Tuesday, 15 July 2014

School Method - teaching reading in the 1800s

Fossicking around in an antique centre on the weekend, I stumbled across a text book for pre-service teachers dated 1897. This amazing little book details all that the beginning teacher needed to know upon entering a class in the 19th Century. Titled 'School Method.', it includes notes and hints from lectures delivered at the Borough Road Training College in London. Fastidiously notated by its original owner, this text reveals an incredible insight into teaching over a hundred years ago.

The chapter on teaching children to read is fascinating; the use of language quite remarkable. It details reading as being commonly allowed to be the most important of the "three R's" - as it is the great means by which we obtain an acquaintance with matters that lie out of the sphere of our own direct observation.

It goes on to say that reading is a difficult subject to teach and that this is chiefly for two reasons; one, the nature of the subject and two, the nature of the learners. 

Well, that pretty much covers all bases I would think.

The section on teaching the alphabet is something else though...
The teacher must endeavour to make this first stage as interesting as he can. His object will be to complete the association of form and name of each letter, as soon and in as pleasant a manner as possible. He must take into account the tender age of his pupils, and the mental and physical peculiarities inseparable from it; such as their love of novelty, and their inability to bear long-continued and exacting mental strain.

I never knew that teaching the alphabet needed to pleasant. Physical peculiarities? The mind boggles. I don't know about having to be of a tender age either to experience exacting mental strain - I think that would be more the domain of the teacher after reading this! 

This is a classic to treasure for many more years to come. I am just delighted that it found me - even with all my peculiarities!

Friday, 11 July 2014

A feast for Wombat

A feast for Wombat, written by well-known Australian Aboriginal author, Sally Morgan, celebrates the Australian outback and our native fauna.

Wombat doesn't think he's special and spends much of his time burrowed underground.

A story about friendship and support, it also cleverly explores how various features of different native animals are suited to their habitats and survival. Tania Erzinger's illustrations bring a certain earthiness and gentleness to the story.

Can Wombat run as fast as Goanna, sing as beautifully as Magpie or dance as elegantly as Dingo? Not quite - but Wombat is strong and is a great digger. How can his friends encourage him to know his own worth?

Recommended for 5+ years
Hardcover RRP $24.99
Omnibus Books

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Pizzica Pizzica by Hayley Egan

Pizzica Pizzica is Hayley Egan’s first picture book. Written and illustrated by Hayley, it presents a visual feast that is Italian folklore.

A farmer’s daughter is unable to rise one morning. Thinking she is unwell, her parents look for a doctor only to be told that she in fact needs musicians. Healing music soon begins playing throughout the home, lifting the heaviness from the daughter’s body. The illustrations provide a gentle rhythmic flow, conjuring the feel of a haunting dance. The accompanying text is written in both English and Italian.

Pizzica Pizzica is an ancient dance ritual from the southern Apulia region of Italy. Shrouded in mystery and legend, this dance was said to be the ceremonial healing for a tarantula bite. Festivals are still held to this day that celebrate this hypnotic, soul-cleansing dance.

This book has been created in consultation with ethnomusicologist, Salvatore Rossano who assisted in the research and translation. Its story will most certainly intrigue and spark an interest to discover more. 

Cultural traditions such as these need to be beautifully recorded  so that future generations, young and old, may continue to access these stories.

Being that Pizzica Pizzica is a bilingual book, it will prove highly valuable with the publishing of the Australian Curriculum - Languages in the near future. Italian is one of the languages being addressed under this new curriculum and the demand for resources like this can only increase.

Recommended for 4+ years

Self-published – contact author for sales http://hayleyeganart.com/books/books/