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And most of the upper children here can repeat the poetry of their Reading Books by heart, should a passage of this kind happen to be called up, they would be asked to bring it next morning written down from memory, as an evening task.
In the later printed copies of the Dublin Reading Books, I am sorry to observe they have omitted much of the poetry; as I know of nothing which has tended so much to humanize the children in this school, and improve their minds, by calling forth the gentler feelings of their nature, as the poetry of these books.
With many of the pieces by Cowper, Scott, Mrs. Hemans, and others, such as — On Cruelty to Animals — Human Frailty - The Stately Homes of England - Birds of Passage - The Graves of a Household — the more advanced children are so thoroughly acquainted, as to be able to admire their beauties and to feel the force of them: this also has given a character to their reading which no. thing else could have done, and shed a softening influence over their minds which will last through life.
The following may be taken as a specimen how children may be amused into instruction if the teacher is well up to his work (page 204, Lesson Book, No. 3) :
O’er the heath the heifer strays
Free (the furrow'd task is done);
Burnish'd by the setting sun.
Sinking from a golden sky;
Copy the refulgent dye?
(To the smoking hamlet bound);
Lengthen’d o'er the level ground.
In what direction do you go home from school ? West. Did you ever observe your shadow in going home? Yes, Sir. Behind you or before you? Behind me, to the east of me. Does it lengthen or shorten as the sun gets lower ? Lengthen. You who go home to the east, in what direction do you observe your shadows ? before you or behind
you? Before us. Did you ever observe them as you came to school in the morning ? In what direction are you walking when you come? Answer from one-As I go west in going home, I must be coming east when I come from home to school. Is your shadow then before or behind you ? Behind me, cast towards the west. Does it lengthen or shorten as you are going to school ? Shorten, because the sun is getting higher. Does it lengthen or shorten as you are going home? Lengthen, because the sun is getting lower. In what direction is the sun at noon ? South, Point south. And your shadow cast to the north. If the sun were directly over your head, where would your shadow be ? Under my feet, a point. In what countries is that the case ? Twice a-year to an inhabitant between the tropics. Is this the case to an inhabitant on the tropics ? Now can you explain, “ Giant-like their shadows grow," etc. ? Yes, Sir; as the ploughmen are going home, every step they take the sun is getting lower, and the lower the sun, the longer the shadow. Trudging means what? If it were ploughman, how must the lines be altered ?
Trudging as the ploughman goes,
Giant-like his shadow grows. Now look at the last two lines of the first verse. In what direction is that window at the end of the room ? West (the window is in the west-end of the school-room). Does the sun shine upon it when it sets ? Did you ever observe it on going home in a bright sunset, how it was lighted up, and did not that explain to you what burnished meant ? Yes, Sir; it looks as if on fire.
The second verse — “ Now he hides behind the hill”would give the teacher an opportunity of calling their attention to the beauties of the setting sun on a fine summer's evening-whether behind the hill —apparently sinking into the sea-setting on a level plain-varying according to the nature of the country. From this what a very beautiful moral lesson might also be given !
Passages of this kind occurring, which may be so strikingly illustrated by things around them, a good teacher never would let slip; they give him an opportunity of making strong and lasting impressions on the mind, and add an interest to his teaching which almost commands success.
The teacher should call attention to the adverbs of time and place, in such expressions as when and where, then and there, etc.; and point out generally how adverbs qualify verbs and other parts of speech, making them form short sentences to make clear what he says; asm
He writes well—an adverb qualifying a verb.
He writes very well—the adverb very qualifying another adverb.
That was extremely wrong —an adverb qualifying an adjective.
The following hints of a suggestive kind may be useful when a lesson happens to be on the material of clothing, of food, etc.
The word cotton, for instance, occurs : the teacher will ask; showing them a piece in the raw state, Is cotton an animal or vegetable product? Vegetable. What part of the vegetable is it? The lining of the seed-pod. Do you recollect any lines of poetry in your books which tell you about the cotton being the lining of the pod ? what are they?
Fair befall the cotton tree,
Bravely may it grow;
Cotton white as snow. A good teacher will often call upon them to quote the poetry they have learned by heart, in illustration of a lesson they may be reading.
What is meant by raw state, raw material ? The material unworked up, just as it comes from the plant. From what country do we chiefly get it? America. It is then called an export or import from that country? Ex means from, and im in; it is, therefore, an export from America, and an import into England. Into what port does it chiefly come? Liverpool. Would you call Liverpool a manufacturing town? No, Sir; a commercial seaport, into which the cotton is only brought, and then sent off to the manufacturing towns. Which are our principal manufac
turing towns for cotton ? point them out on the map. Do you think William the Conqueror used to wear shirts made of cotton from America ?-leading them to recollect that America was not known at that time: then to show them a piece of calico, to point out the different processes it undergoes, from the raw state up to the state they see it in; how the cross threads (the woof) pass alternately over and under those running the long way, and called the warp - calico, plain and printed, bleached and unbleached the various articles it is made up into-how water and steam assist in moving the machinery used in manufacturing it how in the transport of the material consequent cheapness —the numbers to which it gives employment, etc.
Flax— showing them the plant: of course they see it is vegetable; but in this case it is the stalk, the fibre which runs the long way, that we use--laying a few fibres together lengthwise and twisting them into a thread, showing the increased strength-grown at home, and in Ireland the best - when ready, pulled up by the roots— steeped the quantity grown at home not sufficient for our consumption. From what countries do we get it? the soil and climate of New Zealand favourable to it-its uses when manufactured, for shirting, tablecloths, smock-frocks, etc.*
Hemp-take a piece of rope, untwist the threads, which will show the material ; what countries do we get it from ? - Its uses, cordage for ships, cart-ropes, etc.
Silk, animal or vegetable— on what particular leaf the worm feeds, and the countries we get it from, and the kind of manufactures. The uses of different dyes, animal, vegetable, and mineral.
Wool, leather—their shoes, etc. ; animal products — to explain how leather is tanned, the processes which the raw hide undergoes before it comes into the shoemaker's hands, and the various uses to which both wool and leather are applied; when the woollen manufacture was first introduced into this country, and where it is now chiefly carried on.
* A sort of museum of the raw and manufactured products of these and such like, should be in every school.
To show them the difference between a natural and a manufactured product; for instance, that shoes do not grow in gardens, like cabbages, but that the materials of which they are made are sewn together by hand, etc.
Tea, sugar, coffee — the countries they come from, what particular parts of the plant, and how prepared for the market; from what other plant sugar has been extracted, :So as to be made an article of commerce ;-maple sugar from Canada - from beet-root in France and Germany. That, at the present moment, thousands of people are employed in China, India, America, and every part of the world, in preparing things for our consumption in England, and to point out to them such as come into their cottageswhat we send out in return, and how the commerce is carried on.
In the same way the things they are in the habit of using which are home-made, cutlery, knives, scissors, etc.; pottery, soap, etc. That, in cutlery, we excel all other nations, and that wherever they go they will find English knives, axes—point out the difference between iron and steel, showing them the steel of the knife-blade welded on the iron to make the cutting edge, and asking them the names of other instruments of this kind which they know —the advantages of a people who know the use of iron, and are able to turn it into steel-how they would manage to cut down a tree, or cut their meat without iron and steel —that if it had not been for these they would have been little better than savages, picking the meat off the bones with their nails ; or, in a district like this, where fints abound, using little pieces with sharp edges to scrape it off; -how they would have managed to cut down a tree--the savage making his canoe, etc.
The writer of an account of the New Zealanders in the Library of Entertaining Knowledge," observes : “ The especial distinction of the savage, and that which, more than any other thing, keeps him savage, is his ignorance of letters. This places the community almost in the same situation with a herd of the lower animals, in so far as the accumulation of knowledge, or, in other words, any kind of movement forward is concerned; for it is only by means