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even from their infancy almost are delighted with pictures. And it will be very well worth the pains to have brought to pass, that scare-crows may be taken away out of Wisdom's gardens."
Use of Blackboard. --But little is said on this piece of school apparatus. It is, however, interesting to know that in a description of a school, written two cen. turies since, this useful adjunct for illustration is noticed. Comenius says: "Some things are writ down before them with chalk on a table. This notice would not have been 80 satisfactory as it is, but there accompanies the description a “copper cut," and there we see upon the wall a blackboard, as large as a window, with a diagram chalked upon it.
On the point of illustralion we may add, "The judgment of Mr. Hezekiah Woodward, sometime an eminent schoolmaster in London. Certainly the use of images or representations is great; if we could make our words as legible to children as pictures are, their information therefrom would be quickened and surer. But so we can not do, though we must do what we can."
Masters must have Sympathy with the capacities of the children under Instruction. "A schoolmaster had need to bend his wits to come within the compass of a child's capacities of six or seven years of age, and to make that they may learn with as much delight and willingness, as himself would teach with dexterity and ease. And because any good thing is the better, being the more communicated, I have herein imitated a child, who is forward to impart to others what himself has well liked.”
Phonic Method of Teaching to Read." It will afford a device for learning to read more easily than heretofore, especially having a symbolical alphabet set before it, to wit, the characters of the several letters, with the image of that creature whose voice that letter goeth about to imitate, pictured by it. For the young abc scholar will easily remember the force of every character by the very looking at the creature, till the imagination being strengthened by use, can readily afford all things."
It may be necessary to explain, that what Comenius calls the “force of every character" is obtained from verbs denoting the actions of animals, instead of from nouns as is now the general practice. A series of "copper cuts" is given for this purpose, called “A lively and vocal Alphabet."
Tasks and Training.--" Because the first tasks of learners ought to be little and single, we have filled this first book of training one up to see a thing of himself, with nothing but rudiments, that is, with the chief of things and words, or with the grounds of the whole world, and the whole language, and of all our understanding about things.” The reader will observe that the word "training" is used in precisely the same sense as by modern educationists.
The Uselessness of bare Rules of Grammar.--"You that have the care of little children, do not trouble their thoughts and clog their memories with bare grammar rudiments, which to them are harsh in getting, and fluid in retaining; because, indeed, to them they signify nothing, but a mere swimming notion of a general term, which they know not what it meaneth, till they comprehend particulars. For rules, consisting of generalities, are delivered, as I may say, at the third band, presuming first the things and then the words to be already apprehended, touching which they are made."
Teacher's entire Dependence upon God's Blessing." And I pray God, the fountain ard giver of all wisdom, that hath bestowed upon us this gift of teaching
80 to inspire and direct us by his grace, that we may train up children in his fear, and in the knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and then, no doubt, our teaching, and their learning of other things subordinate to these, will by the assistance of His Blessed Spirit make them able and willing to do Him faithful service both in Church and Commonwealth, as long as they live here, that so they may be eternally blessed with Him hereafter. This I beseech you beg for me and mine, as I shall daily do for you and yours, at the throne of God's heavenly grace; and remain while I live ready to serve you, as I truly love and honor you, and labor willingly in the same profession with you. From my school in Lothbury, London, Jan. 25th, 1658.
THE PETTY SCHOOL.*
BY CHARLES HOOLE, A. X.,
Master of Grammar School at Rotherham in 1636, and of a Private School in London in 1660
CHAPTER I.—How a child may be helped in the first pronunciation of his letters.
My aim being to discover the old Art of Teaching School, and how it may be improved in every part suitable to the years and capacities of such children as are now commonly taught, I shall first begin my discourse concerning a Petty School; and here or elsewhere I shall not busy myself or reader about what a child of an extraordinary towardliness, and having a teacher at home, may attain unto, and in how short a space, but only show how a multitude of various wits may be taught all together with abundance of profit and delight to every one, which is the proper and main work of our ordinary schools.
Whereas, then, it is usual in cities and greater towns to put children to school about four or five years of age, and in country villages, because of further distance, not till about six or seven, I conceive the sooner a child is put to school the better it is, both to prevent ill habits which are got by play and idleness, and to inure him betimes to affect learning and well doing. Not to say, how the great uncertainty of parents' lives should make them careful of their chil. dren's early education, which is like to be the best part of their patrimony, whatever good thing else they may leave them in this world.
I observe that betwixt three and four years of age a child hath great propensity to peep into a book, and then is the most seasonable time (if conveniences may be had otherwise) for him to begin to learn; and though perhaps then he can not speak so very distinctly, yet the often pronunciation of his letters will be a means to help his speech, especially if one take notice in what organ or instrument he is most defective, and exercise him chiefly in those letters which belong unto it.
Now there are five organs or instruments of speech, in the right hitting of
The following is a copy of the original title page:
cially) according to
By C. H.
Church Yard, 1659.
which, as the breath moveth from within through the mouth, a true pronuncia tion of every letter is made, viz., the lips, the teeth, the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the throat; according to which if one rank the twenty-four letters of our English alphabet, he shall find that A, E, I, O, U proceed by degrees from the throat, along betwixt the tongue and the roof of the mouth to the lips contracted, and that Y is somewhat like I, being pronounced with other letters; but if it be named by itself, it requireth some motion of the lips. B, F, M, P, W, and V consonants belong to the lips, C, S, X, Z to the teeth, D, L, N, T, R to the tongue, B, H, K, Q to the roof of the mouth. But the sweet and natural pronunciation of them is gotten ratber by imitation than precept, and therefore the teacher must be careful to give every letter its distinct and clear sound, that the child may get it from his voice, and be sure to make the child open bis mouth well as he uttereth a letter, lest otherwise he drown or hinder the sound of it. For I have heard some foreigners to blame us Englishmen for neglecting this mean to a plain and audible speaking, saying, that the cause why we generally do not speak so fully as they, proceeded from an ill habit of mumbling, which children got at their first learning to read, wbicn it was their care therefore to prevent or remedy betimes, and so it should be ours, seeing pronunciation is that that sets out a man, and is sufficient of itself to make one an orator.
II.—How a child may be taught with delight to know all his letters in a very Title time.
The usual way to begin with a child, when he is first brought to school, is to teach him to know his letters in the hornbook, where he is made to run over all the letters in the alphabet or Christ-cross-row, both forward and backward, until he can tell any one of them which is pointed at, and that in the English character.
This course we see hath been very effectual in a short time with some more ripe-witted children; but others of a slower apprehension (as the most and best commonly are) have been thus learning a whole year together, and though they have been much chid and beaten too for want of heed, could scarce tell six of their letters at twelve months' end, who, if they had been taught in a way more agreeable to their mean apprehensions, (which might bave wrought more readily upon the senses, and affected their minds with what they did,) would doubtless have learned as cheerfully if not as fast as the quickest.
I shall therefore mention sundry ways that have been taken to make a child know his letters readily, out of which the discreet teacher may choose what is most likely to suit with his learner.
I have known some that (according to Mr. Brinsley's direction) have taught little ones to pronounce all the letters, and to spell pretty well before they knew one letter in a book; and this they did, by making the child to sound the five vowels, a, e, i, o, u, like so many bells upon his finger's ends, and to say which finger was such or such a yowel, by changes; then putting single consonants before the vowels, (leaving the hardest of them till the last,) and teaching him how to utter them both at once, as va, ve, vi, vo, vu, da, de, di, do, du; and again, by putting the vowels before a consonant, to make him say, as, es, is, os, us, ad, ed, id, od, ud. Thus they have proceeded from syllables of two or three, or more letters, till a child hath been pretty nimble in the most. But this is rather to be done in a private house than a public school; however this man
ner of exercise now and then amongst little scholars will make their lessons more familiar to them.
The greatest trouble at the first entrance of children is to teach them how to know their letters one from another when they see them in the book altogether; for the greatness of their number and variety of shape do puzzle young wits to difference them, and the sense can but be intent upon one single object at once, so as to take its impression and commit it to the imagination and memory. Some have therefore begun but with one single letter, and after they have showed it to the child in the alphabet, have made him to find the same any where else in the book till he knew that perfectly; and then they have proceeded to another in like manner, and so gone through the rest.
Some have contrived a piece of ivory with twenty-four flats or squares, in every one of which was engraven a several letter, and by playing with a child in throwing this upon a table, and showing him the letter only wbich lay uppermost, have in a few days taught bim the whole alphabet.
Some have got twenty-four pieces of ivory cut in the shape of dice, with a letter engraven upon each of them, and with these they have played at vacant hours with a child till he hath known them all distinctly. They begin first with one, then with two, afterwards with more letters at once as the child got snowledge of them. To teach him likewise to spell, they would place cousonants before or after a vowel, and then join more letters together so as to make a word, and sometimes divide it into syllables, to be parted or put together. Now this kind of letter sport may be profitably permitted among beginners in a school, and instead of ivory, they may have white bits of board, or small shreds of paper or pasteboard, or parchment with a letter written upon each to play withal amongst themselves.
Some have made pictures in a little book, or upon a scroll of paper wrapped upon two sticks within a box of isinglass, and by each picture have made three sorts of that letter with which its name beginneth; but those being too many at once for a child to take notice of, have proved not so useful as was intended. Some likewise have had pictures and letters printed in this manner on the backside of a pack of cards to entice children, that naturally love that sport, to the love of learning their books.
Some bave written a letter in a great character upon a card, or chalked it out upon a trencher, and by telling a child what it was, and letting him strive to make the like, have imprinted it quickly in his memory, and so the rest one after another.
One having a son of two years and a half old, that could but even go about the house, and utter some few gibterish words in a broken manner, observing him one day above the rest to be busied about shells and sticks, and such like toys, which himself had laid together in a chair, and to miss any one that was taken from him he saw not how, and to seek for it about the house, became very desirous to make experiment what that child might presently attain to in point of learning. Thereupon he devised a little wheel, with all the capital Roman letters made upon a paper to wrap round about it, and fitted it to turn in a little round box, which had a hole so made in the side of it, that only one letter might be seen to peep out at once. This he brought to the child, and showed him only the letter 0, and told him what it was. The child being overjoyed with his nerv gambol, catcheth the box out of his father's hand, and runs with