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tine, once said to me, “I am in doubt as to my duty. If I teach my scholars geography in one way, they will make a good show of knowledge when the Superintendent visits my room; but if I teach them in another way, they will make a poorer show, but know a great deal more about it."
There are other points that I would like to notice, but this article is already sufficiently long.
W. H. NEW HAVEN.
The following is the method alluded to at the close of our last article as having been practised successfully for training boys in Latin prose composition :
Selecting a sentence in some author our class is not reading and has not read,-- for Latin, generally Livy,—we translate it aloud with the utmost exactness and fidelity, slowly enough for the pupils to take down on paper our viva voce rendering. The various members of the class having compared what they have written, so as to be sure to agree, we require them to bring in, the next day our English translated back into the original Latin; and calling upon some scholar to read his version, we direct the attention of the class to his errors, mistakes, and solecisms, and generally give out the same sentence to be re-translated. If the paragraph be very long, or complicated, or present unusual difficulties, the scholars will sometimes have to write it a third time before their translation can be received as sufficiently accurate. Finally, the scholars holding in their hands their approved translation, we read to them the Latin sentence from the text, bringing to their notice the difference between it and their rendering, and pointing out any peculiarities it may present: thus impressing upon their minds a clear and definite notion of the points in which the Latin idiom differs from the English, and making them observe anything there may be exceptional in the style of the author whose work serves us for a text-book.
We can say, from experience, that the results of this method, conscientiously followed up, are very gratifying, provided the class is composed of scholars of at least average ability. This exercise, we may add, was employed by us as supplementary to the regular lessons in Arnold's prose composition, and was always welcomed by the class as a pleasant change from the routine studies.
We have no doubt that it might profitably be extended and varied so as to include exercises in prose and verse in both Latin and Greek. Difficulty has been experienced hitherto, with regard to Latin versification in schools, from want of a suitable text-book, Andrews', the one generally used, giving the scholar far too little help. Dr. Anthon's “ Latin Versification," published by Harper & Brothers, seems to us entirely to obviate the difficulty hitherto felt. The materials of which it is composed are drawn from the most approved English sources, and their arrangement is most judicious. The book begins with exercises in scanning, and the rearrangement of hexameter lines whose words have been purposely confused; then exercises in pentameters and hexameters, hexameters alone, and in various lyric metres. The lyric metres embrace exercises in alcaics, sapphics, and in several anapestic forms. The seventh division consists of poems of Goethe and Schiller, arranged for translation into Latin. With this for his text-book, and helped by a little perseverance, the scholar cannot fail to make rapid progress. The way is paved and smoothed for him, and in no long time, with the aid of a judicious teacher, he may make himself master of a confessedly difficult and elegant accomplishment.
The question' that remains is, Is it worth while to spend upon Latin and Greek versification the time required for gaining facility in it? If it be admitted that an intimate and scholarly acquaintance with the Latin and Greek languages is a desirable attainment, we must, without hesitation, answer "yes.”
We believe that in no other way can so thorough an insight be gained into the inner mechanism of these languages, than by that which compels the learner to weigh and measure every word before using it, and whose direct tendency is to impress on his mind a thousand little linguistic niceties and refinements that he would never otherwise discover. After he has made himself tolerably familiar with the mechanical part of the work, he should improve his diction and expression, and at the same time acquire a large vocabulary by going over as wide a range of classic authors as his time will allow, especially Juvenal, Catullus, and Horace. Indeed we think a good deal more of Catullus could be read with profit, in the form of judicious selections, than is generally gone over, and that parts of some of his incomparably beautiful poems might be read by scholars who are advanced far enough to take up Virgil.
At first, as may be expected, the beginner's verses will be rather stiff and mechanical, but practice in this branch of study, as everywhere else, leads to improvement. Ease and elegance can be attained only by a thorough and careful study of the best classic poets; and in gaining these qualities, the student will insensibly acquire a large vocabulary, and a stock not merely of poetical words and phrases, but of poetic ideas and turns of thought.
We may say in passing, that whenever a scholar shows any aptitude for writing English verse, exercises in translating from Latin into English rhymed stanzas will be found very judicious. Dr. Arnold used to advocate, if we remember rightly, the practice of writing poetry, on account, to use his own words, of the humanizing tendencies of such exercises; and where the taste for such English translations exists, combined with ability to produce anything tolerable, it should be encouraged. Among modern translations, Theodore Martin's, of Horace and Catullus, may be recommended to the student as excellent models to follow.
We do not think that selections for translation should be confined to a very narrow range of authors. Shakspeare, Milton, and Wordsworth have furnished passages for translation again and again to successive generations of scholars, and now, for some years past, in the examination papers set at Cambridge a greater variety of authors is employed, including, it is pleasant to see, some American poets.
Exercises in prose translation, too, are none the worse for being taken from recent authors. Robinson Crusoe has lately been published in Paris, in a Latin form, and it is a good plan to task the ingenuity of the student a little in finding classical equivalents for modern words and phrases.
We do not expect to see a race of scholars spring up at once, who shall rival those wonderful versifiers and prize-takers at Oxford and Cambridge, because time in this country is too precious to allow us to carry a mere refinement of scholarship so far. Nor do we expect to outdo Vincent Bourne, or the Kennedys; but we do believe that with much less labor than is commonly thought necessary, many of our scholars can gain a tolerable proficiency in what Dr. Anthon calls the truest and most enduring ornament of a classical education. NEW BEDFORD.
J. M. M., JR.
MEETING AT THE EDUCATIONAL ROOM.
SATURDAY, April 14th. Mr. Wood, of Boston (Quincy School), in the chair. The subject for discussion was School Supervision.
The debate was opened by the Chairman, who began by reading extracts from several school reports from towns in Massachusetts. In one of them it was stated that the teacher had been faithful, and the instruction very thorough. The conduct of the scholars, also, is spoken of as very exemplary. The report closed, however, by saying that if the school were managed more by encouragement, and less by fear, it would be far better. The results are heartily approved, while the method by which they were attained is severely criticised. Now, what is the legitimate object of such criticism? Is it not to benefit, in some way, both teacher and scholars? But can it possibly do any good to either, thus publicly to accuse the teacher, while admitting the excellence of his work, of harshness and severity ? Will it be likely to render more harmonious the relation between him and his pupils ? Will it not, rather, be sure to do serious injury? The scholars will be certain to receive the impression that, however much the Committee may praise the teacher, they do not consider him fully competent. Such defects, if they exist, should be spoken of to the teacher himself privately. Mr. W. then read several other extracts in illustration of the fact that teachers were often subjected to severe and unjust criticism, through the mere caprice or want of judgment of the member of the Committee whose turn it chanced to be to write the report.
Mr. WHEELER, of Cambridge, said that the writing of such reports as those just quoted from, might perhaps be accounted for by the fact that men who were not qualified to write at all, were obliged to write something, and could think of nothing else to say. They do not wish always to write the same words, therefore they are often sadly puzzled. The result is, that they say some very strange things. He would not, however, be understood as speaking against school supervision. Supervision of some kind we must have.
Mr. Wood said that the true remedy for these evils was, to have upon the Committee, men not only of culture, but of practical experience as teachers. Teachers were often criticised in their grammar for instance, by men whose own use of language showed that they had themselves little or no knowledge of the subject. In a town in Eastern Massachusetts recently, the Chairman of the High School Committee, when examining candidates for admission, gave specimens of faulty grammar for correction. He then stated, publicly, that they were all expressions which he had heard used by the Grammar School teachers of the town. The same gentleman, used subsequently, in his report, the following expression “ The former master of this school has resigned his position during the last year” – Also, in spelling the words “scholar,” and “several,” they were divided thus: scho-lar, — "seve-ral.” At another time, in the same town, the scholars of one of the Grammar Schools were corrected by the Committee, in their pronunciation. The teacher at once said that the blame, if any there was, belonged to him, as he had taught them so. The Committee still demurred, when the teacher gave as authority, Prof. Mark BAILEY, of whom he had just been taking lessons. This, however, made not the slightest impression upon the gentleman, who still adhered to his original opinion. He also found fault because the scholars were not taught always to keep the voice up at a semicolon. In his report he spoke of the scholars, in this school, as deficient in reading. This is a specimen of one of the evils resulting from the present system of school supervision. Teachers were censured when the whole difficulty lies in the ignorance of the examiner.
Mr. Hale, of Boston, (Lawrence School), began by replying to some reflections upon the school system of New Hampshire, made by a previous speaker. He thought that some supervision was, in all cases, necessary.
It holds the teachers in check, and also stimulates them to do their best. They look anxiously to the coming examination. He thought, also, that in general the best men were selected, and that they performed their duty conscientiously. There were but few places where a salaried superintendent could be employed. The rest must take such men as were willing to perform the labor gratuitously. Where a superintendent could not be employed, he saw no way of bettering the present system. We must either accept it as it is, or do away with all supervision.
Mr. Payson, of Chelsea, said that he had been for twenty-six years in the employ of different School Committees, and could say that, with very few exceptions, he had found them to consist of men well qualified for the position, and disposed to treat teachers with fairness. He thought it was very generally so throughout the country. The mere fact that now and then one member decided from ignorance or want of reflection, proves nothing against School Committees