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BY M. F. TUPPER. It fixeth, expoundeth and disseminateth sentiment; Chaining up a thought, clearing it of mystery and sending it bright
into the world. To think rightly, is of knowledge; to speak fluently, is of nature; To read with profit, is of care; but to write aptly, is of practice. No talent among men hath more scholars and fewer masters ; For to write, is to speak beyond hearing, and none stand by to
explain. To be accurate, write ; to remember, write; to know thine own mind,
write : And a written prayer is a prayer of faith; special, sure, and to be
answered. Hast thou a thought upon thy brain, catch it while thou canst ; Or other thoughts shall settle there, and this shall soon take wing: Thine uncompounded unity of soul, which argueth and maketh it
immortal, Yieldeth up its momentary self to every single thought; Therefore to husband thine ideas, and give them stability and substance, Write often for thy secret eye; so shalt thou grow wiser. The commonest mind is full of thoughts ; some worthy of the rarest; And could it see them fairly writ, would wonder at its wealth. Thou hast not lost an hour, whereof there is a record ; A written thought at midnight shall redeem the livelong day. Idea is a shadow that departeth ; speech is fleeting as the wind, Reading is an unremembered pastime; but a writing is eternal : For therein the dead heart liveth, the clay-cold tongue is eloquent, And the quick eye of the reader is cleared by the reed of the scribe. As a fossil in a rock, or a coin in the mortar of a ruin, So the symbolled thoughts tell of a departed soul; The plastic hand hath its witness in a statue, and exactitude of vision
in a picture, And so the mind that was among us, in its writing is embalmed.
A discussion has taken place in the School Board of Cincinnati, respecting the use of the Bible in schools. The following resolve ( moved by a Catholic ) was finally adopted by a vote of 15 to 10:
Resolved, That the pupils in the Common Schools have permission to read such versions of the Sacred Scriptures as their parents may prefer, provided that such preference to any version, except the one now in use, be communicated by the parents to the principal teachers, and that no notes or marginal readings be read in schools, or comments made by the teachers on the text of any version that is, or may hereafter be, introduced.
COPIOUS KNOWLEDGE NECESSARY TO GOOD
INSTRUCTION. [We copy the following excellent remarks from an address recently delivered before the associate Alumni of the Merrimack Normal Institute, by Prof. John S. Woodman, of Dartmouth College. Prof. Woodman has held the office of Secretary of the Board of Education for New Hampshire, and is at present, we believe, President of that body. He is a sound educaor and a ripe scholar.]
COPIOUS knowledge is necessary to good instruction. A longexperienced and distinguished teacher declares that copious knowledge lies at the foundation of all good instruction.
It is sometimes said that tact and skill in teaching will go a great way and make up for a deficiency of knowledge. There is no doubt these qualities will do a great deal with a little material. But if so, how much more usefulness and efficacy will they add to abundant knowledge. It is very rare to find a man of such peculiar temper of mind that he will not prove an acceptable and profitable teacher of that subject in which he is thoroughly versed and liberally informed. It is of consequence that the teacher should be above the standard to which he is expected to elevate his class. The business of instruction is no heedless pastime. In all subjects the scholar must be watched with a quick perception, and checked with a prompt and ready hand, from his constant tendency to deviate to the right hand and the left, and kept in the middle highway of his pursuit. Who can do this easily but the teacher of copious knowledge ? And who knows best where the middle highway lies ? he who has only travelled through it, or he who, besides that experience, has also surveyed all the surrounding country, and contemplated the journey from all the overlooking hills ? With such a guide every step is progress in the right direction. For instance, in teaching the subject of Arithmetic, some may suppose it will answer very well to know the rules and be able to work the examples. But in such a case it generally happens that both teacher and scholar move carelessly and without much interest over the simple rules and fractions and all the more useful parts of the book, and come down with great zeal upon the Progressions, Positions, and Almanac questions in the last part, and finally close the book with a kind of triumph at having discovered its mysteries and got possession of its jewels. The ambition excited leads them to other books till Welch, and Walsh, and Adams, and Greenleaf, and the whole catalogue of Arithmetics are despoiled of this kind of treasure. Such instruction is liable to two very serious objections. The simple and most useful rules are never well learned, and although the student may solve the difficult problems with considerable skill, yet he cannot even write figures
book is not west objection is, th of the subjec
so that others may read them with tolerable convenience, or cast the interest on a note with sufficient promptness to encourage his friends to request such a favor a second time. What he ought to know from the book is not well enough understood to be of much practical utility. The next objection is, that the student becomes impressed with the idea that the point of the subject lies in the difficult problems and more complicated rules, that are often feebly demonstrated, and injudiciously placed in the Arithmetic when they belong more properly to some other subject. He looks upon the subject as a kind of collection of Hobbs’s locks to be picked for the exercise of his skill. And this is not all the disadvantage. The student often carries the same idea into other matters and looks for the point and substance of everything else in some cunning riddle or mysterious puzzle. False views of many things will stand in the way of his success and usefulness. In the ordinary business of life men will not seem to succeed so much from upright conduct and industrious habits as from lucky thoughts and out-of-the-way expedients. But the well-taught pupil is made to place more importance upon the elements of the subject, and to spend the time which others devote to the difficult problems upon higher subjects where the difficulties properly belong and are easily overcome. He learns and feels that the subjects of study are not made up of riddles and mysteries, and that patient attention makes everything alike clear and comprehensible, whether it be Colburn's First Lessons or the Transcendental Analysis, and whether it be a school-task or an enterprise in active life.
A teacher also wants copious knowledge so as to furnish abundant illustration. Different minds are differently affected by the same view of a subject, and that teacher has a great advantage who can furnish the illustrations which suit the occasion. Some subjects need to be expanded and enlivened so that the barren meagreness with which they first strike the learner shall be covered with some degree of life and interest. Others appear complicated and confused, and are to be condensed and thrown into a single sentence or a single word. How can the teacher of narrow knowledge do this well ? Suppose a class are reciting in Geography. The lesson in the book may be interesting, but how much more so if the teacher's extensive knowledge of the history, of the region and of travellers' accounts of the appearance and manners and customs enable him to add some pleasing information of his own. How much such assistance would add to the ordinary lessons on the Geography of Holland, Italy, or Switzerland.
There is another reason why the teacher ought to be liberally informed. It is that the knowledge is eloquent. Whatever a man is full of will be impressed upon others in many ways. It will seem to clothe him like a garment. How much the trades, professions and pursuits of men contribute to give them character. The farmer, the clergyman, and the trader, cannot meet you without recalling to your mind much that belongs to their various pursuits. They may not speak of them, but the engrossing subject of the mind will speak through the dress, the countenance, the gait, the language, and almost every motion. So is the copious knowledge of the good teacher. It is eloquent, though he may not be upon that subject. Every anecdote and illustration has some turn or allusion that calls it to mind. This is true in regard to the branches commonly taught in the school, but it is especially important in regard to manners and propriety, and in regard to moral and religious instruction. Copious knowledge on these important subjects cannot well be supposed to exist without a practical illustration of them in the life and conduct of the teacher. And it will be found that the most valuable instruction in these things, which do more than all besides in forming a truly excellent character, is given more by the example, intercourse, and silent eloquence of worthy and respected men, than by all the books and lessons recited ever so much. The influence of correct and copious knowledge cannot be concealed. It will exert its power though its possessor may be unconscious of it.
Again, copious knowledge is useful to show the perfection of a subject and make it attractive. Almost every subject when seen in its highest perfection becomes so beautiful and fascinating that it immediately enkindles a desire to comprehend and partake of its excellences. Even the severe subject of Geometry, when seen in all its simplicity and completeness, when the absence of everything but what is strictly essential, and the absolute certainty of the demonstration are observed, becomes interesting and admirable in itself, as in many respects the most perfect human science and the standard model which all others may emulate, but can never equal. So it is with Music. It has a degree of interest in itself. But when a Paganini or a Jenny Lind shows its highest perfection, every body is in raptures and feels an impulse towards the art. The boys will bring into use again their old abandoned instruments, and all the children about the streets will try to sing and repeat the rapturous strains, and never give up their efforts till the remembrance of the divine perfection has faded from their memory and ceased to excite them. So it is with Painting and Sculpture. Artists visit Florence and Rome that they may look upon the master-works of Titian, Raphael and Michael Angelo, and there they see such expression and such execution as they had no conception of before. It is like a discovery. They feel themselves raised at the sight to a higher world, and at onco agitated by new impressions and driven by new impulses. So is the perfection of all subjects. I might make the attempt to teach good reading and good speaking with a very limited knowledge of the subject of elocution. I might go through most of the instruction and gain moderate success. But when the subject appears in its perfection in the hands of a proficient in the science, when all that is mirthful, gay, grand or terrible in human expression is made to pass in review at the hands of a master, you, Ladies and Gentlemen, will bear me witness that the subject itself becomes irresistible, and there is nothing, for the time being, that we feel such a strong desire to gain for ourselves. One such view as this of almost any subject is a guaranty of very considerable success.
For these reasons it is that good instruction requires copious knowledge, that the teacher may have a quick perception of the precise course the scholar ought to pursue, that he may abound in various illustration, that the subject may be eloquent in his hands, and that he may show somewhat of that perfection of it which is always enchanting to the view. But the teacher will ask, how is it possible at first to gain this copious knowledge on all the subjects taught ? It will be impossible, and the teacher may well say that he feels embarrassed on those he is most familiar with. It is here that lies the teacher's task. Here is his duty and labor, to improve himself by constant study, and never think the work done while there is anything before him to be learned. This disposition more than anything else will characterize the good teacher, whose reward will be great both in the gratitude which others will bestow, and in the knowledge which he will gain for himself.
“ THERE are two sorts of eloquence; the one indeed scarce deserves the name of it, which consists chiefly in labored and polished periods, an over-curious and artificial arrangement of figures, tinselled over with a gaudy embellishment of words, which glitter, but convey little or no light to the understanding. This kind of writing is, for the most part, much affected and admired by people of weak judgment and vicious taste, but is a piece of affectation and formality which the sacred writers are utter strangers to. It is a vain and boyish eloquence, and has always been esteemed below the great geniuses of all ages. The other sort of eloquence is quite the reverse of this, and may be said to be the true characteristic of the Holy Scriptures; where the excellence does not arise from labored and far-fetched elocution,' but from a surprising mixture of simplicity and majesty." — STERNE.