The Art of Teaching

The Art of Teaching

The Art of Teaching

The Art of Teaching

Excerpt

This is a book on the methods of teaching. It does not discuss the subjects which are taught (or should be taught) in schools, in colleges, and elsewhere. There are thousands of books on the subjects, but not nearly so many on the general principles of teaching. Yet it is necessary to distinguish subjects from methods. The development of propaganda shows us how lies and stupidities can be efficiently taught; and the history of schools shows us how good subjects and important truths can be badly taught. Our interest here, therefore, is not to distinguish the good subjects from the bad subjects, but to work out the principles by which a subject -- once it has been chosen -- can be well taught. This is not a book of educational theory, but a book of suggestions drawn from practice.

It is called The Art of Teaching because I believe that teaching is an art, not a science. It seems to me very dangerous to apply the aims and methods of science to human beings as individuals, although a statistical principle can often be used to explain their behavior in large groups and a scientific diagnosis of their physical structure is always valuable. But a "scientific" relationship between human beings is bound to be inadequate and perhaps distorted. Of course it is necessary for any teacher to be orderly in planning his work and precise in his dealing with facts. But that does not make his teaching . . .

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