William F. (William Franklin) Phelps.

The teacher's hand-book, for the institute and the class room online

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'As to nature ■] '

The Noun, -j Classes ^ As to use -j ^'

As to .meaning and form.
f Define.


[ Classes <^ "•



The next lesson might be to iill in the outline as far
as " properties," and be prepared with definitions and
illustrations so far. There are many subjects that will
need special instruction on the part of the teacher, while
there are others that the pupil can, by careful study
prepare entirely by himself. Of the first class may be
mentioned the Properties of the Noun, Pronoun, and
Verb; the Relative Pronoun; Comparison of Adjectives
and Adverbs ; Participles and Infinitives ; Abridged
Propositions, &c. It seems to me better that the rules
for construction should follow each part of speech as
soon as it is considered, although they are not so placed
in all Grammars. As soon as a part of speech has been
thoroughly studied, before passing to the next, fix that
one firmly in the mind by requiring sentences containing
it to be analyzed, and the words, so far as they have been
learned, parsed.



I. Introduction, language lessons. II. Elementary Grammar,
the course outlined. III. Advanced Grammar, the course out-
lined. Notes. Time of introducing lessons ; use of words, &c. ;
object of language lessons ; syllabus of language lessons ; sentences
considered ; parts of tlie sentence ; kinds of sentences ; uses of
capital letters ; of punctuation marks ; outline of course in com-
position ; methods for language lessons presented.



I. The sentence and its classes. II. Parts of speech; their
uses and definitions. Notes on language lessons.

198 THE teacuek's uand-book.



I. Methods proposed ; classification of sentences as to proposi-
tions ; practical suggestions.



Detailed outline of the course. (1) Orthography; (2) Ety-
mology and syntax of words ; (3) Syntax of sentences and their
elements ; notes on this syllabus ; methods presented.



1. General Remarks. — "Give us something
practical," says the teacher of the period. The days of
mere theorizing in education seem to be passing away.
The leading desire of true educators everywhere, is to
learn how to do their work wisely and well. Hence our
professional organs are largely engaged in the discussion
of methods and, incidentally, of the princiiyles which
underlie them. This is well. There is no doubt that,
under the impulse of this agitation of modes and princi-
ples, the average skill of the great mass of teachers will
be increased, and that better results will be achieved in
the domain of intellectual culture. This will be an im-
portant point gained. For one step, and perhaps the
first toward the elevation of man, is to improve him

foematiojS" of character. 199

2. Practical Education. — But there is a practi-
cal education, and there are practical methods for the
school-room that do not pertain exclusively to Reading
and Grammar, Arithmetic and Geography, the Calculus
or the Anabasis. There is a species of traimng that, in
importance and utility, surpasses them all, because it
undertakes to deal with the character, and hence it has
more to do with true success in life than has the power
of computation or expression. That training relates to
the formation of right habits and the development of a
virtuous and noble character.

3. Thought and action — Knowing and
doing. — This is a work more comprehensive in its scope
and influence than mere intellectual instruction and,
indeed, than any other teaching whatsoever. It lays
hold of the whole being, physical, intellectual, social
and moral. It s^ipplements the hnoxoing with doing. It
attends to the repetition of good thoughts, feelings and
actions until as a consequence of such repetition that
which at first perhaps, was difficult or irksome, becomes
easy and agreeable. It is one thing to hnow^ and still
another thing habitually to do the right. There are
thousands, both in the school of childhood and the far
greater school of active life, who know their duty but do
it not. This fact is indisputable. All will admit it,
and yet too many of us actually close our eyes to the
impressive lesson that it ought to convey.

4. A Grave Defect. — It reveals the gravest
defect in our system of teaching that can possibly force
itself upon our attention. To teach the youth of our
land to knoro, and still not lead them a step farther to
the practice of that which is just and true, is to increase
their capacity for evil, while it does not necessarily
}nduce the corresj)onding action. Not to supj>iement at

200 THE teachee's HAND-EOOK.

every step the knowing with the doing, the thonght
witli the action, the knowledge with its practical appli-
cation, is as unwise in manners and morals as it would
be in a school of mines or engineering, a commercial
college, or a military academy. Of what avail would
be a system of military, tactics if taught from a book,
without the actual drill in movements ? How vain to
attempt a mastery of the science and practice of
accounts without the actual drill of the day-book, cash-
book, journal, and ledger? And yet this is too often
precisely the way in which we attemi^t the formation of
habits and the development of character in the school-
room, if indeed we attempt them at all. We are apt to
give line upon line, precept upon precept, theory upon
theory, without much, heed to the character of the
actions by which a knoioledge of duty ought ever to he
habitually folknoed.

5. An Uncultivated Field. — It is manifest
that here is a field that lies almost entirely tmculti-
vated before us. Ought we not to reflect that a human
being in this life, and indeed, in the great hereafter, will
be precisely that which his character makes him, no
more, no less ? Man is emphatically a creature of
habit. It is the chief end of education to form good
habits, to develop a perfect character. The character
of any individual may be said to be the sum total of.
his habits.

6. Habits defined. — But what are habits ? They
are thoughts, feelings, and actions repeated until they
become easy, pleasurable, perhaps unconscious. On the
theory that all our powers, physical, mental, and moral,
are conjointly, not equally, concerned in every act of
life, our actions must thus possess a three-fold quality.
There mivst be a moral element even in what might be


called a purely physical or mental act, if sucli were possi-
ble, in the sense that the act is either right or wrong,
useful or hurtful. And again, in every physical or moral
action there must, in the conscious mind, be a correlated
mental manifestation and an impulse of the will.

7. Influence of good actions. — If the truth of
these positions be conceded, it will be. admitted further,
that, not only may good actions spring from right intel-
lectual perceptions, but that such actions may by reci-
procity of influence, lead to noble thoughts and virtuous
resolves. No thinking person will probably deny the
reflex influence of outward actions upon the mental and
moral states. An act which at first is distasteful, if
often repeated, will soon become agreeable, and event-
ually ripen into a fixed habit, an element of character.
Whether the action be good or evil, the result will be a
corresponding habit. The law is invariable and the
consequence inevitable. Thus, it is by repetition that
actions ripen into habits ; habits become fixed and exer-
cise complete dominion over us. They determine the

8. A pertinent Question. — Now the simple
question is, Plow can these principles be applied in the
daily practice of the school-room ? What can we
actually accomplish ? What methods may be specifi-
cally employed to form desirable habits and thus assimi-
late the characters of our children and youth to that
standard wliich marks the perfect man ?

This subject should receive the most careful attention
at the Teachers' Institute and in those more permanent
agencies where teachers are prepared for their work. In
the subjoined sketch, an attempt is made to suggest a
few methods looking to a solution of the important
problem under consideration.


9. Habits that may be cultivated at school.

— Among the habits that fall within the scope of school
influences, and that may be cultivated through its
special appliances, the following are suggested :

Promptness and Regularity.


Order, System.


Respect for the persons, property, and rights of

Scrupulous Carefulness.

Neatness of person and surroundings.







Many others might be mentioned, but the foregoing
will suffice for the present purpose. It can not be neces-
sary for a moment, to dwell upon the importance of
these habits to the pupil or the school, to the citizen or
society; merely to make mention of them is to offer a
conclusive, argument for their necessity in every well-
regulated life and well ordered community. To neglect
their careful cultivation in that precious seed-time of life
which the school-going days represent, is almost a crime
against the peace, good order, and well-being of society,
to say nothing of the future success and happiness of the

Let us briefly consider the importance of some of
those habits.

Promptness and Regularity. — This is one of the-
cardinal virtues. So valuable is it as an element of


character that it has been declared, on high authority, to
be the foundation of all other virtues. Its opposite may
with equal truth, be said to be the parent of innumerable
evils aiid vices. The child that is not carefully and
persistently trained always to be at the right place,
ready to perform the right duty at the right time, must
almost inevitably become the man who is always too
late — too late at church, too late at the jDublic meeting,
too late in his business engagements, too late to com- •
raand the confidence or respect of his fellow citizens, too
late to win success in the worthy and noble pursuits of
an honorable and upright life.

Obedience. — A disobedient boy is the " logical ante-
cedent " of a lawless man. An undisciplined, disorderly
school is the natural precursor of a law-defying mob.
To obey promptly and willingly, is the first lesson in the
school of preparation for a position of command — even
of self-command. Disobedience and self-government, as
applied to the same individual or community, are con-
tradictory terms. Plence, the most dangerous foe of a
free people is a system of schools devoid of the whole-
some restraints of a well-ordered and efficient discipline.

Order, System. — " Order is heaven's first law." Its
cultivation, therefore, is man's first duty. Confusion and
disorder in the management of affairs, ought to be
regarded as but little less than criminal, since they lead
to disaster, disgrace, crime, and misery. This habit, like
many others of the better class, is rarely acquired spon-
taneously, or without special incentives. There seems
to be in most persons a positive disinclination to a sys-
tematic method of doing things. Some seem able to
acquire it only through long and patient practice.
These facts render it the more nece'ssary that special
efforts should be put forth to counteract the tendency

204 THE teacher's hand-book.

to disorder in the individual, and hence in the com-

Self-respect. — Where self-respect is lost, all is lost.
In its absence there is little room for honor, virtue, or
manliness. This is the hopeless stage in a career of deg-
radation, ^elf-respect is the foundation of most of the
personal virtues. It is a powerful defense against the
inroads of vice, and its assiduous cultivation is a duty
of the highest importance.

Mespect for the persons^ rights, and property of others.
— This means good manners, a courteous bearing in per-
sonal and official intercourse. It implies a deep sense of
justice and its faithful exercise at all times. So impor-
tant are good manners that in many respects they do,
in truth, make the man. Nothing can fully compen-
sate for their absence. They are indispensable to com-
plete success in life. There is no adequate excuse for a
neglect to employ appropriate and efficient means to hab-
ituate our children amd youth at school to the constant
practice of good manners..

Scriqyulous Carefulness / — in the use of property
whether our own or belonging to others ; in the use of
language, that it be concise and accurate ; in the exer-
cise of our powers of thought and emotion, that we
Miink no evil, and do no wrong. The opposite char-
icteristic is recklessness, or, to use a milder terra, heed-
lessness, either of which is criminal, and in its greater
manifestations at least, should be so treated in law and
in fact. More property is wasted by carelessness than
is saved by prudence. More valuable human lives are
sacrificed fi'om this cause than from malice afore-

JS^eatness of person and surroundings. — Cleanliness
has been affirmed to be closely allied to godliness.


How can it be possible for a i^urc heart and filthy habits
to co-exist in the same individual ? On the other hand,
who can deny that neatness of person and surroundings
must in the nature of things tend directly to pure
thoughts and a guileless heart?

It is not necessary to speak further of the value of
these good habits. That may be safely taken for
granted. The great question is how most effectually to
cultivate them by any motives and appliances within the
ordinary scope of the school influence.

10. The foregoing syllabus not intended to
be exhaustive — merely illustrative. — The habits
referred to in the preceding discussion constitute but a
small proportion of the number that it is possible, by
the direct and skillful employment of the means at
school, to instill into the daily life of our children. The
list is merely illustrative, not exhaustive. Indeed it
should be regarded as one of the chief functions of the
school^ so to direct its enginery of motives and methods
as to make of each child "a bundle of good habits,"
physical, mental, social, moral. The teacher who has
failed to learn this important lesson, is scarcely prepared
to enter the vestibule of his high vocation. The course
of studies, so called, ought to be regarded only as one of
the means to this noble end, and not as an end unto
itself To supplement the knowing with the doing, the
conception with the execution, until good deeds with
their antecedent motives ripen into the golden fruits of
fixed habits and a symmetrical character, — this, and this
alone, best meets the demands of a complete and gen-
erous education.

206 THE teachek's hand-book.



11. Methods suggested. — But how may tliese
things be done ? A few methods will now be suggested.
The intelligence and ingenuity of the conscientious
teachei' will, however, readily devise others suited to his
peculiar circumstances. This department of school duty
should be made the subject of special study and preiyara-
tion. When this is done regularly and earnestly, there
will be no lack of ways and means in the hands of
teachers that have a heart for their business. Occasions
will multiply and methods will spontaneously appear.

Promptness and JRegularity. — These habits are to be
cultivated in connection with School Attendance ; Class
Movements ; the Preparation of Lessons ; Class Exer-
cises; Regular hours of Study and Recreation ; and the
general movements and exercises of the school as a
whole ; such as. Gymnastics, Music, Recesses, and Dis-

School Attendance. — To be at school every day at
the appointed hour is the duty of every child belonging
to it, when in health. This duty is to be enforced, by
appealing to the' noblest motives that can influence
human conduct : — to the sense of justice ; to a regard
for the rights of others ; to self-respect ; to a high sense
of honor ; and to a love of the approbation of the wise
and good.

To be late at school, or in the discharge of any of its
duties or to be absent without justifiable cause, is


unjust to one's self and unjust to others. This is easily
shown by the embarrassment and loss of time it imposes
both upon teacher and pupils. It can be shown by the
evil results to which it leads in future life. It can be
shown to be rank disobedience to rightful authority.
Disobedience of orders or a violation of regulations in
the military and naval service is regarded and treated
as a crime. It is really no less such in civil life. Diso-
bedience at home or at school is incipient crime. Its
logical result is disobedience to the laws of the State and
of God, the Righteous Ruler of all. Strive to make
your pupils feel and act upon this truth.

Habits of x:)romptness and regularity are to he 'en-
forced by subjecting delinquents to inconvenience, and to
just and wholesome penalties for each and every case of
failure. — Let the doors of the school house be closed
at the time of opening the school. Let an assistant or
one of the more trustworthy pupils be detailed as Offi-
cer of the Day ; let it be understood that this officer
will admit the tardy ones only at a particular entrance
if there be more than one ; let him detain them in the
entry or waiting room until the opening exercises of the
school are ended. Then let the delinquent squad be
subjected to the inspection of the principal teacher, and
to such admonition or j^enalties as he may deem it best
to administer. If the admonition be given in presence
of the school, the pride and self-respect of the offenders
will be touched, and they may be induced to turn from
the error of their ways. It is sometimes customary to
recompense tardy pupils in hind ; that is, to detain
them at the close of school for a sufficient time to exact
an adequate recompense. There is no injustice in this,
and if the plan be wisely and rigorously carried out, it

208 THE teacher's hand-book.

may have a happy influence in abating a great evil and
forpung a desirable habit. '

Promptness and regularity may be greatly encour-
aged hy commending those loho practice them. — Speak
oftpa and highly of the virtue. Cite such illustrious
ex-^mples as Washington, who waited for no man beyond
the appointed hour. Extol it as one of the noblest
attributes of true manhood and womanhood. Above all,
faithfully exemplify it in your own life and conduct.

In class movements. — Let your classes be moved in all
cases by gentle signals addressed either to the sight or
hearing. The signals should be quiet, though quick, and
your pupils should be trained to obey them with all the
precision of a military drill. Among the higher grades
of a school there may be an officer for each class. He
should be selected on account of his general good con-
duct and his fitness to command. When the time of a
recitation has closed, the exercises should stop at once.
The class officer, being charged with the duty of keeping
the time, should, at its expiration, instantly arise, com-
mand the class to stand and pass, wiien each mem-
ber, in perfect order, passes to his regular seat. Too
much stress can not be placed upon these prompt and
orderly movemeyits. They influence the whole charac-
ter ; and since habits are gregarious, they generate
orderly j^ractices in other directions.

The p)reparation of lessons in study hours. — Let your
programme define the study hours of each class, and the
particular branches that are to be attended to during the
given time. This leaves your pupils with no idle mo-
ments. It provides useful work for every portion of the
day. It thus conduces to prompttiess and regularity as
well as to thorough preparation. The fidl employment
of the time shoidd he insisted upon.


In all class exercises. — Here the teacher must be the
inspirer and motive power. He must be master of the
subject and of the occasion. He must have a 2)lctn of
conducting the recitations so icell defined that it is patent
to every observer. His own part must be performed
with promptitude and precision, and he will then be in a
position to compel corresponding action among his
pupils. Let him ever remember that whatever course
secures ihe, practice of right habits, confirms and makes
them eleinents of character.

In the general movements and exercises of the school. —
Allow no confusion under any circumstances. Let your
school be so thoroughly and wisely organized that you
can move at will the whole or any part of it with celerity
and precision. Let your classes be formed as companies,
with an officer for each. Give special instructions to
the officers, and drill them when necessary. When a
general movement is to be made, let it be done by com-
panies, at the word of command, or by signal, according
to circumstances. Occasionally, say once a week, drill
your classes to redly rapidly by companies to previously
assigned positions, at a moment's warning. Precision,
promptness, and regularity come by practice. They do
not appear spontaneously^ nor are they acquired by spas-
modic and inefficient efibrts. Such drills develop true
executive power. The teacher needs this. Everybody
needs it, everywhere. Therefore it should, like the other
powers, be developed at school. Every school, particu-
larly every large school, should be organized and con-
ducted on a systematic, or modified military plan. If
masses, either of children or adults, are to- be handled with
facility, and moved rapidly and safely, there is but one
general plan, and that is the systematic, or, if you please,
the military plan. This system implies neither unkind

210 THE teacher's HAND-BOOK.

ness nor severity. On the contrary, it is i:>erfectly com-
patible with mutual kindness and respect between teacher
and pupils, and it conduces to both. The best system is
capable of mismanagement and abuse. But no system,
or a half-icay system, is an abifse in itself. That disci-
pline which does not seciire precision and pi'omptness is
a misnomer. It is worthless, because it is slipshod and
demoralizing. In no country is strict discipline at school
more needful than in our own ; for nowhere is the lesson
of exact and willing obedience more important than in a
country whose watchword is Liberty under Law.
System in all tilings is to be cultivated by the methods
already suggested. The well-ordered school will impress
the lesson 2iYidi enforce l\ie practice oi order at every step.
Orderly movements, whether of individuals, classes, or
masses ; orderly studies systematically pursued ; orderly
recitations and exercises of every kind, will necessarily
develop orderly habits in all who are subjected to their
influence. Here, also, tJte consistent example of the teacher
is of the greatest importance. He should never neutral-
ize his precepts by the influence of a false example.

Neatness of person and surroundings. — It can scarcely
be necessary to occupy much space in the detail of plans
for encouraging and enforcing habits of neatness. They
must be too obvious to require a formal statement.
Nothing can be more inexcusable or out of place thaji
filthiness in the school-room or among its occupants. It
costs nothing to be neat, if we except the price of a little
labor and patience. Begin, then, by exemplifying neat-
ness of person, and follow it up by enforcing it, if need
be, upon your pupils. Provide the necessary aids to
this work, or see that they are provided. Require the
free iise of clean water, clean towels, clean drinking
utensils. Keep the school-room, the furniture, and grounds


clean at all hazards. Is it necessary to suggest how this
may be done ? The teacher who has not yet learned the
ways and means to neatness has not completed his
pre^xaration for his duties, and should be sent to a good
laundry, thence to a bath-house, and thence to take les-
sons of a tidy housekeej^er ! If your pupils come to
school with dirty hands and faces, send them home with

Online LibraryWilliam F. (William Franklin) PhelpsThe teacher's hand-book, for the institute and the class room → online text (page 14 of 30)