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or classification, when it has already made an accumulation of particulars; but nothing from which it turns with more repugnance in its previous state of inanition."
While the above is excellent as a general rule, there are a few exceptions. Some of the children will never get beyond the First Book. It seems desirable that it should contain a few ideas which it is particularly important to impress upon their minds, although for other reasons they had better be reserved to a more advanced publication.
Another principle is to "proceed from the known to the unknown." Thus in teaching Natural History the first course should embrace animals with which the child is familiar. By directing attention to them, his observing faculties would be cultivated. A lesson on the cat in the first course would prepare the way for an account of the tiger in the second course. The third course might include remarkable animals found in other countries; the fourth, the popular classification of animals; the sixth, scientific classification. A few animals may be mentioned as specimens:2nd Book. 3rd Book. 4th Book.
5th Book. 6th Book.
Need of Simplicity. In teaching English to Indian children, simplicity is especially necessary at the outset. The language of books often differs a good deal from that used in conversation. Even English children find it difficult. Moseley says:
"It is astonishing how entirely the meaning which a sentence is intended to convey and the scope of a lesson may be placed beyond the intelligence of a child who is yet familiar with the particular meanings and the derivations of the words which compose it.
"The severest test to which the children of a National School can be subjected is to place in their hand some book of secular instruction, to select a sentence not remarkable for the simplicity of its construction, and to try how far they understand it. If they be subjected to the further test of conveying the meaning they attach to it under correct forms of expression, the failure would be signal."
Poetry presents still greater difficulties. An Inspector in England remarks:
"The requirement of poetry for the reading test of the 5th standard
* Home Education, p. 129.
appears to me very questionable. Its language is hardly ever understood. Figures of speech are entirely mistaken,-abbreviated and poetic forms of words completely disguise them. Whate'er,' 'e'en' for even,' 'even' for 'evening,' 'amid,' 'o'er' for 'over,' 'cot' for cottage,' &c. I have frequently taken portions of the Deserted Village,' and have rarely obtained any intelligent answers to the following questions: meaning of 'swain;' why is 'spring' called 'smiling?" 'lovely bowers;' what is a never-failing brook'? that topped,' what is the fruit of the 'hawthorn bush ?' the village train,' what kind of a train is it? Again, 'Near yonder copse where once a village 'smiled, meaning of 'copse'-the answer has always been dead body.' "Gray's Elegy is equally unintelligible to the majority of readers. It might almost as well be written in Greek. Heber's From Greenland icy mountains' is another dreadful stumbling block over which their feet often trip. Cowper's God moves in a mysterious way,' I have tried frequently and in vain. Aud, in another strain, The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse,' 'John Gilpin,' &c., have failed to bring out any sense of their humour, or to convince me that their readers had any pleasure in their task. In nine cases out of ten the poetry to which I have to listen is a weary sing-song, and I hear that other inspectors make the same complaint.'
In schools of a better class in India, the pupils will generally be able to give synonyms of words, and the questioner may suppose that they understand the sense. They may even repeat a paraphrase which they have committed to memory, and yet they may have no idea of the meaning as a whole. To render the passage into the vernacular, is one of the best tests. Translation exercises should receive far more attention than they often do at present.
The Hindu Patriot remarks:
"But for the unsatisfactory nature of the education that our youths receive, the text-books in our humble opinion are not so much to blame as the teachers and the mode of examination. We have always been of opinion that perhaps eighty per cent. of our teachers do not understand what they teach or know how to teach."-19th May, 1873.
But if so large a proportion of the teachers themselves do not understand what they teach, there is the greater need of simplicity in the text-books.
The mode of examination has no doubt had a good deal to do with the practice of cramming. Improvement in this respect is gradually taking place. The Calcutta University has determined to follow the Bombay plan of not prescribing text-books for the entrance examination, and probably the Madras University will adopt the same course.
* Report of Committee of Council on Education, 1867-68, pp. 274-5.
Adaptation to India.-It may seem a truism that the books used should be adapted to India; but it is wonderful how much it has been overlooked. Englishmen, Scotchmen and Irishmen have often introduced the books they were accustomed to teach at home. It is plain that books intended for a different zone cannot be suitable, in some important respects, for India. As well might a Scotch farmer, transferred to the burning plains of the Carnatic, attempt to cultivate in the same way as in the Lothians.
The Madras Public Instruction Report for 1855-50 quotes the following, showing the unsuitableness of English books for India :
"It would for instance be of little utility to place in the hands of a native child a book descriptive of the natural phenomena of a northern climate or of many out-of-door or in-door games of English school boys, or of the scenery there, or of the habits of the animals of a northern country; all of which are so dissimilar to those of the tropics, that the child would either not recognize the scenes described, or be taught facts, which, though correct as regards England, are not so as regards this country. So, likewise it would be out of place to have the oak, the elm, the ash and the birch described as familiar to the youth of India. It is well known that with many of the tribes of this country the dog is not the familiar companion of man, nor is the hog ordinarily used for food; and these and similar points should be carefully attended to in any book for the Natives of India." p. 56.
The "Supplement to the Fourth Book" of the Irish Series is read in the Government Schools in the Madras Presidency. The Madras Educational Record quotes from it the following "highly instructive passage"
"Many silly girls fancy that a small waist is much to be admired, and in order to acquire this, they lace themselves so tightly that they can hardly breathe. This pernicious habit often makes the backbone curved, or the ribs bent or causes injuries in the chest, which hurt the health dreadfully.'
Such a caution is not very appropriate in the case of Hindu boys! In preparing books for village schools, the compiler should have as full knowledge as possible of Indian ryots. Some years ago an interesting article appeared in a home periodical, "A Crow Boy's Mind," which gives an idea of what is meant..
It would be very useful to have similar sketches of an "Indian Ryot's Mind" and his mode of life. Four or five might be written, one in each great division of India, and including Muhammadans as well as Hindus. Those who drew them up might have points of inquiry indicated, e. g., the ryot's house, its furni
ture, its surroundings, the daily life of the ryot from childhood to old age, his earnings and his outlay; his ideas of natural phenomena, geography, history, the British Government; his views. of right and wrong; his wants, his wishes, &c.* On many points his mind would be almost a total blank.
The object of such sketches would be to learn what the ryot does know, in order to teach him more effectually what he does not know, and to give him the information which he most requires.
Two or three descriptions of shopkeepers and artizans would also be valuable. Such sketches might be published in the Records of the Government of India, as they would be useful in various ways.
Adaptation to India, of course, refers chiefly to elementary books. They ought to possess this quality to be intelligible to beginners. But by degrees purely English books should be more and more introduced, to enable the students to understand the ordinary literature of the language.
The Government Resolution.-It will be seen that the foregoing remarks agree substantially with the views expressed by Lord Northbrook. In the case of elementary education it is a sound principle that "the contents of the book taught shall be as much as possible within easy range of the pupil's comprehension and ordinary experience.' "The introduction of books containing allusions to scenes or ideas which boys of this country cannot possibly realize or appreciate is apt to hinder progress in mastering the language itself, which should be the main object of education at this stage; while examinations upon this kind of instruction must have a tendency towards favoring the practice of what is commonly called cramming, which, in the training of schools, it is particularly expedient to discourage."
Lord Northbrook's Resolution must be understood as a whole. The above remarks refer solely to "elementary" education. His Excellency distinctly states that "the more advanced student may be required rapidly to acquaint himself with a variety of new ideas and of references to things which open out fresh lines of thought or points of view." One great object of English Education is to fit a student to understand and appreciate English literature. To qualify him for this, he must have practice in reading ordinary English authors. Here he must have books with "classical metaphors" and "allusions" to "European history" and "social life." All this is true, but it is perfectly consistent with the first part of the Resolution.
* There is a work by Martin Doyle which the writer has bourer, in his Moral, Intellectual, and Physical Conditions." afford some useful hints.
not seen : "The LaIt would probably
REVIEW OF ENGLISH READING BOOKS.
It will be useful in considering what Reading Books are required in India to review briefly existing works of the kind. They may be divided into two classes-books published at home, and books compiled in India. These two may be noticed in turn. I. Books published in England.
Reading Books in England have passed through various phases during the last half century. Fifty years ago elementary books began with long combinations like ba, be, bi, at, et, bla, ble, &c. and with many columns of words for spelling, interspersed with a few reading lessons. The contents of advanced books consisted chiefly of extracts from oratory, dialogues and classical poetry.
Lord Brougham and others originated the "Society for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge," and endeavoured to diffuse a taste for science. The Irish Reading Books were largely constructed on the system thus recommended. They contain some admirable lessons, e. g., those on money matters by the late Archbishop Whately, but as Mr. Fitch remarks: "The great fault in that cheap and popular series was, that the language was too bookish, and that a single page often contained more technical and unfamiliar words than could be adequately explained in a whole day."*
The " Supplement to the Fourth Book," one of the Irish Series, is prescribed for Zillah Schools in South India. The Madras Educational Record says, "It contains selections from the works of a great many authors, both in prose and verse, arranged, as far as our observation goes, without any attention to method or utility."+
After quoting the "highly instructive passage" extracted at page 32, the reviewer remarks:
"This English Reader, bad as it is, contains many good extracts from various authors, and, as many of the pieces are not of a technical nature, it is, in comparison with the Third Reader (of the Madras School Book Society) a not unsuitable text-book. At the same time a much better one is required, and a much better one should be found or compiled."
The Report of the Education Commission in 1861 says, " Most of the Assistant Commissioners and several of the Inspectors complain of the dulness of the reading books." (p. 261). Some compilers of reading books then went to another extreme. Mr. Fitch says:
"Instead of crowding their pages with information, they have
* Report of Committee of Council on Education, 1864-65, p. 167.