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ical, intellectual, and moral;—and is equally valuable for the discipline it gives and the influence it exerts.
As a means of promoting health no gymnastic is more vala. able. In its use as a physical exercise, let the school-room be well ventilated, and the pupils, standing erect, with shoulders thrown back, sing in full strong tones, and with marked emphasis. Its use in cultivating the power and sweetness of the voice and in preparing pupils to become good readers, is too obvious to need comment. Its value as an aid to the general discipline and good order of the school has often been remarked by good teachers.
The moral influences of music have made it a part of every V religious worship known among. men. The words of song
clothed with the impressive forms and rythin of poetry, link themselves with the sweet melodies of music and are repeated with endless iterations. Recalled for the sweet sounds to which they are set, they dwell upon the lips and are poured into the ears, in a sweet and measured utterance that enchains the attention and enchants the heart. "Let me make the songs of a people, and I care not who makes their laws," said a celebrated statesman. The songs, by their daily repetition, live in the mind and become a portion of the thoughts and sentiments; the laws lie hidden in books little read, and are like the distant barriers within which we pass our lives and which we are for. bidden to transgress.
The choice of school songs becomes doubly important, when we reflect how they are to sink into the minds, and cleave to the memory of the pupils. Sung on the play grounds, shouted in the streets, carolled in the fields, hummed by the fireside, swelling in the chorus of the school-room where a hundred hearts and voices mingle in responsive sympathies, conned over in the silent thoughts of the solitary hour, he who chooses wisely will permit no mean sentiment nor false opinions in the songs he selects for the young.
Lively songs, more remarkable for gaiety of expression than for thought or feeling, are often chosen as being fitted to the cheerfulness of childhood; but all experience shows that those songs are most prized, and endure longest, which most deeply impress the mind and heart. A teacher of much experience and thought remarked that after all, he found no better songs for the school-room than the Sunday school hymns. These were constantly called for by the pupils, and were of the most beneficial influence.
10th. The Use of the Pen and Pencil. The manual art of writing has long been considered an indispensible part of common school education. The kindred art of drawing may well claim a similar regard. It has been asserted by high authori. ties that drawing should precede writing, as a fitting preparation for it. Drawing and writing might often be taught in the same time now spent in acquiring the former, and each would be learned easier and better because of the practice in the other.
The natural inclination of children for picture making is a subject of common remark. And if the indications of nature are true guides in the education of childhood, then certainly drawing ought to be a common school study. I will not consume space to exhibit in detail the uses of the study. In common life, the use of the pencil, if it were as well understood, would be scarcely less serviceable than that of the pen. In the school room its aid is almost indispensible. There is not a single study which has not something to be pictured; and in all, the ideas would become more vivid and enduring if the pupil were required to reproduce the illustrative diagrams and drawings.
11th. Morals. Good behavior was one of the geven studies anciently prescribed, by law, for the common schools of Massachusetts; and certainly this was not the least important of the list. The necessity of a healthful moral influence in our schools has been acknowledged by all who have spoken or written concering them The school law has always demanded that the teachers shall be of good moral character. The safety of these large and miscellaneous gatherings of passionate and thoughtless children, imperatively requires the presence of some powerful, culturing and controlling moral force, watching like a Providence over them, and working as a power within them. And the high social and civil aims, for which the public schools are chiefly maintained—the maturing of a law-abiding and virtuous citizenship-can never be secured except by a high-toned and successful education of the moral nature.
Now, it is a singular evidence of the want of any wise and V carefully considered plan in the organization and work of our
schools, that, with all these grand and widely recognized needs of moral education, no regular and systematic daily instruction in morals has ever been generally attempted. It cannot be pretended that the moral faculties do not need, or are not subject to education; nor that we have no means within our reach of carrying forward such education. No other faculties are so susceptible of cultivation, and for none are the lessons so abundant. The entire realm of motives and motive furces is also the realm of morals.
The peculiarity of the moral faculties-conscience and the affections—is that they are partly intellectual and partly emotional. In forming its moral judgments of right and wrong, the conscience works through the intellect; but, in enfurcing these judgments upon the conduct, it appeals to the feelings. Without clear intellections, it is superstitious; without strong feeling, it is powerless. So also the affections choose their objects by the exercise of their knowing faculties; but the attractive power with which they seck these objects when chosen, is that of the feelings. It is true the feelings often bias the action of the intellect, in both cases, but never entirely dispense with its aid.
Moral education, therefore, must necessarily have a double aim; 1st, to instruct the intellect in right moral judgments; and, 2nd, to train the heart to right moral feelings, or feelings obedient and responsive to the dictates of the reason. A knowledge of the right in principle must precede intelligent
judgment of the right in action; and such judgment must nec. essarily go before the feeling of approbation or blame.
Leaving, to another place the consideration of the special methods of moral teaching, I will only remark further here, that the value of moral instruction is not confined merely to the maintenance of good behavior in the school-room, nor even to the promotion of a virtuous life; but the highest success of the entire school as a school, and of each scholar as a scholar, depends upon keeping in play, throughout the school, the kindlier affections, and making all hearts bend to the sacred claims of duty. The intellect borrows its noblest intuitions from the light of a pure conscience; while many a mind of high native capacity, is wasted by the idleness or vices of a low and sensual nature.
Such, in brief, is the character and value of the several branches in this proposed course. It will, doubtless, be still objected that this course too greatly enlarges the number of Com. mon School studies
that it will tend to increase the number of classes beyond the teachers' ability to hear the lessons; and that but a small proportion of the pupils ever fully complete even the list now commonly introduced. I reply, with better methods and a more systematic order of teaching, all these branches can be thorougbly studied in the average length of time that children attend school ; and if the studies be properly distributed between the suminer and winter sessions, and the classes are not needlessly multiplied by a variety of text books, the number of classes will not be increased beyond those now required ; and finally, the extent of a course of studies should evidently be measured by the wants of those who attend school longest, and not by those who leave before their education is half done. Giving a month's instruction in reading and writing to him who has no time for more, the school should also provide a fuller course for him who has time or inclination to pursue it.
And ought it not to be expected that our Common Schools will rise somewhat in their work to meet the growing wants of the age, and to keep pace with the advancements in science and civilization! The improvements already made in the art of teaching certainly justify some extension of the course of instruction.
Finally, the Common School will gain in attractiveness and dignity, by this increase in its range of learning, and will beget, both in pupils and teachers, an ambition that will aspire to more generous efforts, and will attain to a nobler success.
But the feasibility of the course will be more apparent, when the studies are exhibited in their due and logical order, and each study is assigned to its own proper place and time.
THE ORDER AND TIME OF THE STUDIES.
Several difficulties lie in the way of any fixed arrangement of order and time of studies in the Common Schools. The dif. ferent schools vary so much in the number and length of their terms, that no arrangement can be proposed for universal adoption. The following plan, which is offered mainly as a suggestion, is conformed to the supposed circumstances of the better class of schools, but can be easily adjusted to the wants of other schools. The average length of time the Primary Schools of the State were taught in 1861, was six and onetenth months. In 3,151 districts the average time was about beverf and a-half months ; so that we may safely assume that the average time in nearly one-half of the districts in the State, was eight months.
Taking eight months as a school year, and dividing it into a summer and winter term of four months each, I assume further that the average school life of pupils will be ten years, reaching from five to fifteen years of age. It is also presumed that the older classes of pupils—from twelve to fifteen years of age -will attend school only in the winter terms, while the younger classes---from five to eight years of age-will attend only in the summer. This supposition is here. admitted, both because it accords with a usage already partly prevalent, and because such a usage might with much advantage be made universal. Four months' schooling in a year is certainly enough for child.