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BY CHAS. S. ROYCE.
Bro. CALDWELL — It is known to you, and to most of the Teachers of the State, that I have long advocated the introduction of Phonotypy into the Primary classes in our schools, as a means not only of making better readers and spellers in the common mode, but for the great saving of time.
About a year since, Mrs. M. V. Longley; of Cincinnati, was employed to teach the Primary department of one of the Ward Schools of Indianapolis, and Phonotypy was introduced for the purpose of testing its merits. Mrs. Longley, though a correct Phonetician, bad had very little experience in teaching. Her school was large; and accessions were made to at various times during the year.
There were from fifty to seventy-five pupils.
The Annual Report of Geo. B. Stone, Esq., Superintendent of the schools, thus alludes to the experiment: “The result of the experiment which has been tried in the Fifth Ward Primary School, has been all that could have been expected. Classes have been formed at eight different times during the course of the year. The two first formed have made the transition from Phonetic to common print, and are now reading in the Indiana Second Reader. The first class made the transition three months since, and can now read and spell accurately any thing in the first 120 pages of the reader above mentioned. This was fully tested in the recent examination, in which all the reading and spelling exercises were selected by the Trustees and visitors. There was great distinctness in articulation and enunciation, readiness in pronouncing words, good emphasis, and a varied intonation, which surpassed any thing we have heard in any Primary School.
"In spelling, although difficult exercises were selected, and in various parts of the book, not a single word was missed-equaling in this respect our very best schools taught by the alphabetic method.
“I refer to the spelling particularly, because, as children in the Phonetic method are taught to spell by sound during the whole time they read the Phonetic print, it might be reasonably supposed that in tbis point they would be behind those who are taught in the usual way.
6. The second class made the transition four weeks since, and now read tolerably well in the Second Reader. One little boy in this class, his parents were unable to teach bis letters after more than a year's
trial. A year by the Phonetic method, and he is reading in the Second Reader.
“It will be seen by the facts here given, that the transition from one print to the other is attended with no difficulty. One of these classes began the common print eleven weeks ago, and the other only four weeks. No Intermediate or Transition Reader is needed. From the Phonetic First Book, scholars can pass directly into the Second Reader. Our own experience and that of others, show us that children will learn the letters of the common print, without the aid of Teachers, before leaving the Phonetic books."
In the above quotation I am responsible for the italicising. Notwithstanding the success that has attended the trial, Mr. Stone, or perhaps I should say the School Board, will introduce Phonotypy into but two additional schools the coming year. Though for years I have ceased to have a doubt respecting the superiority of the Phonetic system in teaching the first rudiments of Romanic reading, I admire the caution that they show in its introduction in Indianapolis. But I cannot admire the caution that keeps many of the best Teachers of Obio from even making the experiment, when every fair trial, in our State, has shown that not only may we save time, and make better readers and spellers, but that the Phonetic system also gives to children a love of study, a self-reliance, and an early use of their reasoning powers, not given by the old method.
I hope that such of our Teachers and school officers, as can, will visit the schools of Indianapolis, and see for themselves the working of this time-saving system. When
my labors shall have closed in the fall Institutes, I shall be glad to aid personally in the introduction of Phonotypy into the Pri mary Schools of the State.
Huron (not Hudson), Erie Co., O., July, 1857.
INDIANAPOLIS, IND., Sept. 4, 1857. FRIEND CALDWELL — I am at the Capital of Hoosierdom, making my temporary home with Mr. Stone, the editor of the Indiana Journal, and Superintendent of the City Schools. I came here to assist two Primary Teachers, who, for the first time, are using Phonotypy as a means of teaching the first rudiments of Romanic reading. The experiment of last year is continued this year, and one school is added instead of two, as I told you would be the case. It is solid pleasure to hear the children that have made the transition into the Romanic print, read and spell. They read and spell very much better than others, who have been in school longer than they-yes, than some that were reading and spelling when they commenced attending school.
You are probably aware that the population and business of this city bave nearly doubled within the last three years.
As a youth of rapid growth thrusts bis limbs too far through coat sleeves and pants, so does Indianapolis show that she is outgrowing her school facilities. Cbildren are transferred from one ward to another for temporary accommodation. School houses are too small for the accommodation of the pupils; especially is this the case with the entries or passages. Two bundred or more children, withoui respect to sex or size, are, necessarily, required to pass through an entry too small to accommodate one-fourth the number.
The High School building is an old two story brick building, which, I think, was once a Ward or District School building. It stands on a good lot of some four acres, I judge, and is quite central in its location. In that, there are separate entries for the sexes.
Formerly, the sexes were taught in separate school rooms, and yet used the same entrance, as I have said, in most of the buildings. Since Mr. Stone has been here, he has been gradually bringing them together. I think they had Primary Schools for boys, and the same for girls.
Last year, he had so far overcome this squeamishness of old maids, of both sexes, as to bring the sexes together in the recitation room, of the High School, though they were seated in different rooms. This year, from Primary to High School, they are seated in the same rooms. The change has been so gradual and noiseless, that the people have hardly been cognizant of it.
Mr. Stone is well qualified for his post. As a practical Teacher he can take hold and teach in any school, from the lowest to the highest grade. I saw him give instruction in the Primary department; and he has taken the place of the Principal of the High School, who was unwell, since I have been here.
His last Annual Report will give you the statistics of his school. He seems to have, as he certainly deserves to have, the entire confidence of his corps of Teachers.
A FEW HINTS TO TEACHERS.
In few words, I wish to call the attention of the readers of the “ Jourpal” to the importance of an improvement in the mode of teaching the useful and beautiful art of writing, as generally practiced in our Common Schools, especially in country districts.
I find in many schools that it is a custom, which prevails to a great extent, to allow the pupils to write when they please, where they please, and as much as they please; the Teachers finding, as they say, no time to set apart to devote exclusively to the instruction of a writing class, and in so doing, virtually practicing upon that thread bare error, that “writing is of secondary importance.” Many seem to think, and in fact say, that pupils will learn to write without any particular instruction from the Teacher, merely by having copies to imitate. Now, let me ask, is it not necessary that learners be instructed to sit in certain positions, in order that they may write with ease? And how very important it is that children be shown how to hold the pen, even in their earliest efforts to learn to write.
Is it not evident, that the muscles of the hand and arm should be so trained, that the writer gain complete command over the motions of the same? If so, in what other way can the Teacher of fifty or sixty scholars so effectually accomplish these ends, as to improve a certain portion of time each day in giving general and individual instruction to a class in penmanship, excluding all other exercises during the time? While giving instruction daily to writing classes, the Teacher should never allow bis pupils to grasp the pen tightly; for if they do so they soon exhaust the muscular power of the band and arm, or at least greatly weaken it. The consequence is unsteadiness of the hand, and an entire unfitness to execute with neatness or ease the daily task in penmanship. Again, a decided improvement might be effected in teaching the art of writing, by Boards of Education recommending and adopting some one system of writing, to the exclusion of all others. Writing books containing printed copies should be used in every school; and every scholar, after being thoroughly drilled in the use of the pen, whether he has taken lessons in writing or not, in the old “hap-bazard way, should be instructed in the first lessons of that system ; and let bim not leave the first book of the series until he has gained a practical knowled of all it contains, and can write every mark and letter with facility and correctness. Then let each book be taken up in order and mastered before the next is called into use. The Teacher should always insist on a thorough knowledge of the whole course, if at all practicable. A series of writing books should contain no less than twelve books or grades of lessons. The importance of this mode of instructing in penmanship is evident. Almost every one who has ever been connected with schools, in any way, knows how great the evils are arising from frequently changing Teachers, each of whom has a new system of writing, or, more likely, writes without system. Hence the necessity of school boards taking this matter into consideration, and as speedily and certainly as possible, correcting the evil by adopting a good system of writing, and adhering to it, and not changing upon the suggestion of every third class pedagogue.
Cincinnati, Sept. 10, 1857.
JOHN R. STARKEY.
[All communications for this Department should be addressed to the Editor, Onio University, Athens, O.; and to be in time, must be mailed by the first of the month preceding that in which they are expected to appear.]
SOLUTIONS OF QUESTIONS PUBLISHED IN AUGUST.
No. 13. [The solutions furnished to this problem are so various and the results so different, while no one is satisfactory, that we would advise correspondents to try again. The nature of the problem seems to require a somewhat tedious approximation ; yet we think a shorter method will meet the case, even without a resort to the Calculus. The “Salineville” correspondents assume a value for the arc in terms of the sine, versine, and chord. Will they furnish the authority, or the reasoning ?]
No. 14. If a solid globe of glass be blown into a bollow sphere sphere one-eighth of an inch in thickness, what will be the diameter of the sphere?
SOLUTION BY A. SCHUYLER. Let 3 =
the diameter of the hollow sphere.
= the diameter of the hollow space within the shell. The formula for the volume of a sphere is a * D3.