Page images
PDF
EPUB

makes this foolish despair the subject of an appeal to God at an evening-prayer? And do not the question, “What was the result ?" and the answer, that a boy discovered the solution-do not these constitute a pietistical statement of a providential answer to prayer? The "honor of the institution, which seemed at stake," is rescued, it is true; but what honor ? So far as this story goes, I can see in de Laspé only a restless pedagogical zealot,* who urges his pupils to an unnatural mental over-exertion, by especial use of the spur of vanity; who makes fanatics of thein. No more monitory warning could be given of an over-excitement calculated to destroy all childlike character. Let the reader only transplant himself in imagination into the despairing, brooding, and study—the abominable fourteen days' restlessness and excitement—of these teachers and poor children, thus hunted to the death, as it were, by their own vanity.

All this seeking ended at last in the Eureka of a boy. But the efforts made by the teachers and pupils together show clearly how the inventive method ought never to be abused; or, rather, they show no particular method was used here at all. The teacher of a science or art ought to know, and be able to do, what his pupils are placed under his care to learn; how otherwise could he teach them ? No blind man is calculated to be a guide.

Diesterweg visited de Laspé in 1817, and accompanied him and his pupils in a pedestrian excursion to the Johannisberg in the Rheingau. In passing through that region, whose beauty, famous from ancient times, has attracted to it such a multitude of travelers, to view the mighty stream, its vineyards and peaceful towns, with the wooded mountain in the background, the reader will fancy how delighted teachers and scholars must have been. But he will deceive himself.

They had to take much more care not to get lost while they were at work upon some lessons that required their whole attention. Diesterweg relates in particular the following: “In walking, algebraic problems were given out and solved, for several hours at a time; scholars as well as teachers proposing them. At evening, at the inn, after supper, they made language,' to use the technical term; that is, de Laspé discussed the laws of language with the pupils for several hours, no one showing fatigue or weariness. What would our boys say to this? I must publicly confess that I never saw any where so much enjoyment, so much pleasure in independent thinking and investigation."

Such“ enjoyment” reminds me of the Dance of Death at Basle. 'I judge only by this story, for I know nothing further of de Laspé sufficient to found an opiniou.

NOTE. COUNTERS IN ELEMENTARY ARITHMETIC.-I used white and yellow counters, of different sizes. The smallest white ones were units, larger ones tens, and still larger ones hundreds. To these I added four yellow sizes; the smallest for thousands, and larger ones for ten thousands, hundred thousands, and millions. I did not immediately go any further.* The units served all the purposes for which beans, marks, &c., have been used; as, practice in counting, division into equal and unequal parts, &c.

In teaching written arithmetic, I found the following use of counters very convenient. The children of from six to eight years old usually knew as much about money as that, for instance, four pfennigs made a kreuzer, and six kreuzers a sechser. I took advantage of this actual experience of theirs to base my instructions. After they had learned sufficiently well to count with the unit counters, I said, “ Just as the large sechser is worth six little kreuzers, so is one larger counter worth ten small ones; so we will call the large one a ten. Then I put with the ten nine more ones, successively, and so taught them to count from ten to nineteen; then I added a tenth one, and changed the ten ones for a second ten, and called the two tens twenty. In the same way I went on to ten tens. Now, just as ten ones is a ten, so are ten tens a hundred; which is again represented by a larger counter. On these exercises there may be constant exercises; such as, How many ones in two, three, &c., tens? How many ones, or tens, in one hundred? Then count ont ten times ten ones, and then substitute ten tens, to the same value.

By using the counters on the table, the writing and reading of figures will be easily learned. It must only be remembered that the ones stand in the first place to the right, the tens next, &c. Then two ones may be laid down, then three tens, then a hundred, and lastly, at the extreme left, a thousand. Then the pupils may be taught to read them off, thus:-Two; thirty; thirty-two; one hundred; one hundred and thirty-two; one thousand; one thousand one hundred and thirty-two.

Writing the figures connects itself very naturally with these exercises. Supposing the children can write the Arabic figures, they may be told that they must be written exactly as the counters lie on the table; that the first figure to the right represents oncs, just as the first counters to the right do; the next tens, &c. The figures should at first be written in the same order in which they are at tirst explained; beginning with the units.t

It can now easily be made clear what is the use of the cipherin written arithmetic. Let the pupil first lay down twenty-one in counters; two tens and a unit. But, ask him how will he express two tens and no unit? There must be a sign to show that there is no unit. I took, for this purpose, small round white pieces of pasteboard, which I put wherever there was no figure, whether in the place of units, tens, hundreds, &c. If it be required to lay down 302, the child placed two ones, a cipher for no tens, and three hundreds.

The orderly placing of the counters, the reading off of the number, and the writing of it should proceed together. If there are several pupils, there may be a division of labor; some laying down counters and others writing, and then each reading off the work of the other.

In this way the children will gain a knowledge of the decimal system, and of the profound wisdom with which the ancient Hindoos arranged their figures by it. I But the counters can be further used in explaining the ground-rules, espe

* It would be well to have 1, 10, 100, 1000 printed on the counters; and on the other side 1, X, C, M, according to their value.

: The Roman letters on the counters can be easily used so as to show the value of a figure, one, for instance, in different places.

It was not the Arabs, but the Hindoos-as was already stated-who invented the decimal

cially addition and multiplication, Under the columns of counters lay a rule, for the line, under which to place the sum. If the units add up to 12, change ten of them for a ten, put it with the column of tens, and put the remainder of 2 under the units, and so on. When with the aid of the counters the children have learned to count, the decimal system, writing and reading figures, and a more or less clear knowledge of the four ground-rules, the counters should be gradually disused.* They might be afterward used again in explaining decimal fractions.

EXPLANATION OF THE USUAL ABBREVIATED PROCESSES IN WRITTEN ARITHMETIC.I will illustrate by a few examples what is said in the text of the means by which our teachers may endeavor to explain written multiplication and division. For instance, the example in multiplication, 6x11356, may be worked in three different ways, as follows:

b. 11356(6 11356(6

11356(6

c.

[blocks in formation]

The first, a., is the common abbreviated form; b. and c. give the solution at length, as it ought to und must be worked, before the abbreviated mode. For the solution of c., we will suppose a case. Six brothers inherit each 11356 florins, What is the entire sum? The multiplicand consists of one ten thousand, one thousand, &c., down to six units. Each heir will have one ten thousand, in all sixty thousand; also one thousand, in all six thousand; and so on; lastly, each will receive six units, in all thirty-six. Add these products together, and you will have 68136. The example b. is entirely similar to example c., except that here the multiplication begins with the units, as in the abbreviated mode. The latter will become clear by comparison with b. It will readily be seen that the abbreviation consists in this: that the product of each separate place is not written down in full; but that, when for instance the product of the ones furnishes tens, they are kept in mind and added to the product of the tens, &c.; so that the additions in example b. are performed in the mind. Thus, 6X6=36=3 tens and 6 units, which last are put in the units' place in the product. Then, 6x5 = 30 tens, which with 3 tens from the first product makes 33 tens, or 3 hundred and three ones, which remainder put in the tens' place in the product; and so on.

The pupil can thus be shown that the abbreviated operation in example a. must begin from the lowest place, so that the overplus from each place may be carried to a higher. system and the wrongly-named Arabic figures. What other matbematical discovery can be compared with this? See Whewell, I., 191.

'In the arithmetics of Diesterweg, Stern, &c., other modes of making numbers visible are used. As to counters, the question is, whether they can be used in schools for a large num. ber of pupils. Herr Ebersberger, of the Altorf Seminary, advises to fit up a large blackboard with parallel horizontal ledges or gutters of tin, in which large counters may be set up, as letters, &c., are set up in using the board to teach reading, &c. Dr. Mager remarks, in his treatise "On the Method in Mathematics," (Ueber die Method der Mathematik,) that he has used counters in teaching. He says, (p. xviii.,) "The second stage brings in the decimal sys. tem, first with counters and then withi figures. The smallest counters represent units, a larg. er size tens, the largest hundreds. It is a pleasure to see how the children can use the counters to add, multiply, subtract, and divide. When they can work both with counters and mentally, nothing is easier than to work the same problems in figures; the greater convenience of the written method induces the children to learn it quickly."

If the abbreviated mode of multiplication has been mechanically learned, still more has the abbreviated mode of dividing " over the line." In this, great heaps of figures are carefully piled up together, and a mistake in the construction would cause an error. Take, for example, 7860+12=655. The work is done thus: write the dividend and the line at the right hand; write the divisor, 12, under 78; ask not how many twelves in 78, but how many ones in seven. Try with seven times; 7x12=84, it does not go; then with 6; it will go; write 6 at the right of the line; six times one from seven leaves one, which write over the seven; then say, twice 6 is 12, from 18 leaves 6, which place over the 8. Now make another divisor by writing 1 under 2, and another 2 next the 2, under 6, and make 66 the next dividend. Then, 1 in 6 5 times; write 5 at the right of the 6 in the quotient; 5 times 1 from 6 leaves 1, which write over the upper 6; then, twice 5 is 10, from 16 leaves 6. Then remove the divisor along again; and say, 1 in 6 5 times, 5 from 6 leaves 1, twice 5 is 10, 10 from 10 leaves nothing; and set the second 5 at the right hand in the quotient. As the numbers are used, they are struck out. There is not the least effort to understand the work. When it is completed it is proved by multiplication; and, if wrong, there is no intelligent endeavor to find the error, but the operation is to be repeated.

X. PHYSICAL EDUCATION.

(Translated from Raumer's "History of Pedagogy," for the American Journal of Education.)

PHYSICAL EDUCATION includes,
1. Care of the health.
2. Inuring to endurance and want.
3. Training in doing; in bodily activity. Gymnastics.*
4. Training of the senses, especially of the eye and ear.

6

a

I. CARE OF THE HEALTH. The realists have paid especial attention to the care of the health ; such as Montaigne, Bacon, Locke, and Rousseau.

At a later period, Hufeland's "Art of Preserving Life" has had much reputation. Much of what he says relates to people whose nerves are disordered by overexertion, and is useful for the recovery of such.

Care of health includes, first, diet. The most harmful food had become even customary among us, old and young; and it was at a late date that we began to examine the operation even of the most usual articles of diet. The temperance societies, for instance, have come out all at once against brandy, and its numerous family. All such measures have influenced the diet of the young, but have not had a thorough operation on it. Who does not know how many parents now give their young children coffee every day; and how extensively the children drink tea.

Warnings enough can not be given against the frequenting of the stomach-destroying confectionery-shops. Another fact of the same kind is the sight of even boys walking about with tobacco-pipes and cigars in their mouths.

Clothing.-Rousseau, and the Philanthropinists, his followers, were the first who declared war against unsuitable modes of clothing

Bacon, in a section on Athletics, says, “ Endurance, both of active exertion and of suffering. Constituents of active exertion, strength, and quickness ; enduring suffering is either patience uoder indigence or fortitude in pain." (De Augm. Scient., 4, 2, 113.)

I have alreally treater of the education of the youngest children.

: This evil increases in Berlin, every year. In the time of the Turning societies, therefore, they and the cake-bakers were utterly at variance.

$ And have any good results followed from the efforts of the health-police against the sale of opium-cigars, for instance, which were openly vended at the Frankfort fair ? Woe to all people who learn to love that poison !

« PreviousContinue »