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The Chairman stated, that in the internal regulations of a Sunday School, it should be a maxim, both as it respected rewards and punishments: Be sparing. If rewards were too plentifully bestowed, they would soon be reckoned as of little value, and cease to act as a stimulus to exertion. In the School which he superintended, besides the regular rewards of tickets and tracts, there had been once, about three years after the School was established, a grand reward day appointed. Notice of this was given a long time before the rewards were distributed, and a paper stuck up in a conspicuous situation, with a statement of the merits which would be rewarded.
1st. Reward.-Good Behaviour. Including regularity of attendance, and good conduct in School, in chapel, and at home. 2d. Reward. Scriptural subjects, and attention to sermons. Including the weekly subjects from the Bible, progress in understanding the scriptures, and endeavours to remember the sermons and addresses which they heard. This applies chiefly to the Bible and Testament classes.
3d. Reward.-Progress in learning. Including reading and spelling, prayers, hymns, and catechism.
No child to have any reward unless he can say correctly.
The teachers having kept a regular account of their scholars, when the time for distributing the rewards was nearly arrived, they gave a list of the names of the children in each class who deserved rewards to the superintendent, and pointed out some book which they thought most suitable to the scholar's disposition, and most likely to do him good. One evening was appropriated to the distribution of these rewards, and the superintendent addressed the children as he gave them away. The name of the child was written on the cover, with a statement of his merits and the date, as for example: "Samuel Sobermind. This book is given to him as a reward for his good behaviour in Sunday School, 1st January, 1814. David Diligence superintendant.*
A friend stated that in giving rewards, we should endeavour to steer clear of any thing which would beget pride. Most Schools were in the habit of circulating tickets with texts of scripture on them; these were like so many notes of hand payable on demand, and appeared far better than medals, merit tickets, and marks of honour round the neck. These tickets conveyed with them the word and the will of the Most High, and the children purchase with them serious tracts and books.
* We received a few additional particulars since the meeting, but thought it best to insert them together.-Editor.
If the periods of transferring the tickets were less frequent than is commonly the case, it might be beneficial, as the children would then accuinulate a larger stock. It was proper that some evening in the week should be appointed for receiving the tickets, that the Christian Sabbath might not be suffered to resemble a market day. Particular care should be taken when the children receive the reward tracts or books, to ascertain that they are read and understood; and it would be advisable to appoint a reward to those children who could give the best account of the books they had received.
A superintendent stated, that in his school he had abolished rewards. In a School to which he formerly belonged, two plaus of reward had been adopted. The plan of tickets had been tried, but a very great evil was found from the children passing the tickets for money, and bartering them among themselyes. Also the children demanded them as a right, instead of coming in an humble way to ask for them. The plan which had been adopted to supersede tickets was this : each teacher as provided with a book, on one side was a space for good marks, and the other for bad marks. At the end of the quarter these were cast up, and the first seven or eight children who had most good marks were rewarded according to their number. However, some of the children whose number of marks was Nearly equal to the children who received rewards, felt much dissatisfaction. His present plan was, if a child comes constantly, to reward him by letting him come to writing and cyphering in the week. 'l'he good child is rewarded by being continued in the school, the bad child is punished by being turned out.
The chairman stated, that the plan of tickets (even where as many as twelve were necessary to purchase a penny book), pressed very heavily on the finances of a Sunday School. He thought that peculiar care should be taken to suit the rewards to the minds and characters of those who received them; and that in the Bible and Testament classes, the improvement of the understanding should claim a higher reward than merely storing the memory. He suggested that bad behaviour, lateDese, or irregularity of attendance, and neglect of learning should be punished by the deprivation of reward. Every child who had behaved well, and continued in the School three Fears, should on quitting it receive a Bible.
A teacher stated, that a circulating library afforded one of the best plans of bestowing rewards. Those children whose behaviour and improvement deserved it, received a ticket for the library, which contained many serious, interesting, and instructive works.
A friend said, that bartering the tickets might be prevented by keeping a check account in the class book.
A teacher objected to that system which would exclude rewards. Reward sweetened labour. Though improper uses had been made of rewards, this was no reason why they should be discontinued. He was convinced, that if punishments were less used, and rewards more frequently bestowed, the children would respect their teachers more, and make greater progress in learning
On SUNDAY Schools in COUNTRY VILLAGES. SIR, 1 was much pleased with the request of your correspondent, Jazer, concerning the best method of establishing Sunday Schools in country villages. This is a subject upon which I wish to gain all the information I possibly can, and, I trust, your useful Magazine will be made a means of imparting the desired information, and also of removing some of the difficulties that attend these institutions. Having bad a considerable acquaintance with these things, I have taken liberty to say a little on the subject.
I believe, then, that the establishment of Sunday Schools in country villages would be greatly facilitated, if the Sunday School Union would condescend to keep on sale a supply of bibles and testaments, in sheets, or in volumes, which, to prevent expence, might be half bound. Being parted in the middle of a chapter causes no material inconvenience; they would not, therefore, require to be printed in any different way, in order to suit a division, but simply in the usual manner, and bound in such a number of parts as should be thought best. Probably a proper arrangement for these schools would be, to divide the old testament into four, and the new testament into two parts.
Volumes in this manner are found to be sufficiently large *, and to be more engaging to the minds of children; they also are less cumbersoine, and on that account not so liable to be damaged or worn out; and when a class has read one volume, they easily exchange with another class. In small schools one half of a class reads the first volume, and the other half the second, &c.
* I have seen them used in smaller divisions without any inconvenience.
The first expence would, by this means, be greatly reduced, and this is a very important poiot; for it often happens that people in country villages, at least those who are zealous for these institutions, are of the poorer sort. I lately knew an instance in a village where a snítable room and seats were procured, and a sufficient number of persons offer their services as gratuitous teachers, but on account of the expence the design was laid aside.
Another, and a most important advantage would be, that people in country villages would be able, with comfort and convenience, to get a supply of proper Sunday School books; and this would be a very great benefit indeed. I believe, sir, people who dwell in large towns, and who are conversa nt with books, cau scarce form an idea of the difficulties, disappointments, and waste of time to which country people are exposed, in their endeavours to procure Sunday School books. The first books indeed are now easy to be procured, the Sunday School Union having happily removed the difficulties in this respect; but with regard to bibles and testaments, the difficulties, in general, remain as strong as ever.
Suppose a plain country man, who has a zeal for the good of his fellow-creatures, by reading your Magazine, or by some other means, gets to see into the value of these institutions. He immediately enters into the spirit of the work,-he converses with his neighbours,-a spirit of enterprize is stirred up,—1 room is fixed upon, and seats are provided. But, alas ! the great task is to provide books. With regard to first books, their anxieties are removed, they have confidence in the Sunday School Union, and can depend upon being well and properly supplied. But bibles and testaments are wanted. They scaice know how or where to procure them ;--their family calls, in general, require all their time and attendance ;--the sum of money required is also beyond their reach ; application is made to the more wealthy neighbours, but these, their own children being educated, have perhaps no further zeal.: What can now be done? Some, perhaps, have zeal enough to involve themselves iu debt to accomplish the charity, and the books, after many difficulties and disappointments, are at lengtlı procured. *
Having never been accustomed to these matters, they have no knowledge of the best manner of laying them in, nor of
Sanday Schools requiring assistance, should apply for Spelling Books and Testaments to the Society for the support and encouragement of Sunday Schools throughout the British Dominions.-Secretary, Mr. Thomas Smith, Little Moorfields,
dividing them into parts; the consequence is, that the debt is heavy, and the bibles and testaments, though expensive, are in general of the worst kind, the paper almost brown, and the print scarcely legible; the teachers are hereby often wearied, their eyesight injured, their labours frustrated, and the progress of the children greatly obstructed.
These are serious grievances, and call loudly on the friends of mankind for redress; and to whom can these people look for help but to those noble institutions, the Sunday School Union, the Society for the support and encouragement of Sunday Schools, and the British and Foreign Bible Society.
If these friends of mankind would condescend to take this matter into consideration, they nught, without any material difficulty, form an establishment for selling bibles and testainents in parts, upon the plan on which the Sunday School Union supplies spelling-books. This would be productive much good; the establishment of Sunday Schools in country villages would be greatly promoted, obstacles would be removed, grievances redressed, and their own funds not at all injured.
These remarks are not the fruits of speculative reasoning, but are taken from actual observation and experience; for having been often called upon to assist in opening and establishing village Sunday Schools, I have witnessed these things in their full extent, and am of opinion that many talents would hereby be called into action, which through difficulties now lie buried.
A measure of this kind also appears to meet the views of all these societies. The two former, by smoothing the way for others, would be instrumental in promoting Sunday Schools in places to which their personal exertions cannot as yet extend; and the noble views of the latter would be accomplished by the circulation of the scriptures in so useful a manner.
The bibles and testaments issued by the Bible Society are always of a good quality; they might, therefore, without difficulty, furnish a constant supply, and if the Sunday School Union would condescend to undertake the sale, the establishment would be complete. An arrangement might then be made for selling them at stated prices, in sheets, or in volumes bound to order.
People in country villages would reap great advantage from an establishment of this kind. Their anxieties would be removed, and their minds delightfully set at rest. They could look with contidence to the Sunday School Union, and could depend upon being supplied with a full complement of proper Sunday School books, in a regular way, and of a good quality.