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Common School Papers.
CONNECTICUT REDEEMED! So say the political papers; but with how much more of truth might it be so said, were her Common Schools what they should be! There is, however, one redeeming fact which has lately coine to our ears. A female teacher, in the town of Bristol, in that State, has received, during the past winter, thirteen dollars a month and her board, for her services! We have known many an experienced female teacher employed there during the wipter, for five and even four dollars a month and her board; and never before knew one receive over eight. Males are often employed for the latter sum and even for less.
COMMON SCHOOL PAPERS. These are becoming quite numerous. Ohio has three, and another is proposed. Illinois has one. lichigan has one, or is about to have. New York has one. One is proposed in Maine, and one in Pennsylvania. Of late, also, one has been proposed in Massachusetts; to be called the Common School Journal;' and to be edited by Horace Mann, Secretary of the Board of Education, and published by Marsh, Capen & Lyon.
We can scarcely have too many of these journals, provided they are conducted in the right spirit, by judicious men, and for right purposes. But if they are designed, as we fear some of them are, such, for example, as the Common School Advocate, of Cincinnati, chiefly to 'puff' or 'sell' certain books, or accomplish certain local purposes, they will be of little service, in the end – perhaps a nuisance.
The prospectus of the Common School Journal, has the following language respecting its ohjects and intentions. We like its promises; and we hope they will be most scrupulously performed.
“The great object of the work will be the improvement of COMMON Schools, and other means of Popular Education. It is also intended to inake it a depository of the Laws of the Commonwealth in relation to Schools, and of the Reports, Proceedings, &c., of the Massachusetts BOARD OF EDUCATION. As the documents of that Board will have a general interest, they ought to be widely diffused, and permanently preserved.
• It will not be so much the object of the work to discover, as to diffuse knowledge. In this age and country, the difficulty is, not so much that but few things on the subject of education are known, as it is that few persons know them. Many parents and teachers, not at all deficient in good sense, and abounding in good feelings and good purposes, fail only from want of information how to expand and cherish the infantile and juvenile mind; and hence they ruin children through love unguided by wisdom. It should therefore be the first effort of all friends 286
School Convention at Marietta.'
of education to make that which is now known to any, as far as possible, known to all.
THE PERIODICAL PRESS, GENERALLY. The Religious Magazine, the Mercantile Journal, and perhaps a few other papers of this city, frequently contain important articles in the department of education. The Lady's Book seems to be going over to the side of fashion and frivolity; though a solid article occasionally appears, even in this. Most of the business papers of Boston and other places, though they are still behind in this matter, are yielding to the popular demand, and slowly coming up to the great cause of human education and improvement.
School CONVENTION AT MARIETTA, Ouro. The semi-annual meeting of the Washivgton County School Association, was held at Marietta, on the first and second days of May; and appears from the account given in the Marietta Gazette, to have been well attended.
The subjects of Corporal Punishment, Emulation and Legislative Aid in raising the standard of the qualifications of teachers was fully and freely discussed, as well as several other exceeningly important topics.
Reports were also presented and accepted, on Physiology as a branch of Common School Instruction, by Dr S. Fuller, and on the best method of teaching English Grammar, by L. Tenney. An address was delivered on the use of the Bible in our Common Schools, by Prof. Jewett; and another on the subject of Education, more generally, by Samuel Lewis, Esq., the State Superintendent.
Resolutions were passed for the appointment of coinmittees to report on State Institutions for the education of Common School Teachers, on School Libraries, on improvements in Common Schools, and on a Periodical for Schools; and committees on all those subjects, respectively, were appointed, with directions to report at the next meeting, which is to be held at Belpre, on the first Tuesday of November next.
The following resolution was adopted.
Resolved, That in the opinion of this Association, a firm and salutary discipline may ordinarily be maintained in our schools, by the skilful einployment of moral suasion; and that the teacher should resort to corporal punishment only in cases of extremity, and when all other proper modes of influencing the pupil, have failed of success.
Notices of Books.
NOTICES OF BOOKS.
MENTAL AND Practical ARITHMETIC.-Designed for the use of Academies and Schools; with a Key. By Charles Davies. Author of First Lessons in Algebra, Elements of Surveying, &c. &c.Geneva, N. Y.: 1833. 18mo. pp. 288.
In preparing text books for the use of Academies and common schools, excessive brevity and diffuseness of explanation are alike to be avoided. The first, by leaving too much to be supplied by the sagacity of the student, retards and ultimately discourages him. The latter, by its very fulness, produces confusion, and tires instead of stimulating his faculties. Besides these and other errors which are equally to be avoided in text books of every kind, there are some which belong more exclusively to each particular department. The older Arithmetics, for example, were essentially defective in presenting the subject in the synthetic method only, while the more modern ones are not less so in their invariable adherence to the method of analysis. For some years past, however, the two methods have usually been blended in nearly their true proportions. Works consisting of analysis alone, such as Colburn's First Lessons, and Emerson's First Part, are still considered as of indispensable importance to the younger classes, but for those whose minds are more mature, the synthetic method is generally preferred, with only so much of analysis as is necessary to a clear understanding of the reasons on wbich the rules are founded. In the discipline of the intellectual faculties, both methods are of great and perhaps equal importance.
The Arithmetic of Prof. Davies is, in general, distinguished for clearness and simplicity, in its rules and definitions. We are glad to see the answers annexed to the questions, rather than reserved for a separate key, but are not altogether confident that a key at the end of the volume might not be a useful appendage.
We have not time to speak particularly of the several parts of this work, nor is its character so peculiar as to require from us such minute attention. We would only remark, in this connection, that the subject of proportion appears to us to be treated in a very satisfactory manner. It would, however, as it seems to us be an improvement to introduce here and in other parts of the work, the mode of cancelling to which we had occasion to refer, at page 176 of the present volume, when noticing Mr Burnham's Arithmetic.*
*We would here remark, that in the closing paragraph of the article alluded to, a typographical error occurs, in printing 105 and 85, instead of 188. and 88. The error intended to be corrected in the paragraph alluded lo, of reckoning the dollar in the currency of North Carolina at 88. instead of 108., occurs also in the arithmetic before us, and in most other arithmetics in common use.
On the whole, we consider this work of Prof. Davies as one of great practical value, though doubtless susceptible of some minor improvements. We were not specially pleased with the title of the book, Mental and Practical Arithmetic, as it seems to imply a distinction where none exists, inasmuch as every mental arithmetic is of course practical.
A New French Manual : Comprising a guide to French pronunciation ; a copious vocabulary; selection of phrases. A series conversations on the curiosities, manners and amusements of Paris, and during various tours in Europe ; models of letters, &c. &c.Designed as a Guide to the traveller, and an attractive Class Book for the student. By Gabriel Surrenne, French Teacher to the Military and Naval Academy, Edinburgh. Revised and enlarged, by A. Pestiaux, Professor of the French Language in the city of New York. New York : Wiley & Putnam. 1838. 18mo. pp. 244.
Of the positive value of Phrase Books and Vocabularies in the acquisition of modern languages, we have no means of forming a decided opinion; but presume from their general use, that it is considerable. Among works of this class, designed to assist the student of the French language, we have seen none which appeared to us, either in its general plan or in the filling up of the several parts, superior to this Manual of M. Surrenne. In addition to a very large collection of choice phrases on a great variety of common topics, the work contains the main principles of French pronunciation, clearly and concisely expressed ; and dialogues descriptive of an imaginary tour upon the continent, which may serve in a great degree, as a practical guide to the traveller. A careful study of this part of the work would probably prove a good preparation for such a tour as is described, and could not fail to supply the traveller with a great amount of that kind of information which he would most need at every step of his journey.
The Boston Musical Gazette, a semi-monthly journal devoted to the Science of Music. Boston : Otis, Broaders & Co., Publishers.
We have seen the first number of this work, which is a handsome quarto of eight pages, and well filled with interesting matter. This journal is to be devoted,' says the prospectus, to the subject of music, containing Musical History, Biographical Sketches of eminent composers and performers, impartial reviews of musical works, an account of oratorios and concerts, musical societies, academies and schools, with their various merits, progress, &c.'. It is to be edited by B. Brown, Esq.
ANNALS OF EDUCATION.
RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION IN COMMON SCHOOLS.
In a former article* I have presented several methods or means of making religious impressions on the minds of pupils in our common schools, which seemed to me open to no objections on the part of those who entertain the most fastidious notions on this subject, and who cry out the most loudly against sectarism. There is one method of accomplishing this object, which seems to me preferable to any, if not to all others which have yet been proposed. It may be pursued either as a class exercise, or otherwise ; and to any extent which the varying circumstances of teachers may require.
The pupils of a given class, or of the whole school, may be called to discriminate character. Thus they may be asked: What do
you think was the great difference between Judas Iscariot and Peter ? What between Ahab and Asa ? What between John and Paul ? &c.
It is true that these questions may, at first, require a good deal of thought, on the part of ordinary school pupils ; but time enough may be given them for it. The teacher may require them to write the questions on their slates, and annex to them such answers as they may think appropriate, at their leisure. Or he may bring them to the appropriate answers by another set of questions, which might properly be considered as preliminary to the foregoing. Thus the question might be put; If Judas Iscariot had found a purse of money in the streets of Jerus:lem, in passing along, what do you think he would have done with it? Suppose Peter had found one, do you think he would have dis
* This article and that in our last number, under the same head, were made the basis of an essay, which was read by the Editor, before the American Lyceum, at its late session in Haitlord, Conn.