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LECTURE II.

ON

THOROUGH TEACHING.

.

BY WILLIAM H. BROOKS.

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The decorous behavior, the assiduous study, the bright recitations, the kind feelings of many of a teacher's pupils are

а his rightful treasures, and he should fondly dwell upon them in his thoughts, to encourage himself in the lively execution of bis heavy duties. What gratifying reflections hover round the band of the faithful ! He knows how profitable to them is

! every one of his well-discharged duties; and this knowledge is the life of his efforts. But the inconstant in duty, now with a good lesson, and now with one tearing the very soul; the dişorderly, from temperament or design ; the habitually sluggish; the cold in heart and malicious in purpose,—what a sore deduction are these from the amount of a teacher's satisfactions ! The great and magnanimous enterprise of his soul may be, and should be, to turn this nettle-field into a garden. How great a public and private benefactor is he, who, carefully observing the disease of each invalid, in mind or in disposition, plans his remedy, and energetically applying it, watches its operation and perseveres in his efforts, till a cure is effected! See the faithless and unfortunate disciples gathered one by one into the true and happy fold, who are successfully and evenly developing, to the joy of their instructer, the faculties of their minds and the sentiments of their hearts.

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How shall so benign a plan be consummated ? By a thorough, effectual system of teaching and discipline. How many misnamed corrections are applied for failures in duty, without the effect they professed to aim at. The teacher should carefully eschew punishment for the sake of punishment, and every correction likely to be unheeded and unavailing, and should follow up all cures he undertakes. How much useless pain has been inflicted in school! Useless ? how much that was positively and deeply hurtful to the child's education! Useless, because the child saw the teacher's vengeful feelings therein, and was steeled with a strong resentment against him and his cures ;-or, because the teacher, seeing that something needed to be done, did something that promptly offered itself to his mind, without concluding whether it were likely to be effectual: like some very sagacious physician, who, finding some malady in his patient, cannot spend time in investigating the cause and ascertaining the medical means to reach it, but rushes into his pill, drop, and instrument arsenal, seizes the first that occurs, and dextrously applies it to the case in question. Now the teacher should know that ineffectual punishments lessen his influence over his pupil, and so are not only useless in regard to his education, but pernicious ; unless, indeed, the instructer's influence be so carelessly or unwisely directed, that the child is better off if he disregard it altogether. Besides this diminution of the teacher's influence, the most disagreeable and hurtful associations in the child's mind deform the native beauty of his studies, for the risk of which associations nothing but important cures in his mental and moral habits could atone. Let the teacher be determined in his own mind to discover the cause of disease, to find a remedy and intrepidly apply it. A firm resolution, accompanied by the most judicious discretion and the kindest intentions, cannot well fail of success.

One great means of thorough teaching and thorough learning, of saving trouble, and a great deal of it, to both the parties in this case is, for the teacher to contrive that knowledge and the

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acquisition of it, that duty in general shall be pleasant to the pupil. How can that 'teacher expect to effect much, who disables his own efficiency by really laboring to make duty disagreeable to the pupil ? who assumes a sternness foreign to his own nature, or indulges a spontaneous austerity in his usual intercourse with his pupils ?. All the lively and generous emotions of the youthful heart are chilled. The spirit of enterprise in study, which might have been aroused, is stifled, and the quick wit and bright invention are directed to evasions of duty and the annoyance of the teacher. Duty may be done, if its discharge be rigidly demanded, but it is hated, and produces the least possible benefit in knowledge or discipline; and the entire connexion is one of unhappiness and mutual ill feeling, and deeply detrimental to the growth of the higher sentiments of the soul. No, let it not be so. Let the teacher secure his success in training up, not merely a scholar, but a fullsouled man, by interesting his pupil in that success. If he be resolute and energetic, he can procure the performance of much more intellectual labor. Let him manifest the best feelings of his nature in his school-room. O, the blind

. stupidity of systematic sternness, defeating its own objects, cutting the sinews of its own right arm! Unfortunate pupils, the better half of whose inner nature, whose good feelings and manly sentiments, far from being developed, are regularly, almost purposely, stunted in their growth!

Knowledge and duty may wear more smiling features, if the teachers take some liberties with class books, rejecting some parts of little importance or ill-suited to the youthful mind, or letting those come first which come best first in his judgment, and supply such exercises in arithmetic, book-keeping and other studies, aside from the treatises, as may smooth the way from one portion to another, or give a more practical interest to the subject. The teacher should have the subject laid out in his own mind and use an independent discretion in guiding his pupils' approaches to it. Thus in the history of the

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