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have taken special care to give no directions that will check the enterprise of progressive teachers, and I believe that no one will be found to act against any thing except positive errors and inferior methods of instruction.
On the various and somewhat numerous points to which these suggestions relate, they are offered as a substitute for a constant visit from Superintendents and School Directors.
Practicalness in Teaching - Oral Instruction.-.. The regular course of school studies, in most cities and towns, is already sufficiently extended, and yet it is notorious that pupils leave the public schools lamentably deficient on a great variety of subjects connected with a sound practical education.
It is found impracticable to introduce the study of physiology in the Grammar Divisions, with an additional text-book and a course of daily recitations; and so most of the pupils complete their course without any knowledge of the important functions of the lungs and heart, and the general laws of health. We can not add the study of mineralogy and geology to the course; and pupils go out from the schools without any satisfactory knowledge of the materials employed in constructing the flagstones on which they walk. We can not introduce natural philosophy; and most pupils leave without any definite knowledge of the principle involved in rowing a boat, or even in floating it. We can not add chemistry; and pupils leave without being able to explain the rising of a loaf of bread, or the burning of a common fire.
And yet, a careful study of the philosophy of education will show, that the schools are all this time suffering for the want of the relaxation which would be afforded by a systematic course of oral instruction, exactly suited to supply these important de ficiencies. *
A series of oral lessons, occupying fifteen minutes a day, and continued through the entire course of the Grammar Departinent, would be sufficient to embrace a wide range of practical exercises in common philosophy, and common things. Such a course of lessons would introduce an agreeable variety, without interfering with the successful prosecution of the other branches. If called up at the right
*“Nor need any one fear that the use of object lessons will diminish the amount of book-learning that will be acquired by the pupils. On the contrary, experience proves that the little child will learn to read faster and better, under a course of instruction such as proposed, while the older pupils will go forward with more intelligence and ease, when the theoretical statements of the textbooks are prepared for and illustrated by the plain facts of sense. All teaching in our schools would gain both in vividness and value if a more frequent appeal were made from the facts as stated in books to the facts as they are exhibited in the world without. .... Our knowledge of the nature and uses of common things and our skill in common affairs—that knowledge and skill which constitute the implements of our daily work and influence-are obtained not from books, but from the action of our senses and the exercise of our individual powers.”--J. M. Gregory, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Michigan.
“Oral training lessons, in natural science and the arts, are found to be not merely a bighly intellectual exercise, but are valuable to persons in every rank of society. . . . . Children of both sexes should be exercised daily on some point of science or the arts, particularly in relation to ordinary life and common things.” – David Stow, Founder of Glasgow Normal Training Seminary.
time, it would infuse new life and vigor in the classes, and prepare them to do more in the time that remains, than they would otherwise accomplish even with the additional fifteen minutes.
In inany cities and towns, considerable attention is already given to object lessons and other conversational exercises, in the Primary Divisions. In some schools these elementary object lessons are admirable, and could hardly be improved ;* but it is probably true that in a majority of cases, where object teaching is introduced, the teachers do not attempt any thing like a systematic and progressive course of lessons, while many teachers conduct these exercises without any definite object in view.
Instruction by object lessons is a method compara tively new in this country, and many teachers do not know how to set themselves at work. The subjects are often selected in the upper grades without any regard to the topics already discussed in the grades below; and some teachers seem to think that they have given a satisfactory object lesson, when they have conducted a free conversation on some common subject, even though the children may not have gained one new idea of the properties and relations of objects, nor learned the use of a single new word.
In the.course of instruction herewith presented, I
* In Oswego, N. Y., the Pestalozzian system of object teaching is fully and successfully introduced in all the Primary Schools. l'he system herewith presented was adopted in the Chicago schools in March, 1861. Many of the principal features of the course were adopted as early as 1857.
have endeavored to digest a pretty full outline of a systematic and progressive oral course, embracing object teaching, moral lessons, and other conversational exercises, and extending through all the Grammar and Primary Grades.* It has been a leading object with me to supply in this oral course the lack of practicalness to which I have already alluded Though necessarily confined to the limits of a mere syllabus, and not designed to relieve teachers from the labor of making special preparation for the daily lessons,t I trust it will be found sufficiently full to guide even inexperienced teachers in the selection and arrangement of topics, and in the general method of treating them. References are made to some of the principal sources of information on the various subjects introduced, and other sources will occur to teachers as they have occasion to employ them.
* “Object lessons should not only be carried on after quite a different fashion from that commonly pursued, but should be extended to a range of things far wider, and continued to a period far later than now. They should be so kept up during youth, as in sensibly to merge into the investigations of the naturalist and the man of science.”—Herbert Spencer.
t"It will always be found true that whatever method saves the teacher from the burden of thinking, prevents the pupils from realizing the most valuable results of education,-correct habits of thought, and a well-disciplined mind."'- New York School Report.
COURSE OF INSTRUCTION
FOR A GRADED SCHOOL,
GRAMMAR AND PRIMARY DEPARTMENTS;
ACCOMPANYING DIRECTIONS TO TEACHERS.
Note.—The Regular Course of Instruction and the Directions to Teachers are preserved distinct from each other, in different sizes of type, and each is complete in itself. For convenience of reference, the directions are numbered consecutively through the course.
All the directions designed to be consulted with any grade, are either found in connection with the regular course for that grade, or they are referred to directly by numbers.
GENERAL DIRECTIONS FOR ALL THE GRADES.
§ 1. Reading.—Teachers should adhere rigidly to the rule, that no reading lesson is to be left till the pupils understand the meaning of every word contained in it, and are able to express that meaning in their own language. When definitions are given by the author, in connection with the lesson, the pupils should be required to give other definitions of their own, or modify those of the author, so as to satisfy the teacher that the real meaning is comprehended. It is highly important that pupils should not only understand the meaning of words when taken by