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in their mastery; first, the step in which the mind is prepared for the new concrete matter; and, second, that in which the latter is presented. These will often be referred to in the future as the first and second steps of instruction.
HOW PROCEED FROM INDIVIDUAL TO GENERAL
INSTRUCTION often ceases at this point as though all was finished when individual notions have been acquired. This is the case in much of history and geography; that is, in these subjects there is often little more done than to collect a mass of facts about individual men, battles, administrations, cities, mountains, rivers, etc. But we have seen that percepts without concepts are blind, they give no insight into general truths and laws. Sense impressions, vivid A starting
point for concrete pictures or percepts, are only the starting- general point in instruction ; its end has not been reached notions in until these concrete data have been sifted and fully material. interpreted. We have thus far, as it were, merely collected the material out of which to build some structure; just what kind it shall be is not yet determined; it now remains to look over the many things with care, to see what can best be made out of them. Or we have thus far only gotten together in piles the books which are to constitute our library; the usefulness of the same will now depend upon the
care that is taken in sorting, arranging, and indexing them. Hence there is much work still to be done.
It might happen that the mere sight of building materials would hint at the best use to which they might be put. So in instruction it can happen that the concrete data immediately suggest the large truth that they are intended to teach. This is the case with the Golden Touch. The experiences of Midas, his repentance, etc., are not peculiar to the king alone. The child quickly feels that Midas is typical of many people, and that, if their selfish wishes were granted they, too, like him, would be grievously disappointed. Thus a glimpse is caught of the general truth, the
universal application. How a full But is it not important to catch more than a glimpse
of such a weighty truth? Should not a full view of general notions may it be obtained by bringing together those facts within
this narrative that point to it, and also by calling to mind other stories and any actual experiences of life that teach the same thought? Baucis and Philemon had their wish; did they choose more or less wisely than Midas? Why? In what respects was Solomon's choice a wise one? How did Midas overestimate the value of money? What use did Robinson Crusoe make of his bag of money when upon the island ? Why? Such comparisons and questions bring the chief thought into full view until it can be stated in words, and they do it in such a way as to establish a conviction.
Any student of United States history necessarily
becomes acquainted with some of the sad results of our want of unity during the Revolutionary War and the years immediately following ; but because the instruction is not planned to teach convincingly that our states must be united, no intelligent conviction in regard to that matter is established; some of the most valuable data are omitted entirely, and those that are furnished by the book and teacher are not so massed as to point inevitably to close union as the solution of the many difficulties.
Geography contains almost an overplus of concrete facts, but too often instruction stops with them, and the result is that only a vague conception is given of trade centre, manufacturing country, canal, harbor, mountain, beautiful view, etc. Beyond doubt the defect is due partly to the fact that individual trade centres, harbors, mountains, etc., are not studied in such detail as to furnish the accurate facts necessary for a fairly correct concept. Some idea of the number of details required for that purpose was given in connection with Minneapolis. But the defect is due also to the fact that such concrete data as are studied are not brought together and compared. Minneapolis and the other cities along the Mississippi River that were mentioned represent only one kind of trade centre. Minneapolis is an excellent type of our large Western cities that deal largely in grain and lumber, and ship goods in and out by rail. But all centres of trade do not handle mainly these goods, nor depend so fully
How a single case is misleading.
upon railways. Buffalo adds coal and live stock to the articles mentioned, and waterways by the Great Lakes and Erie Canal. Pittsburg deals largely in iron products, London in wines, fruits, iron goods, etc. A glimpse of the characteristics necessary to a trade centre is furnished by a study of Minneapolis alone. But in this case, as in that of Midas, more than a glimpse is wanted; and it can be gotten by comparing facts along the same line learned from other sources. In this case several great cities should be carefully compared in order to reach a clear conception of trade centre.
One can get only a faulty conception of the general notion of valley by observing one valley. It is customary in good schools to examine a neighboring valley, estimating its length, breadth, etc. But it is usually so narrow that one can throw across, or at least see across it. It gives scarcely a suggestion of the great Mississippi Valley. Many a child, who can define this word and illustrate what he means, is mystified by being assured that he himself lives in the Mississippi Valley, for he has never even seen that river. So the worded definition fails of interpretation until numerous valleys of various sizes and characteristics are studied and compared.
These instances show that it is unsafe to stop short of the abstract truths, the rules, laws, or definitions. When one has presented only the individual
Danger of stopping short of general truths.