Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

ture as set forth by Prof. S. W. Johnson in "How Crops Grow” and “How Crops Feed.” He has adopted the colloquial style as better adapted to excite an interest in the young student, and make the subject of more easy comprehension. He says $25 will pay for all the apparatus and chemicals necessary to perform all the experiments, or $15 for all necessary to perform four-fifths of them. The work is well illustrated and cannot fail to attract the attention of teachers of chemistry. It is claimed that “any intelligent boy or girl of fourteen, or any young man or woman qualified to teach chemistry at all, can successfully perform all the experiments.” Willis's HISTORICAL READER, based on the Great Events of History, from

the Creation of Man till the Present Time. By Wm. Francis Collier, LL. D., Trinity College, Dublin. A. S. Barnes & Co., New York, Chicago, and New Orleans. 1877. Pages 377. Price by mail, postpaid, $1.25.

The object of this book is to place before the reader a bird's-eye view of the great events of history omitting details. The great events of British history are entirely omitted because the author intended the work to be read after a course in English history. The parts added by the American editor are the events from the Creation of Man to the Christian Era, the Settlement of America, the Indian Wars, the English and American Wars, the American Rebellion, and Franco-Prussian War. Many teachers could, no doubt, make good use of this book. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE “ARITHMETICAL ANALYSIS," designed for Pri

mary Schools, containing Mental, Slate, and Blackboard Exercises. By S. A. Felter. New York: Scribner, Armstrong, & Co. C. B. Ruggles,

Agent, Cincinnati, Ohio. Pages 182. FELTER'S NEW INTERMEDIATE ARITHMETIC, containing Oral and written

Problems, and Drill Card Exercises. By S. A. Felter and S. A. Farrand.

Same Publishers. Pages 258,25. FELTER'S ADVANCED ARITHMETIC. Same authors and Publishers. Pages 249.

The last two books are also bound together. The publication of this last book completes Felter's series. The first two are the same as those noticed in our October issue of 1876, except that the Introduction now before us has 22 pages of answers added. The peculiarity of the Advanced Arithmetic is that it takes up the subject just where the Intermediate leaves it, there being no repetition. It is neatly printed and up to the standard of Felter's previous works which have been so highly commended by practical teachers after a fair trial. OUTLINES OF ETYMOLOGY, by S. S. Haldeman, LL. D., M. N. A. S., Phila

delphia. J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1877. Pages 113.

Prof. Haldeman's English Affixes published several years ago is well known to students of language. This is a smaller work and occupies a different field. There is no comparison between this book and the ordinary school etymologies as to the amount of recondite information given concerning the laws and history of verbal changes. After the introductory chapter, follow chapters on Phonology, Morphology, Syn; thesis, Paresis or Neglect, Grammar, Analysis, Affixes, Derivation, and Synonymy, and an Appendix on the Pronunciation of Latin, Marks and Abbreviations, and Selections of words contributed to English by about thirty languages of which the names are given. Prof. Haldeman's works abound in useful and curious information, but they are frequently marred by a want of clearness of expression, growing out of his habit of fitting from one subject to another. His digressions or episodes in a regular discussion are often quite obscure. His works, however, are always valuable and are eagerly sought after by philological students.

[blocks in formation]

[It is wise for us to read the views of teachers years ago upon questions now agitating educators. It is with pleasure we present in the following article a discussion upon “Examinations,written more than thirty years ago by an eminent teacher who died in 1874. For name of the author and date of article see the close of the paper.--EDITOR.]

EXAMINATIONS. The object of education in all schools, is twofold:— first, to develop the faculties; and second, to impart knowledge.

Examinations are intended to ascertain how far these ends are attained. The best methods, then, of conducting examinations, will be those which will give the greatest assurance of arriving at correct conclusions, in regard to the fidelity of teachers, and the sound proficiency of pupils.

Examinations should be conducted as to serve as a stimulus to all concerned in their results; and to this end, should be fair, rigid, protracted, and thoroughly accurate.

The time spent in preparing the lessons upon which the examinations are had, should be accurately ascertained, the amount of instruction given to each pupil, should be carefully inquired into; and the general character of each pupil, should be rigidly scrutinized. In a word, examinations should be so conducted as to show at once the ability and the fidelity of the instructor; and the docility, industry and success of the learner. To be more particular.

[graphic]

First. Examinations should not be conducted by those who have conducted the recitations of the class.

It too often happens, that there is a tacit understanding between the teacher and his class, as to what topics shall, or shall not come up, on examination. The class is drilled upon a given number of pages, and this is taken as an intimation of the ground over which they are to be conducted, before the examiners and spectators; and so prompt does every pupil become, that they are sometimes known to mortify their teachers by answering questions before they are fairly put. Let disin. terested persons conduct the examination and all collusion will be cut off.

Second. Examinations should, it is true, be conducted to some extent, upon the same plan pursued in recitation. But this plan, having its foundation in nåture, will necessarily suggest itself to every mind qualified either to examine or to teach. It is the order of nature, to advance from particulars to generals; to begin with examples, and end with rules; and the mind of the pupil, both when receiving instruction, and when under examination, should be directed in the road of natural discovery. This being attended to, the greater the diversity between the modes of recitation, and the method pursued by the examiner, the better.

This diversity will present an old subject in a new light. It will induce the pupil to believe, that he knows more of the subject than he had supposed. It suggests to him that neither his author, nor his teacher, nor he himself, had exhausted the subject. The difference of manner between the teacher and the examiner, may and will puzzle the mere memoriter scholarand this is one of its uses—to detect this very vicious habit of relying on memory alone. But it will give to the scholar whose mind has been disciplined, an opportunity of displaying that mental dexterity which the habit of thinking has given him.

Third. Examinations should be extended over the whole ground occupied by the studies of the term, and each pupil should be led to expect, that he, as an individual, will be examined on every important principle, in the whole course of instruction, given since the last examination; and when his education is finished, that a review examination would test the accuracy of his knowledge, on all that he professes to have learned.

[graphic]

Fourth. Nothing less than this, can ensure fidelity on the part of either the teacher or the taught. Let a pupil or a preceptor know that there is a chance for escaping examination on a part of the studies for a term, and they will evince great sagacity in divining what part it is most likely to be. At least, they will be likely to satisfy themselves as to what part they will most probably be called to exhibit; and the results are-neglect of the most important parts of their studies, and an undue memoriter accuracy, or rather flippancy in regard to others.

Fifth. But let the teacher know that every part of the course, of a given study, will receive a proportional attention upon examination day, and he will be more likely to take care that every part shall receive its due attention, during every day's recitation. And let every pupil fear, at least, that he will be called to give a continuous account of all that belongs to an entire subject, and he will have an additional motive, to study each subject entire.

Sixth. But it is easy as easy as it is useless) to prepare a single subject well, (geography for example,) and after examination, throw it aside, and allow it soon to be forgotten. Thus all the time and pains bestowed upon it are wasted; for it is useless to have learned that, whatever it may be, which we have now forgotten.

A few minutes more attention would often be sufficient to make an acquisition our own, with accuracy, and forever, which becomes irretrievably lost, for want of continuous thinking. Indeed a habit of attention may be formed, that without requiring more time, may make us permanently the masters of our acquirements which a more negligent method of study, would permit to escape.

Seventh. Examinations should be so conducted as to ascer. tain all that has been done by both teacher and pupil.

The experienced teacher will strive to combine as many advantages as possible, in his modes of giving instruction. He will cultivate the memory, by requiring an accurate recitation of numbers, dates, and rules. He will cultivate the reasoning powers by requiring the pupil to think for himself, on all subjects, where his knowledge of principles and facts is sufficient to furnish him with premises. He will cultivate not only his power of extemporaneous expression, by calling upon him to recite, without note, whole lessons, and even whole subjects, consecutively and in detail; but also his powers of extempore thinking, by proposing difficulties to the views he has taken, and encouraging him at first, and afterwards requiring him to defend his opinions, without previous preparation. Unless a man is able to think without embarrassment, in any situation in which he may probably be placed; unless he can express his thoughts on any subject with which he is acquainted, with accuracy, and without hesitation ; unless he is able to generalize his knowledge with rapidity, so as to construct an argument, or defence, upon the shortest notice, he is not educated; at least he is not educated suitably for this country, and especially for the West. This then, the teacher must effect; and the business of the examiner is, to ascertain that it has been effected.

Eighth. In order to this, let the pupil be required to recite portions of what he has studied; without interrogation, and without prompting. This will test his ability to express what he knows, in his own language; the language of his author being in no case admissible.

Again, let objections be raised to the views he has advanced, and he be called upon to defend them. This will exhibit his power of extempore thinking. Let him be interrupted as he proceeds, in order to try the tenacity with which he retains and the rapidity with which he recalls ideas, and trains of thought. This process, it is admitted, can have full place only in more advanced classes, and in the higher schools. But it can be approximated in every grade of instruction; and both recitations and reviews should constantly be conducted with a view to these, and such results.

Ninth. Examinations should everywhere be so conducted as to place the character of the school, the teacher and the pupils, in the light of truth. No deception as to time, accuracy, or extent of acquirement, should be left undetected or unexposed.—The object of school examinations, let it be repeated, is different from that had, in order to determine the qualifications of a teacher, or of candidates for any of the liberal professions. In the last case, it is enough to know the extent of a man's qualifications, irrespective of the time spent in the acquisition. But in the other, periodical examinations are had in order to ascertain the progress of the school, in a given time. Nothing, it is believed, will be so efficient in bringing a press of motive always to bear upon both teacher and pupil, as the certain anticipation of a full, fair and thorough examination, on all that

« PreviousContinue »