« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
tive method has been completely successful, wherever it has been tried in this country; that it is adopted in the public schools of France; where boys learn as much of Latin in five months on this plan, as on the obsolete one they did, or is done elsewhere, in years; and that it is rapidly gaining ground in England, in excellent private schools. Here are facts. Argument and declamation cannot affect them.
Inductive instruction in the languages is in this country but in its incipient stage of experiment. Thus far it has succeeded beyond expectation; and we hope that no statements in the pages
of this Journal, come from what source they may, will have any tendency to check experiment, under circumstances especially in which it is found successful elsewhere.
The writer of the Remarks seems to think it a matter of great urgency that in teaching Greek grammar one fixed volume should be used to the exclusion of every other. We agree with the author to a certain extent. While teachers are so variously qualified for their office, it is important that there should be a perfect uniformity in the vehicle of instruction. But the day, we hope, is coming when our teachers will not bind themselves to follow the footsteps of any single grammarian, but will be found able to compare the statements and the merits of every useful writer on the subject which they teach. This is, after all, the only true method of instructing. The teacher who merely marks off a certain number of lines to be learned and recited, might be fully replaced by an automaton. Nor is it enough that an instructer explains what is set down for him and his pupil in the book. He must not fetter his own mind nor his pupil's in this way. He should come to the business of teaching, with a mind stored with all that is useful and instructive in the subject of every lesson, and should transfer, as far as he can, his own stock of ideas to the opening mind that is before him. He should be able not merely to appreciate, but, where it may be necessary, to fill up, and even to correct, his text-book.
The ill-informed and the prejudiced may decry oral instructionof which by the way they know little or nothing from observation or experience. But teachers who are zealous to improve themselves and their pupils, should never forget that in every good school of most countries in Europe, as well as in every seminary, up to the universities, this is the prevailing method of teaching, in every branch. Written lectures are, in fact, but a more regular shape of oral instruction; and judicious lecturing, accompanied by sufficient illustration and by examination and exercise on the part of the pupil, is, so far at least as the human mind has yet advanced, the most successful method of imparting instruction.
At another opportunity I may follow the learned reviewer further. I would not, however, take leave of him for the present, without expressing my profound respect for the learning he displays; and if I have used great freedom in my remarks, it has been only when the writer has stepped from his study into the school-room, and has expressed a thought which seemed hostile to improvement in instruction.
PROSPECTUS OF THE LONDON GYMNASTIC SOCIETY.
A short account of the revival of Gymnastics, &c. It may be truly said, that the revival of Gymnastics, so long buried under the ruins of antiquity, one of the greatest advancements yet made in the science of education, and not among the least conspicuous improvements of the present enlightened age. Every one who reflects,-every one who knows any thing, knows, and by experience, how intimate a connection there exists between body and mind,-how invariably the healthy or sickly temperament of the one influences that of the other ; that when the body is strong, healthy and active, so is the mind cheerful and elastic, and that when the former is sickly and diseased, so is the latter languid and depressed. The ancient Greeks and Romans understood this ; and their education was accordingly directed to the developement, not only of the mental, but also of the coporeal powers; and this corporeal branch of education was termed Gymnastics.
In the middle ages, however, when education got into the hands, and was at the sole disposal, of the monks, it is not surprising that Gymnastics altogether disappeared. The lords of the soil jodeed, knights and princes, contended at their splendid tilts and tournaments; but the mass of the people were degraded and enslaved, the more effectually to administer to the pleasures and the pride of their oppressors. This age of chivalry, as it was termed, passed away however in succeeding ages ; even these knightly games became extinct, and Gymnastics, gradually losing ground, were at length reduced to the very name, known possibly to some musty philosophers who might have stumbled on it in their insane because indiscriminate enthusiasm for whatever might bear the stamp of barbarism or antiquity. In modern times, however, more practical men have sprung up amongst us-men who not only have detected, but pointed out, and, as far as in them lay supplied, the deficiency. To these men— Professors Gutsmuths and Jahn--the merit of the discovery and revival of this long lost art,—this relic of an age gone by'—is more particularly due. After a careful examination of the structure of the human body, they devised numerous exercises, arranged them in a well adapted series, and again restored Gymnastics to soinething like their former rank and importance.
In many towns of Germany and Switzerland, Gymnasia were established. The youth, and even grown men, soon derived more pleasure from exercises which fortified, than in pleasures which paralised, the powers of their bodies. By the consciousness of increased vigor, the mind too became powerfully excited, and strove for equal perfection, and the constant ambition of every pupil was to
verily in his own instance, the truth of the adage, Mens suna in corpore sano, A sound mind in a healthy body.' Even the naturally indolent were irresistibly carried away by the zeal of their comrades ; persons, diseased and weakly, recovered their health, for the restoration of which these exercises were possibly the only effectual remedy The certificates of physicians wherever Gymnastics were introduced, concurred as to their healthful tendency, nor were the highest testimonials from parents and teachers found wanting. Indeed, all young men who cultivated them, were acknowledged to have improved in health and morals, and to have acquired an open, free, and graceful deportment. For three or four years past, Gymnastics have been also introduced into England ; and for so limited a period have met with decided success. They have been patrooised by the Government--have been adopted in the army; in the Royal Military, and Naval schools ; besides the Charter-house, and many private establishments. Private Gymnasia, too, have also appeared in various parts of the metropolis, and received considerable encouragement. But in order to render Gymynastics generally beneficial, and to secure to them a permanent, and a national basis, a Public Gymnasium has been established in a central part of Londoo, for the adinission of all persons of character and respectability, and on terms as nearly as possible proportioned to their pecuniary abilities. Its conduct and regulation will be placed under the management of a Society.
In London, the birth-place as it were of invention, where the labor of her inhabitants is more exclusively mental than in any other locality, it is evideot that a provision for maintaining something like an equilibrium between the energies of body and mind must be supplied, before their proverbially care-worn faces and emaciated frames cease to excite the coinmiseration of the philanthropist--before
The languid eye, the cheek
And withered muscle; and the vapid soul? shall cease to reproach, not their owners, but the bad system which has engendered these horrors, and seeks to perpetuate them.
That an institution siinilar to the one proposed, is and has long been, a deside. ratuin in this huge metropolis, will be obvious to all who reflect on the impossibility of persons whose employments are sedentary, attaining, after the confinement and anxiety of the day, a requisite portion of healthful exercise and excitement to recruit and exhilarate the spirit, and restore the tone of languid nature.' This desirable object, it will be admitted, is not accomplished by the dull, monotonous, and even peroicious practice of listlessly strolling about the streets without a definite or a useful motive ; still less, by dissipating the remnant of their already abused faculties in the unhallowed atmosphere of the tavern or the club. To the clerk, this course will but accelerate the mischief arising from eight or ten hours' dry drudgery at the desk's dead wood;' to the artisan, it is not calculated to ensure peaceful slumbers, and to enable him to meet the duties of the morrow with nerves new braced and spirits cheered.'
Jo hypochondriacal, and all other melancholy disorders, people are too apt to acquire the notion, that mind alone is concerned; whereas, the body will usually be found to own at least an equal share, if not indeed the origin, of the evil. There is a mutual re-action between them, and by lessening it on one side, you diminish the pain on both. Hyponchondria is the name of one of the regions of the stomach-a very instructive etymology. The blood of a melancholy man is thick and slow; that of a lively man clear and quick. A natural conclusion therefore, is, that the remedy would be found in putting the blood into action. By ceaseless action all that is, subsists' Exercise is the best means of effectiog it
, as the impulse given by artificial stimuli is too sudden, the effect too transitory, and the cost to nature too great. Plato bad so high an opinion of the medicinal powers of exercise for disorders of the mind, that he said it was even a cure for a wounded conscience,
Impressed with the truth of the principles here advanced, and entertaining a strong conviction of the high importance of the subject, several Gymnasts hare formed themselves into a Society for their advancement, and the following are the laws, regulations, purposes, and institutions, which they have adopted.
Gymnastics * Is a term of very extended signification. By the ancient Greeks it signified that part of physics which relates to exercises for the health. It was that branch of education which after certain prescribed rules, tended to develope the bcaily powers of man, 10 render bis frame robust and agile, and to fortify it against the common accidents of life. As long as man possesses a body, and requires for his earthly existence a bodily life, so long must Gymnastics form a very principal object of man's cultivation.
Gymnasium* Was the name given to the place where the Greeks performed their public ex: ercises. It is not enough to know the theory, the practice must be combined with it; and, man, being a social aniinal, that practice is not to be attained in solitude. The Gymnast does not arrive at his enviable pre-eminence by hear-say; he does not hear about him that delightful sensation of capability to perform and endure what is out of the reach of ordinary men, and by a mere act of volition too, with. out first making repeated trials and efforts, and by witnessing in the Gymnasium the performances of others, thereby encouraging the pleasing hope, that his eger. tions too, will be crowned with success.
Rules of the Society of Gymnasts. 1. The Gymnasts to be classed according to age and size, and to be divided into parties of nine or ten.
11. The Gymnasts to choose annually a Director, a Vice Director, two Secretaries, and as many Leaders and Under Leaders, as there are parties ;--the Vice Director, and two Secretaries to be also eligible as Leaders.
III. The Director, Vice Director, two Secretaries, and the Leaders, form a Committee.
IV. The Committee constitute the deliberative and executive authority of the
V. The Committee assembles as often as requisite, at least once every month.
VIII. The Director, or in bis place, the Vice Director, is the President of the Committee; he summons the members of the Committee to extraordinary meetings, is the general leader of the exercises of which he devises the plan in such a manner that after a certain time each party may go through the whole series, and he is the Superintendent and inspector of the Gymnasium.
IX. The Secretary minutes down the deliberations of the Committee which he reads before the general assembly and records the decisions of the Society. He keeps a register of all Gymnasts according to their classes, with their ages, their christian, surnames, and residences, he also manages the correspondence of the Society.
x. The Under-Secretary represents the Secretary in his absence ; he likewise keeps a register of all Gymnasts after their tiine of entrance and secession ; re." ceives admission money, and the monthly contributions, transacts the pecuniars business, and delivers in accounts every month before the Committee, and every three months before the general assembly.
* As the correct pronunciation of these words has acquired something more than ordinary importance, we shall be indulged, we hope, in setting
down their or thoeps. Gymnastic ( jimnastic,) Gymnasum (jimnazhium.) The latter word, particularly, is often mispronounced.
XI. The Leaders have the particular inspection and direction of their respecte ive classes, and instruct them during the time of exercise, after the plan devised by the director. Once every week they meet on the exercise ground with the Director, to perfect themselves in difficult exercises.
XII. T'he Gymnasts endeavor to attend regularly at the appointed days and hours, and to assemble at the general meetings of the society; and each of them has the rigtit to subunit propositions in writing, which he must give to the Committee for discussion.
XIII. The Society possesses within itself its own legislative power. Two thirds of the members are necessary to form a lawful assembly. The deliberatons of the comınittee are to be laid before the general assembly, and every question is decided by a majority of votes.
XIV. Every spring, in the mooth of March, the exercises commence, and end in the month of October. During this period, two days a week, and froin two to three hours each day are devoted to them.
XV. A few days before the exercises begin, the Director of the last year, summons the Gyuboasts to a general meeting, in which the officers for the current year are elected.
Xvi. Persons wishing to become members of the Society, must write down their Christian, surnames, and residence, which will be delivered to a member of the Committee, and if admitted, they must pledge themselves, to follow the rules and laws of the Society, pay their entrance money, fix how much they can contribute (not less than halt a crowo monthly) and receive a metal-mark and a di. gest of the institution and laws.
XVII. Out of the funds, the hire of the exercise ground, the repairing of the apparatus and the advanced capital for the establishment are to be repaid.
XVIll. Societies forming themselves in other towns or places, are to be assisted by aid and advice, and, as soon as the funds of the Society will permit, by advances in money.
XIX. Once every year a Gymnastic feast is to be held, to which the best Gymnasts from other Gymnasiums are to be invited. All who wish to establish a claim to the prize, choose three arbitrators; and the best Gymnasts of the day receive a mark of distinction from the Society. After the exercises, a simple repast, seasoned by guod nature, good sense, and a festive song, conclude the whole.
Spectators. The Gymnasium is neither a stage op wbich the spectators are to expect an his. trionic representation, por is it a secret hall. To all respectable persons free admission is permitted; but they must content themselves with looking on, and confine themselves to the place allotted to visiters. Thus every body will be afforded an opportunity of estimating the nature and value of Gymnastic exercises, but not of interrupting them. Whoever wishes to know more than what the evidence of his eyes furoishes, must choose another opportuoity to obtain his information.
Gymnastic dress. Without a permaneat Gymnastic dress, the troublesome change of fashion would destroy the exercises one after another, and in the end abolish Gymnastics altogether. A Gymnastic dress Lisi be durable, cheap, and adapted for all the motioas. Unbleached linen is the fittest material; of which each can easily procure bimself a jacket, and a pair of trowsers. The exercises must be performed with the head and hands uncovered, and without a oeckcloth; high shoes are preferable to boots.
The Gymnast's conduct. Good manners within the precincts of a Gymnasium effect more than the best laws work without. The severest penalty is exclusion from the Society. It cannot be too frequently and too effectually enforced on the mind of the Gymnast who is strongly imbued with a love for his art, that no one should be more careful VOL. I.