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count whatever break a promise; for experience has taught me that most children have good memories; and if you once promise a thing and do not perform it, they will pay very little attention to what you say afterwards. Children are such excellent imitators that I have *found they will not only imitate the conduct, but even the voice and expression of the countenance." pp. 148-151.
Mr. Wilderspin shall now inform us in what manner he drills his little regiment.
“On opening the school, I cause all the children to stand up, at a word of command, in an orderly manner; after which they all kneel down, when one of them repeats a short prayer, and concludes with the Lord's prayer, the others repeating it after him, similar to a congregation in a place of worship. After which, the boy who repeated the prayer gives out a hymn, and the children all sing it. It is pleasing to see how the little creatures will try to sing and keep time: indeed, children generally seem to be very fond of singing, and therefore we teach the little children to sing the alphabet to a tune, which they do extremely well, as well as the pence and multiplication tables, which they soon learn. The hymn being concluded, they then commence their lessons, which they do in the following order.
The school is divided into classes: there are two monitors appointed to each class; tins are fixed round the school, with cards in them, the same as are used in national schools; one of the monitors then takes the children up to the cards one at a time, the other monitor keeping the class in order while the lessons are going on. When the monitor who first began has finished half the class, the other one succeeds him, and teaches the remainder; the former monitor taking his place, so that the monitors share the work equally between them.
There is also a general monitor, whose business is to walk round the school, and see that the other monitors do their duty, and put the children's fingers to every letter or word, according to what they are learning. In this manner they go on until every child in the school has said one lesson."
pp. 16–18. " It is no part, however, of Mr. Wilderspin's plan “to make Jack a dull boy," by an overstrained attention and premature mental growth in early life. The following remarks are really very philosophical as well as humane; and we recommend them to the attention of those admirers of precocious intellect, who are quite content to see a child languishing for want of air, exercise, and freedom, a prey to rickets and mesenteric affections, provided that in proportion as its limbs shrink its brain-pan expands; that it compensates by a sickly cerebral developement for an emaciated body; by a forward and flippant tongue for inactive muscles and the equal
and healthy growth of “a sound mind in a sound body.” Not so Mr. Wilderspin: he is the Coryphæus of sports and play-grounds; and wo betide the schoolmaster who, after his warnings, shall forget these necessaries of life in his scholastic preparations.
“ As the human mind is formed for an endless variety, the oftener the scene can be changed the better, especially for children; for if little children are kept too long at one thing, they become disgusted and weary of it, and then the mind is not in a fit state to receive instruction. I cannot help thinking that many persons in their over anxiety to bring children forward in their learning, actually defeat their own intentions by keeping the mind too constantly fixed upon one object. Where can be the utility of keeping a number of little children sitting in one position for hours after they have said their lessons, and not suffering them to speak, or exchange an idea with each other? No better way, in my humble opinion, can be taken to stupify them than such a mode; for little children are naturally lively; and if they are not suffered to move, but kept constantly in one position, they not only become disgusted with their lessons, but likewise with the school. Hence, perhaps, is one of the reasons why so many children cry on going to school; but as one of the principal ends in view in infant schools is to make the children happy, as well as to instruct them, so it is thought expedient to change the scene as often as possible.
“ The mode of teaching now under consideration, is as follows, viz:-The children are taught to stand in files; the smaller children, such as those from eighteen months to three years old, standing in front, the taller children standing behind. The alphabet is pasted on cards in two different characters, thus (a A) on one side of the card, and (b B) on the other side. The card is then put on the end of a stick, where there is a notch cut to receive it. The stick is then held up before all the children, who immediately call out A: one of the children then inquires how many there are, and the other children answer two: the stick is then turned round in the hand, and (b B) are exhibited, when one of the children inquires what letters they are, the other children answering as before: in this way we go on until we have gone through the whole of the alphabet.
“They are also taught natural history in the same way, by placing pictures of birds and beasts on the end of the stick, and the children very soon learn the names of the different birds and animals. pp. 20–23."
Mr. Wilderspin explains more fully in the following passage his method of “giving little children bodily exercise, and mental improvement, and pleasing them at the same time.” We are not advocates for the plan of making the whole business of education mere VOL. 1.
play; since quite as much perhaps of its value is in the effort as in the attainment: but with very little children, for whom alone our author is legislating, there can be no doubt respecting the judiciousness of his system; and even with elder children it might with advantage be acted upon somewhat more than is usually the habit in schools.
“As an infant school may very properly be called a combination of the school and nursery, the art of pleasing forms a prominent part in the system; and as little children are very apt to be fretful, it becomes expedient to divert as well as teach them; for if children of two years old and under are not diverted, they will naturally cry for the mother; and to have ten or twelve children crying in the school, would put every thing in confusion: but it is possible to have two hundred, or even three hundred, children assembled together, the eldest not more than six years of age, and yet not to hear one of them crying for a whole day. Indeed, I may appeal to the numerous and respectable personages who have visited the school for the truth of this assertion, many of whom have declared, that they could not conceive it possible, that such a number of little children should be assembled together, and all be so happy as they have found them, many of them being so very young. But I can assure the reader, that many of the children who have cried heartily on being sent to school the first day or two, have cried as much on being kept at home after they have been in the school but a very short time; and I am of opinion that when children are absent, it is frequently the fault of their parents. I have had children come to school without their breakfast, because it has not been ready; others have come to school without shoes, because they would not be kept at home while their shoes were mending; and I have had others come to school half dressed, whose parents have either been at work or gossiping, and, when they returned home, have thought that their children had been lost; but to their great surprise and joy, when they applied at the school have found them there.
“Can it be wondered at that little children should dislike to go to school, where in general forty or fifty, or perhaps more, are assembled together in one room, scarcely large enough for one third of that number, and not allowed to speak to, or scarcely look at, each other. In those places I firmly believe many, for the want of proper exercise, become cripples, or have their health much injured, by being kept sitting so many hours; but as the children's health is of the utmost consequence, it becomes necessary to remedy this evil by letting them have proper exercise combined, as much as possible, with instruction; to accomplish which many measures have been tried, but I have found the following to be the most successful, viz.:
The children are all ordered to sit on the ground, which they readily obey; they are then desired to count one hundred, or as many as may be thought proper, which they do by lifting up each foot alternately, all the children counting at one time. By this means every part of the body is put in motion, and with this advantage, that by lifting up each foot every time they count one, it causes them to keep time, a thing very essential, as, unless this was the case, all would be confusion. They also add up two at a time by the same method, thus, two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, and so on; but care must be taken not to keep them too long at one thing, or too long in one position.
“ Having done a lesson or two this way, they are desired to put their feet out straight, and putting their hands together, they say, one and one are two; two and one are three; three and one are four; four and one are five; five and one are six; six and two are eight; in this way they go on until they are desired to stop.
“They also learn the pence and multiplication tables, by forming themselves in circles around a number of young trees that are planted in the play ground. For the sake of order, each class has its own particular tree; and when they are ordered to the trees, every child knows which tree to go to. As soon as they are assembled round the trees, they join hands and walk round, every child saying the multiplication table until they have finished it: they then let go hands, and put them behind, and for variety' sake sing the pence table, the alphabet, hymns, &c. &c. Thus the children are gradually improved and delighted; for they call it play; and it matters little what they call it, as long as they are edified, exercised, pleased, and made bappy.” pp. 31–36.
(To be continued.)
PROGRESS OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION,
[The subject of the following article is daily attracting more of the attention to which it is entitled. Several of the recent institutions of our own country, have introduced regular arrangements for corporeal exercise; and we shall embrace the earliest opportunity of recording the progress which the heads of these seminaries communicate. More we think, however, ought to be done, than has hitherto been attempted. The subject is sufficiently important to warrant the establishment of schools for bodily exercise, which might confer on our youth all the substantial benefits of the ancient gymnasia. The time we hope is near, when there will be no literary institution unprovided with the proper means of healthful exercise and innocent recreation, and when literary men shall cease to be distinguished by a pallid countenance, and a wasted body. Of all the expedients that have been proposed for winning the young from habits of idleness and dissipation, none seems to us more promising than the gymnasium.]
When we consider how many minds have long been engaged on the theory and practice of education-minds, too, which were deeply interested in the results of their labors, it is surely not a little remarkable, that for ages they should have overlooked the very first and most essential condition of success; I mean the necessity of cultivating the body. Thus, if we except the first quarter of the present century, nothing worth naming has been done for the body, since the days of antiquity. Our surprise on this subject would be less, if the striking advantages of training the body had not been demonstrated to us of old, and recorded for our instruction; our surprise would be less too, if we had ever succeeded in education without this training, and if for centuries past we had not been constantly failing in our efforts to perfect human beings without it. This omission cannot be accounted for, unless by the fact, that practice can never be right while principles are wrong. While men remain ignorant of human nature, unacquainted with the structure, functions, and powers, of their own bodies, of their mental and moral capacities, it is not to be believed that they will be fortunate in cultivating these capacities, or wise in directing them to the accomplishment of the high purposes of existence. The great practical question then is, here as everywhere else, what is to be done? Look at the human being, see how he is compounded, consider of what he is capable, and how he is to be affected. While thus occupied, if we have intelligence without prejudice and prepossession, we shall soon perceive that man is made up of a physical, a moral, and an intellectual constitution, all equally and essentially important in themselves considered, and in their mutual relations and reciprocal influence on each other. When this fact, which seems indeed abundantly obvious, is once admitted, we shall of necessity perceive that nature divides education into three branches, and consequently that every plan of instruction, founded on more or fewer divisions of the subject than these, must prove unsuccessful, because not conformable to the arrangements and indications of nature. This inference appears to be admissible, without an experiment to prove its validity; and yet numberless abortive experiments did not, for a series of generations, so far bring to light the cause of these failures, as to occasion its abandonment. Even now the work of reformation is but partially effected.
I beg the reader to put this question to himself, What would an individual be worth to himself or others whose mind whose dispo