Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

them also be satisfied with doing well, and not be unjust to themselves, by being too generous to others.

It would seem, from this brief and general survey of our subject, that the influence of teaching is, in many respects, highly favorable to health, while in others it is equally injurious. Teachers owe it to their profession to spare no efforts on their part to remove or mitigate these injurious influences, an object for the attainment of which the public will, slowly perhaps, co-operate with them, when teachers themselves shall enter with the right spirit upon its accomplishment. They also owe it to themselves to be more considerate and prudent in the use of their powers. Earnest and faithful they must be, if they are worthy of their calling; but there is a limit to their strength, beyond which they cannot go with impunity. In the performance of a reasonable amount of labor they will discharge their measure of duty, and then, when their days are ended, they will go down to the grave, not prematurely and with energies wasted, but full of years and with the serenity of

“One who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."

A. P. S.

REQUIRING PUPILS TO REPORT THEIR OWN CONDUCT.

Ar the late meeting of the Ohio State Teachers' Association, a committee which had been appointed at a previous meeting, to consider the plan of requiring pupils to report their own conduct, reported as follows:

Should Teachers and pupils be considered as co-operators in the business of school government, or, as is frequently the case, should they assume the attitude of belligerent powers? An exhibition of this latter state of feeling is seen in almost all our Colleges and higher Seminaries. Teachers consider themselves ex officio spies, a large part of whose duty it is to discover the doings of their pupils; while on the other hand, pupils regard Teachers as an antagonistic power, with interests opposed to theirs, and in view of the surveillance under which they are held, they consider it not only allowable but highly meritorious to evade the regulations and requireinents of their instructors, and practice upon them all the pranks their ingenuity can devise. The records of College life furnish abundant illustration of this. On a small scale, and in another way, this same spirit manifests itself in our common schools. The little boy watches his opportunity for sly tricks, and counts it a merit to perpetrate some picce of rascality when the Teacher's eye is not

upon him.

Whence arises this state of feeling, and what is its remedy? It may arise in part from the enactment of a formal code of rules—for no doubt rules frequently suggest misdemeanors which otherwise would not have been

thought of. It is as true now as in ancient days, that “By the law comes the knowledge of sin.” But the chief source of this evil is the want of confidence and cordial co-operation between the Teacher and the taught. On this ground we urge the necessity of confiding to pupils a large share of the work of maintaining the discipline and good order of a school. Therefore,

Resolved, That we recommend to Teachers the expediency of laying before their pupils the necessity of certain rules and regulations, and of endeavoring to enlist their co-operation in carrying them out; and furthermore,

Resolved, That they require pupils to present daily or weekly reports of their own conduct in reference to those rules.

Among the advantages of this plan we would urge the following:

1st. By manifesting confidence in students, it begets the same in return, and thus forms a basis on which a school can be more easily and pleasantly controlled.

2d. It relieves the Teacher, in the main, from that disagreeable system of espionage which is frequently unsuccessful, and by many is regarded dishonorable.

3d. It is better in its personal effects upon the character of both students and Teacher, by calling into exercise a nobler principle of human nature, and a more delicate sense of honor.

We have many advocates of this principle, as applied to other departments of human pursuits. Nearly forty years ago, the late Judge Tappan of this place proposed to the Legislature of Ohio, to insert a clause into our State Constitution, prohibiting forever the enactment of any law for the collection of debt. Though it might not have been wise legislation, yet it would have been at least a noble tribute to human nature had such a clause been introduced, thus making every debt a debt of honor. This, however, may be carrying the principle too far; but we are strengthened in the view we have taken, by the fact that many of the wisest and best men are hoping for such a consummation in regard to our laws. We see in this a manifest tendency towards a higher trust in the honor of our fellow men. Whatever may be wise policy in regard to legal and mercantile transactions, we believe this principle may with safety and success be introduced into our public schools, and thus early impressed upon the minds of our youth. We are aware that several objections worthy of consideration may be urged against this plan. Prominent among these is this : That we present to pupils a temptation to falsify. But it may well be questioned whether this plan would present so great a temptation to speak a lie, as the opposite one does to act a lie by slyly evading or violating rules.

By many, also, the practical success of this plan is called in question, But scores of examples might be cited, which go to show that it is much more successful than the opposite one in maintaining the good discipline of a school. Its most questionable application is to Primary Schools, but even there it has proved successful under proper restrictions. A Teacher will soon ascertain whether any of his pupils are inclined to falsify, and by a proper amount of care he may guard against almost every evil to which the

system is liable. We should not, at present, deem it prudent to give up all the regulations of the school to this system of voluntary reporting. But with judicious restrictions, we shall be glad to see this plan, or some other embodying the same principle, prevail throughout the schools of our State.

From the Connecticut Common School Journal.

VISITATION OF SCHOOLS.

We are glad to perceive that the attention of the friends of education is being called, more and more, to school-visitinga subject, we think, whose importance is often underrated, especially in the smaller country districts.

The favorable or unfavorable impressions received by a pupil, depend very much upon the manner in which these examinations are conducted. The tender mind of childhood requires not so much an elaborate address, adorned with polished sentences, rounded periods and eloquent words, as it does a few practical, interesting remarks, illustrated, perhaps, by some choice anecdotes, which would be treasured up in the youthful heart longer than the commanding oratory of a Webster, or a Choate. Neither should these remarks be too lengthy, for scholars will become wearied in time, be they ever so much interested at the commencement.

Committees sometimes place themselves in a ludicrous position before schools, by assuming an air of too extreme dignity. Pupils are almost invariably pleased when a visitor passes around among them, noticing each one separately, explaining, if need be, some difficult lesson, and adding a few words of encouragement. How much more for the advancement of the school is this, than for the committee to remain silent during all the exercises, reserving everything for the "closing speech."

Many a sensitive teacher and pupil dread the regular visits of the Committee, partly from their own diffidence, and partly from fear that the school will not appear as well as usual,—and indeed we think that many schools do not appear to a good advantage on such days. The best of scholars sometimes lose their confidence by a slight mistake and thus their appearance is injured for the remainder of the day. This might, in a measure, be obviated, by a more familiar manner of addressing schools. The old-fashioned "speaking schools" are excellent remedies, in their way, for too great diffidence.

We believe that the number of Visitors who labor for the improvement of schools is increasing year by year, while those who are Visitors only in name, are rapidly diminishing. We hope ere long that none of the latter class will remain, but that all will press onward in the noble cause of education.

Τ Η Ε Ρ Ε Ν Ι Τ Ε Ν Τ

SCHOLAR.

School is out. The last lesson has been recited and the evening hymn sung, and the shouts of merry voices are heard on the green. Their spirits overflow like long pent-up waters. But one of their number remains behind. All is quiet now in the school-room. There sits the teacher at her desk, with a sad and troubled look.

At one of the desks before her sits a boy, whose flushed countenance and flashing eye tell of a struggle within. His arms are proudly folded, as in defiance, and his lips are compressed. He will never say, “I'm sorry, will you forgive me?" No! not he. His breath comes thick and fast, and the angry flush

upon his cheek grows a deep crimson. The door stands invitingly open. A few quick steps, and he can be beyond the reach of his teacher. Involuntarily his hand snatches up his cap, as she says, “George, come to me.” A moment more and he has darted out, and is away down the lane. The teacher's face grows more sad; her head sinks upon the desk, and the tears will come, as she thinks of the return he is making for all her love and care for him.

The clock strikes five, and slowly putting on her bonnet and shawl, she prepares to go, when, looking out at the door, she sees the boy coming toward the school-house, now taking rapid steps forward, as though fearful his resolutions would fail him; then pausing, as if ashamed to be seen coming back. What has thus changed his purpose ?

Breathless with haste, he has thrown himself down upon the green grass by the side of the creek, cooling his burning cheeks in the pure, sweet water ; and as gradually the flush faded away, so in his heart died away the anger he felt toward his teacher.

The south wind, as it stole by, lifting the hair from his brow, seemed to whisper in his ear, “This way, little boy, this way,” and voices within him murmured, “Go back, go back.” He started to his feet. Should he heed those kind words-should he go back? Could he go? Ah! here was the struggle. Could he be man enough to conquer his pride and anger, and in true humility retrace his steps, and say “forgive ?” Could he go back? As he repeated these words he said to himself, “I will go back;" and the victory was won. Soon, with downcast eye and throbbing heart, he stood before his teacher, acknowledging, in broken accents, his fault, and asking forgiveness.

The sunbeams streamed in through the open window, filling the room with golden light, but the sunlight in those hearts was brighter yet. Ah, children, if you would always have the sunlight in your hearts, never let the clouds of anger rise to dim your sky.

He was a hero. He conquered himself; and Solomon says, “He that ruleth his spirit, is better than he that taketh a city." At first he cowardly

ran away; but his courage came again ; he rallied his forces and took the city. Brave is the boy that has courage to do right, when his proud heart says I will not.-Nero York Observer.

From the Illinois Teacher.

EXPERIENCE.- NUMBER

II.

Mr. Editor: In my last communication I promised to describe my manDer of teaching some of the different branches : I shall commence with the letters of the alphabet. These I have printed in large type on a card which I can hang up in some prominent place where all can see it. When I am ready to instruct my abecedarian class, I take the card in my hand and say something like the following: “Come, children, don't you want some fun ?” This excites their curiosity, and as they come around me, I say, "Now I am going to point out some letters on this card, that you can't name." Some little fellow says, “No you can't.” Well, we'll see," I repeat. I now point out the first letter. “That's A," says one, with an air of triumph. This they all repeat in an instant. I now say, “Well, you have beaten me once, but I'll try you again.” I now point out the second and third letters, with like results. I now hang up the card and say, "After a little while I will call you again, and see if you do n't forget those letters by that time.” Their attention is now fully fixed, and in the course of three or four days all the letters, large and small, are fully mastered. I now proceed to instruct them in the sounds of the several letters and combinations, which takes two or three days more. I now set them to spelling and reading easy lessons, instructing them in the meaning of such words as they do not readily understand. Proceeding in this manner, I find no difficulty in the advancement of my pupils. My plan has been severely criticized, but, after a trial of several years, I am more fully convinced of its benefits. If properly managed, it is perfectly harmless.

When I teach a class to read, I require it done as though they were parties, and telling each other something that had happened to themselves. This fixes attention, and produces that natural tone of voice so desirable in a reader.

Sometimes I read the story and relate it to them, and let them criticize me, (making mistakes on purpose.) Then I cause some one of them to relate the same, and let the rest criticize him.

This requires labor and patience, which none but the lover of the schoolroom can afford. But this is long enough ; I will write again.

RILEY M. Hoskinson. Rushville, IU.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »