Norman Allison Calkins.

Manual of object-teaching : with illustrative lessons in methods and the science of education online

. (page 25 of 35)
Online LibraryNorman Allison CalkinsManual of object-teaching : with illustrative lessons in methods and the science of education → online text (page 25 of 35)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

tention and cheerful obedience under similar circumstances, and
let your decision guide in the treatment of your pupils.

Ninth. Develop a right public opinion in your school. In-
stead of giving your attention to individual pupils and single
misdeeds, trying to correct each in detail, endeavor to deal with
faults in such a manner as to exert an influence upon the entire
class which will lead to right thoughts and better actions. Aim
thus to develop the public opinion of your class in favor of the
right, so that you may govern individual pupils through the in-
fluence of your class.

Suppose you have a class of young pupils, among whom are
many careless or restless children, and you notice that they make
a great deal of noise in taking slates from the desks, or in placing
slates on the desks; to tell them to make less noise, or to
remind John, Charles, and William that they are too noisy, or
to take their slates away from them, will not secure habits of
handling slates quietly. But if you tell the class that some of
the boys are always quiet in handling their slates, and that it
would be so pleasant if all the boys would try to be quiet, then
ask, how many would like to try to put down and take up their
slates quietly? The unanimous response would commit the class
in favor of less noise. Then, by dividing your class into three or
more sections, by their seats, and asking one section to take slates,
and put away slates, while the others observe how quietly it is


done, you would direct attention to the matter, so as to make it
easy to induce each section to try to excel the others in han-
dling slates quietly. Commend the section that does best, and
encourage each other section to excel it.

By such or a similar plan of directing the attention of the class
favorably to that which you desire to secure, and by appealing to
the self-respect and satisfaction which accompany success through
praiseworthy etforts, good habits may be formed that will relieve
the teacher of very many annoyances that usually arise in disci-
pline. And if such plans be wisely carried out in all matters of
discipline, the moral training produced thereby will ultimately
place the teacher in the position of director, or leader, in matters
of school government, and the pupils as his willing allies. The
exceptional cases that need special attention will be few and ea-
sily managed.

Tenth. Do not repeatedly tell pupils of their own faults.
Instead of directly telling pupils of their faults and bad conduct,
lead them to see their own misdeeds in their true light, through
the public opinion of the class. The following incidents will il-
lustrate this point :

One morning in summer a little boy went to his teacher, and
said, in substance, "Henry and I found a bird's -nest yesterday,
on our way home from school ; it had little birds in it. Henry
took away the nest, and left the young birds on the ground."
The teacher expressed sorrow at the cruel act, and told the boy
to go to his seat.

The teacher began to think what could be done with this inci-
dent to benefit the school and correct Henry's cruel disposition.
Henry was a boy in whom kindness had never been developed by
his home treatment. Domestic bliss did not abide with his par-
ents. Henry was accustomed to the whip for every trivial of-
fence as regularly as to his meals and sleep. One evening, after
being put to bed, he was heard to tell his mother, in response
to her repeated command to "go to sleep," " I can't go to sleep ;
you have not whipped me yet."

Henry attended school quite regularly, but made very little


progress in anything except mischief. On the occasion of his
cruelty to the young birds, the teacher decided to use this act so
as to awaken in all the younger pupils feelings of kindness to-
ward birds. Accordingly, when a class composed of children
but little older than Henry, yet much farther advanced in their
reading, was called to read, the teacher selected a lesson about
boys robbing a bird's-nest. Without intimating why this lesson
was chosen, Henry was requested to stand by the teacher, and
listen to what the class read. He did not know that the teacher
had heard of his cruel act toward the young birds.

Henry listened to the story of robbing a bird's-nest with an
interest unusual to him, and it soon became evident that the read-
ing lesson was a moral mirror, in which he saw himself reflected;
for, before the lesson was finished, he looked up to his teacher,
and said, "I did not kill the birds." His teacher asked, "Did
you find a bird's-nest ?" " Yes, but I did not kill the little birds,"
said Henry ; " I only threw the nest away, and left the birds on
the ground."

In reply to a few questions, Henry told the story about the
finding of the bird's-nest, and his treatment of it the night be-
fore, substantially as the little boy had told the teacher that morn-
ing. Then, without directly reproving Henry for what he did,
an appeal was made to the class to decide whether the conduct
of the boys, as described in the lesson read, was right or not;
then the class was asked if it would be right for one of them to
do as the boy in the lesson did ; then, if it was cruel to throw
away the nest of young birds, and leave the little ones on the
cold ground. While the public opinion of the class was so strong
for the right, supposed cases were presented for the opinion of
the class as to what would be right, and all the probable cases
were decided in favor of kindness to birds, and against cruelty.

This single lesson proved effective; neither Henry nor any
other boy in school was known to treat birds with cruelty during
the remainder of that term ; and doubtless the feelings of kind-
ness toward birds, which were awakened by that incident, exerted
an influence that extended through many years. This incident
occurred more than thirty years ago, yet that teacher remembers


to-day the intense and earnest feeling manifested by that class ;
and such scenes do not easily fade from childhood memory.
Similar methods may be used to correct some of the bad habits
in your class.

Some of the cases of bad conduct in school can be dealt with
effectively only by moral means, and these can usually be em-
ployed best through the public opinion of the class. Instances
of disrespectfulness toward a teacher, or toward other persons,
belong to this class of cases.

One day a boy gave the principal of his school an insolent re-
ply. All who heard it were greatly astonished; but the princi-
pal did not exhibit anger by scolding, or threatening the boy
with punishment. He quickly determined to improve that op-
portunity by teaching a valuable lesson to the entire school.
The very calmness of his manner made a deep impression on the
school ; and, while the pupils wondered how the disrespectful
boy would be punished, they felt certain that such conduct would
not be allowed to pass unnoticed.

The hour for closing came, and school was dismissed without
any allusion to the conduct of the boy. That night the principal
made his plans, to be carried out on the following day. After
the customary opening exercises on the morning of the next day,
the principal addressed the school substantially as follows :

" Boys, if, while you were at play in the street before school
opened, a gentleman who was passing the school should inquire
the direction to the railroad station, would you tell him the way
in a respectful manner ?"

" Yes, sir," was the unanimous response.

" Suppose a common laborer, whose occupation soiled his gar-
ments, should come along, and ask the way to Street, would

you tell him as well as you could, or would you treat him rudely,
telling him to go about his business?"

" We would tell him the right way," said the boys.

" Very good," said the principal ; "I am pleased to know that
you have too much respect for yourselves and for others to be-
have rudely under such circumstances. Now, suppose a man,
very poorly clad, who was seeking work that he might earn food


for his wife and children, or even one who was begging his daily
food, should ask you a civil question, how would you treat him ?
Would you give him a civil answer?"

" Yes, sir," responded the school.

" That is right, boys ; I am happy to know that you believe
it to be right to treat all persons civilly, and to answer all proper
questions respectfully, without regard to the external appearance
of the one who asks the question."

Thus the principal prepared the school for the lesson he had
planned to give. After a pause, looking carefully over the school,
until all eyes were fixed upon him, even those of the boy who
gave him a disrespectful answer the day before, he said, in a de-
liberate manner, with a kind but sad tone of voice, " Yesterday
afternoon I asked a question of one of the boys of this school.
It was a proper question for me to ask a pupil ; it was a ques-
tion which was justly entitled to a respectful reply ; and yet I
am very sorry to know that even one boy in this school so far
forgot that respect which is due to his parents, which is due to
his teacher, and due to his school-mates, as to give his principal
a less civil reply than should have been given to a beggar in the
street. I hope no boy in this school will ever again forget, under
any circumstances, to be respectful."

No amount of personal reproof administered to the guilty boy
could have produced such beneficial results upon him as did that
lesson, which also elevated the moral tone of the entire school.

Eleventh. Punishments should be adapted to offences. If a
boy persists in annoying his companions during recesses, do not
allow him to take a recess with the other boys ; if he abuses any
liberty allowed him, deprive him of that liberty until he learns to
prize it as he ought. Never assign a lesson as a punishment for
anything except neglect to learn the lesson. Ordinary school work
should not be prescribed as a punishment for the common of-
fences of school. School lessons should have pleasant associa-
tions. To punish all offences in the same way will confound the
sense of justice in children. Timid pupils require tender treat-


Twelfth. Do not tempt your pupils to tell a falsehood. Much
tact should be used by the teacher in discovering which pupils
are guilty of wrong conduct. Do not question children in such
a manner as to tempt them to tell a falsehood through fear of
punishment. If you are uncertain who is in fault, do not direct-
ly accuse any one personally. Don't say, "John, I believe you
did that," unless you know that he did. If you feel it your duty
to make a personal accusation against a pupil, let it be done pri-
vately with that pupil.

Many young children possess very indefinite ideas of truth and
falsehood. Fear often leads such children to say that which
they know to be false. Endeavor to overcome this tendency to
tell a lie by treating all confessions of wrong with gentleness and
kindness, as in the case of the boy who broke the pane of glass,
and confessed it to his teacher. Remove all temptations to false-
hood. Lead not your pupils into temptation, but seek to deliver
them from their evil tendencies.

Govern your school without making the government so promi-
nent that it is burdensome to good children. Make your govern-
ment light by teaching the pupils to govern themselves.

Thirteenth. Develop the feeling of self-respect in your pupils.
To do this most effectively, treat them with respect at all times.
Let them feel that their good conduct is respected by you, and
that they can make themselves worthy of respect from all who
know them.

If a boy be suspected, if his feelings, tastes, and acts are treated
with contempt or ridicule, he will lose respect for you, for others,
and for himself. A boy who is continually told that he is bad
will come to believe it, and act accordingly.

When praising a child, do it for his good actions and right mo-
tives. Praise honest efforts, not mere ability. Praise every child
who strives diligently to make good use of his abilities. Take
care that you do not develop a love of approbation into a love of
mere flattery by giving praise when it is not deserved.

Censure should be just, and free from bitterness. Avoid ridi-
cule. Conceit and vanity may sometimes need to be lowered


by good-humored ridicule ; but this is a dangerous remedy, and
should be seldom employed.

Fourteenth. Lead pupils to overcome idleness by pointing to
its evils. Check idleness by appropriate privations that result
from it. Let children understand that idle habits clothe men and
women in rags.

Fifteenth. Mischief may be checked by causing pupils to feel
its effects upon themselves. When injury to property is the re-
sult of mischief, require complete restoration by the doer of the

There are many difficulties which the teacher will meet in the
management of his pupils. One of the most troublesome to re-
move is that of sulkiness. One mode of overcoming this unfort-
unate habit is to allow the pupil's sullehness to subside by tiring
him of his own unhappiness. By awakening bright and cheerful
thoughts in the minds of your pupils, harmony of the feelings
may be restored, and sulkiness overcome. Lead the reason of
the pupils to gain control of their feelings, and thus influence the
will to direct them in the right way. In attempting to do this,
you must make haste slowly.

Love of knowledge that natural desire of the child to know
something about everything that he sees is one of the means of
good discipline, and the teacher should aim to present instruction
so as to gratify this desire.

Ascertaining what motives may be properly used for securing
attention, and leading children to right conduct, constitutes an
important part of good school discipline.

The example of the teacher has a most powerful influence on
the discipline of the school. The tones of voice, the language
used, the manner of treating the pupils, the disposition, orderly
habits, and neatness all exert a powerful influence upon pupils.
Children try to imitate justice, kindness, truthfulness, dignity,
neatness, and refinement, as they see it in the daily acts of their

The little girl who said, " Mother, I try to love my teacher,
but she is so cross, and scolds so much, I cannot love her," is


a sad criticism on too many who fail to find pleasure in their

" I love to go to school now ; my new teacher is so kind to
us ; I mean to do all I can to please her," is a commendation that
all teachers should try to deserve from the children under their
care. "Love, Hope, and Patience" will enable you to enjoy the
sunlight of happy faces.

"The main object of moral training is to give a right direc-
tion to the action of the moral powers, to encourage virtuous
inclinations, sentiments, and passions, and to repress those that
are evil. It is to cultivate habits of truthfulness, obedience, in-
dustry, temperance, prudence, and respect for the rights of
others, with a view to the formation of good character.

" The great object in moral training, like that of physical and
intellectual education, is to develop force, with a view to the
pupil's self-action. Unless this point is gained, little is gained.
The pupil's character is not to be one merely for holiday show,
but for the daily duties of life ; a character which will not be the
sport of every wind of doctrine, but one in which virtue moral
strength is firmly embodied. Such a character can only be
formed by making the child himself a co-operator in the process
of its formation."*

* Lecture on the Theory or Science of Education, by Joseph Payne.



ATTENTION to common tilings, and to the principles
employed in the construction and operations of playthings
for children, is a most valuable means for leading them
to form habits of intelligent observation, and cultivate
their common-sense. The knowledge acquired by making
observations and experiments upon common things is the
beginning of the development of common-sense, and of
scientific knowledge. Science is common-sense perfected.

When a child observes the nature of a new toy, and
makes experiments to see what can be done with it, his
method of procedure is the same in character as that by
which great results in science are obtained. The way to
science is through a knowledge of common things.

The purpose of introducing the subject of common
things distinct from those relating specially to animals,
plants, minerals, etc., is that thereby the attention of
teachers may be directed to a source of very valuable
materials which are admirably adapted for the training of
children to gain scientific knowledge, and to understand
facts and laws in nature that belong to the department of
science known as physics, or natural philosophy. Toward
the accomplishment of this purpose, the following sug-
gestive hints are given.

The atmosphere is the air surrounding the earth.
We breathe it, and move about in it, but cannot see it ; it
is invisible and transparent ; it has weight; it presses in


all directions, upward as well as downward ; it is com-
pressible and elastic; it expands by heat, and contracts by
cold; it acquires force by heat, and also by compression;
it conveys sound ; things lighter than air will rise up-
ward in it, as a cork rises upward through water, after
being forced beneath it.

These facts can be readily illustrated by simple experi-
ments with familiar things, as may be seen from the fol-
lowing suggestions :

Air is .Invisible and Transparent. These facts will be
understood by reminding the pupils that they see through
air, but cannot see it.

Air has Weight. The atmosphere is attracted by the
earth with sufficient power to cause it to have weight
equal to fifteen pounds on each square inch. This weight
is observed by the force of its pressure on a surface.

The Boy's Sucker. The pressure may be illustrated by
the boy's sucker, which is made of a circular piece of sole-
leather, with a string fastened to its centre. When this
piece of leather is moistened and pressed upon a smooth
stone, so as to force all the air from between the leather
and the stone, and the string is pulled, a vacuum is formed
under the centre of the leather, but the pressure of the
atmosphere causes the surrounding portions of the leather
to adhere to the stone with considerable force.

Ilow Flies Walk on the Ceiling. The feet of flies have
a contrivance which acts somewhat like the boy's sucker ;
and this enables them to walk on the ceiling.

How the Pump Raises Water. It is owing to the fact
that the atmosphere presses water into the space from
which air has been exhausted that the common pump
raises water from the well. As the air is drawn from the
tube by the valves attached to the piston-rod, the water
flows up to fill the place.


The Syphon. The pressure of the atmosphere causes a
fluid to flow through a syphon, while the end of the long
branch of the syphon is lower than the end of the short

The upward pressure of the atmosphere may be illus-
trated by tilling a small tumbler with water, covering the
top with a card, placing the hand on the card and turning
the whole upside down, then removing the hand gently.
The card will remain firmly pressed against the tumbler
by the atmosphere, and keep the water from flowing out.

The external pressure of the atmosphere prevents a
liquid from running out of a barrel which has no vent-
hole, or place for the air to enter above the liquid. Some-
times tea will not pour out of the teapot because the air
cannot enter above the tea. Water will remain in a straw
or long tube when the upper end is closed, because of the
atmospheric pressure from below.

The hoy's pop-gun will illustrate that air is compressi-
ble and elastic. When the cork or wad is pushed in by
the piston the air within is compressed into a smaller
space, until the force which the air accumulates by the
pressure becomes so great that it drives out the cork or
wad at the opposite end with a popping noise. The noise
is produced by the sudden expansion of the air as it leaves
the tube.

Other illustrations of the compressibility of air, and its
power of resistance, may be made as follows : Invert an
empty tumbler or a glass jar, placing its mouth on the
surface of water, then let a pupil press down upon the
jar, and try to force it into the water so that the wa-
ter shall fill it, and observe that the water rises a little
higher in the glass as the pressure upon it is increased,
and that the water inside the glass cannot be made to rise
as high as the water on the outside. This is owing to


the presence of the air in the glass, which cannot be com-
pressed so as to allow the water to fill the glass.

The toy - ~balloon, or a bladder nearly filled with air,
when exposed to heat, will illustrate the expansion of air,
and the force produced by the expansion. By removing
the heated toy-balloon or bladder to a cold place, it will
be observed that the air contracts by cold. If a bladder
be blown full of air, then exposed to heat for a short time,
the force produced by the expansion of the air within it
will cause the bladder to explode with a loud report.

Air Conveys Sound. Where there is no air sound is
not heard. Sound is produced by the vibrations of sub-
stances. It moves through the air at the rate of about
1100 feet in a second. It moves through water about
four times as fast as through the air, and through a
wall about three and one-half times as fast; through gold
about five times as fast; through silver about seven and
three-fourth times as fast; through copper about nine and
two-third times as fast; through wood, lengthwise, about
ten times as fast ; through iron about fifteen times as fast
as through the air.


Light moves about 190,000 miles while sound moves
1100 feet, so that practically from any object on the earth,
within the range of vision, light would pass to our eyes
instantly. The following incidents will aid in illustrating
that sound moves much slower than light :

Flash and Report of a Gun. When a gun is fired at
a distance from the observer, the flash will be seen several
seconds before the report is heard. When the steam-
whistle of a distant locomotive is blown, the steam will
be seen issuing from the whistle some seconds before the
sound is heard by the distant observer.

Lightning and Thunder. By observing the number of
seconds that intervene between the flash of lightning and


the thunder which may be ascertained by counting slow-
ly the distance of the thunder-cloud may be estimated
by reckoning one-fifth of a mile for each second of time.
Wiiile four or five seconds of time intervene between the
lightning and the thunder, the cloud is too far away to
produce any harm in the vicinity of the observer.

Sound Conveyed by Solids. If you place your ear at
the end of a long timber, while some one scratches with a
pin the other end, you can hear the scratching distinctly.
If you place your ear against a long solid wall of brick, at
one end of it, and let some one strike the other end of the
w T all, you will hear two reports, the first one through the
wall, and a second one through the air. The earth also
conveys sound. Indians understand this, and by placing
their ears on the ground ascertain the approach of an en-
emy, or of a herd of buffaloes.

These sounds are conveyed by the vibratory motions of
the particles of the solids; yet the solid as a whole does
not move. The vibrations of the particles take place with-
in such minute spaces that their movements are not per-
ceptible as motion.

A Poker and a Boiling Kettle. If you wish to ascer-
tain whether or not a teakettle is boiling, place one end
of an iron poker on the lid, and the other end to your ear,
and if the water in the teakettle be boiling, the kind of
sound conducted by this iron rod will inform you.

An echo is sound reflected. Sometimes the same sound
is reflected two or three times, and thus produces two or
three separate echoes.

Vapor arising from wet clothing is coolj for this rea-

Online LibraryNorman Allison CalkinsManual of object-teaching : with illustrative lessons in methods and the science of education → online text (page 25 of 35)