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TEACHIiNG OF HISTORY

IN



ILEMENTARY AND SECONDARY
SCHOOLS



BY



HENRY JOHNSON

PROFESSOR OF HISTORY IN TEACHERS COLLEGE
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY



Netn 3§0tfc

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

1915

All rights reserved






Copyright, 1915,
By THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.



Set up and electrotyped. Published July, 1915.



Norinooti tyttss

J. 8. Cushing Co. — Berwick <fe Smith Co.

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



MY MOTHER



EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION

In beginning his illuminating treatment of the Holy
Roman Empire, Lord Bryce wrote: "In history there
is nothing isolated, and just as to explain a modern act
of Parliament, or a modern conveyance of lands, we
must go back to the feudal customs of the thirteenth
century, so among the institutions of the Middle Ages
there is scarcely one which can be understood until it
is traced up either to classical or to primitive Teutonic
antiquity."

This is the first principle for the teacher of history
to enforce, as it is the first lesson for the student of
history to learn. History offers a third dimension to
the superficial area of knowledge that each individual
acquires through his own experience. When one boasts
that he is not bound by any trammels of the past, he
proclaims his own folly, and would, if he could, reduce
himself to the intellectual level of the lower animals.
He can only mean by such a phrase that he proposes
to set out to discover and to explain the world of nature
and of man as if nothing had been done before, and
as if he were certainly competent for his mighty and



V1U EDITOR S INTRODUCTION

self-imposed task. The wise man, on the contrary, will
search the records of the past for their lessons, in order
that he may be spared from trying to do again what
has been once proved useless, wasteful, or wrong. He
will watch the rise and fall of peoples ; the struggle of
human ambition, greed and thirst for power ; the loves
and hates of men and women as these have affected
the march of events; the migration of peoples; the birth,
development, and application of ideas; the records of
human achievement in letters, in the arts, and in sci-
ence ; the speculations and the beliefs of men as to what
lies beyond the horizon of sense, with a view to seeking
a firm foundation for the fabric of his own knowledge
and of liis own belief.

One of the wisest and most successful teachers of
history that ever lived in America, Professor Francis
Lieber of Columbia College, used a method peculiarly
his own, and achieved exceptional results by so doing.
In his college classes he assigned as the task for
each exercise a definite number of pages in a popular
manual of the history of Europe that was translated
from the German. This manual was nothing more than
a compact and desiccated collection of facts, including
dates, names, and important events. Each pupil was
required to master the contents of the assigned number
of pages. When the class met, the teacher required a
selected pupil, in the presence of his classmates, to



EDITOR S INTRODUCTION IX

write upon the blackboard a summary of the events
that happened in Great Britain, for example, during
the period under examination. By a system of cross-
questioning the aid of the entire class was had in secur-
ing the correctness of this summary. Then another
pupil would be summoned to do the same thing for
France, another for Germany, another for Italy, and
so on until all the material included in the assigned
portion of the textbook had been covered. Then the
teacher, turning with a triumphant look to his class,
was in the habit of saying : " Now you know what was
happening in each of the great countries of Europe at
a specified time. But why were those things happen-
ing ? You do not know. You will not find out from
your textbook, but I will tell you." Then the eloquent
and learned scholar poured forth a wealth of illuminat-
ing philosophical explanation that made the carefully
memorized facts forever real in the minds of his fortu-
nate pupils. There is no better way to study or to
teach history than that. The fundamental data, the
dates, the names, the bare events, must be learned by
the pupil, and having been learned they must be inter-
preted. Interpretation is the task of the teacher.

For more than a generation past there has been a
strong and steadily growing tendency to interpret the
facts of history as the successive sequences in a chain
of economic causation. It has been stoutly held and



X EDITOR S INTRODUCTION

taught that the actions of men and of nations are to
be explained as the effects of purely economic causes.
To accept this, however, as occupying anything more
than a subordinate and a secondary place in the study
of history, is to close one's eyes to the most obvious
facts of human experience. No small part of the life
of individuals and of nations is devoted to courses of
action and to policies which are in direct conflict with
men's obvious economic interests, but which are pursued
because of belief in some principle, because of adhe-
rence to some ideal, because of faith in something
unseen and eternal. The scholarly and the true inter-
pretation of history is to view it as the record of the
social, the moral, and the intellectual education of man,
with economic forces and laws playing a constant but
a secondary part.

It has become fashionable to decry chronology and
to treat as unimportant a knowledge of the dates at
which large events took place. But this tendency is
one to be vigorously resisted. Chronology lies at the
basis of history and furnishes it with a framework.
Not to know the significance of dates such as 490 B.C.,
732 a.d., 1066, 1453, 1492, 1649, 1789, 181^ and_icji4,
is to miss the clue to the power to group events in
their natural order and in their causal sequence.

He will be a fortunate student, too, who is guided by
a study of history through the gates that lead to litera-



editor's introduction xi

ture. Herodotus and Thucydides, Livy and Tacitus,
Gibbon and Macaulay, von Ranke and Mommsen,
Laurent and Martin, are not only historians but men
of letters. They reveal to the student of history the
play upon the records of the past of high intellectual
power, working with the instruments of the fine art of
expression. The teacher of history who awakens in
his pupils a love of the literature of history and a love
of the literature that constitutes so large a part of the
subject-matter of history, will not have taught in vain.

NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER

Columbia University,
May 18, 1915



PREFACE

The literature called forth by school instruction in
history during the last three hundred years is in some
respects a melancholy literature. Much of it can, with-
out great effort, be read as a sort of continuing diagno-
sis of unsound conditions. Something was apparently
wrong in the seventeenth century, when history first
began to be taught seriously as an independent school
subject, and something has apparently been wrong ever
since. This might be indicative merely of a progressive
spirit forever discovering that the good of yesterday is
no longer good to-day. But the facts admit of no such
flattering interpretation. The ills on view in each gen-
eration have been in large part ills on view in each pre-
ceding generation. So, too, much of the advanced
thought on how to improve conditions has been merely
the unconscious revival of old thought. Before history
had really begun to disturb the peace of schoolmasters,
Comenius, in his Great Didactic, completed in 1632,
made provision for the subject in every year of the
school course and emphasized aspects of history which
we, with the zest of pioneers, are emphasizing now.



XIV PREFACE

Before history had become more than a respectable
exception in actual school programs, Christian Weise,
in 1676, found the spell of the ancients over-potent and
argued, much as we argue now, in favor of the modern
period. By the end of the eighteenth century school
instruction in history had been charged with most of the
faults which we attribute to it now, and reformers had
already anticipated most of the correctives which we are
now striving to apply.

Similar impressions of continuing ills and of recurring
advanced thought on how to meet them are left by
other chapters in the history of human endeavor. But
the conditions presented by the history of history teach-
ing suggest a somewhat curious inconsistency. Teachers

1 of history have labored diligently to improve the world
in general through history in general. It does not
appear from the record that they have labored diligently
to improve their own calling through the special history
of that calling. The joy of independent discovery is
not a matter to be treated lightly. It is, moreover,
better on principle to be an originator than to be an
imitator. But teachers of history are committed by
their own logic to a study of the experiences of other
teachers. Believing, as they do believe, that the past
of humanity in general is of value to humanity in gen-
eral, they are scarcely in a position to deny that the

/ past of history teaching is of value to teachers of his-



PREFACE



XV



tory. Surely, to them, beyond teachers of any other
subject, it should be apparent that there is an element
of futility in sailing without charts seas that have already
been charted and in making discoveries that have
already been discovered. There are, it may be added,
wide opportunities for independent exploration the
nature of which can be understood only by those who
embark with some knowledge of what has already been
accomplished.

It is in this faith that the author has attempted in the
following pages a broader survey of past and present
conditions than has hitherto been included in a book on
the teaching of history. The treatment is necessarily
inadequate, but not, it is hoped, as superficial as the ■

leager citation of authorities might suggest. Most of

the generalizations are based upon materials of which

the footnotes convey no hint, and of which they could

Lot, without expansion unsuitable for a work of this

:haracter, convey any hint. The most that can be

:laimed for this part of the work is, however, that it

may furnish some indication of what, in the course of

:hree centuries, has been thought and done in the >

teaching of history.

The greater part of the book is devoted to a discus-
sion of underlying principles and their application to
present problems of history teaching in the United
States. The aim has been to present as concretely as



XVI PREFACE

possible the fundamental conditions of making history
of any kind effective in the schoolroom. There has
been no concealment of a personal conviction that the
study of history in school may be, and should be, a seri-
ous study of history. But this involves merely a further
application of principles of presentation which are, it is
believed, as valid for those who refuse to carry them
beyond the story or information stage of history teach-
ing as for those who believe that school history should
include illustrations of how historical truth is established.

The author's own faith in the ability of boys and girls
to cope with history is frankly greater than that com-
monly professed in educational discussion. But it has
not been established "without works." Beginning,
twenty-five years ago, with all the psychological and
pedagogical tenderness that the latest defender of the
rights of childhood could desire, the author has been
led step by step, through direct experience in the class-
room, to a conviction that history of almost any kind
can be taught at almost any stage of instruction on the
simple condition that it is taught in a sensible way.
The evidence is in part the exercises suggested in this
book, exercises which, however they may be judged on
other grounds, have in every case been personally tested
under average school conditions.

No headings nor marginal comments have been in-
cluded in the body of the book, but a substitute for such



PREFACE XV11

aids to analysis of the text is furnished by the table of
contents. A bibliography of history teaching, a list of
guides to historical literature, a bibliography of illustra-
tive material, suggestions for a collection of illustrative
material, annotated references for further reading, and
questions on the text will be found at the end of the
volume.

The author has drawn freely upon portions of his
earlier pamphlet, 1 but most of the present treatment is
new. He is indebted to his wife for constant and

invaluable assistance.

HENRY JOHNSON.

New York,

June 14, 1915.

1 The Problem of Adapting History to Children in the Elementary
School. Teachers College Record, November, 1908. Out of print.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

Editor's Introduction . vii

Preface . xiii

CHAPTER I

WHAT HISTORY IS

The Past and its Traces . . . . . . i

Traditions and remains 2

Primary and derived sources 3

Inadequacy of sources 4

The Historical Method 6

External criticism 7

Internal criticism 10

Results of criticism . . . . . . .16

f synthesis 17

:eptions of History 19

tus 19

rides 21

stimate of historians 2$

tfic Conception of History .... 24

irch foi laws of human action . . . 25

lization and the question of what is important . 25

;a of development 26

iews of History 27

CHAPTER II

IE PROBLEM OF GRADING HISTORY

Attitude toward the Problem ... 28

ilties often pointed out 29

xix



XX



TABLE OF CONTENTS



PAGE

Difficulties should not be exaggerated .... 30

Tendency to apply preconceived ideas .... 30

General Theories 31

The doctrine of natural tastes and interests . . . 31

The culture-epoch theory 32

From the near to the remote 38

Approach from the Side of History .... 40

Conditions presented by the externals of life . . 40

Conditions presented by past mental states ... 42

Particular facts and general facts .... 44
Grading, a problem in presentation . . . .50

Difficulties Common to all Conceptions of Grading . 51

Localization essential 51

The time sense 52

The place sense S3

Summary of Possibilities 53

CHAPTER III



THE QUESTION OF AIMS AND VALUES

The Formulation of Aims of Instruction

Two modes of procedure

History shaped by predetermined good
Aims Commonly Proposed for History

Contradictions and inconsistencies

Aims not peculiar to history

Objection to indiscriminate listing of aims

Tendency to treat aims as values
Criticism of Values Claimed for History

Tangible results admitted and condemned

Nietzsche's diagnosis of historitis .

Protest of futurists ....

"Exaggerated respect" for the past not impossible

Tangible results denied



55
55
57



TABLE OF CONTENTS



XXI



The Search for Specific Aims and Values

Need of recognizing kinds of history

Conditions presented by uncritical history .

Conditions presented by critical history

Controlling aim suggested by idea of development
Making the Social World Intelligible

General procedure

Incidental consequences

Some objections examined

Kinds of facts to be emphasized
History for its own Sake



PAGE

71
72
72

73
74
75
75
76

78
81
82



CHAPTER IV
HISTORY IN THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM IN EUROPE



Before the Seventeenth Century .

Early use of traditions ....

Obstacles to more formal instruction

Sixteenth-century advocates of history .
The Seventeenth Century ....

Comenius

Christian Weise

History in the schools of the Oratorians
The Eighteenth Century

Conditions unfavorable to history

Leading advocates of historical instruction .

General conceptions of school history .

Influence of Rousseau

The Nineteenth Century

Objections to history exceptional .

Patriotism turned attention to national history

Patriotism the dominant purpose

Effect of patriotism on school programs

Conceptions of grading history



84
84
84
86

87
87
87
88
88
88
89
9i
93
94
94
96

98

99

101



XX11



TABLE OF CONTENTS



History Programs for Secondary Schools

Programs for boys in France

Programs for girls in France

Programs for boys in Germany

Programs for girls in Germany

Programs in other countries .
General Conditions in Elementary Schools

Some typical elementary programs
Summary of Progress to the Present

CHAPTER V



103
109
no
116
118
123
124
125



HISTORY IN THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM IN THE
UNITED STATES



Beginnings of Historical Instruction
Conditions before 181 5 .
History in academies
History in elementary schools



. 127

. 127

128

. 130

Early conceptions of the subject 131

Development up to about 1870 131

Position of History, 1870-1892 132

The Madison Conference 134

Influence of College Entrance Requirements . .137

Committee of Seven 142

Committee of Five 148

. 150

. 151

. 152

. i54

■ i55



Committee of Fifteen

Committee of Twelve

Various Suggestions for Elementary Programs .

Committee of Eight

Comparisons with Europe

American Conservatism 158

Demand for Social Studies 159

CHAPTER VI

THE BIOGRAPHICAL APPROACH TO HISTORY

The Biographical Approach Defined . . . .161

Early Conceptions of Biography . . . . .162



TABLE OF CONTENTS



XX111



Rousseau an Advocate of Biography

Biography Adapted to Schools

The Argument for Biography .

Principles of Selection .

Moral and Patriotic Aims

Biography and the Great-Man Theory

Grouping Men about Events

Lack of Continuity in Biographical Treatment

CHAPTER VII
THE STUDY OF SOCIAL GROUPS



163
163
164

165

168
171

173
176



Differentiation from Biography . .
Group Activities in Early School History

Demands for a Larger View

Materials for a Larger View

Carlyle and Macaulay . .

Weber's Lehrbuch

The Campaign for Kulturgeschichte

Finding Group Characteristics ....

Fdist Steps in the Study of Social Groups

Introduction through History of Manhattan Island

Study of a Broom-corn Community

Materials for Studies of Larger Groups

Biedermann's Plan

Need of a Comprehensive Scheme of Classification

CHAPTER VIII

MAKING THE PAST REAL

The Process Involved 202

Use of the Community . . . . . . . 203

Museums 205

Historical Excursions 206

Special Aids to, Visualization 208

Casts and Models 209



178
179
179
180
181
182

183
186
189
190
194
196
197
198



XXIV



TABLE OF CONTENTS



Pictures

Maps, Charts, and Diagrams .

Conditions Presented by Verbal Description
Generalities in elementary history-
Appearance of interest may be misleading
Need of concrete details

Obstacles to Use of Details .

Special Devices for Utilizing Details .

Realization of the Past at Best Difficult



PAGE
2IO
213

215
2l6
217
2l8
219
221
223



CHAPTER IX

THE USE OF MODELS AND PICTURES

Primary Purpose 225

The Exhibition Idea 226

Nature of the Images Evoked 227

Abstraction in Models and Pictures . . . .228

The Conception of Size 229

Visualizing Details 231

Interpretation 231

Study of a Roman House — Hensell Model . . .232

The Story Element in Pictures 234

Need of Supplementary Verbal Description . . .235

The ^Esthetic Factor 236

Exercises in Identifying Models and Pictures . .237
Why Models and Pictures should be Accurate . . 239



CHAPTER X

•THE USE OF MAPS

Data in Map Representation . . . * . . .241

Why Maps are Essential . 242

The Pointing Exercise 242

Realizing Location 244

Estimating Extent and Area 247



TABLE OF CONTENTS XXV

PAGE

Adjustment to Differences in Scales of Maps . .250
Adjustment to Differences in Map Projections . .250
Visualizing Actual Geographical Environment . .251
Geographic Conditions and Human Development . .252

Historical Geography .254

Exercises in Map Construction 257

Reproductions from memory 257

Constructions from documents 258

Decree of Louis the Pious, 817 . . . .259

Route of Columbus, 1492 260

Land grants, Charter of 1606 .... 263
Materials for other studies 268

CHAPTER XI

TEXTBOOKS IN HISTORY

Relation of the Textbook to School Instruction . 269

Classification of Textbooks 270

Characteristics of American Textbooks . . .271

Books for intermediate grades 271

Books for grammar grades 272

High school textbooks . 276

Brevity Need not Imply Vagueness . . . -277

The Question of Accuracy 280

Point of View and Proportions . . . . .281

Pictures, Maps, and Diagrams 283

References for Collateral Reading . . . .283

Table of Contents and Index 284

Pedagogical Aids 284

Qualities that Make a Book Interesting . . .285

CHAPTER XII

, THE USE OF TEXTBOOKS

Place of the Textbook in American Schools . . 286

Place of the Textbook in European Schools . .287



XXVI



TABLE OF CONTENTS



The Old-fashioned Textbook Recitation

Type of Recitation Determined in Part by Type of

Textbook

Use of Summary Type
Use of Fuller Textbook Treatment
Preliminary Tests of Pupil's Ability
Questions as Aids to Study
Outlines as Aids to Study
Problems as Aids to Study
Dictation and Explication in France
Need of Training in Independent Study
'The Question-and-Answer Method
The Cooperative Outline
Teaching the Pupil how to Study .
Other Uses of the Textbook .
The Use of more than One Textbook
The Art of Questioning .
Written Work . . . .
Giving the Pupil a Chance



PAGE
289

291
291
294

295
297
299
30I
304
305
307
307
308

311
312

313
318
319



• CHAPTER XIII

THE SELECTION AND MANAGEMENT OF COLLATERAL

READING

American Theory and Practice 323

Some Fundamental Defects . . . . . .325

Preliminary Questions 328

Why Collateral Reading is Essential . . . .329
Differentiation of Aims and Treatment . . .331

Appeals to sense of reality 331

Readings for information 331

Readings for inspiration 332

Illustrating historical literature 333

Illustrating the historical method 334



TABLE OF CONTENTS XXVU

PAGE

General Range of Selection 335

Reading to the Class 336

Reading by the Class 339

How to Assign Collateral Reading .... 341

The Pupil's Record of Reading . . . . . 343

Tests of Material 344

The Selection of a Library 345

A Bad Tradition 348

CHAPTER XIV

SCHOOL HISTORY AND THE HISTORICAL METHOD

History as Assured Knowledge 350

Elementary school Columbus — 351

A critical historian's Columbus 352

Arguments for a Dogmatic Treatment . . . .354

To avoid confusion 354

To further "salutary purposes" 355

Errors unimportant 356

His Story and History 356

Argument for Discrimination . . . . . .358

Processes to be Illustrated 359

Raising the Question of How we Know . . . .361
Elementary Exercises in Historical Criticism . . 365

A textbook exercise 366

The Pocahontas story 368

An author and his sources 372

Elementary Exercises in Synthesis . . . -377
Illustrations of the Historical Method for the High

School . 378

Classification of materials 379

A printed form . . . - 379

Subjects for papers 380

Quests for material 380

Analysis of material .382



XXV111



TABLE OF CONTENTS



Criticism illustrated by critics 383

Exercises in grouping facts 385



. CHAPTER XV

THE CORRELATION OF HISTORY WITH OTHER
SUBJECTS IN THE CURRICULUM



t



Incidental Correlation ....
Systematic Correlation ....
Conditions of Systematic Correlation
Relations between History and Geography

Correlation in European schools .

Conditions in the United States .
Relations between History and Literature

History for the sake of literature .

The search for mutual contributions

Claims for historical fiction

Historians and the historical novel

Contributions of history to literature

Contributions of literature to history
Relations between History and Government

Correlation in Europe

Views of Committee of Seven

Views of Committee of Political Science Association

Arrangement suggested by Committee of Five
History as a Central Subject in the Curriculum .



389
39i
393
394
394
397
398
398
399
401
402

405
406
406
407
408
409
411
413



CHAPTER XVI
. THE HISTORY EXAMINATION



Early School Examinations . .

European Examination Systems

School Examinations in the United States .

General Conceptions of the History Examination

An Examination Paper in History Set in England



414
416

4i7
419
419



TABLE OP CONTENTS



XXIX



Pro-



An American College Entrance Examination in History
Criticism or the Two Papers .
Answers of Examiners to such Criticism
Truth on Both Sides ....

History Examinations should Include Tests of

CESSES r

Possible modes of procedure .
Illustrative exercises

Map interpretation



Online LibraryHenry JohnsonTeaching of history in elementary and secondary schools → online text (page 1 of 30)