Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

hard-working, persevering pupils; but as this article is intended for, the benefit of fellow-teachers particularly, the pupils may be dismissed from further consideration till perhaps some future time.

But how stands the case ? Grammar is quite universally called a dry study. As a general thing scholars probably make less proficiency in this than in any other study; while at the same time it is one of the most interesting and important in the whole catalogue of school studies; and, in reality, one of the most easy acquirement. Then where are all the causes of this lamentable, or at least very unsatisfactory state of things ? It cannot be that they were all exposed in the previous article; and I do not believe that scholars have a natural aversion to Grammar, as some pretend. The truth may as well be told first as last : Teachers in general are not up to the work; and the Grammar books in general are ten times worse than the teachers. These are, I know, bold assertions; but I believe them to be true. And I see no good reason why the truth should be withheld, especially since I proposed to myself in the beginning to point out the true causes as I believe them to exist. There is oftentimes the most consummate ignorance of the subject on the part of those who are called, or who call themselves, to teach. Many such have passed through the same sort of discipline (?) to which their own pupils are the unwilling victims. And in common schools, so far as my observation extends, male teachers are more apt to be deficient than females. As it is in Grammar, so in other branches of knowledge. It is no wonder that, as a class, teachers do not hold that high position in the estimation of the community to which their sacred and responsible office would entitle them. But there is a remedy for all this ; and it is to be found in more work. Teachers must work. They must work in school, and they must work out of school. Fellow-teachers, there is nothing but patient, vigorous, persevering work,—sometimes burning out the midnight oil,—that will elevate us to that intellectual standard, and keep us there, where we are competent to be the successful teachers of youth.

J. M. R. [TO BE CONTINUED.]

“ WHEN in Madeira,” writes a traveller, “I set off one morning to reach the summit of a mountain, to gaze upon the distant scenes and enjoy the balmy air. I had a guide with me, and we had with

difficulty ascended some two thousand feet, when a thick mist was seen descending upon us, quite obscuring the face of the heavens. I thought I had no hope left but at once to retrace our steps or be lost; but as the cloud came nearer, and the darkness overshadowed me, my guide ran on before me, penetrating the mist and calling on me ever an anon, saying: “Press on, Master, press on, there's light beyond !” I did press on. In a few minutes the mist was passed, and I gazed upon a scene of transparent beauty. All was bright and cloudless above, and beneath was the almost level mist, concealing the world below me, and glistening in the rays of the sun like a field of untrodden snow. There was nothing, at that moment, between me and the heavens.” Oye, over whom clouds are gathering or who have sat beneath the shadow, be not dismayed if they rise before you. Press on, there is light beyond.

THOUGHTS AS THEY OCCUR.

BY ONE WHO KEEPS HIS EYES AND EARS OPEN.

God has an amazing number of monitors and school-masters to stir up his creatures. For I take it for granted that, among other things, all the elements and insects that withstand our easy husbandry or horticulture are meant to keep us wide awake, enterprising and persevering! At any rate, he has posted difficulties at every step, which say as plainly as any anything that does not speak can say, “ You shall have nothing here unless you work for it.” And sometimes one is almost querulous. Last summer I planted a fine bed of Tigridia bulbs. I like the large and profuse blossoming habit which this Tiger-flower has. But soon I noticed that the stems dropped, and being pulled a little, were found to be cut off. Moles, blind to the beauty of my royal salvers, had eaten up the bulbs! What can you do with moles? Cats or terriors can't catch them. Traps under ground are a poor endeavor. This pest works nights when honest men sleep. A mole is a match for you! Yet here it is written by Nature plain as copperplate, “ You can have tiger-flowers at the price of outwitting moles; it is a fair contest between you. Let's see which will succeed.” If they have nothing else to eat, some of them will go hungry this summer in this garden!

There are my roses, too! They keep me very busy. Yet a rosebush is not exacting. It is hardy, vigorous, and generous to the least care. But what myriads of aphides load its young shoots! What slimy shoals of slugs feed on its foliage ; what rose-bugs cut circles out of its leaves; what worms infest its buds! The price of roses is endless vermicular vigilance !

Would you have grapes ? It is not enough that you plow, and enrich, and train, and hoe and prune. You must fight, too. There are colonies of enemies that mean to resist your possession.

Do you plant a plum-tree ? A thousand curculios thank you, and take possession. It is in vain that you prepare the ground, graft the stock, transplant, prune and watch. These rascally winged schoolmasters buzz in your ears — “ If you want these plums, you must do as much for their possession as we are willing to do.”

The borer insidiously cuts into the quince and the apple at the trunk, while worms pasture on the leaves in spring, and other worms are hatched in the fruit; and so peach, apple, pear or plum are so many pulpits from which bugs and worms preach to man that care and vigilance are the price of fruit.

There is an appearance of waggery in Nature. Grass will grow in my flower-garden, where I do not want it. But on the lawn, where I do want it, clock, Canada thistle, dandelion, daisy, sorrell, plaintain, mullein, and a dozen weeds besides, perk up their heads, saying, “ If you wish this ground more than we do, you can have it by taking more pains to keep us from growing than we do to grow.” So, too, poppies are capricious of growth in beds where I plant them. But in the field-crops, where I will not have them, they volunteer with impertinent generosity.

One reason for the fondness which I confess to the Ailanthus (aside from its beautiful trunk, its oriental, palm-like form) -- is its freedom from enemies. But then its roots will send up suckers, and its seeds sprout innumerable all over the garden. Even the princely Ailanthus demands work as the price of enjoyment.

One is tempted to remove to the tropics, where Nature is so prodigal that she yields spontaneously the most gorgeous profusion of things fair and beautiful! Alas! even in the tropics, the air, the woods, the grass, the house and the field are full of things that gnaw

you, sting you, bite you; while the heat makes you languid, and all things drive you to laziness — a condition in which men become as indifferent to enjoyment as they are averse to labor. What shall we do?

The chickens eat my lettuce and melons, and I am tempted to kill the plagues; then cats and weazels kill the chickens, and I am mad again. Somebody shoots my cat, but won't touch rats or weazel ! Is this great world a mighty engine of petty afflictions ? Mites, mould and mice eat my cheese. Is there nothing created to eat these eaters? Where is the Destroyer of destructions ? Where is the scourge of scourges ? Where is the master that controls cares and gives ease?

His name is Death !— New York Ledger.

From the American Educational Monthly.
HOW SHALL WE TEACH GEOGRAPHY P

III. SPECIAL METHODS. In considering this part of the question we shall confine our attention to the first, or perceptive phase, since, the right stand-point being taken and the right direction given to study, if the final end to be attained be kept in view, there can hardly be, in the subsequent investigation of the subject, any serious departure from the correct course.

It must be borne in mind that we have here to confine ourselves mainly to what the child can, with proper representations, discover for himself. So long as this idea is adhered to, we are in no danger of giving him what is beyond his comprehension. The only caution needed will be, not to go so much into detail as to diminish the prominence of the great characteristic features of the object studied. These must always be kept perfectly distinct.

Whatever appeals are made to the understanding must be exceedingly simple, the reasoning always being based on phenomena which the child has actually observed, and there must not be too many steps, or successive conclusions, between the premises and the final one.

We must be careful, also, to see that, whether in the study of the whole globe or the general view of the individual continents, due

:

prominence is given to such of the points considered, as are characteristic, and become, therefore, the cause of important conditions or phenomena to be afterward studied.

Keeping in mind the nature of the superstructure to be erected, we must so lay the foundation that each successive portion as it rises shall find its support already prepared ; and when, at length, the great vault shall be spread, every pier, every pedestal, every column, and every arch, shall be found in its proper position, bearing its appointed share of weight, having its own appropriate decorations and receiving its just meed of honor.

We must first fix the child's attention on the form of the earth, and the distribution of the land-masses and oceans. In this, the globe is the subject of examination, the child being told, that, so far as our knowledge extends, it is an accurate representation of the earth. Henceforth it is to him as though he were examining the earth itself, and he proceeds to the pleasing task of interrogating it, until he has acquired whatever it is able to teach him of itself.

After having noticed and described its form, his attention is to be directed to the position of the lands, they being the fixed body around which the mobile portions arrange themselves. He is to notice the arrangement of the lands in two worlds, of unequal size, on opposite sides of the globe, the compact body of the Old World, and the elongated form of the New,—the massing of all the lands toward the North, and their divergence toward the South in three different bands,—and the consequent converse position and arrangement of the oceans. This is not to be merely a casual notice. The most careful attention is to be given to all these points, because on these forms and arrangements of the land-masses depend those great climatic phenomena which determine the conditions of life on the several continents, and which will, in subsequent study, demand his investigation. We thus furnish him the corner-stone for the temple he is beginning to rear. As these several facts are discovered by the pupil he must invariably be required to state them clearly, in his own language, the teacher only correcting such grammatical errors as he may commit, or supplying such new terms as will enable him to express his idea in a more clear and concise manner.

He next proceeds to notice the breaking, by the sea, of the three bands in which the lands are dispersed toward the South, and the consequent formation of six great masses, which he is told are called

« AnteriorContinuar »