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ploying even one of this profession who is unprepared for the business he attempts.
But to form the mind of man is deemed so simple and easy an affair, that no such preparation or precautions are required. Any person may become a teacher without any definite preparation, and without any test of skill or experience. Thousands will be found who would consider it ridiculous for a child to have his foot covered by an awkward and inexperienced artisan, who yet, without a moment's examination, would commit the formation of his mind to almost any one who will offer to do the business. Were our country suddenly deprived of every artist who could make a shoe, we should immediately witness frequent combination and consultation to supply the loss. The most ingenious would be employed to communicate to others their skill, and thousands of minds would be directing their energies to restoring this useful art to its former advance toward perfection. But the human mind, that spark of immortality, that wonderful origin of knowledge, invention, affection, and moral power, where has been the combined effort, the patient instruction, the collected treasures of experience, the enthusiasm of interest, which should direct in clothing this emanation of Deity with all its expanded powers, its glowing affections, and undying energies? Has it not been the desultory, disunited business of a class of persons, driven to it by necessity, performing it without the enthusiasm which glows in all other professions, and leaving it whenever a livelihood could be obtained in any other respectable way?' pp. 4-6.
Perhaps this passage may be considered as rather an exaggerated picture; but, unfortunately, its general truth cannot be questioned. The author next shows, how unfitted mothers and teachers frequently are for the business of education.
'It is to mothers and to teachers, that the world is to look for the character which is to be enstamped on each succeeding generation, for it is to them the great business of education is almost exclusively committed. And will it not appear by examination, that neither mothers nor teachers have ever been properly educated for their profession? What is the profession of a Woman? Is it not to form immortal minds, and to watch, to nurse, and to rear the bodily system, so fearfully and wonderfully made, and upon the order and regulation of which the health and wellbeing of the mind so greatly depend?
• But let most of our sex upon whom these arduous duties devolve, be asked; Have you ever devoted any time and study, in the course of your education, to any preparation for these duties? Have you been taught anything of the structure, the nature, and
the laws of the body, which you inhabit? Were you ever taught to understand the operation of diet, air, exercise, and modes of dress upon the human frame? Have the causes which are continually operating to prevent good health, and the modes by which it might be perfected and preserved, ever been made the subject of any instruction? Perhaps almost every voice would respond, No; we have attended to almost everything more than to this; we have been taught more concerning the structure of the earth, the laws of the heavenly bodies, the habits and formation of plants, the philosophy of language; more of almost anything, than the structure of the human frame and the laws of health and reason. But is it not the business, the profession of a woman to guard the health, and form the physical habits of the young? And is not the cradle of infancy and the chamber of sickness sacred to woman alone? And ought she not to know at least some of the general principles of that perfect and wonderful piece of mechanism committed to her preservation and care ?
The restoration of health is the physician's profession, but the preservation of it falls to other hands; and it is believed that the time will come, when woman will be taught to understand something respecting the construction of the human frame; the philosophical results which will naturally follow from restricted exercise, unhealthy modes of dress, improper diet, and many other causes, which are continually operating to destroy the health and life of the young.
Again, let our sex be asked respecting the instruction they have received in the course of their education, on that still more arduous and difficult department of their profession, which relates to the intellect and the moral susceptibilities. Have you been taught the powers and faculties of the human mind, and the laws by which it is regulated? Have you studied how to direct its several faculties; how to restore those that are overgrown, and strengthen and mature those that are deficient? Have you been taught the best modes of communicating knowledge, as well as of acquiring it? Have you learned the best mode of correcting bad moral habits, and forming good ones?' pp. 7-9.
The remarks upon the common want of proper preparation in schoolmasters for their profession, and their consequent unfitness for it, are judicious. This is indeed a great evil, and one for which it is difficult to suggest an adequate remedy. A very large proportion of all the teachers in our country, are persons who adopt the business of instruction merely as a means of support for some short period, not intending to take it up as the profession of their lives. These individuals, however meritorious, cannot feel a deep interest
in this temporary calling. An employment, which is always extremely laborious, becomes irksome and disagreeable to those who have assumed it from necessity, not choice, and are constantly looking forward to leave it as soon as possible. With such feelings, how can they be expected to perform their duties in a manner satisfactory to themselves, or useful to their pupils. Even with the most conscientious desire of doing everything which they ought to do, they cannot feel that interest in their pupils and their pursuits, which is essential to good instructers. They will rarely exert themselves to make any improvements in the received modes of teaching; or, if they do make such exertions, will rarely have opportunity to mature and apply them successfully. It may also be remarked, that the personal characters of many men, who are in other respects estimable, totally unfit them for teachers. Should men, who are arbitrary, irritable, impatient, and passionate; or abstracted and inattentive; or cold, severe, and taciturn; ever be admitted into the office of instructers? In theory, there can be but one opinion on this subject, that such persons should never be allowed to undertake the business of teaching; yet, in practice, it is but little regarded. What effect will such instructers have on the dispositions of the youth committed to their charge?
Our author says, very justly, that many of the most serious evils in education have arisen from the want of proper school-books. There is undoubtedly much ground for complaint in this respect. Yet the evil is in a fair way to be gradually cured. In many of the books of instruction, published of late years, especially those intended for younger children, we find a more exact adaptation to the capacity and wants of the pupils; an attempt to make everything as clear and simple as possible, to give interest to the dry abstractions of science, and thus to make books the pleasant companions, instead of the severe masters, of youth. The introduction of the plan of Pestalozzi in arithmetic, for instance, by Colburn, must have led to some beneficial changes in the mode of teaching that branch of knowledge. So the improvements in the reading-books for young children must render their path up the hill of science less rugged. And we should think, that the use of a Greek lexicon with English definitions might make the study of that rich and delightful language less repulsive to young students, than it is
when the meanings of words in an unknown tongue are given in another scarcely less unknown. The introduction of English, in the place of Latin notes, in the Roman classics, is also a real and substantial improvement. What could be more absurd than to suppose that a boy, who cannot learn the meaning of twenty or thirty lines of Virgil in less than two or three hours, should be willing to task his leisure with finding out the meaning of twice the quantity of the learned notes of Father Ruæus. The dictionary and the notes, which ought to be assistants to the scholar, if in a foreign language, only perplex him with new enigmas. A great future improvement in school-books may certainly be looked for with confidence. from what has already been done, and is now doing.
Our author remarks, that another great defect in education, is the habit which is so often formed, of committing to memory words, instead of acquiring ideas! To teach children to think, to reason correctly, to invent, to discover, and to perform various mental operations with speed and accuracy, to communicate ideas in suitable language, and with clearness and facility, these have been the objects of but little attention. So general is the feeling that education consists in committing to memory facts and principles, that a great multitude of parents and pupils would feel, that following such pursuits as discipline the mind, induce habits of correct reasoning, cultivate quick perceptions, and give a ready command of language, as of little value; and it is difficult for teachers to combat this not uncommon prejudice.
'Another deficiency, in past modes of education, has been the neglect of using objects of sight to aid in illustrating and communicating ideas. It is stated by philosophers as a fact, that impressions made upon the mind by the organ of sight are much more vivid and abiding than those made by any other sense, and, therefore, that all ideas connected with such objects are much more readily recalled by the principle of association. Teachers also can testify to the fact, that whatever can be explained and illustrated by pictures, diagrams, or other apparatus, is much more readily comprehended, and more faithfully retained, than if mere language be the only method of communication. In our infant schools, which are probably founded on more philosophical principles than any other establishments for education, this principle is extensively adopted. And those who have witnessed what the infant mind can achieve, when words are not used till they are fully understood, and where objects of sight are combined with language in communicating instruction, can readily conceive that the same principle, applied to more matured in
tellects, must be of incalculable benefit in securing clear, accurate, and abiding knowledge.
But how little has this principle been adopted in common schools, where all books are crowded with words which children do not understand, and where, in most cases, not a single object of sight is presented for their aid.’ pp. 12-14.
We have only to add our hearty assent to these remarks. One of the greatest dangers, in all systems of instruction, undoubtedly is, that it should become too formal and mechanical, that the master should content himself with following the beaten track, without ever considering whether it is the best road to his object. To appoint a task to be learned from a book, and to hear a recitation, are, in too many schools, all that is usually done or thought of. The strength of the memory, no doubt an important object, is thus increased. But the aim of the master should be, beyond this, to see that the boy understands thoroughly the subject which he is studying, that he is not permitted to take a new step till the last is firmly planted. He should endeavor to interest his pupils in whatever study they are employed upon, to animate and encourage them. No recitation should pass without a conversation between the master and his pupils. He should set before them the uses and objects of the study which they are pursuing, point out to them why they are required to engage in it, and direct their attention to everything in their lesson which should interest them. If there is anything in it difficult to be understood, he should explain it, and should urge them to ask for explanations, if he neglects to make them. He should also use such illustrations as are adapted to their minds, and endeavor to inspire them with zeal in the pursuit of the branch of knowledge which is before them. He must, if he wishes to interest them, feel a strong interest himself in the subject of his instructions. He should never for a moment suppose, that they will learn everything from books, without any assistance from him, but should constantly bear in mind, that oral communications are a far more efficient mode of instructing children than any books can be; that in addressing his pupils, he has it in his power to suit his instructions, his explanations, and illustrations, exactly to their present situation, their character, and moral and intellectual progress; all which a book can do but imperfectly; and that, if he addresses them as a friend who feels an interest in their