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and the relations of climates, seas, rivers, mountains, to their characters and pursuits, should be pointed out, so as to awaken an interest in man, wherever he dwells. History should be constantly used to exercise the moral judgment of the young, to call forth sympathy with the fortunes of the human race, and to expose to indignation and abhorrence, that selfish ambition, that passion for dominion, which has so long deluged the earth with blood and woe. And not only should the excitement of just moral feeling be proposed in every study. The science of morals should form an important part of every child's instruction. One branch of ethics should be particularly insisted on by the government. Every school, established by law, should be specially bound to teach the duties of the citizen to the state, to unfold the principles of free institutions, and to train the young to an enlightened patriotism. From these brief and imperfect views of the nature and ends of a wise education, we learn the dignity of the profession to which it is intrusted, and the importance of securing to it the best minds of the community.
On reviewing these hints on the extent of education, we see that one important topic has been omitted. We have said, that it is the office of the teacher to call into vigorous action the mind of the child. He must do more. He must strive to create a thirst, an insatiable craving for knowledge, to give animation to study and make it a pleasure, and thus to communicate an impulse which will endure, when the instructions of the school are closed. The mark of a good teacher is, not only that he produces great effort in his pupils, but that he dismisses them from his care, conscious of having only laid the foundation of knowledge, and anxious and re
solved to improve themselves. One of the sure signs of the low state of instruction among us is, that the young, on leaving school, feel as if the work of intellectual culture were done, and give up steady, vigorous effort for higher truth and wider knowledge. Our daughters at sixteen and our sons at eighteen or twenty have finished their education. The true use of a school is, to enable and dispose the pupil to learn through life; and if so, who does not see that the office of teacher requires men of enlarged and liberal minds, and of winning manners, in other words, that it requires as cultivated men as can be found in society. If to drive and to drill were the chief duties of an instructer, if to force into the mind an amount of lifeless knowledge, to make the child a machine, to create a repugnance to books, to mental labor, to the acquisition of knowledge, were the great objects of the school-room, then the teacher might be chosen on the principles which now govern the schoolcommittees in no small part of our country. Then the man who can read, write, cipher, and whip, and will exercise his gifts at the lowest price, deserves the prece. dence which he now too often enjoys. But if the human being be something more than a block or a brute, if he have powers which proclaim him a child of God, and which were given for noble action and perpetual progress, then a better order of things should begin among us, and truly enlightened men should be summoned to the work of education.
Leaving the subject of instruction, we observe, that there is another duty of teachers, which requires that they should be taken from the class of improved, wise, virtuous men. They are to govern as well as teach. They must preserve order, and for this end must inflict
punishment in some of its forms.
We know that some
philanthropists wish to banish all punishment from the school. We would not discourage their efforts and hopes; but we fear, that the time for this reform is not yet come, and that as long as the want of a wise discipline at home supplies the teacher with so many lawless subjects, he will be compelled to use other restraints than kindness and reason. Punishment, we fear, cannot be dispensed with; but that it ought to be administered most deliberately, righteously, judiciously, and with a wise adaptation to the character of the child, we all feel; and can it then be safely intrusted, as is too much the case, to teachers undisciplined in mind and heart? Corporal punishment at present has a place in almost all our schools for boys, and perhaps in some for girls. It may be necessary. But ought not every parent to have some security, that his child shall not receive a blow, unless inflicted in wisdom, justice, and kindness? And what security can he have for this, but in the improved character of the instructer? We have known mournful effects of injudicious corporal punishment. We have
known a blow to alienate a child from his father, to stir up bitter hatred towards his teacher, and to indispose him to study and the pursuit of knowledge. We cannot be too unwilling to place our children under the care of passionate teachers, who, having no rule over their own spirits, cannot of course rule others, or of weak and unskilful teachers, who are obliged to supply by severity the want of a wise firmness. It is wonderful how thoughtlessly parents expose their children to corporal punishment. Our laws have expunged whipping from the penal code, and the felon is exempted from this in dignity. But how many boys are subjected to a whip
per in the shape of a schoolmaster, whose whole mystery of discipline lies in the ferule. The discipline of a school is of vast importance in its moral influence. boy compelled for six hours each day to see the countenance and hear the voice of an unfeeling, petulant, passionate, unjust teacher, is placed in a school of vice. He is all the time learning lessons of inhumanity, hardheartedness, and injustice. The English are considered by the rest of Europe as inclined to cruelty. Their common people are said to be wanting in mercy to the inferior animals and to be ferocious in their quarrels, and their planters enjoy the bad preeminence of being the worst masters in the West Indies, with the exception of the Dutch. It is worth consideration, whether these vices, if they really exist, may not be ascribed in part to the unrestrained, barbarous use of whipping in their schools. Of one thing we are sure, that the discipline of a school has an important influence on the character of a child, and that a just, mild, benevolent teacher, who procures order by methods which the moral sense of his pupils approves, is perpetually spreading around him his own virtues. Should not our teachers then be sought from the class of the most enlightened and excellent men ?
Our limits allow us to add but one more remark on the qualifications of teachers. It is important, that they should be able to coöperate with parents in awakening the religious principle in the young. We would not of course admit into schools the peculiarities of the denominations which divide the Christian world. But religion in its broadest sense should be taught. It should indirectly mix with all teaching. The young mind should be guided through nature and human history to
the Creator and Disposer of the Universe; and still more, the practical principles and spirit of Christianity should be matters of direct inculcation. We know no office requiring greater wisdom, and none but the wise and good should be invited to discharge it.
We know that it will be objected to the views now given, that few, very few, will be able to pay for such teachers as we recommend. We believe, however, that there is a large class, who, if they had the will, and would deny themselves as they ought, might procure excellent instructers for their children; and as for the rest, let them do their best, let them but throw their hearts into this cause, and improvements will be effected, which have not been anticipated, perhaps not conceived. We acknowledge, however, that our remarks have been intended chiefly for the opulent. Let an interest in education be awakened in this class, and let more generous means for its promotion be employed, and we are satisfied that the teaching of all classes will be advanced, the talent of the country will be more and more directed to the office of instruction, and the benefit will spread through the whole community.
END OF VOL. I.