« AnteriorContinuar »
ORTHOGRAPHY. FORM OF EXERCISE. — A convenient mode of prescribing a word-exercise in which the practice of orthography is intended to form a prominent part, may be found in the following plan. The teacher directs the class to prepare themselves, in proper season, so as to be ready, at the time assigned for the class-exercise, to spell, by writing on their slates, on the blackboard, or in a convenient blank book, whatever words he may choose to select from a paragraph or page, prescribed from the daily reading-lesson of the class, or from
other convenient source. The pupil's preparation extends, of course, over the whole portion assigned, for all of which he is responsible. But a selection of twenty words will usually be found to occupy advantageously all the time which can be properly devoted, in school hours, to a class-lesson in orthography, especially when it forms but a part of an exercise on words.
The most convenient mode of conducting the performance of such exercises in class-form, is the following. The teacher, having previously examined the page or paragraph from which the lesson in orthography is prescribed, and having marked, with a pencil-dot, such words as he deems most important for his purpose, pronoun
ces the first of the words thus selected, and has it written by the class, as mentioned above. The remaining words of the lesson are dictated and written as the first.
Suggestions. — In performing the exercise, the youngest classes may do their work on the blackboard; the intermediate, on their slates; and the advanced, in their manuscript books.
When slates are used in writing the lesson, a convenient way of ascertaining the degree of correctness attained in every exercise, is this. On finishing · the whole number of words dictated as a lesson, the pupils interchange slates; and, while the teacher gives orally, or writes on the blackboard, the true spelling of every word, every pupil marks, by underlining, any word which he observes incorrectly spelled on the slate which, for the moment, he has in hand, and, when called by the teacher, reports, orally, the number of errors so marked. The slates are then returned to their respective owners, for correction; and the corrected spelling-lesson is transferred to a manuscript book; the underlining being retained, to indicate the words which were corrected on the slate. The words so marked may be reviewed, at convenient times, as a special class-exercise; the teacher selecting for inscription on the blackboard, by the pupils, in turn, the words which he finds, by referring to the manuscript books, to have been originally misspelled by them individually.
In classes sufficiently advanced for the use of manuscript books in the first form of a written exercise in spelling, the writing may, for convenience, be done in pencil, and the errors indicated by the corrector making merely a slight mark, dot, line, or cross, opposite to each error, and reporting the number of errors orally, as before. The owner of the book, when it is returned to him, makes the requisite
correction, but leaves the mark indicating error unerased, and hands to the teacher, or writes on the blackboard, a weekly list of the errors made by the writer, together with the requisite correction. Pupils are thus brought to give special attention to the errors to which they individually incline; and their progress is indicated, from week to week, by the continually diminishing number of errors reported by the recording book. The teacher is also thus made aware of the previous standing of pupils recently admitted as members of a class.
As a means of inducing attention, and as a pleasing incitement to the minds of very young pupils, the teacher may write or print the words of the lesson, for them, on the blackboard, at their dictation; and, as a further variation of mental exercise, he may occasionally write a word, and ask the class .vhether it is rightly spelled; having given due warning that, to secure close attention and accurate observation, the words may be, sometimes, intentionally spelled wrong, for the purpose of calling forth a correction.
In the practice of orthography, as part of a wordexercise, the written form of spelling is adopted exclusively, as oral spelling is presumed to have already been sufficiently practised in the primer and spellingbook exercises, and to have been followed, also, by an introductory course of lessons in oral spelling without syllabication, so as to prepare the young learner, when spelling for strictly orthographical purposes, to retain in his memory all the letters which constitute a word, without the aid of the stepping-stones furnished by enunciating and recapitulating its syllables.
An early and long-continued training in written spelling, seems indispensable, in most cases, to the formation of strictly exact habits of ocular observation. For, as is well known to experienced teachers,
the utmost accuracy of habit in oral spelling, is no security for corresponding exactness in written spelling. Individuals are sometimes found, who have stood at the head of an oral spelling-class in school, for successive terms, who, when brought to the test of the written exercise, fail in every line, on one or more words. For this reason, exercises in spelling by the use of letter-blocks and cards, are of the greatest value, in training young children: they habituate the pupil to something like the accuracy of the compositor in the printing office; and they work their effect by the same discipline, – that of not only seeing and recognising, but also handling every letter in a word.
To pupils in advanced classes it is a valuable opportunity for improvement to be permitted to aid the teacher in conducting the lessons of young classes, and, sometimes, to take the place of temporary instructor in their own. Such employment calls for and secures a watchful attention to accuracy, by showing, in the most impressive manner, the necessity of possessing it; and, as much the greater number of teachers must, even at the present day, enter on their work without the advantage of professional training, it would be an invaluable aid to education, in this department, were every reliable member of our public schools required to occupy a part of every day of the last year of his or her attendance at school, as a pupil, in practical, preparatory training for teaching, in such forms as the one now suggested.
Competent examiners, if called on to testify with regard to the accuracy of general habit among us, in the matter of spelling, could bring up statements which, when kept within the bounds of literal truth, could hardly be credited by those whose opportunities of observing are more restricted.
The majority of even our New-England teachers, could ill stand å strict scrutiny in this matter; - all owing to the
simple fact, that, although well drilled, perhaps, in oral spelling, in childhood, they were not trained to the exercise of written spelling, at any stage of their school discipline. The eye may not say, “I am not of the body;” but it may well be allowed to say, I am not the ear. The discipline of the musician will not make a painter.
The remarks made under the head of orthoëpy, concerning the importance of perfect accuracy, on the part of students and teachers, apply, with equal force, to the demand for this indispensable qualification, in the case of the student or teacher of orthography. No word of the English language, -copious as the language is, — must be unknown to him, as regards its constituent letters. Months of application may be needed, even by the educated adult, to render him critically exact in this branch of the requisite knowledge of his daily business. A single error in orthography, casts a cloud of doubt over even the most liberal mind, as to the competency of a candidate for the office of teacher, who thus obviously fails in the ability to set a correct example or detect an error. Nothing short of a thorough selfdiscipline in orthography, throughout the dictionary of the language, should satisfy a candidate for the occupation of teaching.
Worcester's Comprehensive and Critical Dictionaries will furnish the student with a reliable standard for actual and well-sanctioned usage in the orthography of our language at the present day. The Harpers’ octavo edition of Webster's dictionary, also, among the many other excellent features which recommend that work to teachers, for their special uses, presents, clearly and compactly, the few points in which that eminent lexicographer stands alone, in certain peculiarities, as well as those in which he is sustained by the sanction of the best dictionarycompilers of England. — An erroneous impression