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City Document — No. 8.
CITY OF ROXBURY,
NORFOLK COUNTY JOURNAL TRESS.
CITY OF ROXBURY.
In School CoMAirrTtE, July 5, 1854.
Messrs. Sliailcr, Leach and I'clrcc were appointed the Examiiiii)g Committee
for the English High School.
Messrs. Olmstead, Leach and Ryder fur the Grammar Schools.
Messrs. Peirce, Seaver, Crafts, Morse, Marsh and Strceter for the Primary
and Intermediate Schools.
Attest, JOSHUA SEAVER,
Secretary of School Committee,
September 13, 1854.
The several Committees submitted their Reports of Examinations, and the
Chairman of the Board also submitted a General Report, which several Reports
were accepted, and twenty-five hundred copies ordered to be printed and distrib-
uted to the citizens as the Annual Report of the School Committee of the City of
Attest, H. G. MORSE,
Secretary pro tern, of the School Committee,
In conformity with the statute, we proceed to give to
our fellow-citizens a short account of the condition of our
Public Schools. The subject is one in which an increasing-
interest is felt, we believe, every year. Relying upon that
interest, and confident that our constituents and ourselves
cherish one and the same great object, we have promptly
met the growing demands for the accommodation of our
youth of both sexes, and by a careful choice of teachers,
joined to vigilant oversight of the schools, have sought to
furnish the best education possible to the rising genera-
tion. To meet the necessity for ampler accommodations,
we have been obliged to expend a good deal of money, but
not one cent more than was absolutely needed. Believing
that our fellow-citizens would not consent to have nearly a
hundred pupils refused admission to the Dudley School,
merely for want of room, although abundantly qualified to
enter, we have asked for the erection of a new Grammar
School for Girls. This request has been readily granted,
and a neat and commodious edifice is now going up in Gore
Avenue, which is to contain over three hundred pupils, and
when finished, will be an ornament to our city, and com-
bine also, without any superfluous outlay, all the latest im-
provements in school architectui-e. In choosing tlie site
for this building, wo have been so fortunate as to find a
G EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. [Sept.
ing condition of this school, has been a soui'ce of unmin-
gled gratification to the Committee. Its course of studies
is equal to that of the same grade in Boston. Its mode
of instruction is, we believe, imsurpassed in ability and
skill. And should the future fulfil the hopes inspired by
the past, we see no reason wliy this school should be a
whit behind the one corresponding to it in the adjacent
capital. Indeed, were we to acknowledge that our ambi-
tion looks to its being in some respects superior, it is the
confession of a noble rivalry of which we need not be
But the oversight of the Committee has not been con-
fined to the higher grades of schools. Their attention
has been equally directed to those by no means secondary
in importance; we mean the Primary and Sub-Primary.
"With regard to these, a great improvement has been going
on, of late years, in the kind of buildings erected for this
class of schools. The opinion was once too prevalent,
that any thing with a ceiling and four walls, would answer
for the accommodation of children so young. And hence
we can look back, and remember rooms occupied for this
purpose, small, gloomy, ill-ventilated, of repulsive access,
and surrounded by objects offensive to almost every sense.
And these were deemed good enough for such little chil-
dren. But this idea has passed away, never more, we hope,
to return. The claims of such upon us, are now more
deeply felt. We have laid aside the greatest misery prin-
ciple, which seems once to have been so much in vogue,
and have adopted its opposite, the greatest happiness prin-
ciple, as at once the most humane, and also the wisest, be-
cause most in accordance with those laws of our being,
conformity to which is essential to successful instruction,
whether of adults or of children. The improvements to
which wc refer, are seen in the sightly buildings, for Pri-
1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 8. 7
mary Schools, lately erected, or in the course of erection,
that now meet the eye in many of our streets. These
buildings are not expensive, but good, substantial, and con-
venient — containing rooms that are airy, healthful, pleas-
ant, and comfortable in all seasons of the year. They are
such as we need not be ashamed to have seen by strangers.
The reform in this respect, however, is not complete ; and
will not be, until the unsightly and unattractive places now
occupied for Primary Schools, on the Mill-Dam, and in East
and Sumner Streets, have been exchanged for accommoda-
tions like those before alluded to. This we hope to see
accomplished in a short time.
From this exposition of the condition of our public
schools, we see that the entire system for the education of
our youth is now in full and active operation. Availing
ourselves, as far as possible, of the whole inherent energy
and excellence of that system which is the pride of every
New Englander, our aim has been to make every year some
advance upon the preceding. But it may be said, is not
our zeal going before oui- discretion ? Are we not press-
ing onward at too great expense to the city ? If our edu-
cation is rivalling that of Boston, is it not costing us too
much ? We think not. What are the facts ? By the latest
returns it will be seen, that, during the last year, the ex-
pense to Roxbury for the education of each child between
the ages of 5 and 15 years, was $*7.85, which is less than
the cost for the same class of children in Boston, or Brook-
line, or West Roxbury, or Dedham, or Concord, or Somer-
ville, or Winchester. This shows that so far from extrav-
agance, the school interests of this city have been managed
with great comparative economy.
Disposed ever to guard vigilantly the public purse, it
may not be amiss here to state, that the High School for
Girls will shortly need a set of Philosophical Apparatus,
8 EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. [Sept.
iu order to thorough iustniction in those studies which re-
quire experiments and ilhistrations to the eye. And if any
of our wealthy citizens will present such apparatus to this
school, the Committee will welcome the gift with niuch
pleasure. In other cities have been found those whose
public spirit has led them to such generous deeds. Are
there not among us some who are ready to emulate so no-
ble an example of liberality ? Is there any way in which
a few hundred dollars could be more wisely or beneficially
Before closing this part of the report, there is one more
topic to which we beg leave to advert. "Within the recol-
lection of many, the business of teaching was regarded as
an inferior avocation, for which any one was fit, though
good for nothing else. But the progress of the age has
swept this opinion forever, as we hope, into oblivion. It
is now felt, that no order of talent is greater than this of-
fice finds full occupation for. And not only is native talent
required, but also a special training and culture for this
purpose. In other words, teaching has grown into a dis-
tinct profession. It is no longer a despised employment,
to which one compulsorily resorts, in order to eke out an
existence, but an honorable vocation, to which men and wo-
men of a high order of mind devote themselves for life.
Hence the office is gradually winning to itself respect and
dignity. Let it be so regarded among ourselves. It is
only giving honor to whom honor is due. To say nothing
of the right of the thing, we hail such a public sentiment
as the sure means of multiplying the number of able teach-
ers, and of giving a constant impulse to the cause of edu-
The report of the several schools under our care, will
be. given by those gentlemen to whom the duty of examin-
ing them was assigned.
1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— Xo. 8. i>
ENGLISH HIGH SCHOOL.
This school, "wMcli has now reached its second year,
may be considered as firmly established, and completes the
entire series of schools, for boys belonging to our city.
One of a wholly classical character, largely endowed, and
governed by a Board of Trustees, has been in existence
for many years, and has secured for itself a reputation,
which places it second to no other in the Commonwealth,
in the advantages it offers for collegiate preparation. The
confining of this school to classical studies, rendered an
English High School imperatively necessary. With this
conviction, a mutual and satisfactory arrangement was
agreed upon, by the Board of Trustees and the School
Committee, for the establishment of such a school, whose
oversight and management were thus entrusted to these
bodies conjointly, and as we understand it, with like power
No class has yet been graduated from this school, as its
plan of studies contemplates a three years' course ; but
the progress of the pupils thus far, warrants us in saying
that the success of the school is no longer a question.
The choice of the principal of this school, and of his
assistant, has proved a fortunate one, on account of their
thorough qualifications, and the earnestness with which they
are devoted to their work. In expressing our approbation
of the labors of the respective teachers, and of the attain-
ments of the pupils, we are only giving utterance to con-
victions formed in our minds, after a very rigid exam-
ination of the school, which satisfied us that the method of
instruction was thorough, and calculated to form scholar-
like habits, and to give useful discipline to the faculties.
Teaching, in this school, has evidently a higher aim than
enabling the learner fluently to go through a, recitation :
10 EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. [Sept.
its object is to set the minds of the pupils at work upon
the subject, to lead them to think and inquire; and to guide
their own efforts towards gaining a complete mastery of
every study. In this way alone can we look for real intel-
lectual growth, and a steady advance towards the most
valuable of all attainments; we meau; the power of using
our faculties to good purpose in tlie practical business of
From what has been said, may be gathered the high esti-
mate we place upon the advantages enjoyed by the boys
who are sent to this school, and the entire confidence with
which parents may commit their children to its care.
JULIUS S. SHAILER;
BRADFORD K. PEIRCE.
The committee to whom was referred the annual exami-
nation of the Washington School, Roxbury, for 1854, would
respectfully submit : That, in view of the work to be done,
this service was undertaken about three weeks before the
close of the summer term. The school, it is well known,
has eight divisions, averaging not far from forty pupils
each, making an aggregate in all of about three hundred
and fifty boys, exhibiting at a glance the amount of forma-
tive influence connected with one such institution. While
the committee was engaged with the seventh and eighth
divisions of the school, he was met by the late principal,
Mr. Weston, with the request that his, or the first division,
might be examined by the 27th of July, as needful to an-
swer the requirement for those intending to enter the
1854.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 8. 11
High School. It is a noteworthy coincidence that on this
very day his work of teaching was finished — ^his task was
clone — a striking monition to all, that whatsoever we find
to do must be done quickly. The sudden removal of Mr.
Weston created a vacancy in his division the three last
weeks of the term, which vacancy the Chairman of the
Local Committee of the school provided for to the best of
his ability ; but he was miable to make the provision so as
to meet the wants of the division to the close of the term.
For several days the heavy additional charge of oversee-
ing it was devolved on, and well sustained by, Miss Page,
teacher in the third division, when, a little less than a week
before the end of the quarter, it was dismissed. It will at
once be seen that apart from the extreme heat of the
weather, the examination of the first division was conduct-
ed under special disadvantages, such in fact as would hard-
ly allow a just understanding of its true state and relative
Mr. Yose, sub-master, gave evidence of an energetic and
successful instruction of the second division, under his im-
mediate care. A like statement applies to Miss Williams
and Mrs. Burrill, teachers of the fifth and sixth divisions, in
the same room. The eighth division, under the care of
Miss Vose, appeared well, as did the seventh, likewise,
under the instruction, at the time, of Miss Nye, as a sub-
stitute for Miss Matthews, absent on account of health.
The fourth division, now taught by Miss Chadborne, and
the third, under the experienced and efficient direction of
Miss Page, both passed a good examination. In reading,
.spelling, defining, writing, and geography — ^including the
drawing of maps on the blackboard, in one or two divisions
— the examination was very satisfactory. The same thing,
in a qualified sense, may be said of arithmetic and gram-
mar. The committee begs to suggest that it may be found
12 EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. [Sept.
better to give more attention to written, and less to mental
arithmetic — that the latter be not taught above the sixth
or the fifth division. He is persuaded that the result of
this change would be to give greater thoroughness to a
most important branch of instruction," and tend to bring it
to a much advanced stage in the higher divisions of the
school. Nor will he forbear to suggest that, in his judg-
ment, the teaching of grmnmar, in a GtRAMMAk School,
might, and should be carried to higher degrees of profi-
This, at the present average age of the pupils in the
first, second and third divisions of the school, might seem
impracticable, and may, in truth, be so. But an apparent
difficulty might be obviated by commencing with the first
principles of grammar in a still lower division, and by giv-
ing increased attention to it in each of the divisions in
which it is now taught.
The committee, while not wishing to make too exacting
claims, yet think that even if boys be retained in the
school to a somewhat more mature age, they should be car-
ried to higher points of attainment, in both grammar and
arithmetic. In one or two, or perhaps three of the divi-
sions in which Colburn is now used, he would dispense
with that text-book altogether, substituting therefor exer-
cises on the slate and blackboard. The instruction now
given in the studies named, however commendable, may, it
is believed, safely reach farther and include more.
It is but just to add to these suggestions, that the school
now under notice was found generally to have enjoyed
good instruction. The order and discipline throughout
were worthy of particular approval. The school, as a
whole, has been well cared for, and is doing large and good
service in the education of our city youth.
J. W. OLMSTEAD, Committee. .
CITY DOCUMENT— No. 8.
The Dearborn School was established in 1852. The
building contains six rooms suitable for separate divisions,
and one large hall upon the second floor designed for gen-
eral exercises. But four of the rooms were occupied dur-
ing the first year of the school. At present there are five
divisions. It is not likely that the remaining room will be
occupied during the coming year. The accommodations
for Grammar school boys residuig in that section of the
city may be regarded as ample for considerable time to
The following abstract was prepared and furnished by
Mr. Long, the principal. It will give some idea of the
standiug of the school during the year, and of the changes
which have taken place within it :
Annual Report of the condition of Dearborn School, for Five Quarters
ending July 29, 1854.
o 2 S
At the close of the term in
May, 1853, the time of the last
Annual Examination, 235 pu-
pils belonged to the school.
During the five succeeding
terms, 98 entered, and 121 left,
making present nnmber 212.
The general character of the Dearborn School under the
direction of its popular principal, is already well establish-
ed in the favor of the community. We have nothing to
record which is designed to lessen the confidence reposed
in that establishment. We believe it to contain many ex-
cellent qualities, to be decidedly deficient in none, and on
the whole a well-conducted and efficient school.
In discriminating between the several branches taught,
we should say that the scholars generally excelled in Geog-
raphy, and in Grammar in the upper divisions. The Arith-
metic was good. Tlie Writing was above tlie average
14 EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. [Sept.
throughout the four divisions in Tvhich it is taught. Read-
ing possessed many excellences, but lacked something in
spirit. Whether this is attributable to the method of
teaching, or to the necessity of the case, growing out of the
age of the scholars and the difficult nature of many of the
reading lessons, the committee are not clear. To pro-
nounce words correctly is obviously one thing ; to know
what the words separately mean is another ; to compre-
hend the general idea of the whole piece is still another ;
but a scholar may have the ability to acquit himself in all
these particulars, and yet fail to read naturally and well.
Furthermore, some persons, so to speak, are natm-ally good
readers ; others may be drilled so as to read given exer-
cises well, but their reading will be, for the most part,
artificial and spiritless, like much singing acquired under
There have been some changes among the teachers dur-
ing the year, which have to some extent retarded the pro-
gress of the scholars who were directly affected by them.
But these things are unavoidable. The fifth division, since
the sickness of its amiable and beloved teacher. Miss Hen-
rietta M. Young, has been in the care of a substitute. It
gives us peculiar pleasure to be able to record that her im-
proved health inspires the belief that she may some day re-
turn to the duties of a profession which she has always hon-
ored, and to the joy of a home that in patient anxiety waits
for her coming.
There appears to be the best feeling between the teach-
ers and scholars, and among the teachers themselves. Many
of the parents have manifested a commendable interest in
the welfare of the school, and by numerous 8.cts of kind-
ness have cheered the teachers in their duties. We trust
that nothing will occur to mar the good reputation of this
school during the ensuing year.
W. H. RYDEK. Ex. Committee.
1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 8. 15
The examination of this school was held, according to
the appointment of the Board, during the severe hot
weather of July, when about one-third of the pupils had
left for their summer vacation. Notwithstanding this un-
favorable season, the school in all its departments was
found to be in its usual satisfactory condition.
The reading was remarkable for distinctness of utterance
and accuracy of expression. The style of the reading was,
for the most part, easy, flowing and natural, and in a great
measure free from that monotonous and mechanical man-
nerism so common in most of our schools. In the defining
of words, there is more chance for improvement. Although
much attention has been given to this subject in all the
divisions, much yet remains to be done. There is perhaps
no fault more common in conducting an exercise in reading,
than that of allowing the pupils to define their words by
employing one or two words neariy synonymous, instead of
giving a description of them, and stating how they would
use them correctly in a sentence. The fault here men-
tioned is, by no means, peculiar to the Dudley School, and
there has, I think, been an improvement in this respect,
since the last examination.
In arithmetic, all of the divisions acquitted themselves
well. Some of the classes in written arithmetic deserve
special commendation. In some cases, the pupils appeared
to rely too much upon the memory, and not enough upon
the relations of numbers and the reasoning processes. In
mental arithmetic, particularly, the amount passed over
was quite too small. This, no doubt, has arisen from an
anxious desire on the part of the teachers, that no ques-
tions at an examination should be answered incorrectly.
This never can be secured without obliging the best pupils
10 EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. [Sept.
in every class to wait in idleness, while all the laggards
and truants make up their deficiences. Such a course is
particularly injurious to the best interest of a school, and
ought, at once, to be abandoned. Written arithmetic ought
to be commenced much earlier in the course than it is, and
before the mental is finished, and the mental continued as
a weekly exercise in every class.
The examination in grammar was entirely satisfactory in
every respect, and is worthy of special notice. In geogra-
phy, the recitations were as good as could be expected
under our present system. I hope the time is not far dis-
tant, when an improved one will be introduced.
On the whole, the Dudley School ranks deservedly high,
when compared with schools of a similar grade, and all of
the teachers are to be commended for their faithfulness,
and most of the pupils for their untiring diligence.
DANIEL LEACH, Ex, Committee.
CITY DOCUMENT— No. 8.
Of the Grammar /Schools for the Quarter etiding Slst
U EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. [Sept.
THE INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL.
During the year a chauge has been made in the instruc-
tion of this school. The male principal has been succeed-
ed by a female, and the most gratifying results have ensued.
From being almost without discipline, it has become one of
the quietest and most orderly schools in the city. Miss
Mansfield, an experienced teacher in our Grammar schools,
has been in charge of the school, and has been -well sup-
ported by Miss Tucker, who has been for some time a
teacher in the school. The progress of the pupils in their
studies has kept pace with the improvement in discipline,
and the school promises, now, to accomplish the object for
which it was established. Much credit is due Mr. Gragg,
the excellent ofi&cer in charge of the execution of the tru-
ant law, for the readiness with which he has co-operated
with the teachers of this school in securing the punctual at-
tendance of the pupils.
■ ; B. K. PBIRCE. -
1834.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 8. 10
,,i.,:, PRIMARY SCHOOLS. , :m,;,q„
;iiiy i»r() iTtoq '
GENERAL ESTIMATE OP OUR PRIMARY SCHOOLS^ '"
There is a very considerable difference in rank among
the twenty-eight primary schools in the city, arising in part
from the character and circumstances of the pupils and in
part from the inexperience of the teachers. As a body,
they probably compare well with schools of the same class
in the State. The buildings in which these schools are
taught, are, the most of them, well constructed, situated in
convenient localities, and adapted to the purposes for which
they were erected. , The teachers are generally interested
in their work, anxious to improve themselves, and labori-
ous in the prosecution of their duties. The discipline of
the schools is good, and is secured with a moderate amount
of corporal punishment.
IMPORTANCE OP THESE SCHOOLS.
The important relation which these schools hold to the
advanced instruction of the pupils cannot be over-estimated.
Here is to be laid the foundation of all their future acqui-
sitions. The teachers of these schools receive the child
in his most susceptible hour, and give him his first impres-
sions of school and study. Such is the power of associa-
tion, that this impression will cleave to him through his
whole course, hopefully or seriously affecting his success.
At this period of his life, the child most rapidly takes upon
himself a character, and is most affected by surrounding
■H) EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. (Sept.
forces which he has not power iu himself to control. He
rests almost helplessly iu the hands of those who preside
over the openings of his mental and moral faculties. His
appetite for knowledge is insatiable, and his curiosity is
continually excited by everything that impresses his senses.
Upon the encouragement or discouragement that he now
receives, and the direction that is given to his mind, will it
be determined whether he prosecutes with avidity his in-
quiries as to the nature and relation of things, or by the
monotonous iteration of arbitrary rules and the committing
of sentences in which he feels no interest, he loses his pas-
sion for knowledge, and only continues his studies by com-
Training implies more than the initiation of the pupil
mto the mysteries of the alphabet and the rudiments ol" the
sciences ; — these are only the lowest means of accomplish-
ing the work, the higher implements being the fruitful mind
and constant culture of the teacher. Training implies the
careful study of the mental and moral peculiarities of the
child, and the application of the proper incentives to bring
out the various faculties, and teach them to act for them-
selves in the proper direction. " To tell a child this, and
to show it the other, is not to teach it how to observe, but
to make it a mere recipient of another's observations — a
proceeding which tends to weaken rather than to strength-
en its powers of self-instruction ,• which deprives it of the
pleasures resulting from successful activity ; which presents
this all-attractive knowledge under the aspect of formal
tuition, and thus generates indifference and even disgust."*
On the other hand, to teach the child to think for himself,
to guide the intellect to its appropriate food, and encour-
n-ge a habit of self-reliance will secure the continual grati-
* North British Review.
1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 8. 21
fication arising from repeated personal triumphs over diffi-
culties, and greatly strengthen the child's mental faculties.
The indiscriminate use of the same measures, with all the
varied minds presented by a school of fifty pupils, is very
much like the application of the same medicine to a like
number of patients afflicted with different diseases. Dif-
ferent temperaments and habits of mind require very dif-
ferent kinds of training. No text-book can be so multi-
plied in its resources as to meet these multitudinous
demands. The living teacher, quick to discern the differ-
ent natures before her and the peculiar characteristics of
each pupil, from the deep fountain of her own ingenuity,
can alone become equal to these incessant and varied calls.
It can be readily seen that no ordinary talent and experi-
ence are requisite for the full accomplishment of this deli-
cate office, and that the preparation for the work can never
be said to be completed — every new mind calls for new
study, while the extraordinary activity of the mental pow-
ers of a child requires incessant and thoughtful care to
keep them properly employed without weariness, and to
strengthen and develope them without overtasking their
energies. A good teacher in the Prussian primary schools
" no more thinks of meeting his scholars without a daily
preparation, than a lawyer or clergyman would think of
managing a cause before court and jury, or preaching a ser-
mon, without special reading and forethought." It must
call for more ingenuity and self-discipline, and a richer fund
of illustration, to prepare and set in motion the mental ma-
chinery, than to direct it in its established action hereafter.
And this is the office of the primary teacher — to awaken
the mind of the child, arouse his curiosity, teach him to
use his own powers, and make him familiar with the pre-
liminary steps to all knowledge. As the appropriate pe-
riod to accomplish this is in the age alloted to prinmry in-
22 EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. [Sept,
struction, if it is neglected or perverted the loss is almost
irreparable in coming years.
It now rests with the teachers of this grade, in our city,
to raise the whole standard of our juvenile education. If
they properly estimate their opportunities and responsibil-
ities, and rise to the requirements of their station, sending
our young children, after a course of three years instruc-
tion, to the grammar teachers well trained in the allotted
branches of study, and alive with enthusiasm for further ad-
vances, the effect of their zeal will be felt in the highest
range of our educational system.
THE APPROPRIATE WORK OF THE PRIMARY TEACHER.
I. Oral Instruction. This must precede all other forms
of teaching, and includes illustrations addressed to the
senses, information in reference to the most striking objects
in nature calculated to excite the interest of the child, and
also embracing singing, the simpler elements of which can
be comprehended by very young children, while its harmo-
nious combinations are almost involvmtarily received by im-
itation. Every primary teacher should be a good singer,
for one of the most important offices of early training is the
disciplining of the vocal organs.
The interest and success of a sub-primary school will de-
pend very considerably upon the power of the teacher to
hold the attention and convey instruction in the conver-
sational form. In the primary schools in Germany, says
Dr. Stowe, " Before the child is even permitted to learn
his letters, he is under conversational instruction, frequent-
ly for six months or a year ; and then a single week is suffi-
cient to introduce him into intelligible and accurate plain
reading." These conversations are not upon the casual
topics suggested at the moment to the mind of the teacher.
1S54.] CITY DOCUMENT— No. 8. 23
but are arranged after a well-defined system^ and all carefully
prepared by previous reading and reflection. The different
subjects for a week in advance are written upon the black-
board, or upon large slips of paper, so that the child may
know what will be the business for each succeding day.
These oral lessons are adapted to the age and capacity
of the pupils. " With the younger classes, things immedi-
ately around them ; the school-room and the materials of
which it has been built; its different parts, as foundation,
iioor, walls, ceiling, roof, windows, door; its furniture,
apparatus, books, slates, paper ; the clothes of the pupil,
and the materials of which they are made ; the duties of
children to animals, to each other, to their parents, neigh-
bors, to old persons, to their Maker — ^these are specimens
of a vast variety of subjects embraced under one or anoth-
eir of the above heads. As the children advanced in age
and attainments, and had acquired full and definite notions
of the visible and tangible existences around them, and also
of time and space, so that they could understand descriptions
of the unseen and the remote, the scope of these lessons was
enlarged, so as to take in the different kingdoms of nature,
the arts, trades and occupations of men, and the more com-
plicated affairs of society." * Illustrative plates, pictures and
maps can be used to add to the interest of the conversational
lesson, and to give more correct and lively ideas to the pupil.
II. This process opens the way for, as it may properly
afterwards accompany, instruction in the elements of read-
ing. The alphabet is not to be taught from a book to one
pupil at a time, but from the blackboard, with a whole class
observing, and inspiring each other by a wholesome com-
petition. The vocal organs are to be exercised in acquir-
ing the various sounds of the vowels, and then the letters
National Education lu Luiopc, Barnaid
24 EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. [Sept.
can be combined into syllables, the object represented by
the -word being drawn upon the board, or represented in
an illustration to the eye of the pupil. Simple sentences
will then naturally follow ; all written upon the board, and
given as an oral lesson, in which the whole class are to be
interested at the same time, — the memory continually aided
by the senses and the power of association, and the interest
being sustained by the address of the teacher. In this
way, in a school of young children, instead of witnessing a
scene of painful monotony, one child after another mechan-
ically instructed from the book, a child-like joyfulness and
pleasure, consistent with the most wholesome discipline,
may attend the initiation of the pupil into the preliminaries
of all knowledge. Why may not the twenty-six letters be
mastered in this way as easily, and afford as much pleas-
ure, as the learning of the names of twenty-six playmates ?
Besides, this conversational way of teaching the child to
read, secures other important objects. "It communicates
information. It brightens ideas before only dimly appre-
hended. It addresses itself to the various faculties of the
mind, so that no one of them ever tires or is cloyed. It
teaches the child to use language, to frame sentences, to
select words which convey his whole meaning, to avoid
those which convey either more or less than he intends to
express ; in fine, it teaches him to seek for thoughts upon a
subject, and then to find appropriate language in which to
clothe them." '^' The same course may be taken with the
class when the pupils have learned to combine letters.
They may read together ; oral questions exciting an inter-
est in the subject about which they read, maybe asked, and
the attention of the whole class be sustained during the
exercise. Spelling maybe considered as included in read-
* Barnard'i Popniar Education.
1854] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 8. 25
iug, and the same processes may be properly used to se-
cure correctness in it. By tlie eighth year, we can hardly
consider that the teacher has done justice to her scholars
if they cannot read intelligently and freely all ordinary
III. But little attention is paid to writing, including sim-
ple drawing, in our primary schools, although all the natu-
ral indications point to it as one of the earliest, as it is one
of the most entertaining and important of the branches of
education. Children almost instinctively seek to repro-
duce with the pencil, the outlines of the objects which ar-
rest their attention. Instruction in writing and drawing
will improve and discipline all tlie mental faculties, form a
habit of observation, and afford a pleasant change in the
exercises of the school-room. In Prussia, the scholar be-
gins to learn the elements of writing and drawing almost
as soon as he enters the school, and a careful observer re-
marks, " such excellent handwriting as I saw in the Prus-
sian schools, I never saw before." This also may be ren-
dered a general and oral lesson with the teacher at the
blackboard and the children with their slates, or pencil and
paper; all the modes of forming the letters may be illustra-
ted and copied ; simple objects may be drawn out and im-
itated, and all be accompanied with explanations and gene-
ral remarks, combining interesting and entertaining instruc-
IV. Arithmetic. Upon this branch, valuable practical
remarks were made in the report of last year. But two
suggestions need to be added to what is so clearly stated
by the experienced author of that report. The first is,
the importance of commencing toritten Arithmetic at the
same time with mental, and continuing them together. The
mental exercise will serve as a discipline for the mind,
while ,the writteji will illustrate anijl imprmt u^on t]ic mem-
2G EXAMINATION OF yCHOOLlS. [Sept.
ory the processes that have been passed over in the mind.
The child's interest will be aroused by the visible signs,
and he will be better able to comprehend the relation of the
parts of the performance to each other. The second sugges-
tion is in reference to the continued recurrence to all the fun-
damental rules. Children are liable to forget one process
when they pass to another. All the combinations of nu-
meratiouj addition, subtraction and division, in their sim-
ple forms, should become familiar to the mind of the child
by their constant application, both in the written symbols
and in the mental processes. Horace Mann says of the
German primary instruction in Arithmetic, " It struck me
that the main difference between their mode of teaching it
and ours, consists in their beginning earlier, continuing the
practice in the elements much longer, requiring a more
thorough analysis of all questions, and in not separating
the processes, or rules, so much as we do from each other.
The pupils proceed less by rule, more by an understanding
of the subject. It often happens to our children that while
engaged in one rule, they forget a preceding. Hence many
of our best teachers have frequent reviews. But there, as
I stated above, the youngest classes of children were
taught addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division,
promiscuously, in the same lesson. It is a difference which
results from teaching, in the one case, from a book, and in
the other from the head. In the latter case the teacher
sees what each pupil most needs, and, if he finds any one
halting or failing on a particular class of questions, plies
him with questions of that kind until his deficiences arc
V. The same remark may be made in reference to Ge-
ography as to Arithmetic ; it has been discussed in nearly
every report for a number of years, and still, it is probable,
few teachers feel satisfied with their success in this branch.
1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. S, 27
In the primary department this should be a matter of al-
most entirely oral instruction, illustrated with maps and
drawings upon the board ; the pupils being carefully ques-
tioned and succeeding days reviewed upon the points passed
over on the preceding day. An idea of space, with the po-
sition of our planet floating in it, should be secured, by
simple illustrations, as early as possible. The form of the
earth ; the points of the compass ,• the outlines of the con-
tinents, oceans and seas ; the important cities, mountains
and rivers, associated with any prominent events that have
rendered them remarkable — these and matters of a similar
nature may form the topics of these geographical conversa-
tions. Full explanations in the pupil's own language should
be required, so that the teacher may be confident that the
child has a proper conception of the snbject. Dr. Bache
thus describes, in his report to the trustees of Girard Col-
lege, a primary recitation in Geography that he heard in
Halle : " The teacher drew, first, from the knowledge of
the pupils of different objects or bodies, a definition of the
term body, then led them to define extension, dimensions,
&c., and thus furnished them ideas of space. Sunrise and
sunset were used for establishing the position of the cardi-
nal points, and that of the class-room was determined in
reference to these. Then commencing with home, with a
map of the city of Halle, they gave an account of its lo-
calities, and the history connected with them. Widening
hence in circles, the natural and political features of the
surrounding district were described, always indicating the
real directions of places, &c. The pupil thus grasps every
step of geographical knowledge ; begins with his own house,
rambles through his own town, makes excursions in its
neighborhood, sets out on his travels through his father-
land, visits foreign parts, sees what is worth seeing in the
natural and artificial state of the country, finally learns tho
28 EXAMINATION OF SCHOOLS. [Sept.
relation of its parts and of the whole to other worlds, and
tlnis the interest is kept up from the first to the last."
Another observer says, speaking of primary schools in Ger-
many, " 1 fomid geography taught almost wholly from large
maps suspended against the walls, and hj delineations on
the blackboard. The teaclier traced the outlines of a
coimtry on the suspended map, or drew one upon the black-
board, accompanying the exhibition by an oral lecture ; and
at the next recitation, the pupils were expected to repeat
what they had seen and heard. And, in regard to the nat-
ural divisions of the earth, or the political boundaries of
countries, a pupil was not considered as having given any
proof that he had a correct image in his mind, until he
could go to the blackboard and reproduce it from the ends
of his fingers. I witnessed no lesson miaccompanied by
The preceding branches, accompanied with a living ex-
ample of correct and chaste speaking on the part of the
teacher, and a most careful attention to the language of
the pupil, securing the fuU and grammatical expression of
the idea, whenever a request is made in the school-room or
an answer given, and such moral lessons as are continually
suggested and even peremptorily demanded by the exigen-
cies of the school-room may be considered as the course
of primary school instruction. The teacher that faithfully
rises to the requirements of such a course, has purchased
for herself an enviable reputation in this most responsible
profession, and will enjoy the satisfaction of witnessing the
success of her pupils in their advanced studies.
B. K. PEIRCE.
1854] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 8. 29
PRIMARy SCHOOL, No. 7.
Miss Ann M. Horn, Teacher.
This is one of the best schools of this grade in the city.
The discipline is excellent, and is secured with little cor-
poral punishment. The teacher appears to be in earnest
about her work, and the children give evidences of interest
in the school, and progress in their studies. The examina-
tion in geography, especially, was peculiarly satisfactory.
By embodying the practical suggestions at the commence-
ment of this report, this teacher may render her school a
model of the kind.
SUB-PRIMARY SCHOOL, No. 8.
Miss S. Louisa Durant, Teacher.
This school has quite a large list of young children. The
teacher has a good voice, and cultivates the vocal powers
of her pupils by singing. The older children exhibited
marks of much pains-taking in their reading and spelling.
There was an entire absence of oral and general exercises.
Much time must be lost in the separate instruction of the
pupils. With so many qualifications for success as a teach-
er, a careful preparation for instructive oral lessons would
render this teacher peculiarly efficient in the training of the
B. K. PEIRCE, Ex. Com..
PRIMARY SCHOOL, No. 13.
At the Mill Dam, Miss Louisa Mitchell, Teacher,
But now, and for the last four months, temporally under
the charge of Miss Martha H. Horn, by reason of the sick-
ness of Miss Mitchell. This school is composed of chil-
dren between the ages of five and eight years, and in tlie
main mav be onnsiderpd in fiiir rondition. It is not Ihe
■ii) EXAMINATION OF .SCHOOLS. [Sept.
worst school in the city, and we have many better. There
is ample room for improvement in all its departments.
PRIMARY SCPIOOL, No. 14.
Smith Street, Maey A. Waldock, Teacher.
This is a Primary school in our acceptation of the term.
The order was o;ood ; reading, spelling, geography and arith-
SUB-PRIMARY SCHOOL, No. 15.
Smith Street, Miss Elvina Moese, Teacher.
This school has been under the charge of the present
teacher only about four months. She bids fair, if we can
judge from her manner and tliose under her charge, to be
very useful in her calling. The order of the school was
good ; reading and spelling very good.
PRIMARY SCHOOL, No. 26.
Francis Street, Mrs. C. B. Thompson, Teacher.
Tliis school is composed of children of ages varjdng
from 5 to 15 years. It was examined by us in all its de-
partments. There were some good specimens of penman:
ship from the elder scholars, and quite a number were
taught in the Grammar school branches by the consent of
the Local Committee. The teacher is, in the estimation of
the Examining Committee, fully qualified and fitted to take
the charge of any division of our Grammar schools now
taught by females. Her school appears as if it was under
the charge of a faithful and competent teacher ,• it was ex-
JOSHUA SEAVER, Ex. Com.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS, Nos. 3, 4, 18, 19 & 21.
These schools appear to have made very good progress
in Rending. Spelling, and Arithmetic during the term ; as
1854] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 8. 31
much progress probably as can be expected in the same
time, mider the present system of instruction. It seems
desirable that the teachers of our Primary Schools should
give more oral instruction, adapted to the capacities of their
scholars — depend more upon their own resources, and less
upon the mere routine of book exercises. If such a course
can be adopted, I think we shall perceive a marked im-
provement in our Primary Schools. The teachers all ap-
pear devoted to the interests of their schools, and ready to
adopt any suggestions calculated to benefit those commit-
ted to their charge. The scholars appeared attentive and
obedient, as evinced by the small number of punishments.
JOS. H. STREETER, Ex. Com.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS, Nos. 1, 2, 5 & 6.
The scholars in each of these schools are under good
systematic government, and in their exercises evinced a
tolerable degree of industry and application. No. 1 is
worthy of special notice. The teacher manifests a marked
ability in the management and instruction of her pupils,
and the quiet and order of the school betokens a desirable
liarmony of teacher and scholar.
CHARLES MARSH, Ex. Com.
PRIMARY SCHOOLS, Nos. 23 & 24.
These schools were examined August 27th. No. 23, un-
der the charge of Miss Sarah A. Dudley, did not appear so
well as was expected and desired. There seemed to be a
want of attention, animation and interest in the pupils
which prevented an exhibition of their real acquirements.
This can be attributed neither to a want of capacity in the
teacher, nor to the dulness, disorder or irregular attend-
ance of the pupils, but to a want of proper communication
between the teacher and pupilij, which can cat:;ily be remc-
EXxiMXNATlUN OF SCHOOLS. [Sept.
died by somewhat more interest and care on the part of
the former. In some of the general exercises there was
little to complain of in this respect, the pupils answering
promptly and with animation. ./r
No. 24, the sub-primary school, under the charge of H.
B. Scammell, appeared quite satisfactory. The pupils an-
swered correctly and promptly in some general ezercises,
which, however, might well be changed for something more
attractive and better adapted for so young children. The
order and general appearance of the school was very good.
WM. A. CPvAFTS, Ex. Com.
PRiaiARY SCHOOLS, Nos. 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 & 28.
All the teachers of these schools are faithful and more
or less successful in imparting instruction. The pupils arc
making good progress in their studies, and are generally
correct in their deportment. In one or more instances the
discipline seemed too rigid, so much so as to appear irk-
some and painful to the children.
There was considerable difference in the nmnber of pa-
ges read during the term. Some had gone over but a few
lessons and seemed to have committed the pieces to mem-
ory, and could read as well without a book as with one.
Others had gone over a much greater number of pages, and
could not read any part of it well. Of these two ex-
tremes, the first is better than the last; but children
should be required to thoroughly master what they are
studying, and when this is done, they ought to l>e advanced,
and not kept back for the sake of making a display at ex-
Nearly all these teachers give little or no instruction
orally, a mode of instruction which is not only desii*able,
but highly important in our Primary Schools.
H. G. MORSE, ^2^. Com.
CITY DOCUMBNT.—No, 8.
Of the Intermediate and Primary Schools for the Quar
ter ending ?>lst July, 1854.
o ^ ^
CITY OF BOSTON.
One volume can be taken at a time from the
Lower Hall, and one from the Bates Hall.
Books can be kept out 14 days.
A fine of 2 cents for each volume will be
incurred for each day a I>ook is detained more
than 14 days.
Any book detained more than a week be-
yond the time limited, will be sent for at the
expense of the delinquent.
No book is to be lent out of the household
of the borrower.
The Library hours for the delivery and re-
turn of books are from 10 o'clock, A. M., to
8 o'clock, P. M., in the Lower Hall; and from
10 o'clock, A. M., until one half hour before
sunset in the Bates Hall.
Every book must, under penalty of one dol-
lar, be returned to the Library at such time
in August as shall be publicly announced.
The card must be presented whenever a
book is returned. For renewing a book the
card must be presented, together with the
book, or with the shelf-numbers of the book.
.■;^^ :■• ■
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