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Address letters relating to subscriptions to G. R. MARBLE; letters relating to advertising to JOHN P. PAYSON, Chelsea ; Editorial communications to W. P. ATKINSON, Office Massachusetts Teacher,
Boston, or Cambridge, Mass.
A Book for every Teacher and Pupil in Geography. Questions in Geography. Combining Mathematical, Descriptive, Political and Physical, carefully compiled to embrace an outline of study, for Common and Grammar Schools, for Daily Recitations and General Reviews ADAPTED TO ANY TEXT Book, 64 pp. Price, 18 cents.
"A proper mastery of these Questions will enable the scholar to build up a complete Tz. Book of his own, rather than allow him, in a blind, unthinking manner, to follow the track of another.”
Questions on the Principles of Arithmetic. Uniform with the above. By James S. Eaton, A. M., 48 pp. Price, 15 cents.
* WORCESTER'S ELEMENTS OF HISTORY, Ancient and Modern. By J. E. Worcester, LL. D. A NEW EDITIOX, REVISED AND ENLARGED, BEING BROUGHT DOWN TO APRIL, 1866. Price, $2.00.
The new chapter on the Great Rebellion and the administration of Abraham Lincoln is s most accurate and discriminating view of the remarkable series of events covering this period. The addition to English History, comprising the chief events of the last twenty years, is of great value,
PHILBRICK'S SPEAKERS. * The American Union Speaker. Containing Standard and recent selections in Prose, Poetry, and Dialogue, for Recitation and Declamation. By Hon. John D. Philbrick, Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools. $2.50.
" In every feature the work seems to be of the highest excellence.”—A, P. STONE, Pris cipal of the Portland, Maine, High School.
“A work of unqualified excellence. Just the book needed by every student of declamation." Prof. LEWIS B. MUNROE, Director of Vocal and Physical Culture in the Boston Public Sckools.
* The Primary Union Speaker. Containing Standard and Recent Selections in Prose and Poetry, for Recitation and Declamation in Primary and Secondary Schools. By Hon. John D. Philbrick, Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools. Beautifully Illustrated. Price, 65 cents.
“It is admirable in its plan and its selections.”—MOSES T. BROWN, Prof. Elocution, Tufts College.
* EATON'S ARITHMETICS. I. PRIMARY, 100 pp. 28 cts. III. COMMON SCHOOL, 312 pp. $1.00 II. INTELLECTUAL, 172 pp. - 45 cts. IV. High SCHOOL, 356 pp. $1.30 When one Written Arithmetic only is needed, GRAMMAR SCHOOL, 336 pp. $1.15.
This series of Arithmetics contains the latest and most improved method of teaching this important branch. They have very recently been adopted for
THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA,
(re-adopted for four years,)
THE STATE OF NEVADA. * Specimen copies mailed to Teachers, for examination with reference to introduction, on receipt of half price. Address
TAGGARD & THOMPSON,
29 CORNHILL, BOSTON.
[The following letter from a friend who has been travelling abroad will interest our readers.]
BERLIN, PRUSSIA, June 15, 1865. If I may be permitted to speak of outside things a little with regard to the European Schools as far as I have seen them, I think they may well take a lesson from us with regard to school furniture. I have seen no school-room yet of which an American city would not be ashamed. The furniture generally consists of long tables, arranged on three sides of the room, with benches on both sides. These are simply benches, not settees with backs, or they are wooden stools; and when the class are writing or consulting their books so as to use the tables, of course half of them must have their backs to the teacher. Sometimes they have desks one behind another, as with us, but these hardly deserve the name of desks. They are simply long tables with a shelf underneath, made of the roughest wood and in the plainest manner. The walls are hung with the hats and cloaks of the pupils, and the blackboard accommodation consists in toto of one board, containing at most about six square feet, hanging on the wall or a door, or standing on an easel. As to ventilation, it is not at all considered in any school I have seen, and as a class often consists of forty or fifty, the rooms are not very pleasant in warm weather. The lessons in general are an hour long.
Most of the teachers here are men, as I suppose you know, and it seems very strange to me to see a man of thirty or forty with a room full of little girls about seven, teaching them to pronounce and spell in their primer. The German cannot understand how we employ so many women, especially to teach mathematics, and one school director very contemptuously remarked in speaking of it, “ Yes, we know that in America education is in the hands of the women." In many of the schools, a governess sits in the room during the recitation to preserve order, so that the teacher or professor has nothing to do but to teach. This division of labor would be in some schools at home very pleasant, for where one has only to teach, the work seems light. Almost all studies here are pursued with the aid of lectures, and the pupils have few books excepting those that they write themselves. For instance, in arithmetic, the teacher, if teaching compound numbers, dictates the tables to the class, and they copy them, as given, into their little books. These are then learned for the next lesson, at which more is dictated, and 80 on. Or the teacher performs an example on the board, getting help from the pupils as he goes along, and then gives them several to perform for the next lesson. It seems to me that much time is wasted in this way, for I do not see why the pupils might not just as well learn their tables from a printed book, and use more profitably the time they take for copying. Sometimes, and especially in the older classes, they have books containing examples, but the explanations mostly must come from the teacher. In Geography, it is the same. The teacher comes in, and begins to talk, the class usually following him with their atlases. For instance, he speaks of the rivers of Africa, giving them in their order, and telling of the countries through which they flow, speaking of the discoverers who have made them known, of the productions of these countries, and the like. The class find each river as mentioned, and are sometimes called on to repeat them in order. If they can, besides, get a chance to take notes of what he says, they do so. When the bell strikes, he takes his hat and departs, leaving the pupils to remember what they can, to look over the map again, and perhaps to find the principal
places, by themselves. At the next lesson, they may be questioned on what was said before, or they may not, and the lesson goes on. This is very pleasant for the teacher, doubtless. Every one knows how much easier it is to recite a lesson one's self than to hear others do it. But is it, or is it not, best? It is very agreeable to hear a well-informed teacher tell of what he knows, but how much of the whole could the class give correctly themselves. In teaching, as in every thing else here, the children are led. We throw them upon
their own resources more. We do not smooth the way for them so much. We say, “ You must stand on your own feet, study for yourselves; conquer the difficulties yourselves.” American air inspires a different spirit, — and yet this way of teaching cultivates the faculty of attention, and as it is pursued from the first or lowest class, the children learn to listen, that is, if they wish to learn anything, and that the American children cannot always do.
People sometimes say, “In America you learn by heart. You make the children learn every word there is in the book just as it stands, and they do not know what it means." I have to answer, “ Some of our teachers do allow that, but they are not our best. All American teachers are not so." They seem to have an idea here that every one in America teaches according to a certain system, and that system is to give the child a book and require him to learn every word on so many pages, and then to hear him repeat them. And that I have seen in America, but it ought not to be called the American system. When the hour is over, the scholars generally leave their seats without ceremony and without order, and I think nothing would astonish the German teachers more than the military precision and drill in our large schools.
Of course, the first thing to be done for a child who enters school is to provide him with a quantity of blank books, as he needs them in all his studies. The books which the youngest classes are to use for their arithmetic are ruled in squares, so that in performing an example units must stand directly under units and tens under tens. There can be no half right and half wrong. The slates also are ruled in the same way on one side, while on the other, they are ruled with double lines for writing. I have as yet seen no writing-books which seemed to me as perfect and complete