Imatges de pàgina
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ing life.

them. From their earliest days they have had a hard and harden

Their chances of comfort and respectability are few. What the nation desires is, that skillful and kindly teaching extend to them the chance which they should otherwise altogether miss. Mainly for the sake of these children has our national compulsory. system of education sprung into being.

REQUISITES FOR SUCCESS IN TEACHING.

Self-control is the first requisite for success in teaching. The work of governing even the youngest children requires government of one's self. A man must have his powers under command, if others are to have the full benefit of his guidance. This rule holds in all spheres. It is essential for a high standard of success in any profession. Only in this way can the physician give his patient the full benefit of his knowledge and skill. On tbis condition alone can a man sway an audience with any share of that

power

which belongs to the orator. On no other condition can a teacher in reality become master over his scholars. Self-command is essential even for teaching a single child, much more when a person must govern, in order to teach, large numbers of children.

Another phase of this rule is seen when things are looked at from the children's point of view. The youngest children are quick in observation. They readily discover what degree of control is maintained by those over them. Guided by their own observations, they quietly submit to be governed only in so far as they recognize the elements of governing power in their superiors. Fond of liberty, prone to catch at a passing opportuuity for diversion, children are quick in taking advantage of any deficiency in the power of command, any laxity in the exercise of control, or want of observation. These characteristics are so uniform that they can not be overlooked. He who would succeed as a teacher must recognize them,-must enjoy thcir comical side, and not merely be disturbed by the test to which they subject himself,—but must utilize them so as to make them contribute toward government. The restlessness of children is inevitable,—their fondness for fun is delightfully helpful in saving school work from prosaic monotony. In harmony with these admissions, they must be governed. He who would control them easily and wisely must keep himself in harmony with the children, which certainly implies that he keep himself in good humor, and shun irritation.

SCHOOL DISCIPLINE-BY EYE, VOICE, AND PUNISHMENT. The power of the Eye is the primary source of the teacher's influence. Only let the pupils feel that the eye of the teacher runs swifter to the mark than words fly to the ear, and his power will be felt. The conduct which is to be regulated must be observed. To the extent to which this is possible, every thing done in the school must be under the eye of the teacher. To forget this, or to become indifferent to the need for it, is a serious mistake. As a pre-requisite, it is of consequence to have the scholars so placed that observation is easy. Any arrangement of seats which makes it difficult, involves a willful surrender of a large part of a teacher's power,

and at the same time of the children's benefit. The eye is much more the expression of all that the teacher is than the best chosen words can be. The scholars can understand it more quickly than they can understand words, and there is nothing for which the eye is more available than the expression of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with what is seen. The eye is hardly misinterpreted by one who observes its play. In addition, it is the most quick and most silent of messengers. There is no quicker telegraph for the school-room, and it is practically free from risk of error in communication. Without the slightest interruption to school work, the eye conveys more encouragement, warning, and rebuke, than there could be time to utter. To leave all this uncommunicated would be an unspeakable loss of influence. Through the eye an unexpressed, but clearly recognized, understanding is gradually established between master and papil, which greatly aids school management. Connected with this form of control, there is all the advantage of comparative secrecy in the midst of public procedure. It serves all the ends of a cipher in telegraphic communication; and in school life, private influence upon a single mind is of vast consequence. The teacher is constantly occupied in public exercises, yet more than most men, he needs opportunity for communicating hints of purely personal application, which are best conveyed when they reach the person concerned without knowledge of those around. This holds specially of those timely warnings which are to check the beginning of wrongdoing. To utter every warning to a child in the hearing of all his companions would be to blunt the edge of the warning itself. many cases the calling of general attention to what is being done would throw the mind of the offender into an attitude of defense, altogether unfavorable. A warning conveyed by a look gives the pupil all the advantage of profiting by it without injury to selfrespect. Encouragement thus conveyed, gives a great additional impulse, carrying a consciousness of a certain advance in the good

opinion of the teacher, without the fact giving rise to príde, as it might otherwise do.

Next in order of influence is the teacher's Voice. For mere purpose of discipline it can not be so frequently in use as the eye. It must be more commonly appropriated to the work of general instruction. When used to promote discipline, the voice should convey the same lesson to all the scholars. In this way the teacher's voice should be a training power for the whole school. But words to be wisely used in this way must be sparingly used. There is not a greater mistake in this relation than to suppose that abundance of speaking is the measure of its power. Needless speaking is an offense against good government, as in the scholar it would be a breach of discipline. In every case it should be generally felt that there was real occasion for speaking. Besides, it must be remembered that even appropriate counsel may be overdone by frequency of repetition. Warnings lose their force if they ate incessantly reiterated, and this unfortunate result is more rapid if they are invariably shouted at the pitch of the voice. As has been well said, “Nothing more impairs authority than a too frequent or indiscreet use of it. If thunder itself were to be continual, it would excite no more terror than the noise of a mill.' Incessant fault-finding involves a rapid evaporation of moral influence.

Last in the order of consideration-last, and least to be resorted to in practice—is Punishment of offenses. I do not exclude panishment from consideration, nor do I see how it is to be excluded from practice while the teacher fulfills the functions of his office. All government must be supported by the sanction of punishment for willful violation of its authority. While, however, this is to be admitted, it is to be hoped that the schools of our country are for ever freed from the reproach of an irrational and cruel resort to corporal punishment for the most trivial offenses. I do not deny that the old régime could point in self-vindication to good results secured by its rough appliances. I do not deny that there are many -I myself among the number—who look back on the share of suffering experienced under well-directed use of the taws' with acknowledgment of its value. But the records which can be given of scholastic punishment in years not far past are undoubtedly any thing but honorable to our educational skill and study of human nature. When the instruments for chastising the scholars were in * constant use, their very commonness made them insufficient, and tempted the teacher to a baneful inventiveness of new and more humiliating forms of punishment. So it was that forms of punishment utterly disgraceful came to be resorted to. I can tell of a hapless boy who had the misfortune to be seized on the occasion of a general outbreak, who was ordered (on a summer day) to thrust his head up the chimney, and stand in the grate. To add to this ignominy, his companions, who had been participators in the offense, many of them ringleaders in it, were invited by the teacher to laugh at the victim stuck up'in durance vile,' and to meet with a derisive shout his reappearance among them with blackened face. One can not think of the infliction of such penalties, or of the moral consequences of their endurance, without a shudder.

However good the teaching was under the flogging régime, and every one who knows any thing of the history of our country knows it was careful and thorough, the infliction of punishment was often strangely separated from reflection and justice. Even though such cases as that described were only of occasional occurrence, it is beyond doubt that the continual resort to the the tawse' led many teachers to chastise their pupils more as the expression of their own irritation with the condition of things under their government than as a reasonable penalty for the offense of the sufferer.

There is a theory adverse to all corporal punishment, which is popular in our day, and advocated by those whose experience and judgment entitle their opinion to great weight. I must, however, confess myself unable to acquiesce in that theory. Its advocates have the advantage of decided support from the States in the American Union, which have reached the highest position in educational arrangements. Thus the Department of Public Instruction for the City of New York instructs its teachers that they should never resort to violent means, as pushing, pulling, or shaking the children, in order to obtain their attention. The reason given is this: All such practices constitute a kind of corporal punishment, and are not only wrong in themselves, but specially prohibited by the Board.' The Directory for the City of Baltimore, Maryland, is not so decidedly adverse to corporal punishment, though it indicates the same aversion to it which appears in the New York Manual. There is but one sentence under the head of Discipline, and it is this: "The schools shall be governed, as far as possible, without corporal punishment; and when such punishment shall be necessary, it sball in no case be inflicted by an Assistant, except when in charge of the school in the absence of the Principal.' Turning from America to Prussia, we find the same spirit pervading that part of German legislation bearing on this subject. In the General Law of 1819, on the organization of Public Instruction in Prussia, which was minutely analyzed by M. Victor Cousin in his Report to the French Government (1831) on the state of Public Instruction in Prussia, there is a distinct deliverance on punishments. It is in these words : No kind of punishment which has a tendency to weaken the sentiment of honor, shall, on any pretense, be inflicted: corporal punishments, in case they be necessary, sball be devoid of cruelty, and on no account injurious either to modesty or to health.'

INSTRUCTION. Whatever the age and attainment of the pupils under charge, the first requisite for communicating instruction is to gain and keep their attention. Teaching, to be successful, must therefore be adapted to win attention. At the earlier stages of school life this is the one pressing requirement. Somehow, attention must be made possible even to the most restless little ones, to wbom the first restraints of school life are irksome. Accustomed to have every new object attract their interest just as long as they recognized any thing attractive in it-permitted to change from one engagement to another as caprice dictated—they must be made familiar with restriction. They must begin to be regulated by the will of another. Taking this as self-evident, we are prone to say that they must do So, whether they will or not. This is one of our superficial current phrases which cover over many points needing careful consideration. Attention is not to be secured by mere exercise of authority. Authority has a great deal to do through the whole course of school life, but we can not command' attention, as we say, by merely demanding that it be given. A radical mistake is made if a teacher lean on bis authority in the school as the guarantee for attention by the scholars. He must consider the requirements of the undisciplined mind, and adapt himself to them. Children attend to what interests them. This must determine the kind of assistance to be given them in acquiring habits of attention. To help them in this is an obvious part of a teacher's work. It devolves upon him to pat his instructions in such a way as to awaken interest in the subject taught. This duty, indeed, falls on every one who attempts to instruct others. The literary man, the special pleader, the lecturer, the orator, must all of them bestow much thought on the laws which determine the mind's interest in any subject set before it. The master of a school in this respect shares a task which is common to all who essay to teach others. In this appears the true place and power of the profession. Still more important does the work of the schoolmaster appear when it is considered that he lays the foundation for all later and more advanced teaching. He initi

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