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ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE OBJECT SYSTEM AND OBJECT TEACHING;
, OR, OBJECTS, PRINCIPLES AND SYSTEM.
By Mrs. M. LEWIS JORDAN.
I had thought that the accurate judgment of Dr. Fitzgerald would have seen the necessity of excusing me from so responsible a duty as that of speaking to you in behalf of the object system-responsible, because I believe that this system, thoroughly understood and properly carried out, by teachers who are fitted for their work, will do more for the amelioration of the condition of the human race; for the bringing about of the “great millenium,” than even the preaching of the gospel. Although I do not like apologies, in this case I must make an exception, and apologize to you for attempting to speak on a subject of so much importance to us all, without baving made any previous preparation. I would not now proceed, did I not know that patience and charity are the crowning attributes of the true teacher.
I am not going to make a speech. I do not believe in the popular theme “ Woman's Rights," but I do believe in women's right position and unwavering discharge of duty, and will try to throw out a few suggestions on the difference between the object system and object teaching.
A failure on the part of most educators to discover this difference, by not giving tbe subject proper thought and investigation, is wby so many have such an aversion to what they think is the object system; wbicb aversion is caused by the observation or obnoxious results of a certain kind of object teaching, adopted by those educators who depend entirely for their knowledge on Calkin's, Willson's or E. A. Sheldon's Manual; which books, if written correctly, are only intended for suggestions. E. A. Sheldon's Manual, being the only manual which contains even sug. gestions on the idea of the object system (nor was it intended for any other purpose), contains but fragments of the system as a system; and as for Calkin's and Willson's Manuals and school charts, they are worse than nothing, as they prevent the cultivation of originality and encourage the obnoxious “object teaching," preventing a knowledge of the genuine object system.
The idea of objects as suggestions to knowledge is as old as the creation of the world. Practical lessons by use of objects or illustrations had their birth with common sense. The principles on which the object system is founded originated with Christianity; which principles have been beautifully illustrated in tbe teachings of our Saviour, who always explained the unknown by the well known, as seen in the lessons on " The Lilies of the Field,” « The Fowls of the Air," “ The Leaven in the Three Measures of Meal,” etc. This is nothing new. What, then, is new? The system. Not objects, sound principles, common sense, fragmentary lessons and illustrations by use of black-boards and crayonfor which black-boards and crayon we are indebted to the practical common sense of Pestalozzi. Although we owo something to Locke, yet never were the above fragments brought together and arranged into a system of education until necessity prompted the philanthropy of Pestalozzi to give it its first mouldings. After which, the Rev. Dr. Mayo, making necessary improvements, gave it publicity and solidity by its introduction into the London schools.
It is to the untiring efforts of E. A. Sheldon, of Oswego, assisted by Miss M. E. M. Jones, tbat we owe its successful introduction into the United States. First into the State of New York and thence into nearly every State in the Union. To perfect tbis system in its adaptation to every pbase of human progress, including science and art, profession and trade, is left for the bandiwork of California.
The object system is the first complete system of education that bas ever been brought before the public. It does not, like other systems, furnish a method for the presentation of certain subjects, but a way to teach every branch in the English language, commencing at the earliest stage of the child's education, extending to its complete close; grading every subject into steps, adapted to the age, grade and stage of each child; saving at least three years of every six of the time spent in school, by compelling the teacher to prevent the planting of weeds while she develops and cultivates the seeds; carrying out the old adage, that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Every succeeding lesson is dependent on the preceding one, and is a two-thirds review of the same presented in a different form. Each subject commenced in the lower grades is so presented as to prevent nearly all the difficulties with wbich teacbers in the higher grades now bave to contend.
The object system compels the teacher to be thorough. Its leading feature is consecutiveness. A system which develops the three-fold nature of the child, on the principle that.“union is strength.” Believing that to make the true man, the strong man, that the spiritual, intellectual and physical should be harmoniously cultivated as one, each helping to form the map of earth into the image of his Maker, whose trinity is so perfecily blended into one allwise God, that the pbilosophy of the world cannot separate them.
" Object teaching" consists of two metbods of giving a lesson on common objects. One metbod is that in which the teacher tells all she knows about the object that sbe has chosen for her subject, the children repeating after her until the information thus obtained is thorougbly memorized. The other leads the children to discover for themselves, through observation and experiment, proceeding step by step, the teacher making proper use of the objects she has supplied herself with, etc. This may be a very interesting lesson. But both are greatly deficient in the following respects :
First, They have no connection with or relation to any other subject taught in the school.
Second-Thoy do not form a link or part of the system by wbich the other lessons of the school are taught.
Third-Are given without reference to consecutiveness or relation to any future subject. The only object of the teacher or lesson is to give information on the object which is the subject of the lesson. And though this is "object teaching,” it is without an object or a system; only fragmentary lessons.
It is not matter that our schools are starving for, but method ; not subjects, but a system. It is to system, more than subject, that nearly all great men, all great achievements, owe their greatness. It was not pbilosophy, but a system of philosophy, which made Socrates immortal; which has embalmed the name of Euclid, and retains for posterity the common sense of Bacon. And it is to a correct system of education, founded on Christian principles, that humanity will owe its redemption. This, I believe, to be the object system. I trust that the builders in the temple of buman progress will not reject this corner stone.
By Dr. T. CROSSETT.
I feel myself honored in being permitted to present this subject before you, not that I suppose you give me credit for superior attainments in this profession, but because I find that vocal music, and the principles involved, are beginping to assume that position wbich I have for many years wished to see it take among those who are the educators of our youth.
I do not come before you with those beautifully formed sentences that send a thrill of pleasure to the soul of each listener, but as one who for balf a century bas been listening to the sweet concordant sounds of nature, and for nearly one-tbird of a century has been engaged in trying to impart instruction to others. A grave question arises in my mind as to what course would be the best for me to pursue in speaking to you upon the various themes or different points that present then. selves which require consideration. If I discuss theory at this late hour, I feel that my time will be nearly lost, for you, as a body, are not theoretical musicians.
Thorough bass, and the scientific progression of sounds as they gradually and almost imperceptibly resolve into each other, would not interest you if they were explained.
I could speak of the different departments into which sounds are divided, and tell you of their length, pitch and power, and of the laws that govern in each department.
Rhythm, melody and dynamics are not themes to interest at this time, but perbaps I can say something that shall form a pleasing theme to your minds, and cause you to believe that you can do something to advance tbis grand subject. You have met here for a noble object-mutual instruction upon those subjects which you have to discuss before the pupils entrusted to your care during the ensuing year. You are here because you wish to keep step to the music of old father Time, as he goes in a progressive manner down the cycles of years.
Music is one of those departments that you have declared is necessary for the school room. You gare no reasons in particular. I will try to impress upon your minds the idea that the lover of music has a better appreciation of the beautiful than one who has not a soul that responds to the concord of harmonic sounds.
I regret that there is not time for me to begin and go through progressively each of the different departments, showing in wbat manner I would impart instruction to pupils under my care, and bear others tell of their practical experience.
After proper explanations, I commence talking to the children, and call their attention to various sounds. I clap my bands together, walk upon the floor, strike upon the desk, ask what the clock is doing, tell them to listen to tbat carriage, or the cars, speak of the drum, ask them what they were doing Fourth of July, tell them that fire crackers, guns, cannon, etc., are musical instruments. I ask them if they have ever been to Woodward's Garden ; to tell me which department of music the growl of the bear belongs to, the barking of dogs, etc., and 80 go on, until I have fixed upon their minds most of those sounds that repeat themselves in longer or shorter tones, until they are able to distinguish those which have rhythm as their prominent feature. I then name some of tbose that have the prominent characteristics of melody developed in them when heard. I speak of various birds, of the singing of men and women, and of various instruments, asking them to name them. They will tell you of organs, pianos, violins, flutes, brass instruments and many others. In dynamics I tell them of the carriage or of the cars whose sounds grow louder as they draw near, and weaker as they go from us, until lost in the distance, and tell them that this forms the increasing and diminishing tones.
I speak of the winds as they rush past an object, creating a whistling tone, sometimes loud, at other times soft and whispering; again, of the waves as they come from the great deep, rolling and pitching upon the sea sbore, with their beavy sound; at other moments when the tone dies away and only a gentle rippling is beard upon the beach. The class soon discover, by various illustrations, that every tone bas one or more of these qualities prominently developed ; to these things I give particular attention. My efforts, ladies and gentlemen, at this time, will be directed to those sounds which are heard in nature, and while speaking of them, I shall try to impress upon your minds the fact that they are musical sounds, and close by calling your attention to the particular organ that we inherit as Nature's gift. All sounds are created by the vibration of a column of air, and bave a definite pitch, length and power given to them.
Nature, in every effort, gives forth its song, which tells of the power used to generate its tones. When the mountains beave, because of the struggle within them, they bellow with the thunder's tone, and howlings, hissings and screechings tell of the mighty conflict in which varions elements combine and are trying to overpower each other. Have you ever listened to such, and measured the length, pitch and power of their tones? This is the music of nature, when with vengeful wrath the elements meet in strife and try to destroy each other. Antagonism is the principle when Nature's sounds are created. The ice king reigos supreme on yon mountain top-sits amid the frost and spows listening to the music of the winds, as they come laden with the con. gealed mists that help to increase his wbitened bed-from age to age. And this is not all the music that he hears, for the winds whistle their shrill tones from the deep, dark and yawning caverns that lie beneath. These songs are like some angered spirits striving for relief, but whose prison bars restrain them, when they rush back and forth giving those screams that are frightful to the human ear. There they have been answering to the songs of nature ever since creation, and their echoes shall tell their tale during all time.
In all things the character of the music conforms to the special impor