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A WORD FOR OUR SPOKEN ENGLISH.

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English Grammar is taught in our schools, and, ostensibly, that the pupils may learn to use good English, or, as the old grammars have it, " to speak and write the English language correctly."

Whether the means thus used will, or can, compass the end proposed, we do not intend to consider here, although the question is one of no slight importance. We do propose, however, to put in a plea in behalf of the first, and, in some respects, major object set forth in the old formula — learning to speak the English language correctly.

Good English is, of course, good English, whether spoken or written. But, certainly, spoken English comes naturally first in the order of art, and, on some accounts, is no less first in the order of import

However this may be taken by our readers, we shall venture to affirm that a fine-speaking English scholar is a rarer and more perfect specimen of culture than a fine writer. To all the other excellencesexcellences which are common to both, he must add one that belongs to the spoken tongue alone, one that depends on a finished culture of both the ear and voice-a pure and perfect pronunciation. .

Now there are special difficulties hedging about the work of acquiring a pure pronunciation. The finest sounds can rarely be set forth by phonetic signs or typical words, for the signs must be interpreted by words, and the words are sure to be interpreted by the local use. The living teacher is, besides, often both unconscious of his own errors in pronunciation from want of a fine ear, incapable of detecting the true sound when it is represented to him. Hence, numerous and gross errors not only pervade the popular speech, but are present in the daily utterances of the school room, ever corrupting the vocal body of our spoken English.

Now, we are moved to ask, whether this matter of pronunciation should not receive a more complete and positive attention in the school room? Is it enough to give heed to it only as it happens to be associated with oral spelling and reading? Ought it not to take its place in a specific daily exercise? Ought not that large body of words, currently mispronounced, amounting to some three thousand or more, to be taken up seriatim, and made a careful study, by both teachers and pupils? The substitution of written for oral spelling tends to prevent practiced pronunciation on the part of the pupil; and reading can only bring the pronunciation of these words into the field of practice, and then only to their partial obscuration by other matters. Besides, the mispronunciation of words becomes an unconscious habit, and is hence a more inveterate evil than even false spelling. It can only be rooted out by a most definite and decisive practice. Why not have pronunciation distinctly and regularly taught? — Exchange.

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Some months ago this Journal called attention to a paragraph from the New York Tribune beginning with the above words paragraph well worthy the attention of every teacher. Probably most of our school buildings as they now are, cannot be used without more or less injury to the eyesight of pupils. Too much cannot be said (if it be all truth) in advocating their improvement.

Teachers ought to instruct their pupils as to the proper use of light, and to warn them against using their eyes in reading, writing, sewing, etc., with insufficient light, and especially twilight; they should show them the importance of holding the book so that a line from the eye to the word shall be perpendicular to the page and the letters thus prevented from being foreshortened and appearing smaller and less distinct.- Teachers ought also to make publishers understand that they object to the beautiful but injurious gloss that is nowadays often found on the paper of our school books. The glitter which it produces over the words makes the reading of them difficult and taxing to the eye.

But have the investigations in this matter gone quite far enough? It seems to be too much taken for granted that the public school is the only place to look for the sources of inyopia. Let us have some statistics as to how many of these short sighted pupils habitually read the abominably printed matter of our daily newspapers, or of the “ blood and thunder" story papers and other sorts of cheap trash, abominablə in more ways than in the quality of its print. Let us have statistics as to liow many pupils are constantly injuring their eyes by straining them by gaslight or lamplight over those injurious combinations of fine print, blurred letters, and dark straw paper. For it is a noticeable fact that the poorest type is put to the poorest paper with the poorest press work mainly in producing these publications. After some investigations of this kind we shall be better able to decide how much of the evil is really caused by the public schools."— A. G. B., in the National Teacher.

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A SERIOUS ERROR.-- In the practical work of the school room, there is no mistake more serious than that teachers should look with goodnatured patience on mistakes in the fundamental rules of arithmetic. How often do teachers hear, " Oh, it's only a mistake in the multiplication!" It is this kind of work that gives the outside world the im. pression that our schools are inefficient. And is the world far from wrong? If our boys and girls cannot be so trained, that in the simplest and by far the most common of all arithmetical operations, accuracy shall be the rule, and error the rare exception, instead of the reverse holding true, then, what in the name of common sense are we doing?

The conclusion is a mortifying one that not in arithmetic only, but in all school work, in the most serious after-work of life, “mistakes are regarded with too much patience, too much good-nature, and are condoned far too easily.

We do not intimate that teachers are wholly responsible for this. But we do insist that, as far as lies in their power, they shall take their stand for perfect accuracy in all things; shall have no mistakes — not even “in multiplication," - no" slips of the pen ” without

“ ” regarding the error as serious as can be committed. We believe the result will be for good only. School life reacts upon the busier, more heated, and more important labors of riper years. When that time comes when our merchants will no longer say that "public schoolboys can't be trusted to add up a column of figures," then we may depend upon it that our boys will be found more correct in other things than figures.- Pacific School and Home Journal.

SOME HINTS TO TEACHERS.

NEWSPAPERS IN THE SCHOOL-ROOM.- Carefully selected articles to be read by both teacher and pupils are of great benefit to reading classes, not only for variety in the reading exercise itself, but a vast amount of general and useful information may thus be laid up which will go far toward making up a good solid education. Important subjects of the day may thus be taken up, reviewed and discussed, and the result reproduced in weekly compositions by the class.

MANNERS AND DEPORTMENT.- Amongst the many duties of the teacher is the cultivation in his pupils of a strict regard for good morals and correct deportment. This may begin with pupils in their conduct to one another in mutual intercourse at school, their general demeanor towards the teacher and those whom they may chance to meet on their way to and from school. He should ever commend an act of generosity, kindness, or politeness in a pupil, when it comes to his notice, but not personally before the school, for commendation is not the object so much as principle. A pupil must not be led to do an act of generosity or kindness for the sake of the commendations it may bring. They are many who are rude and unmannerly on the streets, boys not only, but girls too. These should be reached by their teachers, taught and reformed by daily lessons on good manners. A case in hand can often be treated in this manner and reached indirectly, without holding up the offender to ridicule and disgrace, who will heed a timely lesson and look up higher. Do not condemn; rather encourage to reform; and let all punishment for bad conduct have a close logical connection with the offence.

Class RECORDS — Should stimulate pupils not to have good recitations simply for the mark on record, but they should be a source of encouragement to put forth their best efforts in their every day schoolwork for the benefit of what they thus do for themselves and the knowledge they obtain. Value knowledge gained, for itself, rather than strive for class standing, in constant rivalry, with that object alone in view.

WRITING.–1. Copies at the head of the page occasion in the average writing of pupils each successive line to look less like the original; pupils pattern after their own last line, hence the incorrectness of the lower lines.

2. Copies of easy words should be written correctly on the blackboard by the teacher.

3. Pupils should be allowed to write on the blackboard occasionally. Most pupils are deficient in blackboard work. Too little board work in the schools.

4. Young pupils should not be taught much of principles or analysis, but should have correct models to copy and do it correctly.

5. Give attention to correct position and pen holding.

6. Require free and ready movement from the beginning, and in examination rely more on general written work than on copy books.

7. Correct general errors on the board before the class, and give explanations and instruction in that way:- SUPERINTENDENT SHELLEY, of York, in Penn. School Journal.

A PROBLEM SOLVED.

In St. Louis there is no attempt to bring all classes within the same grade to one standard of advancement, so that, in January, all pupils within a given grade shall have arrived at just the same point in a study.

At all times there are new classes just beginning the work of a grade, or year's work, in some one of our schools.

The classes are not separated by intervals of one year in their work, but by irregular intervals varying from six weeks to twenty. It is considered desirable to have these intervals small, so that reclassification may be more easily managed.

Pupils who fall behind their class for any reason (such as absence, lack of physical strength or of mental ability) may be reclassified with the next lower class without falling back a year, and thus becoming discouraged.

Pupils who are unusually bright or mature, may be promoted to the class above, or form new classes with the slower pupils of the class above, who need to review their work.

Thus it happens that in a district school there is a continual process going on, the elements of which are as follows:

(1.) The older and more advanced pupils are leaving school for business or other causes. This depletes the classes of the most skillful and best paid teachers, who are usually placed in charge of the most advanced pupils.

Again, there is at all times of the year an influx, into the lower grades, of pupils who have just completed their sixth or seventh year, and are now anxious to begin their school career.

Thus the pupils in the primary rooms of our schools tend continually to be over-crowded. (2.) To correct this continued tendency which over-crowds the rooms of the least skillful and poorest paid teachers, and gives small quotes of pupils to the most skillful and best paid teachers, from time to time (usually once in ten weeks but oftener in some schools), each class is sifted, and its most promising pupils united with what remains of the next higher class: (i. e., with the not-promising portion of it - those who for absence, or dull intellect, or weak will, fail to keep up with the best).

(3.) To make room for this transfer a portion of the highest class is sent to the Branch High Schools.

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