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itor should have some acknowledged principles, by which the value of other priociples shall be determined.'
To the above complaints the editor would offer the following answer.
If the charge of want of definite character is meant to intimate merely that the various articles of which the Journal consists, do not speak precisely the same language, it only repeats the well known fact that among the many individuals who have turned their attention to the subject of education, there is not a perfect similarity of opinion as to the best method of effecting what in all cases is equally desired - the improvement of instruction.
lo this country, at least, if not throughout the world, the question of the best methods of instruction is but in the stage of discussion, and to aid such discussion was one important object in view in establishing the Journal. To accelerate the fair and proper decision of a question, no course is more conducive than that of free discussion, and full hearing on all sides. The editor is not without his own opinions and predilections on this subject:—they may be expressed in very few words. The editor's views on the theory of education are those which are de veloped in Professor Jardine's Outlines of Philosophical Education, and which were acquired under the personal instructions of that individual. These views are such as necessarily lead to a decided preference for the inductive method of instruction in all the branches of education, and that method the editor has found very successful in bis own experience as a teacher.--On the subject of instruction considered as an art, it is unnecessary to say much: public opinion seems to be almost unanimously expressed in a preference for mutual instruction- A system which appears to be more or less successful according to the paius taken to unite with it the method of oral and explanatory teaching.
Such are the editor's own opinions; bui he would be sorry to forget that they are his own, and to inculcate them to the exclusion of all others.
In the present stage of the progress of public opinion, there is a diversity of sentiment on some of these points; and it would be unfair to foreclose a decision. In the meantime, every thing that appears with the sanction of experience staup. ed upon it our readers will, we hope, treasure up as certain and valuable. To collect instructive facts is the leadiny object of the Journal. To this course of proceeding the work is pledged by its p ospectus.
· A leading object of the Journal will be to furnish a record of facts, embracing whatever information the most diligent inquiry can procure, regarding the past and present state of education in the United Staies, and in foreign countries. An op. portunity will thus be afforded for a fair comparison of the merits of various sys tems or instruction. The results of actual experiment will be presented; and the causes of failure, as well as of success, may thus be satisfactorily traced, and be made to suggest valuable improveinents.'
In the perusal of our pages, our readers will, we hope, keep in mind that our undertaking is one which is entirely new. The path on which we have entered is an untrodden one. No precursor bas, by his success or by bis failures, done any thing to indicate the course which we ought to pursue. We shall therefore have to comunit ourselves, in a great measure to the guidance of circumstavces. All that we can promise, at present, is this, that our attention shall be devoted chiefly to the accumulation of lacts, and the diffusion of information.'
At the close of the first year of the Journal it will not perhaps be premature to review the progress of the work, and to select whatever may be fairly considered as results confirmed by unquestionable facts. The statement of these points will paturally form the basis of a sound theory of education. Facts will speaks for themselves; and we shall then announce those principles by which other principles are to be brought to the test, and by which consequently our future be guided.
In the meantime, the safest course seems to be to proceed with the accumula. tion of facts, and the toleration of opinions.
[The following paragraphs form the conclusion of our extracts from Mr. Wilderspin's volume on the Education of Infants. The articles which have been selected from that work for the pages of the Journal have, we think, placed that gentleman in a very advantageous light, not only as a teacher of uncommon skill and ingenuity, but as a practical philanthropist zealous in his labors, and embracing a wide field of benevolent exertion for the best interests of those who, in a few years, will form a large proportion of the moral and political strength of his country. The department of instruction to which he has devoted his efforts, is daily rising in public estimation.
The Report of the last annual meeting of the English Infant School Society, contains the sentiments of men the most enlightened and philanthropic of the day, -expressing the warmest approbation of that institution, and the deepest interest in its prosperity. The number of Infant Schools has increased since last year, and seems likely to be speedily enlarged as to embrace most of the considerable towns in Great Britain.
The establishing of Infant schools in this country is successfully begun in New-York and will soon, we hope, extend to all our large cities and towns. The early cultivation of the mind can nowhere be more important than it is here, where the public wellbeing is so peculiarly dependent on the habits which result from education, and where the whole aspect of society is so propitious to general improvement.]
As I have had considerable practice in the art of teaching infant children, in various parts of the kingdom, I hope I may be allowed to give a few hints on the subject of organising an Infant School, without being considered ostentatious. I have generally
found, on opening a new school, that the children have no idea of acting together. In order, therefore, to gain this object, it will be found necessary to have recourse to what we call manual lessons, which consist in the children holding up their hands, all at one tirne; and putting them down again in the same manner. Putting the right foot out, or the left foot out, putting their hands together, or rising from their seats, all at one time; putting their hands behind them, and many other things of a similar nature. These lessons we have recourse to, in the first instance, because they are calculated to please the infants, by causing them to act together, which is one grand step towards order; after the first day or two, the children will begin to act together, and to know each other; for until this is the case, the children will be peevish and want to go home. Therefore any method that can be taken, in the first instance, to please them, should be adopted; for, while you can please them, you may be sure they will not cry. Having induced them to act together, we are then to class them according to their capacity and age, as they will begin to show their aptitude, in obeying your several commands; and those who obey them with the greatest readiness may be classed together. I have found it difficult at all times, to keep up the attention of infants, without giving them something to do; so that when they are saying the tables in arithmetic, we always cause them to move either their hands or feet, sometimes to march round the school: the best way we have yet found out is the putting of their hands one on the other, every time they speak a sentence. If they are marching they may count one, two, three, four, five, six, &c. Having classed them, and having found that each child knows its own place in the school, you may select one of the cleverest of each class for a monitor. Some of the children will learn many of the tables sooner than the others; in this case the teacher may avail himself of the assistance of those, by causing each child to repeat what he knows, in an audible manner; the other children repeating after him, and performing the same evolutions that he does: by this means the other children will soon learn. Then the master can go on with something else, taking care to enlist as many children as he can to his assistance; for he will find that unless he does so he will injure his lungs, and render himself unfit to keep up the attention of the children, and to carry on the school with good effect. When the children have learned to repeat several of the tables, and the monitors have learned to excite their several classes, and to keep them in tolerable order, they may go on with the other parts of the plan, such as the spelling and reading, picture lessons, &c. as described elsewhere. must be taken that in the beginning too much be not attempted. The first week may be spent in getting them in order, without think
ing of any thing else; and I should advise that not more than sixty children be admitted the first week, and reduced to order, in some measure, before any more are admitted; as all that come aiter will quickly imitate the others. I should not advise visiters to come to see an infant school for some time after it is opened, for several reasons: first, because the children must be allowed time to learn, and there will be nothing worth seeing; secondly, it takes off the children's attention, and interferes with the master; and lastly, it may be the means of visiters going away dissatisfied, and thereby injure the cause intended to be promoted.
In teaching infants to sing, I have found it the best way to sing the psalm or hymn several times in the hearing of the children, without their attempting to sing, until they have some idea of the tune; because if all the children are allowed to attempt to sing, and none of them know the tune, it prevents those who really wish to learn, from catching the sounds.
You must rot expect order until your little officers are well drilled, which may be done by collecting them together after the other children are gone, and instructing them in what they are to do. Every monitor should know his work; and when you have taught him to know his work, you must expect it to be done. To get good order, you must make every monitor answerable for the conduct of his class. It is astonishing how some of the little fellows will strut about, big with the importance of office, and it will require some caution to prevent them from taking too much upon themselves; so prone are we, even in the earliest years, to attach too much importance to self, The way we teach the children hymns, is to let one child stand in the rostrum, with the book in his hand; he then reads one line, and stops until all the children in the school have repeated it, which they do altogether; he then repeats another, and so on successively, until the hymn is finished. This method is adopted with every thing that is to be committed to memory, catechisms, and spelling. If twenty words are to be committed to memory, it is done in this way; so that every child in the school has an equal chance of learning.
I have mentioned that the children should be classed: in order to facilitate this, there should be a board fastened to the wall perpendicularly, the same width as the seats, every fifteen feet, all round the school: this will separate one class from another, and be the cause of the children knowing their class the sooner. child hang his hat over where he sits, in his own class, as this will save much trouble. Have a place for every thing, and every thing in its place:' this will bring them into habits of order. Do not do any thing for a child that he is able to do for himself; but teach hin to put his own hat and coat on, and hang them up again when he
comes to school. Teach every child to help himself as soon as possible: if a child falls down, and you know that he is able to get up himself, never lift him up, if you do he will always lie until you come to lift him up. Have a slate or a piece of paper, properly ruled, hanging over every class: let every child's name that is in the class be written on it, with the name of the monitor. Teach the monitor the names as soon as you can, and then he will tell you who is absent. Have a semicircle before every lesson, and make the children keep their toes to the mark: a bit of iron hoop nailed to the floor is the best. When a monitor is asking the children questions, let him place his stool in the centre of the semi-circle and the children stand round him. Let the monitors ask what questions they please: they will soon get fond of asking questions, and their pupils will soon be equally fond of answering them. Suppose the monitor ask, What do I sit on? Where are your toes? What do you stand on? What is before you? What behind you?-at first children will have no idea of this method of exercising the thinking powers. But the teacher must encourage them in it; and they will very soon get fond of it, and be able to give an answer immediately. It is a very pleasing sight to see the infants stand round the monitors, and the monitors asking them any questions they think of. I have been much delighted at the questions put, and still more so at the answers given. Assemble all the very small children together as soon as you can, the first day or two they will want to sit with their brothers or sisters who are a little older than themselves. But the sooner you can separate them the better, as the elder children frequently plague the younger ones; and I have always found, that the youngest are the happiest by themselves
I should advise that the conductors of an infant school, be sent up to London, to be taught the system properly; as money will be saved by it in the end, and the children will learn much quicker: as one false step in the institution will spoil the whole.
As all our ideas are admitted through the medium of the senses, they consequently must refer in the first place to external objects, it is for this reason, therefore, that we bring into use the following articles.
The articles are either glued or fastened on the boards, with screws or waxed thread. The boards are about sixteen inches square, and a quarter of an inch thick: wainscot is the best as it does not warp.
These will go into the groove of the lesson post: there should be about twenty articles on each board, or twentyfive, just as it suits the conductors of the school. There should he the same quantity of things on each board, in order that all the children
may finish at one time: this will not be the case, if there