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and consequent embarrassment of very young teachers should forbid their developing their views before the board, they might be permitted to prepare and present them beforehand, in writing, 10 be read at the ineeting and made the subject of remark

"The objection that he who is as yet without any experience in teaching, cannot be expected to have a plan, must not, for a moment, be admitted. No person is justified in commencing a school without a plan. Not a general plan, merely; but a particular one. He who commences at random, without having marle up his mind as to the best method of classing, arranging, and governing his pupils, and elevating their morals, nay, he who has not determined how he will teach the alphabet, spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, geography, hist ry, geology, geometry, chemistry; and in short every thing which he may be required to teach, will find his situation perplexing and intolerable. He must immediately summon all his energies, and devise a system of some sort, at once, or he cannot proceed with profit to his pupils, or confort to himself. It is true, he will find many parts of his pre-conceived system impracticable, and will therefore be under the necessity of modifying it, from time to time, as experience may require. But a plan of some kind-I repeat it--is indispensable.

• Hence one advantage which will be likely to grow out of the method of examination here proposed. Every teacher would be obliged, from the very nature of the case, to devote much thought to the subject, and make much inquiry in regard to the most approved methods of discipline and instruction which prevail, in order to present a plan which shall meet the approbation of the committee. Most persons have too much self respect to present views so crude as to expose their entire ignorance of instruction. And can any method of examination be devised, which, without an increase of expense, shall, in the same time, be so advantageous to a person who is looking forward with intense anxiety to the time when he shall appear before the public as an instructer? What other plan will compel a person to study the writings of those who have embodied their experience and wisdom in books and periodicals? More than all this, what else will so effectually compel all candidates for teaching to study themselves, to go back, in imagination, to the time when they acquired the elements of knowle ge, and retrace, if possible, the very first steps they took in their first endeavors to clim! hill of science ? He who can best retrace his own other things being equal, will best how to become to others.

Character of Teachers Defended.

367

I have much confidence in town, and county, and state, and national conventions on education; I have still more hopes of the weekly meetings of the teachers of a single town for mutual improvement; and I believe great good results to teachers, also, from visiting each other's schools. On these points I shall speak more at length, presently. But what I would say in this place, is, that i know of nothing of the kind which could, for the short period of one or two duys, be more interesting and improving to all who should be permitted to attend them, than the examinations I have mentioned. More real practical information would thus be elicited, there could be more and juster comparisons made of the different views of various teachers, and the results and conclusions to which their experience had led, than under any other circumstances whatever.

In many places it is thought unnecessary to re-examine those teachers who have already been examined and taught once in a society, at least, if they have ever taught in the same school. But the law, I believe, if strictly adhered to, would, in most of the states, require it; and taking the present view of the subject, I am quite sure that public opinion too, ought to require it. Nor would any teacher object to it, if conducted on the plan which has been proposed; for he would rejoice to attend, and state what would be, in effect, the results of his experience, for the sake of learning that of others in his turn. Teachers of common schools are not that stupid or reckless set of men, which a few among us have supposed. Admit that in some cases, they are ignorant, and consequently liable to imbibe prejudices, the usual results of ignorance ; still, even these persons are not wholly stupid. They have, like the more intelligent class of teachers, and like other inen, a reputation to acquire and maintain. Grant that they only atiend to the business of teaching, as a temporary employment, as a mere stepping-stone to something else which may offer of a more profitable nature,-still

, is this a reason, or does it even operate as a reason why they should be indifferent in regard to success--while they are in actual em; loy? Is it then of no advantage, either to men or women, even as a passport to other employments, to have it known abroad, that they have been faithful teachers? Who ever heard that teaching a good school a few seasons, or a few years, unfitted either sex for other avocations ? If such is in any instance the fact; if there are teachers, who, Gallio like, care for none of these things, they are a grade lower in the chain of animated nature

n I have ever supposed.
?ut to return to the subject of examinations. Let us sup-

1 or a dozen candidates for teaching, assembled in some

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and consequent embarrassment of very young teachers should forbid their developing their views before the board, they might be permitted to prepare and present them beforehand, in writing, 1o be read at the meeting and made the subject of remark.

The objection that he who is as yet without any experience in teaching, cannot be expected to have a plan, must not, for a moment, be admitted. No person is justified in commencing a school without a plan. Not a general plan, merely; but a particular one.

He who commences at random, without having made

up

his mind as to the best method of classing, arranging, and governing his pupils, and elevating their morals, nay, he who has not determined how he will teach the alphabet, spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, geography, hist ry, gcology, geometry, che nistry; and in short every thing which he may be required to teach, will find his situation perplexing and intolerable. He must immediately summon all his energies, and devise a system of some sort, at once, or he cannot proceed with protit to his pupils, or comfort to himself. It is true, he will find many parts of his pre-conceived system impracticable, and will therefore be under the necessity of modifying it, from time to time, as experience may require.

But a plan of some kind-I repeat it--is indispensable.

· Hence one advantage which will be likely to grow out of the method of examination here proposed. Every teacher would be obliged, from the very nature of the case, to devote much thought to the subject, and make much inquiry in regard to the most approved methods of discipline and instruction which prevail, in order to present a plan which shall meet the approbation of the committee. Most persons have too much self respect to present views so crude as to expose their entire ignorance of instruction. And can any method of examination be devised, which, without an increase of expense, shall, in the same time, be so advantageous to a person who is looking forward with intense anxiety to the time when he shall appear before the public as an instructer? What other plan will compel a person to study the writings of those who have embodied their experience and wisdom in books and periodicals? More than all this, what else will so effectually compel all candidates for teaching to study themselves, to go back, in imagination, to the time when they acquired the elements of knowle Ige, and retrace, if possible, the very first steps they took in their first endeavors to climb the hill of science ? He who can best retrace his own progress, other things being equal, will best know how to become a guide to others.

Character of Teachers Defended.

367 I have much confidence in town, and county, and state, and national conventions on education ; I have still more hopes of the weekly meetings of the teachers of a single town for mutual improvement; and I believe great good results to teachers, also, from visiting each other's schools. On these points I shall speak more at length, presently. But what I would say in this place, is, that i know of nothing of the kind which could, for the short period of one or two days, be more interesting and improving to all who should be permitted to attend them, than the examinations I have mentioned. More real practical information would thus be elicited, there could be more and juster comparisons made of the different views of various teachers, and the results and conclusions to which their experience had led, than under any other circumstances whatever.

in many places it is thought unnecessary to re-examine those teachers who have already been examined and taught once in a society, at least, if they have ever taught in the same school. But the law, I believe, if strictly adhered to, would, in most of the states, require it; and taking the present view of the subject, I am quite sure that public opinion too, ought to require it. Nor would any teacher object to it, if conducted on the plan which has been proposed; for he would rejoice to attend, and state what would be, in etlect, the results of his experience, for the sake of learning that of others in his turn. Teachers of common schools are not that stupid or reckless set of men, which a few among us have supposed. Admit that in some cases, they are ignorant, and consequently liable to imbibe prejudices, the usual results of ignorance ; still, even these persons are not wholly stupid. They have, like the more intelligent class of teachers, and like other men, a reputation to acquire and maintain. Grant that they only atiend to the business of teaching, as a temporary employment, as a mere stepping stone to something else which may offer of a more profitable nature,-still, is this a reason, or does it even operate as a reason why they should be indifferent in regard to success--while they are in actual em; loy? Is it then of no advantage, either to men or women, even as a passport to other employments, to have it known abroad, that they have been faithful teachers? Who ever heard that teaching a good school a few seasons, or a few years, unfitted either sex for other avocations ? If such is in any instance the fact; if there are teachers, who, Gallio like, care for none of these things, they are a grade lower in the chain of animated nature than I have ever supposed.

• But to return to the subject of examinations. Let us suppose ten or a dozen candidates for teaching, assembled in some

363

Teaching the Alphabet.

convenient place, with as many members of the school committee, together with the district committee who employs each candidate. Let us suppose, for the present, no one else is admitted, unless it be a few classes of children to assist the teacher in illustrating such parts of his plans as might not otherwise be perfectly intelligible. Does any one believe that such a meeting, for such purposes, would be uninteresting? On the contrary, I think it would ultimately awaken the attention of parents themselves.

I know of no reason why meetings—anniversaries, if you choose to call them such--on this subject should not come in time to awaken as much interest as those which relate to the improvement of our means of defence-or even of our breed of caitle? Is not the mind of as much consequence as the body? And are not our children of as much importance as our calves and lambs, and colts and pigs?

• Having assembled, the question is put to the teachers in succession, " What method would you pursue to teach a child the Alphabet?” Or, if his views have been presented in writing, they will perhaps be read. One, for example, will pursue the old fashioned plan of beginning with the capitals at A., and proceeding, in the order in which they usually stand in the book, to Z., at each lesson, till his pupil remembers them; with an occasional inversion of this order, by beginning at Z. and going to A. Another proceeds in nearly the same way, but finds it hetter for his pupils, as well as more economical, to class them for this purpose. Another would never teach the alphabet in course, but always promiscuously, beginning with those which from their resemblance to objects with which the child is familiar, will be most likely to be remembered. Probably most of the teachers, in the case supposed, will have found it as useful to class scholars in A. B. C, as in any branch, and for similar rea

A fourth would only present a single letter, or at most, two or three, at the same lesson, lest he should confuse the learner

A fifth would begin with the small letters, rather than with capitals. Another still, would not begin with letters at all, but whole words; and would teach the letters, or analyze those words afterwards ; on the plan of Mr Worcester. Some will

urge the necessity of not imposing any thing on the learner as a task, and will insist on the importance of rendering the exercise mere play; while others will insist as strongly that it should be attended to for the time as business, but that their undivided attention should be required for a short time only, to guard against fatigue and disgust. Some few will assure the Committee that they find it highly beneficial for every pupil to write the letters

sons.

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