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ARTICLE VI., Documento


TION OF THE YOUNG!' Intended Chiefly to assist Young Teachers in or ganizing and conducting their SehodisBy JACOB AUBOTT, Principal of Mount Vernon School, New England. - Revised by the Rev. CHARLES MAYO, LL. D., late Fellow of St Juhn College, Oxford. London: Seeley & Sons. 1834. - 12mout: Pp. 328. ns inged:13: prin lutsister to

Lidl rilie ui in 21. "141631-Ivor IT » MR ABBOTT remarks, that were teachers to visit the schools of each other, they would vastly increase their knowledge ofriand interest in the art of instruction. It is not always the case, says he, that any thing is observed by the visiter which he can directly and wholly introduce into his own school but what he sees suggests to him modifications or changes ; and it gives him, at any rate, renewed strength and resolution in his work, to see how similar objects are accomplished, or similar difficulties rew moved, by others." "Next to a visit to a school, he continues, “comes the reading of a vivid description of it. I do not mean a cold theoretical exposition of the general principles of-its ma nagement and instruction for these are essentially the same ja all

schools : I mean a minute account of the plans and arrange ments by which these general principles are applied. Suppose twenty of the most successful teachers in New England would, write such a description, each of his own school, how valuable i would be the volume which should contain them ! Mt Abbott has followed this recommendation in publishing the work unders review. Its general nature is well set forth by Dr Mayo in his! preface to the English reprint : in iris

“ The little volume now presented to the British public, sets! forth in a lively and practical. manner, the every-day life of a North American school. We are fairly ushered into the classroom, introduced to the pupils, made acquainted with the lights and shades of their characters; and all the physical, moral, and intellectual machinery of the institution, is set in motion before our eyes, and its principles familiarly explained. It is not indeed an elaborate exhibition of abstract truths addressed to a few philosophical minds, but a lively picture of school scenes, a minute detail of lessons, many of which were actually given, and a circumstantial report of cases which have really occurred, and may any day occur again. It is a volume for the practical educator; the teacher in an infant school, the master of a proprietary establishment, the professor in a university, the instructor in a private family or in a school of any description, may study its lively narratives and judicious remarks with profit to himself and his charge. It exhibits to us how moral discipline and re

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ligious influence may be exercised, even in a day-school, and that without violating sectarian prejudices."

Mr Abbott's work gives us a very favourable impression of his moral and intellectual qualities. He argues strongly against the prevalent compulsory system of tuition, and maintains that by adapting the mode of teaching, and subjects taught, to the minds to be operated on, and exciting motives in the pa pils by skilfully, addressing their various faculties, the business of instruction may be rendered comparatively easy and pleasant. “ The school-room,” says he, “is in reality a little empire of mind. Ifthe one who presides in it sees it in its true light, studies the nature and tendency of the minds which he has to control, adapts his plans and bis ineasures to the laws of human nature, and endeavours to accomplish his purposes for them, not by mére labour and force, but by ingenuity and enterprise ; he will take pleasure in administering his little government. He wilt watch with care and interest the operation of the moral and intellectual causes which he sees in operation, and find, as he ac complishes with increasing facility and power bis various objects, that he derives a greater and greater pleasure from his work. Scholars never can be instructed by the power of any mechanical routine, nor can they be governed by the blind naked strength of the master : such means 'must fail to accomplish the purposes designed, and consequently the teacher who tries such a course;" must have constantly upon his mind the discouraging, disheartening burden of unsuccessful and almost useless labour. contidually uneasy, dissatisfied, and filled with anxious cares; and sources of vexation and perplexity will continually arise. He attempts to remove evils by waging against them a useless and most vexatious warfare of threatening and punishment, and he is trying continually to drive, when he might know that neither the intellect nor the heart are capable of being driven."

Since, then, an accurate knowledge of human nature is so indispensable to the successful education of the young, it is mani. fest ibat the study of Phrenology, the only science by which the faculties of man are practically disclosed, is of the deepest importance to teachers. Cowper has well said, that,

“ Though Nature weigh our talents, and dispense

To every man his niodicum of sense,...
Yet much depends, as in the tiller's toil,

On culture, and the sowing of the soil.” And it may well be asked, Whether is the tiller who knows scientifically the quality of the soil, its relations to different kinds of seed, and the periods at which the business of sowing may be most advantageously performed, or he who is ignorant of all these matters, likely to be the more successful cultivator? Surely no one can hesitate to name the former in reply. As he who has




studied both the principles and the practice of agriculture, is far less 'exposed to error than he who has nothing but his own li mited experience to guide him, so will the teacher who understands the faculties which it is his profession to cultivate, direct, and enlighten,—the degree in which every individual pupil is endowed with them, -and the mode of increasing and diminishing the activity of each, be greatly superior to him who proceeds empirically to his task, and spends half a lifetime before even arriving at a settled conviction of the innate diversity of human dispositions and talents. Mr. Abbott is evidently un...


, acquainted with Phrenology, but there book which shew that he has carefully studied and soundly rea-,

are many passages 1 bis soned upon the mental phenomena Geheld in his school-room, and that he is fully'aware how important it is that the teacher should be familiar with the characters of his pupils. " It is of course," he says, “one essential part of a man's duty in engaging in any undertaking, whether it will lead him to act upon matter, or upon mind, 'to become first well acquainted with the circunstances of the case, the materials he is to act upon, and the means which he may reasonably expect to have at his command. If he underrates his difficulties or overrates the power of bis means of overcoming them, it is his mistake ; a mistake for which, he is fully responsible. Whatever may be the nature of the effect which he aims at accomplishing, he ought fully to under

“ใ() stand it, and to appreciate justly the difficulties which lie in the

These general remarks Mr Abbott illustrates thus: One class of teachers seem never to make it a part of their calcula- . tion that their pupils will do wrong; and then, when any misconduct occurs, they are disconcerted and irritated, and look and act as if some unexpected occurrence had broken in


their plans. Others understand and consider all this beforehand. They seem to think a little before they go into their school, what

a sort of beings boys and girls are, and any ordinary case of youthful delinquency or dulness does not surprise them. I do not mean that they treat such cases with indifference or neglect, but that they expect them, and are prepared for them. Such a teacher knows that boys and girls are the materials he has to work upon, and he takes care to make himself acquainted with these materials just as they are. The other class, however, do not seem to know at all what sort of beings they have to deal with, or if they know, do not consider. They expect from them what is not to be obtained, and then are disappointed and vexed at the failure. It is as if á carpenter should attempt to support an entablature by pillars of wood too small and weak for the weight, and then go on, from week to week, suffering anxiety and irritation, as he sees them swelling and splitting under the

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burden, and finding fault with the wood, instead of taking the blame to himself.”

The advice given to teachers regarding the treatment of the less gifted pupils, is benevolent and touching; and, we hope, will ere long be generally followed, “Never get out of patience with dulness. Perhaps I ought to say, never get out of patience with any thing--that would perhaps be the wisest rule; but above all things, remember that dulness and stupidity (and you will certainly find them in every school), are the very last things to get out of patience with. If the Creator has so formed the mind of a boy, that he must go through life slowly and with difficulty, impeded by obstructions which others do not feel, and depressed by discouragements which others never know, bis lot is surely hard enough, without having you to add to it the trials. and suffering which sarcasm and reproach from you can heap upon him. Look over your school-room, therefore, and whereever you find one whom you perceive the Creator to have en-, dued with less intellectual power than others, fix your eye upon him with an expression of kindness and sympathy. Such a boy will have suffering enough from the selfish tyranny of his companions; he ought to find in you a protector and friend. One

. of the greatest pleasures which a teacher's life affords, is the interest of seeking out such an one, bowed down with burdens of depression and discouragement, unaccustomed 10 sympathy and kindness, and expecting nothing for the future but a weary continuation of the cheerless toils which have embittered the past; and the pleasure of taking off the burden, of surprising the timid disheartened sufferer by kind words and cheering looks, and of seeing in his countenance the expressions of ease and even of happiness gradually returning.".

Dr Gall, in refuting the theory of Helvetius, that all differences of minds are the product of education, advises those who entertain such an opinion to enlighten themselves by conversing on the subject with persons who dedicate their lives to the training of youth. From those persons, says Gall, they will learn that every day furnishes occasion to remark, that in each individual the dispositions vary even from birth, and that education can be effectual only in proportion to the innate qualities: if it were otherwise, he adds, how could these excellent men pardon themselves, and how could others pardon them, for neglecting to root out from the minds of their pupils every fault, every vice, every evil passion, and every grovelling inclination*? Let us now hear the result of Mr Abbott's experience. “Do not hope or attempt to make all your pupils alike. Providence has determined that human minds should differ from each other, for the very purpose of giving variety and interest to this busy scene

Sur les Fonctions du Cerveau, i. 148.

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of life . Now, if it were possible for a teacher so to plan his operations, as to send his pupils farth upon the comnlunity, formed on the same model as if they were made by machinery, he would do so much towards spoiling one of the wisest of the plans which the Almighty has formed for making this world a happy scene. Let it be the teacher's aim to co-operate with, not vainly to attempt to thwart, the designs of Providence. We should bring out those powers with which the Creator has endued the minds placed under our controlo We must open pur garden to such influences as shall bring forward all the plants, each in a way corresponding to itstown nature i do is impossible if it were wise, and it would be foolish if it were possible, to stimulate, by artificial means, the rose, in-hope of its reaching the size and magnitude of the apple-tree; or to try to cultivate the fig and the orange, where wheat only will grow... No, it should be the teacher's main design to shelter his pupils from every deleterious influence, and to bring everything to bear upon the community of minds before him, which will encourage in each one the development of its own native powers. For the rest, he must remember that his province is to cultivate, not to create." These observations shew, a degree of common sense which we should like to see more general among teachers. Yet it is curious that even Mr Abbott should so far contradict himiself, as to employ, such an argument as the following: “The human mind is always, essentially, the same. i:That which is tedious and joyless to one, will be so to another, if pursued in the same way, and under the same circumstances. And teaching, if it is pleasant, and animating, and exciting to one, may be so to all: Inconsistencies like this shew of how little practical efficacy is the philosophical belief of unphrenological thinkers, compared with the deep-rooted conviction derived from Phrenology. In treating of moral discipline, Mr Abbott remarks that the characters of offenders among the boys oughu toibe carefully: studiédus Phrénology would be of great use there to This work,” says Mr Abbott, 2'l, will often regni Breat ladroitnessgi and very close scrutiny and you will find as the results of it, a considerable

; variety of character, which the general influences above described will not be sufficient to control. The number of individuals will not be great, but the diversity of character comprised in it will be such as to call into exercise all your powers of vigilance and discrimination. On one seat you will find a coarse, roughlooking boy, who will openly disobey your commands and oppose your wishes; on another, a more sly rogue, whose demure and submissive look is assuined, to conceal a mischief-making disposition. . Here is one wbose giddy spirit is always leading him into difficulty, but who is of so open and frank a disposition, that you will most easily lead him back to duty; but there is


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