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LIBRARY

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

SANTA BARBARA



PRESENTED BY

ALMA WILLIAMS
UCSB



THE DISCIPLINE OF
THE SCHOOL



BY

FRANCES M. MOREHOUSE

SUPERVISOR OF HIGH SCHOOL TEACHING
ILLINOIS STATE NORMAL UNIVERSITY



WITH INTRODUCTION
BY

LOTUS D. COFFMAN, PH.D.

PROFESSOR OF EDUCATION
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS



D. C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS

BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO



COPYRIGHT, 1914,
BY D. C. HEATH & Co.

IBS



LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFC
SANTA BARBARA



TO HIM WHOSE FAITH IN ME

MAKES THIS AND ALL OTHER WORK

I MAY BE GRANTED TO DO

A SLIGHT TRIBUTE:

MY FATHER



AUTHOR'S FOREWORD

IT was not the daring of my own spirit which first conceived
the idea of practically denying an old pedagogic maxim which
says that, given lessons well taught, the order of a school
will take care of itself. Neither was I the first to gainsay
the truth of the cheerful superstition that no specific help
upon questions of discipline may be given a teacher; that
each situation, as it presents itself, must be met in the light
of certain general principles which are doubtless very sound,
but which do not always readily come to mind in the nick
of time. Nevertheless these new doctrines met a ready
response from one to whom experience and observation have
combined to show that the management of behavior is in
itself a definite phase of school work, and a definite problem
to be solved; and that fairly concrete means of achieving
good results may be passed from one teacher to another, as
truly as a concrete manner of teaching a geography lesson
may be taught one teacher by another.

The first chapters of this book deal with the general as-
pects of the situation, and with the theory of discipline. The
latter chapters take up the concrete problems of school life
and offer suggestions for their solution. A constant effort
has been made to keep the subject matter practical, suggest-
ive, helpful. At the same time, there has been no attempt
to evade the necessity for real thought, for thorough analysis,
and for that grasp of the big plan without which no teacher
can really succeed as a disciplinarian. An illuminating con-
ception of the social organization not only of the school, but
of the world, underlies the new discipline, which errs neither
on the side of that soft pedagogy which ignores social obliga-



vi AUTHOR'S FOREWORD

tion, nor with the older blind severity which denied social
advantages. It is inexorable, sure of its authority, and sternly
firm; but it recognizes the right of self-government which
comes as the reward of trustworthiness, and the joy that
comes from happy cooperation. It is this conception of the
nature of school management and discipline, applied to cases
which most teachers know by heart, which forms the subject
of this book.

So many people have helped in the making of the book,
that it is quite impossible to make adequate acknowledg-
ment of my debts to them. But I wish especially to thank
Dr. L. D. Coffman, at whose suggestion the work was under-
taken, for helpful criticism and encouragement. A number
of people have given time and thought to the answering of
questions bearing upon their experience and knowledge of
school affairs, notably Miss Sallie H. Webb of Cincinnati,
the late WUliam J. Morrison of Brooklyn, and Miss Kate
Smith of Los Angeles. To Miss Charlotte Reichmann I am
especially indebted for hearty and helpful cooperation in
translating German treatises and in criticizing and proof-
reading. Several of my colleagues in the Training School of
the Illinois State Normal University, notably Miss Lora
Dexheimer and Mr. Edwin A. Turner, have given me helpful
suggestions. Two of the chapters have appeared in The
American Schoolmaster. To others I have given due credit
in the body of the text.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

INTRODUCTION xiii

I. THE PLACE AND WORK OF THE SCHOOL IN MODERN

LIFE i

The functions of the school; its relations to other institu-
tions; the source of its authority; the school and parents.

IE. THE MODES OF SCHOOL GOVERNMENT 13

Different modes are the result of our complicated relations.

I. The mode of Absolute Authority its origin; its

weakness; cases in which it may be used; types of pupils

with whom it should be used; the merging of imposed

authority into voluntarily accepted authority.

13. The mode of Appeal to Personal Interest the use of

incentives; ideals of self-advancement; its use with

adolescents; its effect upon the curriculum; its effect

upon the choice of studies and of conduct; the danger

of this mode.

III. The mode of Control through Personal Influence
its power; its temptation to the teacher; use and exer-
cise of personal influence; the process of socialization; of
generalization; its use in the High School.

m. THE MODES OF SCHOOL GOVERNMENT con-

. tinued 35

IV. The mode of Wholesome Repletion the impenetra-
bility of attention and interest; busywork; motivation of
studies. This mode in the high school two kinds
of organization; the interests of adolescents; reasons for
the failure of this mode; high school fraternities;
interest as a basis for organization; the nature of or-
ganizations; means of realizing these characteristics;
some of the interests utilized; manner of administration.



viii CONTENTS

The psychology of this mode its use of ceremony; of
intellectual stimuli; of emotional stimuli; of ambition;
of the instinct for leadership.

IV. THE MODES OF SCHOOL GOVERNMENT continued 53

V. The mode of Appeal to Social Consciousness
making the social relation conscious; rewards and punish-
ments for social and unsocial conduct; principles govern-
ing social conduct.

Special forms of school government founded upon the
mode of Social Consciousness self-government as
an ideal; systems aiming to help establish self-govern-
ment; the four types of pupil-government plans, with
examples; arguments for and against such schemes.

V. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN AMERICAN LIFE AS

THEY AFFECT THE QUESTION OF SCHOOL DIS-
CIPLINE 74

The motive for the inquiry; feminization; interest in
school work; two sides to toleration; democracy and
its effect; the cultural ideal; the passing of the bully.

VI. THE PRESCRIPTION OF DISCIPLINARY ACTIVITIES 81

The question of formal discipline; the position accepted
as a basis in these pages; definition of terms; pre-
scription of habits, mental training, and social aims. The
crystallization of race experience in prescription; the
present revolt; what teachers may do to effect a recon-
ciliation; the object of prescription; its application;
its outcomes.

VII. THE DISCIPLINARY PROCESS 92

Definition of the word "discipline"; an adequate con-
ception of the phases of discipline; the ideal in the
teacher's mind; in the minds of the pupils; establish-
ing the ideal by assumption, by definition and clarifi-
cation, by correlation, and by illustration. Realization
of the ideal by cooperation of teacher and pupils, by
habits founded upon instincts wisely adapted, by the
development of judgment.



CONTENTS ix

VIII. THE SPIRIT OF THE SCHOOL 109

Elements in determining this spirit in teachers; in pupils;
the school environment as a factor; its characteristics;
the practicability of having a good spirit; means of
curing it; by kindness, by industry, by obedience, by
joy, by school unity.

EX. AN ANALYSIS OF OFFENSES COMMON IN AMERICAN

SCHOOLS 121

The basis of classification; offenses of misdirected energy
whispering, note-writing, school mischief of many
kinds. Offenses rising from a resentful resistance to im-
posed control disobedience and truancy, 'deliberate
annoyance of teachers. Offenses due to physical con-
ditions, both in the environment and in the pupils them-
selves bad results of wrong temperature, bad air, poor
light, dirt, poor equipment. Obscenity, lack of atten-
tion, indifference. Offenses due to untrained moral judg-
ment and perverted ideals influence of the community;
fighting, shielding evil-doers, lying, stealing, cheating,
gaming. Offenses of sensationalism bad odors, animals
in school, ingenious misdeeds, misleading appearances.
Offenses of imitation impudence and defiance, law-
lessness, ridicule, profanity and obscenity, hazing, strikes
and walkouts, fraternities, tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
Offenses due to untrained manners vandalism, im-
pudence, horseplay.

X. PUNISHMENT 163

Its justification. The motives for punishment retalia-
tion, expiation, prevention, reformation. Individualiza-
tion of punishment; term as used by criminologists;
another interpretation; when not to punish. Imme-
diate and delayed consequences; advantages of each; age
as a factor in the decision; the nature of the offense as
a factor; certainty as a factor.

XI. PUNISHMENT continited 178

Undesirable punishments threats, tasks, detention,
taking away earned marks, personal indignities, satura-
tion, the "appropriate punishment," sarcasm and ridi-



x CONTENTS

cule. Justifiable punishments isolation, reports to
parents, socialization of penalties, deprivation of privi-
lege, restitution, suspension, expulsion. Corporal pun-
ishment justification, methods, and substitutes; ap-
peal to higher authority, and moral suasion; tongue
lashing.

XII. DISCIPLINARY DEVICES 210

Preventive devices founded upon the mode of Absolute
Authority The importance of prevision and provision;
the school's conception of the teacher's position; the
teacher's benevolent despotism; pedagogical coopera-
tion; doing away with bad influences.

Preventive devices founded upon the mode of Personal
Influence Pleasing the teacher the emotionalization
of ideals; teaching ethics systematically; strengthen-
ing the personality of the teacher the lesson of the
parochial school; elements of strength in teachers; the
voice; types of teachers who fail.

Preventive devices founded upon the mode of Wholesome
Repletion Three sets of extra-curricular activities;
pupil-officers and their duties; recreation tune; home
time. The fundamental problem of interest; a ques-
tion-begging substitute; the element of fatigue; reasons
for failing interest; lack of interest is no excuse for
failure.

XIII. DISCIPLINARY DEVICES continued 233

Corrective devices founded upon the mode of Absolute
Authority For undue absence from the room; for
whispering; library rules as a standard; wilful inatten-
tion; impertinence; the complaint book; the pupil's
record book; the benefit of system. Rules.

XIV. DISCIPLINARY DEVICES continued 249

Corrective devices founded upon the mode of Personal In-
fluence Judge Lindsey's work as an example; reminders;

the parole system; motivating good conduct; negative
incentives; the appraisal of conduct; trusting pupils; and
training the public.



Devices founded upon the appeal to Personal Interest
Prize-giving; a classification of incentives; preeminence,
privileges, holidays, excuse from examinations, charac-
ter-development.

XV. DISCIPLINARY DEVICES continued 268

Devices founded upon the mode of Conscious Social Ap-
peal Class loyalty and its extension; school charac-
ter; means of unification. Pupil-government; distin-
guished from self-government; as an extension of the
monitorial system; its good points; cautions with regard

to pupil-government; the ideal of service. Morning
exercises; an outgrowth of daily work; devotions; gen-
eral participation.

XVI. THE SUPERVISION OF DISCIPLINE 285

The selection of able teachers, and their improvement hi
service. The supervisor's duty to weak teachers; ana-
lyzing the situation; giving the ideal; finding the cause
of trouble; the analysis of motive; first aid to teachers.
Strengthening the will; the detection of signs of mis-
chief; the value of good routine; making requirements
clear; utilizing the system; utilizing experience. Sug-
gestions for classroom management. The supervisor in
the community.



APPENDICES

I. A Classified Bibliography 305

II. Questions for Study 312

III. Blank Forms for Use in Securing and Maintaining

Good Order 327

Index 341



INTRODUCTION

THE most important cause of teacher mortality is
weakness in discipline. It is responsible for approxi-
mately twenty out of every one hundred failures. Al-
though this fact has been recognized for many years
there has not heretofore been any attempt to formulate
the principles underlying this important phase of a
teacher's work. Tradition and the exigencies of the
situation have furnished teachers their criteria for dis-
posing of disciplinary cases. The unsupervised appli-
cation of such criteria has ofttimes been the only way
by which young teachers could discover their futility.
Although much of our progress in teaching has been
made by "cut and try" methods they are, neverthe-
less, the most expensive methods that teachers can
employ. Certainly nothing will pay larger dividends in
the field of school economy than an interpretation of the
experiences of successful teachers relating to discipline.

There are no changes in the field of education more
striking than those that have been occurring in the
field of school discipline. At one time there was an
effort to adjust disciplinary affairs mathematically;
the offender was punished to the extent that he had
caused suffering; an equation was struck between the
guilt and the suffering, and thus an indemnity was
secured for past conduct. An exact agreement be-



xiv INTRODUCTION

tween the punishment and the offense is not always
obvious, nor can it always be established. Moreover,
the view point of this primitive notion of punishment
is wrong, for it stresses the crime or offense but over-
looks the character of the offender; the attention of
the one inflicting the punishment is turned to the past,
never to the future.

Somewhat later human ingenuity was exercised to
its utmost in devising forms of punishment for in-
timidating and deterring others; but penalty as a
deterrent, in the opinion of the criminologist and
penologist of this and other countries and in the opinion
of wise teachers, has not succeeded in making good
its claim. It is not the laws upon the statute books,
the rules of the school, or the occasioned visitation of
harsh punishment, but the certainty of punishment that
deters others from violating the law.

Punishment as a deterrent has been, and no doubt
still is, resorted to in some schools. For evidence one
only needs to refer to the historic dunce-cap, to making
children toe a mark, requiring them to stand upon
some unstable elevation, to sit with a pencil or stick
beneath their tongues for whispering, or to the public
administering of corporal punishment. Fortunately all
sane educators are unanimously desirous of getting rid
of these inane practices.

There are, however, certain evidences of the in-
quisitional age that have shown signs of persisting.
Worse perhaps than public disgrace, "saturation," and
tasks, all of which are mediaeval in origin, is the pub-
lic use of vituperation. Such opprobrious epithets as
"loafer" "numskull," "fool," and the like, are more



INTRODUCTION xv

than inelegant; they are calculated to antagonize the
child or to break his self-respect.

The chief weakness of the doctrine of repression was
that it wholly disregarded the worth of the individual.
Repression of dangerous and instinctive evil tendencies,
inherited from the race, will always be necessary for
the fruition of a beautiful character, but repression as a
means of public disgrace will seldom produce positive
qualities of character or be successful in preventing
others from committing similar offenses.

The inadequacy and barbarity of these earlier
methods began to dawn upon sensible people and atten-
tion was centered more and more upon the individual.
It was recognized that the guilty are not all irredeem-
able, that reformation, except in extreme cases, is far
better than incapacitation. The rehabilitation of the
individual became the goal of action.

Naturally it was but a step from this to the notion
that the way to prevent trouble is to stop the operation
of those causes which permit the origination of the
impulse, its gratification, and its spread by contagion
of sympathy. This point of view has been responsible
partly for the liberalizing of the course of study, the
improving of methods of instruction, and the enrich-
ment of the school libraries. Perhaps the recognition
of the value and necessity of promoting and supervising
the numerous activities that children more or less
spontaneously engage in, was the most important
outcome of this point of view. The clubs, parties,
entertainments, and games of young people, even when
not subject to supervision, are powerful disciplinary
agencies. For a child to be chosen or not to be chosen,



xvi INTRODUCTION

to be invited or not to be invited, to act as a leader or
as a follower, teaches him to respect authority. But
when under the guidance of a wise teacher, the social
activities are made to conform to established usage,
the individual engaging in them, learns not only to
respect authority but to appreciate certain important
refinements of justice. Those teachers who are the
successful leaders of their pupils and their communities,
consider it a part of their legitimate function to see
that the social activities of both are kept upon a high
plane and are distinctively educative in character.

Perhaps the best preventive measures in a school
are good organization and excellent instruction. Much
of the organization of a school may be attended to
before the school actually opens. All the more or
less mechanical and routine matters, such as the
program, the seating of the pupils, the monitorial
system, the plan of government, and the like, if prop-
erly provided for before the opening day, will serve
from the outset as powerful hindrances to questionable
conduct. By the "plan of government" I do not
have reference to the making of rules. Whenever
rules are made uniformity of discipline becomes a
principle of the school. This is not always desirable.
To have a fixed and definite punishment for all offend-
ers or for all of a kind, will eventually compromise the
disciplinarian. There must be moderation in some
cases and constraint in others.

Lucidity of instruction, perhaps the greatest pre-
ventive agency of bad conduct, depends upon the
personal qualities of the teacher, his tact, sympathy,
disposition, knowledge, and command of the tech-



INTRODUCTION xvii

nique of teaching. The amelioration of discipline is
due not only to better teaching but to better build-
ings, better libraries, and better school equipment.
The relation of these factors to the problem under
consideration is so remote or indirect or obvious as to
make an analytical treatment of them unnecessary.

Any discussion of discipline and its attendant con-
sequences would be inadequate if it did not involve
a treatment of that hoary but nevertheless unsolved
problem of the relation of authority to obedience, for
it must be admitted that both are traditionally sanc-
tioned and indisputably unnecessary in the govern-
ment of any school. At times the school has attempted
to imitate some form of municipal or state government,
but there are few successful attempts of record, except
where some powerful personality has been back of
them. At other times the school has attempted to
imitate an ideal home where every phase of conduct
is controlled though the manifestations of affection,
but obviously such a basis of control is not equally
applicable to all grades of the school. The school is
not society, nor can it exactly duplicate any institu-
tion of society. It is a society and as such has its
own strengths and limitations for doing certain kinds
of work. Its work depends to some extent upon obe-
dience to authority. Authority, wisely used, inspires
confidence in the child and cultivates that feeling of
respect which should dominate all well-ordered schools.

Obedience does not destroy independence. It lays
the only true foundation for independence. Certainly
one of the rights of every child is to have the benefit
of the will of his elders concerning things about which



xviii INTRODUCTION

he has no will. There is no justification in psychology
for the theory that children should be allowed to
follow unrestrictedly their impulses and instinctive
tendencies and that, if left alone, they will grow up
into intelligent, civilized, moral beings. There can
be no freedom in any institution except by obedience
to those conditions or laws that are necessary for the
perpetuity of the institution. The only natural rights
any one has are the ones he uses for collective welfare.
Freedom in adulthood calls for the exercise of a certain
amount of authority in childhood. The great work of
civilization and of education has been that of over-
laying certain primitive tendencies so that all might
more satisfactorily satisfy the conditions necessary for
good citizenship, for neighborhood and family life.

Mere spontaneous activity never in itself produced
reflective thinking. It is simply overflow, undiffer-
entiated and disorganized. Unless something arises
to disturb and check the flow of events, to make
us conscious of some maladjustment, to intensify the
sensation of strain between what we are and are not
but ought to be, no thinking is done. The person who
is the victim of a thousand and one chance stimula-
tions of his environment is characterless; but the
person who has learned to choose his stimuli or his
responses as the result of wise teaching has acquired
the fundamentals of character.

As efficiency in language is not measured by the
number of mistakes one makes, but by the correctness
of his speech, so the test of efficiency in school dis-
cipline is not the number of offenses committed but
the freedom from offenses.



THE
DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL

CHAPTER I

THE PLACE AND WORK OF THE SCHOOL IN
MODERN LIFE

SCHOOLS are so important and universal a factor in
modern life that few people think of trying to justify
or explain them. Nevertheless, at a time when the
most universal and time-honored institutions are called
upon by thoughtful people to give a reason for the
faith that men have in them, even the school may be
put in question. For the reliable intuition of society
at large, it is enough that the experience of centuries
has established the school as one of the taken-for-
granted adjuncts of civilization; but for the pragmatist
whose questionings are a saving antidote to the inertia
of conservatism, there must be a provable justification
for even this well-established institution. That the
school has such a justification in its function and its
service must be conceded by practically all people,
including those who differ most as to just what that
function and service should be.

There are three social institutions which take it upon
themselves consciously to train children for their work
in the world. They are the home, the church, the
school. At different times in the world's history each



2 DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL

has borne the greater burden of responsibility; at present
the school has been rather reluctantly forced to under-
take duties either voluntarily given up, or taken by force
of circumstance from the other two. In general, the
The two school recognizes two great duties devolving upon it: to
the C schooi prepare children for living, by making them intelligent
sharers in the life of their time; and to prepare them for
the task of adding something to the sum of human
welfare. The first function has for its aim to help the
child catch up with the race; the second, to aid the
race in its efforts at progress. The school, then, stands
with the home and the church as a great unifying force,
reconciling the individuals in its care to their environ-
ment, and then stimulating them to realize in that
environment their individual ideals.

But the school was never intended by men to usurp
the whole responsibility of the training of the rising
generation; nor should it, though never so urgently
stimulated by the need of the day, try to attend to
The Whole Duty of Man. There is a set of duties
which belongs inherently to it, because it can perform
these better, more economically, and more skillfully,
than can the home or the church. There are other
duties which it should leave to the institutions whose
proper care they are. Religious training, for instance,
is as important as any part of a child's education; and
yet it is manifestly impossible for the public schools of



Online LibraryFrances Milton Irene MorehouseThe discipline of the school → online text (page 1 of 24)