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LATIN AND HIGH SCHOOLS. In the lower classes of the high schools the age of the scholars should enable the teacher to obtain very satisfactory results, remembering the previous experience in primary and grammar schools. Shading may be attempted in these classes as a means of expressing roundness and surface ; the method being illustrated in the text-book, and its application to the objects drawn being shown by exercises in half tint from the solid, until the parallel lines required in shading can be drawn with tolerable precision.
More advanced object-lessons in which the principles of botany, anatomy, geology, architecture, and other sciences are taught, may include in their reproduction the exercise of sketching in pencil, or pen and ink, to illustrate them.
The model-drawing lessons may now be more thoroughly understood through the illustrations, drawn free-hand, of parallel and angular perspective.
The harmony of colors, illustrated by diagrams to be copied by the pupils, may be made the means of lessons in their mixture, producing secondary and tertiary colors, tints, hues, shades, and tones, and the origin and chemical character of the several pigments used in art.
Design, which had been hitherto limited to the arrangements of elements in geometric forms, should now be extended to natural foliage and flowers, which may have been employed in the botany lessons.
Thus a lesson in botany might take the drawing of the front and side view of the flower, and arrangement of leaves on the stem, the general coloring indicated by washes of flat color. That will give the subject for the next lesson in design, the pupils reverting to their sketches for the materials, and applying them to ornament the object given.
In the higher classes of the high schools it seems to me legitimate to employ special instructors in drawing, because the subjects studied after so long a course of preparation in the lower schools and classes will be sufficiently advanced to require technical and professional knowledge in the teacher. The time given to drawing (two hours per week) is 80 short for such subjects as painting and perspective, that the ripest skill and experience will be required from the instructor to have any effect upon the student's work.
There should be a class-room fitted up in the high schools, properly lighted and seated, for the study of drawing, in which the advanced classes might receive their lessons. Perspective, worked with instruments upon drawing-boards, requires special arrangements of tables and desks; and the studies in light and shade, drawing from nature, and painting, necessitate a proper arrangement of light. This cannot be secured in the ordinary class-rooms used for other purposes.
The teaching of the higher classes will be more individual than in any previous class; and considerable latitude may be allowed in the selection of subjects by the pupils themselves, under the guidance of the instructor. It may sometimes be necessary to have classes in projection or solid geometry, to prepare pupils for technical studies which may be required of them in the technical institutes or universities to which some of them will proceed when . they leave the high school.
Part of the training should consist of judiciouslyarranged home-work, in which the student is thrown entirely on his own resources, bringing the results to his instructor for criticism.
Though art may be more studied, in the form of drawing, in the high schools, than elsewhere, the motive still must be, that drawing is a means of expressing knowledge of some subject, not that a subject is taken up to display skill in drawing. The moment drawing is pursued for no other object than to display skill in touch, or tricks of execution, it becomes one of the “tricks that are vain," and, in the worst sense, purposeless; and, so soon as a youth is becoming satisfied with his own power in some one process, he should be taken from it, and required to work in a medium, or take up a branch of study he knows little or nothing about.
In few countries has the study of drawing as an educational agent ever been thoroughly carried out in the public schools, usually degenerating into an amusement, or treated as an exceptional subject having no sequence or system, to be taken up anywhere, and put down everywhere. We shall see in the course of a few years, when it has been fairly taught through the schools here, that the new subject has had great influence on other studies, and been valuable in itself as cultivating undeveloped faculties which previously ran to waste. That is the experience of countries where attention has been given to it; and, it seems to me, will be our experience here.
NORMAL SCHOOLS. The teaching of drawing in normal schools is for so definite a purpose, that there can be little difficulty in knowing what should be done in them.
The future teacher has to be educated in the language and art of representation, and in the clearest methods of developing the power to draw.
It seems to me this can only be attained by a thorough course of elementary training, so that, when the students are appointed to schools, they can teach drawing to children with as much readiness as they teach reading and writing.
The basis of this would be courses of lessons in freehand outline-drawing on and from the blackboard, model-drawing, geometrical and perspective drawing, and designing, as an elementary course.
The more advanced course would be drawing in light and shade from solid models, casts, flowers, and foliage, and from nature, landscapes, and architecture.
Principles of drawing, so that the student can draw a form as well without a copy as with it, are what a teacher wants, and thorough knowledge of all simple processes by which the visible forms of many various objects may be presented clearly to the eye. Lessons and lectures occasionally given on the art of teaching drawing, the best methods of correcting wrong lines, the simple tests by which errors may be made palpable to the pupil, and convincingly displayed, should be among the agencies in the arteducation given at normal schools; and such lectures should be given by art-masters of the greatest experience and ripest skill.
A great part of the work of normal students should be in designing examples of lessons to be given on the blackboard to children, taking a given object, and setting it to the simplest proportions, so that it may be well drawn; and, thus prepared, it should be given by one of the students to the whole school. Each should have such an exercise every week, and every week one student selected to give a lesson to the others.
In addition to this elementary work, an hour each week ought to be given to drawing in light and shade from the solid form, so that the student may acquire at least more knowledge of drawing than will ever be expected of him in the schools he may have to teach.
Unless every normal school has a drawing-classroom, fitted for such study, and well furnished with models and examples, the education in drawing carried on in it will be very meagre and superficial.
The studio in art is to art-study what the laboratory is to chemistry: without actual experiments and manipulation in both, the teaching must be too theoretical.