Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

storm. We are here however anticipating the methods of inductive investigation, which we must consider in the following lessons. It will appear that Induction is equivalent to analysis, and that the deductive kinds of reasoning which we have treated in prior lessons are of a synthetic character.

" It has been said that the synthetic method usually corresponds to the method of instruction and the analytic method to that of discovery. But it may be possible to discover new truths by synthesis and to teach old ones by analysis. Sir John Herschel in his well-known Outlines of Astronomy partially adopts the analytic method ; he supposes a spectator in the first place to survey the appearances of the heavenly bodies and the surface of the earth, and to seek an explanation ; he then leads him through a course of arguments to show that these appearances really indicate the rotundity of the earth, its revolution about its own axis and round the sun, and its subordinate position as one of the smaller planets of the solar system. Mr. Norman Lockyer's Ele

. mentary Lessons in Astronomy is a clear example of the synthetic method of instruction ; for he commences by describing the sun, the centre of the system, and successively adds the planets and other members of the system, until at last we have the complete picture ; and the reader who has temporarily received everything on the writer's authority, sees that the description corresponds with the truth. Each method, it must be allowed, has its own advantages. (Jevons, Lessons in Logic, ed. 1878, pp. 202-208.)

110. Methods of Teaching must respect that inherited and national “ cast of mind which exhibits itself so prominently that it forms an important element in teaching. Those national bents of mind, traits of disposition, and survival of tendencies, constitute a“ prior knowledge," or setting, which gives form to the knowledge presented by the teacher. The Italian mind inherits peculiar adaptations for music. The German mind, as revealed in the language, is disposed to aggregate and accumulate conceptions. The native tendency with the French mind, in language, is towards separation and analysis. The English mind, in language, evidently has its form in directness, neither cumulative nor over analytical. With some nations, gesticulation forms a prominent inheritance of the people. The United States, being peopled from all nations, present a multitude of national peculiarities to the teacher, who, herein, has a more delicate work before him than teachers who labor with a single nationality. This element, although subtle, is powerful in any place where the schools are composed of children of many nationalities. While the psychological faculties are the same in kind and function among all peoples, yet the native quality of these faculties, or the bent for giving form to knowledge, varies with the peoples. These native qualities or bents are not the differences in degrees of the same capacities of people of the same nationality. They are powers or forces which necessarily modify the form of the same matter which is set before all alike. This is done unconsciously to the children who are taught.

111. Methods of Teaching are difficult to suit," as an object to a quality," in their daily application, by reason of the intricacy and evanescence of psychological phenomena. But the province is established. The very delicacy and mutability of the modifications of Mind lend a zest to Methods, and consequently to teaching, that must emphatically and forever banish all tendencies to mere routine and formalism, when teachers fully grasp the Spirit of Methods. Genuine Methods of Teaching, from their nature, must be universally successful for accomplishing their objects. A principle can never become spiritless-the application of it may, if it be an unintelligent one, but the principle must be as constant and as enduring as the subjects to which it relates, or out of which it springs.

112. Methods of Teaching are not, in the present state of psychological science, absolutely invariable. The one element in the foundations, that subject matter, is firm, as science is firm. The other element in the foundations, that of psychology, is less firm, perhaps, because the Science of Mind is not so well established in its fullness as are most other sciences which are pursued in schools. No science or art is more stable or lasting than its foundations. However, the main principles of the science of psychology are very thoroughly established, as they appear to-day

66

rising up out of hundreds of years of diligent study by the philosophers of the past and the present. "In mental philosophy the general statements have commonly a genuine fact, but mixed with this there is often an alloy. The error may not influence the spontaneous action of the primitive principle, but it may tell disastrously or ludicrously in the reflex application.” (McCosh, Int. of Mind, p. 60, ed. 1870.)

113. What are ordinarily denominatedclassdrill ” and “

examinations,” are no legitimate elements in the conception of Methods of Teaching. They are no new things they are mere repetitions. The value of repetition is purely a psychological problem, not belonging to subjectmatter and mind, as do the problems of Methods.

Repetition, else the mainspring of instruction, is the chief destroyer of attention ; because, in order to give attention to what is repeated, you must first have found it worthy of a still greater exertion of that faculty.” (Richter, Levana, p. 356.)

114. Methods of Teaching, from their nature, forbid the so-called Individuality of any teacher to enter into them, as a constituent part of their

The foundations of the Methods being. the principles of adaptation between subjectmatter and mind, the eccentricities, idiosyncrasies, or peculiarities of any one mind form no factor in the Science and Art of Methods of Teaching. Every mind is more or less like every other mind ; there is always a basis of similarity, but there is a superstructure of feelings, im

essence.

66

pulses, and motives which is distinctive for each person (Jevons, Princ. of Science, p. 733, ed. 1877.)

115. Teachers have their individuality, which shows itself in greater or less degrees in their school-room practice, while applying philosophical Methods of Teaching. This individuality is exhibited in the way that one teacher illustrates a point differently from another—in the way he speaks—in the way he looks in the way he thinks, it may be—in the way in which his questions are conceived-in the impromptu expedients which he devises—in what, in general

, is called “his way of doing things.

This individuality of the teacher is known as Manner. Misapprehension of the true province of scientific Methods of Teaching has led many to apply the term to any peculiar experiment or expedient which may be selected, which things are in fact but examples of Manner.

The familiar expressions so often heard—“ my method is thus and so, my method is not that, but this," " I illustrate by this method, using a bundle of sticks instead of kernels of corn”—are simply examples of Manner.

116. A teacher has his own Manner of Teaching—he can not have his Method, because Methods are general or universal principles, which are beyond the exclusiveness of the individual. Mannerisms can be affected or imitated, or devised, or invented ; but Methods of Teaching, existing originally in the native constitution of things, can not be invented—they must be

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »