Imágenes de páginas

Nothing definite can be said regarding the methods of instruction in the drama. These should be left to the experts for experimentation. In general, Browning's famous formula for obtaining knowledge can be used as a safe guide in the education of adolescents: "To KNOW, rather consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendour may escape." This formula is especially applicable to the adolescent, for in his case "To know is to get away from self, and to be and act out other types of individuality. His emotional sentiment, his love of self-expression is strong, and he longs to see a show and take part in one-to imitate either consciously as a spectator, or unconsciously as an actor. The personages of myth, romance, story or drama are keenly appreciated by him, and actual representation of these is the most plausible way of satisfying his appreciation."

Additional time given to the Junior High School dramatics will not place the pupils at any disadvantage. At present they spend comparatively little time in school, and have much leisure time at their disposal. They will simply be retained in the wholesome atmosphere of the school for a longer period. One of the chief aims of the Junior High School is to teach a worthy use of leisure, and to train in the habits of proper recreation. Nothing can be more suitable for a worthy use of leisure and proper recreation for an adolescent than spending his time in dramatic activities. Such use of time will also result in satisfaction to one of his most annoying instincts. As a result, the youth will come to love his school, and it will no longer be a bore to him. He will be willing to extend his dramatic activities so as to include his evenings, and will thus be kept away from the harmful influence of the movies.

The following six principles to be used as guides in school dramatics are proposed by Dr. Curtis:

A. The school training of the dramatic instinct differs in toto from professional training. The aim of professional training is to perfect an art, that of the school is to develop the individual. The product is not the aim of the school dramatic training. The effort is, or should be, to give new conceptions and ideals; to

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

awaken eyes and ears to beauty; to cause the child to realize and express his individuality.

B. The form of gratification of the dramatic instinct must be suited to the individual need. This principle makes an enormous demand upon the time and sympathies of the teacher. It requires his knowledge of the pupil's life and the probable influence of his environment as well as of his temperament. It is a continuation of some of the admirable methods of the kindergarten, carried into higher grades.

C. The material at hand must be sifted. Even within those subjects that lend themselves more rapidly to dramatization, some material is unfit, Common sense, judgment, and strong regard for the moral elevation of the child will be our best guides here.

D. The practical value of the so-called unpractical must be realized. Our whole educational system has been tending of late more and more to fit the young to earn a good living, to recognize good sanitation, to judge good food, to prepare good meals, and to make good clothes. All this does not train the boys and girls to be good citizens. The juvenile courts are showing the faults in our system that 'pins its faith to what may be tabulated and scaled.' The emotional nature, the longing for self-expression are neither satisfied nor directed. The few 'unpractical cultural studies' that might replace the old sources of inspiration are now discarded or grudgingly allowed an obscure place in the curriculum. They need to be restored, that we may ground well the character of the child, soften his nature, energize him to noble ends. For this purpose nothing better than a study of noble drama.

E. The training must be continuous, not spasmodic. At each stage of the child's development a different appeal to the dramatic instinct is required. The play-acting that delights the child would be a torture to the self-conscious age. Here comes in appropriately training in criticism and technique, where the gratification is passive, but no time will be lost by the diversion of interest.

F. It must arouse and deepen the sense of moral values. The pupils will receive a sense of proportion and of values. They will learn to distinguish what is trifling from what is of real value; that virtue may co-exist either with wealth or rank or with the humblest conditions of life; and these are only of value in so far as they are a power for doing good; that even a desirable thing may be bought at too big a price. Only when it gives some understanding of the difference between what is fundamental and essential and the merely superficial, external, and accidental, will the training come fully to its own.

Several distinct benefits can be derived from a proper cultivation of the dramatic instinct in addition to those found in Dr. Curtis's principles. First, it will fulfill one of the five major objectives of the Junior High School; viz., "The continuation of the common, integrating education." This will come as a result of the contact the children will have with each other in the great, unifying, artistic work. Nothing can socialize or unify people more than co-operation in art. Art itself is a great unifying principle. Again, the cultivation of the dramatic instinct will have a telling effect upon at least five of the chief goals of the Junior High School education, which were recognized by the Reviewing Committee on the Reorganization of Secondary Education: 1. Health. 2. Worthy home membership. 3. Citizenship. 4. Worthy use of leisure. 5. Ethical character.

Dr. Curtis sees the following pedagogical benefits arising from utilization of the dramatic instinct in education: 1. It will serve as a means of impressing a lesson vividly, so that it is not easily forgotten. 2. It will teach children to appear at ease in public. 3. It will insure work on the part of the students because of the interest aroused. 4. It will afford a pleasing variety to the routine of school work. 5. It will bring teachers and pupils together into a closer fellowship.

It is high time to educate our communities to the realization of. the importance of the drama in our lives. They should be made to understand that true education is worth the money put into it, and that the additional expenses in the department of drama will

be more than repaid by the increase in happiness of our people, resulting from the satisfaction of the neglected spiritual hunger. They must also be made to realize that the additional expenses will mean nothing in comparison with the savings effected in the corrective and penal institutions of society. These savings must result from elevating the morals of our future citizens.

Only with the presence of an efficiently functioning dramatic department can the Junior High School realize many of its objectives. Only under such conditions will it be able to work for social betterment, for which work it has been orginally designed. Through the training for a higher type of individuality the Junior High School will serve new demands for improvement upon certain of our institutions, and, among these, upon the abused and polluted institutions of low and cheap drama. Who can tell what may be the answer to such demands? Surely our social standards will be raised. And perhaps, in this field, this great republic of ours may restore to the world the noble, sustaining, chaste, and purifying form of real drama,-the tragedy.

The High School Mathematical Requirement




HE rapid development of secondary education in the last decade has brought with it a number of perplexing problems. In the last thirty years the high school population has increased more than six hundred per cent. This gives what may be termed a quantitative problem. It also renders more important the scientific studies in curriculum-making. Hardly any phase of the curriculum has escaped critical examination. This paper is a plea for a more critical evaluation of the present practice, among others, of making Plane Geometry a universal requirement for graduation from high school. For after certain phases of organization and of discipline have been provided it is obvious that the value of the school is to be tested by what the school teaches and the improvement in conduct which such teaching promotes. In Kansas and in many other states Plane Geometry is specified by the State Board of Education as one of the essential offerings of a school which seeks to be accredited. Without in the least questioning the right of a central educational authority to impose uniform requirements it is pertinent to inquire as to just what principles of curriculummaking, just what individual needs or social demands are met by the present Plane Geometry specification.

It will be admitted at the outset that our present courses of study are the results of gradual evolution rather than of carefully prepared and adopted investigations. Evidence of this fact and of the chaotic conditions in the curricula is furnished in a recently published study by Professor J. H. Stout in The Development of High School Curricula in the North Central States from 18601918. This important monograph traces rise and fall of certain studies. During the period under consideration many subjects have been completely eliminated. Some of these changes resulted

« AnteriorContinuar »