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THE ART OF

OF TEACHING

INTRODUCTION

Milton calls 'a complete and generous education that which fits a man to perform justly, skilfully, and magnanimously all A complete the offices, both private and public, of peace and

, and generous war.' Expanding this, we may say that a man education'

completely and generously educated has every muscle of his body well developed ; every sense trained to the rapid and full perception of physical facts ; a memory strong to retain, quick to reproduce, and stored with knowledge likely to facilitate the business and elevate the pleasures of life ; an imagination accustomed to create lively pictures of beauty and lofty ideals of conduct ; an intellect refined and powerful, sure in judging and logical in reasoning ; emotions moved to admiration by 'whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of; good report ;' a will which the storms of passion cannot shake, and which has so constantly decreed right action that wrong action has become difficult.

While the teacher should always have in view a noble conception of his functions, we must remember that 'a complete and generous education' is the resultant of many forces, most

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of which are altogether beyond his control. The health, strength, and symmetry of the body, for instance, depend The teacher

largely on inherited powers and tendencies, on is only one soil and climate, on food and clothing, and on the factor

home life. The teacher, by watchfulness over 1. In physical educa- the hygienic conditions of the school, by an tion

intelligent alternation of work and play, by drill and calisthenics, can co-operate with these influences when they are good, but his power of counteracting them when they are bad is limited.

Similarly, in the all-important matter of the formation of character, the teacher is only one of the factors. He ought, 2. In moral by setting an example of respect for self and education

respect for law, by fostering love of all that is great and good, and hatred of all that is base and mean, by insisting on prompt and encouraging cheerful obedience, by seeing that every obligation is performed punctually and diligently till punctuality and diligence become habits, and by direct lessons on life and conduct, to be able to train his pupils to the efficient and faithful discharge of every duty of the home, the business, and the State. But his influence may be weakened or destroyed by inborn predispositions, by impulses given before school life began, or by companions and surroundings without his cognisance and beyond his control.

Even in his own special domain, the cultivation of the intellect, the teacher is not absolute. He cannot make poor

soil rich'; he cannot (if he would) keep others tellectual from working in the same field ; and he caneducation

not (though he would) prevent the enemy from sowing tares.

Consideration of the fact that 'a complete and generous education’ is the resultant of many forces ought, on the one hand, to make people slow to blame the teacher for a failure, which, so far from causing, he alone may have prevented from being greater ; and vught, on the other hand, to induce him to

3. In in

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put forth redoubled efforts to overcome every resisting force, It ought also to convince him of the serious responsibility of Need of pro

his work, and the consequent need of his being fessional adequately prepared for it before undertaking it. training

He should have studied not only the subjects in which he has to give instruction, but also the beings whom he has to instruct and train, body and soul. To make sure that the school is carried on under healthy conditions, and that the drill and physical exercises are rightly directed, he ought to have a good practical knowledge of hygiene and physiology. To develop the minds and form the characters he ought to be able to apply the best rules of pedagogy, and to have a thorough acquaintance with the science underlying these rules, that is, with psychology. The human mind thinks, feels, and wills in accordance with certain laws, and if the teacher is ignorant of them, he may be unconsciously striving against them, and much of his labour may be vain.

SOME GENERAL PRINCIPLES

A GENERAL recognition of the fact that the teacher has to train body, intellect, and character is modern. By many of the The work of

masters of the past the body was totally ignored the teacher is (except when the birch was applied to it as a threefold

means of quickening the memory), and the character was also ignored. It is true that every game played had its effect upon the body, and every lesson learned (or left unlearned) had its effect upon the character ; but the duty of cultivating both mind and character by conscious efforts, conducted according to a well-reasoned plan, was little heeded. Even in these days the teacher is too often tempted to give most attention to the intellectual part of his work. It is the only part in which he is the chief factor ; it is the only part in which an examiner can, with any hope of accuracy, estimate his skill and success ; it is frequently the only part in which parents look for progress. But the

very

fact that circumstances conspire to make the teacher overlook some aspects of his work renders it all the more incumbent on him to keep them in view. The world wants vigorous minds, but it also wants vigorous bodies, and both would be curses instead of blessings—the greater the vigour the greater the curse-if not controlled by virtue, just as an engine that has an incapable driver will go to destruction all the sooner for its strength and steam.

Teachers who do not forget that their work means more than the cultivation of the mind, sometimes forget that the mind means more than the memory. They think that when a pupil knows the dimensions of a country, the names of all Mind means

its capes and bays, the heights of all its mounmore than

tains, the lengths of all its rivers, and the popumemory lation of all its towns, he knows the geography of the country. They do not try to make him see that there is a connection between the nature of the coast and the amount of maritime commerce ; that the soil and climate are affected by the height of the mountains ; that their position in relation to the coast determines the lengths of the rivers ; and that it was not a kind Providence which made great rivers run through great towns. So with all other subjects of instruction. These teachers, in their anxiety about the furniture of the Tabernacle, the dimensions of the Temple, the succession of the kings of Israel and Judah, the four lists of the disciples, and the order of the canonical books, ignore the priceless lessons of life and conduct to be learned from the Old and the New Testament. With them Grammar is only an endless series of classifications having no bearing on conversation or composition ; History consists of dates and genealogies ; and Science of technical terms that convey no meaning.

Though it is true that the memory ought not to be cultivated while the other powers of the mind are allowed to lie fallow, it Still the me

is equally true that the other powers of the mind mory must be ought not to be cultivated while the memory is cultivated

allowed to lie fallow. Next to the power of observation (sense-perception), the power of memory is the earliest to manifest itself in the child, and, if methods of teaching are to conform to natural laws, every power must be exercised as soon as it appears. Even in the Kindergarten and the infant school, therefore, the process of storing the memory with things worth remembering for their beauty or their utility should be begun. Arithmetic is slow, or impossible to one who is not familiar with tables ; History is vague and perplexing to one who is ignorant of datęs; and so with every other subject of

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