Seven Laws of Teaching
The first object of teaching is to communicate such knowledge as may be useful in gaining other knowledge, to stimulate in the pupil the love of learning, and to form in him the habits of independent study.
We have to carefully note both sides of pupil’s educaton: the increase of power and the advance in knowledge.
Teaching has its natural laws as fixed as the laws of circling planets or of growing organisms. Teachers who master the laws of teaching may send knowledge into the depths of the soul, and may impress upon the mind the images of immortal truth.
Now we will discuss the seven laws of teaching concerning the seven factors of teaching:a teacher,a learner,a common language or medium of communication,a lesson or truth,the teacher’s work,the learner’s work and the review work.
(1)Prepare each lesson by fresh study. Last year’s knowledge has necessarily faded somewhat. Only fresh conceptions warm and inspire us.
(2)Seek in the lesson its analogies and likenesses to more familiar truths.
(3)Seek the relation of the lesson to the lives and duties of the learners. The practical value of truth lies in these relations.
(4)Use freely all aids, but never rest till the truth rises clear before you as a vision seen by your own eyes.
(5)Have a time for the study of each lesson, and, if possible,some days in advanve of the teaching.
(1)Never begin a class exercise till the attention of the class is secured. Study for a moment in silence, the face of each pupil to see if all are mentally, as well as bodily, present.
(2)Pause whenever the attention is interrupted or lost,and wait till it is cmpletely regained.
(3)Arouse,and when needful rest,the attention by a pleasing variety but avoid distraction. Keep the real lesson in view.
(4)Watch to learn the tastes and strongest faculties of each pupil, and as far as possible address the questions to those tastes and faculties. To do this is to hold the very heart-strings of the pupil.
(5)Prepare beforehand some questions which will awaken thought, but not beyond the powers and knowledge of the pupils.
(6)Let the teacher maintain in himself and exhibit the closest attention and the most genuine interest in the lesson. True enthusiasm is contagious.
(7)Study the best use of the eye and hand. These are the natural instruments of mental command.
Use words understood by both teacher and pupil in the same sense—language clear and vivid alike to both.
(1)Study constantly and carefully the pupil’s language to learn what words he uses and the meanings he gives them.
(2)Express your thoughts as far as possible in the pupil’s words,carefully correcting any defect in the meaning he gives them.
(3)Use the simplest and fewest words that will express the idea. Unnecessary words add to the child’s work and increase the danger of misunderstanding.
(4)Use short sentences, and of the simplest construction. Long sentences tire the attention,while short
(5)When it is necessary to teach a new word, give the idea before the word. This is the order of nature.
(1)Find what your pupil knows of the subject you wish to teach—not of some textbook,but of thefacts and elements of the subject. This is the starting point.
(2)Make the most of the pupil’s knowledge. Let him feel its extent and value as a means of learning more.
(3)Begin with facts which lie next, and which can be reached by a single step from those already familiar.
(4)Connect every lesson as much as possible with former lessons, and with the pupil’s knowledge and experience.
(5)Study the steps so that one shall lead naturally and easily to the next, the known leading to the unknown.
(6)Make every new truth familiar and fix it in the memory for ready use to explain other truths.
All telling,explaining,or other acts of so called teaching are useless except as they serve to excite and direct the pupil’s voluntary mental powers.If these are not put in action,nothing follows;the teacher’s words fall upon deaf ears.
“Wake up the mind;” “Set pupils to thinking;” “Arouse the spirit of inquiry;” “Get your pupils to work.” All these maxims are but various expressions of this law.
(1)Adapt lessons to the ages and tastes of the children. Young pupils will be interested in whatever appeal to the senses;only the mature minds will enter heartily into the truth of reason and reflection.
(2)Select lessons which relate to the present circumstances and wants of pupils.
(3)Consider carefully the subject and the lesson to be taught, and find its points of interest for your own pupils.
(4)Excite the pupil’s interest in the lesso when it is given out, by some question or by some statement which will awaken inquiry.
(5)In all class exercises aim mto excite constantly fresh interest and activity.Start questions for the pupils to investigate out of the class.
(6)Count it your chief duty to “wake up mind,” and rest not till each pupil shows his mental activity by asking questions in turn.
(7)Give the pupil time to think,after you are sure his mind is actively at work,and encourage him to ask questions when puzzled.
THE LEARNER MUST REPRODUCE IN HIS OWN MIND THE TRUTH TO BE ACQUIRED.
Require the pupil to reproduce in thought the lesson he is learning-thinking it out in its parts,proofs,connections,and applications till he can express it in his own language.
(1)Help the pupil to form a clear idea of the work to be done,in its several parts and stages.
(2)Show him that there are always more things implied than are said in any lesson.
(3)Ask him to express,in simple words of his own,the meaning as he understands it, and to persist till he has the whole thought.
(4)Aim to make the pupil an independent investigator-a student of nature,a seeker for truth. Cultivate in him a fixed and constant habit of research.
The mind,like an artist,sketches its pictures at first simply in outline,and in detached parts.Only after many returns to each part do its conceptions stand forth in full light and shade, perfect paintings, lifelike and complete.Other things being equal,he is the ablest and most successful teacher who secures from his pupis the most frequent, thorough, and interesting reviews.
The Completion, TEST,AND Confirmation OF Teaching MUST BE MADE BY REVIEWS.
Review,review,review,reproducing correctly the old,deepening its impression with new thought, correcting false views, and completing the true.
(1)Count reviews as always in order. Whenever a spare moment occurs while waiting for other exercises,or when the teacher or class is unprepared to do anything else,a review may go on.
(2)Have also set times for reviews.At the opening of each lesson-hour take a brief review of the preceding lesson,to put the two lessons in conection that no break may occur in the work.
(3)At the close of each lesson give a glance backward to the ground gone over,and note the points to be especially remembered.
(4)After five or six lessons are past,start a review fro the beginning.The best teachers give about one thrid of each lesson-hour to reviews. Thus they make haste slowly but surely.
(5)An interesting form of review is to allow members of the class to ask questions on previous lessons.If this is a frequent exercise,the pupils will make volunteer studies both to get questions and to be ready with answers.