Horn, ErnestState University of Iowa
ERNEST HORN is a Professor of Education and the Director of the University Elementary School at the State University of Iowa.
This chapter does not deal primarily with the place of arithmetic as assessed by its life values but with its place and relationships in the total curriculum of the elementary school. The many unmistakable contributions of arithmetic to life have been convincingly portrayed in various yearbooks of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. It will be apparent, as the discussion in this chapter proceeds, that the writer suspects that the proponents of the organized course of instruction in arithmetic have been too modest and limited, rather than too extravagant and comprehensive, in their claims.
Four principal arguments have been advanced for teaching oral reading: first, its value in life outside the school; second, the many occasions in which it is required or should be encouraged in the school; third, its use, particularly in early grades, as a "natural" approach to silent reading; and fourth, the many concomitant services which it renders.
Within the broad area thus delimited, the present discussion will deal primarily with the attempts of students to make and express constructs through language. However, the writer does not mean to deny that the student is influenced by other signs, such as those sometimes referred to as natural signs, functioning with or without verbal associations. The illustrations which are utilized in the discussion are drawn chiefly from reading in relation to learning in the social studies, first; because of the considerable body of evidence which is available, and second, because these constructs illustrate so well the function, limitations, and social nature of language symbols. Many of the problems here dealt with are closely related to those treated by Brownell in his chapter on problem solving.
What courses the art teachers should take, as an undergraduate, outside the fields of education and art education depend in part upon the nature and amount of instruction required or permitted to be taken in these two fields.
This chapter presents in brief outline the chief types of problems a prospective art teacher must be prepared to meet.
Graduate work for prospective or experienced art teachers contributes to the student's development in several ways.
In considering the problem of instruction in spelling in relation to child development, it is important to realize that growth in vocabulary is closely related to the acquisition of experiences. A new experience for the child usually supplies him with new words by means of which he can talk, read, write, and think with some degree of understanding. This means that the child's development in writing vocabulary is greatly influenced by the number, variety, and quality of his experiences. Consequently, there is good reason to believe that instruction in spelling thrives best in the setting of a rich curriculum that includes, among many things, a sound program in written composition as such and ample opportunity for the use of sensible types of writing activities in connection with all school work.
Research in spelling has been directed to the solution of four main problems: (1) the discovery of words most frequently written by adults; (2) the content, arrangement, and sequence of the curriculum by grades; (3) the determination of effective methods of teaching; and (4) the measurement of results.
The purpose of this chapter is to point out the significance of the relationship existing between reading and other fields of the curriculum and to suggest ways of developing and guiding reading in relation to other school subjects and activities. The discussion that follows is concerned, therefore, with the basic importance of reading as an essential tool in study, the relation of reading to literature, the contribution of an enriched curriculum to the development of ability in reading, the relationship of wide reading to the enrichment of the content subjects, and the subsequent problems of study growing out of this enrichment, the responsibility of all teachers for the effective direction of the reading pertinent to their curricular fields, and suggested methods and means for developing efficient reading habits.
The difficulty referred to in this paragraph arises not so much out of imposing upon children adult forms of thought, feeling, and behavior, as out of imposing subject matter which, in its organization and content, has little or no relation to the needs either of children or adults in life outside the school. The child's ability to participate in and to appreciate "adult forms of thought, feeling, and behavior" is much greater than has been supposed. Hence, paragraph four should be read and understood in the light of paragraphs five, six, seven, and eight.
The curriculum of the University Elementary School and the methods used in making that curriculum must be viewed in the light of the relation which the school bears to the College of Education and to the state at large. The school has three major purposes. First, it furnishes observation and demonstration facilities for the concrete study of the problems of elementary education by those who are in training for supervisory positions. Second, it affords a laboratory in which the faculty and students of the College of Education may study the problems of elementary education in a scientific manner. Third, it serves the public schools of the state directly as an agency for the production, publication, and dissemination of new curricula and methods, as well as a demonstration center where visiting teachers and superintendents can study.
The purpose oi this chapter is to recommend the types of materials which seem most likely to facilitate the accomplishment of the purposes set up in the other sections of this Yearbook. Part One deals with the general requirements which should be met by reading materials. Part Two makes more specific recommendations for each of the periods into which instruction in reading is divided.
An examination of the replies to questionnaires sent to those who are making special efforts in the behalf of gifted children indicates the need of establishing some fundamental principles to guide makers of curricula for gifted children.
The course of study in history in the University Elementary School is frankly experimental. It represents an attempt to adapt the work of the first six grades to that of the junior and senior divisions of the University High School. This course is modeled on the course recommended by the Committee on Social Sciences in Secondary Schools. It provides for two cycles of European and American history, each chronologically arranged. For that reason it does not seem necessary to provide another cycle in the first six grades. Moreover, since the recommendations of this Committee place the European background in the seventh grade, the whole plan earlier recommended by the Committee of Eight is upset. This is quite a serious matter because of the fact that practically all of the books available for the first six grades are written to fit the recommendations in the Report of the Committee of Eight.
There is, perhaps, no subject in the curriculum whose value and content have been the subjects of so much dispute as history.
There is perhaps no subject in the course of study to which general experimentation in psychology and special experimentation in the subject itself have contributed more than in the case of spelling. Moreover, there is probably no other subject for which the results of teaching can be checked with such peculiar ease and certainty. And yet, although spelling has occupied a considerable portion of the time allotment in the public schools, investigators have generally charged that the results have been poor. This inefficiency does not seem to be a recent matter, as some of the lay critics believe. As a matter of fact, the two studies which compare by actual tests the spelling of recent times with that of an earlier period, seem to show that pupils spell considerably better than they did in the days of our grandfathers.
Many requests have been received, from time to time, asking for detailed information regarding the plan by which school assemblies were formerly conducted at the Speyer School.
The reasons given for teaching history in the elementary school are numerous and those who expound them are not always in agreement. It is not the purpose of this study to investigate the relative worth or even the existence of any value included or implied in the various aims. Its purpose is rather to examine into the implication of one assertion which has been much made of late, viz: that the chief purpose of teaching history in the elementary school is to make pupils more intelligent with respect to the more crucial activities, conditions and problems of present-day life. In other words, this study is planned to determine what the content of the course of study in history would be if all history which is not essential to such intelligence were eliminated and if items which are essential but which do not at present appear in the course of study were added. Naturally, it should throw light upon the relative emphasis to be given to each item.
The following stenographic reports of lessons in industrial arts given in the Speyer School represent a continuation of the plan outlined in the January number of the TEACHERS COLLEGE RECORD.
Stenographic Reports of Speyer School Lessons ERNEST HORN This issue of the RECORD introduces the first of a series of stenographic reports of lessons taught in Speyer School,—the experimental school for Teachers College.
In this article the writer has attempted to apply to history the general principles for making a curriculum given by Professor McMurry on pp. 1-10 of this number of the RECORD.
The following material, which is organized about the problem of how to improve agricultural conditions, is given as an illustration of the direct organization of the materials of history around modern problems, conditions and activities. Each of the more pressing modern problems has been treated in a similar fashion.