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 1439 PEDAGOGICS
As a prerequisite, it is necessary for the teacher to discover the degree of the child's familiarity with the elements of the subject under consideration. If he has little or no acquaintance with it, the object should be presented, and a variety of methods used to encourage him in the formation of a picture of it and of its relations to other objects, its uses etc. If an object is not available, the next means in order of desirability would be a model, a colored picture, a photograph, a drawing and, lastly, a verbal description. Even though the object be at hand, the others will be found valuable, in the order given, to lead the child gradually away from the necessity of the object itself, to be able to produce a mental picture of it from its merest outline in chalk or pencil or from a verbal description only. By means of the multitude of objects round about him the teacher may stimulate the child's powers of observation to an almost unlimited degree.
If the child already has some acquaintance with the subject under consideration or with its types, the teacher may help him to recognize that fact by assisting him to identify the common elements, thus enabling him the more easily and quickly to understand the new elements and form a familiar mental picture of the whole.
Should the child be familiar with some of the elements under consideration and have sufficient ability to follow reasoning processes, the teacher may aid him by leading him carefully from one point to another until he gets its full meaning. In this way he may be taught how to trace the relations of part to the whole, of cause to effect, of identity and difference.
These three attitudes or stages in which the child's mind may be with reference to any subject are called sense-perception, imagination and the logical or thinking stage. As sense-perception is predominant in the early years of the child's life, that term is then applied in a general way to his method of getting knowledge, though the other two methods are rapidly coming into prominence. From six to 12 his picture-forming activities — conception, memory and imagination—make a large part of his mental life. At about 12 the power to reason abstractly is usually recognized as a. strong factor in knowledge-getting, particularly if the child has been properly educated. The interdependence and interaction of these lower and higher activities in the act of learning demand quick discernment and wise adjustment on the part of the teacher to the pupil's needs. It is a great mistake to encourage the child to depend upon his lower activities in an act of learning, when he might be using the higher ones.
While it is important that the child be trained to observe, investigate and form his own ideas about the objects with which
he comes in contact every day, his ability is greatly increased as he learns how to use books as aids in his efforts at knowledge-getting. It is important that books be introduced in such a way that the pupil will be constantly multiplying and enlarging his capacity to interpret his increasing range of experiences and the problems which they involve. The act of learning as such, however important, should always be regarded by the teacher as but the process by which the self-activity of the child is developing. Each act in perception, in forming ideals or in realizing them reacts upon the self-activity, increasing its power and range proportionately at every step. The law of the reaction is this:
However objectively engaged the mind may be, the reaction upon the self-activity in exercise is the same as if it were acting directly upon itself, if that were possible.
These reactions in the act of learning, whether in forming or realizing ideals, result in habits which always are the test of mental capacity and executive skill. It is through the formation of them that all growth is attained, that power to solve the higher and the more complex problems of life is developed.
The importance of right methods of study and of right methods of instruction becomes more and more evident as this reactive effect of every act of the child is understood. For the purpose of educating the teacher properly for the responsible work of teaching four general lines of procedure have been recognized. These consist of the philosophy of education; methodology; school organization and management; and the history of education.
The Philosophy of Education. This includes an inquiry into the fundamental principles underlying the process of knowledge-getting, the development of the self-activities and the methods by which the teacher may co-operate with the child. The terms theory of education, principles of éducation, psychology applied to education, institutes of education, psychologic foundations of education etc. designate similar inquiries. They all strive to discover the philosophic basis of method in education, and in a general way cover the nature, limits, processes, means, special elements, phases, physical culture, intellectual culture, will-culture, ethical culture, æsthetic culture and a variety of kindred problems. The following treatises are among the most useful now published on general theoretical pedagogy: The Philosophy of Education, Rosenkranz; A Manual of Pedagogics, Putnam; Lectures on Teaching, Compayré; The Philosophy of Teaching, Tompkins; Outlines of Pedagogics, Rein; Pedagogics of the Kindergarten, Froebel; The Method of Recitation, McMurry; Theory and Practice of Teaching, Page; Education of the Central