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NICHOLAS TillinghASt. At BRIDGEWATER.
PROFESSOR TILLINGHAst was educated at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and brought to the instruction of pupil teachers of common schools, an accurate mathematical training, and the “before the blackboard method of illustration and recitation," which characterized that institution. Before entering on his duties as principal, he spent six months at the Barre State Normal School, as an assistant and pupil of Prof. Newman, who had filled the chair of rhetoric and literature at Bowdoin College. Prof. T. left his mark not only on the blackboard, but on the mental character and methods of his pupils. The following passages are from a letter addressed by him to Mr. Barnard, printed in Barnard's Normal Schools of the United States.
There are, it seems to me, grave defects in the constitution of my school. Four years would, in my judgment, be profitably given to the subjects which we touch on in one. If pupils must be taught subjects in these schools, as I think they must for a time under the best organization, the course ought to extend over three years at least. I think it would be a better plan than the present, to receive pupils for, say twenty-one weeks, and to give that time to reading, spelling, arithmetic, and geography; and in another twenty-one weeks, to take up reading, spelling, physiology, grammar; so that only a few studies should be in the school at a time, and teachers might go for a term without interfering with their teaching school. The great evil now, in my school, is the attempt to take up so many studies, most persons inverting the truth, and supposing the amount acquired the important thing, and the study unimportant. But I should be content if I could bring pupils into such a state of knowledge that they could recognize her when overtaken. A very few studies, and long dwelling on them—this is my theory. I have no especial belief in teaching others methods of teaching: "I do not mean, that the subject should be entirely passed by; but that pupils should not be trained into, or directed into particular processes; it seems to me that each well-instructed mind will arrive at a method of imparting, better for it than any other method. I therefore have tried to bring my pupils to get at results for themselves, and to show them how they may feel confident of the truth of their results. I have sought criticism from my scholars on als my methods, processes, and results; aimed to have them, kindly, of course, but freely, criticise each other; and they are encouraged to ask questions, and propose doubts. I call on members of the classes to hear recitations, and on the others to make remarks, thus approving and disproving one another; they are called upon to make up general exercises, and to deliver them to their classes, sometimes on subjects and in styles fitted to those whom they address; sometimes they are bid to imagine themselves speaking to children. I find I am getting more into details than I intend, or you wish. My idea of a Normal School is, that it should have a term of four years; that those studies should be pursued that will lay a foundation on which to build an education. I mean, for example, that algebra should be thoroughly studied as the foundation for arithmetic; that geometry and trigonometry should be studied, by which, with algebra, to study natural philosophy, &c.; the number of studies should be comparatively small, but much time given to them. I, of course, do not intend to write a list of studies, and what I have said above is only for illustration: the teacher should be so trained as to be above his text-books. Whatever has been done in teaching in all countries, different methods, the thoughts of the best minds on the science and art of instruction, should be laid before the neophyte teachers. In a proper Normal School there should be departments, and the ablest men put over them, each in his own department. Who knows more than one branch well?
I send here with a catalogue of my school, which will give you some idea of its osteology: what of life these bones have, others must judge. But when shall the whole vision of the Prophet be fulfilled in regard to the teachers of the land,-"And the breath came into them, and they lived and stood upon their feet (not on those of any author), an exceeding great army.”
God prosper the work, and may your exertions in the cause be gratefully re
DR. WAYLAND.-Method Of Recitation.
Dr. WAYLAND, in the preface to his text-book on Moral Science, suggests a few hints as to the manner in which it may be most successfully used in the class-room.
1. In the recitation-room, let neither instructor nor pupil ever make use of the book. 2. Let the portion previously assigned for the exercise be so mastered by the pupil, both in plan and illustration, that he will be able to recite it in order, and explain the connection of the different parts with each other, without the necessity of assistance from his instructor. To give the language of the author is not, of course, desirable. It is sufficient if the idea be given. The questions of the instructor should have respect to principles that may be deduced from the text, practical application of the doctrines, objections which may be raised, &c. 3. Let the lesson which was recited on one day, be invariably reviewed on the day succeeding. 4. As soon as any considerable progress has been made in the work, let a review from the beginning be commenced. This should comprehend, for one exercise, as much as had been previously recited in two or three days; and should be confined to a brief analysis of the argument, with a mere mention of the illustrations. 5. As soon as the whole portion thus far recited has been reviewed, let a new review be commenced, and continued in the same manner; and thus on successively, until the work is completed. By pursuing this method, a class will, at any period of the course of study, be enabled, with the slightest effort, to recall whatever they have already acquired; and when the work is completed, they will be able to pursue the whole thread of the argument, from the beginning to the end; and thus to retain a knowledge, not only of the individual principles, but also of their relations to each other. But the advantage of this mode of study is not confined to that of a more perfect knowledge of this or of any other book. By presenting the whole field of thought at one view before the mind, it will cultivate the power of pursuing an extended range of argument; of examining and deciding upon a connected chain of reasoning; and will, in no small degree, accustom the student to carry forward in his own mind a train of original investigation. I have been emboldened to make these suggestions, not in the least because I suppose the present work worthy of any peculiar attention from an instructor, but simply because, having been long in the habit of pursuing this method, and having witnessed its results in my own classes, I have thought it my duty to suggest it to those who are engaged in the same profession with myself. Other instructors may have succeeded better with other methods. I have succeeded best with this.
The method thus indicated he caused to be introduced into all the recitations of the college to which it is applicable. In the use of this method, the classes generally passed over less ground than is common in other colleges, but could not fail to understand the relations of each discussion. Especially this method cultivates in the student the power of analysis. If he is required to state the substance of each paragraph in its proper relation to that which precedes and to that which follows, he must fully understand its meaning and its bearing upon the rest. He learns to perceive the exact significance of each section and sentence, to discriminate between thoughts which resemble each other, and to analyze trains of thought. His own conceptions become well defined.
The following suggestions by that eminent lawyer and scholar, the late Thomas S. Grimke of Charleston, S. C., are of the highest practical value; they apply the method of Dr. Wayland to a still closer analysis, and more frequent review of every paragraph and chapter.
THE PHILOSOPHY AND METHOD OF TEACHING
PURSUED AT THE WESTFIELD STATE NORMAL SCHOOL.
By J. widicKINson, A. M., PRINCIPAL.
1. THE PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING.
If the mind is led to act in accordance with the laws of its nature, it will acquire the inclination and the ability to obey these laws. That state of the mind in which it has the inclination and the ability to obey the laws of its nature, is called Education; and the mind possessing this state, is said to be educated. This definition of Education makes it a state of the mind and not a process. There is but one process by which the mind can be changed from one state to another, and that process is found in the mind's own activity. By mental activity, knowledge is acquired, and the knowledge in turn excites activity, but it is activity only that produces a change in the powers that act. As knowledge is both the product and the occasion of mental activity, knowledge seems to combine with mental activity in producing the state called Education. That which produces a thing is the cause of that thing; then the cause of education is knowledge and mental activity. The cause of education is also called Instruction. The term Instruction is sometimes used to signify knowledge, and sometimes to signify the process by which the teacher leads his pupils to acquire knowledge. The word Instruction means to build within, and may well be limited in its application to mental activity and knowledge, which we have shown build up to perfection the mind itself. It is the duty of the teacher to present in a right manner to the mind, objects and subjects which he desires to be the occasion of mental activity and knowledge. The process of presenting occasions is Teaching. The relations that Education, Instruction, and Teaching, hold to one another, are these: Instruction is the cause of Education, and Teaching is the occasion of Instruction. Teaching must have for its object one of two ends, Knowledge or Education. Knowledge as an end is valueless; then, the end towards which all
intelligent teaching directs its attention, is Education.
If Education is the end the teacher should lead his pupil to attain, and if mental activity is the primary cause of Education, the teacher must provide right occasions for a complete and perfect mental activity. The ability to do this implies a knowledge of the ways in which the mind acts. The modes, or ways of mental action, are three; thinking, feeling and choosing. The mind thinking is called the Intellect: the mind feeling is called the Sensibilities; the mind choosing is called the Will. The activity of the sensibilities is the result of thinking; the activity of the will is the result of feeling, -—therefore, the teacher turns his attention primarily to the activity of the Intellect. Every Intellectual act is an act of comparison. The Intellect compares for perceptions, for general notions, for judgments, and for reasoning. The teacher must present to the minds of the pupils, as occasions for these different acts of comparison, subjects and objects, named in proper order, for a course of study. The course of study is divided into two courses: the one being an Elementary, the other a Scientific course. In the Elementary course, the mind is excited to activity in acquiring a knowledge of facts. This knowledge of facts is to be used as the occasion of Scientific knowledge. A complete and perfect course of study, will name objects and subjects sufficient in number, and of the right kind, to guide the teacher in presenting occasions to the minds of his pupils, for making all kinds of comparisons; for comparing all kinds of objects; for comparing all kinds of relations, and for making the comparisons in the order, and in the manner required by the mind, as its powers are developed. These are the principles which constitute the philosophy of teaching.
2. MODE OF TEACHING. There are two ways of teaching. One way consists in presenting objects and subjects first as wholes, for general knowledge, then the parts and their relations for particular knowledge. The other way consists in first presenting parts of things, and the relations of the parts, for particular knowledge, then the whole made up of these parts and of their relations, for general knowledge. These two ways of teaching are called Modes, or Methods. The first method is called the Analytic, the second the Synthetic method. A synthetic method of study is impossible; as a method of teaching it is faulty for two reasons: 1st. The application of the method requires the teacher to present as occasions for mental activity and knowledge, parts of wholes, not as parts, but as independent individual things, that are not seen to hold any relation to the wholes of which they are parts, until the relation has been established by the teacher. 2d. The method requires the teacher to do the work that belongs to the student. The application of the Analytic method requires the teacher to assign lessons for study, by the use of topics made out according to the following rules: 1st. The objects and subjects to be presented for study, should be of such a kind as are adapted to call into exercise the powers of the mind in accordance with the time and order of the development of these powers. 2d. The first topics assigned should be those that lead the pupil to study for Elementary knowledge. 3d. The first topic in any study should require the pupil to search for a general knowledge of the object or subject of study. 4th. The minor topics should present the parts of objects in a natural order, and of subjects in a logical order, and require the pupil to study for particular knowledge. 5th. The topics should lead the pupil to exhaust the subject. Language is not to be considered the primary source of knowledge, but the mind is to be made conscious of having the ideas and thoughts to be expressed by the language used, before the language is employed. This is done by actually bringing into the presence of the mind the object of study. It is the duty of the teacher to excite the minds of his pupils to such mental activity as will lead to the state called Education, by bringing into their presence, in a right manner, the thing to be studied, and by guiding them to a knowledge of the facts and truths he would have them know. All lessons are to be taught orally by the teacher, in such a manner that he will do nothing except furnish an occasion for knowledge. The pupil should acquire the knowledge by his own mental activity. The lesson thus taught will furnish for the pupil topics properly arranged for study, and a knowledge of the topics sufficient to enable him to continue to study them intelligently and profitably. Text-books may be put into the hands of the pupils to be used as ref. erence books. As text-books are sometimes used, they take away the possibility of independent mental activity on the part of both teacher and pupil. The pupil having prepared his lesson, is to recite before the class upon the topic or topics, assigned at the time by the teacher. He is to develop, without questions by the teacher, the topics assigned him, illustrating carefully the ideas and thoughts he expresses in words, before the expressions are made, cbserving to follow the same Analytic method in recitation that was observed by the teacher in assigning the topics, and by himself in studying them. Both the teacher and the class are to observe carefully the pupil reciting, with reference to his knowledge, and his mode of teaching or reciting.