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I think it can be conclusively proved, that the classics could be so taught as to give additional acuteness to the discrimination, more delicate sensibility to the taste, and more overflowing richness to he imagination. So much as this, must, we think, be admitted. If, then, it be the fact that these effects are not produced—and I think we must admit that they are not, in any such degree as might reasonably be expected—should we not conclude that the fault is not in the classics, but in our teaching? Would not teaching them better be the sure way of silencing the clamor against them? I will frankly confess that I am sad, when I reflect upon the condition of the study of the languages among us. We spend frequently six or seven years in Latin and Greek, and yet who of us writes, still more, who of us speaks them with facility? I am sure there must be something wrong in the mode of our teaching, or we should accomplish more. That can not be skillfully done, which, at so great an expense of time, produces so very slender a result. Milto affirms, that what in his time was acquired in six or seven years, might have been easily acquired in one. I fear that we have no greatly improved since. Again, we very properly defend the study of the languages on the ground that they cultivate the taste, the imagination, and the judgment. But is there any magic in the name of a classic Can this be done by merely teaching a boy to render, with all clumsiness, a sentence from another language into his own Can the faculties of which we have spoken, be improved, when not one of them is ever called into action : No. When the classics are so taught as to cultivate the taste and give vigor to the imagination,-when all that is splendid and beautiful in the works of the ancient masters, is breathed into the conceptions of our youth, when the delicate wit of Flaccus tinges their conversation, and the splendid oratory of Tully, or the irresistible eloquence of Demosthenes, is felt in the senate and at the bar—I do not say that even then we may not find something more worthy of being studied,—but we shall then be prepared, with a better knowledge of the facts, to decide upon the merits of the classics. The same remarks may apply, though perhaps with diminished force, to the study of the mathematics. lf, on one hand, it be objected that this kind of study does not give that energy to the powers of reasoning which has frequently been expected, it may, on the other hand, be fairly questioned whether it be correctly taught. The mathematics address the understanding. But they may be so taught as mainly to exercise the memory. If they be so taught, we shall look in vain for the anticipated result. I suppose that a student, after having been taught one class of geometrical principles, should as much be required to combine them in the forms of original demonstration, as that he who has been taught a rule of arithmetic should be required to put it into various and diversified practice. It is thus alone, that we shall acquire that ôvvaag awaxwrixn, the mathematical power which the Greeks considered of more value than the possession of any number of problems. When the mathematics shall be thus taught, I think there will cease to be any question, whether they add acuteness, vigor and originality to mind. I have thus endeavored, very briefly, to exhibit the object of edu
/* and to illustrate the nature of the means by which that ob
ject is to be accomplished. I fear that I have already exhausted your patience. I will, therefore, barely detain you with two additional remarks.
1. To the members of this Convention allow me to say, Gentlemen, you have chosen a noble profession. What though it do not confer upon us wealth —it confers upon us a higher boon, the privilege of being useful. What though it lead not to the falsely named heights of political eminence —it leads us to what is far better, the sources of real power; for it renders intellectual ability necessary to our success. I do verily believe that nothing so cultivates the powers of a man's own mind as thorough, generous, liberal, and indefatigable teaching. But our profession has rewards, rich rewards, peculiar to itself. What can be more delightful to a philanthropic mind, than to behold intellectual power increased a hundred fold by our exertions, talent developed by our assiduity, passions eradicated by our counsel, and a multitude of men pouring abroad over society the lustre of a virtuous example, and becoming meet to be inheritors with the saints in light—and all in consequence of the direction which we have given to them in youth I ask again, what profession has any higher rewards?
Again, we at this day are in a manner the pioneers in this work in this country. Education, as a science, has scarcely yet been naturalized among us. Radical improvement in the means of education is an idea that seems but just to have entered into men's minds. It becomes us to act worthily of our station. Let us by all the means in our power second the efforts and the wishes of the public. Let us see that the first steps in this course are taken wisely. This country ought to be the best educated on the face of the earth. By the blessing of Heaven, we can do much towards the making of it so. God helping us, then, let us make our mark on the rising generation.
Dr. WILLIAM E. CHANNING ON EDUCATION AND TEAChERs.
IN 1833, Dr. Channing brought the aid of his personal influence and powerful pen, to the service of the teacher. In an article in the Christian Examiner, for November, 1833, written for the express purpose of commending the Annals of Education, and the great subject to which it was devoted, under the editorial charge of William C. Woodbridge, to the attention of the best class of minds in the community, the following views are presented as to the importance of institutions for the education of teachers, and the true nature and dignity of the office:
“We are not aware that in this country a single school for teachers is supported at the public expense. How much would be gained, if every state should send one of its most distinguished cotizens to examine the modes of teaching at home and in Europe, and should then place him at the head of a seminary for the formation of teachers.” * # * * * * “There is no office higher than that of a teacher of youth : for there is nothing on earth so precious as the mind, soul, character of the child. No office should be regarded with greater respect. The first minds in the community should be encouraged to assume it. Parents should do all but impoverish themselves, to induce such to become the guardians and guides of their children. To this good, all their show and luxury should be sacrificed. Here they should be lavish, whilst they straten themselves in every thing else. They should wear the cheapest clothes, live on the plainest food, if they can in no other way secure to their families the best instruction. They should have no anxiety to accumulate property for their children, provided they can place them under influences which will awaken their faculties, inspire them with pure and high principles, and fit them to bear a manly, useful, and honorable part in the world. No language can express the cruelty or folly of that economy, which, to leave a fortune to a child, starves his intellect, impoverishes his heart.” * * * * * * “We know not how society can be aided more than by the formation of a body of wise and efficient educators. We know not any class which would contribute so much to the stability of the state, and to domestic happiness. Much as we respect the ministry of the gospel, we believe that it must yield in importance to the office of training the young. In truth, the ministry now accomplishes little, for want of that early intellectual and moral discipline, by which alone a community can be prepared to distinguish truth from falsehood, to comprehend the instructions of the pulpit, to receive higher and broader views of duty, and to apply general principles to the diversified details of life. A body of cultivated men, devoted, with their whole hearts, to the improvement of education, and to the most effectual training of the young, would work a fundamental revolution in society. They would leaven the community with just principles.” * * * * * # “We maintain that higher ability is required for the office of an educator of the young, than for that of a statesman. The highest ability is that which penetrates farthest into human nature, comprehends the mind in all its capacities, traces out the laws of thought and moral action, understands the perfection of human nature, aud how it may be approached, understands the springs, motives, appligations, by which the child is to be roused to the most vigorous and harmonious action of all its faculties, understands its perils, and knows how to blend and modify the influences which outward circumstances exert on the youthful mind. The speculations of statesmen are shallow, compared with these. It is the chief function of the statesman to watch over the outward interests of a people; that of the educator to quicken its soul. The statesman must study and manage the passions and prejudices of the community; the educator must study the essential, the deepest, the loftiest principles of human nature. The statesman works with coarse instruments for coarse ends; the educator is to work by the most refined influences on that deligate, ethereal essence—the immortal soul.” + * * * * *
“One great cause of the low estimation in which the teacher is now held, may be found in narrow views of education. The multitude think, that to educate a child, is to crowd into its mind a given amount of knowledge—to teach the mechanism of reading and writing—to load the memory with words—to prepare a y for the routine of a trade. No wonder, then, that they think almost every body fit to teach. The true end of education, is to unfold and direct aright our whole nature. Its office is to call forth power of every kind—power of thought, * affection, will, and outward action ; power to observe, to reason, to judge, to contrive; power to adopt good ends firmly, and to pursue them efficiently; power to #. ourselves, and to influence others; power to gain and to spread happiness. Reading is but an instrument; education is to teach its best use. The intellect was created, not to receive passively a few words, dates, facts, but to be active for the acquisition of truth. Accordingly, education should labor to inspire a profound love of truth, and to teach the processes of investigation. A sound logie, by which we mean the science or art which instructs us in the laws of reasoning and evidence, in the true methods of inquiry, and in the sources of false judgments, is an essential part of a good education. And yet, how little is done to teach the right use of the intellect, in the common modes of training either rich or poor. As a general rule, the young are to be made, as far as possible, their own teachers—the discoverers of truth—the interpreters of nature—the framers of science. They are to be helped to help themselves. They should be taught to observe and study the world in which they live, to trace the connections of events, to rise from particular facts to general principles, and then to apply these in explaining new phenomena. Such is a rapid outline of the intellectual education, which, as far as possible, should be given to all human beings; and with this, moral education should go hand in hand. In proportion as the child gains knowledge, he should be taught how to use it well— how to turn it to the good of mankind. He should study the world as God's world, and as the sphere in which he is to form interesting connections with his fellow-creatures. A spirit of humanity should be breathed into him from all his studies. In teaching geography, the physical and moral condition, the wants, advantages, and striking peculiarities of different nations, and the relations of climate, seas, rivers, mountains, to their characters and pursuits, should be pointed out, so as to awaken an interest in man wherever he dwells. History should be constantly used to exercise the moral judgment of the young, to call forth sympathy with the fortunes of the human race, and to expose to indignation and abhorrence that selfish ambition, that passion for dominion, which has so long deluged the earth with blood and woe. And not only should the excitement of just moral feeling be: proposed in every study. The science of morals should form an important part of every child's instruction. One branch of ethics should be particularly insisted on by the government. Every school, established by law, should be specially bound to teach the duties of the citizen to the state, to unfold the principles of free institutions, and to train the young to an enlightened patriotism. From these brief and imperfect views of the nature and ends of a wise education, we learn the dignity the profession to which it is entrusted, and the importance of securing to it the minds of the community.” N * * * * * * o We have said that it is the office of the teacher to call into vigorous action the ind of the child. He must do more. He must strive to create a thirst, an insatiable craving for knowledge, to give animation to study and make it a pleasure, and thus to communicate an impulse which will endure when the instructions of the the school are docal The mark of a good teacher is, not only that he produces great effort in his pupils, but that he dismisses them from his care, conscious of having only laid the foundation of knowledge, and anxious and resolved to improve themselves.) One of the sure signs of the low state of instruction among us is, that the young, on leaving school, feel as if the work of intellectual culture were done, and give up steady, vigorous effort for higher truth and wider knowledge. Our daughters at sixteen, and our sons at eighteen or twenty, have finished their education. The true use of a school is, to enable and dispose the pupil to learn through life; and if so, who does not see that the office of teacher requires men of enlarged and liberal minds, and of winning manners—in other words, that it requires as cultivated men as can be found in society. If to drive and to drill were the chief duties of an instructor—if to force into the mind an amount of lifeless knowledge—to make the child a machine—to create a repugnance to books, to mental labor, to the acquisition of knowledge—were the great objects of the school-room, then the teacher might be chosen on the principles which now govern the school-committees in no small part of our country. Then the man who can read, write, cypher, and whip, and will exercise his gifts at the lowest price, deserves the precedence which he now too often enjoys. But if the human being be something more than a block or a brute—if he have powers which proclaim him a child of God, and which were given for noble action and perpetual progress, then a better order of things should begin among us, and truly enlightened men should be summoned to the work of education.”
In an address delivered at the Odeon, in Boston, on the 28th of Feb., 1837, he thus advocates the establishment of an institution for the professional training of teachers:
“We need an institution for the formation of better teachers; and, until this step is taken, we can make no important progress. The most crying want in this commonwealth is the want of accomplished teachers. We boast of our schools; but our schools do comparatively little, for want of educated instructors. Without ood teaching, a school is but a name. An institution for training men to train the young, would be a fountain of living waters, sending forth streams to refresh present and future ages. As yet, our legislators have denied to the poor and laboring classes this principal means of their elevation. We trust they will not always rove blind to the highest interest of the state. We want better teachers, and more teachers, for all classes of society—for rich and poor, for children and adults. We want that the resources of the community should be directed to the procuring of better instructors, as its highest concern. One of the surest signs of the regeneration of society will be, the elevation of the t of teaching to the highest rank in the community. When a people shall learn that its greatest benefactors and most important members, are men devoted to the liberal instruction of all its classes—to the work of raising to life its buried intellect, it will have opened to itself the path of true glory. This truth is making its way. Socrates is now regarded as the greatest man in an age of great men. The name of king has grown dim before that of apostle. To teach, whether by word or ion, is the highest function on earth. Nothing is more needed, than that men of superior gifts, and of benevolent spirit, should devote themselves to the instruction of the less enlightened classes in the great end of life—in the dignity of their nature—in their rights and duties—in the history, laws, and institutions of their country—in the philosophy of their employments—in the laws, harmonies, and productions of outward nature, and, especially, in the art of bringing up children in health of body, and in vigor and purity f mind. We need a new profession or vocation, the object of which shall be to ake up the intellect in those spheres where it is now buried in habitual slumber. We want a class of liberal-minded instructors, whose vocation it shall be, to place the views of the most enlightened minds within the reach of a more and ore extensive portion of their fellow-creatures. The wealth of a community should flow out like water for the preparation and employment of such teachersfor enlisting powerful and generous minds in the work of giving impulse to their race.