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God hath favored thee beyond compare ; babe, daughter, sister, beloved, wife, grandmother, all these thou tellest o’er, and callest them all thine own; their blessed ministrations it has been thy privilege to dispense, and we thank thee for them.
And why should this be said here? That we may prize higher what is given us, and not spend life in vain repinings for what we have not. Because life is too great a boon for us to slightly prize ; because we should accustom ourselves to contemplate at times its possibilities, and not consider its drear realities alone; because we should not always linger on the lower level of our existence, but arise betimes to view its sublimer aspects. That every young woman should bethink herself, and do nothing unworthy her true position ; that every young man, every boy at school, should cherish as the apple of his eye, respect for the intrinsic loveliness of female character, and see to it that through his own baseness he lose not that high and almost chivalric estimate of woman which has ever characterized the noblest men.
On the 19th a most interesting discovery was made in Newton Quarry, near Elgin, by the workmen of Messrs. Humphrey & Rennie, builders, Elgin, lessees of the works. The men, while engaged in blasting a rock with no seam in it that would have admitted the edge of a six-penny piece, were astonished to see, when they had blasted the rock, a small hole, and a toad creeping out of it. The hole was not in a seam, so as to countenance the probability of the toad having got into it, but, we repeat, in solid rock; and, as a proof of this, we have the evidence of our eyesight, for both stone and toad are now in this office beside us, kindly sent, at our request, by Mr. Humphrey. The hole would hold a man's fist, and is coated with clay or fuller's earth of a darkish color or brown, not very different from that of the creature that, for unnumbered ages, slumbered in it forty feet below the level of the surrounding country, and more than twenty feet below the surface of the rock. It is a curious fact that the cleavage that exposed the toad laid bare four other holes, exactly on the same level, all about the same size as that in which the toad had lain, and they were coated with dark colored clay, countenancing the probability that each of these holes may have at one time contained a toad, but that by some means all had perished but one.-Elgin (Scotland) Courant.
This subject is now under discussion, and we propose to say a few words upon it in THE SCHOOLMASTER. Not that we shall present anything original, but rather to call out something original from others.
The oldest teachers can learn something new connected with all branches of study, and we should not by any means rest satisfied that we have reached the limit of perfection in the method of teaching any science, much less that of Grammar.
The same influence exerts itself in that branch of study as in others, namely, a desire to avoid the practical and the reason of things, and acquire only a superficial and popular view.
By popular, here, we mean that prevalent desire to go over much and through little; which prefers fancy French to substantial Latin ; which chooses Botany or Music, instead of the logical conclusions of Geometry or the rigid “why” of Arithmetic.
Those of us who are teachers find a feeling in every school which opposes giving the reason of facts in mathematics, and occupies a too lofty position to condescend to correct an example in false syntax and give the reason for the correction.
We should, in every study, as far as possible teach the practical, or as large proportion of it as circumstances will allow. In the study of Grammar, the custom generally is, we think, to confine the student too much to mere analysis and parsing. How many “good scholars ” there are who will parse and analyze to perfection, and yet they cannot correct the following sentences: “Sit that chair down and let it set”; “I laid all night in pain”; “I thought it was her”; “Lie that book down and let it lay,” &c. We need not multiply examples. We do not look upon analysis and parsing as unworthy an honorable place; far from it; but we would unite with them, daily, the correction of sentences, transposition, illustration of synonymes, verbal illustratrations of complex, compound, interrogative and compound, imperative and complex sentences, combining all the names possible in the same sentence; and let this be carried to clauses, illustrating adjective, adverbial, substantive, hypothetical, relative, comparative, restrictive, parenthetical, &c., in all their combinations, till the subject is made perfectly familiar.
If a class should be carried through the false syntax of Goold Brown's Institutes, for instance, or any other equally critical work, and be required to give a reason for the corrections made, a practical knowledge of the use of our language would be far more readily acquired than by the common methods of treating the subject. The result of the above suggestion carried out, we have in part seen, and the tendency is to make pupils critical, and quick to see the errors of others in conversation.
The prejudice against coming down— really going up-to this, must be overcome. Teachers must mould and direct the education: of youth, and not follow the practices of their predecessors, nor the erroneous views of their pupils.
The object of studying Grammar should be to acquire a correct use of our language, and we know of no better methoù than that of daily exercise in correcting errors in its use.
Much may be done in etymology with the less advanced classes. A definition is not enough for a pupil to give. It must be ascertained whether he fully comprehends the definition and can give examples under it. It would in many cases be a good discipline for each member of the class to bring in at each recitation all the errors he had heard made in conversation since the last lesson, omitting the name of the one making the mistake. The study need not be so “dry,” as some seem to think it is. We must find new methods, open new paths, search for the true course to be pursued, and be more practical.
SUPERINTENDENT'S QUARTERLY REPORT.
OFFICE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT, PROVIDENCE, Nov. 18, 1864. To the School Committee of the City of Providence :
GENTLEMEN:- The results of the examinations recently made, are, on the whole, as satisfactory as in any former term. We have now but a few schools that are not in a good condition-a much smaller number than ever before. There is yet, however, much to be done to elevate all our schools to a still higher point of excellence. Parents and Committees should manifest a higher appreciation of the incomparable value of public education, and should show a deeper interest in the welfare of our schools, by a more active coöperation and swmpathy with those who are engaged in the arduous duties of bringing them up to the highest standard. Unless supported liberally and generously by public sympathy, our schools must languish and fail of that vigor and efficiency they might and ought otherwise to possess.
It has been my purpose, in previous reports, to point out what teachers should avoid and what they should aim at to perfect their work ; this I shall continue to do, although many of the suggestions I shall now make I have before made, but so long as errors and faults exist, teachers should be warned against them.
One of the first requisites for a good school is good order. A school that is not well governed is comparatively worthless. A teacher may possess every other quali
fication in an eminent degree, but if he cannot discipline his school wisely and judiciously, he is not fitted for the responsible position he occupies. It is a great mistake to suppose that obedience can be best enforced by a stern, harsh and repulsive manner. Those who act under this belief will sooner or later assuredly fail. A gentlemanly and courteous demeanor is never incompatible with firmness and decision in maintaining the right.
The most common mistake made by teachers is, they govern too much. They have too much machinery and too many rules. They are not systematic and uniform ; sometimes they are rigid and exact in enforcing obedience, at other times they are indulgent, careless and lax. Much valuable time is often wasted in inquiring into what may be called petty offences and the violation of some useless regulation in school. The laws of a school should be few and of a general character, and always 80 clearly stated as never to be misunderstood. Many teachers err in announcing to the school beforehand the exact penalty for each offence. This is a great mistake. No one can decide wisely what ought to be done in any particular case till it occurs. This should be determined by an examination of all the facts and circumstances connected with it. Disobedience that is the result of thoughtlessness and inattention should never be punished in the same way as that which is deliberate and wilful. Teachers often feel compelled to inflict corporal punishment because they have threatened it, when they would not have inflicted it if it had not been threatened. By such injudicious punishments the moral force of discipline is entirely lost.
The veracity and honesty of pupils should never be doubted, without the most decisive proof, and when this exists, it should never be proclaimed to the school, but should be corrected by personal and private interviews with the pupiis. Corporal punishments are not the proper means to enforce moral duties. The conscience is not moved or softened by the infliction of bodily pain. There are motives, however, which a skillful teacher knows how to use with effect. Nothing is ever gained in disgracing a pupil in the eyes of his companions, but a great moral force is lost. The teacher who is continually telling his scholars how stupid and how bad they are, seldom, if ever, gains access to the conscience and the heart.
One of the most imperative duties of teachers is to make continued efforts to render their schools as attractive and pleasant as possible. This is especially important where the pupils are of that age when they begin to feel the confinement and restraints of the school-room irksome. Many attend school who have no natural love or taste for study, and who are not old enough to judge wisely what is best for their future good. Such do not and cannot appreciate the full value of a liberal education. Much can be done to interest and gain the confidence of such scholars. By kind attentions, by sympathy, friendly caution and advice, an influence may be exerted for good that shall extend through their whole life. There are many attractions in this city for the young to divert their minds from their studies and to draw them away from school. Almost every conceivable temptation is thrown around them to entice them into the forbidden paths of vice. Our schools, as far as possible, should become barriers against evils which are assailing them on every side. Parents and teachers should unite heartily and perseveringly to save every child from the threatening ruin.
There are mistakes in teaching, as well as in discipline, that ought to be avoided. The most prominent fault in teaching now noticed is that pupils are taught words without ideas. This practice has been pointed out and condemned in almost every teachers' institute, and in every educational journal, and yet there is no error into