« EdellinenJatka »
the buttons appears when d only is exposed to view and the other letters are down. At the back also, the same letters, but of a smaller type, are placed over the several buttons, that the little monitor may know what letter he is exposing to the view of the infants arranged before him. (3.) (4.) (5.) represent the small pieces of wood, when taken out of their compartments. (6.) is a section of one of them with the button by which it is moved behind.
It has been found convenient, to arrange the letters on the alphabet-board in the following order,
IHT LE FA V WYM NZK XO UCJGDPBRQS j. a. r. i. b.e. g. u. m. o. p. a. y.e. a. h. e. n.o. d. o.z. e. k. e. w. q. u. i. t. s.i. x. c. a. I. f.i. v.e. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12.
By repeating the vowels in this manner in the smaller letters and arranging the whole in the above mode, about sixty different syllables and words are formed, and thus the alphabetboard may be made to assist in teaching the infants some of the first combinations of letters, and the reading of words.
The gradations by which the art of reading may be taught to any number of children in an infants' school, are, it will have appeared, the following:
Sing the alphabet to some musical air, until it is committed to memory;--Pronounce distinctly the letters;—Learn to read the letters on the tins, or on the alphabet-board ;-Learn primary and final syllables, and the more useful words of the language, from a monitor frequently reciting them at the rostrum ;-Learn to read the same syllables and words, imprinted separately on pieces of tin ;-Read elementary books to the teachers in the classroom ;—Examine each other in spelling in the circular class.
In the process of reading, it may be remarked generally, that the language should always proceed from that which is more simple to that which is more difficult; and the subject, too, should be such as will immediately commend itself to the understanding of a child. It should relate to something which he would most naturally observe in the events around him; some of the earlier duties of life, or some of those admonitions to which even the weakest efforts of conscience are responsive. The infant should be immediately sensible that what he reads is true ; that a possibility is described; that the lesson enforces an effort which is just and proper; that the instruction which he is receiving tends to serenity and peace of mind, and consequent happiness.
I may here add, that the mode of instruction thus unfolded, may be extended to any measure which circumstances or propriety may suggest. The art of reading, it has been confessed, as every other art, of the utility of which they are not able personally to form an estimate, presents some difficulties to the untutored mind of the younger infants. It is an error, however, which is too prevalent in the education of the young, to make this art always introductory to further knowledge. Whatever may be taught by the ear, should not be communicated alone by the eye; and wherever the eye may be brought to receive the intended impression by a simple effort, it is unnecessary,
in the case of infants, to aid the idea by the intervention of a complicated art. The instruction of infants should, then, be conducted very much by means of narrative or conversation ; and the idea should, as much as possible, be assisted by graphic representation, or any other which may secure the aid of more than one of the senses.
If it were necessary, for instance, to teach them the nature of forms, or the relative properties of lines, these might be better effected by the assistance of solids, which they might handle, or by the postures of their own bodies, than by oral descriptions or representations on a
flat surface. The progress would thus be from the number of the sides of a solid, or of its lines, to their relative length or form, and thence to their position in the figure. Their names would fall last under notice. A representation on a flat surface alone should in this instance be avoided, because it implies an exercise of mind in comprehending it, many removes beyond any effort to which an infant can have been accustomed. The method of narrative or conversation, with the aid of graphic representation, should be followed in the natural history of those animals with which the little pupils are likely to meet in life: and also of those whose names occur in the sacred volume. And in this de partment of knowledge, it will not be thought necessary to proceed beyond those points which are more prominent: a description of their form and colour'; of the country which they inhabit; of the means of their subsistence; of their peculiar habits; and of their various uses to mankind.
It will be manifest that the progress from these, by the same mode of instruction, to a description of some of the more useful arts and trades, will be simple; and as it is more than probable that the majority of the little assembly will be destined to pass their lives in the employment of one or another of these, they may thus be introduced to an early habit of exercising their mind, and forming their judgment on that which they see around them, and in which they are occupied ; and not, as is too frequently the case, be suffered to pass their lives impelled only by necessity, or guided by the inclinations to which the unchastened passions may give birth.
THE SCRIPTURES.--The principal subject of instruction, however, should be the sacred volume; and all the ingenuity of the teacher should be exercised to prepare his little charge not only for a ready use of that book, and a correct understanding of its various subjects, but also to approach it with those devout feelings which it so highly demands, and which are the best pledge of its real utility to us.
The Scriptures, then, under any form, should not be made a task-book in an infants' school. They should not be placed before a child until he has acquired a moderate facility in the art of reading; and when read, the teacher should proceed in a different form from that of the common subjects of learning. He should himself always superintend every lesson in the sacred Scriptures. He should endeavour to. impress his class with the idea, that this book must be read with more serious and governed