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Happiness of children.
giving praise when the special occasion for it arises; or they will be really valued by the scholars who will learn to expect it and to rely on it, and so will lose something of their moral strength. It is not good to get a habit of relying on constant encouragement. It is a great part of the discipline of a school to train a child into doing what is right without commendation. Do not therefore let a false amiability cause you to waste your praise. “Even distinguished merit,” says Mr Bain, "should not always be attended with pæans.” And the merit you are most concerned to encourage is not cleverness, nor that which comes of special natural gifts, but rather the merit of conscientious industry and effort.
By all means let us respect the happiness of children. Ilappiness Cheerfulness—joyousness—the atmosphere of love and of children.
. of well-ordered liberty-these things make the heaven in which a little child lives, and in which all that is gracious and beautiful in his character thrives the best. Let him have as much of this as you can. But do not confound it with enjoyments, with what are called pleasures, with entertainments, with spectacles, with prizes, with things that cost money'. These are not what a child wants. Let us keep them in reserve till the evil days conie when the zest of life needs to be sustained by these poor devices. “Life would be very tolerable,” said Sir George Lewis, “were it not for its pleasures.” A schoolmaster cannot accept for himself or his scholars quite so cynical a theory as this, but he will none the less admit that it is a poor thing even in childhood to be dependent for a substantial part of our happiness on treats, on menus plaisirs and exceptional gratifications. In the long run we should find our chief delight in the ordinary pursuits and duties of life rather
1 See Jean Paul's Levana oder Erzieh-lehre, 44.
than in occasional release from them. And if school is to provide in this respect a training for after life, it should establish in the young scholar's mind happy associations with the duties and employments of every day, and not
exclusively or even mainly with fêtes and holidays. Punish- The saddest part of a schoolmaster's experience lies
in the necessity for punishments. It is impossible but that offences will come. But if we are to deal rightly with them when they come, we must first understand in what light we ought to look on all sin and wrong-doing, especially that of a child. And it is surely essential to learn to treat it without harshness, yet without levity or indifference; with full recognition of the sanctity of the law which has been broken, and yet with sympathy for the weakness which led to the breach of it. If we begin by viewing faults in this light, we shall be better
prepared to look this difficult question in the face. Different Now I can conceive three possible purposes which purposes of punish- punishment may serve. It may (1) be purely retri
butive or vindictive, and intended to shew the necessary and righteous connexion between wrong-doing and suffering; or (2) be purely exemplary, designed to warn others and to prevent the repetition of the fault; or (3) be designed for the reformation of the offender. If you consider the punishments inflicted by the State for the violation of its laws, you will see that they are to be defended mainly, almost exclusively on the second of these grounds. It is not simply for the vindication of the eternal principles of right and wrong, or for avenging evil deeds as such, that the State punishes. Else it would deal with the vices which degrade men and dishonour their nature as well as with the crimes which injure society. Still less is it purely with a view to the reformation of the wrong doer that the community pun
ishes its members. Of course when the miscreant is once in our hands, and the State assumes the responsibility of regulating his life, it is right to make the discipline as useful and reformatory as is consistent with due severity in the punishment. But this is not the first object. We do not keep up our costly and elaborate system of police and prisons mainly as an educational institution on behalf of that class of persons which least deserves the nation's solicitude. The object of the whole system of punishment is the protection of society by the prevention of crime. “You are not sent to prison,” said a magistrate to a thief, “for picking a pocket, but in order that pockets may not be picked.” Now it is evident that in this respect the School and the State are essentially different. The one concerns itself with the act done and its effect on the rights and welfare of the community; but the other concerns itself chiefly with the doer of the act. That which is to the lawgiver only a secondary and subordinate object, is to the ruler of the school the first object, the discipline or improvement of the offenders. If he punishes, he cannot of course keep out of view the moral effect of the punishment on those who might otherwise be tempted to do wrong; but his main object is to bring the pupil who has strayed, back again into the right path—the path of obedience and of duty.
There are two principal forms of punishment—those Kinds of which consist in the actual infliction of pain, or the de- punishprivation of some enjoyment; and those which derive their force from the fact that they are meant to be punishments, and are known to be so. A glance of rebuke, a word or tone of anger, disgrace or degradation in the eye of others, loss of office or of confidence, a low place in a list of marks for merit; all these are forms of punishment belonging to the second class; while detention from
play, the loss of holidays or of entertainments, the withholding of some pleasant ingredient from a meal, confinement, the imposition of unpleasant tasks, and actual castigation belong to the first class. And as we enumerate these, and perhaps think of others which our own ingenuity has devised, the first thought which occurs to us all, is how happy we should be if we could rid ourselves altogether of this kind of duty; and how great an object it is in all good discipline to reduce the necessity for punishment to a minimum. All these instruments of torture are in our hands. But it is obvious that we should never use the more formidable instrument if the less formidable can be made to serve the purpose.
While the eye commands respect, the voice is unnecessary; while a gentle rebuke will suffice, the harder tones of indignation and remonstrance should not be used. And it is not till the voice ceases to be obeyed at all, that we should resort to severer measures. It is one of the first objects of a wise ruler to dispense with the necessity of inflicting punishment altogether. But as this cannot always be accomplished, one or two principles about its infliction may be usefully kept in view.
Remember that secondary punishments intended to work upon the sense of shame seldom succeed. One reason is that they are so unequal. They fall so differently on different natures. The kind of disgrace which wounds a sensitive child to the quick and weakens his self-respect for years, falls harmless on a bolder, harder nature; and gives no pain at all. Many very good teachers, though, I am glad to say, a decreasing number, think it possible to produce a salutary effect on children by humiliating them in the eyes of others. Joseph Lancaster, who shewed a shrewd insight into many matters of education, was curiously unwise in this
respect. He invented a number of penalties, designed expressly to make wrong doing ridiculous. He would tie a boy who had broken a rule to one of the pillars of the school. He had a pulley fixed in the roof, and a rope and a basket, and would put an offender into the basket, and let him be drawn up in the sight of the whole school, and remain there suspended for its amusement. All such devices are happily extinct. Fools' caps and stools of repentance in schools have gone the way of the stocks, of the pillory, and of public floggings in the criminal code of the nation ; because they were all founded on the same vicious principle, of trying to prevent wrong doing by making fun of it, and by exposing the offender to scorn and ridicule. You degrade an entire community when you enable its members to get any amusement out of the procedure of justice, or out of the sufferings of a criminal.
And I think the use of sarcasm and of ridicule in the Ridicule. treatment of children, even when we do not punish them, is equally out of harmony with a wise and high-minded moral discipline. Some of us have a natural gift for satire and for wit; and it is very hard to abstain from the exercise of this weapon, whenever there is anything in a child's conduct to excite our scorn or sense of the ridiculous. But it is a dangerous weapon nevertheless, and we should put a severe restraint upon ourselves in the use of it.
We must not so treat wrong doing as to weaken the self-respect of the scholar, and to make the way to reformation steeper or more thorny than it is.
Is it needful that I should warn any one here against Tasks as setting tasks for punishments ? I believe, however, that punishthey are still sometimes used for this purpose, and I am astonished to find in a modern book containing so much that is wise and philosophical as Mr Bain's Education as