The Vitalized School eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 208 pages of information about The Vitalized School.

5.  How do the typical recitations of your school contribute to the happiness of your pupils?  Be specific.

6.  How may lack of thoroughness limit freedom?  Illustrate.

7.  How may education give rise to self-reliance?  Self-respect?

8.  Show that national and religious freedom depend upon education.

CHAPTER XXIII

EXAMINATIONS

=Prelude.=—­When the vitalized school has finally been achieved there will result a radical departure from the present procedure in the matter of examinations.  A teacher in the act of preparing a list of examination questions of the traditional type is not an edifying spectacle.  He has a text-book open before him from which he extracts nuts for his pupils to crack.  It is a purely mechanical process and only a mechanician could possibly debase intelligence and manhood to such unworthy uses.  Were it not so pathetic it would excite laughter.  But this teacher is the victim of tradition.  He knows no other way.  He made out examination questions in accordance with this plan fifteen years ago and the heavens didn’t fall; then why, pray, change the method?  Besides, men and women who were thus examined when they were children in school have achieved distinction in the world’s affairs, and that, of itself, proves the validity of the method, according to his way of thinking.

=Mental atrophy.=—­It seems never to occur to him that children have large powers of resistance and that some of his pupils may have won distinction in spite of his teaching and his methods of examination and not because of them.  His trouble is mental and spiritual atrophy.  He thinks and feels by rule of thumb, “without variableness or shadow of turning.”  In the matter of new methods he is quite immune.  He settled things to his complete satisfaction years ago, and what was good enough for his father, in school methods, is quite good enough for him.  His self-satisfaction would approach sublimity, were it not so extremely ludicrous.  He has a supercilious sneer for innovations.  How he can bring himself to make concessions to modernity to the extent of riding in an automobile is one of the mysteries.

=Self-complacency.=—­His complacency would excite profound admiration did it not betoken deadline inaction.  He became becalmed on the sea of life years ago, but does not know it.  When the procession of life moves past him he thinks he is the one who is in motion, and takes great unction to himself for his progressiveness—­“and not a wave of trouble rolls across his peaceful breast.”  So he proceeds to copy another question from the text-book, solemnly writing it on a bit of paper, and later copying on the blackboard with such a show of bravery and gusto as would indicate that some great truth had been revealed to him alone.  In an orotund voice he declaims to his pupils the mighty revelations that he copied from the book.  His examination regime is the old offer of a mess of pottage for a birthright.

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The Vitalized School from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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