« PreviousContinue »
we do not have the foreign languages and classics, but we can apply all that is said with the exception of what relates to these subjects. It seems to me that the introduction of more written work into the country schools instead of increasing difficulties there would lessen them. Educative silent work would be provided for some while others were engaged in oral classwork. I doubt the value of spending much time in filling out forms, as is sometimes done in parsing,—and when we are aiming at correct spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and clear expression, abbreviations should be sparingly used and entire sentences should be the rule. No one should ever do his work in such a way as to need to apologize for it by saying "I didn't know you were going to take it up."
It is not at all necessary for the teacher to exhaust time and energy by examining all the slates or papers of his pupils every day. He should manage within a fixed time to get an idea of how each pupil is doing his work, but his system should not be so rigid that the pupil could determine its workings. By noting common errors, the teacher can plan blackboard work that will lead to clear discrimination on the part of pupils and be very effective in showing why a thing is wrong and what ought to take its place.
In conclusion, I must come back again to the Report and quote from
it with the exquisite pleasure that one has when he finds the opinions he has previously expressed, upheld by high authority: "Furthermore, the instructor, in altogether too many instances, does not know how to do his part in the work, and consequently the study of literary models, as now carried on in our schools of secondary education, not infrequently does more harm than good. good. Not only, as the papers show, is it marked by a pitiful waste of valuable time, but it leaves behind it a sense of weariness and disgust rather than mind hunger. For instance, what possible benefit can immature boys derive from devoting a large portion of a whole school term to the analysis of a single oration of Webster's by paragraphs, sentences, and clauses; or what but a sense of repulsion can result if children, needing assimilative nutriment and craving the stimulant of interest, are daily dosed with long and to them nauseous, because unintelligible, drafts from Emerson, Ruskin, Cardinal Manning, Matthew Arnold, and Walter Pater? The province of the preparatory schools is to train the scholar, boy or girl, and train him or her thoroughly, in what can only be described as the elements and rudiments of written expression, they should teach facile,clear penmanship, correct spelling, simple grammatical construction, and neat, workmanlike, mechanical execution. And this is no slight or simple task."
EXERCISES FOR WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN
ARRANGED BY MARGARET W. SUTHERLAND.
On a day set apart for the celebration of the birthdays of a nation's heroes the exercises should be of an educative and inspiring nature. They should never be merely entertaining; and I think it better not to have any exercises at all than to have trivial, jingling rhymes or trashy prose of a kind that not only fails to do honor to the memory of Washington but is a positive insult to the dignity of his character. Some educational papers publish and some teachers use in their schoolrooms selections that do much to cultivate a spirit of irreverence, which all those who thoughtfully consider the welfare. of our country deprecate in the youth of our land.
brought together a common service in honor of Washington and Lincoln will have in it more spirit than separate exercises by the various schools.
A number of noble sentiments from our great men are given not only on account of their worth, but that a greater number of pupils may have some share in the afternoon's work.
Two years ago in making a program for February 22, I gave a share of attention to Lowell. He ought not to be forgotten on his birthday, especially as our country has produced no more patriotic poet; but as I thought it best to combine the celebration of Lincoln's birthday with that of Wash
In the program that follows ington, I suggest that one of the
choice literature will be found. For use in ungraded schools a few exercises have been inserted that are designed mainly for the little folks. But I know that they can be helped by listening to older boys and girls who can be trained to speak well the orations of orators and the poems of real poets. Indeed when I taught in the grammar schools I used to think the more real worth in a thing the better my pupils spoke it. Where the pupils in graded schools can conveniently be
pupils prepare an essay on Lowell or that the teacher give a short talk on this fine type of the American citizen.
Song Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean. School. Concert Recitation-What Constitutes a State?
Declamation-The Memory of our Fathers (Lyman Beecher) (McGuffey's Sixth Reader. Take first two paragraphs.) Sentiment Our Native Land. (To be recited by one of the little children.)
WHAT CONSTITUTES A STATE?
What constitutes a state?
Not high-raised battlement or labored mound,
Thick wall or moated gate; Not cities proud with spires and turrets crowned;
Not bays and broad-armed ports, Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride;
Not starred and spangled courts, Where low-browed baseness
wafts perfume to pride. No: men, high-minded men, With powers as far above dull brutes endued
In forest, brake, or den,
As beasts excel cold rocks and brambles rude,
Men who their duties know, But know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain, Prevent the long-aimed blow, And crush the tyrant while they rend the chain: These constitute a state;
And sovereign Law, that state's collected will,
O'er thrones and globes elate, Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill.
OUR NATIVE LAND.
BY C. PHILLIPS.
Other countries, far and near, Other people hold most dear; Other countries ne'er can be Half so dear to you and me As our own, our native land. By it firmly let us stand. FROM WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF
THE UNITED STATES.
Of all the disposition and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indis
pensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Pa triotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of in
vestigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
'Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of Free Government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts t shake the foundation of the fabric? Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force
to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
THE CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON.
Washington was the patriot without reproach; he loved his country well enough to hold his success in serving it as an ample recompense. Thus far self-love and love of country coincided; but when his country needed sacrifices that no other man could or perhaps would be willing to make, he did not even hesitate. This was virtue in its most exalted character.
More than once he put his fame at hazard, when he had reason to think it would be sacrificed, at least in this age. Two instances cannot be denied; when the army was disbanded; and again, when he stood, like Leonidas at the pass of Thermopylæ, to defend our independence against France.
If he had strong passions, he had learned to subdue them, and to be moderate and mild. If he had weaknesses, he concealed them, which is rare, and excluded them from the government of his temper and conduct, which is still more rare. If he loved fame, he never made improper compliances for what is called popularity. The fame he enjoyed is of the kind that will last forever; yet it was rather the effect, than the motive, of his conduct. Some future Plutarch will search for a parallel to his char
acter. Epaminondas is perhaps the brightest man of all antiquity. Our Washington resembled him in the purity and ardor of his patriotism; and like him, he first exalted the glory of his country. But such comparisons cannot be pursued far, without departing from the similitude. For we shall find it as difficult to compare great men as great rivers; some we admire for the length and rapidity of their current, and the grandeur of their cataracts; others, for the majestic silence and fulness of their streams; we cannot bring them together to measure the difference of their waters. The unambitious life of Washington, declining fame, yet courted by it, seemed, like the Ohio, to choose its long way through solitudes, diffusing fertility; or, like his own Potomac, widening and deepening his channel, as he approaches the sea, and displaying most the usefulness and serenity of his greatness towards the end of his Fisher Ames.
WHAT IS IT TO BE AN AMERICAN?
Once more, what is it to be an American? Putting aside all the outer shows of dress and manners, social customs and physical peculiarities, is it not to believe in America and in the American people? Is it not to have an abiding and moving faith in the future and in the destiny of America?-something above and beyond the patriotism and love which every man whose soul is not dead within him feels for the land of his birth? Is it not to be national and not sectional, independent and not colonial? Is it not to have a high conception of what this great new country should be, and to follow out that ideal with loyalty and truth?
Has any man in our history fulfilled these conditions more perfectly and more completely than George Washington? Has any many ever lived who served the American people more faithfully, or with a higher and truer conception of the destiny and possibilities of the country?