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9, A. M.
confined longer than an hour at a time making two hours a day. Longer periods than these would not only injure the health, but defeat the purpose, by producing dulness and inactivity of mind. Perhaps the best arrangement would be the following :
Forenoon. Children, over ten, commence at from seven to ten, .
11, Dismissed, together, at
Afternoon. Commence, together, at .
1, P. M. Children, under seven, dismissed at
from seven to ten,
4, " Where the little ones are too far from home to go alone, they would have a woodhouse and a fine yard for exercise, till their brothers and sisters could accompany them. In Winter, they should be freely admitted to the stove, on condition of perfect order and silence.
Discipline. Perhaps there is no subject on which teachers differ so essentially as on that of discipline. Some are severe in their exactions, and rely, almost entirely, on brute force, for the maintenance of order, to the manifest injury of the moral and intellectual faculties of the child ; for punishment, it is to be feared, though it may succeed in producing order, has but too frequently the effect of exciting and inflaming the bad passions of its subject. Others, on the plea that they cannot be always scolding and whipping, are lax in their discipline, forgetful, or rather, perhaps, ignorant, that their plan actually requires more of both, than any other course. Are not both of these systems, however modified, radically wrong? Is it not possible to discover one, founded on the better principles of human nature, less tyrannical than the former, and less destructive of order than the latter ? So valuable an object is certainly worth trying for, even at the risk of failure. Let us make the attempt.
One of the most characteristic distinctions, between man and the inferior animals, is the faculty of perceiving the difference between right and wrong, and the instinctive feeling of approbation of the one, and disapprobation of the other. This is, indeed, the essential moral power, to which all others are subordinate and subsidiary, and without which, they would be perfectly inefficient. It is the sense of duty; in other words, it is conscience. This faculty is one of the first which is developed in the child ; and it is, commonly, far more pure than in the adult. In the latter, it is too frequently obscured by neglect, perverted by the influence of the passions, and misled by our interests, and by the prejudices arising out of our numerous associations. Thus, to use the language of Scripture, it is “seared with a hot iron ;” useless, or worse than useless ; failing to perform its appropriate office of prompter or reprover ; silent, when it should speak with a voice of thunder ; or speaking so feebly and equivocally, as only to mock and deceive. But, in a young child, this faculty is fresh from the hands of its Maker, and has not yet been exposed to any of those influences which tend to lead it astray. Hence, if our question is only clearly understood, we shall seldom, if ever, fail to receive, in reply, a correct discrimination between virtue and vice, from early childhood. Would it not appear, then, that this is the principle on which discipline should be based ? Surely, there can be no difficulty in showing a child, that it is for his advantage that a school should be orderly and quiet, and that it is wrong, either that he should waste the time, or obstruct the progress of others, or that his time should be wasted, or his progress obstructed, by his fellows. All that is necessary is, that the simple question should be stated to him, to insure a correct reply.
* President Humphrey, in the Essay already quoted, says, strongly inclined to believe, that infants have a kind of moral instinct, which stands in the place of reason, and which is nothing less than the • law of the Lord,' written upon their hearts. In other words, that there is an innate feeling of moral distinctions, which invites congenial culture, almost from the birth, and which is very early blunted by adverse influences, both internal and external. If so, here is an additional motive for the early commencement of moral education.”
But there is a still more important advantage than the mere regulation of the school, arising from placing discipline on this foundation. It leads to the continued exercise and improvement of this most important principle of our moral nature. It gradually, without show or effort, leads us into the habit of referring every thing to conscience,-a habit of asking ourselves continually, ` Is this right ?' and that, at a time of life when our principles are all unwarped by those prejudices and passions, which obscure or pervert our vision at a later period.
Suppose that a teacher, on commencing her school, were to address her pupils in some such way as the following, modified, of course, by the peculiar circumstances of the case:
“ Please to give me your attention, for a few minutes. I wish to consult* you all, how it will be best to manage this school. Do you know why your parents built this house, and why they go to the expense of having a school kept here? I can tell you. It was to make you, children, wise, and good, and happy. But you all know, that
you could not learn much, if the school was noisy, and disorderly. How could I hear the classes rightly, if you were talking, or moving about the school? [Pause.)–Do you think it would be right, for [John] to talk, and prevent (William] from getting along with his studies ? Do you think it would be right, for me to allow any one to run about, or talk, so as to disturb the others ? All of you, who think it would be right, for me to allow this, will please to stand up in your places. What! do none of you think it would be right, for me to allow it? Well, then, I wish all of you, who think it would be wrong in me to allow it, to stand up.-You all think it would be wrong, then. Now, do any of you wish me to do wrong? But you all know, that I have been placed here to teach you, and to prevent any of you from injuring or hindering the others. I am sure, then, that none of you wish me to cheat* your parents, or injure you, by allowing the least disorderly conduct or noise in this school. And
* Although it would be well, in most instances, to consult the school, the children should distinctly understand, that the teacher has authority to enforce what is right, independently of their decisions, which cannot be presumed, on all occasions, to be correct.
assure you, that I cannot suffer it, because I know it would be wrong.
“ But I wish this to be a pleasant school, as well as a profitable school. I know ihat it would be painful for [little] children, like you, to sit perfectly still, and not speak a word for two or three hours at a time. And I will not ask you to do any thing so disagreeable. Therefore, every half-hour, [or quarter, if children are mostly small, ] I shall touch this bell, so, (or clap my hands,] for you to step out into the aisles, and sing, and march round the room, (or converse.] And, as soon as I touch the bell again, so, I shall expect every one instantly to sit down in his place, and resume his studies. Now, let every one, that can sing, join me in a song, and all the rest pay attention, so as to learn.
- We'll all love one another,
As children ought to do.
· We'll love our teachers, also,
As children ought to do.'” This lecture on discipline will be long enough for the first day.
For we must be careful, il we would have attentive auditors in children, not to talk to them too long at a time.
The following day, the subject may be thus resumed :
“We had some talk, yesterday, about the management of the school. Who can tell me what we thought would be right, and what we thought would be wrong? All, who remember, may hold up the right hand. John, do you is
* Children should never be taught, either by example or precept, to call bad actions by soft names. Let cheating, lying, and stealing, receive their own proper appellatives.
tell us what would be right.—Mary, do you tell us what we said would be wrong. You will please to recollect, then, that we all agree, that it is wrong to look, or speak, or touch any one, who is at his studies. If there is any thing we wish to say or do, we should wait till the bell rings. I know that waiting will be a little hard for you at first. But you will soon get accustomed to it; and then it will be quite easy. It is likely some of you may forget, and break the rule, by whispering, or touching one another. Now this would be wrong ; but it would be much worse for you to deny it, or to try to hide it. For this would be either telling a lie, or acting a lie, a thing that no good child will ever do. No liar can ever be respected or loved. Now, whenever I think the rule is broken, I will tap on the blackboard, thus. . And then I expect that the scholar who has broken the rule will stand
that it was he that did it. And, if he sorry for his fault, I shall ask the other scholars to forgive him. I say, the other scholars ; for it is not me that he will have wronged, but the whole school, by making them lose their valuable time. I do n't wish you to tell of one another. We should not be too ready to see or talk of one another's faults. We shall all have enough to do, to find out and correct our own.
66 There is one thing more, I wish to say to you, today. There has been a good deal of pains taken, to fix up this room for study, and I think it would be best that we should use it for no other purpose.
Whenever we are in this room, then, let us recollect, that we are here to learn to be good, and to be useful. We have a fine woodhouse and lot for play. So there is no occasion to use the schoolroom for playing. Let us have no wrestling, then, no noise, nor confusion, at any time, in this
Whether I am here or not, let all be peace and order. As soon as you come in, go and hang up your hat and coat on your own peg, and take your seat. Unless you are very cold, it is best not to go to the stove. But, if you do go there, be quiet and polite ; take your regular turn to warm yourself ; and, as soon as you are warm, go to your seat, and make room for others. Will