The Language Arts in the Elementary School

The Language Arts in the Elementary School

The Language Arts in the Elementary School

The Language Arts in the Elementary School

Excerpt

Teachers, parents, and the public in general are deeply concerned that children in the elementary school develop the ability to communicate effectively. The favorite target, when the schools are criticized, is the language areas -- usually reading, writing, and spelling, though the ability to speak clearly and effectively is also mentioned. It is entirely natural that the language arts are a matter of such concern, for competence in many vocations is dependent upon the ability to communicate, and, indeed, communication is almost essential to a satisfactory personal life.

Teachers are well aware of the fact that their reputation in the profession hinges very largely upon their ability to develop in children a satisfactory level of skill in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, so that children can operate confidently and effectively in their use of the mother language. These abilities are valuable as ends in themselves and indispensable as means of learning during the school years and as avenues to self-education throughout the productive years of maturity.

In a very real sense, the child builds himself as he builds his language. Because this is true and because no two children are exactly alike in background, in the way they learn, and in the attitudes they show toward learning, it is impossible to set out definite plans for teaching. College students preparing to be teachers, and even some experienced teachers, long to find a book that tells them precisely what steps to take to achieve their teaching goals. There can never be such a book, because effective teaching demands that teachers study the needs of each individual child and adapt their teaching to meet his needs. The best service any book can render is to help teachers understand the language they are teaching and to help them recognize the problems and needs of the children in their classes so that those needs can be met economically and effectively.

A great deal has been written about the language arts since the . . .

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