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alphabetical order if no other, and many words only are calculated to improve the heart, but related to each other oflen stand together. which render portions of the Bible prcëminently
But let us suppose the child has passed the suitable for teaching reading as an art. threshold, what shall he read? Not, surely, in teaching English Grammar, I would resuch books as are levelled down to his intellect, cuire little or nothing to be learned by rote. If for these will keep the intellect down. It is bet. there is any real difference between the parts of ter to give him books that he can understand speech, the child should be obliged to point it when explained, and this explanation it is the out, instead of seeking the information in a Dicduty of the teacher to give. I would have the tionary. Morcover, in teaching English Gramchild understandi just enough to enable him !0 mar. I would be sure it was English. Our lan. take an interest in the book, but I would have it guage is more simple in its structure than any always beyond his easy grasp. Bring the book other, and I would teach it in all its simplicity, down to the child's capacity, so that he can un. whatever might be the fashion. Not one child derstand every word, and every idea of it, and in ten thousand, studies any other language than he will never wish to read it a second.time, and his own, and yet every child is obliged to learn will make no progress in ideas or in reading, if grammars that were constructed on foreign mohe is compelled to read it. If I may compare dels. Because Greek had one article, two ad. great things with small. I will say that the Crea. 1 jectives were set apart from the rest and called tor does not tcach us to read in the Book of Na. articles, that English Gramınar might not lack ture in any such way. We are interested in this part of speech. As Latin nouns had six every page that he has spread before us, but we cases distincily narked by a different terminaunderstand very little of it. On the second pe- tion, so English nouns must have half the num. rusal, we learn something more, and the more ber, although in the plural they undergo no times we read, the better we understand, though change, and only one in the singular, which ren. we are sure we shall never master the great ders the word no longer the name of a thing, ao volume. There is a just medium in this matter, longer a noun. Because the Greek and Latin and he who consults the nature of children will and some modern languages in their various observe it. Children, if I know them, prefer to modes of speaking vary the termination of the read such books as require not only a constant verb, we also must have our five modes, Dot bestretch of the understanding, but even of the cause we have any change of termination, but imagination, and such are the best for them, is because the Greeks and Latias had. Because they are to be read more than once.
the Greeks and Latins, by the addition or change But some utilitarians would have all reading of terminations, counted forty or fifty methods books for schools filled with lessons in useful of expressing tense or time, we who have but knowledge, and of course would exclude the one such change of termination, like the simple greater part of our best poetry and works of ima. | jackdaw, are strutting about with our borrowed gination. Tience welave Igricultural Readers, feaghers, and pretending to be classical peacocks. Scientific Class Books, and such like, but does All this aping of foreigners impedes the pro. any farmer suppose that his son will be made a gress of the child, and dres not in the least assist farmer by reading an agricultural school book ? him in the correct or ctiective use of language. I can assure him that his farming and reading | I should admirc to go into the particulars, but I will be about equal to each other. Reading for should weary you, and perhaps oflend my fellow information is one thing, and reading for the pur. bookinakers who are profiting by the general poze of affecting others is another. Children error. I would early teach the child that gramshould read for information at home, but at mar is taught him that he may apply it to the school, they should be taught reading as an art, use of language. Composition should go hand a glorious art, and the reading lessons should be in hand with grammar. Conversation should su ch as to afford the teacher an opportunity of be encouraged, and talk should be written down, teaching it properly : but this cannot be done in till the mind is sufficiently trained to do some the humdrum books of science, in the sinz.songthing more advanceed. When the child is well ani monotonous pages of a work on agriculture, acquainted with the structure of his own laucoinmerce, manufactures or science.
guage and the use of it, I would teach him the It is true that much useful matter may be in. (Latin, or some other grammar, that he might, tro luced into school books, and, other things be- / by contrasting the two, acquire ihat distinct idea ing equal, instructive lessons should be preferred; of his own, which the popular grammars of Eng. but the great object for which reading is taught lish aim as far as possible to obliterate by as. in schools must not be lost sight of in the at. similation. tempt to introduce a little of all sorts of know. This perversion of English grammar, and the ledge, which will never make children good phi. dull and inoperative manner in which it has been losophers, and which will assuredly prevent taught, have induced many of high standing to them from becoming good and impressive readers. object to the study altogether. I cannot reject Show me a teacher who prefers to use books on any good thing because it is abused, and I can thi; mistaken plan, and I will show you one who least of all be induced to abandon this study, at knows nothing of reading as an art.
the present day, when, in addition to the ordi. When I have expressed these sentiments, it nary causes for neglect, we are overrun with a has been objected that they would exclude the torrent of cheap and alas! popular literature, in reading of the Scriptures from our schools. It which the chief charm is often the jargon might exclude the genealogical tables, the Leviti. which, under the names of Scotch, Irish, Cock. cal code, and perhaps a few other passages that,ncy, Yankee, or some other barbarous dialect, however valuable in other respects, afford no ex: has so corrupted the “well of English no longer er ise like that I advocate ; but there are thou. undefiled," that nothing is more rare than the saads of passages in the sacred volume, sublime pure English idiom, and nothing so important as and beautiful beyond all others, and which not immediate and constant resistance on the part of every teacher, against the most serious enemy If you wished to learn the geography of a that our language has ever encountered.
Itown instead of a world, how would you proIn teaching Geography, I should require no ceed? Would you go to one farmer and ascerlessons to be committed to memory. The smaller tain whether he raised wheat or oats? to ano. geography used in the Boston schools, says in ther to know how many men he employed ? to a the presace, “Most authors have extended third how many pigs he raised, or how often be the subject beyond its proper limits, and much washed their faces? Would you visit the schools extraneous matter is introduced into school to sec how many children attended-when they geographies.” This is a just remark, and yet did not stay at home? how many pupils there the author has devoted a large portion of his were of each sex, and how many teachers ? book to astronomy, meteorology, mineralogy, what school books were used and what abused ? the statistics of religion, commerce, population, and whether they were purchased because ihey and similar matters, which may be true to-day, were cheap, or because they were good? Would but which must be false before long.
you visit the several clergymen and ascertain The author of the larger gcography used in how many sects there were, and how many of the Boston schools, has told us that it was first each sect? which expended the most money, and published in 1819, and after two editions were which had the least to show for it? No, indeed, stereotyped, or permanently fixed. Soon, be you would know that these things have nothing to adds, it was necessary to re-write it entirely ; do with geography. You would walk round the and then, after two editions, it was stereotyped boundaries of the town, and see how other towns or fixed again ; and he says it may be expected bordered upon it. You would travel every road to remain as it is till a considerable change shall and learn where they led to ; you would visit become desirable," that is, till an unusually large every pond and every hill, and sail down every proportion of it is false. In the mean time, it stream ; you would learn the locality of every must be borne in mind, thousands and tens of church, of every school house, and every other thousands of children are learning these geogra. public building; you would learn the limits of phies with the certainty that what they learn, if every school district; the remarkable caves or remembered, will soon be of no value. The rocks; the quarries, and every thing that could world will not stay fixed, as the unlucky book be considered permanent; you would draw a does, and when there is so much certain and per. I plan of the town, till you were familiar with every manent knowledge to be learned, is it not cruel part of it. to trifle with the young inind thus? It is bad Then if you wished to learn the history of the enough to have to commit to memory what is town, you would have some lines to go by, some true, but it seems unpardonable to oblige a child points to measure from. You could lay out the to commit what is already false, cr avowedly farms of the first settlers, and cut them up as soon to become so. Let' it not be supposed their descendants did ; you could plan now roads however, that the two geographies alluded to and future improvements, and your accurate are singular in this respect; I believe they are knowledge of the unchangeable features of the like all others that are popular, and a late most town would never cease to be of service. Sta. popular author solemnly p mises in his preface tistical tables are valuable to the political econonot to change his book oftc:.er tl.a' once in five mist, to the historian and antiquarian, and such years, right or wrong. It :said of one of the may prepare and preserve thera for reference, but worthy governors of New. 'Osterdam, that be. what would they think if asked to learn such ta. cause the wind had a troubt ometrick of chang. Ibles by heart? We cannot travel over the world ing, he was accustomed cariy in the morning to as we may over a town, but we may travel over fix the city weathercock fu The day; and in maps till the face of the globcis familiar, the great what does his conduct differ fium that of the au. natural features, those characters which the thor last mentioned ?
Creator has engraved on the everlasting rocks, Again, it is generally conccded that the true and not what transient man has scratched upon way to learn gcogronly is to begin at home, and the shifting sand. travel no faster than we get acquainted ; but, as Thr celebrat Rousseau ridicules the custom geographies are made to be universally used, of teaching History tu children, and he relates this beginning at home is impracticable. A an amusing anecdote, which shows that history geography adapted to any particular home,' was taught in his day very much as it has been would not be likely to have an extensive sale. since. He was spending a few days in the coun. The utmost we may ask then is, that they shall try, and a fond mother invited him to be present give a particular account of our own state. at a lesson in Anrient History about to be given Well, how far have they done this? Mitchell, to her son. The lesson related to that event of out of 336 pages, allows the Empire State bui Alexander's life, when, being dangerously sick, four, and these include three pictures that were he received a letter informing him that his phy. not executed by Raphael or Benjamin West, Ol. sician intended to poison him under pretence of ney's geography allows your great state 4 pages giving him medicine. Alexander handed the out of 283, and these 4 include 3 engravings not letter to the physician, and while he was reading by the same great masters. Smith allows you it, drank of the medicine at one draught. At 4 pages out of 312, and he can only afford 1 en. dinner, the conversation turned upon the lesson, graving. Woodbridge, in his new edition, thinks and the young historian expressed so much adthat 2 pages out of 352, with 1 picture, are miration at the courage of Alexander, that Rousenough for New York, and the other authors are seau took him aside and asked him in what the no more liberal. Poor Massachusetts is allowed wonderful courage consisted. Why, said he, in room in proportion to her size, and yet these swallowing such a nasty dose of physic at one books furnish all the knowledge that our chil. draught. His kind mother had dosed him aldren are required to learn of their respective most to death, and all medicine was poison to states.
Thim. Still the history tras not lost upon the
child, though it was misunderstood, for he deter. that they were not properly drilled when young. mined that the next medicine he had to takie, he The second reason why spelling has retrogra. would imitate Alexander. “If it be asked," ded in our schools, has been the pretended im. adds Rousseau, "what I see to admire in that act provement of spelling books. Thirty or forty of Alexander, I answer, that I see in it the years ago, little or no regard was paid to proproof that the hero believed in human virtue, nunciation ; and any person who chewed his and that he was willing to stake his life upon words was laughed at as a flat or sneered at as a his belief. The swallowing of the medicine was pedant. About that time Walker's Dictionary a profession of his faith, and no mortal ever was reprinted in this country, and spelling books made one more sublime."
began to be made on his plan. The test of gen. History, as taught in schools, should be a prac. tility was pronunciation, and not orthography. tical application of Geography. My method of Figures and other marks were introduced into teaching it, was to read the history to the class, spelling books, and relying upon these, the explaining every word, and illustrating every classification of words began to be neglected, sentiment as far as possible by maps, books, en until it was almost disregarded, and the difficulty gravings, medals, relics, and conversation. of learning to spell was increased just in proThen I required the pupils to read the lesson tor portion to this neglect. Who needs an arguthemselves, and be prepared to answer such ment to show that a proper classification facili. questions as I might propose. I never taught tates the learning of every art and science, and ancient geography except in connection with his that on the association thus produced, the me. tory, and never without a constant comparison mory in a great degree depends for its power? of ancient geography with modern. In this way The great desideratum is a spelling book that there is hardly any branch of human knowledge shall be choice but sufficiently comprehensive in that was not brought to the aid of history, and its vocabulary, simple but exact and thorough in in return illustrated by it. But, set a child to its classification, and that shall teach the true learning the compend by heart, or only so much pronunciation without appearing to do so, and as will serve for an answer to certain set ques. without drawing off the pupil's attention from tions, printed and adapted to the very words of the naked word the answer, and what does the child acquire but The third reason for the decline of spelling a distaste for what is only a dead letter, and a was the introduction of definition spelling books, love for tales and romances and that trashy and the custom of giving spelling lessons from reading which is too well understood, and whose dictionaries. If atiention to the marks and spirit as well as letter killeth too often both body figures that indicated the pronunciation, took off and soul?
the scholar's attention from the orthography, But, it may be asked, would you not cultivaten
te much more so did the affixing of a definition. the memory of words at all. I answer that the The deânition became everything, and the orordinary intercourse of society will do much to. Liboara
ch to thography only a secondary object. The vocabuwards educating this memory; but there is one lary of a definition spelling book was so cur. school exercise which, when not perverted, is tailed from necessity. that it was altogether in. peculiarly fitted for this purpose; I mean spell. sufficient for the
ean spell. sufficient for the purpose of teaching orthograing, although spelling, if properly taught, is not
taught, is not phy, and the words of a dictionary are so numerely the learning of words, but the expression merous that it was the labor of a life, a school of sounds, and the acquisition of a correct pro. La
life, to spell it through once. You see the connunciation, which is rarely acquired in any
sequence: in the definition spelling books many other way. Perhaps no one branch taught in
common and useful words were omitted, and the our common schools has been so badly taught as
attention was distracted between those that were this, and in no department is there such a gene.
left and their definitions, while the length of ral complaint of deficiency, and such a loud cry time required to go through a dictionary renfor reform. Whence is this? Certainly not be. der
dered a familiar acquaintance with the definition cause correct spelling is not universally con. or the ortho
con. or the orthography absolutely impossible. And sidered indispensable to a good education, cer- had the definition been retained what would it tainly not because there is any dearth of spelling have been worth? Common words are genebooks. Will you bear with me a few minutes rally mystified by a definition, and seldom ex. longer, while I endeavor to explain the cause of
plained. The oiher day, in preparing a new the deficiency which is so notorious.
work to oblige children to write the words First, then, spelling has been treated as an in. of their spelling books. I wanted a simple dep. ferior branch, in which to exercise a pupil was nition of a flounce and of a periwig, both comto degrade him. Hence the higher classes have
mon things and well understood. I turned to generally been excused from spelling, or have only spelled occasionally without having regular tid
the most popular and really the best school dic.
tionary, and found the definition as follows : and set lessons. Now, spelling must be taught
Periwig. Adscititious hair. at schools, or the chance is a thousand to one
nel Flounce. A loose, full trimming, sewed to a
fin that the adult will never make up for the neglect. I woman's The reason of this is not so much the incapa.
. | woman's garment so as to swell and shake. bility of adults to learn, as their unwillingness to I then asked an intelligent child what sort og
.' come down to the only effectual way of learning. hair he thought "adscititious hair" was. that is, by lessons from the spelling vook. It don't know," said he, “unless it is hair that.. must be this, for adults read the words constant. all in a snarl." I then asked an intelligent ly. write them frequently, and understand what she should call "a loose full im and use them better than children do, and yet sewed to a garment so as to swell and shi! they seldom correct words that they have been and she said at once "an April tool. accustomed to misspell. The reason uniformly! So much for the definition of easy words: given by adults, who continue to spell ill, is, then had occasion to look out the word Tooth
ted, and found that it meantó indented with con. remedy the defect which all acknowledge to cavities." I asked a miss who was reading, the exist. It will not do to say that spelling is not meaning of the word anodyne, and she looked worth the trouble of acquisition, for I think no in the dictionary, and mistaking the a which de. one will deny that spelling is like charity in one noted that the word was an adjective, for a part remarkable respect, for a man may understand of the definition, she said anodyné' meant"a all mysteries and all knowledge, and yet, with. mbitigating pain."
out correct spelling, he is nothing. If the memory is treacherous, the definition If I did not believe that the prevalent mode of will soon escape, almost as soon as it is learned, committing books to memory was cruel as well or it may be applied to the wrong word. When a as incorrect, I should not be so anxious for the class of young misses was once reading to me. reform. The custom has been, and now is, for the word wedlock occurred, and, as usual, I the teacher to set a lesson to be learned at home asked the meaning of it; “I know," said a live and it not unfrequently happens that the parents iy little girl, who had “ studied dictionary," as have the hardest part of the work to do, fot she called it, at another school, “it is something they have to direct the child, to encourage him they fasten barn doors with."
in the disagreeable task, and then nurse him in I believe this is a fair specimen of the aid that the sickness that follows. I wonder that parents children get from definitions obtained in dictiona. do not often come to the conclusion that they Fies; for, as I have said, if the words are com. may as well set the lesson as teach it and so have non, no definition is needed, and a large proporthe credit of it. Who does not know that nine. ton are of this description ; and if the words teen-twentieths at least of every lesson commit. are not common, the definition will not be un. ted to memory are immediately forgotten? I derstood or will be immediately forgotten. should as soon think of employing a child to
The fourth cause of the decline of spelling, is bring me water in a basket, as io learn lessons the attempt to teach spelling from reading les by rote. What would you think of a farmer, sons. I have already hinted that the true place who, instead of taking his boy into the field, to teach a child the meaning of a word is not in should give him an agricultural catechism to the dictionary, where it may have a dozen mean. commit to memory in the chimney corner? We ings apparently contradictory or perfectly unin. may suppose the instruction to run somewhat in telligible, but in the reading lesson, where the this manner: word is used and where its very use often de. Father. Well, John, what is a plough? tines it. The faithful teacher will never miss John. A plough, sir? this opportunity to explain words, not only be F. Yes, my son, a plough, what is it? cause the interest and the intelligent reading of J. What is the first word of the answer, sir? the particular lesson depend upon it, but because F. A utensil, he will never have so good a chance to teach J. A utensi! invented by the ancients and the correct meaning and use of words in any greatly improved by the moderns to abridge ether department of instruction. But this is a manual labor. very different exercise from spelling, and just so F. Very well! How is it formed? far as it is excellent for teaching the meaning J. Its form is various, according to its various and use of words, it is unfitted to teach spelling; I uses. for, it it be true that the affixing of a definition ! F. What is its usual form? diverts the attention from the orthography, it is J. It is a sort of frame work, having a body evident that the sentiment and the interest of the and two arms, that coalesce into a horizontal narrative will do so in a greater degree. Every beam, to which the moving power is attached. scholar knows the extreme difficulty of printing / F. What is the use of a plough, John? correctly, but this does not arise from the igno. J. It is not fair to ask questions that are not in rance of the author or the printer, but from the the book, sir? constant tendency of the sentiment or thought to F. That's true. Well, tell me, then, what a divert the attention of the proof reader, whether I harrow is? author or printer, from the structure of the words J. A triangular implement of husbandry perthemselves ; and hence their custom of spelling forated with numerous holes in which are inthe words instead of pronouncing them, or the serted strong metallic projections. reading of sentences backwards to destroy the F. Very well. Now what is the use of a harsense, and fix the attention upon the naked row? words. There are no spellers in the world equal J. To segregate such conglomerates as are not to proof readers.
, sufficiently comminuted by the plough. But spelling from reading books is attended F. That's a brave little farmer! After such with another serious disadvantage. The num. hard work, you must be hungry, so go in to ber of words will not be extensive, and many supper. words in common use will perhaps never occur It would not require much shrewdness in a at all. Besides, those that do occur, occur in yankee farmer to guess what would be the result utter confusion; and, for this reason, neither of this sort of education. He would instantly teacher nor pupil can ever know how many reject it, and the next morning, perhaps, send his words "he has learned, nor of how many he is child to school to be taught geography, or natuignorant. The presumption is that the words ral philosophy in the same irrational inanner. of a spelling book include all that will occur in Some vears ago, I wrote a dialogue* for the useful, but not strictly scientific books, and in amusement of my pupils, and as it not only ex. profitable conversation, and these will be spelled hibits the folly now under consideration, but also and written over and over until they become the kindred folly of crowding a little of every familiar; and when teachers will go back to this old plan of using the spelling book, and not " Since published in the "Familiar Dialogues' of the till then, will they be able, in my opinion, to' author.
thing into the young mind, with your permission I have thus, in a very familiar way, endeavored I will read a page of it.
to expose the too prevalent error of attempting Mother. Are you the mistress of this school, to crała all sorts of knowledge into the mind miss?
through the single avenue of the verbal memoTeacher. I am. madam.
ry, to the neglect of all other kinds of memory. M. Your school has beca highiy recommended of the external senses and of the reasoning to me, and I have concluded to place my only powers. The first great principle which should daughter under your care, if we can agree upon guide us in the education of children is to teach the subject of her studies. Pray what do you only what is necessary and proper, and what the teach?
child is competent to understand ; and the next T. What is usually taught in preparatory is to illustrate, explain and demonstrate it, as far schools, inadam. llour old is your little girl. as possible, to the understanding and the senses.
M. She is only ive, but then she is a child of I have given you the result of twenty years' remarkable capacity.
| observation and experience; and whether I am T. I sbould not think she studied many | in error, or whether the common system of inbranches at present, whatever she may do here. struction is in fault, you, gentlemen, must after.
judge, M. Inleed, she is not so backward as you imagine. She has studied astronomy, botany and geometry, and her teacher was preparing to COUNTY AND TOWN SUPERINTENDENTS, THEIR put her into algebra, when ill health obliged her PLANS, THEIR LABORS AND THE RESULTS. to relinquish her school.
T. Have you ever examined her in these sci. In this and the succeeding Journals we intend ences, madam!
to give brief notices of the proceedings of the M. () yes, indeel. I'raxinella, my dear, tell
various school officers; their addresses and comthe lady something of geometry and astronomy. What is astronomy, my dear? Ash her a ques.
munications to the inhabitants and trustees of tion miss, any question you please.
the several districts; their conventions, exami. T. What planet do we inhabit, my dear?
| nations, inspections and celebrations. And that C. Hey! T. What do you live on, my dear?
we may do them even-handed justice, we request C. On meat, ma'am ; I did not know what you them to forward such accounts of these educa. meant before.
tional movements as will clearly exhibit the M. No, iny dear, the lady wishes to know
condition and progress of the great cause. what you stand on now; on what do you stand?
C. On my feet, mother; did she think I stood! We anticipate much good from these brief chroon iny head?
nicles of school reform. Not only will the vari. M. Fraxinella! deur, you have forgotten your
ous plans tested, be widely diffused, but the peoastronomy the three days you have staid at home. But do now say a line or two of your
ple will be put in possession of those facts which last lesson to the lady, now do, dear, that's a will enable them to judge of the fidelity and darling.
ability of the officers to whom the welfare of C. The equinoctial line is the plane of the equator extended in a straight line until it sur
their children, the happiness of their firesides, rounds the calyx or flower cup, for the two sides and the prosperity of their families, is so largely of an isuckle triangle are always equal to the confided. And although the brief extracts our hippopotamus.
space allows, will but give a glimpse at their M. There, miss, I told you she had it in her, only it requires a peculiar lact to draw it out. I
various and undervalued services, enough will knew she would astonish you.
be known to lead on to that inquiry which will T. She does, indeed, madam. You speak of honor the faithful and devoted school officer, and the plane of the equator, my dear, will you be good enough to tell me the meaning of the word
condemn him, if any such there should be, who plane?
has slept upon his post, or betrayed his trust. C. Ugly, ma'am, I thought every body knew We begin with the first account received since that. T'. How many are three times three, my
April; it is of the school convention in dear?
This was called by GILBERT Durois, the C. I don't know. Mrs. Flare never told me County Superintendent, at Kingston, on the 30th that ; she said every body knows how to count? of April. Rev. Eliphaz Fay. of New-Paltz. T. She taught you to read and spell, I sup.
sup | President ; H. G. Abbey, Secretary. pose.
M. No, I positively forbade that. I wished! The leading object was the organization of a to have her mind properly developed, without County Association. An able address was dehaving her intellect frittered away upon the ele. ments. But I see your school will not do for any
:| livered by Mr. George Gifford. daughter. I was afraid you only taught the Among many admirable resolutions, we ask atlower branches. Come, F'raxy, dear, let us calls tention to a few which clearly and strongly preon Miss Flourish; perhaps she is competent to sent the claims of this great cause, and show the estimate your acquirements, and finish youredu. cation.
spirit which actuated the convention. We