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ing to the temper, disposition, and genius of the scholar. He is occasionally to hear and instruct the classes himseif, and far oftener to watch over the general order, seeing that his numerous ministers are at their post and alert (rather than acting himself) and overlooking the teachers and assistants, while hearing their respective classes.
7th. Last of all comes the superintendent (who may be the chaplain of the establishment, parochial minister, trustee, or visitor), whose scrutinizing eye must pervade the whole machine, whose active miud must give it energy, and whose unbrassed judgwent must inspire confidence, and maintain the general order and harmony. What goes before comprises the system of tuition by monitors. What follows is for the purpose of checks and instruments of discipline, in executing the above plan as well as of inspection and precision.
8th. Every lesson for the day, is marked in the teacher's and assistant teacher's book as it is given out: and the sum of these daily lessons and other exercises, and also the individual proficiency of each scholar, or the place he holds in his class, are entered in registers prepared for the purpose.
9th. There is also a black book, as the boys call it, or register of such offences as require serious animadversion; and a weekly scrutiny by
10th. A jury of twelve boys-the peers of the culprits.
Such in brief is the scheme of the Madras System of Education on an enlarged scale, and in a multiplied form adapted to a numerous school-a system which gives to the master, as it were, the hundred eyes of Argus, the hundred hands of Briareus, and the wings of Mercury ; and which, as it regards the pupils, has put an end to the race of dunces, superseded the necessity of punishment, and given the same interest and delight to the schoolroom as to the play-ground.
Instructions for modelling a School on the above Scheme.
It may be proper to premise that the universal principle of tuition by the scholars themselves, by which the Madras School is entirely conducted, has been styled self-tuition, because by it, "the school teaches itself:" but it may with equal propriety be styled self-discipline, as it is alike fitted for the discipline and the instruction of a school-maintaining order, and preventing faults, by the very same means by which it secures diligence, and carries on the tuition of the school.
Under this universal principle the school is conducted by two general laws.
The first is, that every scholar is allowed, by a fair and constant competition with his fellows, to find his level. The second is, that the instruction of the school is carried on by short, easy, frequent, appropriate, and perfect lessons.
The manner in which this is done is the subject of this chapter.
Begin with arranging the school into classes. In large schools, where great numbers have made an equal progress, each class may consist of 36 scholars. In small schools where such numbers do not readily coalesce, it is convenient that there be no more classes than the relative state of the scholars' progress absolutely requires. In general, the fewer the classes the better.
There is observable a general hesitation in uniting two (or three) small classes into one (or two), on account of a supposed inequality, because the one has advanced somewhat farther than the other. It is not considered that in the common run of schools the class which is united to another not quite so far advanced, sometimes derives more benefit from going over the ground again with the inferior class, than the inferior class does from the union with the superior; and that at any rate the advantage is reciprocal.
The next step is to select the ushers and teachers from
among the senior and best scholars, chiefly out of the two or three higher classes. This is best done, if the master is not acquainted with the dispositions, characters, and attainments of the scholars, by the elective voice of the higher classes and best boys in the school, and afterwards by means of those teachers, who scarce ever fail to find for him the boy best fitted for his purpose. In the first arrangement of a school, and as often as occasion requires, an usher may be nominated for every two or three classes: and by appointing a fitting agent on every emergency, such as for the establishment and maintenance of silence, diligence, and order, &c. nothing is ever difficult or laborious, in the hands of a master of capacity and energy. When the occasion for such supernumerary officers ceases, they are discontinued.
In the selection and in the management of the teachers, the ability of the master is brought to the test; for the regularity and discipline of the school as well as the progress of the respective classes, entirely depending upon their capacity and diligence, it behoves the master therefore to secure for himself such ministers as he can command and rely upon for ability and energy, without which nothing can be done as it ought to be done. He must exert his utmost vigilance and discretion in overlooking and directing all they do, and preventing or stopping, on its first occurrence, the smallest irregularity, deviation or neglect. No teachers, who do not prove themselves equal to the task assigned to them, should be retained. But as they are responsible for the improvement and behaviour of all under them; and are to do all that inspection and vigilance can do, to prevent offences, if they perform their office well, they should not be speedily removed, even for promotion into a higher class; generally speaking, it would be advantageous to keep them at least six months in the charge of the same class.
It is an easy matter for the master to give books and tasks to his teachers who are advanced considerably be
yond the class of which they have charge, and to enable them to carry on their own studies at home, and at leisure hours, in the way which will be most advantageous to themselves, without interfering with the discharge of their office. Indeed the teacher, even if confined to his class, must (when the school is in good order) soon, with them, reach the summit of the school.
The option of able teachers, and the facility of direction and superintendence, increase in the inverse ratio of the number of the classes; and yet no fault occurs more frequently in a school than for the master to double his own labour, while at the same time, and by the same means, he diminishes by one half the emulation and profit of his scholars, by the improvident multipli
cation of his classes.
Next, each class is to be paired off into tutors and pupils: the head or rather the best and most trusty boy, tutors the worst; the next best the next worst, and so
No lesson should occupy more than ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, both in learning and saying. This material rule yields only in importance to another, that no lesson must, on any account, be dismissed till it be well said. The assistant teacher, and the teacher should in their turn read a portion of the lesson with their class.
In the lower classes, the scholars having said one lesson well, immediately read over the next, and mark the hard words previously to going to their seats to learn it, and the teacher apportions its length to its difficulty. In preparing their spelling and reading lessons (and the same thing may be done in saying them) the scholar begins always with the difficult words, and words which have not occurred before. Indeed these frequently constitute the whole that is to be learnt, as the great bulk of the lesson will be already familiar from the frequent recurrence of the same words. It is of importance to observe that nothing imperfectly known is ever passed over; and nothing already well known dwelt upon. It
is thus only that a waste of time, even where the utmost diligence prevails, can be prevented.
When the lesson has been thus prepared or learnt, it is said by the scholars in portions by succession to the teacher, who names the boy that shall begin : and, if well said, they proceed to the next lesson; if not, they must repeat the same lesson, even shortened, if need be, till it be well learnt. The common practice is that when three mistakes are made the lesson must be revised. The observance of this rule would give a new appearance and produce incalculable benefit to many a school. The sum of the whole is, short, easy, frequent, and perfect lessons.
Every class in the school, where there is sufficient room, or every alternate class, (where, as at the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea, it is necessary that one class make room for another, and quit the ground which it is to occupy,) may be saying their lessons at the same time; and the master or usher, passing along, may in some measure at once observe how the respective classes acquit themselves. But this is done effectually by overhearing the classes by rotation, when saying their lessons.
When you give orders or instructions, requiring attention and comprehension, they should be given to the ushers, and by them to the teachers, and by the teachers to their respective classes. One intelligent boy made by you to comprehend any thing, in which there is the least difficulty, can bring it down to the level of his school-fellows' capacity, and explain it to them far better than you can. He knows where his difficulty lay in comprehending you: and his time is only employed in explaining to them, in their own language, what they do not know, while you are often employed in telling them only what they do know, and frequently in a language which they do not understand. Another rule of the school is, that a boy never knows any thing you tell him, or is improved by any thing you do for him: it is what he tells you, and what he does for himself, which is alone useful.