Teaching children effectively requires that teachers be competent to supervise the learning process. They will need to know the nature of independent thinking, its various modes, the conditions favorable to its development, and the methods by which it may be strengthened as a personal power. Unless pupils are trained to study in the right way, there will be a waste of energy, loss of time, and sometimes either incorrect results, or no results at all.
We all know that proper study involves reflective or purposive thinking. In reflective thinking, there is a definite end in view and the ideas are collected and controlled so as to accomplish this end.
In giving a certain task to do we have to keep in mind the following functions:
1. What should be done – In order to assign a lesson to the best advantage, the teacher must know the class, the pupil’s needs and ability, and the subject. In preparing for an assignment, the teacher should look ahead so as to get a good idea of the scope of the lesson. He should then pick out the chief points to be emphasized on account of their importance. Then, he should look for the difficult things in the lesson in order that he may offer suggestions for their solutions.
2. How it should be done – A good assignment points out the way to proceed in order to prepare the lesson with the least expenditure of time and energy. A proper assignment of the lesson keeps up interest of pupils and encourages them to study. As the teacher begins to explain how to attack a certain lesson, the pupils become interested and will desire to follow his suggestions.
3. Why should it be done – In the giving of assignment, there must be an objective, a goal, a climax. Pupils will prepare the lesson more willingly and with more certainty if they know what is expected of them.
In training our children to study effectively the following suggestions are given:
1. The teacher’s attitude toward the subject taught. What should be the teacher’s attitude toward the subject-matter of his grade? He should consider it as means toward a definite purpose. He should not merely study the lesson for his own command of the facts but for those sake of the class, he must try to go discover the possibilities afforded by the lesson for training the pupils in thoughtful ways of working and living.
2 The teacher’s attitude toward the class – The teacher needs to keep helpful to the class, the teacher must be on such terms with his pupils that his presence does not stand on the way of free mental activity. A teacher who frightens his class, who is over-serious, or who is sarcastic, will not be able to make such progress in training pupils to study, since his attitude retards rather than accelerates thinking on the part of the class. Fairness, frankness, kindness and encouraging words, the spirit of cooperation, a brisk procedure which brings a sense of accomplishments.
3. The need of training in many directions. To teach children how to study, it must be kept in mind that they will not learn the process so as to apply it generally unless they learn it in connection with many kinds of work involving thought.
4. Learning to find a problem – Children will learn how to study by being trained into right habits of studying by the teacher. They should be trained to analyze a situation, or problem and discover what the thing is, what is to be done or known, and the facts which they can employ in solving the problem.
5. The function of the lesson assignment – The lesson assignment assumes new importance. It is the teacher’s opportunity to prepare the class for right study. If the pupils need help in finding the aim, the lesson assignment should pave the way for its discovery.
6. Learning to recognize data – From the third to the fourth grade and up, children should be made to realize the values of an outline. As the pupils learn the various steps in an outline, they should be given opportunity to use independently with suitable materials. When it is not possible for an individual pupil to make his own outline, cooperative outline to be developed by the class may be prepared on the blackboard. This work-type reading skill found in the reading objectives should be mastered in the reading lesson so that its application can be carried over in other subjects.
7. Training pupils to work quickly – Pupils not only need to master content of the books systematically and thoroughly, but they should master them quickly. Teachers can develop speed in pupils just as they are trained in quick recognition of letters and figures in reading and arithmetic. Economy of time, should be insisted upon and if class works too slowly, special exercises for increasing speed may be employed. Children, especially in the intermediate grades, should be encouraged to budget their own time in studying various lessons.