Oscar Israel Woodley.

The profession of teaching online

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President Marshall College, Huntington, West Virginia


Authors of Foundation Lessons in English, English Studies in
Interpretation and Composition, etc.



(Ste IHi'oniiiie j^veii Cambridge


U . S . A


The plan and purpose of this discussion of the profession
of teaching, though simple and clear, treats the subject from
a somewhat unusual point of view and hence requires a few
words of explanation.

Some time ago, in a discussion between a well-known at-
torney and an educator, the former emphatically asserted
that there was no such thing as a profession of teaching, and
that there could not be with the present American system of
education. This statement, though backed by many strong
arguments, did not shake the firm belief of the representa-
tive of that same educational system, that teaching is as
truly a profession as any of those occupations that are in-
disputably classed as such. A desire to establish his con-
viction and to secure unquestionable proof of its correctness
led to a general analysis of vocations with the particular
object of discovering the nature and characteristics of a
profession and of determining the requirements for becom-
ing a worthy member of it. The first chapter of this book
is the direct outgrowth of that study.

A further study of the particular requirements which the
profession of teaching makes upon those who wish to be
teachers in a truly professional sense has resulted in the con-
clusions set forth in the succeeding chapters. It is evident
that the demands which the larger idea of education makes
upon the teacher cannot be met without a clear understand-
ing on his part of these demands and the means to be em-
ployed in meeting them. The essential features of these re-
quirements are given particular emphasis; and many other


matters that the professional worker in the great field of
education should understand are discussed.

In the wTiting of this book, it has been a definite aim of
the authors to make the discussions simple and direct. For
this reason, technical words and phrases have been carefully
avoided where possible without sacrificing the sense. It is
the belief of the authors that a book which can be under-
stood by the average reader is more universally helpful than
one that is highly technical and scholarly, but cannot be
understood by the general reader.

The authors venture to hope that many of those who will
read this book may be enabled to see more clearly than be-
fore that teaching is a great profession, and to understand
that the privilege of shaping character and of leading the
young to some comprehension of Divine truth is one of the
most responsible and noblest of all vocations.

For assistance through criticism and suggestion, acknowl-
edgment is made to Miss Anna S. Cummings, Professor
of Education and Superintendent of the Training School,
Marshall College, who has tested the work in her classes
of student teachers.


M. Virginia Woodlet.

Huntington W.Va.
May 1917


CHAPTER I. Profession Defined 1

The evolution of vocations — Classification of vocations —
Professions distinguished from other vocations — Special pro-
fessional preparation necessary — All professions based upon fun-
damental principles — Ethical element in professions — Ethical
relations of a physician — Observance of ethics by the clergy — •
Ethics in the legal profession — Summary of characteristics of a
profession — Requirements of a profession applied to teaching —

— Teaching based upon established principles — Agreement on
fundamental laws not essential — Fundamental principles of edu-
cation — Ethical element in teaching.

CHAPTER n. School Ethics 19

Persons interested in child education — Interdependence of
ethical relation — Ethical relation of the community to the
teacher — Obligation of the community to its children — Special
community obligations — Obligation of board of education to
teachers — Ethical obligations of the superintendent of schools
to the teachers, to the pupils — Various relations of the teacher —
Relations of teachers to parents, to the board of education, to the
superintendent, to pupils, to one another — Dr. Hinsdale and the
quack teacher — Thoughtless cruelty on the part of the teacher.

CHAPTER in. The Ultimate Aim of Education .

Educational forces — Term "education" explained — Aim of
education as stated by various educators — Character the ultimate
aim — Broad conception of character — Ideals embraced in char-
acter — Religious ideals — Ideals of home — Municipal ideals

— Commercial ideals — Citizenship ideals — Ideals of patriotism

— Ideals of manhood — A person's character the sum of his
ideals — Plus element in education — Character aim attained
through right teaching.

CHAPTER IV. Happiness as related to Education .

The desire for happiness universal — The quest of happiness
legitimate — Happiness sought through self-gratification — Hap-
piness through service to others — Happiness an aid to best effort



— Happiness through obedience to law — Violation of law brings
penalty — Laws of nature discovered through experience — Social
laws evolved in development of civilization — Social laws broken
through WTong conception of life purpose — Breaking of law
fatal to happiness — Happiness within reach of all — Happiness
not dependent upon external conditions — Habit of obeying law
should be formed in childhood — Happiness impossible without
obedience to law — Immunity from pain not necessary to happi-
ness — Relation of education to happiness — Responsibility of

CHAPTER V. The Social Function of the School . 84

Social institutions to meet social needs — Vocational training
in early civilization — Vocational training changed by modern con-
ditions — Home no longer provides social and vocational train-
ing — Schools evolved to meet social needs — School should supple-
ment work of home — Duties imposed upon the school — Medi-
cal inspection of pupils — Various duties relegated to the school

— School overburdened with duties of other institutions — All
social institutions have a part in education of the child — School
voluntarily assumes work of other institutions — Distinct func-
tion of the school — Important race facts in curriculum — Test
of subject-matter of the curriculimi.

CHAPTER VI. The Relation of the School to the

State 102

The American free school system — Unity through conmion
knowledge of race facts — School a nationalizing force — Train-
ing foreign children for citizenship — Conditions necessary for
nationalizing children in the schools — The school fosters pa-
triotism — School standardizes knowledge — Relation of school
to vocational education — Vocational guidance an aid to eflBciency

— School the most effective and economical way to educate the
masses — Law of seK-preservation forces State to educate its
citizens — Schools should instruct in exercise of sovereignty

— School the most potent influence for preservation of State.

CHAPTER Vn. The Leabning Process . . . .121

Consciousness of self and conscious learning — Consciousness
of self through sensation — Sensations differ in character — Rela-
tion of memory to the learning process — Memory images —

— Relation of judgment to learning process — Relation of ap-
perception to learning process — Apperceptive mass — Learning


process compared to building a structure — Exercise of the judg-
ment necessary — Concepts in the learning process — Interest
in the learning process — The will in the learning process —
Thinking in the learning process — Four steps in acquisition of
knowledge — Influence of the physical nature upon learning.

CHAPTER VIII. Correct Concepts necessary fob

Right Thinking 140

Exercise of the reasoning power necessary for subjective
growth — Cultivation of the thinking habit important — Teach-
er's failure often due to ignorance of aim — Examples of teacher's
poverty of concepts — Related concepts necessary for logical
thinking — Examination tests show a teacher's aim — Teachers
often deluded regarding results of teaching — Apparent subjective
results often misleading — Pupils' failure to think due to teaching
— Criticisms of schools make improved conditions necessary —
Curriculum should contain subjects rich in concepts — Concepts
from manual training illustrated — Better preparation of teachen
necessary — More attention to subjective phase of teaching
needed — Right habit of thinking should be formed.

CHAPTER IX. The Teaching Process . . . . Iflt

The term " teaching" explained — The first law of teaching —
Law applies to teaching in all departments — The point at which
instruction begins — Misdirected effort in teaching illustrated —
The pupil's previous knowledge — Means of teaching children
useful concepts — Selection of subject-matter for presentation' —
Right estimate of values in selecting subject-matter — Sequence
in material presented — Use of subject-matter in the learning
process — Wrong presentation results in waste — Preparation of
child's mind for new lesson — Development of the lesson — Appli-
cation of lesson — The formal steps in teaching illustrated —
-/ Teachers must know law of teaching — The teacher must apply
law in his teaching — Special preparation needed for effective

CHAPTER X. The Recitation 181

The recitation in the school program — The value of the re-
citation — The recitation an established feature of school work -'
Recitation idea modified and extended — The German plan oi
recitation — Importance of the recitation — Importance of
proper aim in the recitation — The objects of the recitation —
Objects as stated by Dr. Hinsdale and Dr. Harris — Importance


of teaching pupils how to study — The recitation adapted to the
pupils — Order in the recitation — Length of the recitation —
Allotments must suit individual conditions — Table for recitation
periods — ■ Subjective and objective results — Evidences of a good

CHAPTER XI. Subject-Matter 199

Purpose of subject-matter — Education explained — Early
concepts differ with environment — The child's educational
capital — Aim of education realized through proper subject-
matter — Educational guidance — Education both general and
special — Educative means, direct and indirect — Soiu-ces of in-
direct means — Selection of subject-matter — ■ Subject-matter for
teaching fundamental facts — Subject-matter for teaching uni-
versal experiences and concepts — • Relation of subject-matter to
present civilization — Subject-matter for teaching symbols of
knowledge — ■ Matter for its cultural value — Subject-matter
from all fields of knowledge — Subject-matter for vocational
instruction — • Subject-matter should be adapted to the develop-
ment of child.

CHAPTER XII. Vocational Education . . . .221

A vocation or a job — Skilled and unskilled workers — Paupers
and criminals recruited from army of unskilled — Vocational train-
ing as a remedy for poverty and crime — Place of vocational
education in preparation for life — Need of vocational education
recognizied — Practical education movement result of popular
demand — Early attempts at practical education — Manual
training — Domestic science — • Vocational instruction a school
problem — Complex civilization makes educational problem diflB-
cult — • Basis for vocational instruction wanting — Vocations
classified according to preparation required — Academic and
vocational stratification — Keeping children in school — A
study of railroad transportation — • A study of textile work — In-
dustries involving work in wood — Work in domestic arts — Pre-
vocational work in various industries — Readjustment of course
of study.

CHAPTER Xin. Vocational Guidance . . . .250

Conditions necessary for a well-balanced life — Right choice of
a vocation necessary — Classification of vocations — Classifica-
tion based upon kind of material handled — Importance of fit-
ness for a vocation — School should provide instruction for all —


Desirable characteristics of a vocation — Methods of choosing a
vocation — Suggestions for instruction in vocational guidance —
All vocations offer both advantages and disadvantages — The
profession of medicine as a vocation — Agricultiu-e as a vocation

— Manufacturing as a vocation — Trade and commerce as vo-
cations — Local industries and business — Vocational counsellor

— Pupil's information card — Parent's report — Teacher's report

— Employer's report — Relation of School to vocational problem.

CHAPTER XIV. The Child's Ability known and


Variation of ability in persons — Sub-normal ability — Aver-
age normal ability — Ability above the average — The genius —
Teachers should endeavor to discover genius in pupils — Ability
chart — Ability groupings makes teachers more just — Excep-
tional ability often neglected — Injustice often results from wrong
evaluation — Individual ability varies in different subjects —
Special classes for special ability — Encouragement through do-
ing well — Child's interests often reveal ability — Ability some-
times revealed by accident — The negative should be avoided —
Conditions that foster the expression of ability — Desirable likes
a factor in ability — Teachers must have varied abilities — Per-
sonal ability chart for self-examination — Ability proves itself
in service.

CHAPTER XV. The Fundamental Concept . . .300

All matter governed by fixed principles — Change of form in
matter controlled by fixed laws — Growth in vegetable kingdom
governed by definite laws — Animal kingdom controlled by fixed
laws — Natural law reveals infinite mind — Divine discontent
in the human mind — Spiritual growth through search for truth

— Methods of growth illustrated — Evidence of spiritual growth
in enlargement of concept — • Principles of unity in all life — All
organized matter a proof of creative intelligence — Spiritual law
interpreted through natural law — Principle of unity fundamen-
tal — Desire for truth universal — Desire for truth makes teach-
ing possible — Teachers must be seekers for truth — ■ Spiritual
growth possible for all — Mental and spiritual unrest essential
for growth — True education results in character growth.


^'q\ \a:rB^'*



The evolution of vocations. During the early days in the
history of the human race, the needs of mankind were so few
and simple that every man could make or procure by the
work of his own hands the things necessary for his simple
wants. He could build his own habitation of logs, of mud,
or of whatever building materials were to be found in his
immediate vicinity. He could procure his food by hunting,
by tilling the soil, and by gathering the fruits, nuts, and
other foods that grew wild near his abode. He could make
his clothing from the skins of the animals that he killed.
In short, he could provide for his wants without the assist-
ance of his fellows, and hence was practically independent.

With the advance of civihzation and the corresponding
increase of the needs of mankind, this condition changed,
and man became more and more dependent upon his fellow-
men for the common necessities of everyday life. He required
larger and better places of abode with more convenient fur-
nishings; he needed different clothing from that which was
considered sufficient by primitive man; and he developed an
appetite for a greater variety of food. In the course of
time, his needs became so many and so varied that he could
no longer perform with his own hands all the labor necessary
to procure or make the great variety of things that he re-
quired for himself and his family. He found, also, that he
could make certain articles better than he could others, and


that he could perform some tasks with more facility and
skill than he could others. He looked about at the work of
his neighbors and found that they could perform certain
tasks and make certain articles more skillfully than they
could others. As a result of his observation and experience,
he was led to the conclusion that it would be to the mutual
advantage of himself and his neighbors to exchange among
themselves their various products, each devoting his time to
procuring or making such things as he could make most
readily and skillfully.

So it came to pass in the development of civiHzation that
each man devoted his efforts to the production of some one
thing in which he had acquired particular skill. This he ex-
changed for the other articles that he needed, which in turn
had been produced by persons who had chosen to devote
their efforts to the production of these different commodities
according to their various adaptabilities and opportunities.
Thus various vocations were evolved to which others have
been added as the needs and demands of the ever-advancing
civilization required, until, at the present time, men are
engaged in a great variety of occupations and vocations in
order that all the needs of man in his advanced state of civili-
zation may be satisfied.

Classification of vocations. In grouping or classifying
the many vocations in which people are engaged, there are
different considerations which might be made the basis of
classification. Owing to the difference of opinion regarding
the correct or most satisfactory basis for making a classifica-
tion, there are some vocations that are differently classified
by different persons, and there are others that are not
definitely classified, or are given a doubtful classification.
The vocation of teaching is one of those that has not been
definitely classified to the satisfaction of all persons. Some
persons maintain that it {)roperIy belongs to that class of


vocations known as "professions." Other persons just as
confidently affirm that it does not belong to that class, and
that in the nature of things it cannot be classed as a pro-
fession. The reason for this difference of oi)inion among
intellectual people may be traced partly to the fact that
they have different conceptions of the proper basis for clas-
sifying the vocations and partly to the lack of a well-defined
definition of "profession." In order, therefore, to determine
whether or not teaching is a profession, it will be necessary
first to decide what constitutes a profession and then apply
the definition to the vocation of teaching.

Vocations classified. An examination of the character of
the difi'erent vocations will reveal the fact that many of them
have certain marked characteristics which will warrant
arranging them into groups or classes and making these
characteristics the basis of classification. Upon investigation
it will be discovered that certain vocations deal entirely
with materials or material things in the production of articles
for man's use. For example, bricklaying, cabinet-making,
weaving, and all kinds of manufacturing, as well as a host of
other occupations, deal exclusively with materials. Those
occupations which take materials and convert them into
articles for man's use may be broadly termed the " indus-
tries," and the workers in them may be called " industrial

Another class of vocations has as its object the distribu-
tion of the products of the industries. The distance which
often separates those persons who produce from those for
whose use these products are intended, makes it impossible
to secure a direct exchange of products between producers
and consumers as was the case with primitive man. This
condition makes necessary another class of workers whose
duty it is to make this distribution. At the present time these
distributers perform a very important part in the social


economy of the world and fill a great need, which was, how-
ever, unknown in the early days of human experience when
there was little exchange of commodities between nations or
even among individuals who dwelt any distance apart. The
vocation which has as its particular province the exchange
and distribution of commodities is known as " commerce."

Professions distinguished from other vocations. There is
still another group of vocations differing in essential char-
acteristics from those already mentioned. In this group, the
workers deal primarily with human beings rather than with
inert matter as in those already mentioned; and the results
of their efforts are shown in some direct result upon the
persons with whom they deal. They may be concerned with
the physical, the mental, or the moral nature of man; or their
work may have to do with the adjustment and the mainte-
nance of proper business relations among men. The sphere
of effort of each is, in the main, clear and definite. For
example, those persons who are primarily concerned with
the physical well-being of man have for their particular duty
the repair of the human body and its preservation from
disease. These persons belong to the profession of medicine.
Similarly, the duties of the group of workers who deal with
the moral well-being of man are also well defined, for they
are directly concerned with the spiritual needs of mankind.
These persons belong to the profession of the ministry of the
gospel. The vocations of those persons who deal with human
beings are said to belong to the " professional class," pro-
vided the persons who practice them meet certain require-
ments of the particular profession to which they belong.

Special professional preparation necessary. The first re-
quirement which a person must fulfill before he can rightly
enter the professional class is to make a careful and thorough
preparation for the particular profession which he wishes to
enter. He must gain a full knowledge of the fundamental


principles which govern the practice of his chosen profession,
and he must, through years of painstaking study, experi-
ment, and experience, acquire the professional knowledge
and skill that will enable him to discharge his duties satis-
factorily. The fact that a professional worker deals pri-
marily with people and his effort is directly with human
beings makes experience and full professional knowledge the
more urgent. A worker with inert matter might occasion-
ally blunder without serious consequences resulting. A shoe-
maker might make a mistake in cutting a pair of shoes and
nothing more serious would happen than the spoiling of a
piece of leather. This he could throw aside and begin again
on a new piece; but if a physician blunders in the diagnosis
of a case or administers the wrong medicine, the mistake
may cost a life.

A skilled mechanic or artisan gains his knowledge and
acquires his skill in the practice of his trade through long
apprenticeship, in which he begins at the very elements of
his particular craft and advances by gradual steps until he
reaches the degree of understanding and skill that will enable
him to produce a satisfactory article. It is only after he has
passed through this long period of training or apprentice-
ship and has acquired skill and confidence in the handling
of tools and the use of material, that he is allowed to work
independently without direction and supervision for the
construction of a finished article. The material with which /
the artisan works is too valuable to be wasted by the experi-
ments and unskilled efforts of the learner. He must become
a skilled workman before his employer would consider it
wise to allow him to use good material. If such a carefully
directed apprenticeship and training are deemed necessary
for the worker with inert matter, how much more important
it is that the worker with human lives should make a long

Online LibraryOscar Israel WoodleyThe profession of teaching → online text (page 1 of 27)