Printed by Darton and Harvey, Gracechurch-street,
A COMPLETE EPITOME
IMPROVEMENTS AND INVENTIONS
PRACTISED AT THE
By JOSEPH LANCASTER.
"All nations indeed, of which we have any account, in becoming rich,
have become profligate: a torrent of depraved morality has, in every opulent
state, borne down with irresistible violence those mounds and fences, by which
the wisdom of legislators attempted to protect chastity, sobriety, and virtue.
If any check can be given to the corruption of a state, increasing in riches,
and declining in morals, it must be given not by laws enacted to alter the
inveterate habits of men, but BY EDUCATION ADAPTED TO FORM THE HEARTS OF
CHILDREN TO A PROPER SENSE OF MORAL AND RELIGIOUS EXCELLENCE," — Bishop
of Lantdaff's Charge, 1788.
PRINTED AND SOLD AT THE ROYAL FREE SCHOOL, BOROUGH ROAD,
BY JOSEPH LANCASTER: AND BY LONGMAN AND CO. PATERNOSTER-ROW.
EXPLANATION OF THE FRONTISPIECE.
The monitor is represented standing with a pointing stick in his hand,
to enable him to point out the best performance, without touching the writing
on the slate, which might accidentally obliterate the writing.
The boys are represented as sitting in the first desk in a class, in
common with which they are exhibiting their slates, at the command from the
They are represented as having written not merely a word, but a
sentence; and a sentence that every true Briton will wish to be engraven, not
only on the memory, but on the hearts of the rising generation, as a tribute of
duty to the monarch, who reigns in the affections of his people —"LONG
LIVE THE KING!"
JOHN DUKE OF BEDFORD,
JOHN LORD SOMERVILLE.
MY NOBLE FRIENDS,
UNDER PROVIDENCE, you were
the first among the English Nobility, to patronize and support the British
System of Education, when in its very infancy; you have witnessed its rise and
progress, till the respectability of your names and characters aided its
introduction to the notice and support of our beloved Sovereign; till the
wishes of a patriot nation, re-echo back the benevolence of a patriot King, and
declare its eligibility for a national System of Education.
My noble Friends! you saw this plan, when its fruit was yet within the
germ, and you supported it then on its own merits. You know that I have not
only had every thing to form, but much to do, and much to suffer. The love of
my country has been superior to the love of health, personal comfort, or even
life itself; and I trust I shall carry on the work, and that it will prosper,
let the cost to me, as an individual, be what it may.
Succeeding years have passed since you first honored my undertaking with
your patronage: I love and honor all that are friends of the poor, and are
advocates for giving them useful knowledge: I cannot remain at the post of
duty, and arduous occupations, without being anxious to express my gratitude.
Suffer me then, my friends, to be grateful, and to hope that the names of
Bedford and Somerville will be endeared to succeeding ages, and that the great
Friend of the friendless, and Benefactor of the universe, may give you a large
place in his favor, for your kindness to poor children: and as he loves all
those who love him, and displays that love in beneficence to his creation, may
his blessings rest on you and yours, now and to future generations.
In testimony of the cheerful, generous, and important assistance, you
have repeatedly given to the Institution and System of Instruction, described
in the ensuing pages, this publication is
Most respectfully inscribed, By your OBLIGED
And very GRATEFUL Friend,
FREE SCHOOL, BOROUGH ROAD,
1st of 6th
SOME apology is due to the
public for the delay of the second edition of this Epitome. The author hopes
that the facts which are detailed in this preface, will be accepted as such.
The reader will recollect, that frequent travelling,, together with incessant
engagements to promote the practical introduction of this system, leave but
little leisure for writing or revising its theory; under all circumstances, the
author hopes he will be found to merit the public favour, while persevering
under a load of labour, opposition and persecution, which has rendered his work
In this pursuit great have been the personal sacrifices required of the
author: but the goodness of the cause has stimulated him cheerfully to make
them. Happily for the public his efforts have been successful; and not only
thousands of children are educating, but preparations are making for that of
tens of thousands, to their welfare, and the satisfaction of all that love
Notwithstanding the diversified labours of the author, the original
institution, the Royal Free School, Borough Road, St. George's Fields,
Southwark, still goes on to prosper. The number of children who partake of its
benefits, are on the increase: and great numbers of those who reside in the
neighbourhood have enjoyed its benefits.
Through the blessing of Divine Providence, on the humble labours of the
author, and his juvenile teachers, this School has lately been much improved:
above 5,000 children have had the benefit of education gratis; of this number,
not one has been known to have been brought into a court of justice. For this
exertion, he has been amply rewarded with the peace always attendant on
welldoing: other reward he has neither sought nor received. He cannot traverse
a mile in Southwark, without meeting those who have been objects of
instruction; one child with his basket on his arm, another with a load on his
head, or an apron before him: and receiving from many the cheering salutation
of affectionate and grateful hearts.
Many thousands of the author's publications have been dispersed through
the country; and persons who mix much in society, will find, that the public
interest on the important subject of early education, has not been diminished
by them. But no means have been found more powerfully effective, than the
delivering of public lectures. However much the author may regret, that no one
better qualified than himself, on the score of long experience, has publicly
devoted himself to lecturing upon it, yet he rejoices in the candour, good
sense., and impartiality of a British public; as a plain man speaking plain
things, detailing matters of fact, developed in their native language, he has
had the honor of being attentively heard, by above 100,000 of the King's most
loyal subjects; and every where he has been received by the people, as he was
by the monarch, and his labours crowned with success. For this he cannot but be
very grateful, and return his public thanks to all who have honored him with
their company and approbation.
Many new schools have been formed, and many more enlarged, in
consequence of these lectures. The plan has also been more efficiently extended
to Sunday Schools; and bids fair to extend its benefits to the remotest parts
of the empire.
The author is sorry to say, that his plans have been in many respects
impeded through the effects of bigotry and prejudice. In the most
material points, the designed injuries have been unavailing. He is happy to
say, that those who attempted the greatest injury, by reporting that the KING
had withdrawn his patronage, have been totally defeated, the report having been
an utter falsehood, invented and circulated without foundation, for the
malicious purpose of injuring the plans supported by subscriptions raised under
the Royal example.
The late patriotic Mayor of Canterbury J. S. Brown, John Abbott, the
Deputy Lieutenant of the county, and a number of the most liberal minded
persons in that city, have warmly interested themselves in this plan, and a
school for 300 children is there established.
The following extract from the report of the Committee, dated Feb. 12,
1810, is truly gratifying:
"Since the commencement of the school four hundred and forty-five boys
have been admitted, and at present about two hundred and twenty attend
regularly. These are instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and in the
first principles of the Christian Religion, their reading lessons being
composed of extracts from the Old and New Testament; they are also taught the
Church Catechism: Fifty-two boys who did not know the alphabet, when admitted
into the school, can now read well in the Bible, write a fair hand, and have
learned several rules in arithmetic. Many of the other boys write a most
excellent hand, and are sufficiently versed in arithmetic to be placed in any
occupation where these important qualifications are required."
The school is kept in the old palace of the Archbishops of Canterbury:
— in the very place where the primitive martyrs used to be imprisoned,
examined, and tortured — there are now three hundred poor and
hitherto neglected children, being taught to read their BIBLE, and to write and
cypher. A girls' school has also been instituted, and a considerable number of
children received, who before were wholly uninstructed. This house of torture
and barbarism is now the nursery of useful learning, and a dark place, once
full of cruelty, is now a blessing to the poor youth, and a central point for
disseminating the knowledge of the sacred writings, once trampled upon and
despised by the spiritual rulers of wickedness in high places.
AT a numerous and respectable Meeting of the Inhabitants of the City
of Canterbury, and its Vicinity; holden at the Guildhall of the said City, on
SATURDAY, Dec. 5, 1807, to take into consideration the utility of
opening a SCHOOL for educating the CHILDREN of the LOWER CLASS of PEOPLE, in
the said City and its Vicinity, according to the PLAN proposed by Mr. JOSEPH
JOHN ABBOTT, ESQ. IN THE CHAIR: RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY,
1. — That instruction in reading, writing, the elements of
arithmetic, and the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, are the BLESSING of every
Christian, and loyal Englishman.
2. — That in the City and Vicinity of Canterbury, there are a great
number of children, who have not the opportunity of education in any of the
noble charities now existing.
3. — That the establishing of a Free School in this City, for
affording education to the poor and industrious orders of the community, of
every sect or persuasion whatsoever, is a most desirable object, and that such
a SCHOOL FOR BOYS be now established.
4. — That the plan invented and adopted, with so much success, by
Mr. JOSEPH LANCASTER, and so highly patronized by OUR BELOVED SOVEREIGN, and
AUGUST FAMILY, be preferred to all others, on account of its simplicity,
economy, and self-evident utility.
5. — That Mr. JOSEPH LANCASTER'S offers of assistance be accepted
by this General Meeting, in order to give success to the work.
6. — That a Meeting of the Subscribers be particularly requested to
be held in the Council Chamber of the Guildhall, on MONDAY the 14th instant, to
form a Committee to carry this plan into effect.
7. — That the Thanks of this Meeting be given to the Right
Worshipful the MAYOR, for the readiness with which he granted the use of the
Guildhall to Mr. LANCASTER, and for his polite attention to the accommodation
of the inhabitants; and also that the Thanks of this Meeting fee given to the
8. — That books shall be opened at the Banks, and Libraries, in
this City, to receive the Subscriptions. And that these Resolutions be inserted
twice in the Canterbury papers, and twice in two Morning and two Evening London
JOHN ABBOTT, CHAIRMAN.
At Dover a school for 250 Boys has been established: — the children
of pilots and sea-faring persons chiefly attend, and were got into order in two
weeks time, without any resort to the rod, by a boy of seventeen. The
inhabitants of Dover are indebted to their generous representative, John
Jackson, Esq. for the establishment of this institution.
The Prince of Wales very liberally subscribed one hundred guineas to the
building of a school room at Liverpool, which is now finished, and contains 500
At Birmingham a school has been opened, and is conducted by one of J.
L.'s young school-masters, who has been, occupied in the formation of schools
for several thousand children, of which are the Bishop of Durham's school, at
Castle Auckland, and the school belonging to the Society for bettering the
Condition of the Poor, in West-street, Seven Dials.
Schools have also been established at Deptford, Rochester, Woburn,
Bristol, Hull, Sheffield, and many other places.
Some time past, he was invited to Lynn, in Norfolk, by a number of the
gentry, and all the clergy of that place. After a lecture on education,
delivered in the Guildhall, a subscription was opened for establishing a school
there, and above 100 pounds were subscribed before the persons assembled left
the room: a committee was formed, a school-room prepared, and a master chosen.
The master was sent to the Borough Road, to be qualified*.
* As to the practical knowledge of this plan, the public are desired to
consider no person practically qualified to teach it, who have not ft
certificate from J. Lancaster of their having been under his care. This will
prevent the intrusion of impostors, whose lame attempts only discredit the plan
in the eyes of such as have not seen the original, or duly investigated its
The school at Lynn is established, and so well conducted, that though
only three hundred children can be admitted, yet seven hundred applications for
admission are at this time on the books.
On his return from Lynn, the author delivered a lecture (by permission)
in the Town Hall of Cambridge. As a proof of the liberality of the University,
of about seven hundred persons who attended, the greater proportion were clergy
and students. After hearing the details of the plan, with marked approbation,
the KING'S deputy professor of DIVINITY took the chair amidst the
loud and repeated acclamations of the audience. The establishing of a
school was then proposed, a committee named, and a subscription immediately
began, which amounted to above 100 guineas in a few minutes after the lecture
was over, and nearly doubled the next day, and the following resolutions
At a meeting in the Town Hall in Cambridge, on Thursday,
Feb. 18, 1808.
The Rev. Dr. RAMSDEN in the Chair: RESOLVED,
That the Thanks of this Meeting be given to Mr. Lancaster for his
That it would be desirable that a School should be established in this
place on the Plan of Education invented by Mr. Lancaster, and patronized by the
KING and ROYAL FAMILY.
That such a School be established: That a Committee be appointed for
carrying the same into effect; and, That a Subscription be entered into for
That there be an open Committee, consisting at present of the following
Rev. Dr. RAMSDEN, Rev. Dr. JOWET,
The MASTER OF CAIUS COLLEGE,
Rev. Professor FAWCETT,
Rev. Professor FARISH, Rev. Mr. HUDSON,
Mr. WILES, J. H. MONK, Esq.
Rev. Mr, PRESTON, Rev. Mr. POWELL, W. HOLLICK,
That Subscriptions be received by the different Bankers in Cambridge;
and by Messrs. Deighton and Nicholson. That these Resolutions be published in
the Cambridge Chronicle.
R. RAMSDEN, Chairman.
Resolved also, on the Motion of W. Hollick, Esq. that the Thanks of the
Meeting be given to the Chairman.
A subscription was not entered into for building; and the committee
sought in vain for a place to establish a school in, till they found the
Friends or Quakers meeting house unoccupied, there being none of that
persuasion resident in Cambridge, and of course the meeting-house unoccupied
This they readily obtained, and engrafted on the elementary system of
education, that religious instruction which pleased them best. The clergy of
the committee of this school, are now the means of teaching the Church
Catechism in the Quakers meeting-house.
The present Earl and Countess of Harcourt, have established a school at
Clewer, near Windsor, for a hundred boys. This school is in good order; which
is entirely to be attributed to the interest the master takes in the
This school was organized by two of my boys, who attended in succession.
The Queen afterwards accidentally saw one of the boys, and noticed him in that
gracious manner, for which all her acts of condescension and goodness are so
particularly distinguished. This lad since organized the schools at Canterbury,
Dover, and Deptford, making schools for 1000 children in twelve months.
Schools are also in train at Plymouth, Bath, Newbury, &c.
The plan is submitted to the country; the same cannot be found in any
other work, unless copied or pirated. Of all the ideas, there is only one
borrowed from the Madras or Hindoo mode of education; that is,
printing in sand, and even that is materially improved. It only applies
to the A, B, C, class.
The gentlemen of the University of Cambridge have now engaged to build a
school-room for boys, for which about 500 guineas are now subscribed.
The author has recently passed through Norfolk and Suffolk, lecturing in
various towns. In Norwich, more than one thousand poor children are found
destitute of any education whatsoever. After lectures had been delivered in
that city, the major granted the Guildhall for a public meeting of the
inhabitants, at which it was resolved to institute a school, and a liberal
subscription was entered into for that purpose.
NORWICH, April 17, 1810.
AT a numerous Meeting held at the Guildhall, in this City, on Tuesday
last (JOSEPH GURNEY, Esq. in the Chair), the following Resolutions were
Resolved, That instruction in reading and writing, with the
elements of arithmetic, and especially the knowledge of the Holy Scripture;),
are blessings of inestimable value to all classes of society: and which it is
the duty of the rich to offer to the poor.
Resolved, That by a Census taken in the course of the last
fortnight, with much care and accuracy, it appears, that, of 1557 boys, between
the ages of six and twelve years, residing in this city and its vicinity,
upwards of one thousand are destitute of the means of education, and for the
most part are in a state of idleness.
Resolved, That a School for Boys be forthwith established on
LANCASTER'S plan, which it. sanctioned by the patronage of ihe KING, and is to
be preferred on account of its simplicity, economy, and extensive
Resolved, That a subscription be now opened for the establishment
of the School, and for its annual support.
Resolved., That a Committee be appointed to carry the foregoing
resolutions into effect, and to report the result to a general meeting of the
Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be given to those
gentle. men, who, with so much care and accuracy, procured the list of poor
boys requiring education in this city.
Resolved, That Mr. J. Gurney be appointed Treasurer to the
institution, and that subscriptions be received at the several banks in this
Resolved, That the above resolutions be inserted in the Norwich
Mr. Gurney having left the Chair, Resolved, That the thanks of
this meeting be given to the Chairman.
At Bury St. Edmunds two lectures were delivered: at the close of the
second, the celebrated and philanthropic Thomas Clarkson was called to the
chair by the clergy who were present. The respectable assembly at the Guildhall
gave the most cheering expressions of approbation, in seeing this excellent and
successful advocate for the abolition of the slavery of the body, come forward
as the friend of disseminating knowledge among the poor, and thereby setting
his hand and seal to the abolition of that ignorance, which enslaves and
degrades the mind. — The following resolutions were then passed, nem
BURY ST. EDMUND's, March 27, 1810.
AT a Meeting assembled
yesterday at the Guildhall of this Borough, to hear a Lecture delivered by
Joseph Lancaster on the subject of the Education of the Poor, a motion was made
and seconded, after the Lecture, that THOMAS CLARKSON be called to the Chair;
after which the following Resolutions were agreed to:
Resolved, That as the EDUCATION of the POOR, by enabling them to read
the Scriptures, has a direct tendency to improve their moral condition, and to
make them more useful and respectable members of the community in which they
live, any plan, which promotes, this object at the smallest expense, ought to
Resolved, That a School for Boys, for teaching READING, WRITING, and
ARITHMETIC, be established in this town on the plan detailed by Joseph
Lancaster: a plan which continues to be honoured with the firm patronage of the
King and Royal Family: and also a similar School for Girls, if the funds of the
institution should admit of it.
Resolved, That a subscription be now opened for carrying this plan into
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to collect subscriptions, to
look out for a suitable building, to open and organize the School, and to
report the result to a general meeting of the subscribers.
Resolved, That this committee consist of nine persons, and that they
have power to enlarge their number.
Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be given to Joseph Lancaster
for his voluntary attendance at Bury, and for the great good which he has
already been the means of producing, on account of his System of Education, in
various parts of the kingdom.
THOMAS CLARKSON, Chairman.
Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be given to the Chairman.
Dr. Wallis, a clergyman of Ipswich, remarkable for the liberality of his
sentiments, came over from Ipswich to Bury (twenty-six miles) on purpose to
hear the author's lecture, and was so well satisfied, as to invite him to
Ipswich, and to make his house his home while there, promising to obtain the
Town-hall for a lecture, as well as to introduce him to his brethren the
clergy, and to the magistrates. The invitation was so nobly given, that it
would have been ingratitude to decline it. It was accepted with pleasure. Not
only Dr. Wallis, but his fellow clergymen, and the worthy chief magistrate of
the town, and a number of the most respectable gentry in the place, of alt
classes and religious professions, joined in receiving him, in a way so
liberal, that will rank their names and characters as friends of the poor, high
in the annals of christian benevolence. The philanthropy of the inhabitants of
the town, confirmed the judgment of those persons who first patronized
J. L. in Ipswich, the following resolutions were entered into, and Dr. Wallis
received the thanks of the whole town.
IPSWICH, April 3, 1810.
AT a Meeting assembled at
the Town Hall, to hear a LECTURE delivered by Mr. JOSEPH LANCASTER,
Superintendant of the plan for educating Poor Children, under Royal
SIMON JACKAMAN, Esq. in the Chair, The following Resolution, were
unanimously agreed to:
Resolved, That as ignorance is the nurse of every crime, and knowledge
the handmaid of virtue: that, as the benefits of our highly valued civil and
religions liberties, and the blessings of the Christian Religion cannot be
understood by the ignorant, this Meeting feels it an incumbent duty, as men, as
Britons, and as Christians, to promote the diffusion of useful knowledge among
the poorest classes of Society.
Resolved, That a School for Boys, for the purpose of teaching READING,
WRITING, and ARITHMETIC be established in this Town, on the plan detailed by
Joseph Lancaster, and patronized by the King and Royal Family, as most
conducive to the extension of the benefits mentioned in the preceding
resolution. And one for Girls, if the fund shall be found sufficient.
Resolved, That a subscription be now opened for giving efficiency to
Resolved, That a committee be appointed, to take the necessary measures
for putting this plan into execution.
Resolved, That the Rev. Dr. Wallis, Dykes Alexander, Esq. the Rev.
Thomas Cobbold, Robert Trotman, Esq. Samuel Alexandei, Esq. Thomas Green, Esq.
Dr. Hamilton, the Rev. William Layton, Mr. Robert Fulcher, Simon Jackaman, Esq.
James Thorndike, Esq. and the Rev. James Ford be the committee, and that all
subscribers have power to act on the committee.
Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be given to Mr. Joseph
Lancaster, for his excellent Lecture DELIVERED THIS EVENING.
Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be given to the Rev. Dr.
Wallis for his endeavour to promote the object of this meeting.
Resolved, That subscriptions be received at each of the Banking-houses
in this town.
SIMON JACKAMAN, Chairman.
Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be given to the Chairman, for
his impartial conduct in the chair.
During this very happy journey, J L. lectured sixteen times during
eighteen days, travelling from twenty to thirty miles a day, making altogether
above seven hundred miles. In this circuit., institutions for above three
thousand children were promoted, and he left fifty guineas as donations to
schools, besides defraying his travelling expenses, from the produce of his
lectures. This maybe taken as an example of J L.'s journeys in general, whereby
the public will readily perceive the arduous nature of his public work, and the
devotion with which he pursues it; and he hopes this statement will be a
sufficient apology for the delay of this publication, which might have been
issued much earlier, had he not been engaged in promoting the education of many
thousands of poor children: it could not, however, have been so perfect as to
the engravings, which will give an idea of a school on this plan, to many
persons who cannot possibly have an opportunity of seeing one.
J. L. begs his subscribers and the public in general will have the
goodness to allow him to throw himself on their candour and benevolence, to
excuse the defects of his performance, and to regard the value of the
matter, rather than the manner of conveying it. He would be happy to
produce a work in every way acceptable, but the public are too generous to wish
him to relinquish doing good, in order to study elegance of language, when, by
so doing, he must neglect many who are perishing for lack of knowledge.
ROYAL FREE SCHOOL, BOROUGH ROAD,
AS CONNECTED WITH
THE national utility of
the institution for educating poor children in the Borough Road, will be fully
appreciated, when it is considered as the first place where this plan
was invented: the local benefits have been great, and it has always been a
field for every new experiment.
As a seminary for school-masters, this establishment has been most
beneficial. A great number of young men were qualified during the last year.
Two young men lately established schools for a thousand children each, and a
lad of seventeen did the same the year before.
The boarding and training of school-masters is a source of large
expenditure, even when regulated by the greatest economy. The Borough Road Free
Schools cost but a small annual sum: but the training of school-masters, being
replete with national advantage, justly claims powerful aid from the
When it is remembered, this plan has a Monarch for its Patron, who, in
his maiden speech, on ascending the throne of his ancestors, gloried in the
name of Briton, and whose care for the poor shews that the dearest interests of
his kingdom are nearest his heart, it is hoped enough of benevolence will be
found in a British public, under the influence of his example, to give to this
seminary for school-masters, and this truly British System of Education, a
powerful and efficient support.
INVENTIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS IN
OF SCHOOL-ROOMS., DESKS, AND PREPARATORY ARRANGEMENTS.
THE best form for a
school-room is a long square, or parallelogram. All the desks should front the
head of the school, that the master may have a good view of each boy at once;
the desks should all be single desks, and every boy sit with his face
towards the head of the school.
Room should be left between each desk for a passage for the boys, that
the scholars in one desk may go out without disturbing those in another. It is
desirable the desks and forms should be substantial, and firmly fixed in the
ground, or to the floor. The ends or corners of the desks, and forms, should be
rounded off, as the boys, when running quickly in and out, are apt to hurt
themselves by running against them.
At the head of the school there should be an elevated platform for the
master's desk, as a convenient place to overlook the school; passages should be
left at the bottom and on one side of the school* or on both sides when space
allows. Children confined in a smalt school-room, can no more be expected to be
in order, than soldiers can perform their exercise without a parade.
No half desks should be placed against the walls, nor should any double
desks be admitted into the school-room.
Desks so placed and constructed, merely afford pretence for idleness and
play, the scholars being wholly or partly out of the master's sight.
There can be no propriety in filling a room with timber when the space
is wanted for children. Desks and forms when of a broader surface than actually
needful, really occupy that room, which, were they made of proper dimensions,
would contain more desks, and consequently more children.
These arrangements not only conduce to order, but give facility to the
master in the detection of offenders.
Wherever the floor of a school-room can be placed on an inclined plane
it should be so. The master being stationed at the lower end of this plane, the
elevation, of the floor at the farther end of the room, would cause a
corresponding elevation of the desks placed there, so that, from the platform
the boys at the last desk would be as much in view as those at the first.
The ventilation of school-rooms is a subject which requires local
consideration, but they should be built, or if already built, made as much as
possible open every way to the free circulation of air.
School-rooms may be warmed by under-ground flues, heated by a stove
which will burn refuse cinders or ashes. This is the best mode. Any place may
be sufficiently heated in this manner without the children being obliged to
leave their seats to go to the fire, but this will only apply to ground
ARRANGEMENT OF HATS WITH STRINGS OR SLINGS, TO THROW OVER THE SHOULDERS
LIKE A KNAPSACK.
This prevents all loss of hats, or mistakes, and confusion in finding
them, which is a common occurrence among a great number of boys. It saves all
shelves, nails, or places where they are usually put in schools. It prevents
the necessity of going to put hats on the nails or shelves, and again going to
get them thence, before the children leave school. These are great advantages
— as, with eight hundred boys in school, they save sixteen hundred
motions, unavoidable on the usual plan, both morning and afternoon —
motions that, before this arrangement was made, produced much inconvenience in
the school; and complaints were made, almost daily, of boys losing their hats,
which have ceased since this arrangement. All these advantages are gained, and
inconveniences are avoided, by every boy slinging his hat across his shoulders,
as a soldier would sling his knapsack: by which means he always carries it with
him, and cannot lose it without immediately missing it.
On entering school, the boys sling their hats over their shoulders.
Before leaving it they are commanded to unsling hats, which they do by one
motion, on receiving the word of command.
A very important maxim for school furniture, as books, &c. and which
must never be departed from, is, A PLACE FOR EVERY THING, AND EVERY THING IN
ITS PLACE. On this subject some observations will be made in the appendix.
The building and arrangement of school-rooms, is of so much importance
in the minute and accurate details, that I have thought it proper to publish a
separate work on that subject, which will be found very useful to school
committees and others, under the title of "Hints and Directions for Building
School-rooms, &c. illustrated by copper plates.
THE RULE BY WHICH CLASSES ARE TO BE FORMED.
Any number of boys, whose proficiency is nearly equal in what they are
learning, should be classed together. If only four or six scholars should, on
examination, be found in a school learning the sane thing, as A, B, C,
ab, addition, subtraction, &c. they should be formed into a class, as their
proficiency will be nearly doubled, by being classed, and studying in
conjunction. A class may consist of any number of scholars, without limitation
to any particular number.
DIFFERENT CONSTITUTION OF CLASSES,
There are two descriptions of boys in every school, those who are
learning to read or cypher, and those who have learnt. The first
description must study that they may acquire a knowledge of reading or
arithmetic. The second, practice what they have learnt, for the improvement of
the mind and readiness in practice.
THE ORDER OF CLASSING FOR THOSE BOYS WHO ARE LEARNING TO READ.
1 Class............... A, B, C.
2 ................ Words or syllables of two letters.
3 ................ Do. three letters.
4 ................ Do. four letters.
5 ..... Do, five letters.
6 ........... Reading or spelling lessons of two syllables, and
7 ................ Bible.
8 ........... A selection of boys who read best from the 7th
Thus each class has its appropriate set of lessons. Its attention is
simply directed to one object, and boys in one class are not to be suffered to
mix or sit with the boys in another.
The children learning the alphabet, as hereafter described, may learn to
print their letters in the sand, or on a slate.
After a learner has improved beyond the first class, whatever
class he may be in, he must learn to make his writing alphabet on
After having learned the writing alphabet, whatever class the
scholar may be in, he must write on the slate the same as he
reads or spells in his reading or spelling lessons. If in the two-letter class,
he will write words of two letters; if in the three-letter class, words of
three letters, &c. &c.
The reader will perceive that the study of reading, spelling, and
arithmetic, are associated together by means of writing, and the methods
of tuition in writing will be described under the heads of spelling and
GRADATION OP CLASSES IN LEARNING TO WRITE
1 - Printing A, B, C.
2 - Writing alphabet, or words of two letters.
3 - Words of three letters.
4 - Four letters.
5 - Five and six letters.
6 - Two syllables, &c.
8 A particular series of spelling lessons, published by J. L.
The order of teaching the children in school should be, to have the 1st
class next the master's desk, and the other classes in numerical order after
it. By this means (the youngest children, being generally the most lively and
mischievous) will be more immediately under the master's eye, and this will
operate as a check upon them. ,
GRADATION OF CLASSES IN LEARNING ARITHMETIC.
Class. 1, Pupils who are learning to make and combine units, tens,
3, Compound ditto.
5, Compound ditto.
7, Compound ditto.
9, Compound ditto.
11, Rule of Three.
THE MODE OF EXAMINING PUPILS FOR, AND ARRANGING THEM INTO CLASSES, TO
LEARN READING, AND WRITING.
On the entry of a scholar, the master should examine his proficiency in
distinguishing the letters of the printed alphabet; if he does not know them
all, he must be placed in the first class.
If the master finds the pupil knows his alphabet perfectly, he
must place him in the second class.
If the scholar can perfectly repeat all the lessons belonging to the
second class, he must be placed in the third, if he can repeat well all the
lessons appropriated to the third class, he must be placed in the fourth: the
same rule to be observed in forming the fifth, sixth and seventh classes.
The eighth class to be a selection from the best readers in the seventh;
they may be admitted to the use of books, for the improvement of their minds,
which the other classes are not allowed; oh this subject more will be said in
On the admission of every scholar, the master must enter the name,
residence, and every other particular relative to him, under its proper head,
in a school-list; a printed plan of which is given in the appendix.
OF WRITING IN CLASSES.
By the usual method of teaching to write, the art of writing is totally
distinct from reading or spelling. On the new plan, spelling and writing are
connected, and equally blended with reading, which, with writing and
arithmetic, are auxiliaries to each other. When a boy is classed for learning
to read according to the arrangement of reading classes, (see page 3) he is
consequently classed for learning to write at the same time, (see page 4.)
ON FORMING A SCHOOL INTO ARITHMETICAL CLASSES.
On the new plan, the first great care of the master must be wholly to
discard the numeration table, and the practice of learning numeration by it, as
it is entirely superseded by the new method, which will be seen when treating
Whenever a pupil is admitted into the school, and has never before
learned ARITHMETIC, he must be placed in the first class. If he has made any
apparent progress, unless that progress be found on examination to be
real, he must begin again at the first class. In forming a new school,
with the above exception, it will be best for all the pupils to begin
arithmetic, from the first class.
Classes mark the gradations in learning; and one essential part of the
system of rewards will be found to be that kind of recompense, which is
bestowed on boys going from one class to another.
METHOD OF TEACHING THE ALPHABET,
AUXILIARY METHOD OF TEACHING THE ALPHABET BY PRINTING IN SAND.
The first, or lower class of scholars, are those who are yet
unacquainted with their alphabet. This class may consist of ten, twenty, a
hundred, or any other number of children, who have not made so much progress as
to know how to distinguish all their letters at first sight. If there are only
twenty of this description in the school, one monitor can govern and teach
them: if double the number, it will require two teachers, and so in proportion
for every additional twenty boys. The reader will observe, that, in this and
every other class described in the succeeding plan and arrangement, the monitor
has but one plan duty to do, and the scholars the same to learn. This
simplicity of system defines at once the province of each monitor intuition The
very name of each class imports as much — and this is called the first, or
A, B, C, class. The method of teaching is as follows:a bench tor the boys to
sit on, is fixed to the floor: another, about a foot higher, is placed for them
to print on. Oh the desk before them are placed deal ledges, (a pantile lath,
nailed down to the desk, will answer the same purpose) thus:
The letter A, shows the entire surface of the desk, which is supported
by two, three, or more legs, as usual for such desks, and according to the
size. B is a vacant space, where the boys lean their left arms, while they
write or print with the right hand. The sand is placed in the space C*. The
double lines represent the ledges (or pantile laths) which confine the sand in
its place: sand of any kind will do, but it must be dry. The boys print
in the sand, with their fingers: they all print at the command
given by their monitor. A boy who knows how to print, and distinguish some of
his letters, is placed by one who knows only a few, with a View to assist him;
and particularly, ihat he may copy the form of his letters, from seeing
him make them. We find this copying one from another, a great step towards
proficiency. In teaching the children to print the alphabet, the monitor first
makes a letter on the sand, before any child who does not know any thing about
it; the child is then required to retrace the same letter, which the
monitor has made for him with his fingers, arid thus he is to continue
employed, till he ran make the letter himself, without the monitor's
assistance. Then he may go on to learn another letter. None but the first class
write in sand.
* The space C, is painted black; and when the children trace the letters
in the white sand, the black ground shows them to more advantage.
The letters are taught in courses: they are arranged in three
courses according to their similarity of form. There are three simple
examples, which regulate the formation of the whole alphabet. First, a
line, as in the letters I, H, T, L, E, F, i, 1: Second, depending upon
the formation of an angle; as, A, V, W, M, N, Z, K, Y, X, — v, w, k, y, z,
x,: a circle or a curve: as, O, U, C, J, G, D, P, B, R, Q, S, — a, o, b,
d, p, q, g, e, m, n, h, t, u, r, s, f, j. These courses of letters are soon
acquired, on account of the similarly of form. The greatest difficulty in
teaching the letters occurs in those, the form of which are exactly alike, and
are only distinguished by change of position:
p, q, and b, d, are frequently mistaken for each other; but by
making the two letters at the same time, the children readily learn to
distinguish them. Then again, they are all employed in printing at once: and it
is both curious and diverting to see a number of little creatures, many not
more than four or five years old, and some hardly so much, stretching out their
little fingers with one consent, to make the letters. When this is done, they
sit quietly till the sand is smoothed by the monitor, with a flat-iron,
such as is commonly used for ironing linen, or a wooden smoother of like form.
The sand being dry, the smoother meets with no resistance, and thus ail the
letters made in a very short time, by each boy, are, in as short a time,
obliterated by the monitor; and the boys again apply their fingers to
the sand, and proceed as before.
NEW METHOD OF TEACHING THE ALPHABET.
Another method of teaching the alphabet is, by a large sheet of
pasteboard suspended from a nail on the school wall; eight boys from the sand
class, are formed into a semi-circle before this alphabet, standing in their
numbers, 1, 2, 3, &c. to 6. These numbers are pasteboard tickets, with No.
1, &c. inscribed, suspended by a string from the button of the bearer's
coat, or round his neck. The best boy stands in the first place; he is also
decorated with a leather ticket, gilt, and lettered merit, as a badge of
honor. He is always the first boy questioned by the monitor, who points to a
particular letter in the alphabet, "What letter is that?" If he tell readily
what letter it is, all is well, and he retains his place in the class: but if
he fail, then he forfeits it, together with his number and ticket, to the next
boy below him who answers the question aright.
This plan promotes constant emulation. It continually employs the
monitor's attention: he cannot look one way, while the boy is repeating his
letters another, or at all neglect to attend to him, without being immediately
discovered. It is not the monitor's business to teach, but to see that the
boys in his class, or division, teach each other. If a boy calls A, by the
name of B, or O, the monitor is not to say: "It is not B, or O, but it is A;"
he is to require the next boy in succession to correct the mistake of
his senior. These two methods of the sand, and alphabet card, with their
inferior arrangements detailed, are made use of daily in rotation, and serve as
a mutual check and relief: figures are taught in the same manner.
The tuition of the first class is entirely connected with printing, but
the second begins with writing: it is needful to mark the distinction. The
business of this class is to learn to write on slates, beginning at the
alphabet, and proceeding no further than two letters, as, ba, ab, also
learning to spell the same on cards, and to learn their writing alphabet on
cards. This is done to prevent confusion, as some of the pupils might be
perplexed with learning two different alphabets at the same time.
The second class consists chiefly of boys, who having learned to print
the alphabet and figures in sand, and readily to distinguish the same on paper,
are then advanced to this second, and comparatively superior class. The monitor
pronounces a word of two letters as, in, to, &c: or a syllable, as,
ba, &c. and each boy writes it on the slate, when spelling it.
In this class they have small slates, on which they learn to make all
the alphabet in writing: this is done, that they may not, when in the preceding
class, be perplexed with learning the printed and written alphabet at once:
care is also taken, that the series of words and syllables of two letters,
adapted to this class, be so arranged as to contain all the letters of the
alphabet; which otherwise being recently learned, would be easily forgotten,
unless kept in memory by daily practice.
Words are arranged separately, and syllables the same: syllables are
what children cannot attach any sense to; and in fact they have no sense or
meaning, unless compounded into words above the comprehension of children in
this class. They have lessons with words and syllables of two letters, before
which the whole class successively assemble in subdivisions of eight
boys each. The first boy is required by the monitor to spell a word in the same
manner as the first boy in the a, b, c class was required to distinguish a
single letter; and precedency is awarded according to proficiency, as before.
In short, this method is the same as with the a, b, c card, only it is
combining the letters, instead of distinguishing them. Some of this class learn
to write the alphabet: others, words or syllables of two letters. The monitor
who sees one, can look to the other, being chosen out of the three-letter
It is to be observed, that the third or three-letter class spell, by
writing on the slate, words of three letters only; the fourth class write words
of four letters: and the fifth, words of three or lour syllables; also, words
with the meanings attached. Each class has lessons, in the same manner as the
first and second classes; all of which are made use of in a similar way, only
varying as to the length of the words or syllables each class may be
IMPROVED METHOD OF TEACHING SPELLING BY WRITING.
This following method is entirely an addition to the regular
course of studies, without interfering with, or deranging them in the least. It
commands the attention, gratifies the active disposition of youth, and is an
excellent introduction and auxiliary to writing. It supersedes, in a great
measure, the use of books in tuition, while (to speak moderately) it doubles
the actual improvement of the children. It is as simple an operation as can
well be imagined. — Thus, supply twenty boys with slates and pencils, and
pronounce any word for them to write, suppose it is the word 'and,' or the
word, 're-so-lu-tion:' they are obliged to listen with attention, to catch the
sound of every letter as it falls from their teacher's lips; again, they have
to retrace the idea of every letter, and the pronunciation of the word, as they
write it on the slates. If we examine ourselves when we write letters, we shall
find, this is so much connected with orthography, that we cannot write a word
without spelling as we write, and habitually correcting any inaccuracy that may
Now these twenty boys, if they were at a common school, would each have
a book: and, one at a time, would read or spell to their teacher, while the
other nineteen were looking at their books, or about them, as they pleased: or,
if their eyes are rivetted on their books, by terror and coercion, we cannot be
sure that their attention is engaged, as appearances seem to indicate. On the
contrary, when they have slates, the twentieth boy may read to the teacher*,
while the other nineteen are spelling words on the slate, instead of sitting
idle. The class, by this means, will spell, write and read, every word. In
addition to this, the same trouble which teaches twenty, will suffice to teach
sixty or a hundred, by employing some of the senior boys to inspect the slates
of the others, they not omitting to spell the word themselves; and, on a signal
given by them to the principal teacher, that the word is finished by all the
boys they overlook, he is informed when to dictate another to the class. This
experiment has been tried with some hundreds of children, and it has been found
they could all write by one boy's dictating the words to be written. The
benefit of this mode of teaching can only be limited by the school-room being
so large, that they cannot be heard distinctly; for if seven hundred boys were
all in one room, as one class, learning the same thing, they could all
write and spell by this method at the dictation of one monitor. I hope the
candour and good sense of every reader will justly appreciate the benefit and
importance of this method of teaching. The repetition of one word by the
monitor, serves to rivet it firmly on the minds of each one of the class, and
also on his own memory: thus he cannot possibly teach the class without
improving himself at the same time. We reflect with pleasure, that by
this invention, a boy who is associated in a class of a hundred others, not
only reads as much as if he were a solitary individual under the master's care,
but he will also spell sixty or seventy words of four syllables, in less than
two hours; by writing them on the slate, when this additional number of words,
spelt by each boy daily is taken into account, the aggregate will amount to
repetitions of many thousands of words annually: when not a word would be
written or spelt, and nothing done by nineteen twentieths of the scholars at
the same time. Thus, it is entirely an improvement, an addition, and
introduction to their other studies, without the least additional trouble on
the part of the teacher: without deranging or impeding his attention to other
studies, as is usually the case with the study of extra lessons; at least more
than doubling the advances of each individual towards a proficiency: at the
same time, possessing all these advantages, it prevents idleness, and procures
that great desideratum in schools, quietness, not by terror, but by
commanding attention: for, as it requires much writing, but few boys can write
and talk at the same time. In this case, nothing is wholly committed to the
pupil or monitor; in the usual mode, some degree of mental exertion may or may
not be made by the pupil, and omission remain undetected: but this is so
visible, that every boy's attention to his lesson may be seen on his slate, and
detection immediately follows idleness, or an indifferent performance. It is
simple in itself, and abounding with many advantages; of this I am well
convinced, by daily experience of its utility, and in particular, of the great
practice it affords in writing.
* It will be seen in the article Reading, I do not approve of solitary
reading, one by one; it raises no emulation.
Boys who learn by the new mode, have six times the usual practice: but,
in the old way, the expense is, at the FIRST COST, 6d. per month, for
writing books, pens and ink each boy; this, will be six times increased, if it
is desired to give both classes of boys equal practice; the usual cost for
sixty boys would be 181. per annum.
Six times the usual charge for writing paper, &c.......L.
If they have not slates already provided, sixty slates will cost
Allow a bundled slate pencils per annum, each boy, at 8d per
hundred ............. 2 L. 3.
Balance in favour of the new mode L. 105.
The many hundreds of respectable characters, among the nobility, gentry
and clergy, who have visited my institution, can bear witness, that the
progress of the boys by this method of writing spelling, is astonishing. Not of
one, or a few boys, but of the whole school. By the practice of writing on the
slate, they learn to humour their pencils, so as to write just like a pen, in
making the up and down strokes of the letters. About one hundred and fifty boys
have writing books, and their writing on the slate, is a fac simile of
their writing in books: which they seldom do, more than four times in a week,
and then only a single copy, which fills a quarto page, each time.
The boy may always make his pencil good by cutting it to a proper point;
this will not easily apply to quills or pens. It will be found where there is
much practice in writing, that a good plain hand for use, and not for show,
depends more on much practice than on the manner of holding the pen; and
that a good body to the letters equally proportioned to down strokes, or up
strokes, depends more on the application of the point of the pencil to the
slate, or the pen to the paper, than on the length of either pencil or pen, or
the position and play of the finger, which can only give command of hand in
long strokes, whereas the most of the letters in the alphabet are formed of
short strokes, which neither reach above nor below the line.
All the school being classed according to their proficiency in reading,
their spelling in this mode is united with their reading. It is a mode so
useful as to need no addition to it, and is complete of itself, as it
stands; spelling connected with writing.
All the classes are placed in regular progression one above another,
from the first to the eighth. Every class is employed under its own monitor,
spelling by writing words which the different monitors dictate to each class.
The monitor of a class does no other duty but dictate, or see that one of the
boys in the class dictates words for the class to spell, the boy dictating a
word, writing it himself, the monitor writing it also, and inspecting
the performance of each boy in his class, being responsible for any mistakes
they commit, and preparing them for the superintendent's inspection.
A METHOD OF TEACHING TO SPELL AND READ,
BOOK WILL SERVE INSTEAD OF SIX HUNDRED BOOKS.
It will be remembered, that the usual mode of teaching requires every
boy to have a book: yet, each boy can only read or spell one lesson at a time
in that book. Now, all the other parts of the book are in wear, and liable to
be thumbed to pieces , and, whilst the boy is learning a lesson on one
part of the book, the other parts are at that time useless. Whereas, if a
spelling book contains twenty or thirty different lessons, and it were possible
for thirty scholars to read the thirty lessons in that book, it would be
equivalent to thirty books for its utility. To effect this, it is desirable the
whole of the book should be printed in a type three times larger than the
common size type, which would make it equal in size and cost to three common
spelling books, value from eight-pence to a shilling each. Again, it should be
printed with only one page to a leaf, which would again double the price, and
make it equivalent in bulk and cost to five or six common books; its different
parts should then be pasted on pasteboard, and suspended by a string, to a nail
in the wall, or other convenient place: one pasteboard should contain the
alphabet; others, words and syllables of from two to six letters. The reading
lessons gradually rising from words of one syllable, in the same manner, till
they come to words of five or six letters, or more, preparatory to the
Testament lessons. There is a circumstance, very seldom regarded enough, in the
introductory lessons which youth usually have to perform before they arc
admitted to read in the Testament. A word of six letters or more, being divided
by hy-phens, reduces the syllables, which compose it, to three, four, or five
letters each: of course, it is as easy to read syllables, as words of five
letters: the child, who can read or spell the one, will find the other as
In the Testament, the words of two and three syllables are undivided,
which makes this division of the lessons a more natural introduction to the
Testament. In the preparatory lessons I have used, the words are thus
When the cards are provided, as before mentioned, from twelve to twenty
boys may stand in a semi-circle before each card, and clearly distinguish the
print to read or spell, as well or better than if they had a common spelling
book in each of their hands. If one spelling book were divided into thirty
different parts or lessons, and each lesson given to a different boy, it would
only serve thirty boys, changing their lessons among themselves, as often as
needful: and the various parts would be continually liable to be lost or torn.
But, every lesson placed on a card, will serve for twelve or twenty boys at
once: and, when that twelve or twenty have repeated the whole lesson, as many
times over as there are boys in the circle, they are dismissed to their
spelling on the slate, and another like number of boys may study the same
lesson in succession: indeed two hundred boys may all repeat their
lessons from one card, in the space of three hours. If the value
and importance of this plan, for saving paper and books in teaching reading and
spelling, will not recommend itself, all I can say in its praise, from
experience, will be of no avail.
SERIES OF LESSONS.
In teaching the lessons in my new spelling book to boys who have not
learned to read, it will be found needful to refer to the root of the words so
spelt as al. ale, con. coin, referring to the radix (in Italics)
every time a word is spelt. For the superior classes an entire new series of
lessons are in contemplation on the print of Freame's Catechism, an excellent
work, against which much unfounded clamour has been raised, although it saw has
the sanction of two Bishops, as being one of the best selections ever made from
Scripture. The questions are read by the monitor, and the answer by the
scholar, which keeps. up continued attention from both parties. When standing
in semi-circles, to read or spell, the boys wear their numbers, tickets,
pictures, &c, as described under the head, Emulation and Reward: and give
place to each other, according to merit, as mentioned in the account of the two
EXTEMPORE METHOD OF SPELLING.
In this method of spelling, the card is used instead of a book —
the monitor-general of reading and spelling, assembles his whole class, by
successive semi-circles, of twelves or twenties; calling each
scholar to his number: so as to begin at No. 1, and go regularly through the
whole class. This preserves order in their reading, and prevents any other
scholar omitting a lesson. At first this is troublesome, and occasions some
noise; because, in the minor classes, the monitors are obliged to call the boys
to read or spell, by a list of their names; but, as a number is affixed to each
name, the monitors soon become familiar with the names and numbers of boys in
their respective classes, and this obviates the difficulty.
When the semi-circle is formed before a lesson, the monitor points to
the columns of spelling which form the lesson for the day. The first boy then
repeats the word pointed to, letter, by letter, in each syllable, and then
pronounces the word; this is the common practice in day schools, and is
found on repeated trials the quickest and best. If he commit any mistake, the
next boy is required to rectify it without being told what the mistake is. If
the second boy cannot correct the first, the third or fourth may: in which
case, the boy who corrects the mistake, takes precedence of him who committed
it, and receives his insignia of precedence: at the same time the monitor is
not permitted to teach the boys in his draft how to correct, unless they should
all be equally ignorant, and then it becomes his duty to do it. This is, in
fact, each boy teaching himself: and it is the duty of the principal monitor
not so much to teach them, as to see that they teach one another. When the
boys, in the circle, have thus studied their spelling by reading it, the
monitor places the card on the card-stick where he can see it, and the class
cannot, and requires them to spell and pronounce such words extempore, as he
repeats to them. In doing this, they correct each other's faults, and take
precedence as before described.
A great advantage derived from this method, is, that it forms an
excellent practical counterpart of the spelling on the slate. The boys usually
spell this way in rotation: but, it the monitor detects any boy looking about
him instead of looking at the lesson, he immediately requires him to perform, a
part of a lesson which he was inattentive to: he usually performs it ill; and
thus his negligence is followed with immediate punishment, by his losing
precedency in his class. It is very important that in all those modes of
teaching, the monitor cannot do as the watermen do, look one way and row
another. His business is before his eyes: and, if he omit the performance of
the smallest part of his duty, the whole semi-circle is idle or deranged: and
detection, by the master, immediately follows his negligence. In society at
large, few crimes are ever committed openly: because immediate detection and
apprehension of the offender would follow. On the contrary, many are committed
in privacy and silence. It is the same in performing the simple duties of
monitors in my institution: their performances are so visible, that they dare
not neglect them; and, consequently, they attain the habit of performing the
task easily and well. This effect is produced from one cause: that every thing
they do is brought to account, or rendered visible in some conspicuous way and
manner. What applies to the monitors strictly applies to the boys. There is not
a boy, who does not feel the benefits of this constant emulation, variety, and
action; for, they insensibly acquire the habit of exercising their attention
closely, on every subject that comes before them: and this, without exerting
themselves too much. The classes spell on the cards by drafts, in the same
manner as they read.
IT is necessary to premise
a little respecting the usual mode of teaching arithmetic, which many of my
readers will remember to be the method in practice in such schools as they
frequented in early youth.
The sums are, in many instances, set in the boys' books, by the
master or teacher, at the expense of much pains and labour: in other instances,
they are copied by the pupil, from Walkingame's, or some other arithmetic.
The boys are, or should be, instructed how to work their sums, in the
first instance, by the master or teacher; they are then expected to do other
sums of a like nature, by the example shewn.
This is to be done by them at their seats; and, when it is finished, the
master or teacher should, and in most cases does, inspect it, to see if done
But this operation of adding or subtracting, for instance, is
intellectual, not mechanical, or audible; of course, we cannot ascertain how
many times a boy repeats his sum, before it is brought to his master for
inspection: steady boys may do it five or six times, but the idle and careless
seldom do it more than once; here is much time lost, and a remedy adapted to
the case is not in the teacher's power.
Again, when sums are brought up to the master for inspection, each boy's
must be individually attended to: here is a great loss of invaluable time.
Perhaps, twenty boys have sums ready for inspection at once, and nineteen wait,
sit idle, or talk, while the twentieth is at his master's desk, with his sum.
Nor is this all: if an incorrigible dunce happen to show up his sums first,
and, as is often the case, "adds new blunders to mistakes, he may easily delay
his master, and the boys who are waiting to follow him in succession, for some
time: and a few instances of this sort, arising from carelessness, inattention,
or incapacity on the part of the scholars, will completely derange the business
of a master, and keep a number of their school-fellows unemployed.
Independent of this, it is disgusting to teachers of any description to
be continually plodding over the same ground of elementary arithmetic.
Sameness, in every instance, produces listlessness; and variety is not only
agreeable, but mostly commands attention. I have seen a respectable
school-master, well versed in the mathematics, have a dozen boys stand ing
round his desk, waiting for him to attend to their sums, while he has been
listening to a slow boy, repeating his sum, till he has bitten his lips with
vexation. To prevent this inconvenience I have invented an entire new
method of teaching arithmetic, that commences when children begin to make their
figures. For the arrangement of the ciphering classes, see page the fourth.
FIRST CIPHERING CLASS.
The first object is to teach children to make their figures. In order to
do this, the class learning to make figures are assembled under the monitor, in
one part of the school, by themselves. It is to be observed, the same boys who
are in one class, according to their proficiency in reading, are in another,
according to their progress in arithmetic: that when the school is ciphering,
the classes are organized on the plan of the ciphering classes in page 4; when
they are reading, they are arranged on the plan of the reading classes, given
in. page 3. On the commencement of school, they always go in to their different
reading classes, and afterwards, when ciphering, separate to their several
arithmetical classes: after having performed the ciphering, they return to
their reading classes before they go out of school. This changing about from
class to class, in which three-fourths of the whole school are concerned, is
attended with but little bustle, and no confusion. It is usually done in less
than five minutes: and the school-room is so large, it will take near that time
to go round it. If there are any boys that cannot cipher, they remain under the
monitor's care, for instruction in reading, while the others are ciphering. The
modes of teaching arithmetic are so simple and easy, that all the boys in the
school, who can read and write text hand in four letters, are put in the first
It is not uncommon to find boys thus instructed, that learn to write and
cipher remarkably well, in six months, who never handled a pen, or were taught
by any other method. Before boys go into arithmetic, it is needful they should
learn to make the figures: on my plan, they learn to make and combine
them at the same time. The class of boys, who are learning to make their
figures, form, in my institution, the first class in arithmetic.
THE FIRST CLASS IN ARITHMETIC.
In the tuition of this class, the boys who constitute it, are not
limitted to number: any boy, for whom it is requisite, is immediately placed in
it. Instead of teaching them to make figures in the order of the nine digits,
as is usually done, by writing occasionally in copy-books; they have each a
slate. The monitor takes an addition table, which combines not only units with
units, but tens with units: a thing in which the pupil's greatest
difficulty, as to simple Addition, and Subtraction, occurs. The monitor reads
from this table:
9 and 1 are 10, 9 and 2 are 11, &c. 25 and 1 are 26, 25 and 2 are
27, 25 and 3 are 28, 25 and 4 are 29, 25 and 5 are 30, 25 and 6 are 31, 25 and
7 are S2, 25 and 8 are 33, 25 and 9 are 34: or other variations of the same
When those are dictated, each boy writes them on his slate: the monitor
and senior boys in the class, assisting in teaching the beginners, to make the
figures, till they can do it themselves. The monitor also varies the table
Take 9 from 10, 1 remains: 9 from 11, 2 remains: 9 from 12, 3 remains,
He also uses the multiplication table, and reverses it in the same
manner: 6 times 2 are 12, 2 in 12, 6 times.
In the same way, he teaches them the shillings and pence tables. The
knowledge of figures which the children acquire by this method is great; and
the improvement of this class in making their figures, does much credit to the
class and teachers. It is true, the class are told all they arc to do: but, in
doing what they are bidden, they acquire a ready knowledge of the figures;
whilst they are insensibly led into the habit of giving attention to all they
do, and taking pains in doing it. By making their figures so many times over,
they unavoidably attain freedom in making them: and this is the best step that
can possibly be taken to facilitate their improvement in the next stage of
their progress in arithmetic.
The same variation and tables, without the total, or answer to the
monitor's question, applies to Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, and the
pence and shillings tables. This method of instruction has also a counterpart:
an arithmetical table of this kind, applied to the first four rules, without
the amount of each combination annexed, is placed on the wall, or other
convenient place. In the former instance, the monitor told the class, 9 and 9
are 18, and they wrote it. He now subdivides the class: and they assemble,
successively, in circles of twelve boys, around the tables of figures on the
wall. They Lave their numbers, insignia or merit, prize, &c. as in other
divisions of classes. The monitor then puts the question to the first boy
— How much are 9 and 4.? and the boy is expected to fell the amount —
13. If he cannot answer correctly, the monitor puts the question to another
boy, till he finds one who can: and he takes precedence, and the badge of
merit, from the boy who is unable to answer the question. The boys in this
class are called out, in successive companies of twelve each, to answer
questions of this nature, applicatory to the similar lesson they have that
day been performing on the slate: and he varies the question: as, How much
are 9 and 9? — Take 9 from 18 — what remains? — How much are 9
times 9? — How many times 9 in 81?
Whilst one company of twelve boys (the number need not be restricted to
twelve, but it can hardly be more than twenty with propriety) are performing
this task, the remainder of the class continue at their seats, writing what the
monitor dictates, till the first division of the twelve have finished their
lesson. Then another division goes out, to the same examination: and they
return to write on the slate. This is done every day, till the whole class has
performed their lessons both ways. This method serves as an introduction to
Numeration, which, it will be seen in the sequel, is only taught in a
ON THE ART OF TEACHING THE FOUR RULES OF ARITHMETIC IN THE NEW MODE.
The next is the simple Addition class. Each boy, in every ciphering
class, has a slate and pencil; and we may consider that the subject, now before
us, relates to the best method of conveying the knowledge of arithmetic to
those who are unacquainted with it. They usually begin with small sums, and
gradually advance to larger: but boys, who have been well instructed in the
preceding class, are not only qualified for this, but have a foundation laid
for their future proficiency in every branch of arithmetic. As the reader will
observe the whole of this method of teaching is closely connected with writing;
it not only unites exertion with itself, but always renders that exertion,
however great or small, visible to the teacher; and enables him to say, with
certainty, that his pupils have performed their business. The monitor, or
subordinate teacher of the class, has a printed book of sums, which his class
are to do: and he has another printed book, containing a key to those sums, on
a peculiar plan, which will be described, and which fully shews how they are to
* Am boy that ran read and numerate a little, is able to perform this
duty as well as the principal monitor. The boy who reads the sum cannot be
idle: if he is, the whole class must be so too: when teaching others, he is
rapidly improving himself.
In the first place, when his class are seated, the monitor takes the
book of sums — suppose the first sum is as follows:
(No. 1.) 27.033
3963 8679 14327
He repeats audibly the figures 27,935, and each boy in the class writes
them: they arc then inspected, and if done correct, he dictates the figures,
3,963, which are written and inspected in like manner: and thus he proceeds
till every boy in the class has the sura finished on his slate. He then takes
the key, and reads as follows:
7 and 9 are 16, and 3 are 19, and 5 are 24: set down 4 * under the 7,
and carry 2 to the next.
This is written by every boy in the class, inspected as before, and then
2 and 7 are 9, and 6 are 15, and 3 are 18, and 2 — I carried are
20; set down 0 and carry 2 to the next.
3 and 6 are 9, and 9 are 18, and 9 are 27, and 2 — 1 carried are
29: set down 9 and carry 2.
4 and 8 are 12, and 3 are 15, and 7 are 22, and 2 — 1 carried are
24: set down 4 and carry 2.
1 and 2 are 3, and 2 — 1 carried are 5: set down 5.
Total in figures — 54,904lbs. Total in words, fifty-four
thousand, nine hundred and four pounds.
* When the teacher reads, set down 4 under the 7 and carry 2 to the
next, the lads who are inspecting the manner in which the boys in this class
perform their sums, see that each boy writes, down the 7 under the 4, and that
they do the same with the amount to be set down in every succeeding column.
The whole of a sum is written in this manner, by each bay in the class:
it is afterwards inspected by the monitor, and frequently by the master; and if
is a method, in particular, well adapted to facilitate the progress of the
scholars in the elementary parts of arithmetic.
After the same method, the knowledge of arithmetic, in the four first
rules, will be easily acquired.
Its good effects are deducible from principle, as well as practice. For
youth to be conversant in arithmetic, it is needful that the most frequent
combinations of figures, which occur in the first four rules, should be
familiar to their memory. Now, the frequent recurring of one idea, if
simple and definite, is alone sufficient to impress it on the memory, without
sitting down to learn it as a task: and, in the method of tuition just
described, every boy is obliged to repeat it, at least twice. First, the
impression it makes on his mind, when listening to his monitor's voice, and the
repetition of that impression when writing it on the slate. When a certain
quota of sums are done, the class begins anew: and thus repetitions succeed
each other, till practice secures improvement, and removes boys individually
into other classes and superior rules, when each boy has a suitable prize,
which our established plan appropriates to the occasion.
Multiplication is easily attained by this method: and the use which is
made of the Multiplication Table in general, as an auxiliary to the memory in
acquiring this rule, is a cogent reason in favour of the method I suggest to
In the instance of dictating the figures 27,935, and any other
variations after the same example, the scholars, by writing, acquire a thorough
knowledge of Numeration, expressed both in words and figures, without paying
any attention to it as a separate rule. In fact, Numeration is most
effectually learned by the scholar in my institution, not from the study, but
by the practice of it; and I may add, almost every other branch of knowledge,
taught in the different classes, is acquired in the same easy and expeditious
The boys vie with each other in writing their sums neatly on the elate,
and their practice and improvement in writing is greatly increased by this
Before the introduction of this method, I found it needful to employ the
senior boys as teachers of arithmetic: and, when their improvement in the lower
rules was desirable, a more honourable and efficacious mode could not be
adopted: but when proficiency was such as rendered it needless, it was time not
so usefully employed as it might be. This [ saw with regret, and have the
pleasure of seeing the difficulty removed by this improvement.
It must be obvious, that if any boy had studied and attained a quickness
in addition and were to repeat it before me, in the usual way, to show his
improvement; the key to the preceding sum comprises the substance of what he
could express: and if I were to take a scholar, unacquainted with arithmetic,
and show him minutely how he was to work the sum, the key out is not only the
substance of what I should express, but also the same of any other teacher in
Any boy of eight years old, who can barely read writing, and numerate
well, is, by means of the guide containing the sums, and the key thereto,
qualified to teach the first four rules of arithmetic, simple and compound, if
the key is correct, with as much accuracy as mathematicians who may have
kept school for twenty years.
Perhaps it is not reasonable to expect much invention and intellectual
exertion from boys, whose talents are yet an embryo: but, when the line is
drawn, they can abide by it. Boys, in general, are excellent agents in whatever
they are equal to: and, in this case, nothing is left to their discretion, and
they cannot err, without they go to sleep, or do it for the purpose.
Here is a positive certainty to the teacher, that every boy in the class
is employed, and detection follows a disposition to idleness as soon as it
exists: that none sit idle while others are waiting the master's partial
instructions; and that three times the usual quota of sums are done and
repeated by every boy.
ARITHMETIC BY READING.
By this mode a sum like the example, in simple addition, for instance,
is printed and placed on a board, the key as well as the sum; eight boys
assemble round it; the monitor numerates the sum, line by line, till each boy
has got the sum fairly copied on his slate. Then the first reads the first
column, and when he comes to the total 24, he sets down four, under the seven,
and marks 2 on the slate to be carried to the next. Each boy in the semi-circle
sets down the 4, &c. at the same time. The second boy also reads the second
column, and when he sets down the total all the boys do the like. Thus they
read column by column setting down the total until all the boys have read the
sum singly, and then they begin one by one, reading the whole of the
sum: the others setting down the whole of the total, and beginning anew,
as every boy begins to read. This is found an auxiliary method, and has been
Every rule in arithmetic is usually considered as a study appointed for
a separate class. — See Table of Classes, mentioned p. 4.
The object of the boys in each class is to study only that rule
or lesson appointed for them: and, whatever number of boys there may be in any
one class, whether ten, fifty, or five hundred, the trouble of tuition is not
at all increased by the addition of numbers. The inspection of the sums
or spelling written on the slate is more, and the number of inspecting boys is
greater in proportion. By the method of arithmetic just described, every boy in
each class is told by the teacher all he is to do: and his sole business
is to do it so often as to become quite familiar with it. In the succeeding
method, the boy's business is to do every thing without instruction.
EXTEMPORE TUITION IN ARITHMETIC.
Each arithmetical class is called out, according to the list, in
companies of eight. To each class is allotted a proper sum according to the
rule they are in. This sum is printed on a card. The eight boys stand round the
sum they are to work; and the board, on which the sum is, is suspended from the
wall. The teacher is provided with a key to the sum, similar to those before
described. Each semi-circle has its insignia of merit, &c. and each
boy gives precedence to any other boy that excels him in performing his lesson.
The teacher then requires the first boy to add the first column, if in
Addition: or to multiply the first figures, if in Multiplication. He is to do
this aloud, extempore, without any previous knowledge of the sum. or
assistance from 1m teacher in performing it. If he mistake, it is not the
monitor's business to rectify the mistake, but the next boy is to try if
he can do it; and if none of the eight can answer right, it must then be done
by the monitor. When many mistakes in a whole class occur, such boys must
practice more in the methods first described, before they are tried this way.
The former method affords an easy introduction to this. The same advantage is
possessed by both, that neither teacher nor learner can be idle. Our system of
emulation enables me to combine encouragement and reward with it, in a manner
more than usual in schools where this is practised. The last method being such
as is usually taught in some schools, it requires a boy of superior abilities
to teach those who are inferior to himself in proficiency. The monitor has a
key to each sum, which reduces it to a mere system of reading on the monitor's
part. If the boy repeat the sum extempore, naming the total, according
to the key in the teacher's hand, they are correct; if their account differs,
the monitor immediately detects the error, when it becomes the business of the
next boy in the class to correct it. On this plan, any boy who can read, can
teach: and the inferior boys may do the work usually done by the teachers,
in the common mode; for a boy who can read, can teach, ALTHOUGH HE KNOWS
NOTHING ABOUT IT; and in teaching, will imperceptibly acquire
the knowledge he is destitute of, when he begins to teach, by reading.
The superintendent, or master, may examine the proficiency of his
pupils, by this mode and the following.
ANOTHER MODE OF EXAMINING THE PROFICIENCY OF BOYS IN ARITHMETIC.
To ascertain the proficiency of the scholars, after they have been used
to the preceding methods of tuition, the teacher places each boy in a situation
where he cannot copy from, or be assisted by any other, who has the same task
to perform. He gives him a sum, according to the rule he is in, and requires
him to make a key to the sum, in a correct manner. If he can do this readily, A
number of times, it is a proof that he is conversant with the rule he is in:
and when practice has deeply impressed it on his memory, he may advance to
another rule. The first class, or combination of figures, is examined the same
way. The tables in Addition are written on the slate, without the amount, thus:
6 and 6 are — the boy who is examined is required to add the amount —
12. If he can do this, with every combination of figures in the addition and
other tables, he is then fit for ciphering. By the old method of teaching
arithmetic, there is usually a great consumption of printed books of
arithmetic; the new method almost entirely supersedes them. The same economy
applies to another expensive article of consumption in schools, ciphering
books: in which the scholars usually write down all the sums they do.
The expeditious progress they make, both in writing and accounts, is so great,
they need only commit to writing a very short specimen of their sums,
for the satisfaction of their parents: and even that is not absolutely needful.
By using their pencils well they acquire an equal facility in the use of their
NEW MODE OF MUSTERING BOYS FOR ABSENTEES.
It is usually, in most schools, to have a muster or roll-call, at a
particular hour, varied at the discretion of the masters. The list of the
scholars contains the name of every boy that attends it. In calling over the
list every name is repeated, although three-fourths or more of the boys, whose
names are called over, are present. It was needful in my institution to make a
strict inquiry after absentees: but, the method above described was so tiresome
and noisy, that I devised another more eligible. As the number of absentees
bear but a small proportion to the numbers that attend, I formed the design of
taking an account of the smaller number, without the repetition of names. To
effect this, the classes arc numbered — each beginning at number 1, and
ending its series of numbers at 30, 70, 130, or any other number of which the
class may consist. The list of each class is kept by the monitor of it, nearly
in this shape:
Number 1, Jones.
These few names will show the manner in which the list of the whole
class, perhaps an hundred and twenty, is kept. Answering to this is another
series of numbers, printed on the school wall, thus:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
The monitor calls his boys to muster — the class go out of the
seats in due order — go round the school-room; and, in going, each boy
stops, and ranges himself against the wall, under that number which belongs to
his name in the class-list. By this means, the absentees are pointed out at
once — every boy who is absent will leave a number vacant. The monitor of
the class then passes silently round the school-room, and writes on the slate
the numbers which are vacant.
Take a specimen of six boys, mustered according to the foregoing
No. 1. 2, 3. 4. 5. 6. Jones. Trimmer. Plymly.
The boys, Jones, Trimmer, and Plymly, are supposed to be present —
they are arranged under their numbers. The boys, Brown, Daubeny, and Bowles,
are absent — their numbers 3, 4, 0, are vacant. In taking the account of
absentees, the monitor writes the numbers 3, 4, 6, on his slate: and the same
as to any numbers vacant by absentees, in the whole class. He then makes a list
of absentees, by referring to names in the class-list. This list he gives to a
monitor, whose business it is to see that the absentees are inquired after.
MONITOR OF ABSENTEES.
The monitor of absentees has under his charge an alphabetical list of
the whole school: he refers to this list — and there he finds the name,
dwelling, and parent's trade of each boy who is absent. He writes a list of
absentees; this list is given to the master, who directs needful enquiry to be
made in all cases that require. The enquiry report of the monitor of absentees
In case of truants being reported, when they are brought to school,
either by their friends, or by a number of boys sent on purpose to bring them,
the monitor of absentees ties a large card round his neck, lettered in capital
letters, TRUANT: and he is then tied to a post in the school-room. When a boy
repeals the fault many times or is incorrigible, he is sometimes tied up
in a blanket, and left to sleep at night on the floor, in ihe SCHOOL-HOUSE.
When boys are frequently in the habit of playing truant, we may conclude that
they have formed some bad connections; and, that nothing but keeping them apart
can effect a reform. When bad habits and connections are once formed in youth,
they often become an easy prey to various temptations, in spite of all their
good resolutions to the contrary.
In the smaller classes of readers it is well to subdivide the boys into
twenties — the children being mostly young, learn to distinguish such
numbers with greater facility: it is on this account that the minor classes
muster in twenties. One series of numbers on the school-room walls, serves for
all the classes in the school to muster at in succession. The time taken by a
class of a hundred and twenty boys to muster in, is seldom so much as ten
minutes. The numbers attached to boys' names in the class-list are all
estimated alike. These numbers are never changed by precedence and improvement
in learning. They remain fixed for the? sake of order, and have not the
slightest connection with the system of rewards and encouragement adopted in
According to the first chapter, of 'Arranging a School into Classes,'
boys should be classed according to their proficiency, on their admission into
school. No other lessons should be taught to each class than those appointed
for it. Pupils should be removal from one class to another, as soon as they are
proficient in all the lessons of the class to which they belong. Thus, a boy in
the A, B, C, having learnt to distinguish all his letters is proficient in that
class, and he should be removed higher, and so on. As the scholars are all
arranged in different classes, many of them will soon make a proficiency by
these expeditious modes of teaching: and, as they cannot learn more than what
is appointed for the class — cannot remove themselves — nor can their
monitor remove them — they must remain where they are, losing time, and
making no progress, unless the system of inspection I am about to describe
prevents the evil. A monitor is appointed as inspector-general of reading: he
keeps a list of every class of reading in the school. Whenever a new scholar
enters, another monitor, whose business it is, examines what progress in
learning the pupil has made, and appoints him to a class according. The first
duty of the inspector of reading, is to see that each scholar's name is duly
entered on the list of the class to which he is sent on commencing school. This
is a matter of consequence. If any omission be made in the entry of each boy's
name, it is possible, the inspection may be conducted well, and yet the boy,
whose name is omitted, be passed by; and, whatever his previous improvement may
be, he must remain stationary.
The monitor of each class keeps a list thereof. It is also his duty to
see the inspection conducted so that no boy in his class is passed by. The
inspector of reading keeps a list of every class of reading in the school; and,
when his lists are correct, he proceeds to duty, but not before. — He
begins his inspection, by desiring the monitor of the first class to bring up
six boys, according to the list. He then compares their names with his own
list, and examines them, to see if they can tell all their letters, and make
them in the sand; if so, they are fit for the next class, and the inspector
orders them to be removed accordingly. Then he proceeds with every other class
in the same way: and when he has examined the whole he begins anew. Thus by
diligence and attention on his part, some hundreds may be examined in a few
days. When a boy is removed from one class to another, he has permission to
choose a prize, of a stated value, for himself, as a reward for his diligence:
and the monitor is entitled to one of the same value, for his care in improving
his scholars. The date of examination, class removed to, prize chosen, &c.
are all entered in a book at the time of inspection.
It is no unusual thing with me to deliver one or two hundred prizes at
the same time. At such times, the countenances of the whole school exhibit a
most pleasing scene of delight: as the boys who obtain prizes, commonly walk
round the school in procession, holding their prizes in their hands, and a boy
proclaiming before them, 'These good boys have obtained prizes for going into
another class.' The honour of this has an effect as powerful, if not more so,
than the prizes themselves. The duty of inspection may be first done by the
monitors appointed by the master, but should be done by himself afterwards.
The mode of inspection applies to the arithmetic classes, and
every branch of instruction taught on this system, with such variations as the
nature of each particular branch requires, and which the description of each
EMULATION AND REWARDS.
In spelling by writing on the slate, the performances of the scholars
are inspected, sometimes by the monitor of their class, often by an inspecting
monitor, and occasionally by the master.
Printing in the sand is inspected in the same manner as in the new
method of teaching arithmetic. Every boy is placed next to one who can do as
well or better than himself: his business is to excel him, in which case he
takes precedence of him. In reading, every reading division have the numbers,
1, 2, 3, &c. to 8, suspended from their buttons. If the boy who wears
number 8, excels the boy who wears number 7, he takes his place and number; in
exchange for which the other goes down to the place and number 8. Thus, the boy
who is number 8 at the beginning of the lesson, may be number 1 at the
conclusion of it, and vice versa. The boy who is number 1, has also a
single leather ticket, lettered variously, as, 'Merit,' — 'Merit in
reading,' — 'Merit in spelling,' — 'Merit in writing,' &c. this
badge of honour he also forfeits, if he loses his place by suffering another to
excel him. He has also a picture pasted on pasteboard, and suspended to his
breast; this he forfeits to any one who can excel him. The boys are usually
much delighted with this, and it raises great emulation to obtain it, as it is
seen at home. Whoever is in the first place at the conclusion of the lesson
delivers the ticket and picture to a monitor appointed for that purpose. The
honour of wearing the tickets and numbers, as marks of precedency, is all the
reward attached to them: but the picture which has been worn entitles the
bearer to receive another picture in exchange for it, which becomes his own.
This prize is much valued by the younger boys, and regarded by all. Pictures
and prize lessons can be a fund of entertainment and instruction, combined with
infinite variety. When a boy has a waggon, a whip-top or ball, one thing
of the kind satisfies him till it is worn out: but he may have a continual
variety of pictures and prize lessons, and receive instruction as well as
pleasure from every prize. The advantage of some prints, as rewards for
children, is their cheapness, and others their utility. Many such prints can be
cut into four or six parts. Every part will be a complete subject itself, and
fit for a prize: thus, less than a shilling per day will afford prizes, morning
and afternoon, for a hundred and twenty children or more, and raise emulation
among the whole school. I hope all ladies, who are patronesses of schools, will
adopt these articles for prizes.
The prize lessons consist of selections of poetry, short stories,
&c. in prose and verse, admit of great variety, command much attention, and
excite an interest in parents as well as children, highly calculated to improve
both: they are printed and sold at the Free School, Borough Road.
TICKETS FOR REWARDS.
By the foregoing observations it will appear, that emulation and reward
are closely united with continual inspection and application to learning.
Another method of rewarding deserving boys is by paper tickets, which are
numbered, one, two, three, &c.: they are given to such boys as distinguish
themselves in writing with the pen: which is done about four times a week, by
part of the school only, in order to accustom them a little to the pen.
Each number is to be obtained several times, before the bearer can obtain the
prize appropriated to it; as,
Number 1, three times, to receive ½d.
2, six times . . . . 1d.
3, eight times . . . 2d.
4, nine times . . . 3d.
5, twelve times . . 6d.
Every time a ticket is obtained, it is booked by a monitor, whose office
it is to record tickets, prizes, &c. The tickets are given, according to
the evident and various degree of pains the scholar may have taken with his
performance. They are given, by the monitor, or teacher, who inspects the
written copies, according to his judgment of the performances submitted to his
inspection. It requires some discretion in the master to choose a lad for this
office, whose eye is capable of at once discriminating between one
performance and another, and of discerning where exertions have been made
by the learner to improve. In small institutions, the master may perform this
office: in large ones, he can only do it occasionally. 1 have several lads who
are capable of this office, and perform it well. The best way to qualify a boy
for such a duty is, to accustom him to inspect and compare the performances of
boys in writing on the slate, one with another: he may decide improperly in
some instances, at first, but practice will soon make perfect in discriminating
and deciding: and then he will be found a very useful auxiliary in a school. It
is as easy to form a number of boys, as one or two, on this plan; and they may
be qualified sooner than usual, if required, provided the master renews the
same inspection and decision in their presence, after they have done; and shows
them every prominent case in which they may have decided wrong, and why they
have done so. When boys have obtained their tickets for writing the stipulated
number of times, they are permitted to choose any prize of value
appropriated to the number on their tickets; and there is a choice
variety of prizes, consisting of toys, bats, balls, kites, &c. but the
books with the prints or pictures, and the prize lessons, arc more in request
among the children, and generally more useful than any other prizes.
I believe the emulation I have described, as united with my method of
teaching, will be found most useful as a stimulus to the exertions of those
scholars who possess no more than common abilities; indeed, it is for this
class of learners, who in general.
give the most trouble, that such methods of teaching and encouragement
are most wanting. The drudgery of the teachers is always greater or
less, in proportion to the quickness or dullness of their scholars: but, in
these modes of teaching, all must exert themselves according to their
abilities, or be idle. If they exert themselves as well as they can, they will
improve accordingly — if they are idle, it is immediately detected, and as
rapidly punished; of the method of doing which I shall treat presently.
ORDER OF MERIT.
Another method of encouraging deserving youth, who distinguish
themselves by their attention to study, is equally honourable but less
expensive. I have established in my institution an order of merit. Every member
of this order is distinguished by a silver medal, suspended from his neck by a
plated chain. No boys are admitted to this order, but those who distinguish
themselves by proficiency in their own studies, or in the improvement of
others, and for their endeavours to check vice. The honour of the medal is a
reward, the forfeiture of it, in case of repeated misconduct, is a
Another method of rewards for those boys who are first in their classes,
in addition to their badge of merit, is a similar badge, lettered 'Prize, value
two-pence,' 'Prize, value three-pence,' 'Prize, value six-pence,' &c. The
boy who continues first in his class, for three or four successive times, is
entitled to the prize lettered on the ticket he has worn. If any boy excels
him, he forfeits his ticket and place in the division. The boy who obtains the
ticket once, must retain it three or four times successively: if he once
forfeits his place and ticket, he forfeits his chance of the prize, although he
may have obtained it three times out of the four. These prizes are very much
limitted to the arithmetical classes.
It frequently happens, that boys distinguish themselves much in their
learning at school; and occasional letters sent by the master to their parents,
to inform them of this, is encouragement for the child to continue a regular
attendance at school.
EMULATION BETWEEN CLASSES.
It is a common practice for one class to try to excel another. The
highest class as to proficiency in learning, occupies the most honourable place
in the school, a place no otherwise distinguished from the rest, than that it
is the customary seat of that class. When an inferior class excels a superior,
the superior class quits its station, and goes down to the scats of the
inferior. When this happens, the superior class finding itself excelled, and
not liking the disgrace, usually works very hard to regain its former seat.
These contests are decided by writing on the slate, or in a book. — The
performance of every boy in an inferior class is compared impartially with that
of a boy in the superior. The umpire decides which is the best of the two. On
which side the decision is given, a number 1 is minuted down on a slate, in
favour of that class: then the umpire, or monitor, appointed to decide,
proceeds making comparisons between two boys of each class, till both classes
are entirely examined. When the examination, which may be compared with polling
at elections, is finished, the number of ones in favour of each class is
cast up, and the contest decided in favour of that class which has the
majority. The industry and exertion it creates is surprising: and the
exultation which takes place among the boys, when they find the majority in
favour of their own class, as well as the manner in which the monitors spur on
their classes, by reproaches, when boys are remiss; and by commendations, when
they strive to excel, affords much pleasure. When a contest of this kind
occurs, which frequently happens, the whole school, and above all, the monitors
of the classes, are so interested, that, if permitted, they would attend to no
other business, while the decision is carrying on. The contest is speedily
terminated, mostly in less than ten minutes. A striking advantage accrues from
this emulation: each monitor and scholar is interested in such a degree, in the
contest, that he exerts his abilities — and, having once discovered what
they are able to do, the master knows what to require of them to do in future,
according to the specimen they have shewn of their abilities. It is a contest
much in the nature and spirit common in elections, but without its rancour or
bitterness, and directed without excess, in a peaceful way, to a very useful
* REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF EMULATION.
I had two boys in my school, remarkable for hardness of disposition:
they were in two different classes; with no other design than the improvement
of two classes, by raising a spirit of emulation among them, I betted, with one
of my subordinate monitors, a shilling against an old rusty nail, that another
class would excel in writing on the slate, that in which he taught. In case it
did, the old rusty nail was to be mine; if not the shilling was to be his; the
oddity of the thing tickled the fancy of the boys, and served as well for the
bone of contention as any thing else. Both classes were disposed to exert all
their powers on the occasion, determined not to be excelled, I lost the wager
in the sequel; but if it had been fifty times the value, it could not have had
a better effect than it had The truants I have been mentioning, were in the two
contending classes. The interest they took in the honour of their classes was
so great, that instead of playing truant, they came to school, to aid their
companions in securing the honour, which was more than the prize. They became
pleased with school; and, above all, the almost incorrigible boy became
reformed, and one of the best proficients, in learning in the whole school; and
for two years after, while he remained with me, no more was heard of his
OF OFFENCES AND COMPLAINTS.
The chief offences committed by youth at school, arise from the
liveliness of their active dispositions. Few youth do amiss for the
sake of doing so; youth naturally seek whatever is pleasant to them with
avidity: and, I have found, from ample experience, that they do so with
learning, when innocent pleasure and emulation is associated with it. If any
misconduct should be punished by seventy, vice, profaneness, and
immorality are the chief subjects: and, I am convinced, that correction is
not always indispensable even in those cases, having known many a sensible boy
reformed without, and that from practices as bad as any that usually occur in
CHIEF FAULTS THAT OCCUR IN SCHOOLS.
That children should idle away their time, or talk in school, is
very improper — they cannot talk and learn at the same time. In every
school, talking should be considered a great offence; and with due care, it
occurs very seldom.
THE RULE AND ORDER BY WHICH MONITORS MARE COMPLAINTS.
The monitor should have a continual eye over every one in the class
under his care, and notice when a boy is loitering away his time in talking and
idleness. Having thus seen, he is bound in duty to lodge an accusation against
him for misdemeanor. In order to do this silently, he has a
number of printed cards with different charges: as, 'I have seen this boy
idle,' — 'I have seen this boy talking,' &c. &c. This rule applies
to every class, and each card has the name of the particular class it belongs
to written on it. On shewing a printed card as above, belonging to the first or
sixth, or any other reading class, it is immediately known who is the monitor
making the complaint, and what is the fault complained of. This card is given
to the defaulter, and he is required to present it at the head of the school
— a regulation that must be complied with.
INSTRUMENTS and MODES of PUNISHMENTS.
On a repeated or frequent offence, after admonition has
failed, the lad to whom an offender presents the card, places a wooden log
round his neck, which serves as a pillory, and with this he is sent to his
seat. This log may weigh from four to six pounds, some more and some
less. The neck is not pinched or closely confined — it is
chiefly burthensome by the manner in which it incumbers the neck, when the
delinquent turns to the right or left. While it rests on his shoulders, the
equilibrium is preserved; but on the least motion one way or the other, it is
lost, and the log operates as a dead weight. Thus he is confined to
sit in his proper position, and go on with his work.
When logs are unavailing, it is common to fasten the legs of offenders
together with wooden shackles: one or more, according to the offence. The
shackle is a piece of wood mostly a foot long, sometimes six or eight
inches, and tied to each leg. When shackled, he cannot walk but in a very slow
measured pace; being obliged to take six steps when confined, for two when at
liberty. Thus accoutred, he is ordered to walk round the school-room, till
tired out — he is glad to sue for liberty, and promise his endeavour to
behave more steadily in future: with this he is sent to his seat, and goes on
with his work. Should not this punishment have the desired effect, the left
hand is tied behind the back, or woodon shackles fastened from elbow to elbow,
behind the back. Sometimes the legs are tied together: This is an excellent
punishment for boys who offend by leaving their seats, and wander about the
Occasionally boys are put in a sack, or in a basket, suspended to the
roof of the school, in sight of all the pupils, who frequently smile at the
birds in the cage. This punishment is one of the most terrible that can be
inflicted on boys of sense and abilities, Above all, it is dreaded by the
monitors: the name of it is sufficient, and therefore it is but seldom resorted
to on their account.
Frequent or old offenders are yoked together, sometimes by a piece of
wood that fastens round all their necks; and thus confined, they parade the
school, walking backwards — being obliged to pay very great attention to
their footsteps, for fear of running against any object that might cause the
yoke to hurt their necks, or to keep from falling down. Four or six can be
yoked together this way.
PROCLAMATION OF THE FAULTS OF AN OFFENDER BEFORE THE SCHOOL.
When a boy is disobedient to his parents, profane in his language, has
committed any offence against morality, or is remarkable for slovenliness, it
is usual for him to be dressed up with labels, describing his offence, and a
tin or paper cap on his head. In that manner he walks round the school, two
boys preceding him, and proclaiming his fault: varying the proclamation
according to the different offences.
When a boy comes to school, with dirty face or hands, and it Seems to be
more the effect of habit than of accident, a girl is appointed to wash his face
in the sight of the whole school. This usually creates much diversion,
especially when (as previously directed) she gives his cheeks a few gentle
taps of correction with her hand. One punishment of this kind has
kept the boys faces clean for two years.
CONFINEMENT AFTER SCHOOL HOURS.
Few punishments are so effectual as confinement after school hours. It
is, however, attended with one unpleasant circumstance. In order to confine the
bad boys in the school-room, after school-hours, it is often needful that the
master, or some proper substitute for him, should confine himself in school, to
keep them in order. This inconvenience may be avoided by tying them to the
desks, or putting them in logs, &c. in such a manner that they cannot loose
themselves. These variations in the modes of unavoidable punishment,
give it the continual force of novelty, whatever shape it may assume. Any
single kind of punishment, continued constantly in use, becomes familiar, and
loses its effect. Nothing but variety can continue the power of
novelty. Happily, in my institution, there are few occasions of
punishment; and this conduces much to the pleasure it affords me. The
advantages of the various modes of correction, are, that they can be inflicted,
so as to give much uneasiness to the delinquents, without disturbing the mind
or temper of the master. The object of these different modes of procedure is to
weary the culprit with a log; or by placing him in confinement of one kind or
another, till he is humbled, and likely to remove the cause of complaint by
better behaviour in future. When he finds how easily his punishments are
repeated — that he himself is made the instrument — and no respite or
comfort for him, but by behaving well, it is more than probable he will change
for the better. It is also very seldom that a boy deserves both a log and a
shackle at the same time. Most boys are wise enough, when under
one punishment, not to transgress again immediately, lest it should be doubled.
They arc mostly so prudent, as to behave quiet and well, in hopes of being set
at liberty from the one they already suffer, which is mostly in a few
minutes. It ought to be understood in a school, that whatever mode of
punishment a master may adopt, on a repetition of the fault, a repetition of
the punishment will unavoidably ensue; this will save recurring too often to
modes of punishment, which are not effectual without interrupting the pupils
attention to business, as the log, the shackle, the badge of disgrace — at
the same time the offenders are the instruments of their own punishment.
Lively, active-tempered boys, are the most frequent transgressors of good
order, and the most difficult to reduce to reason: the best way to reform them
is by making monitors of them. It diverts the activity of their minds
from mischief, by useful employment, which at the same time adds greatly to
their improvement. I have experienced correction of any kind, only to be
needful in proportion as boys were under the influence of bad example at home.
Nothing is unhappily more common, than for parents to undo, by their bad
example at home, all the good their children obtain at school. This occasions
the first trouble to be renewed many times; and many punishments fall to the
lot of that child, who, however well regulated at school, is spoiled at home.
But, certain it is, that, if punishments must exist, such as those mentioned in
the preceding detail are preferable to others more severe, and in common
practice. I wish such were never in sole practice, without something of
a more generous nature being introduced into those schools where corporal
punishment is made use of.
SINGING TONE OF READING.
When a boy gets into a singing tone in reading, the best cure that I
have hitherto found effectual, is by force of ridicule. — Decorate the
offender with matches, ballads, &c. and, in this garb, send him round the
school, with some boys before him, crying 'matches,' &c. exactly imitating
the dismal tones with which such things are hawked about the streets in London,
as will readily occur to the reader's memory.
LABELS OF DISGRACE.
When boys are in habits of talking, or being idle in school-time, it is
common in the Free Schools under my direction, as variety in punishment, to
make an offender stand up and suck his fingers, with the label, 'Idle,' 'Noisy'
or 'Suck finger Baby,' 'Bite finger Baby,' 'Nice Matches' for singing tones in
reading; and 'Tell Talc Tit,' for idle complainants.
OTHER MODES OF PUNISHMENT.
The following punishment is most tremendous: when a boy is found to
deserve punishment, instead of recurring as to the rod, make him A BASHAW OF
THREE TAILS. The use of a famous coat, called the fools coat, is well known in
schools; let such a coat be suspended in public schools, the name of the
offender printed in large letters, that the whole school may read, and fasten
on it the words 'Bashaw of three tails,' also on the back of the coat, and
three birchen rods suspended from the tail of the coat, at due and regular
distances. This punishment is excellent for the senior boys, and will not need
many repetitions. Sometimes an idle boy may have a pillow fetched from a
feather bed, and placed on the desk for him to lay his head on, as if asleep,
in the face of the school. A boy wandering from his seat may be placed under a
hen coop. A Go-cart is another excellent punishment for an idle boy, but
rocking in a cradle is better. Exhibitions of this sort soon bring a large
school into order. Under this head I may repeat an anecdote, but do not
recommend it to practice, as I have never tried it. — A respectable female
kept a small school for children of that sex. Her health was delicate, and the
task became so arduous from the noise of the children, when at school, that she
had no prospect but that of declining school altogether. In the interim, she
was advised to make one trial more: to have a cup of chamomile tea
always by her, and when any child was found talking to regale her with a
tea-spoon-full: and if she repeated her offence, to repeat the punishment. We
may suppose many wry mouths were made on the occasion, but the punishment
wanted little repetition; it was too bitter to be endured, and almost
immediately ceased to be deserved, and the school continued an example of order
THE REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS BEFORE DESCRIBED HAVE BEEN TRIED FOR
THIRTEEN YEARS AMONG MANY THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN, AND HAVE BEEN ATTENDED WITH
The reader must know, that there are in this wicked world many
Knights of the Rod, who wish to perpetuate the reign of ignorance among
the lower classes of society, whom they are pleased to consider "DOOMED to
the drudgery of daily labour," and that "learning to write and
cypher" will render them "discontented with their lot." These plead,
with mighty virulence, for every mode of punishment that can embitter learning,
and make school hateful to boys. The sinking empire of the rod is tottering
daily to ruin, and many and bitter are the lamentations of its partizans. One
of these hired advocates of ignorance, in a silly phrensy, imagined,
that the apparatus of logs, shackles, caravans, &c. were all implements of
slavery: and he had the temerity to misrepresent one of the greatest enemies of
slavery, a Friend, or Quaker, as an abettor of cruelty: these things, which
have been so seldom used, as hardly to be known among the HAPPY children in my
school, and which, when resorted to, are described as answering their effects
"mostly in a few minutes," froze his heart with horror, and almost frightened
him out of his remaining senses. — Neither he, nor the other
conspirators against the education of youth, considered the more
degrading severity of the lash, which these punishments have for years
contributed to annihilate. The guillotine in France, during the reign of
terror, and the rod in the hands of the advocates of ignorance, are alike.
— One is the tyrant, delighting in the tortures of others — deluging
his country with blood: the other, the tyrant, exercising that tyranny in
school, which he is debarred from exhibiting towards men. But these
circumstances ought not to be wondered at, when an instance is to be found of a
lady being actually frightened out of her wits. Ladies in general have
so much good sense, that this case was not expected; yet there is no rule
without exceptions. By her "the rod" was publicly recommended — and she
said that a crown of disgrace resembled the crown of thorns, and, therefore,
ought not to be used: at the same time she recommended the scourge, but forgot
that the Saviour of men suffered the misery of its lash. It does not much
become a lady to plead the cause of flagellation; but what will not the patrons
of ignorance do, when ignorantly pursuing their career!
USHERS AND MONITORS.
The great expense of common education arises from the usual practice of
retaining ushers. If one master has thirty pupils under his care, as schools
are commonly open but three hours at a time, divide the number of minutes in
three hours, by the number of children, it is but six minutes individual
instruction for each child. If the number under the care of one master
increases to sixty pupils, the time is then reduced to three minutes for each
scholar. Assuming it for a fact that one master can govern and teach thirty
children, when his school exceeds that number, he must either do the children
injustice, or take an usher. If his school amounts to sixty, the master has one
usher: if it amounts to one hundred he has two: and if it amounts to one
hundred and forty, say he shall be allowed three ushers. But as assistants of
this description cannot be increased without increasing expense, the more
assistants increase, the more expense will increase also, The economy of
education depends on an efficient substitute being found for ushers: for
at present, as scholars increase, ushers and attendant expense rise in
proportion. But do away the expense of ushers as scholars increase, and if one
master only is wanted, one salary is only requisite. But this depends upon boys
being qualified to act as substitutes for ushers, which only can be done by
simplifying the system of order and tuition, whereby both may be equal to the
meanest capacity, and may consequently be delegated to any pupil in the school.
This has been done by the author, and never was done till he did it. The
consequence is, that as scholars increase, the expense for each individual
decreases — leaving one master competent to govern and teach many instead
of a very few — adding to his salary, providing funds for rewards,
and yet on the whole saving a great expense.
The duty of a monitor as a substitute for an usher may either relate,
simply to order, or to instruction, as it would be of no service over hundreds
of children assembled to receive instruction under the most efficient modes of
tuition, were it not possible to keep them in order. In general, on the old
plan of teaching, the authority of the master is merely personal: when he comes
into school, fear produces silence, pro tempore at least; when he goes
out all is bustle and confusion, and the ushers rarely regarded in his absence.
This originates in the personality of the master's authority. In the army
authority is vested in the system more than the person: — the
station more than the man commands obedience, and the subordinate officer
is as readily obeyed as his principal. The officer of to-day may be superseded
by the officer of to-morrow. An old man of three score, or a boy of sixteen,
gives the command, and obedience, implicit obedience, follows. The order of
war will not become disorder by an application of it to peaceful
OF ORDER AND COMMANDS.
It is unavoidable, on a large scale of education, to do without giving
many commands, and some of a very trivial nature, On my plan, many of the
commands, which would be given by the master, are given by the monitors. As it
is not proper that commands, without number, and perhaps of a nature opposite
to each other, should be given at random by the monitors, it becomes needful to
limit the number that are to be given, as much as may be. It is an important
object to secure implicit obedience to those commands on the part of the
scholars: and, for the monitors to acquire as prompt a manner in giving them,
as will secure the attention of the classes, and lead them to a ready
compliance. The first of these objects is easily attained. It is only to write
down on paper the commands most necessary to be given by the monitor to his
whole class: and, it is essentially needful, that he should not vary from the
rule once laid down. The general commands Common to all schools are detailed in
The practice of giving short commands aloud, and seeing them instantly
obeyed by the whole class, will effectually train the monitor in the habit of
giving them with propriety. Thus, for instance, 'Front,' 'Right, or Left:'
'Show Slates, or clean Slates,' are all things that must be
occasionally done in school. Having a series of commands applicable to the
duties of classes and of a school, is only defining what already exists in the
nature of things, and which would be done in a vague manner unless so defined
The classes should learn to measure their steps when going round the
school in close order to prevent what else would often occur from their
numbers, treading on each other's heels, or pushing each other down. In this
case, measuring their steps commands their attention to one object, and
prevents their being unruly or disorderly. It is not required that the measure
should be exact, or be a regular step: but, that each scholar shall
attempt to walk at a regular distance from the one who precedes him. When a new
scholar is first admitted, he is pleased with the uniformity, novelty, and
simplicity of the motions made by the class he is in. Under the influence of
this pleasure fee readily obeys, the same as the other boys do. None of these
commands are in themselves, an hardship: and they arc well supported by the
force of habits easily acquired, from the circumstance of being congenial to
the activity of the youthful mind. The power of example greatly facilitates the
establishment of order. Children are mostly imitative creatures: they enter a
new school; they see all in order around them; they see promptness and alacrity
in obeying every command that is given: they do as they see others do, by the
influence of their example. Before the effect of novelty is worn off, new
habits are formed; and the happy children who are trained under the mild and
generous influence of the British system of education, learn obedience with
pleasure, and practice it with delight, without the influence of the rod or
cane to bring them to order. Without the facility with which the authority of a
monitor or commander may be delegated, and transferred from one to another, the
system of order would be a non entity. Were it not on a level with the
meanest capacity, capable of this delegation, and yet possessed of so much
simplicity, the new modes of instruction, valuable as they are in themselves,
would be inefficient: and to place boys in stations where they have generally
or partially to perform the duties of ushers with this routine of obedience,
this principle of order would be utterly in vain; and the attempt to promote
learning without the principle of order, would be like the efforts of the
eastern nations at the famous building of old, when Nimrod, in the despotism
and pride with which he built the Tower of Babel, only succeeded in
producing confusion, and thereby founded the first empire of
PAPER OF COMMANDS ON COMING OUT TO SHEW WRITING.
Out. Front. Look — (to the Right or Left, by a motion made with the
hand by the commanding monitor.) — Take up Slates. Show Slates.
— (Here the monitor inspects.) — Left hand Slates. Right hand Slates.
Single. — (In a line.) — Double. Step forward. Step Backward,
Go. Show Slates, to the Master, or Inspecting Monitor.
ON RETURNING TO THE CLASS.
Look. Go. Show Slates. Lay down Slates. In.
ON GOING HOME.
Out. Unsling Hats. Put on Hats. Go.
OF MONITORS WHO TEACH, AND THE QUALIFICATIONS REQUISITE FOR THAT DUTY,
AND MODE OF ASCERTAINING THOSE QUALIFICATIONS.
On this head, the duty of the superintendant or master, will be, to
ascertain that each monitor is fully competent to teach the lessons of
the class he is appointed to. This certainty can be obtained only by actually
examining the intended monitor in the lessons he will be required to
teach. The master must never appoint a new monitor without such examination. I
have known some persons who pretend to teach on my plan, appoint a boy
as a monitor, merely because they judged him to be a good reader: no master
should appoint monitors by guess, when an actual certainty is in his
power: but this cannot be attained without an examination and progressive
series of lessons on my plan adapted to the mode of tuition.
The necessity for such examination of the minor classes is more urgent,
as in the minor lessons, the sounds of letters often vary from soft to hard,
and a number of words admit of different meanings, and are consequently
pronounced different ways. A pupil may read well in general, and yet either not
know, or may forget, after some time, such local variations. If then, he is not
carefully examined by the superintendant, he will teach some words
As it respects Arithmetic, the superintendant should ascertain, by
individual examination, whether the pupil he selects as a monitor, is
proficient in the mode of teaching each particular sum or lesson
appointed to be taught to his class. The monitors of reading and
spelling should not only be able, as scholars, to understand and
perform the lessons they are appointed to teach, but be instructed,
under the inspection of the superintendant, in the mode of teaching, and any
locality which may be attached to particular lessons.
It should be considered that monitors on the new plan are of two
descriptions, some for tuition, and others for order: —
duties which, as before shewn, are in some instances, wholly distinct
from each other.
To these we must add a third description, who are called Inspecting
Monitors. Of these, even in a very large school, but few are
Monitors of every kind are sometimes stated, and sometimes
Monitors arc stated, when they are appointed to attend the regular
duties of the school, in tuition, order, or inspection. Monitors are
occasional, when acting as substitutes for regular monitors, whom ill
health, or any other cause, may detain from school.
RULES FOR APPOINTING MONITORS OF TUITION.
First, the monitors appointed must understand, and be quite perfect in
the lessons they are to teach, as to good leading and spelling.
Secondly, they must understand the mode of teaching.
Thirdly, in the first five classes, monitors may be appointed from the
next superior class, to teach the one immediately below if. Thus the second, or
two-tetter class, will furnish monitors who may teach the first, or alphabet
class: the third will supply monitors for the second; the fourth for the third;
and the fifth for the fourth; the sixth class will supply a choice of monitors
for the fifth, for itself, and for the order of the school. Under the
seventh class, each class will supply boys to teach the class below it; this
will ground the monitors in the lessons they have themselves last learned, by
the act of teaching them. From the sixth class upwards, the classes will supply
boys to act as monitors, and teach themselves; the teachers of the sixth,
seventh, and eighth classes, may be chosen out of the said classes, as any boy
who can read can teach; the art of tuition, in those classes, depending only on
the knowledge of reading and writing. The system of inspection of progress in
learning, as it respects the scholar, is only on his part mental;
neither inspection nor the mode of instruction require any other qualification,
on the part of the teacher, than the mere art of reading and writing, united
with orderly behaviour.
OF MONITOR'S TICKETS, SUPERINTENDANT'S LIST, AND THE OFFICE OF
Every monitor should wear in school a printed or leather ticket, gilt,
and lettered thus: — Monitor of the first class — Reading Monitor of
the second class — Monitor of the third class, with variations for
Arithmetic, Reading, Spelling, &c.
Each of these tickets to be numbered. A row of nails, with numbers on
the wall, marking the place of each ticket, to be placed in every school-room:
the nail numbered 1, being the place for the ticket No. 1. When school begins,
the monitors are to be called to take their tickets; every ticket left on a
nail, will shew a regular monitor absent, when an occasional monitor
must of course be chosen.
One monitor of order, to be appointed by the master, to see what
monitors are absent daily, and to appoint others in their place for the
occasion; this, in a large school, will be found a great relief to the
As nothing should in any case be left to the monitor, the superintendant
should in the first instance appoint every stated monitor himself; he should
then examine the school, to find a number of boys fit to be occasional
monitors: of these he should make two lists, one for himself, and one for the
lad appointed as monitor-general, and from that list substitutes are to be
appointed. The monitor-general's office is merely to take an account of
monitors present and absent, and to appoint substitutes from the
superintendant's list of boys fit for the different offices of monitors.
OF THE DUTIES OF MONITORS,
In large schools, on the old plan of education, the burthen of the
master's duty increases in a great degree, with the increase of numbers, till
it becomes insupportable. On the new plan, the burthen increases in a
very small degree in comparison of the number, and admits of dividing the
master's labour among many, which would otherwise rest only on himself. Some
classes in a school will occasionally be extinct, in consequence of the
improvement of the scholars. If all the children who are in the alphabet class,
improve so as to be removed to the second, the alphabet class must be extinct,
unless fresh scholars are admitted. The same, if all the boys in the
subtraction class become masters of that rule, they must be removed to another
class, and there will be no subtraction class in the school, until more boys
are admitted, or are brought forward from an inferior class. Where children
continue at school for sometime, and no new scholars are admitted, it appears
possible the whole of the minor classes may become extinct, and not be revived
till an admission of new scholars.
In a very large school, more monitors are wanted than in a smaller one:
the system remains the same, only the number of agents for effecting it are
greater. In a small school, some duties may be done by the master, because they
relate to a few pupils or monitors, and are immediately under his own eye. In a
small school of 100 children, no monitor-general will be needed, as from the
fewness of the monitors, that duty may be performed by the master; but in a
large school, it becomes an alleviation of the master's labour, to appoint such
All the monitors should have a written or printed paper of their
'Duties,' which they should particularly study, and repeat once a week.
Those duties, which are the same in all schools, and which apply generally to
the mode of teaching, may be had printed, as see the APPENDIX, containing a
list of things wanting in the outfit of a new school. These duties each
monitor should paste in the books belonging to his class. The larger series of
papers on the duties of monitors, should be read for a class lesson by all boys
selected as regular, or auxiliary monitors, in order to prepare them, by a
knowledge of their duty, for the proper discharge of it.
Assistant Monitors are only needful when a class is more than 20
or 25, then the monitor should be relieved from continual attention to his
class, to give him time for his studies; but the class must by no means be
divided between two equal monitors, both acting at the same time.
OBSERVATIONS FOR MASTERS.
AN ERROR COMMON AMONG TEACHERS.
There is one error teachers are too generally apt to fall into, that of
giving commands themselves, either calling aloud for ORDER, or SILENCE among
their scholars. If one general rule is abided by on this head, it will prove,
that the less a master's voice is heard among his scholars, the more he will
be obeyed. The noise of a school is generally in proportion to the noise a
master makes in it himself. The punishment of the scholars, and the fatigue of
the master, is nearly in like proportion.
The master should be a silent by-stander and inspector. What a -master
says should be done; but if he teaches on this system, he will find the
authority is not personal, that when the pupils, as well as the
school-master, understand how to act and learn on this system, the
system, not the master's vague, discretionary, uncertain judgment, will be
in practice. A command will be obeyed by any boy, because it is a
command, and the whole school will obey the common, known commands
of the school, from being merely known as such, let who will give them.
In a common school the authority of the master is personal, and the rod is his
sceptre. His absence is the immediate signal for confusion and riot; and in his
absence his assistants will rarely be minded. But in a school properly
regulated and conducted on my plan, when the master leaves school, the business
will go on as well in his absence as in his presence, because the authority is
not personal. This mode of insuring obedience is a novelty in the
history of education.
SCHOOL-ROOMS and SCHOOL FURNITURE.
OF THE ARRANGEMENT OF LESSONS FOR CLASSES.
ON my new system of education, there is a series of lessons to be pasted
on boards, adapted to each class, as the classes rise above each other
progressively. These lessons being regularly numbered, should be placed on the
school-walls, on nails, numbered in like manner. The card-lesson, No. 1, (for
the second or any other class) to be placed on the nail No. 1: No. 2 on the
nail No. 2, &c. Each series of lessons to be placed by itself. Each class
to study only that series of lessons adapted to it; this rule must be
invariably attended to, or the classes which are learning will be particularly
liable to confusion. When pupils are removed from one class to another, it is
then only they may enter on a new series of lessons.
ARRANGEMENT OF SLATES.
Instead of hanging the slates to nails on the wall, every boy has a
slate numbered according to his number in the class, and fastened to a nail on
the desk at which he sits. By this means all going in and out for slates is
avoided. But, if slates are suspended to nails on the walls, the class must go
from their seats to fetch them, and the same to replace them when they have
done work. When boys write in a book, (which is only done by part of the
scholars four times in the week, merely to/accustom them to the use of the
pen,) they sling their slates; that is, let them hang suspended from the nails
on the desks, by the slate-string. When slates are suspended in this manner, if
the strings are good, there is little danger of their being thrown down or
broken: so that when boys are writing, there are very few who have any occasion
to get off their seats: and, if they should have, there is ample passage-room
between the desks for them to pass. If the slates are accidentally struck by a
boy passing, they hang loose, and of course give way when pressed against,
which preserves them from injury.
In the new method of spelling, described page 9, it is desirable that
every boy in the same class should write the same number of words in the same
time: of course all their slates should be of one size, and ruled with
the same number of lines; unless this is the case, the class cannot all perform
the task appointed them. The master should fix the number of words for each
class, the time in which they are to be written, and the time in which he will
inspect, or cause them to be inspected. — A fine should be paid by
each boy for carelessly breaking a slate.
In the account of the improved method of printing in sand, mention is
made of a flat-iron being used for smoothing it. A substitute may be provided
of wood, which will answer the same purpose, and prevent some kind Goody
borrowing a flat-iron, without leave, for her own linen, as I have
sometimes known to be the case, and the class in a small school kept in
idleness, because the iron is taken away.
This is mentioned in page 15, and may be made moveable with feet, to
hang the lessons on, while the boys are reading round it. One or two will be
sufficient for a large school, as the lessons are usually placed on the school
wall for the boys to read, &c.
LIST OF THINGS WANTED IN THE OUTFIT OF A SCHOOL ON THIS PLAN OF
LANCASTER'S New Spelling Book.
————————Series of Reading
————————New System of
Freame's Scripture Instruction.
Watts's Hymns for Children, Papers, &c. &c.
Duties for Monitors.
The Method of teaching the Alphabet in Courses.
Numbers of Precedence for Circles.
Accusation Cards, and Cards of Disgrace.
Titles for the Classes, to be placed at the head of each Class.
Order of Commands.
Labels of Disgrace.
Commendatory Tickets, &c. &c.
Slates, ready ruled, for the use of Schools:
Letters addressed to J. L, POST PAID (and POST PAID only) will be
ADVANTAGES TO BE DERIVED FROM EXTENDING THE PLAN TO THOSE CALLED
THE emulation to improve,
and proficiency in reading will be excited and increased more by this method
than any other, as well as great economy introduced in the article of
The real and proper object of those called Sunday Schools, is, the
religious instruction of the children: to this the art of reading is properly
considered a needful auxiliary, and on this principle children are taught to
read and spell, who have not already learned to read so well, as to improve
their minds in religious knowledge by reading. Objections are frequently made
by conscientious persons, to children learning to write, on account of the
solemnity of the day set apart for public worship. But surely any thing which
will command silence in school, and will ensure attention, must
certainly conduce to keep a school in that decorum proper to the day and
As the new method of spelling by writing on the slate, naturally
connects spelling with writing, and this is made the basis of improvement in
reading, it surely cannot be inconsistent with the design and object of those
called Sunday Schools, to adopt any plan which will promote order and
regularity in schools, and hasten the proficiency of the scholars in reading; I
therefore generally recommend the introduction of the new mode of spelling on
slates, and the new books, which will serve so many children, to the friends of
those schools throughout the nation.
On the advantages to be derived from this plan, by introducing it into
small village schools, and parochial charity schools, I submit the following
considerations to the reader.
The trouble of the teacher will be materially lessened, and the
happiness of the children increased.
In a school of thirty children, one book will serve the whole school,
and the proficiency of the scholars doubled.
This plan will enable the committee of a charity school to extend the
school to double the number; and, if needful, to many times more than
double the number, where the population of a parish will allow of it, at a
small expense; one book still serving for the whole school.
Where the numbers of children cannot be increased, their
proficiency will be doubled, and more time left for husbandry, works of
industry, and religious instruction, as such committees, or heads of schools
The expense of writing books, cyphering books, &c. will be chiefly
* What is very remarkable, a number of persons who make this objection,
are in the practice of taking down sermons in short hand, without considering
it any interruption to religious worship, or any violation of the solemnity of
SCHOOL CIRCULATING LIBRARY,
THE numerous public
avocations of the author, prevent him at present from doing that justice to his
subject, which at some future time he hopes to be able fully to do. At present,
be can only give a general statement, containing a few outlines of that highly
useful, economical, and instructive species of reward for the higher and more
intelligent classes of scholars; a school circulating library. He has
experienced, during thirteen years, the advantage of this plan; and, as the
books, once in the library, are school property and only lent to read,
but never given away, one book, costing from one penny to two shillings,
&c. has been known to pass through the hands of some hundred scholars.
Indeed, not only the children have been benefited, but a book has been
frequently known to be read, not only by the scholar to whom it was originally
lent, but by the parents and relatives of the pupil at home. When books are
green away, the expense is continually recurring: if a variety of books
are introduced as an article of reward, the expense will be greater in
proportion as the books increase in size and value: but where a stock of books
are once provided, they afford a perpetual source of information and delight,
without any additional expense than that which arises from keeping the stock in
repair, or making an occasional addition. I have known books in use for twelve
years, and very little the worse for wear; but much depends upon the books
being inspected every time they are returned. Due care and watchful inspection
prevent the needless injury of books, and rigidly observing, that if a boy uses
the first book improperly, he is not allowed to have a second.
The rules are in substance as follow: that every boy who is a candidate
for the use of books in the library, must obtain a given number of tickets, as
a reward of merit, before he can be admitted: that he must afterwards obtain a
ticket, equivalent to a given number of tickets, weekly, to entitle him to
books according to their value, the books of the highest value requiring most
tickets to obtain the use of them: only one book to be lent at a time to any
pupil: never to be kept without leave longer than one week: to be kept clean,
on pain of forfeiting the previlege of being in the library: in case of any
book being negligently lost or destroyed, the value to be paid by the
child's parents, or the pupil to forfeit his stock of tickets and prizes due at
the time of the loss. In the distribution of rewards, one important principle
should never be lost sight of; bestowing them in such a manner, as, at the
least possible expense, will call forth the utmost exertions of the pupils to
obtain them, by improving every moment of their time at school, and by using
the most strenuous efforts for their own improvement. In proportion as boys
have an active interest in their studies, their happiness will be increased at
school; and these principles have been proved to have a most beneficial effect
on the higher classes of the children in school, at a moderate expense.
It is not many years since children's books in general were of the worst
description, with very few exceptions. Of late years they have been much
improved: a number of booksellers have rendered considerable services to the
public, in printing books for children and young people. I have not at present
leisure to give anything like an idea of what a complete school circulating
library should be, without doing injustice to many publications I have not yet
seen: but I hope, ere long, to be able to review most of the publications for
schools, and to be able to recommend those which appear to be the most useful;
and from the great knowledge of the dispositions of young persons in early
life, which the author's experience qualifies him to make use of, he hopes to
be able to point out a selection of books, free from intolerance and bigotry,
and adapted to the youthful mind: a selection of books that will contain what
an advocate of ignorance would not wish, but which will not be unproductive of
real pleasure to the friends of humanity, of education and knowledge. As a
religious book for a circulating library, I recommend BISHOP GASTREL'S
Institutes: they have this excellence: they are SCRIPTURE! which in conformity
to the 6th article of the church of England, he believes are able to make us
wise unto salvation: but this liberal Bishop was not like a modern pretended
(Bath) Divine, who has not scrupled to say, that "merely admitting the Bible as
the BASIS (i. e. foundation) of religious opinion, is to admit
Martinet's Catechism of Nature: — a most excellent little
book, concise, well written, full of pious observations, and the quotations
from Scripture aptly introduced to express the wonder, love, and adoration of
the Great I AM THAT I AM, which is often produced in the feeling mind, by
contemplating the glory of the Creator displayed in the wonders of creation.
For senior boys, The Juvenile Library contains good instinctive matter,
and is highly calculated to stimulate youth to improve in learning, by the good
example of others, The interest children generally take in the society of those
of their own age, is such, that every thing in print, which is like a picture
of themselves,, and the society they associate with, will be interesting.
Taylor on Dogs, is a book most excellently adapted to youth, and both
the author and publishers merit the thanks of every parent and friend of youth.
It is an instructive work, and combines amusement with information; it
that kind treatment of animals, which every human mind will rejoice to
see become more general. This valuable book is sought after with avidity by all
the pupils in the circulating library, Borough Road. Books like this, sacred to
humanity, will always be received with pleasure, and read with delight by
children, and by the friends of young people as well as themselves. This
little work is fitted for persons of every age, from eight or nine, to fifty
years of age. It is chiefly a collection of matter of facts. But the honey
dew of pure benevolence is largely shed over them all. The Wonders of
the Horse, by the same author, is a similar and excellent publication.
The Grammar of Geography, is another excellent little book, it is
multum in parvo, and constituted better for a school book then a
library, but excellent for both. The Vocabulary of Proper Names at the end of
it, with the pronunciation occasionally attached, is a very useful addition to
it. A correct vocabulary on a larger scale, but on the same principle, will be
a desideratum. It is with pleasure I turn to the publications of the
amiable and benevolent Priscilla Wakefield: "all her works, indeed, are
sterling;" the intelligence and good sense which mark their real worth, while
they bespeak the dignity of her mind, present a powerful contrast to the
narrowness of soul, which distinguishes one of her contemporary writers, who
"flames away in the van of some bookseller's shop," and whose jealousy that her
sixpenny sales shall be injured by the excellent publications of others, makes
her cry, 'the church in danger!' when, in reality, it is only her halfpenny,
penny, and sixpenny bookmaking craft that is in danger. Compared with such
inhabitants of the Land of Narrow Souls as these, Priscilla Wakefield shines by
the power of contrast. Her Juvenile Travellers, her Family Tour in
the British Empire; her Excursions in North America; with other
works I have not time at present more than to glance my eye over, command the
gratitude of those who are friends of rich and poor. Mental
Improvements, 2 vols. and Juvenile Anecdotes, 2 vols. are
publications of hers, worthy a place in every library, and in every family. The
pious Lindley Murray's Power of Religion on the Mind, and Elizabeth
Andrew's Beauties of Sturm's Reflections on the Works of God, are both
well known and highly useful. May that usefulness become universal, and may
their authors and compilers have long to reflect with pleasure on the useful
application of their talents, being productive of much good. The Grammar of
History, an excellent publication has an essay on artificial memory, and a
most useful vocabulary attached: the excellencies of this little publication
are of the same nature as the Grammar of Geography before noticed, and equally
appropriate to its respective object. The Book of Trades, or Library
of Useful Arts is another book worthy of a place in any school library.
The History of Discoveries and Inventions, the Wonders of the Microscope,
and the Wonders of the Telescope are both excellent publications. The best
proof of their being well written is, that they are eagerly sought after and
readily understood. The British Nepos, by Mayor, the Naval Plutarch,
the British Neptune, by Dr. Burney, are all books, which once brought into
a library, may be considered as capital, invested in a stock of rewards, which
do good among the scholars in a ratio similar to that of compound interest. I
do not mean by the few books that I have instanced, to say that I have at all
been able to do that full justice I wish, in giving my humble tribute to the
merit of their authors, and to recommend the sale of useful publications. The
collection of books we have is chiefly composed of publications presented to
the school library as gifts: I have therefore had a much greater opportunity of
investigating their merits than any others. But 1 hope speedily to form my
school library on a much larger scale, and in so doing, I shall have an
opportunity of examining every book that is admitted into it, as 1 have always
done hitherto. As I intend to make my remarks at the time of inspecting them,
and to examine their effect on those who peruse them, I shall have an
opportunity afforded, on the ground of fact, to recommend, in a treatise to be
published expressly on books for children, those which I find to have the best
effects, with the fewest of those errors, which are the lot of human infirmity,
and of which the wisest and best among men are too sensible, to desire to claim
an exemption from weakness intermixed with the radix and nature of our
THE reader is respectfully
informed, that the ROYAL FREE SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, Borough Road, contains near TWO
HUNDRED GIRLS, and needs nothing but public subscriptions to extend it to FIVE
HUNDRED GIRLS, under the care of ONE MISTRESS. This has afforded opportunity to
bring to perfection, by various experiments, a new plan of instruction in
needlework, which enables girls to instruct each other, acting as monitors; and
simplifies the plan of tuition in needlework as much as the modes of
instruction in reading, writing, &c. (detailed in the preceding parts of
this epitome) simplify the means of imparting useful knowledge. It is an easy
thing to make children the instructors of others: many have long done so; but
to bring down the object of instruction to a level with the capacity of the
juvenile teachers, is a more important concern; and without it, mere
agency will often be worse than mere nonsense. The consequence of these
plans, successfully applied to needlework, has been, that any child may be
made capable of communicating instruction as well as the governess of a
school herself. That the female superintendant of a school may as easily
oversee the work as the tuition of 300 children: that materials
for work will be always at command at a very small expense, not exceeding
2s. each child for twelve months, when nine years of age, and that this
is not merely a solitary instance of great local good, but a benefaction as far
as example goes, by the introduction of a new and useful plan of female
instruction to all the schools in the empire, in which it may be adopted.
This undertaking has been entered into, and completed; and as there
is not any person in the country yet acquainted with this plan, it is time,
for the general good, that it was extensively made known. Accordingly a
publication is at press which will answer this purpose. MARY LANCASTER, the
sister of the author of the British System of Education for Boys, superintends
the INSTITUTION for TRAINING SCHOOL MISTRESSES in the knowledge of this plan,
to which the GOVERNESS of the girls' school gives every facility in her
It was soon seen, in the earliest stages of the institution, that the
plan for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, was as applicable to girls
as boys — one mistress could teach 200 girls: but a difficulty arose as to
needlework, which in the end has been finally adapted to the same principles as
form the basis of the system of instruction in useful learning, This was a work
of labour and difficulty, but has now been completely accomplished.
What is more remarkable, it is as applicable to instruction in cutting
out garments, that essential part of female education, as it is to sewing, or
any other kind of needlework. It not only furnishes the means of instruction,
but it also furnishes the material to be made use of in learning, at an expense
next to nothing, and in the power of every body to obtain.
EXPLANATION OF THE PLATES.
The parallelogram at the head of the school, represents the platform, on
which the master's desk is placed.
The numbers represent the classes of children as seated in the order of
their proficiency in learning.
The surface of the form and desks are represented in the plan as nearly
filled with boys, occupied in writing on their slates: the boys are represented
at the desks.
There is a dot at the front of each desk in every class, intended to
represent the monitor of the class, whose business is to move up and down the
desks, and examine the performance and progress of the boys in writing on their
PLACES FOR BOYS WHEN GOING OUT TO READ.
The spaces marked thus (..........) represent places where boys stand in
drafts, with each draft under its respective monitor, when going out of their
seats to read. There are eight of these drafts, one from each class. In every
class a vacancy is left at the desks, where there are no dots, representing the
vacant space left unoccupied by boys who are gone out to reading, &c.
On the other side of the school-room is represented blank semi-eircles,
which are reading stations, where boys stand when reading.
The blank spaces thus, (___________) represent the place where, on the
ringing of a bell, the boys return from their reading stations,
and form into single file, in which order they return round the
school-room, going into their respective classes, and fill up every seat. These
movements diversify the scene of school duties: and while they inspire the
children with energy, by the activity they create, add liveliness to the scene,
and contribute to the health as well as the happiness of the children, who are
never confined for two or three hours together to one seat.
The passages round the school-room, and between every form, and the desk
behind it, contribute greatly to the order and activity of the school.
Is the same as number 1, only that the boys are represented standing at
their reading stations.
Is a representation of boys reading a lesson, on the plan of one book
serving for a whole school.
The monitor with a pointing stick, pointing out part of the same.
Is a representation of the boys at eight stations, generally called
reading stations: but equally applicable to reading, spelling, or
Here are 56 boys represented as leading at eight lessons, only worth
about two-pence each, exclusive of the mill-boaid they are pasted on; when they
are done, and returned to their seats to practice writing on the slate, or to
spell, by writing, or to write sentences from Scripture, another 56 may use the
same lessons, and then another: so that above 300 boys may read or spell at
eight lessons, in a single morning, and have the full advantage of 300 books,
costing as many shillings: a fair, but very low average for an expense of paper
and printing, not exceeding sixteen-pence.
(AN ERROR TO BE AVOIDED,)
Is a representation of the disorderly manner in which children are
suffered to stand to learn their lessons at some schools, where my plan is
The reader is requested to contrast this with No. 4, and he will see the
listlessness and inattention which is suffered to prevail by incompetent
teachers. Here every eye seems turned from the lesson; when in No. 4, every eye
is fixed upon it.
In the back ground, are boys sitting with their books in the common
manner of schools, each child having a book, and wearing and tearing the whole
book, that he may have the use of only one lesson, and use that in a very
Printed at the Royal Free School Press, Borough Road,
Southwark, by J. Lancaster.