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School at Newburgh.
INSTRUCTION BY PHYSICIANS.
On looking over a late New York Observer,' we noticed the following advertisement of an establishment for the education of boys, at Newburgh, on the Hudson ; under the care of Dr H. P. Benham.
• The method here is somewhat peculiar. It receives the pupil into the family, allows him as much as possible the benefit of parental affection, instruction, and advice; and the proprietor, instead of being himself the teacher, selects one from the various schools in the village, suited to the age and wants of his pupils, and then himself, is in the habit daily of reviewing, illustrating, and explaining the lessons in an easy and familiar way, which gives them the benefit of two instructers, multiplying and varying the illustration, and sealing with more certainty on the mind the truths to be taught.
• The government in the family is entirely parental and admonitory; and although it is believed the best arrangements are made for labor and study, yet no pains have been spared to fit equally well for amusement. Attached to the premises are two play grounds, in which almost every source of recreation is placed, and in one of them is an artificial pond for sailing boats and other water amusements.'
By this method, two or three important points seemed to be secured. 1. The pupils, as the adversetiment itself justly observes, have the benefit of two instructers. 2. They have the rare privilege of being under the co-operative influence of house and school. 3. They have the instructions of a medical gentleman.
This last circumstance, if the medical man possesses every other important qualification of a teacher, is of very great value.
Perhaps there is no profession, the study and practice of which so fits men for the education of the young, as that of medicine. The reader will observe, that we say the education, and not the instruction of the young.
For the mere purposes of instruction - the communication of knowledge — we doubt not that theology and, perhaps, the pursuit of several other professions may have a tendency equally favorable. But there is no man in society, other things being equal, who sees so deeply into the human character — and the juvenile character among the rest — and who knows so well the connection and dependence of mind and body, and how to manage both in the best manner, as the physician.
Physicians who have become Teachers.
In proof of this statement, if proof were necessary, we might mention a number of medical men who have left their profession to become teachers. We confess the number of those who have done this is somewhat limited, in this country. Many young men who have studied medicine, have become encumbered with debt, and have embarked in business partly to free themselves. Meanwhile, if they have not become heads of families, they have usually become established in their profession, and find it difficul: to leave it, especially for the comparatively small remuneration which school teaching usually affords. And, as for those who do not succeed, they are commonly among the last to resort to the humble and laborious and thankless occupation of a pedagogue, as the means of obtaining a livelihood. Still we have known physicians
physicians — sometimes from mere philanthropy, sometimes from a mixture of various motives - quit their profession, and become teachers for life. And wherever we have known such instances, we have found them eminent.
No man, perhaps, stood higher in his profession than the late Dr Keagy of Philadelphia. Yet he was bred to medicine, and was once a successful and highly respectable practitioner. We know one or two instances of the same kind in Connecticut; one in Vermont; and another in our own Commonwealth. As the latter are still living, we forbear to mention their names, or their particular places of residence.
Of this same description of character, as we suppose, is Dr Benham, the notice of whose school at Newburgh, led to these remarks. All we know of him, however, is from the notice ; which certainly speaks well. We see in it strong evidence that the health of the pupils is not wholly overlooked, as is too frequently the case in our schools; and we may entertain the hope, that the teacher makes it a point, not only to preserve health, but to increase it. We hope it is as much his object to make bodily health for his pupils, as to make mind, manners, or morals. We may as certainly lay up health for the future, as any thing else which is important and valuable.
If we see any thing to disapprove in the arrangement of the school alluded to, at Newburgh, it is what we regard as the fault of the day, rather than that of any particular school. We allude to the separation of the sexes. In large public schools, like of those of Boston, containing sometimes five or six hundred pupils, we know there are serious difficulties in the way of teaching the two sexes in the same building. But, as our readers are aware, we regard such large schools as in themselves an evil; and we should submit to the separation spoken of, only as a choice of evils.
Proceedings in Plymouth County.
29 The family we regard as the model school, embracing in its general constitution pupils of both sexes; and in such establishments as those of Dr Benham, we are extremely sorry this arrangement is not complied with. We wish to see daughters as well as sons, under his tuition ; not, however, without the aid of a female assistant – an indispensable requisite, in our view, for all elementary schools of every size and grade. We would no more separate the sexes, if we could help it, than we would separate the members of a young family.
One word more as to the plan of Dr Benham. If he is successful in the selection of a good school for his pupils, several hours of the day, where good instruction and example are afforded; and if the work of education, in all its departments, is conducted as it should be, at home, the rest of the time, we cannot help regarding the plan as not merely novel, but valuable.
Be this as it may, however, we hope one thing — and it is this hope which, more than any thing else, has stimulated us to write this article — that the example of Dr Benham, with the other instances of the kind we have briefly mentioned, and the remarks we have ventured in the connection, may be the means of rousing other medical men to make siinilar sacrifices. No sacrifices are more needed at the present crisis; nor would any be more acceptable to a community like ours, where thousands and tens of thousands of the young are starving for just that bread of mental and moral life which, under God, holy, selfdenying, self-sacrificing physicians, are particularly fitted to impart.
ELEVATING COMMON SCHOOLS.
We have again and again urged upon our readers — friends of common education as they profess to be, and as no doubt many of them are — the claims of our common and public schools. But we have not yet done. So long as we have strength to wield a pen, even in the feeblest manner, so long as our own tongue continues at all under our command, and so long as our heart continues to beat, we must be permitted — things remaining as they now are — to plead the importance of these invaluable institutions.
Our attention, just at the present moment, has been called to this subject, by seeing in the Boston Recorder of the 24th of November last, a circular prepared by a Committee of the Plymouth County Association for the improvement of Common
Lazy Apologies of Parents.
Schools, signed by Charles Brooks, as Chairman, and addressed to the inhabitants of the county. The duties and doctrines it inculcates are such, in general, as we rejoice to see set forth. They are such as we have long been, to the best of our abilities, pressing upon our fellow citizens.
The circular urges, in the first place, the importance of a new and united interest in the common schools of our country.' It pourtrays, with a master hand, the importance of our common, or town schools, as it calls them. It complains of too long vacations; of defective school books; of the cupidity of parents, and their consequent stupidity on the subject of elementary education ; of the low and often unworthy motives of teachers, and of the universal neglect - not to say hatred of the sight of — teachers and school houses. It recommends improved school houses, improved school districts, seminaries for teachers, school lectures, and a more elevated standard of instruction. It recommends to parents, in all the arrangements, with reference to their children, to keep the present and future good of the child, rather than their own personal convenience or pecuniary advantage uppermost; and to sacrifice almost every thing for the physical, intellectual and moral welfare of their children. This is a chord we are glad to see touched, and We hope it will produce an effect. It would do so, if the love of property — or of pleasure, rather, under the cover of property — had not frozen up, every where, the parental bosom. It would do so, if people read their bibles with as much anxiety to know how to educate their children for God and their country, as they now do for many other purposes of secondary importance. It would do so, if they considered, for one moment, the import of the plain statement of an apostle, that the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children;' and if they were as careful to lay up, for them, treasures of immortal mind and heart, as they now are to lay up gold and silver and houses and lands, or to deck and pamper their bodies.
We can scarcely be cool on this subject--we ought scarcely to be — so long as we see parents overlook common schools, and shelter themselves in so doing, under the most miserable subterfuges and the most wretched apologies; the sum and substance of which, after all, are little more than that they themselves love money and ease and pleasure, come what may of the future and eternal destinies of the children whom God has given them. Away with such things — we must say it. Away, especially, with the lazy, hollow-hearted excuse of those who ought to have more common sense if not more cominon philanthropy than they manifest, and who tell us, gravely, that the
common schools have become so low that they cannot and will not place their children in them, so long as God gives them the means of affording them instruction in schools where their morals will be less endangered.
These parents know or ought to know we will not be fastidiously reserved, they do know it that the common school will contine to be, for generations to come, the place where at least nine tenths of all public instruction beyond the family will be given ; that on the character of these schools, despite of their neglect of them, depends the public sentiment; the moral atmosphere in which their children and grand children must, according to the common course of things, live and breathe; and that the first step they ought to take, even on selfish principles, if their selfishness is not bounded literally by their own dear selves without regard to their children, is to use their best endeavors to improve and elevate the common schools. The more they neglect them by sending their children to private schools, the worse they must become;, or if not, it is no fault of theirs. They contribute all in their power to such a result.
In regard to improved districts,' the circular holds the following language, which, to some, may seem rather singular; but which we believe will be found to contain more truth than poetry.
• With regard to the multiplication of school districts, we think the plan recently adopted by several towns might be advantageously copied elsewhere. They have established one or two High Schools in central places, with competent masters, for all the larger children who are within three miles of the house. Such a school is kept through the year, while the smaller children are instructed by females in the present districts. This plan takes the money now paid to several masters (whose board, wood and wages, soon exhaust all that is raised by any town,) and appropriates it to a permanent school. Thus our short lived, insufficient, and, we may add, expensive schools give place to one kept through the year by an accomplished and well prepared teacher. And we deem the difference between a transient, merely money-making master, and one whose heart and life are devoted to education, to be the difference between the meteor's random flash and the planet's steady light.'
The common notion that our children - puny and half formed and half spoiled as our pampered habits have often rendered them- cannot go so far to school as the plan involved in the foregoing paragraph seems to require, is certainly specious ; and we should not wonder if its currency should keep our towns, for some time to come, cut up into ten, twelve, fourteen – and in