« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
shire); everything alive or dead, male or female, coming under the denomination he, never by any chance changed into him.
They would now be able when sitting down, and without the assistance of a teacher, to pick out all the nouns in a lesson, writing them in columns in the singular and plural number; also, to write on their slates, or as exercises on paper in the evenings, things of the following kind :
The fames of the months in the year, and the number of days in each.
Of all the things in their cottages and in their gardens 4- of all the tools used by the carpenter, such as plane, axe, chisel, etc., - by the blacksmith, — of all the implements used in agriculture, or in their trades and occupations.
What are the names of all the tools made of iron used in the village ?
The names of all the trees ---of the vegetable and animal products of the parish — of such vegetables as are food for man, for beast, etc.— of all articles of home consumption, etc. — of the materials of which the houses are built, etc.
Describe a dog, cat, barn-door fowl : – write the names of all the singing-birds — of the birds of prey, etc.: write down six names of birds, all of which are compound words.
A year, a month, a week, day, hour, are measures of what?
A yard, a foot, an inch of what ?
The teacher might also set each child to write down the date of its birth — to make out how many years, months, weeks, days, etc., old it was; so as to give its age in all the different measures of time.*
Being now able to point out the nouns, etc., they should advance two such words as qualify them -- adjectives.
The teacher, holding up an apple, for instance, will ask,
* I have sometimes been much amused in asking children their ages, when more than one happens to answer the same number of years, 8, 9, or 10, in getting them to reason out among themselves the exact ages of each - a thing to them by no means easy, but which may be made a very instructive lesson to the class.
ay be mai caching them to the answ
Do all apples taste alike? No, sir; some are sour and some are sweet, bitter, etc. Do apples differ in any other way? Some are large and some are small — this is differing in size ; some are red and some green — this is differing in colour; some soft and some hard — this is differing in the quality of hardness; some are rounder than others — differing in shape ; and all these words, expressing different qualities in the noun, are adjectives. Then, perhaps, they are told to sit down and write all the words they can think of, which qualify the word apple, such as sour apple, sweet apple, large apple, etc.
Then to get the degrees of comparison : The Teacher will observe the different sizes of the children, taking two of them out and making them stand side by side. When I say that this boy is taller than the one next to him, what am I comparing? The height of the two boys. This boy has got darker hair than the one next him the colour of their hair : you have got cleaner hands than the boy next to you — the cleanness of my hands with the cleanness of his : such a child is the tallest in the class — is the best reader in the class. What do I compare ? His or her height with the height of all the rest; his or her reading, etc. In this way, they will very soon understand what is meant by degrees of comparison, and should be told how to form them : tall, taller, tallest ; great, greater, greatest, etc. ; taking about half-a-dozen adjectives at a time, the children repeating them, and occasionally being set to write them on their slates. Reasoning in this way, the general rule soon strikes them, and the teacher must take care to point out the exceptions. Their very errors in following out a general rule are sometimes instructive, as well as amusing: for instance, if you give them such a word as little, or good, they will immediately begin, good, gooder, goodest, following out the general principle; when all at once it flashes across them that the word is an exception, and the sort of knowing look they give you, as if you had tried to take them in, is most amusing.
In monosyllables, as hot, hotter, hottest; big, bigger, biggest, making them write down words which vary from the rule by doubling the final letter, and pointing out to
them, that this is the case with all words of one syllable ending in a consonant, with a vowel going before it.
The teacher should now begin to point out the pronouns as they occur - what particular nouns they stand for in a sentence- what case-whether they mark possession, etc.; for instance, when I, or he, or she occurs, to ask them what they make in the objective cases; what in the possessive. If him or them or her occurs, what is the form of the nominative; and occasionally using the pronouns in making short sentences, in order to fix a clear impression on their minds : such as, Where is my book? I saw it just now : the pen which I had in my hand: the book which he is reading ; shewing them in this last sentence you cannot understand what is meant by he, unless the noun to which it refers has been used before.
With respect to the verbs : in this school they are constantly exercised in going through all the persons and tenses, past and present, both on their slates, and occasionally by having two or three given to bring in writing, as an evening exercise : showing them they must use the present tense of the verb, or an auxiliary verb with the present participle if they speak of a thing while it is being done — the past form of the verb or the auxiliary verb and past participle when the action is past: the teacher would write an example on the black board, such as
Ye or you work,
particularly pointing out the auxiliary verbs when they occur with a past participle, and noting words where the past form of the verb and the past participle differ : as wrote, written; smote, smitten — calling upon the children to make short sentences to illustrate it: I wrote a lettera letter was written; he broke a cup-a cup was broken. He should also correct such expressions as —- I writ a letter ; father work for farmer A.; we works for Mr. B.: we reads; I does, etc. It is interesting to observe how much the
school is altering expressions of this kind here: the schoolchildren of any age will all say, my father or mother works; we do, we work: or, if from habit they are led into making use of the former mode of expression, they wilę many of them immediately correct themselves.
This kind of teaching, young as many of them are, seems to exercise their minds, and gives them a great interest in what they are learning.
In the same way their attention must be called to all the other parts of speech as they occur.
It is very important, that the teacher, in exercising them in these parts of grammar, at first should select words to which they can easily attach ideas; as nouns, for instance, the names of visible objects, such as ploughs, harrows, horses, cows, etc.; then tea, coffee, sugar, wheat, oats, things connected with their daily occupations; the qualities of which being known to them they are more easily got into the way of knowing what an adjective is. Again, for verbs, select such words as express some action they are in the habit of doing - to walk, to ride, to plough, to harrow; then point out the difference to them, or ask them to explain the difference, between a plough and to plough — a harrow and to harrow a walk and to walk - a ride and to ride; and that the noun which is in the nominative case is the doer of the action, the verb expresses the doing it, and the noun in the objective case is the thing on which the verb acts.
It will be necessary to point out the inflection of nouns, although the nominative and objective cases are generally the same, in order to show them how this ought to be attended to in the personal pronouns, etc. To notice such expressions as I saw he, I saw she, which they would invariably say here --- and how they are wrong. For instance, suppose the teacher gives such a question as the following to write about : What is a spade made of, and what are its uses; he should take care to explain why he uses the pronoun its, and get them into the way of using the pro. nouns properly by making little sentences of their own to illustrate them — how verbs are made into nouns by adding er, as do, doer; walk, walker; talk, talker; plough, plougher, etc. nouns into adjectives by adding al, as national. ete.
Compound words may be made very instructive and very amusing to them: bird-cage, pen-knife, etc. The teacher to lead them to explain what a compound word is; if asked, they will answer perhaps, “A word made of two words ;" then show them that this is correct as far as it goes by mentioning several words made up of two, and ask what they would call a word made up of three words : they immediately see that their definition comes short of what was wanted ; then show them that a “word made up of two or more words” would include every case; this speaks to their understanding better than if a correct definition had been given at first.
Pen-knife - pen does not explain the material of which the knife is made, but the use to which it is applied.
Oak-table ----oak, taken as an adjective, explaining of what the table is made ; might say oaken table : writingtable; made up of a noun, table, and a participle explain: ing for what the table is used.
Tell them to bring, to-morrow morning, neatly written, six compound nouns, names of things about your houses. They will probably bring such as fire-side, bed-post, housedoor, tea-pot, sugar-basin, milk-pail. In the morning the class to be arranged according to their merits, the teacher to interest them by showing how the meaning of the compound words is to be got at through the simple ones.
The word barge-river is invariably used here for canal; I doubt very much whether many of them know what is meant by canal.
The importance of making the instruction turn a good deal upon their own occupations and domestic consumption, can scarcely be overrated; it leads to a fire-side conversation in an evening, between parents and children, cf a most interesting kind; and by setting the children questions of this kind for an evening exercise the whole family is set to work.
The reading-books used here are principally those published by the Irish National Board, numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and those of Professor Sullivan, in connection with it: a list of them is given at the end.