« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
The following specimen from an easy lesson may be taken as a mode of teaching (Second Book of Lessons, page 49).
“We cannot but admire the way in which little birds build their nests and take care of their offspring. It is easy to conceive that small things keep heat a shorter time than those that are large. The eggs of small birds," etc.
Point out the vowels in the first line — the consonants in the word build — what is ui? a diphthong, and build pronounced like bild. What is a bird ? a thing. A nest ? a thing. And therefore what parts of speech ? nouns. Birds, does that mean one or more than one? More than one. What do you say when you mean only one ? A bird. a nest. When only one, what number is that? Singular. When more than one ? Plural. You say a bird, a nest : would you say a egg? No, sir, an egg; a before a consonant, an before a vowel. What are a and an ? Articles. Cannot but, what does that mean? Must admire— be much pleased with. The teacher will point out that, if speaking in the singular number, the sentence would be: We cannot but admire the way in which a little bird builds its nest and takes care of its offspring. Then the class will sit down and occupy themselves in writing on their slates all the nouns in the lesson.
The pieces of poetry they learn by heart, having first made each piece the object of one or two reading lessons; they then write down from memory, either on their slates or as an exercise on paper, about one half of the short pieces at a time; at first they will run all the lines together, perhaps, as in prose, or begin the lines with small letters, write į for the pronoun I, and so on; but in a very short time they write them out most correctly, and this exercise is a very useful one.
Again, (Lesson Book, No. 3, page 230.)
ON HUMAN FRAILTY.
The purpose of to-day,
To-morrow rends away.
Vice seems already slain;
And it revives again.
Weak and irresolute; what parts of speech ? Adjectives. What word do they qualify ? Man. What does the prefix ir mean? Not. Can you quote any other words with the same prefix meaning not? Irregular, irreparable, etc. Is ; what part of speech? An auxiliary verb. In what way does it differ from have, as to the case which comes after it? It always takes the nominative case both before and after it; it was I, it was he whom I saw ;-have follows the general rule. Woven ; what part of speech ? Past participle from weave. Are the past participle and the past tense of this verb the same ? No, Sir; wove, I wove, thou wovest, he wove, etc. What are the warp and woof in weaving? The warp, the threads that run the long way of the cloth; and the woof, the threads that run across : the woof is thrown by the shuttle over and above each alternate thread. Do you recollect any piece of poetry which you have learnt in which Time is called the warp of life? Yes, Sir. Quote it.
Time is the warp of life: -Oh! tell
What is meant by Time being the warp of life? The length of life. What by weave it well ? Spend it well. With pains, means what? With trouble. His plan; his, what part of speech ? A possessive pronoun, referring to man ; possessive case of he ; the objective, him. In the second verse rudely snaps; what part of speech is rudely? An adverb explaining the way in which the action of the verb is performed. Slain, what part of the verb ?
The class will then sit down, and write in their own words, the substance of what the first two verses have conveyed to their minds, or perhaps of one verse; afterwards get it by heart, and, as an evening exercise, bring it written from memory on paper. It is a great thing if the teacher can get them to write out in their own words at all correctly, the sense conveyed to their minds of a sentence in prose or verse.
In teaching a lesson, such as the following two verses from Lesson Book, No. 3.
Thus far, on life's perplexing path,
Thus far the Lord our steps hath led,
Unharm'd though floods hung o'er our head;
Strangers and pilgrims here below,
As all our fathers in their day,
Lord, by thine own appointed way,
After explaining the first two lines, the teacher asks perhaps the grammar of a part of it; but from the words not coming in prose order, the children find a difficulty ; he should, therefore, read them thus :—The Lord hath led our steps, thus far, on the perplexing path of life ; and they will at once get the grammar of it, as well as the meaning ; safe—what part of speech, and what word does it agree with? The verb from the same root is what ? save : and the noun ? safety. What does the fourth line mean? does it mean that waters are suspended over our heads ? And then read to them the plain meaning of the lines in something like the following words :
The Lord hath led our steps, thus far, on the troublesome path of life; protecting us from the pursuing wrath of the world uninjured, notwithstanding dangers have surrounded us : here, then, we stop, we review the past, we thank God for his protection from danger, as the Israelites did when they found themselves set free from the Egyptians and on the other side of the Red Sea.
We, Lord, as strangers and pilgrims in this world, go in the way in which thou hast appointed, to a land of promise, in the same way as all our fathers have done in their time; but we pray thee still to continue to guide, to enlighten, and to cheer our passage through this life, in the same way as Thou didst the Israelites in their journeyings from Egypt to the desert—in cloud by day, in fire by night.
Then referring them to the 13th chapter of Exodus" And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”
After having had the lesson explained in this way, they are then told, perhaps, to sit down and write the meaning which it conveys to their minds of one verse, and on a Monday morning to bring the first two, or any other two, verses, as an exercise written in prose.
The teacher should be in the habit of calling attention to the composition of particular words, and asking them to mention any others of a similar kind which they can call to mind; for instance
Words with a prefix or affix, such as ungodly, unholy, inhospitable, incorrigible, irregular, occur ; they should then be told to quote all the words they know with un, in, and ir, as prefixes meaning not when in is changed into im, as in the words improper, imperfect, etc., and why; or such words as leaflet, etc., with an affix; ask if they know any others--streamlet, ringlet, etc. A noun ending in ist, as chemist; quote any others, as botanist, druggist, mechanist, copyist, etc. ; or an adjective in al, ive, etc., such as national, local, vocal, destructive-quote others; extensive, positive, etc., and the nouns made from them.
I merely mention a few cases that occur to me at the moment of writing; but these are quite sufficient to show what is meant.
After having heard the lesson, the monitor or teacher should tell them to sit down and write on their slates a certain number (or as many as they know) of words, nouns, adjectives, etc., having any particular prefix or affix, which may have occurred in their lesson ; for instance
Write down six adjectives ending in al and ive, six nouns ending in ist, in let.
When a word occurs which has a common root with many others, the teacher ought to ask what others we have from the same root; for instance, the word extent occurs as a noun; what is the word we use as a verb ? extend; extending, present participle ; past participle, extended : as an adjective ? extensive ; adverb ? extensively; also extension and extensiveness as nouns.
It is also useful to show them how the same word may be used as an adjective, a noun, or a verb : for instance, such a line as the following occurs ;
How calm is the summer sea's wave. They see the word “ calm” here used as an adjective ; let them form a sentence, using it as a noun, a verb, etc. : there was a great calm—he calmed the sea—a calm day ; and they should occasionally be asked to quote passages from their books, where the word is used in all these different ways; to call to mind passages either in prose or in poetry containing particular usages of words. This teaches them their own language, and makes them recollect particular passages, both of poetry and prose, which they may have read. Lines descriptive of any particular country~ of its physical character-character of its people love of country, etc.; such as Scott's
O Caledonia! stern and wild,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Dear to my spirit, Scotland, thou hast been
Land of wild beauty and romantic shapes,
Or the following from Cowper's “Task”
England, with all thy faults, I love thee still..