Great Essay On The Role of Teaching In Child Development

Today We are going to discuss about the role of teaching in child development.This is very important essay on importance of teaching in children learning.Good teaching is a lot of passion as of reason . It is about motivating students not only to learn, but to teach them to learn. It is about taking care of your abilities,  and transforming that passion.The good teaching is one that promotes the personal, professional and social development of the subjects, as well as the autonomy of thought and action. It is also said that teaching should stimulate commitment and ethical responsibility towards the task and the capacity for lifelong learning.

If it is once recognised that the general development of the child on all the good sides of his nature is the business of the elementary school period, there will be much more likelihood of one important aspect of this general development receiving attention—that which is concerned with preparation for the right use of leisure. If this is not attended to during the period in question, the whole field of culture is likely to suffer. In the first place, budding tendencies of the better kind will die of neglect, being crowded out by lower ones. And even if they do not completely die, there is little chance of their being cultivated later.

For the time of special preparation for some particular trade or profession, and still more that of active participation in the occupation, not to mention the new interests which arise in connection with the opposite sex, will so absorb the energies of the youth that unless the tendencies to culture have already received a start, they will never get sufficient attention to enable them to thrive.

Although, therefore, the primary school should concern itself with those forms of knowledge and skill which are usually considered the most useful—reading, writing, and arithmetic—it should, before all else, seek to cultivate a real interest in the spiritual and material environment. What the older universities have called the humanities should form a large part of its curriculum.

The teacher should endeavour to cultivate a genuine sentiment for good literature. In addition, an interest in nature study and science, in geography, in history, in music and art should, as far as possible in each case, be developed. And the test of the teacher’s success will not be so much what the children know and are able to do as they near the end of the elementary school period, but how they employ their leisure after leaving school. If it is found that they use the public library for the purpose of procuring good books, if they join some continuation school and there pursue some of their studies, if they continue to read and experiment in some branch of science, or if they have some hobby of a mechanical kind, then the elementary school, so far as it is responsible for laying the foundation of such tastes, has done its duty.

It is not, of course, implied that each individual will be found doing all these things. We have already noted that there are great individual differences. These differences are not only in general and in special ability, but in taste. Usually special ability in a given branch and taste for it go together. What is meant, then, is that the instruction imparted by the teacher in every “ culture ” subject of the elementary school should stimulate at any rate some of his scholars to continue more or less independent work, and that every scholar should leave with a special interest in at least one of these subjects.

It is obvious that much will depend on the way in which the various “ culture ” subjects are taught. And closely connected with this is the question as to what portions of them should be dwelt on most fully. In the past, they were treated much like the more “useful” subjects. It was thought that the chief thing was for the pupil to acquire a given quantity of information. The idea most prominent in the minds of the pupils was that a certain amount had to be learned.

Geography consisted of a long enumeration of facts ; history, of dates and events; literature, of so much to be learned by heart, with so many meanings and explanations to be remembered ; singing, of the practising of time and tune exercises with the acquiring of a number of songs; drawing, of the laborious reproduction of uninteresting “ models.” All this was gone through with the one idea of proficiency in each department, and if any child survived the process with some interest left in the subject, it was rather in spite of than because of the method adopted.

But the chief object in teaching these subjects is not that the pupil shall have his mind stored with a number of facts, or his voice trained to produce accurately a given number of songs, or his hand adapted to reproduce correctly the models which are set before him. It is to awaken in him an intelligent interest in his environment, so that he may take pleasure in the higher things of life, and employ all the time which he will have on his hands, after discharging his special duties to the community in some definite trade or profession, both to his own enjoyment and to that of the society in which he is placed.

But it must now be pointed out that one cannot have interest in a subject without knowledge of it. One can, as we have already noted, have knowledge of a subject without interest in it. This unfortunately is the position of many children with respect to much of the information imparted to them in school. Let not, however, the teacher imagine that the doctrine now preached absolves him from responsibility with regard to the knowledge which his pupils possess. He must not attempt to explain away the ignorance of his children by asserting his preference for interest above knowledge. For interest always implies knowledge.

Who, for instance, would dare to assert that lie was interested in the works of Dickens without being able to tell anything about what he had read ? Or, to take an example from a somewhat lower sphere, what would one say of a boy professing to be deeply interested in cricket and yet unable to explain what a “ bye ” or a “ wide ” or a “ no-ball ” is. Not only is it impossible to have interest in a subject without knowledge of it, but, as a rule, the greater the interest the greater the knowledge. In general, then, we may say—Once get interest, and knowledge will necessarily be involved in it.

It must not, however, be concluded that all compulsion to learn can be abolished. Facts and the understanding of them, exercises and the practising of them, there must be. Without some initial application no interest can be created. “ Pitch in, and interest follows. No one will ever get up a white heat of interest by waiting for interest to come before beginning a task. And sometimes the teacher will have to use some form of compulsion to get this initial attack. But his chief idea, especially in these “ culture ” subjects, should be so to present his subject, and to present such portions of it, that the children will be interested in it to a large extent spontaneously.

To this end he must understand the natures of the children, their likes and dislikes, what they know and how they increase their knowledge. Here, a study of psychology will help him, especially that branch of the science which is known as genetic psychology—the study of the development of mind. But psychology is still in its infancy.

And, further, it does not deal with any particular individual as such; it rather attempts to arrive at the general laws which govern all cases. Still more important, then, than general psychology is the understanding of the peculiarities  of the particular individuals with whom we have to deal. And this can only be obtained if a knowledge of psychology is linked with a special interest in children. The teacher who is really sympathetic with his pupils, who enters into their lives and sees things from their point of view, will be more successful in his dealings with them, even if he cannot formulate the principles of psychology, than one who has mastered the chief outlines of the subject, but who has little interest in the concrete material which faces him in the desks.

This has led many teachers to despise psychology. They find many—including themselves—who get on very well without it. But they fail to see that the empirical knowledge of children which they derive from their acquaintance with their pupils and their deep interest in them is a kind of psychology, though a crude form, and one which they could not express in scientific fashion. The best work of all will be done by the able teacher who has some knowledge of scientific psychology on the one hand, and a deep interest in his pupils on the other. We name them separately, but in practice they will usually interact and mutually enrich each other.

Every teacher who wishes to awaken a real interest in the subjects which he teaches must, then, acquire the ability to look at things from the child’s point of view. His attitude in sketching out a lesson should not be—They have to learn this, but—How will this affect them? Some fortunate individuals seem never to have lost the child’s point of view. They have begun teaching early in life with a clear remembrance of their own school days, and, aided by a great deal of sympathy with their pupils, they have never got out of touch with the attitude of the child.

Others gradually find as they go on with their teaching the necessity of this sympathy, and by definite efforts work their way back to the child’s standpoint. In one’s efforts to acquire this standpoint it is helpful to renew contact with any relics of one’s own childhood which time has not destroyed. Old playthings, school exercises, childish letters written to one’s parents or friends and preserved by them, old school books, above all the reminiscences of one’s elders, if it is possible to get these to give them, will all help to remind one of one’s attitude to the world as a child. Every teacher, sitting at his desk in the evening and thinking over the work for the morrow, might w*ell breathe the words of the poet.

“ Backward, turn backward, 0 time, in your flight ;

Make me a child again, just for to-night! ”

As we have already noted, nothing can replace the direct sympathy and insight which the teacher displays in connection with his individual pupils. Still, some general principles of psychology are helpful in guiding him in the selection and arrangement of his lessons.

In the first place, nobody can take a great interest in a thing which he cannot understand at all. But what do we mean by understanding a thing ? If the matter is examined carefully, it will be found to mean that one already possesses some ideas with regard to the thing presented. That object is not entirely strange. At the same time, it must not, as a rule, be entirely familiar. For, unless we have some special liking for it, the totally familiar fails to arouse interest. The “ new ” thing presented, therefore, must be partially familiar and partially unfamiliar. These are the conditions under which the instinct of curiosity is evoked—a tendency which constrains one to examine more closely, and to learn more about, some object which is presented.

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