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quently seen six lines prescribed for a lesson, when the class were not able to learn one perfectly, and, in other cases, one line prescribed when they could readily learn six. It was the observation of this fault which led me to order the reading over of the lesson, when given out-a rule, like all the rest in a Madras school, founded on experience.
3d. Neglecting to teach every scholar, in the first instance, the technical mode of beginning and ending his lesson, and repeating it when he comes to say it. By the neglect of a task of so continual recurrence, a half (and often more) of the time spent in school is occupied in the teachers correcting the repeated blunders of his class. It is the more distressing to observe this negligence, so very frequent in the new schools, because the due attention of a few hours, at most of a few days, would remedy this complaint for ever, and at once more than double both the comfort, and the progress of the scholars.
To put a stop, if possible, to this distress, I have directed that the preliminary steps of the learning, and saying of a lesson be divided into portions so small, that the scholars may learn each a portion perfectly in a minute, and that, in the first instance, they be instructed in them, from the mouth of the teacher, all of them repeating at the same time, with him or after him, what is to be learnt, by which means thirty lessons are said in an hour. When this has been continued for a due length of time, instead of the teacher, each scholar in succession gives out these small portions to the class, who repeat them after him, as before after the teacher. The scholars who succeed, take the first places, and are employed in instructing their class fellows; and lastly (if they are in monosyllables for example) each of them says a portion (viz. a single syllable) in rotation, in the manner in which they are afterwards to proceed. At this time, the scholars never go to their seats, but for relaxation, if necessary.
4th. Not enforcing the due number of lessons. The careless master will find some excuse, and will think it a great hardship, that he must see his teachers enforce a lesson at least every quarter of an hour, and sometimes much oftener. He cannot be brought to perceive, that being left to make the lesson as short and easy as he pleases, he has in his own hands the most effectual means of preventing wearisomeness, ensuring diligence, and of providing for the satisfaction of his pupils, who delight in learning what they can learn well, and in doing what they can do well.
5th. The waste of time by the scholars, when they should be learning their lessons.
It is well known to the earnest master, that it is exceedingly difficult to prevent the waste of a great part of the time, which is given to the scholars to con their lessons in their seats and that the period of exertion is while the competition for places goes on. It is therefore the common practice at the Central school, and others, formed on that model, where there is room for the classes to stand up at the same time, that none of the lower classes (and seldom any other for the purpose of learning their lessons) go to their seats, but once in 5 or 6 lessons: as it is found they can best learn them by rehearsing them to the teacher, under the stimulus arising from the competition of places. This mode of learning their lessons as well as saying them, under the eye and ear of the teacher, enables the master to see to the perfect instruction of every one. The teacher does not call on the class to say it, till he has ascertained by the rehearsal that the class is perfect in it.
Writers, ancient and modern, have observed, and experience confirms their observation, that children do not fire like men, of perpetual attention to minute points: how much more strongly does the observation apply under the emulation of the new school?
6th. Beginning the lesson always with the head boy of the class, and each scholar reading a single sentence or verse, so that he can calculate what will fall to his
share, and is learning that, when he should be attending to the reading of his class-fellows.
7th. The boy next to the reader not prompting him, till the teacher says, "tell." This prevents that life and energy which are seen when all are on the alert. Sometimes, however, the opposite error takes place, and all stretch out their necks and even step forward, and bawl together, instead of giving time to the next boy, and those in succession to correct the mistake. I need not rep that the loss of one, or more places, is the forfeit, which corrects such errors.
8th. Neglecting to teach the scholars to read the pages, chapters, contents of chapters, &c. of a book, and to attend to the points and stops, &c.; and sometimes also on the other hand, the permitting them to continne this practice for months after the class is perfect in them.
9th. Examining in spelling, catechism, tables in arithmetic, &c. straight forward, always beginning in the same manner with the head boy.
10th. Quick, indistinct, and low reading: all of which, and every other fault of the kind, are corrected without a harsh word, or an angry look, by giving precedence to those, who read slowly, distinctly, loudly, &c. 11th. Neglecting the due marking of the teacher's books. This is a radical error, for it is impossible, that any master, and far less any visitor, can, without this guide, judge of the diligence and ability of the teachers, or of the daily progress of the respective classes; or ascertain, with accuracy, the proceedings of the school.
12th. Neglecting to teach the class to move to, and from, their seats, in a regular manner, preserving their due distances, and taking their places in good order. Every thing, which, like this, is to be frequently repeated, ought to be done with the utmost correctness and precision, not only on account of the saving of time, but also of the habit which it produces.
13th. Disregard to the general rules of the school, and disorderly conduct on the part of the scholars, at
tended with distressing and deafening noise. In the teacher and assistant teacher of each class, the master has not only two "studiorum exactores" ("exactors of studies,") but also two monitors of attention, order, and silence. When a transgression against any of these or any other rule of the school, occurs, let the teacher, who has not immediately noted it in his place, be himself noted by the master and mulcted, and the offender go unpunished. But when the offender is duly noted and reported, let the teacher receive the praise, and the reward of having done well, and the offender be subjected to the necessary discipline.
For these and other neglects of the Madras instructions, I could find some plea, if it were not as clear as day, that they are transgressions against rules, which contribute to the ease, satisfaction, and comfort, as well of the master, who has the welfare of his school at heart, as of his pupil. "Hoc debet esse propositum ; ut ille prodesse velit, hic proficere." SEN.
Memoranda for Masters and Visitors.
"As the judge of the people is himself, so are his officers, and what manner of man the ruler of the city is, such are all they that dwell therein." Eccus. x. 2.
It should never be forgotten, that the new system of education consists in the tuition and discipline of the school, through the agency of the scholars themselves: that the tuition is carried on by easy, frequent, adapted, and perfect lessons, in classes composed of scholars of equal proficiency: and the discipline by the perpetual presence and vigilance of the monitors and teachers: and that when these general laws are duly executed, the practices by which these objects are attained, can scarcely be wrong: and every quack or impostor may contrive as many as his ignorance of all principle may imagine, and his effrontery can impose on the world.
1st. It is of so much consequence to have able and willing teachers, that the master should exert his ut
most ingenuity, in selecting and retaining them—a task of easy performance in a school where the talents of every child are exhibited; and his qualities are displayed. As the teachers are good, bad, or indifferent, so will the school be. As he forms them, so will they form their pupils.
2nd. Let no book be taken in hand by a class, without marking it in the front with pen and ink, as directed.
3rd. Let the place where the lesson begins each morning, be strongly marked with the day of the month in pencil, and also the end of each lesson as soon as given out.
4th. Let the length of the lesson be apportioned to the proficiency of the class, and the due number learnt.
5th. Let every scholar be able distinctly to tell the page, and the beginning and ending of his lesson, before he learns to read it, and let him be perfectly master of it before he says it.
6th. Let perfect order and regularity, in every movement, be observed by the scholars at all times, especially when entering and leaving the school, taking their seats, and their places in their classes.
7th. Let no fault be overlooked and scarcely a fault will be committed: let no plea ever excuse the perfect instruction of every scholar in every lesson.
8th. In carrying into effect the Madras system of education, it is a rule not to admit any excuse, for any thing not being done as it ought to be done-For what do the boasted diligence, ability, discretion, and impartiality on the part of the master or teacher avail, while the scholars are accused of being, and perhaps are, idle, stupid, disorderly, and worthless. Very different is the tendency of the maxim of the new school, that "Whatever the master of the school is, such are his scholars; and that there can be but one dunce in a school."
As it is generally expedient that the scholars should learn their lessons, in the same manner they say them,