It will be seen by reference to the foregoing plan that I have marked the time for the recesses by the letter R. at the top. Immediately after them, both in the forenoon and in the afternoon, twenty minutes are left, marked G., the initial standing for general exercise. They are intended to denote periods during which all the scholars are in their seats, with their work laid aside, ready to attend to whatever the teacher may desire to bring before the whole school. There are so many occasions on which it is necessary to address the whole school, that it is very desirable to appropriate a particular time for it. In most of the best schools I believe this plan is adopted. I will mention some of the subjects which would come up at such a time.
1. There are some studies which can be advantageously attended to by the whole school together, such as Punctuation, and, to some extent, Spelling.
2. Cases of discipline which it is necessary to bring before the whole school ought to come up at a regularly-appointed time. By attending to them here, there will be a greater importance attached to them. Whatever the teacher does will seem to be more deliberate, and, in fact, will be more deliberate.
3. General remarks, bringing up classes of faults which prevail; also general directions, which may at any time be needed; and, in fact, any business relating to the general arrangements of the school.
4. Familiar lectures from the teacher on various subjects. These lectures, though necessarily brief and quite familiar in their form, may still be very exact and thorough in respect to the knowledge conveyed. When they are upon scientific subjects they may sometimes be illustrated by experiments, more or less imposing, according to the ingenuity of the teacher, the capacity of the older scholars to assist him in the preparations, or the means and facilities at his command.
[Footnote 2: In some of the larger institutions of the country the teacher will have convenient apparatus at his disposal, and a room specially adapted to the purpose of experiments. The engraving represents a room at the Spingler Institute at New York. But let not the teacher suppose that these special facilities are essential to enable him to give instruction to his pupils in such a way. I have known a much larger balloon than the one represented in the engraving to be constructed by the teacher and pupils of a common country school from directions in Rees’s Cyclopedia, and sent up in the open air. The aeronaut that accompanied it was a hen—poor thing!] The design of such lectures should be to extend the general knowledge of the pupils in regard to those subjects on which they will need information in their progress through life. In regard to each of these particulars I shall speak more particularly hereafter, in the chapters to which they respectively belong. My only object here is to show, in the general arrangements of the school, how a place is to be found for them. My practice has been to have two periods of short duration, each day, appropriated to these objects: the first to the business of the school, and the second to such studies or lectures as could be most profitably attended to at such a time.