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ber of foundation boys be increased to forty; and that these forty have the education, not entirely free, but for six and four guineas-half terms. When they have attended the classes for, say, four years, and are, say, thirteen years old, and can pass a fair examination in the school subjects, let them then remain as exhibitioners, and continue to attend the classes free of all payment whatever.

Of the benefits thai would accrue from the adoption of this plan, the first is, that that class would be benefited who were intended and who want to be benefited. National schools are for those who can afford from a penny to sixpence a week, and the grammar school for the classes which already pay at private schools from four and six to ten and twelve guineas a year, for their children's education; preferring to pay so much for an inferior school to the sending them to be neglected by masters, and insulted and shunned by schoolfellows, as free boys" at their own grammar schools. Another great advantage of this arrangement would be, the longer retention of boys at school. From having paid for four years' education parents would set a greater value upon it, and would leave their sons longer, instead of just taking them away as they are becoming advanced and promising.

Under the present state of things the veriest paupers are often elected as free boys, who leave the school without obtaining either a sufficient classical education to promote their advancement, or a sufficient English education to fit them for any calling, as fitness is now reckoned. Again, the examination which would be required, as a necessary preliminary to foundation privileges, would make the free scholars an honourable body, as at the universities. Poor," indeed, the foundation scholars may and should be, and poverty is no bar to respectability, and no insuperable obstacle in the way of distinction ; but ragged poverty is not what King Edward VI. or Queen Elizabeth sought to relieve by the establishment of schools for instruction in Latin and good learning. Everything in its place. A liberally endowed grammar school is not the place for the ragged and almost infantile children of paupers. For these, useful and suitable instruction is provided at the national schools. Such a provision could not be made in grammar schools, except by almost entirely diverting them from their original purpose ; whereas they seem to admit, according to the plan above suggested, of being made far more useful for the middling ranks of society, without any material departure from the intentions of their founders.

In conclusion, Mr. James states, as the practical deductions to be drawn from his observations, that there are three kinds of openings for middle-class education, afforded respectively by the largely populated city or town, the county town, anå the rural village. In large towns, he thinks there is no better plan than one partially adopted in Manchester, and described in his pages, in which the boys are instructed in book-keeping, and in French and German (for the sake of foreign correspondence), and in linear drawing and geometry; besides elementary Latin (just sufficient to give them a grasp of language in general), and a large amount of geographical and historical information. Of course, in such schools, the exact kind of instruction will vary in lesser particulars with the nature of the population ; but will in its general outline be very similar in all. There will not often be farmers' sons in them, because the population is almost entirely trading and manufacturing for some distance round; otherwise the farming class might still be

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formed, or the more wealthy agricultural pupils might proceed to some agricultural college, after receiving a sound general education here. In country towns, the commercial school will necessarily be on a less extensive scale, and may be the grammar school of the place by a proper adaptation of the instruction to the locality, with a branch school of a more purely commercial character on the self-supporting principle, where the town is too large for the grammar school to be made sufficient for all. And, in villages, the plan of uniting several neighbouring parishes for the formation or adaptation of an agricultural and commercial school-each parish retaining its own parochial school for poor children-may be adopted; only in this case the agricultural element will predominate, and the chemistry class be the largest.

For further hints, by Mr. James, on middle-class education, we must refer our readers to his pamphlet, which well deserves the careful perusal of those who take an interest in its very important subject.

ON TEACHING MODERN LANGUAGES. In 1832 there appeared, in the eighth number of the Quarterly Journal of Education, an article by the late Mr. Wittich, entitled an “Exposition of an Improved Method of Teaching Modern Languages.” The writer began by stating that the object of learning ancient and modern languages is not the same. He said : " By applying himself to the ancient tongues, the student wishes to obtain access to that information which can only be fully acquired by the reading of ancient authors, and likewise to refine his taste by a close examination of the languages in which these authors clothed their conceptions. Thus the main object in studying the ancient languages is to improve the mind. It is not so with modern languages. The improvement of the faculties is not the only, nor even the principal object for which they are acquired. The knowledge of them is desirable for a more practical use. By means of it the communication of nations that speak different languages is rendered more easy, more intimate, and more extensive. Hence it follows, that in studying the Greek and Latin languages our efforts are directed to the acquisition of so much of these languages as will enable us to read their classic authors with ease, and to comprehend what they say. But the modern languages are principally learned for the purpose of expressing with ease our own conceptions, both in speaking and writing.”

This passage will show how the author viewed the subject of teaching ancient and modern languages. It is not quoted because it is supposed that everybody will exactly agree with what he says ; nor do I entirely assent to all that the passage contains. It is however the opinion of a man who had great experience in teaching, and very great abilities.

At present we have nothing to do with the object for which the classical languages are studied, or ought to be studied; that will supply matter enough for discussion by itself. The object for which modern languages are studied in schools is often no object at all : it is the fashion to teach them, and people suppose that there is some reason for learning them, without inquiring particularly what the reason is. One might suppose, that in a country which has more commerce with foreign nations than any other, there might be schools in which the writing and speaking of modern languages would be taught; but if there are such schools in Great

Britain, there are very few.of them. Those youths who wish to acquire a foreign language well at an early age are generally sent abroad to learn it; and if they employ their time well, that is the shortest way of doing the thing. But the number of youths who at an early age wish to acquire the power of writing and speaking French or German or any other modern language, is comparatively few; and as a great number of boys do learn modern languages in our schools, and the great majority of them without ever expecting to have any occasion to write a foreign language, or even to speak it, except so much as may serve for a short continental tour, we must assume that the object of learning these languages is, or ought to be, to be able to read good books written in them. There is a great pleasure in reading the best works of a nation in the original tongue, a pleasure which is

very different from reading them in a good translation; which, indeed, is a rare thing to find. Accordingly, every man of liberal education tries to learn a modern language or two; and if he has not been fortunate enough to do this in his younger days, he will devote some part of his leisure to this object even in mature years. It is quite true that most of us get only an imperfect knowledge of modern languages ; but some knowledge is better than none at all. It is impossible to master a modern language thoroughly without spending some time in the country where it is spoken, or at least living in daily intercourse for some time among those whose native tongue it is. So much is there in a living language that can only be learned from the living voice and the exchange of ideas in conversation, that we know what to think of a man who pretends to know a foreign language completely, and yet has not lived for some time in the country where it is spoken, or in familiar intercourse with the people. Those who acquire a foreign language at home, after all their pains, generally know it pretty much as they know a dead language ; but for the purpose of reading books, they may know it better than those who have merely learned to speak it fluently by living in a foreign country. The language of common conversation is very limited, and a man may certainly acquire so much of a foreign tongue, and yet not know it well; for a language must be studied, if we would know it well. He has however got something that is very useful, which the man who has learned the language only from books would be very glad to possess. If a man who has learned to speak a foreign language fluently should take to a proper study of it, his knowledge of the exact meaning of all the forms of expression which are used in daily intercourse will give him a power that the other cannot get out of dictionaries, or in any


way. If, then, the power of reading a foreign language is the chief object for which we in England learn it, we must inquire how this power is easiest got. But in all such inquiries there is a great deal of preliminary matter to be cleared up before we can answer the question in hand. It is a common complaint that boys learn very little Latin or Greek in schools, though they spend many years over them; and it is very generally assumed that the fault is with the teacher and the method. But many boys learn very little French or German, very little arithmetic or mathematics ; and, in fact, very little of any thing. Let us suppose the teachers to be good, and of course the method good, and that a school contains a large number of boys of the average kind. Now people who complain that boys learn little, may not know what proportion out of a hundred boys in such a school as we have supposed are willing and able to learn. Nobody can fix the exact proportion ; but it is known to the experienced to be small. We are not a


nation of rery bright parts, and the sooner we are aware of this the better. We may be as sharp as some nations as the German, for exampleand we have a large amount of practical good sense and aptitude for the concerns of daily life; but our talents are not brilliant, and our capacity for learning modern languages is certainly not great, a circumstance which probably depends in some degree on our insular position. There are always some boys in a school who are too idle to learn, others cannot learn, whatever pains they may take ; that is, they learn so little that in an examination it goes for nothing at all It may appear absurd to say that a good school is the best place in the world for such boys, but so it is. Those who can learn readily, and wish to learn, will learn almost anywhere. It is by the effect produced on the idle and the dull that the goodness of a school should be measured. Those idle boys who by good discipline are compelled to do something, and those dull boys who are encouraged to do their best, and helped by a careful master, often turn out very respectable men, and even make a figure in the world though they have made none at school. When, therefore, we are discussing the teaching of any subject, it should be remembered that schools do not contain a large number of boys who are both able and willing to learn ; and, probably, there is no branch of knowledge in which so little is learned as modern languages. The fault may be in the teacher, and it often is his fault; but, with the best teachers in the world, we ought not to expect that, in our schools, more than a small number out of every hundred will learn a modern language well ; and it is certain that a great number, either through idleness or dulness, or both, will learn very little.

When the teaching of modern langnages became a common thing in ou schools, a practice certainly not half a century old, it was usually a voluntary study, and the boys did little or nothing, just as they liked. The master was looked on as a supernumerary, and classed with the dancingmaster who used to visit “academies," and may so visit them still for aught that I know. But this won't do. The teacher of modern languages must be on the same footing as any other teacher in a school. The work that he requires from the boys must be punctually performed, their attend. ance and behaviour in his class must be regulated as strictly as in any other class, and he must have a proper amount of time for teaching, not out of school hours but in school hours, unless he can get a class of volunteers who are willing to do more than the usual work. Such boys may be trusted, because they are willing to learn ; but, except in that case, all giving of lessons at any hours other than the regular school hours implies that the lessons are not serious work. When a master of modern languages is put in his proper place, has authority given to him, and time to teach, it is his fault if the diligent boys do not make considerable progress, and more progress than in the some time they make in Greek or Latin, because here the master is the expositor of a living language ; he himself, if he is a well educated man, is an authority for the language, and he can tell the pupil with certainty what all difficult or ambiguous expressions mean; he can explain everything with the authority of a man who cannot be contradicted. One thing more is necessary. The head of the school should watch the progress of the boys in modern languages as carefully as in everything else; and he need not be afraid of looking after this because he is no great linguist himself. He will not, of course, pretend to judge which of the boys has learned most, or to judge of any matter that beiongs to the office of the teacher, but he can judge whether the

boys have learned anything, as I shall soon explain, and he can judge whether the method of teaching is well adapted for the learner.

Among the various causes of the failure in the study of modern languages, the chief is the inattention of the master of the school, who often lets the thing go on just as it may, without knowing much about it or caring much. This negligence produces the result that we might expect. The boys see that this department is not looked after, and they make so little effort that the labours of the best teacher cannot do much. If the teacher is not good, the boys will learn nothing at all. A master of a school should understand what a teacher's method is; for though there may be various good methods, a great many methods are bad, and if the method is bad, the result must be poor. He should know what books are used, and in what order ; what work is to be done ; and there should be kept a register, which shall show exactly what each boy does and what he neglects to dc. It would be a good thing if all the exercises were kept and filed, at least to the end of the half vear, for the purpose of turning to them if there

may be occasion ; and, indeed, if the same were done with all the exercises in the school for a half year, it would be very useful for showing the head master what is going on.

But how must the progress of the boys be judged ? Not by their ability to speak a modern language, which will certainly never be acquired in our schools, where so many other things are taught and considered of more importance. If ever the power of speaking modern languages shall be acquired in this country, it must be in schools which are established for this purpose. We must judge of the boys' acquirements by their power to read a good author, and to write the language pretty correctly; for instance, to write a letter on some common subject, or a simple narrative. We cannot expect more than this. When it is said, and it is truly said, that boys will not learn to speak a modern language in our schools-and, it may be added, there is no reason why they should—it is still worth while to learn these languages as well as we can. If a well taught boy has afterwards the opportunity of living on the Continent a short time, he will have a great advantage in learning the spoken language over one who has not studied it well. If he shall not learn the spoken language sooner than one who knows little or nothing of the written language, for this may be so, he will learn it more completely and he will speak it more correctly.

Now, having fixed the acquirements of a school-boy within very moderate limits, too narrow limits as some may suppose, but quite extensive enough in the opinion of those who know what boys are and schools must be, let us consider what is the best way of getting these acquirements. Mr.

“ The common practice of translating books with students we consider merely a waste of time and labour, and it ought to be completely exploded in the teaching of modern languages." This is the opinion of a man who did not form an opinion very soon, but when he had done so, he stuck to it most obstinately. Though I do not take this to be literally true, it is very nearly so. A man, or a very clever, diligent youth, will sometimes learn something of a modern language by merely reading an author ; and it is probable that there are some men who have a good knowledge of a modern language or two, who have learned them only in this way. But experience shows that boys who learn only by reading do either learn nothing at all, or so little that it does not deserve the name of knowledge ; and this is the case most particularly if they are early set to read a difficult author, particularly a German book.

Wittich says:

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