페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

through the eye, or by means of grimace, gesture, “deaf-and-dumb language", or bodily contortion. One may see school-rooms in which certain pupils are communicating constantly, though they may not speak a word to one another. The only way to control such pupils is to get hold of them in some way on the side of their interests; or if this is impossible, to eliminate them from the school-room. Sometimes one finds pupils who can not be made to appreciate the work of the school, and who have a hostile attitude toward it. Such pupils tend to ridicule the school and its work. They may strive to annoy the teacher, and to distract others from their duties. In short, they may try in every way they can to upset the order of the school. They ought to be removed, and put together in a school where their special needs can be properly looked after.

The evil of communication in any school-room could be greatly lessened if frequent intervals could be arranged for, during which there could be complete freedom for pupils to visit with one another. Suppose that with young children there should be three minutes of visiting after twenty-minute periods of study or recitation. This would serve to release the tension which is developed when pupils can not communicate. During the three-minute intermissions, pupils could gratify the passion to express themselves spontaneously, and they would then come back to the regular work in a different attitude from that which they will have if kept at their tasks without a break. It could be made to seem reasonable to pupils that if any particular individual could not restrain himself during the period of work, he should forfeit the period of relaxation. If the pupils as a whole will not preserve silence during the working period, then the relaxation period will have to be withdrawn. It is in accordance with human nature that one should deny himself pleasure for the moment in order that he may secure it in more abundant measure later on, and it is proper that the teacher should utilize this in the discipline of her school

It should be appreciated that harmful communication in the school-room is dependent in large measure on the personality of the teacher. A “weak” personality can not control the spontaneous impulses of the young. It is a simple psychological situation. Pupils come into school bringing with them interests which have engaged their attention outside. If the life of the school-room is not stronger than that without, then they are going to keep on with this extra-school life, even in the class-room. That is to say, they will communicate about it, and will make fun of the situations in the school. We all tend to follow in the lead of a strong personality, while we always try to dominate those weaker than ourselves, or at least we refuse to be led by them. So in the school-room, one must be a leader in a large sense in order to cause pupils to give attention to the legitimate work. One who by nature is lacking in the quality of leadership, which will command the attention and obeisance of pupils, ought to abandon the teaching profession, for otherwise his days will be full of misery. He might succeed admirably in a situation in which the quality of leadership was not essential; but it is the chief requisite in the successful control of the school-room.

CHAPTER IV

TEACHING PUPILS TO THINK

The writer has been examining a large number of programs of teachers' associations, with a view to noting what topics are most frequently discussed in our times.

In many of them appears the subject, “Teaching Children to Think”. Looking up the proceedings of some of the associations for the last few years, and reading what has been said on this topic, it seems that a majority of those who have discussed it maintain that there is some definite formula for thinking which can be taught the young. Various rules are given for developing thought in children; but it will not be worth while to reproduce them here. The present writer believes that practically all of these rules are mainly verbal and formal, and prove useless when applied in the schoolroom. It is hardly in accord with present-day psychology to speak of teaching the power of thinking, as though it were an art dissociated from the actual processes of thought. When an individual interprets any immediate experience in the light of past experiences, so that he can adjust himself aright to the new thing, he is thinking in a vital way. Whenever he reacts upon the phenomena occurring about him so that he can trace the causal relations between them, he is thinking. The only function of thought is to organize experience and use it to help one adjust oneself to new situations.

Is it impossible, then, to develop in a novice the ability to think, as the phrase is popularly used ? Necessity the If we can, from the beginning, put a spur to clear pupil in situations where he must disthinking

cover the vital connections between objects and phenomena in order to adapt himself to them, we can give him a set in the direction of trying always to find true relations. The race has developed the power of thought through endeavoring to secure more complete control over the environment. No one would ever acquire thinking ability unless he were in need of it to gratify his curiosity, or to minister to his wants of one kind or another. Necessity is the mother of intellectual acumen. If one should put pupils in a seat and ask them to memorize the words of a text-book; and if he should then test their success in learning by requiring them to reproduce the words verbatim, he could not arouse genuine thinking activity in these pupils, no matter what formulæ he might employ. The human mind is not

[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »