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It is usually much better to dramatize or demonstrate a topic than merely to talk about Even a few pieces of equipment or apparatus will add greatly to the effectiveness of a talk. Charts and other illustrative material can be used to good advantage if simple and large enough to be read easily anywhere in the room.
One of the most important things in the program is singing. Nearly everybody likes to sing. But nearly everyone, especially the youngster, likes "snappy" music. There is something in a good fast march, for instance, which stirs us up and interests us. In the average school assembly when a hymn is sung, the singing is done by comparatively few pupils, but when a rollicking sea song or a fine old southern melody is announced nearly all the pupils sing. One strictly religious hymn is enough for school assembly program. The meeting is not a religious one and never will be and a sure way to kill it is to try to make it one. The first song may be a hymn, preferably a good live one, and the other songs melodies, well known airs from operas, choruses and semipopular songs. An occasional verse from famous war songs will add to interest. Some schools have no auditorium and claim that they cannot hold assemblies. This condition is a handicap but the study hall can be utilized for everything that the auditorium can be used for, except perhaps dramatics. It may be necessary to have the assembly in two sections because of the size of the room, but even that is not a vital handicap. One of the best high school assemblies we saw last year, certainly the best singing, was in a twosection assembly held in the study hall of the Tarentum, Pa., High School. One good program once a week is much more valuable than attempts at daily programs, which always result in weak, worthless affairs of a routine nature. While this article is written with the high school in mind, many of the suggestions are applicable to grade schools.
In summary, if you want to kill the assembly:
Try to make it religious
Always have a long list of announcements
Sing old chants and slow hymns
Hold it every day
Patrol and guard with great care
Teaching Our European Background in
ARTHUR D. CROMWELL
West Chester, Pa.
HE rural school is in many ways the better place in which to do superior teaching. The unit is smaller, the average attendance is smaller, the classes are smaller and hence there is a better chance to attend to individual differences. After all we are teaching individuals and not classes. In the rural school there is a much better chance to grade vertically instead of horizonally as we must in most town schools. For reading, project reports and such work there is in the rural school a more natural life setting with auditors older and younger than the members of the class reporting. Most people agree that country surroundings furnish the richest environment for the education of a child.
In the book, An Experiment with a Project Curriculum, Collings has shown that ordinary teachers by combining classes and correlating subjects around the project may teach so that children pass twice as good examinations in some subjects and much better in all subjects than they do from schools taught as most schools are conducted today. This set me to wondering if we could not do some superior work in the European Background.
Teachers were teaching "words, words," with little meaning and no joy or enthusiasm. Our little texts have a vocabulary too hard for most rural children and they offer little or no motivation for the work.
I went to the Social Science Department of the West Chester State Normal School and asked Dr. Heathcote to send me the best girl he had last year in How to Teach History. He sent me Marian Sharbaugh who had had two years' teaching experience. We asked her if she wanted to do something original. We wanted to know if she was willing to work hard to do something worth while in a new and a better way. We told her that there were no books written to tell her what to do, that there were few if any books written from our point of view, that there was nothing written for the children to read for our project work. She was to be a pioneer without even a "Covered Wagon," though she could have the "Ten Commandments."
She was to lead the way and two other girls teaching in other rural schools were to follow.
The girls were told not to worry about narrative history but to select type studies that would give vivid realizations of the important things that our Pennsylvania course of study calls for. Using both the rural and the elementary Pennsylvania manuals we learn that we are to teach Egypt and the Tigris-Euphrates valleys as giving us skilled farmers, skilled builders and workmen. From the Hebrews we get our Bible, the Ten Commandments, Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. From Phoenicia we get ship builders, trading and instruments of commerce, such as our alphabet.
How could we present these from the child's point of view? How could we hold the mind of the child in contact with these peoples until the mind realized clearly what achievements these peoples had made? We thought we would try by using a story-of-Joseph sand table project. The girls had the pupils plan ahead what we needed to do. We needed a desert with rows of camels to represent caravans. These were set up on the sand table. In places where the land was fertile, the sand was covered with green sawdust, the hills of Joseph's country were dotted with huts, sheep and shepherds. Along one of the chalk covered trails leading to Egypt came a caravan to which Joseph was sold and carried down into Egypt. Then we asked what did Joseph find in the Nile valley? How can we make these things for our sand table? We had to arrange to have the Nile run down hill to the north and not up hill as in their geographies and histories. P. & G. soap made good pyramids and sphinxes. Pictures and books were searched to find what vegetation Joseph would find. How the farmers farmed. Drawings were made of plows and other implements. A great dam was made to distribute the waters for irrigation. Did we enter Egypt from a child's point of view? Were the children happy workers, readers and searchers for knowledge? Did knowledge, as in life out of school, become incidental to the doing? Did we have all of
the attributes of a good project which we define as a consciously planned and purposed activity carried to completion in its natural setting? We cared little about definition of a project except as it helped to explain a certain type of teaching. We were trying to give vivid realizations of what these countries had contributed to our civilization.
In passing, we taught the Phoenicians as people on the coast who became seamen, ship builders, who did much to develop commerce on the Mediterranean.
Then we passed to Greece. Here we made a movie picture of the Iliad and Odyssey. The teacher told the story, the pupils read much to learn how the characters dressed and behaved. Paris did what he thought Paris actually did do. Helen acted the part of Helen. Achilles sulked in his tent on the school yard, etc.
Then we built Athens. The hills back of Athens, covered with shepherds' huts, flocks of sheep and goats, were to be seen everywhere. We had surplus wool and needed wheat. Our late friends, the Phoenicians, came over in ships with cards telling that the ship carried wheat. These the Phoenicians traded for wool. That made necessary a market place as the first permanent institution in Athens. Around this agora we learned many of the stories were told, many of the orations were made and much of the teaching was done, Incidentally, it was especially by Socrates. interesting to learn that near Darby, Pennsylvania there is a place called Agora.
The Greeks were highly religious as we have learned from the Homeric poems. Then, too, they were trusty and money left in the temple was safe, so a temple was needed. Later, with the accumulation of wealth, we needed a theater, gymnasium, schools, Plato's garden. Decorations were made to honor the gods. P. & G. soap again came handy for Doric, Corinthian and Ionic columns! Some children, especially Italians, carved splendid statues at home from P. & G. soap.
We are soon to pass on to Roman history. And here again we begin with a great poem, the Aeneid, that enables us to review our Greek stories. Again we plan to represent our geographic background, again we need the market place.
Then we pass to Germany and again we find a great story and a great Roman writer, Tacitus, telling us of life in northern Europe.
We are planning to conduct a great crusading journey to see the great civilizations which we studied earlier in the year. The crusaders bring back a desire for the cultural products of the East and hence begin to search for a shorter way to India. That leads to Columbus and we are in American history.
There is much correlation all along the way. "The Builders" was the poem memorized while we studied Egypt and Greece. Emerson's Sphinx was read. Pictures of our bank fronts and our Normal School library were studied to see what we had copied from the Greeks. A note book was kept in which we put new words, notes, pictures, clippings, "things we had learned," etc. Some problems were solved such as how nearly was Sir Henry Main right when he said, “Except for the blind forces of nature, nothing moves in this old world of ours that was not Greek in its origin?" What do we mean by "Westward the course of empire takes its way?"
In view of the important place science has in modern education it is worthy of note that in 1832 a group of men in Lancaster, Ohio, asked the school board for the use of the school house to hold a meeting to promote a railroad in the vicinity. The Board answered by letter as follows:
"You are at liberty to use the school house to hold meetings for all proper purposes. But railroad and telegraphs are impossible and rank infidelity. If God had intended His intelligent creatures should travel at the frightful speed of sixteen miles an hour, He would clearly have foretold it in the Holy Prophets. It is a device of Satan to lead immortal souls down to Hell."
The Relation Between the Public Library and
ADELINE B. ZACHERT
Director of School Libraries, Department of Public Instruction, Harrisburg, Pa.
OR a long time this topic has appeared on programs of library and other educa- . tional meetings. It dates back almost to the time when standards for public library service were set at that memorable first meeting of earnest minded and far visioned librarians who assembled in Philadelphia in 1876, to outline aims and policies for public library service. A little later the famous definition of the purpose of a public library was first stated: "The function of a public library is to develop and enrich all the people of a community by giving them the books which belong to them." This meant democratizing the library. It was a departure from the thought that a library is the haunt only of the student and the intellectual. The term "all the people" implied the men, women and children of a community. It was not long before the women accepted this invitation and they have been accepting it ever since in such numbers that sometimes anxious city fathers, with an eye upon the tax payer's pocket, wonder whether a community is justified in spending so much money to provide the needed supply of popular fiction which is quite generally supposed to be the type of mental food patronized largely by women.
The term "all the people" also implied that boys and girls of the community were included. It was not long before they came to the library asking for stories that had a special appeal to them. Children's book shelves set aside to hold the meager collection of juvenile literature had to be enlarged into children's alcoves, and these in turn gave way to children's library rooms.
During the last twenty-five years the work with children in public libraries has developed into a distinct feature of modern public library service. The first training school for children's librarians in any country was established in Pittsburgh. From this school went forth children's librarians to practically every state in the Union. Through the means of story hours, reading clubs and other devices, they draw children in large numbers to the attractive library rooms set aside for their special use. To visit a children's library room during the two busy hours after the close of school is an interesting experience. One goes
away with a comfortable feeling that the reading taste of the youth of the land is being moulded according to approved standards. The children's librarian, however, realizes that this service while valuable, does not serve all the children of the community unless the community be very small indeed. The great majority of the children are not regular users of the public library. They may come a few times, register, and so become members. After a while other attractions elsewhere claim their attention, the readers' cards accumulate in the trays and the children's librarian if she knows her business will realize that in order to attract new recruits she must adopt the policies of a good salesman and go after them.
The children's librarians of twenty-five or thirty years ago realized this as do those of today. They took their courage into their hands, put on their most becoming bonnets, and sallied forth to the nearby schools. They asked for permission to present to the pupils the lure of their lovely children's library filled with beautiful and interesting books. Often permission to speak to the classes was denied them. The over conscientious principal felt that no diversion should distract the attention of the pupils from the routine of class work. More progressive principals welcomed the children's librarian and often went with her to the classrooms and supplemented her invitation by encouraging approval.
To strengthen the relation between schools and public libraries and to bring as many children as possible in contact with the public library, the zealous children's librarian went a step farther. She not only invited pupils to come to the library but she actually took a part of the library to the children in schools at a distance. These sample libraries aroused an interest and children who would not otherwise have had an opportunity of reading the right book at the right time were thus given the privilege.
For years enthusiastic children's librarians discussed the relation of schools and libraries at their library meetings. All librarians agreed that it was a good plan to extend their service to the schools. The only difficulty was that there were so few school people who
seemed interested. Only a small number could be induced to come to the meetings of librarians held in conjunction with state and regional educational gatherings. They always seemed exceedingly busy with problems which interested them more, such as methods of teaching reading, geography, history and nature study. But that was twenty or more years ago. Since then remarkable changes have taken place in the methods of teaching.
We have now with us the project method and the socialized recitation. Thousands of teachers attend summer schools or they are on leave of absence to attend teachers' colleges in order to learn the newest and best methods of teaching. Where formerly a teacher could manage quite comfortably with a textbook and a few sets of supplementary readers, she finds that today she must have an adequate supply of books organized for use within the school building in order to meet the demands of modern educational methods. It is one thing to give a list of books to pupils and tell them to get the book where they can, in the public library, the Sunday school library, the home library or by borrowing or purchasing and quite another thing to have the book with which the teacher is thoroughly familiar and which she can place in the hands of her pupils with specific direction how best to use the book in order to get the fact material required for the motivated lesson assignment. The modern teacher demands not only many books dealing with the subjects of the curriculum but insists that these books be organized for use, classified and catalogued so as to be easily and readily accessible to all the pupils in her class at the time and place most needed, that is, within the school building. She demands a book laboratory for the laboratory method of teaching is now required in practically all of the subjects of the curriculum.
This call for book laboratories within the school suited to school needs, became so insistent that in 1915 at the meeting of the National Education Association in California, a committee of prominent school librarians and other school officials was appointed to draw up standards which should be acceptable to teachers and school executives throughout the country. The following year when the National Education Association met in New York these standards were presented and accepted. They have since become the basis upon which high school libraries everywhere have been established. During the last eight years the cam
paign for more and better high school libraries has swept the country. Practically all of the State Departments of Public Education have adopted the Standard and have given it wide publicity through their state publications. Many states have passed laws making it mandatory that the high schools of the state be not only equipped with an adequate library measuring up to generally accepted standards, but that the libraries shall be in charge of librarians trained for their important work. Educators have expressed themselves in no uncertain terms regarding the need and value of school libraries.
Dr. Hosic, Director of Extension Classes, Teachers College, Columbia University, says: "The modern high school has ceased to be a college preparatory institution and is becoming a place where the youth of our democracy may obtain a liberal education combined with preparation for a specific vocation, and the assumption is that students will need that many-sided development which only a curriculum of studies made up from all aspects of modern life can provide. In the new scheme of things the library is indispensable."
Regarding the need of employing a school librarian the State Superintendent of Oregon says: "There can be no effective high school library unless it has a librarian whose full time is devoted to its work. The librarian makes the high school library; for the kind of service she renders determines its measure as an educational asset. It is a wise economy on the part of school boards employing ten or more teachers in a high school to secure a trained librarian who will give her full time to contributing to the success of the work by intelligently co-operating with teachers of all subjects."
On an average, twenty-five per cent of all the pupils who enter the first grade reach the high school. The seventy-five per cent who do not are in greater need of having the right books at the right time than the fortunate children who do have the privilege of secondary education. Certain books must be read when the children are mentally ready for them. If not read at that time they are not likely to become a part of the mental make-up of the boys and girls who leave our elementary schools. Unless these young people form the habit of reading worth-while books during the first eight years of their school life, it is not likely that they will become lovers of books (Continued on page 284)