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results, and that Mr. Michael is a man of force and energy, and his schools are business-like throughout.
NORWALK.-C. W. Oakes, Superintendent. Enrolment in February 775, daily attendance 706, cases of tardiness 24. Total enrolment 926, schools 17, teachers 22, two being special. The daily attendance has increased 100 within three years, and enrolment 121, and tardiness has decreased 50 per cent a month. The tuition from outside pupils is from $300 to $400 a year. Mr. Oakes's salary is $1800 a year, and the salary of the teachers, whose names and grades we are compelled to omit, ranges from $700 to $350. Music is taught by a special teacher two days each week. The recitations in the C and D primary in reading, numbers, and language lessons were excellent. The reporter says the best reading for pupils of the same grade that he has ever heard was in the A and B primary, and he longs for the day when all the schools of the land shall be blessed with such primary teachers as those of Norwalk and Lima.
-The New-York Tribune says, “In a Pennsylvania school the pupils are obliged to waste their time in learning descriptions of the formation of letters.” This egregious folly is not confined to Pennsylvania. About a year ago we witnessed lessons in penmanship given by the author of a popular series of copy-books, and commended him for his breaking away from a superabundance of verbal description of the so-called “principles.” He replied that the older he got the more he aimed at simplicity and getting rid of a profusion of details.
PERSONAL. -The Hon. Joshua Hightower is superintendent of the schools of the Chickasaw Nation.
-ALSTON Ellis has been reappointed a member of the State Board of Examiners to serve until March 10, 1879.
-The Hon. Ellis Apgar is Superintendent of the Department of Education in the International Exhibition at Philadelphia.
-The Rev. Dr. Porter, President of Yale College, delivered last month in Cincinnati a course of twelve lectures on Christian Philosophy.
-PROF. J. H. WORMAN, formerly a professor in Lawrence University, at Appleton, Wis., is now a professor in Dean College at Binghamton, New York.
-Miss PAMELA H. Goodwin of Akron is about to sail for Europe to visit Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany. She will be gone about a year. We wish her a successful trip.
BOOK NOTICES. The Phono-SYLLABIC READER. A New Analysis of English Word Forms.
Part I. Monosyllables. Cincinnati : Ohio Book Company. 1877. Pages 100.
This work has been prepared by John C. Kinney, Superintendent of the Public Schools of Loveland, Ohio. Very few American teachers have ever seen the so-called “English Method of Teaching to Read " by A. Sonnenschein and J. M. D. Meiklejohn, published by Macmillan & Co., in London in 1869, in four little books. Mr. Kinney has adopted the plan of these books most probably without ever have seen them, as there is no evidence of copied essons, those prepared by him being entirely unlike those given in the English books. The following statements quoted from p. 9, in the directions preceding Lesson I, will give an idea of the plan of the book.
“A Theme is all that part of a syllable which remains constant for a number of syllables ; as, ea in ear, each, east, or an in bran, can, than.
An Adjunct is all that part of a syllable which precedes or follows the theme; as r, ch, st, in ear, each, east, or br, c, th, in bran, can, than.
A Prime is a word not formed from a theme; as, one does, put. There must be no spelling. Themes, adjuncts, and primes are each to be taught as one whole and by one sound ; as, it, ad, ew, spr, said.”
We have no doubt that an enthusiastic and intelligent teacher could produce remarkable results in the way of teaching reading by following faithfully the plan laid down by Mr. Kinney. GERMAN WITHOUT GRAMMAR OR DICTIONARY; or a Guide to Learning and
Teaching the German Language, according to the Pestalozzian Method of Teaching by Object Lessons. By Dr. Zur Brücke, Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co. 1877. Pages 112. Price 50 cts.
We have no doubt that the best method of learning to speak German is exactly the one presented in this little book. It is essentially the same as that pursued with such success by Sauveur in teaching French. The originator of the method, we have been informed by a French gentleman, was a German, but he lacked the enthusiasm of Sauveur, and hence he failed to be so successful. Dr. Zur Brücke has been very successful in selecting entertaining matter for the lessons. He has no uncouth Ollendorffian sentences. In some lessons words are used and left unexplained and in subsequent lessons are explained as if there used for the first time. To give our readers an idea of the method we give the first lesson on conversation which is quite short.
“ Die Hand-the Hand. This is the method: the teacher raises his right or left hand before the class and asks : “Ist das eine Hand ?” (Is this a hand?) The class, or some one in it, will respond: “Ya, das ist eine Hand,” (Yes, that is a hand.) Single pupils may now be questioned in the same manner as the class, and again the class may answer as before.” NATURAL PHILOSOPHY FOR BEGINNERS WITH NUMEROUS EXAMPLES. By I.
Todhunter, M. A., F. R. S. Honorary Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. Part I. The Properties of Solid and Fluid Bodies. London: Macmillan & Co. 1877. 12mo, pp. 386. Price $1.50.
Mr. Todhunter has distinguished himself as a writer of text-books, principally mathematical, which have been characterized by ability and conciseness. Teachers who use Todhunter's books are sure they are not using books that are disfigured by inaecuracies. One of the peculiarties of this work on Natural Philosophy is the number of examples for solution which fill more than fifty pages. The answers alone to these examples fill eight pages. The work contains many subjects not treated of in the ordinary school text-books on natural philosophy. The following statement shows that Mr. Todhunter aims to be accurate in his teachings: “The exact definition of the boiling point of the Centigrade thermometer is the boiling point when the height of the barometer is
of a metre at a place on the level of the sea in latitude 45 degrees North. The If of a metre is about 2941 inches. A variation of 1.045 of an inch in the barometer from the standard height causes a change of about one degree centigrade in the temperature of steam.” We approve highly of the final chapter devoted to Perpetual Motion, since its effect may be to save those who study the book from ever in future wasting their time in seeking to accomplish the impossible.
The publishers of this book, Macmillan & Co., have a branch house at No. 22, Bond Street, New York, N. Y.
Teachers ask, “What, different from the common routine of school work, can be done to cultivate in our pupils the habit of reading with all their faculties aroused? By what means other than ordinary exercises can their power of mental perception be quickened, and their ability to wrest from the printed page full and accurate impressions be increased ?”
I hesitate very much to offer any suggestions upon this practical and constructive side of the matter. I know of no royal road to the attainment of this desirable object. This much is certain. Only thinkers can elicit and develop thought in others. None but thoughtful teachers can make thoughtful pupils. And thoughtfulness is the very sum and substance of what is wanted in this demand for better mental readers. Our failure to produce the latter is in exact proportion to our failure in producing the former. The pupil must be trained to have his own resources always at his command. His knowledge and judgment must always be on the skirmish line watching every manæuvre. He must be, not compelled, but impelled, inspired, as it were, to be vigilant and independent. He must be thoughtful; not passive, merely receptive; he must be active, aggressive, courageous. To produce this quality of mind is not in the power of any
system, or method, or device. This “breath of life only from the living teacher. And yet we are so apt to think that there is efficiency in a mere method! We forget that wisdom working upon the poorest plan is better than ignorance working upon the most perfect plan. When a friend offers us a tree which has produced good fruit under his hand, how strong is the temptation to transplant it bodily to our own garden and then to sit down and wait for our crop! Sometimes it seems as if more harm were done by furnishing teachers with specific plans so that they can and do attempt to act upon them, but without discretion in adapting the plans to their own circumstances, than would be done by letting them work on by their own methods, no matter how imperfect.
With these and other misgivings, I venture to present a simple contrivance which in my own experience has proved to be worth something as a means of training boys and girls to be attentive when they read. It is only a contrivance. It is capable of being modified in a variety of ways, and of being made quite useful. On the other hand, it has a surprising capacity--pardon the expression-of being “run into the ground.” Without discretion and care in adapting it to the condition of a class, its use is simply an imposition. At best, it is merely a device to be used with care in connection with other means, and to accomplish a specific purpose, viz:-to make pupils realize what it is "to know what they are about" when they have a printed page before them; or else to make them conscious—and in a somewhat mortifying way, if need be -that they do not "know what they are about."
The particular exercise about to be presented was the first one of the kind submitted to a class who had been one year and a little more in the high school, and who would probably average 15 years of age. The object of the recitation, according to the course of study, was to give instruction in the matter of composition. The teacher's object was "to kill two birds with one stone”;—to test and exercise the power of the class in spelling, punctuating, and in using capitals, as well as to see what could be said of them, or rather to see what they could be made to say or feel in regard to themselves as readers. This will account for many things in the exercise to which no allusion will be made. The recitation was weekly, and the following extract was written upon the blackboard to be the lesson for the next week. It was preceded by this direction : “Make all and only such corrections or changes in the following as are necessary to the proper expression of the author's thought."
EXERCISE I. I believe I have omited to mention that, in my first voyage from Boston, being becalmed of Block Island, our people sat about catching cod, and cauled up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my irresolution of not eating anamal food. And considered the taking of every fish as a kind of provoked murder. Since none of them had or ever could do us any injury, that might justify the slaughter.
All this seemed very reasonable. But I had formally been a great lover of fishes and when this come hot out of the trying-pan, it smelt so good, I ballanced some time between principal and declination til I recollected that when the fish was opened I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomacs. Then thought I if you eat each other, I don't see why we mayn't eat you. So inconvenient a thing it is to be a reasonable, creature since it disables one to find or make a reason for every thing one has a mind to do.
The pupils were stimulated to let nothing escape which they thought demanded attention. Some of the papers are before me; but how futile the attempt to describe some of the interesting situations and discoveries which are brought to mind by certain places in different papers!
Every teacher of large classes knows how necessary it is so to plan the work of each lesson that even the dullards find something which they can do, and by which they are encouraged to exert themselves. On this principle are made some of the errors above; many of those in spelling, and the use of “of” "cauled” “formally” “trying" "declination," etc. But there are other errors designed to exercise the wits of the smartest pupils.
Of the cases of actual contradiction or confusion in thought, not even the best pupils detected all.
Of thirteen papers belonging for the most part to the best half of the class, eight have the word "provoked.” The last sentence of the extract was "set up” with special reference to the best pupils. It proved to be most too hard. Of the thirteen only one has disentangled the snarl and presented a thought which the context evidently requires, and which the sentence itself should quickly suggest to a thoughtful reader at such a stage of his development.