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principal materials of the instruction which the pupils receive. The elementary books, there taught, are almost entirely taken from the Holy Scriptures; and form a compendious system of Christian instruction.
"This subject has been, in a great degree, anticipated. The instruction began, as has been seen, on the entrance of children at school, with religious rehearsals, which they learned by heart from the mouth of the teacher, while, at the same time, they were grounded in the rudiments of reading, by a series of lessons, ending with the history of Joseph and his Brethren.
"They now proceed to the appropriate course before alluded to, of moral and religious study, by which they are more and more improved, by incessant practice, in the art of reading. This course, in National Schools, consists of rehearsals of the Catechism, the same broken into short questions, the larger expositions of the Catechism, and the Chief Truths of the Christian Religion, in question and answer (which are committed to memory by reading them), and of the following brief tracts from the list of The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, composed of extracts and abridgments from the Bible. 1. Our Saviour's Sermon on the Mount. 2. Parables. 3. Miracles. 4 Discourses. 5. History of our Saviour. 6 Ostervald's Abridgment of the Bible. By means of these, the character of which is sufficiently indicated by their titles, and which do not altogether cost so much as one of the small spellingbooks in common use, the children are qualified to read their Bible and Prayer Book with readiness and edification."
Such is sufficient to show the provision made for religious instruction in the schools, and the manner in which it is inculcated. The following will show the results of the system, being the state of the Central School for the past year:
It appears further by the report, that there are about a million of children in the Schools of the National Society, between the age of seven and fourteen years; but the best calculations that can be made from the population returns of 1831, clearly show that there must be about 2,250,000 children, of all classes of society, between these
ages, yet destitute of education in England and Wales; of these not less than a million are probably of the class to whom education cannot come but through the hands of public or private charity. This fact sufficiently speaks the necessity of a more extended provision for the education of the people at large, and calls for the exertion of not only the clergy, but of all friends to improvement and to religion.
With regard to the system thus generally adopted throughout the country, it has much to recommend it, and is perhaps the most important engine for spreading the truths of religion since the preaching of the Apostles. The monitorial system has advantages of the highest kind, for by it a boy is not only taught to obey, but also to command, and he becomes, at a very early age, aware of the responsibility of himself to others, and feels himself a free agent, in which state the prac tice and effort of virtue is constantly required.
In religious matters the instruction afforded is, perhaps, as perfect as it can be with the elementary books used. The discipline of the church, and those points of doctrine upon which difference is held, is not brought prominently forward; nor are the tenets of the church taught with a view to arm the mind against other opinions which might be forced upon it at a subsequent period of life. The science of arithmetic, as appears from the report, and from actual examination made by us, seems to be very low-the system itself appearing to be more than deficient in that particular. The report of 1832, gives, in the Central Schools, only 40 boys out of 290 in the compound rules; that of 1834, exhibits some little increase, the proportion being 99 out of 354. This shows a great deficiency-our experience enabling us to state that, under a proper mode of instruction, at least one half of the pupils may be kept in the compound rules. This deficiency appears greater still in the girls' school, where indeed, it is equally, if not more necessary, as it very frequently happens, that the poor man's wife has to do with the accounts more than himself. The number of writers on paper appear to be as large in proportion as the arithmetic appears small. But the number in the Bible class is by no means so large as we might have expected in a Central School: the state of which, evidently leaves room for very considerable improvement. We have attended several examinations of the children, and their scriptural knowledge, and the answers returned by them to the question put to them promiscuously by the highest dignitaries of the church, proved that little was wanting in that respect; but much is wanting on a ground, not so high certainly, but much calculated to benefit and improve the class of children it is the province of the National Society to educate. It is not enough to give the means of instruction in general matters; it requires a something which would tend to raise the powers of the mind from low ideas-to fix the taste beyond mere sensual objects. A boy too generally enters a National School as a blackguard, and leaves it one. He feels little interest in what he is instructed he looks upon the education he is receiving in any other light than that of a boon-he cannot apprehend how or why it should do him good-he does not find the sphere of his knowledge increased to any degree, and what he is taught affords him so little interest, that VOL. I.-March, 1835.
he is glad when the lesson is over. A vast quantity of children, from this very circumstance, after all the laudable pains that are taken to give them a knowledge of reading and writing, from the very cause of never feeling an interest in it, if they leave the school only half taught, soon forget that half; and even lose, in some cases, the very knowledge of their letters. It has been stated, that the average time a boy is in these schools, is 3 years; now, in the Bible class of the Central Schools, there are only 32 boys; consequently, not above a fourth of those, said to be educated, can positively be taught to read, so as to enable them at a future time to take up a book with pleasure or profit to themselves. Were a more interesting series of books on general subjects such as history, geography, the arts of life, the wonders of nature and art, with pictorial illustrations, to be used, as knowledge "increases its appetite, by what it feeds on," a stimulus would be given to the mind, and the advantage of being able to read, and the pleasure resulting from it would be felt; this would have a two-fold consequence that of making reading itself more quickly acquired, and also that of creating a love of it after leaving school.
The Bishop of London has, with that acuteness of intellect, and liberality, which has so frequently characterized his conduct, recommended, in his evidence before the Education Committee of the House of Commons, a further extension of knowledge in the schools. To this consummation, so devoutly to be wished, we look forward as the next step in an improvement in education: without this, education will still be a barren thing; with it, we may look for the raising of the taste, the improvement of the feelings, and the softening of the character of that portion of our population which, at present, are still but as little removed from all that is essential to the well-being of society as the untutored savage. Should the day of brute force arrive before education has done this work, it will be shown how little has been accomplished in improving the feelings of the mob. The riots of Bristol spoke volumes on this subject; and those who wish for present illustrations, let them mingle with the crowd collected on any public occasion, let them listen to the ribaldry, the filthy language, the oaths, and the murderous remarks made from fellow to fellow, and then let them reflect if something more be not necessary to work a change, than the means already employed.
THE INTERROGATIVE SYSTEM ILLUSTRATED.
THE Interrogative System, for which we are indebted to Pestalozzi, seeks, by extending the sphere of a child's intuition, to draw out its moral and intellectual faculties. It has occurred to us that a very large portion of knowledge of the providence of God in creation might be attached to the first chapter of Genesis. We have, therefore, thrown together a few questions and their answers, calculated to open the mind to the wonders of nature; and it perhaps will be the best recommendation of them to the public, to say that they have been subjected to practice in a public school, and that the information con
tained in them has been ingrafted upon children between the ages of six and nine years, with the best effect. We not only recommend it to the public teacher, but to the private instructor, as calculated to assist them very materially in their duties. We must, however, guard them both against adopting at all times the same language in putting these questions, or suffering the children to answer in the precise terms here employed, always remembering that ideas must be infixed, and that ideas must be brought out. There will be but little difficulty in habituating a child to explain his ideas when he is sufficiently acquainted with language, provided these ideas are clearly conceived by the mind. To the want of a clear conception of things may be attributed much of the evil that affects society, and the difference of opinion which prevails among men. We would also impress upon the mind of the teacher, never to let a word pass without its being fully and perfectly illustrated and explained. We shall conclude the chapter in our next number, and bring out the animal kingdom in like manner.
GENESIS, CHAP. I.
VER. 1. In the beginning GOD created the heaven and the earth.
What do you mean by the beginning? The beginning of time.-What is time? A measured portion of eternity.-What is the measurement of time called? Chronology.-How do we measure our time? By periods, epochs, centuries, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds.-What is a period? A portion of time from one great event to another.-What is a century? 100 years. What is a year? 12 calendar months or 13 lunar months; 52 weeks, 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 54 seconds.—What is a day? 24 hours. What is an hour? 60 minutes.-What is a minute? 60 seconds. What is a second? While you can count one, two.-How many years since the creation? 5839.-How many since the birth of Christ? 1835.-What did God do in the beginning? Created the heaven and the earth.-What do you mean by created? Formed out of nothing.-Does man create? No! man makes.
What does man make? Coaches, houses, tools, tables, chairs, clothes, ships, watches, clocks, and steam engines.-What does he make them from? Wood, iron, brass, vegetables.-What do you mean by the heaven? All above the earth.—What do you mean by the earth? What we walk upon; the ground,
and all that is on it or in it.
VER. 2. And the earth was without formand void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
What is here said of the earth? It was without form.-What is implied by its being without form and void? Confusion and disorder.-What is form? Shape.-What have all things then? Shape.-Tell me some forms that things have. Round, square, angular, and oval.-Tell me something that is square. Windows, doors, dice, bricks.-Something angular. Triangles, prisms, ends of houses, open compasses, particles of different salts, minerals, and spars.-Something oval. Eggs, leaves of trees, the openings of our eyes, some sorts of fruit, such as damsons, or egg-plums.-Tell me of something round. Oranges, apples, lemons, cherries, our eyeballs, marbles, and cricket balls. Of which form did God make the world? Round.-Like a lemon or like an orange? Like an orange. Why? Because it is flat at the poles.-Which are the poles? The top and bottom.-What is said of the deep? Darkness was upon the face of the deep.-What is darkness? Absence of light.—When is it dark? At night.
What colour is darkness? Black. What is like darkness? Ignorance.— What does a man do in the dark? Stumbles.-What does an ignorant man do? Makes mistakes about every thing, his mind stumbles.-What else is like darkness. Sin.-What cannot a man see when he is in this darkness?
will of God.-What else cannot he see? The goodness of God, the mercy of God. What cannot he come to? The truth.-What will enable him to come to the truth. The Spirit of God. What was it that moved on the face of the dark and troubled water? The Spirit of God.-And what did that produce? "God said let there be light, and there was light."-What is like light? Truth. -Then does God act with our benighted mind as he did with creation? Yes. -What does Christ say about the light? I am the way, the truth, and the light. What does this light of Christ shew us? Our sinfulness.
VER. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
What did God say of the light? That it was good.-What did he do with the light? Divided it from the darkness.-Can light and darkness keep together? No. What else cannot live together? Sin and righteousness.
VER. 5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. What did God call the light? Day.—What did he call the darkness? Night. -What makes the day? The motion of the earth.-How does the earth move? It turns round.-How long is it turning round? Twenty-four hours.—What part of this is day? All the time the sun shines on it.-Does the sun shine on it all at once? No, it cannot shine on two sides of a sphere at once. But how does this make day? Because all the parts the sun shines on are bright.— How does it make the night? Because all the parts the sun does not shine on are dark. But all the days are not the same length, how does that happen? Because the pole of the earth is inclined to the sun in the summer, and from it in the winter.*-What is the length of the longest day in this latitude? 16 hours.—When is it? On the 21st of June.-What is the length of the shortest ? 8 hours.-When is this? On the 21st of December.-When are the days and nights equal? On the 21st of March, and the 21st of September.-Why is this? Because the pole of the earth inclines sideways, and the sun shines on one half of it. But when the sun goes down it is not dark. No: it is twilight.—What causes this? The rays of the sun pass over the earth through the atmosphere, and are bent down to it.
VER. 6. And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
VER. 7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so.
VER. 8. And God called the firmament heaven, and the evening and the morning were the second day.
What is meant by the firmament? The atmosphere above us.— -What is this full of? Watery particles.—What use is it of? It comprehends the air we breathe. When this is divided from the water, what happens? The watery particles fall to the ground in dews or rains.-If we had no air what would
*Here the Teacher must have recourse to actual demonstration; a turnip may be marked like a globe, and a skewer run through it, to shew the inclination of the axis, and a candle being made to represent the sun, or the sun himself, if shining, the length of the days and nights, and of the divisions of the seasons may be easily explained.