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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."
HE 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 senthients. 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 sore that the profession needs no warmer friend than it has in the MONTHLY."
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 position 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 changVE Kinder Garten of Gotha is one of ing it from play to work, and making it
distasteful. the most celebrated in Germany; and
The expressionless faces of as my little girl is a pupil there, I have
the children, and the stiff, formal manner 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 method of instructing the scholars is as
mistake at the bottom of the system, and
that the introduction of a few minutes of good, or perhaps better, than is current in 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 or ence 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 sysright 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.
sinilar 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 he knew nearly all his letters, but that he ing the alphabet induces me to say a few had now forgotten them. The teacher's words concerning it. I have come to the neglect then had caused his dullness. I conclusion, that before a person is fitted to took him in hand immediately. impart primary instruction he must be full " • Do you see that letter? What does it of experience in teaching, and must pos- look like? sess tact and judgment rarely found. Con- 66. Like a boop.' sequently, we commit an error of the most 1. Well, it is a hoop, but we call it "0." grievous kind when we use primary classes What does this letter look like?' as schools of discipline and preparation, " • Why, it's just like a saw-buck.' in which young teachers are to gain the "Well, it is a saw-buck, but we call it training which fits them for positions of “X.") (as is supposed) more responsibility. “I then pointed to 'B,' and called it an ox
of schools in New England and in New Failing in this, and thinking he had beYork, Books are little used. Much of the gun at the middle, the instructor pointed instruction is conveyed by oral communi- out two capital “A's” of different sizes, and eation, and the Pestalozzian central prin- stated that they were alike. Being called ciple is rigidly adhered to, to make the away for a short time, he was astonished, scholars think out result after result, from upon his return, at finding the pupil busily principles and facts given to them at the engaged in comparing the letters by means outset. Yet in no way could this school of a stick. be spoken of as superior to many which “Some mistake here, massa; they ain't can be found with us. One might expect the same--one's bigger than t'other." in German teachers one quality the posses- The would-be teacher gave up his charge sion of which might naturally presuppose in disgust, and ever since has busily dethe possession of patience, I mean stolidity nounced the freedmen as incapable of men—that good-natured, easy way, that would tal improvement, forgetting, meanwhile, make them gentle, considerate, patient that the fault was his, not his pupil's. teachers. But this they do not seem to As the inclination of the child is against be. They are, too often, hasty, harsh, study, the elementary points must be prepassionate. Treatment of this sort is the sented as curiosities, not as subjects requirworst possible for children. There is noth- ing labor. If this method be adopted, the ing that they need more than the absence teaching of the alphabet becomes simple. of an impetnous, jerky, fiery, and impatient How easily children pick up the letters, spirit. But I do not find that, in this re- their names and sounds, from a tin plate! spect, the Germans are superior to our An acquaintance of mine, an old teacher, nervous and too excitable teachers in not long ago illustrated this principle by America.
W. L. G. relating his own experience :
“ While I was teaching over in New
Jersey, I found that one of my pupils, a VOW TO TEACH THE ALPHABET. little fellow about ten years old, was un
nsually dull. Soon it was his father's turn ASTOREA, December 16, 1865.
"to board the teacher.' While there, I TR. EDITOR-The difficulty experi- learned that, before the boy went to school,
To teach the alphabet is a difficult task, shoe; so with others, until, in three quargenerally because the teacher is unfitted ters of an hoor, his knowledge of the alfor the work. An officer in our army, phabet had returned, and each letter wore while at New Orleans, undertook to teach a farniliar face. At length I called his ata freedman to read. In the orthodox man- tention to the two letters, 'O' and 'X,' ner, he took up the primer, and, pointing and asked him what they spelled. Of out the third letter, said, “That is ‘C;' course he did not know; but, by pointing then pointing out the first letter, he said, out the oxen then feeding in the door-yard, ** That is ‘A.!" Whenever the pupil was I helped him. In this way I gained his asked the name of either letter, he invari- attention. Learning was not a task but an ably answered “C," and, when rebuked, amusement, and before bedtime the dull promptly replied:
child was as bright as need be. From that “It's no use, maasa; 'C''ll always come night I had no difficulty. The boy is now fust."
a worthy man, as clever as any of his 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."
Mented by many preceptors in teach
neighbors, all owing, no doubt, to that and children, nor even of the hardships of ovening's work."
the niiserable 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 ; a 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. J. S. children by keeping continually before
them the wrongs of one side only? Bet
ter far instil lessons of pity and forgiveOUR YOUNG FOLKS" AND THE OTHER SIDE."
It seems unwise, to say the least, now at
the close of one fearful war, to sow the LYNDON, M., December 7, 1865.
seeds that must, some day, result in anR. EDITOR-I am not much of a other war, if they produce their legitimate own children, and the many young friends My deep interest in the children of our you must have, of the insidious teachings country—our whole country--and a desire of such articles.
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 wands 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, a 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- youth 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 a 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 plastio 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 may not be, you can at least warn your
to see the divine law of forgiveness and Here, on the border, we feel these things charity impressed on their susceptible as you scarcely can, but the danger exists, hearts, must be my apology for writing nevertheless, if it be not apparent.
at such length.
A. J. M. A.
NOTES AND QUERIES.
up the ground, breaking down the furnace, Petroleum.-I have seen several conflict
untiling the house, and killing many pering statements as to the lowest depths at
sons." This was the steam of a few ounces which this substance is found, and the lo
of water, as it is termed merely “ damp." calities in which it is thus procured. Pe
A. MOTT KNOLL.
E. B. SLL.
The temperature of melted brass is only troleum is found in Canada in geological
1,8090 F. ; but the heat of lava is at least formations lower than in any other region. 3,000° F. Now, as it has been proved that The lowest worked oil-bearing stratum is
the pressure of steam increases with an the corniferous limestone of Enniskillen.
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 QUERIES.
force in the production of earthquakes and Origin of Light.-—Is it universally sup
volcanoes.-J. W. H. o.] posed that light is due to the vibrations of Gold.—The “ Object-lesson on Gold" the ether?
suggests another inquiry. Is this metal the [No. Dr. Calvert, an eminent English
heaviest of all known substances ? philosopher, holds that the phenomena of light is due to the vibrations of solid matter.
[Gold is not the heaviest substance He believes that there is no light, heat, known. Its specific gravity is about 19.8; electricity, or magnetism beyond the limits that of platinum and iridium about 21.15; of the atmosphere surrounding the earth, osmium, 21.45.-J. W. 8. c.] but that when the ether, which is in a state of vibration, comes in contact with the particles of matter composing our atmosphere,
REPLIES. it communicates one of its own peculiar West Virginia.-In November MONTHLY vibrations to these particles ; that then, by are queries concerning West Virginia. their vibrations, they become luminous. When the old State of Virginia seceded, This theory was maintained in the recent the western part, almost as a unit, refused " Cantor Lecture," before the Society of to follow. When the Confederates poured Arts, and awakened much interest.-d. W. across the border, on their way to PennsylH. c.]
vania and Ohio, she rose as a breakwater Steam Power in Eurthquakes.-I find little between them, rallied round the old flag, said of the power of steam in the phenom- and asked to be admitted as a member of ena of earthquakes. What is its greatest the family of Federal States. Congress power? Is it not an active agent in such granted the petition, and another star was cases ?
added to the flag, bearing the motto Mon [The power of steam, at exceedingly high tana semper liberi. Striking off the temperatures, has not been ascertained. It shackles of slavery, she adopted the freeis recorded that in casting two brass can- school and township systems. West Virnon, the heat of the metal of the first gun ginia became a State, not temporarily--not “ drove so much damp (sic) into the mold as a war measure-but actually and permaof the second, which was near, that as soon nently. The temporary capital is Wheeling. as the metal was let in, it exploded, tearing
H. G. HOWELL.