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learning, and to acquire a complete knowledge of their de. tails,—and this is necessary to complete success in teaching in any,-is a labor for years; and the teacher must have, what as yet he has not, apart from his own love of study, a suitable opportunity and an adequate inducement patiently to toil in these researches, till he can impart from the perfectness of his own attainments, a perfect thoroughness of learning.
Another defect in the academies of New England is the want of authority in the teacher. Not that it is desirable to place an absolute power in his hands, nor that in many instances due authority is not exercised and submitted to; but the system, the constitution of these seminaries, in most instances, gives him little or no power beyond the influence of his personal character, and the efficacy of his persuasion. The pupil comes under the jurisdiction of his teacher only during the hours of recitation or at most of study, and is at other times beyond even his surveillance. He cannot compel the lazy and loitering ; he cannot coerce the refractory; he cannot punish the vicious. The severest penalty that can be inflicted for ordinary transgressions and slight improprieties, is a reproof or an admonition; and for the grossest outbreak of violence or insubordination, a dismissal ; a course seldom resorted to, as it is found to throw as much discredit on the teacher's skill in government, as upon the pupil whom it is designed to punish. This want of authority results from the constitution of academies, which, though incorporated and under the control of boards of trustees, are' in fact, only private schools, sometimes slightly endowed, with a permanent building and some few conveniences for teaching, as a small library. They are, as such dependent, mainly on the students who come to them, and are of course very much in their power. We may resume this subject in a future number.
Art. VI. - AN ECONOMICAL METHOD OF STUDYING THE
We have made the following extracts from an article, with the above title, in the Literary and Theological Review, written by Professor Lewis of the University of New York. The many discussions on the value of classical literature which have agitated the public mind in years past, seem to have resulted in the very general conviction, that the Greek and Latin classics must form an integral part and a large part of a course of liberal education. Yet, we believe, there is no department of instruction, the theory of which has been more neglected, or in which the results have been more imperfect, and inadequate. We have known the plan proposed by Professor Lewis, to have been adopted with wonderful success, and we earnestly commend it to the consideration of classical teachers. The teacher however, who tries it, ought to accompany his efforts with laborious and minute instruction, and thorough explanation, on which the success of the method will materially depend; and he must exercise a constant vigilance, to guard against a mere memoriter and unintelligent study, by aiming continually to impart somewhat of the enthusiasm which the lover of the classics feels, and which the pupil in even the early stages of his progress, may be made in some degree to feel.
“Herein we conceive lies the grand secret of education. The fear of punishment or disgrace soon loses its effect, and the minds which need it are those of which we can have the least hope. The excitement of emulation or rivalry seems morally wrong, and must be condemned as an appeal to a passion which needs rather to be checked than encouraged. Inducements founded upon the idea that the acquisition of knowledge is easy, and attempts to render it so by removing its necessary asperities, are soon found to be delusive, and productive only of mental indolence or disappointed hopes. But the delight of accurate knowledge, the charming sensation which accompanies the consciousness of knowing anything well, be it in the higher or more humble departments of science, is the surest guaranty of increasing and persevering efforts for still farther acquisitions. And this is a stimulus under the influence of which almost every subject may be brought, and of which every faithful teacher may avail himself. Only let great pains be taken, and much patience exercised, that the first lessons be most thoroughly and completely learned, even to the minutest particulars : that no difficulty of the smallest kind be left in the way, as a perplexing impediment in some future portion of the course; only let this be effectually secured, and the student, under the glowing delight of conscious accurate knowledge, and the encouraging feeling that this has been the result of the toilsome exercise of his own powers, will proceed with eager relish to his subsequent task; a relish which will be increased at every step, provided this regimen is rigidly adhered to. I have sometimes thought that the thorough acquisition in this way of all the forms of the Greek nouns and adjectives together with the accents, quantity, and rules of inflection, would almost infallibly secure a satisfactory acquaintance with the whole range of Greek literature. We need not contrast with this the painful emotions which arise from confused and inaccurate knowledge. With thousands the vivid recollection of the discouraging perplexities which may be traced to this cause, constitute about the only remembrance of their academic or collegiate course.
It is high time the secret should be disclosed, that notwithstanding our Hamiltonian and Pestalozzi schemes, notwithstanding our productive and inductive systems, and all the new inventions and quackery of the day, there is, after all, no great mystery in the art of teaching. Mistakes arise from overlooking the simplicity and singleness of the object. It is nothing more than conveying to one mind what exists clearly in another, with this difference, that the teacher is supposed to see the results and to understand the philosophy of the process, whilst the student must of nécessity be taught to take his first lessons as matters of authority and memory, antecedent to, and affording a foundation for, a subsequent exercise of the reason. According to this view, the qualifications of a good teacher may be briefly defined to be these : 1st, a thorough understanding of the science he professes to teach ; 2d, unwearied patience, ever resisting the temptation to suffer his pupils to proceed to a second lesson until they have completely mastered the first; and 3d, an unyielding determination to make perfect accuracy the first thing, and second thing, and third thing, in every course of education, and every department of science. Let the old plan of exercising the memory be revived, if for no other purpose than thereby to give strength and clearness to all the other faculties of the mind. Let elementary grammars be selected, full, yet concise, expressed with all that logical accuracy for which the older works of the kind were distinguished, giving results alone, instead of perplexing the student's mind at the outset with pedantic theories of a language of which as yet he knows nothing. When he has learned by authority the structure of the language as an existing thing, a good foundation will be laid for subsequent instruction in relation to its origin and philosophy. Of grammars thus selected, let the whole, and not merely detached parts, be thoroughly committed to memory, and repeated, until the forms, inflections, rules and idioms, with their various modifications and exceptions, are stereotyped in the mind, and without any further effort of memory arise habitually and spontaneously to the thoughts. All this, to be sure, requires no great skill, and puts in no claim to originality ; but it requires patience and perseverance, and with these qualities, this indispensable work may be accomplished. Let this be accompanied by constant exercise, in writing, accenting and pronouncing, together with the reading and parsing of such examples as may most effectually familiarize the rules and forms which have been learned, until the grammar, the soul or substantial part of the language, has been completely mastered, and the subsequent acquisition of words will be both easy and pleasant. In vain, on any other plan, will the lexicon be worn out in an endless repetition of the same wearisome and unsatisfactory exercise. Words will be easily remembered and rapidly acquired, when the grammatical frame-work has been prepared in the mind for their reception. To expect it on any other system is as absurd as the attempt to build a wall without cement, composed only of loose pebbles or grains of sand. Let half a year, if necessary, (although this length of time will seldom be required,) be employed in this grammatical exercise. Six months thus occupied, will save treble that amount of time in a subsequent part of his course, or rather will prevent the whole from being utterly wasted. The estimate, however, is based upon the supposition that no other studies are pursued in connection with the languages; otherwise a much longer period would be required. Let a second year be spent in the slow and cautious reading of some pure Lat. in author, with continual parsing of every word; the steady and constant repetition of the grammar being still regarded as the primary object. During this period the student should be regularly exercised in writing the language, and in making double translations from Latin to English, and from English to Latin ; also in construing in this double manner from the voice of his teacher, and with the book closed ; proceeding from single words to complete sentences, until the thought comes to his mind in the Latin order, and the full power of a Latin sentence is felt as an inseparable whole. This, as we said before, requires patience, but with patience it can be done; and when the course is fairly commenced, and thoroughly persevered in, the rapidity of the actual progress may be found to exceed the teacher's most sanguine expectations. By actual progress we mean not the amount of apparent space passed over during the first year, but the real degree of satisfactory insight into the nature and structure of the language. Let the student also, during this time, be supplied with convenient blank books, containing well written forms of all the declinable parts of speech, together with all the rules of syntax, aad let him be required to inscribe, under their appropriate heads, every new form and construction he may meet with at each recitation. The commencement of the third six months, (allowing the fullest extension of time,) will find the scholar thus exercised possessed of far more substantial knowledge of the language, than one who has hurried over far more ground, and apparently made much more rapid progress. His subsequent course may then be continual reading, in which he may be pushed to his full speed, and carried forward with as inuch rapidity as the encouragements of his teacher, his own well acquired habits of diligence, and the exquisite delight of accurate knowledge can ensure.* Henceforth he will have before him an unembarrassed field of enjoyment, which will supersede the necessity of any other stimulus. The grand object will have been attained. His subsequent perseverance, and attachment through life to classical literature will have
*As an illustration and proof of this position, the fact may be mentioned, that in a school conducted upon this plan during the period in which one class were diligently occupied with the first two hundred lines of the Æneid, another scholar, who had previously gone through a similar pro. cess, read with accuracy the whole of Herodotus, four select orations of Demosthenes, and fifteen buoks of the Odyssey, together with an almost equal quantity of Latin.