Imatges de pàgina


Unless in the case of unruly pupils at an advanced age for school life (such as are not unfrequently to be found in evening schools), expulsion from the school can hardly be looked at as an available

It is escape from a difficulty, not mastery of it. It is a practical admission of failure, which, if possible, should never be made in face of a school. Instead of increasing the moral influence of a teacher, it detracts from it. Let kindly treatment, as occasion offers, calın and sympathetic remonstrance in private, assurances of patience, and promises of help, be all accumulated around the offender. Let every thing be done which tenderest sympathy can suggest rather than that the offender be banished from the school, and turned over as a pest upon the hands of some unsuspecting brother in the profession. There is a very graphic account of the conflict with a stubborn and wild youth which deserves perusal, given in one of the books of Dr. Eggleston,* descriptive of school life in the midst of the rude settlers in the Far West of America. Very touching is the story, naturally recalled here, which is told by Dr. Guthrie in his own pathetic style : ‘A soldier, whose regiment lay in a garrison town in England, was about to be brought before his commanding officer for some offense. He was an old offender, and had been often punished. “Here he is again," said the officer, on his name being mentioned; "every thing—flogging, disgrace, imprisonment-has been tried with him." Whereupon the sergeant stepped forward, and apologizing for the liberty he took, said, “There is one thing that has never been done with him, sir." " What is that?" was the answer. “Well, sir," said the sergeant, “he bas never been forgiven.” “Forgiven!" exclaimed the colonel, surprised at the suggestion. He reflected for a few minutes, ordered the cnlprit to be brought in, and asked him what he had to say to the charge! “Nothing, sir," was his reply; "only I am sorry for what I have done.” Turning a kind and pitiful look on the man, who expected nothing else than that his punishment would be increased with the repetition of bis offense, the colonel addressed him, saying, "Well, we have resolved to forgive you!" The soldier was struck dumb with astonishment; the tears started in his eyes, and he wept like a child. He was humbled to the dust; he thanked his officer and retired to be the old refractory, incorrigible man? No; be was another man from that day forward. He who tells the story had him for years under bis eye, and a better conducted man never wore the Queen's colors.'t

• The Hoosier Schoolmaster. Routledge, London. † Speaking to the heart, p. 36.

RISKS CONNECTED WITH SCHOOL MANAGEMENT. There are risks in some of the methods and devices of school management, against which it is an important duty to have the scholars kept on guard as far as possible. The rivalries of school life carry with them temptations to jealousy. The daily competition, the marking of places, the reckonings which are to determine the prizes, all excite the children in a way which is apt to break in upon the work of self-restraint. Eagerness for bonor tempts either to seize at an advantage or to cherish enmity because such an advantage has been secured by another. The stimulas of competition has undoubtedly a high value; but this fact must not blind our eyes to the accompanying evils. The influence of numbers is great, and the rivalry of open competition quickens interest in the round of school work. To dispense with such stimulus seems hardly wise. And yet it can not be matter for surprise that many teachers have been led seriously to question whether there is a real educational gain from these rivalries. It would be difficult to decide the dispute by careful comparison of the evidence for the opposing views. One consideration seems to me conclusive. Competition is an invariable attendant on human effort. There is no sphere of life which altogether escapes its influence. In the great majority of the spheres in which life is spent the results of rivalry are met at every turn. For this school training should prepare, as for one of the certainties of human life. To bear one's self with calmness, fairness, and generosity in the midst of the rivalries of business is of the highest consequence both for personal interests and for the harmony of social life. It is, indeed, a great service which is rendered to the community if school training prepare for this. The teacher's thoughts must often revert to the subject, if the scholars are to be guarded against the requisite power. Ambition, that • last infirmity of noble minds,' may be turned to ignoble ends, and may change strength to weakness, nobleness to meanness.

NATIONAL VICES SHOULD BE GUARDED AGAINST. Early school life should do much to guard against the rudeness and coarseness which turn domestic life to bitterness, and prepare the way for outbreaks of violence. A constant streain of refining influence should flow through the minds of the pupils. Every thing favorable in the reading book, in history, or in the incidents of the school-room, should be utilized for this end. By all means at our command, let us seek to refine and elevate. Our aim must be to give a softened tinge to the character, like the mellow bloom on the dark rich clusters of the vine. Thus a higher life is in some measure reached by a child, and he wields a gentler influence, checking the asperities of life. In mixed schools, such as we have in Scotland, there is ample opportunity for training boys to cherish a respectful and generous demeanor toward girls—a lesson of high value in itself, and far-reaching in its effects. Encouragement in right practice is real training.

* Professor Hodgson (University of Edinburgh) in his Address as President of the Social Science Association, dwells on the want of a better public opinion on the subject. 'Every where around us we find coarseness of manner, cruelty both to animals and to our fellows, petty dishonesty, disregard of truth, wastefulness, evasion of duty, infidelity to engagements, not to speak of graver forms of wrong-doing; and WHO BELIEVES IN HIS HEART THAT SCHOOL TRAINING COULD DO ANY THING TO PREVENT THEM?'— Proceedings for 1873.

The Vice of Drunkenness. If there be any one vicc against which the teachers of our country should seek to warn the young, it is DRUNKENNESS. Our national reproach becanse of this one vice is a bitter one; our national loss and suffering appalling to a degree not realized by those who do not ponder the statistics of the subject. Our national weal depends largely on our casting off this loathsome evil. Intelligence and debauchery can not go long together, either in personal or in national history. Drunkenness is a vice at which school training should level its heaviest blows. There are at present fearful odds against the teacher's hand here, more particularly in the midst of the poverty stricken districts in our large cities, blighted by the banefal influence of strong drink. But if the teacher be observant as to opportunities, persistent in his plan, hearty in his utterances, and judicious in his avoidance of ridicule, he can do much in fixing unseen convictions, and may be aided, unconsciously to himself and to the poor children, by the sad experience of the misery and brutality which a drunken life occasions. A steady moral influence quietly returning, as opportunity offers, to impress upon the mind the evils of drunkenness, and the value of temperance as a root virtue, will help largely toward the training of a race strong in the self-control of a temperate life. The waste of substance which drunkenness causes,—the weakness and weariness of body,--the debasement of mind, -the desolation of homes, are such as to afford the teacher many links of association making reference easy and natural. There is enough in the thought of these things to deliver childhood from the risk of making mirth of the drunkard. There is enough to favor one who desires to awaken loathing in a young mind. But in all allusions to this subject there is need for great delicacy of feeling and tact. The teacher needs to remember into how many homes in our land the horrid vampire bas entered, and how many young hearts are smarting under the wounds it has inflicted.

GOOD DISPOSITIONS SHOULD BE ENCOURAQED. The nourishment of the good is the surest way of repressing the evil. Thus, the growth of generosity is the decay of meanness; so it is all round. The life of the virtues is the death of tbe viccs. Where there is sensitiveness as to the feelings of others, there is shrinking from rudeness. Generosity quickens the sense of shame at the rise of a selfish feeling. The love of truth will summon courage to its aid, rather than screen itself from suffering behind the mean shelter which a falsehood might afford. In this way it is apparent that a teacher can do much to prevent the outbreaks of evil by the judicious and hearty encouragement be gives to all examples of well-doing.

1. The first and most constant form of help is that afforded by the spirit in which school discipline is maintained. If that illustrates throughout the play of good disposition, the children are unconsciously won to admiration and imitation of the same. It is not despotic government which is favorable to the growth of virtue, but the government of reason and sympathy-in other words, a government founded on moral excellence. If the children have any occasion to complain of injustice,' some injury is done to their moral training. Let the atmosphere of justice and kindliness pervade the school-room, and the scholars will grow up in robustness of moral life.

If an unintentional injustice has been done, let the error be freely, and if needful, publicly acknowledged, and let the error be rectified as far as possible. None of us profess to be perfect; it would be purest affectation to conduct a class on the assumption that we are. It does not lower the dignity of a teacher to own a faalt on a fitting occasion. But the acknowledgment must be a proof of strong and moral purpose,--not a painful admission of weakness and bewilderment. It must give evidence of the power of self-command, -not of the want of it.

2. Next in importance is the power of direct encouragement. If the teacher gain the affections of his scholars, and give regular evidence of his wish to stimulate them in well-doing, his influence over them will be great. They have a desire to stand well with their teacher, and if this desire be utilized it becomes easy to contribute daily toward the formation of a good character. In order to preserve this influence, however, it is needful to remember that praise as well as blame must be used sparingly. The child must know and feel that he has gained approval, but only at rare times should he hear himself praised before others. So delicate a process is that by which character is developed, that there is danger from frequent commendation, just as there is on the other side from frequent faultfinding. The dangers here are two-that of encouraging pride while encouraging well-doing, and that of tempting a child to suppose that there is something peculiarly meritorious in simply doing his duty. The former is the more conspicuous, and is certain to attract attention if it arises, and thereby suggest the need for counteractives. But the latter is one not so easily observed, and which goes much more quickly in the direction of undermining the character. The child must be made to recognize that if he has done well, he has only done what is naturally required of him, and what he must be required to do a hundred times a day with as much ease and fixedness of purpose as appear in his use of speech. In view of the danger thus indicated, it is desirable that a child more commonly feel that he has gained approval rather than hear the expression of it. It is with encouragement, as with so much beside,-it is most easily conveyed through the eye, and by this vehicle of communication there is least risk of error or injurious effects. A look is, indeed, fleeting, and can not be long sustained; but there is an advantage in this for the purpose here contemplated. On the other hand, however fleeting, a look of encouragement is long remembered by a child.

3. The opening RELIGIOUS EXERCISES of each day, if properly conducted, must greatly aid the work of training. The rate payers of the country have declared unmistakably for religious teaching as the true support of moral training. Teachers who include moral training in their ideal of professional duty will be thankful for the decision. The Conscience Clause' frees a teacher from irksome apprehensions as to interference with the religious convictions of those who have intrusted him with the delicate task of training their children. The teacher is assured that in these opening religious exercises he is starting the work of the day as the great bulk of the people wish him to do, while complete protection has been provided for exceptional cases. As a moral trainer, the teacher is immensely aided by opportunity for touching the deeper feelings of human nature. To lift the whole set of duties into the light of God's eye, and to associate childhood's efforts with the wealth of divine

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