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Nothing adds more to the charm of life, than good music, but nothing is more melancholy than to reflect upon the wasted hours spent by many a girl in the mechanical practice of music, from which neither she nor any hearer derives real enjoyment. But this admission once made, and the just claims of art and taste as part of a woman's education duly recognized, there seems no good reason for making any substantial diference between the intellectual training of one sex and that of the other. The reasons which have been urged for a co-ordinate development of faculty apply to the human, and not to any specially masculine needs.
We are bound to make a practical protest against that view of a girl's education which prevails so widely among ignorant parents. They often care more for the accomplishments by which admiration is to be gained in early years, than for those qualities by which it is to be permanently retained, and the work of life is to be done. In the long run, the usefulness and happiness of women and their power of making others happy depends more than on any thing else, on the number of high and worthy subjects in which they take an intelligent interest. Some day perhaps we may be in a position to map out the whole field of knowledge, and to say how much of it is masculine, and how much of it is feminine. At present the data for such a classification are not before us. Experience has not yet justified us in saying of any form of culture or useful knowledge that it is beyond the capacity of a woman to attain it, or that it is unsuited to her intellectual needs. Meanwhile the best course of instruction which we can devise ought to be put freely within the reach of men and women alike. We may be well content to wait and see what comes of it; for we may be sure that no harm can possibly come of it.
As to the distribution of time, it is impossible to lay Distribudown any rigid rule, applicable to schools of different tion of
time. characters and aims. Specimen time tables might easily be given, but they would probably be very misleading. It may be useful, however, to keep in view some general directions for the fabrication of your own time-table :
(1) Calculate the total number of hours per week available for instruction, and begin by determining what proportion of these hours should be devoted respectively to the several subjects.
(2) In doing this contrive to alternate the work so that no two exercises requiring much mental effort or the same kind of effort come together, e.g. let a lesson in translation, in history or arithmetic, be followed by one in writing or drawing; one in which the judgment or memory is most exercised by one in which another set of faculties is called into play. It is obvious that the exercises which require most thinking should generally come earliest in the day.
(3) Have regard to the character and composition of your teaching staff; and to the necessity for continuous yet well-varied and not too laborious employment for each of them; particularly for those who are specialists, or teachers of single subjects.
(4) As a rule do not let any lesson last longer than three-quarters of an hour. It is unreasonable to expect continuous and undivided attention for a longer time, and with very young children even half an hour is enough. Thus a three hours' school in the morning should be divided into four parts, and a two hours' attendance in the afternoon into three.
(5) An interval of ten minutes may fitly be provided in the middle of each school-time, for recreation in playroom or ground. So a morning will give three lessons of
three-quarters of an hour each, one of half an hour, which is quite long enough say for a dictation or a writing lesson, and a little break beside.
(6) Let the plans be so arranged as to provide movement and change of position at each pause in the work. One lesson a day may very properly be given to the scholars standing.
(7) Let one short period be reserved in every day for the criticism of the preparatory or other lessons which have been done out of school. We shall see hereafter, that some forms of home lessons admit of very effective and expeditious correction, in class.
(8) Reserve also a short period, for some purpose not comprehended in the routine of studies, say the last half hour of the week, for gathering the whole school together addressing them on some topic of general interest, or reading an extract from some interesting book.
(9) Do not so fill up your own time, if you are the principal teacher, and have assistants, as to be unable to fulfil the duty of general supervision. Provide for your own inspection and examination of the work of the several classes, at least once in every two weeks, and take care that the work of all youthful teachers, and of those who are not fully trained goes on in your sight.
(10) Punctuality should be the rule at the end as well as the beginning of a lesson, otherwise you do not keep faith with your scholars. The time table is in the nature of a contract between you and them. Do not break it. The pupils are as much entitled to their prescribed period of leisure, as you are to your prescribed time of lecturing and expounding.
I cannot tell you how much a school gains by possessing a thoroughly well considered time-table, and adhering closely to it. In the elementary school as you
know, the time table once sanctioned and approved by the Inspector, and duly displayed becomes the law of the school, and must not in any way be departed from. And I feel sure that you will gain by putting yourselves under a régime just as severe. For the habit of assigning a time for every duty, and punctually performing everything in its time, is of great value in the formation of character. And every good school is something more than a place for the acquirement of knowledge. It should serve as a discipline for the orderly performance of work all through life, it should set up a high standard of method and punctuality, should train to habits of organized and stedfast effort, should be “an image of the mighty world." In separating a school into classes two conditions Classifica
tion. have to be fulfilled--that the scholars shall be near enough in ability and knowledge to work well together, to help and not hinder one another, and that there shall be a sufficient number of scholars in one class to secure real emulation and mental stimulus. A large school in which the ages range from 10 to 15, may for the former purpose have five classes. Indeed it may be roughly said that there should be as many classes as there are years in the school-life of the scholars. Otherwise, you will be mingling children in the same class, whose attainments and powers differ so widely that either some of them will be held back, or others will be urged to progress too rapidly. On the other hand, it is essential that classes should be of a certain size, and I believe that every teacher who understands his business prefers large classes to small ones. There are advantages in the fellowship and sympathy which are generated by numbers, in the self-knowledge which the presence of others gives to each, and especially in the stimulus which a dull or
commonplace child receives from hearing the answers and witnessing the performances of the best in the class. And these advantages cannot be gained in a small class. In fact I believe it is as easy to teach 20 together as 10; and that in some respects the work is done with more zest and more brightness. So it will be seen that the two conditions we have laid down cannot both be fulfilled except in schools of a certain size. There is in fact an inevitable waste of resources and of teaching power in any school of less than 100 children; and a very serious waste in small schools of 20 or 30. In all of them you must either sacrifice the uniformity of the teaching, or you must at considerable cost, have a teacher for every group of six or seven scholars, and in such classes must sacrifice the intellectual life and spirit which numbers alone can give. For the sake of this intellectual life, I should be prepared to make some sacrifices of other considerations, and even to incur the risk in small schools, of keeping back one or two elder scholars, or pushing now and then a backward scholar, a little farther on than would otherwise be desirable. The most joyless and unsatisfactory of all schools are those in which each child is treated individually, is working few or no exercises in common with others, and comes up to be questioned or to say a lesson alone.
In examining a scholar on entrance, before the age of ten it is well to determine his position mainly by his reading and by his arithmetic. Above that age, especially in a school in which language forms the staple of the higher instruction, an elementary examination in Latin, in Arithmetic and in English will suffice to determine his position. These are the best rough tests for choosing the class in which he should be placed. If you are in doubt, it is safer and better to put him low at first rather