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end should be directly sought by exercises specially adapted to train the mind in thinking, seems too obvious for argument. One of the chief sources of the too common ill success in study is the neglect, or failure, to excite the pupil's mind to proper and vigorous thought.

That the art of thinking may be taught, is sufficiently proved by the fact that some teachers do teach it; if not by regular system, yet by some such devices as never fail to "wake up" the minds of their pupils. The cultivation of the senses, proposed as one of the uses of "object lessons," is little else than a training exercise of the perception, which is the simplest act of thinking. By still other lessons, this training may be carried forward to more complicated processes of thinking, till finally the mind is thoroughly habituated to active and successful thought. In the business of lesson-learning especially, should the pupils be trained to active habits and right methods. of thinking. A lesson is properly learned, not when its words are committed to memory by numerous repetitions, but when the thought of the book is mastered by the thought of the scholar, and the words are retained simply as the correct and precise expression of the ideas. To learn lessons in any other way than this is idle and pernicious. They can neither add to the intelligence, nor strengthen the mind. Substituting mere verbal memory for earnest and successful thinking, they beget habits of listless attention and contented ignorance which must rest forever as a nightmare on the soul.

3d. Common Things. The recent popular introduction into so large a number of our best schools, of the "Object Lessons" on common things, and the high interest attached to these lessons, whenever they have been used with skill, must speedily bring them into more general use. Several text books on this branch of teaching, have been published within the past two years, and others are said to be in preparation, or in the press. No other educational reform ever spread with like rapidity, and compelled such general assent.

The "Object Lesson" is a simple oral lesson, or talk with

pupils, on the names, parts, properties and uses of some common object, which ought usually to be present for examination. The lesson may have for its aim, either to gain some definite knowledge of the object studied, in which case it is sometimes called "A Lesson on Common Things," or to teach some property of matter, as hardness, tenacity, transparency; or some fact or truth of nature or science.

Object teaching, though of recent introduction, at least in this country, as a branch of school studies, is by no means a new invention on the earth. It is as old as the family of man. In all ages parents and teachers, when out of school, have instinctively taken familiar objects to attract the attention and awaken the intelligence of children. The mother, eager to elicit some look of intelligence from the infant, holds before its eyes some bright toy; and in later years, it is with the aid of the familiar objects of the household that the home education goes on.

A consideration of some of the arguments on which the claims of this mode of teaching rest, will help to remove prej. udice, and to inspire a more earnest and intelligent zeal in its use. The following are some of the most obvious and impressive :

1st. Children are naturally interested in sensible objects. The colors, forms and parts of such objects attract their attention even before they can speak, and their first speech is about these objects. "Let me see, let me see," is the perpetual and significant demand of childhood. And thus nature herself, with her unerring instincts, bids us use sensible objects if we would engage the attention and excite the thoughts of children.

2d. The intellectual state of early childhood requires sensible objects for thought. The intellectual life of children lies chiefly in their sensations. They revel with delight in the very vividness and freshness of these sensations. Memory has as yet gathered no large stores of classified facts as materials of thought. Imagination scarcely goes farther than to teach the boy to build a rude play house with his blocks, or to covet new


toys; and reason stops short with noticing the differences or resemblances of visible objects. If therefore the mind of childhood is addressed successfully, it must be addressed through objects presented to the sense.

3d. Human knowledge begins in simple sensible facts. Ev ery science was at first a few observed facts of sense; and as in the career of humanity itself, so also in each individual's career, all true and practical knowledge must begin by the study of sensible objects. He whose knowledge is drawn solely from books, has not true knowledge; he has only its semblance. Does not the verdict of the world condemn mere book-men as visionary and impractical, and mere book knowledge as unreliable and of little worth in real life? And this happens, not because books are false or useless, but because our pupils are set to the study of books before they gain the practical, elementary notions which can only be gotten by a personal inspection of the things of which the text books treat. First, objects, then books treating of these objects. First, experience and observation, then reflection and philosophy; from the known, the seen and felt, to the unseen and the unknown; such is the evident course and teaching of nature.

4th. Object lessons will prepare the pupil for the study and acquisition of book knowledge. The pupils trained systematically with object lessons, will acquire the art of reading all the sooner for such training. Their quickened observation and interested minds and enlarged knowledge of words, will greatly aid their reading and study of books.

5th. Finally, object teaching is the most practical of all education. It developes the power and habit of close observation of nature, and the ability to understand and describe the things

we see.

It is by no means proposed that this study of Common Things shall entirely supersede other studies, not even in the case of the younger pupils, but to make it a useful aid and adjunct to them all; for there is no study that will not gather


fresh interest from these Lessons on Things, while the mind, awakened to a keener activity, will pursue the study of books with a clearer insight, and a more practical understanding.

The Object Lessons may be easily so extended as to give some systematic knowledge of the more common branches of Natural History, which cannot otherwise be crowded into the Common Schools. Botany and Zoology, being sciences of simple observation, afford fine materials for oral and object teaching.

4th Arithmetic is too well established as a Common School study, and its value is too familiarly known, to need any explanation. Further on I shall offer some suggestions as to the modes of teaching it. It has generally occupied an undue share of time, and been taught to the exclusion of other branches of equal importance.

5th. Natural Philosophy, which might be called the Philosophy of Common Things, since it explains the common proper. ties and phenomena of matter, has almost unequalled claims to a place in the Common Schools. Concerning itself with facts that lie always around us, and are as open to children as adults, and presenting problems which stir the liveliest interest, and keenly stimulate the thoughts, the knowledge it affords is of daily application in our lives, and often vitally essential to our safety and success. The essential and secondary properties of matter, the laws of gravitation and cohesion, the mechanical powers, the pressure and flow of fluids, the phenomena of the atmosphere, light, sound, steam, electricity, &c.; these are matters that daily meet us, and constantly concern us-the child as much as the man. In the construction of his toys, in the sliding of his sled, in running, standing, falling, swimming, seeing, hearing, in all he sees and all he does, some principle of Natural Philosophy is involved; and once awakened to them, its problems crowd in fresh forms upon him every hour. Whether, therefore, for the interest it excites, the discipline it gives, or the knowledge it conveys, this is one of the most useful studies for our Common Schools.

6th, Physiology. I have named this among common school studies, partly because of the accessibility of its objects, and of the interest which even children must feel in the structure and functions of their own bodies but chiefly because of the vital need we all have of the information it gives. No knowledge is of more importance to mankind than that which teaches us the laws of life and health, and enables us to avoid the dangers of disease and untimely death. Physiology does not offer so many problems to awaken the youthful mind as Natural Philosophy, and is not, therefore, so useful for educational purposes. It might not improperly be taught by oral lessons, but it certainly ought not to be neglected in the instruction of any one child.

Th. Geography has already been sufficiently discussed. With true teaching in the earlier years, there will be easily found time for it in the higher classes and among the oldest pupils. It should never be permitted elsewhere.

8th. History should come with geography in the last years of the course. Its value as a common school study is, in many respects, greater than that of the latter branch. Its facts, though out of the range of his personal observation, appeal strongly to the pupil's sympathies as the actions of beings of his own race; and its tales of human heroism or crime cultivate his moral nature, while they powerfully excite the action of his intellect and imagination. In his life as a citizen, the light of history is the great guide of his social and political dutics. History, therefore, has these three grand requisites of a common school study: 1st, its facts are comprehensible to children; 2d, it strongly stimulates thought; 3d, it conveys necessary and most valuable information.

9th. Vocal Music. Vocal music is now, happily, becoming almost as common in our schools as it was once rare. Its high value and many uses as a school exercise will ultimately vindicate its claim to a place in every school in the country. It belongs at once to the three departments of education-phys

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