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SS* Vol. XVI.

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Editor of Official Department,

, Superintendent Public Instruction.



I. General Department. The Value of Pictures in Teaching Phys- | Teaching History......... ical Geography ......

The Uses of Forgotten Knowledge... Lord Ardmillan on Honor in Boys..... 339'Dark Days in Teaching........ The Art of Questioning Illustrated.... 341 Little Things................. Teaching Truthfulness........ ... 344 Rothschild's Maxims....., Teaching Reading ....

346 Book Notices......... School Government.....

347) Editorial Paragraphs..... Language Exercises.....

. 348 | Publishers' Notes... Sound Education.....

.. 350 Magazines............ Teaching Pupils to Think... .... 351

II. Official Department. Peabody Normals.....

........ 365 | Who Ought to be Selected as SubstiSchool District not Entitled to Funds

tute Teachers .....

... 371 Until Provision is made fo r School Just Think of It.......

.... 372 Houses, &c. .........

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. 378 intendents' Conference. Census of School Children..... ....... 370 | County Histories......


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Entered at the Post Office at Richmond, Va., as Second Class matter.


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Educational Journal of Virginia.

Vol. XVI.

Richmond, Va., August, 1885.

No. 8.

The Value of Pictures in Teaching Physical Geography.

By Lillie J. Martin.

Drawing makes complicated explanations simple, and gives vividness to descriptions not thoroughly grasped by the imagination. It is particularly valuable as a test of a pupil's knowledge of a descriptive subject. If a beginning class in physical geography is given a descriptive subject to illustrate, more than half the class will fail. Nor is this failure chiefly among those who draw indifferently. The test brings to light a mental deficiency among all the pupils that must be remedied. But the nature of the difficulty must be first ascertained. A re-study of the lesson shows that it does not come from inattention. Careful questioning develops the fact that the pupils have no material with which to picture what they read. Here is another proof that "the mind can create no new material, but can divide and combine the parts of material things with which it is familiar so as to form new existences.”

Since the surrounding country does not always furnish proper material for illustrating physical geography, what is to be done? Pictures appeal so strongly to all the senses that they may be used for this purpose. No physical geography furnishes a sufficient amount. Nor is this to be regretted. The very gathering of pictures excites interest and draws closer attention to the subject. A method something like the following has been fairly successful in carrying on this work. On beginning physical geography a list is made of the subjects that can be illustrated by pictures, and the pupils are set to gathering these from magazines, railroad guides, etc. Each is expected to make a small collection on all subjects, and a larger collection on that subject that he finds the most interesting. Additions are made to this collection during the whole course of study. These pictures and, if possible, railroad maps showing the location, are mounted on white or brown paper and

labelled so as to show the teacher what subject the pupil intends a given picture to illustrate. For convenient handling they are placed in a portfolio made of paper and enclosed in a large envelope for protection. The pupils are encouraged to preserve bits of information from newspapers, etc., scraps of appropriate poetry and attach them to the pictures. Care is taken, however, that the main thought may not be lost sight of by too many details.

After the pupil has been over a new subject somewhat cursorily, for the purpose of learning the proper terms to employ in discussing it, he is taken into the country to study the thing itself. If this is impossible, he examines the pictures from the various collections on this subject. Especial attention is given in class recitation to one of the best pictures. Several pupils put it upon the board to improve their drawing. One of the rest tells what he sees and the others make additions. The pupils' imaginations thus receive material for future use. Of course, this material cannot be used at present. The surroundings of place and time must first be forgotten. Perhaps some one will propose describing the picture as if colored. This narrows the scene to a particular time and makes it almost a reality. Some one will tell how the place appeared in the past, another, how it attained its present state, and another, how it will look in the future. What could give the imagination better exercise !

Each pupil writes a composition on the subject that he has selected for fuller illustration. He makes a drawing of the best picture that he has on the subject. This is not done altogether to give him practice in drawing but to hold his attention long enough to observe points that would otherwise escape his notice. "The pencil is the best microscope.” The composition is divided into two parts. Part I contains a description of what the pupil sees with his mental and physical eves. All the pictures that he has on this subject are to be described. He may choose, also, to describe any imaginary picture that contains the main points of his subject. Part II is something from books. The pupil states in his own words what he has read, and employs the narrative or descriptive style as he prefers. The second part is added for the purpose of directing the pupil's attention to the best books on physical geography and to assure a careful reading of them. Encyclopædias, books of travel and description, novels, poetry, legends, etc., should be recommended. From these the pupil may select something on a particular picture or on the subject as a whole.

Cañons and waterfalls are among the best subjects for composition work. Good pictures are easily obtained, and there is a variety of

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