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guage; but it is necessarily technical, often abstruse and unfamiliar. Such phraseology should undoubtedly be learnt by children, but they are too often confined to it. Teachers suppose that if the facts are learnt in book language, their work is done, and nothing more is necessary ; forgetting that the facts require to be set before a young mind in a great variety of forms, and that it is especially, necessary to translate the language of a school-book into that of ordinary life, in order to make it interesting or even completely intelligible. Moreover, the desire : for exactness and precision in statement, which is in itself a commendable thing, often makes teachers afraid to deviate from the phraseology which is used in books, or which they themselves have been accustomed to use when they studied the subject. The private reading, also, especially of the best and most faithful teachers, is apt to be confined almost exclusively to professional books, or to books whose main purpose is to furnish facts. Thus they are apt to acquire a hard, professional, and unattractive style of expression, which they habitually use, without being conscious that there is anything remarkable or pedantic about it.
The great cause, however, of the prevalence of this evil, is the tendency which : exists, in all but persons of the highest cultivation, to do their work mechanically, . and to be content with only one way of doing it. Routine is, after all, much easier than an independent or original method. Mechanical teaching, in the words prescribed for us by others, is not absolutely impossible, even when but half our minds are occupied ; but the teaching which invests the subject with a new dress, and which presents knowledge in exactly the form best suited to the learners, requires the whole mind. The true reason for the dulness, for the meagreness of language, and for the coldness of style so often complained of in schools, is that teachers do : not always give their whole minds to the subject. They do not sufficiently identify themselves with it, nor make it thoroughly their own before they teach ; above all, they are content to be the channels by which the words of others are to be conveyed to a learner's memory, instead of living fountains of instruction, imparting to others what springs naturally and spontaneously from their own minds.
The consequences of the deficiency to which we refer are often shown in many : ways. Children feel an interest in their lessons in exactly the same proportion in which those lessons appeal to their own sympathies and to their own consciousness of need; but their attention is languid and their progress slow, when no such appeal is made. Unless the subjects talked about in school connect themselves with the duties of ordinary life ; unless the mode of treating them in school bears some relation to the mode in which they are to be treated elsewhere ; the learner begins to feel that he lives in two worlds-one in the school-room and one outside it-and that the language, the pursuits, and the modes of thinking of these two regions are wholly unlike. The one is a world of duty and restraint, the other of pleasure and freedom. In the one he speaks in a sort of falsetto, and uses words which are not natural to him ; in the other, he speaks his own language, and feels at ease.
Some of this is perhaps necessary and proper; but the worst is, that he too often feels . that there is no intimate relation between the two; that the duties of the one have nothing to do with the requirements of the other ; and that it is possible to fail in one and succeed in the other. It is not only by the substance but by the style of school lessons that this impression is often unconsciously conveyed, and when once gained, it doubles the work of teaching, and goes far to destroy a learner's interest in his school-work.
If any teachers are conscious that these remarks apply even partially to themselves and their own experience, we may remind them that one or two simple correctives for the evil are in their own hands. We will speak of these in order, and will not apologise to teachers for using in this case the briefest form of expression,—the imperative mood.
Study the school books thoroughly for yourselves. Make yourself completely familiar with their contents, and try to bring as much information as you can obtain from other sources to bear upon their illustration. Do not be satisfied with an explanation of the hard words which occur; but be ready to give a clear, effective, and interesting paraphrase of the entire lesson. You will then be entitled to require answers to your questions in other words than those of the book, and to demand frequent exercises in paraphrasing, and varying the language from the children themselves.
Never let the reading of the school be confined to books of information. Writers: whose great aim is to give the largest number of facts in the smallest possible compass, frequently and almost necessarily write in a crabbed and repulsive style. Some portion of the reading lessons in every school ought to consist of passages, chosen for the beauty and purity of the language, rather than for the subject itself.. The learning of such passages, and the reproduction of them in an altered form, are exercises of quite as much importance as the acquisition of facts. Every effort should be made, even from the first, to familiarise children with the use of choice language. By occasionally causing passages from good authors to be learnt by heart; and by taking care that such passages furnish the basis of all grammatical exercises and logical analysis, something will be done in this direction.
Select a number of well-told stories, striking dialogues, and attractive passages from good authors ; and read them aloud to the upper classes occasionally. Perhaps once a week each class might be led to expect a treat of this kind, on condition that its ordinary work had been well done. When the teacher is bimself a fine reader, such an exercise will not only be very popular, but very efficacious in improving the taste and raising the tone of the school. But it is of course necessary that the teacher should be a good reader, and should be able to read with such flaency, intelligence, and accurate expression, that it shall be a pleasure to listen to him.. The power to do this can only be acquired by much practice, and by a habit of entering thoroughly into the meaning of the words which are read.. If a teacher: will take pains to become a really effective and pleasing, as well as accurate reader, he may do very much to familiarise himself and his scholars with good models of expression, and therefore with improved habits of thought.
Never be satisfied with one way of presenting a lesson to a class, but endeavour to become master of a variety of methods. Cultivate the power of putting the same truth in many shapes, of looking at it from different points of view, and of varying your illustrations as much as possible. Notice the kind of explanation which, when you yourself are learning, seems best to lay hold of your attention; and then endeavour to imitate it. If you feel that you lack the descriptive power which makes past and distant scenes seem as if they were real and present, do not be content until you have acquired the power, nor until you can so tell a story, or describe a place you have seen, that children will listen not merely without weariness, but with positive pleasure.
Beware also of adhering too closely to a particular order in the development of your lessons. Many teachers, after hearing a good model lesson, think it necessary, especially in collective teaching, to fashion their own on the same type. Now methods are admirable servants, but they are bad masters ; if a teacher knows how to select the best, and to adapt them to his own purposes, they are very valuable ; but if he allows himself to be fettered by them, and to twist all his lessons into the same shape, they are positively mischievous. Almost every lesson requires a different mode of treatment; and a skilful teacher will endeavour to vary the arrangement of his matter, as well as the language in which it is expressed, in sucha way as to give to each subject a freshness and new interest of its own.. Our habit of “getting up” books, as students, and "going through" books, as teachers, will.
beguile us, unless we are very watchful, into formalism, and into a slavish adherence to a particular routine, and it is necessary therefore to watch ourselves in this respect..
Lastly, do not limit your own reading to school-books, ori to books specially intended for teachers. Much of the poverty of expression complained of among teachers is attributable to the fact, that their reading is not sufficiently wide and general. Every teacher, over and above the books needed in his profession, of : course reads some books for his own enjoyment and mental improvement. These should always be the best of their kind. In history, for example, compendiumsa will not serve the purpose... The great historians should be read. The most: accessible books, perhaps, in natural philosophy and history, are mere summaries of the works of great philosophers or naturalists; but a teacher should not be content: with these, he should go to the great authors themselves. So, if his inquiries leada him to the study of mental or moral philosophy, or to poetry, he should beware of all compilations, extracts and magazine articles, and should read the works of the poet or philosopher for himself. Always, when studying any subject, study the works of the ablest men who have written on it. Never be content to know what has beenn written about English: literature. Read for yourself the best works of those men who have made English literature famous, and who have secured a permanent place in its annals. Do not complain that such: books are not expressly written for your profession; the best books that are written are not expressly written for any profession. Nor is it wise to wait until some one selects and adapts from the works.: of a great poet or historian, so much as will suit your special needs. Obtain such works for yourself, and adapt them to your own' needs. Make the style of such books an object of special study, and occasionally write brief themes on the same subjects, and compare your own style with your model. In this way you will acquire a wide range of new thoughts, and a dexterity and facility in the use of language, such as can never be obtained by: merely reading school-books and periodicals, and modern popular works on science and history. And do not suspect that in the study of Milton, Pope or Addison, or Bacon or Locke, opu Grote or Mill, or Wordsworth or Southey, nothing will occur which will help you in your daily work. Every such author will help to make you think more clearly and see more deeply, will give you a command of more copious illustration, will add to the general culture and refinement of your mind, and therefore will certainly make you a better teacher.
DINING IN THE SCHOOL-ROOM.
We hear complaints occasionally made of the difficulty of teaching "good manners in schools. The task is certainly not easy. But, if advantage were taken of all the opportunities which a teacher possesses of enforcing decent and orderly habits, some thing very valuable might be done. The vagrant, uncivilized manner in which cbil... dren are permitted to take meals in the interval between the morning and afternoon schools, is certainly one of the evils which every teacher has it in his power to correct. The remedy is very simple, and the indirect advantages of securing decorum and propriety; in this one respect, are sure to re-act favourably on the home as well as the school.
We subjoin the account of two experiments in this direction which have been tried: with great success--the one in a large school for boys, in Surrey, and the other in a small girls' school, in a Scottish village. The first communication is from the master of the school :
“ The management of dinner-boys, and especially on wet days, is a subject that
perplexes many teachers, and to some, it must be confessed, is a constant source of annoyance.
" In small, as well as in large schools, there are always some defaulters, who have to remain in after the school has been dismissed, and there are others who remain on the premises to partake of dinner. No sooner are the latter dismissed, than we see them nibbling, or hurriedly snatching at something in the little bags which have been dangling at their sides. Now, food so hurriedly taken cannot possibly do them any good ; and such a manner of taking it cannot but have a prejudicial effect on the habits of the children. I believe that if unhappily, in the homes of any of our chil.' dren, the observance of the common decencies of life at meal-times is entirely neglected, it is the business of the school to show things at least as they ought to be. I will describe the plan pursued in my own school daily.
“At nine o'clock, when all are assembled on lines in playground, each pupil-teacher appoints a careful boy to collect the dinners of those who have brought them, and to deposit them in a cupboard kept for the purpose. At twelve o'clock, when the duties of the school are over, the boys who are to dine at school are sent into the playground until one o'clock, when they are summoned to dinner by the blowing of a whistle. During the interval the pupil-teachers' assistant of order for the day has prepared the lower room for dinner. At this hour all defaulters are dismissed to dinner also. The boys being seated, their dinners are handed round to them. The pupil-teacher of order, then, either asks a blessing upon the food the children are about to partake of, or they do it themselves, collectively, in an audible and reveren. tial manner; or sometimes each boy, with eyes closed, is requested to ask a blessing in silence. I think that it is of great importance for a child to possess a spirit of thankfulness for common mercies daily received ; and that it is our duty as teachers to lose no opportunity of inculcating this feeling.
“On wet days they dine soon after twelve; at a quarter to one all are set to draw on slates, or on black boards with chalk. Afterwards, books from various divisions of the school library are distributed, and the time is further filled up by exercises in gymnastics --a complete system of which we have culled from De L'Aspee's and Dr. Roth's works. All boys who return to school before two o'clock are allowed to take part in these exercises, which are very popular with the children ; and which are well adapted to strengthen their limbs, and improve their carriage."
A benevolent lady in Scotland, who has interested herself much in the introduction of industrial training in village schools, thus details the results of her own efforts towards the same end :
“ Another newly introduced practice may be mentioned, as connected with the same object, viz., that of introducing habits of domestic neatness and order. The children who come from a distance bring their dinner, and were formerly in the habit of swallowing it, anyhow, in the playground. A long deal table has been placed in the wash-house, which is vered with a white cloth, and supplied with basons, plates, knives, forks, and spoons. At this the children are placed in order, their own food being tidily arranged in the basons or plates.
“ There are generally two parties, the younger set dining first. One of the pupil. teachers presides at each dinner ; and grace is regularly said or sung.
“ The girls of the elder party take it in turn to set the table in order, and wash up the plates, clean the knives, &c. A small sink for washing plates has been added to the furnishings of the apartment, together with a plate-rack, and shelves for the basons and other utensils."'*
* A small round tub will do in place of a sink. The plan detailed above was suggested by an interesting letter on Girls' Schools by Mrs. Austin. Its merits will be appreciated by those who have witnessed the awkwardness of young girls on first entering a gentleman's house. They have often to be told how to use a knife and fork, and to sit properly at table.
MEETINGS OF TEACHERS' ASSOCIATIONS.
On the first Saturday in May, the usual meeting of British Teachers was held in the Lecture-room of the Normal College, Borough-road. Mr. Drage, of Croydon, read an Essay on the subject of “ Home Lessons.” The subject had largely occupied his attention on account of its importance; and he was convinced that there was a good deal connected with the subject yet to be learnt. He contended that learning by heart ought not to be totally thrown on one side; neither ought the judgment to be relied on entirely. Many things for which there was not adequate provision in school-time—the teaching of arithmetic, grammar, and history, take now too much the form of lectures, and it was the duty of the teacher to supplement by home work what had been studied in school by means of explanation. The importance of home lessons had been noticed particularly by her Majesty's Inspectors. The lecturer gave striking proofs of the interest manifested by the parents of the children of his own school on the subject of home lessons, by referring to some of the very numerous letters he had from time to time received from the parents expressive of their anxiety to co-operate with his plans, and thanking him for his attention to their studies. In prescribing a course of home lessons, the local circumstances of the school should be taken into account; the same system of home lessons carried on in his school would not work equally well in a district in which children were systematically employed in labour at home, as in the counties of Bucks, Berks, or Herts. Some teachers were in the habit of giving home work requiring at least three or four hours every evening, while others were content to give for two nights the work of one; both of these he regarded as mistakes fatal to success. He considered it very important that all home work should be carefully examined. It is better to err in giving too little home work than too much, provided that is carefully examined. A point of the highest importance had always been found to be the accuracy with which the work was done. In his opinion one liour was quite enough for the preparation of home lessons. Recreation of a physical character is specially necessary for boys, and many take special interest in reading their library books. With regard to the subjects for study at home, in the Croydon British School, Holy Scripture, reading, writing, and arithmetic, were considered indispensable ; while grammar, geography, history, and drawing, took a subordinate position. A scripture lesson ought to form some portion of every evening's task.
Sheets were suspended in the room for the purpose of illustrating a scheme of lessons for one day, as given in the lecturer's own school. Two or three striking features were, that even the lowest class is required to do something, if it be only to imitate different forms of letters as the Roman and Italic. The highest class has to find out the meanings and origin of certain words in the dictionary ; also to distinguish between the literal and metaphorical meanings of others. The examination occupies about three-quarters of an hour: five minutes is allowed for a cursory glance; five for reading arithmetical answers; ten minutes for correction; ten for grammar and dictation; ten for reproduction ; and five more for general correction. Before finishing, the pupil-teachers go round, put all defaulters on one side, and re. quire these to perform their neglected work. Teachers could not be urged too strongly to attend to neatness as well as grammar and orthography; for if these be not ate tended to, harm rather than good would arise.
Mr. Baines said, that in his opinion the exercises which were before the meeting were too long ; and that, as a general rule, one subject every evening was quite sufficient.
Mr. Curtis, the Vice-Principal of the Normal College, said, that just in proportion