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ally give the right direction to pupils' thoughts, and when this is done, the work is easily carried forward.
The thing of all others which must be done at the very first, is to secure absolute cleanliness in every thing which can be effected by broom, soap and water, or paint. It is useless to talk of pictures and carpets, while floors, wood-work and ceilings are begrimed with dirt; and if the proper authorities will not do this work, teachers and pupils must. This is one of the cases in which we must make a virtue of necessity; but even this necessity may become a source of pleasure. It is certainly a source of sweet satisfaction to draw a paint brush over surfaces which can be redeemed in no other way. As stain after stain disappears under your magic touch, you experience a feeling of won. derful comfort; and you realize as never before that cleanliness is next to godliness. When these matters have been suitably attended to, the curtains should be adjusted in some becoming manner. It seems like an easy thing to fix window curtains in proper position; but it is painful to notice the ugly shapes into which the ingenuity of pupils can torture them.
If, as in most school rooms, there is a rostrum for the teacher's table, it will add very greatly to the appearance of things to have it neatly carpeted. There is probably no one thing which gives so decided a parlor-like air to a school room as this; and on this account it will be well to make this the next thing in order. There will now be need of money, and it may be profitable to speak of some ways of raising funds. In many cases moderate amounts can be raised by requesting each pupil to contribute to the proposed object. If there is the right sentiment in school, the matter can be managed in this way without difficulty. Where larger amounts are required, a very pleasant way is to invite the members of the school to meet at some convenient place in a social way, with the expectation that each one shall pay a small sum toward the object in view. The circumstances must be very peculiar in which one or both of these methods will not succeed.
Next in order we would mention a picture. Its character and price must be determined by the grade of the school and the amount of money to be expended. For ordinary district schools and for the higher departments of graded schools, we know of nothing more beautiful or appropriate than the series of four line engravings by Smellie, of Cole's Voyage of Life. It is a safe rule to purchase pictures and engravings which have real excel
lence, instead of those whose only merit is their cheapness. This work in its original conception by Thomas Cole, and in the engraving by Smellie, is of great excellence; and the price at which it is sold places it within the reach of every school in the land.
Since we formed the design of writing this article, we have been feasting our eyes upon some beautiful Chromos by Prang, of Boston, and we have wished that copies of these pictures could be placed in our schools wherever there is an eye that delights in beauty of color or design. If for any reason such pictures as these can not be placed upon the walls of the school room, there is an almost unlimited field for choice. There are bundreds of beautiful engravings which cost but little, but which give an air of comfort and elegance to the school room. Our advice is, buy pictures of some sort, good ones if you can, but of any degree of merit rather than none at all.
In work of this nature and all important element of success is patience. Do not be disheartened if there is no immediate response to your appeal. We have in mind an instance where an attempt was made, in the early part of the term, to interest pupils in this matter; but it seemed to be to no purpose. On the very last day of the term, however, a beautiful painting was hung upon the wall of the room, procured by voluntary contributions.
When one point has been gained, it is best to take stock of the progress already made before making another attempt. The pleasure derived from one improvement will prepare the way for another; and so the work may go on by degrees till the school room, once dingy and unlovely, has been transformed into a beautiful drawing-room, as attractive as the home parlor.
Another element of culture, which we have not space to notice at proper length, is music. This is one of the most efficient governing forces which can be employed in school discipline. A school room without music is not a fit place for a child; and when we reflect that five out of every six children can sing, we see no excuse for such neglect. We hope the day will come when a musical instrument, of some sort, will be used in every school. Every High School should have its Piano, or, if this can not be afforded, a Cabinet Organ.
We have no doubt that these ideas seem Utopian to some; and did we not know that they are just as true in practice as in theory, and that it is entirely possible to accomplish the work for which we plead, we should not venture to speak in the way we have: but having had some experience in the management of schools and knowing that there is this better way, we confidently invite attention to this “ Plea for Beautiful School Rooms."--Michigan Teacher.
[A late number of the Massachusetts Teacher contains an interesting report of a discussion at the Educational Room, Boston, on the question : Ought corporal punishment to be abolished in our public schools ?' We are obliged to omit portions of the report on account of its length. We specially commend the remarks made by Mr. Hagar:]
Mr. CHASE, of Watertown. He believed there were modes of punishment far worse than whipping. He thought that the strenuous opponents of flogging often used methods far more objectionable. When teaching in the city of Washington, he was once talking with a teacher who was a professed moral suasionist, and asked him what substitute he used. He for a long time evaded the question, but, on being pressed, stated that he tied pupils by their hands to a hook in the wall, and there kept them till they were subdued. He also related another instance in which a little girl, only five years old, who had been at school but a few days, and was required by the teacher to name a letter which she persisted in saying she did not know. The teacher did not whip her, but shut her up in a dark closet till school closed. She commenced screaming, and, after she was taken out, continued to scream during four days and nights, when she died. These are, it is true, extreme cases, but they show first, that there are worge punishments than whipping, and secondly that those who do not practice corporal punishment are likely to resort to means that are far worse. He would say, let us use the means provided and sanctioned by Providence, and if we can not use them without abusing them, let us resign.
Mr. Frost, of Waltham. He did not hesitate to say that the doctrine lately promulgated at Cambridge would, if carried out, open the doors of every prison in the country. In fact, there must be authority in every organization; and there must also, of necessity, be submission. Authority which can not, in case of
, need, enforce itself, is utterly valueless. All admit that in society, law must be enforced, and this is surely no less true in school. The rules must be obeyed, and to say that those who can not be
persuaded into obedience must be suffered to disobey, is to strike at the foundation of all government. That he might not be accused of favoring the indiscriminate use of the rod, he would lay down the following as his theory: that “the minimum of punishment is the maximum of excellence,” other things being equal. So he would say that the fewer we can send to jail, consistently with good order, the better. This did not imply, however, that men should not be sent there when the public safety demands it, nor did the former rule imply that corporal punishment could not be rightfully resorted to when demanded by the good of the school.
Mr. WALTON, of Lawrence, said that before he commenced teaching he considered corporal punishment wholly unnecessary, and now that, after an experience of more than twenty years, he had left the profession, he began to feel so again. While he taught, however, he discovered that either he had not that consummate skill and tact which are so often talked about, or that in some way circumstances did not favor him, for he found himself obliged, occasionally, to resort to it. He went once to Cape Cod to teach, with his head full of the idea of governing by moral suasion. He tried every means, and actually grew thin with his efforts, and went through the term without striking a blow. The scholars, he thought, liked him, and so did the parents : still he felt dissatisfied with the result. The next term he commenced again upon the same plan. Again he grew thin by his efforts to avoid the use of force. He succeeded as ill as before, and still felt that the session, so far as progress was concerned, was a failure. On one occasion he kept a boy after school for the purpose of “ laboring” with him. He went through the stereotyped formula so familiar to teachers. He told the boy “how much better he would feel” if he did well; how it would please his parents, etc. He then went on to say that “if it had been Smith or Jones he should not have been surprised, but that from 'him'he expected better things ; " when he was suddenly floored by the boy's blurting out, “I ain't no better'n the rest on 'em.” After this he gave up his extreme ideas, and resolved to punish if the good of the school required it. The testimony of practical teachers seems to be uniform to the effect that force is sometimes necessary.
Mr. THOMPSON, of West Cambridge, being called for as one who was opposed to corporal punishment, said that he would correct that statement. He was not opposed to the judicious use of force.
He thought it very liable to abuse, because it was such an easy method. It requires much self-control and sagacity to use it always properly. It is very commonly done to secure some immediate result. Sometimes, however, it might be well to consider whether an end better worth obtaining might not be secured by different means. He referred to the malignant manner in which teachers were frequently held up to public scorn. He recently heard a person state at an educational meeting, that if teachers had not mental and moral force enough to govern without physical force, they had better resign; that they were not engaged to "train menageries." Such remarks are, of course, in themselves, unworthy of notice, but they show a state of feeling in the community which is to be deplored. He thought if a boy was persistently obstinate and unruly, it was cruel not to punish him. Expelling is foolish.* Punisment may benefit, but expell
. ing never can. If a scholar can not be made to obey in school, he certainly would not do so in the world. He thought there should be a limit as to age. It was, however, difficult to fix any age, as the matter is controlled so much by circumstances. He would never punish in the presence of others. He had never punished in his own school. It was, however, a High School, where it was not generally supposed to be necessary.
Mr. SMITH, of Dorchester, said that the question should be changed to "ought punishment to be abolished ?" This was the real matter now at issue in this vicinity. If it should be done away with in school, it certainly should be in the world at large, where men are more developed. It was easy to draw a picture of schools or communities governed entirely by moral suasion, but let it be tried. Let Boston do away with its police force, and when a drunken brawl occurs, let those who think themselves 80 well fitted to reform by love, take the culprits and reform them. No one would be so insane as to propose this, and yet it is this same principle which it is proposed to establish in school. It is often said, even by those who do not believe in abolishing corporal punishment, that although sometimes necessary, it is the worst, and should always be the last resort. He thought this was not always so. If a boy is willfully troublesome in school, he may, if the teacher will spend time enough, be brought to order without force. But is this the best way? Is it just or right that forty-nine other scholars should be deprived of the labor of the
* This will depend on the age of the pupil and other circumstances.-Ed. MONTHLY.