Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/826

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
804
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

"special methods," because it deals minutely with the principles of teaching each particular subject, and suggests also in some measure the mechanics that has been found adapted to each subject; and it is this latter kind of work that has brought more or less disrepute upon the normal school. But when a teacher is required to continue with this phase of his work until he is thoroughly able to comprehend that all devices and forms of teaching are but efforts of individuals to best illustrate the underlying principles, and when he is expected to work out a system of devices for himself before he leaves the school, then there is little danger of his falling into mechanical habits that will interfere with that spontaneity which is all-essential in spirited teaching. The normal school does not now emphasize the mechanical side of teaching as much as it did when the knowledge of psychology was so meager that pupil teachers could not hope to be investigators of the principles which underlie educational method, but must be content to be imitators of those who had made researches, and embodied these in an art which necessarily exhibited much of their own individuality. Every trained teacher is required in these times to study the mind of the child; and he is led to see that the whole realm of methods and devices must be built upon the laws of mental growth, and everything that has not this scientific basis is worthless and even injurious.

As a necessary part of this work in the art of teaching there is provision made in the normal school whereby theory may be illustrated in actual practice in the model, or practice, school. It is the aim in this school to show the application of principles and the proper use of devices by an abundance of illustrative teaching of such character that the apprentice may well emulate it in all respects. It has become a familiar truth that it is with teaching as with other callings in lifeā€”that in order to become able most speedily to do creditable work the candidate should have his attention specially directed to those qualities and accomplishments which mark successful teaching, because he will not, in all probability, appreciate them unless they are thus pointed out to him. It can not be too strongly emphasized that object lessons in successful teaching are as important and exemplify the same pedagogical doctrine as is the case in other departments of educational work. In this illustrative teaching the apprentice is required to analyze carefully and fully all the lessons which he observes, not only from the point of view of the essential principles underlying them, but he must take into account also the surrounding and accompanying conditions which materially affect the lesson favorably or unfavorably. Every student is trained to see and appreciate pedagogical problems, and he is expected to become able to point out an intelligent and practical way for their solution.