The Normal Principles of Education: An Address (Classic Reprint)

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The Normal Principles of Education: An Address (Classic Reprint) Details

Excerpt from The Normal Principles of Education: An Address

Study books - expect those of reference - are all frag mentary; otherwise they would be unserviceable or im practicable for the use of a pupil in learninga lesson. To teach the whole of a science, then, necessarily de volves on the teacher, though even this is not always practicable. But it is practicable and necessary for the teacher to know and be able to teach the whole in order that there may be no failure in the pupil's being thor oughly instructed in all the principles thereof, and in order that the teacher may readily and intelligently answer the hundreds of questions that come from the pupils of a rightly conducted class. An application to one branch is true for each: in English grammar the teacher needs a vast fund of knowledge not contained in any one school text book, in order to make the study interesting, expeditious and duly profitable. The teach er's mind should not only be a reservoir of all gram matical/science attainable in his era, but also a complete digest of the opinions of leading authors on debateable points: e. G., any number of grammars examined - say twelve - one author gives the definition thus and four others agree with him in idea - another thus, and three agree with him - still another in new terms, while two agree. Now, perhaps, you say: Where the doctors of grammar disagree, my dear pupils, how will you arrive at an independent and satisfactory knowledge, unless after the examination of standard authors in their best examples of literature, and a complete and free discus sion of the subject, you take a position of your own and hold it as your own by intelligent reasoning based uponinfallible principles, supported by many facts? A teacher is not qualified to teach grammar unless he possesses all the information there is on the subject unless he can teach the whole subject - unless he could make a good grammar, and teach the complete science, were there not a grammatical text book in existence. This should hold good for every fundamental branch. Such a teacher will not place a child-like dependence on the text book, and with the timidity of narrow igno rance, confine himself strictly to its questions, answers and language.

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