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names, derived from some one or two properties by which they are characterized,
There seems to be no method of imprinting on the memory a tolerably correct outline of the great boundaries of the land and water on the globe, except by some method similar to that of Professor Agren-(See Journal, No. XI. p. 27, &c.). And we think there can be no difference of opinion at all on the necessity of teaching boys, or rather, according to Agren's plan, inducing them to teach themselves, under what parallels and meridians all the great limiting points of the land are placed. For instance, a boy should be able to refer from memory such points as the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Verde, Cape Guardafui, the Straits of Gibraltar, the most southern point of Spain, the most southern point of the Morea (not the most southern point of Europe, as is sometimes stated), the mouth of the Rhine, &c., to their right astronomical position on the earth's surface. Such a bare outline as this, if a boy learned nothing at all beyond it, would save him from much confusion and numberless ridiculous errors. But this framework, when gradually filled up, would present to the mind a number of subdivisions, to each of which the pupil would readily refer all isolated facts, as they occur in various readings, or whenever they are presented to him with sufficiently accurate data; he thus would acquire a real geographical picture of the earth, the great outlines of which might be continually approximating more and more to accuracy without deranging the general impression. In a similar way he would print on his memory and imagination the general direction of the great mountain ranges, and the exact position of their more remarkable points. Both for those who make geography their special study, and for the botanist, zoologist, and geologist, such a foundation of geographical knowledge is absolutely indispensable. In all the three last departments of knowledge here alluded to, can we doubt that many erroneous generalizations, and often inconsistent assertions, would be checked if a man always had this fundamental knowledge of geography? Men cannot always write with maps before them, nor are men always willing to be making constant references to such very troublesome monitors as good maps are; sometimes most unkindly overturning a whole heap of hypotheses, ingenious conjectures, and pleasant, easy, self-satisfying generali
To acquire an accurate and at the same time a complete geographical picture of a country, we must see it represented under various forms; we must have in fact a series of maps with the same outline, but a different filling in. Our own island, for example, might be represented, first, with a bare coast out
line and the courses of the rivers. This should be studied till the picture is distinctly impressed on the mind. In a second map we would place the high ground and the rivers also. Other maps might be constructed to show the artificial water system of canals, in connection with the natural water system of rivers. A map of roads, with all the great towns indicated, and all the seats of manufacturing industry, would also be necessary; and other maps no doubt might be suggested. Such maps roughly executed would soon be produced at a very moderate charge, if a sufficient demand for them could be calculated on.
It is impossible, in our opinion, to urge too strongly the importance of an exact knowledge of position on the earth's surface. This knowledge is not only the true basis of all geographical knowledge, but it is an indispensable element in every science which has for its object the observation and the comparison of natural phænomena in different parts of the earth. Without this knowledge, the geographer has laid no foundation for his further pursuits, and the inquirer into nature will often fall into error, which may sometimes seriously affect his conclusions.
Next to the teaching of the general configuration of countries, their coasts, mountains, and rivers, the most important thing is climate, or the comparison of meteorological phanomena, as ascertained at different points on the earth's surface. This should, of course, be preceded by exact notions of the phænomena of the season, the length of day and night at different points on the earth's surface, the modes of determining the four cardinal points at any place, with the determination of the sun's angular distance at rising and setting from the east and west points at any season of the year, &c., the mode of measuring the shortest distance between any two points given in position on the earth's surface, reducing magnetic to true bearings, &c. Without this preliminary knowledge we do not see how the subject of climate can be treated satisfactorily, even in an elementary way.
We have already excluded the geographical distribution of plants and animals from the province of the geographer, with an earnest request to botanists and zoologists to look carefully after them, for nobody else can do it so well. But it does not follow that, in teaching the great principles of geography, these considerations should be entirely excluded. Plants and animals are, to a certain extent, the indications of climate; and it is a matter of curiosity and of great interest to compare different points of the earth's surface, similar in position, but differing in products, which may often be the indication of some modifying cause of climate not hitherto investigated. If
it were possible either in schools or colleges for such instruction to be given by a botanist and a zoologist, we are of opinion that it would come better from them than from the geographer. But till science be more subdivided with the view of improving it, it is much better that the geographical distribution of plants and animals should be treated of by the teacher of geography, than that so useful and attractive a branch of knowledge should be left as vague as it now is.
NATIONAL INSTRUCTION IN THE CANTON OF ZÜRICH. THE canton of Zürich, with its 220,000 inhabitants and 691 square miles, has lately set an example, which well deserves the imitation, or at least the attention, of greater states. National instruction, which, till lately, laboured under many imperfections, has been entirely re-organized. Though there may be nothing novel or extraordinary in what has been effected, yet the principles on which the law for the organization of national instruction is based, are not only highly to the credit of those who framed it, but of general interest to all persons who wish to see the welfare and happiness of society increased.
For the last ten years the deficient state of national instruction had been felt, but not till after the late change of the government and constitution (in 1830) did the improvement of national instruction become a general wish of the people. It was made an article in the new constitution, that 'It is the duty of the nation and its representatives to provide for the improvement of the instruction of youth. Government will, as far as it is in its power, aid and support the different schools and establishments for instruction.' Much was to be done for village schools, in which the children of peasants, &c., (for of poor families there are not many,) are instructed*. In the town of Zürich, a technical school (Industrieschule), a gymnasium, and a university (Hochschule) have been established, in which three separate colleges, a private technical school, and a gymnasium, all of which existed before, are severally incorporated. On increasing the salaries and the number of masters, care was taken to intrust the instruction of youth to able and proper persons. Many teachers and professors have been invited from Germany, and have accepted situations. The details of the law for national instruction are drawn up with practical knowledge, and an acquaintance with all the modern improvements in education.
* In many parts of the canton, particularly around the lake, the houses lie scattered about without forming regular villages.
Oct., 1833.-Jan., 1834.
We will here give some extracts from the law itself, and an official report on it by the council of education. The law begins:
'National schools are to render the children of all classes active in mind, useful to society, moral and religious.
'Therefore the state (government) orders the establishment of common and higher national schools.
"The subjects of instruction in the common national schools are to be:
1. Elementary instruction (for pupils from six to nine years of age; the chief object of which is to exercise the different powers of the mind).
Language: exercises in speaking, thinking, memory, reading and writing.
'Calculation: mental, and on the slate, practice in the four
Form: distinguishing different forms, reducing them to their most simple elements, combining and classing them-(preparation for geometry).
2. Practical (real) instruction (for pupils from nine to twelve years of age. The object is now to impart knowledge).
'Language: grammar, themes.
'Arithmetic, as applied to business.
Form and geometry.
The most important facts of the history, geography, and the constitution of the country.
'Outlines of general geography, and geography of Europe. 'The most remarkable features of general history.
Natural history and geography, with respect to farming and trades.
3. Cultivation of taste.
'Reading poetry, and learning it by heart; singing, drawing, calligraphy.
'4. Religious instruction.
'Sacred history in an abridged form. Developing and cultivating moral and religious feelings and notions, as a preparation for the religious instruction of the church, (which is entirely separated from that of the school.)
Besides the imparting of knowledge and accomplishments, the chief object of the method of teaching is always to be, the cultivation of the understanding.
'Pupils above twelve years of age are obliged to have six lessons a week at the common national schools, unless they have entered a "higher" school, as a gymnasium, &c.'
As there are no organs in the churches, hymns and larger pieces of sacred music are learned in the school; and besides the regular lessons, there is a weekly meeting (generally on a Sunday) for practising the music to be sung at
divine service, at which meetings all the young people before they are confirmed (which cannot take place till they have passed fifteen) must be present.
'No pupil may stay away from the lessons except from necessity. A pupil who has not left school, (they leave at fifteen,) cannot enter any service, unless his employer engages to let him attend school at the regular hours. Parents, guardians, &c. can be fined a certain sum a day for neglecting to let their children attend the lessons regularly.
'During the holidays, which are from four to eight weeks in the year, there is to be at least one lesson every day, at a convenient time. The following regulations may be mentioned respecting schoolmasters.
There is a seminary or establishment for preparing schoolmasters for all the common national schools in the whole canton.
Every year from twelve to eighteen young men are received into it from the canton of Zürich. There are sixteen exhibitions, each 100 franks (1 fr. = 1s. 3d.) a year, held for two successive years. A normal school (Musterschule) is attached to the seminary, in which what has been taught in the seminary is to be applied to practice. One who has left the seminary, (generally after two years' stay,) and has passed the examination, is candidate' for any situation which becomes vacant. In case of a vacancy, three masters out of those who apply for it are selected by the council of education, and from among these three one is chosen by the parish in which the situation is vacant.
Every year there are four meetings, under the direction of the council of education, of all schoolmasters within a certain district, who are obliged to appear, as well as all candidates. It is the object of these meetings that the schoolmasters may continually improve themselves; 1, by teaching, and that both with respect to method and address; 2, by treating on questions referring to certain points of education; or by making extracts from important works on the same subject; 3, by communicating particular views as to school matters, or facts collected from experience; 4, by diffusing the knowledge of good school-books. Every member of these meetings is to write one treatise every three months, all of which are sent to the council of education.'
Three prize-questions are proposed every year to all schoolmasters.
At every meeting a reading club is to be formed, in order to provide the schoolmasters and candidates with books containing useful and necessary information about their profession.