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of Education, Mass., U.S., are given for the purpose of recommending linear drawing to school teachers ; a thing not much practised in our schools, but of the usefulness of which there can be no doubt.
Speaking of one of the first schools he entered, he says; “ The teachers first drew a house on the black board, and here the value of the art of drawing - a power universally possessed by Prussian teachers --became manifest.
“The excellence of their writing must be referred, in a great degree, to the universal practice of learning to draw contemporaneously with learning to write. I believe a child will learn both to draw and to write sooner, and with more ease, than he will learn writing alone. I came to the conclusion that, with no other guide than a mere inspection of the copybooks, I could tell whether drawing were taught in the school or not-so uniformly superior was the handwriting in those schools where drawing was taught in connection with it.
“I never saw a teacher in a German school make use of a ruler, or any other mechanical aid, in drawing the most nice or complicated figures. I recollect no instance in which he was obliged to efface a part of a line because it was too long, or to extend it because it was too short. If squares or triangles were to be formed, they came out squares or triangles without any overlapping or deficiency. Here was not only much time gained or saved, but the pupils had constantly before their eyes these examples of celerity and perfectness, as models for imitation. No one can doubt how much more correctly, as well as more rapidly, a child's mind will grow in view of such models of ease and accuracy, than if only slow, awkward, and clumsy movements, are the patterns constantly before it.”
The following passage on the subject of teaching geography, as taught in the Prussian schools, is well worthy of the teacher's attention : " Here the skill of the teacher and pupils in drawing does admirable service. I will describe, as exactly as I am able, a lesson which I heard given to à class a little advanced beyond the elements, remarking that, though I heard many lessons on the same plan, none of them were signalised by the rapidity and effect of the one I am about to describe.
“The teacher stood by the black board with the chalk in his hand. After casting his eye over the class, to see that all were ready, he struck at the middle of the board : with a rapidity of hand which my eye could hardly follow, he made a series of those short divergent lines, or shadings, employed by map engravers to represent a chain of mountains. He had. scarcely turned an angle, or shot off a span, when the scholars began to cry out · Carpathian Mountains, Hungary; Black Forest Mountains, Wurtemburg; Giants' Mountains (Riesen-gebirge), Silesia; Central Mountains (Mittel-gebirge), Bohemia,' etc.
“In less than a minute the ridge of that grand central elevation, which separates the waters that flow north-west into the German Ocean from those that flow north into the Baltic, and south-east into the Black Sea, was presented to view-executed almost as beautifully as an engraving. A dozen wrinkled strokes, made in the twinkling of an eye, represented the head waters of the great rivers which flow in different directions from that mountainous range; while the children, almost as eager and excited as though they had actually seen the torrents dashing down the mountainsides, cried out, ‘Danube, Elbe, Vistula, Oder;' etc. The next moment I heard a succession of small strokes, or taps, so rapid as to be almost indistinguishable, and hardly had my eye time to discern a large number of dots made along the margins of the rivers, when the shout of · Linz, Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Berlin,' etc., struck my ear. With a few more flourishes, the rivers flowed onwards towards their several terminations, and, by another succession of dots, new cities sprang up on their banks. Within ten minutes from the commencement of the lesson there stood upon the black board a beautiful map of Germany, with its mountains, principal rivers, and cities, the coast of the German Ocean, of the Baltic, and the Black seas, and all so accurately proportioned, that I think only slight errors would have been found, had it been subjected to the test of a scale of miles. A part of this time was taken up in correcting a few mistakes of the pupils, for the teacher's mind seemed to be in his ear as well as in his hand; and, notwithstanding the astonishing celerity of his movements, he detected erroneous answers, and turned round to correct them. Compare the effect of such a lesson as this, both as to the amount of the knowledge communicated, and the vividness, and of course the permanence of the ideas obtained, with a lesson where the scholars look out a few names of places on a lifeless atlas, but never send their imaginations abroad over the earth; and where the teacher sits listlessly down before them to interrogate them from a book in which all the questions are printed at full length, to supersede, on his part, all necessity of knowledge.”—Mann's Educational Tour in Germany.
The following from an article in the “Quarterly Review,” on Physical Geography, affords an instructive hint.
“Of the thirty-eight millions of square miles, forming in round numbers the total area of land, nearly twenty-eight millions lie to the north of the equator; and if we divide the globe longitudinally by the meridian of Teneriffe, the land on the eastern side of this line will be seen greatly to exceed the western ; another manner of division into two hemispheres, according to the maximum extent of land and water in each, affords the curious result of designating England as the centre of the former or terrene half an antipodal point near New Zealand as the centre of the aqueous hemisphere. The exact position in England is not far froin the Lands's End; so that if an observer were there raised to such height as to discern at once one half of the globe, he would see the greatest possible extent of land; if similarly elevated in New Zealand, the greatest possible surface of water.
“ An increase of land above the sea between the tropics raises the mean temperature, in higher latitudes depresses it; and every such vicissitude must be attended with some corresponding change in the nature and conditions of organic life.”
NATURAL HISTORY. The subject of Natural History, both of plants and animals, so far as they differ from each other in external form, in habits, etc., may be turned to very good account, and made the means of a great deal of useful instruction in our elementary schools.
“ All this, it has been observed, children are capable of understanding—it consists in attending to the objects with which Nature presents us, in considering them with care, and admiring their different beauties, but without searching out their causes, which belong to a higher department of knowledge: for children have eyes and do not want curiosity: they ask questions, and love to be informed, and here we need only awaken and keep up in them the desire for learning and knowing, which is natural to mankind.”
The children here are in the habit, as the spring and summer advance, of bringing to the school plants and flowers when they first come out-small twigs of the different trees of the parish, as the foliage begins to expand acquatic and other plants; all these, so far as a knowledge of them can be had from the organs of vision, with a little of the mind and of common sense to help it, are made vehicles of instruction.
For instance, the names of the different parts of a flower, from its root upwards, and the functions which each part performs-the nature of the root, whether bulbous, fibrous, or tap-rooted —the uniformity in number of the petals, stamen, pistil, etc., - running through the same class of plants ; - difference in the shape of leaves - some are notched and some are plain-some rough, others smooth; some oval, some round; some bright green, others dark the under-side of the leaf differing in colour from the upper, etc. : the different kinds of soil on which they find the wild plants — showing that the soil on which any párticular plant is generally found, is most likely one best suited to its habits — that some plants, and pointing out which (this they ought to know from their own observation), are only found in shady places; while others will not grow
at all in the shade; that, when a flower or leaf withers, it is from the juices making their escape into the atmo. sphere, and the plant, being separated from its roots, cannot get a fresh supply; how aquatic plants, differing in struc. ture from those on dry land in their air-cells, are calcu. lated to float.
Then again, the small twigs of the different trees or shrubs they may bring, the oak, and the elm, and the beech-place a little twig of each side by side ---- how many differences in external appearance -- in the leaf, the bark, the texture of the wood the bark of the oak used for tanning, and the difference in time in the leaf coming out, and in its fall---the value of each as timber.
The acacia and the laurel -- beauty of the leaves, how uniformly the leaflets of the acacia are set on, one opposite another, — how regularly in some plants the leaves are placed directly opposite to one another, others, again, alternating on opposite sides of the stem ; point out the framework of the leaves, how the skeletons of them differ--to observe this in decayed leaves.
Another morning they bring different twigs of the pine tribe - the larch, the Scotch fir, spruce, or silver firpointing out their thread-like leaves — that the larch is deciduous, the others not, etc. In this way they become acquainted with all the trees in the parish. That when a tree is cut down, the number of concentric rings on the face of a section of the stem marks the number of years' growth; that when they observe one ring smaller than another, it would denote a small growth for that year, and might have been caused by some peculiarity in the season, etc., such as a hard winter.
The great age of some trees, particularly yew.
These kind of observations should be made with the plants before their eyes, otherwise they have but little effect: the teacher would then tell them to sit down and describe a leaf, a twig, etc., of any of them; or some take one, some another, which is better, as this does away with the temptation to get hints from each other.
Again, calling their attention to some of the more striking differences in animals in their outward appearance