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at every point can hardly be condemned as lacking in the ethical element.”
III. In What Grades to Teach. In all grades; and yet the number study in the first grade should be very, very little, advancing slowly. We can do considerably advanced work with young children, but it is not necessary, and it is better to spend that time largely on language work. Problems should be used from the first, but they should be simple.
IV. Matter and Method. We need to insist upon accurate and thorough work. There is first the counting by ones, twos, threes, etc., forward and back, the learning of the tables of multiplication and division, not to recite verbally but so that they are actually known by the child; then there should be sufficient drill on the four processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with whole numbers and fractions so that the work will be automatic. Every subject should be introduced first as mental work and the written work should come later. Practical application in measurements is of the highest importance.
But the most important thing to think of in teaching arithmetic in any grade is the attitude of both teacher and pupil; to seize every thought as a means of power, so that it shall be used to stride forward to something yet greater; everything that we teach should be as it were a door opened out to the world of truth; everything learned should be as a new light helping the pupil to see greater and brighter truths beyond and above.
SUBJECTS AND ARTS IN SCHOOL.
WALTER E. RANGER, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC
INSTRUCTION, JOHNSON, VT.
Since school education, for the individual or class, is the issue of conscious endeavor to train the child for and into the civic and industrial life he is to live, it follows that, in response to changing needs and interests, school practice must change from time to time. What subjects and arts shall have place in school work is always an open question. Each generation must decide for itself what is best. It is not a question whether we know better how to teach our children than all the wise men of the past. Upon adulthood of to-day is laid the responsibility of determining what kind of school education is best for the children of to-day. Tradition may instruct us but it must not enslave or even constrain us.
It is easy to lay down the principles that should guide in the selection of subjects and arts for elementary schools. We may readily agree with Mr. McMurray, in his notable address at Atlanta last February, that utility, capacity and interest are the main factors in determining what subjects shall be taught. But to determine what is useful in a broad sense and to measure the capacity and interest of pupils is the real task. This is the living problem.
In the life of man and nature are found all school subjects and in the child's endeavor to realize such life and thus to realize himself is the practice of school arts. Knowledge, science and art are the same inside
as outside the school room. The division of knowledge into departments and the finer classification of departments of knowledge into manifold subjects, though natural and useful, are more or less crude and forced. Furthermore, all knowledge is related and one subject may not wholly be separated from another. What subject is there that history or geography may not include? While close analysis and careful differentiation of subjects in mature study are essential, yet I believe that the elementary school has suffered by forcing upon young children the analytic methods of the mature mind. What else but this tendency has caused the multiplicity of subjects and the numberless periods in school programs ? Formerly the child had spelling, reading, language and writing as distinct lessons. The trend of recent years toward a unification of subjects by teaching related truths from the child's point of view seems a reaction from false practice and an evidence of a better knowledge of the child mind and a better appreciation of child life. The whole universe is the child's first lesson as well as man's last. The truth and beauty of the world is forever knocking at the doors of his life for entrance. He, too, is constantly striving to make all his own. What the world of men and nature offer him and what he seeks are the true subjects of his study.
The subjects and arts that best meet the test of utility are those most closely related to the child's real life. What he sees, hears, touches becomes the object of his interest and attention. School education, governed too much by tradition and animated too little by the real industrial and social life of the people, is inclined to be concerned rather with traditional subject-matter
than with the life of the child and its needs. It too often tends to take the child out from his true and natural environment and to create about him an artificial world of unreal forms, unintelligible facts and arbitrary laws, which seem to have little real relation to his own real and onrushing life. This is tribute paid to tradition. To the child the life of school, of home, of play, of work and of God's out-of-door should be one and harmonious. When the doors of the schoolroom are open to the truth and beauty of nature and to the real life of men, the child is kept in sympathetic relation with the objects and events with which he lives.
The coming citizen should be trained to think the thought of his time, to grasp living problems, to be resourceful in the common circumstances of his life. The life of nature and of man constitute the actual and proper environment of the child, and are the natural, obvious and potent means and influences for his education in school and everywhere. Social and industrial needs long ago placed the three R’s and other subjects in the curriculum. History was added for the child's knowledge of the past experience of the race; civics, for his realization of civic life; and nature study to place him in sympathy with his surroundings—with his own life. A greater appreciation of health has added hygiene, games and physical exercises. Music and drawing have come in to meet æsthetic wants, manual arts are fast securing a larger place, and the needs and interests of coming citizens, as revealed in the industrial life of the people, are likely to call for other arts and subjects.
When each community lived largely by itself and
was not tested by sharp competition of distant communities and its life was simple, the boy who could read, write and cipher a little stood a fair chance in life with his fellows. Now when all our country is joined by rail and wire, when commercial competition has become intense, when industrial operations require large training, and when life in all its phases has grown more complex and strenuous, the school boy needs a training that will fit him to take his place in the life of to-day and have a fair opportunity with his fellows. Whatever his calling is to be he is to act in a larger arena than his grandfather, have a harder contest, and need
a stronger equipment and finer training of his powers. The school's larger work of to-day is due to increased public demands. Parents, clamor for more industrial, commercial and technical training for their children, and perhaps then complain of crowded courses, increased work and the strenuous spirit of the schools. Even the blind public criticism of the school for the imperfect preparation of its graduates for work is essentially a call for new things and may be interpreted as new demands of the people.
Consequently, by common agreement, no subject may be wholly omitted from the present course of study. As Mr. McMurray has pointed out, relief must be sought in the elimination of matter from various subjects rather than of complete subjects. Already much that was formerly taught in arithmetic and grammar has been omitted. Relief may also be gained by better methods of presentation, by more attention to things that count and by better use of time.
It is significant that the later additions to courses of study have been school arts, such as manual training