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The Lancastrian Monitorial System of Education

Here are some details of the Lancastrian Monitorial system that was used in the early days of our school, and was for a time widespread in England and other countries such as the USA and Denmark. It explains the layout of our classrooms c.1850. 

Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838) as a young Quaker, was barred from attending the schools for the poor run by the Church of England. So his father taught him at home. Embittered by this painful memory, by age 18 he was instructing London urchins in his father's attic, for a penny a lesson. He was soon deluged with hundreds of students. With so many pupils and limited resources, Lancaster had to devise radical methods to make ends meet. This is how the "monitorial" idea was born. It delegated to the students the responsibility for teaching and doing the paperwork. The better students taught the slower. When the slower developed, they became monitors. There was one teaching monitor for every 10 students. There were other monitorial positions that involved many of the students and spread prestige and responsibilities around. One monitor would assign new students to a class. Another would keep track of absences. When a student made progress, a monitor would promote him. Another made or molded pens. Another was in charge of distributing writing slates. A "monitor-general" was in charge of all the others.

This kind of student interaction - teaching and learning from their peers - eliminated boredom. Lancaster wrote: "A school, governed by such order, exhibits a scene of wonder to visitors, and happiness among the children, which baffles the power of description.' Under this system, there was little for the adult headmaster to do except organize, reward, punish and inspire. Lancaster's schools did not need a harsh master, for they were governed almost automatically. "The master should be a silent bystander because the system and not the master's vague or uncertain judgement will be in practice."
(from The Lancaster System - An Alternative to Public Schools by John Chodes)


The following is the complete text of Lancaster's 1810 booklet (excluding a rather lengthy preface) from the Lancasterian Society web-site. There are more pictures at the end of the text.
The section on punishment throws some light on where our first headmaster Mr Sharp got some of his ideas from!





"All nations indeed, of which we have any account, in becoming rich, have become profligate: a torrent of depraved morality has, in every opulent state, borne down with irresistible violence those mounds and fences, by which the wisdom of legislators attempted to protect chastity, sobriety, and virtue. If any check can be given to the corruption of a state, increasing in riches, and declining in morals, it must be given not by laws enacted to alter the inveterate habits of men, but BY EDUCATION ADAPTED TO FORM THE HEARTS OF CHILDREN TO A PROPER SENSE OF MORAL AND RELIGIOUS EXCELLENCE," — Bishop of Lantdaff's Charge, 1788.




The monitor is represented standing with a pointing stick in his hand, to enable him to point out the best performance, without touching the writing on the slate, which might accidentally obliterate the writing.

The boys are represented as sitting in the first desk in a class, in common with which they are exhibiting their slates, at the command from the monitor —


They are represented as having written not merely a word, but a sentence; and a sentence that every true Briton will wish to be engraven, not only on the memory, but on the hearts of the rising generation, as a tribute of duty to the monarch, who reigns in the affections of his people —"LONG LIVE THE KING!"


THE best form for a school-room is a long square, or parallelogram. All the desks should front the head of the school, that the master may have a good view of each boy at once; the desks should all be single desks, and every boy sit with his face towards the head of the school.

Room should be left between each desk for a passage for the boys, that the scholars in one desk may go out without disturbing those in another. It is desirable the desks and forms should be substantial, and firmly fixed in the ground, or to the floor. The ends or corners of the desks, and forms, should be rounded off, as the boys, when running quickly in and out, are apt to hurt themselves by running against them.

At the head of the school there should be an elevated platform for the master's desk, as a convenient place to overlook the school; passages should be left at the bottom and on one side of the school* or on both sides when space allows. Children confined in a small school-room, can no more be expected to be in order, than soldiers can perform their exercise without a parade.

No half desks should be placed against the walls, nor should any double desks be admitted into the school-room.

Desks so placed and constructed, merely afford pretence for idleness and play, the scholars being wholly or partly out of the master's sight.

There can be no propriety in filling a room with timber when the space is wanted for children. Desks and forms when of a broader surface than actually needful, really occupy that room, which, were they made of proper dimensions, would contain more desks, and consequently more children.

These arrangements not only conduce to order, but give facility to the master in the detection of offenders.

Wherever the floor of a school-room can be placed on an inclined plane it should be so. The master being stationed at the lower end of this plane, the elevation, of the floor at the farther end of the room, would cause a corresponding elevation of the desks placed there, so that, from the platform the boys at the last desk would be as much in view as those at the first.

The ventilation of school-rooms is a subject which requires local consideration, but they should be built, or if already built, made as much as possible open every way to the free circulation of air.

School-rooms may be warmed by under-ground flues, heated by a stove which will burn refuse cinders or ashes. This is the best mode. Any place may be sufficiently heated in this manner without the children being obliged to leave their seats to go to the fire, but this will only apply to ground floors.


This prevents all loss of hats, or mistakes, and confusion in finding them, which is a common occurrence among a great number of boys. It saves all shelves, nails, or places where they are usually put in schools. It prevents the necessity of going to put hats on the nails or shelves, and again going to get them thence, before the children leave school. These are great advantages — as, with eight hundred boys in school, they save sixteen hundred motions, unavoidable on the usual plan, both morning and afternoon — motions that, before this arrangement was made, produced much inconvenience in the school; and complaints were made, almost daily, of boys losing their hats, which have ceased since this arrangement. All these advantages are gained, and inconveniences are avoided, by every boy slinging his hat across his shoulders, as a soldier would sling his knapsack: by which means he always carries it with him, and cannot lose it without immediately missing it.

On entering school, the boys sling their hats over their shoulders. Before leaving it they are commanded to unsling hats, which they do by one motion, on receiving the word of command.

A very important maxim for school furniture, as books, &c. and which must never be departed from, is, A PLACE FOR EVERY THING, AND EVERY THING IN ITS PLACE. On this subject some observations will be made in the appendix.

The building and arrangement of school-rooms, is of so much importance in the minute and accurate details, that I have thought it proper to publish a separate work on that subject, which will be found very useful to school committees and others, under the title of "Hints and Directions for Building School-rooms, &c. illustrated by copper plates.


Any number of boys, whose proficiency is nearly equal in what they are learning, should be classed together. If only four or six scholars should, on examination, be found in a school learning the same thing, as A, B, C, addition, subtraction, &c. they should be formed into a class, as their proficiency will be nearly doubled, by being classed, and studying in conjunction. A class may consist of any number of scholars, without limitation to any particular number.


There are two descriptions of boys in every school, those who are learning to read or cypher, and those who have learnt. The first description must study that they may acquire a knowledge of reading or arithmetic. The second, practice what they have learnt, for the improvement of the mind and readiness in practice.


1 Class........... A, B, C.

2 ...................Words or syllables of two letters.

3 ...................Do. three letters.

4 .................. Do. four letters.

5 .................. Do, five letters.

6 .................. Reading or spelling lessons of two syllables, and Testament.

7 .................. Bible.

8 .................. A selection of boys who read best from the 7th class.

Thus each class has its appropriate set of lessons. Its attention is simply directed to one object, and boys in one class are not to be suffered to mix or sit with the boys in another.

The children learning the alphabet, as hereafter described, may learn to print their letters in the sand, or on a slate.

After a learner has improved beyond the first class, whatever class he may be in, he must learn to make his writing alphabet on the slate.

After having learned the writing alphabet, whatever class the scholar may be in, he must write on the slate the same as he reads or spells in his reading or spelling lessons. If in the two-letter class, he will write words of two letters; if in the three-letter class, words of three letters, &c. &c.

The reader will perceive that the study of reading, spelling, and arithmetic, are associated together by means of writing, and the methods of tuition in writing will be described under the heads of spelling and arithmetic.



1 - Printing A, B, C.

2 - Writing alphabet, or words of two letters.

3 - Words of three letters.

4 - Four letters.

5 - Five and six letters.

6 - Two syllables, &c.


8 A particular series of spelling lessons, published by J. L.

The order of teaching the children in school should be, to have the 1st class next the master's desk, and the other classes in numerical order after it. By this means (the youngest children, being generally the most lively and mischievous) will be more immediately under the master's eye, and this will operate as a check upon them. ,


Class. 1, Pupils who are learning to make and combine units, tens, &c.

2, Addition.

3, Compound ditto.

4, Subtraction.

5, Compound ditto.

6, Multiplication.

7, Compound ditto.

8, Division.

9, Compound ditto.

10, Reduction.

11, Rule of Three.

12, Practice.


On the entry of a scholar, the master should examine his proficiency in distinguishing the letters of the printed alphabet; if he does not know them all, he must be placed in the first class.

If the master finds the pupil knows his alphabet perfectly, he must place him in the second class.

If the scholar can perfectly repeat all the lessons belonging to the second class, he must be placed in the third, if he can repeat well all the lessons appropriated to the third class, he must be placed in the fourth: the same rule to be observed in forming the fifth, sixth and seventh classes.

The eighth class to be a selection from the best readers in the seventh; they may be admitted to the use of books, for the improvement of their minds, which the other classes are not allowed; oh this subject more will be said in the sequel.

On the admission of every scholar, the master must enter the name, residence, and every other particular relative to him, under its proper head, in a school-list; a printed plan of which is given in the appendix.


By the usual method of teaching to write, the art of writing is totally distinct from reading or spelling. On the new plan, spelling and writing are connected, and equally blended with reading, which, with writing and arithmetic, are auxiliaries to each other. When a boy is classed for learning to read according to the arrangement of reading classes, (see page 3) he is consequently classed for learning to write at the same time, (see page 4.)


On the new plan, the first great care of the master must be wholly to discard the numeration table, and the practice of learning numeration by it, as it is entirely superseded by the new method, which will be seen when treating of arithmetic.

Whenever a pupil is admitted into the school, and has never before learned ARITHMETIC, he must be placed in the first class. If he has made any apparent progress, unless that progress be found on examination to be real, he must begin again at the first class. In forming a new school, with the above exception, it will be best for all the pupils to begin arithmetic, from the first class.

Classes mark the gradations in learning; and one essential part of the system of rewards will be found to be that kind of recompense, which is bestowed on boys going from one class to another.



The first, or lower class of scholars, are those who are yet unacquainted with their alphabet. This class may consist of ten, twenty, a hundred, or any other number of children, who have not made so much progress as to know how to distinguish all their letters at first sight. If there are only twenty of this description in the school, one monitor can govern and teach them: if double the number, it will require two teachers, and so in proportion for every additional twenty boys. The reader will observe, that, in this and every other class described in the succeeding plan and arrangement, the monitor has but one plan duty to do, and the scholars the same to learn. This simplicity of system defines at once the province of each monitor intuition The very name of each class imports as much — and this is called the first, or A, B, C, class. The method of teaching is as follows: a bench for the boys to sit on, is fixed to the floor: another, about a foot higher, is placed for them to print on. Oh the desk before them are placed deal ledges, (a pantile lath, nailed down to the desk, will answer the same purpose) thus:


The letter A, shows the entire surface of the desk, which is supported by two, three, or more legs, as usual for such desks, and according to the size. B is a vacant space, where the boys lean their left arms, while they write or print with the right hand. The sand is placed in the space C*. The double lines represent the ledges (or pantile laths) which confine the sand in its place: sand of any kind will do, but it must be dry. The boys print in the sand, with their fingers: they all print at the command given by their monitor. A boy who knows how to print, and distinguish some of his letters, is placed by one who knows only a few, with a View to assist him; and particularly, that he may copy the form of his letters, from seeing him make them. We find this copying one from another, a great step towards proficiency. In teaching the children to print the alphabet, the monitor first makes a letter on the sand, before any child who does not know any thing about it; the child is then required to retrace the same letter, which the monitor has made for him with his fingers, arid thus he is to continue employed, till he ran make the letter himself, without the monitor's assistance. Then he may go on to learn another letter. None but the first class write in sand.

* The space C, is painted black; and when the children trace the letters in the white sand, the black ground shows them to more advantage.

The letters are taught in courses: they are arranged in three courses according to their similarity of form. There are three simple examples, which regulate the formation of the whole alphabet. First, a line, as in the letters I, H, T, L, E, F, i, 1: Second, depending upon the formation of an angle; as, A, V, W, M, N, Z, K, Y, X, — v, w, k, y, z, x,: a circle or a curve: as, O, U, C, J, G, D, P, B, R, Q, S, — a, o, b, d, p, q, g, e, m, n, h, t, u, r, s, f, j. These courses of letters are soon acquired, on account of the similarly of form. The greatest difficulty in teaching the letters occurs in those, the form of which are exactly alike, and are only distinguished by change of position:

p, q, and b, d, are frequently mistaken for each other; but by making the two letters at the same time, the children readily learn to distinguish them. Then again, they are all employed in printing at once: and it is both curious and diverting to see a number of little creatures, many not more than four or five years old, and some hardly so much, stretching out their little fingers with one consent, to make the letters. When this is done, they sit quietly till the sand is smoothed by the monitor, with a flat-iron, such as is commonly used for ironing linen, or a wooden smoother of like form. The sand being dry, the smoother meets with no resistance, and thus ail the letters made in a very short time, by each boy, are, in as short a time, obliterated by the monitor; and the boys again apply their fingers to the sand, and proceed as before.


Another method of teaching the alphabet is, by a large sheet of pasteboard suspended from a nail on the school wall; eight boys from the sand class, are formed into a semi-circle before this alphabet, standing in their numbers, 1, 2, 3, &c. to 6. These numbers are pasteboard tickets, with No. 1, &c. inscribed, suspended by a string from the button of the bearer's coat, or round his neck. The best boy stands in the first place; he is also decorated with a leather ticket, gilt, and lettered merit, as a badge of honor. He is always the first boy questioned by the monitor, who points to a particular letter in the alphabet, "What letter is that?" If he tell readily what letter it is, all is well, and he retains his place in the class: but if he fail, then he forfeits it, together with his number and ticket, to the next boy below him who answers the question aright.

This plan promotes constant emulation. It continually employs the monitor's attention: he cannot look one way, while the boy is repeating his letters another, or at all neglect to attend to him, without being immediately discovered. It is not the monitor's business to teach, but to see that the boys in his class, or division, teach each other. If a boy calls A, by the name of B, or O, the monitor is not to say: "It is not B, or O, but it is A;" he is to require the next boy in succession to correct the mistake of his senior. These two methods of the sand, and alphabet card, with their inferior arrangements detailed, are made use of daily in rotation, and serve as a mutual check and relief: figures are taught in the same manner.

The tuition of the first class is entirely connected with printing, but the second begins with writing: it is needful to mark the distinction. The business of this class is to learn to write on slates, beginning at the alphabet, and proceeding no further than two letters, as, ba, ab, also learning to spell the same on cards, and to learn their writing alphabet on cards. This is done to prevent confusion, as some of the pupils might be perplexed with learning two different alphabets at the same time.


The second class consists chiefly of boys, who having learned to print the alphabet and figures in sand, and readily to distinguish the same on paper, are then advanced to this second, and comparatively superior class. The monitor pronounces a word of two letters as, in, to, &c: or a syllable, as, ba, &c. and each boy writes it on the slate, when spelling it.

In this class they have small slates, on which they learn to make all the alphabet in writing: this is done, that they may not, when in the preceding class, be perplexed with learning the printed and written alphabet at once: care is also taken, that the series of words and syllables of two letters, adapted to this class, be so arranged as to contain all the letters of the alphabet; which otherwise being recently learned, would be easily forgotten, unless kept in memory by daily practice.

Words are arranged separately, and syllables the same: syllables are what children cannot attach any sense to; and in fact they have no sense or meaning, unless compounded into words above the comprehension of children in this class. They have lessons with words and syllables of two letters, before which the whole class successively assemble in subdivisions of eight boys each. The first boy is required by the monitor to spell a word in the same manner as the first boy in the a, b, c class was required to distinguish a single letter; and precedency is awarded according to proficiency, as before. In short, this method is the same as with the a, b, c card, only it is combining the letters, instead of distinguishing them. Some of this class learn to write the alphabet: others, words or syllables of two letters. The monitor who sees one, can look to the other, being chosen out of the three-letter class.

It is to be observed, that the third or three-letter class spell, by writing on the slate, words of three letters only; the fourth class write words of four letters: and the fifth, words of three or lour syllables; also, words with the meanings attached. Each class has lessons, in the same manner as the first and second classes; all of which are made use of in a similar way, only varying as to the length of the words or syllables each class may be learning.


This following method is entirely an addition to the regular course of studies, without interfering with, or deranging them in the least. It commands the attention, gratifies the active disposition of youth, and is an excellent introduction and auxiliary to writing. It supersedes, in a great measure, the use of books in tuition, while (to speak moderately) it doubles the actual improvement of the children. It is as simple an operation as can well be imagined. — Thus, supply twenty boys with slates and pencils, and pronounce any word for them to write, suppose it is the word 'and,' or the word, 're-so-lu-tion:' they are obliged to listen with attention, to catch the sound of every letter as it falls from their teacher's lips; again, they have to retrace the idea of every letter, and the pronunciation of the word, as they write it on the slates. If we examine ourselves when we write letters, we shall find, this is so much connected with orthography, that we cannot write a word without spelling as we write, and habitually correcting any inaccuracy that may occur.

Now these twenty boys, if they were at a common school, would each have a book: and, one at a time, would read or spell to their teacher, while the other nineteen were looking at their books, or about them, as they pleased: or, if their eyes are rivetted on their books, by terror and coercion, we cannot be sure that their attention is engaged, as appearances seem to indicate. On the contrary, when they have slates, the twentieth boy may read to the teacher*, while the other nineteen are spelling words on the slate, instead of sitting idle. The class, by this means, will spell, write and read, every word. In addition to this, the same trouble which teaches twenty, will suffice to teach sixty or a hundred, by employing some of the senior boys to inspect the slates of the others, they not omitting to spell the word themselves; and, on a signal given by them to the principal teacher, that the word is finished by all the boys they overlook, he is informed when to dictate another to the class. This experiment has been tried with some hundreds of children, and it has been found they could all write by one boy's dictating the words to be written. The benefit of this mode of teaching can only be limited by the school-room being so large, that they cannot be heard distinctly; for if seven hundred boys were all in one room, as one class, learning the same thing, they could all write and spell by this method at the dictation of one monitor. I hope the candour and good sense of every reader will justly appreciate the benefit and importance of this method of teaching. The repetition of one word by the monitor, serves to rivet it firmly on the minds of each one of the class, and also on his own memory: thus he cannot possibly teach the class without improving himself at the same time. We reflect with pleasure, that by this invention, a boy who is associated in a class of a hundred others, not only reads as much as if he were a solitary individual under the master's care, but he will also spell sixty or seventy words of four syllables, in less than two hours; by writing them on the slate, when this additional number of words, spelt by each boy daily is taken into account, the aggregate will amount to repetitions of many thousands of words annually: when not a word would be written or spelt, and nothing done by nineteen twentieths of the scholars at the same time. Thus, it is entirely an improvement, an addition, and introduction to their other studies, without the least additional trouble on the part of the teacher: without deranging or impeding his attention to other studies, as is usually the case with the study of extra lessons; at least more than doubling the advances of each individual towards a proficiency: at the same time, possessing all these advantages, it prevents idleness, and procures that great desideratum in schools, quietness, not by terror, but by commanding attention: for, as it requires much writing, but few boys can write and talk at the same time. In this case, nothing is wholly committed to the pupil or monitor; in the usual mode, some degree of mental exertion may or may not be made by the pupil, and omission remain undetected: but this is so visible, that every boy's attention to his lesson may be seen on his slate, and detection immediately follows idleness, or an indifferent performance. It is simple in itself, and abounding with many advantages; of this I am well convinced, by daily experience of its utility, and in particular, of the great practice it affords in writing.

* It will be seen in the article Reading, I do not approve of solitary reading, one by one; it raises no emulation.

Boys who learn by the new mode, have six times the usual practice: but, in the old way, the expense is, at the FIRST COST, 6d. per month, for writing books, pens and ink each boy; this, will be six times increased, if it is desired to give both classes of boys equal practice; the usual cost for sixty boys would be 181. per annum.


Six times the usual charge for writing paper, &c.......L. 108.


If they have not slates already provided, sixty slates will cost L.1

Allow a bundled slate pencils per annum, each boy, at 8d per hundred ............. 2 L. 3.

Balance in favour of the new mode L. 105.

The many hundreds of respectable characters, among the nobility, gentry and clergy, who have visited my institution, can bear witness, that the progress of the boys by this method of writing spelling, is astonishing. Not of one, or a few boys, but of the whole school. By the practice of writing on the slate, they learn to humour their pencils, so as to write just like a pen, in making the up and down strokes of the letters. About one hundred and fifty boys have writing books, and their writing on the slate, is a fac simile of their writing in books: which they seldom do, more than four times in a week, and then only a single copy, which fills a quarto page, each time.

The boy may always make his pencil good by cutting it to a proper point; this will not easily apply to quills or pens. It will be found where there is much practice in writing, that a good plain hand for use, and not for show, depends more on much practice than on the manner of holding the pen; and that a good body to the letters equally proportioned to down strokes, or up strokes, depends more on the application of the point of the pencil to the slate, or the pen to the paper, than on the length of either pencil or pen, or the position and play of the finger, which can only give command of hand in long strokes, whereas the most of the letters in the alphabet are formed of short strokes, which neither reach above nor below the line.

All the school being classed according to their proficiency in reading, their spelling in this mode is united with their reading. It is a mode so useful as to need no addition to it, and is complete of itself, as it stands; spelling connected with writing.

All the classes are placed in regular progression one above another, from the first to the eighth. Every class is employed under its own monitor, spelling by writing words which the different monitors dictate to each class. The monitor of a class does no other duty but dictate, or see that one of the boys in the class dictates words for the class to spell, the boy dictating a word, writing it himself, the monitor writing it also, and inspecting the performance of each boy in his class, being responsible for any mistakes they commit, and preparing them for the superintendent's inspection.


It will be remembered, that the usual mode of teaching requires every boy to have a book: yet, each boy can only read or spell one lesson at a time in that book. Now, all the other parts of the book are in wear, and liable to be thumbed to pieces , and, whilst the boy is learning a lesson on one part of the book, the other parts are at that time useless. Whereas, if a spelling book contains twenty or thirty different lessons, and it were possible for thirty scholars to read the thirty lessons in that book, it would be equivalent to thirty books for its utility. To effect this, it is desirable the whole of the book should be printed in a type three times larger than the common size type, which would make it equal in size and cost to three common spelling books, value from eight-pence to a shilling each. Again, it should be printed with only one page to a leaf, which would again double the price, and make it equivalent in bulk and cost to five or six common books; its different parts should then be pasted on pasteboard, and suspended by a string, to a nail in the wall, or other convenient place: one pasteboard should contain the alphabet; others, words and syllables of from two to six letters. The reading lessons gradually rising from words of one syllable, in the same manner, till they come to words of five or six letters, or more, preparatory to the Testament lessons. There is a circumstance, very seldom regarded enough, in the introductory lessons which youth usually have to perform before they arc admitted to read in the Testament. A word of six letters or more, being divided by hy-phens, reduces the syllables, which compose it, to three, four, or five letters each: of course, it is as easy to read syllables, as words of five letters: the child, who can read or spell the one, will find the other as easily attainable.

In the Testament, the words of two and three syllables are undivided, which makes this division of the lessons a more natural introduction to the Testament. In the preparatory lessons I have used, the words are thus di-vi-ded.

When the cards are provided, as before mentioned, from twelve to twenty boys may stand in a semi-circle before each card, and clearly distinguish the print to read or spell, as well or better than if they had a common spelling book in each of their hands. If one spelling book were divided into thirty different parts or lessons, and each lesson given to a different boy, it would only serve thirty boys, changing their lessons among themselves, as often as needful: and the various parts would be continually liable to be lost or torn. But, every lesson placed on a card, will serve for twelve or twenty boys at once: and, when that twelve or twenty have repeated the whole lesson, as many times over as there are boys in the circle, they are dismissed to their spelling on the slate, and another like number of boys may study the same lesson in succession: indeed two hundred boys may all repeat their lessons from one card, in the space of three hours. If the value and importance of this plan, for saving paper and books in teaching reading and spelling, will not recommend itself, all I can say in its praise, from experience, will be of no avail.


In teaching the lessons in my new spelling book to boys who have not learned to read, it will be found needful to refer to the root of the words so spelt as al. ale, con. coin, referring to the radix (in Italics) every time a word is spelt. For the superior classes an entire new series of lessons are in contemplation on the print of Freame's Catechism, an excellent work, against which much unfounded clamour has been raised, although it saw has the sanction of two Bishops, as being one of the best selections ever made from Scripture. The questions are read by the monitor, and the answer by the scholar, which keeps. up continued attention from both parties. When standing in semi-circles, to read or spell, the boys wear their numbers, tickets, pictures, &c, as described under the head, Emulation and Reward: and give place to each other, according to merit, as mentioned in the account of the two first classes.


In this method of spelling, the card is used instead of a book — the monitor-general of reading and spelling, assembles his whole class, by successive semi-circles, of twelves or twenties; calling each scholar to his number: so as to begin at No. 1, and go regularly through the whole class. This preserves order in their reading, and prevents any other scholar omitting a lesson. At first this is troublesome, and occasions some noise; because, in the minor classes, the monitors are obliged to call the boys to read or spell, by a list of their names; but, as a number is affixed to each name, the monitors soon become familiar with the names and numbers of boys in their respective classes, and this obviates the difficulty.

When the semi-circle is formed before a lesson, the monitor points to the columns of spelling which form the lesson for the day. The first boy then repeats the word pointed to, letter, by letter, in each syllable, and then pronounces the word; this is the common practice in day schools, and is found on repeated trials the quickest and best. If he commit any mistake, the next boy is required to rectify it without being told what the mistake is. If the second boy cannot correct the first, the third or fourth may: in which case, the boy who corrects the mistake, takes precedence of him who committed it, and receives his insignia of precedence: at the same time the monitor is not permitted to teach the boys in his draft how to correct, unless they should all be equally ignorant, and then it becomes his duty to do it. This is, in fact, each boy teaching himself: and it is the duty of the principal monitor not so much to teach them, as to see that they teach one another. When the boys, in the circle, have thus studied their spelling by reading it, the monitor places the card on the card-stick where he can see it, and the class cannot, and requires them to spell and pronounce such words extempore, as he repeats to them. In doing this, they correct each other's faults, and take precedence as before described.

A great advantage derived from this method, is, that it forms an excellent practical counterpart of the spelling on the slate. The boys usually spell this way in rotation: but, it the monitor detects any boy looking about him instead of looking at the lesson, he immediately requires him to perform, a part of a lesson which he was inattentive to: he usually performs it ill; and thus his negligence is followed with immediate punishment, by his losing precedency in his class. It is very important that in all those modes of teaching, the monitor cannot do as the watermen do, look one way and row another. His business is before his eyes: and, if he omit the performance of the smallest part of his duty, the whole semi-circle is idle or deranged: and detection, by the master, immediately follows his negligence. In society at large, few crimes are ever committed openly: because immediate detection and apprehension of the offender would follow. On the contrary, many are committed in privacy and silence. It is the same in performing the simple duties of monitors in my institution: their performances are so visible, that they dare not neglect them; and, consequently, they attain the habit of performing the task easily and well. This effect is produced from one cause: that every thing they do is brought to account, or rendered visible in some conspicuous way and manner. What applies to the monitors strictly applies to the boys. There is not a boy, who does not feel the benefits of this constant emulation, variety, and action; for, they insensibly acquire the habit of exercising their attention closely, on every subject that comes before them: and this, without exerting themselves too much. The classes spell on the cards by drafts, in the same manner as they read.


IT is necessary to premise a little respecting the usual mode of teaching arithmetic, which many of my readers will remember to be the method in practice in such schools as they frequented in early youth.

The sums are, in many instances, set in the boys' books, by the master or teacher, at the expense of much pains and labour: in other instances, they are copied by the pupil, from Walkingame's, or some other arithmetic.

The boys are, or should be, instructed how to work their sums, in the first instance, by the master or teacher; they are then expected to do other sums of a like nature, by the example shewn.

This is to be done by them at their seats; and, when it is finished, the master or teacher should, and in most cases does, inspect it, to see if done correctly.

But this operation of adding or subtracting, for instance, is intellectual, not mechanical, or audible; of course, we cannot ascertain how many times a boy repeats his sum, before it is brought to his master for inspection: steady boys may do it five or six times, but the idle and careless seldom do it more than once; here is much time lost, and a remedy adapted to the case is not in the teacher's power.

Again, when sums are brought up to the master for inspection, each boy's must be individually attended to: here is a great loss of invaluable time. Perhaps, twenty boys have sums ready for inspection at once, and nineteen wait, sit idle, or talk, while the twentieth is at his master's desk, with his sum. Nor is this all: if an incorrigible dunce happen to show up his sums first, and, as is often the case, "adds new blunders to mistakes, he may easily delay his master, and the boys who are waiting to follow him in succession, for some time: and a few instances of this sort, arising from carelessness, inattention, or incapacity on the part of the scholars, will completely derange the business of a master, and keep a number of their school-fellows unemployed.

Independent of this, it is disgusting to teachers of any description to be continually plodding over the same ground of elementary arithmetic. Sameness, in every instance, produces listlessness; and variety is not only agreeable, but mostly commands attention. I have seen a respectable school-master, well versed in the mathematics, have a dozen boys stand ing round his desk, waiting for him to attend to their sums, while he has been listening to a slow boy, repeating his sum, till he has bitten his lips with vexation. To prevent this inconvenience I have invented an entire new method of teaching arithmetic, that commences when children begin to make their figures. For the arrangement of the ciphering classes, see page the fourth.


The first object is to teach children to make their figures. In order to do this, the class learning to make figures are assembled under the monitor, in one part of the school, by themselves. It is to be observed, the same boys who are in one class, according to their proficiency in reading, are in another, according to their progress in arithmetic: that when the school is ciphering, the classes are organized on the plan of the ciphering classes in page 4; when they are reading, they are arranged on the plan of the reading classes, given in. page 3. On the commencement of school, they always go in to their different reading classes, and afterwards, when ciphering, separate to their several arithmetical classes: after having performed the ciphering, they return to their reading classes before they go out of school. This changing about from class to class, in which three-fourths of the whole school are concerned, is attended with but little bustle, and no confusion. It is usually done in less than five minutes: and the school-room is so large, it will take near that time to go round it. If there are any boys that cannot cipher, they remain under the monitor's care, for instruction in reading, while the others are ciphering. The modes of teaching arithmetic are so simple and easy, that all the boys in the school, who can read and write text hand in four letters, are put in the first ciphering class.

It is not uncommon to find boys thus instructed, that learn to write and cipher remarkably well, in six months, who never handled a pen, or were taught by any other method. Before boys go into arithmetic, it is needful they should learn to make the figures: on my plan, they learn to make and combine them at the same time. The class of boys, who are learning to make their figures, form, in my institution, the first class in arithmetic.


In the tuition of this class, the boys who constitute it, are not limited to number: any boy, for whom it is requisite, is immediately placed in it. Instead of teaching them to make figures in the order of the nine digits, as is usually done, by writing occasionally in copy-books; they have each a slate. The monitor takes an addition table, which combines not only units with units, but tens with units: a thing in which the pupil's greatest difficulty, as to simple Addition, and Subtraction, occurs. The monitor reads from this table:

9 and 1 are 10, 9 and 2 are 11, &c. 25 and 1 are 26, 25 and 2 are 27, 25 and 3 are 28, 25 and 4 are 29, 25 and 5 are 30, 25 and 6 are 31, 25 and 7 are S2, 25 and 8 are 33, 25 and 9 are 34: or other variations of the same table.

When those are dictated, each boy writes them on his slate: the monitor and senior boys in the class, assisting in teaching the beginners, to make the figures, till they can do it themselves. The monitor also varies the table thus:

Take 9 from 10, 1 remains: 9 from 11, 2 remains: 9 from 12, 3 remains, &c.

He also uses the multiplication table, and reverses it in the same manner: 6 times 2 are 12, 2 in 12, 6 times.

In the same way, he teaches them the shillings and pence tables. The knowledge of figures which the children acquire by this method is great; and the improvement of this class in making their figures, does much credit to the class and teachers. It is true, the class are told all they arc to do: but, in doing what they are bidden, they acquire a ready knowledge of the figures; whilst they are insensibly led into the habit of giving attention to all they do, and taking pains in doing it. By making their figures so many times over, they unavoidably attain freedom in making them: and this is the best step that can possibly be taken to facilitate their improvement in the next stage of their progress in arithmetic.

The same variation and tables, without the total, or answer to the monitor's question, applies to Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, and the pence and shillings tables. This method of instruction has also a counterpart: an arithmetical table of this kind, applied to the first four rules, without the amount of each combination annexed, is placed on the wall, or other convenient place. In the former instance, the monitor told the class, 9 and 9 are 18, and they wrote it. He now subdivides the class: and they assemble, successively, in circles of twelve boys, around the tables of figures on the wall. They Lave their numbers, insignia or merit, prize, &c. as in other divisions of classes. The monitor then puts the question to the first boy — How much are 9 and 4.? and the boy is expected to fell the amount — 13. If he cannot answer correctly, the monitor puts the question to another boy, till he finds one who can: and he takes precedence, and the badge of merit, from the boy who is unable to answer the question. The boys in this class are called out, in successive companies of twelve each, to answer questions of this nature, applicatory to the similar lesson they have that day been performing on the slate: and he varies the question: as, How much are 9 and 9? — Take 9 from 18 — what remains? — How much are 9 times 9? — How many times 9 in 81?

Whilst one company of twelve boys (the number need not be restricted to twelve, but it can hardly be more than twenty with propriety) are performing this task, the remainder of the class continue at their seats, writing what the monitor dictates, till the first division of the twelve have finished their lesson. Then another division goes out, to the same examination: and they return to write on the slate. This is done every day, till the whole class has performed their lessons both ways. This method serves as an introduction to Numeration, which, it will be seen in the sequel, is only taught in a practical way.


The next is the simple Addition class. Each boy, in every ciphering class, has a slate and pencil; and we may consider that the subject, now before us, relates to the best method of conveying the knowledge of arithmetic to those who are unacquainted with it. They usually begin with small sums, and gradually advance to larger: but boys, who have been well instructed in the preceding class, are not only qualified for this, but have a foundation laid for their future proficiency in every branch of arithmetic. As the reader will observe the whole of this method of teaching is closely connected with writing; it not only unites exertion with itself, but always renders that exertion, however great or small, visible to the teacher; and enables him to say, with certainty, that his pupils have performed their business. The monitor, or subordinate teacher of the class, has a printed book of sums, which his class are to do: and he has another printed book, containing a key to those sums, on a peculiar plan, which will be described, and which fully shews how they are to be done*.

* Any boy that can read and numerate a little, is able to perform this duty as well as the principal monitor. The boy who reads the sum cannot be idle: if he is, the whole class must be so too: when teaching others, he is rapidly improving himself.

In the first place, when his class are seated, the monitor takes the book of sums — suppose the first sum is as follows:


(No. 1.)   27,935

He repeats audibly the figures 27,935, and each boy in the class writes them: they arc then inspected, and if done correct, he dictates the figures, 3,963, which are written and inspected in like manner: and thus he proceeds till every boy in the class has the sum finished on his slate. He then takes the key, and reads as follows:


7 and 9 are 16, and 3 are 19, and 5 are 24: set down 4 * under the 7, and carry 2 to the next.

This is written by every boy in the class, inspected as before, and then he proceeds.


2 and 7 are 9, and 6 are 15, and 3 are 18, and 2 — I carried are 20; set down 0 and carry 2 to the next.


3 and 6 are 9, and 9 are 18, and 9 are 27, and 2 — 1 carried are 29: set down 9 and carry 2.


4 and 8 are 12, and 3 are 15, and 7 are 22, and 2 — 1 carried are 24: set down 4 and carry 2.


1 and 2 are 3, and 2 — 1 carried are 5: set down 5.

Total in figures — 54,904lbs. Total in words, fifty-four thousand, nine hundred and four pounds.

* When the teacher reads, set down 4 under the 7 and carry 2 to the next, the lads who are inspecting the manner in which the boys in this class perform their sums, see that each boy writes, down the 7 under the 4, and that they do the same with the amount to be set down in every succeeding column.

The whole of a sum is written in this manner, by each bay in the class: it is afterwards inspected by the monitor, and frequently by the master; and if is a method, in particular, well adapted to facilitate the progress of the scholars in the elementary parts of arithmetic.

After the same method, the knowledge of arithmetic, in the four first rules, will be easily acquired.

Its good effects are deducible from principle, as well as practice. For youth to be conversant in arithmetic, it is needful that the most frequent combinations of figures, which occur in the first four rules, should be familiar to their memory. Now, the frequent recurring of one idea, if simple and definite, is alone sufficient to impress it on the memory, without sitting down to learn it as a task: and, in the method of tuition just described, every boy is obliged to repeat it, at least twice. First, the impression it makes on his mind, when listening to his monitor's voice, and the repetition of that impression when writing it on the slate. When a certain quota of sums are done, the class begins anew: and thus repetitions succeed each other, till practice secures improvement, and removes boys individually into other classes and superior rules, when each boy has a suitable prize, which our established plan appropriates to the occasion.

Multiplication is easily attained by this method: and the use which is made of the Multiplication Table in general, as an auxiliary to the memory in acquiring this rule, is a cogent reason in favour of the method I suggest to public notice.

In the instance of dictating the figures 27,935, and any other variations after the same example, the scholars, by writing, acquire a thorough knowledge of Numeration, expressed both in words and figures, without paying any attention to it as a separate rule. In fact, Numeration is most effectually learned by the scholar in my institution, not from the study, but by the practice of it; and I may add, almost every other branch of knowledge, taught in the different classes, is acquired in the same easy and expeditious way.

The boys vie with each other in writing their sums neatly on the elate, and their practice and improvement in writing is greatly increased by this means.

Before the introduction of this method, I found it needful to employ the senior boys as teachers of arithmetic: and, when their improvement in the lower rules was desirable, a more honourable and efficacious mode could not be adopted: but when proficiency was such as rendered it needless, it was time not so usefully employed as it might be. This [ saw with regret, and have the pleasure of seeing the difficulty removed by this improvement.

It must be obvious, that if any boy had studied and attained a quickness in addition and were to repeat it before me, in the usual way, to show his improvement; the key to the preceding sum comprises the substance of what he could express: and if I were to take a scholar, unacquainted with arithmetic, and show him minutely how he was to work the sum, the key out is not only the substance of what I should express, but also the same of any other teacher in like case.

Any boy of eight years old, who can barely read writing, and numerate well, is, by means of the guide containing the sums, and the key thereto, qualified to teach the first four rules of arithmetic, simple and compound, if the key is correct, with as much accuracy as mathematicians who may have kept school for twenty years.

Perhaps it is not reasonable to expect much invention and intellectual exertion from boys, whose talents are yet an embryo: but, when the line is drawn, they can abide by it. Boys, in general, are excellent agents in whatever they are equal to: and, in this case, nothing is left to their discretion, and they cannot err, without they go to sleep, or do it for the purpose.

Here is a positive certainty to the teacher, that every boy in the class is employed, and detection follows a disposition to idleness as soon as it exists: that none sit idle while others are waiting the master's partial instructions; and that three times the usual quota of sums are done and repeated by every boy.


By this mode a sum like the example, in simple addition, for instance, is printed and placed on a board, the key as well as the sum; eight boys assemble round it; the monitor numerates the sum, line by line, till each boy has got the sum fairly copied on his slate. Then the first reads the first column, and when he comes to the total 24, he sets down four, under the seven, and marks 2 on the slate to be carried to the next. Each boy in the semi-circle sets down the 4, &c. at the same time. The second boy also reads the second column, and when he sets down the total all the boys do the like. Thus they read column by column setting down the total until all the boys have read the sum singly, and then they begin one by one, reading the whole of the sum: the others setting down the whole of the total, and beginning anew, as every boy begins to read. This is found an auxiliary method, and has been recently practised.

Every rule in arithmetic is usually considered as a study appointed for a separate class. — See Table of Classes, mentioned p. 4.

The object of the boys in each class is to study only that rule or lesson appointed for them: and, whatever number of boys there may be in any one class, whether ten, fifty, or five hundred, the trouble of tuition is not at all increased by the addition of numbers. The inspection of the sums or spelling written on the slate is more, and the number of inspecting boys is greater in proportion. By the method of arithmetic just described, every boy in each class is told by the teacher all he is to do: and his sole business is to do it so often as to become quite familiar with it. In the succeeding method, the boy's business is to do every thing without instruction.


Each arithmetical class is called out, according to the list, in companies of eight. To each class is allotted a proper sum according to the rule they are in. This sum is printed on a card. The eight boys stand round the sum they are to work; and the board, on which the sum is, is suspended from the wall. The teacher is provided with a key to the sum, similar to those before described. Each semi-circle has its insignia of merit, &c. and each boy gives precedence to any other boy that excels him in performing his lesson. The teacher then requires the first boy to add the first column, if in Addition: or to multiply the first figures, if in Multiplication. He is to do this aloud, extempore, without any previous knowledge of the sum. or assistance from 1m teacher in performing it. If he mistake, it is not the monitor's business to rectify the mistake, but the next boy is to try if he can do it; and if none of the eight can answer right, it must then be done by the monitor. When many mistakes in a whole class occur, such boys must practice more in the methods first described, before they are tried this way. The former method affords an easy introduction to this. The same advantage is possessed by both, that neither teacher nor learner can be idle. Our system of emulation enables me to combine encouragement and reward with it, in a manner more than usual in schools where this is practised. The last method being such as is usually taught in some schools, it requires a boy of superior abilities to teach those who are inferior to himself in proficiency. The monitor has a key to each sum, which reduces it to a mere system of reading on the monitor's part. If the boy repeat the sum extempore, naming the total, according to the key in the teacher's hand, they are correct; if their account differs, the monitor immediately detects the error, when it becomes the business of the next boy in the class to correct it. On this plan, any boy who can read, can teach: and the inferior boys may do the work usually done by the teachers, in the common mode; for a boy who can read, can teach, ALTHOUGH HE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT IT; and in teaching, will imperceptibly acquire

the knowledge he is destitute of, when he begins to teach, by reading. The superintendent, or master, may examine the proficiency of his pupils, by this mode and the following.


To ascertain the proficiency of the scholars, after they have been used to the preceding methods of tuition, the teacher places each boy in a situation where he cannot copy from, or be assisted by any other, who has the same task to perform. He gives him a sum, according to the rule he is in, and requires him to make a key to the sum, in a correct manner. If he can do this readily, A number of times, it is a proof that he is conversant with the rule he is in: and when practice has deeply impressed it on his memory, he may advance to another rule. The first class, or combination of figures, is examined the same way. The tables in Addition are written on the slate, without the amount, thus: 6 and 6 are — the boy who is examined is required to add the amount — 12. If he can do this, with every combination of figures in the addition and other tables, he is then fit for ciphering. By the old method of teaching arithmetic, there is usually a great consumption of printed books of arithmetic; the new method almost entirely supersedes them. The same economy applies to another expensive article of consumption in schools, ciphering books: in which the scholars usually write down all the sums they do. The expeditious progress they make, both in writing and accounts, is so great, they need only commit to writing a very short specimen of their sums, for the satisfaction of their parents: and even that is not absolutely needful. By using their pencils well they acquire an equal facility in the use of their pens.



It is usually, in most schools, to have a muster or roll-call, at a particular hour, varied at the discretion of the masters. The list of the scholars contains the name of every boy that attends it. In calling over the list every name is repeated, although three-fourths or more of the boys, whose names are called over, are present. It was needful in my institution to make a strict inquiry after absentees: but, the method above described was so tiresome and noisy, that I devised another more eligible. As the number of absentees bear but a small proportion to the numbers that attend, I formed the design of taking an account of the smaller number, without the repetition of names. To effect this, the classes arc numbered — each beginning at number 1, and ending its series of numbers at 30, 70, 130, or any other number of which the class may consist. The list of each class is kept by the monitor of it, nearly in this shape:


Number 1, Jones.

2, Trimmer.

3, Brown.

4, Daubeny.

5, Plymly.

6, Bowles.

These few names will show the manner in which the list of the whole class, perhaps an hundred and twenty, is kept. Answering to this is another series of numbers, printed on the school wall, thus:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

The monitor calls his boys to muster — the class go out of the seats in due order — go round the school-room; and, in going, each boy stops, and ranges himself against the wall, under that number which belongs to his name in the class-list. By this means, the absentees are pointed out at once — every boy who is absent will leave a number vacant. The monitor of the class then passes silently round the school-room, and writes on the slate the numbers which are vacant.

Take a specimen of six boys, mustered according to the foregoing list:

No. 1. 2, 3. 4. 5. 6. Jones. Trimmer. Plymly.

The boys, Jones, Trimmer, and Plymly, are supposed to be present — they are arranged under their numbers. The boys, Brown, Daubeny, and Bowles, are absent — their numbers 3, 4, 0, are vacant. In taking the account of absentees, the monitor writes the numbers 3, 4, 6, on his slate: and the same as to any numbers vacant by absentees, in the whole class. He then makes a list of absentees, by referring to names in the class-list. This list he gives to a monitor, whose business it is to see that the absentees are inquired after.


The monitor of absentees has under his charge an alphabetical list of the whole school: he refers to this list — and there he finds the name, dwelling, and parent's trade of each boy who is absent. He writes a list of absentees; this list is given to the master, who directs needful enquiry to be made in all cases that require. The enquiry report of the monitor of absentees stands thus:


Wanted by his parents.
Gone to Holland.

In case of truants being reported, when they are brought to school, either by their friends, or by a number of boys sent on purpose to bring them, the monitor of absentees ties a large card round his neck, lettered in capital letters, TRUANT: and he is then tied to a post in the school-room. When a boy repeals the fault many times or is incorrigible, he is sometimes tied up in a blanket, and left to sleep at night on the floor, in ihe SCHOOL-HOUSE. When boys are frequently in the habit of playing truant, we may conclude that they have formed some bad connections; and, that nothing but keeping them apart can effect a reform. When bad habits and connections are once formed in youth, they often become an easy prey to various temptations, in spite of all their good resolutions to the contrary.


In the smaller classes of readers it is well to subdivide the boys into twenties — the children being mostly young, learn to distinguish such numbers with greater facility: it is on this account that the minor classes muster in twenties. One series of numbers on the school-room walls, serves for all the classes in the school to muster at in succession. The time taken by a class of a hundred and twenty boys to muster in, is seldom so much as ten minutes. The numbers attached to boys' names in the class-list are all estimated alike. These numbers are never changed by precedence and improvement in learning. They remain fixed for the? sake of order, and have not the slightest connection with the system of rewards and encouragement adopted in the school.


According to the first chapter, of 'Arranging a School into Classes,' boys should be classed according to their proficiency, on their admission into school. No other lessons should be taught to each class than those appointed for it. Pupils should be removal from one class to another, as soon as they are proficient in all the lessons of the class to which they belong. Thus, a boy in the A, B, C, having learnt to distinguish all his letters is proficient in that class, and he should be removed higher, and so on. As the scholars are all arranged in different classes, many of them will soon make a proficiency by these expeditious modes of teaching: and, as they cannot learn more than what is appointed for the class — cannot remove themselves — nor can their monitor remove them — they must remain where they are, losing time, and making no progress, unless the system of inspection I am about to describe prevents the evil. A monitor is appointed as inspector-general of reading: he keeps a list of every class of reading in the school. Whenever a new scholar enters, another monitor, whose business it is, examines what progress in learning the pupil has made, and appoints him to a class according. The first duty of the inspector of reading, is to see that each scholar's name is duly entered on the list of the class to which he is sent on commencing school. This is a matter of consequence. If any omission be made in the entry of each boy's name, it is possible, the inspection may be conducted well, and yet the boy, whose name is omitted, be passed by; and, whatever his previous improvement may be, he must remain stationary.

The monitor of each class keeps a list thereof. It is also his duty to see the inspection conducted so that no boy in his class is passed by. The inspector of reading keeps a list of every class of reading in the school; and, when his lists are correct, he proceeds to duty, but not before. — He begins his inspection, by desiring the monitor of the first class to bring up six boys, according to the list. He then compares their names with his own list, and examines them, to see if they can tell all their letters, and make them in the sand; if so, they are fit for the next class, and the inspector orders them to be removed accordingly. Then he proceeds with every other class in the same way: and when he has examined the whole he begins anew. Thus by diligence and attention on his part, some hundreds may be examined in a few days. When a boy is removed from one class to another, he has permission to choose a prize, of a stated value, for himself, as a reward for his diligence: and the monitor is entitled to one of the same value, for his care in improving his scholars. The date of examination, class removed to, prize chosen, &c. are all entered in a book at the time of inspection.

It is no unusual thing with me to deliver one or two hundred prizes at the same time. At such times, the countenances of the whole school exhibit a most pleasing scene of delight: as the boys who obtain prizes, commonly walk round the school in procession, holding their prizes in their hands, and a boy proclaiming before them, 'These good boys have obtained prizes for going into another class.' The honour of this has an effect as powerful, if not more so, than the prizes themselves. The duty of inspection may be first done by the monitors appointed by the master, but should be done by himself afterwards.

The mode of inspection applies to the arithmetic classes, and every branch of instruction taught on this system, with such variations as the nature of each particular branch requires, and which the description of each will shew.


In spelling by writing on the slate, the performances of the scholars are inspected, sometimes by the monitor of their class, often by an inspecting monitor, and occasionally by the master.

Printing in the sand is inspected in the same manner as in the new method of teaching arithmetic. Every boy is placed next to one who can do as well or better than himself: his business is to excel him, in which case he takes precedence of him. In reading, every reading division have the numbers, 1, 2, 3, &c. to 8, suspended from their buttons. If the boy who wears number 8, excels the boy who wears number 7, he takes his place and number; in exchange for which the other goes down to the place and number 8. Thus, the boy who is number 8 at the beginning of the lesson, may be number 1 at the conclusion of it, and vice versa. The boy who is number 1, has also a single leather ticket, lettered variously, as, 'Merit,' — 'Merit in reading,' — 'Merit in spelling,' — 'Merit in writing,' &c. this badge of honour he also forfeits, if he loses his place by suffering another to excel him. He has also a picture pasted on pasteboard, and suspended to his breast; this he forfeits to any one who can excel him. The boys are usually much delighted with this, and it raises great emulation to obtain it, as it is seen at home. Whoever is in the first place at the conclusion of the lesson delivers the ticket and picture to a monitor appointed for that purpose. The honour of wearing the tickets and numbers, as marks of precedency, is all the reward attached to them: but the picture which has been worn entitles the bearer to receive another picture in exchange for it, which becomes his own. This prize is much valued by the younger boys, and regarded by all. Pictures and prize lessons can be a fund of entertainment and instruction, combined with infinite variety. When a boy has a waggon, a whip-top or ball, one thing of the kind satisfies him till it is worn out: but he may have a continual variety of pictures and prize lessons, and receive instruction as well as pleasure from every prize. The advantage of some prints, as rewards for children, is their cheapness, and others their utility. Many such prints can be cut into four or six parts. Every part will be a complete subject itself, and fit for a prize: thus, less than a shilling per day will afford prizes, morning and afternoon, for a hundred and twenty children or more, and raise emulation among the whole school. I hope all ladies, who are patronesses of schools, will adopt these articles for prizes.

The prize lessons consist of selections of poetry, short stories, &c. in prose and verse, admit of great variety, command much attention, and excite an interest in parents as well as children, highly calculated to improve both: they are printed and sold at the Free School, Borough Road.


By the foregoing observations it will appear, that emulation and reward are closely united with continual inspection and application to learning. Another method of rewarding deserving boys is by paper tickets, which are numbered, one, two, three, &c.: they are given to such boys as distinguish themselves in writing with the pen: which is done about four times a week, by part of the school only, in order to accustom them a little to the pen. Each number is to be obtained several times, before the bearer can obtain the prize appropriated to it; as,

Number 1, three times, to receive ½d.

2, six times . . . . 1d.

3, eight times . . . 2d.

4, nine times . . . 3d.

5, twelve times . . 6d.

Every time a ticket is obtained, it is booked by a monitor, whose office it is to record tickets, prizes, &c. The tickets are given, according to the evident and various degree of pains the scholar may have taken with his performance. They are given, by the monitor, or teacher, who inspects the written copies, according to his judgment of the performances submitted to his inspection. It requires some discretion in the master to choose a lad for this office, whose eye is capable of at once discriminating between one performance and another, and of discerning where exertions have been made by the learner to improve. In small institutions, the master may perform this office: in large ones, he can only do it occasionally. 1 have several lads who are capable of this office, and perform it well. The best way to qualify a boy for such a duty is, to accustom him to inspect and compare the performances of boys in writing on the slate, one with another: he may decide improperly in some instances, at first, but practice will soon make perfect in discriminating and deciding: and then he will be found a very useful auxiliary in a school. It is as easy to form a number of boys, as one or two, on this plan; and they may be qualified sooner than usual, if required, provided the master renews the same inspection and decision in their presence, after they have done; and shows them every prominent case in which they may have decided wrong, and why they have done so. When boys have obtained their tickets for writing the stipulated number of times, they are permitted to choose any prize of value appropriated to the number on their tickets; and there is a choice variety of prizes, consisting of toys, bats, balls, kites, &c. but the books with the prints or pictures, and the prize lessons, arc more in request among the children, and generally more useful than any other prizes.

I believe the emulation I have described, as united with my method of teaching, will be found most useful as a stimulus to the exertions of those scholars who possess no more than common abilities; indeed, it is for this class of learners, who in general.

give the most trouble, that such methods of teaching and encouragement are most wanting. The drudgery of the teachers is always greater or less, in proportion to the quickness or dullness of their scholars: but, in these modes of teaching, all must exert themselves according to their abilities, or be idle. If they exert themselves as well as they can, they will improve accordingly — if they are idle, it is immediately detected, and as rapidly punished; of the method of doing which I shall treat presently.


Another method of encouraging deserving youth, who distinguish themselves by their attention to study, is equally honourable but less expensive. I have established in my institution an order of merit. Every member of this order is distinguished by a silver medal, suspended from his neck by a plated chain. No boys are admitted to this order, but those who distinguish themselves by proficiency in their own studies, or in the improvement of others, and for their endeavours to check vice. The honour of the medal is a reward, the forfeiture of it, in case of repeated misconduct, is a punishment.


Another method of rewards for those boys who are first in their classes, in addition to their badge of merit, is a similar badge, lettered 'Prize, value two-pence,' 'Prize, value three-pence,' 'Prize, value six-pence,' &c. The boy who continues first in his class, for three or four successive times, is entitled to the prize lettered on the ticket he has worn. If any boy excels him, he forfeits his ticket and place in the division. The boy who obtains the ticket once, must retain it three or four times successively: if he once forfeits his place and ticket, he forfeits his chance of the prize, although he may have obtained it three times out of the four. These prizes are very much limitted to the arithmetical classes.


It frequently happens, that boys distinguish themselves much in their learning at school; and occasional letters sent by the master to their parents, to inform them of this, is encouragement for the child to continue a regular attendance at school.


It is a common practice for one class to try to excel another. The highest class as to proficiency in learning, occupies the most honourable place in the school, a place no otherwise distinguished from the rest, than that it is the customary seat of that class. When an inferior class excels a superior, the superior class quits its station, and goes down to the scats of the inferior. When this happens, the superior class finding itself excelled, and not liking the disgrace, usually works very hard to regain its former seat. These contests are decided by writing on the slate, or in a book. — The performance of every boy in an inferior class is compared impartially with that of a boy in the superior. The umpire decides which is the best of the two. On which side the decision is given, a number 1 is minuted down on a slate, in favour of that class: then the umpire, or monitor, appointed to decide, proceeds making comparisons between two boys of each class, till both classes are entirely examined. When the examination, which may be compared with polling at elections, is finished, the number of ones in favour of each class is cast up, and the contest decided in favour of that class which has the majority. The industry and exertion it creates is surprising: and the exultation which takes place among the boys, when they find the majority in favour of their own class, as well as the manner in which the monitors spur on their classes, by reproaches, when boys are remiss; and by commendations, when they strive to excel, affords much pleasure. When a contest of this kind occurs, which frequently happens, the whole school, and above all, the monitors of the classes, are so interested, that, if permitted, they would attend to no other business, while the decision is carrying on. The contest is speedily terminated, mostly in less than ten minutes. A striking advantage accrues from this emulation: each monitor and scholar is interested in such a degree, in the contest, that he exerts his abilities — and, having once discovered what they are able to do, the master knows what to require of them to do in future, according to the specimen they have shewn of their abilities. It is a contest much in the nature and spirit common in elections, but without its rancour or bitterness, and directed without excess, in a peaceful way, to a very useful purpose *.


I had two boys in my school, remarkable for hardness of disposition: they were in two different classes; with no other design than the improvement of two classes, by raising a spirit of emulation among them, I betted, with one of my subordinate monitors, a shilling against an old rusty nail, that another class would excel in writing on the slate, that in which he taught. In case it did, the old rusty nail was to be mine; if not the shilling was to be his; the oddity of the thing tickled the fancy of the boys, and served as well for the bone of contention as any thing else. Both classes were disposed to exert all their powers on the occasion, determined not to be excelled, I lost the wager in the sequel; but if it had been fifty times the value, it could not have had a better effect than it had The truants I have been mentioning, were in the two contending classes. The interest they took in the honour of their classes was so great, that instead of playing truant, they came to school, to aid their companions in securing the honour, which was more than the prize. They became pleased with school; and, above all, the almost incorrigible boy became reformed, and one of the best proficients, in learning in the whole school; and for two years after, while he remained with me, no more was heard of his playing truant.


The chief offences committed by youth at school, arise from the liveliness of their active dispositions. Few youth do amiss for the sake of doing so; youth naturally seek whatever is pleasant to them with avidity: and, I have found, from ample experience, that they do so with learning, when innocent pleasure and emulation is associated with it. If any misconduct should be punished by seventy, vice, profaneness, and immorality are the chief subjects: and, I am convinced, that correction is not always indispensable even in those cases, having known many a sensible boy reformed without, and that from practices as bad as any that usually occur in schools.


That children should idle away their time, or talk in school, is very improper — they cannot talk and learn at the same time. In every school, talking should be considered a great offence; and with due care, it occurs very seldom.


The monitor should have a continual eye over every one in the class under his care, and notice when a boy is loitering away his time in talking and idleness. Having thus seen, he is bound in duty to lodge an accusation against him for misdemeanor. In order to do this silently, he has a number of printed cards with different charges: as, 'I have seen this boy idle,' — 'I have seen this boy talking,' &c. &c. This rule applies to every class, and each card has the name of the particular class it belongs to written on it. On shewing a printed card as above, belonging to the first or sixth, or any other reading class, it is immediately known who is the monitor making the complaint, and what is the fault complained of. This card is given to the defaulter, and he is required to present it at the head of the school — a regulation that must be complied with.


On a repeated or frequent offence, after admonition has failed, the lad to whom an offender presents the card, places a wooden log round his neck, which serves as a pillory, and with this he is sent to his seat. This log may weigh from four to six pounds, some more and some less. The neck is not pinched or closely confined — it is chiefly burthensome by the manner in which it incumbers the neck, when the delinquent turns to the right or left. While it rests on his shoulders, the equilibrium is preserved; but on the least motion one way or the other, it is lost, and the log operates as a dead weight. Thus he is confined to sit in his proper position, and go on with his work.


When logs are unavailing, it is common to fasten the legs of offenders together with wooden shackles: one or more, according to the offence. The shackle is a piece of wood mostly a foot long, sometimes six or eight inches, and tied to each leg. When shackled, he cannot walk but in a very slow measured pace; being obliged to take six steps when confined, for two when at liberty. Thus accoutred, he is ordered to walk round the school-room, till tired out — he is glad to sue for liberty, and promise his endeavour to behave more steadily in future: with this he is sent to his seat, and goes on with his work. Should not this punishment have the desired effect, the left hand is tied behind the back, or woodon shackles fastened from elbow to elbow, behind the back. Sometimes the legs are tied together: This is an excellent punishment for boys who offend by leaving their seats, and wander about the school-room.


Occasionally boys are put in a sack, or in a basket, suspended to the roof of the school, in sight of all the pupils, who frequently smile at the birds in the cage. This punishment is one of the most terrible that can be inflicted on boys of sense and abilities, Above all, it is dreaded by the monitors: the name of it is sufficient, and therefore it is but seldom resorted to on their account.


Frequent or old offenders are yoked together, sometimes by a piece of wood that fastens round all their necks; and thus confined, they parade the school, walking backwards — being obliged to pay very great attention to their footsteps, for fear of running against any object that might cause the yoke to hurt their necks, or to keep from falling down. Four or six can be yoked together this way.


When a boy is disobedient to his parents, profane in his language, has committed any offence against morality, or is remarkable for slovenliness, it is usual for him to be dressed up with labels, describing his offence, and a tin or paper cap on his head. In that manner he walks round the school, two boys preceding him, and proclaiming his fault: varying the proclamation according to the different offences.


When a boy comes to school, with dirty face or hands, and it Seems to be more the effect of habit than of accident, a girl is appointed to wash his face in the sight of the whole school. This usually creates much diversion, especially when (as previously directed) she gives his cheeks a few gentle taps of correction with her hand. One punishment of this kind has kept the boys faces clean for two years.


Few punishments are so effectual as confinement after school hours. It is, however, attended with one unpleasant circumstance. In order to confine the bad boys in the school-room, after school-hours, it is often needful that the master, or some proper substitute for him, should confine himself in school, to keep them in order. This inconvenience may be avoided by tying them to the desks, or putting them in logs, &c. in such a manner that they cannot loose themselves. These variations in the modes of unavoidable punishment, give it the continual force of novelty, whatever shape it may assume. Any single kind of punishment, continued constantly in use, becomes familiar, and loses its effect. Nothing but variety can continue the power of novelty. Happily, in my institution, there are few occasions of punishment; and this conduces much to the pleasure it affords me. The advantages of the various modes of correction, are, that they can be inflicted, so as to give much uneasiness to the delinquents, without disturbing the mind or temper of the master. The object of these different modes of procedure is to weary the culprit with a log; or by placing him in confinement of one kind or another, till he is humbled, and likely to remove the cause of complaint by better behaviour in future. When he finds how easily his punishments are repeated — that he himself is made the instrument — and no respite or comfort for him, but by behaving well, it is more than probable he will change for the better. It is also very seldom that a boy deserves both a log and a shackle at the same time. Most boys are wise enough, when under one punishment, not to transgress again immediately, lest it should be doubled. They arc mostly so prudent, as to behave quiet and well, in hopes of being set at liberty from the one they already suffer, which is mostly in a few minutes. It ought to be understood in a school, that whatever mode of punishment a master may adopt, on a repetition of the fault, a repetition of the punishment will unavoidably ensue; this will save recurring too often to modes of punishment, which are not effectual without interrupting the pupils attention to business, as the log, the shackle, the badge of disgrace — at the same time the offenders are the instruments of their own punishment. Lively, active-tempered boys, are the most frequent transgressors of good order, and the most difficult to reduce to reason: the best way to reform them is by making monitors of them. It diverts the activity of their minds from mischief, by useful employment, which at the same time adds greatly to their improvement. I have experienced correction of any kind, only to be needful in proportion as boys were under the influence of bad example at home. Nothing is unhappily more common, than for parents to undo, by their bad example at home, all the good their children obtain at school. This occasions the first trouble to be renewed many times; and many punishments fall to the lot of that child, who, however well regulated at school, is spoiled at home. But, certain it is, that, if punishments must exist, such as those mentioned in the preceding detail are preferable to others more severe, and in common practice. I wish such were never in sole practice, without something of a more generous nature being introduced into those schools where corporal punishment is made use of.


When a boy gets into a singing tone in reading, the best cure that I have hitherto found effectual, is by force of ridicule. — Decorate the offender with matches, ballads, &c. and, in this garb, send him round the school, with some boys before him, crying 'matches,' &c. exactly imitating the dismal tones with which such things are hawked about the streets in London, as will readily occur to the reader's memory.


When boys are in habits of talking, or being idle in school-time, it is common in the Free Schools under my direction, as variety in punishment, to make an offender stand up and suck his fingers, with the label, 'Idle,' 'Noisy' or 'Suck finger Baby,' 'Bite finger Baby,' 'Nice Matches' for singing tones in reading; and 'Tell Talc Tit,' for idle complainants.


The following punishment is most tremendous: when a boy is found to deserve punishment, instead of recurring as to the rod, make him A BASHAW OF THREE TAILS. The use of a famous coat, called the fools coat, is well known in schools; let such a coat be suspended in public schools, the name of the offender printed in large letters, that the whole school may read, and fasten on it the words 'Bashaw of three tails,' also on the back of the coat, and three birchen rods suspended from the tail of the coat, at due and regular distances. This punishment is excellent for the senior boys, and will not need many repetitions. Sometimes an idle boy may have a pillow fetched from a feather bed, and placed on the desk for him to lay his head on, as if asleep, in the face of the school. A boy wandering from his seat may be placed under a hen coop. A Go-cart is another excellent punishment for an idle boy, but rocking in a cradle is better. Exhibitions of this sort soon bring a large school into order. Under this head I may repeat an anecdote, but do not recommend it to practice, as I have never tried it. — A respectable female kept a small school for children of that sex. Her health was delicate, and the task became so arduous from the noise of the children, when at school, that she had no prospect but that of declining school altogether. In the interim, she was advised to make one trial more: to have a cup of chamomile tea always by her, and when any child was found talking to regale her with a tea-spoon-full: and if she repeated her offence, to repeat the punishment. We may suppose many wry mouths were made on the occasion, but the punishment wanted little repetition; it was too bitter to be endured, and almost immediately ceased to be deserved, and the school continued an example of order and usefulness.



The reader must know, that there are in this wicked world many Knights of the Rod, who wish to perpetuate the reign of ignorance among the lower classes of society, whom they are pleased to consider "DOOMED to the drudgery of daily labour," and that "learning to write and cypher" will render them "discontented with their lot." These plead, with mighty virulence, for every mode of punishment that can embitter learning, and make school hateful to boys. The sinking empire of the rod is tottering daily to ruin, and many and bitter are the lamentations of its partizans. One of these hired advocates of ignorance, in a silly phrensy, imagined, that the apparatus of logs, shackles, caravans, &c. were all implements of slavery: and he had the temerity to misrepresent one of the greatest enemies of slavery, a Friend, or Quaker, as an abettor of cruelty: these things, which have been so seldom used, as hardly to be known among the HAPPY children in my school, and which, when resorted to, are described as answering their effects "mostly in a few minutes," froze his heart with horror, and almost frightened him out of his remaining senses. — Neither he, nor the other conspirators against the education of youth, considered the more degrading severity of the lash, which these punishments have for years contributed to annihilate. The guillotine in France, during the reign of terror, and the rod in the hands of the advocates of ignorance, are alike. — One is the tyrant, delighting in the tortures of others — deluging his country with blood: the other, the tyrant, exercising that tyranny in school, which he is debarred from exhibiting towards men. But these circumstances ought not to be wondered at, when an instance is to be found of a lady being actually frightened out of her wits. Ladies in general have so much good sense, that this case was not expected; yet there is no rule without exceptions. By her "the rod" was publicly recommended — and she said that a crown of disgrace resembled the crown of thorns, and, therefore, ought not to be used: at the same time she recommended the scourge, but forgot that the Saviour of men suffered the misery of its lash. It does not much become a lady to plead the cause of flagellation; but what will not the patrons of ignorance do, when ignorantly pursuing their career!


The great expense of common education arises from the usual practice of retaining ushers. If one master has thirty pupils under his care, as schools are commonly open but three hours at a time, divide the number of minutes in three hours, by the number of children, it is but six minutes individual instruction for each child. If the number under the care of one master increases to sixty pupils, the time is then reduced to three minutes for each scholar. Assuming it for a fact that one master can govern and teach thirty children, when his school exceeds that number, he must either do the children injustice, or take an usher. If his school amounts to sixty, the master has one usher: if it amounts to one hundred he has two: and if it amounts to one hundred and forty, say he shall be allowed three ushers. But as assistants of this description cannot be increased without increasing expense, the more assistants increase, the more expense will increase also, The economy of education depends on an efficient substitute being found for ushers: for at present, as scholars increase, ushers and attendant expense rise in proportion. But do away the expense of ushers as scholars increase, and if one master only is wanted, one salary is only requisite. But this depends upon boys being qualified to act as substitutes for ushers, which only can be done by simplifying the system of order and tuition, whereby both may be equal to the meanest capacity, and may consequently be delegated to any pupil in the school. This has been done by the author, and never was done till he did it. The consequence is, that as scholars increase, the expense for each individual decreases — leaving one master competent to govern and teach many instead of a very few — adding to his salary, providing funds for rewards, and yet on the whole saving a great expense.

The duty of a monitor as a substitute for an usher may either relate, simply to order, or to instruction, as it would be of no service over hundreds of children assembled to receive instruction under the most efficient modes of tuition, were it not possible to keep them in order. In general, on the old plan of teaching, the authority of the master is merely personal: when he comes into school, fear produces silence, pro tempore at least; when he goes out all is bustle and confusion, and the ushers rarely regarded in his absence. This originates in the personality of the master's authority. In the army authority is vested in the system more than the person: — the station more than the man commands obedience, and the subordinate officer is as readily obeyed as his principal. The officer of to-day may be superseded by the officer of to-morrow. An old man of three score, or a boy of sixteen, gives the command, and obedience, implicit obedience, follows. The order of war will not become disorder by an application of it to peaceful purposes.


It is unavoidable, on a large scale of education, to do without giving many commands, and some of a very trivial nature, On my plan, many of the commands, which would be given by the master, are given by the monitors. As it is not proper that commands, without number, and perhaps of a nature opposite to each other, should be given at random by the monitors, it becomes needful to limit the number that are to be given, as much as may be. It is an important object to secure implicit obedience to those commands on the part of the scholars: and, for the monitors to acquire as prompt a manner in giving them, as will secure the attention of the classes, and lead them to a ready compliance. The first of these objects is easily attained. It is only to write down on paper the commands most necessary to be given by the monitor to his whole class: and, it is essentially needful, that he should not vary from the rule once laid down. The general commands Common to all schools are detailed in the Appendix.

The practice of giving short commands aloud, and seeing them instantly obeyed by the whole class, will effectually train the monitor in the habit of giving them with propriety. Thus, for instance, 'Front,' 'Right, or Left:' 'Show Slates, or clean Slates,' are all things that must be occasionally done in school. Having a series of commands applicable to the duties of classes and of a school, is only defining what already exists in the nature of things, and which would be done in a vague manner unless so defined and commanded.

The classes should learn to measure their steps when going round the school in close order to prevent what else would often occur from their numbers, treading on each other's heels, or pushing each other down. In this case, measuring their steps commands their attention to one object, and prevents their being unruly or disorderly. It is not required that the measure should be exact, or be a regular step: but, that each scholar shall attempt to walk at a regular distance from the one who precedes him. When a new scholar is first admitted, he is pleased with the uniformity, novelty, and simplicity of the motions made by the class he is in. Under the influence of this pleasure fee readily obeys, the same as the other boys do. None of these commands are in themselves, an hardship: and they arc well supported by the force of habits easily acquired, from the circumstance of being congenial to the activity of the youthful mind. The power of example greatly facilitates the establishment of order. Children are mostly imitative creatures: they enter a new school; they see all in order around them; they see promptness and alacrity in obeying every command that is given: they do as they see others do, by the influence of their example. Before the effect of novelty is worn off, new habits are formed; and the happy children who are trained under the mild and generous influence of the British system of education, learn obedience with pleasure, and practice it with delight, without the influence of the rod or cane to bring them to order. Without the facility with which the authority of a monitor or commander may be delegated, and transferred from one to another, the system of order would be a non entity. Were it not on a level with the meanest capacity, capable of this delegation, and yet possessed of so much simplicity, the new modes of instruction, valuable as they are in themselves, would be inefficient: and to place boys in stations where they have generally or partially to perform the duties of ushers with this routine of obedience, this principle of order would be utterly in vain; and the attempt to promote learning without the principle of order, would be like the efforts of the eastern nations at the famous building of old, when Nimrod, in the despotism and pride with which he built the Tower of Babel, only succeeded in producing confusion, and thereby founded the first empire of ignorance.


Out. Front. Look — (to the Right or Left, by a motion made with the hand by the commanding monitor.) — Take up Slates. Show Slates. — (Here the monitor inspects.) — Left hand Slates. Right hand Slates. Single. — (In a line.) — Double. Step forward. Step Backward, Go. Show Slates, to the Master, or Inspecting Monitor.


Look. Go. Show Slates. Lay down Slates. In.


Out. Unsling Hats. Put on Hats. Go.



On this head, the duty of the superintendant or master, will be, to ascertain that each monitor is fully competent to teach the lessons of the class he is appointed to. This certainty can be obtained only by actually examining the intended monitor in the lessons he will be required to teach. The master must never appoint a new monitor without such examination. I have known some persons who pretend to teach on my plan, appoint a boy as a monitor, merely because they judged him to be a good reader: no master should appoint monitors by guess, when an actual certainty is in his power: but this cannot be attained without an examination and progressive series of lessons on my plan adapted to the mode of tuition.

The necessity for such examination of the minor classes is more urgent, as in the minor lessons, the sounds of letters often vary from soft to hard, and a number of words admit of different meanings, and are consequently pronounced different ways. A pupil may read well in general, and yet either not know, or may forget, after some time, such local variations. If then, he is not carefully examined by the superintendant, he will teach some words improperly.

As it respects Arithmetic, the superintendant should ascertain, by individual examination, whether the pupil he selects as a monitor, is proficient in the mode of teaching each particular sum or lesson appointed to be taught to his class. The monitors of reading and spelling should not only be able, as scholars, to understand and perform the lessons they are appointed to teach, but be instructed, under the inspection of the superintendant, in the mode of teaching, and any locality which may be attached to particular lessons.

It should be considered that monitors on the new plan are of two descriptions, some for tuition, and others for order: — duties which, as before shewn, are in some instances, wholly distinct from each other.

To these we must add a third description, who are called Inspecting Monitors. Of these, even in a very large school, but few are requisite.

Monitors of every kind are sometimes stated, and sometimes occasional.

Monitors arc stated, when they are appointed to attend the regular duties of the school, in tuition, order, or inspection. Monitors are occasional, when acting as substitutes for regular monitors, whom ill health, or any other cause, may detain from school.


First, the monitors appointed must understand, and be quite perfect in the lessons they are to teach, as to good leading and spelling.

Secondly, they must understand the mode of teaching.

Thirdly, in the first five classes, monitors may be appointed from the next superior class, to teach the one immediately below if. Thus the second, or two-tetter class, will furnish monitors who may teach the first, or alphabet class: the third will supply monitors for the second; the fourth for the third; and the fifth for the fourth; the sixth class will supply a choice of monitors for the fifth, for itself, and for the order of the school. Under the seventh class, each class will supply boys to teach the class below it; this will ground the monitors in the lessons they have themselves last learned, by the act of teaching them. From the sixth class upwards, the classes will supply boys to act as monitors, and teach themselves; the teachers of the sixth, seventh, and eighth classes, may be chosen out of the said classes, as any boy who can read can teach; the art of tuition, in those classes, depending only on the knowledge of reading and writing. The system of inspection of progress in learning, as it respects the scholar, is only on his part mental; neither inspection nor the mode of instruction require any other qualification, on the part of the teacher, than the mere art of reading and writing, united with orderly behaviour.


Every monitor should wear in school a printed or leather ticket, gilt, and lettered thus: — Monitor of the first class — Reading Monitor of the second class — Monitor of the third class, with variations for Arithmetic, Reading, Spelling, &c.

Each of these tickets to be numbered. A row of nails, with numbers on the wall, marking the place of each ticket, to be placed in every school-room: the nail numbered 1, being the place for the ticket No. 1. When school begins, the monitors are to be called to take their tickets; every ticket left on a nail, will shew a regular monitor absent, when an occasional monitor must of course be chosen.

One monitor of order, to be appointed by the master, to see what monitors are absent daily, and to appoint others in their place for the occasion; this, in a large school, will be found a great relief to the master.

As nothing should in any case be left to the monitor, the superintendant should in the first instance appoint every stated monitor himself; he should then examine the school, to find a number of boys fit to be occasional monitors: of these he should make two lists, one for himself, and one for the lad appointed as monitor-general, and from that list substitutes are to be appointed. The monitor-general's office is merely to take an account of monitors present and absent, and to appoint substitutes from the superintendant's list of boys fit for the different offices of monitors.


In large schools, on the old plan of education, the burthen of the master's duty increases in a great degree, with the increase of numbers, till it becomes insupportable. On the new plan, the burthen increases in a very small degree in comparison of the number, and admits of dividing the master's labour among many, which would otherwise rest only on himself. Some classes in a school will occasionally be extinct, in consequence of the improvement of the scholars. If all the children who are in the alphabet class, improve so as to be removed to the second, the alphabet class must be extinct, unless fresh scholars are admitted. The same, if all the boys in the subtraction class become masters of that rule, they must be removed to another class, and there will be no subtraction class in the school, until more boys are admitted, or are brought forward from an inferior class. Where children continue at school for sometime, and no new scholars are admitted, it appears possible the whole of the minor classes may become extinct, and not be revived till an admission of new scholars.

In a very large school, more monitors are wanted than in a smaller one: the system remains the same, only the number of agents for effecting it are greater. In a small school, some duties may be done by the master, because they relate to a few pupils or monitors, and are immediately under his own eye. In a small school of 100 children, no monitor-general will be needed, as from the fewness of the monitors, that duty may be performed by the master; but in a large school, it becomes an alleviation of the master's labour, to appoint such a monitor.

All the monitors should have a written or printed paper of their 'Duties,' which they should particularly study, and repeat once a week. Those duties, which are the same in all schools, and which apply generally to the mode of teaching, may be had printed, as see the APPENDIX, containing a list of things wanting in the outfit of a new school. These duties each monitor should paste in the books belonging to his class. The larger series of papers on the duties of monitors, should be read for a class lesson by all boys selected as regular, or auxiliary monitors, in order to prepare them, by a knowledge of their duty, for the proper discharge of it.

Assistant Monitors are only needful when a class is more than 20 or 25, then the monitor should be relieved from continual attention to his class, to give him time for his studies; but the class must by no means be divided between two equal monitors, both acting at the same time.



There is one error teachers are too generally apt to fall into, that of giving commands themselves, either calling aloud for ORDER, or SILENCE among their scholars. If one general rule is abided by on this head, it will prove, that the less a master's voice is heard among his scholars, the more he will be obeyed. The noise of a school is generally in proportion to the noise a master makes in it himself. The punishment of the scholars, and the fatigue of the master, is nearly in like proportion.

The master should be a silent by-stander and inspector. What a -master says should be done; but if he teaches on this system, he will find the authority is not personal, that when the pupils, as well as the school-master, understand how to act and learn on this system, the system, not the master's vague, discretionary, uncertain judgment, will be in practice. A command will be obeyed by any boy, because it is a command, and the whole school will obey the common, known commands of the school, from being merely known as such, let who will give them. In a common school the authority of the master is personal, and the rod is his sceptre. His absence is the immediate signal for confusion and riot; and in his absence his assistants will rarely be minded. But in a school properly regulated and conducted on my plan, when the master leaves school, the business will go on as well in his absence as in his presence, because the authority is not personal. This mode of insuring obedience is a novelty in the history of education.




ON my new system of education, there is a series of lessons to be pasted on boards, adapted to each class, as the classes rise above each other progressively. These lessons being regularly numbered, should be placed on the school-walls, on nails, numbered in like manner. The card-lesson, No. 1, (for the second or any other class) to be placed on the nail No. 1: No. 2 on the nail No. 2, &c. Each series of lessons to be placed by itself. Each class to study only that series of lessons adapted to it; this rule must be invariably attended to, or the classes which are learning will be particularly liable to confusion. When pupils are removed from one class to another, it is then only they may enter on a new series of lessons.


Instead of hanging the slates to nails on the wall, every boy has a slate numbered according to his number in the class, and fastened to a nail on the desk at which he sits. By this means all going in and out for slates is avoided. But, if slates are suspended to nails on the walls, the class must go from their seats to fetch them, and the same to replace them when they have done work. When boys write in a book, (which is only done by part of the scholars four times in the week, merely to/accustom them to the use of the pen,) they sling their slates; that is, let them hang suspended from the nails on the desks, by the slate-string. When slates are suspended in this manner, if the strings are good, there is little danger of their being thrown down or broken: so that when boys are writing, there are very few who have any occasion to get off their seats: and, if they should have, there is ample passage-room between the desks for them to pass. If the slates are accidentally struck by a boy passing, they hang loose, and of course give way when pressed against, which preserves them from injury.


In the new method of spelling, described page 9, it is desirable that every boy in the same class should write the same number of words in the same time: of course all their slates should be of one size, and ruled with the same number of lines; unless this is the case, the class cannot all perform the task appointed them. The master should fix the number of words for each class, the time in which they are to be written, and the time in which he will inspect, or cause them to be inspected. — A fine should be paid by each boy for carelessly breaking a slate.


In the account of the improved method of printing in sand, mention is made of a flat-iron being used for smoothing it. A substitute may be provided of wood, which will answer the same purpose, and prevent some kind Goody borrowing a flat-iron, without leave, for her own linen, as I have sometimes known to be the case, and the class in a small school kept in idleness, because the iron is taken away.


This is mentioned in page 15, and may be made moveable with feet, to hang the lessons on, while the boys are reading round it. One or two will be sufficient for a large school, as the lessons are usually placed on the school wall for the boys to read, &c.



LANCASTER'S New Spelling Book.

————————Series of Reading Lessons.

————————New System of Arithmetic.

Freame's Scripture Instruction.

Watts's Hymns for Children, Papers, &c. &c.

Duties for Monitors.

The Method of teaching the Alphabet in Courses.


Numbers of Precedence for Circles.

Monitor's Tickets.

Accusation Cards, and Cards of Disgrace.

Titles for the Classes, to be placed at the head of each Class.

Order of Commands.

Labels of Disgrace.

Commendatory Tickets, &c. &c.

Slates, ready ruled, for the use of Schools:

Letters addressed to J. L, POST PAID (and POST PAID only) will be attended to.


THE emulation to improve, and proficiency in reading will be excited and increased more by this method than any other, as well as great economy introduced in the article of books.

The real and proper object of those called Sunday Schools, is, the religious instruction of the children: to this the art of reading is properly considered a needful auxiliary, and on this principle children are taught to read and spell, who have not already learned to read so well, as to improve their minds in religious knowledge by reading. Objections are frequently made by conscientious persons, to children learning to write, on account of the solemnity of the day set apart for public worship. But surely any thing which will command silence in school, and will ensure attention, must certainly conduce to keep a school in that decorum proper to the day and occasion*.

As the new method of spelling by writing on the slate, naturally connects spelling with writing, and this is made the basis of improvement in reading, it surely cannot be inconsistent with the design and object of those called Sunday Schools, to adopt any plan which will promote order and regularity in schools, and hasten the proficiency of the scholars in reading; I therefore generally recommend the introduction of the new mode of spelling on slates, and the new books, which will serve so many children, to the friends of those schools throughout the nation.

On the advantages to be derived from this plan, by introducing it into small village schools, and parochial charity schools, I submit the following considerations to the reader.

The trouble of the teacher will be materially lessened, and the happiness of the children increased.

In a school of thirty children, one book will serve the whole school, and the proficiency of the scholars doubled.

This plan will enable the committee of a charity school to extend the school to double the number; and, if needful, to many times more than double the number, where the population of a parish will allow of it, at a small expense; one book still serving for the whole school.

Where the numbers of children cannot be increased, their proficiency will be doubled, and more time left for husbandry, works of industry, and religious instruction, as such committees, or heads of schools may direct.

The expense of writing books, cyphering books, &c. will be chiefly saved.

* What is very remarkable, a number of persons who make this objection, are in the practice of taking down sermons in short hand, without considering it any interruption to religious worship, or any violation of the solemnity of the day.


THE numerous public avocations of the author, prevent him at present from doing that justice to his subject, which at some future time he hopes to be able fully to do. At present, be can only give a general statement, containing a few outlines of that highly useful, economical, and instructive species of reward for the higher and more intelligent classes of scholars; a school circulating library. He has experienced, during thirteen years, the advantage of this plan; and, as the books, once in the library, are school property and only lent to read, but never given away, one book, costing from one penny to two shillings, &c. has been known to pass through the hands of some hundred scholars. Indeed, not only the children have been benefited, but a book has been frequently known to be read, not only by the scholar to whom it was originally lent, but by the parents and relatives of the pupil at home. When books are green away, the expense is continually recurring: if a variety of books are introduced as an article of reward, the expense will be greater in proportion as the books increase in size and value: but where a stock of books are once provided, they afford a perpetual source of information and delight, without any additional expense than that which arises from keeping the stock in repair, or making an occasional addition. I have known books in use for twelve years, and very little the worse for wear; but much depends upon the books being inspected every time they are returned. Due care and watchful inspection prevent the needless injury of books, and rigidly observing, that if a boy uses the first book improperly, he is not allowed to have a second.

The rules are in substance as follow: that every boy who is a candidate for the use of books in the library, must obtain a given number of tickets, as a reward of merit, before he can be admitted: that he must afterwards obtain a ticket, equivalent to a given number of tickets, weekly, to entitle him to books according to their value, the books of the highest value requiring most tickets to obtain the use of them: only one book to be lent at a time to any pupil: never to be kept without leave longer than one week: to be kept clean, on pain of forfeiting the privilege of being in the library: in case of any book being negligently lost or destroyed, the value to be paid by the child's parents, or the pupil to forfeit his stock of tickets and prizes due at the time of the loss. In the distribution of rewards, one important principle should never be lost sight of; bestowing them in such a manner, as, at the least possible expense, will call forth the utmost exertions of the pupils to obtain them, by improving every moment of their time at school, and by using the most strenuous efforts for their own improvement. In proportion as boys have an active interest in their studies, their happiness will be increased at school; and these principles have been proved to have a most beneficial effect on the higher classes of the children in school, at a moderate expense.

It is not many years since children's books in general were of the worst description, with very few exceptions. Of late years they have been much improved: a number of booksellers have rendered considerable services to the public, in printing books for children and young people. I have not at present leisure to give anything like an idea of what a complete school circulating library should be, without doing injustice to many publications I have not yet seen: but I hope, ere long, to be able to review most of the publications for schools, and to be able to recommend those which appear to be the most useful; and from the great knowledge of the dispositions of young persons in early life, which the author's experience qualifies him to make use of, he hopes to be able to point out a selection of books, free from intolerance and bigotry, and adapted to the youthful mind: a selection of books that will contain what an advocate of ignorance would not wish, but which will not be unproductive of real pleasure to the friends of humanity, of education and knowledge. As a religious book for a circulating library, I recommend BISHOP GASTREL'S Institutes: they have this excellence: they are SCRIPTURE! which in conformity to the 6th article of the church of England, he believes are able to make us wise unto salvation: but this liberal Bishop was not like a modern pretended (Bath) Divine, who has not scrupled to say, that "merely admitting the Bible as the BASIS (i. e. foundation) of religious opinion, is to admit DEFINITIVELY NOTHING!"

Martinet's Catechism of Nature: — a most excellent little book, concise, well written, full of pious observations, and the quotations from Scripture aptly introduced to express the wonder, love, and adoration of the Great I AM THAT I AM, which is often produced in the feeling mind, by contemplating the glory of the Creator displayed in the wonders of creation. For senior boys, The Juvenile Library contains good instinctive matter, and is highly calculated to stimulate youth to improve in learning, by the good example of others, The interest children generally take in the society of those of their own age, is such, that every thing in print, which is like a picture of themselves,, and the society they associate with, will be interesting. Taylor on Dogs, is a book most excellently adapted to youth, and both the author and publishers merit the thanks of every parent and friend of youth. It is an instructive work, and combines amusement with information; it inculcates

that kind treatment of animals, which every human mind will rejoice to see become more general. This valuable book is sought after with avidity by all the pupils in the circulating library, Borough Road. Books like this, sacred to humanity, will always be received with pleasure, and read with delight by children, and by the friends of young people as well as themselves. This little work is fitted for persons of every age, from eight or nine, to fifty years of age. It is chiefly a collection of matter of facts. But the honey dew of pure benevolence is largely shed over them all. The Wonders of the Horse, by the same author, is a similar and excellent publication. The Grammar of Geography, is another excellent little book, it is multum in parvo, and constituted better for a school book then a library, but excellent for both. The Vocabulary of Proper Names at the end of it, with the pronunciation occasionally attached, is a very useful addition to it. A correct vocabulary on a larger scale, but on the same principle, will be a desideratum. It is with pleasure I turn to the publications of the amiable and benevolent Priscilla Wakefield: "all her works, indeed, are sterling;" the intelligence and good sense which mark their real worth, while they bespeak the dignity of her mind, present a powerful contrast to the narrowness of soul, which distinguishes one of her contemporary writers, who "flames away in the van of some bookseller's shop," and whose jealousy that her sixpenny sales shall be injured by the excellent publications of others, makes her cry, 'the church in danger!' when, in reality, it is only her halfpenny, penny, and sixpenny bookmaking craft that is in danger. Compared with such inhabitants of the Land of Narrow Souls as these, Priscilla Wakefield shines by the power of contrast. Her Juvenile Travellers, her Family Tour in the British Empire; her Excursions in North America; with other works I have not time at present more than to glance my eye over, command the gratitude of those who are friends of rich and poor. Mental Improvements, 2 vols. and Juvenile Anecdotes, 2 vols. are publications of hers, worthy a place in every library, and in every family. The pious Lindley Murray's Power of Religion on the Mind, and Elizabeth Andrew's Beauties of Sturm's Reflections on the Works of God, are both well known and highly useful. May that usefulness become universal, and may their authors and compilers have long to reflect with pleasure on the useful application of their talents, being productive of much good. The Grammar of History, an excellent publication has an essay on artificial memory, and a most useful vocabulary attached: the excellencies of this little publication are of the same nature as the Grammar of Geography before noticed, and equally appropriate to its respective object. The Book of Trades, or Library of Useful Arts is another book worthy of a place in any school library. The History of Discoveries and Inventions, the Wonders of the Microscope, and the Wonders of the Telescope are both excellent publications. The best proof of their being well written is, that they are eagerly sought after and readily understood. The British Nepos, by Mayor, the Naval Plutarch, the British Neptune, by Dr. Burney, are all books, which once brought into a library, may be considered as capital, invested in a stock of rewards, which do good among the scholars in a ratio similar to that of compound interest. I do not mean by the few books that I have instanced, to say that I have at all been able to do that full justice I wish, in giving my humble tribute to the merit of their authors, and to recommend the sale of useful publications. The collection of books we have is chiefly composed of publications presented to the school library as gifts: I have therefore had a much greater opportunity of investigating their merits than any others. But 1 hope speedily to form my school library on a much larger scale, and in so doing, I shall have an opportunity of examining every book that is admitted into it, as 1 have always done hitherto. As I intend to make my remarks at the time of inspecting them, and to examine their effect on those who peruse them, I shall have an opportunity afforded, on the ground of fact, to recommend, in a treatise to be published expressly on books for children, those which I find to have the best effects, with the fewest of those errors, which are the lot of human infirmity, and of which the wisest and best among men are too sensible, to desire to claim an exemption from weakness intermixed with the radix and nature of our being.


THE reader is respectfully informed, that the ROYAL FREE SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, Borough Road, contains near TWO HUNDRED GIRLS, and needs nothing but public subscriptions to extend it to FIVE HUNDRED GIRLS, under the care of ONE MISTRESS. This has afforded opportunity to bring to perfection, by various experiments, a new plan of instruction in needlework, which enables girls to instruct each other, acting as monitors; and simplifies the plan of tuition in needlework as much as the modes of instruction in reading, writing, &c. (detailed in the preceding parts of this epitome) simplify the means of imparting useful knowledge. It is an easy thing to make children the instructors of others: many have long done so; but to bring down the object of instruction to a level with the capacity of the juvenile teachers, is a more important concern; and without it, mere agency will often be worse than mere nonsense. The consequence of these plans, successfully applied to needlework, has been, that any child may be made capable of communicating instruction as well as the governess of a school herself. That the female superintendant of a school may as easily oversee the work as the tuition of 300 children: that materials for work will be always at command at a very small expense, not exceeding 2s. each child for twelve months, when nine years of age, and that this is not merely a solitary instance of great local good, but a benefaction as far as example goes, by the introduction of a new and useful plan of female instruction to all the schools in the empire, in which it may be adopted.

This undertaking has been entered into, and completed; and as there is not any person in the country yet acquainted with this plan, it is time, for the general good, that it was extensively made known. Accordingly a publication is at press which will answer this purpose. MARY LANCASTER, the sister of the author of the British System of Education for Boys, superintends the INSTITUTION for TRAINING SCHOOL MISTRESSES in the knowledge of this plan, to which the GOVERNESS of the girls' school gives every facility in her power.

It was soon seen, in the earliest stages of the institution, that the plan for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, was as applicable to girls as boys — one mistress could teach 200 girls: but a difficulty arose as to needlework, which in the end has been finally adapted to the same principles as form the basis of the system of instruction in useful learning, This was a work of labour and difficulty, but has now been completely accomplished.

What is more remarkable, it is as applicable to instruction in cutting out garments, that essential part of female education, as it is to sewing, or any other kind of needlework. It not only furnishes the means of instruction, but it also furnishes the material to be made use of in learning, at an expense next to nothing, and in the power of every body to obtain.



No.1 The parallelogram at the head of the school, represents the platform, on which the master's desk is placed. The numbers represent the classes of children as seated in the order of their proficiency in learning. The surface of the form and desks are represented in the plan as nearly filled with boys, occupied in writing on their slates: the boys are represented at the desks.There is a dot at the front of each desk in every class, intended to represent the monitor of the class, whose business is to move up and down the desks, and examine the performance and progress of the boys in writing on their slate.
The spaces marked thus (..........) represent places where boys stand in drafts, with each draft under its respective monitor, when going out of their seats to read. There are eight of these drafts, one from each class. In every class a vacancy is left at the desks, where there are no dots, representing the vacant space left unoccupied by boys who are gone out to reading, &c.
On the other side of the school-room is represented blank semi-circles, which are reading stations, where boys stand when reading.
The blank spaces thus, (______) represent the place where, on the ringing of a bell, the boys return from their reading stations, and form into single file, in which order they return round the school-room, going into their respective classes, and fill up every seat. These movements diversify the scene of school duties, and while they inspire the children with energy, by the activity they create, add liveliness to the scene, and contribute to the health as well as the happiness of the children, who are never confined for two or three hours together to one seat. The passages round the school-room, and between every form, and the desk behind it, contribute greatly to the order and activity of the school


No. 2 is the same as number 1, only that the boys are represented standing at their reading stations.


No. 3 is a representation of boys reading a lesson, on the plan of one book serving for a whole school. The monitor with a pointing stick, pointing out part of the same.


No. 4 is a representation of the boys at eight stations, generally called reading stations: but equally applicable to reading, spelling, or arithmetic. Here are 56 boys represented as leading at eight lessons, only worth about two-pence each, exclusive of the mill-board they are pasted on; when they are done, and returned to their seats to practice writing on the slate, or to spell, by writing, or to write sentences from Scripture, another 56 may use the same lessons, and then another: so that above 300 boys may read or spell at eight lessons, in a single morning, and have the full advantage of 300 books, costing as many shillings: a fair, but very low average for an expense of paper and printing, not exceeding sixteen-pence.


No. 5 (AN ERROR TO BE AVOIDED,) is a representation of the disorderly manner in which children are suffered to stand to learn their lessons at some schools, where my plan is partially adopted. The reader is requested to contrast this with No. 4, and he will see the listlessness and inattention which is suffered to prevail by incompetent teachers. Here every eye seems turned from the lesson; when in No. 4, every eye is fixed upon it. In the back ground, are boys sitting with their books in the common manner of schools, each child having a book, and wearing and tearing the whole book, that he may have the use of only one lesson, and use that in a very careless manner.

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