Constructive Work in History

Emily J. Rice
1901 The Course of Study  
In presenting the material of history, the connection between the past and the present should always be made clear, in order that the child may interpret his own experience through the accumulated experience of the race. Unless this connection is made, the child finds nothing in the subject-matter of the history lessons which helps him to solve the problems of his every-day life or furnishes any motive for work. He is constantly reaching out for the means of answering questions in regard to his
more » ... ns in regard to his social environment. To be of value to him, historic material must be put before him in such a way that he will see its relation to his own thought and action. It is also necessary that the child should express his knowledge in order that it may strengthen his power to think and to act. The past will be full of meaning to him in proportion as he expresses it in terms of his own life. We must learn to use not only dramatic representation, but also claymodeling and painting, drawing and designing, making and building. As far as possible, all hand-work should have social value, a use that children can see. They should feel that they are making things because they need them, and not as illustrations of what others have done. The children are thus actual partakers in the work of the world. Interest in the processes of manufacture may lead them to construct objects as they were made in the past, but even here they should be inventors rather than imitators. The study of industries may be made a series of problems, the teacher presenting conditions and children drawing their own conclusions. If the children are able to use books, these may supplement the work at every step. The accompanying illustrations show MYCENAEAN DECORATIONS 520 This content downloaded from 192.148.225.018 on
doi:10.1086/452833 fatcat:m5biheozrbbinoegwymdrsv2ue