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And I took notice of that charitably disposed gentleman and citizen deputy Adams, that when he went about to erect a school in his native county of Shropshire (if I mistake not,) he consulted with Mr. Langley, and brought him along with him to Sion College, to see what books he judged most convenient to furnish a library withal for the schoolmaster's use, and I heard since that he bestowed (at least) 1001, in choice books for that purpose. I only mention these two worthy persons (the former whereof is dead, and the latter living in Lawrence Lane, London,) to let others see that in this present age of ours we want not patterns of well doing, if any be desirous to imitate them in their pious actions; and I hope God hath already inclined the hearts of many, as he hath given them store of riches, to endeavor to distribute and do good in this kind, even now whilst they live, in their generation.
I will conclude this chapter with that which I heard lately related of a cheap, easy, profiting, and pious work of charity which one did, in bestowing 40s. per annum towards buying English Bibles, which were to be given to those children in the parish that were best able to read in them; and I do verily believe that were an annual sum laid out in procuring a certain number of books for such as should best deserve them in every form at a free school, it would be a greater incitement to provoke children to learn, than any persuasions or enforcements which are commonly yet used.
X.- Of Exclusion, and Breaking up School, and of Potations.
I should here add something touching those usual customs which are yet on foot in most places, of scholars excluding or shutting out the master once a year, and capitulating with him about orders to be observed, or the like; but forasmuch as I see they differ very much, and are of late discontinued in many schools. I will only mention how they may be carried on, where they yet remain, without any contest or disturbance, till at last they die of themselves.
1. Therefore there should be no exclusion till after St. Andrew's day, and the master should know of it beforehand, that all things may be ordered handsomely to the credit of the school.
2. That at the time of exclusion, the scholars behave themselves merrily and civilly about the school, without injuring one another or making use of any weapons whereby to endanger themselves or do harm to any thing in the school.
3. That the heads of each form consult with their fellows what things they would desire of the master, and that they bring their suits to the highest scholar in the school, that he may prefer them to the master written fairly in Latin, to receive his approbation or dislike of them, in a mild way of arguing.
4. That the master do not molest or come amongst his scholars all the while they are drawing up their petition about school orders, nor trouble himself concerning them, more than to hear that they keep good rule.
6. That every scholar prepare all his exercises according to his form, to be ready to be hanged out before the school doors or windows (or rather to be hanged over his place within the school,) against the master's coming.
6. That the master, upon notice that all things are prepared for his coming, go quietly to the school, being accompanied by some of the scholars' parents, and after he have before witness subscribed to their petition at the door, to enter the school in a peaceable and loving manner, and receive from his scholars (and also make to them) a short congratulatory oration, and so dismiss them to play.
By thus doing, a master shall both prevent his scholars behaving themselves against him in such a rude and tumultuous manner as hath formerly been used, and give them and their parents no occasion to grudge at him for seeming to take upon him too abruptly to break old use and custom, which, so long as it becometh an encouragement to their learning, may the better be indulged to young scholars, whilst no evil consequences attend it. It is yet a custom retained in some schools in the country for scholars to make a potation or general feast once a year and that commonly before Shrovetide ;) towards defraying the charge whereof, every one bringeth so much money as his parents think good to allow him, and giveth it to the master to be expended in a dinner orderly provided for them, or in some kind of banqueting manner, which children are commonly more delighted withal; and for this there needeth no further direction than to say that it concerneth the master at such tinies to be cheerful and free in the entertainment of his scholars (whether at his own house or elsewhere,) and to see that they keep such order and moderation (especially in drinking) that it may rather be a refreshment and encouragement to them (as it is indeed intended) than any occasion of distemper or debauched behavior amongst them. And after thanks given to God for his mercy towards them in that particular expression of joy and rejoicing one with another, the scholars should all go together into the fields to take a little more liberty of recreation than ordinary, yet with an especial regard had that they catch no cold or otherwise endanger their bodies.
In London and most other places, the usual manner remaineth of breaking up schools (for a time of intermission of studies and visiting of friends) about a week before Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, till the week following those holy days begin, at which time every scholar bringeth something to the master as a token of his own and his parents' gratitude for his care and love towards him. Now that the master may also then testify his forwardness to requite their courtesies and encourage his scholars, he should, every breaking up day,
1. Provide some fitting collation to be imparted and distributed by himself to his scholars, who will thankfully take a small gift as a token of more singular favor at his hands than another's.
2. Invite his scholars' parents, together with such gentlemen and ministers as he is better acquainted withal, as well to take notice of what his scholars in every form are able to do, as to grace him with their company.
3. Let the scholars in each form be furnished with such exercises as belong to them, in loose papers, and have all their translations written fairly in their books, to be ready to show to any one that shall desire to look upon them. The higher forms should entertain the company with some elegant Latin comedy out of Terence or Plautus, and part of a Greek one out of Aristophanes, as also with such orations and declamations, and copies of several sorts of verses, as are most proper for celebrating the solemnity of the time at hand and to give satisfaction to the present meeting. The lesser boys should remain orderly in their forms, to be ready to give answer to any one that shall examine them in what they have learned, or would know what they are able to perform.
This, as it will be an encouragement to the scholars to go on cheerfully at their books, so will it be an endearment of their friends to the master, and a means to preserve the credit of the school against all virulent aspersions that are apt causelessly and too often to be cast upon it by unworthy and illiterate persons.
It were necessary that such orders as you would have your scholars duly to observe, and the mulct to be undergone for every particular default, were fairly written in a table and hung up in some eminent place in the school, that every one may at any time take notice of them and learn more readily to conform to your discipline. I had thought here to have added another sheet or two concerning school orders and scholars' more decent behavior, but considering the present haste of the press in finishing the work, and fearing lest this little book should swell to too great a bulk, I choose rather to defer them till another opportunity. For whilst I intended only to give a few directions to the less experienced for the better ordering of grammar scholars, I have run over the greater part of the most considerable matters which concern the managing of a school; which a man that is constant to his employment, loving towards children, discreet in his behavior, a well-grounded scholar and a honest Christian, desirous to serve God cheerfully in the calling of a schoolmaster, may undoubtedly perform without any extraordinary toil or disturbance either of mind or body. God in mercy enable me and all that labor in this necessary profession, to persevere in our duty, whatever discouragements may seem to attend it.
XI.- Of the Method of Teaching which was used in Rotherham School by Mr. Bonner, an experienced schoolmaster there, who was thence chosen to Chesterfield where he died.
That none may censure this discovery which I have made, to be an uncogth way of teaching, or contrary to what had been aforetime observed by my predecessors at Rotherham School (which is the same that most schoolmasters yet use,) I have hereto annexed their method, just as I received it from the mouth of some scholars who had been trained up therein all their time at that school, and thence sent to the university. Before I came thither to be master, the custom was,
1. To enter boys at the school one by one, as they were fit for the Accidents, and to let them proceed therein severally till so many others came to them as were fit to be ranked with them in a form. These were first put to read the Accidents, and afterwards made to commit it to memory; when they had done which, they were exercised in construing and parsing the examples in the English rules, and this was called the first form: of which it was required to say four lessons a day, but of the other forms, a part and a lesson in the forenoon, and a lesson only in the afternoon.
2. The second form was, 1. To repeat the Accidents for parts. 2. To say forenoon lessons in Propria quce maribus, Quæ genus, and As in præcenti, which they repeated memoriter, construed and parged. 3. To say an afternoon lesson in Sententia Pueriles, which they repeated by heart, and construed and parsed 4. They repeated their tasks every Friday memoriter, and parsed their sentences out of English.
3. The third form was enjoined first to repeat two parts together every morning, one out of the Accidents and the other out of that forementioned part of the grammar, and together with their parts, each one was made to form one person of a verb active in any of the four conjugations. 2. Their forenoon lessons were in Syntaxis, which they used to say memoriter, then to construe it, and parse only the words which contain tbe force of the rule. 3. There forenoon lessons were two days in Æsop's Fables, and other two days in Cato, both which they construed and parsed, and said Cato memoriter. 4. These lessons they translated into English and repeated all on Fridays, construing out of their translations into Latin.
4. The fourth form having ended Syntaxis, first repeated it and Propria que maribus, &c., together for parts, and formed a person of a verb passive, as they did the active before. 2. For lessons they proceeded to the by-rules, and so to Figura and Prosodia. 3. For afternoon lessons they read Terence two days and Mantuan two days, which they translated into English and repeated on Fridays, as before.
5. The fifth form said one part in the Latin and another in the Greek Grammar together. 2. Their forenoon lessons were in Butler's Rhetoric, which they said memoriter and then construed, and applied the example to the definition. 3. Their afternoon lessons were two days in Ovid's Metamorphosis and two days in Tully's Offices, both which they translated into English. 4. They learned to scan and prove verses in Flores Poetarum, and repeated their week's work on Fridays, as before.
6. The sixth form continued their parts in the Greek Grammar, and formed a verb active at every part. 2. They read the Greek Testament for forenoon lessons, beginning with St. John's Gospel. 3. Their afternoon lessons were two days in Virgil and two days in Tully's Orations. They construed the Greek Testament into Latin and the rest into English.
7. The seventh form went on with the Greek Grammar, forming at every part a verb passive, or medium. 2. They had their forenoon lessons in Isocrates, which they translated into Latin. 3. Their afternoon lessons were two days in Horace and two days in Seneca's Tragedies, both which they translated into English.
8. The eighth form still continued their parts in the Greek Grammar. 2. They said forenoon lessons in Hesiod, which they translated into Latin, and afternoon lessons in Juvenal and afterwards in Persius, which they trauslated into English.
9. The ninth and highest form said morning parts in the Flebrew Grammar, forenoon lessons in Homer, and afternoon lessons in some comical author.
Thus when I came to Rotherham, I found two or three sorts of boys in the Accidents, and nine or ten several forms, whereof some had but two or three scholars in it, and one of these forms also was not very far from that which was below it. So that I, being to teach all myself alone, was necessitated to reduce them to a lesser number, and to provide such helps for the weaker boys as might enable them to go on with the stronger. Besides, observing how barren the scholars were of proper words and good phrases, with which their present authors did not sufficiently furnish them for speaking or writing Latin, I was forced to make use of such books amongst the rest as were purposely made for that end, and having at last brought the whole school into a good method and order, so that the scholars learned with profit, and I taught them with much ease and delight, I was persuaded to write over what I had done, that I might leave it as a pattern for him that succeeded me; and this was the groundwork of my discovery.
The manner of giving lectures before I came was, 1. For the two highest boys in the eighth form to give lectures to all the lower forms, each his week by turns. 2. The highest scholar in the school gave lectures to the second form. 3. Those in the highest form were commonly left to shift for themselves.
The manner of the master's hearing lessons was this: 1. The highest boy in the form at their coming to say, construed his lesson two or three times over, till he was perfect in it, that his fellows might all learn by him to construe as well as be; then every one construed according to the order in which he stood. 2. They parsed their lesson in that order that they had construed it in. 3. They translated every day after the lesson, and showed it altogether fairly written on Fridays.
Their exercises were these : 1. The four lowest forms translated at vacant times out of some English book. 2. The higher forms, having a subject given them every Saturday, made themes and verses upon it against that day seven night.
The manner of collecting phrases was that every Friday, in the afternoon, the boys in the highest form collected phrases for the lowest forms out of their several authors, which they wrote and committed to memory against Saturday morning.
The set times for disputations were Fridays and Saturdays at noon, and the manner thus: one boy answered his day by course, and all his fellows posed bim out of any author which he had read before.
A part of Thursday in the afternoon was spent in getting the Church Catechism and the Six Principles of Christianity made by Mr. Perkins.
Finding this method (which is used also in most grammar schools) to concur in the main grounds with that which I had been taught at Wakefield, but not to be so plain and easy as that was to children of meaner capacities, I began to seek (not so much to alter any thing, as) to supply what I saw defective in it, having these and such like considerations often in my mind,
1. Though every man liketh his own method best, yet none ought so far to be conceited of his own as not to search after a better for the profiting of his scholars.
2. Though one constant method must diligently be observed, yet trial may be made of another at fit times, so it be done without any distraction to the master or hindrance to his scholars.
3. A new course of teaching must not be brought in suddenly upon scholars that have been long trained in a worse, but by degrees.
4. Some modern schoolmasters seem to have gained a far more easy and nearer way of teaching than many of the more ancient seemed to have.
5. Mr. Brinsley seemeth to have made a discovery of a more perfect method than was in his time used or is yet generally receivel. Mr. Farnaby, Mr. John Clerke, and some others, have facilitated the way further; but Mr. John Comenius hath lately contrived a shorter course of teaching, which many of late endeavor to follow; and others have more contemplatively written what they have thought of learning the Latin tongue in the easiest manner.
6. That for me it would not be amiss, by imitating these and others of whose learning and dexterity in teaching I had got some little experience, and observing the several tempers and capacities of those I taught, to endeavor to find out and contrive such helps as might make the most generally received method