« PreviousContinue »
the members would read, recite, or make short speeches; when the speaker had concluded, the others would criticize him. If he had pronounced a word incorrectly, some one would tell him of it; if he had failed to catch the author's meaning, the other members would give their opinions upon the passage, and so on. It may be urged, perhaps, that this personal criticism would be likely to excite illwill; such, however, is very seldom the case, and a judicious chairman would have no difficulty in maintaining a kindly feeling among the members. Where it is possible, the teacher of the Bible class should be the president of the elocution class.
A Manuscript Magazine is a valuable auxiliary to an elocution class; it might be issued monthly or quarterly. In the class the members would learn pronunciation, and acquire a habit of studying and correctly interpreting the thoughts and language of others; but by contributing to the magazine they would learn to think for themselves, and to express their thoughts in a graceful manner. The magazine should also contain blank pages, in order that each contributor might criticize the sentiments, composition, spelling, &c., of the others.
It would not be wise, perhaps, for young women to be members of the same elocution class as the young men, but I see no reason why one upon a similar plan should not be formed in connection with the female Bible class; of course, both sexes might be contributors to the magazine.
I can speak from observation respecting the benefits of elocution classes, and manuscript magazines. I could name three or four young men, with whom I am personally acquainted, who attribute nearly all their self-acquired knowledge to their belonging to an elocution class, and to their contributing to a manuscript magazine in connection with it. It was only this morning that one of them, a mechanic, took train for Glasgow, in order to enter the Glasgow University; he had, entirely unaided, saved sufficient money for that purpose. I have seen the contributions of another in this very “Sunday School Teachers' Magazine."
Singing classes are also exceedingly useful in connection with Bible classes. Teach the young men and women rational songs glees, and anthems, and they will not so easily learn the vulgar and unmeaning rubbish which is so popular, but which is so unpleasant to "ears polite."
A CONVERSATION BETWEEN A TUTOR AND HIS PUPIL.
Next morning Hugh and Harry went out for a walk to the top of a hill in the neighbourhood. When they reached it, Hugh took a small compass from his pocket, and set it on the ground, contemplating it and the horizon alternately.
“What are you doing, Mr. Sutherland?"
“I am trying to find the exact line that would go through my home," said he.
“Is that funny little thing able to tell you ?"
“Yes; this along with other things. Isn't it curious, Harry, to have in my pocket a little thing with a kind of spirit in it, that understands the spirit that is in the big world, and always points to its North Pole?"
“Explain it to me."
Oh! it won't go.
back and back, do what I will."
“Yes, it will, if you turn it away all day long. Look, Harry, if you were to go straight on in this direction, you would come to a Laplander harnessing his broad-horned reindeer to his sledge. He's at it now, I daresay. If you were to go in this line exactly, you would go through the smoke and fire of a burning mountain in a land of ice. If you were to go this way, straight on, you would find yourself in the middle of a forest with a lion glaring at your feet, for it is dark night there now, and so hot! And over there, straight on, there is such a lovely sunset. The top of a snowy mountain is all pink with light, though the sun is down-oh! such colours all about, like fairy land ! And there, there is a desert of sand, and a camel dying, and all his companions just disappearing on the horizon. And there, there is an awful sea, without a boat to be seen on it, dark and dismal, with huge rocks all about it, and waste borders of sand-so dreadful !"
“How do you know all this, Mr. Sutherland ? You have never walked along those lines, I know, for you couldn't."
“Geography has taught me.”
“Well, shall we travel along this line, just across that crown of trees on the hill ?"
“Yes, do let us."
" Then" said Hugh, drawing a telescope from his pocket, “ this hill is henceforth Geography Point, and all the world lies round about it. Do you know we are in the very middle of the earth ?"
“Are we, indeed?"
“Yes. Don't you know any point you like to choose on a ball is the middle of it?"
“Oh! yes--of course." “Very well. What lies at the bottom of the hill down there?" “Arnstead, to be sure.” “And what beyond there ?" “ I don't know." “Look through here."
“Oh! that must be the village we rode to yesterday-I forget the namo of it.”
Hugh told him the name; and then made him look with the telescope all along the receding line to the trees on the opposite hill. Just as he caught them, a voice beside them said:
“What are you about, Harry ?"
“Oh!" replied Harry, " Mr. Sutherland is teaching me geography with a telescope. It's such fun!”
" He's a wonderful tutor, that of yours, Harry."
“ Yes, isn't he just ? But,” Harry went ou, turning to Hugh, “ what are we to do now? We can't get farther for that hill.”
“Ah! we must apply to your papa, now, to lend us some of his beautiful maps. They will teach us what lies beyond that hill. And then we can read in some of his books about the places; and so go on and on, till we reach the beautiful, wide, restless sea ; over which we must sail in spite of wind and tide-straight on and on, till we come to land again. But we must make a great many such journeys before we really know what sort of a place we are living in; and we shall have ever so many things to learn that will surprise us."
“Oh! it will be nice !” cried Harry.--David Elginbrod.
EDUCATION IN RUSSIA.
(Concluded from p. 243.)
It may be interesting to English readers to know how history is proposed to be taught. “ It is limited to those general events, and those principal persons, in whom and in which is embodied the political, intellectual, and moral progress of the life of the people; with a general review of such facts in universal history as have exercised an influence on the historical development of our coun. try." Geography beyond the Russian Empire, is to be studied with special reference to “countries most remarkable for commerce and manufactures.” Though the Institutes will have a yearly vacation of some two months, the pupils will, even then, be under the direction of the Council as to the disposal of their time.
Having thus afforded a succinct view of so much of the projected Statute as relates to elementary teaching, and to those whose office it will be to give it, we need not, at least now, add a similar account of those chapters which pertain to the progymnasiums and gymnasiums, the stepping-stones to that higher education which is completed at the University. For similar reasons, we omit what belongs exclusively to private schools, whether day or boarding, and to private domestic tuition. We may add, however, a few peculiarities of female schools, divided into three categories, the two highest of which, by the bye, are placed “under the protection and patronage of Her Majesty the Empress." Each school is to be managed by a Directress, who must "possess at least the designation of domestic governess;" and to be presided over by a Curatress “from among the most honourable and respected persons of the town." To provide for higher exigencies, those girls whose parents desire it, may learn French and German, music and dancing, and other extra subjects.
Special regulations are proposed for Sunday schools. These are thus described : “Sunday schools, while not differing in any pare ticular from daily schools for reading and writing, are destined for the education of persons of the working and labouring classes of both sexes, who do not enjoy the opportunities of profiting daily by educational training." In every primary Sunday school there must be a manager responsible for the maintenance of order; this duty the founder may perform in person. The diocesan authorities are to be early apprised of the opening of Sunday schools, whether by associations or by individuals, with the names and designations of the manager and teachers; and the Ordinary is “bound to ap
point for each such school a Priest for the instruction of the children in the principles of religion.” When that is not practicable, “ this object may be taught by a lay instructor;" but, even then, as before mentioned in regard to day schools, the Priest is bound to verify and complete the instruction given. In Sunday as in day schools, the instruction is to be according to class books approved by the Ministry of Public Instruction. “Sunday schools are established exclusively for the education of one sex alone, [that is, of the two sexes separately,] and therefore the pupils in them are not limited in respect of age."
It will be perceived, therefore, that Sunday schools are not so much a special institution, having relation to the holy use of the Sabbath and to religious teaching, as a supplementary system, by means of which those who, from poverty, occupation, distance, age, or other circumstances, cannot be embraced by the National day schools, may receive some amount of elementary instruction of a secular as well as of a religious character,
In considering what relates to education in Russia, we must never lose sight of what is peculiar to the government of the country. The people are so rude, of so many tribes, and scattered over so wide a surface, that, but for such efforts as their rulers have made, they might have waited, no one can tell how much longer, for any civilization or instruction at all. Yet, the late Emperor Nicholas, in a manifesto dated July 13, 1826, evinced a clear perception of the necessity for natural fatherhood co-operating with his paternal authority as Czar, in order to the production of really good moral effects. “Let the fathers of families," he said, “ direct all their attention to the moral education of their children." Here was a glimpse of truth, at least; though, when, against moral training, the Emperor sets up as antithesis, “the demoralising tendency to extreme theories and political visions," one cannot help suspecting that he was thinking more of keeping down popular aspirations than of elevating national character.
It is of little moment to recur to the pre-existing state of education in Russia, since the system of re-construction now proposed alters little except in arrangement and detail, little or nothing in respect of cardinal principles. In considering the effect of religious teaching by authority, we are to bear certain facts in mind: such
that the Czar is head of the church; that its Supreme Council, “the most holy governing Synod," consists of five clerical and a larger number of lay members, the chief of whom can suspend its decisions, pending the Emperor's pleasure, besides one of the priests being his own chief chaplain and confessor;" that the sons of the clergy, as a rule,