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APPENDIX E.—THE JEWISH SCHOOL AT BAGDAD. 75
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at this stage the pupils have no difficulty in understanding, however quickly one may speak to them, and they can converse fieely and with few mistakes. After the second year with the Master, they can commence arithmetic and geography, which are then easily taught in English. Grammar and composition soon follow, and almost perfect little Englishmen can be turned out at the end of three or four years' instruction.
The importance^ ol our system depends upon the interest which the master infuses into his lessons by his questions and general conversations and descriptions of men, things and places. A short amusing story, a personal adventure, a description of tne sea, ships, railways, etc., a balloon voyage, a song, even a short representation of theatrical characters, all these must, on the part of the master, form the repertory of instruction and amusement; for here, in the midst of howling deserts, the minds of the unfortunate children might remain as barren as their surroundings, and must by courage and persuasion be carried from inactivity into the full exercise of the faculties of a human being.
We must never lose sight of the disadvantages under which these children are labouring. Their mother tongue is different fiom that of their books of study, so that Arabic, even to them, is almost a foreign language. Where are those instructive and amusing books, placed so early and so appropriately in the hands of young children in Europe, and from which the lessons of virtue and science are imperceptibly conveyed to the youngest minds? Where are those numerous schools that send forth daily their ever-flowing streams of knowledge ?
The scenes and sights with which the natives of Europe are familiar all play their part in the economy of life, and tend to render man a social being; they afford instruction and amusement, and give continual recreation, thus enabling us to accomplish those innumerable and ever-recurring tasks and difficulties that accompany our life. But here in Bagdad the absence of all civilising advantages would under ordinary circumstances arrest the desired progress.
The beneficial influence of the mission of the Anglo-Jewish Association and of the Alliance Israelite Universelle in this country cannot be over-estimated. The endeavours of these institutions deserve all the encouragement of philanthropists, for surely benefits are best bestowed where they are most needed, and here there are perhaps 80,000 of our Jewish brethren, all turning their eyes and hearts to Europe as the source of knowledge and as the dispenser of the blessings of civilisation. " '
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