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for the extra facilities which they have extended to us ; to the Lecturers, for the rich gratification and instruction they have afforded us ; to the Editors of the “ Teacher,” for their successful labors; to the Committee, who have superintended the publication of the first volume of the Transactions of the Association, for the care and labor they have bestowed upon it; and our thanks and congratulations to all the competitors for the “ Essay Prizes," for their successful efforts, for successful we are assured by the Committee they have been in producing good essays, though, of prizes, all could not be partakers.
After eloquent remarks by Messrs. Thayer of Boston, and Dellingham of Sandwich, the Association adjourned.
The next meeting will be held in Boston.
The Prize Essay, by Mr. M. P. Case of Newburyport, will be found on the third page of this number of the “ Teacher.” The Prize Essay, by Miss Margaret Bliss of Springfield, will appear in the February number. The Essays will be returned to the Authors with the envelopes unopened, on application to Mr. Samuel Coolidge, at the office of the “ Massachusetts Teacher."
CHARLES J. CAPEN, Secretary.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS
THE Board met at the Latin School, Boston, Dec. 12th ult.
The Secretary was instructed to present a copy of the volume of “Transactions," lately published by the Association, to each of the Normal Schools in the State ; to the Chairman of the Legislative Committee on Education, and to each of the members of said Committee; to Mr. J. D. Philbrick, for the Normal School in Connecticut; and was further instructed to forward those copies already voted by the Association.
Messrs. Reed, Stearns, and Capen were appointed a Committee to proceed to the publication of another volume of the Transactions.
Messrs. Kneeland, Smith, and Gay were appointed to procure a seal and blanks for Certificates of Membership.
A Committee of five, consisting of the President, with Messrs. Reed, Smith, Allen and Kneeland, was appointed to petition the next Legislature for an Act of Incorporation, and for pecuniary aid.
The sum of thirty dollars was appropriated for the Prize Essays for 1853, and the President of the Association was requested to make arrangements for the same, in accordance with the plan adopted at the last award.
The thanks of the Board were presented to Mr. J. D. Philbrick for his constant, able, and energetic services in behalf of the interests of the Association ; and especially for his valuable services in sustaining and improving the Massachusetts Teacher."
The Committee on the “ Massachusetts Teacher” reported the following gentlemen as constituting the Board of Editors for 1853 : For Jan., 1853, George Allen, Jr., Boston.
E. Smith, Cambridge.
J. W. Allen, Hyannis.
J. Tenney, Pittsfield.
F. N. Blake, Tisbury.
CHARLES J. CAPEN, Secretary M. T. A.
66 April, 6 May, 66 June, 66 July, 66 Aug., 66 Sept., 6
Oct., 66 Nov., 66 Dec.,
REPORT ON PHONETICS.
[The following Report was made at the last Annual Meeting of the Massa
chusetts Teachers' Association.]
THE Committee, to whom the Phonetic system of instruction was referred at the last meeting of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association, have examined the subject, and would report as follows:
Phonography was invented by Isaac Pitman, of Bath, England, in the year 1837. It is a system of short-hand writing, based upon a philosophical representation of the forty sounds of the language ; the spoken consonants being represented by heavy marks, and the whispered consonants by light marks; the long vowels being represented by heavy dots and dashes, the short vowels by light dots and dashes.
There is a primary style in which the words are generally written without contraction for beginners ; a secondary style for correspondence, in which some of the most common words of the language are represented by a portion of the sounds
contained in them, in which, while principles of abbreviation, applicable to large classes of sounds, are introduced, each word in the language is still kept distinct from every other word, and a sentence of which, when seen for the first time by one familiar with the art, can be read at the rate of two hundred words per minute ; and finally, a third style for reporting, in which there is more contraction, and more abbreviation, and which can be read and written at rates varying from one hundred to two hundred words per minute, according to the skill of the reporter.
About five years after the invention of Phonography, Mr. Pitman, with the aid of Alexander John Ellis, B. A., of Bristol, England, invented a system called Phonotopy, or printing by sound, having printed letters in place of the Phonographic, or writing-by-sound characters, which had been previously used, and soon after attached to this a system of longhand Phonography, in which the written letters corresponded to the printed letters in the same way as the common or Romanic writing corresponds to the Romanic printing.
In Phonotopy all the letters of the Romanic alphabet were preserved which could be used to advantage. It was found that the three letters k, 9 and x, were duplicates of other letters, and therefore useless, the sound of the letter k, when not mute, being accurately represented by c, that of q, with the letter u added, either by c, or cw, and x, by c, 2, cs, or g2; in all these cases, c and g having their hard or guttural sounds. The remaining letters of the Romanic alphabet are made in the Phonetic print, uniformly to represent those sounds for which they most frequently stand in the usual print. The seventeen new letters, which it was necessary to introduce for those sounds of the English which were generally designated by combinaions of letters in the Romanic print, were made so much in harmony with the remainder of the alphabet, that a person previously unacquainted with the Phonetic print can read the most of the words without assistance.
It is thought that the principal object in securing this resemblance of the Phonetic print to the Romanic, was originally to induce the public to adopt the former as a substitute for the latter. But it has been found, without taking a radical step, that a wonderful gain may be made in teaching the reading, spelling, and enunciation of the common orthography, by the primary use of the Phonetic alphabet, and the Phonetic books. Not only should the child be taught to read by the means of the sounds of the language, which has been a favorite idea of many prominent friends of education, but he should have a fixed character for every sound, or else, in the outset, he will be likely to have a natural tendency to dislike his book; a
tendency sometimes, to be sure, overcome by a skilful teacher, but often irremediable.
For the common orthography has such a variety of changes, not only in the sounds attached to each letter of the Romanic alphabet, but also in the number of combinations attached to each sound, that the child is liable to become so confused at the commencement of his educational career, as to render it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for him to progress with any degree of rapidity satisfactory to the teacher. The letter i, for instance, is pronounced differently in the following words; police, sin, bird, onion, evil, business ; while, at the same time, the long sound of i is represented by no less than twenty-six different letters, or combinations, such as ais-e in aisle, eigh in height, ey in eying, eye in eye, hi in rhinoceros, hy in rhyming, i in bind, ic in indict, ie in die, ig in sign, igh in sigh, ighe in sighed, is-e in isle, ui in beguile, uy in buy, y in fly, ye in dye, &c. The short sound of i is expressed in thirty seven different methods, such as: e in pretty, ui and ea in guineas, ee breeches, ei in forfeit, ewi-e in housewife, hi in exhibit, hy in rhythm, i in pit, ia in carriages, ie in pitied, o in women, u in busy, y in physic, ey in money, uy in plaguy, &c., and the other sounds of the letter i, mentioned above, having as many more modes of representation.
Difficult as all these combinations are to learn, they must be taught to children. The experiments that have been made, show that they may be taught better and easier by means of the Phonetic system. The result of a recent test instituted by Miss Emily R. Baxter, teacher of a public school in South Boston, is thus expressed in her report to the Committee.
“ Eight months since, there were in my sixth class, sixteen children who could not read, and who now average between five and six years of age. By authority of the local Committee, Phonetic books were used by that class. Some question afterwards arose whether the local Committee had authority on the subject, and it was therefore thought best, without any change of opinion of the local Committee as to the merit of the Phonetic method, to discontinue their use, which was immediately done. I was unprepared, however, to give any opinion upon the value of the system, and hence determined to pursue the experiment out of school hours. The children were divided, as equally as possible, in age, ability, and numbers. A portion of them, eight in number, received the usual amount of instruction in the common method in school. The remainder, (all of foreign parentage,) when both teacher and pupils were exhausted by the labors of the day, after each school session, were taught for twenty minutes by means of the Phonetic method, but received no instruction during school hours.
66 What has been the result? From the sixth class those taught Romanically have advanced into the fifth as rapidly as children in a large school usually do in the same space of time. They can read easy words by first spelling them aloud, perhaps pronouncing one word in ten without the previous spelling, can enunciate passably, and perhaps spell a few short words.
“But from the same sixth class, the eight taught Phonetically have uniformly advanced, until they have reached, three the second, and five the third class, read fluently in both prints from much more difficult books than those taught Romanically use, spell so much better that there is no comparison between them, enunciate distinctly, and also analyze in a superior
In short, those taught Phonetically, read more fluently, spell, enunciate, and analyze better than their schoolmates in the same class, who are considerably older than them. selves, and who have studied for a much longer period of time. One little boy four and a half years of age, has by the means of the new system, advanced so rapidly, that he reads, spells and enunciates the common print, better than his sister who is two and half years older than he is, and who has studied four times as long."
The Phonetic system of instruction, thus beneficial in its effects, has been introduced into 119 public and five private schools of Massachusetts,
A Committee of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Committee of the American Association of the Friends of Education, a Committee of the American Institute of Instruction, two Joint Committees of the Massachusetts Legislature on Éducation, a Sub-Committee of the Boston Primary School Committee, a Committee of the Ohio State Teachers Association, a Sub-Committee of the School Committee of Cincinnati, and various committees of divers associations in different parts of this country, as well as in England, have reported in favor of this system of Phonetic instruction.
In short, your Committee have reason to believe that no Committee ever appointed to examine its merits have reported adverse to it.
The School Committees of Plymouth, Fitchburg, Lynn, Dedham, Somerville, Natick, Abington, North Bridgewater, Bridgewater, and Waltham, have already authorized its introduction into the public schools of those towns, for the purpose of teaching the reading, spelling, and enunciation of the common orthography.
Believing, therefore, that the new system contains much that will
prove valuable in the instruction of youth, your Committee respectfully submit the following resolutions :
Resolved, That teachers in different parts of Massachusetts