« PreviousContinue »
WRITING (STANDARD II.).
The teacher of Standard II. should refer to the instructions and requirements in Writing in Standard I. So far as spelling is concerned, this has already been dealt with; and it is principally in the dictation that the writing will be judged.
The writing on slates in this Standard will be now diminished in size to round hand, and the slates and exercise paper should be ruled to this pattern. Paper writing will be more and more practised towards the close of the school year; and, if the class be well taught, the writing will now be legible, and have some marks of beauty of form in it. Very frequently the handwriting in this and the succeeding Standard is quite ruined by too much dictation, or transcription on slates. The dictation exercise should be limited to its proper function—that of testing, not teaching, spelling.
One point to be carefully noted was suggested by Locke, two hundred years ago, in his work, “Some Thoughts concerning Education,” in which he says :
Every one comes by degrees to write a less hand than he at first was taught, but never a bigger.”
If the writing be well taught, it will immensely aid in the discipline of the school, and in the Order, since it
implies the perfection of detail, persistent uniformity, and good writing drill.
Sometimes exercise-books are more used in a school than copy-books; but in this stage it is better to trust to copybooks chiefly, and to leave dictation exercises on paper for more occasional use. The advantage of using exercisebooks rather than copy-books is that the Head Master's style of writing becomes uniform throughout the school, being adopted by Pupil Teachers and scholars alike. But this implies that the Head Teacher ought to be an exceptionally good writer.
The copy-books and exercise-books should be carefully corrected in pencil by the young teacher during or at the end of the writing lesson. They should also be periodically sent in to the Head Teacher for examination. If both these are not done, the copy-books bring discredit instead of credit to the class and school.
The single maxim most to be inculcated in teaching is, " A little and well.” It is, of course, easy enough for almost any one with a true eye to point out individual mistakes in writing. But teaching writing means correcting on the blackboard the mistakes of one individual as to deter the class from making the same.
REQUIREMENTS IN A WRITING LESSON (STANDARD II.).
(1) A blackboard, so placed that the writing on it may be seen by all in the class.
(2) The subject must be taught, not merely examined; the proper formations of the letters, the joining of these together, the proper use of stops, the correction of common and individual errors must be attended to.
(3) The writing must be slowly done, that all alike be doing the same thing at the same time. If some are
allowed to hurry through their work, they will not merely lose time waiting for others, and have bad writing, but the discipline will inevitably suffer from the "idle hands" for which Satan still finds some mischief to do.
(4) The writing by the teacher on the blackboard must be good; nothing short of perfection should be aimed at though it may never be reached.
(5) Every lesson should begin with Writing Drill.
(6) The copy on the blackboard should not be written by the teacher silently or all at once, but should be accompanied with instructions and remarks, showing how and why it is done, and how it is to be initated.
(7) The children should all write with two fingers on the pen. This is often inculcated by the teacher, but no school rule is so often transgressed without correction. (8) Too
many instructions should not be crowded into a single writing lesson. “Not only children, but anybody else that would do anything well, should never
(a) Be put upon too much of it at once;
action at the same time, if they can possibly be
If the class writes ill, the reason is often because
(1) The assistant has not paid careful attention to the instructions of the Head Teacher, or
(2) She has not perseveringly corrected the exercises. The children then write so much that they write badly; what is ill-written is only perfunctorily corrected, and so the child pays no attention to the correction. The order has been given, “Go on writing ;” and the child goes “ on,” but not “forward.” Laziness on the part of the teacher has become stereotyped in untidiness, raggedness, looseness, on the part of the class.
1. If the hard words are printed at the top of the lesson, let these be silently learned by the class previous to the reading and dictation.
2. If these are not thus selected, let each child pick out and write from the reading matter a given number of words which each child thinks are the hardest.
3. Let books be put away, and let the class write at the teacher's dictation a few of the hardest words selected by her, and a passage for dictation. 4. The passage
should be first read once by the teacher, slowly and clearly, but not in a forced or mincing manner. The passage should then be broken up for dictation into natural clauses. Repetition should be avoided, as it encourages inattention. For the same reason, no erasuress should be allowed; mistakes should be corrected by rewriting above the misspelt words.
5. In correction, mark the mistakes; and when all slates have been marked, correct the mistakes on the blackboard.
6. Let these corrections be written out six times by those who have made the mistakes.
7. As an alternative exercise the class may correct its own mistakes from the books.
For Notes of Lesson on Teaching Writing, Standard II., see Standard I. The writing should, however, now consist of short sentences as well as single words.
PRACTICAL HINTS BY H.M.'s INSPECTORS IN REPORTS ON
WRITING (STANDARD II.). “I have seldom found the writing in a school good unless the children had been habituated from the beginning to write within lines on their slates."-MR. WILLIAMS.
“The absurd and gross mistakes often met with in writing arise from the foolish manner in which many teachers dictate the
passage to their class. They pronounce the words syllabically, and they sound to the ears of the children quite different from any language they ever heard in common life, and so when they have to write the word, pronounced to them in the ordinary way, they are all at sea, and oftentimes write utter rubbish, and invent words unknown in any ancient and modern tongue.”—MR. TREGARTHEN.
“I would urge upon teachers to promote drawing where practicable; drawing greatly assists writing. I very seldom find a boy writes badly who is a good draughtsman." MR. GREAM.