This page of the book is from "The New Student's Reference Work: Volume 3" by Chandler B. Beach, Frank Morton McMurry and others.
PEDAGOGICS 1438 PEDAGOGICS
finds great satisfaction in taking its ideals from the concrete examples about it, imitating them with great facility. Thus it learns to walk, to talk, to do a thousand things. The ideational impulses are also active and with the enlargement of its experience, under proper guidance, gradually displace the purely imitative impulses and enable the child to think and act more or less independently of the suggestions of his surroundings. Whereas his environments were molding him before, he now begins to mold his environments. This mutual reaction of the individual will and the community's will, resulting in the individual will becoming the dominating power, cancels the further need for assistance from the teacher and the school.
It is the function of the teacher to encourage in every possible way the imitative or realizing activities of the child, but it is even more important that he with great wisdom continually stimulate the exercise of the idealizing activities — perception, memory, imagination, judgment, thinking, reasoning. To this end a knowledge of the genesis, nature and laws of development of the intellectual activities of the child is essential as a basis for successful teaching. The intimate relationship between the mental and the bodily activities also requires a similar knowledge of physiology and hygiene. As the emotional and volitional life of the child gives vitality to both, the preparation of the teacher includes not only a comprehensive study of the child's physical and mental organism but of the, child in action as well; of the child at home, at his plays, at work, alone, with his fellows, in his moods, in his studies; of the normal and the abnormal child, of the child's motives, of the child in the different stages of his development and in the processes of transition from one stage to another.
With such an acquaintance with child-nature, the teacher is able to enter upon a study of the underlying principles of education and of the methods by which it is to be accomplished. The following-named elementary books will prove of great value in studying the genesis, nature, function and laws of the mental life of the child : The Study of the Child, Taylor; The Mental Development of the Child, Preyer; Psychology and Psychic Culture, Halleck; Inductive Psychology, Kirkpatrick; Primer of Psychology, Ladd; The Study of Children, Warner; Thinking, Feeling, Doing, Scripture; Psychology in the Schoohoom, Dexter and Garlic ; and The Story of a Child, Loti. See, also, The Psychologic Foundations of Education, Harris.
The nature of education appears only as one clearly understands the nature of the act of learning. The nature of the act of learning is apprehended only as one clearly sees the nature and function of the self-activity of the child. That self-activity,
generically speaking, is its will. It manifests itself in feelings, cognitions and external actions, embracing the whole range of the child's conscious life. It is incited to action by sense stimuli from within or from without the body and responds by making attempts to locate them in space and discover their characteristics and relations. This effort, if successful, is called the act of learning. By it the child simply relates a present sensation or experience to a past experience, that is, connects them in the mind by virtue of their common elements and puts the new experience where it belongs. This process of transforming the new and strange into the familiar by associating, comparing and identifying it with things already familiar, is the form which every act of learning takes and is called the apperceptive process. In this way we get the meaning of things. For an elaboration of the nature and function of the apperceptive process see Lange's Apperception, De Garmo; A Pot of Green Feathers, Rooner; The Study of the Child, Taylor; Herbartian Psychology Applied to Education, Adams; Talks to Teachers, James; Psychology, Dewey; and almost any late work on mental science. The act of learning in getting original knowledge may be accomplished (a) by the observation of things, particularly of things in action; (b) by experimentation; and (c) by means of the reasoning process. The first two may result in direct perception forming simple, or by apperception, complex mental pictures of objects. They also furnish the percepts, the images, the materials out of which the reasoning processes may elaborate general notions and principles (induction) or to which they may apply notions and principles already formed (deduction). Every notion is built up of elements derived through observation, experimentation and reasoning. Hence the importance of cultivating habits of accuracy and many-sidedness in sense-perception.
The reasoning process is the highest form of knowledge-getting, and, properly exercised, continually reacts upon the other two, increasing their range and power. As a result, the growing child, at each step in his progress, is able to interpret many new experiences immediately, by simple apperception, which in a previous stage would have required even laborious reasoning.
The preparation for teaching has made great progress when the prospective teacher fully understands the details of the processes involved in the act of learning, for teaching is simply the art of stimulating and guiding the self-activity of the child to economical and speedy accomplishment of that act. Here again appears the necessity for an intimate acquaintance with the nature and functions of the child's mental activities.
How may the teacher assist the child in the effort to learn?