James Pyle Wickersham.

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"The method of nature is the archetype of all methods." — Marcel.

"Man cannot propose a higher and holier ohject for his study, than education,
and all that appertains to education." — Cousin's Plato.




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania.


%^ a Sfililjut([ 0f %t%i^ni

To the men and loomen noiv constituting the Teachers*
Profession in America, characterized as they are
hy learning, worth, and devotion to a work
among the most noble that human effort
ever aspired to accomplish — the
right education of the whole
people of the nation — who
for their heavy labors
receive small recom-
pense save the con-
sciousness of
doing good,

Whose desire it has been to be worthy of a place as a
co-worker among them, whose hope it is to
aid in elevating and dignifying the Pro-
fession to which he and they belong,
and whose reward it will be to
have secured their approval
of his work, begs leave
to dedicate this

(iii) '


The author of this volume published, about a year
ago, a book entitled " School Economy." In the Pre-
face to it, the statement was made that other volumes
were contemplated, but that their publication depended
very much upon the reception of the one then offered
to the Profession and the public. The commendations
of that book were so numerous and hearty, and its sale
so rapid, that the obligation was soon imposed upon
the author of redeeming his implied promise, by print-
ing the volume on " Methods of Instruction," which
was then announced as being almost ready for the

The present work, like the former one, is based upon
lectures delivered to classes of students preparing them-
selves for teachers, but much additional matter is intro-
duced here, that was not contained in the original
lectures, for the purpose of rounding out the whole
into a more perfect system, and making the book more
acceptable to all classes of teachers. As it now stands

1* (y)


it is hoped that it will be found to embodj^ principles
well worthy the attention of the Philosopher as well
as of the Educator, and that its merit may be such as
to make it a standard work in the profession whose
interests mainly it is designed to serve.

It will be observed that the word Teaching is used
to designate all that belongs to the profession, whose
aim it is to educate mankind. The words Law and
Medicine have a similar relation to those professions
whose objects it is, respectively, to preserve social
order, and to cure the sick. Pedagogy, is the term
generally employed by the Germans to express what I
now call Teaching, but this word has an unpleasant
association in this country, which unfits it for that pur-
pose. Teaching was divided in the Preface to the
" School Economy," into four divisions, viz. : School
Economy, which treats of the preparation for, and the
organization of, the school, and the conditions of its
efficient working; Methods of Instruction, which treats
of the nature of knowledge, and the methods of im-
parting it ; Methods of Culture, which treats of the
nature of man, aild the methods of educing from it all
possible perfection ; and the Histor}^ of Education. To
the matter composing the first three divisions I have
sometimes thought shorter, but, perhaps, not more
expressive, names might be applied, as follows : Scho-
lastics, instead of School Economy ; Didactics, instead
of Methods of Instruction ; and Humanics, instead of
Methods of Culture. The first is, perhaps, objectionable


because it has already been appropriated, though not
much used ; the second is very expressive, and is now-
applied somewhat indefinitely to Teaching in general ;
and the third, in a slightly different form, has associa-
tions of long standing, w-hich render it a fit term to
express the object-matter proposed to be embraced by
Methods of Culture. Throughout this work, how-ever,
the forms of expression first chosen will continue to
be used.

The labor expended in the preparation of this book
w^as very great. It formed a daily subject of thought
for the past ten years, and much of it was w^ritten over
three or four times. This is hardly the place to confess
how often the task w^as about to be abandoned from the
disproportion felt to exist between its magnitude and
the limited powers that could be summoned to execute
it ; but it w^as as often resumed, and is now completed
— completed, but not perfected, for it is not presumed
that nothing erroneous or imperfect w411 be found in
the work. It would have been easy to fill five hundred
pages with matter concerning the methods of teaching
the several branches of knowledge considered independ-
ently ; but in that case the book would have been a
mere collection of fragments, and not at all a scientific
treatise. It might, indeed, have been more popular,
but it w^ould have been unfaithful to the great theme
discussed ; so at the risk of losing readers, patient effort
was made to grapple with the subject in its broadest
relations. Great difficulty w^as met in condensing the


materials. It would have been much easier to write
several volumes on the subject than one. The thinking
reader will appreciate this labor.

Criticism is anticipated from those who would mea-
sure all knowledge by the standard of utility, or confine
it to the few branches which seem to impart most skill
in transacting the world's affairs, but this will be borne
with patience, if what is written shall secure the appro-
bation of those who see in education the means of
developing all the powers of the human soul, and fur-
nishing it with that instruction which is not only pro-
fitable on earth, but which leads up towards the world
of light and love.

Teachers of the most limited scholarship will find
much matter in the book that they can readily make
use of in the every day work of their schools; but some
such teachers will likely complain that they meet with
things which they cannot understand. This, perhaps,
will not be the fault of the book. The doctrine of
education cannot be discussed as a Philosophy without
using philosophical principles and philosophical lan-
guage. Works on Law and Medicine rise to the level
of the subjects of which they treat, and lift the earnest
student up with them. Teachers must adopt a higher
standard of learning. They must acquaint themselves
with the fundamental principles of Teaching. They
must learn to think. And, besides, this book was not
written for the babes of the profession, but for the men
— not for those who are satisfied to tramp forever the


tread-mill of routine and get no farther and rise no
higher, but for those who aspire to gain broader and
clearer views of the Philosophy of Education and to
guide the work of teaching by their light. Teaching,
when rightly done, is not a mere process of imitation or
a piece of guess-work. Its rules and precepts are not
even the generalizations of successful practice, but they
are founded upon the universal and necessary laws
which condition matter and govern mind.

As a preparation for the successful study of this
book, it is necessary to understand the several bran-
ches of knowledge of the methods of teaching which
it treats; and also to be versed in the sciences which
directly appertain to mind — the Psychological Sciences.
In the broadest sense it requires the whole of Science
to constitute the basis upon which Teaching must
rest. The solution of the problem of man necessitates
the solution of the problem of nature, for to under-
stand him all else must be understood. And yet this
conception is so far above the practice of the profes-
sion, so much beyond the reach of many who are called
good teachers that I scarcely venture to present it.
When I think of the low ends we aim at in education,
and the unworthy means and imperfect methods we
use to accomplish them, I tremble to think we are
teaching and know so little. God, forgive us if we
mar thy noblest work. We are ignorant, and would
be humble. Thou alone canst know the difficulties
that surround our task.


The i^lan of this book was formed during the year
1855. To fill out the plan much reading as well as
much thinking has been done; but to tell to-day what
was obtained by the first process and what by the
second is an impossibility. Wishing to do justice to
everybody, no claim that may be fairly made to any
idea in it will be disputed ; and it is hoped that some-
thing may be left even when all claims are satisfied.
Nothing, however, has been taken from others and
used without digestion. All the facts and principles
found in the book, come whence they may, have been
fused into a common whole. This whole — this collect-
ing and uniting of the scattered fragments of thought
concerning education — this system^ is what the author
asks credit for, if credit be deemed his due.

The question is a disputed one as to whether Teach-
ing is a science or an art. The settlement of this
question depends wholly upon the definitions of sci-
ence and art. Teaching seeks an end without itself,
and this is a characteristic of art. It comprehends
many scientific principles which admit systematic ar-
rangement, and this is a characteristic of science. It
applies those principles in the form of rules or precepts
in the accomplishment of its ends, and this again ex-
hibits its relationship to the arts. All the principles
of Teaching come to it second-hand. They are first
found in the material or mental sciences, and are used
in Teaching to furnish a ground for its methods of pro-
cedure. But as a body of truths they are among the


broadest and noblest that the human mind can contem^
plate, and consequently place Teaching side by side,
as the peer of the proudest professions known to men.
Teaching has the same claims to be considered a science
as Jurisprudence, Medicine, or practical Ethics; for
all these are constructed in a manner precisely like
Teaching. All of them borrow their principles, and
all of them use these principles in the eifort to attain
their respective ends. Perhaps, as Mill following Comte
suggests, "There ought to be a set of intermediate
scientific truths, derived from the higher generalities
of science, and destined to serve as the generalia, or
first principles, of the various arts." Some such gene-
ralia relating to Teaching are given in this book under
the head of Conditioning Principles. These and other
principles like them constitute the claim Teaching has
to be called a Science. If the claim is not well founded
with respect to Teaching, it cannot be well founded with
respect to any other profession. I am quite willino- to
consider Teaching an art, but it is an art based upon
scientific principles that should always guide its prac-
tice. Let teachers forever discard the degrading idea
that the highest and holiest work in which men can
engage on earth, the right education of the human
soul, is a mere mechanical employment that can be
learned by imitation — is a thing so easy that no special
preparation is required to do it. Let them hold to the
truth, though their pearls be trampled on by vulgar
feet, that Teaching lays under contribution all science
and all art in working out the grandest end that


human conception ever realized — the perfection of
the race. ,

With grateful thanks for the kind reception accorded
to his first volume, the author now hopefully trusts his
second to the same generous hands.

J. P. W.

State Normal School, January, 1865.




First Class of Reasons. page

1. The teacher must understand the true object of educa-

tion 26

2. The teacher must understand that upon which he

operates 27

3. The teacher must understand that with which he

operates 28

4. The teacher must understand how to conduct the

operation 28

5. The teacher must know how to manage and govern the

school 30

Second Class of Reasons.

1. Special preparation on the part of teachers is necessary

to constitute Teaching a profession 30

2. Special preparation on the part of teachers is necessary

to make Teaching a permanent business 31

3. Efforts for the special preparation of teachers have

been attended with satisfactory results.



I. Principles inferable from the Nature of Mind 37

1. The intellectual faculties can receive culture by judi-
cious exercise 37

2 (xiii)



2. The human intellect embraces a number of distinct

faculties each of which requires a diflFerent kind of
culture 38

3. Human beings have been created with different tastes

and talents to fit them for performing different
duties or for occupying different spheres in life 39

4. The Perceptive powers are stronger and more active in

youth than the other intellectual faculties and thus
furnish a basis for the superstructure of knowledge 40

5. Commencing with the Perceptive Powers, the various

intellectual faculties increase in relative strength in
the following order : Memory, Recollection, Imagina-
tion, Understanding, Reason 41

6. The hviman mind possesses two sources of knowledge,

the Senses and the Reason, the products of which
differ in kind 44

7. In acquiring knowledge, the mind first distinguishes its

objects in kind, then in quantity, and afterwards in
their relations 45

8. The ratiocinative faculty in elaborating systems of

science, proceeds inductively or deductively, analyti-
cally or synthetically 46

9. The acquisitive powers of the mind in getting knowledge

operate according to certain laws of suggestion 48

10. The reproductive powers of the mind by means of laws

of association enable it to recall its knowledge, and

to hold it up in vivid pictures before it 49

11. The productive powers of the mind enable it. to make

new discoveries and new inventions 50

12. The human intellect grows only by its own inherent

energies 51

13. The acts of men do not derive their moral quality from

the intellect 51

14. The intellect of man has limits which no extent of educa-

tion can enable it to pass 52

II. Principles inferable from the Nature of Knowledge 64

1. The several branches of knowledge can be made to fur-

nish the intellectual faculties with exercise proper

in kind and quantity 54

2. Educational means can be found adapted to give culture

to every capability of mind 56


3. No God-constituted difference of mental constitution is ^^^^

left unprovided for in the wealth of means which the
Creator intended to be used for the purposes of
education g^

4. Nature presents to the inquirer, first the concrete and

then the abstract ; first things and then words, or
signs for things; first facts and phenomena and
then laws and principles; first wholes and then
parts and collections of wholes ; thus indicating to
the teacher the propriety of confining his elemen-
tary instruction mainly to lessona on objects whose
properties can be directly perceived, for the purpose
of making the experience of the young as extensive
as possible eg

5. Nature opens up her truth in a certain order, and that

order must be followed in investigation and study... 60

6. The Empirical and the Rational Sciences require dif-

ferent methods of instruction 62

7 The first form of instruction must be qualitative, next

quantitative, and, then, a comparison of relations... 64

8. As conditioned by the relations of the object-matter

of knowledge, methods of teaching must be induc-
tive or deductive, analytical or synthetical 66

9. The object-matter of knowledge as it exists in nature is

so connected and arranged as to facilitate its acqui-
sition • po

10. The matter of knowledge as it lies in the memory has

connections and relations which increase its avail-
ability gg

11. New discoveries in science and new inventions in the

arts are still possible, and methods of instruction
should prompt the young to make them 70

12. Nature everywhere courts investigation by a system of

attractions wLich enlist the attention, and induce
increased activity in the powers by which we re-
member, reflect, reason, and philosophize, and there-
fore methods of teaching should be suggestive 72

13. The study of science does not in itself lead to virtue.... 75

14. What we can know is everywhere bounded by what

must remain unknown 7(5




I. The Classification of Knowledge 80

First Class — the Elements of Knowledge 83

Second Class — Language 85

Third Class — the Formal Sciences 86

Fourth Class — the Empirical Sciences 86

Fifth Class — the Rational Sciences 86

Sixth Class — the Historical Sciences 87

Seventh Class — the Arts 87

II. The Genesis of Knowledge 88

The Genesis of our knowledge of Language 88

The Genesis of our knowledge of the Formal Sciences 90

The Genesis of our knowledge of the Empirical Sciences, ,. 93

The Genesis of our knowledge of the Ptational Sciences 96

The Genesis of our knowledge of the Historical Sciences... 98

The Genesis of our knowledge of the Arts 99

Educational generalizations 103

III. The Order of Study 109

First Period — Infancy 110

Second Period — Childhood 113

Third Period— Fom^^ 117

Fourth Period — Manhood 120



1. Informal Instruction in the Elements of Knowledge 124

1. Children should be allowed ample opportunities for ex-

ercising their Senses 124

2. Children should be instructed in learning to talk 127

3. Children should have their appetite for knowledge grati-

fied 130

4. Children should be furnished occasions for applying

their powers of knowing what is true, beautiful, and
good 135

5. Children should be allowed facilities for practice in the

elements of the Arts 138



II. Formal Instruction in the Elements of Knowledge 140

1. The Design of Object. Lessons 141

2. The Matter of Object Lessons 144

3. The Preparation for imparting Object Lessons 150

4. The Method of conducting Object Lessons 154

6. The Dangers to which the Object Lesson System is

exposed 15G



Instruction in our Mother-Tongue 161

Advantages to be derived from the Study of the Eng-
lish Language 165

Learning to Read our Mother-Tongue 165

The Alphabet 165

1. The A B C Method 168

The Manner of teaching the Alphabet with a Book.... 168

The Manner of teaching the Alphabet with Cards 169

The Manner of teaching the Alphabet with a Slate or

Blackboard ^ 179

The Manner of teaching the Alphabet with Letter-
Blocks 173

2. The Word Method 175

Lessons upon the N.imes of Pictures 175

Lessons upon the Names of Words 176

Lessons upon the Names of Letters 176

Pronunciation 179

1. The Synthetic Method 179

The Alphabetic Method ISO

The Phonic Method 182

The Phonetic Method ., 187

2. The Associative Method 188

3. The Eclectic Method 191

Orthography 195

1. The Auricular Method 196

2. The Ocular Method 197



Exercises in Spelling.

Spelling Exercises for Beginners 200

Oral Exercises in Spelling 201

Method of using Slates in a Spelling Recitation 202

Method of using the Blackboard in a Spelling Recita-
tion 204

False Orthography as an Exercise in Spelling 205

Dictation Exercises 205

Reading 208

1. Method of teaching Readiiig as a Vocal Art 208

Quantity, including Force, Emphasis, Slur, Stress, and

Accent 210

Compass, including Pitch and Inflection 214

Movement, including Rate and Pause 216

Quality 218

2. Method of teaching Reading as a Mental Operation 220

Reading as related to the Intellect 220

Reading as related to the Emotions 224

3. Method of teaching Delivery '. 227

' Expression 227

Posture 231

Gesture a 232

II. Learning to Understand our Mother-Tongue 234

Lexicology 235

1. The meaning of words may be learned by direct in-

tuition .' 236

2. The meaning of words may be learned by concrete ex-

planations 237

3. The meaning of words may be learned by the use of

sipaplified expressions 238

4. The meaning of words may be learned by observing

their signification as used in sentences 239

5. The meaning of words may be learned by the study of

foreign languages 241

6. The meaning of words may be learned by an acquaint-

ance with Etymology 241

7. The meaning of words may be learned by scientific defi-

nitions 244

Grammar 245

1. Etymological Exercises 247

Nouns 248



Kinds of Nouns 248

Properties of Nouns 249

Verbs 249

Kinds of Verbs 250

Properties of Verbs 251

Exercises on the other Parts of Speech 252

2. Grammar as a Science 252

The Subject 253

The Predicate 254

Kinds of Subjects 255

Kinds of Predicates 255

Adjective Elements 256

Adverbial Elements 257

General Principles relating to teaching Grammar 258

Rhetoric 259

1. Kinds of Discourse 260

2. Qualities which characterize well constructed Dis-

course „ 261

3. Arrangement and Style of Discourse 262

Philology 265

The Nature of Philology 265

III. Learning to Compose in our Mother-Tongue 266

1. Elementary Composition 267

Classes of Exercises 268

2. Higher Composition 270

Composition in connection with Grammar and Rhetoric. 271
Directions for conducting Special Exercises in Compo-
sition 272

II. Instruction in the Dead Languages 275

1. Uses of the Study of Latin and Greek 277

The study of Latin and Greek assists in the study of

our own language 277

The study of Latin and Greek assists in understand-
ing the character of the people who spoke them 277

The study of Latin and Greek assists in obtaining a
knowledge of the history of the Romans and
Greeks 278

The study of Latin and Greek furnishes very good in-
tellectual discipline 278



* The study of Latin and Greek furnishes fine aesthetic

culture 279

2. Methods of teaching Latiii and Greek 280

« The Method that commences by teaching Pupils to

speak Latin and Greek 282

The Method that commences by teaching Pupils to

read Latin and Greek 283

The Method that commences by teaching the Latin

and Greek Grammar 285

3. General directioyis for conducting a recitation in the reading

of a classical author 287

III. Instruction in Living Foreign Languages 289



I. The Formal Sciences in General 295

1. Definitions and Axioms 206

2. Deductions and Demonstrations 299

3. Applications 302

II. Mathematics 303

1. The Value of Mathematical Studies in themselves. ....w 304

2. The Value of Mathematical Studies in their objective

Relations 305

3. The Value of Mathematical Studies in their EflFects upon

the Mind 306

Arithmetic 312

The Ends for which Arithmetic is studied 313

The Conditions necessary to the Attainment of these

Ends 314

1. Exercises in counting 315

2. Exercises in adding, subtracting, multiplying, and

dividing orally 316

3. Exercises in combining these Processes 316

4. Exercises in learning the written Symbols for Num-

bers 316

5. Exercises in Numeration and Notation 316



6. Exercises in Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication,

and Division 319

7. Exercises in the Solution of practical Examples in-

volving the four Fundamental Rules 321

8. Exercises in imparting the Id^a of a Fraction 321

9. Exercises in adding, subtracting, multiplying, and

dividing Fractions orally 322

10. Exercises in teaching Fractional Expressions 323

11. Exercises in the Addition, Subtraction, Multiplica-

tion, and Division of Fractions, and their Ap-
plications 323

12. Exercises in Decimal Fractions 323

13. Exercises in Compound Numbers 324

14. Exercises in Proportion, and Involution and Evolu-

tion 325

15. Exercises in Arithmetical Applications 325

Algebra 326

Algebraic Symbols 328

The Algebraic Idea 328

Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying, and dividing Alge-

Online LibraryJames Pyle WickershamMethods of instruction .. → online text (page 1 of 31)