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word instead of ending with it, Of course, we cannot get an idea from a word unless we had the idea before, and had it in association with the word used. Words do not create ideas in the minds of children learning to read; they recall ideas already in their minds; and the process of reading consists in looking at words and recognizing through them the mental pictures they represent. This is true of words, of sentences, of chapters, and of books. The only order possible in reading is from the word or sentence to the thought, and any process that reverses this essential order retards the progress of the child in learning to read. The teacher should carefully avoid the suggestion of the word by the thing or the conception it represents, while the pupil is learning to recognize visible language.
6. We have to deal solely with words, not objects, when we are able to read, and therefore our aim should be to give the mastery over the recognition of words as early as possible. A child can read well when he is able to extract thought automatically and rapidly from printed or written matter. The teacher's first aim shoulil be to make word-recognition automatic. When word-recognition has become automatic, the child can give his full mental power to thought-recognition. So long as any part of his attention is given to word-recognition, he cannot give his whole mind to thought-recognition. The power to recognize words automatically should be de. veloped, as all power is developed, by the repetition of the necessary processes, slowly and consciously at first, but with increasing rapidity until it becomes automatic.
An object should never be used to suggest the name of the visible word. Reading cannot be made a method of obtaining thought from objects. The use of the object to suggest the recognition of the visible word interferes with the development of the power that is absolutely essential in the recognition of visible words. It retards the immediate and the ultimate progress of the child. The object-lesson is not a reading lesson. Reading cannot be confined to object-lessons. The chief aim of the object-lesson is to give power to gain fresh knowledge from things. The aim of the reading lesson is to give power to extract thought from visible language.
7. The strongest argument in favor of the use of objects in connection with the reading lesson is based on the absolute necessity for a strong bond of association between the idea
and the single word which represents it. The importance of this association cannot be too strongly stated. The misapplication of this true principle will be evident, however, if we remember that in learning to read the child is not learning a new language, but merely a new means of recognizing the language it already uses. The association between the words and their corresponding ideas becomes definite when the child is learning to speak; and the only step left to be taken is to make the association ready and definite between the spoken word and the written or printed word, which is its visible representation. The child cannot read intelligently, either silently or aloud, language which he does not speak intelligently. He should never be allowed to try to do so. The child's language corresponds with the ideas in his mind, and recalls these ideas to his mind. He should not be permitted to have two ways of recognizing an idea by language till its recognition by one way is accurate and automatic. The oral way is the natural way, and must precede the visible way. The child begins the process of learning to read with a large number of conceptions which are represented in his spoken language by corresponding words. Each conception instantly suggests its appropriate spoken word. The spoken word immediately recalls its corresponding conception. The con. ception recalls the object, because it is the mental picture of the object. The following is a logical sequence:
ist. The object-hat.
4th. The visible word-hat. The child is thoroughly acquainted with the first three steps in the sequence before he begins to learn to read. Logically the first two are one, so far as reading is concerned. Any one of the first three steps instantly recalls the others without any conscious effort on the part of the child. If we try to take the fourth step before the first three are automatically associated with each other, our course is illogical. The only question to be settled is: With which of the first three can the fourth, the visible word, be most easily, most naturally, and most philosophically associated?
The answer to the question propounded will be found as soon as we decide to which of the other steps the visible word is most definitely related. We can have no difficulty in
deciding. There is no relationship whatever but an arbitrary one, between the shape of a hat, or our mental picture of a hat, and the visible word “hat." No relationship was intended. Our language is not a system of hieroglyphics. Every means used to make our language visible, in any form, is based on the philosophical foundation of the representation of the individual sounds of spoken language by corresponding visible signs. Visible language is therefore directly and philosophically related to spoken language, and as soon as the relationships between their corresponding elements are clearly understood, the one language becomes convertible into the other by a regular and logical process that speedily becomes automatic. On the other hand, the association of the visible word with the object or idea directly is necessarily an afbi. trary process, and must inevitably remain such. A great many very ingenious plans have been adopted to simplify this arbitrary process, and to try to make it conform to “natural laws"; but however beautifully it may be clothed or padded, its natural deformity can never be concealed. It must remain an arbitrary process to the end.
The case, therefore, clearly stands thus: The first three steps in the sequence are indissolubly bound together, before the child begins to learn to read. The first two, the object and the idea, are really one, so far as reading is concerned. These two on the one hand, and the spoken word on the other hand, are automatically inter-suggestive. By reading we are to make the very same word, in another form, recall, or suggest, the very same idea that has been regularly brought to our minds by the spoken word.
8. In the expression of thought, the thing and its name are mutually and automatically inter-suggestive in both spoken and written language. This is not so in regard to recognition either in spoken or visible language. In recognition the name recalls the thing much more certainly than the thing suggests its name. We look at thousands of things every day, and even use them, without being conscious of the fact that they have names at all. The thing was not made for the name, but the name was made for the thing. These considerations show that it is unphilosophical to use the object as a means of suggesting, or aiding in the recognition of its name. The name should be, and in the practice of reading it must be, recognized independently. It is the duty of the teacher to
see that the words recognized have corresponding ideas, but the association of ideas with words should never be made through visible language, and therefore this work is not a part of the process of learning to read.
9. But the association of the spoken word with the idea was arbitrary, and yet it was accomplished in a natural and definite way; does it not follow that the visible word should be directly associated with the idea through the object in a similar manner?
This question really means : Cannot a name be associated with a familiar idea through the eye as naturally as it has already been associated with the same idea through the ear? Certainly not, for the following reasons: First, oral language is natural and visible.language is not. Second, language should be learned through the ear and not through the eye. Third, it is impossible to have the visible names of all things attached to or directly associated with them. Fourth, if every object on the earth had its name written or printed on it the idioms would be lacking. Fifth, in order to communicate through the eye, every individual would have to carry with him a complete set of words or the means of making them.
10. The ablest advocates of the object-word method do not believe in it themselves, except for a short period, and within a very limited range of words. This is the most peculiar fact in connection with the wide range of literature on methods of teaching reading. Men devote page after page to theorizing in order to establish a philosophical basis for a method, and having established it to their satisfaction, they immediately repudiate it by limiting its application to a comparatively insignificant number of words. Some use their own so-called logical method for only about fifty words. Very few now suggest its use for more than two hundred words. But even if it were philosophical in its application to a small number of words, as its advocates claim, its pedagogical value would be too insignificant to make it a correct foundation for a method of teaching
The sum of the whole matter is this: Oral language is the expression of thought, reading is the recægnition of thought expressed in visible form. In oral language the thought suggests the word; in reading the word suggests the thought. Oral language is a means of using thought, reading is a means of gathering thought. These statements being true, it follows
that the analogy between the processes of oral expression and reading cannot be logically sustained.
JAMES L. HUGHES. INSPECTOR OF SCHOOLS,
A GRAMMATICAL COLLOQUY.
RHETOR.“ Both Smith and Jones were present." Is that perfectly good English or not? I somehow feel that it is not.
SYNTAX. My friend, you surprise me; the sentence is faultless. It cannot raise a grammatical qualm in the most squeamish of hypercritics.
CRITIC. But Rhetor declares that it does raise such a qualm in him. How do you account for that? SYNTAX. An illusion!
illusion! Rhetor deceives himself. His qualm is purely imaginary.
CRITIC. I believe it real, on the contrary; and, what is more, capable of a satisfactory explanation.
RHETOR. Do be good enough to explain it, Mr. Critic.
CRITIC. The source of the feeling, evidently, is the word "both," on whose import, accordingly, the explanation turns. The force of "both," speaking syntactically, may be resolved into two factors. Originally, it was only a limited adjective, defining the application of the noun which it restricted, to two objects; but later it acquired the additional function of a connective, reinforcing “and," with which it is commonly associated ; while later still it assumed this latter function so predominantly that, dropping almost wholly its limitative office, it was applied indifferently to two objects or more than two; since which, reverting in modern usage to two objects exclusively, it has gradually concentrated its force in the connect. ive function until, instead of merely limiting the noun to two, it has come to interlink the two so closely as to suggest a kind of shadowy unity, bearing about the same relation to the allied suggestion of plurality, it is true, that a secondary or tertiary rainbow bears to the primary. The connective factor has so dominated the limitative factor and intensified itself, nevertheless, that it gives the two objects, in some faint measure,