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the previous questions and answers ; partly when one pupil has failed to answer a question, or has answered it wrong, by calling on another to answer without repeating the qilestion ; partly, by analyzing the ideas, and making each question and answer as short as possible, so as to pass rapidly round the class; partly, when one pupil has committed an error in some part of his answer or performance, by calling on another to specify the error, and to show why it is an error; and partly, by calling on individuals to answer questions, or to correct one another's errors, not in the order in which they stand or sit, but promiscuously. And minute as the circumstance may appear, the teacher will find it useful, in many cases, to announce a question previously to calling the individual by name who is desired to answer it. The putting of questions promiscuously, and refusing to repeat a question which has been once distinctly announced, may be made a powerful means of keeping alive the attention of a whole. class, or even of a whole school, during an exercise which concerns the whole. It frequently happens, that when one individual of a class is performing his part of an exercise, the others, or some of them, instead of listening to his performance, are studying that question or that part of the task which seems likely to come to them. Some effectual means must be taken to defeat all calculations of this kind, as it is of the highest importance that every individual in a class should listen attentively to the performance of every other individual.
4. And in order to stimulate them to exertion in preparing for recitation, no one should be able to calculate what part of the exercise he shall be called on to perform.
Some teachers always, at a recitation, begin at one end of the class ; so that those who stand at that end know to a certainty that the first part of the lesson will come to them, and those who do not stand there are almost equally certain that it will not come to them. I have even seen a class of little fellows, when paraded in due order on the floor, begin and spell each his word in rotation, and run through a column of the Spelling Book in rapid and unbroken succession, without needing the voice of the teacher, or even giving him an opportunity to speak. If one of the band had happened to be absent, I suppose his word must have been omitted.
5. The inducement to study lessons thoroughly will be much increased, if each scholar is allowed to try but once in spelling a word or answering a question. It is, Į fear, a general practice to try twice, when the first attempt proves to be an error; and some hasty spirits will try three or four times almost in a breath, before the teacher has opportunity to put the question to another, or to advise them to pause and consider what they are saying. This habit of guessing is truly a lamentable one.. “Think before you speak,” is a maxim worthy to be frequently inculcated in school, To a pupil who manifests a propensity to disregard this maxim the teacher might say, “When I ask you a question, you either know how to answer it, or you do not. If you know, you can, by proper care, answer correctly the first time, If you do not know, then be honest enough to say so, and let some one tell that does know; for the art of guessing is a branch which I do not teach," To limit each pupil strictly to a single answer, except in special cases, not only affords a stimulus to exertion, but induces a habit of consideration, caution, and correctness in speaking, which is of inestimable value.
6. In all cases where it is practicable, it is best that questions should be asked in the language of the instructor, and answered in that of the pupil, instead of using printed questions, and giving answers verbatim as they have been marked with a pencil. If the pupil does not know precisely what questions will be asked, or in what form they will be put, and finds it necessary to answer inore by an exercise of understanding than by an act of memory, he will exert himself to understand the subject; and by so doing he will acquire more knowledge, will cultivate his mental faculties in a higher degree, and will become far more deeply interested in his studies, than by pursuing a different course.
7. The various means of stimulating a student which have been brought into view are chiefly included in the general idea of a skilful method of teaching. I shall now briefly advert to a few, which are of a some . what different nature. One of these is derived from the power of sympathy. There is, in the human breast, a propensity to feel the same emotions which we see manifested by another on whom our attention is fixed. Hence, if a child perceives that those who are around him, especially his teacher and parents, take a pleasure in knowing those things which he is learning, his own desire to know them, and his pleasure in learning them, will be greatly increased. This is probably the principal reason, that where we find in parents a taste for reading and literary pursuits, we usually find the same in their children. But when a child knows that his parents and teacher consider learning as an irksome task, and expect him to consider it so, his heart
is closed against the sweet influences of knowledge, and he imbibes an antipathy to the very sight or name of a book
8. Another means of stimulating the student is the pleasure of meeting the approbation of his teacher, parents, and friends. What pleasure more exquisite than that of knowing that we give pleasure to others ? What sweeter bliss than that of being beloved by those whom we love? Such is the pleasure which the child enjoys when he sees the approving smile of his parent or teacher. When he gives an account of what he has learned, or answers questions relative to it, to hear his
“ You have got your lesson well;" or, I am glad that you understand this lesson so well,” is a reward which would compensate him for hours of toil, even if the getting of the lesson had been in itself a hard and painful task. How unfit, then, for their office are those teachers who listen to the recitations of their pupils with cold indifference, and seldom manifest a lively pleasure in witnessing their improvement! But here much caution must be used, lest a spirit of rivalry should be excited, attended with vanity and pride on the one hand, and with envy and hatred, ill-humour and despondency, on the other. Where several are associated in the same study, it will happen that some will get their lessons much better than others who are equally studious. In such cases, there is much danger of wounding the feelings of the latter by the bestowment of praise on the former. Where it is possible, it is much the best way to praise a whole class at a time, Where this cannot be done, let commendation be
sparingly and cautiously bestowed on those who have • distinguished themselves, and let every appearance of harshness, ceňsure, 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