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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1883
([1883])

Report of Hampton school,   pp. 165-179 PDF (8.0 MB)


Page 167

REPORT OF HAMPTON SCHOOL. 
no better training than this for an Indian boy when he enters into the arrangements
intelligently and heartily. He has the discipline of six full days' work
in the week, 
and studies two and a half hours every evening with the colored students,
who are 
making a great sacrifice for an education. The remaining Indian students
are divided 
into seven classes. Four classes attend school in the morning and work in
the after- 
noon. Three work in the morning and go to school in the afternoon. 
The plan of the school is to give each class a daily drill in reading and
spelling, 
arithmetic and language (including penmanship), with 6ne daily recitation,
as soon 
as their knowledge of English will permit it, in some srudy which will give
them new 
ideas and broaden their minds. Geography, history, natoral philosophy, and
natural 
history are the studies chosen for this. When the scholars are sufficiently
advanced, 
we use the reading classes to some extent for the same purpose. An account
of the 
school work of three representative divisions is given below. 
The first division (3 years' work) 
furnishes an example of what can be done by a little more than three years'
training 
with bright scholars who came with no knowledge of English. It is made up
of such 
scholars, with the addition of some who have been here a shorter time, trained
in the 
mission schools before leaving their homes. 
The first division in reading, Miss Cora Folsom, teacber.-The object of the
class 
this year has been to establish a good foundation in spelling and a clear
and intelli- 
gent manner of reading at sight. To read well with an Indian means that he
must 
be interested, and to be interested he must have something to think about
and study 
over out of school. With this thought in view, we took up Dr. Hooker's book
on 
plants, and that proved such a success that we have lately taken up the volume
on 
animals by the same author. The Indian habit of observation shows itself
very plainly 
here. The wonders of plant and animal life are, in a great measure, new to
him. The 
circulation of sap in the tree, the breathing of the leaves, and the development
of fruit 
from seed to seed are inexhaustible subjects, and opens the doors to him
into a new 
world of thought. But little time has been given to elocutionary work, plain,
every- 
day reading being all we have attempted yet. We read every day from our little
book, aiming at a clear pronunciation and thorough understanding of the subject,
spell and define all the difficult words, and occasionally write a short
abstract of what 
we have read, or illustrate it, by drawings. Indians are almost invariably
good spellers, 
and this class is no exception to that rule. There are not more than two
who cannot 
spell all the words they are able to use. One girl in particular is quite
remarkable 
in this respect, coming as she did directiy from the Indian camp, with no
knowledge 
whatever of our language. Although she has but little confidence in the English
tongue she reads iemarkably well, though with a slight accent, writes a very
pretty 
hand, and will spell without hesitation almost any word found in ordinary
reading. 
Mr. Brandon, a graduate of Hampton, teacher of Indians, and in charge of
Indian 
boys, reports on the- 
First division in arithmetic.-At the beginning of the year they could work
addition, 
subtraction, multiplication, and some division pretty well.  This year they
have 
studied long and short division, factoring, multiples, and reduction of common
frac- 
tions. They are now working in addition of fractions. The majority work well,
doing 
their work quickly and neatly. The girls are careless. Regarding their capacity,
I 
see nothing extraordinary in either direction. I have not been able to see
any differ- 
ence between them and the colored students with whom I have studied, as far
as their 
ability to understand arithmetic is concerned. 
First division in language, Miss Laura E. Tileston, teacher.-The first division
in lan- 
guage has followed in a simple form the regular course of grammar taken in
the junior 
class. The lessons are given entirely without the use of books. Parts of
speech are 
taught in the class by object teaching. Pictures are used for home work.
Words are 
suggested by these and classified. Sentence-building is hard work for many
of them, 
verbs tripping them at every step. The principal parts are taught as four
chiefs, two 
of them lazy and two smart; helping verbs (the auxiliaries) being necessary
in the 
former case, and nothing in the latter. Diagrams are of great service in
showing 
which words belong together, and as one boy said, "are as good in grammar
as work- 
ing out a sum in arithmetic." Recently we have paid more particular
attention to 
letter-writing and composition, changing poetry to prose, and forming sentences
from 
diagrams. Pictures are used in the composition work. With this help they
have 
improved steadily, and where at first it was hardly possible to get more
than three or 
four lines, now they hand in as many pages, the writing and spelling being,
with few 
exceptions, wonderfully good. A compound sentence in a paper just received,
is 
rather more expressive than elegant, but is quoted as showing the general
spirit quite 
fairly: "Grammar is good, and don't you forget it." 
First division in history, Miss Josephine Richards, teacher.-'IThe studying
of history 
is learning what we never knew before," wrote an Indian girl, and even
with so bright 
167 


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