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GUIDE TO THE STANDARD EXAMINATIONS.
HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
FOR THE PREPARATION OF WORK IN THE VARIOUS STANDARDS,
Standard I. Reading.—The great defect in the reading of this standard is want of distinctness and “life.” The children should be made to read loudly, slowly, and distinctly; to sound their “aitches,” and above all, to mind the endings of their words. In order to get this properly done, every “h” that requires sounding should be forcibly given, and the final consonant or syllable of a word should even be exaggerated in order that it may have a proper sound given when the words are read fluently, as they should be, when the lesson is properly learnt. The right inflection of the voice should be given as indicated by exclamation (!) and question (?) marks. In a few words, the secret of good reading, in any standard, is imitation. A good teacher shows his class what to do, he sets a good example, and insists upon its being followed.
Writing and Spelling.–Writing, to be well done, must be written between lines about one-fifth of an inch apart, and the slates should be ruled accordingly. Thus*:
Pay great attention to all the loops of the letters, and do not let them be made “blind.” Keep the writing round and upright, and the letters not too much squeezed together. Let every word be separated by a space sufficiently wide to get the tip of the little finger between without touching.
Spelling should be taught in the reading lessons and by constant transcription, in which every word has to be learnt. A number of words from a reading lesson may frequently be written on the blackboard and then be copied six or more times on slate, taking great pains with the writing and learning every word as written.
* In the specimen, the engraver has made the words too close, and the “f” should have had a loop at the bottom. All letters that have loops in small hand should be made in the proper way from the first standard upwards.
Dictation, except when given as a test in an examination, should never be written without first learning the hardest words, according to the standard. It may be prepared from the reading books, or from a piece (or words selected from a piece) written on the blackboard. But whatever is done it should be borne in mind that “ a little and well” is the only certain way to insure go results. Words, as dictated, should only be given out once, never more than twice. A great fault with young teachers is to repeat the word, phrase, or sentence three, four, or even half a dozen times, the consequence is, children become careless and inattentive, and instead of so much repetition being an assistance, it is a chief cause of bad work.
Arithmetic. It will generally be found that notation and addition are the weak points in this standard. Constant practice should be given with numbers containing catch ciphers ; thus, 3,056, 2,009, 3,000, 5,960, 801, 70. But the practice must not be confined to such numbers, or the children will be inserting ciphers where none are required, and instead of 3,596 will probably write 30,596. Though the Code only requires units of thousands the standard should be able to set down tens of thousands readily, and add up seven lines of figures easily.. To insure good notation all the early standards should put in their
to indicate the thousands and millions places, and by constantly having the caution,“ Commas under each other,” given by their teacher, they imperceptibly get to place the figures in their right position. I have found it a good plan to dictate thus for the first few months, “Three thousand, comma, and forty” (3,040), and gradually omit the word “ Of course the children must know that after every comma there must always be three figures.
It is a good plan to have one side of the slate ruled thus for arithmetic
Every figure should be placed in a square, but not so as to quite fill it. Mind that 3's and 5's are well turned round at the bottom, and that 7's and 9's are made carefully.
The various methods of testing the multiplication table, as shown by the specimen papers, should be constantly practised. A brisk questioning in mental arithmetic, for 10 minutes, before a slate lesson, is one of the best means of making a class sharp and accurate.
Reading, Writing, and Spelling.-All the remarks on the first standard apply equally here. Writing should be a little smaller, and as many inspectors now require paper work in this standard, all dictation and transcription should be done in exercise-books ruled with double lines one-sixth of an inch apart; thus
Mind the loops, make the writing round and upright, with a good space between each word. It is a good exercise to constantly pick out the nouns, as indicated in paper 5, after either a piece of dicta-'. tion or transcription has been done.
Arithmetic.—Great attention should again be paid to notation ; continue the use of the commas, practice the taking down of numbers up to units of millions and addition of nine lines of figures. Do not forget multiplication by such numbers as 305, 900, 7,026, 40, &c., nor division by 10, 11, and 12. If possible push on with easy long divisions : it will improve the work in the next standard as well as in this. One inspector used to dictate occasionally thus : “Thirteen hundred and ninety-four” (1,394), children will therefore be no worse for knowing this “ dodge.” Arithmetic should, from the first, be chiefly done in exercise-books, tuled in squares, like the slates in Standard I. Do not forget that problems can only be worked after considerable practice, and children should be shown how to reason them out from the first. Give plenty of mental arithmetic.
Grammar.—Take care that a good definition of proper, common, abstract, and collective nouns is known by heart, and let any definition (in whatever subject), that is given in one part of the school, be used in every other part. It may be added to, for other standards, but no other variation should be allowed in it. The children consequently have nothing to unlearn. Practice the various ways of examination as indicated in the papers.
Geography:—First insure that really accurate definitions are well known. Thus one geography which had a considerable sale gave this inaccurate statement, "The surface or top of the earth is made up of land and water.” Change the word top to outside and you have a
correct definition. Definitions of the following should be known, and, as far as possible, the class should be able to point out examples of each on a map of the British Islands, Europe, and the World, or refer to such of them as occur in their own neighbourhood : Continent, country, county, island, peninsula, isthmus, cape, coast or shore, hill, mountain, plain, plateau, volcano, valley, desert, oasis ; ocean, sea, gulf, bay, strait, channel, lake, river, tributary or feeder, source, mouth, banks, basin, estuary, delta; axis, poles, equator, cardinal points, zones, map.
a globe should be used to show the form and the motions of the earth, or a ball with a knitting-needle run through it will serve the same purpose.
Reading, Writing, Spelling, and Grammar.–Again follow out the plans indicated in the previous standards. Writing should now be on single lines, large, bold, round, and upright, with good space (a little finger's breadth) between each word. The various kinds of adjectives should be known and the principal auxiliary verbs should be distinguished. It is also a good plan to learn by heart a complete list of the personal pronouns, and of the auxiliary verbs. Much time and trouble is saved afterwards. The verb is here the most difficult part of speech to teach, and therefore requires the greatest amount of practice.
Arithmetic.—If the standard cannot already do long division commence it simultaneously with compound addition. This latter, as well as subtraction of money, is soon learnt, but long division requires an immense amount of time and practice before it is thorough. Continue giving problems every lesson, reason them out with the class, and then give similar ones to be done by themselves. Do not be content with teaching only addition and subtraction of money, but go through multiplication and division. Pay especial attention to reduction of money, as it often occurs in problems, and constantly exercise the standard, for a few minutes at a time, in mental arithmetic. Do not neglect notation, and still insist upon
commas " being used. Squares may now be dispensed with, but most of the work should be done in exercise-books ruled with lines one-fifth of an inch apart. Figures upright and round and well under each other. Make £- -8-d properly (s and d small letters, not
or thus, S D.) It is much better to put a little dash between the shillings and pence, thus, £19 - 18 – 6, than the old-fashioned plan of dots, £19,, 18,, 6, which is fast dying out amongst business men. The former plan, too, makes neater work,
thus, I D,
and is done quicker—both great points in an examination. These are small matters, and may be by some considered unimportant, but neatness as well as accuracy should always be aimed at.
Geography. Do not be content with the class simply knowing a pretty full list of the capes, bays, mountains, rivers, &c., but take especial care that they know also their position, and can point them out, or name them when pointed to, on a blank map. A real knowledge of geography consists in having the shape of a country, with all its important physical and political features, printed on the mind. After physical facts are well known, political and industrial geography (agricultural, mining, and manufacturing) should have great attention paid to it. Chief towns and what they are noted for, seaports, health and pleasure resorts, should all be known. The why and the wherefore of everything should be explained. What is often a dry labour to both teacher and pupil thus becomes an intellectual pleasure-a training of the mind as well as of the memory. By examining the specimen questions given it will be seen “That nothing like learning by rote will be accepted as sufficient for a grant. Subjects taught to children by definition and verbal description, instead of by making them exercises of their own powers of observation, will be worthless as means of education.” (Note at foot of Fourth Schedule.) It is by an intellectual knowledge of the district in which the school is situated, and of the rest of the county, that children can be taught to see the practical use of what they have to receive, as it were, by faith, and to understand what they cannot see by reasoning from the known to the unknown.
Standard IV. Reading, Writing, Spelling.—As in the previous standards so now, these three will occupy a great deal of a teacher's time, “ Practise and imitate” is the chief rule to be observed in teaching reading and writing. Spelling is quite as much a matter of the eye as of the ear and memory. Hence transcription should still be continued. One of the best exercises a class can have is to take a page of their reading-book and pick out every word (or 50 words) containing five, six, seven, &c., letters, write them neatly in their exercise books, and learn them. Question orally at end of lesson, and every word not spelt correctly to be done 40 times over, on slate, after school. Wonderful progress is made in this way. At the same time great attention should be paid to the writing. Never let it get small and "scratchy," as though a lad had been using a fine needle instead of a pen. Large, round, and upright, with short heads and tails, not too black, and good space between the words, will produce a style of writing which a youth may turn to the best account when he gets out into the world.