« PreviousContinue »
To say that the child is “stupid” will never enlighten him. It may, and doubtless will, mortify him, perhaps discourage him, and excite a spirit anger or dislike towards the •teacher. But great consideration must be exercised towards children, whose stock of ideas is very scanty, and who are entitled to, not only a large extension of patience on the part of the teacher, but of encouragement also.
When the lesson – which should be a short one — has occupied a sufficient amount of time and attention, the black-board should be sponged clean, and the sketches of the pupils be removed from slates and papers.
The catechetical exercise should follow; and, as the pupil answers the question, “What is a cape ?” he should be required to draw it on the black-board. It will be found useful, at first, mnemonically, to present certain questions in pairs, - giving those relating to land divisions along with the similar ones in connection with the water, as an island and a lake; a small island and a pond; a cape and a bay; a sea and a continent, &c.
When these simple terms for natural divisions have been fully mastered, so as to be known by sight and name, the child should commence map-drawing. Let it begin with his own play-ground or house-lot, extended to the public square, mall, common, or other wellknown enclosure in his neighborhood, and thus carried on till the town or village is pictured before him. If he is capable of it, he should be required to introduce the various mountains, hills, rivers, lakes, ponds, brooks, &c., that are embraced within the limits of the sketch; but this would usually be too much to expect from beginners. Encourage him to attempt all that he can be reasonably expected to accomplish ; but nothing more than he can comprehend and explain.
As he advances in grade, he will be able, with similar leading of the teacher, to give the outline of the State in wbich he lives. This, like the first step, may be made a very interesting class exercise. Let, for example, the subject be the State of Massachusetts. One boy gives, on the black-board, the form of the whole territory; the next is directed to mark the most easterly county; another the next in course; and so on to the most westerly. The most southerly is then described, followed by the next onward toward the north, till the most northerly is indicated. The members of the class are then called on for criticisms, and any one who detects an error in the form or locality of any county, is sent to the board to correct it.
The rivers, mountains, and citics or large towns, are then “ located” in the same way; and, if appropriate instruction has been previously given, questions may be put as to the peculiarities of any of them, -as the beights of the mountains; the .character of the
rivers — whether navigable, or not; whether used for power in manufacturing, or otherwise ; whether affording fish, or not, and what varieties ; — and of the cities, 'as for what, of a remarkable nature, they are distinguished. These details, and others in variety, will, however, as a general thing, be found better adapted to a more advanced stage in the course. But, as far as is attempted, all should be done thoroughly; the exercise to be repeated, from time to time, till every member of the class is familiar with every part of the lesson, and each one can draw the whole, with a good degree of accuracy, from memory.
It is well for the pupil to fix in his mind the resemblance which any country or district of country bears to any object with which he is familiar; as Italy, in the form of a boot; South America, resembling a shoulder of mutton; and the like. Let this resemblance be real or fancied, it will aid him in his task.
When the pupils shall, by this method, have caught the inspiration from the teacher, they may be furnished with an engraved skeleton or outline map, selected at the teacher's discretion, for practice by tbemselves. Much time, which would otherwise, perhaps, be lost or wasted in idleness, may be thus occupied in filling it up, improving their knowledge of geography, and their style of writing and printing, at the same time.
Some schools that I have known have, by a similar course, become remarkably expert in map-drawing, -securing accuracy of form and proportion, as well as beauty of coloring and penmanship, in the various styles of chirography and pen-printing.*
The other States of the Union may be taken up in the same way, followed by a combination of the New England States; the Middle, the Southern and Western ; and, finally, making a grand review of the United States, in one map. Frequent reviews, from point to point, would be necessary to keep the mind familiar with the ground gone over.
Before proceeding further with the American continent, it would be well to cross the Atlantic, and take up the British Islands; sketch the outline of Great Britain, and fill up, as on this side of the water. Thence, cross the Channel to the continent of Europe ; make an outline of the whole, and divide the countries as was done by the counties in the lesson on the State of Massachusetts. Subsequently, draw the countries separately, and practise upon them till the form of each one becomes as familiar to each pupil's eye as that of his
* That of William B. Fowle, of Boston, especially.
native State. The remainder of the American continent should fol. low, with the islands along its coasts. Then Africa and Asia. Every region has its points of interest, but a careful discrimination should be exercised, and time and labor be given to those portions of the world a knowledge of which would prove most satisfactory, agreeable, improving, and useful. To devote much time to crowding the memory with many of the names of places in Africa, for instance, which one would scarcely meet with, except in a treatise on Geography, in the whole subsequent course of his life, would hardly be a wise appropriation of time and study.*
Europe, in its various divisions of Northern, Southern, Central, &c., concentrating so many specimens of grandeur, beauty, natural curiosities and interesting phenomena, and presenting, in its historical records, such a storehouse of the wonderful, the heroic, the patriotic, the scientific, the brave, the self-sacrificing, and the patiently enduring, - besides having been the home of our fathers, - will naturally be found the most attractive and interesting to the learner, of the various foreign regions of the world. He should therefore dwell longest upon, and make bimself best acquainted with, that portion of the world; and, as I have before intimated, should be directed by the teacher, as he is mapping out the different parts of Europe, either as countries, districts, or cities, to the birthplaces of the world's benefactors; the scenes of their labors, their sufferings, or their glory. He should remember the good of all creeds, — Plato and Aristides, Brutus and the Gracchi, Alfred and Charlemagne, Gustavus Vasa and William Tell, Laplace and Humboldt, Shakspeare and Milton, Newton and Wilberforce, Fenelon and Jenner, and Hannah More and Grace Darling, and Mrs. Frye and Florence Nightingale, -omitting none of either sex, wherever humanity demands a notice of them.
Palestine and other parts of Asia will also readily attract his attention, and the scenes in which the patriarchs and prophets of the
* It is not indispensable that the precise order of the maps attempted, as above indicated, should be invariably followed. There may be a better arrangement. In some atlases a convenient and rational order is laid down ; and if outline maps, adapted to them, can be had, they will prove an important gain to the learner. My object is to secure a rational and regularly progressive order, which with some is sacrificed to inadequate considerations.
It would be nearly, if not quite, impossible for the pupil, in the usual time devoted to school education, to draw a map or maps of every considerable portion of the globe, without injustice to other studies. It is, therefore, proper to begin with those in which we have the greatest interest, or with whose inhabitants we cherish friendly or business relations. After this suggestion, the teacher's own reflection will be a sufficient guide.
Hebrews took part, and those which were rendered sacred and memorable by the establishment of the Christian religion and the attendant "mighty works" and sufferings of its great Head, — Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Capernaum, Mounts Zion and Tabor, and the Mount of Olives, -all these should be pointed out. The birthplace of Paul; the isle of Patmos, where John closed his long and memorable life; and whatever else of equal interest is known concerning these and other distinguished men, who figured in the sacred history and geography of their times.
In sketching the maps of our own country, the same course should be pursued, and the pupil's attention drawn not only to the birthplaces of the great and good men who have lived and left examples behind for our benefit and imitation, but also to the spots consecrated by their deeds, or by their blood shed in the cause of national freedom, as Lexington, Bunker Hill, Yorktown, Saratoga, Trenton, Long Isl. and. These, with their beroes and martyrs, should be commemorated. Mere military success I should not deem sufficient cause to “make a note of;” but in other countries, as well as in our own, where victory in battle had enabled an oppressed people to throw off the yoke of tyranny, or assist in setting a nation free, I would direct the attention of the learner to it, and to the leading spirits of the struggle. And this would introduce such places as Marathon, Thermopylæ, and Ban. nockburn.
If it be objected that this is history or brography, I reply, that no better auxiliary to the teaching of geography can be introduced than those facts and men, which places on the earth bring to the mind, when they are truly memorable in themselves. I would further maintain that geography and history should not be separated, but be always taught and studied together. One assists in acquiring and retaining the memory of the other, and both increase in interest from the union.
The teacher may throw in many a useful word to his pupils in their process of map-drawing, especially in regard to the ridges or chains of mountains in the several continents — how they follow, in their direction, apparently, one particular law or rule in one hemisphere, and a different one in another; so that an observant eye may distinguish the country to which the mountains belong, simply by the direction and relations of the mountains themselves. So in regard to the course of rivers, whose tendencies are in uniform directions in neighboring localities. The teacher will here indicate the cause of this, and also, when their directions vary, state what is the cause of such variation.
The pupil observes, that, in some parts of the world, there are but
few rivers. He may not speak of this, but should have the reason for the fact stated to him. He finds, too, that in some countries there is, little or no rain; in others, a great deal; and in others still, periodical seasons of rain, lasting for months together. Tell him why it is so. Also, the causes of the trade winds, whose operations seem so wonderful, and yet are made so subservient to the welfare of the mercantile world.
Let him know something of longitude and latitude, and, as soon as he is able to comprehend their meaning, give him simple problems, to test the utility of this knowledge. In travelling, he hears his father say his watch is too slow, and that they are about two hundred miles from home, in an easterly direction. Ask him the longitude of the place, and if he knows the longitude of his own residence, he will say it is —°, or about three degrees less than at his own home, and that the watch is twelve minutes slow. Or, he has travelled in an opposite direction about ninety miles, and his watch is fast, and he may perceive and say that the watch is fast six minutes, and the longitude is one and a half degrees greater than at his own residence. He reads in a newspaper that a ship has been spoken at sea, in a given latitude and longitude, and, turning to a map covering that point, he will see just where the vessel was, at the particular hour when she was seen and spoken.
Tell him, at this stage of his progress, that while we measure the sun's time east and west, we reckon his degree of heat north and south. Hence he will perceive that, in going from this latitude tow, ards the north pole, the cold will continually increase; and that in travelling in the opposite direction, till he reaches the equator, the heat increases in a similar ratio. Give him next some account of the zones, and the causes of the varied temperature in each. Direct his attention to the productions of these widely-differing portions of the globe. He will perceive that they are distinctly marked in every department of creation, - man, beast, reptile, bird, vegetable, fruit, flower, and that the production of one zone is rarely found living or growing spontaneously within another, excepting in contiguous or proximating parts. Tell him where to look for the strong, industrious, intelligent, matter-of-fact man, who earns his subsistence and makes the world happier by his labor; and show him that the animals, the fruits, and the vegetable productions of that zone partake of qualities adapted to just that race of men.
The same may be said of the others. Where the physical wants of man are few, little in the way of labor is required of him. Excessive heat abates his strength, and nature feeds and clothes him from