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what unruliness in point of behavior, what perpetual torment to the painful master and his ushers, and what unavoidable disgrace it bringeth upon a school, let them that are actors or spectators thereof give testimony. That therefore the master may have all his lawful commands put in execution with due alacrity, and his decent orders diligently observed, I conceive it requisite that,
1. He be sure in all things to behave as a master over himself, not only by refraining from those enormities and grosser faults which may render him scandalous to every one, but checking his own passions, especially that of anger; and if at any time he seem to have cause to be provoked to it, and feel it to come too violently upon him, let him rather walk aside awhile out of the school to divert it, than express it openly amongst his scholars by unseemly words or gestures. He should indeed endeavor to behave himself unblamably in all Christian-like conversation before all men, but so amongst his scholars that they may have much wherein to imitate him, but nothing whereby to disgrace bim. And towards his neighbors his affability should be such as to win their love and respect, so that they may be ready at all times to countenance the master's well-doing, and to vindicate the credit of him and his school when they hear it unjustly traduced.
2. When he commands or forbids any thing to be done, he should acquaint his scholars with the end intended, and the benefits or inconveniences which attend such or such a course. For children have so much use of reason as to delight to hear persuasive arguments of reason, though the declivity of corrupt nature makes that they do not much mind them, where there is no fear of a rod for doing amiss. Yet sometimes it may be best to say only, “Do this," or "do it not," where you think it of no concernment to them to know the reason, and would make trial of their readiness to obey, without asking why or wherefore.
3. One main way to bring scholars to a loving and awful respect of their master, is for him to show himself at all times cheerful and pleasing towards them, and unwilling to punish them for every error, but withal to carry so close an eye upon all their behavior, that he can tell them privately, betwixt himself and them alone, of many faults they commit when they think he knows nothing, and let them see how he dare correct them for the like offenses when they presume to commit them again, and especially if they behave themselves stubbornly before their fellows. Yet to win a boy of a more stubborn spirit, it is better sometimes to forbear blows, when you have him submit to the rod, than to punish him so for a fault as to make him hate you, and out of a despite to you to do the like or a worse mischief. And when any general misdemeanor is committed, the master should show himself impartial towards all, so as either to pardon or punish all. But in inflicting punishments, as he should let none escape, so he should let the most untoward feel the most smart; but beware that he deal not rigorously, much less cruelly with any; for that will cause an utter dislike in all the scholars towards the master, fearing he will deal so with them in case they so offend, and thinking it to be no argument of love where severity of correction is used.
4. But nothing works more upon good-natured children than frequent encouragements and commendations for well-doing; and therefore when any task is performed or order observed according to his mind, the master should commend all his scholars, but especially the most observant, and encourage the weak and timorous, and admonish the most perverse amongst them to go on in imitating their exampie, in hopes of finding as much favor at his hands as they see them to have.
5. In some places a master is apt to be molested with the reproachful clamors of the meaner sort of people, who can not (for the most part) endure te have their children corrected, be the fault never so heinous, but presently they must come to the school to brave it out with him; which if they do, the master should there in a calm manner admonish them before all his scholars to cease their clamor, and to consider how rash they are to interrupt his business, and to blame him for doing that duty with which he is intrusted by themselves, and others their betters. But if they go about to raise scandalous reports upon him, he may do well to get two or three judicious neighbors to examine the matter, and'to rebuke the parties for making so much ado upon little or no occasion. Thus we shall see scholars abundantly more to respect the master when they know how grossly he is apt to be wronged by inconsiderate persons, and that wise men are ready to vindicate his cause. Whereas if they once see their master liable to every body's censure, and no man take his part whatever is said of him, they themselves will not care what tales they make to his utter disgrace or ruin; especially if he have been any whit harsh towards them, and they be desirous to outslip the reins of his teaching and government.
III.–Of School times. Of Scholars going forth from the School, and of Playdays.
Though in many schools I observe six o'clock in the morning to be the hour for children to be fast at their books, yet in most, seven is the constant time, both in winter and summer, against which hour it is fit that every scholar should be ready at the school. And all they that come before seven should be permitted to play about the school till the clock strike, on condition that they can say their parts at the master's coming in; else they are not to play at all, but to settle to their books as soon as they come.
But here the master is to take heed that he be neither too rigorous with those of weaker age or constitution for coming somewhat tardy, nor indulgent toward those who through manifest sloth and frequent loitering, neglect the hour. For in the one it will breed a daily timorousness, and in the other it will make way to licentiousness; and on the one side parents will clamor, on the other side the school will receive disgrace. However, it is best to be as strict as possibly may be, in seeing that every scholar come at the just hour, and to note it as a punishable fault in him that cometh late, except he bring a note of excuse from his parent's or host's hand, and a promise withal that he shall not often offend in that kind.
It is not amiss for every scholar in every form to put down his name in a book (kept common for that purpose) so soon as he comes to school every day, that it may be upon record whether he used to come with the foremost or the bindmost, and how often he was absent from the school; likewise every scholar's name should be called over according to the bill every school hour, and they that are present should answer for themselves by saying adsum, and his next fellow should give notice of him that is absent, by saying abest.
The common time of dismissing scholars from school in the forenoon is eleven o'elock every day, and in the afternoon, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, five o'clock, but on Tuesday afternoons, four; and on Thursdays, three. Touching which, care should be taken that the tasks of every form may be fully dispatched rather a little before those hours than after; that then the scholars which intend writing or ciphering, or the like, may go to the writing school, as they yet use to do about London. Neither would I have the scholars to be so precisely observant of the clock as just upon the first stroke of it to rush out of the school; but notice being given to the master that it is stricken, and he having given the word for dismissing the school, all the scholars should come one by ove orderly out of their seats according to their forms (the lowest beginning first, because they are commonly next the door,) and salute him with their hats in their hands, and so quietly depart out of the school without thrusting, or striving one to get out before another. It were good if there were hour. glasses in the school, to give notice how the time goes on.
And for their readily going home, or to the writing school, there should be private monitors appointed to inform the master, so soon as they return to the school again, who they are that neglected their duty therein.
That space of intermission, about nine and three o'clock, which is used at Westminster School and some others, and is so much commended by Mr. Bring. ley (chap. 33 of his Grammar School,) can not so well be observed, nor is it so requisite in those schools in which scholars meet not till seven in the morning; for the variety of their several tasks will take away that tediousness that seems to occur by the length of time, and those subsidiary books provided for the lower forms will prevent the over-toiling of themselves by their present work. And that those disorders which usually befall in scholars running forth in school-time may be somewhat remedied, this or the like course may be taken:
1. Let it not be lawful for above one boy in twenty to go forth at once; and at his going forth, let every one come to the master, or that usher to whose charge he belongs, and in his hearing repeat four or six vocabulas or phrases which he hath not said before, and then lay down his book, with his name written in it in a place appointed within the master's view, so that it may be known at once both how many and who are out of doors, and how long they tarry abroad. At their coming in, they should again repeat the like number of vocabulas and phrases as they did at their going forth.
The master would do well now and then to send a private spy, who may truly observe and certify him how every scholar spendeth his time abroad, and if any be found to go forth upon no occasion or to truant it without doors, let him be censured or reproved according to his demerits.
2. The granting of a playday is to be referred wholly to the discretion of the master, who must in this be as fearful to work his scholars' hindrance and the school's discredit, as willing by such a courtesy to gratify his deserving friends; who, if they be any whit reasonable, will be easily satisfied with a just excuse of denial; but if they be unreasonably importunate, they ought to be served with as unreasonable a nay-say; so that playdays should be rarely granted, except to such as may seem to claim more than ordinary interest in the school, and to whom the master is bound to show his due respects, especially before his scholars.
In places of great resort, and where often solicitation is made for play (especially by mothers who come to visit their children which are tabled at school) it were good that a portion of an afternoon were designed constantly before hand, on which (in case any suit should be made) the scholars might have leave to play; but if not, that they be held to their books. Yet if there hath not a playday been granted, nor a holyday intervened for some weeks together, the master may of himself propound to his scholars that in case they perform all their tasks very well and orderly, so as to dispatch them by such an hour on such a day, they shall play the remainder thereof, and then (as at other times also when a playday is intended) one of the upper form (at least) should make a petitioning oration to the master or them that come to crave play; and another, a congratulatory speech, after leave is obtained.
Where both Thursdays and Saturdays in the afternoon are half holydays, I think Tuesdays the fittest on which to grant play; in other places, Thursdays may seem the best. But this I leave to the discretion of the master, who knoweth what is most convenient for his own school.
Now in granting a playday these directions may be useful:
1. That there be never more than one playday granted in one week, and that only when there is no holyday in that week, and when the weather also is clear and open, and the ground somewhat dry.
2. That po play be granted till one o'clock (at the soonest) when all the scholars are met and orations have been said.
3. That all the scholars be dismissed orderly into some close (or other place appointed for such a purpose) near the school, where they may play together, and use such honest and harmless recreations as may moderately exercise their bodies and not at all endanger their health.
And because some boys are apt to sneak home, or straggle from the rest of their fellows out of the bounds prescribed them to play in, you may do well to give order to him that hath the bill of all the names, to call it over at any time amid their sport, and to take notice of all such as have absented themselves, and to give you an account of them when they return into the school, which should be upon playdays before five o'clock, that they may bless God for his provident hand over them that day, and so go home. And that the master may sometimes see into various dispositions of children, which doth freely discover itself by their company and behavior at play, he may now and then take occasion to walk at a distance from them, or (if he come nearer) to stand out of their sight, so that he may behold them in the throng of their recreations and observe their gestures and words, which if in any thing they be not as becometh them, he may afterwards admonish them in private to behave or speak otherwise.
But an especial care must be taken and a charge accordingly often given, that your scholars do at no time play with any but their own school-fellows or other ingenuous children about hoine, which their parents or friends know, and whom they are willing should be admitted into their company; for besides the evil which may be contracted by learning corrupt discourse and imitating them in many shrewd turns, boys that are under little or no command will be very subject to brabble and fight with scholars, and the rather because they know the master will not allow his scholars at all to quarrel, and if they can do them any maim they will attempt it, that the master may have occasion to call them to account for it. So perverse is our corrupt nature (especially) where education hath no sway.
IV.- Of Admission of Scholars; of Election of Forms; and of scholars' orderly sitting and demeanor in their seats when they are at school.
1. No children should (as I have formerly said) be admitted into a grammar school but such as can readily read English and write a legible band, or at least be willing to learn to write, and to proceed in learning Latin, And it is therefore best to try, in the presence of their parents or friends that bring them, what they can do, by causing them to read or write (if they can) before them, that themselves may be judges of their present strength or weakness, and expect proficiency from them according as they see their capacity, not hastening them on too fast and rating at them daily, because (perhaps) in their judgment they do not learn so well as their neighbors' children.
The best is to admit of young beginners only once every year, and then to take in all that can be gotten from the petty schools, for company will encourage children to adventure upon an untried course of learning, seeing the more the merrier; and any discreet parent will be easily persuaded to forbear his son a while when he considereth that it will be more for his profiting to have company along with him as he learneth, and he may be daily bettered in reading English, and forwarded by learning to write, before he come from the petty school.
The fittest season of the year for such a general admission of little ones into the grammar school, doth seem to be about Easter; partly because the higher boys are usually then disposed of to trades or the universities, and partly because most children are then removed from one school to another, as having the summer coming on for their encouragement.
When you have thus admitted a company of boys together, you may let those who can read best obtain the higher places, till they come to get the rudiments of Latin without book, and then you may rank them into a form. Because,
2. It is a main help to the master and a furtherance to all the scholars, that the whole school be reduced into forms, and those also as few as may be respecting the different years and capacity of each scholar. And if there were six hundred scholars or more in a school, they might all fitly be ranked into six forms, by putting those of equal age and abilities together, and the toil in hearing parts or lessons, and perusing exercises, (as I will show anon) would not be much more with a hundred orderly placed and well behaved in a room to themselves apart, than with three or four single boys in several employments. Not only because the master or ushers do thus at once impart themselves to all alike, and may bestow more time amongst them in examining any task; but also because by this means emulation (as a main quickener of diligence) will be wrought amongst them, insomuch that the weakest scholar amongst them will be loth to lag always behind the rest; and there is none so stupidly blockish but by help of company will learn that which he would not obtain alone, and I have seen the very hindmost oftentimes help all his fellows at a dead lift. The teacher's constant care should be, in every form, so to direct and examine every particular boy, so to help forward the weakest, that in every thing he doth, he may understand himself, and it is not to be said with what alacrity they will all strive to outdo one another, so that sometimes he that cometh bebind all the rest will be as fit to make a leader of the form as those that are the foremost in it.
To provoke them all therefore to emulation, and that none may complain or think himself injured by being left behind, use constantly once at the end of a month, and when all your scholars are together, to make a free new choice in every form, after this manner:
1. Let every scholar in the form give his own voice concerning which boy he