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animals, are by nature restless and fidgety, and like to make a noise. It is possible, indeed, by a system of rigorous and harsh repression, to restrain this restlessness, and to keep these little ones for hours in such a state of decorous primness as not to molest weak nerves. But such a system of forced constraint is not natural to children, and is not a wise method of teaching. Let the youngsters make a noise; I had almost said, the more noise the better, so it be duly regulated. Let them exercise, not only their lungs, but their limbs, moving in concert, rising up, sitting down, turning round, marching, raising their hands, pointing to objects to which their attention is called, looking at objects which are shown to them. Movement and noise are the life of a child. They should be regulated, indeed, but not repressed. To make a young child sit still and keep silence for any great length of time, is next door to murder. I verily believe it sometimes is murder. The health, and even the lives of these little ones, are sacrificed to a false theory of teac ing. There is no occasion for torturing a child in order to teach him. God did not so mean it. Only let your teaching be in accordance with the wants of his young nature, and the school-room will be to him the most attractive spot of all the earth. Time and again have I seen the teacher of a primary school obliged at recess to compel her children to go out of doors, so much more pleasant did they find the school-room than the play-ground. Quite the opposite extreme from the concert method, is that which, for convenience, may be called the individual method. In this method, the teacher examines one scholar alone upon the whole lesson, and then another, and so on, until the class is completed. The only advantage claimed for this inethod is that the individual laggard cannot screen his deficiencies, as he can when reciting in concert. He cannot make believe to know the lesson by lazily joining in with the general current of voice when the answers are given. His own individual knowledge, or ignorance, stands out. This is clear, and so far it is an advantage. But ascertaining what a pupil knows of a lesson, is only one end, and that by no means the most important end of a recitation. This interview between the pupil and teacher, called a recitation, has many ends besides that of merely detecting how much of a subject the pupil knows. A far higher end is to make him know more, to make perfect that knowledge which the most faithful preparation on the part of the pupil always leaves incomplete. The disadvantages of the individual method are obvious. It is a great waste of time. If a teacher has a class of twenty, and an hour to hear them in, it gives him but three minutes for each pupil, supposing there are no interruptions. But we know there always are interruptions. In public schools the class oftener numbers forty than twenty, and the time for recitation is oftener half an hour than an hour. The teacher who pursues the individual method to its extreme, will rarely find himself in possession of more than one minute to each scholar. In so brief a time, very little can be ascertained as to what the scholar knows of the lesson, and still less can anything be done to increase that knowledge. Moreover, while the teacher is bestowing his small modicum of time upon one scholar, all the other members of the class are idle, or worse.
Teaching, of all kinds of labor, is that in which labor-saving and timesaving methods are of the greatest moment. The teacher who is wise, will aim so to conduct a recitation that, first, his whole time shall be given to every scholar; and secondly, the scholar's mind shall be exercised with every part of the lesson, and just as much when others are reciting, as when it is his own time to recite. A teacher who can do this is teaching every scholar, all the time, just as much as if he had no scholar but that one.
Even this does not state the whole case. A scholar in such a class learns more in a given time, than he would if he were alone, and the teacher's entire time were given exclusively to him. The human mind is wonderfully quickened by sympathy. In a crowd each catches, in some mysterious manner, an impulse from his fellows. The influence of associated numbers, all engaged upon the same thought, is universally to rouse the mind to a higher exercise of its powers. A mind that is dull, lethargic, and heavy in its movements, when moving solitarily, often effects, when under a social and sympathetic impulse, achievements that are a wonder to itself.
The teacher, then, who knows how thus to make a unit of twenty or thirty pupils, really multiplies himself twenty or thirty-fold, besides giving to the whole class an increased momentum such as always helongs to an aggregated mass. I have seen a teacher instruct a class of forty in such a way, as, in the first place, to secure the subordinate end of ascertaining and registering with a sufficient degree of exactness how much each scholar knows of the lesson by his own preparation, and secondly, to secure, during the whole hour, the active exercise and coöperation of each individual mind, under the powerful stimulus of the social instinct, and of a keenly awakened attention. Such a teacher accomplishes more in one hour than the slave of the individual method can accomplish in forty hours. A scholar in such a class learns more in one hour than he would learn in forty hours, in a class of equal numbers taught on the other plan. Such teaching is labor-saving and time-saving, in their highest perfection, employed upon the noblest of ends.
OBSERVING A PROPER ORDER IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FACULTIES.
But besides these questions of methods, there are other and higher questions, growing out of what may be called the philosophy of education. One of these relates to the observance of a proper order in the development of the mental faculties, and a mistake on this point leads often to a sad waste of time, even where it does not cause a mischievous perversion of ideas. Education may be defined to be the process of developing in due order and proportion all the good and desirable parts of human nature. On this point all educators are substantially agreed. Another truth, to which there is a general theoretical assent, is that, in the order in which we develope the faculties, we should follow the leadings of nature, cultivating in childhood those faculties which seem most naturally to flourish in childish years, and reserving for maturer years the cultivation of those faculties which in the order of nature do not show much vigor until near the age of manhood, and which require for their full development a general ripening of all the other powers. The development of a human being is in some respects like that of a plant. There is one stage of growth suitable for the appearance and maturity of the leaf, another for the flower, a third for the fruit, and still a fourth for the perfected and ripened seed. The analogy has of course many limitations. In the human plant, for instance, one class of faculties, after maturing, does not disappear in order to make place for another class, as the flower disappears before there can be fruit. Nor, again, is any class of faculties wanting altogether until the season for their development and maturity. The faculties all exist together, leaf, flower, fruit, and seed, at the same time, but each has its own best time for ripening. While these principles have received the general assent of educators, there has been a wide divergence among them as to some of the practical applications. Which faculties do most naturally ripen early in life, and which late in life 2 According to my own observation, the latest of the human powers in maturing, as it is the most consummate, is the Judgment. Next in the order of maturity, and next also in majesty and excellence, is the Reasoning power. Reason is minister to the judgment, furnishing to the latter materials for its action, as all the other powers, memory, fancy, imagina. tion, and so forth, are ministers to reason, and supply it with its materials. The reasoning power lacks true vigor and muscle, the judgment is little to be relied on, until we approach manhood. Nature withholds from these faculties an earlier development, for the very reason, apparently, that they can ordinarily have but scanty materials for action until after the efflorescence of the other faculties. The mind must first be well filled with knowledge, which the other faculties have gathered and stored, before reason and judgment can have full scope for action. Going to the other end of the scale, I have as little doubt that the earliest of all the faculties to bud and blossom, is the Memory. Children not only commit to memory with ease, but they take actual pleasure in it. Tasks, under which the grown up man recoils and reels, the child will assume with light heart, and execute without fatigue. Committing to memory, which is repulsive drudgery to the man, is the easiest of all tasks to the child. More than this. The things fixed in the memory of childhood are seldom forgotten. Things learned later in life, not only are learned with greater difficulty, but more rapidly disappear. I recall instantly and without effort, texts of Scripture, hymns, catechisms, rules of grammar and arithmetic, and scraps of poetry and of classic authors
with which I became familiar when a boy. But it is a labor of Hercules for me to repeat by memory anything acquired since attaining the age of manhood. The Creator seems to have arranged an order in the natural development of the faculties for this very purpose, that in childhood and youth we may be chiefly occupied with the accumulation of materials in our intellectual storehouse. Now to reverse this process, to occupy the immature mind of childhood chiefly with the cultivation of faculties which are of later growth, and actually to put shackles and restraints upon the memory, nicknaming and ridiculing all memoriter exercises as parrot performances, is to ignore one of the primary facts of human nature. It is to be wiser than God. Another faculty that shoots up into full growth in the very morning and spring-time of life, is Faith. I speak here, of course, not of religious faith, but of the faculty of the human mind which leads a child to believe instinctively whatever is told him. That we all do thus believe, until by slow and painful experience we learn to do otherwise, needs no demonstration. Everybody's experience attests the fact. It is equally plain that the existence and maturity of this faculty in early childhood is a most wise and beneficent provision of nature. How slow and tedious would be the first steps in knowledge, were the child born, as some teachers seem trying to make him, a sceptic, that is, with a mind which refuses to receive anything as true, except what it has first proved by experience and reason On the contrary, how much is the acquisition of knowledge expedited, during these years of helplessness and dependency, by this spontaneous, instinctive faith of childhood. The same infinite wisdom and love, which in the order of nature provide for the helpless infant a father and mother to care for it, provide also in the constitution of the infant's mind that instinctive principle or power of faith, which alone makes the father's and mother's love efficacious towards its intellectual growth and development. Of what use were parents or teachers, in instructing a child which required proof for every statement that father, mother, or teacher gives? How cruel to force the confiding, young heart into premature scepticism, by compelling him to hunt up reasons for everything, when he has reasons, to him all-sufficient, in the fact that father, mother or teacher, told him so * It may seem trifling to dwell so long upon these elementary points. Yet there are wide-spread plans of education which violate every principle here laid down. Educators and systems of education, enjoying the highest popularity, seem to have adopted the theory, at least they tacitly act upon the theory, that the first faculty of the mind to be developed is the reasoning power. Indeed, they are not far from asserting that the whole business of education consists in the cultivation of this power, and t they bend accordingly their main energies upon training young children to go through certain processes of reasoning, so called. They require a child to prove everything before receiving it as true, to reason out a rule for himself for every process in arithmetic or grammar, to demonstrate
the multiplication table before daring to use it, or to commit it to memory if indeed they do not forbid entirely its being committed to memory as too parrot-like and mechanical. To commit blindly to memory precious forms of truth, which the wise and good have hived for the use of the race, is poohed at as old fogyish. To receive as true anything which the child cannot fathom, and which he has not discovered or demonstrated for himself, is denounced as slavish. All authority in teaching, growing out of the age and the reputed wisdom of the teacher, all faith and reverence in the learner, growing out of a sense of his ignorance and dependence, are discarded, and the frightened stripling is continually rapped on the knuckles, if he does not at every step show the truth of his allegations by what is called a course of reasoning. Children reason, of course. They should be encouraged and taught to reason. No teacher, who is wise, will neglect this part of a child's intellectual powers. But he will not consider this the season for its main, normal development. He will hold this subject for the present subordinate to many others. Moreover, the methods of reasoning, which he does adopt, will be of a peculiar kind, suited to the nature of childhood, the results being mainly intuitional, rather than the fruits of formal logic. To oblige a young child to go through a formal syllogystic statement in every step in elementary arithmetic, for instance, is simply absurd. It makes nothing plain to a child's mind which was not plain before. On the contrary, it often makes a muddle of what had been perfectly clear. What was in the clear sunlight of intuition, is now in a haze, through the intervening medium of logical terms and forms, through which he is obliged to look at it. A primary teacher asks her class this question: “If I can buy 6 marbles with one penny, how many marbles can I buy with 5 pennies?" A bright boy who should promptly answer “30” would be sharply rebuked. Little eight-year old Solon on the next bench, has been better trained than that. With stately and solemn enunciation he delivers himself of a performance somewhat of this sort. “If I can buy 6 marbles with 1 penny, how many marbles can I buy with 5 pennies? Answer— I can buy 5 times as many marbles with 5 pennies as I can buy with 1 penny. If therefore, I can buy 6 marbles with 1 penny, I can buy 5 times as many marbles with 5 pennies; and 5 times 6 marbles are 30 marbles. Therefore, if I can buy 6 marbles with one penny, I can buy 30 marbles with 5 pennies.” And this is termed reasoning ! And to train children, by forced and artificial processes, to go through such a rigmarole of words, is recommended as a means of cultivating their reasoning power and of improving their power of expression l It is not pretended that children by such a process become more expert in reckoning. On the contrary, their movements as ready reckoners are retarded by it. Instead of learning to jump at once to the conclusion, lightning-like, by a sort of intuitional process, which is the very essence of an expert accountant, they learn laboriously to stay their march by a cumbersome and confusing circum