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Hitherto our remarks have been general, and their prolixity will compel the writer to be very brief, while he endeavors to particularize a few things connected with the preceding thoughts. We will premise a few things, however, before entering upon the concluding subject of this essay. And it is quite probable, if not certain, that the positions which will be here assumed, will be denied almost universally. But although they come from a source verily obscure, and unaccompanied with any influence to give them weiglıt, yet the writer believes that the day is not far distant when. the following positions will be deemed correct, and acted upon.throughout this vast and growing republic.
1. There is too much attention paid to those sciences, in general, which are never brought into action, after the student has left the walls of his college. . Of what use are.conic sections to a man, whose after-business of life is that of a planter? Why should such
one waste his energies in wading through Euelid ? Certainly they are a dead letter to him. And why should a mechanical genius burn the midnight oil over the musty pages of the Hebrew language, and various other departments of a classical education ? It will be said, no doubt, that these studies are pursued for the purpose of disciplining the mind; and that they have this tendency will not here be denied. But in reply, we shall ask if there is not a redeeming principle of sufficient force in English literature, to supply thc want of mathematical discipline? We apprehend there is. We believe that the strength, beauty, and extent of English literature, cannot be excelled by all the dead languages under heaven ; and it should be studied in preference to them, if the student has only time for acquiring a knowledge of but one of these departments. It may be advanced, that the student attends to both in his collegiate course. Yęs, and with what good results can easily be known by observing the vast amount of absolute ignorance of their own native tongue, both in use and construction, with which the A. B.'s depart from their classic-halls."
2. There is not attention enough paid to the cultivation of the natural sciences. Some of these sciences, to be sure, are pursued in colleges, but in what way? . What college, in this country, at least, ever made a practical chemist, or philosopher! What college ever sent forth to the world a Franklin, a Davy, or a host of others, who by their own exertions at home, became masters of that knowledge which should have been taught them during their scholastic course. Besides, the very interesting and beautiful sciences of Botany, Geology and Mineralogy, are seldom, if ever, taught in any shape. To these we might add, with equal propriety, Zoology, Ornithology, etc. How vastly interesting is the boundless field of natural science, yet how criminally neglected. In a country like ours; where the resources of these-sciences are literally piled to the very heavens, and in a government like ours,
which is based upon intelligence diffused throughout the mass of the people, who are principally engaged in cultivating the earth, what course of education could be pursued with as much delight and interest, or be attended with such beneficial results ?
3. There is, in the prevailing system of education, an enormous tax upon the memory, without any expansion of the intellect. Committing to memory, verbatim, is almost the whole amount of labor' which a student performs, in a large majority of the seminaries in this country. To acquire a 'knowledge of any science, the student does little more than learn to repeat an answer, in the fewest words, to a set of leading questions which may be attached to it. - Hence, when a pupil has finished his course of studies, and returns to the bosom of his father's family, he is nonplused immediately, if an intelligent individual happens to require of him a practical exhibition of what he knows concerning the subjects to which his attention has been directed at school. His knowledge, though good according to present custom, has no practical utility. : He is a farmer's son, and destined to become a planter ; yet what he knows of chemistry does not afford him information as to the nature of the different earths which compose the substance of his plantation.
4. The course of education at the present era, is by far too general, and therefore does not qualify a man for that particular calling, to which he intends directing his attention in after-life. It ought to form a part of primary-school education, to ascertain the peculiar limit of the pupil's mind, and other circumstances agree-ing thereto, that his education may be conducted accordingly. If this course was pursued, we should have an abundance of intelligent and learned men in every department.
Our planters, farmers, and mechanics, would be scientific, as well as the clergy man and the lawyer.
· Having premised these remarks, we shall proceed to take up the neglect which has already been announced. Whạt follows will have a more direct reference to primary schools and academies.
Instruction ought to be imparted more extentively in lectures. The teacher, instead of sitting down to his easy task of asking a few questions which he may find at the bottom of the page, or annexed to the volume in an appendix, should prepare himself to lecture on a given portion of history; for instance, to throw all the interest into it of which the subject is capable. His pupils should be prepared with pencil and paper, and take notes of all the dates and facts, both as it regards men and things connected therewith, and at a future time to recite from these notes. In this way any science could be rendered interesting, which, from the text book usually made use of, is exceedingly dry and devoid of interest. The pupils themselves should be required to give lectures. This important exercise will be found to be useful in
several very interesting particulars. It awakens their minds to the importance of thorough investigation; gives them the power and habit of expressing their own thoughts in their own language; aids in obtaining a good style of writing, and fixes their attention upon the subject with such interest, that they will very rarely, if ever, forget it. Each member of the class has the advantage of exercising his powers of criticism, and they are enabled by their own efforts, to separate the right from the wrong, the good from the evil.
2. The sciences which are intimately blended in their development, should always be taught in connexion. For example: geography and the different kinds of history should go together, as they are, in some respects dependent, one upon the other. To know the one fully, we must know the other, at least, to some extent. These branches of education ought never to be separated. We verily believe, that with proper management, a youth máy learn these sciences in the ordinary time it now takes to obtain a knowledge of one of them. And this is our reason for believing
The laws of association are very strong. How often does the act of mentioning one fact, bring to the mind a host of others long since forgotten. So with the student. Instead of compelling him to perform the endless drudgery of committing lengthy details in geography to memory, let him, with his map before him, read the history whose geopraphical limits and situations he has ascertained, and then turn his attention to the animals peculiar to that division of the earth's surface, and their items all concentrating upon that point his eye is.canvassing on the map, will have a most powerful tendency to fix them all in his memory." The power of association will, at any after period, recall the whole scene up before his mind with all the freshness of school-boy days, and vigor of youth.
Geology and mineralogy should succeed the studies just mentioned ; after which, natural philosophy and chemistry, etc.
3. The study of the natural sciences should always be illustrated with experiments and specimens. For example : The student in natural philosophy should have access to philosophical apparatus, and in chemistry to a chemical laboratory. In botany, geology, and mineralogy, he should collect and arrange under their proper classes and orders, his own specimens. Such illustrations are attended with much interest and great good. In doing these things the student must be thrown upon his own powers of mind, in order to increase and strengthen his taste and judgment. One wild plant properly analyzed and arranged by the pupil, is worth more to him than whole systems of botany would be, merely committed to memory. In geography, he should always have a globe before him; so in astronomy ; together with a telescope and other instruments necessary to illustrate that science. In this way, and in no
other, can the student acquire a practical knowledge of any science; and practical knowledge is the only knowledge either necessary or expedient. Far be it from us to limit the acquirements of any one, provided they..can render their knowledge of any practical utility to themselves or others. But in our humble opinion, a knowledge of mere theory, without knowing how to reduce it to practice so as to make it profitable, is perfectly useless. And not only so, but the time spent in acquiring it is misspent and lost. Man has but a little while to improve his faculties here, and consequently has no time to waste in idle speculations. Every moment of his short life is pregnant with fearfal consequences, if those moments are misimproved, and with eternal importance is rightly employed. . "Therefore, whatever of his carthly existence he is permitted to give to the acquisition of knowledge, let that deeply momentous portion of his time be devoted to the acquiring of that knowledge, and that only, which can be of most service to him, or to his fellow creatures around him.
4. Primary schools are of the greatest importante, and they ought to be patronized and improved, so as to extend their influence and greatly to enlarge their sphere of action. The truth is, our primary schools should take the place of our academies, and the academies that of the colleges, and the colleges rise to something far above what they are now. To this end, well qualified teachers should be placed in all our primary schools, instead of employing such as can do little more than read bunglingly, and write miserably. A very large portion of the teachers of the primary schools in these United States, are almost as ignorant as those they profess to teach. And when the youth thus trained appear in a good institution, it not unfrequently requires greater efforts to undo what has been done wrong, than to teach those who have had no instruction whatever, The system of education should be very nearly the same from beginning to end, and there
fore no ignoramus should ever be allowed to occupy the place of , a teacher any where.
Having thus stated a few thoughts, gentlemen, on this interesting topic, I shall leave them with your better judgments, to determine, whether they can be of any use or not.
INTRODUCTION OF GYMNASTIC EXERCISES INTO THE
AMERÍCAN SYSTEM OF EDUCATION.
J. C. F. SALOMON
Our subject is not a new one in education. The exercises and their name are of Greek origin. - Your committee could lay before you the whole history of gymnastic exercises from ancient to modern times; but it would avail nothing else than to lengthen the report. Nor is its introduction into education new. But the introduction into the American system of education would be new, and is desirable. Your committee hopes hereby to illustrate the subject, and if possible to convince the college, that this branch of education is of great, utility to schools ; yes, furthermore, your committee deem it in order to prove, that this very branch of education will, if rightly conducted, preserve not only nationality, but it will form the people of the whole union into a brotherhood of devoted patriots. And if this branch of education should be advocated by the college, your committee would, without hesitation and without ostentation, feel encouraged to say, that this would be one of the greatest deeds ever contemplated by this honorable body. The reason why your committee feels authorized to use so positive an expression, is founded upon his own experience, that these exercises, accompanied with national speeches, national songs and hymns of liberty, will implant and perpetuate the spirit of civil and religious liberty, in any nation on earth.
The framer of this report humbly states, that these exercises, accompanied by national speeches-by national songs and hymns