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Character of School Eraminers.
he is learning on a small slate, having a monitor with a black board, or a large slate before him, to assist and encourage himn; and that however rough or awkward bis letters are at first, he should pursue this course constantly, till they are all learned. Teachers may also be present, who will incidentally observe that we ought not to teach a child its letters, till it has acquired some knowledge of Geoinetry. Natural History, &c.
So in regard to spelling. One, finding his pupils most thoroughly tired of committing to memory long pages of words arranged in alphabetical order, or at least in some unnat: sal order, most of which they neither understand nor can understand, conceives he has made a great improvement, in giving his classes short lessons, and requiring theni to read them aloud, several times before they are studied, to render it certain that they are correct in regard to accent, pronunciation, &c. Another thinks that columns of words should not be used at all, but prefers having his classes spell the words of their reading and geography lessons. A dozen different methods of teaching this necessary and fundamental elementary branch will be presented; most of which will have their excellencies, and not a few will embrace obvious defects.
• The foregoing remarks have been made on the supposition that school committees, or a majority of them, are or have been teachers themselves. Few things appear to me more obviously improper than the practice of appointing to this office men who have never taught school, and whose only qualification for this important trust is fidelity. For though faithfulness to their employers is indispensable, it is not enough. A majority of them, at the least, ought to have a thorough acquaintance with the duties and details of the school room; and their whole number should be zealously engaged in the great cause of human improvement, especially improvement in education. But when it happens that in the selection of a School Committee, the public go farther, and do not so much as seek for fidelity, but, on the contrary, make their selection in reference to political or religious opinions merely, it is then that their conduct becomes highly reprehensible. This desecration of a responsible office. whenever it occurs--and occur it certainly does, occa-jonally-is enough to turn the whole current of one's soul into misanthropy. Is there then nothing which the demon of party discord can let alone? Cannot men possess a high regard for the interests of their race, long enough to make provision for the early education of the rising generation? Or must the corner stone, and every stone of the goodly edifice of human character, be laid in party strife and sectarian bitterness ?'
Relying too much upon Systems.
ON SYSTEMS AND SYSTEM-MONGERS.
Our patience is sometimes well nigh exhausted, in hearing so much said about systems, especially in education. Now it is Fellenberg's system-now Jacotot's—now the Prussian—now the New York system and now perhaps something else. One day a society is to regenerated by the Infant School System; the next day, the Manual Labor School System is the lever on which every thing is to be brought up; anon it is, with some, the Sabbath School System; with others, nothing will regenerate us, nationally, but our Common School System ; and a few talk, lastly—but without telling us very distinctly what they mean- of universal education.
Let us not be misunderstood. We have no hostility to systems of education, in themselves considered, and in particular ages, countries and circumstances ; nor with those who appear as their advocates. We are willing to know, and that the public should know the excellencies and defects of all systems that have been or that can be devised. We are glad that individuals and associations of indiviiluals can be found, who are ready and willing to perform the important work of bringing these systems out to public view. The American Institute of Instruction, in offering a premium of five hundred dollars for the best essay that may be furnished on a system of education best adapted to the Common Schools of our country, have acted wisely. We hope a thousand pens will be set to work to record the views of a thousand of the best friends and most intimate acquainiances of education, in all parts of our country.
But for what do we wish this? To prepare a system that will be adapted to the wants of the Common Schools in all parts of the United States ; and to those wants at the present moment? No hope could be more futile; no expectation more likely to end in disappointment. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to devise a system which would apply to all the States of New England. Still more difficult would it be to apply the same system to the Eastern and Middle States. But to adapt it to the Eastern and Southern, or even Western ones, would be next to impossible.
We have said it would be difficult to apply the same system to all the New England States. In some places, the people are so tenacious, not to say jealous, in regard to the right of saying who shall be the teachers of their children, that any attempts of the state to interfere in the matter, by statute, will be rejected, inevitably so, with disdain—not to say resentment. The mistaken
Phy ical Education among the Friends. 371 idea, too, that a person who understands only a few branches thoroughly, is yet as well qualified to teach those few branches, as if his instruction and education had been more liberal, cannot be removed by imposing on us any system, let the method of imposing it be what it may. If our government were despotic, like that of Prussia, the matter would be otherwise. But such is not the genius of our people. We are in the United States and not in Europe ; we are yankees,' and not nobles or peasants, or despots.
But our greatest dislike to the disposition which prevails among us, to some extent, and which we believe to be increasing-we mean the disposition to lean too much on a system of some sort or other--arises from the belief that it is not so much in any system to accomplish good or evil results, as in the spirit which prevails among parents, teachers and children. We believe that, as a general rule, whatever is best administered is best.' If the hue and cry' of the present day, about systems, should produce, as its principal result, a spirit of inquiry on this subject, especially among parents—and such a result is scarcely too inuch to hope for —we should not be sorry to hear so much about the excellency of the Prussian system, and the want of some system among us. But if it should only lull the people to sleep again ; or if it should arouse them just long enough to lead them tó entrust every thing to a Buard of Education, or a Superintendent, and if they should then think the whole work is done, and their past neglect wholly atoned for, and should again plunge into a career of office seeking or money getting, little advantage would be derived from the efforts to which we have alluded. But we do hope for the best, in this matter. We do hope that some real good will come out of apparent evil; and that even our systems and system-mongers were not made wholly in vain.
MORAL INFLUENCE OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION.
From the last report of the Managers of the Haverford School Association, we derive the following highly interesting extract.
"At no former period since the opening of the school, has there been such a healthful tone of feeling, or so little of a disposition to disregard or violate the rules, as during the past year. The result is doubtless to be attributed to various causes, and while the influence of those students who have been several
years in the institution, has been perhaps the most efficient, it is believed that amongst others, the increased attractiveness of the grounds, green-houses and gardens, has also produced a very happy effect.'
Few things have given us more pleasure than the perusal of the foregoing sentiment, especially as it comes from a source whence we least expected it. The fixed manners and habits of the Friends, as a sect, are proverbial; and their disregard of what, with many, are deemed the embellishments of eclucation, -the externals of it, at the least -- is equally well understood. They would therefore, it is presumed, be among the last to speak in favor of green-houses,* gardens and fields in connection with places of instruction and education, unless fully convinced of their good moral influence, Yet they do thus speak, and in language too plain to be misunderstood. The increased attractiveness of the grounds, green-house and garden, have also produced,' say they, 'a very happy effect.'
The bealthful moral influence of music on schools, is now, we believe, generally admitted. But music itself, in one point of view-we mean so far as it is made a means of exercising and developing the Jungs, and cultivating the powers of the vocal organs-is but a branch of physical education ; and we believe it will be found that the cultivation of the eye, and the presence of a rich profusion of plants, flowers, fruits, &c., aside from the from the manual labor which is usually connected therewith, which such an arrangement as that of the Haverford School involves, has a tendency equally favorable.
Indeed the whole subject of physical education and physical management, whether applied to adults or children, and whether we speak of air, temperature, cleanliness, food, drink, sleep, or any thing else, is valued principally by those who are pressing it so strongly on parents and teachers of the present day, on account of its moral results. Few, we believe, are very solicitous to cultivate the animal part of our nature for the sake of the merely animal benefits to be derived ; although we do not know that any intelligent friend of physical improvement affects to despise the latter. He probably supposes, on the contrary, that the greatest amount of true physical enjoyment, is, on the whole, compatible with, and inseparable from, the highest amount of intellectual and moral enjoyment. But it is the elevation of the intellectual and moral nature of man, which, after all, is the great object of regard. It is to lead men, on penalty
* We are not so much in favor of green-bouses, as of gardens, and cultivated fields-nevertheless, we are not prepared, at this moment, to go into a tirade against them.
School Books in Primary Schools.
of suffering for every transgression, to obey every law of God, natural and providential, as well as revealed. It is to induce them, if possible, whether they eat or drink, or WHATSOEVER THEY Do, to do all to the glory of God.
We ought to add, in this place, both as a testimony to the good sense of that portion of christian community to whose efforts we have already referred, that during the past winter they have had, in the Haverford school, a thorough and scientific, yet plain and practical course of lectures on physiology; and that we hope the example will rouse many other individu Is or associations of individuals, to a proper and serious consideration of the importance of this whole subject.
BOSTON PRIMARY SCHOOLS.
While we cannot believe we are actuated by any sinister motive which tempts to unbelief, we are very far from being satisfied with what our correspondent has said, in our last number, in regard to the Primary Schools of Boston. It is true, indeed that he has shown to our entire satisfaction, that the Primary School Committee have made more efforts in regard to School Houses than we had supposed ; in fact, they seem to us to be doing nobly. And we are certainly ready to acknowledge ourselves in error, when that error is discovered. We should be ashamed to be otherwise.
As to school books, however, we do not see that our charge of neglect is yet disproved. For example, has any class more than one reading book? But are the enlightened people of Boston so far behind the spirit of the age, as not to have found out that there is a better mode of teaching reading in schools than by confining a class for twelve years to the same book?
We do not quite say this is done in the Boston Schools. But we have no evidence, from the statements of the writer referred to, that it is not so. We do not learn that there was but one reading book in the schools for all classes till 1826, since which time-or rather since 1833-three others have been introduced. Only one reading book in a class, month after month, and year after year! We are sorry to have it so said, and by a Boston Committee.
The existence of narrowness of view, and even of narrowness in practice, in the case of some country committees, who make