Page images
PDF
EPUB

gin the work of a term. Now, though he finds that he cannot do just as the lessons suggested, and as looked so sensible at the time, though he must in a measure make this instruction over to meet his special wants, and though he discovers that his own enthusiasm has not been communicated direct from the institute to his school, yet he feels that it ought to bear fruit, and that immediately. So he cught to sit down and digest this instruction, think it all over and think it all out, eliminate what he cannot use, and complete and arrange what he can use. Following the guide of the principles laid down, he ought to adopt the method based upon them to his own school and to his own use as a teacher. He must do this patiently, thoroughly, honestly, or else he will use what he got just as it was given him, use it for a day cr two with no appreciable result, and then drop back without a further effort into his former way, wear the old ruts deeper, and be really a poorer teacher week by week. So that I judge the main value of an institute to consist in setting the teacher himself thoughtfully at work for the improvement of his school, with some of the data for the solution of the problem furnished him, and with a motive and an inspiration to do this, born within him, or strengthened by the whole spirit and substance of what he has heard and seen. And so far as he

can,

the commissioner, in his official visits should see tha: this is done.

In conclusion, teachers' institutes I regard as too important an agency for the improvement of common schools to admit of more than one question, viz: How can they be made to do the utmost good they are capable of doing?-HENRY M. BUCKUAM, Principal of the State Normal School, Buffalo, N. Y.

HOW TO USE INSTITUTES.

Several hundred teachers in this State will attend Institutes before the fall and winter schools open. The great majority of these will enter upon their work without the addition of a single method to their programme, or of a definite idea or fact to their culture. They will have heard, been pleased or bored, have gone away with a weary sort of satisfaction at having done their duty-and that is all. They teach the next term no better than they did the last. Some will have derived benefit from acquaintances made at the meeting, from the social pleasures enjoyed, from comparison of experiences and statements of the means and ends of fellow-teachers.

These often outweigh the elaborate efforts of the lecturers. Others have picked up principles and facts which go to their general culture, and will by and by crop out in better teaching and a richer life. The few have borne away every

lead

ing fact and principle presented, and have in mind every method taught. How? By noting it down at the time of its statement. Except in the case of minds of extraordinary quickness and tenacity of grasp, this is absolutely the only way to receive large benefit from Institute teaching as now conducted, or from public talks of any kind. It has been saddeuing to see a crowd of passive, inactive teachers at an Institute for which the State pays $20 to $25 a day, or into which Superintendents and others are putting their best energies, and reflect that scarcely one of them will return to his school a v hit wiser than when he left it. But the prompt entry in a pote-book of every important statement made; the reviewing and fixing the notes in mind at the close of each day or session; the careful criticism of the whole Institute work upon returning home; a consideration of the circumstances under which the next school is to be taught, and selection of such new methods or improvements in old methods as may seem practicable there--these can hardly fail to send the Institute attendant back to his school-room more hopeful and more efficient.-Michigan Teacher.

OPENING SCHOOL.

The first day of school is an important one to the teacher; for his success or failure depends upon the arrangements made that day. It is highly important to his success that he become acquainted beforehand with the wants of the school. If he neglect to do this he is apt to make serious mistakes, and not having any plan to work by, is wavering and doubtful how to proceed. This the children perceive, and form their opinion of the teacher accordingly. A prompt, energetic teacher-one who can decide a question in the best manner instantly and finally—cannot fail to secure respect and confidence.

The first thing to be accomplished in opening school is to make a good impression. This can be done by talking in a friendly manner to the children; telling them some little story, or explaining to them the object of attending school. Nothing can prove more injurious to a school than for the teacher to assume a commanding, arbitrary manner, showing the rod to intimidate the children, and using threats to enforce obedience. The children immediately brace themselves against such treatment, and secretly resolve to transgress the rules at every chance they have. Thus a spirit of rebellion is aroused in their young minds, which no after acts of the teacher can counteract.

I do not think it necessary to have many rules. A few, strictly enforced, are better than many violated daily. It is possible for a teacher to enforce rules in the spirit of kindness, and it is necessary for him to be firm and resolute, yet pleasant and cheerful. It is a poor plan to let the children do as they please the first week, and then undertake to control them. If the bars of order are once let down, under pretence of seeing what the children will do, and who are the leaders, it is not so easy to put them up again. The better plan is to insist upon hav- .

2-[Vol. II.---No. 10.]

ing order, perfect order, the very first day. Doing this, it will be comparatively easy to require it the whole term.

It is necessary for the teacher to enlist the affections of the children as soon as possible. Respect, however, must precede love. Children generally form their opinion of the teacher the first day. If his manner then is such as to secure their respect, he will be likely to gain their love, and be successful in his labors.Maine Journal of Ed.

HOW TO PREVENT WHISPERING.

1. Explain to the school the effects of whispering on their success. Show that you realize how difficult it is to control one's self, yet that constant effort and devotion to the lessons will enable one never to think of whispering.

2. Secure the assent of your school to help enforce a rule of strict non-communication-i. e. no whispering, no writing notes, or on slates; no communication of any

kind. 3. Secure their assent to having it marked opposite their names on the “ Roll of Honor,” which is on the blackboard, every time they communicate.

4. And that ten or twenty such marks, according to circumstances, cause the erasure of the name from the “ Roll of Honor "

5. At the close of each recitation, or each half-hour, or each hour, call upon the whole school to rise; then request those who have communicated to take their seats.

6. Let it be perfectly understood that there is no crime in communication, but that it is best for the school that they should not permit it.

7. Give a recess of ten minutes every hour.

8. If a pupil prefers to lose a minute of recess for every mark, let him make the exchange.

9. Never grant the request, “May I speak?" If a pupil needs any. thing (a pencil, for instance), let him make known his wants to you, and give him your whole attention until they are met.

10. Keep a careful watch over your school, but do not let them know you are watching, nor that you see everything.

If a pupil reports incorrectly, speak to him privately, never publicly. In aggravated cases, change the seats of pupils.

12. Make strict non-communication your mark, and never give up trying to reach it.--California Teacher.

SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS.

1. Teach one thing at a time, and make practical application of that daily.

2. Do not teach a definition until you have given the facts out of which it is to be made.

3. Always develop the idea before you give the name.

4. Do not make a practice of reading the lesson beforehand for the pupil.

Do not allow a pupil to read until he can utter each word at sight.

6. Assign short lessons, and do not leave them until mastered; pay more attention to the manner than the amount accomplished.

7. In arithmetic let the rule be the last thing learned before leaving the subject.

8. Under all circumstances when a word is used incorrectly, require it to be corrected at once.

9. Tell a pupil nothing which he can readily find out himself.

10. Do nothing for a pupil which, by a reasonable amount of effort, he can do for himself.

11. So direct the pupil that the process shall be of more value than the truth to be learned.

12. Aim to be full of the subject before you attempt to teach the pupil. Try to know more than is found in your text-book.–National Teacher.

COMPULSORY EDUCATION IN MICHIGAN. Four years ago, scarcely anything else seemed to us so well established as the right and duty of the State to compel attendance upon the schools, or equivalent private education, and the practicability of the enforcement of laws to such effect. A pretty thorough investigation, made soon after for a special purpose, satisfied us that there was a good deal more to be said upon the other side of the question than we had supposed; and it" made us pause.” We have since suspended judgment, awaiting results. And now we begin to despair of a successful experiment in any American State. The logic of facts is determining the matter against our prepossessions. In New York, the compulsory act, passed a number of years ago, fell at once; no attempt was made to enforce it, say the official reports. But certainly Massachusetts, above all other States of the Union, seemed to have the best conditions for the enforcement of a rigid law compelling education. Yet the celebrated Truant Act of the State, after doing good work in a few large towns for some years, has already outlived its usefulness. The late report of the State Board of Education exhibits the ratio of mean average attendance for the year to the whole number of children between five and fifteen at only 14, which is equalled, we are confident, by the attendance in a number of States without compulsory education. The Hon. Joseph White, Secretary of the Board, has often expressed his conviction of the inefficiency of the law, and declares that“ it is the weakest and least defensible part of our school system.? The agent of the Board, intimately acquainted with its workings, affirms that" in many towns it is not only not enforced, but no disposition to enforce it is shown.” And now comes General Oliver, Chief Constable of the State, whose business it is to secure the enforcement of the penal enactments, and testifies thus:

“ Now, we know, indeed, that there is a compulsory statute of the commonwealth in relation to the schooling of its children, but, like a great many other statutes on the books, it is paralytic, effete, deadkilled by sheer neglect. It was never enforced, and never supposed to be anybody's duty to enforce it. In fact, we are inclined to believe that it is not generally known that such a law was ever enacted. Nobody looks after it, neither town authorities nor school committees, nor local police, and large cities and many of the towns of the State are

[ocr errors]

swarming with unschooled children, vagabondizing about the streets, and growing up in ignorance, and to a heritage of sin. The mills alí over the State, the shops in city and town, are full of children deprived of the right to such education as will fit them for the possibilities of after life. Nobody thinks of either enforcement or obedience in the matter; so that, between those who are ignorant of the provision, and those that care for none of these things, thousands of the poor younglings of the State, with all her educational boasting, stand precious small chance of getting even the baldest elements of education."

This is the State of Horace Mann. In Michigan, where the conditions of success also seem to be good, the plan has been tried but six months, and it is too early to pronounce upon it. We have lost no opportunity to inquire as to its operation in different parts of the State

, and the general word is that very little attention is paid to the law. But we wait. In common with most of our educators, we hailed its enactment with pleasure and hope, and do not like to give it up yet.Michigan Teacher.

SOME POINTS FOR YOUNG TEACHERS.

Do not assign a lesson for young pupils to prepare in half an hour which, to prepare yourself upon so as to hear without a book, would require two hours.

Have common sense enough not to expect your pupils to be more thorough in the lesson without a book than you are with the book.

Be just enough not to use a book at a recitation when you do not permit the pupils to do so.

Have a definite, fixed length of time for your recitations, and never overreach it.

If you are forgetful, make a pupil in your class monitor, to tell you · when to stop the lesson in time to hear the review, or give the prepar

Introduce every recitation by reviewing briefly the preceding lesson.

Conduct the recitation with a view to having the pupils realize the few points involved.

Take time, before excusing the class, to recapitulate points made.

Just before assigning the next lesson, give preparatory drills on the coming hard points.

Be sure the whole lesson has tested the reasoniny power, not merely the memory, of your pupils.- University Monthly.

atory drill.

[ocr errors]

QUERY AND ANSWER.

BY PEN.

Say, what is man? A gallant ship on troubled ocean steering.
And woman? She's his helmsman brave why guides him all unfearing.
When after storms he seeks a port where safely rest he might,
She turns into a pilot true who steers the ship aright.
And when his hull is old and worn, his main-mast overboard,
His sheets and sails all tattered, and “Unrig her!” is the word,
His quartermaster woman is, his deck-hand and his mate, 1
Until upon the beach of Time his weary wreck is laid.

« PreviousContinue »