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Many of the devoted adherents of “oral spelling,” spelling by rote, strenuously contend that orthography cannot be lawfully taught without the use of the spelling-book. The School Code requires that, “Orthography shall be taught in every school,” but it does not require “spelling;” and as orthography means correct writing, being derived from the Greek orthos correct, and grapho writing,) so the lawful demand is equivalent to requiring correct writing to be taught in every school. Let us examine the prevalent method of teaching and see whether or not right writing is usually taught in school by the use of the spellingbook. Here is a spelling-book exercise, which, according to custom, we will first recite with open book: “L-u-m lum, r-u-m rum, s-u-r-d surd, r-a-t-c-h ratch, i-b ib, ob ob, s-o-p-o-r-i-f-i-c soporific, f-i-n-a-l-e finale.” Now close the book and continue the process, repeating from memory: L-u-m lum, r-u-m rum, s-u-r-d surd, r-a-t-c-h ratch, etc., etc. Now can any person with a spark of truth flowing in his veins declare that this lum-rum, surd-ratch rigmarole constitutes right writing? No; it is not even writing, much less right writing. O! that every teacher and every scholar did but know that orthography really means right writing! Would that parents, Superintendents and District Boards did but declare their condemnation of this kind of orthographic foodthis thought-killing mind poison, on which I have known children fed, so that at the beginning of their fourth term of school they could spell by rote two-thirds ol the words in a spelling-book, and could not read, _“I go in;" children who, during ten months' school attendance had never been led to form a script letter, nor an Arabic figure. And others who read in the Fourth Reader, and could not write a single letter of their own names !

And still this is professionally called lawful orthography—literally right writing! Did ever perversion, (falsehood,) show such destitution of shame? What do we derive from the spelling exercises of the spelling book? At most only scattered fragments of broken thoughts. Why memorize broken thoughts when the educational world is so full of whole thoughts?—Thoughts, too, which are instructive, entertaining and serviceable in practical life; and which nearly all classes of learners will copy with the most lively appreciation. A scholar who is just able to read, “In we go,” can be led to form a script i, n, w, e, 9, 0. After he can joiu these letters separately, he can be led to join them into words, “In we go. Thus every scholar, from the primer to the highest reader, can copy, either entire, or make an abstract of every read


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ing exercise. Indeed what is to hinder a scholar, from correctly performing his orthography exercises, when he copies his printed lessons? Can he not see every sentence, word and letter-Roman and Italic, capital and small capital letter; and the marks of punctuation included? In this way a scholar can practice orthography, right writing, with his his geography, grammar and arithmetic lessons; and by degress learn to write them from memory without the use of the printed book. By this method the component letters of words will not only become more indelibly impressed upon the learner's mind, but also the use and meaning of words, a knowledge of the grammatical construction of sentences and the cultivated style of standard authors, will thereby be acquired. In this blind-fold process of spelling by rote, the mind is withdrawn from the meaning of the words and directed to the names of the component letters. Words are the representatives of thought; therefore words and thought ought never to be disconnected. It is mental suicide to memorize empty sounds or words to which no meaning is attached.

They will find out the meaning sometime,” says ultra conservatism, in reply to an eight year old boy's mistake, who described the Pacific ocean to be a body of water half as wide as the Mississippi river; and this, after enjoying the benefit of an intelligent mother's oral instruction, and the literary acumen of a popular teacher inclusive. But is the mental culture of our children dependent upon their wading a dozen years, first in one, then in another quagmire of error, before they reach the solid foundation of truth? I am aware that this is the prevailing method of primary instruction, but the wisdom of this course is of a very doubtful character. For there are many diligent scholars who become discouraged and cease trying to learn, when they discover that they have been groping in a labyrinth of repeated errors. What lover of truth is not disgusted with falsehood-educational as well as moral? The first impressions are the most permanent; hence, if there are erroneous ones, the wrong will often adhere to a learner during life. Therefore, let the right be impressed at the beginning and not waste time with learning and unlearning error, and finally arrive at the truth at manhood, or as is often the case acquire such a distinguished (?) education as one which requires men and women to spell nearly every thing they read and guess at the meaning of nearly every nine words out of ten. I am aware that there are some energetic souls who rid themselves of the retarding stultifying influence of spelling by rote, by subsequent practice in writing composition-literal orthography; but for every one who thus succeeds there are thousands who remain weighed down with the fiendish incubus; acquire little more than the meagre ability of scrawling their own names and a few words of every


day use, written and spelled in the most wretched manner.

Let us pratice true, lawful, literal orthography from the beginning; write only intelligent sentences.

If by this method scholars fail to write their orthographic exercises correctly, they can, at least, feel the consciousness of having partly done what they pretended to do; they can feel that they have at least, written. But the mere oral recital of the names of the letters, is no more right writing, than the mere telling over of the several swinging motions of a scythe is right mowing. Mowing consists in taking the scythe in hand and going through the actual process of cutting down grass; so, also, orthography consists in taking the pen or pencil in hand and going through the actual process of forming letters, words and sentences. Why did people ever so grossly pervert the simple meaning of the word orthography? The mind, as well as the body, grows by digestible food; but food which the mental-stomach cannot digest, no matter how nutricious and wholesome, can benefit neither the mind nor the body. Therefore, to encumber the mind of a child with the pronunciation, or the component letters of unassociated words, years before, or perhans without ever, writing or understanding their import, is a kind of mental food of very doubtful digestive qualities.

Our intelligent Normal teachers instruct us, that “ true education should proceed from the concrete to the abstract, from the known to the unknown;" but, according to this spelling-book standard of scholarship, the process is exactly reversed. We commit to memory long columns of unassociated (meaningless] words, and from these idle words we are in a dozen or a score of years, to deduce or dig out intelligent thought, somewhat as a drunkard imagines to dig health out of the many gallons of whiskey he hac consumed. During the period of youth we fill our minds with obscure words, dark and beclouded phrases, and when we become gray-headed men and women, then we are to know their import. Let us be no longer guilty of the the folly of trying to remember what we do not understand.

It is objected that no person can write or read until he can spellmeaning to spell by rote. In the village school of Seeba, Saxe Meiningen dukedom, Germany, where spelling by rote was never practiced, I

I have seen fellow-pupils acquire a facility in writing intelligent sentences (usually at the teacher's dictation) Lut often voluntarily epitomizing incidents and facts of natural history in a couple of years, which I never saw equalled in any primary school where this spelling by rote was the daily exercise of scholars from four to twenty years

And this German village school is not an isolated example. The testimony of every German scholar of my acquaintance is a unit: “Auswendig Buchstabiren habe ich niemals gelernt,spelling by rote have I never

of age.

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learned. Now, if by practicing true, literal orthography, without blindfolù spelling, people in Germany can learn to write intelligent sentences as rapidly as spellers in America can repeat the names of the letters, then why cannot people in America do the same? It is conceded that iniellectual progress is the peculiar spirit of the New World; therefore, the people of America should not only equal, but even surpass those of Germany in learning to read and write without spelling by rote. Especially, so long as our Heavenly Father continues to bless us with eyes, fingers and pencils, let us use them in learning orthography.



What should be the position of a school-house on the plat of ground on which it stands? and what should be the internal arrangement of the same?

Long and careful observation has taught me that it should be as follows: The position of the school-house upon the plat of ground upon which it stands should be such that the door or doors may be in the south end or side of the building; and that the teacher may stand in the north end of the school-room, midway from east to west, and facing the pupils and the door or doors. With this arrangement the gable ends may be either to the north and south or to the east and west.

There are many reasons why pupils should sit facing the north, among which are these: (1.) During school hours all the light comes from south of east in the forenoon, and from south of west in the afternoon; so that the pupil who sits facing the north during this time has his eyes shaded from the direct rays of light, while the print before him receives the direct rays as should be the case.

But this case is reversed, and the direct rays come into his face in the forenoon, if he sits facing the east; in the afternoon, if he sits facing the west; but during the entire school day if he sits facing the south. (2.) If the pupil sits facing the north when he begins the study of geography, his map is then always “square with the world,” and there is no translation to de made; but such is not the case if he sits facing any other point when commencing this study. (3.) Pupils who have long sittings to perform feel better, sit more quietly, and with far less restraint, if facing the north than if facing any other point.

Pupils should face the teacher, and since they should face the north, the teacher’s place is in the north end of the school-room. But the stove should be as far from the teacher as possible, so that he may have a cool, clear head; hence, the stove should be in the south end of the school-room; and as the stove should be near the door or between the t?o doors, so the door or doors should be in the south end or side of the building. And please bear in mind that all I say at this time, is based upon the supposition that our imaginary school-house stands in this position.

Then there should be no window in the south end of the school-room, nor in the north end of it. The windows should be placed in the east and west sides, and they may be “grouped together for the triple purpose of cconomy in construction, finer architectural appearance, and a better disposition of light”; or separate windows such as we more frequently see, can be used if preferred.

If there is but one entrance for both sexes, it should be exactly midway from the east to the west side or end of the building; this, to give the ideas of balance and symmetry; and if there are two entrances, they should suggest these ideas. If there is but one door leading into the school-room, the stove should stand directly north of the door and as near it as may be and not interfere with the passage; and if there are two such doors the stove should stand midway between the two doors, and at the same distance from each wall, as in case of one door; that is, the position of the stove in relation to the school-room, should be the same with one door in the building as with two. This, that the cold air entering the door may come in contact with the stove and be warmed before it passes to any person in the room. But in no case of a single entrance to the school-room, should it be made nearer the east side of the building than the west side nor nearer the west side than the east side, and the stove placed “in the frort corner farthest from the door; ” for such construction does violence to the ideas of balance and symmetry, and the placing of the stove ignores the two principles, one of “physiology” and the other of philosophy, that cold air should be warmed before coming in contact with persons sitting unprotected, and that cold air not prevented will pass along the surface upon which it rests into space occupied by heated air and displace the latter. This caution is given that neither pupils nor teacher may be placed between the entrance and the stove; for the result of such a mistake is cold feet for the unfortunate persons who happen to be so placed; and this blunder is frequently made.

If the wood-house is not to be built in front of the main building, and attached to it as a part of it, the stove-pipe should pass to the north end of the school-room, and enter a chimney that should rest upon

the wall, but not come down to the black-board. In each of the extreme northeastern and northwestern upper corners of the room should be a small opening, that can be closed or opened at pleasure. These will conduct the vitiated air above the ceiling, and it may

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