Page images
PDF
EPUB

the schoolhouse, found the boys standing around the young rebel, who was sitting upon a log, shaving the handle of the club smooth, with his pocket-knife. He was startled at the unexpected appearance of the teacher, and the first impulse was to hide his club behind, but it was too late, and supposing that the teacher was ignorant of his designs, he went on sullenly with his work, feeling, however, greatly embarrassed.

• Pleasant day, boys,' said the teacher. This is a fine sunny nook for you to talk in.'

Seems to me, however, you ought to have a better seat than this old log,' continued he, taking his seat at the same time by the side of the boy.

* Not so bad a seat, however, after all. What are you making, Joseph ?'

Joseph mumbled out something inarticulate by way of reply.

I have got a sharper knife,' said he, drawing his penknife out of his pocket. And then, 'Let me try it,' he continued, gently taking the club out of Joseph's hand.

The boys looked surprised, some exchanged nods and winks, others turned away to conceal a laugh; but the teacher engaged in conversation with them, and soon put them all at their ease, except poor Joseph, who could not tell how this strange interview was likely to end.

In the mean time the teacher went on shaving the handle smooth, and rounding the ends. You want, said he, 'a rasp or coarse file for the ends, and then you could finish it finely. But what are you making this formidable club for ?

Joseph was completely at a loss what to say. He began to show evident marks of embarrassment and confusion.

I know what it is for; it is to defend yourself against me with, is it not, boys ?' said he, appealing to the others.

A faint yes sir,' or two, was the reply.

· Well now, Joseph, it will be a great deal better for us both to be friends than to be enemies. You had better throw this club away, and save yourself from punishment by being a good boy. Come now,' said he, handing him back his club, throw it over into the field as far as you can, and we will all forget that you ever made it.' Joseph sat the picture of shame and confusion. Better feelings were struggling for admission, and the case was decided by a broad-faced, good-natured-looking boy, who stood by his side saying almost involuntarily,

• Better throw it, Joe.'

The club flew, end over end, into the field. Joseph returned to his allegiance, and never attempted to rise in rebellion again.

The ways by which boys engage in open, intentional disobedience, are, of course, greatly varied, and the exact treatment will depend upon the features of the individual case. But the frankness, the openness, the plain dealing, and the kind and friendly tone, which it is the object of the foregoing illustration to exhibit, should characterize all."

For the Annals of Education. ART. V.-ORDER IN SCHOOL.

VARIOUS methods have been tried to keep perfect order in school. The necessity of complete silence and quiet is nearly the same in al} cases. Persons of mature minds can seldom study to any good purpose in a noise and tumult. Much less can the young, whose habits of attention are as yet imperfectly formed, be expected to make any satisfactory proficiency in the midst of disquiet and confusion. The youthful mind naturally turns to what is outward, to what pleases and attracts the sight and the hearing. The intricacies of an abstruse problem in Arithmetic are no match for a nimble wbirligig, or a well aimed paper bullet. To tickle Peter, or hit George, are matters of more interest than hic haec hoc, and Mary's stray curl or dangling ribbon will gain more spectators than the blackboard. Besides all the trouble that arises from the intentionally turbulent and mischievous, causes such as these, perfectly natural and innocent in themselves, give every teacher more or less annoyance.

It is of course in every way desirable, if it is practicable, to maintain perfect order in a school room. How far it is practicable and what are the best means, are problems, the solution of which will do much towards removing the most grievous of those daily petty vexations which make the labors and the lives of many teachers excessively uncomfortable.

A perfect stillness, when there is life and power of motion, is hardly possible, and when the buoyancy of youthful spirits and the irksomeness of long confinement are superadded, we must perforce be content to bave our minimum at some distance from the absolute. Yet no faithful teacher will think he has done his duty, if he does not make constant efforts towards the furthest limit. The attainment of such a degree of uniform quiet and order as that the exercises and occupations of the school room shall be no hindrance to the most studious, inust always be aimed at, and indeed always secured ; and it may fairly become a question whether the teacher may not then be satisfied and in fact if he does not err in attempting anything further.

The difficulty of keeping strict order is increased or diminished by a variety of causes, e. g. the number of pupils, their character, the size of the room, the arrangement and construction of the seats and desks, &c. &c. The methods to be adopted will of course vary, in different schools and in the hands of more or less skillful teachers. Some will succeed perfectly on a plan, with which another will fail utterly.

We have known a great variety of schemes, which have been tried for this purpose, and have tried some of them ourselves. There is the frowning system. The teacher, lynx-eyed, is ever on the watch, and by a frown or a threat, expresses his displeasure at every act of irregularity or disquiet. Such a course is apt to offend the careless, and discourage those who err occasionally and without design; while unless it is followed up by somewhat severer than a sign, it will hardly intimidate the hardy and the vicious. Again there is the system of specific penalties for described offences. For example, for entering the school room after the hour appointed for opening, a detention after school of twice or thrice the time of the tardiness; for each act of whispering, a stopping after school five or ten minutes, &c. &c. Some we have known administer a flogging for every such misdemeanor. This plan of specific penalties, while it has many excellencies, is very troublesome to the teacher, as it requires much oversight and accuracy, and often proves vexatious to the pupil. Yet as it is founded in justice, when the offences and the punishments are judiciously chosen and strictly and impartially administered, the result is almost uniformly good order. In this case, neither teacher nor pupil has any means of evasion, or escape, unless the spirit of the rules is sacrificed to the letter. Still there are many improprieties and breaches of order that cannot conveniently be reduced to rules. One of the most appropriate and effective plans of this class that we have known is that of requiring for every one of certain named offences, such as whispering, an additional lesson or exercise. For example, a boy studying Virgil is required for every such offence to repeat memoriter ten verses of Latin poetry, and so in other cases. This rule proceeds on the notion that if a lad can find time to whisper he has spare time from his lessons, and the teacher may fairly assign him an additional task.

In large schools (where only it is possible) the studies of all the classes may be carried on in one room, appropriated to study only, while the lessons are recited in separate and smaller apartments. The noise and confusion of recitations are thus avoided, and one person, whose duty it may be made, can easily keep all quiet.

Some teachers again, finding a difficulty in all these schemes, throw them aside, and trust to the effect of frequent admonition and instruction on the subject of order. They have found that punishments irritate, and are desirous to place upon their pupils the responsibility and the duty of well doing in this thing. We have known few who have tried this plan who have not sooner or later returned to the doctrine of authority, and made quiet and orderly behavior a matter of necessity and duty, and not of choice.

Perhaps a better way than either, would be a combination of them all, in which, the teacher shall regard such delinquencies, not only as offences against good order, but as evidences of character, and while he adopts wise measures to prevent the recurrence of the evil, shall also use them as causes and materials of an intelligent reformation, neither scowling on every transgression, nor suffering any to escape his notice.

G. L.

225

MISCELLANEOUS LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.

Annual Prizes at Cambridge. In the year 1751, bis Grace the Duke of Newcastle, Chancellor of the University, established a premiuin of two gold medals, value ten guineas each, to be given to two persons, who, after having the academical bonors of senior optime conferred on them, shall be found, after a second examination before certain persons appointed by his Grace, to excel in classical learning. This premium was continued by the Duke of Grafton, the late Chancellor of the University.

Mr Finch and Mr Townsend gave yearly two prizes of fifteen guineas each, to two Senior Bachelors of Arts, and the like to two middle Bachelors, who should compose the best exercises in Latin prose ; which are read publicly by them on a day appointed. These prizes bave also been continued by the late and present Members of Parliament for the University.

Mr Seaton, by his will, in 1738, gave an estate to the University forever; the renis of which are to be disposed of yearly in prizes, by the Vice Chancellor. The subjects to be such as one or other of the perfections the Divine Being, and Death, Judgment, &c. The rent of the estate was to be given to that Master of Arts whose poem on the subject given should be best approved by the Vice Chancellor, the Master of Clare Hall, and the Greek Professor. The poem was ordained to be in English, and printed, and the proceeds of the estate, deducting the expenses of printing, given to the author of the poem. T'he estate is worth about 16£ per annum.

The late Dr Robert Smith, Master of Trinity College, bequeathed two annual premiums of 25£ each, to those Junior Bachelors of Arts who shall appear, on examination, to be the best proficients in mathematics and natural philosophy.

Sir William Browne, by a clause in bis will, directed his executors to send to the Vice Chancellor of Cambridge, annually, two gold medals, each of five guineas value, to be given by him at the commencement, to two undergraduates, one of whom shall deliver the best Greek ode in imitation of Sappho, the other the best Latin ode in imitation of Horace. He gave also, in a codicil, a third gold medal of the same value, to the undergraduate who shall produce the best Greek epigram after the model of the Anthologia, and the

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »