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mind perceives, (takes notice, or cognizance of,) data presented by the

senses.

(c) Attention, the mental action by which, under the incitation of desire or volition, the percipient intellect tends, for the purposes of distinct cognizance, towards the object, fact, or relation presented to it.

(d) Observation,-the voluntary, sustained, or continuous exercise of attention, with which the mind directs itself toward the object of its contemplation, for the purpose of complete intuition and perfect recognition.

All the terms now defined, are but different designations for the various forms in which the intuitive action of the intellectual principle is solicited by objects external to itself. The English language, as the product of mind working chiefly in practical directions, possesses little of the clearness and distinctness in nomenclature which the topics of intellectual analysis so peculiarly require. but the four terms used above are sufficient to comprise the prominent forms of perceptive action, in the various processes of intellection. They all refer significantly enough, to the first efforts of intelligence, when, previous to any introversive or reflective act, of comparatively subtile or intricate character, it obeys the instinct of its appetite, and finds its sustentation by feeding on the aliment tendered to it by its Author, in the objects which environ it. To watch and guide, and coöperate with this instructive principle, is the true office of education, as a process of nurture and development, working not in arbitrary or artificial, but in salutary and successful forms,-forms not devised by the fallible ingenuity of man, but by the unerring wisdom of Supreme intelligence.

Prevalent error in the order of cultivation.-Contrary, however, to the obvious suggestions of fact, education is still too generally regarded as consisting, during its earlier stages, in arbitrary exercises of memory on combinations of printed characters, abstract numbers, or even the metaphysical relations involved in the science of grammar. The excuse offered for a blind following of precedent in this direction, usually is the peculiar susceptibility of memory, during the period of childhood, and the comparative difficulty experienced in attempts to cultivate it at a later stage. Were the educational cultivation of memory directed to the retaining and treasuring up of those stores of knowledge which are naturally accessible to the mind of childhood, within the range of its daily observation, the plea would be justifiable; man's endeavors would be in harmony with the obvious instincts and endowments of the mind, and would tend to its natural expan

sion and development. But directed to the mechanical and arbitrary results at which these endeavors so generally aim, their influence is detrimental. Their immediate effect is to quench the natural thirst for knowledge, to create a distaste for intellectual activity, and thus to defeat the best purposes of education.

The law of true culture lies in the primary craving of the young mind for material on which the understanding may operate; digesting it, in due season, into the regular form of knowledge which memory loves to retain, and which judgment ultimately builds up into the systematic arrangements of science.

(2.) CURIOSITY, THE ACTUATING PRINCIPLE OF THE PERCEPTIVE

FACULTIES.

The Teacher's proper place.—The teacher who enters intelligently upon his work of cultivating the minds entrusted to his care, knows that his chief duty is to cherish the spontaneous action of their powers, and to make them intelligent and voluntary co-workers in their own development. He observes, therefore, with careful attention, the natural tendencies and action of the intellectual system, as the physiologist does those of the corporeal, so as to become competent to trace the law of development, and adapt his measures to its requirements. He thus becomes qualified to take his proper place, as an humble but efficient co-worker with the Author of the mind, recognizing and following His plau, in modes suggested by a wisdom higher than human.

The attentive study and observation of the natural workings of the mind, in the successive stages of its progress, from incipient intelligence to maturity of reason, imply, however, not merely a careful analysis of the facts and modes of mental action, but a watchful observation, with a view to detect, in all cases, the moving power or impelling principle of action, to aid and regulate which is the educator's chief work. The ceaseless intellectual activity of childhood, maintained through the various media of perception, furnished by the organs of sense, is obviously stimulated by the constitutional principle of curiosity, an eager desire to know and understand, and therefore, to observe and examine. Hence the irrepressible and searching questions with which children, in the instinct of faith, appeal to whomsoever they think can satisfy their craving for information.

To feed this mental appetite, to select and prepare its proper nutriment, to keep it in healthy and healthful activity, to quicken and strengthen it, to direct and guide it, as a divine instinct, leading to the noblest ends, should be the teacher's constant endeavor. To awaken curiosity is to secure a penetrating and fixed attention,—the

prime condition of human knowledge; and even when it leads no further than to wonder, it is preparing the advancing mind for the awe and the reverence with which, in later stages of its progress, it looks up to the knowledge which is "too high for it.”

The emotion of wonder analogous to the instinct of curiosity.-Curiosity, like the kindred element of wonder, finds its sustenance in whatever is new to sensation or perception; wonder, in turn, leads the mind to dwell on whatever is strange, intricate, or remote; astonishment, arrests it by whatever is sudden and powerful; awe commands it by whatever is vast; and amazement overwhelms it by whatever is incomprehensible or inscrutable. Yet all of these effects,even those which, for the moment, act on the perceptive intellect with a repulsive force that makes it recoil in conscious weakness from the object of contemplation,-are but various forms of stimulating, impelling, or attracting force, acting on the irrepressible vitality of the mind; and no incitements are ultimately more powerful in maintaining the most resolute and persevering activity of its powers.

Mental effects of novelty and variety. In the great primary school of nature, as established and furnished by the Author of all, we observe, accordingly, that in the multiform variety of objects with which the young human being is surrounded, at the first dawning of intelligence within him, the novelty of the whole scene around him, and of every class of objects which it presents, is forever tempting his susceptible spirit to observe and examine, and explore, by the conscious delight which every new step affords him.

Evils of monotony, and advantages of variety.-Nor is the obvious design of the great Instructor less conspicuous in the feeling of satiety and weariness which is always superinduced by continued sameness of mental action, whether prolonged in the same mode of exercise, or on the same class of objects. The observant teacher thus learns his own lesson of duty,—to avoid undue limitation in the objects and forms of intellectual action, to shun sameness and monotony of routine, and protracted exertions of attention, as all tending to exhaust and enfeeble the mental powers. His endeavors, on the contrary, are all directed to a due diversity in the presentation of objects, and in the mode of mental activity which they call forth; and, in whatever instances frequent repetition is indispensable to exact perception, he is particularly careful to exert his ingenuity to the utmost, in devising new modes of presentation, so as to secure fresh and earnest attention to the same objects or facts, by the renovating effect of the new lights and new aspects in which he causes them to be

viewed.

in our

Faults in former modes of education.-It is unnecessary, day, to dwell on the obvious faults of the obsolete practice of confining young children within doors at all seasons, compelling them to remain long in one attitude or posture without relief, condemning them to long periods of silence and constraint, and forcing them to con unmeaning and irksome tasks. These injurious practices are now, for the most part renounced; and more genial and rational modes of early education are beginning to prevail. As yet, however, we have only made a beginning. We have reformed our modes of school architecture, and have allowed children the unspeakable benefits of space and air, and more frequent change of place, and posture, and exercise. Objects and pictures are now employed, to some extent, as instruments of mental culture; and the wisdom of all these changes is proved in the greater happiness and better health of our little pupils, and, more particularly, in their greater docility, and their supeFior intellectual progress, as contrasted with the state of things under the former regime of irksome monotony, restraint, weariness, and stupidity. We are very far, yet, however, from approaching the bountiful variety and delightful novelty furnished in the great model school of infancy and childhood, as established by the Divine founder.

Intellectual furniture of school-rooms. Our primary school-rooms should be so many cabinets of nature and art. Every inch of wall not indispensably required for blackboard exercises, should be secured for educational purposes, by specimens of plants, minerals, shells, birds, and whatever else can be appropriately placed before the eye. The arranging, classifying, and describing of these, should precede any analysis or study of letters or syllables. Pictures representing such objects, should form a second stage of exercises in attention, observation, and description, before any alphabetic drilling whatThe examination of objects and of pictures, should, in a word, form the natural preparatory training of the perceptive faculties for the more arbitrary and more difficult exercise of studying and recognizing the unmeaning, uninteresting forms of alphabetic characters with their phonetic combinations.

ever.

Injurious effects of mere alphabetic drilling.-Curiosity, the natural incitement of intellect, is easily awakened when we obey the law of the Creator, and direct it to His works,-the natural and appropriate stimulants of the perceptive powers of infancy; but when, leaving our proper sphere, and restricting our educational efforts to the mechanical training of eye and ear, we use these organs, and the informing mind, for the limited purpose of recognizing the complicated and irregular geometrical combinations of line and angle, pre

sented in alphabetic characters, and repeating the sounds so arbitrarily associated with these, we take the mind out of its native element; we consequently force and distort its growth, dwarf its stature, and enfeeble its powers.

Effects of the salutary excitement of the feeling of wonder.—But it is not in the first stages only of mental culture, that the influence of novelty and variety is required as an incitement to observation, by the frequent presentation of new and fresh objects of attention, by the agreeable surprises occasioned by new forms and new stages of animal and vegetable life,-all tending to excite a lively curiosity, which leads, in turn, to careful attention, close examination, and successful study. Curiosity should often be awakened by the yet more powerful influence of wonder. Objects rare and strange, combinations intricate and even puzzling, should sometimes be called in, to excite a yet more energetic action of the perceptive intellect, in its endeavors to grasp the objects of its contemplation.

Whatever in nature is wonderful,-whether we employ the microscope, in revealing the intricate structure of plant or insect, in the minuter and closer examination of the works of the Creator; or the telescope, in the contemplation of the starry heavens, and the study of the magnitudes and motions of the bodies which people the depths of space, all should be brought to bear on the young mind, to call forth that sense of wonder which so delights and inspires it, and prepares it, at the same time, for the influence of those sentiments of awe and reverence with which the advancing intellect learns to trace the signatures of Deity.

(3.) OBSERVATION, AS THE TENDENCY OF MENTAL HABIT, UNDER

THE INCITING INFLUENCE OF CURIOSITY.

The natural effect of intellectual instinct.-The motive power, or impelling force, by which, in the ordinations of the mind's omniscient Author, its perceptive faculties are incited to activity, and induced to render their tribute to the resources of intelligence, consists in that restless desire to observe, to examine, and to know, which constitutes man a progressively intelligent being. Impelled by this insatiable mental thirst, he is led instinctively to those streams of knowledge which constitute the waters of intellectual life. His perceptive powers thus stimulated, acquire a tendency to ceaseless activity, a trait which forms the peculiar characteristic of the early stages of his mental progress, and which is greatly quickened by the vividness of sensation in the constitution of childhood. Hence the promptness and versatility of attention at that period, and its remarkable susceptibility to the influences of cultivation and discipline.

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