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Norman Allison Calkins.

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

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should be checked ; but it is best done on its actual occurrence.
The frequent portraying of it has a bad effect on the tone of the
feelings, often suggesting the consciousness of vices to which the
mind has hitherto been a stranger.

"Before asking children to show generosity we should have
previously associated pleasure in their minds with this manner
of acting, in which case their desires will correspond with our
wish. Great care should be taken neither to place nor leave temp-
tations in the ivay of children, as is sometimes done in the course
of instruction, by putting questions in such a way that the child
must admit itself guilty of a fault, or of some negligence, or
utter an untruth. Few can withstand this kind of temptation."

Truthfulness. " Of the duties that flow from our social rela-
tions, truthfulness claims to be first mentioned ; that sincerity by
which men know that what we profess to think, say, or do,^is
what we really think, say, or do. Truthfulness, as a steady prin-
ciple, does not seem to be of spontaneous growth in the child. He
does not of himself see the necessity of giving exact representa-
tions of the past and future for their own sakes. Living in the
present, he sees nothing in the facts which come before him that
should prevent him from coloring them after his own fancy.

" Truthfulness is the virtue of widest application ; fortunately,
it is also that for the cultivation of which there is the most con-
stant opportunity, as the child comes in contact with his own
comrades, his teacher, and parents. To train a child in habits of
truthfulness, be truthful with him j say nothing that is not liter-
ally true ; make no exaggerations ; leave no promises unfulfilled;



POWERS OF MORAL ACTION. 435

remember all the expectations that you may have led him to en-
tertain ; remember that even a single instance of untruth in your-
self may unsettle his perception of the obligation of truthfulness.
Enforce the performance of every promise; reward his confes-
sions, as far as you may, with forgiveness.

" Treat all with confidence till you have detected one deceiving
you, and then restore not that one to your confidence till in the
eyes of all of his associates he has deserved it. Show the pain
and. surprise felt at a breach of trust. Treat all the little ones
habitually with kindness and frankness, and thus banish fear, the
parent of many lies. Lead them not into temptation. In speak-
ing of honesty, do not ask a child before a class whether he has
ever taken anything from his father or mother, or brother or sis-
ter, without their approval or consent. In treating of kindness, do
not ask him to tell whether he has always been obedient and kind
to his mother, and agreeable and kind to his sister. Such ques-
tions are snares for the conscience, and offer temptations to un-
truthfulness that can hardly be resisted."

Kindness. " Next to truthfulness may be mentioned benevo-
lence or kindness ; that feeling, the opposite of selfishness, which
leads us to think of and sympathize with the feelings of others.
A great deal of unkindness amongst children arises not so much
from deliberate intention, as from thoughtlessness. The crown-
ing test of kindness of feeling is the display of self-denial to
oblige our neighbor.

"This is illustrated in the case of a little boy that came to
school one day without his lunch ; and when the rest were eating
theirs at play-time, he had none. The teacher divided her lunch,
and called one of the pupils to deliver a part of it to the fast-
ing one, which he did gladly, as it called for no sacrifice. He
felt satisfaction at seeing the want of his comrade relieved. This
satisfaction was heightened by the pleasure felt and expressed
by the teacher. Not long after, the same pupil was observed
quietly performing a similar act of generosity to another com-
panion, at his own expense. The teacher saw the deed, and
highly approved of it. Had the teacher prematurely taken a



436 MANUAL OF OBJECT-TEACHING.

part of the lunch from a pupil and given it to the one without,
he would not have perceived the justice of such a proceeding, he
would even have felt oppressed ; and, so far from a strong im-
pulse to generous action having been lodged in his breast, the
selfish principle would have been stimulated by being thrown on
the defensive. Where kindness is, a number of common school-
faults are banished, such as rudeness of manner, calling names,
and the like."

Honesty. "Honesty, or a due regard to what belongs to an-
other, is one of the virtues that must be implanted in the child
from without, as there is no natural instinct which leads him to
observe it. His desire of possessing is at first indiscriminate and
unreasoning, so that it needs to be regulated with much pru-
dence. It is not uncommon to prevail upon a child to restore
what is not his own under promise of receiving something else.
This is attempting to thrust out one vice by means of another.
Neither will simple command or force, though perhaps a legitimate
means of influence in the circumstances, inspire the right feeling,
though it may put the property into the hands of its owner.

"Some children have a stronger tendency to dishonesty than
others; and this is commonly found stronger in those who are
subjected to bad influences at home. Sometimes it seems almost
like an instinct in such children. Perhaps the best way to lead
children to see the right way is to seize the moment for inculcat-
ing truthfulness and honesty when the child has himself been the
sufferer; not when he has been the aggressor. Then he will feel
the justice of your proceedings, and be in a mood to fully assent
to them. He cannot say a word in self-palliation, should he af-
terward become the aggressor.

" The teacher should show a punctilious regard to the right
of property himself. All things that are found must be scrupu-
lously returned to their owners, for whom search should be made ;
so that importance shall be seen to be attached even to the small-
est thing. Those who deliver up property which they find must
be commended ; those who are detected in concealing it should
be disgraced."



POWERS OF MORAL ACTION. 437

Admirable examples may be witnessed in some of the
public schools of New York City for teaching children
to observe the golden rule in the matter of things found
by the pupils. It is customary for the children to take
whatever article is found, in or about the school, directly
to the principal, who advertises it before the assembled
school several mornings; then, if the owner does not
claim it, the article is publicly presented to the pupil who
found it. The frequent delivery of articles to the right-
ful owners, also of the return of others to the finder, have
furnished numerous incidents of exceeding interest to the
children, and of great satisfaction to teachers and parents.
These practical moral lessons have a lasting influence.

" While right action is the natural result of right feeling, the
habit of action has, no doubt, a reflex influence on the feelings.
It is, on this account, well to encourage in the intercourse of chil-
dren acts which are but bits of ceremony, as greeting each other
with 'good-morning' on meeting, or bidding 'good-night' or
'good-bye' on separating, and of always thanking another for
even the least favor.

" Love is the earliest emotion of which the child is conscious ;
love to its parents, who supply its wants. This emotion should
be elevated by parents and teacher toward God, as our heavenly
Father, the common source of all good to both parents and child.
With love there should be inculcated reverence for God. This
feeling may early be inspired in children, or rather drawn out of
them, for it is natural to infancy. 'Thou, God, seest me,' finds
a ready access to the child's heart. Reverence and love should
grow up together."*

Habits. "The sentiments which we desire to impress on the
child must be cultivated till they pass into habits. In the power
of habit lies the power of education. By means of habit alone

* For the principal statements under the head of "Means of Training
the Feelings," in the preceding pages, credit is due chiefly to Principles and
Practice of Early School Education.



438 MANUAL OF OBJECT-TEACHING.

we can fit any one for a sphere of life different from that which
he occupies ; and by the means of it we can fit him for any sub-
sequent sphere of which the constitution of his being renders him
capable. We can accustom him to any direction of activity, and
mould his character and temper to any standard. It is in virtue
of two features of this power of habit that we are entitled to
look to the efforts of education as having a rational certainty of
success. The one is the indefinitely great influence which this
power may acquire, under the effectual agency of proper train-
ing. Strong as the instincts of our nature may be, we have in
habit a weapon with which we may overpower any one of them ;
and that not by violence, but by quiet and almost imperceptible
measures ; hence the saying that * habit is second nature.' The
other is, that as we are born, not with formed habits, but only
with the capacity of habit, it is left to us to begin our habits our-
selves. Character, therefore, is within the power of those who
control the years of infancy and childhood.

" The moral habits which education should foster are habits of
right action. There is no test of virtue except its exhibition in
action ; we cannot otherwise be certain of its existence. A right
feeling should have its issue in a corresponding action ; but it de-
pends altogether on education whether the natural connection be
established between them. When feeling is cut off from action
it is a mere sentiment. In the general case the feeling perishes
in the sentiment ; for the oftener we speak of right, as a matter
of sentiment alone, the wider becomes the gap between the feel-
ing and the act, and the weaker does the feeling become, as in the
case of pity. There is no education to morality apart from the
practice of morality. Children, who are ready to act in obedience
to every impulse, should therefore see enacted before them the
virtues they are to learn. Example is vastly stronger than pre-
cept. The society of which they are members should be so con-
stituted and ruled as to give them the opportunity, as far as pos-
sible, of carrying out into action the good feelings to which they
show a tendency. On the other hand, just as right feelings are
strengthened by right acts, feelings of the lower sort must be
weakened by removing all stimulants and opportunities to act.



POWERS OF MORAL ACTION. 439

" Habit is a power which cannot be left at our option to be
called into existence or not ; it is given us to use or abuse, but
we cannot prevent its working. Children, with their infinitely
varied impulses, and with all their experience to acquire, have an
irresistible determination to activity. They cannot be subdued
to quiescence and immobility, for we cannot suspend their natural
growth, neither can we exclude them from forming habits of
action. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we directly
stimulate them to form certain habits, if we have intercourse
with them at all ; for they hear what we say, and they see what
we do, and their imitation follows inevitably.

" The first moment at which there is capacity for action is the
moment when we should begin the cultivation of habit ; the child
is then eager and pliant. With advancing years the disposition
becomes more rigid, the sense of doubt and the anticipation of
difficulties become stronger, and the whole force of habits which
have been allowed to form themselves has to be encountered, so
that the task becomes incalculably more arduous. Early habits
are at once the most easily formed and the strongest. The hab-
its which are acquired in mature years never attain the same sta-
bility as those formed in childhood.

" The influence of habit invests single actions with an impor-
tance far beyond what at first seems due to them. If we were at
liberty to view actions by themselves, out of connection with the
past and the future, many which require the gravest remonstrance
would appear trifling and unworthy of serious notice. But the
tendency to repetition is so strong, and in many circumstances
so overpowering, that all who are charged with the education of
youth fail in their duty, unless they are extremely vigilant in ob-
serving even the smallest exhibitions of moral activity. Hence
it is that the lie in jest, the thoughtless waste of some little thing
which seems of no further use, the unpunctuality of a minute,
always demand attention, lest they become the threshold over
which the child may pass to confirmed habits of untruthfulness,
prodigality, or irregularity.

" The small and almost unobserved act of sympathy toward a
neighbor or playmate, attention in removing a spot or other in-



4:40 MANUAL OF OBJECT-TEACHING.

jury from the dress or property of another, and the great care
taken to be exact in punctuality, deserve a commendatory notice,
for these may possibly be the turning-points in the child's char-
acter for benevolence, frugality, or regularity. We can never tell
the effects of single actions ; it is only prudent, therefore, to
treat them as important. Everything should be encouraged of
whose salutary tendency \ve are convinced; nothing should be
permitted of whose evil tendency we have the slightest suspicion.

" We are not to expect great results in education in a short
time ; sudden leaps in character arc not according to the law of
our constitution, and are therefore to be suspected. Again, since
the implanting of any habit is so great a work, we should not
attempt to instil too many habits at once. If we have several
in view to inculcate, let us first select one to establish the power
of habit in general ; when we have succeeded with that, we shall
have given to the child a degree of self-control which will greatly
facilitate his acquisition of the others. Again, there is but one
way of correcting any bad habit which the child may have ac-
quired, or of undoing any wrong association he may have formed.
As it has not been formed in a day, so it is not to be overthrown
in a day.

" But implanting of habits alone does not constitute training
to morality. Habit, without intelligence and conscious motive,
is the characteristic, not of a rational being, but of a machine.
Acts performed under its influence have no moral character,
whether their results are in accordance with morality or not.
A habit of seeming morality cannot be permanent and sufficient
as a moral power. The routine conduct to which it leads may
go on for a while, as long as the child is kept out of circumstances
which might interfere with his obedience to it; but it will never
stand against the rush of personal prejudices and interests when
these clamor for a hearing. There is wanted intelligence to give
such acts a moral character that will remain secure against all
opposing tendencies. Intelligence must be at hand to prevent
'good intentions' from leading us astray."*

* Extracts from Principles and Practice of Common School Education, by
James Currie, A.M., Principal of the Church of Scotland Training College.



POWERS OF MORAL ACTION. 441

Means for Moral Culture. Experience has shown
that the true means for moral culture are the same in
character as those for physical and intellectual culture,
namely, exercise. But this exercise, to produce the desired
results, and become of permanent benefit, must be had in
conformity to correct principles, and be continued until
habits are formed.

There is no good reason why one habit should not be
established as easily as another. During childhood the
season, the soil, the seed, and the implements are all in
our hands, and we may choose what we will plant. Let,
then, the companions, the precepts and examples, and all
the surrounding influences, be such as shall furnish abun-
dant exercise in truthfulness, justice, kindness, respectful
obedience to parents, reverence and love for God, during
the season of childhood, and habits of right feeling and
correct action will be fixed that will gladden the hearts of
parents, teachers, and friends with joyful anticipations.

Yirtue can influence, as well as vice infect ; but the in-
fluence of example in the practice of virtue is tenfold
more powerful than good precepts alone. Therefore to
teach truthfulness, honesty, kindness, or any other virtue
successfully, the children must see these qualities practised
in the daily conduct of those around them. The maxim
that " like begets like " is nowhere so fully exemplified
as it is in our moral natures. The exhibition of love,
kindness, gentleness, benevolence, sincerity, and truth be-
gets like virtues in others. Children Jcnow l)ut little of
virtue in the abstract; they comprehend it as it is em-
bodied in the actions of those around them. Children
who have never been deceived look upon promises as
deeds, and a thread may lead them. Deceive them but
once, and chains may be too weak to confine them.

" Thou, God, seest me," if properly remembered, will
impart strength and activitv to the conscience, and aid

19*



442 MANUAL OF OBJECT-TEACHING.

in establishing habits of truthfulness, justice, purity of
thought, humility, and kindness.

" Our Father who art in heaven " may be made the
guiding sentiment in cultivating love, veneration, obedi-
ence, and hope.

" All things whatsoever ye would that men should do
to yon, do ye even so to them," is an injunction broad
enough to furnish ample opportunities for the exercise of
patience, kindness, and all the virtues which should gov-
ern our intercourse with each other.

Occasions for developing the moral natures of children,
and means for exercises appropriate to this end, may be
found in the occurrences of their daily lives. The famil-
iar incidents so common to children furnish opportuni-
ties of the greatest value for their moral culture. Words
alone cannot develop the physical powers, nor strengthen
the intellectual faculties ; neither will they produce mor-
al character, nor develop those habits and virtues which
contribute so largely to the happiness of ourselves and
those around us. Moral character does not consist in
words orprofessions, but in actions.



POWER OF WILLING. 443



POWER OF WILLING. *

THE WILL.

"What the "Will is. The will is a power of the mind
which is manifested through the acts of the mind. Eve-
ry choice and every rejection is a manifestation of the
will. The will is the power of the mind to direct its own
actions. It is mind acting upon the powers of mind.
It is a motive-force of the mind. Its seat appears to be
with the moral powers, but its influence extends over
the intellectual powers also. Its immediate incentives to
action are the desires.

A Desire is an inclination of the mind for some object,
or to do some act. It is a simple feeling which cannot
be analyzed, although it is clearly known to our con-
sciousness.

Willing cannot be defined ; but that which takes place
in the mind, immediately in connection with the act of
willing, and within the range of our consciousness, may
be described. First, the mind experiences, feels, or is in-
fluenced by a desire for some object, or to do some act,
or to exercise some of its powers. Then the mind
chooses, or decides, how it will act in relation to that
desire. This constitutes the process of willing.

When memory is spoken of as a faculty or power of
the mind, it is readily understood what is meant, for ev-
ery one is conscious of the acts of memory. With equal
propriety may the will be spoken of as a faculty or power



444 MANUAL OF OBJECT-TEACHING.

of the mind, yet what is meant by will may not be under-
stood readily by every one, for its acts are not so clearly
conscious to the minds of all as are those of memory.
The powers of memory and will differ in their modes
and spheres of manifesting themselves to our conscious-
ness. Memory is the power of the mind for remember-
ing. Will is the power of the mind for willing. Mem-
ory deals with ideas that come from things which are ex-
ternal to the mind. Will deals with the powers of the
mind itself, directing their acts ; and through them it
controls the acts of the bodily organs. We are conscious
of directing and fixing the attention upon any subject at
our pleasure. That power of the mind which enables us
to do this is the will. Care should be taken to guard
against the impression that the will is some controlling
agent separate from the mind, instead of a power of the
mind itself.

" A lad whose education has been tolerably well conducted,
whose trains of ideas have been formed in accordance with the
realities of life, knows that he must be guided by knowledge, and
that the produce of his labor must be husbanded with care and
enjoyed with discretion. Sensible of all this, he wills to avail
himself of the assistance of his instructor to acquire knowledge,
and to form habits of application and self -restraint. And every
successful effort of volition encourages him to persevere in the
same track.

" In that complex state of feeling which gives rise to volition
there is felt a desire to do what others are doing around us. The
acts of others in whose society we habitually live seem to exer-
cise a kind of contagious influence over our wills. We first de-
sire, then will to imitate them. This tendency is peculiarly ob-
servable among the young. The old proverb, 'Evil communica-
tion corrupts good morals,' or its counterpart, which is much
to be preferred, ' Good communications correct bad and confirm
good morals,' seems to be partly founded on this oft-observed



POWER OF WILLING. M5

tendency to imitation which prevails among mankind. It may
be doubted, however, whether the potency of this readiness to
imitate has been yet half acknowledged, or half turned to account
in the grand business of education."*

Influence of "Will on Character. " The will is the im-
mediate spring of all our actions. The understanding may per-
ceive what our duty is; the feelings may present us with motives
to do it; but it is this third power which determines whether
it is to be done or not. We cannot wonder, then, that in the
business of life it is commonly viewed as the most important
of our faculties, as that, indeed, which gives its complexion to the
whole character. ' Character,' it has been said, 4 is a completely
fashioned will.' "f

An aptitude for making a deliberate choice, and hold-
ing steadily to that choice, indicates strength of will.
Constancy and perseverance indicate such strength. But
obstinacy, or stubbornness of temper without reason, do
not indicate this power. Obstinacy and stubbornness are
perverted actions of the will. Powers of intellect may
make a man an object of admiration, but without strength
of will he can have but little influence over others. Even
the accomplishments of education will become little else
than so much ornamental fringe-work in life, without the
influence of this power. A man's love of right and his
desire to benefit society may not protect him from being
made a dupe, or even being led to commit wrong acts, if
his power of will is w r eak.

Will gives decision of character. It enables its posses-
sor to achieve great results. It gives power over others,
and thus makes a man great in the estimation of his fel-
lows. Men are obeyed or resisted, respected or despised,
in proportion to their power of will and the manner of
exercising it.

* Outlines of the Formation of the Understanding^ William Ellis, London,
t Principles and Practices of Early School Education, by James Currie, A.M.



446 MANUAL OF OBJECT-TEACHING.

Freedom of "Will. It is not intended here to enter
into a discussion of this subject, about which so much has
been said and so many volumes written. A few simple
statements concerning the freedom of will must answer
the requirements of the present work. The mind has
freedom in observing, in remembering, in imagining, in
comparing, and in reasoning. Each of these is an act
of the mind. "Willing is an act of the mind. The mind
is free to observe, to remember, to imagine, to compare,
and to reason ; and it is equally free to will. ~No material
restraint is laid upon it. No mental restraint is laid upon
it. The mind itself is conscious, when it wills, that it ex-
ercises freedom. Freedom of will, then, is the mind's
power of willing freely.



Online LibraryNorman Allison CalkinsManual of object-teaching : with illustrative lessons in methods and the science of education → online text (page 33 of 35)