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the creation of wider sympathies with each other. As a body also, the profession may do more than would be possible by individual effort, to impress on the community a sense of the importance of their labors, and to hold up in a fair light their claims to encouragement and support. We believe that the pay of schoolmasters is more inadequate, in proportion to what is expected from them, than that of any other class of men whatever ; and even the respect, which is willingly accorded in general terms to the business they are engaged in, is grudgingly imparted to individuals, or is altogether lost in the exaggerated view which too many parents take, of their claims to an equivalent for money disbursed or general services rendered. We are not merely repeating the general cry of public servants about hard work and scanty pay. The case is a wholly peculiar one, and any person may satisfy himself that it is so, by a moment's consideration of the amount and variety of duties imposed, the number and peculiarity of qualifications required, the responsibility of the task, and the multitude of individuals, who consider it as their right and duty to take good care, that such responsibility is enforced. Then let him ascertain the ayerage amount of compensation given, whether in sympathy and encouragement or in hard money, and we conceive that he will obtain some new views about the gratitude due to teachers. Still further, if he wishes to know something about the general activity shown by this body of men, in order to prevent the execution of their task from falling into a mechanical and stationary routine, let him have recourse to the volumes annually published by the “ American Institute."
The yearly meeting of the Association is usually prolonged for several days, the time being occupied by the free discussion of questions connected with the management of schools, and by the delivery of lectures on topics directly connected with education, given for the most part by teachers themselves, but sometimes by gentlemen who are only indirectly connected with the work. The whole or a part of these lectures is subsequently printed for general circulation. The volume now before us contains six of the thirteen lectures delivered at the last annual meeting. The first thing that struck us, on an examination of the book, was the eminently practical character of the several essays. The writers indulge in no loose talk about the general theory and importance of education, but go directly to their subjects, bringing forward the fruits of individual experience, and well-defined opinions on particular points in the practice of teaching and the direction of schools.
The only exception to this remark appears in the lecture by Dr. Bates, the President of Middlebury College, on “ Intellectual Education in harmony with Moral and Physical.” Even here, though the body of the performance consists of general speculations, a practical acquaintance with the subject is manifested ; and opinions, that are generally sound, are inculcated with the earnestness of one who has thought much on the various systems of instruction, and possessed the means of observing their actual operation. But we must except to the remarks against admitting the principle of emulation to be used as a stimulant to exertion. Such objections appear to us to be founded on an over-sensitiveness about the moral progress of the pupil, and on a needless wish to guard childhood against evils, that are incident only to maturer years. Those actually engaged in teaching, we believe, will be cautious about resolving to give up the most effectual stimulus, which it is now in their power to apply. We do not object, however, to the opinion of Dr. Bates, as expressed in the following sentence. “When war shall cease, when pride shall be subdued, - when vanity shall be blown away, when love, heavenly love, Christian charity shall have diffused its benign influence through the earth; emulation, with its attendants, envy and strife, shall be found no more.” Then, and not till then.
Mr. G. F. Thayer's lecture on “Courtesy, and its Connexion with School Instruction ” affords a fair instance of the success, with which the minutest details of one's own experience may be set forth for the information and profit of brother instructors. Homely and familiar topics are treated, it is true, and in the simplest manner; but pregnant hints are given for the removal of obstacles and perplexities, which, trivial as they may appear, have often proved fatal to the successful conduct of a school. Some courage is required for the exposition of such minute particulars, but the reward is at hand, in ascertaining that ineasures, founded on such suggestions, have been widely adopted, and in the consciousness of having rendered aid where it was most needed. The writer is well known as the principal of a long established and admirably managed private seminary in Boston, and his opinion on all subjects relating to the exercise of the profession is therefore entitled to great weight.
His colleague, Mr. Cushing, in a lecture on the “Results to be aimed at in School Instruction and Discipline," evinces not only perfect familiarity with the practical part of his business, but a wise forecast and a sound judgment in estimating the more remote effects, that must follow upon small beginnings. The taste and somewhat of the enthusiasm of the ripe scholar are shown in a clear perception of the high purpose, the ideal standard, which, though it exists only in the distance and is cov
ered with a multiplicity of fatiguing details, is never lost sight of by the faithful instructor. It requires the elastic spring of a vigorous mind to look beyond the minuliæ of a perpetually recurring task, and no little firmness and self-denial not to slur over these short but necessary steps by a hurried attempt to realize the ultimate purpose.
The lecturer shows that he is aware of either difficulty; and the clearness with which the path for others is traced out affords the surest proof, that the speaker has discovered and pursued the due course in his own practice. The pure and elevated conception of the teacher’s work in its moral aspect, the distinct recognition of duty, and a full account of the means of impressing this solemn idea on the mind of the youthful pupil, are the points which complete this broad view of the theory of primary instruction.
A lecture by Dr. Usher Parsons on the “ Brain and Stomach” appears from its title to be oddly introduced in such a connexion ; but it will be found on exainination to be one of the most practical and useful portions of the book. The professional eminence of the writer gives full weight to his advice on such subjects, and both parent and teacher will do well to reflect seriously upon his suggestions. The remaining lectures in the volume are by Thomas A. Greene, on "the Duty of Visiting Schools”; by the Rev. A. B. Muzzey, on “the Objects and means of School Instruction”; and by Jacob Abbott, on “the common Complaints made against Teachers.” They all add to the value of a book, which deserves a wide circulation among those interested in the subject of education in common schools.
7. – Greek Exercises, followed by an English and Greek Vo
cabulary, containing about seven thousand three hundred Words. By E. A. Sophocles, A. M. Hartford : H. Huntington, Jr.
12mo. pp. 168.
The high reputation which the Greek Grammar of Mr. Sophocles has already attained, and the extent of its introduction into schools and colleges, not only in New England, but in other and distant parts of the country, made it imperative that a book of Exercises should be published, prepared by the same skilful and careful hand. It bas been promptly supplied, and in such a manner as leaves nothing to be desired. This little work shows an exact appreciation of what our schools require, and is planned and executed in the exercise of the soundest judgment, aided by the most minute knowledge of the niceties of the Greek Language. The First Part contains a series of exercises, arranged under the rules of Syntax, which are taken from the stereotype edition of the author's Greek Grammar, and embracing all the essential principles of the Syntax. The sentences selected are all quoted from the best authors, and are such as illustrate the rule in a very clear and satisfactory manner. The whole of this Part occupies only forty-two pages, and yet it is sufficiently comprehensive for all the purposes of such a book. When the pupil has carefully written through this part, he will be prepared to go on with the second ; and here we think Mr. Sophocles is entitled to especial praise for the simplicity with which he has cleared up what scholars always find to be the most difficult, not to say unintelligible portion of their labor in learning to write the Greek Language with correctness, — the use of the article, the force of the tenses, and the proper use of the Subjunctive, Optative, and Infinitive Moods. Instead of stating the principles in abstract and technical language, he has illustrated the last-mentioned branch of his subject by a series of well chosen examples, which will at once, and in the most forcible manner, both suggest the principle, and stamp the usage ineffaceably upon the scholar's mind, and make it impossible to commit those solecisms in the application of the moods which in times past have made the teacher despair of the possibility of ever seeing a school exercise which did not contain a series of impossible propositions, constructions that would have made a Greek boy's hair stand on end, and ingenious barbarisms at which Quinctilian would have gaped and stared. There will be no excuse hereafter for such things : the whole matter is here set forth in so clear a light, that a boy who can learn any thing can learn this. The vocabulary at the end of the book is well selected, and the words are defined with great precision. The range of words is not confined to those which occur in the exercises ; but the most important, - those which make up the common circulation in the daily intercourse of life,here collected, so that, in writing any common piece of Greek composition, this book will be found of great utility. We
suppose that at this day the usefulness of writing exercises in a dead language will hardly be called in question. But we think the most important points in the practice are not always sufficiently apprehended. We do not think that a free and Auent use of a dead language is, per se, an object of very high importance in this age of the world, for any practical purpose to which such learned skill can be put in the ordinary business of life, or in the intercourse of society. But the intellectual processes through which alone such skill can be ac
quired, — the curious searching for the exact word, and the comparison of synonyms, and the nice analysis both of Janguage and thought, which are required in writing correctly in a dead language, are of the highest utility for the general discipline of the intellectual powers, and particularly for forming a habit of clear, logical thinking, and precise expression of the thought. It will be generally found that persons who have been most thoroughly trained in this way are the best masters of their own mother tongue, and the most correct reasoners on subjects far remote from these studies. An exception may now and then be found. Here and there arises, in literary history, a great native writer unskilled in the lore of the ancient tongues; and on the other hand, a great classical scholar, who is incapable of expressing himself with tolerable propriety in the idiom of his countrymen. But the great mass of the cultivated literature of Europe testifies strongly to the truth of our general statement.
That a constant habit of composition in a foreign or classical language gives the scholar a readier appreciation of the literary beauties embodied in that language, is a fact which no experienced person can deny or even doubt. It is very possible for a reader to get some general notion of a classic writer's merits, by reading alone, just as the visitor of a gallery of sculpture may carry away a vague impression of a statue on which he has cast but a single glance. But if that visitor had made a drawing of the statue, and thus had been compelled to scan all the details of its fair proportions with curious eye, he would have carried away in his mind an image of the artist's work, which would have remained there for ever. And so the student of an ancient Greek classic, who has attempted to reproduce the same curious mechanism of sentences, by carefulJy scrutinizing all the minute delicacies of his style, and weaving them into a series of exercises in composition, will stamp upon his mind an image of that author's beauties which will go with bim through life. The same remark may be extended from a single author to a whole language. But it must be confessed that our classical schools, with some honorable exceptions, fail egregiously in this regard ; and it is a matter which calls for instant and thorough reform. The publication of a book which contains so much in so small a space ; which is so judicious in the selection of examples, and so luminous in the illustration of principles, is of excellent omen for the improvement of our schools in the study of the Greek; and we have no hesitation in commending it as a suitable companion to the author's Greek Grammar (and that is saying great deal) to all the lovers of thorough classical scholarship. - NO. 112.