers. In giving the children tasks to perform, or pro. The teacher must be assiduous to bring a great blems to solve, the sound sense and experience number of objects before the children, and to of the teacher are put to the test. They must impress on them as perfect a notion as possible, be neither too easy nor too difficult. In the The more intimately the child becomes acquaintfirst case, the attention of the child slackens, ed with the objects of the creation, the more he and relapses into inactivity ; in the second, it will love them, and the deeper will be the im. makes perhaps repeated efforts, but finding them pression which they make upon his mind. The useless, it becomes discouraged and remiss in garden of the teacher, also, is used to increase its work. If either of these cases happen re. their knowledge of several plants and trees. peatedly, the mind of the child gets into the ha- “The preparatory course varies in the win. bit of working, at the best, only by starts; and, ter. Then, collections of natural objects are if the whole course of teaching consists of such placed before the children,--for instance, of dif. mistakes on the part of the teacher, there will ferent kinds of wood, of roots, seeds, mosses, be a danger of all mental energy being drowned stones, &c. The most common objects are here by his want of capacity for the due performance also the best. of the duties of his office.”
When, in this way, the children have beThe following extract gives an outline of a come acquainted with a great number of objects, subject of the greatest importance in a system the teacher puts several of them together, and of instruction, and one in which, as yet, scarcely causes his pupils to compare them, to arrange any progress has been made in the Common them according to their similarity. He fre. Schools of this country. We are confident that quently orders the children to describe the obthis is laying the foundation where it should be jects which they have seen, either by words or laid. The method of instruction here pointed in writing, because, in this way their ideas in. out consists in making the child familiar with crease in clearness and accuracy. But this is the objects about him, their properties, posi. only done towards the termination of the prepations, and relations, and, by means of these, ratory course ; the senses are, as it were, to be teaching the words by which those objects, pro- first satisfied, before reason can begin to opeperties, and relations are expressed. This is rate with effect. When this has taken place, a the natural method, and the true one. Lan. few objects subjected to the senses are able to guage, thus taught, is significant and intelligible. rouse a great number of ideas and observations, Words stand as the representatives of real ob because reason then suggests them in crowds. jects, and of ideas already comprehended. The "The teacher must endeavor to induce the child is made to observe, 10 compare, to reason, children to arrange all these things in a certain to think, to conclude; and he uses language to order, as being of great importance, both for express his observations, comparisons, reason the increase of knowledge and the business of ings, thoughts, and conclusions. By the com- life. He must also insist on correct language, ron processes of instruction, words are too com- and a strict connection in the children's ideas. monly learned without things or ideas. We in. But, in the beginning, he must be somewhat introduce this account here, therefore, and we dulgent respecting the latter point, that the conpoint to it, and declare, distinctly and emphatiception may not be drowned in the word.”_ cally---Here is an indication of one great reform [Annals, p. 76. to be made in teaching.
HOW THE CORAL REEFS ARE CON. KNOWLEDGE OF THE EXTERNAL WORLD.
VERTED INTO ISLANDS. "Like every other branch of instruction, it begins with impressions on the senses. A child The reefs, which just raise themselves above must first have acquired an idea of the objects the level of the sea, are usually of a circular or constituting the world about him, before he can oval form, and surrounded by a deep and often bring them into connection with one another. unfathomable ocean. In the centre of each Every child brings a smaller or greater number there is usually a comparatively shallow la. of more or less correct impressions to the school. goon, where there is still water, and where the The teacher must be attentive to increase their smaller and more delicate kind of zoophytes find number, but he must also show his good sense a tranquil abode, while the more strong species in choosing those that are most important and live on the exterior margin of the isle, where a most essential for the progress of educalior.. Igreat surf usually breaks. When the reef, says