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The Function of Hand Work in the School: The Fine Arts--Method in Art Training

by Alfred V. Churchill 1900

II. METHOD IN ART TRAINING If there is a single inexorable moral principle that applies to every line of human effort, it is that there is no excellence without painstaking work. The ignorant invariably show a tendency to imagine that art work offers an exception to this law. Success in any line of creative effort is ascribed to genius. A superficial observer, charmed by the dash and vigor of the great masters, and perceiving no evidence of discipline or restraint, stupidly considers these qualities to be the spontaneous product of the creative spirit. It has become common in late years, as the creative possibilities of childhood have been unfolded, to commit a similar error in regard to them. The serious purpose and strenuous discipline required in other subjects is relaxed, partly because the training of the grade teacher in art is far inferior to that in other subjects and often entirely false (through no fault of hers), and a slovenly, slipshod piece of work is allowed to pass muster under the banner of "free expression," "emancipation of the child," and the like. Thus the subjects which, above most others, demand a concentrated discipline of all the powers are treated as a sort of play which the child may very likely enjoy until he is old enough to think. Then he perceives that he is making no progress; he is bitter and disgusted, and he has a right to be. The same thing would happen in arithmetic if children were suffered to play forever with that.i

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 1 Number 4, 1900, p. 313-323
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 9696, Date Accessed: 8/19/2018 9:18:15 AM

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  • Alfred Churchill

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