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authority once he gets free, becoming anarchistic or licentious, as his unrestraint expresses itself against government or virtue.
If our children are to be free men and women, they must be given freedom enough to learn self-restraint. They must go toward the freedom of adult life by degrees and not by a single plunge. It is a paradox in the growth of human life that true obedience to authority in adult life is the product of a properly directed liberty in youth. Let the child's impulse play free while he is yet in awe of this world and its human masters, then he will take to heart the failures which his impulses register as they strike against other human personalities. Lead children into life, and guide them. They are not much conscious of right and wrong in the beginning, they merely wish to express themselves; give them the better way you know, else they will use their own crude manners of meeting life. The leader of men is he who reads the discontent and eagerness of men, and gives them voice. The teacher leads children by understanding their needs and offering, out of his greater wisdom, adequate ways for expressing them.
If he adjusts to their vague, mumbling desires with only his own selfish interests in mind he is a cheap politician. If he gives outlet and form to their vague emotions, always with regard to the child's own ultimate good and the final good of institutions, then he is a statesman. Teaching is only a form of statesmanship where the personal and public opinion of childhood is molded to the good of the state. It is different in one fact alone, that it is the leadership of little men and women for a future good, rather than the leadership of grown men and women for a present good.
It is for us as teachers to bring the qualities of professional life into our daily teaching practice and to make the term “teacher” mean four things in one: master, expert, servant, and leader.
TOPIC: OUR EDUCATIONAL ADVANCE AND IMPROVEMENT
OVER THE PAST
A. IN THE CITY
CHARLES E. CHADSEY, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, DENVER, COLO.
To assert that the problem of the city school is now far more complex than it was a few decades ago is merely to give utterance to a truism. Originally the city-school system was merely a multiple of individual schools, just as the large building was at first simply an association of schools of similar types and ideals. When the function of the school was confined to the attempt to secure reasonable familiarity with the “fundamental” studies, the administration of whatever school system existed was very largely a matter of routine business and disciplinary control.
Coincidentally with the general industrial expansion of the country and the increasing complexity of business and social life came the modern school system. It widens yearly its sphere of usefulness and attempts courageously the solution of every problem which a people inclined to socialistic remedies passes over to its province.
A typical school system is rapidly becoming an organization difficult to describe or even to appreciate. As its foundation it still adheres to an elaborately organized grade system in which teachers work with large groups of pupils of comparatively similar general preparation and age. This ideal is found governing lower grades almost without exception. The higher elementary grades in many school systems and high schools everywhere have substituted for the grade teacher a specialist in some subject or group of subjects. This substitution has been made upon the assumption that the more specially trained teachers can thereby secure better results. This assumption has been sufficiently successfully realized to justify the acceptance of the departmental system as typical in high school and upper elementary grades of the normal city school system.
If, however, this group of schools where pupils are assembled together by a mechanical system of gradation and promotion was representative in any adequate sense of the modern school system, educational advance over the past would be far simpler to describe than, as a matter of fact,
, it is.
Even if this were true it would still tax the limits of any paper to attempt more than a highly inadequate description of genuine advance along numerous diverse lines of activity. It should include advance in architectural construction of buildings, improved professional preparation of teachers, and higher requirements of admission to the ranks of city teachers. It should not overlook the fact that we are securing better equipment, genuine compulsory education, more intelligently organized courses of study, progress in form and content of textbooks, the beginning of more adequate pension systems, and the securing of materially higher compensation to teachers.
Such a résumé also should call attention to the elimination to a very considerable extent of the more offensive forms of political interference and the establishment of effective methods for the selection and appointment of teachers on the basis of merit only.
It should finally emphasize improvements in the business and educational administration of the schools, including the acceptance of the small, representative, effective Board of Education and the recognition of the city superintendency as an office which can be filled capably only by an educational expert.
In omitting all consideration of such topics as these just enumerated and of many others which might easily have been included, I do not wish to imply that the advance along all these lines is not of tremendous significance. A complete consideration of educational progress would very properly include extended treatment of each as a special subject.
Nearly all of these topics illustrate a progress which has been going on for decades. They are striking illustrations of the general truth that with each added complexity of life and civilization there come corresponding adjustments on the part of all existing institutions to meet the new needs.
In reality none of these advances, marked as they are and significant of a far more adequate and intelligent handling of our problem, constitutes the really vital difference between the typical school system of the past and the present.
I should describe this difference as the developing of the power to appreciate the needs and demands of the individual. To furnish to each boy or girl the opportunity to secure the particular training most demanded by his ability, limitations, tastes, aptitudes, and presumable future activities is now the great problem of every progressive school system. This problem is attacked in almost every conceivable way. Naturally many of the schemes, devices, and methods now offered in the effort to solve this problem are hopelessly inadequate. The real advance over the past lies in the recognition of the necessity of bringing about in numerous different ways a genuine flexibility in the gradation, assignment, and advancement of the individual pupil.
The purpose distinctly in mind is to secure the overcoming of the lamentable waste of time and energy which characterizes any school system wedded to the traditional forms of classification and promotion, undefiled by the modern special school, special teacher, and special plan of organization designed to make the training actually fit the child.
What are the specific forms thru which the city school of today differs from the mechanically perfect yet lamentably rigid school system of the past? They are the practical realizations of nearly all the subjects assigned for special discussion at this and almost every educational meeting of the past decade.
Not all of them are found in every school system. Local conditions have frequently prevented their establishment even where from many standpoints a high degree of educational efficiency has been secured and maintained.
But everywhere we find educational administrators alive to the need and hopeful that the end sought, more genuine efficiency, will soon be realized.
The modern school system is dynamic to the core and the superintendent not fully alive to the necessity of carefully and continually revising and adding to his point of view is doomed to failure.
Every community realizes with daily increasing clearness the nature and importance of educational efficiency and demands with growing persistency the establishment of specific forms looking to the fulfillment of their hopes.
The recognition of the place of industries in education, the idea of the school building as the community center, and the establishment of the department of physical education as of equal dignity and importance with that of so-called intellectual training mark one side of the humanizing of the modern school.
The other manifestation of the effort to present opportunities thru which the child of any environment, heredity, aptitude, or limitation may secure that which is for him the most effective training is found in a variety of plans each marking a distinct variation from the traditional graded system.
Among these can be mentioned the ungraded school found in many school buildings, the rooms or buildings for children of foreign birth, unable to speak the English language, or badly retarded in their work thru a late start in American schools, and the various types of evening and continuation schools. We should notice also the school for the backward child, and the special school or group of schools for children retarded thru ill health, irregularity, or absence from school. Of equal importance is the school for the gifted child, he who can easily accomplish more than the curriculum plans as the work for the normal child. Not unimportant in the general scheme are the schools for the feeble-minded, the epileptic, the crippled, the deaf, and the blind. Distinctly significant and promising are the open-air schools for the anaemic, the tubercular, and even for the normal child whose parents believe in a purer, fresher air than that found in the ordinary schoolroom; the parental or truant school, the school for the juvenile delinquent, the elementary industrial or commercial school, the manualtraining movement now developing into the technical school and the trade school. Many variations of these efforts could be enumerated, the difficulty being the determination of a genuine distinction as to type. All are alike in their underlying purpose of securing more genuine efficiency.
Among the efforts to accommodate the city school to the needs of its constituency, the one most prominent in educational discussions and most conscientiously studied by all interested in education is the establishment of vocational education.
This paper cannot attempt to present this problem, yet a résumé of educational advance must not fail to include this movement for genuine industrial education. Only a few cities have attacked seriously this problem but the great interest excited everywhere in their experiments indicates clearly that within a few years we shall have many types of vocational schools in our larger cities. These schools are developing along three lines:
First, the elementary industrial school designed for those who will not go beyond the elementary schools and whose limitations or obvious future activities are such as to make the customary work of the elementary school comparatively valueless. A school providing some academic work and emphasizing strongly training designed to furnish fundamental equipment for many kinds of manual activity offers a partial solution for one vexing and discouraging problem of city schools.
Second, the technical or industrial high school with intensive training for a number of vocations combined with fundamental mechanical training and narrow but effective academic work. This type of school offers a most promising variation from customary secondary training and bids fair to furnish a practical vocational education far less vulnerable to a certain kind of criticism as to public school efficiency than any heretofore connected with the system of secondary education of the public schools.
Third, the pure trade school, offering to young men and women at the public expense and as an accepted department of the public-school system specific narrow training for definite trades or occupations, with the intent that these young people can become wage-earners in their trades with a training which will enable them shortly to become skilled workmen.
This, while the most discussed and most strongly demanded type of vocational education, is found in only a few of our American school systems. That the trade school is destined to play an important part in the modification of the schools to fit the needs of the individual is unquestioned, but this particular differentiation will be a characteristic of the future city school system rather than of the present.
The movement for a wider use of the school plant, involving the idea that every school building should eventually become a genuine community center, devoted to all that makes for a more efficient citizenship, while yet in its infancy bids fair to become a most important factor in the modification of many matters connected with school organization and management.
This extension of the use of the school plant, the idea of the school building as the community center, is resulting from an increasingly general acceptance, by the public, of these fundamental facts: first, that the education of the individual is a process not culminated at any particular time or place; second, that education at public expense is in the last analysis a wise investment of public moneys; third, that the continuation of the education of the individual into maturity, whether physical, social, intellectual, or moral, brings economic and social benefit to the entire community.
Recent years witness marked advance in city school systems in the physical welfare of the children. This is manifesting itself in many