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notion of what might have been avoided for the betterment
its counterpart, or its analogy, or its contrast, in the of the people. This means that when one of these up
present, that gives it its chief educational value, but heavals is studied the rest should be made to yield their
that it meets the needs of present growth” in the particular points of contrast, to the end that the student may see the lessons they present.
pupil. We have learned to use hero stories and
pioneer stories from any epoch of history in certain Another contribution to the discussion is the fol elementary grades because there is something in chillowing, by Prof. Robinson. A portion of this is dren that makes them want such stories as food for italicized for future reference.
growth. One of our chief troubles in teaching history comes from Recent periods are doubtless richer in materials of the old idea that history is a record of past events; whereas present application than the more remote periods. our real purpose nowadays is to present past conditions, But children have very little chronological perspecexplain them so far as we can, and compare them with our tive. As one star seems as far away as another, alown....
though millions of miles may intervene between them, While events can be dealt with chronologically, condi
so American colonization may seem as remote to the tions have to be presented topically if they are to become clear. For example, we can select the salient events of the
child as the period of Athenian supremacy. The relaCrusades, and tell them in the form of a story; but the
tive educational value of the wars of 1775, 1812, and medieval church, castle, monastery, and farm have to be 1861 does not depend upon their remoteness described in typical forms, as they lasted several centuries. proximity. It does not necessarily follow from the The older textbooks told the events more or less dryly, gave fact that trusts are a live, present issue, and Negro the succession of kings, and the battles and treaties of their slavery came to an end 50 years ago, that the slavery respective reigns. It was not deemed necessary to describe
agitation preceding the Civil War is of less educaconditions and institutions with any care, and such terms
tional value than the agitation regarding the control as pope, king. bishop, church, baron, alchemy, astrology,
of trusts at the present time. witchcraft, were used as if every boy or girl of 14 knew exactly what they were.
Do not these considerations suggest a basis for a A still unsolved problem is to determine what conditions and
partial answer at least to Prof. Robinson's “ still uninstitutions shall be given the preference, considering the capa solved problem,” stated above, viz, “to determine city of the student on the one hand and the limitations of time on what conditions and institutions shall be given the other. The committee should not undertake to pronounce on
the preference," and to his question, "What is worth this matter, but should urge that teachers and textbook writers should be constantly asking themselves whether what they are
while?" The principle may be stated thus: The teaching seems to them worth while. ...
selection of a topic in history and the amount of atAll instruction is, so to speak, the function of three varia tention given to it should depend, not merely upon its bles—the pupils, the teacher, and the textbook. Every relative proximity in time, nor yet upon its relative teacher is aware that pupils differ a good deal according to present importance from the adult or from a sociolotheir environment, and, as we develop industrial and other
gical point of view, but also and chiefly upon the deforms of special education, it will be necessary to select our material to meet the special needs of the pupils. As for the
gree to which such topic can be related to the present teacher, no satisfactory results will be obtained until he
life interests of the pupil, or can be used by him in learns to outrun the textbook and becomes really familiar,
his present processes of growth. through judicious reading or university instruction, with The committee does not imagine, however, that by the institutions which he proposes to deal with. Teachers stating this principle it has solved the problem of the should learn to deal with their subject topically, and should
organization of the history course. It has only not be contented with reading historical manuals, which
recognized a new and most important factor in the are usually poor places to go for information in regard to
problem. By so doing, it has even made the problem conditions and institutions. They should turn to the articles in the Encyclopedia Britannica and other similar
more difficult, for there are now raised the new quesworks and to special treatments.
tions, What history does meet the needs of the child's
growth? And how may a given topic be related to the 5. Two questions at issue.—There is general agree child's interest? Acceptance of the principle throws ment that history, to be of value in the education of
the problem largely back upon the teacher, for the the boy or girl, must “ function in the present.” Dis
questions just stated are questions that she must anagreement arises over two questions: (1) What is
swer for her particular group of pupils, and can not be meant by “ functioning in the present?
disposed of once for all by a jury of historians or shall the material of history be organized to this end?
sociologists. The problem is only in part one of se(1) What is meant by functioning in the present? lection of topics; it is also one of method of approach. —There are two interpretations of this phrase: (a) A topic that may be infused with vitality by a proper The sociological interpretation, according to which it approach through the interests of the children may beis enough if history be made to explain present con come perfectly barren of results through lack of such ditions and institutions; (b) the pedagogical inter- approach. (See discussion of the question of "Appretation, according to which history, to be of value proach " in relation to the teaching of civics in this educationally, must be related to the present interests report.) of the pupil. Many present-day problems are as far Illustrations of the principle.-The following type removed from the interests and experience of youth lessons illustrate, more or less perfectly, the applicaas if they belonged to the most remote historical tion of this principle. The first is given by Miss spoch. It is not that a past event has its results, or Hannah M. Harris, of the State Normal School at
Hyannis, Mass., and illustrates both the selection of topic and the method of approach with reference to the pupils' immediate interest.
Ordinarily we have regarded the War of 1812 as not closely related to those interests (of the children) nor essential to the development of the central theme of the term, “ The building of the Nation; ” hence we have passed over the subject rather lightly, and have saved time for the more intensive study of the Revolution and the making of the Constitution, topics which are necessary to the central theme, and which can be made real to the children by means of their activities in a school club. This club makes and amends its own constitution, earns money, votes its expenditures; in short, manages its own affairs on democratic principles, and so brings home to its members the meaning of certain political terms and situations involved in these topics, such as taxation without representation, majority rule, compromises, etc.
In 1915, however, the subject of the War of 1812 appeared to us in a different light. The children were reading headlines in the newspapers in which the word “neutrality” had a conspicuous place. They heard the word repeated at home and on every street corner, and were beginning to use it themselves, though with but vague notions of its meaning. Consequently the preceding topic in the history course was less fully treated than in ordinary years, and time was appropriated for a study of the War of 1812.
The study was approached in the following way: What is meant by the expression “a neutral nation,” “ belligerent nation"? What nations are now belligerent? Which ones neutral? What are some of the ways in which the citizens of a neutral nation come into contact with the citizens or with the government of a belligerent nation ? (Some of the answers: “ Buy things of them ”; “sell them goods "; “ have our goods carried in their ships"; "travel in their countries.") So long as any nation remains neutral, what rights have its citizens in these matters and others? (So far answers all came from previous knowledge, casually acquired information.) Now, with some suggestions from the children and explanations from the teacher, the following outline was put upon the blackboard:
The main rights of neutrality:
1. To live peaceably at home; i. e., not to be forced to take sides in the war or to have life or property endangered by it.
2. To trade with any nation. Exceptions: Entrance to blockaded ports; dealing in contraband goods.
3. To travel peaceably on the high seas or anywhere permitted by existing treaties. Exceptions: Places in which belligerents are actually engaged in warfare.
The questioning was then resumed: Do neutral nations desire to keep up friendly relations with belligerents ? What mistake on the part of a neutral nation may interfere with these friendly relations? (Showing more favor to one belligerent than to another.) Why does President Wilson ask us to be neutral (impartial, calm) in our talk and actions toward citizens of belligerent nations ? What act on the part of a belligerent nation may interrupt these friendly relations ? (The violation of any one of the rights of neutrality.)
The members of the class were referred to the textbook to find out how the United States tried in 1812 to maintain its neutrality and how it failed. The account in the textbook was found all too brief to satisfy the pupils' inquiries, and the study of the war was neither dry nor out of touch with reality.
Miss Clara G. Dilks, of Philadelphia, furnishes the following plan for a series of lessons on “ Athensthe City Beautiful.” Whatever we may eliminate from Greek history, it should not be Greek art, which has so profoundly influenced the world. But it is not merely that the influence of Greek art survives in modern architecture that gives this phase of Greek history its value; it is the additional fact that the æsthetic interest of children is strong and needs cultivation. We may assume that the following lessons had for a point of departure live interest on the part of the pupils in the beauty of their surroundings, perhaps specifically in a proposed city-planning movement or the erection of a new public building or, on the other hand, in the prevalence in the community of unsightly architecture. Object of lesson:
1. To visualize Athens.
roundings in comparison.
beauty and utility in building. Method of assignment: 1. Give an outline that will fit the books available and
the time of the pupils : (a) Topography of the Acropolis. Caution: Avoid
affording pupils opportunity of making a mere
selves visitors to the city.
(c) Chief buildings-plan, material, decorations.
own community for-
(3) Attempts to combine beauty with utility.
(1) Grouping or isolation.
dence sections. Plan for teaching: 1. Question class as to characteristics of the Greeks
that would influence their art. Compare characteristics of Americans and Greeks and draw con
clusions, 2. Discuss orders of Greek architecture, compare them,
and cite famous examples. Make use of pictures.
Note relative locations.
with the characteristics of the Greeks as noted. 5. Have pupils discover qualities in Greek architecture
adaptable to all ages and countries. 6. Experience meeting regarding results of investiga
tions by pupils in their own community and con
clusions as to (a) Presence of Greek influence. (6) Evidence of definite policy for beautifying pupils'
own city. Compare with other American cities and European cities.
7. Conclusion of lesson:
it lends itself to accurate chronological arrangement just Is it possible to adapt the idealistic Greek art to a because it deals mainly with events rather than with con:
modern commercial city ? Consider modern bridges, ditions. (Prof. Robinson, in The New History, chapter on street lamps, public buildings.
“ History for the Common Man," p. 136.) What is the best means of attaining this end ?
The substitution of a sociological point of view for Development of general knowledge of good models and an artistic sense.
that of the mere analyst has led to the introduction Use of trained “city planners,” art juries, etc.
of new threads of human progress and the subordinaMiss Blanche E. Hazard, of the department of
tion of wars and political policies. It has also led to a home economics in the New York State Agricultural partial, but only partial, breaking down of the purely
chronological basis of organization. But no substitute College, describes some work done by her when in
for the chronological organization of history has been the High School of Practical Arts, Boston. Her pupils were girls chiefly representing the working of secondary education.
found that adequately meets the conditions and needs classes.” Neither they nor their parents looked with much favor upon an education that was not intensely disregarded. The gradual and orderly evolution, step
It is not meant to suggest that chronology can be “ practical ” from their point of view. Ancient and
by step, of institutions and conditions is of the very mediæval history made little appeal to them until--
essence of history. It would be impossible, were it The study of the medieval craft guilds and of the de
thought desirable, to eliminate this element from hisvelopment of crafts and commerce was taken up in connection with a close-at-hand examination of the present in
torical study. But the principle of organization is dustries or occupations of their parents or other members
antiquated which results in what some one has called of their families. Each father initiated his own daughter
the what-came-next” plan of treatment, a mere sucinto the special mysteries of his craft; if a hod carrier, he cession of events; in the building of United States sometimes had her await his freedom on Sunday, and then history on the framework of administrations,” and took her over the building where he was at work. The of English or Roman history on that of "reigns;" history of the craft, its problems, advantages and disadvan
and in the organization of the entire history course tages, technique and conditions, in early times and in the
in such a way that the pupil studies ancient” hisnineteenth and twentieth centuries, were studied. Not only did the girls take the keenest interest in this
tory this year, “medieval” history next year, and work, but their fathers also became so interested to know
modern” history the year following-provided, inthat Greeks and Romans, Germans in the thirteenth cen
deed, that he happens to begin his history this year tury, and Englishmen for the past ten centuries had been and continue it consecutively next year and the year tailors, shoemakers, masons, or greengrocers, and to learn following, which is by no means invariably true. of their wares, tools, and methods, that there was a happy If, now, we accept the "pedagogical” interpretainterchange of facts of past and present between father
tion of the principle that history must function in the and daughter.
present, namely, that history to be of educational Six weeks were allowed for the work in this special in
value must relate to the present interests of the pupil, dustry and an oral report was made to the class. In some
or meet the needs of present growth, in addition to years, from 200 girls there would come reports on 75 different industries and occupations. Meanwhile instruction was
explaining present-day conditions and institutions acgiven regarding general typical industries, such as weaving, cording to the sociological interpretation, what effect printing, lumbering, etc.
may this have upon the organization of the history The students became keen observers and asked foremen
course? and guides intelligent questions. They came to have de A statement by Miss Hannah M. Harris, of the cided ideas as to monotonous work and dangerous occupa State Normal School, at Hyannis, Mass., bears ditions. They had in hand the history of the industries be rectly upon this question: fore and after the introduction of machinery; with and
The moment we cut loose from the old method of trying without the protection of legislation. From the medieval
to teach all the historical facts which may happen to be craft guild to the present trade union faith and tenets, be
found between the covers of the textbook, the question of came an interesting mental road of travel for them, and
how to organize the material of history becomes an urgent linked their far-off history work in their vocational school
one. The student of sociology desires to organize the subwith their fathers' daily life and interests.
ject matter primarily to exhibit some important phase or These three-type lessons illustrate the application phases of the social evolution of the race or nation or of to particular cases of the principle that history to some smaller group. The student of children and their
needs desires to start with their present interests and to function properly in the present must meet the needs
select from the story of the past only such fragments as of present growth in the pupils.
bear so close a relation to these interests that they are (2) How shall the course in history be organized capable of being in some real sense understood by the chilfor the purposes of secondary education?
dren, and of proving incentives to further profitable interEach new writer of a textbook is guided, consciously or ests and activities on their part. This second plan, if unconsciously, in his choice of topics by earlier manuals logically carried out, would leave the entire record of the which have established what teachers and the public at past open as a field for selection at any stage of the child's large are wont to expect under the caption “history.” education, and would thus impose upon the teacher a task
Until recently the main thread selected was political. immensely difficult if not impossible. Almost everything was classified under kings' reigns, and These two plans have a common purpose to make the the policy of their government, and the wars in which they study of history vield the help it should give in the social became involved were the favorite subjects of discussion. education of children and young people. Is it not possible
Political history is the easiest kind of history to write; to combine successfully certain features of both prop
Can we not heed the suggestions of modern pedagogy by One special illustration may be sufficient. In our sixth starting with those contemporaneous matters in which the grade the subject of transportation is considered in so far children have already some interest, and from this study as it is a present-day problem. Some eight weeks are of present-day community affairs be led naturally back into spent on such topics as railways, steamship lines, public the past to find related material which is significant to the highways and animal power, use of electricity in travel, the children because of this relationship, and valuable to them automobile, the aeroplane. In the seventh or eighth grade because it serves to make clearer or more interesting the the same topic is considered, but in certain historical aspresent situation ?
pects. For example, the growth of railways in the United At the same time, can we not limit the field of history States and elsewhere. Here would be considered change in from which selection of material is to be made for any one the extent of mileage, change in location of roads as year of school work to some one historical epoch, permit. affected by needs in various parts of the country, change in ting the teacher free choice within these limits, the choice the character of engines and cars as influenced by invento be guided both by the present interests of the children tions, improvement made in roads, bridges, railway stations, and by the general rule that any historical facts consid and the like. ered must have some bearing upon the main lines of growth Such study calls for: (1) much reading; (2) geographical which are characteristic of the period being studied ? study concerning the trunk lines and lines of travel; (3) Plan of the University of Missouri elementary
arithmetical calculations, especially in the change of mileschool.—One of the most radical experiments in the
age and the cost of construction of roads and trains; (4) reorganization of history instruction to “meet the
some very elementary physics in the study of the steam
engine, air brakes, and the like; (5) drawing as a means needs of present growth” is that of Prof. J. L.
of illustration; (6) composition, spelling, and writing as a Meriam in the university elementary school of the
means of expression; (7) “history for the common boy University of Missouri. So far this experiment has and girl.” (See Robinson's “ The New History," chapter been limited to the elementary school, but Dr. Meriam History for the Common Man.") considers it a sufficient success to warrant its adaptation to the secondary school. He believes that “ the
“ History for the common man.”—The chapter in
Prof. Robinson's book to which Dr. Meriam alludes present four units of history " in the secondary school
in the last clause constituted an address before a meetquite out of date.”
ing of school superintendents at which the subject of To quote from Dr. Meriam:
discussion was industrial education. Prof. Robinson The university elementary school gives no instruction in
introduced his address as follows: history as such, although a great deal of historical material is very carefully studied. This policy is in accord with our Should the student of the past be asked what he repolicy in other subjects. We teach no arithmetic as such,
garded as the most original and far-reaching discovery of but we do a great deal of arithmetical calculation in con modern times he might reply with some assurance that it nection with special topics. We teach no geography as
is our growing realization of the fundamental importance, such, but we become acquainted with a great deal of
and absorbing interest of common men and common things. geographical material in our study of various industrial and Our democracy, with all its hopes and aspirations, is based social activities. We teach no language as such, but lan on an appreciation of common men; our science, with all its guage is in constant use in our efforts to express to the best achievements and prospects, is based on the appreciation of of our ability the ideas we have in various other subjects.
common things. . . . We have come together with a view History as usually taught is looked upon as a method of of adjusting our education to this great discovery. approach to the study of present-day problems. It is also It is our present business to see what can be done for used as means of interpreting present-day problems. that very large class of boys and girls who must take up Thus history is usually studied before present-day prob the burden of life prematurely and who must look forward lems. Further, history is usually studied by showing to earning their livelihood by the work of their hands. But events in their chronological order. In the university ele education has not been wont, until recently, to reckon serimentary school no such purpose is present.
ously with the common man, who must do common things. For us historical material is studied merely to satisfy It has presupposed leisure and freedom from the pressing interests and to further interests in present-day problems. cares of life. Such study also provides at times inspiration and sugges It is high time that we set to work boldly and without tion for the further study of problems that are of imme any timid reservation to bring our education into the diate interest. Such historical material frequently excites closest possible relation with the actual life and future du. interest in reading and thus incidentally furnishes the pupil ties of the great majority of those who fill our public with certain information that may be of value later. This, schools. however, must be looked upon a mere by-product.
History is what we know of the past. We may question Thus, with us the study of historical material follows, it as we question our memory of our own personal acts and rather than precedes, the study of similar events in the experiences. But those things that we recall in our own present, and there is no occasion for taking up these events past vary continually with our moods and preoccupations. in chronological order. The immature pupil is not yet pre We adjust our recollection to our needs and aspirations, and pared to understand and appreciate development of insti. ask from it light on the particular problems that face us. tutions merly because he has not yet had sufficient experi History, too, is not fixed and immutable, but ever changence with details. He is, however, interested in isolated ing. Each age has a perfect right to select from the annals events, here and there, especially those which are similar in of mankind those facts that seem to have a particular bearcharacter to events taking place in the present time that ing on the matters it has at heart. are of interest to him. Thus we need no textbook as a So, in considering the place to be assigned to history in guide, but we use many textbooks as mere reference books. industrial education, I have no intention ... of advocating Thus we have no course in history to follow and no given what has hitherto commonly passed for an outline of hisamount of historical study to complete. Within the ele tory. On the contrary, I suggest that we take up the mentary school field the pupil is not ready to summarize whole problem afresh, freed for the moment from our im. and organize this historical study.
pressions of “history,” vulgarly so called.
What Prof. Robinson suggests is that, given a will gain favor and open the way for further improvegroup of boys and girls whose economic and social ment. The committee has taken account of this fact position is preordained to the ranks of the great ma in arriving at its conclusions, and has made its recomjority of men and women who do common things," mendations (pp. 15-17) in the hope that they will the history instruction should be organized, not on the stimulate initiative and experiment rather than distraditional basis of chronology and politics, but on courage effort at immediate improvement. that of their own immediate interests. This is what Miss Hazard did in the case cited
(C) PROBLEMS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY-ECOabove (see p. 21). This is also what Dr. Meriam
NOMIC, SOCIAL, POLITICAL. is doing-only he goes further. He maintains that, It is generally agreed that there should be a culwhether or not we know in advance that the pupils minating course of social study in the last year of the are to be
common men and women,” they are at high school, with the purpose of giving a more least common boys and girls” with interests in the definite, comprehensive, and deeper knowledge of present. He would therefore organize all history in some of the vital problems of social life, and thus struction on the basis of these interests, selecting from of securing a more intelligent and active citizenship. any part of the past those facts that “meet the needs Like preceding courses, it should provide for the of present growth;” and he would utilize these facts pupils' “needs of present growth,” and should be at the time when the pupil has need for them in con founded upon what has preceded in the pupils' edunection with any subject under discussion or any ac cation, especially through the subjects of civics and tivity in progress.
history. Practical difficulties of radical reorganization.-It
1. Conflicting claims for the twelfth year.-One may be plausibly objected that, while such radical
fact stands out clearly in the present status of the reorganization as that suggested by Dr. Meriam may twelfth-year problem, namely, the variety of opinion
as to the nature of the work that should be offered in succeed in a special experimental school under the direction of a Dr. Meriam and a well-trained, sym this year. Not to mention the claims of history, the pathetic staff, it could not succeed at present under principal claimants for position are political science the conditions of the ordinary school. Miss Harris (government, "advanced civics "), economics, and refers to the difficulty (see p. 21, above) and pro- sociology in some more or less practical form. poses to meet it by a compromise between the A profitable course could be given in any one of chronological ” and “pedagogical ” methods, re
these fields, provided only it be adapted to secondarystricting the field from which the teacher shall draw school purposes. Three alternatives seem to present her materials in any given year to a particular his
themselves : torical epoch.
1. To agree upon some one of the three fields. The limitation of the ground to be covered makes it prac
2. To suggest a type course in each of the three fields, ticable for the average grammar-school teacher, who, of leaving the choice optional with the local school. course, is not a specialist in history, to become very famil 3. To recommend a new course involving the principles iar with the possibilities of the history of the period in and materials of all three fields, but adapted directly to the question, as a mine of valuable material. And it is only immediate needs of secondary education. this familiarity on the teachers' part that will make this sort of teaching a success.
The traditional courses in civil government are al
most as inadequate for the last as for the first year of The difficulty to which Miss Harris here refers the high school. Efforts to improve them have usually unpreparedness in history on the part of the teacher
consisted of only slight modifications of the traditional -is perhaps not so much of a factor in the secondary course or of an attempted simplification of political school, especially in cities, as in the elementary science. The results have not met the needs of highschool. Unpreparedness of the high-school teacher is school pupils nor satisfied the demands of economists likely to be of another kind, namely, unpreparedness and sociologists. in the art of teaching. The college-trained high
A justifiable opinion prevails that the principles of school teacher may be a specialist in his subject, but economics are of such fundamental importance that have no training whatever as a teacher.
they should find a more definite place in high-school This unpreparedness of teachers, the lack of suit instruction than is customary. Courses in economics able textbooks, natural conservatism, and the opposi are accordingly appearing in high-school curriculums tion of those whose chief apparent interest is to main with increasing frequency. To a somewhat less detain the supremacy of a subject,” or who see in the gree, and with even less unanimity as to nature of traditional methods of history instruction a content, the claims of sociology are being pressed. A of “culture” that the schools can not dispense practical difficulty is presented by the resulting comwith, cause school authorities and teachers to hesitate plexity of the course of study. The advocates of none
to work boldly and without timid reservation," or of the social sciences are willing to yield wholly to to “take up the whole matter afresh, freed the others, nor is it justifiable from the standpoint from the impression of history' . . so called," and of the pupil's social education to limit his instruction to seek rather to modify the existing course of study, to one field of social science to the exclusion of others. incorporating in it as much as possible of the new The most serious difficulty, however, is that none of ideas in the hope that as they prove their worth they the social sciences, as developed and organized by the