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Among the causes which tend to add to the number thus growing up, are the indifference of many parents concerning the education of their children, the want of parental authority in others, and, in many cases, the lack of a decent sufficiency of clothing, and not unfrequently, perhaps, that natural shame felt alike by the destitute and the degraded when in contact with those of better fame and fortune. Whatever the cause of the evil, the results are apparent. The remedy is not obvious. Certain it is, however, that “the defect of the school system is at the bottom.” The man who can devise some method by which all the children of the State may be taught even to read and write, should be regarded as the greatest patriot of the nation. There are many who are so zealous in the good cause that they would add the colleges to the public-school system. But the true work and the true honor is for him who would make secure a universality of rudimental study, and graduate honest, independent, laborloving youth, qualified to become intelligent students in the practical school of life.
“THE IGNORANCE OF TEACHERS."
THE strictures made by a correspondent in the last number, on the
editorial, “THE IGNORANCE OF TEACHERS," caused us to fear that others had equally misunderstood our remarks. Communications since received, however, show a correct understanding of our purpose and senthments. One correspondent says:
"I was a little touched on seeing the caption of the article, but on reading it, I pronounced an unequivocal Amen. For I perceived that, while ostensibly reflecting upon teachers, you were in reality denouncing the customs, rules, and circumstances which tend to make the teacher appear at a disadvantage among those who often are his inferiors; and I feel sure that the profession needs no warmer friend than it has in the MONTALY."
But while correspondents are thus willing to point to customs, school laws, and unfavorable circumstances, as the real mark at which we aimed, we must remind them that the profession, aye, each member of it, too, has a work to perform in removing every thing that is detrimental to their interests, and in any way—directly or indirectly—derogatory to their po- . sition and professional reputation.
Gotha, December 2, 1865.
-at any rate, to me. Yet the interost, to The Great Kinder Garten School at Gotha— me, was marred by this one fact, that there
The Sparrow and the Hawk-Mechanical Was a lack of spontaneity; all was too dead, Occupations, etc.— The Mistake in the Sys too mechanical. You can not make sports tem-Careful Oversight, the Great Advan take the place of books without sapping tage-The Elementary School attached to the life which makes them enjoyable. You the Kinder Garten ; it is not Superior to can not turn play into the regular duty and American Schools.
routine of the school-room without changTHE Kinder Garten of Gotha is one of
ing it from play to work, and making it 1 the most celebrated in Germany; and
distasteful. The expressionless faces of
the children, and the stiff, formal manner as my little girl is a pupil there, I have taken time to visit it repeatedly. So far as
in which they went through their plays these visits warrant, I may say that the
and songs, convinced me that there lay a
mistake at the bottom of the system, and method of instructing the scholars is as good, or perhaps better, than is current in
that the introduction of a few minutes of American infant schools. The director,
song and of play into the midst of the reguMr. Kohler, is evidently a man of fine
lar duties of the school-room gives a keener spirit; and the young ladies who assist
satisfaction than the system of this Kinder him are patient, faithful, and energetic.
Garten. The method employed is as follows:
“All work and no play Children attend four hours daily-from
Makes Jack a dull boy," ten to twelve, and from two to four. The
says the old couplet; but first hour is spent in singing; the second, in building block-houses, drawing on slates,
No work and all play working on perforated board, and weaving
Is apt Jack to cloy, slips of variegated paper together. In sing- is an eqnally bad rhyme, and not much ing, the children stand in a circle, and the further from the truth. songs are made to illustrate simple little Yet the institution seems to be not wholly games. Take this, for instance: A spar- unworthy of praise. With the introducrow is seen flitting up and down within tion of an hour's instruction in sewing and the circle of little ones. This is a child knitting (to be taught to the boys as well chosen at random from the school. It sings as to the girls), and some little matters like a simple air, telling you how glad it is to that, interposed with frequent songs and enjoy the bright sunlight. Pretty soon a plays, as is done in an admirable Kinderhawk enters the circle, in silence, and pur- garten in London, it would be very easy sues the sparrow up and down, while the to make this institution one of great excelchildren standing aronnd sing a verse orence and profit. I think the careful overtwo describing the pursuit. The next step sight which the scholars have at all times is seen when all aim a gun (their extended is, perhaps, the best part of the whole syg. right arm) at the hawk, continue the tem. A little son or daughter can be sent song, which culminates at that point when here with the greatest security against the the combined weapons are discharged and contraction of evil habits and foul language. the hawk falls dead. Meanwhile, the chil- The elementary school, which is condren continue their verses, while the nected with this Kinder Garten, I have strongest goes in and bears the bird of also visited. The method of instruction is prey from the field.
similar to that which is pursued in those This is an example out of many. Some schools with us where the object sysillustrate occupations—the blacksmith, the tem” has been introduced. It is hardly shoemaker, and the like; some imitate the worth while to enter into a detailed demotion of mills and of machinery more or scription, for there was little new to be less intricate. All indicate ingenuity. A described. The appearance of the scholars few are copied, and are well knowr., in an and of the teachers was not materially unEnglish dress, in America. Some are new like what it would be found in hundreds
of schools in New England and in New York. Books are little used. Much of the instruction is conveyed by oral communicution, and the Pestalozzian central principle is rigidly adhered to, to make the scholars think out result after result, from principles and facts given to them at the outset. Yet in no way could this school be spoken of as superior to many which can be found with us. One might expect in German teachers one quality the possession of which might naturally presuppose the possession of patience, I mean stolidity
-that good-natured, easy way, that would make them gentle, considerate, patient teachers. But this they do not seem to be. They are, too often, hasty, harsh, passionate. Treatment of this sort is the worst possible for children. There is nothing that they need more than the absence of an impetuous, jerky, fiery, and impatient spirit. But I do not find that, in this respect, the Germans are superior to our nervous and too excitable teachers in America.
W. L. G.
YOW TO TEACH THE ALPHABET.
ASTORIA, December 16, 1865. M R. EDITOR—The difficulty experi11 enced by many preceptors in teaching the alphabet induces me to say a few words concerning it. I have come to the eonelusion, that before a person is fitted to impart primary instruction he must be full of experience in teaching, and must possess tact and judgment rarely found. Consequently, we commit an error of the most grievous kind when we use primary classes as schools of discipline and preparation, in which young teachers are to gain the training which fits them for positions of (as is supposed) more responsibility.
To teach the alphabet is a difficult task, generally because the teacher is unfitted for the work. An officer in our army, while at New Orleans, undertook to teach a freedman to read. In the orthodox manper, he took up the primer, and, pointing out the third letter, said, “That is "C;' then pointing out the first letter, he said, ** That is 'A.'" Whenever the pupil was asked the name of either letter, he invariably answered "C," and, when rebuked, promptly replied:
"It's 20 use, massa; 'C''ll always come
Failing in this, and thinking he had begun at the iniddle, the instructor pointed out two capital “A's” of different sizes, and stated that they were alike. Being called away for a short time, he was astonished, upon his return, at finding the pupil busily engaged in comparing the letters by means , of a stick.
“Some mistake here, massa; they ain't the same--one's bigger than t'other."
The would-be teacher gave up his charge in disgust, and ever since has busily denounced the freednien as incapable of mental improvement, forgetting, meanwhile, that the fault was his, not his pupil's.
As the inclination of the child is against study, the elementary points must be presented as curiosities, not as subjects requiring labor. If this method be adopted, the teaching of the alphabet becomes simple. Ilow easily children pick up the letters, their names and sounds, from a tin plato! An acquaintance of mine, an old teacher, not long ago illustrated this principle by relating his own experience :
“While I was teaching over in New Jersey, I found that one of my pupils, a little fellow about ten years old, was unusually dull. Soon it was his father's turn "to board the teacher.' While there, I learned that, before the boy went to school, ; he knew nearly all his letters, but that he had now forgotten them. The teacher's neglect then had caused his dullness. I took him in hand immediately.
"• Do you see that letter? What does it look like?
"* Like a hoop.'
""Well, it is a hoop, but we call it "0." What does this letter look like?'
"Why, it's just like a saw-buck.'
"Well, it is a saw-buck, but we call it " X.",
"I then pointed to 'B,' and called it an oxshoe; 60 with others, until, in three quarters of an honr, his knowledge of the alphabet had returned, and each letter wore & farniliar face. At length I called his attention to the two letters, 'O' and ·X,' and asked him what they spelled. Of course he did not know; but, by pointing out the oxen then feeding in the door-yard, I helped him. In this way I gained his attention. Learning was not a task but an amusement, and before bedtime the dull child was as bright as need be. From that night I had no difficulty. The boy is now 2 worthy man, as clever as any of his
neighbors, all owing, no doubt, to that and children, nor even of the hardships of ovening's work."
the miserable rebel prisoners who spent Object-teaching, or illustration from every dreary months and years on their own soil. day life, is the way to reach the youthful Oh, no! these things are not for their mind, which is incapable of comprehend- enrs, and they are led to believe that the ing abstractions. To employ this method sufferings of our boys in Southern prisons properly, careful preparation must be made. was unprovoked and unparalleled. The lack of this causes many teachers to This seems to me all wrong. If we are complain of dullness in their pupils ; & to have peace in reality--if the conciliatory complaint they should never utter, remem- policy of our Government is to amount to bering the proverb, “Bad workmen only any thing-why embitter the minds of the complain of their tools."
J. d. 8. children by keeping continually before
them the wrongs of one side only 1 Bet
ter far instit lessons of pity and forgive“OUR YOUNG FOLKS” AND “THE ness. OTHER SIDE."
It seems unwise, to say the least, now at
the close of one fearful war, to sow the LYNDON, MD., December 7, 1865.
seeds that must, some day, result in anMR. EDITOR-I am not much of a other wur, if they produce their legitimate II critic, but in the “MONTHLY" for Nov. fruit. But, besides that, it is eruel to the ember there is one page which I do feel in children themselves to foster in their hearts clined to criticise a little. The page in sentiments and prejudices that can not elequestion is that which you devote to the vate or refine them, or prepare them for the notice of “ Our Young Folks.”
duties of citizenship in a reunited country. • Now, so far from gainsaying a single word My heart aches for the children, who, inof it, I cordially indorse it all, for a more stead of being taught to forgive their ene charming little monthly could scarcely be mies, are taught to hate them with a bitter gotten up; but there is a qualification I hatred. should make in giving it my approval, Then there is another view to take of it. which you do not make, and I am sure it has If these magazines find their way into the never occurred to you. One's geographical Lands of Southern youth (which, howposition sometimes reveals truths, which ever, in their present impoverished conmore acute and profound minds, in a dif- dition is not very likely to happen), it will ferent locality, fail to discern.
have, by no means, & conciliating effect Thus guided, I have been pained to dis- upon their minds, to find that but.one side cover, in that otherwise almost faultless of the story is told to their young countrylittle magazine, a drop of poison, that must men in the North, and that their sufferings, penetrate the young minds and hearts privations, and wrongs, are ignored altowhich are learning from its pages their gether. “lessons for life." I refer to the articles Is it not, think you, a very great pityconcerning the treatment of our prisoners great wrong-thus to implant such lasting of war, and others of similar tone.
ill-feeling and hostility in the minds of Tales of suffering and hardship are relat- yonth all over the land? ed with a bitterness that must make a deep But I have written more than I intended; impression on the tender minds of youth, I only meant to suggest to you the danger, and lead them to form and cherish senti- thinking you might devise & remedy. ments of hatred and retaliation.
Could not your influence be enlisted in Now, I would not object to children hear- an effort to somewhat modify the tone, or ing of these things, if they heard both sides exclude such articles from the pages of a impartially, for that would teach them to journal so widely disseminated as “Our hate war itself, and to avoid whatever Young Folks," and so calculated to form would lead to it.
and mold the plastic minds and characBut children in the North, at least the ters of the rising generation? readers of “Our Young Folks," are never Your unqualified indorsement of it calls told of the suffering that marked the track for an effort from you to help to make it of the conquering armies—they know noth- worthy of what you say of it, and perfectly ing of the miles of wasted desolated homes, unexceptionable in every respect. Or if the throngs of starving, perishing women this nay not be, you can at least warn your
own children, and the many young friends you must have, of the insidious teachings of such articles.
Here, on the border, we feel these things as you scarcely can, but the danger exists, nevertheless, if it be not apparent.
My deep interest in the children of our country-our whole country--and a desire to see the divine law of forgiveness and charity impressed on their susceptible hearts, must be my apology for writing at such length.
A, J. M. A.
NOTES AND QUERIES.
NOTES. Petroleum.-I have seen several conflicting statements as to the lowest depths at which this substance is found, and the localities in which it is thus procured. Petroleum is found in Canada in geological formations lower than in any other region. The lowest worked oil-bearing stratum is the corniferous limestone of Enniskillen.
A. MOTT KNOLL.
up the ground, breaking down the furnace, untiling the house, and killing many persons." This was the steam of a few ounces of water, as it is termed merely “ damp." The temperature of melted brass is only 1,8690 F.; but the heat of lava is at least 3,0000 F. Now, as it has been proved that the pressure of steam increases with an enormously rapid ratio with the temperature, it is manifest that steam, which is present in all natural disturbances of the earth's crust, must be, at times, a dominant force in the production of earthquakes and volcanoes.-J. W. H. o.]
Gold.-TheObject-lesson on Gold" suggests another inquiry. Is this metal the heaviest of all known substances ?
E. B. S- LL. [Gold is not the heaviest substance known. Its specific gravity is about 19.8; that of platinum and iridium about 21.15; osmium, 21.45.-J. W. H. o.]
of Light. Is it universally and posed that light is due to the vibrations of the ether?
[No. Dr. Calvert, an eminent English philosopher, holds that the phenomena of light is due to the vibrations of solid matter. He believes that there is no light, heat, electricity, or magnetism beyond the limits of the atmosphere surrounding the earth, but that when the ether, which is in a state of vibration, comes in contact with the particles of matter composing our atmosphere, it communicates one of its own peculiar vibrations to these particles ; that then, by their vibrations, they become luminous. This theory was maintained in the recent “ Cantor Lecture," before the Society of Arts, and awakened much interest.-. w. . c.]
Steam Power in Eurthquakes.--I find little said of the power of steam in the phenom. ena of earthquakes. What is its greatest power? Is it not an active agent in such cases ?
H. G. HOWELL. [The power of steam, at exceedingly high temperatures, has not been ascertained. It is recorded that in casting two brass cannon, the heat of the metal of the first gun "drove so much damp (sic) into the mold of the second, which was near, that as soon as the metal was let in, it exploded, tearing
REPLIES West Virginia.-In November MONTALY are queries concerning West Virginia. When the old State of Virginia seceded, the western part, almost as a unit, refused to follow. When the Confederates poured across the border, on their way to Pennsylvania and Ohio, she rose as a breakwater between them, rallied round the old flag, and asked to be admitted as a member of the family of Federal States. Congress granted the petition, and another star was added to the flag, bearing the motto Montana semper liberi. Striking off the shackles of slavery, she adopted the freeschool and township systems. West Virginia became a State, not temporarily--not as a war measure-but actually and permanently. The temporary capital is Wheeling.