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heed to what maids of twenty-five and forty have to say in reference to children, and not ridicule the idea of them having anything to say, as some are disposed to do.
“When a child deliberately plans mischief, it becomes necessary to deliberately plan punishment."
If Johnnie makes up his mind to sell "rags, bottles, and sacks," in order to get money for balls, candy, and jacks, he should be punished accordingly. How many mothers would scold? Would scolding be right? Never, unless it be as one little girl said recently, “Mama, when you scold, you scold softly."
Children are the sensitive plants of God's creation. How to punish justly should be the first claim of every fond mother's heart. A faithful attendance at the clubs, all the knowledge to be gained from books combined with mother instinct, make punishments comparatively easy. A simple code of punishments with which the child is made acquainted will tide over many of the hardest places. Let the punishment always be in proportion to the offense, and it should be neither cruel, spasmodic, or unusual.
"Teachers will early recognize the child that is ruled by love and gentleness.
Partly of necessity the teacher is forced to mete out the same punishment that the child receives at home. It is hard indeed to inculcate the spirit of love and gentleness in a child's mind unless the mother's is the foster spirit. Both mother and teacher fail to realize that sin takes root when “ways are harsh and ungentle."
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT. Whipping is said to be a substitute for intelligence and self-command. It is sometimes cruel, but not always. There is really a clearing effect; after a sound whipping everybody feels better; the child is glad it is over and pronounces it not half so bad as long drawn out “bad feelins" The child is better for days, sometimes weeks. He fully makes up his mind to be good and not get any more such whippings from papa who is always kind and not a bit nervous. Aye, there's the rub! Mother is nervous, teachers are nervous, lots of people go to rack and ruin from no other cause. An unhappy mother does not know how to punish. Like the Countess in Henry Esmond, she makes her dependants lead her own sad life. Religion will not teach you how to punish, unless it has taught you how to be happy.
A boy in one of the Oakland schools was said to be habitually bad. (I might have named any school on this side of the bay or the other side, and the boy would have been easily located - the poor bad boy.) One day he threw a stone and it chanced to hit a small boy in the head, making a deep gash. The principal, a young man from one of the northern states, was called to the scene and forthwith gave the offender a slap, a resounding slap. If the boy could have been made to turn the other cheek, it would have been all right, but a slap in this case, as well as in all others, was worse than no punishment at all.
Punishments sometimes create a feeling of hatred and bitterness that will take years of loving service to uproot. Some punishments, like some corrections, do not stick, as in the instance of a boy who was told to stay after school and write “have done” (he habitually said “have did”) twenty-five times on the blackboard. He wrote it faithfully twenty-five times and then, turning, he found the teacher had left the room, so he sat down at her desk to write a note in which he said, “I have did it and gone home.''
In concluison we may affirm that there is too much punishment both in the home and in the school. Love and praise is better.
A MOTHER'S PRAISE.
“Do you know of anything, mama,
The Golden Gate Mothers' Club was addressed by Mrs. Alice Bradley December 18th. Many valuable suggestions were made and pertinent questions asked. The attention of the mothers was particularly called to the American Mothers' Magazine, which they will take for the year 1902, in lieu of the American Kitchen Magazine.
Sewing by the fourth and fifth grades, as taught by Miss Fairchild, was exhibited during the social hour
The January meeting will be of unusual interest, as a paper on the care of the eyes written by Dr. Suther will be read in answer to the plea for a discussion on this subject.
An entertainment under the auspices of the Mothers' Club was given at South Park Settlement and proved to be a success financially and socially.
Clothing was distributed in quantities at a rummage sale and bazar, and money was added to the funds for settlement work.
Education aims to fit one for three things: (1) to earn his living by the exercise of his trained powers; (2) to support the institutions of society by intelligent appreciation of their worth; and (3) to enjoy the products of art and civilization thru the cultivation of imagination and taste. The mind is not a thing apart from heart and will. Knowledge blends with will, and flows over into feeling. Its worth, therefore, is measured by what it helps a man to give to the world in the service of his calling and in social support, and in what it brings back to him in personal fellowship and ästhetic satisfaction.
The first requirement that this threefold standard makes of the elementary school is that it shall preserve the children in vigorous health, untouched by needless fret and worry, and unconscious of either heads or nerves. No school can create health a free gift of Nature – but a school can at least preserve it unimpaired. Fresh air in the school, ample playgrounds outside, tests which call for quiet work rather than feverish cram, and an atmosphere of ordered freedom are some of the helps an elementary school can give to the health of the children. The school which, by bad ventilation, crowded curriculum, vexatious examinations, or anxiety about details of rank, breaks down health is guilty of the greatest crime it is possible to commit against a child.
Secondly, this standard calls for power of hand and eye, to appreciate and make beautiful and useful objects. Kindergarten methods employed until the age of six or seven, followed by drawing and manuala training, give to the future artisan a discipline which will increase the efficiency of his work, and to those who enter other callings a lifelong respect for the dignity of manual labor.
The English taught in the elementary schools should impart not only mechanical ability to read, but the habit of reading, the love of good books, the power to entertain small groups of friends by oral reading, and the gift of writing an interesting letter or account of one's experience,
FROM THE STANDPOINT OF ITS VICTIMS
(E. F. ADAMS gave a keen, suggestive talk on the above subjeet at the California Schoolmasters' Club, December 28th. After sketching with great catholicity of view the history of education he began with the following personal reminiscences of the little red schoolhouse.-THE EDITOR.]
A red schoolhouse of one room. A small entry in one corner, and a huge stove in the middle. In the summer a pot of ferns on the stove. Around three sides a continuous desk rising sheer from the floor about five feet. Behind the desk, on a raised floor, a continuous bench, and on the bench the big boys on one side, the big girls on the other. The entrance at the middle wide enough to well separate the end boy from the end girl. They could giggle across, but nothing more. The desk on the boys' side adorned with the initials of every boy who had ever sat there, carved deeply in the surface. Around the foot of the desk a continuous seat for the small boy, whose every move was under the teacher's observation. If their little legs did not reach the floor, a chunck of wood served for a footstool. At the end not occupied by pupils, the teacher's table, one chair, a stool in the corner bearing a pail of water, a small blackboard, the “A B C” chart, a green hickory switch for pointing and for the cultivation of the emotional nature, a nail for the teacher's wraps. In the summer a girl teacher; in the winter a man known and respected for his athletic qualities. Outside, the road - in our school a public “square” of about twenty acres. That was the environment.
For equipment each very small child had a primer; each small child a spelling book with some reading lessons; each big scholar had Porter's Rhetorical Reader, a spelling book, an Adam's Arithmetic, a slate and pencil, some cheap paper for writing, a steel pen - I do not remember the quill pen era - a Morse's or Mitchell's Geography, an English grammar. Only the biggest had all this equipment, but they generally grew into it, each pupil determining for himself what he would “take.” When I first went to school the teacher set the writing copies. Later we bought Spencerian copies in envelopes.
The method of instruction was about as follows: When school opened the teacher called up the little tots, one or more at a time, and pointed to the letters on the chart. When the children could no longer be puzzled by rapid jumps among the capitals and small letters, they were promoted to the “A B C's,” in which they were taught to read all sorts of meaningless combinations, ending with simple vowels. These they were permitted to recite, in concert, at the top of their voices, and they thoroly enjoyed it. The children on the benches enjoyed it, too, and learned all the words and combinations about as rapidly as those who participated in the uproar. The words on the chart were the same as those in their primers which they “studied” at their seats. When the teacher was thru with the little fellows, if she happened to have sense, she sent them out to play. If she lacked that quality, they were kept in until nearly recess time. The older classes were called up one by one to read or recite, standing in rows with their toes to a crack in the floor. The teacher held the book in her hand and heard them recite, beginning at the head of the class. If one misread, the question went down the line, and the one who answered correctly took his place above all who had missed. There was no philosophical nonsense about the wickedness of stimulation by the hope of reward. Pupils were allowed to find their place in the schoolroom as they found it outside the schoolroom, and would find it while they dwelt in this mortal sphere, and, finding it, to become, by habit, content therein — possibly the best lesson to be learned in school or out of it. Those classes which used slates or had big books, like geographies, were accommodated with seats on the front benches with the little ones. The problem of the teacher was to make the scholars “learn their books." Her duty ended when she had heard the recitation. At an appointed hour the teacher pronounced the formula: “The girls may go out,” and when they had had a recess and were called in, the same thing happened with the boys. There was no clock in the schoolroom, but there were well-known and infallible signs of the approaching end of the session, and when the teacher said, “School's dismissed," every boy was ready for a jump, and they rushed pellmell out of the door, each with a yell well started in the entry, and neatly timed to become audible exactly at the threshold, and of such a volume, pitch, and prolongation as to set all the dogs barking for a radius of a half mile. During the winter school when all the big boys attended there was really thorogoing work, expended almost entirely on arithmetic and grammar, and, as the pupils were of an age at which they would now be attending high school, their power of analysis, both of language and numbers, became very highly developed. I have never seen any pupils with such ability to dissect obscure problems or obscure sentences as was commonly displayed in the winter schools of the country districts of a half century ago. There came to be a recognized champion in each school, and the different schools challenged each other to spelling contests in which the words were taken not from the spelling books, which all knew by heart, but from the dictionaries, technical words only being barred. There were “grammar schools” in which the knotiest and most eliptical sentences which could be found in literature were frequently tackled and every word assigned to its duty and “parsed.” It was very rare, however, that any scholar took up grammar until he was of an age to deal with it. The atrocity of tormenting children with “memory grammars” and language lessons under the pretense that they would or could thereby learn to speak correctly, or that it was of any special consequence that they should do so, was happily unknown. Sometimes, altho rarely, there were "geography schools” in that the contest was to see which could properly locate the most obscure towns on the smallest streams in the darkest continents. “Singing” geography was a common exercise. participated in by the entire school on Friday afternoons, in which the states and counties and their capitals, rivers, bays, and oceans were located in a rythmical jingle delivered in a sing-song recitation. The exercise produced a tremendous racket and was productive of real comfort. And it stuck. To this day when I am at a loss for the capital of a state, I start the old jingle beginning “State of Maine, Augusta. I happen to know that Montgomery is now the capital of Alabama, but if I were writing in haste, chances are that the recollection of the rythmical and sonorous “Alabama, Tuscoloosa” would betray me into writing the name of the town which was the capital when I went to school and sang geography. Of course this was a country school. I was not brought up in the city, but I suspect that the instruction in the city schools was about the same, but lacking the inestimable advantage of the recitation of the mature winter scholars in the hearing of the younger. Those of us who went beyond the district school were similarly limited in the number of our studies. In my first term of preparing for college I studied Latin, Algebra, and Chemistry — the latter taught as badly as possible, but according to the custom of the period, and thereafter, thruout all my preparatory and collegiate course there were each day three recitations and no more. And they were recitations from books. My college teacher in geometry has now a world wide reputation as an astronomer, but in those days he held the book in his hand and heard us recite.
* This paper was not prepared to be printed, but to provoke discussion in the small body before which it was read. This explanation seems proper, lesť what was intended as suggestive criticism should be understood as a deliberate attack. Things look more serious in cold print than they sound when read. Most of us, however, say many things which we ought not to publish, and this paper inay be an indiscretion of that kind. It was originally prepared for the Forum Club — a ladies' club of San Francisco—and was subse. quently read before the California Schoolmaster's Club, whose members might be presumed to appreciate and possibly enjoy the vein of exaggeration which runs thru it. It is published here, as I understand, at the request of members of the club who heard it. By this apology for any extravagance in the paper I need not be uuderstood as intimating that what the French would call its motif'' is unwo As an on-looker in the educational field it does seem to me that we are asking all to undertake what but few can perform, and that with some the result is less accomplishment than might be attained by a less ambitious program. But the greatest harm is done to the brightest and most earnest students and teachers who break down in at. tempting to realize their own ideals. - E. F. A.