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School diaries.

example I have seen in some foreign schools columns for registering ‘moralité d'élèves,' 'dispositions naturelles,' and other impossible data. Here the rule is a good one : Do not pretend to measure with arithmetical exactness qualities and results which are essentially incapable of such measurement.

In the French Lycées, the system of registration is often very elaborate. There is (1) Registre d'inscription, (2) Registre d'appel or attendance, (3) Registre des Compositions, and (4) Registre des bons points, in which marks are recorded for conduct, and for the results of every class or other examination. The whole of these marks are added up and tabulated at the end of every month, a copy being kept by the pupil, and one sent to his parents or guardians.

One of the requirements in the public elementary schools, which at first appeared to many of the teachers to be a needless addition to the routine and burden of their lives, is the keeping of what is called a Log-book or School Diary. It is a thick volume, such as will last for a good many years, and is generally fastened with a Bramah lock. The Code requires that entries shall be made in this book at least once a week, and that thus a record shall be kept of the Inspector's report, of changes in the staff, of visits of managers, and other facts concerning the school and its teachers. It is not permitted to enter reflections or opinions of a general character. Now the practice thus enforced by authority, has come to be generally approved and liked on its own merits, and has been found of considerable value. Many little circumstances in the history of a school which appear of no importance at the moment, require to be recalled afterwards, and are seen to have unexpected value when referred to. The date of the entry

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of a new teacher on his duty, the introduction of any new school-book, or plan, or piece of apparatus ; the starting of a new series of lessons; the result of a periodical examination ; special occurrences in relation to the discipline of the school; promotion of scholars from one class to another; any unusual circumstance which affects the attendance; the visit of a stranger or a governor-all these are matters which are easy to jot down at the time of their occurrence; and which serve to make up the history of the school, and to give continuity and interest to its life. The adoption of the plan may be strongly recommended in schools of all grades. It may be well also to remember that, especially in School

bookschools of any size in which the number of books and

keeping the quantity of school material given out is large, there should always be a Stock-book, in which a ledger is kept, shewing how and when books and stationery are given out, and to whom. The office of keeping the needful record is a very simple one, which may well devolve on an assistant, or even on an elder scholar; and it will be found that the practice conduces to economy and order; and enables you to know exactly in what direction to look, if you have reason to suspect negligence or waste. I spoke in the first lecture of the importance of the Teachers'

note-books. habit of preparing the notes of many and indeed most of the lessons you give. To this I may now add that such notes should not be on fugitive scraps, but should always be made in a book and carefully preserved. Unless a teacher does this habitually he squanders much time and effort, and has the weary task of preparing many of his lessons over again. Suppose you keep a brief record of the plan and order of each lesson, of the books or authorities you consulted in getting it up; suppose you

add a little note after giving it, stating whether it proved too long or too short, too easy or too difficult; and indicating for your own private information how it might be more effectively given next time: and lastly suppose you leave a blank space at the end of each, and enter in it from time to time, as new information comes in your way, other facts or references which will be helpful whenever you go over the same ground again; you will find the practice easy and well calculated to economize time and power.

It will bring all your wider reading and added experience to bear on the enrichment of your professional resources; it will aid you in gathering up the fragments of life's teaching “that nothing

be lost.” Scholars' In the higher classes, and for all lessons which take note-books. the form of lectures, it is a good practice to let the

scholars have note-books, to take down at the moment any details which are likely to escape the memory. But such note-taking is of no value whatever, unless the notes are used afterwards as helps to the writing out of an amplified and careful summary of the contents of the lesson. Mere note-taking is often one of the most delusive and unfruitful of practices. Consider for a moment, what is the purpose which the taking of notes ought to

I have seen students in reading Froude's history, or Mill's Logic, sit down with the book on one side of them and a large note or common-place book on the other into which they have laboriously made copious extracts. There seems to be a good deal to shew for this effort; but the result often is that the author's thoughts have merely been transferred out of one book into another; and the proportion of these thoughts which have actually found a lodgment in the student's intelligence is very small indeed. There has been


The taking of written notes.


a mechanical process of appropriation, not a rational one'.

The true way to make notes of a book when you Noteread it is—if it is your own—to mark in the margin


general.y. the passages which you feel to be of most value, and to make at the end a little index of references, which will differ from the printed index, in being specially suited to you, and calculated to help you in consulting the book hereafter. But except for these purposes, I would not read with a pencil in hand, or copy out extracts. It is far better to read through an entire chapter or section, while the whole faculty is bent on following the reasoning or understanding the facts. Then when you have closed the book, and while your memory is fresh, sit down, and reproduce in your own words as much of the contents of the chapter as you please. By this means you will have been forced to turn the subject over in your own mind, to ruminate a little, and so to make it your own. But unless this process of rumination goes on, there is no security that any of the knowledge you are trying to acquire is actually assimilated. And the same rule applies to the use of note-books during lectures. Many students make a great effort to seize rapidly whole sentences and to set them down at the time; but while they are writing one down, another follows which gravely modifies the first, and this escapes them. Thus they get a few disjointed fragments, torn from their proper connexion, and they fail to gain any true

1 “Men seldom read again what they have committed to paper, nor remember what they have so committed one iota the better for their additional trouble. On the contrary, I believe it has a direct tendency to destroy the promptitude and tenuity of memory by diminishing the vigour of present attention and seducing the mind to depend on future reference.”-SYDNEY SMITH.

intellectual advantage from the whole. I am aware that the judicious use of a note-book depends a good deal on the special character of the teaching; and that a good many lecturers in the Universities and elsewhere expressly adapt their prelections to the case of students who take notes. I have heard very able lectures which took the form of measured, brief but very pregnant sentences, in which the lecturer had been at the pains to concentrate as much thought as possible; these sentences being slowly uttered, with a sufficient pause at the end of each, to allow quick writers to take down the whole verbatim. Undoubtedly the note-book result in such cases seems to have considerable value. But it may well be doubted whether the most effective teaching ever takes the form of a dictation lesson; still more may it be doubted whether when this method is adopted enough is done to make the students thinkers as well as receivers, on the subject which they learn. Whenever the object of the lecture is to expound principles, to illustrate them in an ample and varied way, and to shew the learner rather the processes by which the results are arrived at, than the formulated results and conclusions themselves; you fail to derive any real advantage from very copious note-taking. It is distracting, not helpful. You get a few detached sentences perhaps, which in an unqualified way and out of their true perspective, are no fair representation of the lecturer's meaning: the continuity of his argument is broken, while you are picking out these fragments; and you fail wholly to get the particular kind of stimulus and help which the lecturer wants to give. If, on the other hand, you will listen attentively, seek to follow the reasoning, and to possess yourself not only of the aphorisms and conclusions, but of the processes by which they have been arrived at; and perhaps now

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