Imágenes de páginas

try, or the man who condemns her under circumstances which would lead him to condemn another country?

4. What is the difference between the education which the elementary school ought to give, and that which the high school and college should seek to impart?



The pro

Begin with the Child. It has come to be an axiom in pedagogy that we must begin with the child. fessor of physics who introduced his course of lectures by saying, A rearrangement of the courses of study deprived you of the usual instruction in elementary physics ; that is your misfortune, and not my fault,” 1 and at once began his lectures on advanced physics, may have known his subject, but he was ignorant of pedagogy. The faintest glimmer of that science would have shown him that the rearrangement of the course of study had of necessity rearranged his work, that the attempt to lecture on advanced physics to students who are not familiar with its elementary concepts would only result in confusion.

We must begin with the pupil not only in that we must adapt our instruction to his intellectual conditions, but in that we must take his interests into account. As has already been stated, this book is based on the assumption that neither the duties of the boy in school nor of the man in the world can always be as interesting as any other occupation. But it does not therefore follow that the teacher shall deliberately seek to create situations in which his pupils must exert their will-power. On the contrary, at every stage of a child's development his work should be brought into the closest possible relation with his life and interests, in order that it may have for him the utmost possible amount of attractiveness. The interests that make for education are always obliged to compete with those that tend to array the individual against society as well as his own best self. Since the anarchical interests are likely to prevail unless the will throws its weight into the lighter scale, the teacher is under supreme obligation to make those that tend to promote the child's good as strong as possible.

1 Schaefer's Thinking, p. 52.

The Young Child and the Educated Man. While this principle should be recognized by teachers of every grade from the university professor down, it applies with peculiar force to the elementary teacher. The mature student can see the reason for all that is demanded of him, and he ought to be able to pursue the course which reason points out, even though appetite and inclination lead the other way. But the young child has neither the power to see nor the will to do what his own best self requires. Absolutely helpless in the beginning, with no guide but blind instincts, and these not sufficiently developed to insure even his physical self-preservation, he should be so trained that when the education of the school is finished the work of self-education may go on.

Life itself is a school, and the ideal of education in the narrower sense is that parent first and later parent and teacher may so do their work that when the student passes from their control he may become his own teacher, may intelligently direct his own life. Evidently the motives which should be all-powerful in the end — those growing out of purely rational considerations — are entirely wanting in the beginning; evidently, also, the motives which are alone possible in the beginning — those that in some form make an appeal to the

child's immediate interest — should be entirely in abeyance at the end. The college or university student should not do things merely because they may have an immediate interest for him. As the carpenter does not put a window here or a bracket there to suit his fancy, as he is governed in everything that he does by the plan of the house, so the advanced student, having formed an ideal of life, should do this or refrain from that, not because of its immediate interest, but because of its bearing on his life-plan.

The ideal education is that which, keeping this goal constantly in mind, demands of the child at every stage of his development those requirements that tend to lead most directly and certainly to it. Exactly what these requirements should be, educational science will never be able to say.

Children are not like geometrical figures. When you know the properties of one right-angled triangle you know the properties of all of them. But when you have found out how to treat one child of seven you do not know how to treat another of the same age, because the second may be unlike the first in very important particulars. All that educational science can do is to lay down certain general principles, leaving their application to the tact of the trained teacher, guided indeed by his knowledge of children in general.

The Child Guided by Interest.- One principle that should govern the mother in the treatment of her very young child is clear: she should expect nothing from his reason. So far as she aims to control his conduct she must make some sort of appeal to his immediate interests. Dr. Hinsdale said that only two things might be said with certainty of the young child : “He is sure to have many

interests in the course of the day, and none of them will continue long.") One thing more may be said of him : so far as he is left to himself he will do nothing except what interests him. But long before he is old enough to go to school he has learned that some of his interests ought not to have play. He likes to dabble in the water : he has learned that that may result in a spanking and a cold. He likes to shout and make a big noise: he has learned that his boisterousness must be held in check when his baby brother is asleep.

Habits of Rational Conduct. — The wise mother will not expect her child to do what is reasonable from a sense of duty. Her task is to see that it is done, and done, too, under the influence of the least degree of compulsion. Making her child acquainted so far as possible with the reason for her requirements, she nevertheless knows that other motives -- the desire to please her, fear of punishment, etc. - will for the most part control his conduct. She knows that the impulse to do what is seen to be reasonable is too feeble to direct his actions. But precisely because she realizes' the incomparable worth and significance of this motive, because she knows that everything depends on so nuturing it and strengthening it that it may grow and grow until it becomes the controlling force in the life of her child, she will develop in him habits of right conduct, and as far as possible make him see their reasonableness. The nearer the conduct of the child, for whatever reason, conforms to what the child sees to be reasonable, the more natural it is for him to dwell on the fact that he is acting rationally, and the more

1 Hinsdale's Art of Study, p. 141.

« AnteriorContinuar »