Imagens da página

child in the average school has very small opportunity to express his ideas and develop proper habits of speech during the early years. The presence of grammar in the upper grades is unable to atone for the absence of story-telling and other forms of oral language practise in the lower grades. The story furnishes an interesting approach to many studies, especially when the child comes to the age where he demands that he be told a true story. Music, especially arranged for the voice of the child, and taught by ear, is capable of a broader and better usage than it is usually accorded. Musical appreciation should be begun even in the earliest years, and this is now possible thru the perfection of the phonograph. The value of music in education has been emphasized by educators from the time of Plato on down to the present day, and yet in our schools we have not realized its proper function in the purification of the soul, the harmonization of life.

Painting should be used in place of writing and drawing. The child is interested in colors before he is interested in lines, and picture-writing preceded letter-writing in the history of the race. Pictures made by the child himself, expressing his own experiences, are, perhaps, the best and to be preferred to the making of copies. The study of other pictures in connection with a large variety of subjects is excellent. Here it is that a limited usage of the motionpicture is desirable; of course, care should be taken not to tax the eyes of the child if motion pictures are used. The amount of interesting material made available for educational purposes thru the motion-pictures is immense. Constructive work with various materials is important, as the child learns much by making things. Cardboard, paper, clay, wood, cloth, and metals, are but a few of the materials that can be used. There is a real reason why the desks in many schools have been carved by the knives of the children. It is hard, indeed, to educate in opposi

, tion to natural instincts, but education becomes much more easy and beautiful when it centers about these very same instinctive cravings. Object lessons should be connected with the collective instinct. Let the children decide what objects are to be the basis of their study and conversation. The pocket of any normal boy will furnish good material for an object lesson. The children should be encouraged to bring to the school the things they wish to study; every schoolroom ought to contain some place where such objects of interest could be kept, a miniature museum the materials of which have been gathered by the children themselves. Play, both supervised and free, should be better cultivated. Education thru play is of great value, and it is doubtful indeed if there be any substitute. The limited number of games known to the average small child is a judgment upon our pedagogy of play in the school. There is much "economy of time in education” thru play, for it includes a simultaneous development of the intellectual, emotional, and moral phases of the child's spirit. Rhythm should be emphasized in the dance and the march, both of which are extremely fascinating to the young child. One of the most fundamental elements of all that is instinctive, rhythm has been sadly neglected in the school. The folk-dance is especially liked by children, and its educational values are weighty; esthetic dancing and marching likewise appeal to the child. The development of grace of body must be begun early, and the pedagogy of rhythm has physiological as well as psychological values.

Such are some of the educational materials which should enter into the reorganized curriculum of the early school. It would be well if the child entered school at the age of three, provided that the school between three and eight were based upon such materials as have been suggested. The social value of entering school at a young age must not be lost sight of; especially is this true for children who are brought up largely apart from other children of their own age. Rather than return to the age of seven and eight for entrance into the school, let the process of reducing the entrance age continue. School can scarcely be begun too early, provided only that the type of education emphasized be such as is fitted to the stage of development of the child. It would be an excellent thing for children of three, or perhaps those even younger, to spend a short time each day with other children of their own age. An extension of the kindergarten in both directions is needed, but the curriculum as now offered in the kindergarten is far from adequate, transgressing as it does several sound educational principles.

What can be done to realize this ideal elementary school which we have pictured? The great difficulty which the teacher experiences is the present course of study with its specific requirements and very definite suggestions. This must be changed, and in order to accomplish the change of the course of study, it is necessary that public opinion, which, in the last analysis, is the controlling force in American education, be enlightened, that school boards and school superintendents dare to experiment in certain of their schools, and that assemblies of elementary school teachers, both unitedly and individually, strive to convince those in authority of the truth of these views.

It is, indeed, gratifying to note that there has been progress in the direction desired. Other studies than the three R’s are pressing their way toward the front, and the influence of the kindergarten, with all its faults, upon the elementary school has been beneficial. More teachers are studying the problems of primary education than ever before, and attempts are being made to correlate better the work of the kindergarten and the primary school. Experimentation in education is becoming ever prevalent. The time no doubt will come, and perhaps sooner than we now believe, when sound educational principles will find their concrete embodiment in the actual elementary school.





EDUCATION IN AMERICAN COLLEGES The type of physical education in American colleges is changing. A new system is being evolved, based upon the rôle which athletics may be made to play in developing physique and character. There is no American system of physical education, altho American athletes have been preeminent in world sports ever since the introduction of the modern Olympic Games. Curiously enough, we have not been in the habit of considering athletics as physical education. We have thought of them as—well, as just athletics, something beyond the pale when scientific physical education was being discust. We have gone to the Germans and Swedes for our ideas as to what physical education should be. Until recently we had no definite ideas of our own. There was no scientific physical education in the United States before the Civil War. So when the Germans introduced their methods we adopted them. When Swedish gymnasts brought their system to our doors we strove desperately to adopt it. Later, from these systems we evolved something that is neither German nor Swedish, tho it partakes of the characteristics of both; something (it can not be called a system), which grafts the Swedish day's order upon the German calisthenic drill; which takes from the Germans their progressive exercises on the apparatus and which finally, in deference to the American demand for pleasurable excitement, adds a score of so-called Gymnastic Games, of a type eminently suitable for the kindergarten but utterly out of place among vigorous young men.

For nearly half a century we have been forcing our youth to practise artificial movements devoid of any element of pleasure, telling them that these movements would improve their circulation and bring symmetrical development, and expecting them to be satisfied with that-asking more of them than we get from grown men of mature judgment. Until recently it has not occurred to us to ask

. if there is not something better than symmetrical development; if exercises which awaken interest and form character are not better, especially if they also strengthen heart and lungs and develop grace and agility.

For years we have been putting our young men thru a course consisting of marching, calisthenics, exercises on gymnastic apparatus and a game. It reads well, sounds well, and looks scientific. The trouble with it is that the average American youth does not find in it a single thing that he wants unless the game be basketball. He will march in a gymnasium if he must-and only because he must. He will perform the drill in a perfunctory manner.

. He will sprawl over the bar or horse some kind of a way and feel relieved when he has done it. College men hate it. They try every device to get excused from it. Physical instructors are at their wit's end to endow it with living interest.

It has become clear to us that neither this system if you will call it such-nor the German and Swedish systems, admirable as they are in many respects, are suited to American college men. Convinced of this, American physical directors have been for some years seeking a system of physical training that would be a genuine expression of the national character. They could not fail to be imprest by the astonishing development of athletics in the past generation. Perhaps there lay that which we sought. So we began to study athletics. We watched our young men at their sports. We noticed what types of exercise awaken their liveliest interest. We studied the effect of these exercises upon their character and physique. We submitted them to critical technical examination, and to our surprize we found them good, based upon sound physiological and psychological laws. We discovered that the

« AnteriorContinuar »