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Teacher may use the term sides, or is the children are old enough, obtain the term shield instead. This the children may be led to give by the teacher telling a short story in which the children will see that a shield is used for protection,
"If a shield is used to protect, and, as you told me a little while ago, the sides of the thimble protected the finger, what might we call the side of a thimble ?” “A shield."
Have several children come and find the shield, after which the teacher writes the word shield on the board, the children spelling the word,
“ Now tell me what you have learned the thimble has ?” “The thimble has a shield.”
The teacher should be sure that the class makes a complete sentence. • Who will come and find some other part ?"
The teacher selects a child who comes and finds what the children call the top. Teacher uses this term or obtains the word crown, and, proceeding as before, finally gets the children to say, “ The thimble has a crown."
"I want some one to come here and look at the shield and the crown, and tell me what you see."
“There are little dents on them."
“Why do you suppose the dents were made on this thimble ?” “So the needle will not slip."
If the children do not give this answer, the teacher might experiment by sewing, telling the children to notice the thimble and the needle, and where the needle is. Children will say, “ In the dents.”
“ Why not put it somewhere else on the thimble?".
The teacher proceeds in a similar way to that given above for getting the children to find the parts rim and border; children finding, naming, spelling : teacher writing the name on the board, and then having the children give a complete sentence. After the rim was found, and the teacher asked for the use of it, one little boy said, “ The thimble would not look as well if it had no rim;" another, “ If we should not get the needle in the dents, and it should slip, the rim would keep it from hitting the finger;” another child said, “ If there was no rim, the edge of the thimble would be sharp."
After the border has been found, lead the children to talk about its being a place for the name. When the parts have all been found, named, their names written on the board, and their uses talked of, then comes the drill. For this have one child find some part; another find its name on the board; another tell its name, and another give its uses, etc., etc. After there has been sufficient drill, erase the work from the board, and then, or at some future time, have the class reproduce on their slates,
In any lesson of this kind the principal aim should be to teach the child to see correctly, and to properly express what he knows about that which he does see, thus making it especially a lesson in Language.
Man is a spirit, manifesting himself through a physicial urganism. The spirit may manifest itself directly through the body in the expression of the face, the gestures of the hand, the modulations of the voice, or the articulation of words; or indirectly by means of some instrument, as the chisel of the artisan, the pen of the writer, or the instrument of the musician,
In whatever form the spirit manifests itself, that part of the body by means of which the manifestation is effected must be in a condition to perform its functions satisfactorily. To play upon a piano the fingers must be made nimble and the wrists elastic. To read orally, the various organs of vocalization and articulation must be so cultivated that they can give a neat, prompt, firm, and easy response to the dictates of mind. “All art,” says Goethe, “must be preceded by a certain mechanical expert. ness."
While mechanical expertness is essential to perfect oral expression, it does not follow that those who possess it in the highest degree are therefore the best oral readers. It often happens that persons whose articulation is quite faulty, and whose voices are weak and unpleasant in quality, are more effective readers than others whose articulation is distinct and whose voices are strong and clear. The latter divorce expres. sion from sentiment, and make a show of mechanical expertness, the end of their efforts. They are “the sounding brass and the tinkling cymbal." The louder they sound and the more perfectly they tinkle the less do they manifest the thought and feeling con. tained in the language which they employ as the pretext of their vocal gymnastics. In the former case reading is a manifestation of spirit, and the spirit within is so strong that it shines out brightly through a blurred expression. But how much more effective would their efforts be did they possess the two elements,-a condition of spirit worthy of mani. festation and a mechanical expertness capable of adequately expressing it. These two are somewhat mutally dependent, the one upon the other, yet one is more fundamental than the other.
In the early unscientific days the drug mixer who relieved a headache, resulting from a disordered stomach, by the external application of a powerful anæsthetic, was called a physician. In modern times he is usually called a "quack.” The faults which occur in the reading of children appear to be mechanical, hut many of them are not, and some of them that are can be best eradicated by attending to conditions which, at first, may appear to be remote. Some of the important conditions of good oral reading are the following:
1. A good composition. As in order to read at all, it is necessary to have something to read, so in order to read well it is necessary to have something to read which is worthy of being read. There is a natural congruity, or agreement, between the thought to be expressed and the expression which appropriately belongs to it. Ani. mated thoughts agree with an animated expression; feeble and spiritless thoughts agree with a feeble and spiritless expression; and good oral expression is inconsistent with thoughts or language which have no power or beauty in themselves. The vari. ous series of school readers now in vogue admirably supply this condition, and surnish the reader with a rational ground of enthusiasm in his work.
2. Adaption of the composition, in thought and language, to the experience and
literary attainments of the reader.-If the thought of the composition is so difficult that he cannot grasp it; if the incidents it relates are so far removed from his experience that he cannot, in imagination, participate in them; if the words are strange and the sentences intricate; however good the composition may be in itself, it fails to stimulate the mental activity of the child, and hence to inspire good expression. If a profound scholar, whose soul
“ Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought," contemplated suicide, and wished to impress upon an audience his powers of oral ex. pression just before "shuffling off," he would find the famous soliloquy,“ To be or not to be," etc., admirably suited to his purpose. But the average boy of ten years does not understand the thought and language of that composition; he enjoys excellent health and has no notion of killing himself. Yet he is sometimes asked to read that, and other compositions, not less removed from his experience and literary attainments.
The pupil is graded by his reader, and a strong pressure is brought to bear upon the teacher to advance him as rapidly as possible. Therefore it is necessary that the teacher stubbornly resist the strong temptation to sacrifice this condition of good experience. If the purpose be to secure the ends which may be gained by silent read. ing, the matter read should be very near the outer circle of the pupil's powers ; if the purpose be to secure skill in oral expression, the matter should fall somewhat within that line. If all the mind's energy is employed in grasping the thought, the expression of that thought must necessarily be weak.
3. Mastery of the thought and language. “A mistake in emphasis is the mind's mistake," has come to be regarded as an axiom. Not only does correct emphasis depend upon correct thinking, but the right use of other elements of expression is equally dependent upon a mastery of the thought. Expression is determined by the state of the mind at the instant the act is performed. If the thought is comprehended vaguely, the articulation will be correspondingly indistinct. A rising inflection is the natural sign of doubt; a falling inflection, the sign of positiveness. The sentence to be read may be positive in form and meaning and hence require a falling inflection. But the prevailing idea in the mind of the reader may be that of doubt as to what the meaning of the sentence really is, and that state of mind will force the inflection up instead of down, and thus make the expression a contradiction of the thought. It might be shown that a correct use of each of the many elements of expression is equally dependent upon a complete mastery of the thought and that the consciousness of such mastery inspires the young reader with a confidence and enthusiasm that frees his expression from many defects he would otherwise exhibit, and gives to it many positive excellencies.
4. A vivid imagination. In order to secure to best expression, not only must the reader understand the meaning of the words, comprehend the thought of the sen. tences, see the author's purpose in the composition as a whole, and the relations of cause and effect existing between that purpose and the means employed, but his imagi. nation must form a clear mental picture of every object described, and by it he must put himself in the place of every character introduced. To read a piece of description is to produce in the mind of the hearer an image of the object, or scene, described. To read successfully an account of a series of actions is to cause the hearer o put himself, in imagination, in the place of the actors, and to participate in the drama in which they are engaged. The reader who expects the imagination of his hearer to be more active than his own, will usually meet with disappointment.
In commenting upon the manner in which the old man tells the pathetic story of Margaret, in the first book of “The Excursion,'' Wordsworth indicates the effect which a vivid imagination has upon oral expression :
" * * * He had rehearsed
Dull Scholarg--What Should be Done With Them?
These form a class of pupils with whom the true teacher is much concerned, not only on their account, but also because it concerns his own reputation as a teacher. Because of one dullard, a whole class must not be kept back, neither must any pupil be neglected, because he cannot do as well as his class-mates. Many children in our public schools rank much below the average in intelligence, and the course in study in many graded institutions is, in some respects, ill-adapted to their capacities. But the teacher (in the graded schools), overworked and underpaid, can find no extra time to give these slow-going minds. They may be transferred to lower grades, but there the same difficulty would be met as before. A prominent teacher says:
“But it is often the case that the dull pupil must get his education in the public school or get none at all, and it requires much talk and more patience on the part of conscientious teachers to get passible results.
I venture to give my own method of dealing with such pupils, in the hope that it may call out the experience of others in the same line. Many years ago, I read the statement that there are no helpless idiots except those who cannot be induced to do anything. It has therefore been my plan whenever I have been so unfortunate as to have a very dull scholar to find out if there was anything for which he had any special aptitude. If so I developed his power in that direction, with full confidence that a stimulus applied to any one faculty would finally start the whole mental ma. chinery.
Nor have I often been dissatisfied with the result, especially where I could get a fair attendance at school. I have a case or two in illustration :
In my earliest days of district-teaching, I had in my school at the same time, two of the dullest boys at their books, that one locality is apt to produce. They could read blusteringly in the Third Reader, but would not progress in the general work of the school. But I soon found that one of them was quite skilled in making pictures on his slate. I at once utilized his talent for drawing. I set him to drawing geometrical figures, and taught him how to find their surfaces and volumes, and soon bad him interested in numbers. I had him copy maps, and then draw the same from memory, till he became one of the best geographers in school. By copying the likenesses of famous persons named in his United States History, he became interested in their lives, and learned many important facts of history. In short, in two winters he passed from a very dull boy tu a fair average in all his studies, and to special excellence in some.
The other boy referred to proved to have a special capacity for numbers—was, in fact, a sort of “ mathematical fool.” Everything which could be connected by figures he was able to learn and remember, and thus soon lost his reputation as a dunce.
My experience with those two boys has been very valuable to me, though I have not always been able to achieve equally marked success in the same length of time." - Normal Teacher,
THE COUNTRY SCHOOL.—The country schools are nurseries wherein are being trained the future pillars of society, of state, of commerce, and of religion. The farmer's boy, while attending his district school, little dreams that he has every opportunity of becoming one of the ablest men in America's civilization. Such is the fact. He has, in many ways, advantages not enjoyed by those living in cities. The country boy in his out-of-school hours is in contact with his life-work. His out-ofdoor duties, as well as his school duties, require him to systematize and economize his time. Everything calls forth his mental activity. Many men have made the fatal mistake of moving to town to educate their children. A good country school is far better for the boys then the town school. Every man living in the country, and having boys to educate, should exert himself to the utmost to make his district school the best possible. In order that the school should be effective there must be a good teacher and pleasant surroundings. The school must attract rather than repel. The course of study and methods of instruction must supplement and vitalize the very thoughts the pupils carry into the industries of life. Both must give a higher and more permanent interest in the pursuit of knowledge. When you have instilled into the child's mind a taste of the pleasures of its pursuit, life's successful battles are more than half won for that child. Yes, stay in the country and give your children the double advantage of a good school and nature's resources. Teachers of rural districts, preach this to your patrons in season, and secure the co-operation of everybody in behalf of good country schools.- Mo. School Journal.
THE TEACHERS of Smyth county, Virginia, are publishing a paper- The Teachers' Friend-designed especially for the benefit of the profession. We need a lively dis. cussion all over the State of the means of making the teachers' work more efficient The teachers need to be educated to a higher ideal, and the communities to a better appreciation of the teacher's work. Let the discussion go on till all the unworthy teachers are driven from the field, and the honest-hearted, industrious, and worthy teachers are stimulated to their highest efficiency, till the teacher is elevated to his true place, till no community is satisfied with anything less than good schools and good teachers.
IN A BUSINESS letter just received from Superintendent J. C. Weaver, of Accomac, he says: “Our schools are more flourishing than ever before, more in number, better attended and more popular.” We do not wonder at it; ability, enthusiasm, well directed and persistent effort rarely fail of success.