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with intermissions of a few minutes, for change of posture and conversation. The children must have employment; they cannot, if idle, be kept out of mischief.
The room must be comfortable, as to heat and fresh air ; and the seats and desks must be easy and convenient. And the teacher must indulge in no harshness, but show that he loves his pupils ; and this is a matter in which children are seldom deceived. Unless all these things are attended to; it will not be a fair trial ; the failure will be certain.
In accordance with this plan, rewards of all kinds, and even emulation and praise, should be eschewed. To the latter, one exception may be made. A slight degree of praise may be useful, in stimulating the slow and heavy scholar. In all other cases, the complacency and delights of well-doing are amply sufficient.
It would add much to the probability of success, if the plan was previously submitted to the committee, and their sanction obtained. When this has been done, it should be mentioned to the pupils, at the opening of the school.
But it is probable that some teachers may be incredulous, as to the good effects of this species of discipline ; and that others may be devoid of the calmness, steadiness, and firmness, requisite to carry it into effect. To all such, a few general observations, on the nature and effects of the system of punishments, may be useful. It seems to have been reserved for modern times, to elucidate, clearly, the true nature and design of punishment, which, by enlightened legislators, is no longer regarded in the light of an expiatory and vindictive process; but rather, as intended to serve, at once, the purpose recting and ameliorating the offender, and of deterring others from the commission of similar crimes. This view of the subject is expressly sanctioned by the declarations of Holy Writ ; and might, indeed, have been ascertained, long ago, by a careful and attentive study of those sacred records, in which our Divine Legislator has been pleased to reveal the motives which have influenced the dispensations, both of his providence and grace. He is there described as chastening us, not for his pleasure, but for our profit. In imitation, then, of this gracious procedure of our Heavenly Father, we should keep steadily in view the ultimate good of the faulty individual, .and let him see, that such is our chief design in inflicting upon him temporary suffering and privation.
1. First, then, the system of discipline, whatever may be its nature, should be uniform, systematic, and impartial. The teacher should have the plan thoroughly digested in his own mind, and act steadily upon it, not being severe one day, and lax the next; and not passing over, in one child, what he punishes, in another, without very sufficient reasons, which should be explained to the school. Such a course would be the worst of
tyranny, and would destroy all the influence of the teacher over the school, and render him the object of hatred, instead of love.
2. The teacher should never attempt to govern by a long, formal set of rules. It is impossible to make rules which will suit all cases ; and, even if it were possible, a child could never remember them. He ought, then, rather to endeavor to inspire right feelings, and they will govern his actions. If we love what is good, we shall think and do what is good.
3. When punishments are resorted to, care should be taken that they be not too severe. Unnecessary or excessive severity should be avoided ; because it will tend either to keep up a perpetual irritation, or give rise to a hardened, callous feeling ; or, what is, perhaps, still worse, induce permanent and irretrievable depression. It is a correct and well-founded observation of the illustrious Locke, that " those children, who are the most chastised, rarely prove the best men, and that punishment, if it be not productive of good, will certainly be the cause of much injury.” In determining on the kind of punishment, reference should always be had to the character of the pupil, so as neither to awaken bitterness or defiance, nor to break the spirit of a mild and susceptible child.
4. Punishments should seldom, if ever, be inflicted before the school. The effect
them will be much increased by their uncertainty as to its nature and degree. And besides ; if the culprit be taken aside, and calmly remonstrated with, punishment may frequently be rendered unnecessary; or, if it must be inflicted, he will sooner yield in private, than when the eyes of his comrades are upon him. In this situation, pride generally induces obstinacy, which often leads to the very worst effects.
5. The punishment should be administered with calmness, and an affection, which should be real, and not a mere show. For thus it will have a much more powerful effect. Anger, or the indulgence of a vindictive feeling, should be sedulously guarded against. Angry punishments will never do good ; for anger shows, even to a child, that the teacher is incapable of governing himself. Besides, we cannot, when angry, see things in their true colors ; we cannot weigh them with care ; and, if we are hasty with our punishments, they will sometimes fall on the innocent. This would, indeed, be a most serious misfortune. Should it ever happen, no time should be lost in making an ample apology to the sufferer, before the whole school.
6. We should be particularly careful, never to punish for real incapacity or innocent weakness. Surely, this must appear sufficiently reasonable to all; and yet, it is to be feared, that it is a rule too frequently broken. The slow and the dull should rather be encouraged, than disheartened by reproach and punishment. A double share of patience, mildness, and attention, should be exercised towards them.
7. In estimating the measure of punishment, for any offence, we should regard rather the motive than the consequences of the action ; the intention with which it was performed, rather than the effects that may result from it. Hence, children should not be punished for mere accidents, but mildly cautioned against similar carelessness, in future ; or, if they are subject to heedlessness, it may be necessary to subject them to some inconvenience, or privation, as the natural consequences of their want of care.
8. There is a certain class of punishments practised by some teachers, which ought to be banished from every school. Pinching the ears, pulling the hair, beating about the head, with a book, a cane, or whatever happens to be in the hand ; these, if once indulged, grow into habits of equal severity and caprice. They are, in their nature, vulgar and offensive ; and, being received as indignities, never fail to excite the resentment of the sufferers.
9. But, whatever may be the punishment, it should be continued, till it answers its end. If a child gains the victory by his obstinacy, the efficiency of the school is totally ruined. This consideration makes it a matter of the very first importance, that the nature and degree of each punishment should be well weighed, beforehand, so that we may feel sure it will be effectual.
10. Finally, we should neither exact nor even allow of promises of future amendment. Nothing is so readily given, and nothing is so fragile, as a child's promise. We are directed by Christ, to ask, that God would not lead us into temptation. Let us practise towards children, what we ask from our Maker.
Let us never tempt them into useless promises, which we know will be broken, and thus harden their tender minds in iniquity. The question should be, Are you good ? not, Will you be good ? But this subject is too important, for full discussion in this place. It will again be noticed, under the head of Moral Education.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION, CONTINUED.
Recapitulation. In taking a retrospective view of our inquiries, on the subject of physical education, we appear to have arrived at the following conclusions :
1. That, in the formation of school districts, it should always be borne in mind, that a good, permanent school, within a moderate walk for children of six or seven years of age, is much preferable to a poor school, for a few months in the year, close at hand.
II. That the distribution of the public funds, per capita, is not only unjust, as regards the scholars, but highly injurious to the public welfare.
III. That, as large schools possess many advantages over small ones, the number of teachers, and not of schools, should be increased, as population becomes more dense.
IV. That in every town, there should be, at least, two grades of schools, in which the whole population should receive a thorough education.
V. That the plan of graduating the schools, if properly reduced to practice, would rapidly produce a body of capable and experienced female teachers,—an object of the very first importance to the community.
VI. That this plan is also, in every respect, more efficient, economical, and equal.
VII. That the plan should not be carried into execution, in any town, until the people are prepared to receive it; and, then, it should be general, not partial.
VIII. That school lots should be on pleasant and healthful situations, and never less than half an acre in extent.
IX. That they should be neatly fenced, and provided with accommodations for amusement and exercise.
X. That schoolhouses should be neat and substantial structures, and placed with reference to the most equable heat and light, rather than merely to correspond with the highway.
XI. That the woodshed should be at least as large as the schoolhouse, so as to afford room for exercise and play for the children, in bad weather.
XII. That some apparatus should be affixed to the stove, so that the schoolroom may have a constant supply of fresh warm air.
XIII. That care should be taken, that such air be not burnt, i. e. its oxygen abstracted by violent heat, during the process of warming it.
XIV. That the schoolroom should afford ample space