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The Teaching of Arithmetic: Interest and Effort

by David Eugene Smith - 1909

There has of late years been a tendency throughout the country to make arithmetic, as other subjects, more interesting to children. What the real motive was it is hard to say, since it was probably somewhat subconscious. Such statistical information as we have shows arithmetic always to have been looked upon by children as one of the most interesting subjects of the course, so that the reason was not that it was relatively a dull study. Possibly the desire was that the work of the teacher should become easier through increased interest on the part of the pupils. But whatever the reason it cannot be questioned that, other things being always kept equal, there is a great gain in increasing the interest in any kind of work. There is, however, a general danger accompanying this effort to increase interest. If this increase means that the subject is to become anemic, if it is not to require the same serious effort to master it as heretofore, then it loses a considerable part of the value that has generally been assigned to it. Moreover, through this same cause it loses a considerable part of the very interest that was expected to be fostered. Boys and girls do not like to wrestle with infants or with infantile subjects, and unless a study is suitably graded as to difficulty it will appeal in vain to the interest, the vigorous attack, and the responsive mental effort of the pupils.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 10 Number 1, 1909, p. 24-25
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10012, Date Accessed: 10/21/2019 12:15:46 AM

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