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you will first interest him in the thing and make him care about it; then discuss in succession its various parts, attributes and uses; there is no harm afterwards in recalling what has been learned, and saying “We have in fact all this while been finding out the qualities of this thing; and we will write them down.” But it is not at all necessary to enumerate all the qualities of each object as it comes under review. When this is done, the lessons on objects soon become monotonous and very wearisome. Each object has some one quality which it illustrates better than another. Thus a chief characteristic of glass is its transparency, of india-rubber is its elasticity, of gold is its ductility; and in a lesson on each of these objects it is well to take the opportunity of calling attention to the one or two technical terms which the particular object best illustrates.
No single lesson should have many technical or Technical unfamiliar terms in it. But every good lesson should at least introduce the learner to two or three new technical words, and make a distinct addition to his vocabulary. Every lesson in fact brings to light some name or formula which is specially characteristic of the new knowledge you are imparting, and will form a good centre round which recollections will cluster and arrange themselves after you have done. All such characteristic terms, names and formulae, should be very distinctly written and underlined; special attention should be called to them, and recalled at the end of the lesson; and the question may be asked “What use did we make of this word ?” Not unfrequently too the half-dozen words which have been written down, may be usefully copied down to furnish material for the full notes that have to be prepared as home lessons, and to serve as a reminder of the order in which those notes are to be arranged.
Arrange- In thinking out the plan of any such oral lesson, it ment of is each lesson
very necessary to break it up into definite portions, in sections, that you may know at what points to recapitulate.
But it is not necessary to reveal the whole of that plan to your scholars. Your lesson must have a beginning, a middle and an end ; and will be mapped out in your mind with this view; but there is no need to divide it ostentatiously into parts beforehand, and say what you are going to do. A logical division of the subject is necessary for you as part of your plan of workmanship, but the consciousness of this division is not always helpful to the learner. He is not concerned with the mechanism of teaching or with the philosophy of your art. He has to be interested, to be led by ways which he knows not, but which you know, and have clearly predetermined. But to begin with any display of the logical framework of your lesson is to begin at the wrong end. Not to speak it profanely, do not some of us,-patient hearers in church-feel a little rebellious when a preacher announces beforehand his intention to divide his discourse into three parts, and then to conclude with an appeal and application. We feel instinctively that the whole mechanism of firstly, secondly, and thirdly, was perhaps very useful to him when marshalling his own thoughts in his study beforehand, but that it is no business of ours. We are very ready to welcome the facts, the teaching, the reasoning, the inspiration, it may be, which he has to give; but the more he can keep his homiletic apparatus in the background the better.
To go back for a moment to our main subject and recapitulate. We have had before us Descriptive Geography, which aims at helping learners to realize the aspects of nature; Commercial Geography, which concerns
itself with manufactures and cities, with population and productions; and Physical Geography which seeks for the truths and general laws underlying these mundane phenomena. The first addresses itself to the imagination, and is the most interesting and attractive. The second appeals to the memory, and is the most serviceable in the intercourse of life. The third alone enlists the aid of the understanding, and is for this reason the most valuable as a part of disciplinal education,—the only branch of the subject in fact which deserves to rank as science. We are to keep these three forms of geographical teaching separately in view and to take care that each receives the consideration which is due to it and no
The recognition of this distinction will not be without its value in connexion with the whole class of information of which Geography may serve as a type. I hope hereafter to say something more as to the place which physical and inductive science should hold in a high or complete course of instruction. Here, however, I must be content to have left on your mind the impression that even in the lower department of school life, the claims of such knowledge ought to be distinctly recognized, and that they are best recognized by planning out in regular series conversational and pictorial lessons on useful and interesting facts, and on what the Germans call Natur-Kunde, but what we may more fully describe as the phenomena of common life, observed and taught in a scientific way.
Purpose of It is clear that there is a sense in which a large part historical
of the History taught in schools belongs to the region teaching
which we have designated Fact-lore; because it is learned mainly as information interesting and serviceable in se. But the proportion of lessons in History which have a disciplinal, moral, and reflex value as part of education is somewhat larger than in Geography. We shall all be agreed that history is not a mere narration of facts in their chronological order ; but that to know it is to know events in their true causes and connexion, to have our judgment exercised about the right and wrong of human actions as well as the sequence of events, and to recognize some principles underlying the mere facts.
“History,” says Fuller, “maketh a young man to be old without either wrinkles or grey hair, privileging him with the experience of age without either the infirmities or the inconveniences thereof." But the history that will correspond to this description must be something which far transcends in its scope the scanty record of royal alliances, of wars, and of dynastic struggles, which constitute the staple of school text books. So unsatisfactory is the intellectual result of much of the labour spent on teaching history to children, that many authorities of
great weight advocate the omission of the subject from the course of school instruction altogether. Herbert Spencer says, “That kind of information which in our schools usurps the name of History—the mere tissue of names and dates and dead unmeaning events—has a conventional value only : it has not the remotest bearing on any of our actions, and is of use only for the avoidance of those unpleasant criticisms which current opinion passes on its absence.” And he proceeds to shew that the fundamental objection to such masses of facts as children are often required to learn is that they are undidigested and unorganizable, that there is no unity about them, and therefore no scientific value in them. Now for my part, I do not think this a reason for omitting the study of History from a school-course, but simply for inquiring how the facts can be so taught, as to serve a real educational purpose.
Nothing is easier than to begin by denouncing the Text-books. school-books. No doubt they are all more or less unsatisfactory. Yet it is difficult to know how if they honestly fulfil their intended purpose they could be otherwise. They must, of course, be crammed with facts; and as style must always be more or less sacrificed to the desire for excessive condensation, they are seldom very readable or interesting. Moreover, since the writer of a school-book naturally strives to narrate as large a number of authentic facts as his space will contain, it is often unavoidable that important and unimportant facts will be recorded with the same amount of elaboration, and that thus, much which is of little value will be minutely set forth. The more systematic text-books also attempt a classification of the main facts of each reign, under such heads as " birth and parentage of the sovereign, eminent men, wars," etc. Now, although this looks methodical,