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source of authority, in such an establishment. Infants are, generally speaking, to be ruled by moral influence. They follow that which they love. They avoid that which they fear. They endeavour to imitate that which they admire; and, taken in a more large sense, their mind assumes the character of that which is most constantly offered to their attention. But they are unable, at present, rationally to deduce consequences from the probabilities, or the tendencies of things, or to give birth to a resolution, because of the evil or the good which may be contingent on a certain mode of action. Such considerations will suggest to the mind of the teacher of an Infants' School a source of authority most powerful, and most effectual.
It is evident, then, that if it is proposed to educate any number of infant children assembled together under the same roof, in order to establish an uniform and connected authority over them, some mode must be discovered for arresting, and for fixing the attention of all. It is equally evident, too, that whenever this might be requisite, it should be possible to make the instructor himself the object of that attention. He must propose to himself, that the ear of the little multitude should be awake to his own voice, and that he should be able, at any time, to fix their eye upon his person. If he have not
the free and ready command of these two senses, his endeavours to instruct his school must be altogether vain. By what means then
he secure this most necessary observation of himself? There are two which lie before him. He may, by a course of harshness and severity, excite their fears; and they will then regard him as an object of terror and dismay. Or he may win their affections to him; and they will then listen to his voice, and observe his person, as those of their kindest friend.
It is altogether unnecessary, I feel, that I should waste the time of the reader in endeavouring to prove, that fear is, under no circumstances, a suitable source of authority in an Infants' School. Order, howsoever important in itself, is, in such an establishment, chiefly to be desired for its connexion with a future good, and must, therefore, by no means be secured to the prejudice of farther instruction. If the infants fear their teacher, they will receive, with reluctance, or even dislike, that in which he may propose to give them information; and, transferring their repugnance to his authority, and their dislike of his person, to the object for which that authority is supported, will early imbibe a distaste for the acquirement of useful knowledge, and a feeling of resistance to all control.
TACHMENTS OF HIS CHARGE.
It remains, then, that THE FIRST OBJECT OF THE TEACHER OF AN INFANTS' SCHOOL MUST BE TO CONCILIATE TO HIMSELF THE FOND AT
And, beyond those considerations which will hereafter fall under our notice, he has originally every advantage in his endeavours to obtain this object. The infants committed to his care know nothing of him beyond the walls of his school. The little vexatious events, which too often are made the occasion of contention, even with a parent, do not appear there. He may address himself constantly to one and another, in expressions of kindness and affection. He may sympathize with them in their little troubles. He may soothe their passions, when they begin to rise, by a word of conciliation. He may unite in their amusements, and with them be childlike, without descending to folly.
It will be the object also of the Teacher of an Infants' School to be himself the EXAMPLE of his little flock; and he will, therefore, in his communications of kindness to his pupils, have this farther end in view. While he endeavours to soothe their minds to peacefulness, he will personally set before them in himself those modes of feeling and of action which shall awaken their incipient admiration, and afford them a pattern which, in some future period, they may
with pleasure and safety follow. To the success of this attempt, the alacrity.of disposition always attendant on that early age will lend a very effectual aid. The ear of an infant is engaged, and the eye is fixed, the one by the variations of tone, and the other by changes of the human countenance, much sooner, and with far greater effect, than those of the person who is advanced farther into the scene of life, and whose mind is occupied by concerns of higher moment. Scarcely an intonation of the voice of him who is the object of their affections will be without its comparative effect. Scarcely an action will escape their notice.
The authority of the teacher, as far as it has hitherto been considered, is direct. It will follow, that we now proceed to the indirect influence, which the circumstances of his school afford him, over the mind and the feelings of his little flock. That which is most powerful, is found in their MUTUAL SYMPATHIES AND EXAMPLE. The effect of this influence, when under a judicious management, it is impossible to estimate, without having been personally a witness of it. It operates in every part of the system. It is present in every successful attempt at general instruction ; but it is more especially influential in the moral regulation of the school. It is not to be feared that an evil excitement should exist
at the same moment over an assembly of one hundred or more infants. Under the most unfavourable circumstances, there will be a sufficient number attracted by the voice, or observant of the person of the teacher, for the purpose which he may have in view. Such indeed is the nature of the system; the variety is so continual, and the cheerful attention of the children is, in one way or another, so unremittingly kept alive, that whatsoever may be the theory of the case, the real difficulty consists, not in the suppression of evil passion, but in correcting an incessant buoyancy of spirit. It will suggest itself immediately to the mind of the intelligent reader, that, should an evil excitement nevertheless appear, it may be quickly soothed, by placing the child who is thus affected under the care of others, whose passions are at rest. The flow of good feeling will almost immediately absorb the evil, and the fretful sob give way to a sympathetic delight.
The teacher will soon discover and appreciate highly the power which this mutual sympathy gives him over his little flock; and it will be one of the first, as it is one of the most important, objects which he will have in view, to encourage and to increase it. He will not listen to any trivial tales which they may, on their first entrance into his school, be inclined to tell