Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

the light in a dark or sunny day. Let the house be painted, and furnished liberally with blackboards. Around it let there be a play-ground, with trees and shrubbery, that the children may have a place of their own for recreation, and not be turned into the highway to annoy travelers or be injured by passing carriages.

Let the school-house be the model building in the district. Let it not be rough, and unsightly, and inconve. nient; but let it be" a thing of beauty," of itself attractive and improving to the members of the school.

Nor is the house to be made with the most rigid economy of space. It is not desirable to have our children packed there like stock in the cattle cars, or like slaves during the middle passage. Rather, let the ceiling of the room be ten or twelve feet above the floor, and the length and breadth of it be so ample as to afford space for classes at recitation, and that every scholar may have a separate seat.

The district which has provided a good school-house, has made a good investment for the children; and the district which is yet wc:nting in that respect, may be assured tbat the manners of the children will be unimproved, that their health will suffer, their studies be neglected, and, consequently, that the school money will not yield a good return.

L. T.

READING.—This is a reading age, and full of all kinds of books and papers. Everybody las a paper, even to the children. The rews all goes into print, and the peoplo read it and then talk about it. All the jokes, puns, fun, pleasant stories and good lessons, are printed, and so become public property. The best of things get into papers and books. Men's best thoughts and feelings, their cutest, funniest, loveliest ideas are spread upon paper. So by reading we get the best of everything-the cream of news and knowledge. How much young people lose, then, that can. not or do not read. Reading is talking on paper, and everybody who has a tongue and loves to talk should lovo to read. Youth's Friend.

WHAT SHALL OUR YOUTH LEARN?-No. 2.

We have urged the necessity of learning to think, and propose in the present article, to show that it is not less important that our pupils learn to express their thoughts. This is recitadion. The utility and importance of this exercise are not fully appreciated by either teachers or pu. pils in most of our schools. Many seem to understand that the object is accomplished when the scholar has learned his lesson and been examined by the Teacher. But we deem recitation of vastly more importance as a school exercise; and it has important bearings upon practical life. Its object is disciplinary. Recitation like study, is wholly the work of the pupil. The Teacher may conduct the recitation but he must not recite the lesson. He may sometimes ask questions and deliver lectures, but never eluring the hour of recitation. That hour is sacred to this specific purpose.

Among the important uses of recitation, we may mention its tendency to induce study. How long would the pupils of any school continue to study faithfully, if recitations were discontinued? Would they prepare their lessons, if it was understood beforehand that they would be required only to hear a lecture? Would it induce a thorough preparation, to know that they would only be examined by a few leading questions? Every practical teacher fully understands how much more earnestly his pupils study when they know that they will be called upon to recite and explain without foreign aid. And this influence is felt not only by the indolent, but by every class of scholars and under all circumstances. That teacher then, who would secure to his classes all the ad. vantages of earnest study, must demand of them, individually and daily, independent recitations.

Again, accurate recitations give distinctness and vivid. ness to acquired knowledge. Indeed, no scholar thoroughly understands his lesson until he has recited it. By giving expression to his thoughts he renders them distinct and firmly fixes them in his ntemory. Not only so, but he thus gains the power of expression which can be acquired only by practice. Hence, classes should be so small that each member can recite every day; the recitation should be so conducted, that no one can know what part of the lesson he will be called upon to recite, and each pupil should, as often as circumstances will allow, explain to the class as though he were the teacher. In this way, and in this way caly, can the habit of thinking and expressing thoughts, be successfully cultivated and the vigor and strength of intellectual manhood, be acquired. Every successive step in this process, gives new power to acquire and use knowledge, and every other advantage of a practical education.

The principal object of recitation is the improvement of the faculties which it calls into exercise. It creates the ability to give expression to ideas in conversation, wri. ting, oratory and work. The cultivation of the conversational powers secures one of the most desirable attainments in civilized life-a free and correct use of language,—the power to clothe our conceptions in appropriate words and to utter them with fluency and elegance.

The ready writer is made so only by practioe and that practice is recitation. Every recitation is either an ab stract or a composition, and every such exercise tends to cultivate fluency in the use of the tongue or pen.

Teachers of our common schools should profit by this suggestion and require their pupils to give much attention to written and verbal recitations. These, of all school exercises the most important, are usually the most neg. lected. Let the scholar, as soon as he is able to write, keep a journal of all important passing events, recording his own thoughts and impressions from day to day ; let him be required to rehearse in his own language, the lesson he has learned and the story le has read, and to describe the scene he has witnessed; let such exercises be continued through every stage of education, and we shall have thinking and practical men and women. The mechanic will be fitted for his trade, the citizen for the duties of active life, and the professional man for his high calling. Thinking and reciting alone have made the renowned author and prepared the orator to move a nation by his eloquence. Hence, we hesitate not to assert that our youth ought to learn how to think and how to express their thoughts. These thoroughly learned, and they are completely educated.

0.

THE BEHAVIOR OF CHILDREN AT TABLE.

There is one time and one place at which an indulged an mismanaged family generally exhibit about their worst. It is the meal time and the table. How often are they the occasion at which the lower nature in the child, tho animal, manifests its claws, its teeth, and its quarrelsomo voracity. The call is given for the morning, mid-day, or evening repast, no matter which, and now how the creatures rush to their feeding. What a scraping and squeaking of chairs, as they drag them up or pull them back; what rattle and racket as they creep up or tumble on. Then, what hastening to the onset, cries for this or that; or, without a cry, they dash into one thing, or slash across another. Then there is the hue, perlaps, especially at the daintier articles, " Mother, he's getting it almost all. I shan't get any.” The reply is snapped back: “I say I'm not getting it all; but you got it almost all yesterday, and I'm going to have my share to-day.” Indeed, all law and order, if there ever were any, are entirely upset; and, perhaps, some dishes are upset, too.

There is no more strength of authority in that distracted and custom-hardened mother than there is in a wreath of steam curling up from the hot cookery. It is possible that the father's grum voice and stern look may command arder; or, very likely, they may not. He, perhaps, considers the meals and the management thereat the mother's

affair, unless the uproar becomes quite insupportable.

Then he simply exclaims, “Pshaw, pshaw! what a noise you make !" and he meekly puts down his food with Yankee, tavern-like velocity, and scuds out of his own home, away from his own empire, as if to save his ears.

As it regards these unmannerly and unmanageable children at the table, there is one simple rule—it is this: If a child does not come quietly and take bis own, proper place, and there wait till he is helped ; and then, if he should not be satisfied with what he is helped to, in ordinary circumstances; indeed, should he behave in any way, such as would put you to the blush, (with company,) send him away instantly. Do not threaten, as the majority of parents do : “ You shall leave the table, if you don't behave better. I tell you, you

I tell you, you shall.What cares he! He knows it is nothing but breath; he has heard the threat ever since he can remember. No; let the rule be understood and established ; let it be acted on as instantaneously as the report follows the flash of a gun, only with perfect gentleness, as well as decision, on your part. There should be no harshness of voice, or roughness of hand ; indeed there will be no need of it, if such shall be the well-understood rule. It may be said that the child, by some inadvertence, may make an unintentional mistake. Very well; then the certain penalty will prevent future carelessness. This would avert, perhaps, a similar carelessness, and ill manners, and confusion of countenance, when there shall be company. Indeed, so train your child, and it may certainly be done, that you shall just motion with your finger for him to leave the table, and he shall instantly ohey and be gone, and all so quietly, that the persons present, possibly, shall be first made aware that he has left, by his vacant place. Thus, under all circumstances at the table, you are at ease; you have no fear; and your children are being formed at once to easy and appropriate manners, whatever be the company.

« AnteriorContinuar »