« AnteriorContinuar »
ness depends much more upon his relations to his fellows than upon the teacher. From this it follows that the teacher should earnestly strive to shape the public opin. ion of the school ; and, secondly, that he should avoid putting the child in such cir. cumstances that he will have to choose between ubeying the teacher and obeying the public opinion of the community to which he belongs. The teacher shapes the pub. lic opinion (a) by securing the regard and esteem of his school; (b) by talking familiarly with the pupils and publicly to the school of matters which interest the community in such a way as to enlist their sympathies and opinions on the right side ; (C) by enlisting the more decided characters in support of right through appeals to their sense of honor, and by giving them confidence and such responsibilities as they are capable of undertaking; and (d) by avoiding scrupulously all actions which will tend to concentrate public opinion in favor of wrongdoers and against himself. If he is wise and kind, he will be able to keep public opinion on his side, and so to lift it to a higher plane. If he cannot do this, it becomes a serious question for him whether his usefulness in that field has not departed. Second, punishment or severe reproof in the presence of the school is a matter of great delicacy, and should be avoided if possible, unless the teacher is sure that he can keep the sympathies of the school with him. It is especially likely to beget defiance on the part of the culprit, and this, from its apparent bravery, will often gain him the sympathy of his companions, and thus become the means of fostering wrong views in the minds of the pupils as well as wrong relations to the teacher. Good management will avoid, so far as possible, all occasion for such results.
1. A habit is a second nature, and it is formed by doing. Actions which are performed (a) regularly, 1b) uniformly, (c) and without opposition from within, become seated in the organism of the person doing them, so that when no special effort is made to resist them they are performed without thought. These are habits. One who would form a habit in another, therefore, tries to see to it that he performs the act regularly; that is, always when the occasion offers uniformly; that is, in the same way each time, and willingly, or without opposition from within, so that his whole nature grows to that way of acting.
2. There are five great school habits : promptness, regularity, order, industry and accuracy. These profoundly affect the whole character, not only increasing the efficiency of the child, and thereby fitting him for the work of life, but developing in him self-control and responsibility or conscientiousness. The demand of the school that the child shall be on hand every day, and at the appointed time, has a higher end than mere convenience. It imposes upon him responsibility, self-control, the necessity of making other things conform to a known and regular duty. The orderly distribution of his time, the habit of applying himself to tasks, although inclination calls to something else, subdues vagrant impulses, and fits him for civilized life; while accuracy, the fundamental virtue of the recitation, unfolds in him the power to see and tell things as they are, which constitutes the love of truth and truthfulness. These results are more vital and abiding, when the teacher, realizing their moral sig. nificance, labors wisely to bring the child into sympathy with them, so that he may find a just pride and satisfaction in them.
3. These habits, however, may be, and often are, secured incidentally, as it were, and without the distinct and intelligent effort of the teacher to implant them; others require more skill and insight. Honesty, for instance, that is, the abstention from trickery and fraud, will not grow in the school without special and intelligent care. Every recitation affords opportunity, and unless intelligently supervised, incitement to dishonesty. To get help surreptitiously is a natural inclination of the child who is being tested; and it is to be feared that not unfrequently school experience serves to strengthen rather than correct it. Manifestly vigilance, careful provision to diminish as much as possible the temptation, and, above all, a sedulous cultivation of right views and feelings in this matter are an important part of the teacher's duty. He should avoid exaggerating the heinousness of an act so natural in a child, while providing against its repetition by inculcating the appropriate maxim, and enlisting the better nature of the child in the effort to overcome the wrong tendency. He must, in short, by patient and continuous effort strive to form a habit of honesty, and at the same time to cultivate the moral intelligence by appropriate teaching. Thus habit is supported and reinforced by fixed principles, which are firmly seated in the understanding. The other habits, therefore, as they ought to be the expression of fixed principles, firmly implanted, will not require discussion under this head.
IMPLANTING RIGHT IDEALS.
I. There are three principal ways of implanting right ideals : (a) by example, (6) by maxims, and (c) by the formal lesson.
I. EXAMPLE.—In all those respects in which the teacher's conduct is open to the inspection of the pupils his example is forming their ideals. He must guard, there. fore, against the appearances of evil, which have as great an effect upon the minds of children as if they were realities. In the matter of justice, for instance, the teacher is likely to seem wanting in their eyes from imperfect apprehension of the grounds of his actions. An evident purpose on his part to deal justly will correct this; but he must bear in mind that it is important that they recognize his intention to be just. So with other traits. Example teaches subtly, day by day, and it is the effect of character rather than of specific acts that is abiding. The example of the teacher must therefore reënforce all his moral teaching.
II. MAXIMS.—The child, besides being weak, is ignorant, and therefore needs instruction; and moral instruction is attended with the same necessity of tireless iteration as intellectual. It ought not to surprise us that the result of once telling is as evanescent here as in a lesson in number, nor that the child shows the same incapacity to generalize and to apply the principle to new cases in morals as in arithmetic. He often does wrong through ignorance and through lack of judgment, and repeats the wrong for the same reason that he repeats the error in number. How then shall he be taught what is right, and taught it in immediate connection with his action? We answer by maxims, and by maxims so given as to guide his conduct. It will be necessary then to show the manner of using the maxims, and what the more important maxims are.
(a.) How. The maxims, to be most effective in the formation of character, should be made as often as possible the real motive of the child's action, or, on the other hand, the critical standard for testing his action. “Be kind,” for example, is the positive hortatory form of a maxim, and may sometimes be used effectively in this form; but as a reproof, a standard for testing his conduct, it takes the interrogative form : “ Was that kind ?” Again, as a suggestion, it becomes, “ It would be kind, I think, to do so and so;" as a critical standard, used in approval of his conduct, it is, “ That was kind.” By the intelligent and persistent use of such forms, the ideal we wish him to adopt is kept before the child's mind in close connection with his conduct. His thought and action are made to flow about it until it is taken up and assimilated into his nature. Practical wisdom is needed to use it in such a way that he will not react against it, but that it shall rather be an inspiring or reproving force.
(6.) What. In common speech we have various terms which express the same principle with slightly different shadings. Be courteous, be polite, be obliging, be benevolent, be gracious, be gentle, be considerate of others, be generous, be kind, all these are closely related to each other. In selecting the most essential maxims it is desirable not to include all these, as the number, having essentially the same meaning, would tend to confusion, and so diminish the effectiveness of the teaching. Be kind, and be polite, are perhaps the most effective in this series. The following list has been made up by such selections. They are not mutually exclusive, nor has an effort been made lo enumerate all the virtues; they have been chosen rather with a view to their practical usefulness in the moral training of the youny. They fall in two classes : 1. Those inculcating duties with reference to others are: be (1) just, (2) honest, (3) truthful, (4) kind, (5) polite. 2. Those inculcating duties, with reference to ourselves, are : be (1) pure, (2) self-controlled, (3) industrious, (4) prudent, (5) reverent, (6 courageous.
III. The Formal Lesson involves grave difficulties. It is liable to be dry; the child may react against it so as to be hardened by it; it may tend to formalism or sentimentalism by failure to keep it in close and vital relations with conduct. Such difficulties are to be overcome by thoughtfulness and tact on the part of the teacher. The lesson may take four different forms: Ist, the committing to memory of short selections, maxims, single verses of poetry, a form especially adapted to primary pupils; 2d, the reading of stories selected for some lesson which they inculcate, and afterward talking them over with the class in such a way as to develop the moral judgment in applying familiar principles, the chief end to be sought since the principles are few and easy, and the applications many and complex; 3d, the reading of biographies and anecdotes, which have a power to inspire a high enthusiasm, and create noble ideals in the mind of the young; 4th, the discussion of occurrences in the school, and of items of current news, which furnish material for interesting application of great principles, and give them added weight by the sense of their practical utility. In such exercises discretion is necessary in order to avoid wounding the sensibilities of any one, or awakening passions which will operate against the impression desired.
IV. THREE SPECIAL Topics.--There are three special topics, upon which, on account of the special temptations to which the young are exposed after leaving school, it is desirable that some instruction be given. They are, the use of intoxi. cating liquors, the use of tobacco, and the reading of coarse and debasing publications. The teaching on these subjects should be strictly temperate and non-partisan, an effort to make the pupils understand clearly the evil results of these practices and to enlist their moral sense against them.
I. The child grows from authority to self-direction by gradual progress. Accord. ingly the method of dealing with him will change as he advances in years. He will be encouraged more and more to govern himself as he is able to do so. By wisely directed confidence in him, and by placing responsibility upon him as he is able to bear it, the teacher will seek to bring the child's will into accord with right action. Education for freedom is education to restrain one's self in such ways as wise direc. tion would restrain. This is a highly important part of the moral education of the child, for if held to the right, mainly by external restraints, there is great danger that he will fly the track when these are removed. This relation of external authority and self-direction has been represented by a diagram as follows:
II. The authority of the teacher is legal and personal—i. e., it rests on rights growing out of relations and confirmed by laws, and it is made effective by the personality of the administrator. In the school room it is absolutely necessary that the administrator have in him the power to govern, as well as the right to govern. In the primary school this power to govern ought to result from the teacher inspiring confidence and love; in the more advanced grades, from his ability to inspire confidence through respect, and respect is gained by strength of character and attain. ments, united with practical wisdom. He ought not to domineer over the school, but to manage it. In the past, we have had too much domineering and too little management Management is the enlistment of the active powers of the children on the side of good order and progress. The teacher must have skill to call forth and keep in his service the conscience, the ambition, the curiosity, the emulation of his pupils. He is not to repress merely or chiefly; he is to bring into play the inspiring and exalting motives, whose service is joy and life, and reduces to the minimum the necessity of repression and punishment. We need more teachers and less dominies; the teacher inspires new life, and the dominie new sear; the teacher manages, and the dominie domineers.
III. The law for the use of motives is, always appeal to the highest which can be made effective. Thus emulation is better than rewards as a motive to study, and ambition is better than emulation, Fear of punishinent is one of the lowest motives. Its proper use is to restrain from the repetition of wrong acts, and it is most effective when it comes as the natural consequence of the wrong done. Thus the natural consequence of falsehood is loss of confidence in the offender, which can be made very effective if rightly managed. As the object of punishment is solely to prevent the repetition of the wrong act, the less severe it is, provided it be effective, the better, since thereby the natural sensitiveness of the child is less impaired. Punishments when unnecessary, or unnecessarily severe, harden the nature. The widespread reaction against corporal punishment is wholesome, if it serves to reduce this to cases of absolute necessity, and to make the sense of the disgrace, when it is used, more potent than the physical suffering. The wise teacher will aim to make punishishment as far as possible unnecessary, by calling forth the better impulses of his pupils, and will always respect and cultivate their sensibilities.— Wisconsin Journal of Education.
National Educational Association,
PRELIMINARY INFORMATION. The next meeting of the National Educational Association will take place at Sara. toga, July 14-18, and it promises to be both interesting and profitable. The arrangements for the reception of delegates are being perfected rapidly.
The following outline program will give a general idea of the topics to be presented. The general plan is to have short papers, not exceeding thirty minutes, and each paper, in order to facilitate and concentrate discussion, is to close with a brief summary of the leading points, or the principles set forth in it.
TOPICS AND SPEAKERS. 1. The Ethical Side of Education.-Will Training in Schools, President Isaac Hopkins, Ph. D., D. D., Emory College, Oxford, Ga. The Common School and Morality, J. W. Stearns, LL.D.. Madison, Wis.
II. The Psychological Side of Education—The Child's Environment, Miss Clara Conway, Memphis, Tenn.; Mrs. Delia S. Williams, Delaware, O. Psychological Inquiry, W. T. Harris, LL.D., Concord, Mass. ; Lewis H. Jones, Indianapolis, Ind.
III. Instruction and Instructors.-Philosophy of Learning to do, by Doing, Colonel F. W. Parker, Normal Park, Ill. ; A. D. Mayo, LL.D., Boston. Educational Influence of Modern Fiction, Henry Latchford, Ingleside, Md. The Ideal Schoolmaster, General Thomas J. Morgan, Providence, R. I.
IV. Politic and Economic Aspects of Education. The Decline of the Apprenticeship System in the United States, Thomas Hampson, Washington, D. C.; General John Eaton, LL.D., Washington, D. C. The Teacher's Business, C. W. Bardeen, Syracuse, N. Y.; Training for Citizenship, George L. Fox, New Haven, Ct.
V. Public Lectures.-Among the public evening lectures that are contemplated, there will probably be one on Coral and Coral Islands, by Albert S. Bickmore, Superintendent of the American Museum of Natural History, New York City; and one on Teaching History, by John Fiske, of Cambridge, Mass.
VI. Reports of Committees. --Committee on Higher Education of Women, in John Hopkins University, Mrs. Mary Wright Sewall, Indianapolis, Ind.; W. T. Harris, LL.D., Concord, Mass.; W. E. Sheldon, A. M., Boston, Mass.
A cordial invitation has been extended to President Cleveland and L.Q.C. Lamar, Secretary of the Interior, and it is confidently expected that they will favor the meeting with their presence.