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possible. Of course, the class may realize that discipline is being administered, but it is accomplished so inconspicuously that it is rather impressive than irritating. Quietness and privacy are the predominant characteristics of this method. Now, quietude in the leader of a group always suggests quietude to those who are being led. And the opposite of this is equally true. Much of the discipline of this room occurs when most of the pupils are not present at all. During the day the teacher jots down the names of those who need to be restrained in respect to some tendency, and she invites them to remain with her after school. She then has a conference with each one privately, so that the full force of what she says may be spent on him alone. In nine cases out of ten probably—though not in every instance—this will have a much better effect than to try to discipline an individual when there are fifty onlookers, who usually sympathize with the victim. In the latter case, the force of criticism or exhortation is apt to be nullified; though if the group be in thorough sympathy with the teacher's program, and reinforce her commands, the result will be more beneficial than it could be under a different method. But the constant public presentation of criticism will fail in the end to secure the right sort of response from the school as a whole. Occasionally it should be used
in serious cases of discipline, and then it may be a valuable aid to the teacher.
As a general proposition, it can be stated unqualifiedly that he is the best disciplinarian who deals most directly with individual offenders, and he is the least successful who makes all his discipline so conspicuous that every one is affected by it, thus creating an atmosphere of unrest and disorder. The chief aim of the teacher should be to make the legitimate work of the school most prominent. His voice should be heard in praise and instruction far more frequently and predominantly than in faultfinding and correction. Often teachers get into the habit of complaining about restlessness and noise in a room, charging the entire group with misconduct, when only certain individuals are at fault. This is wrong; it tends to spread disorder in the room, and to impress it upon the minds of pupils as the really vital thing in a school. Ask a pupil in such a school what has happened during any day, and he will be likely to speak of cases of discipline, and of the angry expressions of the teacher. It is human nature perhaps to follow the plan of criticizing and complaining publicly when matters are not going right in a school-room; but one must fight against the tendency, and deliberately cultivate a different mode
a of procedure in this important phase of teaching.
Before leaving the subject of fair play in the school-room, something should be said regarding the The problem of
chief source of conflict between communication in the majority of teachers and the school-room
their pupils, though it has been referred to in the preceding chapter. In all times teachers have been troubled with the problem of communication. Young teachers especially are generally much perplexed over the apparently uncontrollable impulse of children to "whisper” in the school-room. It does not take long for a novice even to realize that if the work of the school is to be accomplished, pupils must concentrate their attention upon the tasks in hand; which is not likely to be the case if they commune with one another whenever they “feel like it”. The chances are that in such communication they will discuss topics foreign to their studies. In the consideration of this subject at a recent teachers' convention, all those who spoke upon it maintained that when communication is permitted during school hours, the attention of the children is usually distracted, because they do not talk about their work. The interests they wish to visit about lie outside of the school, and concern the incidental happenings in the school-room. Often they will communicate regarding some peculiarity of the teacher in manner or dress, or some trait of a classmate which tends to excite hostility or ridicule. Probably most teachers will agree that the legitimate work of the school does not stimulate children to communicate with one another as do most extra-school activities. Herein lies the chief difficulty in respect to communication in the schoolroom.
We ought at the outset to appreciate that the impulse to communicate is one of the deepest and most The impulse to urgent tendencies in child life. Evicommunicate dently nature says to a human being: "Share your experiences with your fellows. Tell them all that happens to you, and try to get them to tell you their experiences. Talk over the traits of other people with your friends and associates. Keep nothing to yourself, and do not let other people conceal their experiences from you. By making everything public in this way, you will give others the benefits of your experience, and you will at the same time profit by their experiences, so that whenever anything valuable has been discovered all may profit by it. Also, if you express yourself freely regarding the traits of those around you, you will as a rule help to conserve what is best and to eliminate what is objectionable in the conduct of people. If every one will talk about these matters freely, a sort of public opinion will be established, and this will effectually control the behavior of most persons to whom it relates. If you do not communicate with others respecting their experiences and your own, and if you do not present your point of view regarding other people and get their opinions regarding you, then every one will be likely to go on in his own way, and it will be impossible to determine what really is permissible in people's actions, and in what respects they ought to restrain themselves."
Any teacher who will observe a child from two years on, can not fail to note that his most absorbing ambition is to have people react upon what he does. If he builds a toy house in his nursery, he teases every one in his home to come and examine it. What he wants is their approval; but if they should condemn it, or be indifferent regarding it, it would be a sign to him that he ought to abandon that sort of activity. To give a better example: suppose he catches a bird, and begins to pull off its wings, and he calls to every one around to observe him. Suppose people react in a hostile way to his performance. Let them show in their faces, in their bodily attitudes, and in what they say that they disapprove of this conduct. The chances are that the child will not try it again; in many cases one experience will be sufficient. But suppose that instead