網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

giving the lesson, let it be read to them ; let the meaning of the most difficult words in it be explained to them; and let them con over by themselves before they are called to read to the master or usher ; who is to take particular care that they do not read too fast, and that they duly observe the stops and pauses. A vocabulary of the most useful difficult words might be formed for their use, with explanations ; and they might daily get a few of those words and explanations by heart, which would a little exercise their memories ; or at least they might write a number of them in a small book for the purpose, which would help to fix the meaning of those words n their minds, and at the same time furnish every one with a little dictionary for his future use.

THE SECOND CLASS To be taught reading with attention, and with proper modulation of the voice ; according to the sentiment and subject.

Some short pieces, not exceeding the length of a Spectator, to be given this class for lessons (and some of the easier Spectators would be very suitable for the purpose.) These lessons inight be given every night as tasks; the scholars to study them against the morn. ing. Let it then be required of them to give an account, first of the parts of speech and construction of one or two sentences. This will oblige them to recur frequently to their grammar, and fix its principal rules in their memory. Next, of the intention of the writer, or the scope of the piece, the meaning of each sentence, and of every uncommon wore. This would early acquaint them with the meaning and force of words, and give them that most necessary habit, of reading with attention.

The master then to read the piece with the proper modulations of voice,'due emphasis, and suitable action, where action is required ; and put the youth on imitating his manner.

Where the author has used an expression not the best, let it be pointed out ; and let his beauties be par. ticularly remarked to the youth.

Let the lessons for reading be varied, that the youth may be made acquainted with good styles of all kinds in prose and verse, and the proper manner of reading each kind-sometimes a well-told story, a piece of a sermon, a general's speech to his soldiers, a speech in a tragedy, some part of a comedy, an ode, a satire, a letter, blank verse, Hudibrastic, heroic, &c. But let such lessons be chosen for reading, as contain some useful instruction, whereby the understanding or morals of the youth may at the same time be improved.

It is required that they should first study and understand the lessons, before they are put upon reading them properly ; to which end each boy should have an English dictionary, to help him over difficulties. When our boys read English to us, we are apt to imagine they understand what they read, because we do, and because it is their mother tongue. But they often read as parrots speak, knowing little or nothing of the meaning. And it is impossible a reader should give the due modulation to his voice, and pronounce properly, unless his understanding goes before his tongue, and makes him master of the sentiment. Ac. customing boys to read aloud what they do not first understand, is the cause of those even set tones so common among readers, which, when they have once got a habit of using, they find so difficult to correct ; by which means, among fifty readers we scarcely find a good one. For want of good reading pieces published with a view to influence the minds of men, for their own or the public benefit, lose half their force. Were there but one good reader in a neighbourhood, a pub. lic orator might be heard throughout a nation with the same advantages, and have the same effect upon his audience, as if they stood within the reach of his voice.

THE THIRD CLASS To be taught speaking properly and gracefully ; which is near a-kin to good reading, and naturally iollows it in the studies of youth Let the scholars of this class begin with learning the elements of rhetoric from some short system, so as to be able to give an account of the most usefui tropes and figures. Let all their bad habits of speaking, all offences against good grammar, all corrupt or foreign accents and all improper phrases, be pointed out to them. Short speeches from the Roman or other history, or from the parliamentary debates, might be got by heart, and delivered with the proper action, &c. Speeches and scenes in our best tragedies and comedies (avoiding things that could injure the morals of youth) might likewise be got by rote, and the boys exercissd in delivering or acting them; great care being taken to form their manner after the truest models.

For this farther improvement, and a little to vary their studies, let them now begin to read history, after having got by heart a short table of the principal epoclas in Chronology. They may begin with Rollin's ancient and Roman histories, and proceed at proper hours, as they go through the subsequent classes, with the best histories of our own nation and colonies. Let emulation be excited among the boys, by giving weekly, little prizes, or other small encouragements, to those who are able to give the best account of what they have read, as to times, places, names of persons, & This will make them read with attention, and imprint the history well in their memories. In remarking on the history, the master will have fine opportunities of instilling instructions of various kinds,

and improving the morals, as well as the understandings of youth,

The natural and mechanic history, contained in the Spectacle de la Nature, might also be began in this class, and continued through the subsequent classes by other books of the same kind; for, next to the knowledge of duty, this kind of knowledge is certainly the most useful, as well as the most entertaining. The merchant may thereby be enabled better to understand many' commodities in trade ; the handicraftman to improve his business by new instruments, mixtures, and materials ; and frequent hints are given for new manufactures, and new methods of improving land, that may be set on foot greatly to the advantage of the country.

THE FOURTH CLASS To be taught composition. Writing one's own language well, is the next necessary accompiishment after good speaking. It is the writing master's business to take care that the boys make fair characters, and place them straight and even in the lines : but to form their style, and even to take care that the stops and capitals are properly disposed, is the part of an English master. The boys should be put on writing letters to each other on any common occurrences, and on various subjects, imaginary business, &c. containing little stories, accounts of their late reading, what parts of authors please them, and why ; letters of congratulation, of compliment, of requests, of thanks, of recommendation, of admonition, of consolation, of expostulation, excuse, &c. In these they should be taught to express themselves clearly, concisely and naturally without affected words or high flown phrases. All their letters to pass through the masters hand, who is to point out the faults, advise the corrections, and commend what he finds right. Some of the best letters published in our own language, as Sir William

Temple's, those of Pope and his friends, and some others, might be set before the youth as models, their beauties pointed out, and explained by the master, the letters themselves transcribed by the scholar.

Dr. Johnson's Ethices Elementa, or First Principles of Morality, may now be read by the scholars, and explained by the master to lay a solid foundation of virtue and piety in their minds. And as this class continues the reading of history, let them now, at proper hours, receive some farther instructions of Chronolosy and in that part of Geography (from the mathematical master) which is necessary to understand the maps and globes. They should also be acquainted with the modern names of places they find mentioned in ancient writers. The exercises of good reading, and proper speaking, still continued at suitable times.

FIFTH CLASS To improve the youth in composition, they may now, besides continuing to write letters, begin to write little essays in prose, and sometimes in verse ; not to make them poets, but for this reason, that nothing acquaints a lad so speedily with variety of expression as the necessity of finding such words and phrases as well suit the measure, sound and rhime of verse, and at the same time well express the sentiment. These essays should all pass under the master's eye, who will point out their faults, and put the writer on correcting them. Where the judgment is not ripe enough for forming new essays, let the sentiments of a Spectator be given, and required to be clothed in the scholar's own words ; or the circumstances of some good story ; the scholar to find expression. Let them be put sometimes on abridging a paragraph of a diffuse author: sometimes on dilating or amplifying what is wrote mere closely. And now let Dr. Johnson's 10ea lica, or First Principles of Human Knowledge, containing a logic, or art of reasoning, &c. be read by the

Z

« 上一頁繼續 »