PUBLIC LATIN SCHOOL INBOSTON.[The following extracts from the Prize Book, comprehend the terms of education, the classification of the scholars, the method of teaching, the books which are adopted in instructing, and other subjects connected with the management of this school; all of which, it is thought, will be equally useful and interesting to such of our readers as have not perused the Prize Book itself.] The scholars are distributed into six separate apartments, under the care of the same number of instructers; viz. a Principal, or head master, a sub-master, and four assistants. For admission, boys must be at least nine years old; able to read correctly and with fluency, and to write running hand; they must know all the stops, marks, and abbreviations, and have sufficient knowledge of English Grammar to parse common sentences in prose. The time of admission is the Friday and Saturday next preceding the Commencement at Cambridge, which two days are devoted to the examination of candidates. The regular course of instruction lasts five years; and the school is divided into five classes, according to the time of entrance. When a class has entered, the boys commence the Latin Grammar all together, under the eye of the principal; where they continue untill he has become in some degree acquainted with their individual characters and capacities. As they change their places at each recitation, those boys will naturally rise to the upper part of the class, who are most industrious, or who learn with the greatest facility. After a time a division of from twelve to fifteen boys is taken off from the upper end of the class; after a few days more, another division is in like manner taken off; and so on, till the whole class is separated into divisions of equal number; it having been found that from twelve to fifteen is the most convenient number to drill together. In this way boys of like capacities are put together, and the evil of having some unable to learn the lesson which others get in half the time allowed, is in some measure obviated. The class, thus arranged for the year, is distributed among the assistant teachers, a division to each. This is preferred to keeping them together; for they are in the room with two divisions of higher classes, there being always three divisions in each apartment; and by the example of older boys they more readily correct their childish foibles, and fall in with the habits of the school. And further, as writing is not Vol. i. 34

taught in the school, the younger classes for the first two or three years are dismissed at eleven o'clock, an hour before school is done, that they may attend a writing school. It is necessary therefore, that one division of a class that stays till twelve should be in each room, to afford the instructer employment from eleven to twelve o'clock. This, therefore, is an hour of uninterrupted instruction to a single division in each room, after the other two have been dismissed. When this distribution is made, the boys continue for the year in the apartment in which they are first placed, unless some particular reason should exist for changing them; or when the higher divisions attend the sub-master, for instruction in Geography and Mathematics, to whom these departments are committed. This method of studying each branch separately, is adopted throughout the school. The same individuals do not study Latin one part of the day and Greek the other, but each for a month at a time; and so with mathematics, except that the lesson for the evening, which is usually a written exercise, or a portion of Latin or Greek to be committed to memory, is in a different department from the studies of the day. In this way, the aid of excitement from the continuity of a subject, is secured; and a much more complete view of the whole obtained, than when studied in detached portions; and the grammar of neither language is permitted to go out of mind. For it should " be remembered, that if the grammar be the first book put into the learner's hands, it should also be the last to leave them." At the close of every month, the boys in each apartment undergo a rigid examination in all the studies of that month. This is conducted by the principal, with whom only the first class remain permanently, in the presence of their particular teacher, and such other instructors of the school as find it convenient to attend. These monthly examinations are sometimes attended by the subcommittee of the school, and are open for parents, and any other persons interested. If any class, or any individuals do not pass satisfactory examination, they are put back, and made to go over the portion of studies in which they are deficient, till they do pass a satisfactory examination. The rank of each scholar and his seat for the succeeding month are determined by this examination; unless an account of places for each recitation of the month has been kept, in which case they are determined by a general average. The boy at the head of the first division of the first class is monitor for the month. The monitor writes in his bill a list of all the classes, in the order in which they are now arranged; and notes, each half day, such as are absent. The absences of each individual for a month, or a year, may be known by reference to this bill. Boys commence with Adam's Latin Grammar, in learning which they are required to commit to memory much that they do not understand at the time, as an exercise of memory, and to accustom them to labor. There are some objections to this, it is true, but it has been found extremely difficult to make boys commit thoroughly to memory at a subsequent period, what they have been allowed to pass over in first learning the grammar. It takes from six to eight months for a boy to commit to memory all that is required in Adam's Grammar; but those who do master the grammar completely, seldom find any difficulty afterwards in committing to memory whatever may be required of them. The learned Vicesimus Knox thinks it may be well to relieve boys a little while studying grammar, "for," says he, "after they have studied Latin Grammar a year closely, they are apt to become weary." The examples under the rules of syntax are the first exercises in parsing. The Liber Primus is the first book after the grammar. No more of this is given for a lesson than can be parsed thoroughly. This and the grammar form the studies of the first year. To these succeed Graecas 1 listerias Epitome, Viri Romae, Phajdri Fabuke, from Burman's text, with English notes; Cornelius Nepos; Ovid's Metamorphoses, by Willymotte; with particular attention to scanning and the rules of prosody. Portions of Ovid are committed to memory in the evening that were translated in the day, and verses selected from them for capping, which is a favorite exercise with boys. Valpy's Chronology of Ancient and English History, Dana's Latin Tutor, for writing Latin, and Tooke's Pantheon, with the books already mentioned, comprise the studies of the second year. The Greek Grammar is now commenced, if it has not been before, Caesar's Commentaries and Electa ex Ovidio et Tibullo. Then follows the Delectus Sententiarum Graecarum, a most excellent little book for the commencement of Greek analysis. And here particular care is taken that no word be passed over till all the changes of which it is susceptible be gone through, and the rule given for each. Much depends on the manner in which boys are introduced to a new study. They like what they can understand. Hence it not unfrequently happens, that lads properly initiated into Greek, soon prefer it to Latin and every other study. The Coll. Gr. Minora follows next, with Sallust and Virgil; and these, with the writing of translations in English, from Latin and Greek, form the studies of the third year. The exercises in the Latin Tutor continue till the book is entirely written through once or twice. Much time and labor are saved in correcting these exercises. The head boy gives his exercise to the teacher, and takes that of the below him, who in his turn receives his next neighbor's, and

[ocr errors]

so on, through the class. The boy at the bottom reads the English, a sentence at a time; and the teacher reads the same in Latin, from the exercise in his hand, marking with a pencil such words as are wrong. Where the sentence admits of variety, each form is given. The boys in the mean time mark all words differing from what is read, by placing the figures 1,2,3, &.c. under them. When the exercise has all been read, and each boy has marked the errors of his next neighbor, the one who has fewest takes the head, and so on. This exercise is returned to be corrected, and has a second reading with the next new exercise. Thus in fifteen minutes the task of an hour and a half is performed. The attention in the mean while is effectually secured by the interest each boy has in noticing the mistakes of his neighbor, and the liability of having all marked to his own account, which shall appear on second reading not to have been noticed in the first. But this method, of course, can be adopted only so long as the Latin words are given in the exercise book. When the Latin Tutor can be coverted into correct Latin, Valpy's Elegantia? Latinse succeeds it. This book is a very valuable auxiliary in teaching to write Latin, and an important addition to our school books. It consists of a free translation of select portions of the most approved Latin authors, with many judicious and critical remarks on the rules of construction, and the use of words, with a key, separate from the book, to be kept by the instructer, where the original passages may be seen by the learner, and compared with his own Latin. When boys can write Latin prose grammatically, they are required to make nonsense verses, or to put words into verses with regard to their quantity only. When the mechanical structure of different kinds of versification is familiar, they have given them a literal translation, of a few verses at a time, taken from some author with whose style they are not acquainted, which is to be turned into verses of the same kind as those from which it was taken, and then compared with the original. Bradley's Prosody is used for this exercise. Afterwards portions of English poetry are given, to be translated into Latin verse. Original verses are then required, which, with themes in Latin and English, continue through the course. Considerable portions of all the Latin and Greek poets used in school are committed to memory, as they are read: particularly several books of Virgil; all the first book of Horace, and parts of many others; the third and tenth Satires of Juvenal entire; all the poetry in the Graeca Minora; and many hundreds of verses in Homer. This is an important exercise to boys; and without it they can never write Latin prose or verse with the same facility as with it. It is in this way that the idioms of any language are gained; and in writing verses the quantity and proper use of most words employed by the best writers are instantaneously determined, by recalling a verse in which it occurs. Cicero's select orations, De Officiis, De Senectute, De Amicitia, Horace Exp., Juvenal and Persius Expur. Greek Primitives, Xenophon's Anabasis, Maittaire's Homer, Greek Testament, Wyttenbach's Greek Historians, together with the aforenamed exercises, and Geography, Arithmetic, Geometry, Trigonometry and its uses, Algebra, &c. form the studies of the two last years. The study of arithmetic is commenced the latter part of the third year or the beginning of the fourth, with Colburn's " First Lessons." Recitations in this are made two or three times each half day, by those who are studying it. The boys are not expected to commit to memory the answers to the several questions, but to find them repeatedly before the recitation, that their answers may then be given with more facility; and in order that the operations, by which they solve the questions, may be strictly intellectual, numbers are often announced by the instructor different from those in the book, and only the form of the questions is adhered to. After the question is announced, a sufficient time is allowed for each individual of the class to find the answer; and then one is called upon; the question is passed through the class, whether the answer be given right, or not; and all, whose solutions are right, go above those, whose are wrong. After all the questions in a section have been understood, and solved, each boy is called upon to state the general method of their solution, or the rule for working them. This rule, thus made by the boys, not given them, when corrected as to phraseology by the teacher, is written in a manuscript book, and committed to memory. The same system of advancing from particular examples to the general rule, is observed in teaching Lacroix's Arithmetic and Euler's Algebra; synthesis being considered preferable to analysis, in these studies. The class, with their slates, come to the recitation forms; a question is proposed, which each is required to solve; others, more and more difficult of solution, depending on the same principles, are announced; each boy on finding his answer passes his slate to the one above him; and thus no one can correct his solution on the authority of a better scholar. All, whose sums are right, take precedence of the others. After the solution of numerous questions proposed in as many different forms as possible, they are furnished with the rule, and required to commit it to memory. The black board is also used, to show the method of arranging their work, with the greatest economy of space and labor. In geometry the diagrams of Euclid are taken off, first on paper, with figures instead of letters, that nothing may be committed to memory without being understood. When they have been demonr

« ForrigeFortsett »