« AnteriorContinuar »
harshuess, censure, or impatience be avoided in regard to those whose efforts have been less successful. And whenever these latter individuals happen to get a lesson better than usual, tell them so, and let them see that you feel a double pleasure in their improvement. Where scholars are indolent, or negligent, or do not try to learn, it is proper to let them know how much pain their conduct gives you; and perhaps sometimes a gentle reprimand for their waste of time and misimprovement of privileges may be expedient; but any degree of harshness, anything like scolding, driving, or compulsion, so far from making them love learning, will only serve to increase their aversion to it. Whether corporal punishment should ever be used in a school, to deter from the commission of crimes, is a question which it does not belong to me to decide or discuss; but sure I am, that the rod and the ferule are the worst means that ever were devised to get knowledge into the head, or the love of it into the heart.
9. Another means of stimulating the student is to associate as many pleasing ideas as possible with the thought of his lesson, his book, his school, and his teacher. The expectation of being approved and commended is indeed included in this head; but there are many other pleasing associations, by whose aid flowers may be strewed in the path of learning. A child should always hear an opportunity to learn spoken of as a privilege; a school, as a pleasant place; and an instructor, as a friend. Let this be done, and let every school be made indeed a pleasant place, and every instructor show himself a cordial friend to his pupils, and children would soon love their school as well as they do their play. A teacher of a common school should be a person of an
affectionate disposition ; one who loves children, and whose patience and kindness are never exhausted by their ignorance, dulness, and numerous little faults. Yet all the efforts of the most affectionate, skilful, and indefatigable teacher may avail little, where they are counteracted by parents and others out of school, who view the subject in a wrong light, and are daily enstamping their false views on the minds of children.
10. Another means of stimulating the student is to point out to him the connexion between a good educa. tion and his future comfort and happiness. On pupils who are old enough to be capable of understanding this connexion, the consideration may be made to bear with great weight. It does not require much discernment or reflection to see, that a cultivated and well-furnished mind is not only a great help in managing one's pecu. niary and temporal affairs so as to secure a comfortable subsistence, but adds greatly to a man's respectability and influence as a member of the community.
11. I shall name but one more means of stimulating the student to exertion; and that is, a sense of duty and of future accountability. Let the pupil be made to feel that he owes duties to himself, to his fellow-men, and to his Maker, which he can discharge only by diligence and assiduity in the acquisition of useful knowledge. Let him be made to feel that if he neglects to do all in his power to promote in the highest degree his own happiness and the happiness of all to whom his infuence may extend, he does wrong, and must suffer the reproaches of an accusing conscience, and incur the disapprobation of Him who “ is greater than the heart and knoweth all things." Let him never forget that time is short; that he has much to do; and that, of the manner
.. in which these fleeting moments are spent a review must hereafter take place and an account be rendered. Let him hence be made to feel that time is precious ; that his privileges are precious; and that he has no right to waste the one or neglect the other.
LECTURE ON THE ADVANTAGES AND DEFECTS OF
THE MONITORIAL SYSTEM, WITH SOME SUGGESTIONS, SHOWING IN WHAT PARTICULARS IT MAY BE SAFELY ADOPTED INTO OUR SCHOOLS.
BY HENRY K. OLIVER,
OF SALEM, MASS.
[Delivered before the American Institute of Instruction,
'Give me a place whereon I may stand, and I will raise the world,' said the mighty prince of ancient mathema. ticians, as the great truths of mechanical science flashed across his mind. In later days, and from a land where learning once held imperial sway, though now, over her widely extended plains ignorance and barbarism are brooding in deepest intellectual midnight, there has been heard a voice, bearing to us, my friends, who are actively engaged in the great business of education, and to all who feel a proper interest in its promotion, sounds of the deepest import. ·Give me a handful of pupils to-day, and I will give you as many teachers to-morrow as you want. This was a saying very frequently used by the celebrated Dr. Bell, the well-known founder of the Madras, or Monitorial System of Instruction. The verification of an assertion like this would evince in him who should so make it good the possession of even greater power than Archimedes
would have displayed had he found a place whence he might have shaken the world from her deep and strongly laid foundations. For he who should with such rapidity create the means whereby to accomplish so noble an end, would possess himself of a host of intellectual levers (if I may be allowed the use of such an expression), which should exert an influence to move the world which not all the strivings of folly and of prejudice would be able to withstand. The cry that the schoolmaster is abroad' would have been uttered long before it fell from the lips of Brougham, and the wide plains which the siroc blast of ignorance had scorched and withered into a wilderness and a desert place would have blossomed like the rose, and been strewed with the rich and life-giving fruits of the tree of heaven-born science. But unfortunately for so fair a speculation, and 'a consummation so devoutly to be wished,' we fear that the inefficiency of the means and the feebleness of the levers will render many of the efforts to mov the world of ignorance almost, if not entirely, futile.
It has fallen to my lot, my respected friends, to address you upon the advantages and defects of the monitorial system of instruction, and to endeavour to show how far it may be safely adopted into our schools.
I shall take up the subject in the order here laid down, and shall give you the results of my own observation and study, referring you neither to individuals nor to books, for corroboration of any assertions which may be made. I am induced to take this course, because I have thought, that when a subject like the present is pro posed, in the particular manner which the phraseology of ours seems to indicate, it is as frequently expected that the writer should advance his own opinions, as tha