S. R. (Samuel Read) Hall.

Lectures to school-masters, on teaching online

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Prof. C. . ofoid

W 26ft.

Width, 26 feet


A. A. A. Entry 7 feet wide. a. Outer door. S. S. S> Seat on the
outside 15 inches wide. D. D. D. Desks having a passage at the end of
every second one, for the scholars to pass to their seats. These passages
are designed to be only 12 inches wide. The desks are 20 inches wide, in-
cluding a horizontal plane 6 inches wide at the top. They are placed one
inch from the seats. L L L Aisles 18 inches wide. s. 8. 8. Seats for
two scholars each, with a narrow passage to go to the desks. The seat*
are 14 inches wide and the backs incline 2 inches. d. d. d. Desks. These
are 2 inchces lower than the other desks. C. C. C. Children's seats, 13
inches wide, designed for those who are too young to write. 2 2. Two
steps to go up to the Master's Desk. M. Master's Desk elevated 22
inches above the floor. W. W. W. Windows. B.'B. Space seven
feet wide. It increases the ease of sitting, to have the forward edge of
the seat one iuch higher than the back side.





JfourtJ) 3Ettftfon*




At Faust Statute, 131, Washington-Street.


Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1833.

in the Clerks's office of the District Court of Massachusetts.


29, Cornh ill, Boston.



OF nothing are the people of the United States more disposed
to boast, than of the free government, free institutions and free
schools, which they have established. By the latter, in many of
the states it is designed to place within the reach of every child,
the means of acquiring an education, sufficient to prepare him
for the duties and responsibilities of a citizen. In a large num-
ber of the states, the establishment and support of free schools,
have been a prominent object with the Legislatures. In some,
the system adopted is, perhaps, better than in any other part of
tne world.

But there is still a very general opinion, that the amount of
benefit desirable, is not obtained from these primary fountains
of knowledge. Many plans have been formed to increase their
usefulness. Some of these have been put in operation, and
others have ended in theory.

It is the ardent wish of every patriot, philanthropist and
Christian, that ' the strong desire manifested to render this moral
engine of social happiness and political security, as extensive,
as complete and efficacious, as the vast resources of our intelli-
gence and wealth will permit,' may not cease, till something ef-
fectual shall be accomplished. No subject has stronger claims
upon us, * for on the correct and early education of youth, de-
pend the ultimate success of every rational enterprise for the
intellectual and moral improvement of man.'

In order to raise common schools to that standard of excel-
lence which it is desirable they should attain : their defects, in
plan and execution, must be carefully sought out. Nothing ef-
fectual can be done till these defects and their causes, are clear-
ly ascertained. The remedies may then be proposed, applied
and tested.

There is a very general f belief, that one of the most common
defects is the improper character and superficial qualifications
of teachers. It is well known, that many who are employed to

Mil 1481


teach our primary schools, are deficient in almost every neces-
sary qualification. While this defect is so prominent, all the ef-
forts to increase the usefulness of schools, can be attended with
only partial success. But let the character of teachers be im-
proved, and improvement in the schools will follow of course. To
accomplish this object, it is desirable that institutions should be
established for educating teachers, where they should be taught
not only the necessary branches of literature, but, be made ac-
quainted with the science of teaching, and the mode of govern-
ing a school with success. The general management of a
school should be a subject of much study, before any one en-
gages in the employment of teaching.

However important such institutions are to the success of
common schools, as yet, very few of them exist. This has led
to the inquiry whether a publication of a very practical character,
containing such directions to instructors, as may be easily un-
derstood and applied, would not be of essential service. This
inquiry has led to the publication of the following treatise.

The substance of these Lectures, has been given at various
times, to classes of young men, who were qualifying themselves
to become teachers, in the Institution of which the Author had
charge. He has selected such subjects of remark, as have ap-
peared to him the most important, and has endeavored to give
all the directions as much of a practical character, as possible.

The object, in lecturing and writing, has been to present the
nature of their employment, to those who are preparing them-
selves to instruct ; and to impress them with the importance of
being properly qualified, to discharge their duties and faithful in
their employment, as well as to give such directions for govern-
ing and teaching as might be useful to them.

The Author does not expect that all will correspond with him,
in the views he has taken of various subjects, nor, does he dare
to believe that all his directions are the best that could be given.
But, they are the best that he could give. And he does firmly
believe, that by attentively folio wing 'them, teachers will be able
to accomplish much more than has been usual, in training child-
ren and youth to habits of application, and in assisting them to
gain necessary knowledge.

The work is designed not only to be studied by those at
Academies, who are preparing for the employment of teaching,
but to be carried by the master into his school, and to be a di-
rectory in the performance of his daily labor.

The Author solicits the candid remarks of such as have had
extensive acquaintance with the business of teaching, and hopes
thereby to improve the character of the work in a subsequent
edition. He contemplates the work as an experiment, and as
he has had no track to guide him, and only his own judgment and


experience to depend on, he is solicitous for the result. Be that
what it may, he will have the pleasure of reflecting, that he had
a sincere desire to see the character of teachers improved, and a
more practical method of teaching adopted. If he has failed of
furnishing such a work as is needed, it is owing to want of ca-
pacity not to want of a desire to benefit the rising generation,
and through them, to be useful to his country.
Boston, August, 1829.


THE questions in italics are designed to call the attention of
those, who are qualifying themselves to become teachers, to a
practical application of the directions given in the body of the
work. They must of course form the answers according to
their own judgment. Answers to many of the questions will
be better given in the scholar's own words, than by committing
to memory the sentence or sentences, to which the question re-
fers. The questions are made very general, in order that they
may not be too much depended upon. The intelligent instruct*
er, who employs them will not be confined to them, but will ask
many others.

It may be useful for such as are employed in teaching, to have
occasional meetings, and question each other on a given portion
of the book. Those in the same town, may conveniently meet
for this purpose. By such meetings they will be able to make
each other acquainted with the results of their experience and
efforts, and mutually benefit each other.


IT is a high source of gratification to the Author to acknowledge the
kindness with which many teachers in every part of the United States and
Canada, have regarded this little Work, "the confidence in its usefulness,
, which he is justified in feeling, has been augmented by the decision of the
Legislature of New York, to furnish it to every district in that State, for
which purpose ten thousand copies have been required.

The work has been carefully revised, and a Lecture on the Com-
mencement of a School, added. Also, An Abstract of a Lecture on
the duties of School Committees and Superintendents, delivered before the
American Institute of Instructors, at Boston, August 1832, by the Hon.
WILLIAM B. CALHOUN. For this valuable article I am indebted to the
kindness of the Author. s. R. H.


Andover, August, 1833.




Indifference to the importance, character and usefulness

of common schools its origin and influence. L3


Obstacles to the usefulness of common schools. 20

Requisite qualifications of teachers. 31

Practical direction to teachers. 42

1. The importance of studying the art of teaching

means of information.

2. Responsibility of the teacher importance of realiz-

ing and understanding it.

Practical directions continued. 5 1

1. Importance of gaming the confidence of the school

means to be employed.

2. The instructor should be willing to spend all his time,

when it can be rendered beneficial to the school an
indolent teacher, a great evil.



Practical directions continued. 58

Government of a school.

1. Prerequisites in order to govern.

2. Manner of treating scholars uniformity in govern*

ment firmness s.

Practical directions continued* 68

Government, continued partiality regard to the future
as well as the present welfare of the scholars mode
of intercourse between teacher and scholars punish-
ments rewards.


Practical directions continued. 75

1. General management of a school,

2. Direction of studies.

Practical directions continued. 80

Mode of teaching manner of illustrating subjects*

1. Spelling.

2. Reading.

Practical directions continued. 9

Mode of teaching continued*

1. Arithmetic*

2. Geography.

3. English Grammar.

4. Writing.

5. History.



Practical directions continued. 102

Mode of teaching continued.

1. Composition.

2. General subjects, not particularly studied.

3. Importance of improving 1 opportunities when deep im-

pressions are made on the minds of the school.


Practical directions continued. 110

Means of exciting the attention of scholars*-

1. Such as are to be avoided.

2. Such as are safely used.


On the importance of establishing a Lyceum among the
members of a school.

On the location and construction of school houses. 127

Manner of commencing a school or first day's work. 138



I am induced by various considerations to address to
you the following course of Lectures. You expect soon
to assume the responsibilities, and care of the schools in
which your services may be needed. It is, therefore,
highly important, that a portion of your time now should
be devoted to the subject, which is about to occupy your
whole, attention. Indeed, all the progress you may be
able to make in science will not be a sufficient prepara-
tion for the work before you. Without some knowledge
of the nature of your business, bow can you be qualified
to engage in it 1 Without having made the ' science of
teaching' a study, how can you be better prepared for
success in it, than the physician or lawyer are without
appropriate study ? It is true, that many have engaged
in teaching school, without having gained any knowledge
of the nature of their work, except what they had acquir-
ed in the schools, which they attended while children.
But if others have pursued a course inconsistent and
unreasonable, this is no reason why you should follow
their example, and thus render your labours useless or
even injurious, to the children placed under your care.
A moment's attention to the subject, is, it would seem to
me, sufficient to show you that no one ought to assume
the office of a teacher, without having endeavored first
to obtain some correct views of its duties, of the obsta-
cles in his way the manner in which they may be over-
come the labour he is to perform and the most probable
means of benefiting, in the highest degree, his youthful

I engage in the labor before me, with interest, as in-
volving that which is highly necessary to you, and im-
portant to the community through which you will shortly
be dispersed.

14 uErn/REs TO

}}( f<,iY ;>ro. c eiiing to tre subject more particularly
lHore u>. it \\ili be aQge^atyJfor me to call your atten-
tion to some circumstances, in the existing state of our
schools, which have an important bearing on their char-
acter and success.

There is generally no want of conviction, that educa-
tion is important. Very few are found, even among the
ignorant, who are slow to acknowledge, that learning is
necessary both to enjoyment and usefulness. Among
the well educated, no remark is more frequently heard,
than that a good education is necessary for every citizen,
in a land of civil arid religious freedom. But it is equal-
ly obvious to rue, that while the importance of education
is generally acknowledged, the immense value of common
schools is not realized. When it is recollected, that from
these minor fountains of knowledge, and from these on-
ly, the great mass of the community receive all their
instruction, the marked indifference to their character
and usefulness which so often appears, is truly astonish-
ing. ' Most of bur legislators, our judges and governors
have commenced their preparation for the high stations
they have filled in society, by drinking at these simple
springs of knowledge. We see the magic influence of
our schools in the habits, industry, sobriety and order
which prevail in the community ; in the cheerful obe-
dience yielded to the laws, and in the acts of charity and
benevolence, which are every day multiplied around us.
Rarely have we seen a native of our state, paying his
life to her violated laws,'* if his early years were spent
in her schools. These are facts known and generally
acknowledged. But still, with many, there is a criminal
indifference to the character and usefulness of common

This is not an indifference which the stranger would
so readily discern ; for much is said in public bodies of
their importance, and much interest is felt by learned
men in the cause of popular education. But still, there
i a degree of indifference not hard to detect, exhibited
in various ways one of which is, inattention to school

* Burnsidc's Address, at Worcester, Massachusetts.


meetings, at which arrangements are made for the schools
of the year. When such a meeting is notified, but very
few attend. From one tenth to one half of the voters
may be present. Almost any article of business is suffi-
cient to prevent a voter from attending. When the
meeting is organized, some arrangements are made in
relation to the board of the teacher and fuel for the
school ; and a committee is appointed to provide a mas-
ter. This committee is often directed by a vote, not to
employ an instructer above a certain price, which is fre-
quently very inadequate as a compensation to a teacher
of real value. The instructer is engaged with a refer-
ence to cheapness, or he is selected on account of rela-
tionship, or something equally unconnected with his
character for morality, learning or ability to teach. The
school commences, and parents seem to feel quite satis-
fied without further effort, or even inquiry, unless it be
to know whether their children are severely punished.
The business of the shop or the farm, claims as usual,
the chief attention ; and the question, whether their
children are making all the progress they ought, is very
seldom asked. Little is known of the character of the
school, beyond the report of the children themselves, or
perhaps the remarks of the visiting committee.

I am happy to say that there are many exceptions to
the above remarks ; but I am constrained to believe,
from actual observation, in the Eastern and some of the
Middle States, that the exceptions are not sufficient to
make this picture fake. Whole towns may be found
where an interest has been excited on the subject of
schools, commensurate with their importance. I am
happy to believe that this is true of the city of Boston.
Some others have set a good example. But these are
not a majority ; alas, only a small minority.

The indifference complained of, and which is so per-
ceptible after all that legislatures have done, is yet great ;
and requires only to be mentioned, to be condemned by
the reflecting and judicious. It may have its origin in
habit, in ignorance, or in want of reflection.

2. A part of this indifference is owing to habit. The
parent who never visits the school which his children


attend, will perhaps hardly give as a reason, that he
never saw his father within the walls of a school room,
though it is very possible that this may be a chief cause.
If interrogated on the subject, he will probably say he
wants time, or does not feel competent to judge of the
character of the school, &c. The fact, however, may
be, that he has, from his very youth formed a habit of
considering the school a subject of far less consequence
than it is. He has imperceptibly imbibed the sentiments
of his own parents, and as they appeared but little inter-
ested in the character of the schools which they main-
tained, so the habit has come down to him. It may also
have been induced from others. We are strongly inclin-
ed to go with the multitude whether right or wrong.
When the greater part of parents are indifferent to the
character of the school, this feeling is very naturally
extended to those who at first might have felt some so-
licitude on the subject. Thus habits of indifference have
extended from family to family, from neighborhood to
neighborhood and from district to district. The, effect
becomes permanent, and year after year increases or
continues it.

But other circumstances have an influence in produc-
ing this criminal indifference. It is very apparent that
the value of primary schools is not duly considered. A
large proportion of parents very seldem sit down to re-
flect on the influence, which their own actions will have
on the general happiness of the country, or that to be
exerted by themselves on the character, usefulness and
enjoyment of their children. Few realize as they ought,
that their indifference to these subjects is a sin ara'msi
their country's welfare, their own, and that of their i
ilies. They see not the connection between the insrihs-
tions in which the character of their children is moulded,
and the future welfare of their offspring. There an-
men, who would consider themselves deeply insulted, if
accused of wanting patriotism ; men, who at the !
eiirroachment of a foreign foe, would seize the sword
and ' shoulder to shoulder* rush impetuously on the
sailant, men, who would not turn away from the field
of battle, while they hud blood to shed arid an enemy to


face, but who still are suffering an enemy to make fear-
ful inroads on the happiness and safety of the republic ;
an enemy more dangerous than a Cataline, a Burr, or a
Bonaparte. Inattention to the means of extending
knowledge through the land, is undermining the beauti-
ful pillars of our republican government. But we have
reason to believe numbers never think of this. Reflec-
tion is wanting ; hence they do not discover the effect,
which their indifference to these subjects may produce
on the welfare of the country. It should be known by all,
that the best institutions of our country can be perpet-
uated no longer than intelligence arid virtue continue
among the common people. We may as well expect
liberty in Turkey, as in these United States, when the
common people cease to be enlightened. We may as
well expect virtue in a band of robbers, as among our
citizens, when the common people are vicious.

If, 4 to send an uneducated child into the world is like
turning a mad dog into the street,'* all are under obli-
gation to regard with high interest, those institutions
which furnish the means of mental culture to the great
mass of the people. That parent, who is indifferent to
the intellectual aliment of his children, is certainly as
guilty, as he, who, through an unnatural indifference,
should suffer his offspring to feed on poisonous food, or
should disregard the" calls of nature, and make no pro-
vision for them in meat and drink. He disregards his
own happiness as well as that of his children. What
comfort can he expect to take in them in age, if he ne-
glect to lay the foundation of their usefulness while they
are under his control ? Parents can rationally expect
but little from children of riper years, if they have ne-
glected to furnish them when young, with such knowledge
as would direct them in the path of virtue and filial duty.
I see no object more revolting to me, than an undutiful
and unkind son. I see no distress more acute, than that
of a parent, whose child is brought into shame and dis-
grace. Parents who are indifferent to the character of
the schools which their children attend, do not reflect

* Parkhurst'g Moral Philosophy,



Ikow severe the consequences may be to their own hap-
piness. How pungent have been the feelings of a lather
or mother, when attending the trial of a son, indicted
for some high crime, who after conviction, has upbraided
them as the cause of his ruin, by having been negligent
of his education !

It is unquestionably the duty of every one, to promote
as far as may be the happiness of those around him.
But those who disregard the character and usefulness of
primary schools, are neglecting to secure the happh;
of the neighborhood. Slander is often owing to the
want of mental culture, and hardly tiny thing produces
greater misery, where it extensively prevails. Insubor-
dination and a disregard to every law and to the neces-
sary regulations of society, is always the result of ignor-
ance and vice. By these, the peace of society is disturb-
ed and its quiet broken up. The effect is not less
unfavourable to domestic peace for he who enters the
family state uncultivated, ungoverned, and unqualified
for its duties, will make others unhappy as well as him-

Want of reflection on these subjects, certainly occa-
sions some, but not all, of the indifference exhibited with
regard to schools. A want of natural affection has its
share of influence. There are parents, so greedy of
gain, that this becomes the all absorbing object, and when
the child is found to afford the least aid in accomplishing
this object, to this sendee he is dedicated, and very little
time is allowed for any other purpose. In such a man's
estimation, to clothe and feed his children seems to be
the whole of the parent's duty, and when that duty is
performed, he rests contented, as to them ; but seems to
consider it a duty to himself to obtain as much benefit as
is possible- from their earnings before manhood. I am
happy to believe that the remarks here made are not
applicable in their full extent, to a majority of parents.
But I am forced to believe, that with many, there is ;i
\vant of proper love to their children, which shows n
by the entire unwillingness manifested to give the time,
furnish the books, or provide the instruction needed.
Can that parent be said to /arc his child who seerns


to have little thought about his future character or use-
fulness ?

Many, it is to be feared, have no proper sense of the
moral obligation resting upon them, in relation to teach-
ing their children those things which are most important
for them to know. If we are to judge from the conduct
of many, we shall be led to conclude they have never
seen that requisition in the word of God, ' Train up a
child in the way he should go ;' and that the apostolic
injunction, 'Bring up your children in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord,' has never fallen upon their

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Online LibraryS. R. (Samuel Read) HallLectures to school-masters, on teaching → online text (page 1 of 14)