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celebrated Fenelon has observed, that "Before they are thought capable of receiving any instruction, or the least pains taken with them, they learn a language. Many children at four years of age can speak their mother tongue, though not with the same accuracy or grammatical precision, yet with greater readiness and fulness than most scholars do a foreign language after the study of a whole life." This circumstance certainly indicates no small degree of intellectual energy and acumen. And to this I may add, that they discover their intellectual powers by connecting the idea with the sign of it, and acquire many notions of good and evil, right and wrong, in that early period of life. Such are their powers of discrimination, that they can distinguish the characters and dispositions of those with whom they associate, and frequently know the tempers and weaknesses of their parents much better than the parents know theirs, and are dextrous enough to avail themselves of that knowledge in order to obtain their desires and gratify their humours.
A third series of school-books might consist of popular sys tems of the sciences, and descriptions in relation to the mechanical and liberal arts. The fundamental principles and the most interesting facts connected with botany, mineralogy, zoology, geography, geology, geometry, astronomy, experimental philosophy and chemistry-and likewise those connected with the arts of weaving, book-binding, printing, clock and watch making, brassfounding, carpentry, &c.-might be familiarly detailed, and illustrated with as many plans and engravings as the different subjects might require. The general knowledge of the sciences, which the pupil would acquire from such compilations, would prepare him for afterwards entering on the study of particular sciences, when their principles and applications would be illustrated in more minute detail. The sketches of the different arts and trades would unfold to him some of the leading processes and operations peculiar to the several mechanical employments, and lead him to determine which of these would be most congenial to his own taste and genius.-In compiling such sketches of the sciences and arts, a considerable degree of knowledge, taste, and discrimination, would be requisite. Every thing that is intricate or abstruse, or not level to the comprehension of young people from the age of ten to the age of fourteen years, should be omitted. Vivid and familiar descriptions of facts and scenery, details of interesting experiments, and engravings of natural and artificial objects, should accompany the explanations of the fundamental principles of the different sciences. In short, every thing should be introduced which can be illustrated by sensible objects, and every
thing discarded which the senses cannot easily appreciate. Mere skeletons of the sciences would be quite uninteresting, and would produce no good effect. If any particular science could not be comprehensively illustrated in the space allotted for its details, a selection of its more prominent and popular departments might be substituted, which would be quite sufficient for communicating a general view of the subject, and inducing a taste for its further prosecution at a future period-which is all that is requisite to be aimed at in the first exhibitions of science to the youthful mind.
Another class of school-books might be chiefly Historical. These should comprise a lucid and comprehensive view of the leading events which have happened from the creation to the present time, omitting those details which would either be improper to be exhibited, or which might prove uninteresting to the young. As a supplement to such a work, a more detailed history might be given of the particular nation or country in which the school is situated.-In compiling such historical works, great caution is requisite that no scenes be exhibited, and no sentiments inculcated, that would pollute the minds of the young, or foster malignant affections. Many of our historians detail the convul. sions of nations, and the horrid scenes of devastation and carnage, with a revolting degree of apathy, without interweaving any reflections tending to show the folly and wickedness of war, and to denounce those malignant passions from which it springs. Nay, we frequently find the writings of historians abounding with panegyrics on public robbers and desperadoes, encomiums on war and on warriors, and designating the worst enemies of the human race as patriots and illustrious heroes. Hence it has happened, that the study of history, instead of leading the mind to contemplate the character of the Moral Governor of the world, and the retributions of his providence, and to mourn over the malevolent passions and the depravity of man-has not unfre quently tended to excite desires after the acquisition of false glory, and to cherish a spirit of contention and warfare,-the effects of which are visible, even at the present moment, in the ambitious projects which are carrying forward by haughty despots and their obsequious ministers, and in the devastations which are committing, and the contests which are taking place, in almost every region of the globe. If we wish to counteract the effects of pagan maxims and morality, and to imbue the minds of our youth with Christian principles and feelings, we must carefully guard against the influence of such antichristian sentiments. The history of all nations ought to be considered, not merely as the Exploits of kings and heroes, but as the history of the providen
tial dispensations of the Almighty towards the human race, and the history of the moral character of mankind. We should study it, not merely, or chiefly, for the purpose of admiring and imitating the exploits of those who have been extolled as illustrious characters, (for there are few of them whose deeds deserve our imitation)-but for expanding our views of the character and moral government of the Ruler of the Universe-for confirming the representations given in the Scriptures of the depravity of man-and for exciting an abhorrence of those lawless passions and deeds of injustice, which have covered the earth with carnage and desolation, and entailed misery upon the race of man. If we wish to study patterns of moral virtue worthy of imitation, we have the example of Jesus Christ set before us, as the pattern of every excellence, "who was holy, harmless, and undefiled,""who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not, but committed his cause to him who judgeth righteously." We have likewise the examples of his holy prophets and apostles, men as far superior in their moral principles. and conduct to the most distinguished sages of Greece and Rome, as the Christian religion is superior to all the systems of theology in the pagan world. In compiling histories for the young, the historian ought, therefore, to pause at certain periods and events, and direct the attention of his readers to what is moral or immoral in the actions detailed, to what is worthy of being approved or condemned in the scenes described, as determined by the principles and rules of Christianity. He should direct the attention of the young to the scenes of horror which a spirit of ambition and revenge has created, to the malignant passions it has engendered, and to its contrariety to the spirit of true religion and the best interests of man. He should lead them to remark the justice and long-suffering of the Governor of the world-the retributions of his providence in the case of nations and individuals—the accomplishment of Divine predictions-and the evidences which the records of history afford, that man is no longer in a paradisiacal condition, but has fallen from his high estate. In short, he should direct their views to the means by which the spirit of warfare may be counteracted and destroyed,-to the happy scenes which would be realized were a spirit of philantrophy to reign triumphant,— and to that glorious era, foretold by ancient prophets, when the nations "shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, and learn the art of war no more.' Were history studied in connection with such views and instructions, instead of fostering malignant passions-it might become
a handmaid to science and religion, and be rendered subservient for directing the mind to the Great Ruler of the nations, and the plans of his moral government, and for stimulating the exercise of those benevolent affections by which the tribes of mankind may be united in harmony, and the world restored to tranquillity and repose.
All the class-books now described should be embellished with engravings, wherever they appear requisite for illustrating the descriptions contained in the text. The subjects of such engravings should not only be accurately delineated, but delicately coloured after nature, so as to convey, as nearly as possible, a correct and vivid impression of the objects intended to be represented. Nothing is more pleasing and gratifying to the young, than accurate engravings of the subjects about which they read, " and nothing has a greater tendency to convey well-defined ideas of those objects which are not present to the senses, and to impress them indelibly upon the imagination. But we have hitherto had no school-books embellished with such engravings as those to which I allude. The expense of such books might probably be objected to, as an argument against their introduction. But if the great end of education be carefully kept in view, and the importance of conveying clear and comprehensive ideas to the rising generation be duly weighed, no considerations of expense ought to deter us from the execution of any plan by which instruction in the elements of thought may be rendered delightful and efficient. Society, if once aroused to consider the importance of an enlightened education, would find no difficulty in defraying every expense connected with its arrangements. If such books were in universal request, and, consequently, many thousands of them. thrown off at one impression, they might be afforded at a price very little higher than that of the paltry and inefficient class-books which have been so long in use in our scholastic establishments.
The series of books now described should be accompanied with dictionaries, and other books of reference, for obtaining definitions of words and descriptions of the objects of nature and the terms of science and art. These dictionaries, along with clear definitions of English words and synonymes, should contain short definitions of Latin, Greek, and French primitives and phrases, particularly those which have been adopted into our language, and which, in composition, modify the meaning of many of our own words. The Latin and Greek prepositions should be explained, and their force in the composition of English words, and in the terms of art and science, particularly illustrated. Portable cyclopedias or technological dictionaries, with numerous illustrative
cuts, such as Crabb's "Dictionary of General Knowledge," would likewise be highly requisite for the occasional use of the higher or primary classes, in all our schools.
Method of Teaching, and the Departments of Knowledge which should be taught in every Seminary.
THE teacher being understood to have a school furnished with the accommodations, museum, and apparatus formerly described, and with a series of books adapted to intellectual instruction--I shall now offer a few hints on the mode in which the several de partments of instruction might be conducted.
SECTION I.-English Reading.
In throwing out a few hints on this department, I shall take it for granted that the pupils have acquired a knowledge of the alphabet, in the manner in which it is generally taught in infant schools, and that they are qualified to read, with a certain degree of ease, a few short lessons, consisting of words of one or two syllables. Let us suppose, for example, such a lesson as the following, on the general nature and qualities of certain objects, to be the subject of attention.
1. A bell gives a brisk sound when we strike it with a key, or with a stone, or with a large nail. If we strike an egg-cup made of wood, or if we strike a board or the table with a key, none of these things will give such a sound. A wine-glass will also produce a pretty brisk sound; but if we strike it hard with a nail or a stone, it will break. We hear every sound by means of our ears, which God had formed and placed on each side of our heads, that we might listen to our teachers, and be able to talk with one another.-2. The light which flows from the sun consists of seven colours; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The earth is spread over with most of these colours; the fields appear spread over with green, some parts with a light green, and some parts with a dark green colour. Fir trees and some poplar trees are dark green, corn and grass are of a light green colour. A rose is red; some roses are white. The crowfoot, the cowslip, the crocus, and the wall-flower, are yellow. Furze and broom have also pretty yellow flowers. The blue-bottle flower, and some hyacynths, are of a blue colour. Some daisies are red, some are white, and some have two or three colours. The corn in the fields, the grass in the meadows, and the leaves of trees, are green.-3. Iron is heavy, copper is heavier, lead is heaviest. Lead will sink, if you throw it into a bason of water, but a cork will swim on the top of the water. A stone will sink in water, but a piece of light wood will swim; and if you push the wood down with your hand to the bottom of the bason, it will quickly rise again