The Selection of Material

Samuel T. Dutton
1903 The Elementary School Teacher  
WHAT is most to be desired to-day is not more theory or more startling examples of radical practice, but rather that the rank and file of teachers throughout the country may grasp the commonplaces of educational thought and may live up to them. There is more conservatism abroad than is usually acknowledged. In town and city the life of the school is only partially redeemed from the mechanical methods of former days. The physical well-being of the child is not yet made of first importance. Fresh
more » ... air, cheerful variety, rhythmic games, happy play, corrective gymnastics are too occasional and perfunctory. Motor training has barely scratched the surface of the teaching consciousness of America. Music as a highly nutritive element in child nurture is yet unrecognized even by directors of this branch. Too much time is given to the drill upon the forms and symbols of music, while the rich opportunities for the culture of the musical sense are neglected. Similar statements might be made about othet portions of the curriculum. Is there a remedy for these palpable defects? No doubt many remedies could be suggested, and I purpose to speak here at some length of one. It is that all along the line officials and directors of education pay more attention to the principles involved in the selection of material for teaching. Everybody believes that character is the end of education, and that a healthy body is of first account. It is known also that body, mind, and spirit are one, and that interest and feeling are the most potent allies of the will. Why, then, should there not be a more complete emancipation of the teacher from the old formal curriculum, and a larger range of choice, so that in the daily process of adapting means to end the teacher may be conscious of personal growth and may take professional pride in doing what is best for the child ? A moment's reflection will show that the living, growing teacher is the real dynamic power in every school. Nearly 346 This content downloaded from 128.
doi:10.1086/453205 fatcat:zo7qm6i7hvaknberj7wnvklgce