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harsh, unfeeling and unnecessarily severe, and there may be little or no sympathy between him and his pupils. The moral power of personal intercourse may be entirely wanting, and the relation of teacher and pupil may be rather of a military than a parental character.
But the highest qualities of a teacher and the most valued characteristic of a school cannot be subjected to any test or examination. They can be fully appreciated only by the pupils themselves, and by those who see the fruits in an after life. A true teacher has higher motives of action than the approbation of those who employ him. His reward comes through the consciousness of having discharged his whole duty. The routine of the school-room he regards as an indispensable and important work, and he prepares himself for it daily, that it may be performed in the most unexceptionable manner; but he does not rest satisfied with this. There is something nobler at which he aims--the formation of a character, pure, elevated and enduring, when all else shall fail.
As a method of teaching somewhat novel has been received and recently urged upon the attention of our teachers, it may be well to point out some of the errors that may result from its adoption. I refer to what is called object or representative teaching. I am not disposed to object to all that is included in this method. There is in it much that is valuable, and in the hands of a skillful teacher will give life and power to his teaching. But inexperienced teachers, who do not understand its proper limits, nor know how to apply it, often make the most ludicrous caricature of teaching that can be imagined. One of the common errors to which teachers are prone, and which attracts the attention of examiners of schools, is that of crowding and burdening the memories of children without ideas. This has often been pointed out as a great fauli, and should be most assiduously avoided.
To remedy this, the object method has been introduced, which often leads to the opposite extreme. One of its fundamental principles is that pupils should never attempt to commit to memory anything they do not fully understand. This error is equally fatal to all successful teaching. There can be no question of the very great utility of visible objects in quickening and aiding the memory, in making all teaching life-like and real, in giving substantial verity to every mental act. And this undoubtedly has been undervalued and too much neglected by the great body of teachers. The perceptive faculties of children have not been called into actual exercise as early as they ought to have been. Pupils, after learning the names of objects, should associate with them their form, color, qualities and uses. Under proper limitation, this is wise and skillful teaching. But to require children to understand the meaning of every word before learning to spell them, and to have clear and correct ideas associated with every word in a sentence before reading it, is not only impracticable, but preposterous and absurd; and how any one who has had any experience in teaching could adopt and advise such a theory, is unaccountable.
The first step in teaching children how to spell, is to require them to make certain articulate sounds, and then to connect, by an effort of memory, the proper representations of these sounds, whether they be letters or words. The knowledge of the meaning or the use of a word, if it could be acquired, would not aid the pupil in the least in learning to spell it, but would in most cases be a hinderance by distracting his mind, and thus lessening the impression on the memory. The same is equally true in regard to the first exercises in reading. Pupils can acquire distinctness of articulation and correct pronunciation, which are the prime elements of all good reading, quite as well and even better without a knowledge of the meaning of words than they can with this knowledge. This is in accordance with that well known and established principle, that when the mind is concentrated upon one thing at a time it can accomplish it better than when distracted by several objects.
It is also a significant fact that the children learn to spell much more readily when young than they do after they have become interested in other studies. Every teacher of experience understands this. But after they have learned to spell and pronounce correctly the names of objects, then they should be made acquainted with their form, qualities and uses. And this can be best done by visible representations. The process is similar in reading. When children have acquired a clear and distinct articulation, and can pronounce words at sight readily and correctly, then, and not till then, are they prepared to advance another step, and to learn the meaning of words when used singly, and when arranged in sentences. It will then be proper to teach gradually tone, modulation and emphasis.
Frequent mistakes are committed in making children acquainted with the meaning of words. They are often required to explain or define the meaning of a word of which they are ignorant, by the use of another of which they know even less. This is quite common in some of our school books. The only true method is to explain and illustrate what is unknown by that which is well known. A child must be taught to employ a word to express thoughts and ideas of his own, before he can understand its meaning or its use. He may learn to define words as they are defined in some of the primary school dictionaries, as follows: A letter is an epistle, and an epistle a letter; an event is an incident, and an incident is an event; jagged is jaggy, and jaggy is jagged; astonishment is amazement, and amazement is astonishment; and he may be both astonished and amazed at how much he knows, but the bright and happy vision will sooner or later pass away like mist, before the true light of knowledge.
The number of pupils registered the past term is smaller than in several of the preceding terms. The whole number is 7,119; in the High School there are 269; in the Grammar, 2,122; in the Intermediate, 1,891; and in the Primary, 2,837. All which is respectfully submitted,
DANIEL LEACH, Supt. Public Schools.
OUR BOOK TABLE.
Key To WALTON'S WRITTEN ARITHMETIC. To which is appended a Complete Sys
tem of Reviews in the form of Dictation Exercises. By G. A. Walton, Principal of Oliver Grammar School, Lawrence, Mass. Boston: Brewer & Tileston. 1865.
We gave a brief notice of Walton's Written Arithmetic in our Jan. issue, but to fully appreciate its merits, it is necessary to examine it in connection with the Key. With the Key, this Arithmetic becomes an important addition to the means hitherto in use for teaching Arithmetic. The Key contains 156 pages, occupied chiefly with answers to examples; the first fifty pages containing the answers to examples not answered in the Arithmetic, and the remaining 100 pages consisting of numerous Dictation Exercises, by means of which the pupil may be exercised upon every topic treated in the book with additional examples, so intimately connected with the book that no more time is occupied in giving the examples to a class than would be required to give out an ordinary lesson.
This is a feature which is calculated to bring the book into general favor with practical teachers.
On farther examination of the Arithmetic, its practical character is very apparent.
THE MUSICAL FRIEND. A collection of chaste Vocal Music, with Piano-forte
Accompaniment. Together with a selection of beautiful Piano pieces and duets for four hands. Published by Henry Tolman & Co., Boston.
The lovers of music will find in this work some choice choruses, beautiful music and charming songs for the home and the concert.
Tolman & Co. are also constantly publishing new sheet music for the piano. We notice among the most recent the following: • Remembrance of Home"; " Happy Hours"; " St. Cloud”; “ Sul Mare”; “Moon Behind the Trees”; “ Moonlit Streams"; "I love in Thoughts to Listen”; “ Leaf by Leaf the Roses Fall”; 6. Visions of the Dear Departed"; " From our Homes Loved Ones are Fading." Indeed any thing in the department of music can be found at No. 291 Washington street, Boston.
FREAKS ON THE Fells; or, Three Months Rustication. By R. M. Ballantyne.
Boston : Crosby & Ainsworth.
Mr. Sudbury, paterfamilias, is a downright whole-soul Englishman, who believes all things possible, therefore whatever he undertakes, whether business or pleasure, it is with all his might. Mrs. Sudbury is the opposite, believes all things impossible, and therefore never moves except by compulsion. The young Sudburies are found at different points between these wide extremes. Their three months experience in Scotland is both grave and ludicrous, and will give the reader an hour's pleasant entertainment in the perusal.
A SPELLING BOOK FOR ADVANCED CLASSES. By W. T. Adams. Boston: Brewer
& Tileston, publishers.
Here are about five thousand words, arranged in columns of thirty each, without regard to classification either by sounds or letters; so that the pupil, in order to spell the words correctly must be independently a good speller, without helps or prompters. This, we believe, is the true method with older scholars. Any one who can spell all the words here arranged need not fear any embarrassinent in the written intercourse of common life.
MIND, MATTER, MONEY, BEAUTY.-Webster's Quarto Dictionary, as now published, is said to have cost more intellectual labor, more money in its “ getting up,” and to contain more matter, and a larger number of beautiful engravings, than any single volume ever before published for popular use in this or any other country. Bell & Daldy, the new publshers of Bohn's libraries, are to be the London publishers of this magnificent volume.
BESIDES suitable age, competent teachers in the rudiments, and willing and even anxious parents and friends, the scholar needs one or two other important helps to ensure his successful progress in acquiring a knowledge of his own native language; and these are, first, competent teachers who know themselves what they teach, which is of course important in any study, but seems especially so in the case of Grammar,— and second, good text-books. I know that some teachers affect to be entirely indifferent about the latter, especially text-books in Grammar, believing in the superiority of the method of imparting knowledge by oral instruction alone, without confining themselves to the routine of text-books, as they say ;- they would better say without the aid of text-books. I apprehend that such teachers have a somewhat conceited notion of their own knowledge of the subject and their superior faculty of imparting it to others, a state of mind which is always the outgrowth of ignorance and inexperience.
They seem to forget that success in oral instruction depends upon at least three equally important conditions, teachers thoroughly conversant with the subject and “apt to teach,” attentive and docile pupils, and retentive memories. The first of these we should strive to become, removing or avoiding every vestige or appearance of conceit or boastful pedantry; the second of course must be secured under all circumstances; but, unfortunately for the complete success of the system, all pupils are not endowed with that wonderful degree of memory, possessed only in rare instances, that will enable them to retain all, or nearly all, that is said to them, though it be sometimes said over and over again. Here, then, comes in the need of a good text-book, as a help to the scholar and teacher alike; not indeed on which the teacher may depend,- for, as what is said above implies, the teacher should know all the text-book and a good deal more,– but which shall be a true and safe guide to the pupil, and a collateral help to both. The absolute dependence of the teacher on the textbook to conceal his own ignorance of the subject is always to be discountenanced. Now, all these assertions are corroborated by the experience of every good and faithful teacher. A good deal of oral instruction is necessary under all circumstances; especially in Grammar. And provided, of course, it be of the right kind, clear and concise, accurate and logical, in due quantity, being neither too much nor too little at a time, it is, beyond comparison, superior to any other method; but it needs the help of the good text-book, both as a saver of labor and time of teacher and pupil. Not that it may make the teacher's labor easier, but more efficient. A good teacher may indeed, with great labor and perseverance and much time, get up a good class containing some excellent scholars, with little or no dependence on the text-book; on the other hand, a moderately good teacher with an unexceptionably good text-book might accomplish the same result with the same class in less time.
Nothing in these remarks is intended to convey the idea that the teacher may not go beyond or outside of the text-book, if in his judgment the interests of his class may seem to be advanced thereby. A really live teacher will hardly be satisfied without sometimes suggesting theories and methods of his own, or explaining and illustrating many things not fully explained in the books.
I have heard the opinion suggested that no teacher is fit to teach a book which he himself is not able to make. Whether that position is a true one or not, I will not here discuss; my advice to the teacher is, be able if you can, and you will be the gainer by it.
Now in all that has been said, it will be seen that two things are especially essential to succees in pursuing this study, good teachers and good books. But to this it may be added, by way of parenthesis, that good pupils also are indispensable,-good, well-disposed, docile,