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which are such an insult to their understandings, though they cannot account for their feelings any more than their master himself can. Full of blind confidence in the wretched method which he pursues, he marvels over his own failure, over the resistance he meets with, and the distaste with which his lessons are received. If he passes on from these mechanical exercises in language to any other subject, which awakens thought, imagination, feeling, or conscience, he perceives immediately that his pupils are all ears, and that satisfaction is depicted on every countenance.

Those dry abstract exercises find no sympathy in the nature of man, which nature is complete in the child, and only waits to be developed. Hence the sterility of these exercises, and the distaste with which they are read, and which is only enhanced by their length and their frequent

Children may, indeed, be trained by them to learn by heart. Their memory is docile, and whilst their understanding and heart are neglected, this power at least is strengthened by exercise, and the child who is conscious of improvement rejoices even in this paltry achievement. Only let not the master delude himself into the belief that the pupil has made great progress in his mother-tongue, because he can repeat its rules accurately, and answer the long string of questions which has been tacked on to our modern grammars. The parrot learns at length to repeat our words, but does he understand them one bit the more?

Regular lessons in language might, without any sacrifice, be based entirely on the intellectual, moral, and religious cultivation of the mind; and the reason is obvious. On the one hand, every thing comes within the dominion of language, for it expresses all that man thinks, feels, loves, wishes, wills, does, and endures; it has expressions for everything; and on the other hand, regular instruction in language does not limit the selection to any one particular subject. The choice is immaterial, and all it asks is the opportunity of developing, applying, and regulating the forms of speech which custom has sanctioned. So there is not a reason why the teacher, who succeeds to the

mother, should not take up the thread of her instructions in order to develope them and establish them indelibly in the mind and heart of childhood. If he does not do this, he is not only unworthy to succeed to so tried and careful an instructress, but he neglects what is imperatively required by the growing age of his young disciples, as a shield against the increasing influence of the world, and the dangers which threaten their innocence.

Moreover, even if the teacher did not think himself bound to make instruction in language subservient to the cultivation of the heart and mind, and were to limit his duties to instruction in grammar, still he would find in the very definition of the art he professes, the obligation to attend especially to the development of the powers of thought. Does not this art profess to be that of teaching to speak and write language correctly? But in order to fulfil its task, must it not first teach how to think clearly and rationally ? otherwise Boileau is wrong in saying,

Ce que l'on concoit bien s'enonce clairement,

Et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisement. Our numerous grammarians disregard this important truth, and teachers, led astray by them, pre-suppose in childhood the development to which they themselves have attained by long study and at much cost. They take infinite trouble to explain grammatical metaphysics, but it is unfair to expect children, who are wholly engrossed by the realities of life, to apprehend such subtleties and abstractions.

Thus, precious time is lost which might be advantageously employed even as regards their progress in language.

An intelligent being requires a grammar of ideas, and, to borrow the

expression of the Abbé Sicard, the learned and venerable teacher of the deaf and dumb, we only seek to impress on his mind a grammar of words; for it is wholly devoted to them, their classification, their variable forms, and their arrangement in construction to make it correct; and if passages from classical authors are quoted, it is not for the sake of the idea they express (that goes for nothing), but merely of the words that compose them. Now, I ask whether exercises of this kind, to which teachers devote most of their lessons, are not calculated to divert attention from things, which are every thing in life, to their signs, which are in reality nothing ? Thus it is obvious that our grammars give a wrong bent to childhood.

These reflections have proved that the dearest interests of childhood, and the respect which is due to it, impose on teachers the sacred duty of re-modelling their instruction in the mother-tongue, and rendering it henceforward subservient to the education of the heart and mind, in order to develope and to complete the work of the mother. The confidence reposed in these same teachers imposes on them other duties, other obligations. Granted, that the generality of parents are incompetent to judge of the instruction which follows after that which we have sketched out; yet all expect at least that their children should learn at school, not only how to write and speak correctly, but also to know their duties, and to practise them.

But how grievously are they disappointed in this just expectation, and how reasonably may they complain of the abuse of their confidence and of their money.

Sooner or later this conviction forces itself on the more enlightened; and can we wonder, therefore, at the growing prejudice against our elementary teaching, and its results ?

Here Switzerland has taken the lead. In one of its cantons, instruction in language, founded on intellectual, moral, and religious cultivation, has extended from the capital to schools in the country, under the direction and at the expense of the government. This salutary measure has re-acted in all the cantons which speak the German tongue, and particularly in Lucerne. Lately the Public Council of instruction of the Canton de Vaud has published a programme, in which it offers prizes for the composition of three books, which it deems necessary for the efficiency of the preparatory schools of the canton; one is to bear the title of Manual, or Guide for the Use of Teachers of the Mother-Tongue. The directions given by the vicepresident, M. André Gindroz, formerly a professor of philosophy, so entirely coincide with the ideas which I have long cherished, and which I have endeavoured to bring into practice, that I cannot describe the joy I felt on reading this beautiful programme. " Thou, also,” said I to myself, “thou also didst begin to teach sound philosophy in the last century, and hast continued to do so to this day; and now, behold, thy colleague at Lucerne entertains the self-same ideas. The same studies have inspired me with similar notions, and with the same ardour for the instruction of youth.” May his endeavours, through the blessing of Divine Providence, be more successful than mine have proved! Such is my hope and cause of rejoicing.


Preliminary Views on Instruction in the Mother-Tongue as

subservient to Education. I SHALL here offer a few preliminary observations which will serve as an introduction to this important subject; and I hope I shall be allowed to refer to personal circumstances connected with it. I shall speak, indeed, of myself, but this is pardonable in an old man; and I will not apologize, for I believe that whatever is good in me descends from above, from the Father of lights, and that to Him must be ascribed all the glory: I am a Christian.

When I first found myself at the head of a large school, in the year 1804, I was obliged to make use of L'HOMOND'S Grammar, which was in the hands of my pupils; I afterwards became acquainted with the Grammar in Practice, written by the excellent Abbé Gaultier, who subsequently sent me all his various works. This enlightened friend of youth, rising above the common routine, discovered in regular instruction in the mother-tongue the means of an agreeable course of mental gymnastics, in which the young pupils were invited to assist in the formation of thoughts and in their expression. I felt the importance of this improvement, and I began to adopt it in my school, but by slow degrees, for I had four separate classes under different teachers, each of whom had his own system and ideas; and authority is ill-obeyed when not upheld by conviction.

The cultivation of the mind was my object, as well as my duty; but I did not then perceive how essentially the mother-tongue might assist me in this work. The twilight of my mind gradually gave place to the full light of day, whilst visiting officially Pestalozzi's establishment at Yverdun, while conversing with my two worthy colleagues, Abel Merian, of Bâle, and Frederic Trechsel, Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Berne; and whilst giving close attention to the official Report, which I had undertaken to draw up.

In a former visit to my old friend Pestalozzi, I had observed to him that I thought mathematics had an undue preponderance in his education, and that I felt afraid of the result; whereupon he answered with his usual warmth, “I wish my children to believe nothing but what can be proved to them as clearly as that two and two make four.”

" Then,” said I, with equal warmth, “if I had thirty children, I would not entrust one of them to you; for how could

you thus demonstrate to them that I am their father, and entitled to their obedience ?"

This reply was followed by a qualification on his part of the exaggerated expression which had escaped him, and we ended in agreeing. Nevertheless, undue attention was given to mathematics in his establishment, to the detriment of the mother-tongue, which was very imperfectly cultivated.

My colleagues and I were also struck with another anomaly. We found that his pupils had attained to great proficiency in abstract mathematics, whilst in practical arithmetic they fell very far short of our expectations; and I turned this observation to account in the management of my own school. I first abolished all abstract rules of calculation, and superseded them by a series of problems, which the monitors proposed to the school; this made an agreeable and instructive variety, and the pupils were left

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