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Necessity, An Urgent. By Dr. Norris......
Normal-School Course. By John Resolutions of High-School Prin-
Ohio, The Educational Work and
State Examination Questions, 15, 52
Personals...... 32, 68, 106, 138, 175,
Teaching, The Narrowing Ten-
Programme, National Education-
Training, Voice. By Mrs. M. Jo-
Unclassified Schools. By M. R.
“ÆSTHETICS OF THE SCHOOL-ROOM.” We are so accustomed to learning from a book that we are apt to forget that there is a world full of things to be learned outside of the precise domain of text-book literature. But there are some things that cannot be formulated. The putting of them between the lids of a book would press out all their life, and they would become shrunken and shrivelled, much like the beautiful flowers that grow dry and crisp when pressed between the leaves of an herbarium. The world of school-life within text-books is not of more importance than the world of school-life outside of text-books. To add, subtract, multiply, and divide, to read, write, and spell, is not the whole end of
A child may glean his school-books thoroughly and then be but a boor or a clown.
Schools may carry out a prescribed course of study even to the verge of perfection, and produce little more than monstrosities. The American youth need an education in the amenities of life. Our boys are to be the gentlemen, and our girls are to be the ladies of the land. The Common School is a great Corliss Engine that is setting in motion the forces that are to control and govern in their lives. Their character will be the character of the nation, and as men and women they will be no more exalted, noble, and refined than they are in school to-day as boys and girls, for “Childhood shows the man as morn
ing shows the day.” If they are to add lustre to the American name, the æsthetic must be made to keep equal pace with the material and mere mental progress of the land. The boy should be taught what is manly in deportment, pleasing in manner, and correct in taste.
A child that is surrounded by what is refined and elevated will, unconsciously it may be, grow into the likeness of his surroundings. By looking at a man you can place him, you can tell who his associates are, and what influences are at work to lift him up or drag him down. In a community of taste and culture, you can read plainly of schools fruitful in qualities that produce these results. We are writing what the world will soon read. Let the record tell of schools where learning and culture have gone hand in hand, where mental strength and pleasing manners have grown into each other as complements of a beautiful symmetry. A noble character can not be separated from a fine deportment, for “what God hath joined together no man can put asunder.” There are men whose presence is a perpetual benediction. "Eternal sunshine settles on their heads.” They are the centres of a more noble and a farther reaching influence than can come from the millionnaire's gold. The one wields his power in the spiritual, the other in the material world. We do not judge of a man by what he knows so much as by what he is. We judge of what a man is by what we see. There is an old saying that appearances are deceitful. I am opposed however to receiving that maxim as current coin any longer. We can see more of a man than is on the outside, and can tell when the external is a true index of what is within. As hypocrisy is said to be the homage which vice pays to virtue, so is the simulation of an elegant appearance the homage which uncouthness pays to elegance and correct taste. It is as easy to tell a spurious man as it is to tell a spurious coin-not by intricate analysis, but by simply sounding him. The world has keen eyes, and where culture is only skin deep, the ass's ears are sure to show. When some time ago it was proposed to reform the Civil Service by examining applicants for position, a hue and cry was raised that a text-book examination furnished no adequate estimate of the man. So just was the criticism that the proposed reform could not stand against it. You can't measure a man by standing him up beside an Arithmetic, Grammar, or Geography. A few months ago five men faced a convention in Springfield, Ohio, whose nomination
they sought for the office of Representative in Congress. I witnessed the scene as one by one they came, said a few words and went. The address, the deportment, the appearance, the manner of each man came before that convention for scrutiny and judgment. It was an instance in which the visible was of more importance than the invisible, in which manner was far more potential than matter. There was no occasion for the display of learning beyond the matter of the few spoken words. The judgment of the convention so far as it was unmade was then made up from the general bearing of the candidates—a matter outside the precise realm of rules with notes, remarks, explanations, and comments in stately array. The little text-book world was hardly visible.
The adage that first impressions are always the most correct is a tribute to the importance of a training which manifests itself in external appearances. The great desire to see a man comes from the fact that it is better to form a judgment from sight than from hearing or reading. I saw Ben Butler recently, and I think I got a more correct impression of him than I could even from Harper's Weekly.
Let us consider a few of the factors that go to make up our estimate of a man. A man must be neat in his dress. Hence the saying attributed to Beecher that he could afford to go looking rather seedy inasmuch as his reputation was already made, while a man of comparative obscurity should look well to his personal adornment. It is impossible to rear a fine superstructure of regard u pon a foundation of dirt.
There is no better place to teach neatness than the schoolroom. It should be taught by precept and example, especially by example. A teacher should be fit to be imitated in this respect. A child is quick to admire and copy what is tasteful in appearance. Teachers can not help being imitated, and if they properly recognized this fact they certainly would be careful to look their best before the little ones. A teacher should be the best looking person in the world.
A cheerful disposition is in complete harmony with a neat personal appearance, and they should go hand in hand to the school-room. When I have seen teachers look ugly in school, with hair twisted in paper close to the head in order that they might appear beautiful to company in the evening, I have thought, “What an imposition on the school," "and what a suspension of self-respect.” When I have seen teachers with
frowns and wrinkles in the school-room all serene and lovely at home, I have felt that there was a great fraud committed on unoffending little children. Teachers owe all that is bright, good, and lovely in them to their schools. It is a moral obligation from which they cannot free themselves if they would.
“Still to be neat, still to be drest
As you were going to a feast.' There is a manly, a womanly bearing and address which should be inculcated at school. A boy who is taught to express himself clearly and with dignity before a common audience on matters of even neighborhood concern has a culture not less in importance than the ability to give the person and number of a verb, or to extract the cube root of a decimal fraction. There is a long way from the guttural mutterings of the savage to the clear ringing voice of civilization. A man can be judged accurately from the way in which he talks. We can see in his tones strength, kindness, energy, and decision, or perhaps weakness, rudeness, lassitude, and indecision. Words are the wings of thoughts by which they waft their way from one mind to another, and you may see in them the flight of the eagle as he soars heavenward, or the course of the owl as he gropes his way in darkness down to the earth. The world needs to learn how to talk. There should be a reform in its everyday vocabulary. There is a tendency in youth to pick up everything objectionable in language all the way from slang to profanity. The girl "gets on her ear.” The boy "never gets left.” It's a matter of pride with them to be able to sling “slang," especially of the latest coinage. Where slang is luxuriant, thoughts of beauty can not grow. They do not thrive in such an atmosphere. They are the sensitive plants that shrink from the touch of contamination. The first attack made upon purity is often through unchaste expressions. The bringing of all classes together furnishes an excellent opportunity for impurity to attack what is spotless. And the opportunity is never lost. And the lamentable fact is that the disease always spreads by contagion and never the cure. There is another disease of language, epidemic, and almost as fatal as "slang." I refer to affected kindliness--an endeavor to throw a great deal of soul into a very small com pass. It manifests itself in double circumflexes varied at long intervals with acute and grave accents. It is akin to that other affectation which metamorphoses “heart” into ha-a-a-t, "bird" into bu-u-ud, and butter into "butta-a.”