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in truth, a 'ludus literarius,' and you will remove the chief obstacles in the way of your success as an instructor.
5. The fifth and last point which we shall mention, in which the monitorial system has an advantage, is, that it exempts the teacher from much of the wearisome tediousness consequent upon long-continued efforts in teaching the ordinary and more mechanical branches of learning, and enables him to introduce his pupils, or, at least, some portion of them, to more advanced and important studies than he would be able to do, if his attention and services were constantly needed for the instruction of each individual scholar.
The zealous and the ambitious instructor, the man who is in love with the profession, for of such a man alone can success be predicated, will never rest satisfied that his school is as good as his neighbour's; that he teaches well, and that his pupils learn well, certain assigned, and therefore expected, branches of study; or, in other words, that it does not move in a retrograde direction, or that it is merely stationary. IIepi T8 Θεμιστοκλεους λέγεται, ως καθευδέιν αυτον ούκ εώς το τα Μιλτιάδα τροπαιον. ?
“Of Themistocles it is said, that the trophies of Miltiades would not let him sleep.' Now, will it not be the case with the ambitious in every vocation-will it not be the case with the ambitious teacher, that the laurels of his brethren of the same calling will excite in his bosom, not the evil cankerworm of envy, but a generous, an open, a manly spirit of emulation, whose well-disciplined efforts shall benefit himself, his profession, and the world? Will not his motto be · Onward, and onward still ? Will he not be unwilling to move, all his life long, in one unvarying
beaten track, to perform for ever a stale, and, to himself, a profitless round of tedious duties, destitute alike of interest and of novelty? We believe that he will. We believe that the history of his school will be distinguished by those periods of time at which some farther progress has been made in an assigned course of study, or some new department of learning has been introduced. Now, how can so desirable an end be so effectually accomplished as when he can avail himself of the services of a great number of assistants ? To accomplish it thoroughly and satisfactorily, his assistants ought, indeed, to be adult teachers, and of sufficient acquirements and experience. But since, in ordinary cases, the possession of such adult teachers is next to an impossibility, let him make the nearest practicable approximation he can to the benefits which their aid would secure, by making use of such helps as a selection from his best scholars will afford him ; or, in other words, by adopting some feature of the method of mutual instruction.
We do not mean that the progress of his school, to which we have alluded, shall be made at the sacrifice of thorough instruction, or that his school shall appear merely to have got over a greater than ordinary amount of study; though, as we shall hereafter show, we apprehend these to be the rocks upon which every monitorial school, in the strict meaning of the name, will eventually be wrecked. But it is very evident that, by the employment of a greater number of teachers, a greater amount of time is called into service, and of course a greater amount of labour performed. The best and surest way, however, to attain to the proper performance of this labour, is to employ, as we have already
hinted, a greater number of adult and experienced teachers than is done in ordinary cases. But if this cannot be done (and that it cannot will always be true so long as the public are opposed to the disbursement of a larger amount than is paid, at the present moment, for the instruction of public schools, and teachers are found who are willing to work at the public's prices), if this cannot be done, we say, let the teacher make use of the best means and the best assistance within his reach; that is, let him train up the most intelligent and the farthest advanced portion of his pupils to the business of teaching
We have now done with the consideration of the advantages resulting from the system of mutual instruction. We have stated them, we believe, fairly and candidly, and have stated all which are entitled to much praise. We now proceed to show its defects. These we shall endeavour to lay down in the order of their relative magnitude.
We object to the monitorial system,
separably from great noise and confusion.
2. Because it is next to an impossibility to procure monitors who will prove, in every particular, faithful and adequate to the duties expected of them.
3. Because in a school conducted upon this system the principal instructor cannot be sufficiently well acquainted with the particular merits and failings of each individual pupil.
4. Because we believe its legitimate tendency is to make anything but thorough scholars, and to introduce into all, excepting the more mechanical parts of knowledge, a degree of superficialness and inaccuracy highly prejudicial to the best interests of sound learning.
Of these we proceed to speak also more at large.
1. And, in the first place, we object to the monitorial system, because we believe no school can be conducted upon it separably from noise and confusion.
No one who has ever visited a monitorial school can be otherwise than aware that this objection is founded upon what is strictly true. From the very nature of the case, noise and confusion, and those of no ordinary palpability, are absolutely inherent in the system. They were born with it, and have grown with its growth, and have strengthened with its strength.' In all monitorial schools a very large portion of the scholars, and sometimes all of them, are called into simultaneous recitation. This cannot occasion anything else than a confused uproar of exclamation, and a motley medley of vociferations. From the immediate contiguity in which many, and, in fact, we may say all the reciting classes are placed, and from the circumstance that usually all of them are performing their exercises within the limits of a single room, it cannot but follow that one set of reciters should continually interrupt and confuse those in their immediate proximity, particularly if they are reciting a different lesson. And so far as the interest of the learner is concerned, it is, in some particular cases, even worse, if the adjacent divisions are reciting the same lesson. For then, if there happen to be a dull scholar in No. 1, he has only to listen to and repeat the words of his comrade in the neighbouring No. 2, who has been blessed with a better head, and has acquired closer habits of application than himself, To this doffing the dunce and donning the wise one, to this literary smuggling, we have more than once been the amused witness. Again, if one half of the mem
bers of the school are reciting, and the other half are endeavouring to study, how can it be that the noise and din of the reciters should have any other effect than to render the attempts of those who are required to be employed in study really and truly nothing but attempts, and those attempts the most abortive and futile? Who can apply himself undistractedly to study with confusion and noise echoing around his head ? What scholar can comprehend the meaning of a difficult passage in a classic writer, or investigate successfully a complicated and slippery formula in the mathematics, when one-half of the little world of his fellow pupils are vociferating their lessons at the very top of their vocal powers ? Aurora musis amica, and not more so from her freshness and beauty than from the calming influence and soothing nature of her noiseless hours.
2. Our second objection to this system is, that it is next to an impossibility to procure monitors who will prove, in every particular, faithful and adequate to the duties expected of them.
To instruct in any given branch of knowledge thoroughly and successfully, requires something more than even the greatest familiarity with the particular textbook which may have been adopted for that branch. If this were not the case, there would be no necessity that the individual whose design it may have become to qualify himself for the business of instruction, should go into an extensive and laborious course of reading and of study. He would be necessitated merely to drill himself to perfection in a certain set of books, and to have at convenient readiness a certain set of questions appended and chained down to a certain set of answers, and he would be armed and equipped for the peda