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Meteorological Register, kept at the Surveyor Generals Office, Calcutta, for the Month of August, 1834. Minimum Temperature Maximum Pressure Observations made at Max. Temp.and Dryness Minimum Pressure Observations made at observed at Sunrise. observed at 9h. 50m. Apparent Noon.
observed at 2h. 40m. observed at 4h. Om.
CALCUTTA CHRISTIAN OBSERVER. .
1.- The School-master in the Mufașşil, No. I; being the first
of a series of papers intended to disseminate information concerning the conduct of English schools for Natives.
Schemes for National Education may be constructed without any practical knowledge of the school-master's science.' Many accomplished men, who would never submit to the drudgery of obtaining a thorough acquaintance with the business, discipline, and difficulties of a single school, will sit down, filled with the grandeur of their design, and arrange magnificent plans for the diffusion of knowledge—the establishment of district and central schools—the supervision of masters—and the course of study to be pursued. To disparage such labors would be absurd; yet, while freely admitting their value, we cannot forget that the benevolence, knowledge of mankind, and intellectual power which they abstract from the whole sum devoted to education, are altogether useless to the actual teacher,--they do not enter the right sphere of action for him ; they stop short where his work begins.
Many valuable papers on education have been published, from time to time, by the Calcutta press; but most of them labor under the defect just alluded to: they are not practical. The success of different schools is displayed with sufficient accuracy in the periodical examinations ; but concerning the precise means by which that success has been achieved, we hear little or nothing.
At the present crisis, details of the interior conduct of schools would be of the highest service. To gentlemen who are meditating the establishment of schools in the Mufassil, they would afford the very kind of information which is desired. Even practised teachers might obtain useful hints from comparing their own systems with those of others; while to the less experienced, all such details would be invaluable. In time, an intelligent teacher will form a system of his own; but when this is to be accomplished without aid, his work cannot proceed so rapidly as it might do, had he the experience of others to start from.
It is highly important therefore that some, leaving the grander speculations on National Education, should devote their attention to the more humble employment of arranging, and bringing to perfection, the discipline, teaching, and, in a word, the whole interior conduct of individual school
Now for an undertaking so practical, information concerning what has already been done, is peculiarly necessary ; and none can supply this, so well as those who have done the work-the teachers themselves. They then, for the sake of mutual assistance and encouragement, should publish, not only their success, but minute details of the means by which it has been wrought. The editors of the CHRISTIAN OBSERVER, and indeed of most other periodicals, would, we venture to say, publish such accounts with pleasure*.
Happening to possess an intimate acquaintance with a school lately established in the Upper Provinces, we shall describe its commencement and progress, endeavouring to be circumstantial in order to be useful. To many, these particulars may appear frivolous; but if they should be found serviceable to teachers and founders of schools, we shall rest content.
1. OPENING OF THE School. Attached to this school there were two masters, The names of boys admitted, were written in a Journal, together with the names of their parents, and their places of abode ; a space being left under each boy's name, to receive future remarks on his conduct. Thirty or
Thirty or forty boys having entered, none of whom possessed any knowledge of English, they were separated into two classes, according to their ages. The furniture provided for each class, was three forms, an alphabet printed on a card, in letters two inches long, and a light rod for pointing out the letters. The seats were placed so as to form three sides of a square ; while the master and the alphabet occupied the fourth.
II. MODE OF INSTRUCTING BEGINNERS-READING AND WRITING; AND OF DISTRIBUTING THE Boys into CLASSES. After a day or two, those boys who could pronounce the letters perfectly, and point them out readily, amounting, from both divisions, in about a dozen, were formed into a class. The first lesson of the Instructor, No. I, was then read by each boy after the master, (he supplying a literal Hindusthání version,) until both the pronunciation and translation had been acquired. The boys were next left to commit their lesson to memory ; the master turning his attention to another quarter. When they had done so, he returned, and heard it repeated; taking great care, not only to correct every instance of mispronunciation, but to make each speaker enunciate clearly, and spell every word without slurring the vowels. To this succeeded the business of interrogation ; which, from the first, was
* We shall receive and publish such accounts with the greatest pleasure.-Ed.
made to embrace every question that could reasonably be fastened on the text. The answers required were, 1st, the spelling ; 2nd, the English phrases and single words, in answer to the Hindustháni, and vice versâ ; 3rd, the meaning of single words, either by a synonyme or by an example ; and, 4th, the explanation of phrases and sentences.
These questions were not put to the boys regularly, according to their order in the class. Sometimes a question was addressed to a lad at the bottom, sometimes to one at the top, sometimes here, sometimes there ; with the design of keeping the attention of all upon the stretch.
It should be mentioned that no boy was permitted to correct his answer, nor did the master correct it. The question was repeated to the boy standing below him who blundered ; if he failed, to the next, and so on : until one answered correctly, who then got up,' that is, went above the first who answered wrong.
With reading began writing also. For the printed alphabet, a written one was substituted, which the boys copied on slates, deeply ruled for large text with an iron style. After a few days practice on letters, the reading-lesson was written from memory, no reference to the book being suffered. The master examined each slate, carefully marking errors in spelling, but paying little attention to the formation of letters.
In a short time, two other classes, the second and third, were drafted off, and taught exactly like the first ; the dullest of the boys remaining, and forming, with new comers, the fourth or regular alphabet class. Boys were transferred from class to class as their progress required. For several weeks, many changes of this kind occurred every day.
III.-PATTERN AND EXPLANATION OF CLASS-Lists; AND MEASURES TAKEN WITH ABSENTEES. When the foregoing arrangements had been completed, class-lists were drawn out, one for each class ; a pattern of which follows: 1834. FIRST CLASS.
Total of Nos. for one
This list contained the names of all the boys in a class ; and in the same line with each name, a space for every day in the month. At the commencement of the day's business, the lists were called over, and against the names of absentees a cross was set, in the space appropriated for that day. Late-comers were examined concerning the cause of their delay, and sent to the foot of the class,
whatever had been their place on the preceding day. About noon, the names of boys who had not then arrived, were entered in a book, which was delivered to a harkára, who proceeded to the abode of each boy, for the purpose of enquiring the reason of his absence.
At the close of the day, the list was again called over ; and each boy's number, reckoned from the top of his class, was set against his name ; or in cases of absence, the letter a' instead of a number.
Thus, on referring to the pattern above, we find that Baikantanáth Ráy was not present on Monday morning when the names were called; but that having come afterwards, he stood second at the end of the day. Another cross under · Tuesday,' shews that the same boy was again late; and the “ a,' that he was absent altogether. Thursday he came in proper time, and stood eighth when the classes were dismissed.
At the end of every month, all the class-lists were made up. Each boy's numbers being added together, their sum was carried into the last space. If the class consisted of twenty boys, each a' was reckoned as 20 ; if of 21, it was made 21, and so on. This augmentation of numbers constituted the penalty of absence. At the public examination, that boy whose numbers when summed up proved lowest—a sure sign of his being the best of his class -received a prize. The lists were drawn out on a large sheet of paper; affixed to a card with wafers ; and hung up in front of the class. Their connexion with the system of getting up is obvious; both together form a constant, and very effectual stimulus to exertion.
IV. HOURS OF ATTENDANCE ; AND MANNER IN WHICII THEY WERE EMPLOYED. The hours of attendance were from ten o'clock till one, and from two till five. The boys assembled at the ring. ing of a bell; and the hours were struck on a gong. When the school had been established four months, and a fifth class had been formed, six hours a day were employed as follows:
X. till XI.—2nd and 3rd classes taught by the masters.—4th and 5th classes, by monitors chosen from the 1st class.
XI. till XII.- 1st and 5th classes taught by the masters.--2nd, 3rd and 4th classes wrote their lessons on slates.
XII. till I.--1st and 4th classes taught by the masters.—5th class wrote.-2nd and 3rd classes read alone.
II. till III.-2nd and 3rd classes taught by the masters.-Ist class wrote.—4th and 5th classes read alone.
III. till IV.-New lessons given by the masters and monitors (as described in S II.) to be prepared at home for the next day.
IV. till V.--Calling lists, hearing complaints, answering questions, solving difficulties, and other miscellaneous business.
Thus, each class was taught three hours, wrote one hour, and read alone one hour; the remaining hour being employed in the general business of the school. Saturday was devoted to a revision of the week's lessons.