« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
the progress of monitorial instruction, presenting an account of the principal Lancasterian, or monitorial schools, in the United States. Then follows a sketch of the extensive establishment of this system in Great Britain, and on the continent of Europe; with an account of its rapid adoption in other parts of the world. The author proceeds, in the next place, to discuss the merits of the monitorial method in application to what are usually called the higher branches of education, and offers some able arguments for the superiority of mutual instruction, in these departments. Various seminaries in Europe are here referred to, where, after several years trial, the success of this system has been satisfactorily shown. The next topic of the address is the course of instruction proposed in the New-York High-School. (See our present number, p. 23.]
The notes and illustrations which are annexed to the address, present a mass of interesting information respecting the present state of education abroad. In this department of his work, Dr. Griscom has rendered an important service to instructers and superintendents of institutions. He has furnished them with intelligence which cannot fail to stimulate them to improvement and to guide their efforts.
Since perusing Dr. Griscom's book, we have received the first annual report of the Trustees of the New-York High-School Society. It gives us much pleasure to observe the high estimation in which this school is held by the citizens of New-York, and the ample patronage so readily bestowed on it.
"The High School,' says the Report, 'was opened on the first of March, with more than two hundred pupils ; and in the month of May their number had increas. ed to at least six hundred and fifty.
The extreme heat of the summer drove a considerable number of the pupils to the country. The rooms of the school were all filled shortly after the re-opening of the school subsequent to the summer vacation, and there is now on the list of applicants a considerable number who cannot be adınitted.
The number now in school is six hundred and fifty, that being the complement.
In the introductory department, which is designed for very young children, an attempt has been made to introduce, with suitable modifications, the system adopted in the infant schools of England. * The progress of the children,' the trustees observe, has been very gratifying, and in some instances remarkable.'
"This department exhibits an air of order, attention, activity, and contentment, which has satisfied and delighted every individual who has visited it. Many of the children, wbo, when they began, could not write a letter, already write a fair hand, and have been promoted to the study of the simple rules of arithmetic.-The greater part of these children commit and recite arithmetical tables erery day, and upwards of 130 cipher. All of these children are taught some portions of nataral history and geography, in which they receive much valuable knowledge from familiar lectures, with the aid of pictures and maps. The children are kept constantly occupied, without fatiguing their attention for too long a time with one thing. Even their incessant restlessness and activity are turned to account by the discipline and exercises of the school. It is hardly possible to enter the school without perceiving that what is commonly called a love of mischief in children, is in fact a love of mental occupation. They are taught with the utmost simplicity, and their good feelings and affections are called forth by the unwearied tenderness and parental kindness of their instructers. Wilful and continued disobedience is scarcely known. In short, the experiment which bas been made in the introductory department has been more successful than could have been anticipated, and the trustees recommend to the society with the fullest confidence to entrust their children to the institution at a very early age.
The studies pursued in the Junior Department, are, Spelling, Reading, Penmanship, Elocution, Arithmetic, Geography, sketching Maps, English Grammar, Lin. ear Drawing, and Composition. The monitorial method has triumphed over all the obstacles it had to encounter in the first organisation of this school. The Trustees are satisfied that a fair comparison between this school, and any one conducted upon different principles, will evince the great superiority of its method of instruction over every other that has been tried.
• In the senior department,' say the Trustees, 'all who enter the school do not intend to remain for the same period of time—and many who leave it expect to enter inmediately upon the active business of life. It is very plain that these circumstances must require corresponding classifications of scholars and of studies.
Some pursuits are nevertheless common to all. All the scholars in this department attend to spelling, Writing, Arithmetic, Geography, Elocution, Composition, Drawing, Philosophy, Natural History, and Book-keeping. Philosophy and Natural History are taught chiefly by lectures and by questions; and these branches, together with Elocution and Composition, are severally attended to one day in every week.
The usual Latin and Greek Classics are read, such as Cesar, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Xenophon, and Homer. A large class study French, and a few pursue Spanish ; classes of from 6 to 20 are engaged in Book-keeping, and in the various branches of Mathematics, such as Mensuration, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Algebra.
The Trustees might particularise some bright examples of extraordioary acquirement, but they forbear to do so--and content themselves with saying that the general progress of both the Senior and Junior Departments affords the most conclusive evidence that the Monitorial System of Instruction is capable of being adapted to the higher as well as the lower branches of education.
It is the opinion of those who have had the most experience, and the best means of judging, that they have never known so great proficiency made in the same period of time, as has been made in the upper departments of the High School.
In all these studies the method of mutual instruction has been brought into operati and has satisfied the sanguine expectations which were formed of its efficiency."
The New York High-School has, we think, made a very auspicious commencement. It has early taken an honorable place among useful seminaries; and we hope it will long continue to enlighten the youth of that great city, and usher them into active life with every preparation for becoming useful citizens, and benefactors to their country.
History of the United States, from their first settlement as Colonies, to
the close of the War with Great Britain, in 1815. New-York, 1825. 12mo. pp. 336. The day, we believe, is past, when a teacher could, with any advantage to his own reputation, make Tytler's or any other general history, the first book in his pupil's historical studies. But a serious error of a similar kind is still tolerated: we mean that of making a general history of our own country, precede a particular account of any part of it. The order of nature, the order of the mind, is still inverted : our youth are taught first the history of the United States; and afterwards they pick up, if they think proper, a few disjointed facts in the history of their own particular state. By a most unaccountable perversion of reason, the study of the history of one's own state, is thought to be the proper employment of men only, and of none but such men as possess literature and leisure enough to become members of an historical society.
That this is a sad mistake needs no proof. The point needs no reasoning to make it clear, that it is vastly more important to our youth, as rising members of states and towns, to know something of their own state or town, than of any other, or of all others put together. Besides, there can be no better preparation for a knowledge of the general history of our country, than that thorough acquaintance with the history of our native state, which would give form and distinctness to our ideas of historical facts.
Let them show piety at home, was the direction given of old to the young. The spirit of this injunction we should like to see transferred to the cultivation of the principle of patriotism, and, to what with the young is almost the same thing, the study of history.
No improvement, we conceive, could be more desirable in our common schools, than to have them furnished with an historical account of the state, and, perhaps, the city or town to which they belong. We know of no way in which the most eminent writers of any state, could be more worthily employed, than in furnishing our youth with a history of their native state. The minds of the young would thus be provided with a stock of important practical information, and with a record of facts, which might interweave itself with the texture of their earliest thoughts and feelings, and lead to a sound and deep-felt attachment to the scenes and the society of their native region.
To the youth of the city of New-York, no history could be more instructive or more entertaining, no class-book could be more acceptable than a history of that city, adapted to the use of schools,
and combined with such interesting topographical sketches as might serve for rallying points to the historical narrative. Local feelings of an exclusive character are to be deprecated; but local feelings of the proper kind must, after all, be the germ of patriotism. The true patriotic spirit is but an expansion of the feelings, with which the virtuous ever regard the place of their birth and education.
The work before us is liable to the objection which we have expressed at the beginning of this article. Being designed for school use, it has been limited to the common size of school-books. The history of the United States is a subject too extensive for such limits; and the consequence is, that when, by a judicious arrangement, the youth of New-York might have been furnished with a full history of their native state or city, they are presented with a mere outline of the history of the whole country.
The chief objection, however, which we make to this work is its brevity. In other respects the book is well-arranged and wellwritten. Better that young persons should have the knowledge it contains, than none ; but better still that the labors of the writer should be employed on a satisfactory historical account of the state or of the city of New York,—a work which would be highly useful, and, we think, no less acceptable.
In France, the training of teachers has been considered as having so essential a connection with the progress of education as to have engaged a considerable number of the most enlightened and philanthropic gen. tlemen of the capital, to form a society for the express purpose of ad. vancing the art of teaching. Its title is · La Societé pour le perfectionnement des methodes d'enseigment. At a general meeting of this society held the 5th of March, 1822, several discourses were made illustrating the objects of the association, and enforcing their importance. The following extract from one of these discourses, gives us an account of the origin of the society.
• Most of the founders of this society belong to another, which it would be uubecoming on this occasion to eulogise, since a great num. ber amongst you are in its ranks. I shall only remark, that the Society for Elementary Instruction,' bas restored to France the method of mutual instruction, which bere took its rise, but which, abandoned and forgotten, has returned amongst us as a child which, having escaped from the paternal roof before its babits were formed, re-appears when least expected, full of vigor, and covered with glory. The method of mutual instruction, one of the bappiest discoveries of modern times, will form a grand epoch in the history of civilisation. Simple and easy, because it is natural, economical of time and money, it has above all other advantages that of being eminently moral, and of inspiring, without any studied preparation, as without effort, ideas of order, subordination, and justice. The society formed at Paris, for the encouragement of this beneficent method, wished to place itself in a capacity to judge of the efforts wbich are making in so many places for the improvement of education either by the application of mutual instruction, or by any other means.
• It has wished io keep a single eye to its proper object, the per. fection and propagation of primary education; but many of its members have been unwilling to suffer so many bonorable trials and experiments to pass fruitless away, they have had the ambition of giving to France an idea of what might be considered an Academy of Education : they have founded this society.
• Permit me, gentlemen, to remind you, that the society of elementary instruction, which has given birth to yours, was itself a colony of the useful “Society for the encouragement of national industry." It is thus that ideas of public good, link together, and fortify themselves by reciprocal alliances, and by the spirit of association; instruction and industry are inseparable sisters.
• It is delightful to see them engage in the same route, to obtain the same common end, the well-being of man, and the free developenuent of bis true dignity and wisdom.*
• Your council has been for some time occupied in the project of a Model School, destined to bring into trial, and to offer the model of those methods, which the society shall have discovered to be of the greatest importance, and the most desirable application. In order to act with greater order and promptitude, it divided itself into committees of primary instruction, of the French, Latin, and Greek languages, of ihe living languages, of Geography and History ; of the matbematical, physical, and natural Sciences; of Drawing and Music; and of the general organisation and matériel of schools.
Many resorts have been made, a great number of methods have passed under review, but obstacles have presented themselves to the general execution of the project which renders its postponement una voidable.”
The judicious author of this report, could scarcely have anticipated the admirable illustration which this sentiment has received in the extensive formation of mechanic institutions, in England, Scotland, and the United States, chiefly since the period in which it was presented.