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locution of words. And the expenditure of time and toil needed to acquire these formulas of expression, which nine times out of ten are to those young minds the mere dicta magistri, is justified on the ground that the children, if not learning arithmetic, are learning to reason. Let me not be misunderstood. I do not advocate the disuse of explanations. Let teachers explain, let children give explanations. Let the rationale of the various processes through which the child goes, receive a certain amount of attention. But the extreme into which some are now going, in primary education, is that of giving too much time to explanation and to theory, and too little to practice. We reverse, too, the order of nature in this matter. What it now takes weeks and months to make clear to the immature understanding, is apprehended at a later day with ease and delight at the very first statement. There is a clear and consistent philosophy underlying this whole matter. It is simply this. In the healthy and natural order of development in educating a young mind, theory should follow practice, not precede it. Children learn the practice of arithmetic very young. They take to it naturally, and learn it easily, and become very rapidly expert practical accountants. But the science of arithmetic is quite another matter, and should not be forced upon them until a much later stage in their advancement. To have a really correct apprehension of the principle of decimal notation, for instance, to understand that it is purely arbitrary, and that we might in the same way take any other number than ten as the base of a numerical scale, that we might increase for instance by fives, or eights, or nines, or twelves, just as well as by tens,—all this requires consideraable maturity of intellect, and some subtlety of reasoning. Indeed I doubt whether many of the pretentious sciolists, who insist so much on young children giving the rationale of everything, have themselves ever yet made an ultimate analysis of the first step in arithmetical notation. Many of them would open their eyes were you to tell them, for instance, that the number of fingers on your two hands may be just as correctly expressed by the figures 11, 12, 13, 14, or 15, as by the figures ten, a truism perfectly familiar to every one acquainted with the generalizations of higher arithmetic. Yet it is up-hill work to make the matter quite clear to a beginner. We may wisely therefore give our children at first an arbitrary rule for notation. We give them an equally arbitrary rule for addition. They accept these rules and work upon them, and learn thereby the practical operations of arithmetic. The theory will follow in due time. When perfectly familiar with the practice and the forms of arithmetic, and sufficiently mature in intellect, they awaken gradually and surely, and almost without an effort, to the beautiful logic which underlies the science. How do we learn language in childhood? Is it not solely on authority and by example? A child who lives in a family where no language is used but that which is logically and grammatically correct, will learn to speak with logical and grammatical correctness long before it is able to give any account of the processes of its own mind in the matter, or indeed to understand those processes when explained by others. In other words, practice in language precedes theory. It should do so in other things. The parent who should take measures to prevent a child from speaking its mother tongue, except just so far and so fast as it could understand and explain the subtle logic which underlies all language, would be quite as wise as the teacher who refuses to let a child become expert in practical reckoning, until it can understand and explain at every step the rationale of the process, who will not suffer a child to learn the multiplication table until it has mastered the metaphysics of the science of numbers, and can explain with the formalities of syllogism exactly how and why seven times nine make sixty-three. These illustrations have carried me a little, perhaps, from my subject. But it seemed necessary to show that I am not beating the air. I have feared lest. in our very best schools, in the rebound from the exploded errors of the old system, we have unconsciously run into an error in the opposite extreme. My position on the particular point now under consideration, may be summed up briefly, as follows: 1. In developing the faculties, we should follow the order of nature. 2. The faculties of memory and faith should be largely exercised and cultivated in childhood. 3. While the judgment and the reasoning faculty should be exercised during every stage of the intellectual development, the appropriate season for their main development and culture is near the close, rather than near the beginning, of an educational course. 4. The methods of reasoning used with children should be of a simple kind, dealing largely in direct intuitions, rather than formal and syllogistic. 5. It is a mistake to spend a large amount of time and effort in requiring young children formally to explain the rationale of their intellectual processes, and especially in requiring them to give such explanations before they have become by practice thoroughly familiar with the processes themselves. I have thus endeavored to set forth, in the first place, what a Normal School is, namely, a seminary for professional training in the art and science of teaching; and, secondly, to show, with some particularity and variety of illustration, what teaching is, in its very root and essence; and to make the matter plainer, I have attempted to show the difference between teaching and training, and to explain some two or three out of very many different modes of teaching, and to discuss briefly one of the many points that are involved in the philosophy of education. Some distinct consideration of these subjects, which come up continually for discussion in a Normal School, seemed to be the very best line of argument for showing the necessity of such an institution. To appreciate the full force of this argument, it would be necessary, indeed, to consider the vast array of similar and connected subjects which beset the teacher's path, and which there is not time now even to enumerate. Let me merely name
some few of these subjects.
The Monitorial method of teaching.
The Catechetical method.
The Explanatory method.
The Synthetical method.
The Analytical method.
Modes of securing in a large school all the while something for all the children to do.
Modes of teaching particular branches: as Spelling, Reading, Mental Arithmetic, Written Arithmetic, Grammar, Geography, Composition, Drawing, Penmanship, Vocal Music, &c.
School apparatus and means for visible illustration.
The development and cultivation of the faculties of observation, attention, memory, association, conception, imagination, &c.
Modes of inspiring scholars with enthusiasm in study, and of cultivating habits of self-reliance.
Topics and times for introducing oral instruction.
Teaching with and without books.
The formation of museums, and collections of plants, minerals, &c.
Exchange of specimens of penmanship, maps, drawings, minerals, &c., with other schools.
School examinations. Their object, and the different modes of conducting them.
School celebrations, festivals, and excursions.
The daily preparation which a teacher should make for school.
Circumstances which make a teacher happy in his work.
Requisites for success in teaching.
Causes of failure in teaching.
Course to be pursued in organizing a new school.
Course to be pursued in admitting new scholars.
Making an order of exercises.
Making a code of rules.
Keeping registers of attendance and progress.
Duties of the teacher to the parents and to school directors.
Opening and closing exercises of a school.
Moral and religious instruction and influences.
Modes of cultivating among children a love of truth, honesty, benevolence, and other virtues.
Modes of preventing lying, swearing, stealing, and other vices.
Modes of securing cleanliness of person, neatness of dress, courtesy of language, and gentleness of manners.
Modes of preserving the school-house and appurtenances from defacement.
Keeping the school-room in proper condition as to temperature and ventilation.
Length of school day.
Length and frequency of recess.
Games to be encouraged or discouraged at recess.
Modes of preventing tardiness.
Causes by which the health of children at school is promoted or injured.
Modes of establishing the teacher's authority.
Modes of securing the scholar's affections.
Mode of treating refractory children.
Modes of bringing forward dull, backward children.
Modes of preventing whispering.
The use of emulation.
Prizes and rewards.
But I pause. The very enumeration of such a list, it seems to me,
shows of itself, with overwhelming force, how urgent is the necessity that the teacher should have a time and an institution for considering them, and for obtaining in regard to them definite, well settled views. Some of these questions come up for practical decision every day of a teacher's life, and they are of too serious import to be left to the unpre meditated exigencies of the moment of execution. In a Normal School the novice hears these subjects discussed by teachers and professors of learning and experience, and he is made acquainted with the general usage of the most successful members of the profession. He enters upon his important and responsible work, not only fortified with safeguards against mistake, but furnished with a kind of knowledge which reduces to a minimum his chances of failure, and increases to almost a certainty his chances of success.
N 0RMAL METHODS OF TEACHING.
We shall bring together in this article examples of methods of teaching and training—of study and recitation, adopted and illustrated in our schools for the professional training of teachers, and inculcated or followed by prominent educators.
FATHER PIERCE AT LEXINGTON, MASs.
The following letter, addressed in 1851, by Mr. Peirce, to Hon. Henry Barnard, then Superintendent of Common Schools in Connecticut, embodies his own views as to the aims of his labors as Principal of the Normal School at Lexington, and West Newton.
“DEAR SIR:—You ask me ‘what I aimed to accomplish, and would aim to accomplish now, with my past experience before me, in a Normal School.” I answer briefly, that it was my aim, and it would be my aim again, to make better teachers, and especially, better teachers for our common schools; so that those primary seminaries, on which so many depend for their education, might answer, in a higher degree, the end of their institution. Yes, to make better teachers; teachers who would understand, and do their business better; teachers, who should know more of the nature of children, of youthful developinents, more of the subjects to be taught, and more of the true methods of leaching; who would teach more philosophically, more in harmony with the natural development of the young mind, with a truer regard to the order and connection in which the different branches of knowledge should be presented to it, and, of course, more successfully. Again, I felt that there was a call for a truer government, a higher training and discipline, in our schools; that the appeal to the rod, to a sense of shame and fear of bodily pain, so prevalent in them, had a tendency to make children mean, secretive, and vengeful, instead of high-minded, truthful, and generous; and I wished to see them in the hands of teachers, who could understand the higher and purer motives of action, as gratitude, generous affection, sense of duty, by which children should be influenced, and under which their whole character should be formed. In short, I was desirous of putting our schools into the hands of those who would make them places in which children could learn, not only to read, and write, and spell, and cipher, but gain information on various other topics, (as accounts, civil institutions, natural history, physiology, political economy, &c.) which would be useful to them in after life, and have all their faculties, (physical, intellectual and moral,) trained in such harmony and proportion, as would result in the highest formation of character. This is what I supposed the object of Normal Schools to be. Such was my object. But in accepting the charge of the first American Institution of this kind, I did not act in the belief that there were no good teachers, or good schools among us; or that I was more wise, more fit to teach, than all my fellows. On the contrary, I knew that there were, both within and without Massachusetts, excellent schools, and not a few of them, and teachers wiser than myself; yet my conviction was strong, that the ratio of such schools to the whole number of schools were small; and that the teachers in them, for the most part, had grown up to be what they were, from long observation, and through the discipline of an experience painful to themselves, and more painful to their pupils. It was my impression also, that a majority of those engaged in school-kee ing, taught few branches, and those imperfectly, that they possessed little fitness for their business, did not understand well, either the nature of children or the subjects they professed to teach, and had little skill in the art of teaching or governing schools. I could not think it possible for them, therefore, to make