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The pleasure of its acquisition.
The human soul is so constituted that every right act or possession brings with it a joy, a satisfaction, or an anticipation, and this is both a reward and an incitant. Among natural incentives may be placed all expressions of approval which furnish palpable evidence of success; such as
The expressed approbation of the teacher. The attainment of an assigned standard. When, however, these become the end of the pupil's efforts, when he ceases to look up from the shadow to the substance, then they are no longer natural rewards. In many of our graded schools the desire to reach high marks is the "ruling passion” of the pupils. They study for "per cents,” and cram for “per cents.”
All artificial rewards and punishments which are thrust between the pupil and the natural rewards of duty and acquisition are artificial incentives. Instead of being the simple evidence of success, these are its alluring reward; instead of making natural rewards operative and potent, they weaken and conceal them.
Among artificial incentives may be included-
Privileges, as holidays, early dismissal from school, choice of seats, etc.
These are not natural consequences of the pupil's success or attainments. They are only temporary substitutes for those rewards which are worthier and more enduring; and they may be so incorporated into a system of school management as to become its very life—the all-absorbing end of effort and desire.
We would not include punishment among school incentives, natural or artificial. Its office is to reform, to restrain, and to urge the pupil forward. It does not incite; it impels. It is the reserved force which is brought up when incentives fail.
Natural incentives are, intrinsically, superior to artificial. They nourish the higher principles of character, and, at the same time, act through life, springing up spontaneously in the path of duty and success. If made potent in childhood, they usually remain potent in
after life. Artificial incentives, on the contrary, are transient and treacherous. They allure in youth, but fail in life's needs and conflicts. The child, always incited to duty by some prize, immunity, or privilege, depends in vain on such helps in manhood. When school days are over, if not before, knowledge must be sought for its own sake or for its uses, and neither integrity nor virtue holds in its hands a bribe.
The teacher should appeal to motives that have an abiding potency and value, and, through such motives, he should try to quicken the pupil's sense of right and duty. Certainly, so long as natural incentives can be made effective in securing study and good conduct, they should be relied upon.— The Normal Teacher,
Solution of a Problem Without Rules.
I placed a bowl out in the storm
To catch the drops of rain;
Two feet across the same.
I to the bowl repair;
It being measured fair ;
Two feet across within,
What would the depth have been ?
This problem, lately revived in many papers, is a good one to show what I meant in a former communication, suggesting that there is a “better way” than rule work for pupils to solve most, if not all, practical problems.
The geometrical truth, that when two chords of a circle cut each other, the product of the parts of the one must equal the product of the parts of the other, gives the radius of the water surface of the bowl as V 108 inches. Thus: 6X18=108, the square of the radius. The geometrical truths, not rules, that a spherical segment is equivalent to a sphere of the same height, plus half a cylinder of same base and height as the segment, and that the area of a circle is 27 (nearly) the square of the radius, the solidity of a cylinder, the product of its height, by area of base, and that a sphere is two-thirds of a circumscribing cylinder, suffice to give the volume of the required segment to be 79.20 cubic inches. Thus: 108X2 X3=21,28=2 cylinder, and 3X3X ** X23 of 6=742=solidity of 6-inch sphere. Hence the volume of water is 79,2° cubic inches. The volume of water divided by area of base of cylinder 24 inches in diameter will give for a quotient the answer required. Thus: 79,2° XII X 12 X 7=272 inches, or the depth of water in the cylinder that shall equal the water six inches deep in the bowl. This may not be the shortest solution (if various decimal multipliers and divisors are supplied by rules), but it enables a pupil to use his capital of geometrical truths in a way to solve the problem correctly, and to exercise his brain in a way to receive the advantages claimed for educational drill. After a little practice results will be most satisfactory.
The pupil should know, from demonstration, or from good authority, the main established truths of geometry, and then depend upon them and his common sense to practically use them.
“How can we reason but from what we know.”
N. B. WEBSTER.
Teaching How to Write Good English. Many years ago Barnas Sears said to the writer, “The true method of getting your pupils to write compositions is to give them the thoughts and ask them to put these thoughts into good sentences.” We find this principle well elaborated in the following article in the last number of Mr. Vaile's Intelligence, published in Chicago:
"As an illustration of the manner in which composition work can be secured from younger pupils, the following is suggested: Let the pupils be requested to pass in to the teacher eight sentences neatly written, telling anything they know about the size and color of apples, and on what they grow. These the teacher corrects and returns the next day, with the request that they observe the corrections and embody the same ideas in fewer sentences. When these are again corrected and returned they should be preserved; while the succeeding lessons follow on the taste of apples, their usefulness, how they differ from other fruits, their kinds, parts, or anything else the pupil knows about them. When the sentences have all been corrected and condensed, the teacher may call for them all to be copied consecutively
and presented in the form of a composition. In correcting work like the above, the teacher should notice the language used as much as the spelling and punctuation, and should suggest more appropriate words and better construction wherever necessary.
“Compositions can be produced only where there are ideas to be expressed, therefore a valuable exercise is to outline subjects in the class, pupils presenting the ideas and the teacher arranging them after all have been collected. It is most unreasonable to assign to some beginner a theme which he has not so thoroughly investigated as to become interested in, and then to expect of him an original composition in which no thought of another has been appropriated. No person can write until he has thoughts. At first the main strength of teacher and pupil should be turned thoughtward. Thoughts must be gathered, revolved, organized, intensified, and made to glow before they can be expressed effectively as one's own. The gathering must come from actual observation, from oral instruction, from lectures, from general reading, from special study, or from all these combined. The knowledge must become a matter of personal experience before it can be expressed in one's own language.” New England Journal of Education.
A Plan of Conducting Spelling Lessons.
1. The teacher dictates twenty or more words, and the pupils write them on their slates at their seats. This takes about ten minutes.
2. The teacher examines the slates of four good spellers, then requires all the pupils, except these four, to write their names on their slates, leave them on their desks, take position in line round the room, and spell orally till the expiration of the spelling hour.
3. While the teacher is conducting the oral exercise, three of the pupils, whose slates have been examined by the teacher, examine the slates left on the desks, underscore all the misspelt words on each, and write these words and the names of the pupils misspelling them on their (the monitors') slates.
4. During this oral work, the fourth pupil, whose slate has been corrected, stands at the board and writes the names of the scholars who fail to spell correctly, and also the misspelt words.
5. The monitors, as soon as their work of correcting the slates is finished, bring up their slates to the teacher's desk, and one of them
copies from these (monitors' slates) the number of failures on her slate, while she is still conducting the oral exercise.
The monitors are also called on to spell orally their quota of words.
To prevent confusion, it is well for the monitors to spell (orally) at the conclusion of the exercise.
In the case of very many errors in spelling, it is more convenient to have the monitors write on their slates, not the words missed, but simply the number of such words.
This plan enables the teacher not only to have written and oral spelling the same day, but to have both corrected with comparatively little trouble.
It may be used successfully in second primary grade and above on days for oral spelling.
J. P. THOMAS.
STORY OF A DEVOTED MOTHER.
In one of the prairie towns of Northern Iowa, where the Illinois Central Railroad now passes from Dubuque to Sioux City, lived a woman whose experience repeats the truth that inherent forces, ready to be developed, are waiting for the emergencies that life may bring.
She was born and “brought up” in New England. With the advantages of a country school, and a few terms in a neighboring city, she became a fair scholar--not at all remarkable; she was married at twenty-one to a young farmer, poor, but intel. ligent and ambitious. In ten years after the death of their parents they emigrated to Iowa, and invested their money in land that bade fair to increase in value, but far away from neighbors. Here they lived, a happy family, for five years, when he died, leaving her, at the age of thirty-five, with four boys, the eldest nearly fourteen, the youngest nine. The blow came suddenly, and at first was overwhelming. Alone, in what seemed almost a wilderness, she had no thought of giving up the farm. It was home. There they must stay and do the best they could. The prospect of a railroad passing near them in time was good; then some of the land might be sold. A little money had been laid by—nothing that she ought to touch for the present. Daniel, the hired man, who had come out with them, and who was a devoted friend and servant, she determined to keep. His judgment was excellent in farm matters. Hitherto the boys had gone regularly to school, a mile or two away; for a settlement in Iowa is never without its school-house. They were bright and quick to learn. Their father had been eager to help and encourage them. Newspapers, magazines, and now and then a good book, had found their way into this household. Though very fond of reading herself, with the care of her house she had drifted along, as so many women do, until the discipline of study, or any special application, had been almost forgotten. It was the ambition of both parents that their sons should be well edu. cated. Now Jerry and Thede, the two oldest, must be kept at home during the