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METHODS OF TEACHING
JAS. G. KENNEDY
Head School Inspector, San Francisco, Cat.
METHODS OF TEACHING
JAS. G. KEiNNEDY
Head School Inspector, San Francisco, Cal.
C. A. MURDOCK & Co., PRINTERS, 532 CLAY STREET.
Below, please find instructions
relating to methods of teaching, which you will
strictly enforce in the school under your charge:
i. The Principles of Methods Stated.
To discover the law of mental growth let us observe the
child. At birth, the mind of the child is undeveloped. By
association with the external world, the powers of its mind are
gradually unfolded. Through the medium of the senses, the
objects with which the child comes in contact are daily per-
ceived. By this frequent perception, perfect mental images of
the different objects perceived are formed. During the process
of the formation of these mental images, the child hears the
word that represents the object perceived. Through this asso-
ciation, the child learns to distinguish and use the words which
represent the objects perceived. By examining this process,
we see that the first step in the mind's development is the pres-
entation of the object to the mind for mental perception; the
second step is the formation of a perfect mental image of the
object presented ; the third step is the expression of the mental
image formed, or the word.
Stating this same principle broadly, we have, whether the
lesson to be taught is in language, mathematics or science, the
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steps are the same. First, the objective illustration, by the
teacher, of the thought of the lesson; second, the conception,
by the pupil, of the thought of the lesson; third, the original
expression, by the pupil, of the thought of the lesson.
It follows from this, that the work of the teacher is the ob-
jective illustration of the thought of the lesson, while the work
of the pupil is the perfect conception and the original ex-
pression of the thought of the lesson.
It follows also, that these three steps must be kept con-
stantly in view, by the teacher, that he may perform his work
only, and not the work of the pupil also.
The very object of all teaching, the development of original
thought, and the cultivation of original expression, is often
defeated by the teacher doing the work of the pupil.
2. Spelling. Teach spelling by introducing the word
objectively, studying its form, using it in a sentence. By this
process, the three steps, suggested under " Principles of Meth-
ods Stated," are kept in view. As noted under " Principles of
Methods Stated," the work of the teacher is the presentation
of the word objectively, while the work of the pupil is the
mastery of the form of the word and the use of the word in a
From this, it follows that column spelling is in violation of
the "Principles of Methods Stated," and should have no place
in a progressive, modern school.
The object of spelling or word study, is to increase the
speaking and the writing vocabulary of the child. The rational
method of doing this is the one suggested above, and not by
independent word or column spelling.
In oral spelling, which should be praticed but little, if any,
do not allow the pupils to pronounce and number the syllables
of the word spelled.
3. Reading. To read well, one must know the thought
of reading lesson. This knowledge must be developed in the
mind of the child through conversational lessons and objective
illustrations. After a pupil has a perfect conception of the
thought of the reading lesson, he is ready to express that
thought correctly, or to read. Again, we have the three
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steps suggested under " Principles of Methods Stated." First,
the objective illustration of the thought of the reading lesson;
second, the mastery or the perfect conception of. the thought
of the reading lesson; third, the natural expression of the
thought of the reading lesson. As suggested under " Prin-
ciples of Methods Stated," the work of the teacher is the ob-
jective illustration of the thought of the reading lesson, while
the work of the pupil is the mastery and the expression of the
thought of the reading lesson.
The reading of the pupil should be in a natural tone of
voice, and in an easy conversational style. The pupil, before
he can read in this manner, must be able to group the related
words in a sentence, and to raise his eyes from the printed or
written page at the important words and phrases.
The practice of compelling or allowing pupils to point while
reading is a bad one, as it develops a disconnected style of
expression, much like the pronunciation of independent words
arranged in columns. This practice destroys all natural
expression of thought, the true object of oral reading. It
should be strictly prohibited.
In reading, pay strict attention to correct pronunciation and
4. Composition. Pupils cannot write compositions unless
they know what they are going to write about. This knowledge
of the composition subject must be developed in the mind of
the pupil through conversational lessons and objective illustra-
tions. The three steps suggested, under " Principles of Methods
Stated," are obvious in this work. First, the objective presen-
tation of the thought of the composition subject; second, the
mastery of the thought of the composition subject; third, the
original expression of the thought of the composition subject.
As laid down, under " Principles of Methods Stated," the
work of the teacher is the objective illustration of the thought
of the composition subject, while the work of the pupil is the
complete mastery and the original expression of the thought of
the composition subject.
All grammar work should be incidental to the composition
work. Pupils should be taught capitals, punctuation, and
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construction in connection with the writing of compositions.
In primary and grammar schools, mood, tense, case, complex
analysis and parsing should be stopped. This work should be
left for the High Schools. The work of the primary and
grammar schools is the expression of thought, or composition
writing, letter writing, etc.
5. Arithmetic. In arithmetic, everything, whether prin-
ciple or process, example or table, should be first taught
objectively. In teaching principle, process or example, small
numbers, easily handled by the pupil, should be used. After
the objective presentation of the lesson, by the teacher, comes
the mastery and the expression of the lesson, by the pupil.
Again, the three steps suggested, under " Principles of Meth-
ods Stated," are apparent. First, the objective presentation of
the principle, the process, the example, etc.; second, the mas.
tery of the principle, the process, the example, etc.; third, the
statement or the expression of the principle, the process, or
the example, etc. As suggested under " Principles of Methods
Stated," the work of the teacher is the objective presentation
of the principle, the process, or the example, while the work of
the pupil is the mastery and the expression of the principle,
the process, or the example.
Adopt, in all cases, short, practical processes of operation,
such as are dictated by common sense and used by business
6. History and Geography. These two studies should
be presented objectively through maps, and be taught together,
making each supplement the other. The pupil's knowledge
should be developed through maps drawn by himself. This
knowledge should increase as the map is studied and drawn.
These maps should be drawn neatly, rapidly and accurately,
without artistic finish; they are intended to develop a knowl-
edge of History and Geography, and not to teach artistic shad-
ing and coloring. In these studies we have the three steps
suggested under ' ; Principles of Methods Stated." First, the
objective presentation of the lesson through globes and maps;
second, the mastery of the lesson presented; third, the expres-
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sion of the lesson by means of original maps, oral and written
The order of procedure in teaching these two studies is as
follows: Begin at home, travel outward until you finish the
subject, and connect the geography and history at each step.
In drawing maps to illustrate and to develop a knowledge of
the subject, the order is form, surface, productions, places,
giving the history of each point as it presents itself.
7. Kindergarten Work. This work should receive
special attention, and be carried out in the spirit intended by
the Board of Education. It affords the best means of devel-
oping a knowledge of number, form, color and language.
Clay modeling being the basis of a correct knowledge of
form, it should receive greater consideration at the hands of
principals and teachers.
8. Drawing. This study is the basis of mechanical and
industrial art, and should, therefore, receive greater attention
than it does in many of the schools. It is one of the most
important branches taught in the public schools.
9. Oral Instruction. Information on the subjects for
this kind of work should be developed through conversational
lessons and objective illustrations. This work should be faith-
fully performed by the class teacher, as upon it depends the
pupil's general information about common things. It should
be taught orally, as suggested above, and not by written ques-
tions and answers, which the pupils are compelled to memorize.
The three steps suggested under "Principles of Methods
Stated " is applicable in teaching this branch, as well as in
Kindergarten Work, Drawing and Penmanship. In fact, there
is no study to which this principle is not applicable, and to
which it should not be applied in teaching.
10. Definitions and Rules. Definitions and Rules
should be developed from the pupil's knowledge of the subject,
and not be memorized from notes or books.
1 1. Marking Papers. Under the direction of the teacher,
the pupil should correct all written exercises. The object is
to train the pupil's critical judgment. Do not have classes
change papers for the purpose of correction.
The home work of the teacher is not the correction of papers;
it is the preparation of the lessons of the next day, so that
they may be presented objectively.
12. Standing in Class. The practice of standing in
class during recitations is a bad one, as pupils soon become
weary and inattentive. Stop it.
13. Course of Study. Carry out the Course of Study in
all particulars. Principals and teachers are not authorized to
make changes. Criticisms of the Course of Study will be
gladly received at the office.
14. Division of Grade. Divide each grade into two
divisions, and keep them together in the work of the year.
15. Ventilation. Teachers should have charge of the ven-
tilation of their respective rooms. More attention should be
paid to this subject. In many rooms the air was found to be
perfectly foul from want of proper care by the teacher.
1 6. Originality. Teachers should be allowed the fullest
liberty in the manner of presenting work to their classes. The
method used should be objective; the originality should be
shown in the manner of presentation of lessons.
Please have your assistants read these instructions that there
may be no misunderstanding as to the methods that they are
expected to follow in their teaching.
JOS. G. KENNEDY,
Hd. Insp. Teacher.
The above outline of Correct Methods, by Mr. Kennedy, is
worthy the careful study of every teacher in the department.
If the purpose of this paper is understood and carried out,
the instruction in many of our schools will be far above its
Deputy Supt. Schools.
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