Page images

the first class to bring up six boys, according to the ļist. He then compares their names with his own list, and examines them, to see if they can tell all their letters, and make them in the sand. If so, they are fit for the next class, and the inspector orders them to be removed accordingly. Then he proc ceeds with every other class in the same way: and, when he has examined the whole, he begins anew. Thus, by diligence and attention on his part, some hundreds of boys may be examined in a few days. When a boy is removed from one class to another, he has permission to choose a prize, of a stated value, for himself, as a reward for his diligence; and the monitor is entitled to one of the same value, for his care in improving his scholars. The date of examination, class removed to, prize chosen, &c. are all entered in a book at the time of inspection.

[ocr errors]

It is no unusual thing with me to deliver one or two hundred prizes at the same time. And at such times the countenances of the whole school exhibit a most pleasing scene of delight: as the boys who obtain prizes, commonly walk round the school in procession, holding the prizes in their hands, and an herald proclaiming before them, “These good boys have obtained prizes for going into another class." The honour of this has an effect as powerful, if not more sa, than the prizes themselves,



In spelling by writing on the slate, the perform- + ances of the scholars are inspected, sometimes by the monitor of their class, often by an inspecting monitor, and occasionally by the master.

Printing in the sand is inspected in the same manner as in the new method of teaching arithmetic. Every boy is placed next to one who can do as well or better than himself: his business is to excel him, in which case he takes precedence of him. In reading, every reading division has the numbers, 1, 2, 3, &c. to 12, suspended from their buttons. If the boy who wears number 12, excels the boy who wears number 11, he takes his place and number; in exchange for which the other goes down to the place and number 12. Thus, the boy who is number 12, at the beginning of the lesson, may be number 1, at the conclusion of it, and vice versa. The boy who has number 1, has also a single leather ticket, lettered variously, as, Merit,'• Merit in Reading, — Merit in Spelling, '--'Merit . in Writing,' &c. this badge of honour he also forfeits, if he loses his place by suffering another to excel him. He has also a picture pasted on pasteboard, and suspended to his breast; this he forfeits to any boy who can excel him. Whoever is in the first place at the conclusion of the lesson, delivers


the ticket and picture to a monitor appointed for that purpose. The honour of wearing the ticket and number, as marks of precedency, is all the reward attached to them; but the picture which has been worn entitles the bearer to receive another picture in exchange for it; which becomes his own: This prize is much valued by the minor boys, and regarded by all. Pictures can be made a fund of entertainment and instruction, combined with infinite variety. When a boy has a waggon, a whip-top, or ball, one thing of the kind satisfies him, till it is worn out; but he may have a continual variety of pictures, and receive fresh instruction as well as pleasure from every additional prize. I lament that there is not a series of cheap, regular pictures, that would be fit to put into the hands of children. Nothing can be better adapted to allure their minds into a love of learning. Yet, many of the common pictures, of which tens of thousands are printed annually, and sold among the children of the poor; are mere catch-penny rubbish; so badly designed and executed, and on such silly subjects, as to be fit only to debase the minds of youth. A regular series of instructive prints might be published at the same expence; but they should be selected or designed by a person acquainted with the minds and manners of youth. The advantage of some prints, as rewards for children, is their cheapness; and others, is their utility: those are printed for sale, at one halfpenny or a penny each; and are sold, wholesale,


at a much cheaper rate. Many such prints can be cut into four or six parts. Every part will be a complete subject itself, and fit for a prize: thus, less than a shilling per day will afford prizes, morning and afternoon, for a hundred and twenty children or more, and raise emulation among the whole school. I hope all ladies, who are patrons of schools, will adopt these articles for prizes.

By the foregoing observations it will appear, that emulation and reward are closely united with continual inspection and application to learning. Another method of rewarding deserving boys is by paper tickets, which are numbered, one, two, three, &c. they are given to such boys as distinguish themselves in writing with the pen; which is done about four times a week, by part of the school only, in order to accustom them a little to the use of the pen. Each number is to be obtained several times, before the bearer can obtain the prize appropriated to it: as,

Number 1, three times, to receive {d.
2, six times,

3, eight times,

2d. 4, nine times,

3d. 5, twelve times,


Every time a ticket is obtained, it is booked by a monitor,whose office it is to record tickets, prizes,&c. The tickets are given, according to the evident and various degree of pains the scholar may have taken with his performance. They are given by the monitor or teacher who inspects the written copies, according to his judgment of the performances sub


mitted to his inspection. It requires some discretion * in the master to choose a lad for this office, whose

eye is capable of at once discriminating between one performance and another, and of discerning where exertions have been made by the learner to improve. In small institutions the master may persorm this office; in large ones he can only do it occasionally. I have several lads who are capable of this office, and perform it well. The best way to qualify a boy for such a duty, is to accustom him to inspect and compare the performances of boys in writing on the slate, one with another; he may decide improperly in some instances, at first, but practice will soon make him perfect in discriminating and deciding; and then he will be found a very useful auxiliary in a school. It is as easy to form a number of boys, as one or two, on this plan; and they may be qualified sooner than usual, if required, provided the master renews the same inspection and decision in their presence, after they have done; and shows them every prominent case in which they may have decided wrong, and why they have done so. When boys have obtained their tickets for writing the stipulated number of times, they are permitted to choose any prize of the value appropriated to the number on their tickets: and there is a choice variety


« PreviousContinue »