Method of teaching the exercises.
There are, however, other fundamental principles which must be adhered to in arranging a series of models in such a way that the exercises involved shall follow each other in methodical order. The general nature of the models and the manner in which the exercises ought to be introduced in them must be considered. In choosing a series of models the best plan is undoubtedly to consider local conditions, and endeavour to make it exactly representative of articles which can be used in the homes of the pupils. By this means interest in the instruction given is better aroused and maintained, not only in the pupils, but - and this is quite as important - in the parents, and thus the bond between the school and the home is strengthened.* Opinion is now probably almost unanimous that all articles of luxury should be excluded. (Such articles, however, are by no means synonymous with articles intrinsically beautiful.) The interest of the pupils is also heightened if the first articles presented to them are no larger or more difficult than can be executed satisfactorily in a comparatively short time. The first models ought, on this account, to include few exercises; and it may be laid down as a general rule that, as far as possible, each successive model should include only one new exercise, or two at the most. In the arrangement of the series, attention must also be paid to alternation in the form of the models. The articles which are included in slojd-carpentry consist partly of "modelled" articles bounded by curved surfaces, and partly of rectangular articles bounded principally by plane surfaces. It is very important that any arrangement of models in a series should present good alternation between these two kinds, and, generally speaking, a modelled object should follow a rectangular object, and vice versa. As a result, each model acquires to some extent the charm of novelty, and this still further increases in the pupils that interest for their work which is of the very greatest importance as regards the educational benefits to be derived from slojd.
Arrangement of a series of models.
* As some confusion of ideas appears to prevail in England between the importance of the educational principles on which slojd is based, and the models in which these principles are exemplified, it seems desirable to draw the attention of readers to this passage. It indicates sufficiently clearly that, in whatever country Swedish slojd may be adopted, the more familiar and the more serviceable the articles made are to the inhabitants of that country, the more nearly will the method of teaching conform to one of the great principles of educational slojd, viz.: that the pupil's interest shall be excited and sustained by the making of articles which he himself or the other members of his family can use. Many of the models at Naas have, within the last year or two, been either modified or changed entirely in order to render them suitable for English students, and it is incumbent upon every slojd teacher to make his own series of models conform to the ideas and requirements of the people among whom he teaches, keeping in view the general principles of method which would apply to any series. - Trs.
The manner in which the details and finished appearance of the objects he is to execute are made clear to the pupil, must be included within the province of method. It is assumed that in this, as in all other instruction, it is of the highest importance that the teacher strives to make his teaching as intuitional as possible. To this end, in the elementary stages, the models should always be executed after drawings and models, and in the first instance invariably after models which are placed before the pupils for accurate imitation.
Intuitional, nature of the instruction.
As, however, it has been proved to be difficult, in many cases indeed almost impossible, to preserve even a well-executed wooden model in its original shape and size, and as, for other reasons, it is highly advantageous to connect instruction in slojd with instruction in drawing, the model should be copied to as great an extent as possible by the aid of geometrical constructions, sufficiently simple to require in the pupil only a slight acquaintance with geometrical drawing. In addition to this the most important measurements of the model's dimensions should be given, in order that the pupil may make use of his rule or metre-measure.* By degrees drawings in perspective and projections may be introduced as patterns together with the model; and finally, when the pupil has reached the highest stage, and has attained sufficient dexterity in slojd and in the interpretation of a drawing, the model may even be taken away, and the work executed after a drawing only. This may be regarded as the final aim in elementary instruction in slojd.
* As the metrical system of measurement admits of greater exactness than our English system, and as it seems desirable to accustom English children to its use, teachers of slojd are strongly advised to adopt it in connection with the dimensions of the models. No difficulty need be anticipated. It has been found that, in cases where children were permitted to use either their English foot-rule or the metre-measure, they invariably preferred the latter. - Trs.
It is an essential condition of any method of instruction in educational slojd, that the work of the pupils shall be independently and accurately executed, for only thus can habits of self-reliance, order, and accuracy, so important in the formation of character, be developed. In order that self-reliance may be developed, the teacher must guard himself against giving more help than is absolutely necessary, whether this help consists in explaining the best way of doing the work, or in doing the work instead of the pupil. As regards the latter, the teacher will do well to lay down, as a general rule, that he never should touch the pupil's work, for only by this means can he avoid the temptation, to which unfortunately many teachers have succumbed, to execute the most important parts of the work instead of the pupil. At the same time he must remember that it is also hurtful to the pupil, and that it deprives his instruction of considerable educational value, if by unnecessary explanations he hinders the pupil from using his own judgment to discover the right way. The teacher's art in educational slojd consists essentially in being as passive and unobtrusive as possible, while the pupil is actively exercising both head and hand. Only in this way can the feeling of self-reliance arise and gain strength. Let the teacher content himself with pointing out the way, and watching that the pupil walks in it. Let him as much as possible refrain from leading where this is unnecessary and, it may be, hurtful.