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SOUTH PACIFIC MANGAIA. In acknowledgment of a grant of books and school materials for the schools in this distant island, a correspondent adds a statement respecting the state of elementary instruction there; from which we extract a passage:
“We possess, in the native language, a small treatise on arithmetic, another on geography, and, very recently, a grammar- the first ever attempted for this dialect, -- from the pen of our excellent and indefatigable friend the Rev. A. Buzacott, of Rarotonga. These, with some elementary books, intended for those who are learning to read, constitute our present stock of materials for secular instruction.
"To give a notion of the revolution of ideas produced by the instructions they have received, I may mention the geographical belief entertained by these people until the venerated Williams brought the Gospel, and its attendant blessings, to these shores. A mountain in the centre of this island, named Rangemotia, was supposed to be likewise the central point of creation,' and of the few surrounding islands (which obscure tradition affirmed to exist somewhere in the great ocean) Mangaia was by far the largest' and 'most important.' Now this large and 'important island is only twenty-five or thirty miles in circumference !"
METHODS OF TEACHING. INQUIRIES respecting the order in which our thoughts are evolved can never be wholly uninteresting to those engaged in training the young, inasmuch as, if they do not suggest methods, they may at least direct the way to principles which may prove of practical value in the business of education.
The difference between art and science, between practice and theory, runs through every department of human thought. Every physical fact can be referred to some more general fact; every rule of mathematics is based upon an abstract truth ; every moral act, and even every event in history, illustrates some great ethical law, some eternal principle of right and wrong. There is no scientific theory, however recon. dite and abstruse, which does not carry within it the germ of some useful rule of action; and on the other hand there is no practical duty, or rule of art, or moral precept, that may not be referred to some fundamental principle which accounts for it, or justifies it, or gives it force.
"The object of science is knowledge: the object of art is work. In art, know. ledge is the means to an end ; in science, it is the end itself.” This is the substance of the distinction laid down by Whewell in his “ Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences;" and it is undoubtedly applicable to that large number of human employments wbich we are accustomed to classify as arts and sciences. But the distinction goes far deeper than this: the humblest matter that is learnt in an elementary school has its twofold aspect-an artistic and a scientific one. There are theories of elocution as well as an art of reading; there are laws of language as well as an art of speaking. The science of numbers gives rules for counting ; the practice of mensuration is founded on the investigations of pure geometry. There is an art of reasoning, and a science of reasoning, each having its own peculiar province. However we may obscure this distinction by the use of ambiguous terns, however loosely we may apply such words as grammar, logic, natural philosophy, and
arithmetic—at one time using them to mean an inquiry into principles, and at another to describe a collection of facts or processes—the distinction itself lies very deep, and is a most important one. Every branch of knowledge is correlative with some other branch. Pure truth is one thing; the practical application of it is another ; but wherever the one exists, the other exists also. Thus all our knowledge and experience, when it becomes systematic, will arrange itself into pairs ; the theoretical and the practical element being entirely distinct, yet necessary to one another.
When this fact becomes clearly understood, a question of great interest suggests itself to the mind. What are the relative values of the two classes of acquirement which are thus distinguished ? For example, who is the wiser man-he who just knows the structure and action of a pump, or he who only has learnt those laws of equilibrium of fluids and of atmospheric pressure which the pump illustrates ? Is it better to be able to demonstrate a theorem in Euclid, and to know nothing of its application to land-surveying, or to be ready to measure a field with accuracy, and yet to be unacquainted with the scientific basis of the rule which is employed ? In other words, which is the more valuable acquisition-an abstract truth, or a practical rule? The answer to such inquiries is not at once obvious. Thus much may at least be said, that it is a one-sided and imperfectly developed mind which has been exclusively directed to either of these aspects of knowledge. True wisdom lies in the synthesis of these two ; and while it is a good thing to know the causes of a natural phenomenon, and a good thing also to understand the manifestations and uses of that phenomenon, it is a still better thing to perceive the mutual relations of both, and to trace the connexion between them. And so, while it is desirable that a child should speak correct English, and also very valuable to know something of the philosophy of grammar, the thing to be aimed at is to convey such a knowledge of principles as shall account for the rules, and such a knowledge of rules as shall be seen to follow necessarily from the principles.
Another very obvious inquiry relates to the order in which these two forms of thought are developed. Now it is manifest that experience and observation give us facts, while reason shows the laws which explain those facts. Yet, long before the facts were submitted to our observation, the great truths of nature existed; no one event ever happened in the physical or moral world which did not obey some preexistent law; and in the whole range of practical arts there is not one, from the art of speaking to the most elaborate handiwork, which is not founded upon a principle older and deeper than itself. Logically, theory is antecedent to practice, science to art, and the general laws of nature to all phenomena whatever. Yet, although this is undoubtedly true, the history of human experience reverses this arrangement. The actual order in which we attain to the perception of truths is not the same as the order in which those truths are logically related. There was a law of gravitation before a stone fell; but men must see stones fall before they find out the law of gravitation. Experiment and observation come before the exercise of reason. Men see things in the concrete ; long afterwards, and by slow degrees, they acquire the power to recognize the abstract. Speech is practised before grammar is known; land was mapped out and accurately measured before the properties of triangles were understood; sums were worked before arithmetical laws were investigated; and it was long after the world was well furnished with levers, and windmills, and looms, that philosophers began to lay down the doctrines of forces, or to generalise those doctrines into a system of mechanical science. If men were reasoners before they were observers, all science would be deductive—they would first learn general axioms, and thence infer the necessity of particular events; but inasmuch as the majority of mankind observe before they reason, and perform acts before they inquire into the meaning and philosophy of those acts, nearly all science is inductive or analytical.
For it need hardly be said here, that when we begin with an abstract or universal truth, and argue from it to its particular manifestations or consequences, the logical process is called a deductive one; but that when we begin by noticing events, and trace them back to their causes or first principles, the process is inductive. So deduction proceeds from general truths to particular, induction from particulars to generals. The former would appear to be the natural order of thought, whereas the latter is the path by which men have usually travelled in order to connect the one with the other. Hence the logical antecedent becomes historically the consequent, and vice versa. This distinction suggests to us that there are four sorts of teaching—the deductive, which gives general principles first, and results afterwards; the inductive, which gives facts first, and then explains them; the purely scientific, which teaches first principles, and neglects to consider their application; and the empirical, which teaches results only, and fails to connect them with theory at all.
The application of these remarks to the daily work of an elementary school is not so remote as might at first appear. Every good teacher wishes that when his pupils have something to do, they should also have a reason for doing it. He does not like to see duties done blindly because they are commanded, without imparting some knowledge at the same time of the great moral truths of which those duties are special illustrations. He desires to convey to his pupils not only rules of grammar, of computation, or of measurement, but also the principles on which the rules are based ; and he knows that the knowledge of common natural phenomena, without the scientific truths which explain those phenomena, is a very barren acquisition indeed. But still it needs serious consideration to determine which to teach first, when to insist most on the one, and when on the other. Shall he teach facts before or after principles ? Shall he cultivate memory and obedience before reasoning, or shall he encourage his pupils to demand an explanation before every lesson, and a reason for every act before they do it? These questions will force themselves upon the attention in connexion with every department of a teacher's employment; and as the answers to them will differ according to the nature of the subject, it will be best to discuss them seriatim in their relation to some of the more prominent ones.
Of Reading and Writing, which are simply imitative arts, it is unnecessary to say much. No one thinks of attempting to furnish much exercise for the reason in connexion with either of these. There are, indeed, theories on both subjects; and it is very possible to lay down an elaborate system of principles by which questions of inflexion and tone, and even the proportions and sizes of capital letters, may all be referred to fixed laws. But the fact is, that these subjects are taught as arts, and have no value as theories; and the less a teacher encumbers himself or his pupils with theory on either subject the better. The plainest empirical teaching is here the best. Keep good models before children; set them to imitate them ; watch carefully every deviation from the required standard ; give each individual as much practice as possible; do not let them discuss the reason either for reading or writing in a particular way, but let them do it.
And in like manner, although there are reasons, and very good ones, to be given for most of the eccentricities and anomalies of English Spelling; and although it is very possible to classify the whole of our vocabulary so as to show the special powers and attributes of each letter ; yet as no knowledge of these things, however interesting, can really facilitate the right spelling of words, they are needless impediments to the learner. All that is necessary for him to acquire is the power to detect at a glance a mis-spelt word, and to familiarise his eye with correct orthography; and he will do this better by constant practice in writing, and by frequent oral spelling, than by any phonetic or other contrivances for explaining the powers of letters, or by any vain attempt to reduce English orthography to scientific rules.
Perhaps, among the remaining subjects of a school curriculum, Geography is that which will best justify an almost exclusive adoption of the empirical method. The fuets of geography have a seattered and disjointed look; they are not easily generalised, and yet they are in themselves so important that the best thing a teacher can do is to convey those facts into the memory of his pupils in the most interesting way he can devise—to associate them when possible with historical events, and occasionally to employ the inductive process wherever a number of facts can be referred to some physical law. But the amount of exercise for the reasoning faculty in connexion with geography is necessarily small, and no teacher must feel disappointed if he fails to give a scientific character to this branch of his instruction.
To History, this remark does not apply to the full extent, although the two subjects present many obvious analogies; for a judicious use of the inductive method will 'not fail to bring out many moral truths of great value. In reading history with his pupils a teacher should never be satisfied to teach events only; the power of finding out from the narrative the great laws of the Divine moral government is one of great value, and should be constantly exercised. There is no reign in English history which does not furnish its illustration of a moral or religious truth; and, although great care needs to be taken by those who undertake to convey these lessons, it should never be forgotten that they are there, wrapped up and hidden, it may be, among complicated events, but still discoverable by careful induction, and very valuable when rightly understood. True, a large portion of historical teaching must always be empirical, but the opportunities it affords for exercising the judg. ment are yet far too numerous to be wisely overlooked.
Arithmetic and Grammar furnish the best materials for deductive or synthetical teaching which can be found in a school course. In both, but especially in the former, fixed laws or axioms are laid down, and all rules of practice may be inferred from them. It is in the art of making these inferences, and of connecting every part of the science with another part which is logically dependent upon it, that the true worth of these studies consists. There is a fine field for the exercise of the reasoning power in both of them; more exactness of statement is required in arithmetic, and more acuteness of judgment in grammar ; but neither can be taught to any purpose unless thought is in some way developed in the process. Empirical or didactic teaching here is the driest, the most repulsive, and the most unsatisfactory of performances, and yet it is the instruction with which many teachers satisfy themselves. In regard to both of these subjects the rules are of far less consequence than the habit of examining their principles, and both of them derive their chief importance from the fact that those principles admit of accurate statement and of scientific deduction, such as can be made intelligible to young children. It is not asserted that the deductive method can be rigidly followed ; sums must often be done, and rules of syntax committed to memory, before the principles of either can be demonstrated ; but it is possible in both cases to give scientific explanations side by side with practical rules, and thus to make from the union of the two a far more interesting and valuable study than either by itself would furnish. At any rate, neither subject is satisfactorily taught unless the learners acquire the power of deducing particular examples and processes from fundamental truths by regular logical inference.
The best opportunities for inductive teaching which an elementary school course affords, occur in connexion with Lessons on Familiar Things, Object Lessons, and Physical Science. There can be no doubt that all such instruction may take a scientific character, and that the processes of thought which may thus be put in action are most important. To give empirical teaching only, about machines, or natural objects, or physiology, is to do very little; and, at the same time, to lose admirable opportunities for stimulating reflection and promoting independent thought. It is possible to give a lesson about a clock, for example, in a parely empirical way, just showing how it is made, and nothing more; it is also possible to give such a lesson deductively, beginning with an explanation of its construction, and then showing the purposes which the mechanism serves. We have seen lessons given both ways, and have noticed the listlessness of the learners as their attention was directed to one complication after another, to which hard and unmeaning names were given. The inductive method, on the other hand, begins by describing the purposes a clock is meant to serve, and, having awakened the interest of the learners, proceeds to show how each of these objects is attained by the several parts of the clock. By a process like this thought cannot fail to be developed ; and the beautiful adaptation of means to ends, which is so conspicuous in simple machines of this kind, is far better understood if the end is first explained and the means afterwards, than if any other order of investigation be followed. And in the higher branches of mechanics and natural philosophy, the statement of the physical truth should nearly always follow, not precede, the examination of natural facts and experiments.
In regard to religious truth, the inductive method is that adopted by most writers on Natural Theology, by the authors of the Bridgewater Treatises, and many other writers, who proceed from an investigation of the works of God to the discovery of the Divine attributes; the deductive method, on the other hand, is that adopted by those religious teachers who would first teach the abstract truths relating to the Divine nature and government which are revealed to us in the Bible, and make them form the basis of all religious instruction. Without attempting to determine which of these methods is the right one, it will be sufficient to say that a good deal of the moral truth which can be conveyed in a school must be taught inductively; and that example and precept must both be employed before the reason of the one or the grounds of the other can be wisely stated. In regard to moral behaviour, it is not good to lead a child to expect a reason for every command, and much of the early discipline of a learner must necessarily take an imperative and empirical form. “You must do this because I tell you," must often be the language of a teacher. And however desirable it may be that a pupil should understand the reason for such requirements as he grows older, it destroys all teachableness and modesty, and renders impossible that confidence in his teacher which every child ought to feel, if he is taught to look for such reasons as a matter of course. The earliest moral teaching must necessarily be empirical ; induction of great moral truths from seriptural and other examples will very properly follow; but there can be no real and noble moral development, if the learner does not acquire the power to reflect on the right and wrong of his own acts, and to refer them all to scriptural principles. An examination of the precise application of these remarks to elementary religious instruction would, however, require much larger space than can be spared here, and must be deferred for the present.
«The main thing which we ought to teach our youth is to see something-all that the eyes which God has given them are capable of seeing. The sum of what we do teach them is to say something. As far as I have experience of instruction, no man ever dreams of teaching a boy to get to the root of a matter; to think it out; to get quit of passion and desire in the process of thinking, or to fear nu face of man in plainly asserting the ascertained result.
“The common plea that anything does to 'exercise the mind upon' is an utterly false one. The human soul, in youth, is not a machine of which you can polish the cogs with any kelp or brickdust near at hand; and having got it into working order, and good empty and oiled serviceableness, start your immortal locomotive, at twenty-five years old or thirty, express
from the Strait Gate, on the Narrow koad. The whole period of youth is one essentially of formation, edification, and instruction. I use the words with the weight in them, in-taking of stores, establishment in vital habits, hopes, and faiths. There is not an hour of it but is trembling with destinies,-not a moment of which once past, the appointed work can ever be done again, or the next blow struck on the cold iron. Take your vase of Venice glass out of the furnace, and strew chaff over it in its transparent heat, and recover that to its clearness and inbred glory when the north wind lias blown upon it; but do not think to strew chaff over the child fresh from God's presence, and to bring the heavenly colours back to hin- at least in this world."-ROSKIN'S Modern Painters.