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It would be beginning wrong, to build houses, and tell · your young and inexperienced instructers to teach this or teach that
subject, however desirable a knowledge of such subjects might be, while it is obvious that they cannot know how, properly, to teach any subject. The science of teaching, for it must be made a science, is first in the order of nature. And it is to this point that attention must first be applied, in order to effect any essential improvement.'
• And here let me remark upon a distinction in the qualifications of teachers, which has never been practically made ; though it seems astonishing that it has so long escaped notice. I allude to the distinction between the possession of knowledge and the ability to communi. cate it to other minds. When we are looking for a teacher, we inquire how much be knows, not how much he can communicate ; as if the latter were of no consequence. Now it seems to me that parents and children, to say the least, are quite as much interested in the latter qualification of their instructer, as in the former. Though a teacher cannot communicate more knowledge tban be possesses ; yet he may possess much and still be able to impart but little. And the knowledge of Sir Isaac Newton would be of but trifling use to a school, while it was locked up safely in the head of a country school. master. So far as the object of a school or of instruction, therefore, is the acquisition of knowledge, novel as the opinion may seem, it does appear to me, that both parents and pupils are quite as much interested in the part of their teacher's knowledge which they will be likely to get, as the part which they certainly cannot get.'
• One great object which it is so desirable on every account to attain, is, to establish a language of communication between the instructer and his pupil, and enable the former to open bis head and bis heart, and infuse into the other some of the thoughts and feelings, which lie hid there. Instructers and pupils do not understand each other. They do not speak the same language. They may use the same words; but this can hardly be called the same language, while they attach to them such very different meanings. We must either by some magic or supernatural power, bring children at once to comprehend all our abstract and difficult terms; or our teachers must unlearn themselves, and come down to the comprehension of chil. dren. One of these alternatives is only difficult, while the other is impossible. The direct preparation of instructers for the profession of teaching must surmount this difficulty ; and I know of no other way in which it can be surmounted. When instructers understand their profession ; that is, when they understand the philosophy of I the intant mind, what powers are earliest developed and what studies are best adapted to their developement; then it will be time to lay out and subdivide their work into an energetic system of public instruction. Till this first step towards a reform, which is preliminary in its very nature, be taken, every other measure must be taken in the dark.' Houses and funds and books are all important, but they are only the means of enabling the mind of the teacher to act upon the minds of bis pupils. And they must inevitably fail of their greatest effect, till you bave prepared the mind of the teacher to act upon that of the pupil to the greatest advantage.'
Towards the close of the same pamphlet from which we have taken our last extract, after giving an outline* of the principal features of an institution for the education of teachers, the author briefly states some of the peculiar advantages to the public, which be expects to flow from such an establishment.
. These are general advantages of a good class of teachers. I am now to speak of the peculiar advantages of the proposed institution to produce them. The library collected with reference to the object of the institution would contain when complete, all tbe facts in the science of education scattered along in the bistory of the world. Facts are the materials of philosophy. And we cannot philosophise safely until we have an extensive stock before us. Our library will be a peculiarly appropriate place not only to collect those phenomena relating to the subject, which have already been observed, but also to receive the records of those which will be daily passing before our eyes. Books connected with and collateral to the subject of education, will be as important to our purpose as those professedly written upon it. And frequently they will be found to be much more so. Because the former contain facts and phenomena, while the latter have only an author's reasonings upon them. And most authors who have written upon education have reasoned very well, but from very limited and imperfect inductions. So that their conclusions, though oftentimes extremely plausible and even correct, as far as they bad the necessary means of making them correct, are liable to fail totally, when reduced to praclice under circumstances a little different. We want more experience before we begin to reason at large and draw sweeping conclusions on the subject. And our library would be chiefly valuable as containing that experience, accurately and authentically recorded.
These with the other facts and phenomena, which might be observed and collected, would afford the means of philosophising with some safety and confidence. But the conclusions of the ancients on the subject, though received and repeated by every body and forever, are not binding and, beyond question, till we have certain knowledge that the facts, from which they reasoned, are all which can affect the principles which they deduce from them. And to believe, that the experi. ence of two thousand years, embracing the present age, which is so full of phenomena of all kinds, has not added something to our means of a copious and safe induction upon principles of education, requires a stretch of credulity, with which my mind is not gifted. I believe it
* It is a circumstance on which we may congratulate every enlightened friend to the improvement of education that Mr. Carter, the author of the pamphlet above alluded to, is now engaged in establishing a seminary for the instruction of teachers. The state of Massachusetts oughi, as has often been remarked, to take the lead in such an enterprise; and none who are acquainted with the experience and ability of Mr. Carter, his long-continued attention to this subject, and his familiarity with all its requisite details, can entertain a doubt of his competency to the undertaking in which he has embarked. Of the success of the proposed seminary we may augur well from the extensive and favorable expres. sion of public sentiment on this topic, and from the attention which it has already received from the legislatures of this and of other states.
would be safer as a general principle to assume that they teach us what to avoid rather than what to imitate.'
• But wben we bave collected the means of philosophising wbich books can afford, and added to them the living means which will be constantly exhibited in the school, which is to form a part of the insti. tution, we are then to lay all these means before professors of distinguished talents and discriminating minds, who are able and willing to observe as well as reason. Then the public attention should be turoed towards those professors in good earnest, and they should see and feel that something is expecled from them, and there is a moral certainty tbat the expeciation will be gratified. When the public attention is turned towards any subject, all the ardent and discriminating minds act in concert. And like the rays of the sun converged to a point by a lens, they act with an intensity which must produce an effect.”
. It would be one of the peculiar advantages of the proposed institution, that it would elevate the character of teachers generally. It would concentrate and give energy and direction to exertions and inquiries, which are now comparatively wasted for want of such direction. We cannot foresee, precisely, what effect would be produced upon our systems of education and our principles of instruction, by subjecting them to such an ordeal. To foretel all the improvements that would be made, would be to make them, and supersede the necessity of an institution for the purpose. Though the necessity would still remain for an institution to propagate them among the people. But if our principles of education, and particularly our principles of gorernment and instruction are not already perfect, we may confidently expect improvements, though we may not know, precisely, in wbat they will consist.'
Many knew twenty years ago that steam was expansive. But who foresaw the degree to which its expansion could be raised, and the purposes to which it could be applied ? Public attention was turned to the subject in earnest, and we now see vessels moving in every direction by its power. It was known long since that light wood would float, and water run down hill. But who foresaw, twenty years ago, the present state of our internal improvement by means of canals? Public attention and powerful minds were directed to the subject, and we now see boats ascending our moæntains and traversing our continent in every direction. Those who were before almost our antipodes are now, by the facilities of communication, made our neighbors. The most intrepid prophet would bardly have dared, even ten years ago, to predict the present state of our manufactories. This has all been done, because it could be done ; and many minds were directed to the subject and resolved, that it should be done. All these are in many respects analogous cases, and go to show, that we do not always know how near to us great improvements are.
And that it is only necessary to direct the public attention to a subject to ensure some improvements and inventions in it.'
COL. AMOROS' GYMNASTIC SCHOOL, PARIS. Tax French Government having resolved to encourage the institution of M. Amoros, professor of gymnastics at Paris, the minister of the interior appointed five commissioners to examine in all their parts the gymnastic exercises, and to report thereon in detail. M. Amoros first gave the committee an idea of what he calls elementary exercises, which consist in chanting different pieces, the rythm of each of which corresponds with the various movements of the legs, arms, and body, which the pupils execute on the spot. A metronome regulates these move
The pupil thus learns to measure time and space, to regulate with preci. sion the common step, the accelerated step, and the leaps of the gymnastic
These exercises impress upon their different movements a rythm which befits them ; they gire greater developement to the voice, and more force to the lungs: they render the joints more supple, prepare the pupils for fatigue, and dispose them to exercise in the open air. The committee were too enlightened not to appreciate the advantages of chaunting in connexion with gymnastic exercises. To accustom the pupils to preserve their equilibrium, so necessary in cer. tain cases of danger, M. Amoros made three of the pupils take a ball of 6 pounds, and hold it sometimes with the left hand, sometimes with the right, the superior extremity horizontally extended, and advanced in front. The same exercise was repeated with the inferior extremities, the ball being supported alternately by each foot. To sustain the effort, maintain the station, to keep all the moveable points of the body in a fixed position, to subject the extremities to the tarsus, and make the different points of the latter a solid pivot, which maintains the effort and re-establishes the centre of gravity, are the principal muscular actions which this exercise requires.
The pupils in the court and stadium then applied the theoretical principles which they had just learned, and here the commitiee witnessed the utility of the gymnastic method. They saw with what precision all the various exercises were performed, as well those that required great rapidity of motion, as those that depend on firmness and strength. Many among them obtained 350, 440 and 550 degrees of the dynamometer; for it is by this instrument that M. Amoros calculates the progressive developement of their muscular powers.
We have seen feeble and timid men acquire in a short time by gymnastic exereises very considerable strength and boldness, and their moral energy rise in proportion to the increase of their physical strength. From the stadium, the pupils proceeded to the inclosure where the machines were erected, and where they performed the exercises of running over inclined planes; clearing barriers, climbing masts, walking upon unstable beans, mounting ladders 36 feet high and slipping down, ascending heights by means of ropes and poles, and by men so suspeuded as to serve as ladders, and descending again with the greatest facility.
The commissioners, surprised at the strength, suppleness, agility, and address of the pupils, testified their satisfaction and acknowledged the utility of the exercises. These were teruinated by their vaulting over wooden horses, and also over living ones, and by the conquerors receiving the prizes due to their superior skill.
The design of this institution is not merely to regulate and perfect the physical powers of his pupils, but to teach and dispose them to lend assistance to ibe weak, and to aid their fellow creatures when in danger. Those who first witness these exercises are in constant fear for the safety of the pupils ; but their elenientary lessons accustom them gradually to incasure their force and lill: they VOL 1.
are able by proceeding from simple to compound exercises to acquire solid instruction. If accidents occur, they arise evidently from disobedience, presumption, or forgetfulness of principles so well explained and applied in the establishment.
London Scientific Gazelle. LONDON MECHANICS' INSTITUTION. A quarterly general meeting of this laudable Society was recently held to receive the Tenth Quarterly report. Dr. Birbeck, the President, was in the chair ; and the members who attended nearly filled the large theatre of the institution. The Report began by expressing the satisfaction felt by the Committee at the manner in which similar institutions had been established and were now flourishing in various parts of the kingdom. It then described what had been done for the London Mechanics' Institution since the last quarterly meeting. The receipts were L586--the expense L525, a portion of which, upwards of L100, was paid for gas-fittings, and other similar charges, not incurred above once in tweniy years. The funds arose chiefly from the members' subscriptions, L411 having been collected from this source. Upwards of L30 was received for transferable tickets, and L9 for the use of the theatre by various other societies. The expenses, independent of the sums already mentioned, were chiefly pay. ments to lecturers and teachers, the rent and taxes of the premises, interest of money borrowed for building the theatre, stationary, officers' salaries, &c. The library now consists of 500 volumes, and the number of members who read is rapidly on the increase. Since the last quarter day 574 members have been added and 397 have ceased to belong to the society, making an increase on the quarter of 177, the whole number of members being now 1772. The lectures delivered were op geography, mechanics, geology, electricity, and astronomy. The schools have been opened, and assiduously frequented for writing, French, architectural and mathematical drawings, and arithmetic. The latter classes have been so much followed that it is now proposed to have a second school of the saine description. There is also to be formed an excelleot school of mutual instruction in the Mechanics ; or a sort of secondary lecture, after the lectures on this subject shall have been delivered The Report was upanimously received.-Thanks were voted to the several lecturers, and 10 the Chairman, with great applause, for the interest they had taken in the welfare of the Institution.
EDUCATION IN LOWER CANADA.
The month of August is the time at which the vacations of the different seminaries, colleges and schools, throughout this province, usually take place; and these vacations are generally preceded by a public examination of the scholars, and a distribution of prizes to those who have been distinguished by their proficiency and good conduct during the year.
The increasing interest taken in these examinations, by all classes of the people, is a proof of the zeal in favor of the education which now pervades the whole province. At Quebec, Montreal, Nicolet and St. Hyacinthe, the spacious halls of those public institutions, were literally crowded with spectators; and at many of the country schools where examinations were had, the same pleasing circumstance occurred. Everywhere the students and Scholars showed the greatest aptitude for learning, and in many instances gave proof of astonishing proficiency.
Little or nothing has been done by public authority in favor of the education of the people since the conquest; or what has been done bas been in a way which had a tendency to aların the inhabitants of the country, mostly Roman Catholics, in respect to their religion, to which they are so siocerely attached. The college and revenues of the Jesuits originally destined for the education of the youth of the country, have long ceased to be applied to that object, and the public moneys granted for schools have been applied under the unfavorable circuinstances mentioned above. In addition to the Seminary of Quebec and the College of Moa