Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

author who does his ideas, if he has any, the cruel injustice of clothing them in such tawdry garb. This love of fine writing often induces men insensibly into the grossest errors. Exempli gratiâ :

“Thought is life, and history is its flower and fruit. In all the great crises of history we find the affluent inspiration of a new idea pouring invigorative energy into lifeunseen spiritual thought becoming operant in changing the credence of the world, and determining the outward and actual ongoings of the period.” So far from it, the “great crises of history" have been mainly wrought by rebellions, conquests, and the fiercest excesses of carnal passions, and have been about as little brought to pass by “spiritual thought,” as are the phases of the moon, or the libations of Hodge the ploughman. Fine writing and a stilted style are snares even to deep thinkers; but they are sure pitfalls to feeble minds.

Swift and Thackeray are the best models I can suggest of the reverse. They both excel in the power of simple writing. Each expresses what he means in such an easy manner, that one thinks at first sight any body might have so expressed himself. This arises from the natural mode in which the thoughts flow in familiar words; but it is not so easy thus to write:

"- ut sibi quivis
Speret idem, sudet multum, frusta que laboret

Ansus idem." It is an excellency which springs from a well disciplined mind, a clear intellect, and in no small degree, an ingenuous nature. Inasmuch as the best specimens of a plain style are fraught, nevertheless, with beauty, and often with wit, and oftener with sprightlinesss of fancy, such perfection is not attainable by rules, nor is it the necessary result of much practice. Still much towards it may be effected, by those who will take the trouble of trying. The best practicable modes I may here repeat are those of endeavouring to imitate the best models, by rewriting passages which we have read over attentively enough to gather the ideas without remembering the words; then by comparing our own compositions with the original, and amending our own. The next lesson is to practice the arrangement and then the expression of our own thoughts, and thus cultivate composition and style. Great care is requisite in this. Festina lente. Quintilian admirably says—"By writing hastily we shall never learn to write well : it is by writing well that we shall learn to write quickly."

(To be continued.)

INCREASE OF KNOWLEDGE IN SCHOLARS.-Each new idea, and each new piece of knowledge to which the idea leads, are to the schoolboy what the floating weeds and the discovered islands were to Columbus in his voyage of discovery, equally interesting and exciting to the schoolboy in his little world; and the schoolmaster who is up to his work may realize all this. His life will then, instead of being dull, tedious, and monotonous, be agreeable and happy. He will be happy in doing his “duty in that state of life in which it has pleased God to place him," and happy in teaching children, as they grow up to manhood, to do the same.--Effective Primary Instruction.

PRIZES FOR SCHOOLBOYS.

V ERY necessary is it that in giving prizes, as we understand some

Schoolmasters' Associations do, they should avoid the manifest evil LV of increasing the over instruction of the forward scholars in the

first class, to the certain detriment of the rest of the school. o s Now if these prizes are to be given to the crack lads and lasses © of the flock the present mischievous hot bed system of forcing for

w ard intellects will be terribly aided and aggravated. Every teacher knows perfectly which half dozen scholars to cram if he wishes his school to get such a proportion of prizes as will do him most credit. It is but human nature that school teachers should do this.

The result will be most injurious to the general cause and progress of education.

The educational aim of our times is—NOT TO FORCE A FEW SHOW SCHOLARS, or to create precocious prodigies. The need of the times is to spread useful practical knowledge, evenly and generally among ALL classes of children. Now as regards the poorer and working classes the great mass of these are comparatively ignorant, slow to learn, hard to teach, saxon-skulled children. Small chance have they of prizes: smaller still of the pains which will be diverted from them by this very prize system to the few children who will repay this pains and get prizes, and with prizes laurels for the teacher to crown his brows with.

Now this is a wrong done to the great bulk and body of our young folk. For of what is that body composed ? Clearly not of the clever but of the slow and stolid thoughted with large thews and strong sinews, but scanty brains. Oh! how unjust to these, to make schools designed for the many hotbeds for the few!

The prizės must be given to the lower classes, or they will do infinite mischief. There should be just as many prizes given to the third and to the second classes as to the first: better still if there were more. Then there should be other prizes given so as to encourage attendance which is a main aid to the teacher's efforts. The Dean of Hereford has seen the necessity of doing this; and has just organised in the city of Hereford this capital “ SCHEME FOR THE REGISTRATION OF SCHOOL CHILDREN.”

" It is intended to establish in these Schools a system of registration of all Children who have attended School regularly, and conducted themselves well for a period of two years subsequent to their ninth birthday.

No certificate will be given when the attendance is less than 176 days in the year, but two odd half-days will be allowed to count as one day.

A copy of this registration will be given to the child or parents who may require it, as a certificate of character and a recommendation to employment.

At the end of every additional period of six months' attendance by a child to whom a certificate has been given, the certificate will be added to, and will of course be increased in value as a testimonial.

A similar system has been established in Staffordshire, by Mr. NORRIS, the Inspector of Schools and has been found to work well.

Many of the employers of labour there have promised to give a preference to children holding these certificates of good conduct while at school, and find it their interest to do 80. A little reflection must show that it is of the greatest importance both to parents and children--to employers and employed—that children should feel and learn the value of good conduct in the commencement of life.

In order to teach children habits of forethought, and enable them to understand the way in which small sums accumulate, a SCHOOL-SAVINGS-Bank has been commenced, in which they may deposit the pence or small earnings which their parents allow them; these will be received weekly, and repaid at the end of the year with 5 per cent. interest on the running capital, to spend or deposit in the Savings Bank for future accumulation, as the child and its parents may think fit.

The Dean will be responsible for the interest on the savings; the Masters and Mistresses in both Schools have cheerfully consented to collect the money.

This is in no way intended as a Charity and will not be treated as such.

There is excellent sense in this. Here are stimulants to ATTENDANCE, Good CONDUCT, and PROVIDENCE : and no premium to the forcing system. Certes, there will be small chance in these Hereford Schools of scholars running to seed, or little prodigies perched on pedestals, reared on the neglect of the rest of the school. This is as it should be; and we can honestly wish it success.

We can perfectly understand good people saying, “But are not these views hostile to the education of our most promising children?Certainly not. They will receive, and what is more, profit in a larger measure than any other by that general instruction in the bases of intellectual culture which we know should be given to ALL alike. If this be done there needs no prize to insure the fruition of forward intellects. A clever boy will always be helped on. If the elementary school does not carry him onwards far enough, he will have little difficulty in getting into a higher one. There is as little need on this account, as there is justification, for the damage done to the rest of the children in the primary schools, which are often spoiled for the sake of pet scholars.

It is a natural ambition, but it is not the less a grave evil, that many clever school teachers will not be satisfied with the great merit of teaching their whole school fairly, but cram a clever few to the certain sacrifice of the vast majority. The result is that the great bulk of our poor children instead of being at least moderately well instructed by a competent teacher, are left to the half education, or often no education, of those notorious failures—pupil teachers.

Let us take this occasion of stating that it is the experience of a large proportion of the managers of Church Schools that pupil teachers are not answering the objects of their appointment. They are, generally, neither obtaining sound education themselves, nor are they acquiring the art of imparting it efficiently to others.

One word more : if any persons think this a harsh judgment let them come to their schools, take their pupil teachers aside, and make them write from dictation some such sentence as this-My nephews and nieces forfeited my esteem by prevarication, deceit, and guile: or this—The wethers and ewes were chewing the cud beneath the yew tree: or, The chief priests preceded the deacons as they proceeded down the aisle. Then get them to say off hand what a pound and a quarter of tea costs at 1 d. an ounce, or what change they must have out of half a crown if they spend 10 d. and 7 d. Let them also be asked the spiritual meaning they would tell their scholars is conveyed by the oil in the parable of the virgins, the seeing of the prodigal son afar off, and the worldly wisdom of the unjust steward. If they can spell such sentences and answer such questions there is good ground to believe they have acquired something like a fair amount of useful knowledge: but we have sad reason to fear that by far the larger number will be found wanting if thus fairly tested, as they ought frequently to be.

[merged small][ocr errors]

WANT of mercy and an unforgiving disposition are among the

chief sins of which men can be guilty, for love is the fulfilling of the law, and these sins are the antithesis of all love, and are usually betrayed by selfishness, which is indeed the external type of the worst hidden vices, but especially those of a malicious

heart. It is, perhaps, the first duty of a Christian teacher to Jo guard his scholars against these blighting enmities, which dry up all the sources of virtue and charity, and leave but little hope of future graces.

The parable of the unmerciful servant (Matt. xviii. 23) is a good text for a lesson on this subject. Make the child learn the story so as to know each incident. Explain it thus :

The occasion of the parable was St. Peter's question how often forgiveness was to be extended to an offender. The answer was that no measure was to be affixed to forgiveness; that its only condition was the penitence of the offender. If he repent forgive him. Thus forgiveness is in one sense a conditional virtue, but enmity is not on that account to be tolerated. Refer to the petition in the Lord's Prayer, in which we do not venture to ask for God's forgiveness till we have forgiven our fellow sinners who may have trespassed against us (see also verse 35). This seems to make human pardon an essential condition of divine pardon. God will not forgive the unforgiving man. V. 28 shews the smallness of offences from man to man, compared with those from man to God. Vv. 30–34. These describe the avenging of men's offences by men. How much more terrible would be the just vengeance of God. How great then the mercy of His forgiveness who blots out all our iniquities.

Society is everlastingly avenging its petty wrongs. The Lord in the parable forgives his servant. Though he had wronged him deeply he pardoned great wrongs. Refer to the parable of the Good Samaritan. It clearly denounces the bickering and anti-social strife which disunites the great family of man, spreading discord where peace should abound. It is difficult to measure the vast mass of evil which is engendered by the manner in which it is (in England especially) usual for men to keep aloof of each other. It is astonishng how many of us Englishmen are as Jews and Samaritans to each other. This country is distracted by schisms, feuds, heartburnings, and the most causeless prejudices cherished among us like household gods, and the worst of it is that we act upon them and isolate ourselves from those with whom we ought to be living on the most cordial terms. This is a sad evil, and tends to weaken all the power for good which God designed by the social state, and of which the essence is union.

Point out the immense evils, draw-backs, and positive losses which result from retaliation. The disasters of the late war will give a fund of practical warning, and of experienced calamity arising from all war, however justifiable it may have seemed at the outset. It is better to err on the side of peace, than to run the risk of encouraging that pugnacious spirit in which boys are always prone to indulge. There is very little fear of their becoming too peaceable. Try to engage a natural love of justice which

isolate terms.

usually animates children, on the side of peace. Shew how commonly it is the case that the quarrelsome and the disputatious are also oppressors and wrong doers; that forgiveness, generosity, and all great natures usually co-exist; and that he who is the least prone to avenge his own wrongs does fewest to others.

TRIALS OF CHILDREN.— We must remember that troubles and afflictions are great or small just in proportion to the power of their subjects to bear them. A person of strong and mature intellect, of large experience in the vicissitudes and adverse events of life, can with composure meet and bear disappointments and afflictions such as would crush and overwhelm one of weaker mind, of more limited experience. To the frail judgment, and to the inexperience of little children, troubles, such as we would scarcely notice, become formidable and overpowering. To us they are molehills, to them they are mountains. This consideration we should ever bear in mind. And when our pupils come to us with the recital of their wants and griefs, let us put ourselves in their position, and appreciate their state of mind : and while we tell them that their sorrows should be bravely borne, let us be careful that we show that in their sorrows we sorrow. A word of sympathy, a look of kindness, any act of affection, will dry the tears of the grieving child, and make whole again that tender heart which some childish disaster had broken.- Canadian Journal of Education.

KINDNESS OF THE TEACHER TO THE PUPIL.—Finally, if we are kind to our pupils, they will catch our spirit, and be kind to each other. Than this nothing is more important. It is the cold selfishness of the world, which, more than any thing else, plants life's pathway with thorns, and sows, broadcast, the seeds of human wretchedness. If all were kind, if all measured their conduct by the golden rule, if all loved all as themselves, how soon would human life put on a brighter, a happier aspect. Over earth joy and gladness would take the place of sorrow and sighing, and all tears would be wiped away. Heaven and earth would come together, and men and angels would shout for joy.--To prevent misapprehension, we remark that by the term kindness, we do not intend indulgence. The infinite love of God does not prevent him from inflicting chastisements, and it is very far from true that a failure to correct a bad pupil, is evidence of affection, or benevolence, on the part of the teacher.- Ohio Journal of Education.

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »