« PreviousContinue »
the sand with the irons, is the same as in the first class. They also make the figures in the sand, to a great number. Besides this they have small slates, the method of obtaining which will be described hereafter. On these slates they learn to make all the alphabet in writing: this is done that they may not, when in the preceding class, be perplexed with learning the printed and written alphabet at once. Care is also taken, that the series of words, and syllables of two letters, which this class print in the sand, is so arranged as to contain all the letters of the alphabet; which, otherwise, being recently learnt, would be easily forgotten, unless kept in memory by daily practice, This arrangement' of words, and syllables of two letters, will be published on a sheet by itself, for the use of persons concerned in the education of youth. The words are arranged by themselves, and syllables by themselves: words of two letters, being most familiar to the juvenile mind, are placed first. Syllables are what they cannot attach any sense to; and, in fact, have no sense or meaning, unless compounded into words above the comprehensions of children in this class. They have a card, with words and syllables of two letters, round which the whole class successively assemble, in subdivisions of twelve boys each. The first boy is required to spell a word by the monitor, in the same manner as the first boy, in the a; b, c, was required to distinguish a single letter; and precedency is awarded according to ex
cellence, as before. In short, this method is the same as with the a, b, c, card, only it is combining the letters, instead of distinguishing them. The succeeding classes have no sand allowed them, but they write on a slate. They are taught to read and spell on the same plan; and therefore, the management of them will be best described by detailing the methods of reading, spelling, writing, arithmetic, emulation, competition, and reward. It is only to be observed, that the class which reads and spells in three letters, spells, by writing on the slate, words of three letters; the 4th, or four-letter class, writing words of four letters; and the 5th, or five-letter class, writing words of five letters on the slate; and the superior classes, words of three or four syllables; also, words with the meanings attached. Each class has cards, in the same manner as the first and second classes, all of which are made use of in a similar way, only varying as to the length of the words or syllables each class may be learning.
Improved Method of teaching Spelling by Writing.
This method of spelling seems to be excellent: it being entirely an addition to the regular course of studies, without interfering with, or deranging them in the least. It commands attention, gratifies
the active disposition of youth, and is an excellent introduction and auxiliary to writing. It super-, sedes, iņ a great measure, the use of books in tuition, while (to speak moderately) it doubles the actual improvement of the children. It is as simple an operation as can well be conceived. Thus, supply twenty boys with slates and pencil, and pronounce any word for them to write, suppose it is the word “ab-so-lu-ti-on;" they are obliged to listen with attention, to catch the sound of every letter as it falls from their teacher's lips; again, they have to retrace the idea of every letter, and the pronunciation of the word, as they write it on, the slates. If we examine ourselves when we write letters, we shall find, that writing is so much associated and connected with orthography, that we can-; not write a word without spelling as we write, and involuntarily correcting any inaccuracy that may occur.
Now these twenty boys, if they were at a common school, would each have a book; and, one at a time, would read or spell to their teacher, while the other nineteen were looking at their books, or about them, as they pleased: or, if their eyes are rivetted on their books, by terror and coercion, can we be sure that the attention of their minds is engaged, as appearance seems to speak it is? On the contrary, when they have slates, the twentieth boy may read '
to the teacher*, while the other nineteen are spelling words on the slate, instead of sitting idle. The class, by this means, will spell, write, and read at the same instant of time. In addition to this, the same trouble which teaches twenty, will suffice to teach sixty or a hundred, by employing some of the senior boys to inspect the slates of the others, they not omitting to spell the word themselves; and, on a signal given by them to the principal teacher, that the word is finished by all the boys they overlook, he is informed when to dictate another to the class. This experiment has been tried with some hundreds of children, and it has been found, that they could all write, from one boy dictating the words to be written. The benefit of this mode of teaching, can only be limited by the want of hearing distinctly the monitor's voice; for, if seven hundred boys were all in one room, as one class, learning the same thing, they could all write and spell by this method, at the dictation of one monitor. I appeal to the candour and good sense of every reader, justly to appreciate the benefit and importance of this method of teaching. The repetition of one word by the monitor, serves to rivet it firmly on the minds of each one of the class, and also on his own memory; thus, he cannot possibly teach the class without improving himself at the same time. When we reflect,
* It will be seen in the article Reading, I do not approve of solitary reading, one by one: it has no emulation with it.
that by the advantage of this invention, a boy who is associated in a class of an hundred others, not only reads as much as if he was a solitary individual under the master's care, but he will also spell sixty or seventy words of four syllables, by writing them on the slate, in less than two hours : when this additional number of words, spelt by each boy daily, is taken into account, the aggregate will amount to repetitions of many thousands of words annually ; when, not a word would be written or spelt, and nothing done by nineteen twentieths of the scholars in the same time. Thus, it is entirely an improvement and an introduction to their other studies, without the least additional trouble on the part of the teacher; without any extra time of attendance being requisite from the scholar; without deranging or impeding his attention to other studies, as, is usually the case with the study of extra lessons; at least, more than doubling the advances of each individual towards a proficiency, at the same time; and, possessing all these advantages, it prevents idleness, and procures that great desideratum of schools, quietness, by commanding attention : for, as it requires much writing, but few boys can write and talk at the same time. In this, nothing is wholly committed to the pupil or monitor. Some Studies require a degree of mental exertion, that may or may not be made, and yet the ommission remain undetected; but this is so visible, that every boy's attention to his lesson may be seen on his