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care, and will require much time for its com
It will be more than probable, that among a hundred children of different ages under seven years, a few will be found who have already, by the diligence of their parents, acquired a knowledge of the letters of the alphabet, and of some of the more simple words. Now, as soon as possible, the teacher must accurately acquaint himself with the state of knowledge already attained by each of his pupils; and without any distinct remark to this purpose, he must place those who have acquirements, of howsoever small an extent, in a higher place in the school than those who have none. By thus slowly proceeding in his work, in a few days the little assembly will have almost imperceptibly assumed a more correct arrangement, and he will have thus laid the foundation of all his future proceedings. From this point, he may, without hesitation, proceed to a general division of the whole school into classes.
It has been already remarked, that if it be difficult for the teacher to support a consistent influence over the whole of his school, it would be impossible that a child should ever hope to do so over any considerable number of his fellow pupils. In that part, then, of the system, where
instruction proceeds immediately from the monitors to their fellow-pupils, order can alone be preserved by placing the fewest possible number under the care of each little teacher. A monitor is supposed to be able to regulatė, and to communicate instruction to five of his fellow-pupils, and this is, therefore, the number of each class. For the general
For the general purposes, however, of the school, it is thought better to have two monitors superintending the same little party of children ; and on this account two subordinate classes are regarded as one, and the monitor of the second is then called the second monitor. In the classes themselves, it is not desirable to place the children according to their several acquirements, as the instruction there pursued is seldom individual; and the personal emulation, which is excited by the taking of places, is not known in this system of education. In order to mark the division of the classes, the seats may be divided by small partitions into compartments of ten feet each, which affords, on the average, sufficient room for as
MONITORS.-In an Infants' school, a child, who has attained knowledge howsoever limited, is supposed to be thus far in a capacity to teach another child who has none. On this principle the several monitors are chosen. All
that is required in the way of qualification in the monitor of a class is, that he should be well acquainted with that which it is his office to communicate to his little pupils. It will be evident, that in this manner all the school may be reduced to an order of successive instruction, and that the business of the teacher will be, in this department, most effectually performed by his personal attention, chiefly to the highest classes. Through these, as monitors, he communicates the same knowledge to the second order of his pupils, and thus by succession to every class in the school. His personal attention to the subordinate classes will be of a more general character. He will call, and fix their attention, as he passes round the room, to the various subjects of instruction; and support, where necessary,
the influence of the little teachers over those entrusted to their care. As the monitors are, in their order, themselves moreover the subjects of instruction, and under such circumstances must for the time leave their classes, the most intelligent child in each class is chosen, to fill, at these times, the place of the little instructor, and obtains the name of the sub-monitor.
When the lesson is to be given to the whole school at once from the rostrum, the monitors are chosen from among the boys without any
regard to their place in their several classes. The more simple combinations of number, for instance, or the more easy tables, are recited aloud from that place by some of the least advanced in knowledge. The teacher is here constantly changed, and all feel that in their turn they may assume the place of instructor to all the others.
Besides these monitors, two or more of the most intelligent and active children may be selected, to act each alternately as a walking monitor. The duty of this monitor is to walk slowly from one end of the school to the other, observing the attention of the scholars; himself at the same time reciting aloud the lesson, if the instruction be general, or exciting the various classes to diligence. He preserves order, under the direction of the superintendant, and informs him of any delinquency which he may perceive in any part of the little assembly.
It will be remarked, that I have suggested the propriety of choosing the teachers at the rostrum from amongst the boys alone. This is done, not under the idea that the girls are not equally capable of filling the occasional office with propriety, but with the same purpose as that which has been already described as forming a characteristic part of the system. The appearance would not be good; and the tendency would be, to induce an unbecoming self-confidence and an obtrusive boldness of
It will form a very important part of the duty of the superintendant, to watch over the dispositions of the monitors : as there will be constantly a danger of their assuming an authority over their fellow-pupils, which is beneficial neither to themselves nor to the general order of the school. He must be keenly alive to any harshness of address which they may use. He must not suffer them to exercise any mode of punishment; but he must himself be always ready to enforce that measure of attention to the lesson which may be necessary.
ORDER OF INSTRUCTION.-The next thing which will require the attention of the superintendant of an Infants' school, after the division of the classes, will be the arrangement of the order of instruction. He must first, then, have clearly stated before him the subjects which it is proposed to teach in the school. These he must divide into the following parts; those which may be taught to the whole school at once from the rostrum those which may be communicated by mutual instruction in the several classes and those which are suitable to