Page images
PDF
EPUB

then north by that to 36° 30 min. N. lat. ; then east by that to 100% W. long. ; then south on that to Red River, and along that to Louisiana.

[ocr errors]

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN. In listening to addresses in schools, we have frequently heard the speaker attempt to encourage the parents and scholars, by the prospect of success in life, that some among them might live to be Presidents of the United States, Governors, Judges, &c. That the idea is not new, will appear from the following extract from Shenstone's poem, entitled " The School Mistress."

Yet nursed with skill, what dazzling fruits appear!

E'en now sagacious foresight points to show
A little bench of heedless bishops here,

And there a chancellor in embryo;
Or bard sublime, if bard may e'er be so,

As Milton, Shakspeare, names that ne'er shall die !
Though now he crawl along the ground so low,

Nor weeting how the muse should soar on high,
Wisheth, poor starveling elf! his paper kite may fly!

(Extract from the Report of H, H, Barney, on Schools of Cincinnati.]

REASONS FOR HAVING BOTH SEXES ATTEND THE SAME HIGII

SCHOOL. The almost unprecedented success which has characterized the introduction of the Union School System into Ohio and the neighboring States, has conferred great importance upon the decision of the question respecting the expediency of bringing the sexes together in the school room. The question is one which admits of many reasonable doubts, even in the minds of those whose experience would seem to have settled the matter conclusively. Sides are taken on it by those of the best ability, and the purest intentions, and that too at extreme distances. Even those who strenuously advocate the utility of bringing the sexes together for the purpose of deriving therefrom additional stimulus for study, admit that the experiment should be tried guardedly—that the teacher under whose supervision they are to labor should be watchful, judicious, and lynx-eyed, to detect danger at a distance. They admit that the state of public morals may be such, that except under the most stringent regulations, the experiment would, in all probability, be a disastrous one. Whatever may be the intrinsic merits of the affirmative or negative of this question, it is quite certain that mere external circumstances, which are liable to be quite different in different places, may make it very proper or very improper to mingle the sexes in the school room.--Provided the population of a town be large and compact enough to support a Union School, in which boys and girls may study and recite in the same room, the character of the teacher, the number of scholars, the arrangement of the rooms, play-grounds, etc., and the general moral bearing of the parents and pupils might render it highly improper for them to be mingled tegether, and vice versa.

To these varying and unmanageable circumstances we do not propose to turn our attention, but rather to some of the general principles which lie at the base of the question, and are the same at all times and in all places.

In answering this question to ourselves, we naturally inquire :"Is there any fundamental difference in the constitution of the moral and mental faculties of the male and female being ?" If the one is on a different plan from the other; if one possesses faculties or intellectual forces, entire and distinct, which have been denied to the other, or if they both possess faculties of the same kind but so modified in degree, that the training best calculated to develop the one, is not best calculated to develop the other, then certainly no advantage would be gained by attempting to educate them together, for it would be subjecting to the same process, things which are radically different, for the purpose of bringing about the same end. Whatever transcendentalists may say about the essential distinction between the male and the female spirit, we believe that the great majority of enlightened individuals allow to both the same power of memory, of reason, of conscience, of imagination, and of will, and deny to the one the faculıy which is not possessed by the other. They are both endowed with memory and reason, which are often of great value in the practical affairs of life: and of conscience, and imagination, and will, which are frequently quite useful. All these powers are to be developed and clothed with knowledge to perform the duties of human life, and we have not yet heard any one assert that the study of language, history, mathematics, etc. etc., makes the best preparation for the one, and not for the other. Without any further consideration on this part of the question, we shall take it for granted, that in the intellectual organization of the sexes, there exists no rational ground whatever, for devising radically different methods of training them, or for separating them during the process of school education. From this source, likewise, can be drawn no argument against their being educated apart: so that, so far as intellect alone is concerned, it cannot be determined whether they would secure the best development separate or commin. gled.

If, then, there be no essential difference between the minds of males and females, so as to require different appliances for their development, we shall next inquire whether the practical duties of coming life, the future pursuits, vicissitudes, trials, etc. etc., require, on the part of the male, a cultivation of different faculties, or of the same faculties in a different way, from those of the female.

If the object of giving instruction to both sexes up to the period of choosing a profession, is simply to impart a limited and imperfect knowledge of those branches of learning which are indispensabla to all, even to the lowest classes of enlightened beings; if it be to give a boy so much of arithmetical knowledge as will enable him to keep accounts, and to perform other numerical calculations required by the necessities of actual life, and to give to the girl so much as will enable her to keep the market bills, and reckon the cost of a new dress, etc.; if it be desirable during the days of their pupilage to impart to each, only so much of the different branches of knowlege as the experience of others has shown will be actually necessary in practice, then as the boy is to act in a different sphere from that of the girl, the acquirements most need ful for his future success are not the acquirements most needful for the girl, and they are striving to attain different ends, there can be no advantage in bringing them together beyond that of mere convenience. But the mere acquisition of that knowledge, which shall be directly useful in practice alone, is not the great purpose which a well devised scheme of education seeks to secure. It labors after something higher and more enduring. Acquisitions in history, geography, arithmetic, grammar, etc.

, may lie unused, may slip from the memory and be lost in oblivion, but the training which the mental faculties received during the process of their acquirement, will not go with them. The reason, trained to strength and activity, the memory rendered ready and retentive, the imagination chastened and enriched, will remain through all the scenes of life. If the future man needs a knowledge of the structure of language, so does the future woman; if one needs to have the logical powers sharpened to pierce the difficulties which beset our pathway, so does the other. If one needs the wisdom of history, or of philosophy, or of mathematics, so does the other. Destined to pass through life together, and to share in its joys, in the performance of its duties, and in the endurance of its trials, they both need all the clearness which study can give to the judgment, and all the wealth which learning can bestow

upon the memory. Their wants are one. Up to the

Up to the age of seventeen or eighteen, the means of mental cultivation are the same to both. The same teachers, the same text-books, the same habits of study and recitation, are required by both. If, then, what we have advanced above be true, no argument drawn from the nature of the human mind, and no consideration deduced from the different spheres in which the sexes act, can be adduced against the scheme of educating them together, if there be no reason why they should be educated separately. If there be any reasons why they should not study nor recite in the same room, these reasons must be drawn from the danger of attachments and connections being formed, which dash the best hopes of parents and blast the best prospects of the parties concerned-such things have happened in schools which were supposed to be conducted with the utmost care and foresight. We know of no reasons why the sexes should be shut up from each other, during their education, like monks and nuns of old, except those drawn from these considerations, and these all disappear when a teacher of calm judgment and vigilant eye, presides over the school, assisted by an arrangement of rooms, play-grounds, etc., suited to the composition of his pupils.

Whenever the sexes are brought together in the study or recitation room, under influences suitable to restrain each within proper sphere, who has not witnessed the increased harmony, the greater exercise of mental effort, the impulse given to every noble aspiration, and the corresponding check imposed upon every thing rude and coarse.

Nevertheless, theories, however well founded and beautiful, cannot carry with them the weight of influence which follows the successful trial of a single experiment. We will, therefore, introduce the testimony of individuals under whose supervision the experiment has been made.

Mr. J. H. Shaw, Chairman of the School Committee, in Nantucket, Mass., thus writes us in regard to the High School in that place :

“Both sexes attend it, sit in the same room, recite together in the same classes, and pursue the same studies, as they do in all the schools—thus growing up together, and as we believe, much better prepared to live happily as men and women, later in life, than they would be if separated in childhood.”

Mr. A. Morse, Principal of the above school, thus writes :

“Both sexes attend the same High School, recite in the same classes, and sit in the same room, when reciting. They enter the room at different doors, have separate yards for exercise, are separatad from each other while in the school room by an isle, four feet in width, and sit on different benches while reciting. I know of no disadvantages resulting from this arrangement, when the discipline and order of the school are of the right character. The advantages are essentially the same as realized from female influence in the subsequent periods of life."

Mr. A. Parish, of the Springfield, (Mass.) High School, thus writes:

“ Both sexes attend the same school, sit in the same school room, and recite in the same classes. They are not allowed to associate, or engage, in any way, in amusements together, or do anything which would be unbecoming young persons of their age, in genteel company. They are under such discipline, and so much under the eye of their teachers, that no complaint has ever been made, or objection raised by parents. The advantages in favor of this feature are many and great; and an experience of fifteen years, in three schools, (of some note,) in which I have been engaged in that time, tends to confirm my favorable opinion, that it is the true mode. The manners of boys may be softened and their character refined-their selfrespect cultivated by the mere presence of the other sex. Girls may be taught to avoid that species of coyishness to which a majority, perhaps are subject-of speaking without embarrassment, when they should, while they increase not a whit in that unbecoming boldness, rudeness I may say, which is so repulsive in the other sex. Indeed, my experience leads me to believe that there is no place so favorable under the judicious management of the teacher, to cure a hoydenish girl as where she is made to feel that she is observed and estimated in all her movements by a large number of both sexes. But the great argument is_children are to be educated for future intercourse in society. Is not this one of the first and most important they can be called upon to learn and practice? The teacher is in loco parentisand the school only a large family--if what it should be-organized for the specific purpose of establishing right principles of action, and preparing the child in ALL RESPECTS for the sober realities of the future. Until the course of nature is changed, and all shall be brothers without sisters, or sisters without brothers, in the same family, my opinion will remain, I think, unchanged. One important condition, however, is indispensable. Success depends almost wholly on the sound judgment, good taste and tact of the teacher, to direct the movement of the school. The teacher must be qualified for his post, or he may be the cause of infinite mischief by either neglect or misjudged action

« PreviousContinue »