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and while as the executive of the laws he administers punishment for offences, he can sympathise with the offender, and thus gain his heart and bis conscience, while he convinces his understanding and coerces bis will. This will accomplish, better than any arbitrary system, the objects of punishment. I need not undertake to teach this audience, that human punishnients, to have the desired effect on the offender, must affect the heart, and not merely be a retaliation of offences. And yet the latter would seem to be the views of a vast number of teachers, if we may judge them by their practice. They seem to think that punishments must be given like notes of band — for value recrived. But I need not spend time in urging upon you, gentlemen, that the end of all buman punishments. so far as the offender himself is concerned, is to amend the life by amending the heart. The principal of a school has a much greater opportunity of doing this, when he stands in the position of an unwilling executive of laws established before the offence was committed, than when he appears as the arbitrary legislator and judge of a recently committed fault. I am entirely persuaded of the respect and obedience that scholars will pay to law, which they have in their calm and unoffending hours been permitted to examine, and criticise and approve. Who does not perceive the greater probability of justice on the one hand and submission on the other, when the demands and limits of each have been settled before the event occurred, and when it could be examined and adjudged with disinterestedness and impartiality ?
The principal, and perhaps, the only objection that can be urged against a code of definite laws, binding upon all parties, is this; that the offences are so numerous and so various, that a code to meet all the exigences of an ordinary school would have to be too extensive, and would meet with the same difficulty of execution that is found in administering the laws of the land. But I reply, that although children will certainly err frequently, nothing can be more unwise than to notice the
very trifling errors into which they fall by the immaturity of their judgment, unless it be merely to point them out for correction. A very large class of errors may be left out of the code as not demanding notice; and in a school where a proper moral influence is selt, the faults requiring decided disapprobation or punishment can be reduced, by any teacher of ordinary powers, to a very few heads. Punishments, properly so called, are of
rare necessity in a well-governed school. By marking with his decided disapprobation the more prominent obliquities of his pupils, a teacher can do more towards the maintenance of good order, than by the employment of many and various punishments, except in cases of oft repeated or flagrant violations of rule. *
But while I would place the power, as well as the neces
* In a debate which took place subsequently to the reading of this lecture, several other objections to school laws, with definite penalties, were presented, which it is thought proper to notice in this place. The first was, that a code of laws for school or state could only recognise actions, and not motives, while it is the motive that makes an action good or bad, and the actor the subject of reward or punishment; - a distinction which a school government should recognise, though that of a state cannot. To this it was replied, that a code of school laws could easily be trained by which a distinction might be made between an inadvertent and a wiltul offence; and that state laws made the same distinction, as in the crime of man-killing, which was considered wilful murder, or otherwise, according to the motives of the culprit, and the circumstances under which the crime was committed.
Another objection urged was, that there is a great difference in the capacities and dispositions of children ; that some are governed more by a single look than by many stripes; and, therefore, general laws are not applicable to school government. In answer to this, it was stated, that, admitting the fact of the great difference in the dispositions of children, yet it did not lessen the value or applicability of laws founded on correct principles of right and wrong; and that the objector was in error,only, in not carrying his own prin. ciples far enough; that is, that not only are some children more easily gove erned by a look than by stripes, but that a teacher who knew how to govern by moral influences, could command the obedience of all inore readily in this manner; and that, if there were exceptions to this rule, it did not lessen the truth of the general proposition.
A third objection urged against a code of school laws was, that “ laws make crimes.” The lecturer evaded replying to this, because it was an objection not only to school laws, but to all laws; and he will be free to admit its truth whenever the common sense of mankind shall acknowledge it, and when our legislatures shall cease to make laws because they promote crime,
In the course of the debate, the lecturer alluded to his own experience, in testimony of the truth of his opinions; when it was objected, that the plans of an individual could never be expected to apply to all others. If this be true, then there can be no such thing as a model school; and the writer was called upon to lecture on an absurdity. But, although he only gave his opinion for what it was worth, and did not even venture upon that, with out special permission so to do, he maintains that, while he did not presume to give the details of any plan as a guide for others, yet the principles for which he contends are correct, and of general application. It was not for his laws that he contended, but for laws adapted to the circumstances;laws that shall secure the authority of the one and the rights of all. The principles he attempts to establish are not founded on his own particular experience or necessities, nor on those of any other man; but on the weak. ness of human judgment, the irregularity of human temper, and the rights of human beings; and, if true, they must be applicable wherever human authority is to govern, and human beings to obey.
sity of deciding arbitrarily upon the faults of scholars, out of the hands of an individual, influenced as the best man must be, by the variations of the moral as well as the physical atmosphere around him ; it is, nevertheless, necessary to intrust the superintendent of a school with a certain amount of discretionary power, which will be perfectly consistent with the existence of bounding laws; in precisely the same manner, as a judge of a civil court has it in his power to make a fine ten or a hundred dollars, as the case may demand.
This is necessary in order to meet the shades of difference in the culpability of offences, and the circumstances of extenuation or aggravation by which they may be accompanied.
3. Another circumstance essential to the good government of a school is, that the presiding teacher should be wholly exempted from the instruction of classes. It is impossible to give an undivided attention to more than one thing at the same time; and if a teacher has to instruct a class of a dozen, or as I have seen, several classes at once, and at the same time to govern half a hundred or a hundred others, he will certainly leave one or both of these duties upperformed. As a physiologist, I verily believe that the exhaustion of the nervous system produced by that continual watchfulness, which teachers under such circumstances are compelled to exercise; that continual distraction of their minds by the multifarious nature of their duties, is the true cause of their health suffering as it frequently does. There is nothing in the even and natural low of thought, that a teacher exercises in instructing a class, to injure his health. Nor is there sufficient in the government only of a school, to produce those baleful effects upon both mind and body, that we so often see wrought in the persons of teachers. But it is in the constant interruption, the distracted attention, and that burthen of cares which a combination of duties imposes, that exhausts, and irritates, and debilitates them. That mental composure is necessary to health of body and mind, is a truth with which every physiologist is familiar. How, then, can any one placed in such a continued scene of unquietness and agitation as a teacher frequently is, maintain health of body, evenness of temper, or soundness of judgment ? The principal of a school should have nothing to do with the personal instruction of the classes, unless, by an interchange of duties, he can relieve himself for the time being, from the burthen of school government.
I come now to the second division of my subject, the influences of model schools. Although its more immediate influence must be exerted upon the students theniselves, that school performs but a part of its duty either to itself or to the public, which aims not at controlling, 10 a greater or less degree, the public sentiment. We may laugh at the silly conceit of the schoolmaster who boasted that he ruled the town; but I know of no greater influence than that which a judicious and beloved teacher exercises over his pupils. They are accustomed to receive from bim, laws for the government of half their waking hours; all their intellectual enjoyments are associated with bim ; and the innate reverence which every subject of government feels for the governor, links the form, and voice, and opinions, and feelings of the master, with all that is respectful and authoritative in the mind of the pupil. He becomes, in many cases the very oracle of his juvenile charge ; and while man is prone to receive opinions without examination, to act more froin prepossession than from judgment, and to defer to the opinions of others, rather than examine for himself, so long will a teacher's influence be unrivalled, either for good or for evil. He sows his seed upon the very best soil for inaking a return to his labors. Childhood is peculiarly the season of faith. The juvenile mind feels not the independence of riper years ; but the entire confidence which it naturally places in the words and views of its elders, forms one of its most peculiar and pleasing traits of character. and doubtless often does, by ignorance, pedantry and tyranny, gain the contempt rather than the affection of his pupils; but I speak of judicious and respectable men, who, by weight of personal worth and wisdom, gain over the minds of their juvenile disciples, an overwhelming power, that breaks down before it, in many cases, even parental influence and authority; a power that you and I have seen and felt, and ought to emulate. I have, myself
, so great confidence in this trusting spirit of childhood and youth, that I verily believe the teacher is capable of exercising far more influence than the preacher; that not only does the schoolmaster govern the town, but he governs the state and the world; and that if ever the broad flag of gospel freedom shall wave its bright folds over this enslaved, and ignorant, and sinful world, it is the schoolmaster that is to unfurl it, - it is the schoolmaster that is to plant it, - it is the schoolmaster that is to defend it and carry it on to victory.
A teacher may,
Now every boy has his sphere of influence; and if he really values the opinions and character of his master, he will carry forth such favorable reports as will not only extend, but greatly multiply the moral power of the teacher. Illustrations of this are found in the numerous well attested instances of change in religious sentiments, produced upon parents through the instrumentality of Sunday School Teachers. I doubt not every teacher before me can call to mind many instances, in which the school discipline has extended itself to the family of the pupil. One very interesting case occurs to me. The proprietor of a certain school in Philadelphia has thought it to be bis duty, to set the seal of his disapprobation most decidedly against the practice of profane swearing; and has made it a fundamental rule of his institution, that if any scholar should, even in a single instance, indulge in the use of profane language, he should forfeit his seat in the school. On a certain occasion, a little boy was found to have been guilty of a violation of this rule, and was sent away from the school accordingly, I was myself, subsequently informed, by the mother of this child, that his father, who was himself addicted to impropriety of language, had received such a reprimand in the punishment of his son for the same fault, as to form the resolution never to indulge in profanity again.
I not only allude to the influence to be thus exercised in regard to christian morals and christian doctrine; but a popular school, so sustained and so managed, as to be properly called a model school, can wield an immense power over the public mind, in elevating schools to that standing which they ought to inaintain, which every patriot and every christian should so ardently desire, and the want of which forms the burthen of so many complaints. As a teacher, I have, myself, no disposition to complain ; and if I had cause, I should be careful how I did complain. For I have thought that teachers generally complained too much for their own interest or dignity. If I understand human nature at all, there is nothing more effectually calculated to lower the dignity of our calling than this discontented, querulous disposition.
I believe it to be the duty of every teacher and every school, and especially those esteemed model schools, to do something towards elevating the standard of schools in popular estimation ; for of this, we must confess, among ourselves at least, there is great need. And this must necessarily depend