London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1815. First edition. Rebound to style in quarter calf over marbled boards with gilt and morocco label to spine. All edges speckled red. Collating complete: , 354. Light, uniform toning throughout, else a clean and unmarked copy of this important educational work by a leader of 19th century pedagogy who encouraged schools to give equal access to students without regard to class or sex. It is the only copy on the market.
Writing the present work toward the end of her career, Hamilton acknowledges that by now, "the question concerning the wisdom and eligibility of teaching the children of the poor to read and write seems by general consent determined in the affirmative...in the country in which I now write, the benefits of education have long been enjoyed by the labouring classes." In this sense, her work and that of her colleagues has been a success. Yet another hurdle remains. "If we admit that the system of education adopted by parochial schools at the period of their establishment was suited to the state of the then society, we must also allow that, in so far as it was calculated for the state of society at that present period, it can only be adopted with propriety under similar circumstances...In what great town has any suitable provision been made for the instruction of the multitude?" The methods of schooling being used are thus out of step with the needs of the range of children being now educated; and they must be adjusted to that infant minds are excited, engaged, and active from the start. Hamilton's Hints offer a corrective, suggesting the adoption of the Pestalozzi Method -- a "whole-child approach that emphasizes the development of all aspect of a person including the head, heart, and hands" because "all students deserve equal opportunity to thrive regardless of any perceived difference" (Jordan). In addition to her argument for the system's integration into English schooling, Hamilton also includes examples of the types of exercises that the Method employs. The entire back half of the book reveals how dialogue, exploration, and reasoning will be taught to children; and it reveals that this approach will not only benefit the students but the instructors as well, engaging them more actively and helping them hone their own deductive and inductive skills. (Item #3854)