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of the art of writing, that the knowledge acquired by the experience of one generation can be properly stored up, so that none of it shall be lost, for the use of all that are to follow. Among savages, for want of this admirable method of preservation, there is reason to believe the fund of knowledge possessed by the community, instead of growing, generally diminishes with time. If we except the absolutely necessary arts of life, which are in daily use, and cannot be forgotten, the existing generation seldom seems to possess anything derived from the past. Hence the oldest man of the tribe is always looked up to as the wisest, simply because he has lived the longest; it being felt than an individual has scarcely a chance of knowing anything more than his own experience has taught him. Accordingly the New Zealanders, for example, seem to have been in quite as advanced a state when Tasman discovered the country in 1642, as they were when Cook visited it, 127 years after.”
Then again, soap—made of animal fat, vegetable oils— its importance to our personal comfort and cleanlinessmin washing our linen, clothes, houses --its civilizing effect, The teacher taking occasion to remind the children always to be neat and clean in their persons and dress, and how much this adds to their respectability—that no one looks upon a child of dirty habits with the same respect as on one that is clean (showing them something like neglect when they are dirty has a good effect). To enforce cleanliness of person and dress in the children of a school is a thing of some difficulty, and requires attention. Opportunities of reminding them of the importance of truthfulness -of cleanliness_ought never to be lost.
It must be recollected, that although children of the better educated classes may be in the habit of hearing all this from their parents in conversation, yet those who attend our elementary schools have no such advantage.
The following extract from the Introduction to Arnott's 6 Physics,” published in 1828, ought to have a place in one of our Lesson Books. I give it here, as I think it may suggest many useful hints to the village schoolmaster :
“ In our cities now, and even in an ordinary dwelling
house a man is surrounded by prodigies of mechanic'art; and with his proud reason, is he to use these, as careless of how they are produced as a horse is careless of how the corn falls into his manger ? A general diffusion of knowledge is changing the condition of man, and elevating the human character in all ranks of society. Our remote forefathers were generally divided into small states or societies, having few relations of amity with surrounding tribes, and their thoughts and interests were confined very much within their own little territories and rude habits. In succeeding ages, their descendants found themselves belonging to larger communities, as when the English Heptarchy was united, but still remote kingdoms and quarters of the world were of no interest to them, and were often totally unknown. Now, however, everyone sees himself a member of one vast civilized society, which covers the face of the earth; and no part of the earth is indifferent to him. In England, a man of small fortune may cast his looks around him, and say with truth and exultation, 'I am lodged in a house that affords me conveniences and comforts which even a king could not command some centuries ago. Ships are crossing the seas in every direction to bring what is useful to me from all parts of the world. In China men are gathering the tea-leaf for me-in America they are planting cotton for me--in the West India Islands they are preparing my sugar and my coffee—in Italy they are feeding silk-worms for me—in Saxony they are shearing the sheep to make me clothing—at home powerful steamengines are spinning and weaving for me, and making cutlery for me, and pumping the mines, that minerals useful to me may be procured. I have post-coaches [now steam-carriages] running day and night on all the roads, to carry my correspondence. I have roads, and canals, and bridges, to bear my coals for my winter fire; nay I have protecting fleets and armies around my happy country, to secure my enjoyments and repose. Then I have editors and printers, who daily send me an account of what is going on throughout the world among all those people who serve me, And in a corner of my house I have Books !—the miracle of all my possessions,
more wonderful than the wishing-cap of the Arabian Tales, for they transport me instantly, not only to all places, but to all times. By my books I conjure up before me, to vivid existence, all the great and good men of antiquity, and for my individual satisfaction I can make them act over again the most renowned of their exploits. The orators declaim for me—the historians recite the poets sing; and from the equator to the pole, or from the beginning of time until now, by my books, I can be where I please.'”
As the exercises which the children have to write on their slates at school, and on paper in an evening at home, are, in my opinion, very instrumental in its success, I have added a few questions, in the hope that they may be useful as hints to the teachers of village schools, who have not yet attempted anything of the kind; although the getting anything like tolerable answers may be attended with great trouble at first, and success appear to be a hopeless task, yet, in the end, it will amply repay the teacher for any pains he has to bestow upon it. In the Somborne school, in hearing a lesson read, the teachers are in the habit of leading the children to give the substance of it in their own words, as they would relate it to their mothers at home; and in this way they are led to simple descriptions of animals, and to explain in words what is passing in their own heads. In a short time, some of them get very expert, and will ask for pet animals of their own to write about, such as they think they can describe best.
The questions are of the following kind: Write down the names of all the implements used in farming-in gardening, etc.
The names of all the birds you know, which of them come in spring, and go away at the end of summer.
Tell all you know about the swallow, how she builds her nest, feeds on the wing, etc.; about the cuckoo, etc.
Describe a sheep, and how it helps to clothe or feed you.
Write down the names of all the trees and shrubs you know, and mention which are evergreens.
· What is the work which the farm labourer does in the different seasons of the year ?
Describe one of the four seasons, etc.
Describe a waggon and its uses-plough-harrow an axe-a saw, etc.
Give a description of any of the vegetable products of the parish, and their uses.
What are the uses of soap, and in what way does it in. crease our comforts, civilize us, etc. What is it made of ?
Give the best account you can of all the purposes to which iron is applied in your cottages, in agriculture-in glass, lead, tin, etc.
In what ways is the power of making iron into steel useful to us ?-point out all its uses in your cottages--in any other practical things you can.
Glass, what are its peculiar properties, and in what way useful to man?
What are the advantages which a people, knowing the uses of iron and steel have over one which does not-point out any of them that occur to you.
Mention the materials of your own clothing, from what countries the raw materials come, and whether animal or vegetable.
What are the plants in the parish that furnish food to man ?-food for animals.
How were books made before printing was invented, and what is the material of which paper is made ?
John of Gaunt used to live where this school stands. Do you think he had tea and coffee with sugar for breakfast? www.give your reasons for thinking he had or had not.
Where do we get coals from ?-describe how they are brought from the coalpit to us.
Explain what are the processes of ploughing, harrowing, and what the ground undergoes in preparing for a crop of wheat of turnips--of barley, etc.
The different ways in which milk of the cow is presented to us for food.
The oak and the elm, their properties as timber, and how
each is more particularly used; bring a small twig of each to-morrow in full leaf, and let us point out how they differ in leaf, bark, hardness of wood, etc.
Describe wheat from its being sown until it is breadhow the grain sprouts, making one shoot downwards, which is the root; another upwards, which is white until it reaches the surface of the ground, and is then the green bladethen the straw then the ear — when ripe, the harvest then stacking in the farm-yard—then thrashing. What is said in Scripture of the mode of thrashing corn ?-pointing out how done, how in many southern climates—then winnowing, and going to the mill where it is ground (what in Scripture about grinding), and is then called flour--and so bread.
GEOGRAPHY. Having well fixed on their minds the cardinal points, and having made them acquainted with the different bearings of particular objects of a local kind — of the towns and villages in the neighbourhood-how the parish is bounded, etc., and having well fixed on their minds the cardinal points, children very soon form tolerably correct ideas as to the nature of a map; and it is alway sbetter at first, if convenient, to have a map on the north wall of a school, as the four sides then correspond with the cardinal points where the observer is standing. This helps towards forming correct ideas; and as they generally become familiar with the map of England before any other, it is well to draw their attention at first to those counties on the extreme east or west-extreme north or south-showing them how they lie between particular meridians, er between particular parallels of latitude to show them between what extremes of latitude and longitude the whole country is, of which the map is a representation; in this way, they get a knowledge of the use of these fixed lines: until they do which a map is not properly understood; and it becomes therefore of consequence to show them their use, and the particular points from which we reckon — to show them that, having the latitude north or south, and the longitude east or west, the intersection of the two lines necessarily fixes the place