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may be received with attention and application, with. out which it leaves no impression. The natural temper of children disposes their minds to wander. · Novelty alone takes them; whatever that presents, they are presently eager to have a taste of, and are as soon satiated with it. They quickly grow weary of the same thing, and so have almost their whole delight in change and variety. It is a contradiction to the natural state of childhood, for them to fix their fleeting thoughts. Whether this be owing to the temper of their brains, or the quickness or instability of their animal spirits, over which the mind has not yet got a full command; this is visible, that it is a pain to children to keep their thoughts steady to any thing. A lasting continued attention is one of the hardest tasks can be imposed on them: and therefore, he that requires their application, should endeavour to make what he proposes as grateful and agreeable as possible ; at least, he ought to take care not to join any displeasing or frightful idea with it. If they come not to their books with some kind of liking and relish, it is no wonder their thoughts should be perpetually shifting from what disgusts them, and seek better entertainment in more pleasing objects, after which they will unavoidably be gadding.
It is, I know, the usual method of tutors, to endea-' vour to procure attention in their scholars, and to fix their minds to the business in hand, by rebukes and corrections, if they find them ever so little wandering. But such treatment is sure to produce the quite contrary effect. Passionate words or blows from the tutor fill the child's mind with terrour and affrightment, which immediately takes it wholly up, and leaves no room for other impressions. I believe there is nobody, that reads this, but may recollect, what disorder hasty or imperious words from his parents or teachers have caused in his thoughts; how for the time it has turned his brains, so that he scarce knew what was said by, or to him: he presently lost the sight of what he was up. on; his mind was filled with disorder and confusion, and in that state was no longer capable of attention to any thing else.
• It is true, parents and governors ought to settle and establish their authority, by an awe over the minds of those under their tuition; and to rule them by that: but when they have got an ascendant over them, they should use it with great moderation, and not make themselves such scarecrows, that their scholars should always tremble in their sight. Such an austerity may make their government easy to themselves, but of very little use to their pupils. It is impossible children should learn any thing, whilst their thoughts are possessed and disturbed with any passion, especially fear, which makes the strongest impression on their yet tender and weak spirits. Keep the mind in an easy calm temper, when you would have it receive your instructions, or any increase of knowledge. It is as impossible to draw fair and regular characters on a trembling mind, as on a shaking paper. · The great skill of a teacher is to get and keep the ato tention of his scholar: whilst he has that, he is sure to advance as fast as the learner's abilities will carry him ; and without that, all his bustle and pother will be to little or no purpose. To attain this, he should make the child comprehend (as much as may be the usefulness of what he teaches him; and let him see, by what he has learned, that he can do something which he could not do before; something which gives him some power and real advantage above others, who are ignorant of it. To this he should add sweetness in all his instructions; and by a certain tenderness in his whole carriage, make the child sensible that he loves him, and designs nothing but his good; the only way to beget love in the child, which will make him hearken to his lessons, and relish what he teaches him. · Nothing but obstinacy should meet with any imperiousness or rough usage. All other faults should be corrected with a gentle hand; and kind encouraging words will work better and more effectually upon a willing mind, and even prevent a good deal of that perverseness, which rough and imperious usage often produces in well-disposed and generous minds. It is trué, obstinacy and wilful neglects must be mastered, even though it cost blows to do it: but I am apt to think perverseness in the pupils is often the effect of frowardness in the tutor; and that most children would seldom have deserved blows, if needless and misapplied roughness had not taught them ill-nature, and given them an aversion to their teacher, and all that comes from him.
Inadvertency, forgetfulness, unsteadiness, and wandering of thought, are the natural faults of childhood : and therefore, when they are not observed to be wilful, are to be mentioned softly, and gained upon by time. If every slip of this kind produces anger and rating, the occasions of rebuke and corrections will return so often, that the tutor will be a constant terrour and uneasiness to his pupils; which one thing is enough to hinder their profiting by his lessons, and to defeat all his methods of instruction. · Let the awe he has got upon their minds be so témpered with the constant marks of tenderness and goodwill, that affection may spur them to their duty, and make them find a pleasure in complying with his dice tates. This will bring them with satisfaction to their tutor; make them hearken to him; as to one who is their friend, that cherishes them, and takes pains for their good; this will keep their thoughts easy and free, whilst they are with him, the only temper wherein the mind is capable of receiving new informations, and of admitting into itself those impressions, which if not taken and retained, all that they and their teacher do together is lost labour; there is much uneasiness, and little learning.
$ 168. When, by this way of interlining Latin and English one with another, he has got a moderate knowledge of the Latin tongue, he may then be advanced a little farther to the reading of some other easy Latin book, such as Justin, or Eutropius; and to make the reading and understanding of it the less tedious, and difficult to him, let him help himself, if he please, with the English translation. Nor let the objection, that he will then know it only by rote, fright any one. This, when well considered, is not of any moment against,
but plainly for, this way of learning a language; for languages are only to be learned by rote; and a man, who does not speak English or Latin perfectly by rote, so that having thought of the thing he would speak of, his tongue of course, without thought of rule or grammar, falls into the proper expression and idiom of that language, does not speak it well, nor is master of it. And I would fain have any one name to me that tongue, that any one can learn or speak as he should do, by the rules of grammar, Languages were made not by rules or art, but by accident, and the common use of the people. And he that will speak them well, has no other rule but that: nor any thing to trust to but his memory, and the habit of speaking after the fashion, learned from those that are allowed to speak properly, which, in other words, is only to speak by rote.
It will possibly be asked here, Is grammar mmar. then of no use? And have those who have taken so much pains in reducing several languages to rules and observations, who have writ so much about declensions and conjugations, about concords and syntaxis, lost their labour, and been learned to no purpose ? I say not so; grammar has its place too. But this I think I may say, there is more stir a great deal made with it than there needs, and those are tormented about
it, to whom it does not at all belong; I mean children, . at the age wherein they are usually perplexed with it in grammar-schools.
There is nothing more evident, than that languages learned by rote serve well enough for the common affairs of life, and ordinary commerce. Nay, persons of quality of the softer sex, and such of them as have spent their time in well-bred company, show us, that this plain natural way, without the least study or knowledge of grammar, can carry them to a great degree of elegancy and politeness in their language: and there are ladies who, without knowing what tenses and participles, adverbs and prepositions are, speak as properly, and as correctly, (they might take it for an ill compliment, if I said as any country school-master,) as most gentlemen who have been bred up in the ordinary
methods of grammar-schools. Grasimar therefore we sée may be spared in some cases. The question then will be, To whom should it be taught, and when ? To this I answer,
1. Mén leárn languages for the ordinary intercourse of society, and communication of thoughts in common life, without any farther design in their use of them. And for this purpose the original way of learning a language by conversation not only serves well enough, but is to be preferred, as the most expedite, proper, and natural. Therefore to this use of language one may an. swer, that grammar is not necessary. This so many of my readers must be forced to allow, as understand what I here say, and who, conversing with others, understand them without having ever been taught the grammar of the English tongue: which I suppose is the case of incomparably the greatest part of Englishmen; of whom I have never yet known any one who learned his mo. ther-tongue by rules.
2. Others there are, the greatest part of whose business in this world is to be done with their tongues, and with their pens; and to those it is convenient, if not nécessary, that they should speak properly and correctly, whereby they may let their thoughts into other men's minds, the more easily, and with the greater impression: Upon this account it is, that any sort of speaking, so as will make him be understood, is not thought enough for a gentleman. He ought to study grammar, amongst the other helps of speaking well; but it must be the grammar of his own tongue, of the language he usés, that he may understand his own country speech nicely, and speak it properly, without shocking the ears of those it is addressed to with solecisms and offensive irregularities. And to this purpose grammar is necessáry: but it is the grammar only of their own proper tongues, and to those only who would take pains in cultivating their language, and in perfecting their styles. Whether all gentlemen should not do this, I leave to be considered, since the want of propriety, and grammatical exactness, is thought very misbecoming one of that rank, and usually draws on one guilty of such faults VOL. IX.