Teaching is Organic, Not Mechanical

"Now when a teacher thus looks upon his school as a field in which he is to exercise skill, and ingenuity, and enterprise; when he studies the laws of human nature, and the character of those minds upon which he has to act; when he explores deliberately the nature of the field which he has to cultivate, and of the objects which he wishes to accomplish, and applies means judiciously and skillfully adapted to the object, he must necessarily take a strong interest in his work. But when, on the other hand, he goes to his employment only to perform a certain regular round of daily toil, undertaking nothing and anticipating nothing but this dull and unchangeable routine, and when he looks upon his pupils merely as passive objects of his labors, whom he is to treat with simple indifference while they obey his commands, and to whom he is only to apply reproaches and punishment when they do wrong, such a teacher never can take pleasure in the school. Weariness and dullness must reign in both master and scholars when things, as he imagines, are going right, and mutual anger and crimination when they go wrong.

"Scholars never can be successfully instructed by the power of any dull mechanical routine, nor can they be properly governed by the blind, naked strength of the master; such means must fail of the accomplishment of the purposes designed, and consequently the teacher who tries such a course must have constantly upon his mind the discouraging, disheartening burden of unsuccessful and almost useless labor. He is continually uneasy, dissatisfied, and filled with anxious cares, and sources of vexation and perplexity continually arise. He attempts to remove evils by waging against them a useless and most vexatious warfare of threatening and punishment; and he is trying continually to drive, when he might know that neither the intellect nor the heart are capable of being driven."

-from The Teacher by Jacob Abbott, Chapter 1

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