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want of thoroughness in their early education ! Be it, then, your motto, and that of your pupils,“ Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well."
As proof that I have not over-estimated the importance of the elementary branches, let me call your attention to the following remarks, made by Edward Everett, at the dedication of a school-house.
“I hold that to read the English language well, that is, with intelligence, feeling, spirit, and effect, - to write, with despatch, a neat, handsome, legible hand, (for it is, after all, a great object in writing to have others able to read what we write,) and to be master of the four rules of arithmetic, so as to dispose, at once, with accuracy, every question of figures which comes up in practical life, — I say I call this a good education. And if you add the ability to write pure, grammatical English, with the help of very few hard words, I regard it as an excellent education. These are the tools. You can do much with them, but you are helpless without them. They are the foundation; and, unless you begin with these, all your flashy attainments, a little natural philosophy, a little physiology, and a little geology, and all the other ologies and osophies, are ostentatious rubbish.
“ Is it not a fact, that, in many of our common schools, spelling, reading, writing, geography, and grammar, combining with it the art of composition, are neglected in order to study theologies and osophies’? How many college students have learnt
The College Graduate.
English grammar and English orthography? We know many who have not, and never will, because it is too late now to do what could only be well done in childhood, either in the family or primary school. A graduate of one of our colleges recently boasted that he never studied English grammar.' A person standing by remarked, “No one would suppose you ever had, judging you by the manner you use the Queen's English.'
I will now pass to consider, briefly, two or three other topics or branches, which should receive attention if circumstances will warrant. They are highly important, and if our schools were what they should be, as to organization and support, I should not hesitate to place the branches about to be considered among the really indispensable ones. of our schools are so large and so imperfect in classification, that but few teachers can find time or place for any studies additional to those named in previous letters. If, however, you cannot find time for a thorough and systematic course of instruction in them, you may give a few lessons and hints on each which will be of service ; for, if the foundation is substantially laid, your pupils will be prepared, with but little help from their teacher, to make progress in other and higher branches as a fitting superstructure.
BOOK-KEEPING. -All should have some knowledge of accounts, and in many of our schools instruction in book-keeping should receive attention.
How formerly taught.
The exercises required in filling out a set of books will prove highly profitable and useful,- calling into practice, as it will, to some extent, knowledge already acquired in arithmetic, penmanship, and orthography. If, therefore, you can possibly find time - if it be only one hour per week -- to devote to familiar instruction in the art of book-keeping, be sure to use it. In many schools nominal attention was given to this subject a score of years ago, but in such a manner as neither to interest nor instruct the pupils. I can well remember the amount and kind of attention it received when I attended school. The Arithmetics then used more than those now in use a contained a few pages of accounts entered in Day-Book and Ledger form. These we were required to copy into blankbooks, and in doing so we were made to feel that we were studying book-keeping. As well miglit one learn to compose by merely copying the compositions of others. A person might copy a thousand very excellent essays, and still not be able to compose ten lines with propriety of expression. So one might merely copy scores of pages from a printed account-book without gaining a clear and practical understanding of accounts.
There are now before the public several very good treatises on the subject of book-keeping, either of which will be sufficient in the hands of a sensible teacher. But if you would give the subject a truly practical bearing, you must go beyond the book, and, by the use of the blackboard, ex
pand, explain, illustrate, and apply the principles of the printed text-book.
Call upon your pupils, frequently, to go to the blackboard, and write in due form a note, a receipt, a common bill of goods, an order, etc. Name to them certain business transactions, real or imaginary, between two persons, and require them to express the same upon the blackboard as they should be recorded or expressed in an account-book. I see no reason why all, who attend school until the age of fourteen or fifteen years, may not receive a fair amount of instruction in accounts, certainly to such an extent that they will be able, with facility and correctness, to write any common business form, or to make proper record of any common business transaction. Let it be your aim to qualify your pupils to do thus much.
PHYSIOLOGY. While I do not believe that an extended course of instruction in this branch should be attempted in our common schools, I do believe that some amount of information should be imparted in all our schools, varying according to circumstances. If we cannot all gain a complete knowledge of "the house in which we live," we should certainly learn so much of its mechanism, its nature, its capabilities, and the dangers which threaten it, as will keep us from doing aught that will tend to mar or weaken our “ tenement," and, if possible, so much as will enable us to impart unto it those influences which will tend to its true adornment, and
The House in which we live.
lead to the real development of its powers and
If one to whom a costly and well-finished dwelling has been presented should abuse the same, and pervert its use, by allowing, if not by enticing, “ fourfooted beasts and all manner of creeping things” to range through the various apartments, we should say that he was undeserving of the residence, and that it had fallen into bad hands. What, then, shall be said of those who so grossly pervert and abuse the temple in which they live, - that structure which an omnipotent hand has reared and intrusted to a single occupant? And yet how many there are who daily “live, move, and have their being” in that most wonderful structure, the human body, constantly, through design or ignorance, doing those things which at once tend to diminish its capacities and mar its beauty and symmetry ! How many, through gross ignorance of the true laws of physical being and development, indulge in habits which are utterly at variance with the conditions of real existence and growth! Nay, more; in how many of our school-houses have the internal arrangements and fixtures been promotive of physical deformity! In how many has defective ventilation proved destructive of vitality and health, often gradually, but surely! Now it is within your power, as a teacher, to diffuse much valuable information regarding some of the essentials for physical health and well-being. If you cannot find time for giving detailed and thorough instruction in the