The Lancastrian Monitorial System of
some details of the Lancastrian Monitorial system that was used in the
early days of our school, and was for a time widespread in England and
other countries such as the USA and Denmark. It explains the
layout of our classrooms c.1850.
(1778-1838) as a young Quaker, was barred
from attending the schools for the poor run by the Church of England. So
his father taught him at home. Embittered by this painful memory, by age
18 he was instructing London urchins in his father's attic, for a penny
a lesson. He was soon deluged with hundreds of students. With so many
pupils and limited resources, Lancaster had to devise radical methods to
make ends meet. This is how the "monitorial" idea was born. It delegated
to the students the responsibility for teaching and doing the paperwork.
The better students taught the slower. When the slower developed, they
became monitors. There was one teaching monitor for every 10 students.
There were other monitorial positions that involved many of the students
and spread prestige and responsibilities around. One monitor would
assign new students to a class. Another would keep track of absences.
When a student made progress, a monitor would promote him. Another made
or molded pens. Another was in charge of distributing writing slates. A
"monitor-general" was in charge of all the others.
This kind of student interaction -
teaching and learning from their peers - eliminated boredom. Lancaster
wrote: "A school, governed by such order, exhibits a scene of wonder
to visitors, and happiness among the children, which baffles the power
of description.' Under this system,
there was little for the adult headmaster to do except organize,
reward, punish and inspire. Lancaster's schools did not need a harsh
master, for they were governed almost automatically. "The master
should be a silent bystander because the system and not the master's
vague or uncertain judgement will be in practice."
(from The Lancaster System - An Alternative to Public Schools
by John Chodes)
The following is the complete text
of Lancaster's 1810 booklet (excluding a rather lengthy preface) from
Society web-site. There are more pictures at the
of the text.
THE BRITISH SYSTEM OF EDUCATION:
The section on punishment
throws some light on where our first headmaster Mr
Sharp got some of his ideas from!
COMPLETE EPITOME OF THE IMPROVEMENTS AND INVENTIONS
PRACTISED AT THE ROYAL FREE SCHOOLS, BOROUGH-ROAD, SOUTHWARK
By JOSEPH LANCASTER.
"All nations indeed, of which we have any account, in becoming rich,
have become profligate: a torrent of depraved morality has, in every
opulent state, borne down with irresistible violence those mounds and
fences, by which the wisdom of legislators attempted to protect chastity,
sobriety, and virtue. If any check can be given to the corruption of a
state, increasing in riches, and declining in morals, it must be given
not by laws enacted to alter the inveterate habits of men, but BY
EDUCATION ADAPTED TO FORM THE HEARTS OF CHILDREN TO A PROPER SENSE OF
MORAL AND RELIGIOUS EXCELLENCE," Bishop of Lantdaff's Charge,
EXPLANATION OF THE FRONTISPIECE.
The monitor is represented standing with a pointing stick in his hand,
to enable him to point out the best performance, without touching the
writing on the slate, which might accidentally obliterate the writing.
The boys are represented as sitting in the first desk in a class, in
common with which they are exhibiting their slates, at the command from
They are represented as having written not merely a word, but a
sentence; and a sentence that every true Briton will wish to be engraven,
not only on the memory, but on the hearts of the rising generation, as a
tribute of duty to the monarch, who reigns in the affections of his people
"LONG LIVE THE KING!"
EPITOME OF JOSEPH LANCASTER'S INVENTIONS AND
IMPROVEMENTS IN EDUCATION OF
SCHOOL-ROOMS, DESKS, AND PREPARATORY ARRANGEMENTS.
THE best form for a
school-room is a long square, or parallelogram. All the desks should front
the head of the school, that the master may have a good view of each boy
at once; the desks should all be single desks, and every boy sit
with his face towards the head of the school.
Room should be left between each desk for a passage for the boys, that
the scholars in one desk may go out without disturbing those in another.
It is desirable the desks and forms should be substantial, and firmly
fixed in the ground, or to the floor. The ends or corners of the desks,
and forms, should be rounded off, as the boys, when running quickly in and
out, are apt to hurt themselves by running against them.
At the head of the school there should be an elevated platform for the
master's desk, as a convenient place to overlook the school; passages
should be left at the bottom and on one side of the school* or on both
sides when space allows. Children confined in a small school-room, can no
more be expected to be in order, than soldiers can perform their exercise
without a parade.
No half desks should be placed against the walls, nor should any double
desks be admitted into the school-room.
Desks so placed and constructed, merely afford pretence for idleness
and play, the scholars being wholly or partly out of the master's sight.
There can be no propriety in filling a room with timber when the space
is wanted for children. Desks and forms when of a broader surface than
actually needful, really occupy that room, which, were they made of proper
dimensions, would contain more desks, and consequently more children.
These arrangements not only conduce to order, but give facility to the
master in the detection of offenders.
Wherever the floor of a school-room can be placed on an inclined plane
it should be so. The master being stationed at the lower end of this
plane, the elevation, of the floor at the farther end of the room, would
cause a corresponding elevation of the desks placed there, so that, from
the platform the boys at the last desk would be as much in view as those
at the first.
The ventilation of school-rooms is a subject which requires local
consideration, but they should be built, or if already built, made as much
as possible open every way to the free circulation of air.
School-rooms may be warmed by under-ground flues, heated by a stove
which will burn refuse cinders or ashes. This is the best mode. Any place
may be sufficiently heated in this manner without the children being
obliged to leave their seats to go to the fire, but this will only apply
to ground floors.
ARRANGEMENT OF HATS WITH STRINGS OR SLINGS, TO THROW OVER THE SHOULDERS
LIKE A KNAPSACK
This prevents all loss of hats, or mistakes, and confusion in finding
them, which is a common occurrence among a great number of boys. It saves
all shelves, nails, or places where they are usually put in schools. It
prevents the necessity of going to put hats on the nails or shelves, and
again going to get them thence, before the children leave school. These
are great advantages as, with eight hundred boys in school, they save
sixteen hundred motions, unavoidable on the usual plan, both morning and
afternoon motions that, before this arrangement was made, produced much
inconvenience in the school; and complaints were made, almost daily, of
boys losing their hats, which have ceased since this arrangement. All
these advantages are gained, and inconveniences are avoided, by every boy
slinging his hat across his shoulders, as a soldier would sling his
knapsack: by which means he always carries it with him, and cannot lose it
without immediately missing it.
On entering school, the boys sling their hats over their shoulders.
Before leaving it they are commanded to unsling hats, which they do by one
motion, on receiving the word of command.
A very important maxim for school furniture, as books, &c. and which
must never be departed from, is, A PLACE FOR EVERY THING, AND EVERY THING
IN ITS PLACE. On this subject some observations will be made in the
The building and arrangement of school-rooms, is of so much importance
in the minute and accurate details, that I have thought it proper to
publish a separate work on that subject, which will be found very useful
to school committees and others, under the title of "Hints and Directions
for Building School-rooms, &c. illustrated by copper plates.
THE RULE BY WHICH CLASSES ARE TO BE FORMED.
Any number of boys, whose proficiency is nearly equal in what they are
learning, should be classed together. If only four or six scholars should,
on examination, be found in a school learning the same thing, as A,
B, C, addition, subtraction, &c. they should be formed into a class, as
their proficiency will be nearly doubled, by being classed, and studying
in conjunction. A class may consist of any number of scholars, without
limitation to any particular number.
DIFFERENT CONSTITUTION OF CLASSES,
There are two descriptions of boys in every school, those who are
learning to read or cypher, and those who have learnt. The first
description must study that they may acquire a knowledge of reading or
arithmetic. The second, practice what they have learnt, for the
improvement of the mind and readiness in practice.
THE ORDER OF CLASSING FOR THOSE BOYS WHO ARE LEARNING TO READ.
1 Class........... A, B, C.
2 ...................Words or syllables of two letters.
3 ...................Do. three letters.
4 .................. Do. four letters.
5 .................. Do, five letters.
6 .................. Reading or spelling lessons of two syllables, and
7 .................. Bible.
8 .................. A selection of boys who read best from the 7th class.
Thus each class has its appropriate set of lessons. Its attention is
simply directed to one object, and boys in one class are not to be
suffered to mix or sit with the boys in another.
The children learning the alphabet, as hereafter described, may learn
to print their letters in the sand, or on a slate.
After a learner has improved beyond the first class, whatever
class he may be in, he must learn to make his writing alphabet on
After having learned the writing alphabet, whatever class the
scholar may be in, he must write on the slate the same as he
reads or spells in his reading or spelling lessons. If in the two-letter
class, he will write words of two letters; if in the three-letter class,
words of three letters, &c. &c.
The reader will perceive that the study of reading, spelling, and
arithmetic, are associated together by means of writing, and the
methods of tuition in writing will be described under the heads of
spelling and arithmetic.
GRADATION OF CLASSES IN LEARNING TO WRITE
1 - Printing A, B, C.
2 - Writing alphabet, or words of two letters.
3 - Words of three letters.
4 - Four letters.
5 - Five and six letters.
6 - Two syllables, &c.
8 A particular series of spelling lessons, published by J. L.
The order of teaching the children in school should be, to have the 1st
class next the master's desk, and the other classes in numerical order
after it. By this means (the youngest children, being generally the most
lively and mischievous) will be more immediately under the master's eye,
and this will operate as a check upon them. ,
GRADATION OF CLASSES IN LEARNING ARITHMETIC.
Class. 1, Pupils who are learning to make and combine units, tens,
3, Compound ditto.
5, Compound ditto.
7, Compound ditto.
9, Compound ditto.
11, Rule of Three.
THE MODE OF EXAMINING PUPILS FOR, AND ARRANGING THEM INTO CLASSES, TO
LEARN READING, AND WRITING.
On the entry of a scholar, the master should examine his proficiency in
distinguishing the letters of the printed alphabet; if he does not know
them all, he must be placed in the first class.
If the master finds the pupil knows his alphabet perfectly, he
must place him in the second class.
If the scholar can perfectly repeat all the lessons belonging to the
second class, he must be placed in the third, if he can repeat well all
the lessons appropriated to the third class, he must be placed in the
fourth: the same rule to be observed in forming the fifth, sixth and
The eighth class to be a selection from the best readers in the
seventh; they may be admitted to the use of books, for the improvement of
their minds, which the other classes are not allowed; oh this subject more
will be said in the sequel.
On the admission of every scholar, the master must enter the name,
residence, and every other particular relative to him, under its proper
head, in a school-list; a printed plan of which is given in the appendix.
OF WRITING IN CLASSES.
By the usual method of teaching to write, the art of writing is totally
distinct from reading or spelling. On the new plan, spelling and writing
are connected, and equally blended with reading, which, with writing and
arithmetic, are auxiliaries to each other. When a boy is classed for
learning to read according to the arrangement of reading classes, (see
page 3) he is consequently classed for learning to write at the same time,
(see page 4.)
ON FORMING A SCHOOL INTO ARITHMETICAL CLASSES.
On the new plan, the first great care of the master must be wholly to
discard the numeration table, and the practice of learning numeration by
it, as it is entirely superseded by the new method, which will be seen
when treating of arithmetic.
Whenever a pupil is admitted into the school, and has never before
learned ARITHMETIC, he must be placed in the first class. If he has made
any apparent progress, unless that progress be found on examination
to be real, he must begin again at the first class. In forming a
new school, with the above exception, it will be best for all the
pupils to begin arithmetic, from the first class.
Classes mark the gradations in learning; and one essential part of the
system of rewards will be found to be that kind of recompense, which is
bestowed on boys going from one class to another.
METHOD OF TEACHING THE ALPHABET,
AUXILIARY METHOD OF TEACHING THE ALPHABET BY PRINTING IN SAND.
The first, or lower class of scholars, are those who are yet
unacquainted with their alphabet. This class may consist of ten, twenty, a
hundred, or any other number of children, who have not made so much
progress as to know how to distinguish all their letters at first sight.
If there are only twenty of this description in the school, one monitor
can govern and teach them: if double the number, it will require two
teachers, and so in proportion for every additional twenty boys. The
reader will observe, that, in this and every other class described in the
succeeding plan and arrangement, the monitor has but one plan duty to do,
and the scholars the same to learn. This simplicity of system defines at
once the province of each monitor intuition The very name of each class
imports as much and this is called the first, or A, B, C, class. The
method of teaching is as follows: a bench for the boys to sit on, is fixed
to the floor: another, about a foot higher, is placed for them to print
on. Oh the desk before them are placed deal ledges, (a pantile lath,
nailed down to the desk, will answer the same purpose) thus:
The letter A, shows the entire surface of the desk, which is supported
by two, three, or more legs, as usual for such desks, and according to the
size. B is a vacant space, where the boys lean their left arms, while they
write or print with the right hand. The sand is placed in the space C*.
The double lines represent the ledges (or pantile laths) which confine the
sand in its place: sand of any kind will do, but it must be dry.
The boys print in the sand, with their fingers: they all print at
the command given by their monitor. A boy who knows how to print,
and distinguish some of his letters, is placed by one who knows only a
few, with a View to assist him; and particularly, that he may copy the
form of his letters, from seeing him make them. We find this
copying one from another, a great step towards proficiency. In teaching
the children to print the alphabet, the monitor first makes a letter on
the sand, before any child who does not know any thing about it; the child
is then required to retrace the same letter, which the monitor has
made for him with his fingers, arid thus he is to continue employed, till
he ran make the letter himself, without the monitor's assistance. Then he
may go on to learn another letter. None but the first class write in sand.
* The space C, is painted black; and when the children trace the
letters in the white sand, the black ground shows them to more advantage.
The letters are taught in courses: they are arranged in three
courses according to their similarity of form. There are three simple
examples, which regulate the formation of the whole alphabet. First,
a line, as in the letters I, H, T, L, E, F, i, 1: Second, depending
upon the formation of an angle; as, A, V, W, M, N, Z, K, Y, X, v, w, k,
y, z, x,: a circle or a curve: as, O, U, C, J, G, D, P, B, R, Q, S, a,
o, b, d, p, q, g, e, m, n, h, t, u, r, s, f, j. These courses of letters
are soon acquired, on account of the similarly of form. The greatest
difficulty in teaching the letters occurs in those, the form of which are
exactly alike, and are only distinguished by change of position:
p, q, and b, d, are frequently mistaken for each other; but by
making the two letters at the same time, the children readily learn to
distinguish them. Then again, they are all employed in printing at once:
and it is both curious and diverting to see a number of little creatures,
many not more than four or five years old, and some hardly so much,
stretching out their little fingers with one consent, to make the letters.
When this is done, they sit quietly till the sand is smoothed by the
monitor, with a flat-iron, such as is commonly used for ironing
linen, or a wooden smoother of like form. The sand being dry, the smoother
meets with no resistance, and thus ail the letters made in a very short
time, by each boy, are, in as short a time, obliterated by the monitor;
and the boys again apply their fingers to the sand, and proceed as
NEW METHOD OF TEACHING THE ALPHABET.
Another method of teaching the alphabet is, by a large sheet of
pasteboard suspended from a nail on the school wall; eight boys from the
sand class, are formed into a semi-circle before this alphabet, standing
in their numbers, 1, 2, 3, &c. to 6. These numbers are pasteboard tickets,
with No. 1, &c. inscribed, suspended by a string from the button of the
bearer's coat, or round his neck. The best boy stands in the first place;
he is also decorated with a leather ticket, gilt, and lettered merit,
as a badge of honor. He is always the first boy questioned by the monitor,
who points to a particular letter in the alphabet, "What letter is that?"
If he tell readily what letter it is, all is well, and he retains his
place in the class: but if he fail, then he forfeits it, together with his
number and ticket, to the next boy below him who answers the question
This plan promotes constant emulation. It continually employs the
monitor's attention: he cannot look one way, while the boy is repeating
his letters another, or at all neglect to attend to him, without being
immediately discovered. It is not the monitor's business to teach, but
to see that the boys in his class, or division, teach each other. If a
boy calls A, by the name of B, or O, the monitor is not to say: "It is not
B, or O, but it is A;" he is to require the next boy in succession
to correct the mistake of his senior. These two methods of the sand, and
alphabet card, with their inferior arrangements detailed, are made use of
daily in rotation, and serve as a mutual check and relief: figures are
taught in the same manner.
The tuition of the first class is entirely connected with printing, but
the second begins with writing: it is needful to mark the distinction. The
business of this class is to learn to write on slates, beginning at the
alphabet, and proceeding no further than two letters, as, ba, ab,
also learning to spell the same on cards, and to learn their writing
alphabet on cards. This is done to prevent confusion, as some of the
pupils might be perplexed with learning two different alphabets at the
The second class consists chiefly of boys, who having learned to print
the alphabet and figures in sand, and readily to distinguish the same on
paper, are then advanced to this second, and comparatively superior class.
The monitor pronounces a word of two letters as, in, to, &c: or a
syllable, as, ba, &c. and each boy writes it on the slate, when
In this class they have small slates, on which they learn to make all
the alphabet in writing: this is done, that they may not, when in the
preceding class, be perplexed with learning the printed and written
alphabet at once: care is also taken, that the series of words and
syllables of two letters, adapted to this class, be so arranged as to
contain all the letters of the alphabet; which otherwise being recently
learned, would be easily forgotten, unless kept in memory by daily
Words are arranged separately, and syllables the same: syllables are
what children cannot attach any sense to; and in fact they have no sense
or meaning, unless compounded into words above the comprehension of
children in this class. They have lessons with words and syllables of two
letters, before which the whole class successively assemble in
subdivisions of eight boys each. The first boy is required by the monitor
to spell a word in the same manner as the first boy in the a, b, c class
was required to distinguish a single letter; and precedency is awarded
according to proficiency, as before. In short, this method is the same as
with the a, b, c card, only it is combining the letters, instead of
distinguishing them. Some of this class learn to write the alphabet:
others, words or syllables of two letters. The monitor who sees one, can
look to the other, being chosen out of the three-letter class.
It is to be observed, that the third or three-letter class spell, by
writing on the slate, words of three letters only; the fourth class write
words of four letters: and the fifth, words of three or lour syllables;
also, words with the meanings attached. Each class has lessons, in the
same manner as the first and second classes; all of which are made use of
in a similar way, only varying as to the length of the words or syllables
each class may be learning.
IMPROVED METHOD OF TEACHING SPELLING BY WRITING.
This following method is entirely an addition to the regular
course of studies, without interfering with, or deranging them in the
least. It commands the attention, gratifies the active disposition of
youth, and is an excellent introduction and auxiliary to writing. It
supersedes, in a great measure, the use of books in tuition, while (to
speak moderately) it doubles the actual improvement of the children. It is
as simple an operation as can well be imagined. Thus, supply twenty boys
with slates and pencils, and pronounce any word for them to write, suppose
it is the word 'and,' or the word, 're-so-lu-tion:' they are obliged to
listen with attention, to catch the sound of every letter as it falls from
their teacher's lips; again, they have to retrace the idea of every
letter, and the pronunciation of the word, as they write it on the slates.
If we examine ourselves when we write letters, we shall find, this is so
much connected with orthography, that we cannot write a word without
spelling as we write, and habitually correcting any inaccuracy that may
Now these twenty boys, if they were at a common school, would each have
a book: and, one at a time, would read or spell to their teacher, while
the other nineteen were looking at their books, or about them, as they
pleased: or, if their eyes are rivetted on their books, by terror and
coercion, we cannot be sure that their attention is engaged, as
appearances seem to indicate. On the contrary, when they have slates, the
twentieth boy may read to the teacher*, while the other nineteen are
spelling words on the slate, instead of sitting idle. The class, by this
means, will spell, write and read, every word. In addition to this, the
same trouble which teaches twenty, will suffice to teach sixty or a
hundred, by employing some of the senior boys to inspect the slates of the
others, they not omitting to spell the word themselves; and, on a signal
given by them to the principal teacher, that the word is finished by all
the boys they overlook, he is informed when to dictate another to the
class. This experiment has been tried with some hundreds of children, and
it has been found they could all write by one boy's dictating the words to
be written. The benefit of this mode of teaching can only be limited by
the school-room being so large, that they cannot be heard distinctly; for
if seven hundred boys were all in one room, as one class, learning
the same thing, they could all write and spell by this method at the
dictation of one monitor. I hope the candour and good sense of every
reader will justly appreciate the benefit and importance of this method of
teaching. The repetition of one word by the monitor, serves to
rivet it firmly on the minds of each one of the class, and also on his own
memory: thus he cannot possibly teach the class without improving
himself at the same time. We reflect with pleasure, that by this
invention, a boy who is associated in a class of a hundred others, not
only reads as much as if he were a solitary individual under the master's
care, but he will also spell sixty or seventy words of four syllables, in
less than two hours; by writing them on the slate, when this additional
number of words, spelt by each boy daily is taken into account, the
aggregate will amount to repetitions of many thousands of words annually:
when not a word would be written or spelt, and nothing done by nineteen
twentieths of the scholars at the same time. Thus, it is entirely an
improvement, an addition, and introduction to their other studies, without
the least additional trouble on the part of the teacher: without deranging
or impeding his attention to other studies, as is usually the case with
the study of extra lessons; at least more than doubling the advances of
each individual towards a proficiency: at the same time, possessing all
these advantages, it prevents idleness, and procures that great
desideratum in schools, quietness, not by terror, but by commanding
attention: for, as it requires much writing, but few boys can write and
talk at the same time. In this case, nothing is wholly committed to the
pupil or monitor; in the usual mode, some degree of mental exertion may or
may not be made by the pupil, and omission remain undetected: but this is
so visible, that every boy's attention to his lesson may be seen on his
slate, and detection immediately follows idleness, or an indifferent
performance. It is simple in itself, and abounding with many advantages;
of this I am well convinced, by daily experience of its utility, and in
particular, of the great practice it affords in writing.
* It will be seen in the article Reading, I do not approve of solitary
reading, one by one; it raises no emulation.
Boys who learn by the new mode, have six times the usual practice: but,
in the old way, the expense is, at the FIRST COST, 6d. per month,
for writing books, pens and ink each boy; this, will be six times
increased, if it is desired to give both classes of boys equal practice;
the usual cost for sixty boys would be 181. per annum.
Six times the usual charge for writing paper, &c.......L. 108.
If they have not slates already provided, sixty slates will cost L.1
Allow a bundled slate pencils per annum, each boy, at 8d per
hundred ............. 2 L. 3.
Balance in favour of the new mode L. 105.
The many hundreds of respectable characters, among the nobility, gentry
and clergy, who have visited my institution, can bear witness, that the
progress of the boys by this method of writing spelling, is astonishing.
Not of one, or a few boys, but of the whole school. By the practice of
writing on the slate, they learn to humour their pencils, so as to write
just like a pen, in making the up and down strokes of the letters. About
one hundred and fifty boys have writing books, and their writing on the
slate, is a fac simile of their writing in books: which they seldom
do, more than four times in a week, and then only a single copy, which
fills a quarto page, each time.
The boy may always make his pencil good by cutting it to a proper
point; this will not easily apply to quills or pens. It will be found
where there is much practice in writing, that a good plain hand for use,
and not for show, depends more on much practice than on the manner
of holding the pen; and that a good body to the letters equally
proportioned to down strokes, or up strokes, depends more on the
application of the point of the pencil to the slate, or the pen to the
paper, than on the length of either pencil or pen, or the position and
play of the finger, which can only give command of hand in long strokes,
whereas the most of the letters in the alphabet are formed of short
strokes, which neither reach above nor below the line.
All the school being classed according to their proficiency in reading,
their spelling in this mode is united with their reading. It is a mode so
useful as to need no addition to it, and is complete of itself, as
it stands; spelling connected with writing.
All the classes are placed in regular progression one above another,
from the first to the eighth. Every class is employed under its own
monitor, spelling by writing words which the different monitors dictate to
each class. The monitor of a class does no other duty but dictate, or see
that one of the boys in the class dictates words for the class to spell,
the boy dictating a word, writing it himself, the monitor writing
it also, and inspecting the performance of each boy in his class, being
responsible for any mistakes they commit, and preparing them for the
A METHOD OF TEACHING TO SPELL AND READ,
WHEREBY ONE BOOK WILL SERVE INSTEAD OF SIX HUNDRED BOOKS.
It will be remembered, that the usual mode of teaching requires every
boy to have a book: yet, each boy can only read or spell one lesson at a
time in that book. Now, all the other parts of the book are in wear, and
liable to be thumbed to pieces , and, whilst the boy is learning a
lesson on one part of the book, the other parts are at that time useless.
Whereas, if a spelling book contains twenty or thirty different lessons,
and it were possible for thirty scholars to read the thirty lessons in
that book, it would be equivalent to thirty books for its utility. To
effect this, it is desirable the whole of the book should be printed in a
type three times larger than the common size type, which would make it
equal in size and cost to three common spelling books, value from
eight-pence to a shilling each. Again, it should be printed with only one
page to a leaf, which would again double the price, and make it equivalent
in bulk and cost to five or six common books; its different parts should
then be pasted on pasteboard, and suspended by a string, to a nail in the
wall, or other convenient place: one pasteboard should contain the
alphabet; others, words and syllables of from two to six letters. The
reading lessons gradually rising from words of one syllable, in the same
manner, till they come to words of five or six letters, or more,
preparatory to the Testament lessons. There is a circumstance, very seldom
regarded enough, in the introductory lessons which youth usually have to
perform before they arc admitted to read in the Testament. A word of six
letters or more, being divided by hy-phens, reduces the syllables, which
compose it, to three, four, or five letters each: of course, it is as easy
to read syllables, as words of five letters: the child, who can read or
spell the one, will find the other as easily attainable.
In the Testament, the words of two and three syllables are undivided,
which makes this division of the lessons a more natural introduction to
the Testament. In the preparatory lessons I have used, the words are thus
When the cards are provided, as before mentioned, from twelve to twenty
boys may stand in a semi-circle before each card, and clearly distinguish
the print to read or spell, as well or better than if they had a common
spelling book in each of their hands. If one spelling book were divided
into thirty different parts or lessons, and each lesson given to a
different boy, it would only serve thirty boys, changing their lessons
among themselves, as often as needful: and the various parts would be
continually liable to be lost or torn. But, every lesson placed on a card,
will serve for twelve or twenty boys at once: and, when that twelve or
twenty have repeated the whole lesson, as many times over as there are
boys in the circle, they are dismissed to their spelling on the slate, and
another like number of boys may study the same lesson in succession:
indeed two hundred boys may all repeat their lessons from one
card, in the space of three hours. If the value and importance of
this plan, for saving paper and books in teaching reading and spelling,
will not recommend itself, all I can say in its praise, from experience,
will be of no avail.
SERIES OF LESSONS.
In teaching the lessons in my new spelling book to boys who have not
learned to read, it will be found needful to refer to the root of the
words so spelt as al. ale, con. coin, referring to the radix
(in Italics) every time a word is spelt. For the superior classes an
entire new series of lessons are in contemplation on the print of Freame's
Catechism, an excellent work, against which much unfounded clamour has
been raised, although it saw has the sanction of two Bishops, as being one
of the best selections ever made from Scripture. The questions are read by
the monitor, and the answer by the scholar, which keeps. up continued
attention from both parties. When standing in semi-circles, to read or
spell, the boys wear their numbers, tickets, pictures, &c, as described
under the head, Emulation and Reward: and give place to each other,
according to merit, as mentioned in the account of the two first classes.
EXTEMPORE METHOD OF SPELLING.
In this method of spelling, the card is used instead of a book the
monitor-general of reading and spelling, assembles his whole class, by
successive semi-circles, of twelves or twenties; calling
each scholar to his number: so as to begin at No. 1, and go regularly
through the whole class. This preserves order in their reading, and
prevents any other scholar omitting a lesson. At first this is
troublesome, and occasions some noise; because, in the minor classes, the
monitors are obliged to call the boys to read or spell, by a list of their
names; but, as a number is affixed to each name, the monitors soon become
familiar with the names and numbers of boys in their respective classes,
and this obviates the difficulty.
When the semi-circle is formed before a lesson, the monitor points to
the columns of spelling which form the lesson for the day. The first boy
then repeats the word pointed to, letter, by letter, in each syllable, and
then pronounces the word; this is the common practice in day schools,
and is found on repeated trials the quickest and best. If he commit any
mistake, the next boy is required to rectify it without being told what
the mistake is. If the second boy cannot correct the first, the third or
fourth may: in which case, the boy who corrects the mistake, takes
precedence of him who committed it, and receives his insignia of
precedence: at the same time the monitor is not permitted to teach the
boys in his draft how to correct, unless they should all be equally
ignorant, and then it becomes his duty to do it. This is, in fact, each
boy teaching himself: and it is the duty of the principal monitor not so
much to teach them, as to see that they teach one another. When the boys,
in the circle, have thus studied their spelling by reading it, the monitor
places the card on the card-stick where he can see it, and the class
cannot, and requires them to spell and pronounce such words extempore, as
he repeats to them. In doing this, they correct each other's faults, and
take precedence as before described.
A great advantage derived from this method, is, that it forms an
excellent practical counterpart of the spelling on the slate. The boys
usually spell this way in rotation: but, it the monitor detects any boy
looking about him instead of looking at the lesson, he immediately
requires him to perform, a part of a lesson which he was inattentive to:
he usually performs it ill; and thus his negligence is followed with
immediate punishment, by his losing precedency in his class. It is very
important that in all those modes of teaching, the monitor cannot do as
the watermen do, look one way and row another. His business is before his
eyes: and, if he omit the performance of the smallest part of his duty,
the whole semi-circle is idle or deranged: and detection, by the master,
immediately follows his negligence. In society at large, few crimes are
ever committed openly: because immediate detection and apprehension of the
offender would follow. On the contrary, many are committed in privacy and
silence. It is the same in performing the simple duties of monitors in my
institution: their performances are so visible, that they dare not neglect
them; and, consequently, they attain the habit of performing the task
easily and well. This effect is produced from one cause: that every thing
they do is brought to account, or rendered visible in some conspicuous way
and manner. What applies to the monitors strictly applies to the boys.
There is not a boy, who does not feel the benefits of this constant
emulation, variety, and action; for, they insensibly acquire the habit of
exercising their attention closely, on every subject that comes before
them: and this, without exerting themselves too much. The classes spell on
the cards by drafts, in the same manner as they read.
IT is necessary to
premise a little respecting the usual mode of teaching arithmetic, which
many of my readers will remember to be the method in practice in such
schools as they frequented in early youth.
The sums are, in many instances, set in the boys' books, by the
master or teacher, at the expense of much pains and labour: in other
instances, they are copied by the pupil, from Walkingame's, or some other
The boys are, or should be, instructed how to work their sums, in the
first instance, by the master or teacher; they are then expected to do
other sums of a like nature, by the example shewn.
This is to be done by them at their seats; and, when it is finished,
the master or teacher should, and in most cases does, inspect it, to see
if done correctly.
But this operation of adding or subtracting, for instance, is
intellectual, not mechanical, or audible; of course, we cannot ascertain
how many times a boy repeats his sum, before it is brought to his master
for inspection: steady boys may do it five or six times, but the idle and
careless seldom do it more than once; here is much time lost, and a remedy
adapted to the case is not in the teacher's power.
Again, when sums are brought up to the master for inspection, each
boy's must be individually attended to: here is a great loss of invaluable
time. Perhaps, twenty boys have sums ready for inspection at once, and
nineteen wait, sit idle, or talk, while the twentieth is at his master's
desk, with his sum. Nor is this all: if an incorrigible dunce happen to
show up his sums first, and, as is often the case, "adds new blunders to
mistakes, he may easily delay his master, and the boys who are waiting to
follow him in succession, for some time: and a few instances of this sort,
arising from carelessness, inattention, or incapacity on the part of the
scholars, will completely derange the business of a master, and keep a
number of their school-fellows unemployed.
Independent of this, it is disgusting to teachers of any description to
be continually plodding over the same ground of elementary arithmetic.
Sameness, in every instance, produces listlessness; and variety is not
only agreeable, but mostly commands attention. I have seen a
respectable school-master, well versed in the mathematics, have a dozen
boys stand ing round his desk, waiting for him to attend to their sums,
while he has been listening to a slow boy, repeating his sum, till he
has bitten his lips with vexation. To prevent this inconvenience I
have invented an entire new method of teaching arithmetic, that commences
when children begin to make their figures. For the arrangement of the
ciphering classes, see page the fourth.
FIRST CIPHERING CLASS.
The first object is to teach children to make their figures. In order
to do this, the class learning to make figures are assembled under the
monitor, in one part of the school, by themselves. It is to be observed,
the same boys who are in one class, according to their proficiency in
reading, are in another, according to their progress in arithmetic: that
when the school is ciphering, the classes are organized on the plan of the
ciphering classes in page 4; when they are reading, they are arranged on
the plan of the reading classes, given in. page 3. On the commencement of
school, they always go in to their different reading classes, and
afterwards, when ciphering, separate to their several arithmetical
classes: after having performed the ciphering, they return to their
reading classes before they go out of school. This changing about from
class to class, in which three-fourths of the whole school are concerned,
is attended with but little bustle, and no confusion. It is usually done
in less than five minutes: and the school-room is so large, it will take
near that time to go round it. If there are any boys that cannot cipher,
they remain under the monitor's care, for instruction in reading, while
the others are ciphering. The modes of teaching arithmetic are so simple
and easy, that all the boys in the school, who can read and write text
hand in four letters, are put in the first ciphering class.
It is not uncommon to find boys thus instructed, that learn to write
and cipher remarkably well, in six months, who never handled a pen, or
were taught by any other method. Before boys go into arithmetic, it is
needful they should learn to make the figures: on my plan, they learn to
make and combine them at the same time. The class of boys, who are
learning to make their figures, form, in my institution, the first class
THE FIRST CLASS IN ARITHMETIC.
In the tuition of this class, the boys who constitute it, are not
limited to number: any boy, for whom it is requisite, is immediately
placed in it. Instead of teaching them to make figures in the order of the
nine digits, as is usually done, by writing occasionally in copy-books;
they have each a slate. The monitor takes an addition table, which
combines not only units with units, but tens with units: a
thing in which the pupil's greatest difficulty, as to simple Addition, and
Subtraction, occurs. The monitor reads from this table:
9 and 1 are 10, 9 and 2 are 11, &c. 25 and 1 are 26, 25 and 2 are 27,
25 and 3 are 28, 25 and 4 are 29, 25 and 5 are 30, 25 and 6 are 31, 25 and
7 are S2, 25 and 8 are 33, 25 and 9 are 34: or other variations of the
When those are dictated, each boy writes them on his slate: the monitor
and senior boys in the class, assisting in teaching the beginners, to make
the figures, till they can do it themselves. The monitor also varies the
Take 9 from 10, 1 remains: 9 from 11, 2 remains: 9 from 12, 3 remains,
He also uses the multiplication table, and reverses it in the same
manner: 6 times 2 are 12, 2 in 12, 6 times.
In the same way, he teaches them the shillings and pence tables. The
knowledge of figures which the children acquire by this method is great;
and the improvement of this class in making their figures, does much
credit to the class and teachers. It is true, the class are told all they
arc to do: but, in doing what they are bidden, they acquire a ready
knowledge of the figures; whilst they are insensibly led into the habit of
giving attention to all they do, and taking pains in doing it. By making
their figures so many times over, they unavoidably attain freedom in
making them: and this is the best step that can possibly be taken to
facilitate their improvement in the next stage of their progress in
The same variation and tables, without the total, or answer to the
monitor's question, applies to Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, and
the pence and shillings tables. This method of instruction has also a
counterpart: an arithmetical table of this kind, applied to the first four
rules, without the amount of each combination annexed, is placed on the
wall, or other convenient place. In the former instance, the monitor told
the class, 9 and 9 are 18, and they wrote it. He now subdivides the class:
and they assemble, successively, in circles of twelve boys, around the
tables of figures on the wall. They Lave their numbers, insignia or merit,
prize, &c. as in other divisions of classes. The monitor then puts the
question to the first boy How much are 9 and 4.? and the boy is expected
to fell the amount 13. If he cannot answer correctly, the monitor puts
the question to another boy, till he finds one who can: and he takes
precedence, and the badge of merit, from the boy who is unable to answer
the question. The boys in this class are called out, in successive
companies of twelve each, to answer questions of this nature,
applicatory to the similar lesson they have that day been performing on
the slate: and he varies the question: as, How much are 9 and 9?
Take 9 from 18 what remains? How much are 9 times 9? How many times
9 in 81?
Whilst one company of twelve boys (the number need not be restricted to
twelve, but it can hardly be more than twenty with propriety) are
performing this task, the remainder of the class continue at their seats,
writing what the monitor dictates, till the first division of the twelve
have finished their lesson. Then another division goes out, to the same
examination: and they return to write on the slate. This is done every
day, till the whole class has performed their lessons both ways. This
method serves as an introduction to Numeration, which, it will be seen in
the sequel, is only taught in a practical way.
ON THE ART OF TEACHING THE FOUR RULES OF ARITHMETIC IN THE NEW MODE.
The next is the simple Addition class. Each boy, in every ciphering
class, has a slate and pencil; and we may consider that the subject, now
before us, relates to the best method of conveying the knowledge of
arithmetic to those who are unacquainted with it. They usually begin with
small sums, and gradually advance to larger: but boys, who have been well
instructed in the preceding class, are not only qualified for this, but
have a foundation laid for their future proficiency in every branch of
arithmetic. As the reader will observe the whole of this method of
teaching is closely connected with writing; it not only unites exertion
with itself, but always renders that exertion, however great or small,
visible to the teacher; and enables him to say, with certainty, that his
pupils have performed their business. The monitor, or subordinate teacher
of the class, has a printed book of sums, which his class are to do: and
he has another printed book, containing a key to those sums, on a peculiar
plan, which will be described, and which fully shews how they are to be
* Any boy that can read and numerate a little, is able to perform this
duty as well as the principal monitor. The boy who reads the sum cannot be
idle: if he is, the whole class must be so too: when teaching others, he
is rapidly improving himself.
In the first place, when his class are seated, the monitor takes the
book of sums suppose the first sum is as follows:
(No. 1.) 27,935
He repeats audibly the figures 27,935, and each boy in the class writes
them: they arc then inspected, and if done correct, he dictates the
figures, 3,963, which are written and inspected in like manner: and thus
he proceeds till every boy in the class has the sum finished on his
slate. He then takes the key, and reads as follows:
7 and 9 are 16, and 3 are 19, and 5 are 24: set down 4 * under the 7,
and carry 2 to the next.
This is written by every boy in the class, inspected as before, and
then he proceeds.
2 and 7 are 9, and 6 are 15, and 3 are 18, and 2 I carried are 20;
set down 0 and carry 2 to the next.
3 and 6 are 9, and 9 are 18, and 9 are 27, and 2 1 carried are 29:
set down 9 and carry 2.
4 and 8 are 12, and 3 are 15, and 7 are 22, and 2 1 carried are 24:
set down 4 and carry 2.
1 and 2 are 3, and 2 1 carried are 5: set down 5.
Total in figures 54,904lbs. Total in words, fifty-four
thousand, nine hundred and four pounds.
* When the teacher reads, set down 4 under the 7 and carry 2 to the
next, the lads who are inspecting the manner in which the boys in this
class perform their sums, see that each boy writes, down the 7 under the
4, and that they do the same with the amount to be set down in every
The whole of a sum is written in this manner, by each bay in the class:
it is afterwards inspected by the monitor, and frequently by the master;
and if is a method, in particular, well adapted to facilitate the progress
of the scholars in the elementary parts of arithmetic.
After the same method, the knowledge of arithmetic, in the four first
rules, will be easily acquired.
Its good effects are deducible from principle, as well as practice. For
youth to be conversant in arithmetic, it is needful that the most frequent
combinations of figures, which occur in the first four rules, should be
familiar to their memory. Now, the frequent recurring of one idea,
if simple and definite, is alone sufficient to impress it on the memory,
without sitting down to learn it as a task: and, in the method of tuition
just described, every boy is obliged to repeat it, at least twice. First,
the impression it makes on his mind, when listening to his monitor's
voice, and the repetition of that impression when writing it on the slate.
When a certain quota of sums are done, the class begins anew: and thus
repetitions succeed each other, till practice secures improvement, and
removes boys individually into other classes and superior rules, when each
boy has a suitable prize, which our established plan appropriates to the
Multiplication is easily attained by this method: and the use which is
made of the Multiplication Table in general, as an auxiliary to the memory
in acquiring this rule, is a cogent reason in favour of the method I
suggest to public notice.
In the instance of dictating the figures 27,935, and any other
variations after the same example, the scholars, by writing, acquire a
thorough knowledge of Numeration, expressed both in words and figures,
without paying any attention to it as a separate rule. In fact,
Numeration is most effectually learned by the scholar in my institution,
not from the study, but by the practice of it; and I may add, almost every
other branch of knowledge, taught in the different classes, is acquired in
the same easy and expeditious way.
The boys vie with each other in writing their sums neatly on the elate,
and their practice and improvement in writing is greatly increased by this
Before the introduction of this method, I found it needful to employ
the senior boys as teachers of arithmetic: and, when their improvement in
the lower rules was desirable, a more honourable and efficacious mode
could not be adopted: but when proficiency was such as rendered it
needless, it was time not so usefully employed as it might be. This [ saw
with regret, and have the pleasure of seeing the difficulty removed by
It must be obvious, that if any boy had studied and attained a
quickness in addition and were to repeat it before me, in the usual way,
to show his improvement; the key to the preceding sum comprises the
substance of what he could express: and if I were to take a scholar,
unacquainted with arithmetic, and show him minutely how he was to work the
sum, the key out is not only the substance of what I should express, but
also the same of any other teacher in like case.
Any boy of eight years old, who can barely read writing, and numerate
well, is, by means of the guide containing the sums, and the key thereto,
qualified to teach the first four rules of arithmetic, simple and
compound, if the key is correct, with as much accuracy as
mathematicians who may have kept school for twenty years.
Perhaps it is not reasonable to expect much invention and intellectual
exertion from boys, whose talents are yet an embryo: but, when the line is
drawn, they can abide by it. Boys, in general, are excellent agents in
whatever they are equal to: and, in this case, nothing is left to their
discretion, and they cannot err, without they go to sleep, or do it for
Here is a positive certainty to the teacher, that every boy in the
class is employed, and detection follows a disposition to idleness as soon
as it exists: that none sit idle while others are waiting the master's
partial instructions; and that three times the usual quota of sums are
done and repeated by every boy.
ARITHMETIC BY READING.
By this mode a sum like the example, in simple addition, for instance,
is printed and placed on a board, the key as well as the sum; eight boys
assemble round it; the monitor numerates the sum, line by line, till each
boy has got the sum fairly copied on his slate. Then the first reads the
first column, and when he comes to the total 24, he sets down four, under
the seven, and marks 2 on the slate to be carried to the next. Each boy in
the semi-circle sets down the 4, &c. at the same time. The second boy also
reads the second column, and when he sets down the total all the boys do
the like. Thus they read column by column setting down the total until all
the boys have read the sum singly, and then they begin one by one, reading
the whole of the sum: the others setting down the whole of the
total, and beginning anew, as every boy begins to read. This is found
an auxiliary method, and has been recently practised.
Every rule in arithmetic is usually considered as a study appointed for
a separate class. See Table of Classes, mentioned p. 4.
The object of the boys in each class is to study only that rule
or lesson appointed for them: and, whatever number of boys there may be in
any one class, whether ten, fifty, or five hundred, the trouble of tuition
is not at all increased by the addition of numbers. The inspection
of the sums or spelling written on the slate is more, and the number of
inspecting boys is greater in proportion. By the method of arithmetic just
described, every boy in each class is told by the teacher all he is
to do: and his sole business is to do it so often as to become quite
familiar with it. In the succeeding method, the boy's business is to do
every thing without instruction.
EXTEMPORE TUITION IN ARITHMETIC.
Each arithmetical class is called out, according to the list, in
companies of eight. To each class is allotted a proper sum according to
the rule they are in. This sum is printed on a card. The eight boys stand
round the sum they are to work; and the board, on which the sum is, is
suspended from the wall. The teacher is provided with a key to the sum,
similar to those before described. Each semi-circle has its insignia
of merit, &c. and each boy gives precedence to any other boy that excels
him in performing his lesson. The teacher then requires the first boy to
add the first column, if in Addition: or to multiply the first figures, if
in Multiplication. He is to do this aloud, extempore, without any
previous knowledge of the sum. or assistance from 1m teacher in performing
it. If he mistake, it is not the monitor's business to rectify the
mistake, but the next boy is to try if he can do it; and if none of
the eight can answer right, it must then be done by the monitor. When many
mistakes in a whole class occur, such boys must practice more in the
methods first described, before they are tried this way. The former method
affords an easy introduction to this. The same advantage is possessed by
both, that neither teacher nor learner can be idle. Our system of
emulation enables me to combine encouragement and reward with it, in a
manner more than usual in schools where this is practised. The last method
being such as is usually taught in some schools, it requires a boy of
superior abilities to teach those who are inferior to himself in
proficiency. The monitor has a key to each sum, which reduces it to a mere
system of reading on the monitor's part. If the boy repeat the sum
extempore, naming the total, according to the key in the teacher's
hand, they are correct; if their account differs, the monitor immediately
detects the error, when it becomes the business of the next boy in the
class to correct it. On this plan, any boy who can read, can teach:
and the inferior boys may do the work usually done by the teachers, in the
common mode; for a boy who can read, can teach, ALTHOUGH HE KNOWS NOTHING
ABOUT IT; and in teaching, will imperceptibly acquire
the knowledge he is destitute of, when he begins to teach, by reading.
The superintendent, or master, may examine the proficiency of his
pupils, by this mode and the following.
ANOTHER MODE OF EXAMINING THE PROFICIENCY OF BOYS IN ARITHMETIC.
To ascertain the proficiency of the scholars, after they have been used
to the preceding methods of tuition, the teacher places each boy in a
situation where he cannot copy from, or be assisted by any other, who has
the same task to perform. He gives him a sum, according to the rule he is
in, and requires him to make a key to the sum, in a correct manner. If he
can do this readily, A number of times, it is a proof that he is
conversant with the rule he is in: and when practice has deeply impressed
it on his memory, he may advance to another rule. The first class, or
combination of figures, is examined the same way. The tables in Addition
are written on the slate, without the amount, thus: 6 and 6 are the boy
who is examined is required to add the amount 12. If he can do this,
with every combination of figures in the addition and other tables, he is
then fit for ciphering. By the old method of teaching arithmetic, there is
usually a great consumption of printed books of arithmetic; the new method
almost entirely supersedes them. The same economy applies to another
expensive article of consumption in schools, ciphering books: in which the
scholars usually write down all the sums they do. The expeditious
progress they make, both in writing and accounts, is so great, they need
only commit to writing a very short specimen of their sums, for the
satisfaction of their parents: and even that is not absolutely needful. By
using their pencils well they acquire an equal facility in the use of
NEW MODE OF MUSTERING BOYS FOR ABSENTEES.
It is usually, in most schools, to have a muster or roll-call, at a
particular hour, varied at the discretion of the masters. The list of the
scholars contains the name of every boy that attends it. In calling over
the list every name is repeated, although three-fourths or more of the
boys, whose names are called over, are present. It was needful in my
institution to make a strict inquiry after absentees: but, the method
above described was so tiresome and noisy, that I devised another more
eligible. As the number of absentees bear but a small proportion to the
numbers that attend, I formed the design of taking an account of the
smaller number, without the repetition of names. To effect this, the
classes arc numbered each beginning at number 1, and ending its series
of numbers at 30, 70, 130, or any other number of which the class may
consist. The list of each class is kept by the monitor of it, nearly in
Number 1, Jones.
These few names will show the manner in which the list of the whole
class, perhaps an hundred and twenty, is kept. Answering to this is
another series of numbers, printed on the school wall, thus:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
The monitor calls his boys to muster the class go out of the seats in
due order go round the school-room; and, in going, each boy stops, and
ranges himself against the wall, under that number which belongs to his
name in the class-list. By this means, the absentees are pointed out at
once every boy who is absent will leave a number vacant. The monitor of
the class then passes silently round the school-room, and writes on the
slate the numbers which are vacant.
Take a specimen of six boys, mustered according to the foregoing list:
No. 1. 2, 3. 4. 5. 6. Jones. Trimmer. Plymly.
The boys, Jones, Trimmer, and Plymly, are supposed to be present they
are arranged under their numbers. The boys, Brown, Daubeny, and Bowles,
are absent their numbers 3, 4, 0, are vacant. In taking the account of
absentees, the monitor writes the numbers 3, 4, 6, on his slate: and the
same as to any numbers vacant by absentees, in the whole class. He then
makes a list of absentees, by referring to names in the class-list. This
list he gives to a monitor, whose business it is to see that the absentees
are inquired after.
MONITOR OF ABSENTEES.
The monitor of absentees has under his charge an alphabetical list of
the whole school: he refers to this list and there he finds the name,
dwelling, and parent's trade of each boy who is absent. He writes a list
of absentees; this list is given to the master, who directs needful
enquiry to be made in all cases that require. The enquiry report of the
monitor of absentees stands thus:
DAY OF THE MONTH.
Wanted by his parents.
Gone to Holland.
In case of truants being reported, when they are brought to school,
either by their friends, or by a number of boys sent on purpose to bring
them, the monitor of absentees ties a large card round his neck, lettered
in capital letters, TRUANT: and he is then tied to a post in the
school-room. When a boy repeals the fault many times or is incorrigible,
he is sometimes tied up in a blanket, and left to sleep at night on
the floor, in ihe SCHOOL-HOUSE. When boys are frequently in the habit of
playing truant, we may conclude that they have formed some bad
connections; and, that nothing but keeping them apart can effect a reform.
When bad habits and connections are once formed in youth, they often
become an easy prey to various temptations, in spite of all their good
resolutions to the contrary.
In the smaller classes of readers it is well to subdivide the boys into
twenties the children being mostly young, learn to distinguish such
numbers with greater facility: it is on this account that the minor
classes muster in twenties. One series of numbers on the school-room
walls, serves for all the classes in the school to muster at in
succession. The time taken by a class of a hundred and twenty boys to
muster in, is seldom so much as ten minutes. The numbers attached to boys'
names in the class-list are all estimated alike. These numbers are never
changed by precedence and improvement in learning. They remain fixed for
the? sake of order, and have not the slightest connection with the system
of rewards and encouragement adopted in the school.
According to the first chapter, of 'Arranging a School into Classes,'
boys should be classed according to their proficiency, on their admission
into school. No other lessons should be taught to each class than those
appointed for it. Pupils should be removal from one class to another, as
soon as they are proficient in all the lessons of the class to which they
belong. Thus, a boy in the A, B, C, having learnt to distinguish all his
letters is proficient in that class, and he should be removed higher, and
so on. As the scholars are all arranged in different classes, many of them
will soon make a proficiency by these expeditious modes of teaching: and,
as they cannot learn more than what is appointed for the class cannot
remove themselves nor can their monitor remove them they must remain
where they are, losing time, and making no progress, unless the system of
inspection I am about to describe prevents the evil. A monitor is
appointed as inspector-general of reading: he keeps a list of every class
of reading in the school. Whenever a new scholar enters, another monitor,
whose business it is, examines what progress in learning the pupil has
made, and appoints him to a class according. The first duty of the
inspector of reading, is to see that each scholar's name is duly entered
on the list of the class to which he is sent on commencing school. This is
a matter of consequence. If any omission be made in the entry of each
boy's name, it is possible, the inspection may be conducted well, and yet
the boy, whose name is omitted, be passed by; and, whatever his previous
improvement may be, he must remain stationary.
The monitor of each class keeps a list thereof. It is also his duty to
see the inspection conducted so that no boy in his class is passed by. The
inspector of reading keeps a list of every class of reading in the school;
and, when his lists are correct, he proceeds to duty, but not before. He
begins his inspection, by desiring the monitor of the first class to bring
up six boys, according to the list. He then compares their names with his
own list, and examines them, to see if they can tell all their letters,
and make them in the sand; if so, they are fit for the next class, and the
inspector orders them to be removed accordingly. Then he proceeds with
every other class in the same way: and when he has examined the whole he
begins anew. Thus by diligence and attention on his part, some hundreds
may be examined in a few days. When a boy is removed from one class to
another, he has permission to choose a prize, of a stated value, for
himself, as a reward for his diligence: and the monitor is entitled to one
of the same value, for his care in improving his scholars. The date of
examination, class removed to, prize chosen, &c. are all entered in a book
at the time of inspection.
It is no unusual thing with me to deliver one or two hundred prizes at
the same time. At such times, the countenances of the whole school exhibit
a most pleasing scene of delight: as the boys who obtain prizes, commonly
walk round the school in procession, holding their prizes in their hands,
and a boy proclaiming before them, 'These good boys have obtained prizes
for going into another class.' The honour of this has an effect as
powerful, if not more so, than the prizes themselves. The duty of
inspection may be first done by the monitors appointed by the master, but
should be done by himself afterwards.
The mode of inspection applies to the arithmetic classes, and
every branch of instruction taught on this system, with such variations as
the nature of each particular branch requires, and which the description
of each will shew.
EMULATION AND REWARDS.
In spelling by writing on the slate, the performances of the scholars
are inspected, sometimes by the monitor of their class, often by an
inspecting monitor, and occasionally by the master.
Printing in the sand is inspected in the same manner as in the new
method of teaching arithmetic. Every boy is placed next to one who can do
as well or better than himself: his business is to excel him, in which
case he takes precedence of him. In reading, every reading division have
the numbers, 1, 2, 3, &c. to 8, suspended from their buttons. If the boy
who wears number 8, excels the boy who wears number 7, he takes his place
and number; in exchange for which the other goes down to the place and
number 8. Thus, the boy who is number 8 at the beginning of the lesson,
may be number 1 at the conclusion of it, and vice versa. The boy
who is number 1, has also a single leather ticket, lettered variously, as,
'Merit,' 'Merit in reading,' 'Merit in spelling,' 'Merit in
writing,' &c. this badge of honour he also forfeits, if he loses his place
by suffering another to excel him. He has also a picture pasted on
pasteboard, and suspended to his breast; this he forfeits to any one who
can excel him. The boys are usually much delighted with this, and it
raises great emulation to obtain it, as it is seen at home. Whoever is in
the first place at the conclusion of the lesson delivers the ticket and
picture to a monitor appointed for that purpose. The honour of wearing the
tickets and numbers, as marks of precedency, is all the reward attached to
them: but the picture which has been worn entitles the bearer to receive
another picture in exchange for it, which becomes his own. This prize is
much valued by the younger boys, and regarded by all. Pictures and prize
lessons can be a fund of entertainment and instruction, combined with
infinite variety. When a boy has a waggon, a whip-top or ball, one
thing of the kind satisfies him till it is worn out: but he may have a
continual variety of pictures and prize lessons, and receive instruction
as well as pleasure from every prize. The advantage of some prints, as
rewards for children, is their cheapness, and others their utility. Many
such prints can be cut into four or six parts. Every part will be a
complete subject itself, and fit for a prize: thus, less than a shilling
per day will afford prizes, morning and afternoon, for a hundred and
twenty children or more, and raise emulation among the whole school. I
hope all ladies, who are patronesses of schools, will adopt these articles
The prize lessons consist of selections of poetry, short stories, &c.
in prose and verse, admit of great variety, command much attention, and
excite an interest in parents as well as children, highly calculated to
improve both: they are printed and sold at the Free School, Borough Road.
TICKETS FOR REWARDS.
By the foregoing observations it will appear, that emulation and reward
are closely united with continual inspection and application to learning.
Another method of rewarding deserving boys is by paper tickets, which are
numbered, one, two, three, &c.: they are given to such boys as distinguish
themselves in writing with the pen: which is done about four times a week,
by part of the school only, in order to accustom them a little to
the pen. Each number is to be obtained several times, before the bearer
can obtain the prize appropriated to it; as,
Number 1, three times, to receive ½d.
2, six times . . . . 1d.
3, eight times . . . 2d.
4, nine times . . . 3d.
5, twelve times . . 6d.
Every time a ticket is obtained, it is booked by a monitor, whose
office it is to record tickets, prizes, &c. The tickets are given,
according to the evident and various degree of pains the scholar may have
taken with his performance. They are given, by the monitor, or teacher,
who inspects the written copies, according to his judgment of the
performances submitted to his inspection. It requires some discretion in
the master to choose a lad for this office, whose eye is capable of at
once discriminating between one performance and another, and of
discerning where exertions have been made by the learner to improve. In
small institutions, the master may perform this office: in large ones, he
can only do it occasionally. 1 have several lads who are capable of this
office, and perform it well. The best way to qualify a boy for such a duty
is, to accustom him to inspect and compare the performances of boys in
writing on the slate, one with another: he may decide improperly in some
instances, at first, but practice will soon make perfect in discriminating
and deciding: and then he will be found a very useful auxiliary in a
school. It is as easy to form a number of boys, as one or two, on this
plan; and they may be qualified sooner than usual, if required, provided
the master renews the same inspection and decision in their presence,
after they have done; and shows them every prominent case in which they
may have decided wrong, and why they have done so. When boys have obtained
their tickets for writing the stipulated number of times, they are
permitted to choose any prize of value appropriated to the
number on their tickets; and there is a choice variety of prizes,
consisting of toys, bats, balls, kites, &c. but the books with the prints
or pictures, and the prize lessons, arc more in request among the
children, and generally more useful than any other prizes.
I believe the emulation I have described, as united with my method of
teaching, will be found most useful as a stimulus to the exertions of
those scholars who possess no more than common abilities; indeed, it is
for this class of learners, who in general.
give the most trouble, that such methods of teaching and encouragement
are most wanting. The drudgery of the teachers is always greater or
less, in proportion to the quickness or dullness of their scholars: but,
in these modes of teaching, all must exert themselves according to their
abilities, or be idle. If they exert themselves as well as they can, they
will improve accordingly if they are idle, it is immediately detected,
and as rapidly punished; of the method of doing which I shall treat
ORDER OF MERIT.
Another method of encouraging deserving youth, who distinguish
themselves by their attention to study, is equally honourable but less
expensive. I have established in my institution an order of merit. Every
member of this order is distinguished by a silver medal, suspended from
his neck by a plated chain. No boys are admitted to this order, but those
who distinguish themselves by proficiency in their own studies, or in the
improvement of others, and for their endeavours to check vice. The honour
of the medal is a reward, the forfeiture of it, in case of repeated
misconduct, is a punishment.
Another method of rewards for those boys who are first in their
classes, in addition to their badge of merit, is a similar badge, lettered
'Prize, value two-pence,' 'Prize, value three-pence,' 'Prize, value
six-pence,' &c. The boy who continues first in his class, for three or
four successive times, is entitled to the prize lettered on the ticket he
has worn. If any boy excels him, he forfeits his ticket and place in the
division. The boy who obtains the ticket once, must retain it three or
four times successively: if he once forfeits his place and ticket, he
forfeits his chance of the prize, although he may have obtained it three
times out of the four. These prizes are very much limitted to the
It frequently happens, that boys distinguish themselves much in their
learning at school; and occasional letters sent by the master to their
parents, to inform them of this, is encouragement for the child to
continue a regular attendance at school.
EMULATION BETWEEN CLASSES.
It is a common practice for one class to try to excel another. The
highest class as to proficiency in learning, occupies the most honourable
place in the school, a place no otherwise distinguished from the rest,
than that it is the customary seat of that class. When an inferior class
excels a superior, the superior class quits its station, and goes down to
the scats of the inferior. When this happens, the superior class finding
itself excelled, and not liking the disgrace, usually works very hard to
regain its former seat. These contests are decided by writing on the
slate, or in a book. The performance of every boy in an inferior class
is compared impartially with that of a boy in the superior. The umpire
decides which is the best of the two. On which side the decision is given,
a number 1 is minuted down on a slate, in favour of that class: then the
umpire, or monitor, appointed to decide, proceeds making comparisons
between two boys of each class, till both classes are entirely examined.
When the examination, which may be compared with polling at elections, is
finished, the number of ones in favour of each class is cast up,
and the contest decided in favour of that class which has the majority.
The industry and exertion it creates is surprising: and the exultation
which takes place among the boys, when they find the majority in favour of
their own class, as well as the manner in which the monitors spur on their
classes, by reproaches, when boys are remiss; and by commendations, when
they strive to excel, affords much pleasure. When a contest of this kind
occurs, which frequently happens, the whole school, and above all, the
monitors of the classes, are so interested, that, if permitted, they would
attend to no other business, while the decision is carrying on. The
contest is speedily terminated, mostly in less than ten minutes. A
striking advantage accrues from this emulation: each monitor and scholar
is interested in such a degree, in the contest, that he exerts his
abilities and, having once discovered what they are able to do, the
master knows what to require of them to do in future, according to the
specimen they have shewn of their abilities. It is a contest much in the
nature and spirit common in elections, but without its rancour or
bitterness, and directed without excess, in a peaceful way, to a very
useful purpose *.
* REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF EMULATION.
I had two boys in my school, remarkable for hardness of disposition:
they were in two different classes; with no other design than the
improvement of two classes, by raising a spirit of emulation among them, I
betted, with one of my subordinate monitors, a shilling against an old
rusty nail, that another class would excel in writing on the slate, that
in which he taught. In case it did, the old rusty nail was to be mine; if
not the shilling was to be his; the oddity of the thing tickled the fancy
of the boys, and served as well for the bone of contention as any thing
else. Both classes were disposed to exert all their powers on the
occasion, determined not to be excelled, I lost the wager in the sequel;
but if it had been fifty times the value, it could not have had a better
effect than it had The truants I have been mentioning, were in the two
contending classes. The interest they took in the honour of their classes
was so great, that instead of playing truant, they came to school, to aid
their companions in securing the honour, which was more than the prize.
They became pleased with school; and, above all, the almost incorrigible
boy became reformed, and one of the best proficients, in learning in the
whole school; and for two years after, while he remained with me, no more
was heard of his playing truant.
OF OFFENCES AND COMPLAINTS.
The chief offences committed by youth at school, arise from the
liveliness of their active dispositions. Few youth do amiss for the
sake of doing so; youth naturally seek whatever is pleasant to them
with avidity: and, I have found, from ample experience, that they do so
with learning, when innocent pleasure and emulation is associated with it.
If any misconduct should be punished by seventy, vice,
profaneness, and immorality are the chief subjects: and, I am
convinced, that correction is not always indispensable even in those
cases, having known many a sensible boy reformed without, and that from
practices as bad as any that usually occur in schools.
CHIEF FAULTS THAT OCCUR IN SCHOOLS.
That children should idle away their time, or talk in school, is
very improper they cannot talk and learn at the same time. In every
school, talking should be considered a great offence; and with due care,
it occurs very seldom.
THE RULE AND ORDER BY WHICH MONITORS MARE COMPLAINTS.
The monitor should have a continual eye over every one in the class
under his care, and notice when a boy is loitering away his time in
talking and idleness. Having thus seen, he is bound in duty to lodge an
accusation against him for misdemeanor. In order to do this
silently, he has a number of printed cards with different charges: as,
'I have seen this boy idle,' 'I have seen this boy talking,' &c. &c.
This rule applies to every class, and each card has the name of the
particular class it belongs to written on it. On shewing a printed card as
above, belonging to the first or sixth, or any other reading class, it is
immediately known who is the monitor making the complaint, and what is the
fault complained of. This card is given to the defaulter, and he is
required to present it at the head of the school a regulation that must
be complied with.
INSTRUMENTS and MODES of PUNISHMENTS.
On a repeated or frequent offence, after admonition has
failed, the lad to whom an offender presents the card, places a wooden log
round his neck, which serves as a pillory, and with this he is sent to his
seat. This log may weigh from four to six pounds, some more and
some less. The neck is not pinched or closely confined it
is chiefly burthensome by the manner in which it incumbers the neck, when
the delinquent turns to the right or left. While it rests on his
shoulders, the equilibrium is preserved; but on the least motion one way
or the other, it is lost, and the log operates as a dead weight. Thus he
is confined to sit in his proper position, and go on
with his work.
When logs are unavailing, it is common to fasten the legs of offenders
together with wooden shackles: one or more, according to the offence. The
shackle is a piece of wood mostly a foot long, sometimes six or
eight inches, and tied to each leg. When shackled, he cannot walk but in a
very slow measured pace; being obliged to take six steps when confined,
for two when at liberty. Thus accoutred, he is ordered to walk round the
school-room, till tired out he is glad to sue for liberty, and promise
his endeavour to behave more steadily in future: with this he is sent to
his seat, and goes on with his work. Should not this punishment have the
desired effect, the left hand is tied behind the back, or woodon shackles
fastened from elbow to elbow, behind the back. Sometimes the legs are tied
together: This is an excellent punishment for boys who offend by leaving
their seats, and wander about the school-room.
Occasionally boys are put in a sack, or in a basket, suspended to the
roof of the school, in sight of all the pupils, who frequently smile at
the birds in the cage. This punishment is one of the most terrible that
can be inflicted on boys of sense and abilities, Above all, it is dreaded
by the monitors: the name of it is sufficient, and therefore it is but
seldom resorted to on their account.
Frequent or old offenders are yoked together, sometimes by a piece of
wood that fastens round all their necks; and thus confined, they parade
the school, walking backwards being obliged to pay very great attention
to their footsteps, for fear of running against any object that might
cause the yoke to hurt their necks, or to keep from falling down. Four or
six can be yoked together this way.
PROCLAMATION OF THE FAULTS OF AN OFFENDER BEFORE THE SCHOOL.
When a boy is disobedient to his parents, profane in his language, has
committed any offence against morality, or is remarkable for slovenliness,
it is usual for him to be dressed up with labels, describing his offence,
and a tin or paper cap on his head. In that manner he walks round the
school, two boys preceding him, and proclaiming his fault: varying
the proclamation according to the different offences.
When a boy comes to school, with dirty face or hands, and it Seems to
be more the effect of habit than of accident, a girl is appointed to wash
his face in the sight of the whole school. This usually creates much
diversion, especially when (as previously directed) she gives his cheeks a
few gentle taps of correction with her hand. One punishment of
this kind has kept the boys faces clean for two years.
CONFINEMENT AFTER SCHOOL HOURS.
Few punishments are so effectual as confinement after school hours. It
is, however, attended with one unpleasant circumstance. In order to
confine the bad boys in the school-room, after school-hours, it is often
needful that the master, or some proper substitute for him, should confine
himself in school, to keep them in order. This inconvenience may be
avoided by tying them to the desks, or putting them in logs, &c. in such a
manner that they cannot loose themselves. These variations in the modes
of unavoidable punishment, give it the continual force of novelty,
whatever shape it may assume. Any single kind of punishment, continued
constantly in use, becomes familiar, and loses its effect. Nothing but
variety can continue the power of novelty. Happily, in my
institution, there are few occasions of punishment; and this conduces much
to the pleasure it affords me. The advantages of the various modes of
correction, are, that they can be inflicted, so as to give much uneasiness
to the delinquents, without disturbing the mind or temper of the master.
The object of these different modes of procedure is to weary the culprit
with a log; or by placing him in confinement of one kind or another, till
he is humbled, and likely to remove the cause of complaint by better
behaviour in future. When he finds how easily his punishments are repeated
that he himself is made the instrument and no respite or comfort for
him, but by behaving well, it is more than probable he will change for the
better. It is also very seldom that a boy deserves both a log and a
shackle at the same time. Most boys are wise enough, when under
one punishment, not to transgress again immediately, lest it should be
doubled. They arc mostly so prudent, as to behave quiet and well, in hopes
of being set at liberty from the one they already suffer, which is mostly
in a few minutes. It ought to be understood in a school, that
whatever mode of punishment a master may adopt, on a repetition of the
fault, a repetition of the punishment will unavoidably ensue; this will
save recurring too often to modes of punishment, which are not effectual
without interrupting the pupils attention to business, as the log, the
shackle, the badge of disgrace at the same time the offenders are the
instruments of their own punishment. Lively, active-tempered boys, are the
most frequent transgressors of good order, and the most difficult to
reduce to reason: the best way to reform them is by making monitors of
them. It diverts the activity of their minds from mischief, by useful
employment, which at the same time adds greatly to their improvement. I
have experienced correction of any kind, only to be needful in proportion
as boys were under the influence of bad example at home. Nothing is
unhappily more common, than for parents to undo, by their bad example at
home, all the good their children obtain at school. This occasions the
first trouble to be renewed many times; and many punishments fall to the
lot of that child, who, however well regulated at school, is spoiled at
home. But, certain it is, that, if punishments must exist, such as those
mentioned in the preceding detail are preferable to others more severe,
and in common practice. I wish such were never in sole practice,
without something of a more generous nature being introduced into those
schools where corporal punishment is made use of.
SINGING TONE OF READING.
When a boy gets into a singing tone in reading, the best cure that I
have hitherto found effectual, is by force of ridicule. Decorate the
offender with matches, ballads, &c. and, in this garb, send him round the
school, with some boys before him, crying 'matches,' &c. exactly imitating
the dismal tones with which such things are hawked about the streets in
London, as will readily occur to the reader's memory.
LABELS OF DISGRACE.
When boys are in habits of talking, or being idle in school-time, it is
common in the Free Schools under my direction, as variety in punishment,
to make an offender stand up and suck his fingers, with the label, 'Idle,'
'Noisy' or 'Suck finger Baby,' 'Bite finger Baby,' 'Nice Matches' for
singing tones in reading; and 'Tell Talc Tit,' for idle complainants.
OTHER MODES OF PUNISHMENT.
The following punishment is most tremendous: when a boy is found to
deserve punishment, instead of recurring as to the rod, make him A BASHAW
OF THREE TAILS. The use of a famous coat, called the fools coat, is well
known in schools; let such a coat be suspended in public schools, the name
of the offender printed in large letters, that the whole school may read,
and fasten on it the words 'Bashaw of three tails,' also on the back of
the coat, and three birchen rods suspended from the tail of the coat, at
due and regular distances. This punishment is excellent for the senior
boys, and will not need many repetitions. Sometimes an idle boy may have a
pillow fetched from a feather bed, and placed on the desk for him to lay
his head on, as if asleep, in the face of the school. A boy wandering from
his seat may be placed under a hen coop. A Go-cart is another
excellent punishment for an idle boy, but rocking in a cradle is better.
Exhibitions of this sort soon bring a large school into order. Under this
head I may repeat an anecdote, but do not recommend it to practice, as I
have never tried it. A respectable female kept a small school for
children of that sex. Her health was delicate, and the task became so
arduous from the noise of the children, when at school, that she had no
prospect but that of declining school altogether. In the interim, she was
advised to make one trial more: to have a cup of chamomile tea
always by her, and when any child was found talking to regale her with a
tea-spoon-full: and if she repeated her offence, to repeat the punishment.
We may suppose many wry mouths were made on the occasion, but the
punishment wanted little repetition; it was too bitter to be
endured, and almost immediately ceased to be deserved, and the school
continued an example of order and usefulness.
THE REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS BEFORE DESCRIBED HAVE BEEN TRIED FOR
THIRTEEN YEARS AMONG MANY THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN, AND HAVE BEEN ATTENDED
WITH BENEFICIAL EFFECTS.
The reader must know, that there are in this wicked world many
Knights of the Rod, who wish to perpetuate the reign of ignorance
among the lower classes of society, whom they are pleased to consider
"DOOMED to the drudgery of daily labour," and that "learning to
write and cypher" will render them "discontented with their lot."
These plead, with mighty virulence, for every mode of punishment that can
embitter learning, and make school hateful to boys. The sinking empire of
the rod is tottering daily to ruin, and many and bitter are the
lamentations of its partizans. One of these hired advocates of
ignorance, in a silly phrensy, imagined, that the apparatus of logs,
shackles, caravans, &c. were all implements of slavery: and he had the
temerity to misrepresent one of the greatest enemies of slavery, a Friend,
or Quaker, as an abettor of cruelty: these things, which have been so
seldom used, as hardly to be known among the HAPPY children in my school,
and which, when resorted to, are described as answering their effects
"mostly in a few minutes," froze his heart with horror, and almost
frightened him out of his remaining senses. Neither he, nor the other
conspirators against the education of youth, considered the more
degrading severity of the lash, which these punishments have for years
contributed to annihilate. The guillotine in France, during the reign of
terror, and the rod in the hands of the advocates of ignorance, are alike.
One is the tyrant, delighting in the tortures of others deluging his
country with blood: the other, the tyrant, exercising that tyranny in
school, which he is debarred from exhibiting towards men. But these
circumstances ought not to be wondered at, when an instance is to be found
of a lady being actually frightened out of her wits. Ladies in
general have so much good sense, that this case was not expected; yet
there is no rule without exceptions. By her "the rod" was publicly
recommended and she said that a crown of disgrace resembled the crown of
thorns, and, therefore, ought not to be used: at the same time she
recommended the scourge, but forgot that the Saviour of men suffered the
misery of its lash. It does not much become a lady to plead the cause of
flagellation; but what will not the patrons of ignorance do, when
ignorantly pursuing their career!
USHERS AND MONITORS.
The great expense of common education arises from the usual practice of
retaining ushers. If one master has thirty pupils under his care, as
schools are commonly open but three hours at a time, divide the number of
minutes in three hours, by the number of children, it is but six minutes
individual instruction for each child. If the number under the care of one
master increases to sixty pupils, the time is then reduced to three
minutes for each scholar. Assuming it for a fact that one master can
govern and teach thirty children, when his school exceeds that number, he
must either do the children injustice, or take an usher. If his school
amounts to sixty, the master has one usher: if it amounts to one hundred
he has two: and if it amounts to one hundred and forty, say he shall be
allowed three ushers. But as assistants of this description cannot be
increased without increasing expense, the more assistants increase, the
more expense will increase also, The economy of education depends on an
efficient substitute being found for ushers: for at present, as
scholars increase, ushers and attendant expense rise in proportion. But do
away the expense of ushers as scholars increase, and if one master only is
wanted, one salary is only requisite. But this depends upon boys being
qualified to act as substitutes for ushers, which only can be done by
simplifying the system of order and tuition, whereby both may be equal to
the meanest capacity, and may consequently be delegated to any pupil in
the school. This has been done by the author, and never was done till he
did it. The consequence is, that as scholars increase, the expense for
each individual decreases leaving one master competent to govern and
teach many instead of a very few adding to his salary, providing
funds for rewards, and yet on the whole saving a great expense.
The duty of a monitor as a substitute for an usher may either relate,
simply to order, or to instruction, as it would be of no service over
hundreds of children assembled to receive instruction under the most
efficient modes of tuition, were it not possible to keep them in order. In
general, on the old plan of teaching, the authority of the master is
merely personal: when he comes into school, fear produces silence, pro
tempore at least; when he goes out all is bustle and confusion, and
the ushers rarely regarded in his absence. This originates in the
personality of the master's authority. In the army authority is vested in
the system more than the person: the station more than the man
commands obedience, and the subordinate officer is as readily obeyed as
his principal. The officer of to-day may be superseded by the officer of
to-morrow. An old man of three score, or a boy of sixteen, gives the
command, and obedience, implicit obedience, follows. The order of war
will not become disorder by an application of it to peaceful
OF ORDER AND COMMANDS.
It is unavoidable, on a large scale of education, to do without giving
many commands, and some of a very trivial nature, On my plan, many of the
commands, which would be given by the master, are given by the monitors.
As it is not proper that commands, without number, and perhaps of a nature
opposite to each other, should be given at random by the monitors, it
becomes needful to limit the number that are to be given, as much as may
be. It is an important object to secure implicit obedience to those
commands on the part of the scholars: and, for the monitors to acquire as
prompt a manner in giving them, as will secure the attention of the
classes, and lead them to a ready compliance. The first of these objects
is easily attained. It is only to write down on paper the commands most
necessary to be given by the monitor to his whole class: and, it is
essentially needful, that he should not vary from the rule once laid down.
The general commands Common to all schools are detailed in the Appendix.
The practice of giving short commands aloud, and seeing them instantly
obeyed by the whole class, will effectually train the monitor in the habit
of giving them with propriety. Thus, for instance, 'Front,' 'Right, or
Left:' 'Show Slates, or clean Slates,' are all things that
must be occasionally done in school. Having a series of commands
applicable to the duties of classes and of a school, is only defining what
already exists in the nature of things, and which would be done in a vague
manner unless so defined and commanded.
The classes should learn to measure their steps when going round the
school in close order to prevent what else would often occur from their
numbers, treading on each other's heels, or pushing each other down. In
this case, measuring their steps commands their attention to one object,
and prevents their being unruly or disorderly. It is not required that the
measure should be exact, or be a regular step: but, that each
scholar shall attempt to walk at a regular distance from the one who
precedes him. When a new scholar is first admitted, he is pleased with the
uniformity, novelty, and simplicity of the motions made by the class he is
in. Under the influence of this pleasure fee readily obeys, the same as
the other boys do. None of these commands are in themselves, an hardship:
and they arc well supported by the force of habits easily acquired, from
the circumstance of being congenial to the activity of the youthful mind.
The power of example greatly facilitates the establishment of order.
Children are mostly imitative creatures: they enter a new school; they see
all in order around them; they see promptness and alacrity in obeying
every command that is given: they do as they see others do, by the
influence of their example. Before the effect of novelty is worn off, new
habits are formed; and the happy children who are trained under the mild
and generous influence of the British system of education, learn obedience
with pleasure, and practice it with delight, without the influence of the
rod or cane to bring them to order. Without the facility with which the
authority of a monitor or commander may be delegated, and transferred from
one to another, the system of order would be a non entity. Were it
not on a level with the meanest capacity, capable of this delegation, and
yet possessed of so much simplicity, the new modes of instruction,
valuable as they are in themselves, would be inefficient: and to place
boys in stations where they have generally or partially to perform the
duties of ushers with this routine of obedience, this principle of order
would be utterly in vain; and the attempt to promote learning without the
principle of order, would be like the efforts of the eastern nations at
the famous building of old, when Nimrod, in the despotism and pride with
which he built the Tower of Babel, only succeeded in producing
confusion, and thereby founded the first empire of ignorance.
PAPER OF COMMANDS ON COMING OUT TO SHEW WRITING.
Out. Front. Look (to the Right or Left, by a motion made with the
hand by the commanding monitor.) Take up Slates. Show Slates.
(Here the monitor inspects.) Left hand Slates. Right hand Slates.
Single. (In a line.) Double. Step forward. Step Backward, Go.
Show Slates, to the Master, or Inspecting Monitor.
ON RETURNING TO THE CLASS.
Look. Go. Show Slates. Lay down Slates. In.
ON GOING HOME.
Out. Unsling Hats. Put on Hats. Go.
OF MONITORS WHO TEACH, AND THE QUALIFICATIONS REQUISITE FOR THAT DUTY,
AND MODE OF ASCERTAINING THOSE QUALIFICATIONS.
On this head, the duty of the superintendant or master, will be, to
ascertain that each monitor is fully competent to teach the lessons
of the class he is appointed to. This certainty can be obtained only by
actually examining the intended monitor in the lessons he will be
required to teach. The master must never appoint a new monitor without
such examination. I have known some persons who pretend to teach on
my plan, appoint a boy as a monitor, merely because they judged him to be
a good reader: no master should appoint monitors by guess, when an
actual certainty is in his power: but this cannot be attained without an
examination and progressive series of lessons on my plan adapted to the
mode of tuition.
The necessity for such examination of the minor classes is more urgent,
as in the minor lessons, the sounds of letters often vary from soft to
hard, and a number of words admit of different meanings, and are
consequently pronounced different ways. A pupil may read well in general,
and yet either not know, or may forget, after some time, such local
variations. If then, he is not carefully examined by the superintendant,
he will teach some words improperly.
As it respects Arithmetic, the superintendant should ascertain, by
individual examination, whether the pupil he selects as a monitor, is
proficient in the mode of teaching each particular sum or lesson
appointed to be taught to his class. The monitors of reading and
spelling should not only be able, as scholars, to understand
and perform the lessons they are appointed to teach, but be instructed,
under the inspection of the superintendant, in the mode of teaching, and
any locality which may be attached to particular lessons.
It should be considered that monitors on the new plan are of two
descriptions, some for tuition, and others for order:
duties which, as before shewn, are in some instances, wholly
distinct from each other.
To these we must add a third description, who are called Inspecting
Monitors. Of these, even in a very large school, but few are
Monitors of every kind are sometimes stated, and sometimes
Monitors arc stated, when they are appointed to attend the regular
duties of the school, in tuition, order, or inspection. Monitors are
occasional, when acting as substitutes for regular monitors, whom
ill health, or any other cause, may detain from school.
RULES FOR APPOINTING MONITORS OF TUITION.
First, the monitors appointed must understand, and be quite perfect in
the lessons they are to teach, as to good leading and spelling.
Secondly, they must understand the mode of teaching.
Thirdly, in the first five classes, monitors may be appointed from the
next superior class, to teach the one immediately below if. Thus the
second, or two-tetter class, will furnish monitors who may teach the
first, or alphabet class: the third will supply monitors for the second;
the fourth for the third; and the fifth for the fourth; the sixth class
will supply a choice of monitors for the fifth, for itself, and for the
order of the school. Under the seventh class, each class will
supply boys to teach the class below it; this will ground the monitors in
the lessons they have themselves last learned, by the act of teaching
them. From the sixth class upwards, the classes will supply boys to act as
monitors, and teach themselves; the teachers of the sixth, seventh, and
eighth classes, may be chosen out of the said classes, as any boy who can
read can teach; the art of tuition, in those classes, depending only on
the knowledge of reading and writing. The system of inspection of progress
in learning, as it respects the scholar, is only on his part
mental; neither inspection nor the mode of instruction require any other
qualification, on the part of the teacher, than the mere art of reading
and writing, united with orderly behaviour.
OF MONITOR'S TICKETS, SUPERINTENDANT'S LIST, AND THE OFFICE OF
Every monitor should wear in school a printed or leather ticket, gilt,
and lettered thus: Monitor of the first class Reading Monitor of the
second class Monitor of the third class, with variations for Arithmetic,
Reading, Spelling, &c.
Each of these tickets to be numbered. A row of nails, with numbers on
the wall, marking the place of each ticket, to be placed in every
school-room: the nail numbered 1, being the place for the ticket No. 1.
When school begins, the monitors are to be called to take their tickets;
every ticket left on a nail, will shew a regular monitor absent,
when an occasional monitor must of course be chosen.
One monitor of order, to be appointed by the master, to see what
monitors are absent daily, and to appoint others in their place for the
occasion; this, in a large school, will be found a great relief to
As nothing should in any case be left to the monitor, the
superintendant should in the first instance appoint every stated monitor
himself; he should then examine the school, to find a number of boys fit
to be occasional monitors: of these he should make two lists, one for
himself, and one for the lad appointed as monitor-general, and from that
list substitutes are to be appointed. The monitor-general's office is
merely to take an account of monitors present and absent, and to
appoint substitutes from the superintendant's list of boys fit for the
different offices of monitors.
OF THE DUTIES OF MONITORS,
In large schools, on the old plan of education, the burthen of the
master's duty increases in a great degree, with the increase of numbers,
till it becomes insupportable. On the new plan, the burthen
increases in a very small degree in comparison of the number, and admits
of dividing the master's labour among many, which would otherwise rest
only on himself. Some classes in a school will occasionally be extinct,
in consequence of the improvement of the scholars. If all the children who
are in the alphabet class, improve so as to be removed to the second, the
alphabet class must be extinct, unless fresh scholars are admitted. The
same, if all the boys in the subtraction class become masters of that
rule, they must be removed to another class, and there will be no
subtraction class in the school, until more boys are admitted, or are
brought forward from an inferior class. Where children continue at school
for sometime, and no new scholars are admitted, it appears possible the
whole of the minor classes may become extinct, and not be revived till an
admission of new scholars.
In a very large school, more monitors are wanted than in a smaller one:
the system remains the same, only the number of agents for effecting it
are greater. In a small school, some duties may be done by the master,
because they relate to a few pupils or monitors, and are immediately under
his own eye. In a small school of 100 children, no monitor-general will be
needed, as from the fewness of the monitors, that duty may be performed by
the master; but in a large school, it becomes an alleviation of the
master's labour, to appoint such a monitor.
All the monitors should have a written or printed paper of their
'Duties,' which they should particularly study, and repeat once a week.
Those duties, which are the same in all schools, and which apply generally
to the mode of teaching, may be had printed, as see the APPENDIX,
containing a list of things wanting in the outfit of a new school.
These duties each monitor should paste in the books belonging to his
class. The larger series of papers on the duties of monitors, should be
read for a class lesson by all boys selected as regular, or auxiliary
monitors, in order to prepare them, by a knowledge of their duty, for the
proper discharge of it.
Assistant Monitors are only needful when a class is more than 20
or 25, then the monitor should be relieved from continual attention to his
class, to give him time for his studies; but the class must by no means be
divided between two equal monitors, both acting at the same time.
OBSERVATIONS FOR MASTERS.
AN ERROR COMMON AMONG TEACHERS.
There is one error teachers are too generally apt to fall into, that of
giving commands themselves, either calling aloud for ORDER, or SILENCE
among their scholars. If one general rule is abided by on this head, it
will prove, that the less a master's voice is heard among his scholars,
the more he will be obeyed. The noise of a school is generally in
proportion to the noise a master makes in it himself. The punishment of
the scholars, and the fatigue of the master, is nearly in like proportion.
The master should be a silent by-stander and inspector. What a -master
says should be done; but if he teaches on this system, he will find the
authority is not personal, that when the pupils, as well as the
school-master, understand how to act and learn on this system, the
system, not the master's vague, discretionary, uncertain judgment,
will be in practice. A command will be obeyed by any boy, because it is
a command, and the whole school will obey the common, known
commands of the school, from being merely known as such, let who
will give them. In a common school the authority of the master is
personal, and the rod is his sceptre. His absence is the immediate signal
for confusion and riot; and in his absence his assistants will rarely be
minded. But in a school properly regulated and conducted on my plan, when
the master leaves school, the business will go on as well in his absence
as in his presence, because the authority is not personal. This
mode of insuring obedience is a novelty in the history of education.
SCHOOL-ROOMS and SCHOOL FURNITURE.
OF THE ARRANGEMENT OF LESSONS FOR CLASSES.
ON my new system of education, there is a series of lessons to be
pasted on boards, adapted to each class, as the classes rise above each
other progressively. These lessons being regularly numbered, should be
placed on the school-walls, on nails, numbered in like manner. The
card-lesson, No. 1, (for the second or any other class) to be placed on
the nail No. 1: No. 2 on the nail No. 2, &c. Each series of lessons to be
placed by itself. Each class to study only that series of lessons
adapted to it; this rule must be invariably attended to, or the classes
which are learning will be particularly liable to confusion. When pupils
are removed from one class to another, it is then only they may enter on a
new series of lessons.
ARRANGEMENT OF SLATES.
Instead of hanging the slates to nails on the wall, every boy has a
slate numbered according to his number in the class, and fastened to a
nail on the desk at which he sits. By this means all going in and out for
slates is avoided. But, if slates are suspended to nails on the walls, the
class must go from their seats to fetch them, and the same to replace them
when they have done work. When boys write in a book, (which is only done
by part of the scholars four times in the week, merely to/accustom them to
the use of the pen,) they sling their slates; that is, let them hang
suspended from the nails on the desks, by the slate-string. When slates
are suspended in this manner, if the strings are good, there is little
danger of their being thrown down or broken: so that when boys are
writing, there are very few who have any occasion to get off their seats:
and, if they should have, there is ample passage-room between the desks
for them to pass. If the slates are accidentally struck by a boy passing,
they hang loose, and of course give way when pressed against, which
preserves them from injury.
In the new method of spelling, described page 9, it is desirable that
every boy in the same class should write the same number of words in the
same time: of course all their slates should be of one size, and
ruled with the same number of lines; unless this is the case, the class
cannot all perform the task appointed them. The master should fix the
number of words for each class, the time in which they are to be written,
and the time in which he will inspect, or cause them to be inspected. A
fine should be paid by each boy for carelessly breaking a slate.
In the account of the improved method of printing in sand, mention is
made of a flat-iron being used for smoothing it. A substitute may be
provided of wood, which will answer the same purpose, and prevent some
kind Goody borrowing a flat-iron, without leave, for her own
linen, as I have sometimes known to be the case, and the class in a small
school kept in idleness, because the iron is taken away.
This is mentioned in page 15, and may be made moveable with feet, to
hang the lessons on, while the boys are reading round it. One or two will
be sufficient for a large school, as the lessons are usually placed on the
school wall for the boys to read, &c.
LIST OF THINGS WANTED IN THE OUTFIT OF A SCHOOL ON THIS PLAN OF
LANCASTER'S New Spelling Book.
Series of Reading Lessons.
New System of Arithmetic.
Freame's Scripture Instruction.
Watts's Hymns for Children, Papers, &c. &c.
Duties for Monitors.
The Method of teaching the Alphabet in Courses.
Numbers of Precedence for Circles.
Accusation Cards, and Cards of Disgrace.
Titles for the Classes, to be placed at the head of each Class.
Order of Commands.
Labels of Disgrace.
Commendatory Tickets, &c. &c.
Slates, ready ruled, for the use of Schools:
Letters addressed to J. L, POST PAID (and POST PAID only) will be
ADVANTAGES TO BE DERIVED FROM EXTENDING THE PLAN TO THOSE CALLED
THE emulation to improve,
and proficiency in reading will be excited and increased more by this
method than any other, as well as great economy introduced in the article
The real and proper object of those called Sunday Schools, is, the
religious instruction of the children: to this the art of reading is
properly considered a needful auxiliary, and on this principle children
are taught to read and spell, who have not already learned to read so
well, as to improve their minds in religious knowledge by reading.
Objections are frequently made by conscientious persons, to children
learning to write, on account of the solemnity of the day set apart for
public worship. But surely any thing which will command silence in
school, and will ensure attention, must certainly conduce to keep a school
in that decorum proper to the day and occasion*.
As the new method of spelling by writing on the slate, naturally
connects spelling with writing, and this is made the basis of improvement
in reading, it surely cannot be inconsistent with the design and object of
those called Sunday Schools, to adopt any plan which will promote order
and regularity in schools, and hasten the proficiency of the scholars in
reading; I therefore generally recommend the introduction of the new mode
of spelling on slates, and the new books, which will serve so many
children, to the friends of those schools throughout the nation.
On the advantages to be derived from this plan, by introducing it into
small village schools, and parochial charity schools, I submit the
following considerations to the reader.
The trouble of the teacher will be materially lessened, and the
happiness of the children increased.
In a school of thirty children, one book will serve the whole school,
and the proficiency of the scholars doubled.
This plan will enable the committee of a charity school to extend the
school to double the number; and, if needful, to many times more
than double the number, where the population of a parish will allow of it,
at a small expense; one book still serving for the whole school.
Where the numbers of children cannot be increased, their
proficiency will be doubled, and more time left for husbandry, works of
industry, and religious instruction, as such committees, or heads of
schools may direct.
The expense of writing books, cyphering books, &c. will be chiefly
* What is very remarkable, a number of persons who make this objection,
are in the practice of taking down sermons in short hand, without
considering it any interruption to religious worship, or any violation of
the solemnity of the day.
SCHOOL CIRCULATING LIBRARY,
THE numerous public
avocations of the author, prevent him at present from doing that justice
to his subject, which at some future time he hopes to be able fully to do.
At present, be can only give a general statement, containing a few
outlines of that highly useful, economical, and instructive species of
reward for the higher and more intelligent classes of scholars; a school
circulating library. He has experienced, during thirteen years, the
advantage of this plan; and, as the books, once in the library, are school
property and only lent to read, but never given away, one book,
costing from one penny to two shillings, &c. has been known to pass
through the hands of some hundred scholars. Indeed, not only the children
have been benefited, but a book has been frequently known to be read, not
only by the scholar to whom it was originally lent, but by the parents and
relatives of the pupil at home. When books are green away, the
expense is continually recurring: if a variety of books are introduced as
an article of reward, the expense will be greater in proportion as the
books increase in size and value: but where a stock of books are once
provided, they afford a perpetual source of information and delight,
without any additional expense than that which arises from keeping the
stock in repair, or making an occasional addition. I have known books in
use for twelve years, and very little the worse for wear; but much depends
upon the books being inspected every time they are returned. Due care and
watchful inspection prevent the needless injury of books, and rigidly
observing, that if a boy uses the first book improperly, he is not allowed
to have a second.
The rules are in substance as follow: that every boy who is a candidate
for the use of books in the library, must obtain a given number of
tickets, as a reward of merit, before he can be admitted: that he must
afterwards obtain a ticket, equivalent to a given number of tickets,
weekly, to entitle him to books according to their value, the books of the
highest value requiring most tickets to obtain the use of them: only one
book to be lent at a time to any pupil: never to be kept without leave
longer than one week: to be kept clean, on pain of forfeiting the
privilege of being in the library: in case of any book being
negligently lost or destroyed, the value to be paid by the child's
parents, or the pupil to forfeit his stock of tickets and prizes due at
the time of the loss. In the distribution of rewards, one important
principle should never be lost sight of; bestowing them in such a manner,
as, at the least possible expense, will call forth the utmost exertions of
the pupils to obtain them, by improving every moment of their time at
school, and by using the most strenuous efforts for their own improvement.
In proportion as boys have an active interest in their studies, their
happiness will be increased at school; and these principles have been
proved to have a most beneficial effect on the higher classes of the
children in school, at a moderate expense.
It is not many years since children's books in general were of the
worst description, with very few exceptions. Of late years they have been
much improved: a number of booksellers have rendered considerable services
to the public, in printing books for children and young people. I have not
at present leisure to give anything like an idea of what a complete school
circulating library should be, without doing injustice to many
publications I have not yet seen: but I hope, ere long, to be able to
review most of the publications for schools, and to be able to recommend
those which appear to be the most useful; and from the great knowledge of
the dispositions of young persons in early life, which the author's
experience qualifies him to make use of, he hopes to be able to point out
a selection of books, free from intolerance and bigotry, and adapted to
the youthful mind: a selection of books that will contain what an advocate
of ignorance would not wish, but which will not be unproductive of real
pleasure to the friends of humanity, of education and knowledge. As a
religious book for a circulating library, I recommend BISHOP GASTREL'S
Institutes: they have this excellence: they are SCRIPTURE! which in
conformity to the 6th article of the church of England, he believes are
able to make us wise unto salvation: but this liberal Bishop was not like
a modern pretended (Bath) Divine, who has not scrupled to say, that
"merely admitting the Bible as the BASIS (i. e. foundation) of
religious opinion, is to admit DEFINITIVELY NOTHING!"
Martinet's Catechism of Nature: a most excellent little book,
concise, well written, full of pious observations, and the quotations from
Scripture aptly introduced to express the wonder, love, and adoration of
the Great I AM THAT I AM, which is often produced in the feeling mind, by
contemplating the glory of the Creator displayed in the wonders of
creation. For senior boys, The Juvenile Library contains good
instinctive matter, and is highly calculated to stimulate youth to improve
in learning, by the good example of others, The interest children
generally take in the society of those of their own age, is such, that
every thing in print, which is like a picture of themselves,, and the
society they associate with, will be interesting. Taylor on Dogs,
is a book most excellently adapted to youth, and both the author and
publishers merit the thanks of every parent and friend of youth. It is an
instructive work, and combines amusement with information; it inculcates
that kind treatment of animals, which every human mind will rejoice to
see become more general. This valuable book is sought after with avidity
by all the pupils in the circulating library, Borough Road. Books like
this, sacred to humanity, will always be received with pleasure, and read
with delight by children, and by the friends of young people as
well as themselves. This little work is fitted for persons of every age,
from eight or nine, to fifty years of age. It is chiefly a collection of
matter of facts. But the honey dew of pure benevolence is largely
shed over them all. The Wonders of the Horse, by the same author,
is a similar and excellent publication. The Grammar of Geography,
is another excellent little book, it is multum in parvo, and
constituted better for a school book then a library, but excellent for
both. The Vocabulary of Proper Names at the end of it, with the
pronunciation occasionally attached, is a very useful addition to it. A
correct vocabulary on a larger scale, but on the same principle, will be a
desideratum. It is with pleasure I turn to the publications of the
amiable and benevolent Priscilla Wakefield: "all her works, indeed, are
sterling;" the intelligence and good sense which mark their real worth,
while they bespeak the dignity of her mind, present a powerful contrast to
the narrowness of soul, which distinguishes one of her contemporary
writers, who "flames away in the van of some bookseller's shop," and whose
jealousy that her sixpenny sales shall be injured by the excellent
publications of others, makes her cry, 'the church in danger!' when, in
reality, it is only her halfpenny, penny, and sixpenny bookmaking craft
that is in danger. Compared with such inhabitants of the Land of Narrow
Souls as these, Priscilla Wakefield shines by the power of contrast. Her
Juvenile Travellers, her Family Tour in the British Empire;
her Excursions in North America; with other works I have not time
at present more than to glance my eye over, command the gratitude of those
who are friends of rich and poor. Mental Improvements, 2 vols. and
Juvenile Anecdotes, 2 vols. are publications of hers, worthy a
place in every library, and in every family. The pious Lindley Murray's
Power of Religion on the Mind, and Elizabeth Andrew's Beauties of
Sturm's Reflections on the Works of God, are both well known and
highly useful. May that usefulness become universal, and may their authors
and compilers have long to reflect with pleasure on the useful application
of their talents, being productive of much good. The Grammar of History,
an excellent publication has an essay on artificial memory, and a most
useful vocabulary attached: the excellencies of this little publication
are of the same nature as the Grammar of Geography before noticed, and
equally appropriate to its respective object. The Book of Trades,
or Library of Useful Arts is another book worthy of a place in any
school library. The History of Discoveries and Inventions, the Wonders
of the Microscope, and the Wonders of the Telescope are both excellent
publications. The best proof of their being well written is, that they are
eagerly sought after and readily understood. The British Nepos, by
Mayor, the Naval Plutarch, the British Neptune, by Dr. Burney, are
all books, which once brought into a library, may be considered as
capital, invested in a stock of rewards, which do good among the scholars
in a ratio similar to that of compound interest. I do not mean by the few
books that I have instanced, to say that I have at all been able to do
that full justice I wish, in giving my humble tribute to the merit of
their authors, and to recommend the sale of useful publications. The
collection of books we have is chiefly composed of publications presented
to the school library as gifts: I have therefore had a much greater
opportunity of investigating their merits than any others. But 1 hope
speedily to form my school library on a much larger scale, and in so
doing, I shall have an opportunity of examining every book that is
admitted into it, as 1 have always done hitherto. As I intend to make my
remarks at the time of inspecting them, and to examine their effect on
those who peruse them, I shall have an opportunity afforded, on the ground
of fact, to recommend, in a treatise to be published expressly on books
for children, those which I find to have the best effects, with the fewest
of those errors, which are the lot of human infirmity, and of which the
wisest and best among men are too sensible, to desire to claim an
exemption from weakness intermixed with the radix and nature of our being.
THE reader is
respectfully informed, that the ROYAL FREE SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, Borough Road,
contains near TWO HUNDRED GIRLS, and needs nothing but public
subscriptions to extend it to FIVE HUNDRED GIRLS, under the care of ONE
MISTRESS. This has afforded opportunity to bring to perfection, by various
experiments, a new plan of instruction in needlework, which enables girls
to instruct each other, acting as monitors; and simplifies the plan of
tuition in needlework as much as the modes of instruction in reading,
writing, &c. (detailed in the preceding parts of this epitome) simplify
the means of imparting useful knowledge. It is an easy thing to make
children the instructors of others: many have long done so; but to bring
down the object of instruction to a level with the capacity of the
juvenile teachers, is a more important concern; and without it, mere
agency will often be worse than mere nonsense. The consequence of
these plans, successfully applied to needlework, has been, that any
child may be made capable of communicating instruction as well as the
governess of a school herself. That the female superintendant of a school
may as easily oversee the work as the tuition of 300 children: that
materials for work will be always at command at a very small
expense, not exceeding 2s. each child for twelve months, when nine
years of age, and that this is not merely a solitary instance of great
local good, but a benefaction as far as example goes, by the introduction
of a new and useful plan of female instruction to all the schools in the
empire, in which it may be adopted.
This undertaking has been entered into, and completed; and as there
is not any person in the country yet acquainted with this plan, it is
time, for the general good, that it was extensively made known.
Accordingly a publication is at press which will answer this purpose. MARY
LANCASTER, the sister of the author of the British System of Education for
Boys, superintends the INSTITUTION for TRAINING SCHOOL MISTRESSES in the
knowledge of this plan, to which the GOVERNESS of the girls' school gives
every facility in her power.
It was soon seen, in the earliest stages of the institution, that the
plan for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, was as applicable to
girls as boys one mistress could teach 200 girls: but a difficulty arose
as to needlework, which in the end has been finally adapted to the same
principles as form the basis of the system of instruction in useful
learning, This was a work of labour and difficulty, but has now been
What is more remarkable, it is as applicable to instruction in cutting
out garments, that essential part of female education, as it is to sewing,
or any other kind of needlework. It not only furnishes the means of
instruction, but it also furnishes the material to be made use of in
learning, at an expense next to nothing, and in the power of every body to
EXPLANATION OF THE PLATES
No.1 The parallelogram at the head of the school, represents the
platform, on which the master's desk is placed. The numbers represent the
classes of children as seated in the order of their proficiency in
learning. The surface of the form and desks are represented in the plan as
nearly filled with boys, occupied in writing on their slates: the boys are
represented at the desks.There is a dot at the front of each desk in every
class, intended to represent the monitor of the class, whose business is
to move up and down the desks, and examine the performance and progress of
the boys in writing on their slate.
PLACES FOR BOYS WHEN GOING OUT TO READ.
The spaces marked thus (..........) represent places where boys stand in
drafts, with each draft under its respective monitor, when going out of
their seats to read. There are eight of these drafts, one from each class.
In every class a vacancy is left at the desks, where there are no dots,
representing the vacant space left unoccupied by boys who are gone out to
On the other side of the school-room is represented blank semi-circles,
which are reading stations, where boys stand when reading.
The blank spaces thus, (______) represent the place where, on the ringing
of a bell, the boys return from their reading stations, and form into
single file, in which order they return round the school-room, going into
their respective classes, and fill up every seat. These movements
diversify the scene of school duties, and while they inspire the children
with energy, by the activity they create, add liveliness to the scene, and
contribute to the health as well as the happiness of the children, who are
never confined for two or three hours together to one seat. The passages
round the school-room, and between every form, and the desk behind it,
contribute greatly to the order and activity of the school
No. 2 is the same as number 1, only that the boys are
represented standing at their reading stations.
No. 3 is a representation of boys reading a lesson,
on the plan of one book serving for a whole school. The monitor with a
pointing stick, pointing out part of the same.
No. 4 is a representation of the boys at eight
stations, generally called reading stations: but equally applicable to
reading, spelling, or arithmetic. Here are 56 boys represented as leading
at eight lessons, only worth about two-pence each, exclusive of the
mill-board they are pasted on; when they are done, and returned to their
seats to practice writing on the slate, or to spell, by writing, or to
write sentences from Scripture, another 56 may use the same lessons, and
then another: so that above 300 boys may read or spell at eight lessons,
in a single morning, and have the full advantage of 300 books, costing as
many shillings: a fair, but very low average for an expense of paper and
printing, not exceeding sixteen-pence.
No. 5 (AN ERROR TO BE AVOIDED,) is a representation of
the disorderly manner in which children are suffered to stand to learn
their lessons at some schools, where my plan is partially adopted. The
reader is requested to contrast this with No. 4, and he will see the
listlessness and inattention which is suffered to prevail by incompetent
teachers. Here every eye seems turned from the lesson; when in No. 4,
every eye is fixed upon it. In the back ground, are boys sitting with
their books in the common manner of schools, each child having a book, and
wearing and tearing the whole book, that he may have the use of only one
lesson, and use that in a very careless manner.
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