« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
A City School Missionary. We have heard of late that is in contemplation by some, to secure the appointment of a sort of city missionary of instruction, whose office it shall be to inspect, minutely, all schools in all their circumstances, and report respecting the same to the proper authority. Messrs Woodbridge and Fisher had in view chiefly the physiological condition of the primary schools ; and indeed hardly that, to any considerable extent. They ran through the city, and examined and measured the school houses, rather than visited the schools. They performed a noble service, it is true, great as was the sacrifice, and many as were the enemies they procured by it. But we want, now, a more diligent and extensive investigation. We want an officer who will examine the whole condition of all the schools—we mean of all which are public. In regard to those which are private or select, he could not of course be admitted to these, any farther than their teache s, in courtesy, should think proper and convenient.
Such an officer, to perform, faithfully, an annual examination of this sort, would do immense good, and be a greater honor to our metropolis than a thousand things, however valuable, for which we cheerfully pay our thousands and tens of thousands of dollars. Yet there are among us men of knowledge and philanthropy, who would accomplish the work with little or no expense but a moderate salary; and thus confer on the city and the world an immense benefit.
How much need there is of improvement in the schools of this city, especially the primary schools, can hardly be conceived by by those who have noi made a thorough investigation of the matter. There is a very general impression that the system is already quite perfect. True something has been done, as we have already said, and many things have been done well; but nothing which is worthy of Boston, in the middle, or almost the middle of the nineteenth century. For it is not-we repeat itthe physical condition of the pupils alone, that demands attention, and creates the necessity of such a public functionary as we have alluded to. There is great and lamentable neglect, in regard to school books and studies. And as for the moral education of the pupils, any farther than can be secured by having teachers whose general character is unimpeachable, it is scarcely thought of. The following are the views of a very accurate observer of the condition of these schools, as published recently in one of our daily papers.
• There are two radical defects of the whole system, compared with which all others are of little moment.
· The intellectual education of the pupils is hardly provided Defects of the System of Instruction. 125 for in the least. They do not learn to know, to observe, reflect, compare and decide. Without this, all other learning is the veriest chopped straw and east wind.
• The art of reading, the use of our mother tongue, writing, speaking, eloquence in its lowest movements and its dizziest heights, all depend upon the strength, the clearness, the native energy and the acquired compass of the intellect. Quicken then the mind--address its comprehension-reveal its own powers to itself, and the work of education is completed.
. In what one of our Primary Schools is this done? Who of the Teachers - who of the Committee, fulfils this more than royal office; unfolding the intellect, unlocking the secret and mysterious springs of all knowledge in the children committed to his charge? We must begin at the beginning—we must first bear to be told that we have not done so yet, and then we must lend all exertions to make amends for the past.
• The moral education of the children is equally neglected. To judge from the • Rules and Regulations of the Board, one would suppose the four thousand pupils were destitute of moral natures or exempt from moral exposure. Everything else should be abandoned till this want is remedied. We do not want sectarianism, or party-ethics. But we do want to have the foundations laid, and ihe structure itself, as far as possible raised, of common honesty and morality.
Before all their lessons, let the children learn the precepts of truth and right. Let their feelings be only cherished and strengthened, let them be fitted for life's momentous duties in these their first schools. Let the principle be recognized and honored, that all the hopes of human society hang upon the cultivation and direction of our moral nature. Let not the heart be for a moment overlooked ; with it should all education begin.
• By kindness, gentleness, patience and watchfulness-through sympathy and interest, with pleasant tones addressed always to the heart and the intellect—with simple, natural, and usually conversational modes of instruction, with frequent questions and full explanations, let the teachers aim to discharge their mission, and honor and success will crown their exertions. Nothing less will suffice, no substitute for this can be devised by the art or ingenuity of men.'
But we have probably said enough on this subject for once ; it may be resumed on some future occasion. We are unwilling, wholly so, that a school system which has so good a name remaining stationary year after year, while money is poured like water, for everything else-unless, indeed, for water itself126 True Nature and Character of a School. and while internal and external improvement is every where progressing, should fail to accomplish the purposes for which it was and should be designed; the education of the children of our citizens from three to seven years of age. The truth is-we may as well confess it honestly as not—we have nothing among us. beyond the family circle, which deserves the name of education; and even much of the latter is bad education. The school should be, for the time, a substitute for the family circle. There should be, in reality, but one school. What is taught and done at home, if worthy of being taught at all, whether it bear upon the physical, the social, the intellectual or the moral characterwith the exception, perhaps, for the most part, of eating and sleeping-should, as a general rule, be taught and done at the school room; and vice versa, what is taught and done at the school room should be taught and done in the family circle. A school is an adjourned mecting of the family ; but to give time to the parents, individually, to attend to other things which demand their attention, several families of children are united at the adjourned meeting, and a single confidential father and mother are (or should be) allowed to take the place, for the time being, of the whole. When the hours allotted to the mecting are over, it is adjourned back to the family, where the work of education is to go on again as before, only with renewed vigor. This, in few words, in the simple idea of a school. It is, like a family, a place of education, the formation of character and habits -and not a place of mere instruction ; it is a mere substitute for the farnily circle and the family course of study.
In saying what we have now said, we go a step farther than before. Hitherto we have called the family school, the model school; and have insisted that in proportion as all other schools could be made to resemble this, in the number and character of their teachers, pupils, rooms, &c. &c., just in the same proportion, were they what schools ought to be, might we hope to accomplish the great end of education. Now, as will be seen, we take the ground that the family school is properly the only school; and all things else which are called schools, are only continuations or modifications of it. This view, if just, and if universally received, would effect many important changes in the character and condition of all our systems of instruction, from the infant to the man, and from the family to the university.
Circulation of the Blood.
PRACTICAL LESSONS IN PHYSIOLOGY.
The knowledge of our own structure, and of the laws which prevail in us, is beginning to attract considerable attention. The question is often asked us ; What class book in Anatomy and Physiology is there which is adapted to pupils of ten, twelve, or fourteen years of age? The only reply we can give is, that we do not know. The · House I live in,' is used in a few of our schools, to prepare the way for an elementary work of the kind demanded ; but it is little more than an introduction to the subjects of which it treais.-It seems to be most useful as a text book in reading. But beyond this, we have nothing adapted to the class of pupils in question. The works of Hayward, Smith and Combe, are too elaborate, if not too learned.
If teachers were familiar with the whole subject of Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology and Hygiene, this matter might easily enough be managed, even without books. No subjects are more easily taught orally, than anatomy and physiology ; not indeed, thoroughly, but to a certain extent. The presence of the living, , moving, breathing body, is no inapt substitute for class books, as well as for preparations, models and skeletons. But until people have had their attention early directed to this subject, they will not be likely to make very efficient teachers, even with the living body-fearfully and wonderfully wrought as it isconstantly before them.
It has seemed desirable to present a series of practical lessons in physiology in this journal. The series is intended for two great classes of the community, parents and teachers. Not that any individual of either of these classes will adopt the lessons for his own use ; our hope is rather that they will excite bis attention to the subjects embraced in the lessons, and lead him to originate exercises adapted to his own condition, and the wants of his children or pupils. Let the parent or teacher begin, not with our subjects or lessons, unless he understands them, but with something that he does understand. In doing this, if our method of treating these subjects should afford any useful hints, we shall rejoice. We have addressed our lessons to children.
No. 1.–THE CIRCULATION. Each one of you, my young friends, must needs have felt your heart beat ; and some of you have probably been anxious to know what made it beat, and why it should be always beating, as long as we live. I am glad to see the young anxious to inquire into these things. I' love the boy, who, on seeing the
The Process of Circulation Erplained.
pendulum of a clock swing, or its hands move, or who on seeing the motion of the hands of a watch and hearing it tick, wishes to know the reason why; although I do not like to see him take a stone and beat a watch to pieces to find out why it ticks or beats, as a boy once did in my native town. But curiosity in the young, and a desire to know the reasons why, in almost every thing, are to be commended ; and a curious boy, who is at the same time modest and humble, will almost inevitably become a wise man. If you place your right hand on the left side of your breast, at the lower part of it, directly over the place where the heart lies, and count the number of beats which the heart makes in a minute, by my watch, you will find it, perhaps, eighty or ninety ; in some of you more, in others less. In a grown man the heart beats from sixty to seventy times in a minute; in a grown woman, a little more. in children and . youth, it beats faster still ; and the younger we are, the more swift is the motion.
Now this beating goes on while we are asleep, as well as when we are awake ; and unless we faint, or something extraordinary happens, does not stop for a single minute, from our birth to our death. Do you ask what makes it keep going thus ? This I cannot tell you. The Creator only knows. But if you ask what good the motion does us, I will try to tell you.
The heart, which in an adult is as large as a man's fist, or larger, has in it two hollows or cavities; and in the instant just before it beats, one of these cavities is full of blood. At the instant when you perceive the beating, it shrinks or contracts, and presses the blood out of it into a long white pipe, called an artery. This contraction of the heart is done with a kind of jerk, or beat, easily perceptible by us all.
This blood, thus pushed into the great artery, makes room for more, and accordingly more flows in. Where this blood which flows in comes from, I cannot stop to tell you now; I must do it hereafter. But when the cavity is full again, which is in a second or less, the heart squeezes it out again into the great artery. The quantity sent out at once by an adult person, is usually estimated at about two ounces, or half a gill; and this fills soine eight or ten inches in length of the artery. When therefore, the heart has beat once, we may consider eight inches of the artery as full; when twice, sixteen inches; when thrice, twentyfour inches, &c. Every new portion of blood that is sent out, pushes the previous portion a little farther on, till it is finally sent all over the body.
The blood is not sent all over the body, however, by means of a single pipe or artery. The great artery into which it is first