Primary Education (1959)

(page numbers in brackets)

Notes on the text

The complete report is shown in this single web page. You can scroll through it or use the following links to go to the various chapters.

Preliminary pages (i-xiii)
Foreword, Preface, Contents

Part 1 Historical
Chapter I (1-11)
Recent History of Primary Education

Part 2 The Primary Schools
Chapter II (15-26)
Introduction
Chapter III (27-36)
Nursery Schools and Classes
Chapter IV (37-55)
Infant schools
Chapter V (56-77)
Junior Schools
Chapter VI (78-105)
The Working of the School
Chapter VII (106-110)
Special Educational Treatment

Part 3 The Fields of Learning
Chapter VIII (113-116)
The Curriculum
Chapter IX (117-129)
Religion
Chapter X (130-134)
Physical Education
Chapter XI (135-178)
Language
Chapter XII (179-212)
Mathematics
Chapter XIII (213-246)
Art and Craft and Needlework
Chapter XIV (247-259)
Handwriting
Chapter XV (260-274)
Music
Chapter XVI (275-288)
History
Chapter XVII (289-313)
Geography and Natural History

Part 4 The Special Problems of Wales
Chapter XVIII (317-329)
Wales

Index (331-334)


Primary Education (1959)
Suggestions for the consideration of teachers and others concerned with the work of Primary Schools

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1959
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.


[title page]

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE



Primary Education

Suggestions for the consideration
of teachers and others concerned with
the work of Primary Schools



LONDON
HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE
1959


[page ii]

First published 1959
Fourth impression 1965


Crown copyright 1959

Published by
HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE

To be purchased from
York House, Kingsway, London WC2
423 Oxford Street, London W1
13A Castle Street, Edinburgh 2
109 St. Mary Street, Cardiff
39 King Street, Manchester 2
50 Fairfax Street, Bristol 1
35 Smallbrook, Ringway, Brimingham 5
80 Chichester Street, Belfast
or through any bookseller


Printed in England for Her Majesty's Stationery Office
by Fosh & Cross Ltd., London E1


[page iii]

Foreword

Since the war the teachers, the local education authorities and the Ministry of Education have had to concentrate all their energy and resources on the tremendous task of providing education for not far short of two million extra children. This phase is now drawing to a close and, as we prepare to make an even bigger effort to improve the nation's schools under the policy described in the Government's recent White Paper, I should like to thank everyone who has helped to win the 'battle of the bulge'.

But the recruitment and training of teachers, and the design and construction of buildings, are no more than means to an end: the real objective is to give a good start in life to all the boys and girls in our primary and secondary schools. And from this point of view it is the quality of the teachers, and of the teaching they give, that matters more in the long run than logistics.

Fortunately, we have in this country a tradition of independence and vitality amongst the teachers which guarantees that new knowledge and experience is quickly translated into new courses, new ideas about the way schools should be run, and new teaching methods. And these new ideas, developed in the schools, in turn inspired the successive editions of the Handbook of Suggestions for teachers issued by the Board of Education during the first half of this century.

Since the last Handbook was published this process has continued with increasing momentum, and it now seems the right moment to compile a new anthology of the ideas and practices which teachers are successfully developing in the schools. But the ideas collected together in this pamphlet have no other claim to authority, and they are not now contained in a 'Handbook of Suggestions': the old title is no longer in tune with the status of the teaching profession, or with the broader view which we now take of what constitutes good education.


[page iv]

In conclusion, I should like to emphasise that I intend to make it easier for every school to reach the high standards which are the aim and inspiration of this pamphlet by the steps I am taking to reduce the size of classes and improve school buildings.






[Geoffrey Lloyd was Minister of Education from September 1957 to October 1959.]


[page v]

Prefatory Note

The last Handbook of Suggestions for teachers and others engaged in the work of public elementary schools was published by the Board of Education twenty-two years ago, and for the first time was conceived in terms of separate infant, junior and senior stages of education in what were then the public elementary schools. But though the infant schools already showed many of the features which characterise them today, the junior schools were at that time only tentatively striking out towards what are now common practices, and less than half the children between eight and twelve years of age were then in schools separate from those containing older children also.

Since the 1944 Act established primary education as the first stage in a continuous system of education, over 2,600 new primary schools have been built, and many more have been renovated. There has been for some years a widespread and quickening interest in primary work among both teachers and the general public, while the children's achievements in many directions have been remarkable. These achievements have not come about suddenly or by the mechanical application of any special methods, but because teachers, from their experience and from the growing body of research available to them, have come to understand better the ways in which children learn, and have applied their knowledge to good purpose. The present seems, therefore, a suitable time for the publication of a fresh volume for the consideration of teachers, limited this time to primary education.

The 1937 Suggestions stressed the change in emphasis in educational thought and practice from the subjects of instruction to the child. Primary education today is deeply concerned with children as children, with their great diversity of aptitudes, abilities and temperaments, with their many, but interdependent and changing needs. The present book calls also for a more critical consideration by teachers of the quality and substance of what is offered to the children for their learning, and for a firmer realisation that children's capacities, whether they be small or great, should be exercised to the full.


[page vi]

The contents of this book are based on what Her Majesty's Inspectors have seen in schools in all parts of the country in recent years, and on discussions with teachers about their work and about the principles on which they act and the standards they achieve. Teachers in primary schools will recognise here some of the situations they meet every day, and by reading of them in a wider setting may find their thinking stimulated and their practices challenged or confirmed by the experience of others. The book is necessarily selective. It does not attempt to give a complete picture of primary education as it now is. Its authors have selected from the mass of material available to them those ideas and practices which seem most worthy of consideration by teachers in primary schools at the present time.

Chapter XVIII has been contributed by Her Majesty's Inspectors in Wales to meet the special needs of teachers in Wales.


QUOTATIONS

This book contains a number of quotations and the Ministry wishes to acknowledge the ready way in which publishers and others gave permission for the use of those where copyright is involved.


[page vii]

Table of Contents

Forewordiii
Prefatory Notev

Part 1
HISTORICAL


Chapter I. RECENT HISTORY OF PRIMARY EDUCATION

3
  A. Primary Education a Recognised Stage in the National System3
  B. Primary Schools5
  C. The Consultative Committee's Report on the Primary School6
  D. Effects of Some General Changes8
  E. Handbooks of Suggestions9
  F. The Present Book13
  G. Primary Education Today13

Part 2
THE PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Chapter II. INTRODUCTION15
  A. Pre-School Years15
    (a) Their importance15
    (b) Some aspects of children's characteristics and needs before five16
  B. Needs and Characteristics Persisting Throughout the Primary School23
  C. The Schools to which Children of Primary Age Go25

Chapter III. NURSERY SCHOOLS AND CLASSES27
  A. Nursery Schools27
    (a) Nursery school and home27
    (b) Staff28


[page viii]

    (c) Life in the nursery school29
    (d) Some special considerations32
  B. Nursery Classes34
  C. Children Under Five in Infant Classes35
  D. Nursery education in the future36

Chapter IV. INFANT SCHOOLS37
  A. Children Between Five and Seven37
    (a) Variety among children39
  B. Variety in Schools40
  C. From Home to School41
    (a) Some ways in which children are helped to begin school life happily41
  D. The Early Stages in Infant Schools43
    (a) Materials and equipment43
    (b) The teacher's part45
    (c) The arrangement of time47
  E. The Later Stages48
    (a) Materials and equipment48
    (b) The teacher's part49
    (c) The arrangement of time50
  F. Infants in Old, Small Rural Schools51
  G. 'Activity' and Methodical Teaching52
  H. Achievements of Children towards the End of the Infant Stage54

Chapter V. JUNIOR SCHOOLS56
  A. Junior Schools are of Recent Growth56
  B. The Children in Junior Schools56
  C. The First Two Years in the Junior School58
    (a) The move from the infant school58
    (b) Cooperation, competition and sense of standard59
    (c) Nature and planning of the work60
    (d) Practical work, centres of interest and projects62
    (e) Some examples of the kind of development to be expected between seven and nine63


[page ix]

  D. The Second Two Years in Junior School Life64
    (a) Some significant changes64
    (b) The children's attitude to others and to themselves65
    (c) Creative work66
    (d) Emergence of school subjects67
  E. Ways of Providing for the Wide Range of Ability in Junior Schools68
    (a) Classification by attainment, ability and age68
    (b) 'Streams'69
    (c) Handicapped children70
    (d) The abler children73
  F. Allocation to Secondary Education74
  G. Conclusion77

Chapter VI. THE WORKING OF THE SCHOOL78
  A. Introductory78
  B. Discipline78
    (a) Freedom and choice78
    (b) Early stages in discipline79
    (c) Early experience of moral principles80
    (d) A young child's life as an individual81
    (e) Discipline in school81
  C. Health89
    (a) Health education89
    (b) Teachers and the School Health Service90
  D. The Head as Teacher and Leader92
  E. Organisation and Classification94
  F. Timetable95
  G. Schemes of Work96
  H. Records, Tests and Examinations97
  I. Road Safety101
  J. Broadcasts to Schools and Television at Home101
  K. Films and other Mechanical Aids to Teaching103


[page x]

Chapter VII. SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL TREATMENT106

Part 3
THE FIELDS OF LEARNING

Chapter VIII. THE CURRICULUM113

Chapter IX. RELIGION117
  A. Religion and the Education Act 1944117
  B. Corporate Worship118
  C. Religious Instruction in County Schools120
  D. Voluntary Schools121
  E. Rights of Withdrawal122
  F. The Content of Agreed Syllabuses124
  G. Teaching Schemes and the Syllabus127
  H. Objectives in Religious Instruction128

Chapter X. PHYSICAL EDUCATION130
  A. The Children at the Primary Stage130
  B. Opportunities the Children Need132
  C. The Programme133
  D. Helping Children to Learn134

Chapter XI. LANGUAGE135
  A. Introductory135
  B. Oral Aspects of Language136
    (a) Early development136
    (b) The school's contribution140
  C. Reading and Writing148
    (a) An informal introduction to reading and writing148
    (b) Systematic instruction in reading in the primary school151
    (c) Transition from infant school to junior school155
    (d) Individual reading in infant and junior school156
    (e) Range and quality in reading158
    (f) Writing in the infant school159
    (g) Development in the junior school161


[page xi]

  D. The Arts of Language166
    (a) Story166
    (b) Poetry170
    (c) Drama174

Chapter XII. MATHEMATICS179
  A. Introductory179
  B. The Reasons for Teaching Mathematics180
    (a) Historical180
    (b) Utilitarian181
    (c) Aesthetic182
  C. The Teaching of Mathematics183
  D. Children Learning Mathematics188
    (a) The infant school190
    (b) The junior school196
  E. Other Considerations201
    (a) The structure of mathematics201
    (b) Extensions of work to fields other than arithmetic207
    (c) Class organisation and correction of work209
  F. General211

Chapter XIII. ART AND CRAFT AND NEEDLEWORK213
1. Art and Craft213
  A. Historical Development213
  B. Children as Artists and Craftsmen218
    (a) Children's sense of shape and solid form222
    (b) Children's feeling for texture222
    (c) Children's sense of pattern and arrangement223
    (d) Children's sense of colour225
  C. Children's Early Experience of the Crafts226
  D. The Importance of the Environment229
  E. Drawing and Painting230
  F. The Making of Patterns233
  G. The Crafts: a General Survey235


[page xii]

2. Needlework238
  A. Its Historical Development in Schools238
  B. The Present Position240
    (a) Children up to seven240
    (b) Children from seven to eleven242

Chapter XIV. HANDWRITING247
  A. The Nature of Handwriting. Its History247
  B. Twentieth Century Developments249
  C. The Present Position250
  D. The Infant School250
    (a) The beginning250
    (b) Handwriting as rhythmical movement250
    (c) Teaching technique251
    (d) Writing and reading252
    (e) How children use handwriting. Its arrangement upon the page253
    (f) Achievement at the end of the infant school253
  E. The Junior School254
    (a) A widening view of handwriting as a craft254
    (b) Teaching technique255
    (c) The pen256
    (d) Achievement at the end of the junior school258

Chapter XV. MUSIC260
  A. Introductory: Music and Language260
  B. Music at the Nursery and Infant Stages264
  C. Music in the Junior School269

Chapter XVI. HISTORY275
  A. The Problems of Teaching History to the Young275
  B. Stories from History278
  C. Sources of Story and the Use of Books281
  D. Means of Expression282


[page xiii]

  E. Use of Archaeological and of Local History284
  F. History and Other Subjects287

Chapter XVII. GEOGRAPHY AND NATURAL HISTORY289
  A. Introductory289
    (a) Geography and Natural History considered together289
    (b) Visits and expeditions291
    (c) Recording291
  B. The Nursery School293
  C. The Infant School293
  D. The Junior School295
    (a) Geography295
    (b) Natural History304
  E. Conclusion312

Part 4
THE SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF WALES

Chapter XVIII. WALES317
  A. Introductory317
  B. Organisation317
  C. Welsh319
  D. English322
  E. Fields of Study324
  F. The Teacher in Wales328


[page 1]


Part 1

HISTORICAL






[page 3]

CHAPTER I

Recent History of Primary Education

A. PRIMARY EDUCATION
A RECOGNISED STAGE IN THE
NATIONAL SYSTEM

The last Handbook of Suggestions for the consideration of Teachers and others concerned in the work of Public Elementary Schools was published in 1937. Between that date and the reprinting of the volume in 1944, the second world war had disrupted education and called a halt to any material advance; but it had stimulated, rather than quelled, constructive thought. Thus, in June 1944, in an additional Prefatory Note to the reprinted Handbook, it could be stated that an Education Bill was then before Parliament and 'important developments' were at that time in view. The Education Bill became the Education Act of 1944, which not only made the title of the previous Handbook obsolete by abolishing the term 'Public Elementary Schools' but, for the first time in our history, established by statute primary education as a recognised stage in the national system of education.

'The Statutory system of education shall be organised in three progressive stages to be known as Primary education, Secondary education and Further education, and it 'shall be the duty of the local education authority for every area, so far as their powers extend, to contribute towards the spiritual, moral, mental and physical development of the community by securing that efficient education throughout these stages shall be available to meet the needs of the population of their areas.'

That the primary stage of education should begin at five years of age was established as long ago as 1870 when the Education Act of that year adopted five as the lower age limit for compulsory attendance at school. The break between primary and secondary education, with the acceptance of eleven to twelve as


[page 4]

the age at which the break should take place, was established gradually. In 1925 a Board of Education circular pointed out that the age of eleven was increasingly recognised as 'the most suitable dividing line between what may be called "Junior" and "Senior" education' (Circular 1350), and also in the 1920s several local education authorities made explicit proposals for junior departments. But as a piece of organisation on a national scale the break between primary and secondary education at the age of eleven arose only in part from the long-felt concern about the welfare of the younger children in 'all-standard' schools: it came about finally as a by-product of providing better education for older children.

In 1926 the Consultative Committee under the chairmanship of Sir WH Hadow produced their Report on the Education of the Adolescent of which one of the main recommendations was that 'at the age of 11+ pupils from primary schools should normally be transferred to a different school, or, failing that, to a different type of education from that given to pupils under the age of 11+'. This had the effect of promoting at once the 'break at eleven' and primary schooling as a separate stage in education. Also, although some reservation was expressed in the report whether the practice of transferring children at 11+ should be universal, this age has in fact become, in all maintained schools, the end of primary education. Thus a child's chronological age, and not his level of achievement, is the determining factor in his movement from primary to secondary education - a custom not without considerable influence on the organisation and arrangements in the primary school.

In carrying out the policy of reorganisation there were many obstacles to overcome in providing adequately both for the seniors and for the primary children. Everywhere new school buildings were needed and very extensive alteration of older ones. The operation of the dual system necessitated patient negotiation and some amendments in financial regulations. Thus the physical separation of the primary and secondary stages of education proceeded comparatively slowly at first, though it accelerated in the late 1930s. After the ending of the war and the Education Act of 1944 considerable advances were made despite severe economic handicaps, shortage of teachers and abnormally high numbers of young children; but re-organisation of education into primary and secondary stages is not yet complete.


[page 5]

B. PRIMARY SCHOOLS

More than nine-tenths of children up to eleven years of age are now in primary schools - in separate infant schools, separate junior schools, or schools for all between five and eleven. Children under five may be in nursery classes which are part of infant or infant and junior schools, or in separate nursery schools. This variety is due to local needs and historical circumstances as well as to educational policy. Older school buildings are not always conveniently placed for the needs of the present population, nor are sites for new schools always available where they are most needed. In recent years too, there have been some considerable movements of the population out of older areas to new towns and suburbs.

Local conditions and history have had similar effects on the size of schools. Experience suggests that a primary school of about 350 children is probably about the largest size desirable for normal working; but while of some 27,000 maintained primary schools over a quarter have each under a hundred pupils in them, over a thousand have more than four hundred pupils. The smaller schools, with children of five to eleven, are mainly in the rural areas; the size of the largest schools is often due to the need to accommodate a child population increasing with unexpected rapidity.

The long history of the infant schools is told in the opening chapters of the Consultative Committee's report of 1933 on Infant and Nursery Schools. It describes more than a hundred years of steady growth and progressive practice, inspired by generations of devoted teachers and informed by research in the educational, psychological, medical and social fields both in this and in other countries. It is fortunate that when primary education was at last established as a separate phase in its own right, it had this cherished tradition of infant education to draw on; for here the nature and needs of children had become central to thinking and were accepted as the basis of educational practice.

Separate nursery schools had already been established by voluntary effort before the Education Act of 1918 gave local education authorities the power to aid and supply them. In 1944 nursery education in schools or classes was established as a statutory part of the educational system. Since 1944 the overwhelming numbers of children between five and eleven have


[page 6]

made it impossible in many places to spare accommodation or teachers for the under-fives; and many nursery classes have had to close in consequence. But fortunately the nursery schools have not declined in number, and educationally there has been plenty of vigorous thinking and many notable advances in practice which promise well for the future. Since their beginning, nursery schools have had an important effect on infant education.

By contrast with the infant school, the junior school is less than thirty years old. Emerging in the thirties after the Hadow report, it had often to fit its new life into buildings intended for the old 'all standard' school from which the seniors had departed. Its possible strengths were unknown and untried; it had no traditions of its own. It remained for the Consultative Committee of 1931 to affirm that this particular age range had in fact its special needs and problems, and to offer suggestions how these might be met.

C. THE CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE'S REPORT ON THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

It is usually observed with some surprise that this report was published as long ago as 1931. In it was first realised fully the conception of primary education as a distinct entity.

'The General Aim and Scope of the Primary School

It is true indeed that the process of education from the age of five to the end of the secondary stage should be envisaged as a coherent whole, that there should be no sharp division between the infant, junior, and post-primary stages, and that the transition from any one stage to the succeeding stage should be as smooth and gradual as possible. The upper stage of primary education, though intimately connected with the infant stage and also with the secondary stage, should nevertheless be regarded as forming a well-marked period in the physical and mental development of the average child, demanding special treatment and special methods of teaching. Both the infant school and the different types of secondary school will, to some extent, affect courses and methods of teaching in the upper section of the primary school but they should not be permitted to determine either. The primary school should not, therefore, be regarded merely as a preparatory department for the subsequent stage, and the courses should be planned and conditioned, not mainly by the supposed requirements of the secondary stage, nor by the exigencies of an examination at the age of eleven, but by the needs of the child at that


[page 7]

particular phase in his physical and mental development. The primary school should afford time and scope for general development in preparation for the more varied forms of teaching that will be adapted to the special abilities and aptitudes of the pupils at a later age. It should arouse in the pupil a keen interest in the things of the mind and in general culture, fix certain habits, and develop a reasonable degree of self-confidence, together with a social or team-spirit.' (The Primary School 1931).

But as the main inquiry and report of the Consultative Committee were concerned with children from seven to eleven it is in the aims of what we now know as junior schools that they were particularly interested:

'The special task of the schools which are concerned with the later years of primary education will be to provide for the educational needs of childhood, just as it is the function of the nursery and infant schools to deal with the needs of infancy and of the post-primary schools to deal with the needs of adolescence ... Our main care must be to supply children between the ages of seven and eleven with what is essential to their healthy growth - physical, intellectual, and moral - during that particular stage of their development. The principle which is here implied will be challenged by no one who has grasped the idea that life is a process of growth in which there are successive stages, each with its own specific needs. It can, however, hardly be denied that there are places in our educational system where the curriculum is distorted and the teaching warped from its proper character by the supposed need of meeting the requirements of a later educational stage. So long as this is the case, it must remain important to emphasise the principle that no good can come from teaching children things that have no immediate value for them, however highly their potential or prospective value may be estimated. To put the point in a more concrete way we must recognise the uselessness and the danger of seeking to inculcate what Professor AN Whitehead calls inert ideas - that is, ideas which at the time when they are imparted have no bearing upon a child's natural activities of body or mind and do nothing to illuminate or guide his experience.' (ibid).

The report emphasises that education should 'help children directly to strengthen and enlarge their instinctive hold on the conditions of life by enriching, illuminating, and giving point to their growing experience', and finally it sums up the purpose of the school in these now familiar words:

'The curriculum is to be thought of in terms of activity and experience rather than of knowledge to be acquired and facts to be stored. Its aims should be to develop in a child the fundamental


[page 8]

interests of civilised life so far as these powers and interests lie within the compass of childhood, to encourage him to attain gradually to that control and orderly management of his energies, impulses and emotions, which is the essence of moral and intellectual discipline, and to help him to discover the idea of duty and to ensue it, and to open out his imagination and his sympathies in such a way that he may be prepared to understand and to follow in later years the highest examples of excellence in life and conduct.' (ibid).

D. EFFECTS OF SOME GENERAL CHANGES

In the last fifty years there have been important changes in the general conditions of education, and three of these in particular have been of special benefit to primary education. In the first place, since 1945 all non-graduate teachers (which means nearly all who teach in primary schools) have been required to be trained and qualified, with the exception of a very small proportion of temporary and occasional teachers. Since in the primary school nearly all teachers are class teachers and are responsible for all sides of their children's education, the quality of every teacher is of first importance.

Then, although the high birth-rate immediately after the war has made many classes larger than the recognised maximum of 40, especially in thickly populated areas, the size of classes has in fact decreased significantly in the last fifty years. In the early nineteen hundreds a certificated teacher was expected to have 60 children in his class. In 1924, local education authorities were expected to bring classes down to 50, and the Board's Report of 1938 was able to record a further marked decrease in the number of over-large classes, though statistics show that at that time the greatest measure of overcrowding was in the classes for younger children. In 1945, Circular 30, accompanying the Draft Regulation for Primary and Secondary Schools which now replaced the old Code, regretted that it was not yet possible to prescribe a lower maximum than 40 for junior and infant classes and underlined the considerable difficulty involved in achieving classes of 40 until staffing and accommodation could be improved.

Thirdly, there has been a remarkable improvement in school buildings, especially since the war. Light and space, access to the open air, convenient and pleasant sanitary arrangements, moveable furniture and more adequate storage space, gardens and interesting decoration are the accepted features of newer schools.


[page 9]

A good deal has been achieved also in bringing at least some of these amenities to older buildings, though much still remains to be done. Though good education can, and often does go on in old and inconvenient buildings, there can be no doubt as to the benefits to health and educational opportunity which buildings designed to fit the children's educational needs confer on staff and pupils.

E. HANDBOOKS OF SUGGESTIONS FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF TEACHERS

From 1905 onwards the Board of Education published a series of Handbooks of Suggestions for the Consideration of Teachers, each revised or rewritten in the light of comments on the earlier version and of HM Inspectors' experience in the schools. Each book in turn reflects changes in outlook and emphasis, and all, of course, being prior to 1944, are concerned with education in the Public Elementary Schools up to fourteen years of age though, by the time of the last edition in 1937, the policy of separate primary and secondary schools was already adopted, and therefore the nursery and infant, the junior and the senior stages of education were considered in three separate chapters.

One passage in the Prefatory Note to the 1937 edition, which is repeated from the Prefatory Note to the earlier 1918 edition, is as important today as when it was written and applies at least as much to this present book as to any that has preceded it:

'Neither the present volume nor any developments or amendments of it are designed to impose any regulations supplementary to those contained in the Code. The only uniformity of practice that the Board of Education desire to see in the teaching of Public Elementary Schools is that each teacher shall think for himself, and work out for himself such methods of teaching as may use his powers to the best advantage and be best suited to the particular needs and conditions of the school. Uniformity in details of practice (except in the mere routine of school management) is not desirable even if it were attainable. But freedom implies a corresponding responsibility in its use.'

'However,' the Handbook goes on, 'the teacher need not let the sense of his responsibility depress him or make him afraid to be his natural self in school. Children are instinctively attracted by sincerity and cheerfulness; and the greatest teachers have been thoroughly human in their weaknesses as well as in their strength.' (Handbook, 1918).


[page 10]

F. THE PRESENT BOOK

In some ways this book forms one of a series to which the earlier Handbooks of Suggestions belong. It will, it is hoped, stimulate thought no less than they did. Like its predecessors, it springs from the experience of HM Inspectors gained during visits to schools and in discussions with teachers there and at various courses and conferences. Like its predecessors also, it seeks to strengthen and not to diminish the individual teacher's sense of responsibility. But, unlike the earlier books, it is concerned exclusively with primary education, and it is not called a Handbook. It seems more appropriate in the circumstances of today to describe the arrangements and practices which are to be found in the more successful schools, and to discuss these in the light of current knowledge and experience of children's capacities and reactions. To many teachers much that is described may be familiar; some of them at least may be led by it to reconsider their own practices and their children's achievements; all are asked to regard the book as something other than a compendium of advice about what should or should not be done.

G. PRIMARY EDUCATION TODAY

Educational growth in this country has been uneven and its pace has varied, yet there has always been some sense of continuity; ideas have settled so slowly and changes have emerged so quietly that growth has seemed imperceptible until, after years of steady maturing, there has come a degree of fulfilment sometimes surprising even to those most directly responsible for it. What is now to be found in the schools has gradually evolved out of the free working and independent initiative of teachers who have refused to discard the solid, proved and unassailable part of tradition in favour of what is apparently easy, bright and new, and have preferred to base their practices on the foundation of experience patiently accumulated.

One salient feature of primary education today is the ever deepening concern with children as children which has gradually spread from the nursery and infant schools to the junior schools. This concern shows itself especially in the awareness of the child as a whole with interdependent spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical needs, and in the appreciation of the wide range of


[page 11]

aptitudes, abilities and temperaments which any class of children presents. Another feature, of no less significance, is the increasing attention given by teachers to the worth of what is taught and to the quality of the children's learning. Equally important is the growing realisation that the capacities of all children, dull and bright alike, must be exercised to the full, and that to achieve this end the work must be made interesting and a sense of standard must pervade it all.





[page 13]


Part 2

THE PRIMARY SCHOOLS






[page 15]

CHAPTER II

Introduction

A. PRE-SCHOOL YEARS

(a) Their importance

Primary schools provide education for all children between the ages of five and eleven, and for some, comparatively few, also between two and five. The great and obvious physical changes in the children during that time are matched by mental and emotional changes of at least equal magnitude, complexity and importance. Children's growth is continuous from birth, and there is normally no abrupt change at any time.

In nursery and infant schools for some forty or fifty years, and in junior schools for at least twenty-five years, the principles and practice of education have been more and more based on knowledge of children and their needs. Every teacher in a primary school, therefore, must know children as the foundation of his work; his knowledge cannot be limited to the children of the age of those in his particular school. Teachers in nursery and infant schools must obviously know the relevant characteristics of children's development in the years before they come to school, while teachers of juniors are better able to understand the seven to eleven year olds if they know something of their growth from their earliest years. Some of a child's most fundamental needs and characteristic ways of learning persist, with gradual changes, throughout his childhood, though the manner of their expression, their relative importance in a child's life, and the ways in which an adult responds to or satisfies them, are different at different stages.

This Introduction draws attention to those aspects of children's development which are most significant for education. It is not in any sense a full or systematic account of young children, and needs at every point to be amplified and supplemented from experience and further reading.

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(b) Some aspects of children's characteristics and needs before five

(i) Emotional and social attitudes

The attitudes which children form in early years are mainly emotional and concerned with their relationship with other people. A child, for proper development, must feel safe and be sure of affection. During the earliest months of his life these needs are best satisfied by his mother or someone who can as nearly as possible take her place. From experiencing this love and care a young child is much more likely to develop the confidence necessary when, in due course, he has to leave the family circle and meet the wider world. If he is deprived of it, he may feel the effects through many later years. It is as though some sense of deprivation persists in him, and, not having established himself securely at the centre, he seems unwilling to venture outwards or to offer and receive affection, and he is not in a state of mind when he can use his abilities to the full.

The exclusive relationship with his mother lasts only a short time, and then a child becomes part of the family group. The same principles hold, but affect a greater number of people. It is now not only how people treat him, but how his mother and father, brothers and sisters treat each other that makes a lasting impression. The quality of the home, not only of what is said and done there, but even more of what is taken for granted, is a pervasive influence. It is the earliest and perhaps most forceful pattern that children perceive of what is to be accepted or refused, of what is good or bad in their world. But cutting through the need for care and protection is a child's need to achieve independence. He must be active and adventurous, though without security he does not venture far. From about the age of two he is willing to be away from his mother for increasingly long periods provided always that he has the safe retreat to her and to his home. As each new power grows, it is used to enlarge experience, from crawling to climbing and jumping, from the jerky, uncertain movements of the baby's limbs to the comparative competence of the older child. He enjoys these growing powers and is eager to exercise them. If he is fortunate he has space in which to roam and finds all kinds of materials to play with. Good parents, little by little, relax control as their child shows he can be independent; all through babyhood and


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childhood, and on to adolescence, understanding parents and teachers are continually, and indeed proudly, surrendering fresh territory to a child's autonomy.

Children who have not been allowed or encouraged to achieve the independence of which they are capable may become apathetic or unduly timid; or, on the other hand, they may become unpleasantly belligerent because they feel they cannot achieve anything without a struggle against authority. Similarly the much spoilt child who has not been allowed to have any independent life may take refuge later in laziness, boasting or even in assuming ill-health in an attempt to cover up his disappointment at finding that others will not accept him at the valuation to which he has been accustomed.

From a very early age a child experiments with personal relationships. He tries out various kinds of behaviour to see what happens. What adults call disobedience, for example, is often quite free from ill-intent, and it generally ceases as a child grows older and has satisfied himself of his powers and accepted his relations with other people.

It is not until they are about four or five years of age that children play much together, though many like being in each other's company, show a deep interest in each other's appearance and activity and may even choose one or two of their companions as personal friends. Some children are not yet capable of any but casual and short-lived cooperation; yet they need the experience of being with their peers and are emotionally handicapped if they are deprived of it.

Some ways of living with others are learnt early. For example, any group of little children finds it hard to share a coveted toy or to be aware that others want a part of something which each one greatly enjoys. But, if an understanding adult intervenes gently and shows them how to take turns, they quickly learn, and they learn too to accept less of something in order that others may have a share. This sort of experience is one of the roots of our later ideas of justice.

(ii) Intellectual growth

Intellectually, also, the years before five are of outstanding importance. The first of man's great achievements is learning to use his senses. They are powers that he has to spend years in developing, and few of us have developed all our senses as fully


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as we might. A small child of two or three with normal vision cannot judge distance and rate of movement and he probably cannot distinguish, as we do, colours, shapes or sizes. All these things are learnt by experience, in some cases after a child reaches school age. In hearing, a very young child does not know what various sounds mean; he seems unable to distinguish musical notes or to repeat in tune a note sung to him.

Young children therefore need plenty of opportunities to use and develop their senses. They need things to handle of different textures, shapes and weights, and things to pull to pieces; they need objects of all sorts and colours to see, things that they can bang and shake to make a noise, as well as to hear songs and music and other sounds. Touch, taste and smell they enjoy, and they depend on these senses perhaps more than they ever will again. Through this variety of sensory experience, both their knowledge and their powers of discrimination grow, and become at once the foundations and the means of their further learning.

The urge to do what develops his senses comes from within a child's own nature, and with it goes what may be called intellectual curiosity, an urge to understand his environment, which makes him start exploring it very early. His brief observations, with so many quick changes of attention, and the apparently random ceaseless activity, may not seem to the adult to have much value; yet without them a child could not get to know his world and his own powers. It is important, therefore, that he should have all reasonable freedom of movement in a safe environment where he can learn from the activities and the explorations to which his curiosity drives him.

(iii) Language

A child makes an appreciable step forward in the specifically human world as he develops the power of language. He attends to speech from a very early age, and instinctively responds to tones of voice. From his early months until he is some four years old he is engaged in the task of learning a spoken language. He learns it by imitation, prompted by need and by the satisfaction his achievements in it can bring him. Gradually words are sorted out, and he begins to use language to communicate what he experiences. Gradually questions are understood and answered, and, especially from about three onwards, a child himself begins to ask questions.


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At five, a child in a fortunate home has usually mastered language adequate for a very wide range of needs, and is rapidly learning more. He has lost his babyish articulation, and for a year or more has been using sentences and speaking grammatically, though entirely unaware of any grammatical rules. He can understand and give simple instructions. Few phenomena of learning are more remarkable than this achievement, yet it is rare that any adult with a young child thinks of himself as consciously teaching him language. In fact most children from three or four onwards provoke the teaching they need, demanding repetition of words, of rhymes, or stories - asking questions often for the sole purpose, it seems, of hearing the answer in another form. They can be heard practising - speaking, singing, repeating words, rhymes and rhythms, finding pleasure in the making of noises and increasing satisfaction in what the growing powers of speech can command. A child with whom no one talks, or to whom no one listens, or with whom no one shares the delights of speech, is deprived indeed.

Language is not only something learnt - it is a way of learning. From the beginning it helps to distinguish, discriminate and formulate experience and is an important medium of remembering, imagining and thinking. It is not surprising that, if a child is backward in talking or in understanding language, in comparison with his development in other ways, he may feel frustrated and may suffer many kinds of difficulties in behaviour. But it should not be assumed that a child's slowness in developing speech is a sign of general backwardness or of dull wits. These may be the cause, but are by no means always so. Children develop in various ways and sometimes their abilities show themselves in an unusual order. A child learns his mother tongue in the context of experience, and what he experiences gives to language its meaning and feeling.

(iv) The ability to make things

The power to use things and materials constructively often comes somewhat later than talking. At two years old most children may still seem to have no idea of it, and, for example, appear to be throwing their bricks about, either without the idea of building with them or without the ability to do so. Gradually, out of all this apparently aimless, desultory activity, there emerges the power to make something, especially if the child is working


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alongside older children. But children still show little dexterity or forethought. They try out and experiment, and, until they are four or five, and often beyond that age, what they make is what the material and their manipulation of it suggest. It may be said by them to be three or four different things in turn. They seldom plan ahead, and part of their excitement and satisfaction lies in their interest in what may emerge from the work of their hands.

In the course of this constructive activity a child faces hazards and comes to grips with increasingly complex situations. As he grows he achieves new satisfactions. As more knowledge comes and more powers ripen, he leaves old ways as he finds better ones, and old satisfactions as these are overtaken or absorbed by others more interesting, though from time to time he will go back for a while to the things and the ways he has outgrown, especially when he is tired or perplexed.

(v) Quick changes of attention, absorption in the present, and the freshness of experience

Another characteristic of young children which is educationally important is their comparative lack of any continuous purpose and their frequently rapid changes of attention. Because of this, their activities cannot be directed by someone else for more than a very short time. In a healthy child this frequent instability of attention is accompanied by continuous physical activity. A young child's attention is all the more easily distracted from one thing to another because so much around him is to him fresh and new.

A child of three or four has little or no sense of time as we understand it. He does not look forward any more than he plans his activities ahead. He lives in the present; his memories are short and often confused, and the future is no more than a vague tomorrow which has but little power to influence his today. But even a very young child becomes aware of a regular rhythm associated with his needs - of eating, sleeping and playing - and comes to expect these things to happen more or less at the same intervals.

Yet, now and then, a small child will become engrossed in something he is doing, and his attention and effort may, on occasion, last a surprisingly long time. This is generally when he has found something absorbing because it is exactly at his own


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growing point, as it were - the very thing that extends his powers just sufficiently for his satisfaction.

(vi) Reality and fantasy

Another characteristic of young children is their scant grasp of what adults call reality combined with an increasing desire to sort out the 'real' from what is 'not true'. They do not yet know what sort of things 'really' happen, or what kind of creatures 'really' exist in the world; and the adult is not always helpful. Stories about talking pigs are not meant to deceive, but a little child who has never seen a pig may not quite understand the creature portrayed, and many an anxious and puzzled child has interrupted a story to ask if it is 'really true'. He does not enjoy it any the less if he knows it is fabrication, but already he feels it to be important to know which realm he is in.

This same uncertainty makes it difficult for him to keep the product of his own imagination distinct from reality. A child gradually begins to appreciate the difference between truth and make-believe but he should not for a long time be expected to be as accurate in his statements as an older child.

(vii) Play

Nearly all the waking hours of young children are spent in play, and most of their experiences which have been described are to them part of it. Spontaneous play is so natural to them that, if they do not play, we think with good cause that something must be wrong. If they are deprived of it they are unhappy and their growth is warped. It is their way at once of finding out about the world they live in and of establishing themselves in it. To play is intrinsically satisfying to them; and when any particular play ceases to be so they change to another which is. Short though each span may be, it engages for the time being their whole attention and provokes great energy and concentration. 'Children's plays are not sports', said Montaigne, 'truly they should be noted as their most serious actions'.

Children from babyhood play with people as well as with things. When children and adults play together, children take their part spontaneously and willingly as long as the adult does not dominate them. They enjoy some play of this kind, though they play a great deal alone; yet even so, they like to be within earshot of a sympathetic and responsive adult.


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Young children also play at being other people, and from the age of about three heighten their imaginings by dressing up and using properties of all kinds. Their imitation is of adults in the life around them, though already in these early years, too, imagination roves far. Already, too, their interests and attitudes are being influenced by what they imitate of what they see and hear, and they seem to show a penetrating insight into the ways of those they know.

Besides being an important source and means of learning, play for children is also remedial. When the impact of their surroundings becomes too difficult children seek refuge in play as a relief from their anxiety. Through it they often find their own way of dealing with what is unmanageable or intolerable, putting their perplexities into acceptable proportions and forms. For example, they may play at being the thing or person that scares them and so overcome their fears, seeking some outlet for what they cannot manage within reality. All this is quite normal arid natural. In cases when children are emotionally disturbed their play may reveal to an understanding adult what their problems at that time are and suggest where they need help.

Sometimes a child's play may seem to us unenterprising and repetitive. It may be that he needs the stimulus of an adult's help to discover the next interest - but sometimes he is simply finding rest and relief by doing over and over again something that is comforting because it is so familiar.

Some of a child's play is imitative of adult work, and while we say 'he works hard at his play', he plays at 'doing work'. But already his notions about work are being fashioned by what he sees around him. It is therefore important that he should see people enjoying what they have to do, or at least doing it with good will and cheerfulness. He himself is eager to share in jobs in the house or garden and can undertake and carry out in his own fashion tasks which are within his power to do; his efforts add greatly to his sense of importance, satisfaction and self-respect.


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B. NEEDS AND CHARACTERISTICS PERSISTING THROUGHOUT THE PRIMARY SCHOOL

The pre-school years of a child's life are important to the teacher because in them lie the roots of the growth that will be nurtured during schooldays. In that growth many of the needs and characteristics of the youngest children persist throughout the primary school period, though with changed emphasis and proportion, and expressing themselves in different forms.

By eleven, boys and girls will usually have achieved a relatively high degree of independence, self-reliance and competence; but they still need, as they have needed all their lives, the security and support of a home and the affectionate care of adults whom they trust. Throughout schooldays the teacher shares with parents this place of importance in a child's life. On the quality of the relation between teacher and pupil, and on the degree of mutual respect and confidence which it engenders, depends the effectiveness of what is taught and learnt.

All through the primary school period, ways of learning which were noticeable in children's early years still persist, increasingly supported and strengthened by knowledge and by many new skills, especially those of language and greatly developed dexterity of limbs and control of body. Children still learn through exploring and investigating; they are still driven by curiosity and seem often possessed of a tireless energy. Memory and imagination are active, and the children's physical endurance and competence are matched by their capacity to invent things and schemes in which to use them.

Just as in his early years a child's behaviour towards other people was largely determined by the way he himself was treated and by the ways in which he saw people behaving to each other in his home, so in school the manners and personal relationships of the teachers with each other and the children, and the general sense of what is expected of each, are the sources and support of all social and of much moral education.

The children's apprehension of time - coherent recollection of their own past, comprehension of historical time and the power to regard the future as having compelling power for the present - remains immature until nearly the end of the primary period, though far ahead of what it was when they first entered


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school; and much of their experience still may have the vividness and importance of something completely novel.

Language, of course, remains enormously important, and it is now not only speaking and listening (though these retain their priority) but reading and writing also, which add countless opportunities for vicarious experience of all kinds, and for expression and communication. Literature gradually comes into its own. And as in babyhood, so throughout childhood, the richest sources of language are in experience, often shared and talked about with other people, and of a kind which gives both the stimulus and the words with which to express it.

All through their childhood children play, often vigorously and increasingly with a definite purpose, both in school and out of it, and continue through play to learn and to express their thoughts and feelings. All kinds of play - the play of physical activity, of exploration and construction, of imitative or imaginative make-believe, of compensation and relaxation - persist, and they persist in some measure throughout life. But as a child grows up, play becomes more sharply differentiated from 'work', which is the activity controlled by another, or geared to certain external aims. During childhood there is a gradual transition from the baby's egocentric life of play towards the adult's occasional hours of freedom. Yet work well done, and for a purpose which the children appreciate, can be found to bring satisfaction in achievement and absorption as great as that of play, and the play of the junior child can command concentration, thought and energy as great as that needed for work. The attitude of children to tasks which they must undertake, whether they want to do so or not, very largely depends on what has come to be expected of them and on the attitude they see expressed in the behaviour of other people.

The schools expect the children to show an increasing awareness of what needs to be done, growing initiative in undertaking it and sturdier persistence in carrying it out; in short, an ability, according to their age and capacity, to play a responsible part in their world.

(i) The 'Normal'

As children grow up, the differences between them increase in every way. Even the youngest differ widely in their natural endowments, their upbringing and their experience, and these


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are influences which produce a great diversity of talents and temperaments among individuals and make each child a unique person. These differences and the diversity to which they give rise are not always obvious; they can only be discovered through patient study of individual children. Yet their discovery is supremely important for the teacher since they show how wide are the limits of normal development and how varied its forms. An understanding of the variety of individual differences among the pupils in his class is the teacher's starting point. Normal development, whether, for example, physical or intellectual, covers a whole range of variations and is no longer thought of as a single average height or weight or test score at particular ages. It is quite normal for children of the same age to develop at different rates and for some children to develop quickly in certain respects and more slowly in others. A child may be more gifted in art or music than in other fields, slow in learning to talk and to read but precocious in learning to walk and in making friends. Moreover, it is normal for a child to develop not at a steady rate from year to year, or even from month to month, but at an uneven pace. An education which attempts to provide fully for such a diversity of aptitudes and abilities must develop practices to deal with these diversities.

The norm - for example the average score - of a given age-group or class in tests of school work provides the teacher with a point from which he can readily assess the individual differences between individual pupils. It does not provide an arbitrary goal which all children should reach. Both a child's achievement and the standard which he can be expected to reach must be judged by what is appropriate to his stage of development and to what he can do when well taught.

C. THE SCHOOLS TO WHICH CHILDREN OF PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE GO

In Chapters III to V the work of the nursery, infant and junior schools is described, with some indication of the setting in which it takes place. Some matters which are relevant to all primary schools are discussed in Chapters VI and VII, while the content and planning of each field of study - the curriculum in each of its different aspects - is dealt with in Part 3. Little is said, therefore, in Chapters III, IV and V about individual subjects of


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the curriculum, except as each appears piecemeal in the daily life of the children in school.

Further, education is discussed as though all children between five and eleven were in schools separately provided for those between five to seven years of age and for those between seven and eleven, and as though all children below five attending school were in separate nursery schools or classes; but in fact, as was shown in Part 1, this is by no means the case, and it is only for convenience in description that the discussion is so arranged. It is important for the reader to realise that what is said about the education of children in a separate infant school applies equally to the education of children of infant school age wherever they may be; similarly the principles and practices described in nursery schools and classes, and in junior schools, are relevant to the education of children of under five, or of seven to eleven, whether in separate schools or not. In any case there is a healthily wide variety of practice among schools in similar circumstances. Where a school caters for more than one section of the primary age range, and especially, as in rural schools, where it provides for comparatively few children between five, or even under, and eleven years of age, and does so with only one or two teachers, arrangements and procedures may have to be considerably modified to meet the varying circumstances. Some reference is made to these modifications in the following chapters. But the basic educational principles hold throughout, and, where the teachers understand the needs of children at different stages, the resulting practices are not fundamentally different, whatever the type of school.


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CHAPTER III

Nursery Schools and Classes

A. NURSERY SCHOOLS

The nursery school is for children between the ages of two and five; the nursery class, for children from three to five. Though the nursery class is a part of an infant school and not a separate institution, as is the nursery school, what is said about the nursery school applies also, as far as conditions allow, to the nursery class. Some necessary differences are discussed later in this chapter.

The lives and characteristics of children under five years old, and what a good home contributes to their education, have been described in the previous chapter, which should be read in connection with this one.

(a) Nursery school and home

As long as the home can give a child all he needs, there is no better place for him. But not every home can give a child all he needs between the ages of two and five. His mother may be away or occupied most of the day, and there may be no one else able fully to take her place; there may be no other children whom he can meet; there may be no space, indoors or outdoors, in which he can safely play; the home may be too overcrowded for him to have and to use the toys and materials he needs. There are some children who, earlier than most, reach the stage of wanting the company of more children than they can meet at home, and the stimulus of adults other than those they know. They outgrow their home's resources and for them the nursery school, at the right time, can supplement what the home provides.

The nursery school has always accepted children from the age of two, but recent observations have drawn attention to the fact that there is no lessening of the dependence of a child on his mother round about this age, and that the tie between them is still very close. For, paradoxically, a child striving his uttermost to establish his independence needs his mother's reassurance and


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support to achieve that independence. The earliest age of admission to nursery schools is, therefore, tending to rise towards three years of age. In any case, it is increasingly clear that children vary so greatly in their rate of development that the decision about the proper age for any child to enter a nursery school should always depend on his particular needs.

A child's first attendance at school is made as gradual as possible. He may not, to begin with, spend the whole day there; in any case he should have visited it beforehand with his mother and stayed to watch the other children and to make the acquaintance of the teacher.

Nevertheless, the change from home to school is always a time of strain for a child and for his mother; it is essential, therefore, that from the beginning the contacts between home and school should be close, genuine and visible. The mothers should always be welcome in the school, and a child should see his mother and teacher in friendly relationship. An informal atmosphere is made all the easier because the most satisfactory nursery school buildings are small, simple and homely.

(b) Staff

The adults in the nursery school play many parts and all should form part of a close-knit community led by the superintendent or teacher in charge. In a school of forty children the superintendent normally has an assistant and two helpers, both of whom may have taken training in the care of young children provided for girls between 16 and 18 years old; the place of one helper might be taken by two students in training. The helpers, partly because of their youth, play a valuable role in the life of the nursery school. The cook and the caretaker also usually play a part far beyond their actual duties. All become well known to the children, and so do the various people who visit the school - the tradesmen, milkman, nurse and, less frequently, the doctor. The superintendent is, of course, known to all the mothers and children, but it is usually the member of staff who is continually with a child's group who matters most to him. She is the adult of whose care he must be assured, so that he can enjoy the presence of other people, and confidently reach out to something new.

A nursery teacher has to create an atmosphere which is serene and comforting. She needs patience and understanding of when to participate or interfere in the children's doings and when to


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stand by or stand aside. Above all she needs a genuine affection for children and an interest which is something more than professional. She has to win the confidence both of the children and of their parents; in addition to these personal qualities, she needs the knowledge and skill which a full professional training gives.

(c) Life in the nursery school

The small child should find in the nursery school an atmosphere of natural affection, a feeling of space and security, an ordered and regular way of life. He should be on friendly terms with teachers and others who minister to the needs of the children, and should have at hand the material through which he may develop his powers and enlarge his experience. In a good nursery school the children show the gaiety, curiosity, friendliness, and spirit of adventure which are as desirable as they are characteristic of this period of life, and they show also increasing self-control as well as more power of self-expression.

(i) Materials for children to use

To achieve this kind of life in the nursery, the need for an adequate supply of suitable materials is second only to the need for teachers and assistants of quality. At one time, the material provided for children's play tended to be didactic and limited in scope. Experience and a closer linking of home and school have shown that children enjoy using the kind of materials and playthings they find in and around their homes. It is fortunate that many of the things that interest and absorb children cost only a little money, though they may require some imagination and ingenuity to procure and arrange; water, sand and clay are essential, whatever else can or cannot be had.

The children need a variety of materials and tools: wood and cardboard, paper, fabric, paint, crayons, pencils and brushes, blocks of various shapes and sizes for building, and collections of miscellaneous objects. The household tools and utensils which the children play with should be durable and of a sensible size. Plenty of attractive picture books and pictures are wanted. There should be flowers, plants and pets indoors and in the garden. The storage and upkeep of so great a variety of materials is no small problem, and, especially in schools where space is scanty, calls for constant ingenuity and vigilance on the part of the staff. It is essential that all the things for the children's use should be


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of such quality that they can be used safely; they should be clean and in good repair, and should be replaced when necessary.

(ii) Arrangement and use of materials; the teacher's part

What is provided for the children should be used wherever it is convenient, both in and out of doors, the children being able to move freely from one place to another. Indoors, alcoves and odd corners can be put to good use; sometimes furniture can be moved to provide quiet places where children can play alone if they wish. While the children play, the teachers and their assistants are not mere spectators. Frequently the teacher takes part and opens up new ideas and possibilities. She asks questions, listens to children who want to talk and encourages conversation when the opportunity arises. Now and then she reads or tells a story, or sings a song or plays to them. The choice of stories, poems or music is as important at this stage as at any other, and the art of so reading that justice is done to the author's work, and of so telling a tale that the children can enjoy it, though they are not talked down to, is an essential part of the nursery teacher's preparation for her work. She is always accessible to the children, giving them a sense of security they need, helping them in their difficulties, and ensuring that they are well cared for physically - that they are warm and comfortable and are suitably fed and clothed.

At times groups of children may be taken by one of the staff to visit places outside the school, such as the park, the bus station or railway, shops, a road being repaired or a house being built. These expeditions should be short and informal, and the groups should be quite small.

Between about four years of age and five, children's intellectual interests develop rapidly. They ask questions increasingly, and need satisfying answers. Many are capable of careful and shrewd observation and of intelligent discussion with an adult of their own interests and experiences. The teacher has to be ready and able to talk, to see that books with good illustrations are available, and to encourage the children to follow through enquiries they have set themselves. Her link with the newcomers, or with diffident children, is especially important. A new child may stand aside from other children for a long time before he tries to join their play. Even a child apparently used to school may temporarily seek his teacher as a refuge from some suddenly


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overwhelming situation. Other difficulties may arise. Sometimes jealousies, contentions and even fights flare up. Trouble may come from competition to get a favourite toy; sometimes apparatus and material suggest games which do damage to other children or property. No situation is exactly like another. There can be no rules; only an understanding and experience of children and a quick apprehension of the situation can solve or better still anticipate each difficulty that arises. It is surprising to the outsider to see how comparatively rare serious difficulties are, and how, through imitation and gradual absorption in a regular unhurried life which they find satisfying and pleasant, nearly all children show an increasing measure of adaptability and self-control.

In dealing with children's difficulties, close association with mothers and some knowledge of the children's homes is of inestimable value. Many nursery teachers are welcome visitors in the children's homes. A difficult phase of behaviour at school may be due to strain or emotional upset at home. The arrival of a new baby, anxiety somehow caught (though not understood) from parents, or some change in family habits, are amongst the many things that might contribute to some setback in a child's development. The cooperation of parents, doctor, nurse and teacher may sometimes be the only means of solving some of the difficulties.

(iii) Grouping the children and arranging the day

Nursery schools used to be organised so that the younger children were all in one room and the older ones in another, and each group had little to do with the other. But the obvious benefits which a child derives from living in a family of children of mixed ages, and the continual tendency of the nursery school to become more domestic and less institutional, have led to the children's being classified less strictly by age. They are now more frequently arranged in small groups containing children of different ages, with one of the staff, teacher or assistant, in general charge of each group. There is no doubt that younger children gain much in confidence and learn much by imitation from being with older ones, and older children learn much by helping the younger and by being aware of their needs. But there are problems. The youngest children occasionally need to escape from the over-stimulating atmosphere created by lively four-


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year-olds, while the older children need opportunities to pursue interests with friends of their own age, uninterrupted by the younger ones. A good nursery teacher ensures that, while there is much beneficial mingling of older and younger children, the welfare of individual children is not sacrificed to that of the group.

Changes are also being made in the arrangement of the day. It was at one time the custom for the children to do particular kinds of things at specific times; a common differentiation was between 'free activities' and 'directed activities'. While it is true that children like and need an ordered routine, especially in such matters as food and sleep, they differ greatly in initiative and in the length of time they can concentrate. Nursery teachers, therefore, find it helpful to have most kinds of play material available throughout the day. This not only allows fuller use of all that is provided, but avoids sudden clamping down on a child's interest in what he is doing, and unnecessary clearing away. This changed practice has to be developed by individual teachers gradually and according to the physical conditions of the room and school as a whole.

(d) Some special considerations

(i) Health

The younger the child, the less immunity he has from infection; and the risks of infection are increased with every addition to the group. In a well-run nursery all possible precautions are taken to safeguard health. The number of children brought together is kept small and the child who, when he arrives, is obviously unwell is sent home with the person who brought him. The children should spend as much time as possible in the open air. It is essential that the highest possible standard of cleanliness should be maintained, without depriving the children of the play and activities they enjoy and need and without producing an intimidatingly antiseptic atmosphere. Fortunately many of the measures which lessen infection are pleasing to the children and contribute to their education. Most healthy children would rather be out of doors than in if they are suitably clad and fed. They are helped to get clean at appropriate times, and thus are led to form healthy attitudes and habits.

Medical inspections, both by the doctor and by the nurse, are very much more frequent in nursery schools than in schools


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for older normal children. Doctor and nurse are concerned in all that affects the children's health and their advice is available to the teachers whenever necessary.

Careful records are kept of the progress which the children make, physically and otherwise.

(ii) Food, drink and the midday meal

During the morning, milk and sometimes something to eat are provided. In addition, a thirsty child should always be able to quench his thirst, and a hungry one to get something to satisfy him; for although by the time they are two most children have accepted a rhythm of ordinary mealtimes there are some who cannot always eat, or eat enough, at these regular times, and who, for a period, cannot eat with many others, and some who use up energy at a rate which requires extra sustenance. A good nursery, like a good home, caters for these idiosyncrasies without fuss and in such ways that a child gets over them without self-consciousness.

Towards the end of the morning it is usual to find each child gathering his toys and material together sufficiently early to make the service of the midday meal convenient and pleasant. There are visits to the lavatory and washing of hands and faces, combing of hair and general personal preparation for the midday meal.

The meal should be leisurely and as homelike as possible. It is usually taken in the room where the children live and play, and the children may take a share in setting the tables. There are many ways of serving it: but it is important that the groups should be kept very small, that the children should not be kept waiting for their food, and that, where possible, the adults should sit with the children, as in a family.

The meals themselves should be carefully planned from a nutritional point of view; they should be well cooked and look attractive to the children. In the management of their food and the use of cutlery, plates and mugs, the children learn most from imitating the teacher and each other, guided by the encouragement of the adults. They gradually need less and less help and take pride in growing independence.

Some allowance has to be made for children's likes and dislikes in food, and it is important never to pay too much obvious attention to what a child does not eat. More often than not the desire to be like others and try what they are enjoying overcomes


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most of a child's aversions, and the teacher's encouragement will do the rest, Sometimes the difficulty is just that the food offered is unfamiliar or served in an unfamiliar way, or it may have unhappy associations. If the helpings are not too big, if there are second helpings when they are wanted, and if there is plenty of time to eat calmly, the children can the more easily form good habits.

(iii) Sleep

When the meal is over, the children rest. The practice, at one time universal, of settling all the children in a nursery to sleep on stretcher beds for a required period in the afternoon is being widely reconsidered. Children vary greatly in the amount of sleep they need, and the amount and quality of sleep they get at home are also very different. It would be generally agreed that all children up to five benefit from some rest after the midday meal, but for how long it should be, and whether it should invariably be taken lying on a bed, are matters open to question.

The teacher should do all she can to arrange for a quiet time during which there is opportunity to sleep - out of doors if there is adequate protection from wind and weather. Some children sleep best on a stretcher bed with a blanket and some sleep so for an hour or more. As at home, a child of three or four may curl up naturally in an easy chair, if there is one, with a book or a toy, and rest, more or less asleep, for half an hour or so. Other children, again, either do not sleep at all, or if they sleep, wake up soon, and arrangements have to be made for them. In practice they become used to playing quietly indoors or in the garden, and it is fortunate that children really in need of rest generally continue asleep through noise or disturbance, provided that they are not suddenly or roughly jerked or pushed. Never, if it can be avoided, should a child be wakened suddenly.

B. NURSERY CLASSES

Little need be said here of the life and equipment in nursery classes, because, as far as circumstances allow, these follow the lead of the nursery schools though they are integral parts of infant schools and of the general responsibility of the Head. They do not admit children under three years of age and their hours are usually the same as those for the infants. The number


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in a class is limited to thirty and the teacher is helped by an assistant of the kind found in the nursery school.

There may be no separate kitchen for the nursery class, but otherwise the closer its space and amenities approach those of the nursery school the better. The visits of medical officer and nurse are usually not as frequent as in the nursery school, though there are notable exceptions to this.

The children in the nursery class are sometimes brought there by older brothers and sisters in the same school, an arrangement which, though convenient, may prevent the close contact with the mothers which the nursery school has. Difficulties, when they arise, are usually due to the association of these young children with so many older and bigger ones, and to the fact that the nursery is part of a large building. The particular difficulty of providing a midday meal in circumstances suitable for the children is overcome when the meal is taken in the nursery itself.

Where the nursery classroom and amenities are good, where outdoor space or a garden specially reserved for these children is immediately available, where the Head understands and allows for their needs in all the general arrangements, and especially where the nursery class teacher has close contact with the parents, the children lead a life very like that of the nursery school.

Where space and amenities adequate in amount or kind are not available for under-fives, or where teachers of the right quality and training cannot be found, it is questionable whether these young children ought to be admitted at all.

C. CHILDREN UNDER FIVE† IN INFANT CLASSES

It is still necessary to draw attention, as was done in the last edition of the Handbook of Suggestions,* to the unsatisfactory life and education of children under five in schools where no special provision is made for them. In some areas children of four and even younger are so admitted, though the wisdom of doing so is much to be doubted, especially when, as happens in

†'Under five' does not include the children who are admitted, as many are, at the beginning of the term in which they become five.

*See also Ministry of Education Circular 313.


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rural areas, they form so small a group that they have to be taught in the same class as children of five, six or seven. A good teacher does what she can to provide at least some of the elements of a normal nursery school regime.

D. NURSERY EDUCATION IN THE FUTURE

Nursery education has slowly changed throughout the years. What has been described is typical of the practice in nursery schools and classes today, but much is still being learnt about how to care for young children in groups so that the needs of individuals are met and undue strains are avoided. It is becoming increasingly certain that the size of the school or class which the children join should be small, and also that for some children of two, three or even four, a whole day spent away from home and mother is too long. There are already some interesting experiments in nurseries which are attended by the children for only half a day, different groups coming in the morning and the afternoon. Here there is no midday meal, and adjustments in the day's programme are of course necessary. There are also some nursery schools where some of the children stay all day while others attend for either mornings or afternoons. The advantages of such arrangements are obvious, as well as the aspects which may cause difficulty or diminish the effects of good nursery education. The principles of the care of young children remain the same, but in the years ahead we may expect to see an extension of the more flexible arrangements described. Since children are so different one from another, and since the customs of life generally change under economic and other influences, nursery education, as research and experience teach more about children, should respond to what is properly asked of it.


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CHAPTER IV

Infant Schools

A. CHILDREN BETWEEN FIVE AND SEVEN

The fact that separate infant schools have flourished for nearly a hundred years in this country has led to a concentration of thought on the children of infant school age, with the result that people have been unusually aware of the nature of the children to be educated and ready to mould their education to their needs and capacities.

During their years in the infant school the change in children is often so great that it is sometimes difficult to realise that it has happened in so brief a period. When they come to school at five, many are barely loosed from their mother's apron strings; when they leave at seven most of them are self-reliant, able to hold their own with other children, and well-established as schoolboys and schoolgirls. Many children at five have a patchy but surprisingly shrewd knowledge of their own small world, and have learnt much of the ways of a few people. Many have speech more or less adequate to their needs, and already are well aware that printed words have meaning and that books can be turned into sense by reading - though very few at five can perform this miracle. They are not strangers to the concepts of size, number, money, weight and other measures, and they may well have contributed their scribble to a family letter. This they have learnt mainly through play and incidental experience, without much deliberate teaching, though often with parental encouragement.

A healthy child of five can run and jump and is beginning to perform such feats of coordination as throwing a ball or skipping. His senses have developed considerably, though he is still far from the adult standard in such things as musical pitch or close vision. His smaller muscles, such as those in the hand, are still not fully under his control, nor has he as yet a great amount of muscular strength, though he is strong for his size. He can move his limbs as speedily as older children. Throughout the primary period he is growing fast in every way. All this determines both


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what he can do and in what kind of activities he can be most profitably engaged.

Another characteristic of young children which determines the nature of their education in the infant school is their need to be active, both physically and mentally. A child growing towards seven does not move about as continuously as he did when he was younger, but he finds it difficult to remain still for long. When left in the open he usually begins to run, and he is always touching and handling things. The span of his voluntary attention is still very brief and it is possible to control it only for a short time. Thus, much of his day must still be occupied in doing things which of themselves focus his powers of mind and body.

A most helpful characteristic, which many children show at this stage, is that they already want to grow up. A few, even at five, are ready to read and write - as most are a year later - and some are interested in numbers and shapes. These children cooperate in their own education, and readily respond to their teacher's guidance and stimulus. They ask for information, and seek it themselves by observation and questions. The questions become increasingly intelligent, and the answers are more frequently remembered.

During the infant stage, imagination and memory are still often mingled with fantasy. It is good to let children play out their fantasies, but at the same time to encourage them to use their imagination more and more in real situations.

Unless their attitude has been warped before they reach school, the response of these young children is ready and open-hearted. There are few things they are not ready to enjoy. During these two years most of them begin to cooperate and to be considerate. They come to see that certain actions have certain consequences, and they learn to accept the consequences of their own actions and to make sensible independent decisions. For most children, every day is a new beginning and they live fully in each incident as it comes. Their reactions are often violent, but also short-lived; they may feel anger but do not harbour resentment; they quarrel but quickly forget their quarrels. They want to feel they are accepted and to be well thought of by their elders.

A child at the infant stage needs the teacher's help, as did the nursery children, in getting control of his self-centred desires, in learning to live with others and in taking some responsible part in the general life around him. Not only example and


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encouragement are needed, but now and then simple explanations too, especially when the school has to make up, as best it can, for the deprivations of an unsuccessful home. It is the adult who establishes the tone of the group and who enables children to live at peace and to feel reasonably confident.

In their intellectual development the adult's help is no less essential. As it is not until between six and seven that most children can read - and even then, for many, reading is not their main means of learning - much that a child wants to know he must be helped to find out or be told. His questions must be given honest answers. From an early age, children are sufficiently perspicacious to see through mere patronage or the hasty, superficial treatment of their enquiries. When a child is left intellectually unsatisfied he feels rebuffed, and may develop an unresponsive attitude towards those who try to teach him and become increasingly reluctant to make an effort. At this stage of education, as at any other, there is no substitute for the easy give-and-take between growing child and sympathetic adult. Ideas, knowledge, attitudes and shades of meaning and feeling are conveyed in language, gesture, tone of voice, and mood. Anything which diminishes the opportunity or ease of this contact, such as over-large classes or repressive personal relationships, handicaps children's development.

(a) Variety among children

(i) Variety of background

Among the five-year-olds coming to school, only a few will have already attended a nursery school. All kinds of homes will be represented, from those where the children have had every advantage of affection, security, and all that is meant by good upbringing, to those where children experience little loving-kindness, have no possessions of their own, and seldom hear an intelligent conversation. There are areas where the school and parents have had long association and are well known to each other; there are new housing estates where a settled community life has scarcely begun and where teachers and families are all strangers to each other. There are places where children live in overcrowded built-up areas to which the teachers travel to school, and so can take little part in the life of the neighbourhood. These and many other circumstances set different problems according to the area the school serves - and often one


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school serves several different kinds of area. It is particularly necessary that a teacher of young children should be aware of the kind of life children live when they are not in school.

(ii) Variety in natural endowments

The differences in children's innate endowments are not confined to the more obvious intellectual accomplishments. Their physical vigour varies, their bodily skill, manual dexterity and emotional stability. There are children who are far less advanced than others in language or in any apparent interest in books, or whose curiosity seems scarcely awake. Though the majority come to school full of vigour, and eager to take all that can be offered them, there are always the few who are listless or timid, and others who show very little muscular control. There may be some who seem moody or quick-tempered. It is not easy for a teacher to find time to give to each child the help he needs; but all need help in some measure, and their progress may depend on their finding it. The really able children will already be showing their abilities and commanding that integration of powers which enables them to grasp and cope with new situations and to learn quickly from experience.

But at this stage, firm conclusions about a child's ability are very rash, for temperamental difficulties or impoverished upbringing may well mask, for the time being, capacities which cannot show themselves until the child is emotionally more stable or until some of the ground lost in his earlier years has been made up. This is one reason why 'streaming' in infant schools is generally unwise.

B. VARIETY IN SCHOOLS

Schools vary almost as much as children and their backgrounds, and arrangements and ways of teaching are necessarily influenced by conditions of size, amenities, size of classes, staffing and environment. For example, in a school in which twenty children between five and seven are all in one class, or still more when the fives to sevens are in one class which includes older children too, the ways of doing things will necessarily be different from those in a class of forty children, all within a year of the same age. Again, it is obvious that the great diversity in physical con-


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ditions must to some extent, and occasionally to a very great degree, affect the kind and quality of the children's education. Limitations of space, light and amenities cramp movement and handicap the use of materials, as well as hindering training in good personal habits while, on the other hand, good conditions with spacious, pleasing surroundings are in themselves incentives to lively work and reasonable behaviour. Yet in the most unpromising physical circumstances, teachers have often somehow contrived conditions which are neither ugly, gloomy nor repellent to children, and ingenuity has more than once turned a forbidding institution into an inviting school. The best work is not always found in the newest buildings, and education of first-rate quality is not unknown in the most unpromising.

Where the infants form part of an infant-junior school it is essential that the Head, man or woman, should be well acquainted with the principles and practices of infant education, and should see that they are never impaired by the demands made by the teachers of the older children.

Some larger infant schools are fortunate in having on the staff an assistant whose main duty is to look after the physical welfare of the children, though she also takes a general interest in all they do. Such assistants, and the availability of clerical help, make an appreciable contribution to the school's opportunities.

C. FROM HOME TO SCHOOL

Every child coming to an infant school should feel himself welcome, profitably occupied and happy. The way in which the children are received into the school, and their life there for the first few weeks, largely determine their attitude to school for a long time.

The child going to the village school is fortunate in that he meets only a limited number of other children of his own age; but for nearly every child, school means a bewildering enlargement of his physical world. His daily routine changes abruptly, and he enters a world which, however much latitude it may offer him, can only do so within its own regime and circumstances. He needs time to get used to it.

(a) Some ways in which children are helped to begin school life happily

Many infant schools encourage parents to take their children


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on a visit to school some time before they begin to attend it. This first visit should be, for the mother, only the beginning of a close association with the school which will last as long as her child is there. The common understanding by parents and teachers of the purpose and standards of school and home can greatly help a child to feel secure in the two worlds in which he now lives, and do something to ensure that neither home nor school makes conflicting claims.

When he begins school each newcomer needs the teacher's special help and attention, and ideally he is received into a small group, as in the nursery school. Children are usually admitted only at the beginning of each term, though many schools now manage to spread the entry over some days, so that each little group can be initiated gently into the school's ways.

Some schools also, retaining the same number of staff throughout the year, are able in the first term to keep the youngest class or classes small, so that by the time the newcomers arrive in the second and third terms the older children are able to look after themselves and help the younger ones. In the second term the class is still not full, so that at no time does the teacher have to cope with more than a part of the class new to school. This is a great advantage.

Shortage of teachers or of rooms sometimes causes frequent promotions from the entrants' class to make room for other children coming in. This is unfortunate. Children who are still settling down need the steady companionship of the teacher whom they are getting to know and the familiar environment of their own class and classroom. They need, also, to feel the steadying effects of the regular life in school, which, if disrupted, may for some lead to setbacks.

There has, in recent years, grown up in a few infant schools a practice of organising the school so that each class contains children of different ages - five to over seven. This is to carry into the large school the kind of classification that is automatic in the small school, and it is an attempt to reproduce a kind of family atmosphere in which older and younger children live together, the younger ones emulating and imitating the older ones. Where schools are so organised, the initiation of the five-year-olds is comparatively easy, since the newcomers are spread over every class in the school and there are plenty of older children to look after them; especially is this so where the school is


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careful not to separate members of the same family. The problems presented by such an organisation will be clear from what follows; but, where the groups are of moderate size and are in the hands of skilful teachers, an organisation of this kind enables the younger children to make good progress in every way.

But more important than anything else are the attitudes of teachers towards children and towards each other. For though children do not understand, in the adult sense, the full implications of attitudes expressed in behaviour, they seem to have an intuitive appreciation of an adult's feelings and to be affected by them.

D. THE EARLY STAGES IN INFANT SCHOOLS

A welcoming friendliness is essential, but not enough. From the beginning the school sets out to provide a fuller life for the children than their homes can do. For those who have been in a nursery school or class the infant school has to continue education in healthy ways of living and in social behaviour. Some of those for whom the infant school is their first school may need much help in forming good habits of cleanliness and orderliness. For all, the infant school should offer good upbringing in personal behaviour and in attitudes to other people, though these do not appear as part of the curriculum or in schemes of work. To all the children the school must offer stimulating materials and situations, as well as scope for their growing powers, and must enable them to learn all that they can. How this is done can be considered from three aspects:

(a) materials and equipment;
(b) the teacher's part;
(c) the arrangement of time.
(a) Materials and equipment

As has been said, children at the primary stage, and especially at the beginning of it, are active, curious and wanting to do and make things. The quality and success of their learning depends, therefore, on their being in an environment which stimulates them to explore and find out, and which gives them the means of expressing in a diversity of ways what they learn, feel and imagine.


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Out of doors and in the hall there is usually apparatus on which children can climb, slide, and experiment in movement. The classroom should be a playroom, workroom and living room combined. There should be in the room, as well as elsewhere, materials and tools of the kind suggested for nursery schools. In addition to dressing-up clothes there should be fabrics of all sorts which the children use in a variety of ways. There should be many simple means of counting, weighing and measuring, and of experimenting with size, shape, weight and volume. The more simple, homely and familiar this apparatus is, the better. A number of constructions, such as a shop, circus or railway station, crude perhaps, and temporary, reflecting the children's recent interest and experience, and made by themselves, are commonly to be found in a good infant classroom.

There should be a good supply of varied materials for drawing, painting and writing, and of what is often regarded as waste material. The children need some protection for their clothes, and some protection is also needed for parts of the floor so that the children can play freely and without doing damage. They must be taught to clear up when they have finished.

Musical instruments and a variety of objects with which children can produce sounds are useful, and there should be pleasant things to look at. The arrangement and care of these and of the aquaria and of any animals which the school keeps should be everyone's concern. As often as possible the children should take material and tools to work in the open air.

Every room in an infant school should contain a good collection of books - clean, attractively printed and produced, and arranged so that children can see, handle, use and take care of them. Of some books there may be only one or two copies, and some may not have been specially written for the very young. The variety should reflect the wide range of interest and of capacity these children already show. During the day children can choose and take down books for themselves, sit quietly turning the pages, absorbed perhaps in the pictures and finding words to talk about them, to themselves, to a neighbour or to their teacher. One may find a book from which he 'reads' what the pictures suggest the print-script is about; another 'reads' what he knows by heart; another may in fact recognise words, phrases or sentences which he reads in the true sense of the word. Others may already be turning to books for pictures of things they know


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and want to know more about. There should also be books from which the teacher reads to the children, letting them 'look over' and sense the pleasure of turning print into meaning. Thus, from the very beginning, the enjoyment and the use of books form a part of normal life at school.

All this material has to be frequently overhauled, kept clean, and replenished when necessary. It is obvious that physical conditions can encourage or hamper the range of opportunities that the teacher can provide. In schools where there is adequate space and storage, the varied activities go on without friction, and all the materials can be tidied away and kept dust-free and orderly. In many schools, the hall, the corridors and other spaces outside the classroom are used almost as fully as the rooms or playground and garden, and almost everywhere in the building children may be seen hard at work at their different employments.

Where conditions are poor the teacher may have to decide carefully what are the children's most essential needs and to maintain a good range of opportunity by changing materials from time to time. In such circumstances, she needs considerable ingenuity and persistence if she is to keep everything clean and tidily stored. Fortunately a class of children who find life in school satisfying are, even at five, good allies of a teacher whom they like, and soon share her pride in a well-kept room.

(b) The teacher's part

The arrangement of the room and the uses to which the equipment is put are the teacher's responsibility. No matter how excellent the equipment and materials, they will fail of their purpose unless through them the children learn effectively and learn what is of value. Whether or not they do this depends largely on the teacher's power to think ahead and to organise.

An experienced teacher's planning is flexible and long-term. She can see, in outline, a month's or a term's work ahead, and knows how children can work within this general plan towards the objectives she has in mind. She can therefore afford to let them follow the enthusiasms which carry them forward effectively, even though for the time being some other things are left aside. She can wait for the children to work out fruitful enterprises for so long as they can give their attention, and so let them taste the satisfaction of achievement at the end of sustained effort. Such a teacher can bring each phase of work in turn into


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focus, so that in due course the whole range is covered in ways which make full use of the children's interests as they arise and of the energy which flows from them. With a rigid day to day plan many opportunities are missed. It must be admitted, however, that a teacher's capacity to plan in this flexible long-term way is, as a rule, the reward only of experience and reflection, and can scarcely be acquired either by instruction or from books. A young teacher has to avoid being too ambitious at first, and may need the advice and help of a more experienced colleague.

Each day, the teacher has to be watching and working with groups or with individuals and yet to be fully aware of the whole class. She has to know the stage that the various children have reached in the many sides of their progress and to be ready to help them to take the next step forward. There are sure to be some individuals who have never handled some of the materials they find in schools and are at first shy of doing so. If the teacher herself takes part they gain confidence and are soon excited by the possibilities of the material. Sometimes a teacher may encourage another child to help the newcomer, and he may do it better than she can. The timid child or one too sheltered at home has to be encouraged to do things and to use his body and limbs, and the impetuous child to persevere in the job which he has started and given up in impatience or despair.

Though at five children are rarely able to converse among themselves and though their talk to one another consists of apparently desultory chatter and broken running commentaries, they can converse with their teacher, since she understands and takes their idea and throws it back to them. This conversation is of great value to the children, weaving language and experience together for them in a way which expands and strengthens language and gives more meaning to experience.

A few children, even at five, are ready to read, and the teacher must give the necessary help. She may use a book or a primer. She may write down for the child what he would say, or perhaps his title for or comment on, a picture he has made. The children may 'read' and even copy what is written, and so, from the beginning, reading and writing have sense and purpose. Much of the vocabulary of number, size, shape and measurement may well come into the conversation about what the children are doing and, informally, they learn much that is part of the substance of mathematics.


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Sometimes the teacher works with groups; sometimes the whole class comes together for a short lesson, to hear stories or to make music.

The teacher's appraisal of what the children do and make is very important. Probably one of the surest ways she has of knowing what they are gaining from what is provided for them is to take note of the quality, range and amount of what they originate themselves.

The teacher also notes the signs of the children's personal progress towards self-reliance, friendliness and thoughtfulness for others and of their power to cooperate with them, and of growth in many other ways. Her response to the children's efforts inevitably suggests standards and values, and at this stage this is the children's main way in school of knowing what is good or bad, acceptable or otherwise. Children already have some awareness of when they are doing their best, and appreciate the recognition of this by their teacher; and they also know when they are merely playing about, and quickly lose respect for a teacher who allows them to do so. Again, in the things she presents to the children as worthy of admiration, a teacher reveals her own tastes and forms theirs. Fortunately, in the arts and the natural world there are very many things which, from childhood onwards, are sources of satisfaction, giving different pleasures to different ages; a great many poems, stories, and pictures and much music can be enjoyed by teacher and children alike without condescension on her part or boredom or bewilderment on theirs.

(c) The arrangement of time

The arrangement of the school day depends ultimately on the Head, but it is usually planned in consultation with the staff. Apart from the corporate act of worship prescribed by the Education Act of 1944, there are no regulations to be observed for the disposal of time, and therefore each school can please itself. But in some things most infant schools agree.

There is, in good schools, enough leisureliness to prevent the children or teachers feeling hurried. Children of five are still slow in doing quite simple things, such as washing and going to the WC [toilet], or putting away their materials and preparing to move from one place to another. From a sense of there being time to do what has to be done, comes a feeling of calm and serenity. Without serenity no environment can be satisfying to a child; nor


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should he be forced beyond a pace at which he can go without confusion.

Then, a good programme, whatever it may be, achieves a nice balance between the properly vigorous excitement of one phase and the quiet of another. Constant stimulation is as tiring to a child as turmoil. And to add to the children's sense of security, the general order of things, day after day, should be sufficiently familiar and recognisable to provide a stable framework, within which, however, all kinds of interesting variations may happen.

Times must be fixed for use of the hall and other accommodation or equipment which is used by more than one class; but schools differ in the way they use the time that remains, and take account of circumstances and of what the teachers find is best for the children. In some schools the day is still divided into a succession of short periods, but this is becoming very rare. In most schools there are longer periods, used at the teacher's discretion, during which the children may be doing many different things, individually or in groups. In some the programme of each day appears to be much less clearly defined than in others, and what the children learn and how they learn seem to depend largely on immediate interests and unexpected opportunities. But, on closer investigation, it is generally found that, in fact, the apparently spontaneous interests and pursuits were not unforeseen by the teacher or unprovided for by her, though the children had all the satisfaction and incentive of feeling themselves to be the initiators and the discoverers.

There is, then, a wide range of ways by which commonly accepted principles may be put into practice. The education of young children must necessarily be a flexible process, sensitively applied and held steady by experience and common sense.

E. THE LATER STAGES

The later stages in the infant school can be considered under the same headings as before, though more briefly.

(a) Materials and equipment

Many materials, such as paper, paint, pencils, clay, wood, fabrics and all the paraphernalia of dressing-up and building belong to every age from childhood to adult life. It is not the


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materials they use, but what they do with them which shows the children's progress. At this stage they will work with greater concentration, ask more penetrating questions, and take a greater responsibility for any work they do.

The children should now have many more opportunities to use and find out about numbers, sizes and shapes, and should be expected to show more exactness in what they do, observe and record.

The range of books should provide for the wide differences, as well as for the remarkable range of interests, found in a class of children of this age. The children's reading and writing may be manifested in many ways; newspapers, nature records and dictionaries appear, probably made by the children themselves, and showing how the literary skills are becoming a normal part of their lives. In many schools, some children are now showing at about their seventh year a dramatic advance in their powers of writing down vividly what they want to say, such writing having a freshness and vigour unsurpassed later. This is one of the most remarkable developments in the post-war primary school.

Where the teacher is using opportunities to the full, children's progress in what they do with materials is very great. They make the dough they use for many purposes, and make it, as well as doing other simple 'cooking', from written recipes. They not merely dress up themselves, but they measure, construct and decorate clothes for their dolls. They do not merely put objects or bits and pieces together to represent, rather vaguely, something that is in their minds, but, often using acute observation, they may construct objects with a skill and an exactness remarkable in relation to the extent of their knowledge of materials and their competence with tools. It might almost be said that, before they leave the infant school, many children have shown something of the power which artists have to imagine the end they seek, and the power which craftsmen have to achieve their end in their own way.

(b) The teacher's part

The demands on the teacher are great. The children need her support and companionship as much as ever, and she has to be versatile and resourceful. She has to introduce new interests in a way that catches the children's attention and, without dimming their sense of wonder, to increase their understanding and help


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them to relate their otherwise fleeting ideas. School subjects* are at this stage all closely interwoven, and the teacher has unlimited opportunities for showing the relevance of one thing to another.

During these later stages, there must be more methodical teaching, whether to individuals, groups or to the class, however informal such teaching may be. Reading and writing are a case in point. The teacher continues to reveal to the children, by reading to them, by showing and by mentioning books, what books and reading can give them; but, as the children themselves begin to recognise words and phrases, they need help in mastering the skill of reading and in practising it. Infant schools are as concerned with reading as they ever were, and teachers have lost none of their old skill in teaching it, but they take a more discriminating view than formerly of its place at a particular stage.

Similarly, in learning to write, the children need not only the best tools but help from the teacher, and this she can give only if she understands their capacities and difficulties and has some knowledge of the art of handwriting.

In mathematics much depends on what is offered to and expected of the children at this time. They need help in realising something of the mathematical significance of the many things they do and discover in the wide and diverse fields of 'how many?' and 'how much?'. Already they are beginning to make some part of their knowledge automatic, and are acquiring their first mastery of simple processes. Above all, their vocabulary in these matters should be growing apace.

A teacher's appreciation of the children's efforts in creative work, whether in spoken or written English, in paint or plastic materials, requires a nice judgement on her part as to what she might expect from each. It is essential that every child should enjoy success, and equally important that he should not enjoy it without effort, pleasurable though the effort may have been. Indeed, a teacher often has to sustain his effort until achievement comes. Perhaps one of the hardest things a young teacher has to learn is the standard of work that is to be expected from a class of any particular age, and from each child in it.

(c) The arrangement of time

What was said in describing the early stages of school applies

*See Part 3 for full discussion of the teaching of all school subjects, including their beginnings at the infant stage.


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equally here. There are the same general principles, there is the same variety of practice. The children's increased responsibility and powers of working independently over a longer period show themselves in the way that jobs are carried out. The day may be broken into shorter periods or longer; sometimes all the children may be doing the same thing; at other times, groups or individuals may be differently employed; sometimes a period is set apart when all work at the 'Three Rs,' though one group may be doing reading and another writing or number. Many teachers, however, find that this particular combination gives rise to difficulties, and that they can give more attention to those who need help in reading, for example, if other groups are doing something other than mathematics or writing. No two schools are alike in their planning; but everywhere one would expect to find that the children spent some time in physical activity, some in music-making and some in reading or hearing poetry and stories; that all had opportunities for making things with different kinds of materials, for the study and care of flowers, plants and other living things, and that proper attention was paid to reading, writing and mathematics.

All that was said earlier about the teacher's planning applies even more strongly to the later stages. With experience, she can foresee the children's progress on all fronts for a fairly long time ahead, and at this stage she can take them into her confidence and allow an undertaking to go forward to its conclusion while other things wait to be done later. During this period a skilful teacher is able to cultivate in the children a useful sense of responsibility about the different sides of their work, while making full use of their current interests and enterprise. So the days and weeks will be contained in a framework which holds the whole programme together, but which is never a strait-jacket cramping initiative.

The children's behaviour, in a successful school, reflects the discipline of wholehearted effort in pursuits that are intelligible and of absorbing interest to them.

F. INFANTS IN OLD, SMALL RURAL SCHOOLS

The infants in an old and small rural school sometimes suffer grave disadvantages. In buildings not yet renovated, they may still be in the ancient 'baby-room', small, and often dark.


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Sanitary fittings may still be primitive, and there may be scant provision of the materials that the children need for their play and work and almost no space to store such materials. There is always to be sure in these rooms a comforting sense of intimacy, but this can scarcely compensate for the disadvantages. When these old buildings are renovated, the children are given a room that is light and airy and from which they can go direct to the playground. There is space to use and store books and materials, and sanitation is brought up to date. Such changes bring about remarkable developments in the kind of education the children can be given. But until this happens it is most important that everything which can be done to mitigate the poor conditions should be done. The children should be taken into the open air whenever possible; means of washing should be improvised, and every device for storing and using books and materials should be considered. It is also a help if these children are given every possible chance to use the larger room (generally the only other room) and if they are allowed to share in anything that would give them more opportunity for movement and for the activities natural to children of their age.

G. 'ACTIVITY' AND METHODICAL TEACHING

It is a pity that there has been so much misunderstanding about what has been called 'activity' - and a still greater pity that it has sometimes been assumed that it and methodical teaching are mutually exclusive. It is time that the term was again given a more homely and general connotation, and that the misleading assumption that the children's activity somehow excludes good teaching should be dropped.

Teachers have always known that no child learns unless he is active in mind, body or both (in the last resort the distinction is difficult to make). The teacher's problem is to stimulate in the children the effort which makes learning successful and to use it fruitfully when it is aroused. Children's effort is most effective when it is sustained by some urge within themselves - by curiosity, interest (whether direct or caught from someone else) or the urge to express, make or do. The 1937 edition of the Handbook of Suggestions made this very clear:


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'Much use will, doubtless, be made of those corporate activities of a realistic kind which make it possible for each child, working as one of a group, to engage himself in the particular operation which appeals to him most. The better the equipment of the school, the more it will provide suitable opportunities for this. The children's enjoyment is in itself worth while, for childhood - a stage in itself - is more than a preparation for maturity, and there is no doubt that children learn a great deal naturally through spontaneous and undirected play.

But so far as the school itself is concerned, these activities will, in addition, provide the best foundation for future development if the teacher herself understands their value and their possibilities and takes steps to ensure that they do not degenerate into mere barren repetition, or take the form of that apparently aimless kind of play which marks an earlier stage of childhood.'

The best of what have been called 'activity methods' are the attempts of teachers to use natural ways of learning so that the children give their full attention to what they are doing and use all their desire to explore and find out, putting out their maximum effort. The teacher should have a clear idea of what she expects them to learn, though she may not foresee all that any particular child will get out of the opportunities or materials she provides for him, for children's inventiveness and what arrests their attention can be a constant source of surprise to even the most experienced teachers.

The teacher's responsibility for what is offered to the children, for the ways in which they use opportunities and the attitudes of mind which lead them to make the most of them, and for the maintenance of good standards of performance in relation to the children's capacity, is in no way diminished, but rather increased. She is, in no uncertain sense, 'in charge', and her powers of organisation are at full stretch.

Nor should 'activity' suggest any omission of methodical teaching. At every stage, at the right time, all children need methodical help. Such help is given in a simple way at home when they learn to dress and to feed themselves; it is continued at school when they learn to read and write, to care for pets, and to do many other things. But methodical teaching is effective to the extent that the children see it aiding their own efforts, and if it holds their attention and helps them to achieve something they want to achieve or have a use for or a pride in doing. In short, it is effective if it is given at the moment and in the amount which


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the child's own activity of mind demands, and if it does not smother his ardour.

Similarly with practice: no skill can be acquired without practice; but there is a vast difference in the effectiveness of practice which children undertake with zest and with concentrated effort to achieve, and that which is merely mechanical with no active desire to succeed. The ways in which children practise bodily skills and language, even before they are five, provide plenty of examples of the kind of repetition which leads to success.

The ways of teachers differ; but should they attempt to elevate particular methods or procedures to the level of fundamental principles, and cease to be critically aware of what they are doing and of the value of what the children are learning, unfortunate results are likely to follow.

H. ACHIEVEMENTS OF CHILDREN TOWARDS THE END OF THE INFANT STAGE

The differing levels achieved by children by the time they leave the infant school are not the result only of their diverse abilities and aptitudes. Children are usually admitted to an infant school at the beginning of the term in which they will reach five years of age: but in nearly all areas, all children over seven are transferred to the junior school (or classes) only once a year, usually in September. There are many good reasons why there should be only this once-yearly transfer; but it means that a child may spend anything from barely two years to two years and two terms in the infant school and be from between just seven years of age to nearly eight at the time of transfer. The attainments of the children must therefore vary greatly - a fact of crucial importance for those who receive them in the junior school.

Even the youngest and the slowest may be expected to have advanced a long way, and in many directions, since they started school. By comparison with a child of five, a child at the end of the infant stage is self-possessed, responsible, independent and capable of devoting himself to a straightforward task in a practical and determined way. Most children have met many new interests and adventures of mind and body and savoured them with the freshness and vividness of early childhood. They will have acquired a measure of social discipline and some power of


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self-management from their daily life with their group, and they can be expected to be friendly, lively and responsive. They will have learnt to express themselves, many competently, in talk and conversation, and some may be filling books of their own making with descriptions of what they have seen or imagined. Some write verse. Many can make simple and accurate records and can use writing for many other purposes. Indeed, the sudden spurt which many children show, especially in linguistic capacity whether oral or written, towards the end of the seventh year, seems remarkable even to teachers with long experience. Some read fluently and with deep absorption; many can use books to find out what they want to know. All but a very few will have made a start in reading. Their mathematical development should have taken firm root.

Nearly all the children will have learnt to manage many different kinds of materials and tools, and should still have the zest and ingenuity in using them characteristic of their age. They should be using their physical powers with confidence, and their bodies and limbs with increasing dexterity and continued satisfaction. Some children, for various reasons, will, in one way or another, have made less progress than the rest. But, whatever their achievements, it is important above all that children should leave the infant school with a sense of confidence in what they have already learnt, and should be ready and eager to learn more. If they have escaped being discouraged and have some confidence in being able to do even a few things well and in using effectively the powers they have, they will be as well prepared as they can be for the next stage.


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CHAPTER V

Junior Schools

A. JUNIOR SCHOOLS ARE OF RECENT GROWTH

The junior school, when it first appeared between the wars, sometimes as the rather forlorn relic of the process alarmingly called 'decapitation', attracted little notice. Even the Primary School Report [Hadow 1931], which has since had a deep influence, failed at the time of its publication in 1931 to draw many people's attention from more absorbing interests to this new phenomenon in education. The junior school had to establish its identity and create its tradition at a time when prevailing thought had little interest in it, and it has in large measure succeeded. Its importance is generally recognised.

B. THE CHILDREN IN JUNIOR SCHOOLS

Physically, the junior school stage is one of the periods of steady growth. The children gain greater control of their finer muscles, and their manual and bodily dexterity of all kinds improves rapidly, especially in the earlier half of their junior school life. Illness keeps them from school far less than in the infant school and, if they get adequate rest, food and warmth, and are reasonably happy at home and school, they enjoy a vigorous life, are capable of effort sustained for increasingly long periods, and have a keen delight in the achievements to which their efforts lead.

But a junior school child is often active even without moving about. A great deal of his mental activity goes on through language - in thinking, speaking, writing and reading. He can use language to plan ahead and to re-live a past experience, often described in a long narrative. He is able to write and record what he would say, and through reading lives imaginatively in the exploits of other people at other times and places. His questions


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are more pertinent than before, and his knowledge becomes more definite. His world therefore enlarges at a great rate and, with encouragement and opportunity, he enters upon his exploration of it, physically, intellectually and imaginatively, with confidence and zest.

In a junior child a desire to be like his elders and to enjoy, however vicariously, their experiences, directs his interests and his actions. He wants to be accepted by grown-ups, especially by those whom he likes, and he wants to share in the contemporary scene, to hear of passing events and adult adventures in the world at large. It is not surprising that some children show resentment against the remoteness of what happens in school from the happenings in the world outside; their imaginations need 'real' things to feed upon, concrete knowledge and definite facts, especially about things which the grown-up world seems to them to think important. They want to do grown-up things and begin to imitate the adult techniques in many skills.

Yet though girls and boys want to be like adults, they can be like them only within limits. They do not yet look far ahead; it is the present or easily foreseeable future that is all-important to them. Unlike adults, they rarely pause long to contemplate, but, anticipating success, they rush straight to their aim.

Despite their matter-of-factness and concern with the immediate and contemporary world, children of this age are strongly imaginative and construct many things, often with great ingenuity and originality.

As the Report on the Primary School [Hadow 1931] points out, it was supposed for a long time that the salient characteristic of children up to eleven was their excellent mechanical memory; but closer inquiry has shown that a child's memory stands out in high relief at this period only because his higher intellectual capacities are comparatively undeveloped or unused. The memory of a child of nine or ten years is inferior to that of the older child, especially as regards long distance or delayed memory, and his performance in tests of short distance memory depends, of course, largely on his power of attention. Though teachers may legitimately take full advantage of the fact that children between seven and nine show some fondness for mechanical repetition, children from nine onwards show growing powers of intelligent understanding and of relating and organising their observations and knowledge, and it is this kind of


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remembering which should be called as fully as possible into play. Remembering always plays an important part in learning; it is likely to be most reliable about those things which arouse interest and command full attention and which are gradually caught up in the growing body of related experience and thought.*

Among other characteristics, which will be mentioned later and which develop at various intervals during the junior stage, are making collections, forming 'gangs' with other children, and asserting, often impatiently, their independence.

C. THE FIRST TWO YEARS IN THE JUNIOR SCHOOL

(a) The move from the infant school

When a child goes from the infant to the junior section in a school for children from five to eleven years, the change need be no more disturbing than the move from one class to another; but a child who goes from an infant to a junior school may suffer an acute jolt. The new building may be quite unlike the old and at first may seem to be a long way off, and in a strange setting. Moreover, when he goes, he exchanges his place of privilege at the top of the infant school for an obscure one at the bottom of the junior school. He knows only the children who go up with him; all the rest are strange, like his teacher and the new Head. It is not surprising that in this transfer some children suffer setbacks in their progress and show signs of stress in their behaviour. The criticisms made by some junior schools about the standards reached by the children who come to them might be less stringent if it were always realised that not only have the children just returned from a long summer holiday but that also some junior schools themselves do much less than they might to ensure that the passage for the children at this point is as smooth and as little wasteful as possible.

On the other hand, the children themselves are prepared for the change and are often eagerly looking forward to it. The prospect of a different school with a new routine and different teachers is exciting and challenging. These changes are sufficient to fulfil expectations and absorb all a child's powers of adjust-

*v. The Primary School, p. 39.


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ment. If to these are added a sudden change in the ways in which he is expected to learn and in the standards of work and behaviour which evoke praise or blame, the demands on his powers of adaptation may become too much for him, so that where he was eager he is now disheartened.

The teacher who receives him can prevent this. She* not only studies carefully any records or other information which the infant school sends her, but she should, if at all possible, have visited the school, made herself known to the children, watched them at work, and noted carefully what they were achieving and by what means they were learning.

In the infant school, children will most probably have been used to working most of the day, if not individually, then in small groups, with much allowance for their differing capacities and rates of progress. They will probably have been somewhat slow to settle down at the beginning of a period and rather slow to pack up at the end; they will have talked a great deal, and will have begun to converse with one another with pleasure and profit; they will have found it uncomfortable to sit still for long and will have been used to moving about. It seems likely, therefore, that they will adapt themselves most easily to the change of school if they continue working for the most part individually or in groups, talking and moving about as needed, though there will, of course, be occasions when the class forms a single group, for such purposes as stories or lessons of various kinds, for music or for movement.

(b) Cooperation, competition and sense of standard

The change from being the big boys and girls in one school to being the little ones in another comes at a time when children have in fact already shown that they are capable of being self-reliant and responsible. From the beginning, therefore, the children should be given the chance to exercise resourcefulness and to undertake responsible duties. At this time also children recognise more clearly that each is one of a group; they are beginning to give more weight to the opinion of their fellows and to appeal less

*About 25 per cent of the teachers in primary schools are men and 75 per cent women; women teach infants and usually the younger juniors, as well as some of the older ones. When the feminine pronoun is used here or the masculine pronoun later, what is said applies equally to the other sex.


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to the authority of the teacher against them. This does not mean that they are now ready for teamwork, but it does mean that they can usefully cooperate for some specific venture in a group formed for the purpose, and in so doing learn to understand one another better.

With this growing awareness of their fellows they may well display an obvious self-assertiveness, but it would be unwise to assume that here is the dawn of the competitive spirit. Girls and boys of this age like to do well in any contest. They boast of their exploits and achievements, and dare one another to do things. But each is much more interested in his own success than in the fact that others are less successful; for them to enjoy winning it is not necessary that others should lose. They are still very sensitive to the opinion of adults, and the praise and blame of a teacher they like is very powerful. At a time when they are just beginning to cooperate and have still so much to learn in this way, competitions in which praise or blame is meted out according to superiority over others are inappropriate. To overemphasise competition is to run the risk both of disheartening the unsuccessful and of making the winners unpleasantly cocksure or anxious about maintaining their position. Children get great pleasure from beating their own previous achievements and the teacher's task is to establish the climate of opinion and expectation in which everybody does his best. This happens when the teacher is well aware of what each child can do, and when the children know that he knows and that he is unwilling to accept something less well done than they can do it, although the best of each one may be of a very different standard from that of his neighbour. In short, the teacher, though he cannot expect uniform achievements has, from the beginning of the junior school, to establish an active sense of standards.

(c) Nature and planning of the work

As in the infant school, each day should begin with the corporate act of worship. After that, the arrangements in different schools, and often for each class in a school, vary. Not only do diverse conditions in the schools make flexibility necessary, but teachers find from their own experience the kind of practice that is likely to produce the results they desire.

The headings under which the various junior school activities are described in the timetable vary. In nearly all schools definite


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times are assigned to the different subjects, though the extent to which these times are split into shorter periods may be very different in different schools. There is a strong tendency to assign fairly long periods under general titles, leaving the teacher free to use the time to the best advantage. Thus it is common now to find English in the timetable without the divisions of reading, composition, speech-training, writing, English exercises etc, which used to be universal.

What is certain at this stage is that all the different parts of education are closely interwoven, and school subjects, however described or assigned, are in practice only vaguely differentiated. Language - spoken, heard, written and read - is part of everything; art and constructive skill, and awareness of size and shape, and the necessity of measurement and calculation are part of most things. Exploration of his environment will take a child into the fields of history, geography, nature study and elementary science. Music and speech often go with movement, and physical education includes mime or dance.

This does not mean, however, that all is haphazard and without plan, any more than it was in the infant school. Each aspect of education must have its proper share of time and attention and each day in school strenuous activity alternates with quieter pursuits, and individual concentration with corporate endeavour. There must be time for the practice essential to learning, and time for going back to revise and consolidate. In each field of study there should be a general sense of direction and objective, to give the necessary framework within which there will still be every chance to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities. The whole should be kept steady by the teacher's records of what is done generally and by records, private as well as official, of what each child is accomplishing.

The traditional arts of the teacher remain as important as ever - the art of vivid narration and of clear description and explanation. The teacher's reading aloud of prose and poetry is indispensable, while discussion of their work with the children in class, and with groups or individuals, is fundamental to progress.

Lessons may sometimes be quite short, and sometimes it is wiser to teach only part, perhaps a small part, of the class at a time, while the others do something else. At a time when the children are ready for it, a good lesson should be a source of information, should carry the children forward in the mastery of


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processes or skills, or should be the inspiration and starting point for further investigation. When it takes the form of discussion, a lesson is often a valuable summing-up of enquiries the children have themselves made, and without it much of the value of what they have done may be lost. In this, as in other things, a flexible and sensitive response to what is needed at the time is the mark of live teaching; rigid adherence to set methods usually defeats its own ends.

Visits by the children in groups or as a class to meet people and see things of interest are recognised opportunities for first-hand learning. In some areas such visits are difficult to arrange, but it is usually practicable to allow children at times to go outside the classroom. What matters is not that the children should travel far, but that, near or far, they should be able to search, to observe and study closely, and to talk about their experience. Children explore what lies before them, but they do not choose what lies before them; that choice is the teacher's, and he has to choose those things and opportunities which he thinks of greatest value and most likely to lead to fruitful enquiry. Although he cannot foresee just what the children will get from any pursuit on which they set out, his experience should give him an idea of the kind of thing that is likely to happen. Moreover, he has to be alert and resourceful enough to help the children forward when they seem to have come to a barrier, or to accept an early end to some enterprise if it turns out to be unprofitable.

(d) Practical work, centres of interest and projects

The fact that children of this age are active and learn by first-hand investigation should not imply that they are continuously occupied with practical work. Useful as many centres of interest and projects may be, by no means all are as valuable for the children as they might be. Projects succeed if they are inspired by genuine interest and if the children see that they have a reasonable purpose. What is seen by an outsider might be impressive; the teacher should ask himself whether the children's interest is sufficiently roused to drive them to find out, think, plan and make, using books and any help they can take from him or other people to further their own learning; and whether what they have learned, and how they have learnt it, have made the enterprise worthwhile. It is also important to consider whether the project is so managed that it fully employs all those engaged on it. While


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preserving the children's initiative, the teacher has also to promote that kind of cooperation which makes good use of each child's contribution. Sometimes there is waste of time because too many children are somewhat artificially included in one project, sometimes because the undertaking is too little supported by books or material, and sometimes because the teacher himself has insufficient knowledge or skill to indicate the next possible step ahead, to guide the enquiries, or to sustain the children's endeavour across a difficult patch in their work.

The greater power which able children, as they grow older, show of generalising, of making inferences and of working things out, develops most vigorously when it can be exercised in pursuits which are themselves a chain of thought and action.

(e) Some examples of the kind of development to be expected between seven and nine

Among the many kinds of progress shown in the first two years of junior school life, that in language is extremely important. Though some children speak readily and with a surprisingly rich vocabulary and others only diffidently and with scarcely enough words to express all they would like to say, some uttering clearly and others clumsily, speech for most is their most natural and frequent means of communication and expression. Speech is improved mainly by example and use. Children learn to speak well by hearing good speech: their powers of expression grow as they hear stories well read and told, things or events clearly described or instructions competently and quietly given; and they need help to put their own questions or ideas into words which satisfy them as saying what they intend. It is essential that the teacher should resist any temptation to talk down to the children, to be content with ill-written, impoverished versions of what he tells or reads, or with reading books in which the vocabulary or style are so limited that what the children read is not English in any worthy sense. Clear, pleasant speech does not depend only on correct grammar and approved accent, but far more on the choice of words, the turn of phrase, and the tone and rhythm of the voice. Children's voices from about seven to nine often seem strident, perhaps because children of this age either cannot, or forget to, control pitch or volume; but they are ready enough to respond to the pleasant voice of a teacher, and there is


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perhaps nothing which is more influential in keeping them calm and self-controlled.

In reading there will be children who need skilled daily help until the ability to read is sufficiently established; but there will be others, the majority, who, having got so far, will leap ahead, and who need every possible opportunity to use and to enjoy books of all kinds on all aspects of their life in school and out of it. Moreover, they need, especially in these years, the chance to talk about what they have read, to let the words and ideas they meet in books pass into the active vocabularies of their speaking and writing. Reading aloud by teacher and children for a clearly understood purpose has an important part to play in this development.

At this stage children's interest in living things becomes more objective than before. They gradually become aware of the infinite variety of living creatures and of plant life, and the strong lure of collecting begins to take effect. Few have much interest as yet in classifying their specimens for themselves, but they generally appreciate an orderly joint collection if they are given help in arranging it. There is much for the teacher to do in guiding them in identification and arrangement and in asking questions that will promote closer observation and some connected thought that will lead to further discoveries.

Children are also interested in people at work, the mechanic, the builder, the shopkeeper and the cook; they like not only to watch them working but to handle their tools and talk to them. If any opportunities arise for bringing these people into the school it would be a pity to miss all the interests which acquaintance with them may well start.

Most boys and some girls want to see how things work, and primary education on the whole has not yet taken full advantage of this youthful curiosity about mechanical and technical things.

D. THE SECOND TWO YEARS IN JUNIOR SCHOOL LIFE

(a) Some significant changes

By the time they are halfway through the junior school the children are well aware that they belong to the school community, large though it may be, although for purposes of their own they form themselves into their own groups or 'gangs'. A


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'gang' gives a sense of power; its size is within their competence to control; it can accomplish things impossible for an individual, and it can often do useful jobs better because a number of boys and girls work together.

It is at this period that, in their 'gangs' and for their games, the boys often separate from the girls, since by this time the differences between them are becoming marked. They move and behave differently, and their interests sometimes divide them; they differ in their choice of stories and of books, in the subjects of their writing and in what they collect. The girls may be maturing physically more quickly than the boys, while the boys may perhaps show more daring and enterprise and have greater muscular strength.

(b) The children's attitude to others and to themselves

During his nine years the child's awareness and understanding of others has grown. He begins to judge that the actions of others are what he has learnt to call right or wrong; he knows, though perhaps crudely, the rightness or wrongness of much that he himself does. That sense of standards and feeling for values which were rather vague when he entered the junior school have begun to take form and can be talked about and discussed in terms of specific examples. It might be said that he is becoming conscious of his personal conduct as something for which he is responsible, though this responsibility must not be made too heavy a burden for him, because his own standards of behaviour are still far from being firmly established.

At this time, as the children's capacity for critical observation of their elders grows, it is especially important that the school should satisfy their needs on all sides. An able child's estimate of the school situation may be devastating. If his teacher or the school has failed to enlist his genuine interest and cooperation, he is capable of calculating to a nicety with how little effort and attention to school work he can manage, and may continue to live in school at a level far below his real abilities. Writing school off as something that has to be borne, he reserves his better wits and energies for other things which may or may not be good, and regards school with more or less docile boredom.

Common causes of boredom are that the children either have not enough to do or are given work which seems to them to lead nowhere. If work is to absorb their attention the children must


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be able to appreciate at least something of its purpose. At this age they are able to look ahead to plan what they do now for a purpose to be fulfilled a little later, and they are able to participate in the purposes of others, both children and adults.

(c) Creative work

One of the most remarkable characteristics of this age is the power of creative work shown by children. They can now choose materials sensibly and have a considerable knowledge of how best to employ them. Many have reached the stage where, as it often seems, their conception and their skill are matched, so that they are able, still without self-consciousness, to give convincing shape to what their minds conceive.

Throughout the primary stage children are fascinated by materials and show absorbed interest in what anyone is making, while many can, in the later junior stage, work for long periods and go to great lengths to achieve what they have set out to create. Many schools give them sufficient opportunities to work with traditional and generally satisfying materials, but in some the work in crafts falls far behind that in painting. Trivial occupations, far below the children's capacities, may usurp the place of true craft and the so-called crafts sink to the level of mere uninspired manual processes, without thought or feeling.

Children's power of expressing themselves in language is often striking. In what is spoken and written many of them appear, almost unconsciously, to select the manner as well as the matter, and there is growing sensitiveness to what is appropriate. Possibly girls may be in advance of boys in this respect.

Towards the end of the junior stage, in creative work, whether in language, paint or other media, teachers find that in some children inspiration seems to run dry, and that the promise of the previous years remains unfulfilled. Sometimes the reason is that the children's interests and imaginations are not fed with ideas and experiences which matter enough in their eyes to make them want to express them in some form. Sometimes the teacher fails to cultivate in the children the technical skills which they now need and demand, and to ensure sufficient practice to establish them. In written English, children are often handicapped because they have not learnt how to write at once legibly and fast enough to express their thoughts. Not infrequently progress in creative work ceases because the children cannot


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make their work good enough to satisfy themselves - aiming, as they often do at this time, at an adult standard. If they are not given the help they need as their powers and experiences grow they fail to develop further and may merely repeat themselves with diminishing effort and sincerity.

(d) Emergence of school subjects

In their earlier years children have explored what must seem to them a vast terrain, and they have had little interest in dividing it into what the teacher thinks of as subjects. As experiences become more closely related and learning more clearly purposeful, certain of the fields of study become more defined. Language continues to have a place in every study, as well as being a subject in itself, and it must include the study and practice of the spoken and the written word and the enjoyment of story and poetry. The arts can still pervade most activities in the school, but their practice demands material and equipment of a particular kind, and their study and the development of skill in them, at this level, occupy another distinguishable field. Mathematical knowledge and skills, though used in many connections, require systematic study in their own right. A child's interest in his environment slowly resolves itself into those studies which we conveniently call history, geography, nature study and elementary science. To adopt this classification before children have any appreciation of its significance is to make school work seem artificial and remote from their experience of life.

But probably too little stimulus is given in the later years of junior schools, to the brighter children especially, to use their powers of organising knowledge and of seeing the connections between one thing and another, although these powers develop rapidly at this time. By a flexible arrangement of the day, by plenty of discussion between teacher and children, by good methodical teaching at appropriate times, and by periodic reviews of what has been previously done, the children can be led not only to a more intelligent mastery of what they have learnt but also to more coherent thought about it.


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E. WAYS OF PROVIDING FOR THE WIDENING RANGE OF ABILITY IN JUNIOR SCHOOLS

In the last two years of the junior school the wide range of the children's abilities and the diversity in their rate of growth are demonstrably greater than when they were younger. On the one hand, there are those who are on the fringe of requiring special educational treatment in special schools, and, on the other, there are the boys and girls who are the geniuses and leaders of tomorrow, and who are potentially cleverer than their teachers. In the small school, to the range of ability is added the wide age range within one class, though this is not necessarily a disadvantage if the numbers in the classes are small. Many devices are used in schools to give to each child work which is suitable for him, and to ensure progress in accordance with his rate of learning.

(a) Classification by attainment, ability and age

At the beginning of the century, the traditional class organisation was designed to facilitate instruction in the 'Three Rs', and the school as a whole was classified according to the children's formal attainments, mainly in these subjects, irrespective of their age or general ability. This legacy of the annual examination seemed to have advantages in that the pace of lessons might be more easily geared to the capacity of the children; but the sorry spectacle which resulted of dull, older children remaining in Standards II and III while young, bright children passed them by and went on to the top of the school caused further thought. Experience suggested many other considerations. A bright child of eight or nine requires different treatment from older children, while the rapid promotion of the abler children often leaves them with an education too narrowly or insecurely founded. Meanwhile, too, the slower ones are without the stimulus of their abler contemporaries, are often further retarded by their loss of personal prestige, and set a bad example of apathy to the younger children. It is now widely accepted that children are best taught with those whose stage of physical and social growth, interests and recreations, are broadly similar; that is, that age should be the main criterion for classification, though few schools would hold to this with absolute rigidity. The fact


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that secondary education begins at eleven has strengthened the custom of classification by age.

(b) 'Streams'

The principle of classification by 'streams', which is peculiar to our own day, is an attempt to promote children according to their age and at the same time to classify them according to their ability. It has only become possible since reorganisation into junior and secondary stages of education in separate schools has resulted in grouping enough juniors or seniors in anyone school to enable two or three classes to be made from the children of one year's age group. But it should be remembered that many schools are too small to be 'streamed'.

Some teachers find substantial benefits in the streamed school, where the brighter children work together in one class and the less bright of the same age in another. The narrower range of ability enables them to adapt the kind of work and the speed of it more easily to the children, and they get a clearer notion of what to expect from each child. Some Heads, however, have in recent years changed from a streamed organisation to one which puts the whole range of ability into one class. Their experience is that in the homogeneous class of the streamed school the stimulus to learning is reduced and that the slower children appear slower still, accepting the fact that they are too often called 'only B stream', and making less effort than they might. In the infant school, one of the important aids to learning is mutual help within the group, and some teachers in junior schools believe that this may hold there too.

In the streamed school there is paradoxically another danger, in that, since the children appear to be more on a level, the teacher is tempted to underestimate the diversity of quality and pace of learning which in fact still remain and which must still be catered for. Growth takes place in the round, and slow progress in one direction does not always indicate slowness in all; backwardness in reading, for example, does not always indicate backwardness in everything else. A classification by any single criterion must to some extent be misleading, and may cause the teacher to overlook the significant range of ability in different fields.

Some Heads, in order to avoid the predicaments to which any rigid system leads, prefer a flexible organisation that is not fixed


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throughout the day, and they may make different groupings for different kinds of work, or they may adopt, for example, a classification for the morning session that may be changed in the afternoon.

One of the most remarkable developments in teachers' skill over the last decade or so has been that of educating in one class children of very different abilities. They do this by arranging the environment in the classroom and school so that the children learn a great deal for themselves, either individually or in small groups. The teacher comes to know when to teach groups and when to teach the class or an individual, and in time he knows at what pace and in what ways the different groups of children learn best. To acquire this art is no mean achievement, though to many who have an understanding of children and a fertile inventiveness it appears to come easily. Others proceed more slowly, learning as they go, and are wise to avoid arrangements too ambitious or too complicated for their capacity.

(c) Handicapped children

Some children from the beginning to the end of the primary school find such difficulties in learning to do what other children do that they present a problem which worries many teachers. It is not merely that they are somewhat slower than the others in reaching stages which all eventually reach - it is that their approach seems feebler, or frustrated for physical reasons, or part of their general immaturity as persons. In some cases the cause of their difficulties, whether in reading or writing or in other activities, can be discovered by observation or investigation (which may be aided by that of the school medical officer) and a remedy found: then help given in the child's own class may enable him to make up lost ground, recover his lively outlook and develop as if he had not had a setback. This is the general experience with children who have become backward through absence caused by physical illness from which they have completely recovered; only if this kind of backwardness is neglected will it become serious. Other children fail to progress because some physical cause continues and cannot be removed, and they have to learn to overcome it if they are to get on - like the child who is somewhat short-sighted or hard of hearing but not sufficiently so to warrant being put under a specialist teacher. Others are retarded because their environment is too narrow or the


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people in their lives exercise an adverse influence. Still others - unfortunately a large group - make little progress because they have little capacity. Even to enable them to work to capacity makes great demands on a teacher. How best to help all these children while they remain in ordinary classes with children who are much more able, without giving less than a fair share of time to any group, is one of the inescapable problems of class teaching. Fortunately the present ways of teaching junior children seem to offer much to the dull as well as to the bright, and the emphasis upon working with groups or individuals cannot fail to benefit those who are handicapped from any cause.

The dull and slow often fail to win praise, even though they may work hard: the quick and bright usually get praise even though they have not had to extend themselves to do well. Without being insincere a teacher can praise the achievements of each child in relation to his ability and to the effort it has cost him, and can lead his class to understand that such praise is fair.

It is important, though, that parents should understand what the teacher is doing, and should not, because their child's efforts are approved, overestimate his ability in relation to that of other children. Where handicapped children are concerned a sympathetic but frank relationship between school and parents is of unusual importance.

It is a matter of general observation that within the last few years more children with physical handicaps have been retained in their ordinary classes in the ordinary primary schools. This is by no means always because there is no room in special schools. Even crippled children with fairly severe handicaps may be found taking a very full part in class life; occasionally even young severely deaf children are accepted in nurseries for normal children. Where this is done as part of a carefully devised educational scheme by which the capacity and willingness of the school to keep an individual child and his ability to benefit by attendance are both weighed up by competent judges, there need be no fear that retention in the ordinary school will be other than good for the child. Such arrangements are usually greatly appreciated by the parents but careful observation by the class teacher and collaboration between the head and the school medical officer are essential safeguards. Ordinary schools must not be asked to effect the impossible. One sign that all is not well would be some ill effect on the other children in the class or their inability to


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behave sensibly to the handicapped child. The handicapped child himself may not settle down in the group. But, if the other children can be induced to accept him as a playmate, no matter what help he requires or what curiosity his peculiarities arouse, the child will rarely feel self-conscious. Otherwise he is probably better educated elsewhere.

Most schools have a problem of educating children whose meagre mental endowment makes it unlikely that they will ever make normal progress, and for whom the hope of 'catching up' is a delusion to teacher, parent and child. Fortunately, most of them have much in common with other children, particularly in their out of school interests, and show their lack of capacity most in their use of words, in dealing with anything of an abstract nature, and where they have to weigh up a situation which is complex for them. They are mentally younger than their fellows, and are slow in attack and generally feeble in persistence. They need to be shown how to do things much more frequently than brighter children. In learning skills they require more practice to gain the same level of efficiency. And yet these children find it difficult to transfer the results of practice to even closely related fields, and much time and effort would be wasted if what is practised cannot be applied. Their interest very easily flags and requires constant renewal. This seems to come best from the teacher who discovers the child's interests and experiences out of school and can link them to the activities of the class.

Work which involves the handling of materials is likely to appeal to many of these children, clumsy though they often are. The freer atmosphere of the class in which talk is encouraged assists those who suffer from being 'bottled up' or emotionally inhibited. Making useful things, the quality of which is not compared with that of others' products, increases their confidence and it frequently happens that a growing power to do something well, whatever it may be, increases their self-respect and stability and leads to their taking a more active part in the life of the class or even of the school. But with other children the process seems to be reversed; for them it is improved morale that seems to precede improved work.

No child can thrive or progress if he is bewildered or disheartened. Those who are hopeful and confident may use even meagre talents to reach unexpected levels of achievement. Perhaps the most important thing for these children is to keep them


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hopeful and to make them welcome and respected in the community.

Even with the best teaching some children will leave the junior school with only a frail hold on the skills of reading, writing and arithmetic; they will use them hesitatingly when asked, and show little inclination to use them at all if left to their own initiative. They will need help of a special kind in their secondary school if what they have so far learned is to be firmly established and used as a basis for their further education.*

(d) The abler children

At the other end of the scale, in most junior schools there is a small group of boys and girls with exceptional capacity and quickness to learn. It is most important that these children should proceed at their own, and much quicker, pace, just as far as they are able to go. By the time they have reached their last year of primary school life many of them can calculate, talk, read or write fluently, and consult books as adults do. Their active curiosity spurs them on into ever fresh fields of inquiry; and, with their practised intelligence, their disciplined imagination and their full memory, they can themselves see what information they need and how to collect and arrange it in order to pursue their search to the best advantage. Beyond this, they can also choose a suitable medium to express what is in their minds. They are already beginning to be able to study in the adult sense of the word.

It is sometimes suggested that such girls and boys, who will almost certainly proceed in their twelfth year to a grammar or a technical course, should further enlarge their field of study by learning a foreign language, and there are doubtless some circumstances in which this would be of advantage. But such circumstances are not often present. The teaching must be live and mainly oral, and it is of first importance that the teacher's own accent and speech should be good, and that he should be both well-informed about the country whose language he is teaching and also a skilled teacher of young children. The necessity of having a class of not more than about twenty children, and the complications which follow any attempt at specialist teaching in

*Chapter VII on Special Educational Treatment should be read in conjunction with this section.


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the primary schools, cause most Heads to feel that it is unwise to launch into something which in the majority of schools could not, in present circumstances, be well done and which might damage any future interest and competence in the foreign language which is attempted.

In most schools it seems clear that these gifted children gain more by delving deeper into the fields of learning most readily accessible to them. What they seem to need above all is the experience of improving and using their own mastery of what they have learnt and of filling in some of the inevitable gaps in their learning. But this does not mean that they should be overmuch occupied with mere repetitive exercises which, though they may increase the children's speed in mechanical performance, make insufficient demands on their intelligence and powers of thought and may induce the kind of boredom which saps interest in school work. In mathematics, in enquiry and experiment in the physical and natural worlds, in the investigation of things of interest in the local environment, in books of travel and biography, there is plenty to challenge their keenest observation, constructive imagination, and hard thinking. They need books and materials worthy of their abilities, for no teacher has enough time, even if he has the knowledge, to satisfy these children's intellectual and creative needs. It is significant that these abler children are often critical of mere make-believe, and need opportunities to use their wits on matters of fact or on some invented, but practical, piece of construction. The kind of English composition, and the language and arithmetical exercises too often given to them in many schools, make far too little demand on their powers of thought and imagination. Yet only if these powers can be fully engaged will the children gain the confidence and ability they will need when they pit themselves later against new and more difficult tasks.

F. ALLOCATION TO SECONDARY EDUCATION

It is a pity that in some schools an examination concerned with the allocation to secondary education cramps the education of the abler children, and sometimes, also, the education of those for whom the grammar school type of secondary courses is unsuitable. Where the form of this examination over-emphasises speed


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at the expense of thought and skill in the manipulation of isolated words and phrases at the expense of the vigorous and sensitive use of language, and where the staff of a school allow their syllabuses and methods of teaching to be dictated by such an examination, the education of children in the later years of the junior school becomes narrow, impoverished in substance and overloaded with repetitive exercises. Sometimes the curriculum is unbalanced, and subjects which are not required for the examination are neglected; sometimes the subjects which form the bulk of the examination, English and arithmetic, are robbed of any content that is worthy of the children.

Even more serious, perhaps, is the premature concern of children of this age with learning pursued mainly as a means of success in a competitive examination, and the anxiety which often goes with such concern, though it is true that the anxiety is more often than not communicated to the children by their parents, and sometimes by their teachers.

The possible effects of this examination were foreseen in the White Paper on Educational Reconstruction of 1943:

'There is nothing to be said in favour of a system which subjects children at the age of 11 to the strain of a competitive examination on which not only their future schooling but their future careers may depend. Apart from the effect on the children there is the effect on the curriculum of the schools themselves. Instead of the junior schools performing their proper and highly important function of fostering the potentialities of children at an age when their minds are nimble and receptive, their curiosity strong, their imagination fertile and their spirits high, the curriculum is too often cramped and distorted by over-emphasis on examination subjects and on ways and means of defeating the examiners.' (paragraph 17).

But fortunately there are many schools which do not fall victims to this oppression. Constant thought is being given on all sides to allocation procedures and to their effects on education in the junior school, as well as to the validity of the procedures. In some areas already, the ill-effects of the examination are lessened by giving greater weight to the teachers' judgements about the children's progress and attainments. Both the examination itself and the forms of record used in connection with it to keep track of children's progress are constantly being reviewed.

But it would be too optimistic to believe that even the total removal of the examination from the primary schools would in


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itself make junior education all that it might be. The existence of the examination may serve as an excuse for lack of enterprising and enlightened ways of educating children; it may be blamed unduly for some not very fruitful practices which have endured comfortably for a long time, sheltered by the alleged demands of the examination from the searching criticisms which they should have received from Head and assistant teachers alike. Anything which is done to relieve the primary schools of the ill effects of the examination needs to be accompanied by a thorough review of schemes of work, timetables, and ways of teaching so as to take full advantage of the educational opportunities which freedom from examination pressure would allow. Of paramount importance in relieving this examination pressure and its attendant anxieties is the influence that a good junior Head and his staff can have on the parents', as well as on the children's, attitudes in this matter. In no sphere of their work are good public relations and the winning of public confidence in the school and in its aims and work so essential.

It has been realised that practice in the kind of test usually set at these examinations improves performance, but there is evidence that this practice need not spread over more than short periods at intervals during a few weeks before the tests are taken. There is no need for it to swamp the really educative and interesting work the children ought to be doing at this time.

The object of allocation at eleven is to provide each child with the course of study best suited to him at that time; it is not the final verdict on his education or his subsequent career. Secondary schools are already planning their curricula so that children whose progress outstrips the promise they showed at the age of eleven may take up courses adjusted to their needs, and the possibility of later transfers from one school to another adds further opportunities to take an appropriate course of studies. The full possibilities of further education also need to be understood by parents much more clearly than they are at present, so that they may see their children's abilities and their future schooling in better perspective. It is not easy for primary schools to bring about this full understanding; but where a Head and his staff have been able to win the parents' confidence in their assessment of children's capacities and needs, where they have explained the importance of the right choice at eleven and the nature of the tests employed and have conveyed to parents a


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better understanding of the types of secondary and of further education available, and where they have helped parents to understand what the junior school itself is trying to do for the children, misapprehension and anxiety have been significantly reduced. The support of the local education authority in this matter is clearly of supreme importance.

G. CONCLUSION

The men and women who teach in junior schools are faced with problems for which no traditional solution lies ready to hand. Certainly the junior school asks much from its teachers. They must possess, above all other qualities, enough resilience to deal with the energy and far-reaching demands of the children, and enough resources to meet their extremely wide range of intellectual and imaginative power.

It is scarcely possible for any teacher to cover the whole width and variety of all these children's interests with ready information and equal concern and success. But to do so remains his aim. He cannot do better than remain a student-teacher in the literal sense of that term.


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CHAPTER VI

The Working of the School

A. INTRODUCTORY

This chapter discusses matters which are relevant to all primary schools, and is part of the picture of nursery, infant and junior schools attempted in Chapters III, IV and V.

The first and longest section, on discipline, makes no claim to completeness, but is intended to put the consideration of discipline in a sufficiently broad setting and to connect it with every facet of the relationship between teacher and children.

B. DISCIPLINE

The task of education is two-fold. It has to enable children to grow up as good members of the societies in which they live and this entails their developing a sufficient degree of conformity to the ways of those societies. At the same time, it is expected to develop in them a proper sense of independence in thought and action, which implies a power to choose and to make judgements on their own account. These two aims are complementary, for no one would deny that the full development of an individual is brought about in large measure by his playing his proper part in society, and that society can be good only if it is made up of men and women fully grown as individuals, working together unselfishly, and appreciative of purposes common to all.

But in practice it is far from easy to bring up a child in a way which satisfies both his need to belong to a group and to play his part adequately in it, and his need to be himself and to develop his own personality. The twin functions of education which lead children to conduct themselves freely as individuals and at the same time to live unselfishly with their fellows lies at the heart of all those problems associated with 'discipline'.

(a) Freedom and choice

The word 'discipline' is sometimes given a restricted mean-


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ing which brings the idea into many sharp and false antitheses, especially with the idea of freedom. The word 'free' is used by teachers to describe a variety of situations - 'free periods', 'free play', and a 'free timetable'. The idea common to all is that the children can make a choice. But, in the nature of the school situation, the choices are made within comparatively narrow limits. For example, in most primary schools today, children are given freedom to move about as they find it necessary. They have a great variety of media with which to express in their own way what their thought or imagination suggests; they may have the responsibility of doing some of their work in an order arranged by themselves individually. They frequently choose the books they need for their work or those they want to read. They cooperate with their fellows in work which they carry out in their own way.

The choice allowed to the children does not permit behaviour which disrupts the work of others or which is injurious to any child's progress and welfare; nor does it normally involve children being left out of what is planned for all jointly, or allow interference with the main framework of the day's proceedings. On the contrary, the field of choice is arranged so that it permits the children's progress towards maturity. The extent of choice made possible is as much as the children can manage; but, restricted as it must be, it is nevertheless of great educational importance, and produces an entirely different psychological situation from one in which no freedom is allowed.

Between discipline in the liberal sense of the term - learning a good way of living as an individual in a society - and the kind of freedom the children enjoy in most primary schools today, there is no antithesis at all. True discipline includes the exercise of responsible choice as an important part of learning.

The following paragraphs show some of the ways in which these ideas are expressed in practice.

(b) Early stages in discipline

It has already been shown that, from birth, a baby is taught to do and expect certain things, and is weaned from expecting or doing certain others. There are many things which, to begin with, he does not want to accept but which he is led to do because of his relationship with his mother. She helps him to meet frustrations and conflicts.


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As he grows to be a member of the family group, even a very young child learns what behaviour pleases others and wins approbation, and because he enjoys affection and wants to be accepted he tries to please. He learns the ways of his family and becomes aware that life within it has a pattern and is governed by order; he begins to share, though perhaps only very slightly, some common purpose with others in the family.

This participation in family life gives a child his first experiences of sharing in a common purpose, and it is this which gives meaning to group order and to conformity. If, from the beginning, children have known the need and pleasure of sensible and friendly ways of doing things with others, they are likely, as they get older, to accept with good grace those regulations which conduce to a common end.

(c) Early experience of moral principles

It is also during his early life at home that the roots of the most fundamental moral principles are established in a child. He shows his love in small ways and enjoys the rewards of the happiness he creates. He comes to expect a stable, sympathetic control. He learns to trust those about him, and in time he expects to be trusted in return. He begins to have some notion of justice and fair play, and becomes dimly aware of his obligations in his dealings with others. By three years of age, many children have some idea of 'mine' and 'thine' and in some degree can control the actions to which unrestrained curiosity or greed would lead them.

This discipline in a child's early years is not merely a matter of doing, still less of understanding in any adult sense. It is concerned with feeling, with the growth of sentiments which inspire the family group; with every extension of his experience the range of situations covered by these moral attitudes increases.

There are times, of course, when children resent interference, finding ingenious ways of resisting what they are wanted to do, and this may lead to a conflict of wills. Gradually, however, a child usually responds to patient handling. He learns a measure of tolerance and to make allowances, and discovers, sometimes by the hard way, where he stands with his family and friends and what he can expect of them and what they can ask of him. In these and in many other ways the discipline of living satisfactorily with others is begun.


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(d) A young child's life as an individual

But, also from early years, a child, besides being a member of a group, must live his own individual life. Control within the group, however gentle and affectionate, if continuous, stunts his mental and moral growth, since it precludes the exercise of the very powers on which these depend. He must therefore be allowed considerable freedom to play, to follow occupations of his own, to enjoy the pleasures of imagination and construction, where he can choose what he will do and how he will do it, though in much that he does thus freely he will call for the appreciation of those about him.

Not every home affords this well adjusted balance of discipline and freedom. Some children come to school thwarted by the repressive effects of an overwhelming family anxiety about them or inhibited by the fear which has been played upon to instil 'good behaviour' in them; others have been allowed to 'run wild' in a world where they had neither the knowledge nor the capacity to choose rightly; others are bewildered by the inconsistent treatment they have received from those about them. It often takes time before such children can respond to the regular kindly life with their fellows and teacher in the classroom.

(e) Discipline in school

(i) Absorption into a group

When a child goes to a good nursery or infant school, he meets a group of other children in charge of a teacher who takes considerable trouble to make his entry into the group happy, with the security that he needs and the interests which will appeal to him. If he feels sure of the teacher's good will and of her care of him, he trusts himself to her and gives her that affectionate regard which is the basis of good behaviour. If he finds the life the children are leading to one in which he too can become happily absorbed, he gradually slips into it and actively wants to remain in it and be accepted by those within it. If he does not find security and interest, he may shrink apart from them, unwilling sometimes even to take off his outdoor clothes, and certainly unable to enjoy what is offered to him. Or he may seek to reassure himself by noisy, aggressive behaviour.

A five year old cannot really apprehend a group as large as a full class in an infant school, and he usually allies himself to some


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small band of friends. The children are seen to cooperate in threes or fours, and only gradually get the sense of the whole class.

But whether with members of a small group, or later as members of an older class, most children in a congenial environment want to please, and by unconscious and sometimes deliberate imitation they learn the manners and customs of those about them. In fact, a child is apt to become more of a 'traditionalist' than his teacher, so eager is he to keep all within the familiar pattern which he knows and likes. This desire to stand well with the life of the little community remains a strong motive of children's good behaviour throughout the primary stage, and throughout this stage too they have a liking for simple tradition and ritual.

(ii) Broader concepts of discipline

But all the time there emerge from the children's experience with others broader concepts of what is right and wrong, which cover aspects of a child's life far beyond his school. What is acceptable at home or at school becomes the standard by which behaviour elsewhere is judged, the criterion by which conduct may be regulated when neither parents nor teachers are at hand. Hence the fundamental importance of the quality of the human relationships and of the standards accepted and admired within the school, as within the home.

These criteria are not established in early years by talking about them, although much may be done through story and discussion as the children get older. To each child the teacher is necessarily the main source of standards of conduct and taste, inspired and reinforced as they will be by what is accepted by the school as a whole. Consciously or unconsciously, the values and the standards which the teacher himself acquired through his own experience make themselves manifest to the children and profoundly affect them. He encourages or discourages certain likes or dislikes, certain forms of behaviour, desires or sentiments, and in this way he is constantly shaping the children's attitudes to life, and helping them to build their own values. If he shows kindness and courtesy he is likely to find the children imitating his voice and manner and accepting the kind of mutual behaviour by which such virtues are expressed. In contrast to such behaviour, the roughness and carelessness of a few individuals


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are likely to be resented as much by the other children as they are by the teacher.

(iii) Regard for the teacher

The teacher's power to influence the children depends on the regard they have for him. At best this regard has in it something of affection and something of respect, and especially of trust. A child wants to be sure that his teacher likes him and understands his difficulties. Children expect that their teacher will 'look after' his class. Where there is a warm relationship between him and them they do what he asks of them because it is he who asks it. They obey because they trust his authority and respect his judgement.

(iv) Sharing common purpose

In good schools, the children are encouraged to know and to think about common problems and purposes. Most of us feel satisfaction and become more closely attached to a group if some of our suggestions for its betterment are regarded seriously. As children get older they become increasingly able to take a responsible share in planning and organising, as well as playing an active part in what has generally to be done, and this experience is of great value.

The more that common purposes are understood and accepted, the less is the need for a rigid imposition of rules and regulations. In schools where restrictions are reduced to a minimum and the children understand and accept the arrangements that are necessary to smooth working, they usually behave sensibly and contrive to make even these few rules almost unnecessary. Movement from place to place and the handling of large masses of materials are carried out with surprising quietness and speed; the children take upon themselves a large share of the responsibility for the physical management of their affairs, and take a pride in putting an efficient organisation into practice. In short, where the children are aware of, and sympathetic to, the general intentions, where their teachers are agreed about what they expect from them and the children know where they stand, where what must be done for mutual comfort is understood by all and there is consistency of standard throughout, then, even in a very large school housed in a bad building, a good life is made possible. But a teacher who makes a fetish of 'discipline' in a


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narrow sense and invents a multiplicity of rules and commands which he attempts to enforce by trivial or ingenious punishments is certain to run into difficulties sooner or later. The more that can be left to the children's general good sense, so that they feel personal responsibility for their own behaviour, the better. The teacher's respect for them, which such freedom implies, appeals to their self-respect and contributes to their growth as self-controlled and reliable people. Further, since personal responsibility allows everyone to adapt his conduct quickly to particular circumstances, it makes for increased efficiency all round.

(v) Importance of nature and conditions of work

It is important from the point of view of discipline that the children should find their work of sufficient interest, and that it should seem to them sufficiently worth while to demand their best efforts; and equally, that they should learn to persist through phases of drudgery and difficulty to achieve what they have undertaken. Young children need to enjoy success, and to experience the triumph of mastery through persistent endeavour. Their own curiosity or determination is often sufficient to sustain them; but the teacher's help and encouragement, and especially his example and what they know he expects of them, are essential. It is also important that the conditions of life in school should be such as allow order and convenience, and make for social and physical well-being. These themes recur constantly in most of the chapters of this book and need no elaboration here.

(vi) The discipline of materials

A child's love of investigating and of making prompts him to experiment with all kinds of materials. As he learns more about the nature of the things which he handles, and what he must do to 'make them work', he learns also to adapt and control his own behaviour accordingly; he is accepting the discipline that work with each particular material imposes. The more a growing child learns about the peculiar natures of different materials, the better able is he to choose the right ones for his own purposes and to win satisfaction in using them. The responsibility for this choice is in itself important, because it is part of the process of coming to terms with the external world.


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The ten-year-old who attempts to screw one piece of wood to another must accept the discipline of the materials if he is to make a workmanlike job. Unless he makes a hole to take his screw, and then drives it straight, placing himself in the best position to use his strength, his effort fails. Having once succeeded he still needs to practise until his skill becomes a part of him. So, besides respecting his materials and accepting the disciplines they impose, he must go on learning to use his power and endure trial after trial if he is ever to reach the stage when he can do what he will with his material and tools. He can never escape the discipline of practice, and there are no short cuts to achievement. The materials must, of course, be such that the child can manage them. It not infrequently happens that a class of young children becomes upset because the materials they are using are unsuitable, and only a change to more suitable materials will remove frustration and restore good temper.

Helped by the discipline of using materials to make things with or to express their ideas or feelings, children become better able to manage and control themselves and to meet new situations with confidence and competence; they begin to relate effort to the purposes behind it. In short, they show that they are developing a sense of standard and are becoming able to direct their effort in a disciplined way towards some definite end. Thus, modelling with clay or painting a picture serve ultimate as well as immediate ends.

(vii) The organisation of time and work

The way in which time is used and work organised is a crucial factor in the development of a sense of purpose and of the self-discipline needed to pursue it. Children are quick to recognise competent organisation, and they dislike muddle and confusion.

If time is so split up that the children can seldom achieve what they set out to do and their keenness is always being frustrated by having to stop and change to something else when their concentration and zest are at their height, they not unnaturally lose interest and begin to doubt the value of their work; they then become a ready prey either to boredom or to mischief. On the other hand, if a topic or activity is continued long after it has served its purpose and the children's power to attend to it has ebbed away, they are again likely to show their boredom in troublesome behaviour. If arrangements are such


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that children can go ahead as nearly as is practicable at their own pace, and if they are encouraged to develop individual initiative and responsibility in the pursuits they are engaged in, they are more likely to look after themselves than if they are perpetually regulated by their teacher and feel themselves too much curbed or goaded by the pace or methods of the group.

Similarly, a healthy alternation of strenuous activity and more peaceful pursuits is necessary. Young children cannot be still for long, and there is no doubt that the generally good standard of behaviour in most primary schools today owes much to the fact that children have plenty of opportunity for using their abounding physical energy and high spirits in legitimate activities of all kinds, and that movement is used, not merely to promote bodily health, but also to arouse and to satisfy both feeling and imagination.

It should be added that the better health which children now enjoy, and the added comfort of clean bodies and suitable clothing, have also contributed a great deal to a better spirit in the schools.

Like sensible organisation, good teaching which holds the attention of the children is always conducive to good behaviour. Children who, like hungry sheep, 'look up and are not fed', can become in time as resentful of that as of muddled arrangements. Both waste their time and confound their reason, and they soon lose respect for a teacher who so fails them.

(viii) Help for a teacher in difficulties

When an individual teacher runs into difficulty - when he so loses control of the situation that his pupils no longer feel his grip - the Head should be ready to come to the rescue, for children readily perceive weakness and deal ruthlessly with it. It is in just such a case that the good feeling that exists among the whole staff can give the necessary support. The teacher may be inexperienced and beset by fears; or his failure may arise from lack of adequate preparation for his teaching. Whatever the reasons, the teacher in trouble should never be allowed to feel alone and unsupported. He should be able to discuss his problems with the Head in the assurance that he will not 'lose face' in doing so. The good Head not only shows understanding but also strives to find a remedy. What is there that this teacher can do really well? What is there in his teaching that might be


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specially fostered? Is he really aware of his low standards of preparation or organisation? With what standards can he compare his own? Does he realise that his handling of children is inconsistent, that he does not always fulfil the promises he makes them or that, when irritated, he makes threats which both he and they know cannot be carried out? Is there insufficient mutual respect between the teacher and his class to enable him to deal strongly and satisfactorily with whatever crises may occur in the day to day life of the crowded classroom? These, and many other questions of the kind, the Head must be prepared to help the teacher to face squarely, and then to see how the situation can be changed.

(ix) Troubles of individual children

If all goes well, if the children respect and like their teachers, and if the teachers establish a way of life in school that in its community spirit, in its friendships and activities, in its alternations of work and play, gives the children a sense of progress, of intelligible order and of purpose, then the great majority of children are happy and behave well. This is shown beyond all doubt in the schools where such a spirit and such conditions prevail. The teachers' difficulties are then limited to the few children who for some reason or other find themselves unable to fit in with the life of the class or school.

On occasion, every teacher is faced with the naughty, idle, wayward, interfering, selfish or disobedient child, with whom he must deal firmly yet without damaging the relationship he has with him. He has to try to find the cause of the trouble, and then to deal with the situation as seems best. As the causes of the trouble may be extremely varied, so the remedies will be equally diverse. An act by one child might mean something quite different from the same act by another. For example, naughtiness in school by one six year old might be due to jealousy of a new baby at home; or by another, to her realisation that she is always dressed in left-over clothes which she thinks are ugly compared with those of the other children; or by yet another, to the fact that his best friend can read and boasts about it while he cannot. The ways of dealing with each case must clearly be related to the cause, and not infrequently some cooperation between the children's parents and the teacher will be necessary.

Again, all parents and teachers are aware that children seem


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to go through difficult phases, without any apparent cause. Perhaps they are at some stage of growth when their development is, in some way, lop-sided and they feel ill at ease. These are times when firmness and sympathy have to be nicely balanced; at all times the mutual trust and regard between the child and his teacher must be preserved. A child who for the time 'does not know where he is' may seek reassurance in ways which sometimes seem infantile or odd, but, if an understanding teacher helps and encourages him until the phase is over, he is generally able, often through some success or achievement, to pull himself together again and go forward on a new plane of development.

If a child's behaviour or lack of progress continues to cause serious anxiety to a Head, to a teacher or to his parents, the nurse or the school medical officer should be consulted. The school nurse, who is often also the health visitor, may be able to explain the child's difficulties because she knows his home, and she may well be able to promote helpful cooperation there. Alternatively, the school medical officer may find that the child is in need of medical or psychiatric treatment; or it may be that the child is in need of special educational treatment, provided either in a special school or in his own school. The help and resources of the school health service are always available to teachers; and it is better to err on the side of carefulness than to neglect a potentially serious disorder of mind or body.

It should not be necessary to resort to corporal punishment for any primary school child. The 1937 edition of the Handbook of Suggestions spoke of 'the gradual recognition on the part of teachers that the superiority of the adult over the child is a matter of length and width of experience and not of moral quality, and that few children are so unreasonable or unmanageable by nature as not to respond to the calmly exercised control of an intelligent teacher who has their best interest at heart.' 'As a result of this change', it continued, 'there has been a great decrease in the amount of punishment inflicted, whether corporal or of other kinds. In the best schools, in fact, there is now very little punishment at all, and corporal punishment may be absent altogether.' It should be remembered that this referred to children up to the age of fourteen.

Traditionally, punishment of any kind has most often been inflicted when children have disobeyed orders and the teacher has decided to assert his authority in that way. Life in schools


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today, founded on a closer cooperation between teacher and taught, and the minimum number of orders, invites less disobedience. But, with an occasional child, reason and even persuasion may fail, and the teacher has no alternative to punishing him and may decide to do so. If he is wise, he tries all other means first, and he would do well to ask himself what he expects the effect will be upon the punished child, upon his relationship with him, and upon the remainder of the group. In the course of time a teacher learns to anticipate and so to avoid many of the most likely causes of difficulty.

(x) Conclusion

In the complexity of school life, where the smooth running of the work and play of large groups of children entails constant vigilance and exacting care, it is no easy matter for the teacher to hold firm to his aim of helping the children to grow as individual persons, self-controlled and responsible in their behaviour towards others and ready to learn those further disciplines that they will meet before they reach maturity. But, as has been said, a child's power to make decisions for himself cannot grow under constant coercion from without, but only from the compulsion that comes from within. The teacher provides just such opportunities for responsibility and for such choice and decision as are within the child's capacity; he it is who decides within what limits the children can range, and his knowledge of the children helps him to avoid restricting them too much or asking too much of them. His aim is to expose the children to the best that he knows, in the belief that they will, each according to his capacity, appreciate human attributes of most worth and will act accordingly. His own example is the most powerful of all the influences he can bring to bear to this end.

C. HEALTH

(a) Health education

Like so much else that is of great value in the bringing up of young children, health education is not a subject that appears in the timetables of primary schools. From the nursery to the top of the junior school, the physical well-being of the children is the hourly concern of the teachers, and health education is for the most part a matter of incidental and informal teaching, of good


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example by the teachers, and of the encouragement of habits and attitudes of mind likely to promote and maintain good health. If the amenities of the school are reasonably good, the teacher's task is the easier, though those who are convinced of the importance of health education are seldom altogether deterred even by the most unpromising buildings.

The children should learn from daily acquaintance to enjoy activity in the open, and fresh air and light in their classrooms. They should come by habit and imitation to wash and make themselves tidy when they need it as well as before meals, and they can be led to take a pride in keeping cloakrooms and lavatories and corridors as presentable as their own classrooms. Meal and milk times, physical education, and the care of living plants and animals offer special opportunities for good health education and for such explanations as the children seem to need; but there is in fact almost no occupation or subject which might not give rise to useful incidental discussion or practical experience. Good posture is at all times important.

In the junior school there might well be a syllabus of health teaching, and the teachers should know its aims and content, but specific lessons on health are rarely found to be useful. The children are interested in the working of their bodies and on this, as on other matters, often ask searching questions which should be honestly answered. For the rest, in the junior school as in the infant school, the kind of life the children live there, what is expected of them and in what conditions they work and play, are the most potent influences on the habits they form and the attitudes they adopt.

'Health education has been fully discussed in a recent pamphlet of the Ministry of Education, in which the contribution of the primary school is considered in some detail.*

(b) Teachers and the School Health Service

The School Health Service is as old as the century, and its doctors, nurses and dentists are familiar figures in the schools and play an important part in the children's lives. Besides conducting periodical and special medical examinations of the children, the doctor and nurse should be fully familiar with the physical conditions in the school - ventilation, lighting, tem-

*Health Education: Pamphlet 31: Ministry of Education. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1956.


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perature and sanitary arrangements, and the school doctor reports to his local education authority on these matters. It is the duty of the medical and nursing staff to safeguard the well-being of the children in every way they can, by promoting measures to prevent infection and maintain good health, to attend to nutrition and to the physical conditions of the children's lives, as well as to detect defects in health and arrange for their treatment.

Since it is the Head and his staff who are most immediately aware of how satisfactory are the conditions in school which affect health, it falls to them also to make known to the local education authority or to the managers any deficiencies which seem to be impairing the children's well-being. The school doctor is available for advice and for consultation on these matters.

The smooth and effective working of the school health service depends on the cooperation of the teachers. Only a minority of schools have medical rooms, and the arrangements for doctors', dentists' and nurses' inspection often entail improvisation in classrooms or even in the Head's room or that of the staff. Besides relying to a certain degree on the teachers to bring cases to their notice, the doctors frequently need the information the teachers can supply before a diagnosis of a child's difficulty can be made and treatment suggested. When the diagnosis has been made, there may again be need for consultation and cooperation with the school staff, since the remedies proposed might include some changes in the child's life at school. Throughout his school life, his teachers can strongly influence for good a child's attitude to illness or hurt and to doctors, dentists and nurses who are there to help him.

In evoking and sustaining cooperation with parents, the Head's influence is very important. Most parents want to know all they can about their children and to assist those who care for them; others are less ready and less able to show interest or to learn. Some shirk the responsibility of decision or of taking the necessary steps when medical or dental treatment is recommended for their child. The attitude the Head adopts, and the way in which he treats the parents who come with their children to meet nurse or doctor, may determine whether all concerned work together effectively for the child's good, or whether confidence and interest are lacking. In many schools the Head or an


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experienced teacher is present during the medical examination of the children, especially of the young ones, and this may be helpful: but there are occasions and cases where the parent or doctor or, indeed, older children do not wish a teacher to be present, and these wishes must of course be readily and fully respected.

All that has been said about cooperation with the doctors, dentists and nurses applies equally when the teachers are working with and using the help of speech therapists and the educational psychologists and other workers in the child guidance clinics. The present state of development of the child guidance services and recommendations for their future growth, are fully set out in the recent Report of the Committee on Maladjusted Children.†

D. THE HEAD AS TEACHER AND LEADER

The overriding responsibility for planning and supervising the life and work of a school rests with the Head - though he usually makes his staff feel that their views have had due weight in the decisions taken. The Head must give a lead to his staff, he must be constantly aware of the children's behaviour and progress and he must do his best to maintain good relationships all round, within the school and with the parents and with the school's neighbours. It is the Head's personality that in the vast majority of schools creates the climate of feeling - whether of service and cooperation or of tension and uncertainty - and that establishes standards of work and conduct.

A Head is likely to fulfil all these functions better if he continues himself to be a good teacher and is seen to be so. As a fellow practitioner of quality he is more likely to win the regard of his colleagues and to inspire confidence in the inexperienced ones; as a teacher he meets the children in the normal circumstances of the classroom and therefore knows them better. How much teaching he can do depends on the size and nature of the school, and often on the weight of his administrative and clerical work. But whatever the difficulties, the Head's own teaching function is so important that he would be most unwise to neglect it, and fortunately in many schools some clerical help is now available.

†Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1955.


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In the small village school where the Head works alone or with one assistant and is necessarily teaching all day, he inevitably comes to know every child intimately and is constantly aware of the progress and the needs of each. The day to day pressure upon his time naturally leads him to expect a good deal of independence on the part of his pupils; but in this family atmosphere the Head is always at the centre of the little community. Perhaps more than those who teach in cities he needs to seek exchange of ideas with others and, although visits to schools and journeys to conferences may be difficult to arrange, it is to the credit of many village school teachers that they courageously surmount these difficulties and revitalise their work by the stimulus of discussion with their fellows elsewhere.

In the training of teachers the Head often finds himself in a position not unlike that of a practised craftsman with his apprentices. It is his responsibility to launch young teachers on their careers, and their confidence in their own powers and happiness in their profession may be largely determined by his example, sympathy and tactful help. Many schools also provide the practical training in teaching for students in training colleges. The long and close association between schools and colleges in this work is essential in the training of teachers, and again it is the Head who sets the tone and pattern of this relationship within his school.

Responsibility for promoting the craft of teaching does not stop with the student and the young schoolmaster or schoolmistress. In thought, idea and practice the good Head leads his whole team. The commonest way of sifting and disseminating ideas is through discussion, and in small schools it is not difficult to find occasions for them. In large schools there may sometimes be isolation even between classroom and classroom, and where teachers travel long distances daily the occasions for serious discussion should be regular for, where the Head withdraws from being the mainspring of the school or where there is insufficient sharing of thought and experience, the inspiration of a commonly accepted purpose dies.

The teacher in the nursery, infant and junior school will always be for the most part a general class teacher rather than a specialist; yet the primary school is richer for any specialist knowledge or skill possessed by any of its teachers. Men and women who, for example, are naturalists, artists, musicians, his-


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torians, or lovers of English, though they are not likely to turn to the primary school for work as specialist teachers, will nevertheless expect to find a satisfying opportunity to use their talent. It is important, therefore, for the Head to make use of his staff's special interests and knowledge when occasion for doing so arises, and to encourage individual members of his team to seek specialist help from each other where this is available.

Nor is the Head concerned only with the teachers and children. Others who work in the school should and can share in its purpose and spirit. For example, it is possible that the caretaker as a boy attended a school whose educational aims were narrower than those of today; if he is to do his work intelligently he needs to understand the purpose behind those aspects of school life today that are less familiar, or perhaps, at first, surprising to him. If there was a hall in the school of his childhood it was certainly not used as it is now, and he may be interested to know why these changes have come about and what the school is aiming at; if there was a garden in his school its function was different from that of gardens in primary schools today. He sees boys and girls using materials that would seldom have been provided in his day, and only if he is helped to see why these things are so can he be expected to undertake sympathetically the cleaning and storing which they involve.

It is equally probable that the kitchen staff, as girls at school, did not enjoy a midday meals service such as we know today. In the nursery, more than elsewhere, the kitchen staff are an integral part of the daily life; but in infant and junior schools, too, they might well share with the teachers a common view of the purposes and standards of those parts of school life to which they contribute.

To encourage and guide the best that each can give and to cultivate a sense of unity among all who work in the school, from the young and untried to the older and experienced, and from the less competent to the distinguished, calls for the utmost patience, good sense, humour, humility and sense of purpose.

E. ORGANISATION AND CLASSIFICATION

Current ideas and practices in organising schools, based mainly on an age grouping and on annual promotions of each child, have already been discussed in the chapters on infant and junior


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schools. In these chapters also, some of the means adopted to cater for the wide variety of ability within the schools, and the differences in these respects between large and small schools, were also described.

All that need be added here is that there is no central directive to a Head about how he should classify his children or organise his grouping of them, and, though it would be obviously unwise to change the organisation fundamentally more frequently than is necessary, most Heads aim at an organisation sufficiently flexible to meet the changing needs of the children and the changing situations, such as a rise or fall in numbers of pupils, enlarged or diminished accommodation, and more generous or more stringent staffing. Always the most effective way of using members of staff is an important consideration. In some areas, and at some times, the rapid changing of staff, or the shortage of teachers, calls for constant adaptation or improvisation. But, given fairly settled conditions, a Head can keep a critical eye on how his organisation is in fact promoting the children's progress, and gradually change it if he finds it at fault. He generally discusses this problem, as he does others, frankly and fully with the staff, so that he is assured of their understanding and cooperation.

F. TIMETABLE

The arrangement of time in nursery, infant and junior schools has been discussed in earlier chapters. Reduced to its simplest terms, the timetable may be thought of as a convenient framework within which the school can function. Statutory requirements are less exacting than they have ever been, and concern only the total time given to secular instruction and provision for the daily act of worship and for religious instruction. The Head is thus left considerable freedom for planning the daily programme. The timetable is an expression of his educational philosophy and that of his colleagues; it reduces to firm terms what they consider best for children, and demonstrates their beliefs about the relative values of what the school has to offer.

It has already been said that young children thrive best on a regular routine, and that they respond to its rhythm and balance. But this does not mean that the timetable should ever be a tyrant which, by its fragmentation of time, encourages short-lived


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occupations, or which brings to an unnecessarily abrupt end undertakings in which children are profitably engrossed.

It is of course necessary to fix times for the use of amenities which are shared by everyone, such as a hall, playing spaces, or specially equipped rooms, but apart from this the allocation of time is frequently in large blocks which can be used at the teacher's discretion. He is thus able to prevent waste of effort and stultifying of interest; it is his responsibility to see that within the span of time the children, as a class or in groups or as individuals, get the kind and variety of occupation they need to keep their attention fully held. Children's powers of concentration, and their ability to follow through or delve deep into what they are learning, are so diverse that it is to be expected that in practice the detailed programme followed by any one child may sometimes differ from that of his neighbour, and a good teacher allows for this. What is suggested for any period of time should be such as to avoid confusion and a sense of rush and strain.

It has also been realised that the traditional association of certain subjects or activities with certain hours of the day does not necessarily correspond with the way children learn best, and changes have been made which may at first appear strange to the teacher trained in an older tradition.

In the allocation of time, as in other matters, it is the Head's duty to review the effects of his arrangements on the well-being of the children and staff and, as far as physical conditions allow, to make the timetable serve the educational ends he and his colleagues have set for themselves.

G. SCHEMES OF WORK

Like the timetable, a school's schemes of work are an expression of its educational aims and values. Taken as a whole, they show the aims of the teaching in the various fields of work and, in general terms, the scope of the work to be attempted in these fields. Good schemes indicate the progress which might be expected in the development of children's powers and skills. They are not straitjackets, but provide a framework within which the individual teacher can make adjustments and adaptations. Their content in different fields of learning is discussed in Part 3.

Since the proper use of them depends on every teacher's


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knowing and accepting their purpose and intention, schemes are best made by consultation amongst all the members of the staff. If any one member is especially qualified by training or experience in any one field of work, he might well be given the responsibility, under the Head, of taking the lead in making the schemes for that subject, and advising his colleagues in the working out of it. Schemes for the whole school should be made available to each teacher, so that each can see his own work in relation to that of all his colleagues and feel his responsibility as a member of a closely knit team. By an experienced teacher, the schemes may be regarded as a map of country through which he and his children will journey as time, circumstances and opportunity permit. To the newcomer they indicate the nature and scope of the work to be attempted and, together with his predecessor's records, suggest to him where and how he can begin. For the Head they are the scaffolding round which he expects the children's education to be built.

But now and then a scheme of work may turn out to be but a point of departure for some of the most inspired work at the school. Not infrequently schemes are found in practice to have failed to take account of the range of ability and the variety of needs within each age group of the children. They have therefore to be kept constantly under review and checked against the teachers' experience and their records of what in fact it has been found possible and profitable to do. It is rare to find a good school without clear and up to date schemes of work.

H. RECORDS, TESTS AND EXAMINATIONS

Adequate records of the children's progress, and ways of ascertaining, from time to time, how the children are getting on, are integral and essential parts of teaching.

Records can be of different kinds. Some teachers keep accounts of their observations of each child, and as the purpose of these is primarily that of an aide memoire for their own personal use the accounts take the form best suited to the writers. Many find that the act of indicating a child's progress - not in anyone attainment only, but in his all-round development - is of itself a clarifying process: it stimulates their own observations


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and can sometimes serve as a guide to future action, though it can never be a short cut to a solution of a child's difficulties.

Many schools also make records that may be the result of discussion among the staff. Individual teachers draw on their personal records for their contributions, but the object of these records is to estimate as objectively as possible the progress of the children in different fields, and thereby to judge the fitness for the children of the education which is being provided for them. They are of value when the schemes of work and general matters of organisation and classification are under review.

Another kind of record is that intended to be passed on with the child when he moves to another school. Some local education authorities provide special forms for this purpose and these, like the forms invented by schools themselves, vary in usefulness. Perhaps the best criterion is whether what is said about the child's progress helps those who will continue his education to do so without misjudging his abilities. No mere catalogue of his achievements can do this without some word on his temperament and behaviour, his interests and the relevant background.

In estimating a child's powers a teacher should be on his guard against the assumption that because a child shows certain personal qualities in one set of circumstances he will show them also in others. The children may be 'persevering' in one field of study but not in another, 'cooperative' with one teacher but not with another, 'sociable' in one group but not in another. Only rarely can generalisations be made with any safety. Before he leaves the junior school a child will usually have given fairly clear signs of his intellectual powers, but at that stage many of his qualities have not yet emerged as permanent features of his personality. To place him therefore in a category with any feeling of finality is unjust.

No written record, however complete, can take the place of a personal meeting between the teachers who have taught a child and those who receive him in the new school. One of the dangers inherent in an organisation of education in stages is that there may be too little contact between those concerned with the consecutive levels. This is most acute and difficult to avoid between the junior and secondary schools. Where, however, it is found possible for teachers to meet, and especially where the teachers from the secondary school visit the primary schools to see and be seen by the children, to know at first hand what kind and stan-


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dard of work they are achieving and by what methods they are being educated, the children are less likely to suffer the setbacks which some of them now do. An appreciable number of children do less well than they might in their secondary schools because the transition from the primary school has proved too disruptive. Adequate communication between his teachers should in no way undermine a child's feeling that in his secondary school he is making an exciting new start.

Still another use of records is the part they may be called upon to play in connection with allocation to secondary education. This use may entail a special form of record designed by the local education authority, though there is always an opportunity for the Head to make additional observations. For some records of this kind, the Head is required to scale his estimates according to certain directions; sometimes he is required to give tests, in intelligence, arithmetic and/or English, provided by the authority for this purpose. If these are required at intervals spread over a large proportion of the junior school period, and if they are known to have significant influence on the allocation at eleven, they have the effect of keeping that allocation in the forefront of teachers', parents' and children's minds over a long period and work and attitudes of mind are very likely to be adversely affected. Ironically enough, the attempt to give less weight to the results of an examination conducted on one day has sometimes led in practice to several repetitions of external tests, with all their attendant anxiety and liability to distort the content and methods of teaching. If the records for use in allocation demand these repeated tests, schools have more than ever to be on their guard against letting the requirements warp the children's growth.

Tests and examinations

Any review of a child's progress implies a comparison of his present stage with an earlier one and of his progress compared with that of another child of roughly the same ability. In any case, the main purpose is to discover what is succeeding best with the particular child and where he needs help.

Sometimes the review takes the form of a teacher's looking back at what a child has achieved over a significant period of time - all he has written, the books he has read; the things he has


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made, his advance in speech, his management of himself and of social situations, his powers of concentration and persistence, and the way he uses his body and limbs. The value and completeness of such a review depends, of course, on the teacher having, in some form, a record which makes the picture clear, at least to him. If others besides the child's own present teacher can contribute, so much the better. Such cumulative reviews as this, though they may not be amenable to expression in precise terms, give opportunities for human understanding, with which no formal tests can compete, and they are the kind of statement most appropriate to a professional estimate of young children's progress.

But tests and examinations also have their uses and, properly interpreted, may form a useful part of such reviews. Tests, chosen and applied by the Head or assistant teachers, in relation to the work in the school and for a particular purpose, need have none of the disadvantages of external tests, set by some body outside the school. Within the school a test may be useful in singling out for appraisal some particular aspect of the work. It can be a ready check on learning and teaching, and it may disclose and clarify children's misunderstanding and difficulties. Diagnostic tests devised specially to reveal certain difficulties and sources of error, for example as in arithmetic, may provide a check which the prudent Head or class teacher may want to use from time to time; where fully understood, they can be economical of time and effort, and helpful in suggesting possible remedies for weaknesses which are disclosed. The value of these tests lies in the action taken as a result of them; if they are appropriately used, their results may suggest changes of teaching method or modifications in schemes of work.

Another guide in the assessment of progress may be found in the use of standardised tests which compare one child's performance with a 'norm' of attainment. While providing a comparative estimate of both ability and attainment they may also serve as a further check upon the school's judgements and standards. They may help in forming truer judgements of anyone child's potentialities, and in showing differences between his capabilities and his attainment, that were hitherto unsuspected or undisclosed. In small schools, for instance, where there are only a few children in any age group, it may be many years before the Head comes into contact with the full intellectual range at


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any age level, and in such cases these tests may have special value.

Any Head or assistant teacher, however, will be wise always to consider carefully whether any formal tests he proposes to give are really necessary, what exactly their purpose is, whether they are the best means of achieving that purpose, and whether the time spent on them is justified, since it must be taken from time in which children might otherwise be learning something of value.

I. ROAD SAFETY

Primary schools take education in road safety very seriously. The children are taught kerb drill, to use the crossings properly, to observe the traffic lights, and to obey the signals of school crossing patrols and police. They are told of the dangers of playing in the streets. Training is directed to forming an attitude of alertness and a sense of responsibility for their behaviour on the roads and habits which are likely to prevent accidents. Various methods are used in this training, and the schools get help from a number of sources. The majority of local education authorities subscribe to the Child Safety Section of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, through which schools are able to obtain useful publications such as posters and a simplified version of the Highway Code, as well as films and filmstrips. There is usually good cooperation with the police who willingly give talks and demonstrations in schools.

Because many children, especially in country districts, bicycle to school, the training and testing of child cyclists is strongly advocated.*

J. BROADCASTS TO SCHOOLS AND TELEVISION AT HOME

Many teachers believe that the influence which the radio exerts generally in young children's lives, and particularly on their standards of taste, has important consequences, and that they should therefore help the children to develop a discriminating

*See Child Cyclists: Report of the Working Party: Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1958.


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attitude in their listening, so that they grow in sensibility and are able in later years to appreciate the many fine things in broadcasting they might otherwise never hear.

School broadcasts offer valuable material which the teacher may use both directly and indirectly in helping the growth of critical appreciation in his pupils; it is through practice that they learn to listen and through talk with their teacher and among themselves that they learn to appraise what they hear. The broadcasts planned for children from five to eleven range over a wide field of music, story, poetry and drama, nature study, tales of travel and stories from world history; with so much to choose from, they are best thought of, not as 'wireless lessons', but as a rich source available to the teacher in working out his own plans for his class. He may consider a single broadcast, or a series, not only for its relevance to his specific plans for his children but also in relation to their general background; for example, listening to a story well told is one of the most enjoyable experiences of childhood and - whether it be of a folk tale or an historical narrative - the broadcast, with its command of resources beyond the teacher's range, can be a superb medium for telling it. The response of children to the evocative powers of broadcasting, the strength of their interest in, and sympathy with, characters and situations conveyed only by sound, can be studied and appreciated by the teacher only by listening with his pupils.

Careful preparation for listening is essential, and what follows from it may be expected to take a good deal of time also. For instance, one broadcast may lead children not only to discuss what they have heard but also to search for further information; another may inspire them to make something of their own, perhaps a play or model; yet others may suggest visits to places in the locality where investigations can be carried out at first hand. Broadcasts may fire young children's imagination and excite their curiosity, but it is the teacher who will discover and provide the right opportunities for sincere expression of feeling and for the satisfaction of this curiosity; the broadcasts do not usurp his role - they challenge his skill as a teacher. Sometimes they create a situation in which he and his children learn together, and at these times he must be specially aware of the differences between his pupils' reactions and his own. Always he should try to appreciate the aim of each broadcast and just what the producer hopes to convey; and here the publications of the School Broadcasting


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Council and the advice of its regional education officers are at his service.

The importance of using equipment that gives the best quality of reception cannot be urged too strongly; poor reception results in wasted and distorted effort and it puts unworthy standards before children.

Television is not yet a part of primary school life, and experiments may in due course show whether or not it is a useful aid to the education of young children. But television at home is already an important influence. Ideas, knowledge and vocabulary are all recognisably affected, and, less obviously but even more important, so are attitudes of mind and standards of all kinds. Teachers cannot ignore this part of children's experience, and many are finding that the children can contribute to their education in school from what they have learnt from television at home. But, on the other hand, many children are allowed to watch programmes not intended, and quite unsuitable, for them, and so get bewildering and sometimes frightening impressions; some children stay up late and are tired at school next day; some become blasé from the daily passive acceptance of matter which is presented to them with great technical skill, but which calls for no effort on their part and requires from them no subsequent action. Some schools, therefore, make the use of television for children in the home a major topic for discussion with parents.

K. FILMS AND SOME OTHER MECHANICAL AIDS TO TEACHING

Teachers have always used the device of illustration to help children to understand and appreciate many things that lie beyond the range of direct experience. The blackboard sketch, picture, photograph, model and specimen which children can handle, will always hold an important place among the aids to learning. The great advantage of these traditional and simple means is that they are ready to hand; the teacher can select and emphasise those aspects which are relevant to his purpose. Newer and more complicated aids, which require apparatus for the reproduction of picture and sound, may be resorted to less readily. For a time they may even tend to come between the teacher and his class and so preclude the discussion and explanation that lead children to grasp the full meaning of what they see.


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Nevertheless, such inventions as the cinema, the silent film and the film-strip, the gramophone and sound recorder, provide him with an almost inexhaustible source of illustration in picture and sound. Further, they open up a wide variety of vicarious experience which has been hitherto beyond the reach of children in schools, and which, when skilfully used, may add greatly to their understanding and enjoyment of the world they live in. The cine-film, to which sound may be added, can be a powerful aid to both teacher and pupils whenever movement is an essential element in the illustration; for example, in showing how people live and work, in demonstrating some agricultural or industrial process, or presenting certain aspects of natural history or physical science that could not be shown otherwise. The film-strip with its pictures arranged in ordered sequence and individual slides arranged for a specific need, provide a score of illustrations where formerly the teacher may have had access to one only.

The great variety of material now available increases the teacher's responsibility for judicious selection. He has to consider whether his pupils are ready for what he chooses - for, however vivid and arresting the material may appear, it is still removed from reality or direct experience, in which the sensations of size and space, of movement and vibration, of heat and moisture, of taste and smell, make an impact which no substitute can rival. Moreover, a teacher has to remember that he interprets what he sees against a background of personal experience and knowledge far wider than any possessed by boys and girls, and a study of their mistakes can be a sharp reminder to him that children sometimes fail utterly to understand words and pictures whose meaning is clear to an adult. But, though these aids can never have the same value as direct experience, they can do much to prepare for, to extend and to illuminate it; not only can they give children a fresh impression of something familiar to them, but they can also bring reality to something that is unfamiliar, remote and inaccessible. The interpretation of a picture may take much time, and unless enough is allowed the children may gain but little of any value from what they see. It is important, therefore, that before a teacher shows a film or a strip he should review the ideas it presents, note the pace at which it presents them, estimate what preparation the children need in order to get the most out of what they are going to see, and decide whether all or only selected pictures should be shown.


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Children bring their keenest attention to what satisfies their immediate interest, sometimes heeding nothing else; and what interests them may well be something which, from the teacher's point of view, is quite irrelevant or unimportant. It is only through discussion with his pupils and by giving them opportunities to record their impressions in various ways that he is able to discover what significance they give to what they see and hear. Through this exchange of ideas, questions, answers, and of critical comment and enquiry rather than through docile acceptance, children are helped to relate their experiences to others, to clarify them and to make them articulate.




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CHAPTER VII

Special Educational Treatment

In the preceding chapters the variety which exists among the children at every stage in their development has been emphasised repeatedly, and it has been assumed that in the nursery, infant and junior schools the staff take it for granted that they have to provide for the educational needs of children whose previous experiences have been different, and not all equally beneficial to them. Besides the able, there are also the slow; besides those who have had the inestimable advantages of health, there are the weakly whose attendance has often been affected by illness; and in addition to the children whose homes contribute at least as much as the school to their progress there are those where home and school seem to be in conflict. All these have a place in the ordinary daily work of teacher and class, and are accepted, and - so far as may be - provided for appropriately in the ordinary schools.

There are however certain children - fortunately few in number - who for physical reasons present such additional educational problems that they cannot properly be left to the unaided efforts of teachers without special skill, working in the conditions of ordinary classes and with responsibility for the interests of large groups of other children. Children who are deaf, for instance, and have not learned to speak because they have not heard, must have the attention of teachers specially trained to develop their speech and language and make use, if it be possible, of any residual hearing they may possess. The blind should attend schools for the blind, where special methods of teaching reading are in use, and where they will learn to live in an environment where they are not exceptional. Special arrangements must be made for educating children who are seriously crippled or who are not mobile, children in hospitals, or confined to their homes, or in need of recuperation in specially healthy surroundings.


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There are also those children whose talents are so few or whose mental make-up is so disturbed that they do not behave in the ordinary classes in the ways usually expected of others of their age - who do not show the active and enquiring minds one expects of young children, who seem solitary and disheartened, lacking in creative urge, often backward in speaking and immature in outlook. There are also children who require special help because they have been severely deprived in their upbringing. If these do not respond to even a generous share of the teacher's attention it is clear that something more must be done for them. The unrestrained usually yield in time to the social influence of school, but there are some whose behaviour makes it either difficult to retain them among others, or imperative that they have skilled treatment in their own interests.

For these and other children suffering from some kind of disability interfering with their education and upbringing, diverse arrangements are made in most parts of the country. All these arrangements are grouped under the name of Special Educational Treatment. This somewhat cumbrous title indicates that more is at stake than an alternative type of education apparently different in some ways from the practice of the schools described in earlier pages: diagnosis of the trouble is always needed, treatment of a physical condition by medical means may be involved, psychological investigation or attendance at a clinic may be desirable. Hence the word 'treatment' is appropriate - but the treatment is in the interests of the child's education, and contributes to his educational development. Investigation and treatment cannot, of course, be ordered on his own authority by the teacher in the primary school, but it is often as a result of his observation of his children such a need is revealed. It is for the Head of the primary school to call on the resources of his local education authority on behalf of any child for whom he wants help. Usually, the next step will be taken by the school medical officer, who not only arranges for the appropriate examinations to be carried out in order that advice may be given, but also knows the resources of other schools to which a child might be admitted if necessary.

The great majority of children who suffer from handicaps can and do remain in their own schools as a result of discussions with the school medical officer, and have treatment and educa-


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tion of an appropriate kind while they do so.† The intention is to help the school to improve its methods of educating the child, not to take away any of its responsibility. Occasionally teachers seem to think that a request for help will be interpreted as a desire to have a child moved from their school, and consequently they do not put children forward for examination or advice. This is due to a misconception: special education may take place while the child remains in their hands, and in no case will the advice be given to remove a child if he can receive a sound education in the school where he is.

There are however a very few children, about one per cent in all, for whom education in some kind of specialised school is best: a day special school near their homes; a boarding school if there is no nearby day school or if it is recommended because the child will gain by being a boarder; or an institution such as a hospital where the child has teaching while receiving medical treatment. These special schools are provided for children who are blind, partially sighted, deaf, partially deaf, epileptic, physically handicapped or delicate, or who are educationally subnormal or psychologically maladjusted, or who have speech defects; but it must not be imagined that all children who can be described by these terms must necessarily go to a special school. An educational decision on what is best in the child's interest must be made in every case. These decisions are not always easy to make, and the ideal solution to the problems raised is not always possible. Often indeed the only thing to do is to choose the best of several courses open, no one of which is ideal. What should always be possible is to arrange that all the different courses are known to those who have to decide, and that they take into account the views of those who know the child well. The reasons for whatever course of action is decided upon should be explained to the child's teachers. Decisions are not made once and for all; circumstances may change and bring back to his former primary school a child who required a period only at a special school. This is tending to happen more than formerly, and imposes on the teachers in primary schools the task, sometimes a difficult one, of easing the transition from a school which has been specially organised for the child's particular needs to one which is a larger and more heterogeneous community in which he may seem one of the less able.

†See Chapter V, p70 - Handicapped children.


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In special schools the needs of children with a particular handicap are paramount in the thoughts of the staff. The children are no longer the odd exceptions in a class with the usual range of ability and temperament, and all the arrangements can be based on their special requirements. For severely handicapped children this is so important that it outweighs the inconvenience of sending them to schools further removed from their homes. It is a mistake - though a natural one - to think that the different methods of teaching are the distinguishing feature of the special schools, e.g. Braille for the blind, or lip reading for the deaf, or special types of furniture or apparatus for the physically handicapped. These are of course obvious; but in some of the schools there is little in the ways of teaching that seems different, and the basic educational principles are shared by all. The essential characteristic of a special school is that it is an educational community in which it is normal to be handicapped; in which children can grow and develop freely without feeling that they are different from the others in the class, and where the teachers can feel it is part of their professional competence to know all there is to be known of the general needs of these children both for learning during school days and for preparation for the normal adult life afterwards.

In recent times there has been a tendency to explore the possibility and potential advantages of forming classes within certain ordinary primary schools for some of the children whose disability is not of the severest and for whom the need for specialised teaching may not preclude their mixing in a normal school community. In well chosen instances this may give some of the advantages of the special school without removing the child from continuing contact with others who are not handicapped. The great majority of these classes are for dull, backward and retarded children, but others have been formed for maladjusted, partially sighted and partially deaf children. The teachers are often specially chosen, and more and more frequently have had some kind of additional training. Such classes may be full-time or part-time, the children may be drawn from one school or from the whole of a district, and their period of attendance may be long or short. The problems of ensuring that the children in these classes really take part in the life of the school which they attend warrant the most sympathetic and informed consideration of the whole staff of the school as well as


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of the specialist teachers. The prime difficulties are those of securing continuity and a balance between the claims of his special handicap and the child's general educational needs.

Special educational treatment, whether provided in an ordinary or a special school, or elsewhere, is intended to help handicapped children to receive a full, stimulating and well-balanced education. It would not achieve this purpose if it dealt only with the particular disabilities that are affecting them. The difficulties of achieving this end are many, but there can be no doubt that only from an education which calls all their powers of body and mind into play can these children derive the greatest and most lasting benefit. They need, perhaps, even more than their more fortunate fellows, the benefits of as liberal an education as they can take.




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Part 3

THE FIELDS OF LEARNING






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CHAPTER VIII

The Curriculum

(i) History and content of the curriculum

The curriculum of the primary school derives from that of the public elementary school. It sprang from the first purpose of popular education - to create as cheaply as possible a literate population, literacy being interpreted as reading, writing and arithmetic. In addition there was religious instruction for all and 'plain needlework' for girls. From 1870 'drill' and singing were encouraged, and with the Code of 1880 the list of optional 'class subjects' was extended to include any others 'which could be reasonably accepted as special branches of elementary instruction and properly treated in reading books'. Eight years later, the Cross Commission, set up for the purpose, recommended that the essential subjects of the curriculum should be the 'Three Rs', with needlework for girls and 'linear drawing' for boys, together with English (grammar mainly, but literature also), history, geography, and 'lessons on common objects in the lower standards and elementary science in the higher standards'. As far as the education of young children is concerned these 'subjects' have in some sense formed the basis of the curriculum through Edwardian times to our own day.

The primary school curriculum, taken crudely as meaning the names of subjects which might appear in the school's timetable, is therefore founded on tradition, and has gradually been enriched and liberalised as more generous and enlightened views have prevailed and as conditions have made a fuller and better education of children possible. Public opinion has now accepted the principle that education should be concerned with the all-round development of each child according to his age and capacity and that this education should aim at making him a better member of the community, spiritually, morally, physically and intellectually. The traditional curriculum is therefore very differently interpreted from the way in which it was originally conceived.


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Because tradition is so strong, and because the process of education in this country has always been a slow evolution, not subject to sudden change, and because teachers as a body are in close touch with each other and with others concerned in the education of children, the curriculum is fundamentally the same in all primary schools, though no directive is given to Heads on this matter, except concerning religious instruction. Names that might appear in the timetable, the arrangement of the day and the emphasis given to different aspects of the work, and especially the ways of teaching, differ from school to school, but in every primary school the children's education includes, besides religious instruction, education in the mother tongue - in speaking, listening to, reading and writing it - and in enjoying stories and poetry. Everywhere the children use speech, reading and writing for a wide variety of purposes. Arithmetic (or in a growing number of schools, mathematics) is always an important subject, and history, geography, and nature study always have a place, of a kind and in a measure according to the children's ages and capacities and the school's opportunities. In all schools the children draw and paint and make things from many kinds of materials; they sing and make music and listen to it; and everywhere they use and exercise their bodies in diverse movement and dance and in a variety of games. Generally speaking, parents and public have come to expect that this is the field the education of their children will cover, and there would be some surprise and consternation if any part were omitted.

In nursery and infant schools many of the names of subjects as such do not appear as separate items in the day's proceedings. As has been shown in Part 2, the children's learning is for the most part undifferentiated: reading and writing and early mathematical experience go on together; stories and reading matter and practical inquiry and observation cover what may be the beginnings of literature, history, geography and science; and music, movement, poetry, painting and the making of things might be part of any of the day's activities.

This kind of largely unclassified education continues in the early part of many junior schools; but in most, by the time the children are about nine, learning and lessons have sorted themselves out into more conventional form, though until the end of the junior school period the children may undertake projects and inquiries which cut across and utilise knowledge and skills from


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many sources. The primary school curriculum in action is necessarily some distance from the clearly defined categories of the grammar school, and this is all the more so because nearly all the teachers are class teachers, not specialists.

The fact that the same curriculum, in the most general terms, is in operation in all primary schools, does not mean that, even in such terms, it is regarded as final or perfect. It is constantly under review from one angle or another by teachers, administrators and members of the public; and it is always gradually changing in emphasis, in scope and in interpretation. It is, in short, responsive to the demands which fresh needs, rising aspirations, and new knowledge make upon it.

One suggestion in particular is repeatedly made, that the brighter children at least should begin to learn a foreign language. There are no educational reasons why this should not be, but present conditions of staffing and accommodation often prevent its being done sufficiently well to make the time spent on it worth while.*

(ii) Education in school is much more than is stated in the curriculum

It is most important to emphasise that the curriculum, stated merely in terms of subjects or activities, omits what schools would regard as fundamental in the education they offer. From the nursery school upwards, education in school is concerned primarily with the development of children as persons. The achievement of each child in this or that school activity is important, and it is especially important that he should be doing his best in each; but the ultimate criterion of the quality of his education is the quality and balance of the personality which results - the child's competence and confidence in using and enjoying the knowledge and skills he has acquired, and above all, the nature of his attitudes and his behaviour towards' those with whom he works and plays. Admittedly, the school must share the responsibility for the outcome of education in this broad sense with the children's families and other influences in the environment; but even so, the teachers' responsibilities remain great. The formation of habits of cleanliness and of orderliness, acceptable behaviour in personal and social matters, considerate regard for other people, all that is meant by a sense of responsibility, self-control and cooperation - these and much more are the constant

*See Chapter V, page 73, Junior Schools.


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concern of teachers though no names for such topics appear as subjects in a curriculum or as items in a syllabus, nor does the establishment of standards and values, or the gradual development in children of such virtues as a sense of fair play, truthfulness, courage, kindness and industry. Concern with these things, and with much else that has been implied in the descriptions of life in primary schools in the preceding chapters in this book, is part of the texture of that life and permeates all the teaching.

(iii) Interpretation of the following chapters

The chapters that follow deal with learning under the headings that have become familiar in the schools. These headings are not intended as items for a timetable, but are chosen as a convenient way of considering what might be studied in the primary school. They merge and overlap. Many different groupings and combinations are possible, and different schools interpret and cover the various fields in ways best suited to their own circumstances and staffing.

The content of any particular chapter should not be taken as a syllabus or scheme of work in any subject, and still less as a compendium of methods. Each chapter is intended to suggest the study, activity or procedures which might be considered by teachers as offering something of value to the children. No chapter makes any claims to completeness or to novelty. Much that teachers are already doing with success could not be included here, and there is nothing here that in some way has not been practised with success in some schools. But, as has been said repeatedly, good education cannot be merely imitative or carried out by rote, and the best suggestions are helpful only if they are adapted and used with discretion.


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CHAPTER IX

Religion

A. RELIGION AND THE EDUCATION ACT, 1944

'It shall be the duty of the local education authority ... to contribute towards the spiritual (and) moral ... development of the community by securing that efficient education shall ... be available to meet the needs of the population ...' This responsibility, laid by the Education Act of 1944 on the local education authorities, can of course only be carried out through the teachers. It is the purpose of this section to outline the frame within which they work and to describe some of the objectives at which they aim. It is concerned both with worship and with religious instruction.

The Education Act of 1944 is so important a landmark in the development of school worship and religious instruction that a foreign visitor might be pardoned for thinking that it marked the beginning of both as far as what are now known as county schools are concerned. He would, of course, be quite wrong. Like many important reforming acts of Parliament, the 1944 Act made universal and obligatory a proved practice, giving it in the process a new sanction and a fresh impetus. At the beginning of this century the overwhelming majority of the old elementary schools and of the secondary schools began the day with worship and provided religious instruction in the classrooms; if the practice was not then universal, it had become virtually so by 1939. Now every county and voluntary school provides both. This publication in a new form of the Suggestions for Teachers gives an opportunity for a survey of the present position which will show what provision Parliament has made for the religious upbringing of children in the nation's schools. It is hoped that it may help young teachers and students in training colleges to see their part in this undertaking in proper perspective, and that older teachers, too, may find it useful as a reminder of the


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changes since they started teaching, which include provision for the inspection of religious instruction, in accordance with an Agreed Syllabus.

First comes the provision that the school day in every county and voluntary school must begin with corporate worship. Except where the premises make this impracticable, this means a single service in one place for the whole school. The Act also provides that religious instruction, or teaching, shall be given in all county and voluntary schools. At this stage it is necessary to begin to consider these two types of school separately. A county school is one entirely under the jurisdiction of a local education authority which owns the buildings, pays the salaries of teaching and other staff and meets the running expenses. A voluntary school is one where the building itself is owned by a voluntary body, usually but not always by a church. The salaries of the teaching and other staff and most of the running expenses are met by the local education authority.

B. CORPORATE WORSHIP

The essential condition of worship in a county school is that it should be such that members of various Christian denominations can with a good conscience take part in it. This involves a self-denying ordinance by which those who conduct it deny themselves the use of material which would not be acceptable to others. In the words of the Act 'the collective worship ... shall not ... be distinctive of any particular religious denomination'. This does not mean, of course, that many beautiful and well-loved prayers and responses are inappropriate merely because they appear in the liturgy of a particular church. It is only when they reflect doctrines about which there are established points of divergence between denominations that they are to be avoided.

While the statutory purpose of an Agreed Syllabus under the 1944 Act is to give authoritative guidance on what is to be taught, and this is discussed below, in virtually every syllabus there are also suggestions on the school's corporate worship. Thus in the Sunderland syllabus (1944) a long section of detailed suggestions is introduced by some general paragraphs, of which the following is typical:

'The dominant note in worship should be reverence, praise, consecration and self-dedication to God rather than the desire


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to receive something for oneself. The teacher must strive by the reverence of his own demeanour, as in the presence of God, to create the sense of worship and make the children to feel that he is himself praying the prayers which he speaks. Accordingly it is of the utmost importance that he should clearly apprehend, and (as opportunity serves) help the children to realise the fundamental principle of the Christian attitude to prayer, particularly in so far as prayer takes the form of petition.'

In the infant school a simple service of praise and thanksgiving 'with personal references and in relation to the passing seasons will form the framework of the religious teaching' (Cambridgeshire syllabus). Great care is necessary in its planning. It is, for instance, important that the children should be physically comfortable when engaged in prayer and praise. The amount of time which young children can spend in quiet concentration, the quality of the music, the beauty of form and language in hymn and prayer, are essential points to be watched. The Surrey syllabus points out that 'hymns, if chosen with care, should lead the youngest to a first grasp of the Christian faith and ideals', and in its notes it twice illustrates this statement. 'The first three verses of the hymn "Once in royal David's city" contain a simple statement of the doctrine of the Incarnation suitable for little children ... "There is a green hill far away" contains simple but sound teaching about the meaning of our Lord's death.' Special celebrations at the recurrences of the major Christian festivals - for example Christmas, Easter and Whitsun as well as at Harvest time - link the prayers and praise of the school with the great rhythm of Christian worship. At these times especially the stories heard in the classroom and the service in the hall reinforce and enrich each other.

The school Assembly or Daily Worship can have significance for the child of junior school age only if it recognises both his particular psychological needs and also his continuing limitations. Before the age of twelve children have little ability to think in abstract terms and their approach to the nature of God is largely anthropomorphic, coloured by their own personal relationships with their parents, their teachers and other adults. 'The Junior child is at that stage of development when he is beginning to feel his individuality', (Durham syllabus), and it is therefore essential that he should be allowed to take an active part in the school service. The older children can be trained to


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read the lessons, all will enjoy simple responses, and some can be encouraged to plan and write out their service. 'The chief thing is that the Assembly should be spontaneous and alive, the children really taking part, and not listening to something imposed ... it should never be quite the same two days together' (Cambridgeshire syllabus). If we think of the school as a Christian community, then the morning service of worship will 'not be merely an opening ceremony but a preparation for the day ...'

C. RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION IN COUNTY SCHOOLS

Before 1944, while the law did not require religious instruction to be given in provided schools, it ensured that, where given, it was undenominational. The manner in which the old principle is applied now that religious instruction is universally obligatory differs from the provisions regarding school worship. The form, content and manner of a school's corporate worship is left by the Act to the good sense of those who conduct it; the content and purpose of its religious instruction is decided under the Act by the Agreed Syllabus which each local education authority is responsible for having prepared. This is a method which had been widely used as a matter of common sense by education authorities before 1944. The Cambridgeshire syllabus, first issued in 1923, had been adopted by more than 100 of the 317 local education authorities then in existence. The West Riding and Middlesex syllabuses were also widely used, though many authorities preferred to draw up their own. In adopting an Agreed Syllabus procedure the framers of the 1944 Act were, therefore, making use of a well tried method.

Teachers may like to be reminded how an Agreed Syllabus is drawn up and acquires the force of law. The procedure is laid down in the fifth schedule of the 1944 Act. Each local education authority is required to appoint four ad hoc committees (three in Wales) which together form a conference for preparing an Agreed Syllabus. Those committees represent respectively the Church of England (except in Wales), other religious denominations, teachers' organisations and the authority. The decisions of the conference are required to be unanimous, and the syllabus they thus recommend is submitted to the local education authority for approval. Once this is given, the syllabus or


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syllabuses (for there is provision for more than one in certain circumstances) become the necessary basis of all religious instruction in the local authority's county schools. If the conference were to fail to reach unanimous agreement, or the authority to adopt the recommended syllabus, there is provision for the Minister, following as far as practicable the same conference procedure, to have an Agreed Syllabus prepared and to adopt it for the authority's area. This procedure, however, has never yet had to be used. The provision of a nationwide network of Agreed Syllabuses, each unanimously recommended by representatives of four 'interests' which in the past have frequently found it difficult to agree, is a fact of considerable historic and religious importance.

The same section of the Act which orders authorities to convene conferences to prepare an Agreed Syllabus, empowers them to appoint standing advisory councils to advise them upon methods, choice of books and courses for teachers. An enquiry made by the Institute of Christian Education showed that by 1951 about a third of the authorities had made use of this power.

D. RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION IN VOLUNTARY SCHOOLS

At this point it is desirable to turn from the county schools to look very briefly at the position in aided and controlled voluntary schools. The Act provides for both corporate worship and religious instruction in voluntary schools as well as in county schools. It does not, however, prescribe in aided schools the content of either except to lay down that the instruction shall be in conformity with the trust deed, or with previous practice if the trust deed makes no specific provision. A controlled school provides on request one or two periods of denominational instruction as well as the Agreed Syllabus religious instruction which is its staple form. In aided schools all teachers are appointed by the managers, and it is usual for them to satisfy themselves as to the fitness of candidates to give religious instruction in accordance with the trust deed. In controlled schools the appointments are made by the local education authority, but the foundation managers have the right to satisfy themselves about the fitness and competence to give such instruction of a certain proportion of the staff known as 'reserved teachers'. The great majority of


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voluntary schools are, of course, either Church of England or Roman Catholic schools, but there are others, among them several Jewish.

E. RIGHTS OF WITHDRAWAL

The 1944 Act provides for children to be excused at their parents' request from religious worship and instruction. Children may be excused simply because their parents do not wish them to take part in or to receive religious instruction. This is very rare. Much more frequently a child is excused the school's religious instruction in order that he may be withdrawn to receive instead instruction according to his own religious faith. The Jewish community sometimes makes use of this provision as do also some Christian denominations. The religious instruction for which children are withdrawn is provided not out of public funds but by the denominational authority 'elsewhere' than in the primary school premises. It is fair, then, to say that this country provides Christian worship and Christian teaching for its children, whether they are in voluntary or county schools; but that at the same time it is not unmindful of the convictions and needs of members of other faiths.

The 'conscience clauses' of the 1944 Act also protect the right of teachers to 'contract out' of giving religious instruction or taking part in corporate worship. The protection is absolute - the wish to 'contract out' has only to be expressed to be granted. There are no conditions of any kind, and no teacher may be put to any disadvantage because he makes use of it. Those who care most deeply for the religious upbringing of children in the Christian faith welcome this clause as sincerely as those who make use of it. It is for them neither a concession nor a compromise, it is a condition without which sincere religious education is impossible, and an expression of the Christian desire to place no obstacle in the way of fidelity to conscience.

Until 1944 religious instruction had to be given either at the beginning or the ending of a school session. There is now no such regulation, and an increasing number of schools are making use of their new liberty to distribute the lessons throughout the school day. In this way the burden of the administrative interruptions which often mark the opening of the school day


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can be shared between various subjects instead of falling always on religious instruction. Without some spreading of periods it is difficult to see how, except in a generously staffed school, it would be possible for a teacher to exercise his right not to give religious instruction. The expedient of joining several classes together is no solution for it is educationally unsound. In an infant school, and in the earlier stages of the junior school, the most 'natural' person to undertake the religious teaching is undoubtedly the class teacher, or the Head who also stands in a direct personal relation to every child as the head of the school 'family'. But, if needs be, it is in the interests of the children to choose some other teacher rather than to entrust this responsibility to one whose reluctance springs from more than the natural diffidence which all must feel in this particular matter.

The diffidence which springs from ignorance is something that can be removed. A change in the examination regulations for the qualification of teachers accompanied the 1944 Act and provided the means without which it would have been difficult or impossible to carry out its intention. Older teachers may not always realise that religious knowledge, to give it one of the many titles under which it appears in training college timetables, is now a subject which may be taken 'for the certificate' like any other subject. Experience shows that students do in fact elect to take it in much the same numbers as they choose other subjects. The training colleges are thus now able to make a far greater contribution than was before possible to fitting teachers to give religious instruction. But even so only a small minority of teachers will have made a serious academic study of the Bible at college, though far more will have followed a slighter 'basic' course. There is, then, a constant and growing demand by teachers for short courses provided by local education authorities, Institutes of Education, the Institute of Christian Education, the Ministry and other bodies. The primary school is not a place in which there would often seem to be suitable employment for a full time specialist teacher of religious knowledge; but every primary school would be more confident of its ability to fulfil its obligations if it knew that it had on its staff at least one teacher who had made a sufficiently serious study of the subject to be able to help colleagues with suggestions and advice, and to take part in preparation of a general scheme of work for the school.


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F. THE CONTENT OF AGREED SYLLABUSES

Religious instruction differs from all other subjects in the curriculum of the primary school in that it is the only subject in which there is a binding syllabus prepared outside the school. It is a difficult subject on which to offer generally applicable suggestions since, although the syllabuses agree to a remarkable extent in what they have selected as basic religious knowledge, they differ widely in their order and method of presentation.

To discuss particular methods without reference to the selection of the material to be taught would be fruitless. It is necessary, therefore, that teachers should refer to the handbooks either incorporated in, or suggested by, the Agreed Syllabus with which they are concerned. An Agreed Syllabus usually specifies what may be taught to children of a given age and must therefore be studied in the light of the general characteristics of children of that age, which are discussed in earlier chapters of this book. What is there said is just as relevant to school worship or religious instruction as it is to language or number. The approach, for instance, to the stories of Abraham or of the 'Feeding of the Five Thousand' will be very different with children of seven and children of ten or eleven. Within the same subject matter children of different ages seize upon quite different aspects as significant, and a teacher must, if she is to be successful, work within their limits. In the earlier years the question of truth in the sense of objective historical reality will hardly arise - small children admittedly ask if a story is true, but they are asking little more than whether this is a story about a real person. Older children, however, begin to ask, 'Did this really happen?', or 'What really happened?', which marks the beginning of a questioning mind. In this context the kind of help which the Agreed Syllabuses offer may be indicated by two quotations. The Cambridgeshire syllabus reminds us that 'The distinction between history, legend and myth should ever be in the mind of the teacher and should affect the manner in which the stories of the Old Testament are told'. The miracles of the Gospel occupy a special position which is clearly put in the Sunderland syllabus: 'In the New Testament the supreme miracle is the Resurrection of Jesus. Whatever difficulties are presented by the details of the various records, the significance of the event lies in the demon-


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strated fact that Jesus was alive. This was taken as a proof of His unique relation to God ... Each of His "Works and Signs" must be examined on its own merits. In some instances there is a call for reinterpretation, but under the closest scrutiny a series of wonderful works remain which can only be explained by reference to His unique personality and divine mission. They supplement the Resurrection in declaring Him to be the Son of God with Power.'

We are at the end of a decade of particularly active syllabus making. There has been a process of learning from one another, of active borrowing and of new departures which show that those who are responsible are still in the exciting and healthy stage of discovery. Nearly half the county authorities, and nearly two thirds of the county boroughs, have after careful study adopted Agreed Syllabuses drawn up for other authorities. The most widely adopted syllabuses in June 1953, according to figures given in the report published by the Institute of Christian Education in 1955, were the Sunderland (1944); the Cambridgeshire (1939: revised 1949); the Surrey (1941); the West Riding (1937: revised 1945; new syllabus 1947); and the Durham (1945) - in that order.

A primary school is concerned with only one syllabus, but teachers move from one authority's area to another's and training colleges have to prepare students to teach according to many various syllabuses. It is relevant, therefore, to ask how far these syllabuses have a common core. A comparison of a number of different syllabuses suggests the following answer. The main emphasis is on the Biblical narrative; a systematic approach to the main body of doctrine held in common by all Christian denominations is left to the secondary stage. The teaching of the Christian faith in the primary school springs naturally from the children's worship and is developed in the interpretation of the narrative lessons, which are carefully selected because of the insight they give into God's ways with men and their response. Most of the syllabuses give the essential characteristic of religious instruction as 'the fostering of a Christian way of living', in which children are shown how 'to know, love and serve God' (Norwich).

All the syllabuses examined include at one time or another during the six years of primary school life the main narratives of all four gospels and many of those in Acts. The best known


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parables come in all the syllabuses; so too does the ethical teaching of both Testaments as contained, for instance, in the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. All draw largely on the story material connected with Abraham and the other patriarchs, with Moses, Samuel, Saul, David, Elijah and Elisha. Most include some of the stories from Judges. The great majority also provide for the older children in junior schools a simple introduction to the life and teaching of such prophets as Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah. There is a rather greater diversity with regard to the use made of the early narratives in the first eleven chapters of Genesis.

All the Agreed Syllabuses examined also make use of two other classes of material. In the provision for infant schools, they devote much attention to teaching about God as creator through the study of nature. The other additional class of material is the telling of stories from the lives of great Christians of every age including the present. 'The great fact to be established in the mind of the children', as the London syllabus says, 'is that Christian men and women have witnessed continuously since Christianity began, and that they belong to every country, live under all sorts of conditions, and express themselves in many and varied ways.' This is especially important in the later junior years, when the 'gang' is strong. Comrades in exciting enterprises can be found among 'the noble army of martyrs' as well as in gangster films.

All the syllabuses examined make suggestions about short passages which might well be got by heart, either by direct learning, or through the assimilation which comes from constant repetition, or through employment in informal dramatic work. 'In few branches of learning or parts of life' as the Portsmouth syllabus says, 'is a well stored memory more rewarding than in religion; for it constitutes a treasure house to be drawn upon and added to throughout life.'

Most Agreed Syllabuses have a section which deals specifically with the nursery stage, but in some (e.g. Norwich) the reference is in general terms only. In all instances the importance of living with children under five years of age in a way conducive to their spiritual growth is stressed, and the climate of this development is recognised as 'coming from the inspiration of the teacher' (Norwich) whose main task is to create within the nursery 'a healthy and loving environment' (Sunderland,


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Cheshire) 'to aid and supplement natural growth' (Cheshire). It is recognised that young children's awareness of things of the spirit develops first 'through the atmosphere and practice of the Christian home and of church-going parents' (Norwich); but, since such influence from the home will not have been every child's experience, the teacher's contribution is of paramount importance either as the begetter or as the strengthener of the child's awareness of God's presence in the world. She needs, as the Middlesex syllabus points out, to be ready both to take and to make opportunities for this teaching.

G. TEACHING SCHEMES AND THE SYLLABUS

Agreed Syllabuses are neither teaching schemes nor lesson notes though many contain helpful suggestions on methods. A teaching scheme for religious instruction is necessary and requires as careful thought by the head teacher, or the teacher to whom its preparation has been delegated, as that in any other subject. It may select, but it should preserve the balance of the syllabus. The exact limits within which selection may be made differ from syllabus to syllabus. The scheme must meet the needs of the school in terms of the time and teaching skill available and of the varying capacity of the pupils. It should link up with the teaching schemes in other subjects: is Wilberforce or Shaftesbury or St Francis a figure in religious instruction or in history - or in both? Is the twenty-third Psalm English or scripture - or both? A scheme should consider the means which are necessary to serve the end in view. The pictures, the books, the maps, the film strips, the place of puppetry or painting or modelling - all these need as much attention in the scheme for religious instruction and in the individual teacher's lesson notes as in other subjects.

All those who have been concerned in drawing up Agreed Syllabuses would probably endorse the plea of the London syllabus (1947): 'It is vital that every teacher should study the outline of the Syllabus as a whole before concentrating on his own particular section, for the Syllabus is a continuous and progressive one planned for the progressive growth of the pupils from three to eighteen years of age.' It is, however, important to realise that a progressive course of religious education is


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concerned quite as much with an increasing understanding of elements which should always be present from the beginning as with the steady introduction of entirely new facets.

H. OBJECTIVES IN RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION

In approaching the study of a whole syllabus the teacher will naturally look for a statement of the purpose which its framers have set for themselves, for some definition of the end which it is intended to serve. It may confidently be said that there is no division of opinion on this matter though there is a wide diversity of expression. The introduction of the London syllabus (1947) puts the matter cogently:

'... The Christian religion is a historical religion; it is based upon the fact that certain events happened. It is necessary therefore in the first place to know as exactly as we can the nature of these events.

But it is more than that. If the teaching of the Bible in our schools is to reflect accurately the actual character of the biblical writings themselves, it must do more than state and establish facts of history; it must interpret them. And that means that it must seek to show why the original writers regarded these facts as of special significance. That is in very large part the meaning of "doctrinal teaching" ...

And that leads inescapably to the third aspect. For such teaching, if rightly given, will inevitably prompt the question: Is this interpretation true? Do the facts substantiate it? ... These are questions which must be honestly faced in the teacher's own mind, and in the classroom.

It is upon the basis of such teaching, and only upon that, that it is possible to proceed to ... Christian ethics. We have no sympathy with those who deny this aspect of Christian teaching. They do little service to the Christian cause, and display a grave ignorance of the character of the Bible itself. For the Bible is from the start to finish a radically ethical book. But we are even less in agreement with those who appear to suppose that Christian ethical teaching can be given in a vacuum, wholly detached from the faith in God from which, in the Bible itself, it springs, and by which it is unquestionably inspired.'


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The Agreed Syllabuses mentioned in this Chapter are:

The Cambridge Syllabus of Religious Teaching for Schools: Cambridgeshire Education Committee.

Cheshire Agreed Syllabus of Religious Instruction: University of London Press Limited.

The Durham County Agreed Syllabus of Religious Instruction in Schools: University of London Press Limited.

London Syllabus of Religious Education: London County Council.

The Middlesex County Council Agreed Syllabus of Religious Instruction for Middlesex Schools: Middlesex County Council.

Norwich Agreed Syllabus: City of Norwich Education Committee.

Syllabus of Religious Instruction adopted by County Borough of Portsmouth Education Authority, 1952: Portsmouth County Borough Education Department.

A Syllabus of Religious Instruction in Schools (Sunderland): University of London Press Limited.

Surrey County Council Education Committee Syllabus of Religious Instruction: Surrey County Council.

West Riding Education Committee Agreed Syllabus: West Riding (Yorkshire) Education Committee.


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CHAPTER X

Physical Education

'What a child learns depends equally on itself and its opportunities, but it cannot possibly evade the process. The supreme question is, has it vitally nourished the child? Unless a minute "Barkis is willin", unless he finds what he receives acceptable, he will remain more or less ill-nourished or will learn by rote. The latter method has its convenience, but since to learn life by rote appears to entail a gradual desiccation of the mind, if not degeneration of the heart, it cannot be the best.'† Walter de la Mare

Two books concerned with physical education at this stage have already been published by the Ministry and have a wide circulation in training colleges and schools. These two books - Moving and Growing and Planning the Programme* - cover this aspect of education far more fully than is possible here, and with the added clarification, so necessary where movement is concerned, of numerous illustrations. This chapter is therefore short and attempts no more than to suggest in general terms the kind of physical education which is likely to meet children's needs, their physical and mental make-up being what it is.

A. THE CHILDREN AT THE PRIMARY STAGE

Although individuals of the same age differ widely, and although five year olds are quite unlike seven year olds, yet it is possible and useful to compare, in a general way, the characteristics of children of primary school age with the general characteristics of adolescents or of adults; indeed, until we can answer the question 'What are they like?' it is impossible to know what kind of

†(By permission of the Literary Trustees of Walter de la Mare and the Society of Authors as their representative.)

*Moving and Growing and Planning the Programme Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1952 and 1953 respectively.


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opportunities are likely to provide the vital nourishment to which de la Mare refers.

First of all, the children are still, anatomically speaking, extremely mobile - less mobile, of course, than during the first year of their life, when all babies find it easy, and apparently amusing, to put their toes in their mouths, but still able to assume attitudes and execute movements which astonish the adult. This mobility may be lost prematurely if children lead unduly sedate and sedentary lives, and if they are heavily encumbered by clothes. In mobility, the ten year olds may compare unfavourably with the five year olds, especially if their physical education has been of a stereotyped and limited kind.

Secondly, physiologically speaking, they 'burn' more fiercely than adolescents or adults; their hearts beat faster, their blood circulates more swiftly, their wounds heal more quickly, they breathe more rapidly and their metabolic rate is higher. Compared with adults they have the quick intensity of birds rather than the steadiness of an old grey mare. One consequence of these characteristics is their habit of pouring out energy fiercely and fully; staying power is not great, though it increases steadily as they grow older.

Thirdly, during the primary school stage, their proportions gradually change; legs become longer, bodies comparatively shorter; in consequence the power to run, and especially the power to leap, increases notably from five to eleven years. Children of five are usually good at climbing, but feeble at leaping; at eleven, if they have been lucky in their opportunities, they will climb well, but compared with what they were like at five they will also be able to leap high and far, and run fast.

Fourthly, coordination of hand and eye improves steadily, so that while children of five often find difficulty in catching or hitting a ball (though they may throw surprisingly well), at ten they are much more dextrous.

At five, boys and girls already move differently, and seem to have different interests and aptitudes in physical activities, but how far these are really dependent upon innate sex differences, and how far on the attitudes of parents and teachers, it is difficult to say; at eleven, differences in interest and aptitude are much more marked, but again much depends upon the family and the school; at eleven there are many girls who still enjoy boyish


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activities, though there are some who, with the onset of puberty, are changing very rapidly.

B. OPPORTUNITIES THE CHILDREN NEED

The characteristics described, especially mobility and 'quick burning', in conjunction with the intense interest in the immediate present which is typical of children at this stage, make for a mode of behaviour which, though sometimes exhausting to adults, is also delightful in its spontaneity. Motion and emotion are, unselfconsciously, at one, especially in the earlier years, and this lends to the movement of all young children a charm that the adult cannot but envy, and that he may be tempted to exploit by arranging for performances before a grown-up audience.

At this stage, children pour all they have into the matter in hand, with no thought of conserving their energy and, because of this, together with their natural agility and lively imagination, they do 'impossible' things in 'impossible' ways. They invent feats unheard of by any adult, they perform antics, climb in ways peculiar to themselves, sit or crouch in outlandish attitudes, tell unlikely tales, act extraordinary characters, and give vent to astonishing noises. It is a time when children explore tirelessly - both their own powers and all that is of interest in their environment; it is also a stage at which they invent, or create, easily and confidently.

It seems important that children should be allowed to enjoy this stage to the full. Too early an introduction to specific skills or techniques leads to stereotyping of movements; too early an introduction to too complex patterns (in, for example, games, plays, dances) and too much emphasis on long sustained effort kill the readiness to explore and deaden the imagination. It will always be difficult to judge when children are ripe for specific instruction in a specific skill because, especially at this stage, they have such facility, and this may be mistaken for ripeness. The judgement of infant teachers is more likely to be unfettered than is the judgement of those who teach juniors, who, especially if they teach at the top of the junior school, are likely to be hampered by the recollection of practices which once belonged to the top classes of 'all-standard' schools and which have been passed down to the much younger children at the top of the


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junior schools. Moreover, teachers of infants are likely to have their errors of judgement corrected by the children themselves, who, if a suggestion is inappropriate, simply leave it alone, while juniors are so amenable and eager that it is difficult indeed to decide what their real needs are.

The kind of physical education provided, while it depends partly upon the facilities available, rests in the main upon the teachers' discernment of the children's needs. In some schools physical education is thought of solely as an antidote to sedentary work - an opportunity to let off steam. Sometimes that is the only function it can fulfil, because the regime of the school day makes release an urgent need; but children need more than activity, they want to develop mastery, to do different things in different ways, to work out ideas.

C. THE PROGRAMME

The programme of physical education needs to be planned, in general, for the school as a whole, taking into account the needs of children at different stages; within this framework the class teacher can then plan for his own class. Of course, the plan for the school, and the plans for each class, must always be under review, because, as different opportunities are provided for the children, so their needs will change. For example, when climbing apparatus is introduced into a school, the needs of all the classes will be fairly similar, but after a year or two the children at the top of the school will be well practised and their needs, compared with those of the beginners, will be quite different. Again, if dance or drama is introduced, the children's resources at first, throughout the school, are likely to be meagre; whereas, in time, the powers of the older children who have had several years' experience may be considerable, and plans which had been adequate in the past will have to be reconsidered and recast.

It will be necessary to consider the way in which time is divided between movement which is intended to provide the basic training, activities which are, broadly speaking, of an athletic kind, and experiences which have an expressive purpose; of course, the younger the children the less hard and fast will these categories be.


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D. HELPING CHILDREN TO LEARN

In teaching there are times when the teacher directly sets the pace; in the past, when most movements were performed to command and in unison, the pace was set by the teacher nearly all the time; but exploration, invention and creation all take time, and if children are always bustled from one item of activity to another they become hasty, and cannot become absorbed. For exploration, children not only need time but they must also know, for certain, that they will have it; otherwise they cannot try out new ways of doing things, or work out an idea. For example, many teachers allow children time to climb freely, with astonishing results, but when it comes, for example, to leaping or playing with balls, they are too eager to show how 'it' should be done. But children have shown us, in connection with climbing, dancing and acting that 'it' does not necessarily exist, and that there are many more possibilities than we had dreamed of.

To give children time does not mean to leave them in a vacuum. The process of learning is permeated by the exchange of ideas between teacher and children, and by experiences arising from materials, tunes, stories and games. Some teachers seem to be able to evoke development, some can only attempt to command it, some have exceptional personal skill (for example, in games) which may, if wisely used, be a source of delight and stimulation to the children.

The education of children, in terms of movement, is becoming similar in process to their education in terms of language; and, as this comes about, teachers are having to develop new ways in which to observe the movement of children, and so assess their progress. Many new opportunities have been given to children in the past few years and, for the most part, they have seized them with enthusiasm; the next step is for us to learn how to look at, understand, and assess, what is being done.


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CHAPTER XI

Language

A. INTRODUCTORY

To speak of children's language is to speak of their lives at home and at school, at once mirrored in language and in no small degree managed and shaped by it. In an articulate community, speech comes naturally to children, and they have usually acquired language enough for their practical purposes by the time they reach the age of compulsory education. The school's aim is to extend the world which they know and talk about, and to develop and refine their speech so that it becomes a more fluent, accurate and pleasing expression of facts, ideas and feelings, an effective instrument of understanding and thought, and hence, of communication. Society today takes literacy for granted, and children growing up in this background may attempt very early to read and to write. It is for the school to foster their interest and to provide skilled help as they become ready for it. At every stage, the good school is as concerned with supporting the wish to read and write as with teaching the necessary techniques, and as concerned with the matter as with the manner of reading and writing. Story and poetry, which introduce children to a concentration and interpretation of human experience, memorably worded, are among the most powerful educational resources.

Speech, reading and writing, and the enjoyment of story and poetry are interwoven in children's growth in language; but, as a matter of convenience, each of these aspects is separately treated in the following pages. In considering speech, much that is said is particularly relevant to nursery and infant schools, the stage at which progress in talking is most rapid; in the discussion of reading, a special emphasis is placed on the infant school. But children do not learn to speak or to read and write once and for all; they are always needing help in speaking, reading and writing at ascending levels of difficulty and in widening fields of learning.


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There are, moreover, no clear-cut divisions between the attainments and reach of children at successive stages of education. Practices characteristic of infant schools are needed by many juniors, and suggestions made for juniors have a bearing on the work in the lower forms of secondary schools. The growing similarity in the point of view of enlightened teachers in all types of school promises well for children's continuing development in language.

B. ORAL ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE

(a) Early development

If the term 'language' is taken metaphorically to mean any form of communication or expression, then children's language can be said to begin in their first months of life with the movements and sounds which their mothers hasten to interpret. Even in a more literal sense, children begin very early to notice and to experiment with language. Most babies not only hear the speech of others but are themselves talked to, particularly when they are fondled and when their physical needs are being met; gradually they come to associate the sounds with the smile and the warmth of contact. Relying at first probably on the tone of speech rather than on the words spoken, they relate the sounds to the situation and in however vague and general a way begin to understand them. From the outset, comprehension tends to outrun the power of expression, a fact which is not infrequently overlooked in estimating children's capacity to appreciate story and poem.

As a child looks and listens, he begins to imitate the speech of those around him, and his first fumbling words, like his efforts to walk, are confirmed by the response he gains and the approval he earns. At this early stage, speech is intimately connected with behaviour, and much of the speech of very young children consists in making the sounds that go with certain movements, as in such games as 'Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man'. Repetitions serve a child's sense of mastery and his need for human contact. Many of the nursery jingles belong to this stage of speech, and some of the questions of the slightly older children are in part conversational formulas by which the child makes contact, as adults do through the conventional greetings and gestures in which this type of language survives into maturity.


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From the beginning, language is a means of social conformity but it contains throughout a spontaneous element and is a highly personal means of expression. The babbling and gurgling which precede speech are an expression of feeling as well as a rehearsal of the sounds which will be needed for the spoken word. Children's first approximations to the word 'mother' not only indicate a situation, and a little later a person, but are often heavily loaded with feeling. From infancy, feeling interpenetrates language in another way; children's use of words is, like their babbling, influenced by the pleasure they take in sound and rhythm, a pleasure which explains the appeal of many nursery rhymes.

'Sail a boat, sail a boat
Sail a little sailing boat.
Sail a boat, sail a boat,
Sail a little sailor boy.'
Teachers of children under five could readily find parallels to this song made up by a boy not yet four. Even children of seven and eight will repeat again and again a word of unusual sound or tripping rhythm; the elephant may owe his popularity with children as much to his name as to his unusual size and shape.

The languages of primitive peoples are said to reflect a specific environment, food supply and set of occupations as well as the universal interests of man. Similarly the range of children's experience affects the range of their language. But the impact of experience is itself determined to some extent by the words children know, and its assimilation depends on opportunities for listening and talking. Often it is through hearing a name that a child's attention is drawn to a particular element in his environment; and what can once be named is noticed, is distinguished from the mass of imprecision that surrounds him. A mental image can then be formed, can be recollected, and when stored in the memory can go on collecting associations. So much is true of adults and children alike, for both of whom it is a common experience to notice repeatedly a flower or a bird whose name they have recently learnt. But for young children the question 'What's that?' has an added significance; names retain for them the almost magic properties they have for primitive peoples and in fairy tales and are hardly distinguished from things. What is named is in a sense mastered and fitted into its appropriate place; what is nameless may be too great, too evil or too worthless


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to find a place in their scheme of knowledge. Children's anxiety to be given a name for every minor character they hear about in a story is a reflection of this phase.

The development of thought itself depends on a multiplication of names and a perception of the categories and concepts they imply. To use a word is to begin to classify. Children will at first use even the most general of nouns almost as a proper noun: 'dog' is their name for a particular dog, be it a mastiff or a poodle, their neighbour's or their own. The first extension of meaning seems to be by identification of other animals with the one they know, but, as knowledge and vocabulary extend, types and individuals are distinguished, and true generalisations can be made. Children's generalisations begin in the groping use of half-understood words, thought and language going hand in hand.

The younger the children, the stronger the purely imitative element in their language and the less well defined and exact their generalisations. But as personal experience deepens and is clarified and extended in conversation and story, so an increased precision and refinement are introduced into the meaning of concrete words and of words which refer to attitudes and feelings. Vocabulary grows in size and in accuracy, and also in depth of meaning, as words are seen to vary according to their contexts and as they acquire the overtones, the personal and group associations, on which all of us, as well as the poets, rely. Children's speech, dominated at first by nouns and verbs whose meaning can be attested by the senses, gradually comes to include more abstractions and an increasing proportion of words and grammatical constructions whose meaning has to be inferred from a context.

The extension of meaning in language is a lifetime process, though its pace slows down in maturity. Closely related to this extension of meaning, contributing to it and resulting from it, is the development of children's power to converse. For his talking and listening, the baby needs at first the intimacy, the concentrated support and stimulus of his mother. Her intuition enables her to reach for his meaning, to turn a word into a phrase and to make her own speech understood by gesture and expression. But it is part of her responsibility to wean the child from this dependence, to encourage him, though without too much anxiety, to substitute for 'baby language' or words of his own


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invention the turn of phrase which will be generally understood, and to involve him in the conversation of a widening family circle. Many children who have had this kind of help at home can carry on a conversation with an adult before they reach the age of five, and most children have enough language by then for their immediate needs. They can say what they want, and their command over their feelings is growing as they become able to explain them. But even such children as these do not usually get very far in their conversations with each other. They lack detachment and patience, and need the special consideration which an adult generally gives to their point of view.

By seven or eight the situation is changing. Children are beginning to share enthusiasms and to enjoy talking about them together. They are becoming conscious of the group to which they belong and like to use the words which reflect their set. But though at this stage children learn much from each other, it is still mainly through conversation with adults that they enlarge their vocabulary and learn to say what they mean fluently, exactly and simply.

There can be no better introduction to language than the daily life of a good home. As children are washed and dressed, as they have their meals and are put to bed, opportunities recur for a repetition of familiar phrases and for an exploration of fresh words and meanings. When the older members of the family are at school or out at work, the young child often enjoys a large share of his mother's talk and thought. The talk will be not only of what is immediate and present; letters may come from relations far away and be the occasion for hearing about past happenings; plans may be made not only for tomorrow's dinner but for shopping expeditions, outings and holidays. In this way the child meets expressions referring to varieties of time and degrees of certainty. Distinctions of tense, number, gender, and mood are established almost entirely by usage. Each time that the child shares in a family meal, or listens with his mother to the radio, he may be introduced to an adult range of experiences, language and voice. If he is fortunate, his mother finds time to repeat the traditional rhymes to him or to tell him a story. Often he will assimilate story and conversation by repeating snatches to himself when he is in bed or as he plays in the garden. He talks as he plays; his play helps his talk and talk his play, and when he is puzzled he can run to his mother for help.


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(b) The school's contribution

The school is a supplement to, not a substitute for, the home. Teachers need then to know as clearly as possible what they are building on, to be able to distinguish between children who have enjoyed at home such experiences as have been described and those whose language is stunted through too much cosseting or through neglect. It is useful also to be able to recognise the 'old-fashioned' child, who may have elderly parents or be the youngest in a grown-up family and whose vocabulary may have outstripped his understanding. For some newcomers, social and physical confidence, for others, conversation, for many children, first-hand experience of things, will be the school's most important contribution, but each of these elements will play a part in the linguistic education of all children.

(i) Language and social relationships*

Little more than an allusion is necessary to the contribution of good social relationships to development in language, since this aspect of school life is dealt with elsewhere in this book, and is well appreciated by primary school teachers. The two and three year old, though he enjoys playing in company with other children, needs above all an intimate relationship with one or two adults. Children's development in language calls for a generous proportion of staff to children in the nursery school and for a grouping which ensures that a young child is not looked after by the staff at random but is the special care of one or two adults. As he grows older, he can profit in language, as in other things, from an extending circle of adults and children but, even in the infant school, some children suffer setbacks from too rapid changes of class and teacher. All the suggestions which were made in Part 2 about the importance of establishing good relationships when children first go to school or are transferred from school to school, have relevance here if children are to gain in language from the stimulus of new surroundings and not forfeit their gain through emotional stress.

(ii) Experience inside and outside the school building

At home it is through the whole of a child's experience that his language develops depth as well as range. Teachers who are

*See Part 2.


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concerned for quality in language will be as anxious to extend and to spotlight experience, direct and indirect, as to provide opportunities for talk about it. The younger the child, the greater the need for words to be rooted in first-hand sensory experience, if he is to understand the language that describes the sensible world and appreciate later the many metaphorical extensions of meaning. In the nursery and in the infant school, much of this first-hand learning takes place when children are playing, particularly when they are playing with simple, everyday materials. In this way they may learn, for example, what is meant by the dripping, the trickling, the sprinkling, the gushing of water - and later may realise the implications of a 'gush of feeling' or a 'patter of conversation'. The traditional playthings, which initiate into adult life, often provide a better stimulus to learning and language than do commercial novelties. The richer and more varied the classroom environment, the more food for language. And as children investigate and use materials, as they explore with the help of dressing-up clothes and simple properties something of what it is to be a mother, a cowboy, a teacher or a queen, as they watch the growth of flowers or the movements of animals or fish; so they need to talk about what they see and do.

The bulk of school learning must take place within the school boundaries. When there is easy contact between home and school, out of school life will permeate and invigorate language in school. Yet it is hardly possible to overestimate the stimulus which a well-chosen experience, shared by teacher and children out of school, can bring to children's speech and, later, to their writing. Exciting incident creates exciting language. In the nursery school it is usually taken for granted that children should go on the kind of expedition which they might otherwise have had with their mothers: if they are in the country, to gather primroses or watch the gulls following the tractor; if they are in the town, to see the postman empty the pillar box or the signal go down as the train approaches. In the infant school the size of classes may add to the difficulties of taking children out. Sometimes there is useful material almost on the doorstep; much can be made of the new buildings that may be going up or the household services that are being installed, as well as of the birds that come to the bird table in winter. Most districts have resources that can enrich language at the poetic as well as at the utilitarian


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level; the market, the fire station, the lorry loaded with goods for the docks, to mention only a few. But teachers may think a special effort justified to take children at all stages of primary school life from industrial areas to enjoy the country scenes which have inspired much of our literature and underlie much religious symbolism. If there is a sense in which, as Herbert Read says, 'we ... only see a colour once, see, hear, touch, taste and smell everything but once, the first time',* it is important that the first vision should occur while the eye is still innocent and unsophisticated. The impressions of childhood echo through the words which are spoken and heard in later life.

(iii) Opportunities to talk in the nursery school and infant school

Most teachers appreciate that it is by a running commentary that young children sort out and assimilate these experiences, but they do not always appreciate the importance of the teacher's own intervention. Children need an audience; they need to talk to an adult who will help them to relax and who will no more forestall them when they fumble for a word than when they fumble with their coat buttons. They need encouragement to use in conversation the gestures which reinforce language rather than those which take its place. They need to ask questions and hear exact answers, to meet such names as 'fly-catcher', 'woodpecker', 'song-bird', while their minds are alert to meanings which may carry them forward to rough classifications. They need to check with an adult's help the generalisations and deductions they are always making: 'I've put six moons in my picture, because it's dark and the bus couldn't see the way'. It is not reasoning power that a five year old child lacks so much as experience, confirmed by the experience and thought of others. The difficulty, particularly for the infant school, is for teachers to find enough time to talk to individual children and to make sure that the quiet and withdrawn child is not neglected. Informal, individual records can be a check on this. Heads might regard talking and listening to individual children as one of their more important duties. In some schools, where staff and children sit down together at the dinner table, a most useful occasion is pro-

*Herbert Read, Annals of Innocence and Experience. Faber and Faber.


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vided for children to talk to adults and to hear adults talking to each other.

When the older children in an infant school break into small groups for imaginative and constructive work, their eager discussion often demonstrates what has been gained from the pioneer work of those infant teachers who accepted talking as the normal accompaniment of the day. But though much progress is apparent at this stage, the flow of children's conversation continues to be interrupted by misunderstandings and bald assertions. Useful openings may be left undeveloped, and deadlocks, emotional and intellectual, may threaten both conversation and cooperation. Again and again the teacher's intervention is needed if collaboration and thought are to be fostered. Often her function in these discussions is not to solve a problem but to restate it in such a way that the children can feel after a solution for themselves.

After they have been working for a time as individuals or in groups, an opportunity may be found for them to talk to each other about what they have been making or doing. With something in front of them to prompt their words, children can talk more fluently and interestingly, but care is needed not to press or prolong these discussions till they become monotonous.

Influenced by the tradition of class instruction, teachers may be too quick to assume that children are ready to talk to the whole class. The result may be to put the speaker to too great a nervous and vocal strain, and to waste the time of those listening to him. The retelling of stories by children tends to blur the lively impression left by the teacher.

The news period, which in many infant schools has replaced the 'conversation' lesson, may be open to some of these objections. Though teachers should find time for children's confidences, it is to presume much to suppose that day by day events will occur which merit the attention of the whole class. Yet from time to time there will be a welling-up of interest, even in a younger infant class, which will demand discussion by the whole class. It may be concerned with a public event or an individual experience; it may follow a story or relate to an interesting addition to the classroom; it may preface or follow a school expedition. Much will depend on the teacher's skill in seizing the moment and in guiding and welding into a whole the incomplete and sometimes inconsequent remarks of the children.


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(iv) Discussion and narration in the junior school

When children are transferred from the infant school to the junior school, they sometimes move from a background in which conversation is taken for granted to one in which talk is severely rationed and few voices are heard save the teacher's. Some change of atmosphere is natural and necessary. It is reasonable that children should grow out of the monologue which is proper to the younger child. Although in moments of strain they may revert to a running commentary on their doings and feelings, much more of their talking ought now to be a matter of seeking and giving information, of sharing views and reaching agreement. When practical tasks are to be undertaken, skilfully guided discussion can prevent false starts or disheartening failures, and yet allow the children more share in what they are doing than if they simply follow the teacher's directions. Discussion which leads to action will carry its own sanctions, since faulty explanation or failure to understand will lead to faulty execution. The capacity to make a meaning plain should be the first goal the junior school teacher sets for the children, and this objective should not be obscured by attempts to force the spoken language into the conventions of the written language. When children answer questions in monosyllables, teachers might reconsider the way in which their questions are framed. Though most teachers welcome children's questions and take them seriously, they do not always realise how valuable is this framing of questions, this posing of problems, in clarifying children's minds and in developing their capacity for clear speech.

There will then be discussion about practical enterprises, everyday events and interests, and about books which are being read. More will arise from such subjects as religious instruction, history, geography and science. Some of this conversation will be shared by the whole class, some by a group, and much, it is hoped, will be between teachers and individual children. Opportunities for spontaneous speech will also arise in drama. If more are needed, recourse may be had to some of the parlour games with which children are familiar such as those used on radio and television broadcasts. The conventional phrases associated with some of their games can be used by an ingenious teacher to give children practice in constructions in which they offend against normal usage. Accuracy in speech is established


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mainly by ear. Good teachers are able to draw children's attention to the errors they make, without impeding the flow of speech.

Many children, before they leave the junior school, are able to narrate and describe at some length, and means have to be found for them to practise this skill. Sometimes a suitable occasion arises from a group interest, when a spokesman puts the findings of his companions, all of whom can share in meeting the questions of the class. At this stage children are developing hobbies and enthusiasms about which they like to talk. Some teachers find it helpful to put up a list on which children enter subjects they are ready to speak about or in connection with which they could set up - and comment on - a small exhibition. Intelligent children, who have been listening critically to broadcast talks and other programmes, will have already become aware that success or failure in communication depends not only on the interest of the subject matter but also on the force and good sense of its arrangement, and on persuasive and audible speech. The teacher's guidance can extend to all these points; one child will need help with his material and another with its planning; the nervous and self-critical child will profit from encouragement to speak briefly without notes, before the strains of adolescence have reinforced an innate diffidence.

The talks which are given by these children commonly reflect the rapidly expanding book-knowledge of older juniors. It is inevitable that what is 'known by description' will increase in proportion to what is 'known by acquaintance', but care is needed that the process does not go too far and that there are sufficient opportunities for the discussion through which the knowledge children have at first hand and at second hand is reconciled. It is often the able child, the child whose later education will be predominantly verbal, who in the junior school most needs an emphasis on the real. He is the child who by imitation and memory will use words correctly and almost persuade us that he understands. He may 'talk like a book', which may imply that he is using generalisations unsupported by knowledge. Childhood is a time for building up a stock of first-hand impressions and of words which are rich with imaginative associations. Lack of experience can mean vague, half-dead words, and vague words lead to vague thought.


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(v) Speech Training

If children have serious speech disabilities the head teacher should see that they are brought to the notice of the school medical officer. Arrangements can usually be made for help to be given at a school clinic or special centre by a trained speech therapist.

Opinions differ widely about the part that formal instruction and practice can play in improving the tone, pitch, clarity and pronunciation of children's speech. Speech is a very personal matter, and children associate their own way of speaking with those they care about in their homes and neighbourhoods. Moreover, many dialects are rich in historical and linguistic interest, and it would be improper and unwise for teachers to try to discredit their use. Indeed, the speech which many people find attractive is so because of the flavour of local intonation or accent persisting in it. A teacher will want his children to speak audibly and in a way that is pleasant to listen to, that will be readily understood outside their own area and that will not handicap them as they grow older. More important than anything else is the quality of the voice. Children of junior school age are apt to let their voices become strident, thoughtlessly and exuberantly, or they try to make themselves more audible by 'speaking up' and shouting. They can be helped by tactful suggestions and reminders: but the most powerful influence on them is the quality and pitch of their teacher's voice and the emotional tone of the class.

Audibility is not always easy to cultivate. It depends on breathing and resonance as well as on the proper use of lips, tongue and throat. But it is advisable only for those whose training has given them reliable knowledge and techniques to try to improve articulation by formal exercises. Jingles and rhymes, repeated in chorus, have only a very limited effect. More often than not, young children's desire to read or speak well is sufficient to awaken their powers of imitation and give them a measure of success. Appreciation and encouragement can help to sustain their effort until acceptable speech becomes a habit. Singing can do much to develop clear articulation and a pleasant tone. So, too, can the custom of encouraging the children to read aloud, with due attention to clear and pleasant speech, a passage of prose or verse which they have prepared carefully. The


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teacher's reading aloud of prose and verse and the encouragement of the children to learn by heart passages enjoyed as much for their sound as for their sense are also helpful.

Among the ranks of teachers there are a few who have been especially prepared in speech and voice training. Schools fortunate enough to have such teachers should make full use of them, both to help the children and to help other teachers in their work with children. From time to time, short courses are available at which teachers can get skilled guidance. Training the ear is as necessary as training the voice, and tact is as important as technique. What matters most of all is for teachers themselves to develop a manner of speaking, clear, pleasing and unexaggerated, which is worthy of imitation by the children.

(vi) The teacher's contribution

The good speech of many teachers, together with the influence of radio and television, has already brought about a substantial improvement in speech. If almost any effort is worthwhile to improve a teacher's voice, his supreme instrument, thought is also needed about the words and phrases which are used. All the while, a reasonable balance must be maintained between the adult world into which children are growing and the world of childhood which they now inhabit. Good teachers try to see as children see; otherwise they cannot help them; they certainly do not talk as children talk, for what is required by the children is the foil of an understanding adult; good teachers are careful not to put a false value on immaturity and so prolong children's babble or fantasy, and are no less careful to preserve and consolidate whatever in a child's language and outlook will enrich his adult life. As members of society, children need some stock phrases of conversation, but teachers might watch lest their own talking contains too many of these phrases and lest they blunt children's sensitivity by familiarising them with the most deadening of clichés - those that refer to the arts. Skilled teachers are quick to welcome an enterprising word, even if its use is slightly inexact, and expert in turning it back in a way that will clarify meaning and usage. Their objective is to enlarge children's vocabulary in a natural context, and to arouse an interest in words. They should aim at vigorous speech, while avoiding the exaggerations and the belittling of great words to which children are subjected in advertisements and in the


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popular press. If the teacher's language is to nourish children's power to communicate and their imaginative way of expressing what they think and feel, it should be sparing with generalisation which children lack experience to substantiate; only if it is precise, colourful and detailed will it increase knowledge and evoke the visual images which form so large a part of children's thought, memory and imagination.

C. READING AND WRITING

A consideration of children's speech leads naturally to a discussion of reading and writing, which are extensions of listening and talking. Until children can listen attentively to a story, until they can forget themselves sufficiently to entertain another point of view in conversation, until they have experience and vocabulary enough to share an author's meaning, they are unlikely to make much genuine progress in reading. Similarly, they are unlikely to write effectively until they can make a simple purpose clear in speech. The first and most important contribution of home and school to literacy is to foster a child's command of spoken language.

(a) An informal introduction to reading and writing

Although children are not ready for systematic instruction in reading and writing until they have achieved reasonable confidence and fluency in speech, many will have had some acquaintance with reading and have experimented with writing before they come to school. If they have seen their father reading, playing at being 'father' will probably include 'pretend' reading. Children whose parents read to them associate sounds and story with books, and they invent the sounds they are 'reading', as they look at books by themselves. When they see their mother writing a letter or making a shopping list, they often ask for pencil and paper and scribble their own letter or draw a picture. But young children can approach the meaning of reading and writing in a more real sense than is implied by this imitation. They may learn to distinguish a favourite story book by the name or picture on its cover and to recognise the number on their front door or on the bus that takes them into town. They may know their own name when they see it on a present and may ask for help in


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writing it on a Christmas card. They have already associated, however loosely, things, words and written symbols.

Teachers and helpers in the nursery school and class do much to support the introduction to reading and writing which children receive in a good home. Suitable paper and tools are made available for children's play at writing. Picture books, chosen for their subject matter and for the quality of their illustrations, can attract children to books and accustom them to handling books. Many nursery teachers make the most of the high standard of photography in contemporary periodicals, and supplement printed books with home-made picture books, books that fit perhaps with a story about the children themselves that the teacher is making up or with the particular interests of the moment. The most successful introduction to books is often the story told or read to a small group of children (or, sometimes, to one child) who can look at the pictures and interrupt the story to clear up misunderstandings about language or about the conventions of illustration, and whose questions are invaluable in deepening the teacher's awareness of children's difficulties.

In the infant school it becomes even more important to develop an environment in which the skills of reading and writing, though not disproportionately laboured, appear desirable to the children and a normal part of everyday life. In the first place, children need to see their teachers turning readily to books and they need to be let into the secret of the enjoyment and information to be found in books. If only for this reason, stories should be read as well as told. It is also helpful when teachers bring some of their own books to school to share them with children for a particular purpose. More will be said later of the choice of books for the classroom; it will suffice now to say that they should be, as far as possible, of a kind that would be bought for young children in an educated home, and should be displayed so that they are readily seen, accessible and attractive. What requires most faith in teachers is to believe that their time is well spent in looking at books with small groups of children. The children in the book corner, so it may be argued, are quietly occupied; it is those who may spill the paint or who do not know how to use the scales who need attention. The competing claims of children for adult help are a real difficulty for the infant teacher, but in no respect is encouragement more important than in the use of books. There may be children in the class who have never had


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the experience of looking at the pictures of a story book as its text is read to them. Moreover, when they have followed a story with the teacher's help they will be better able to sustain their interest when they are looking at the pictures by themselves. Some may learn to identify the nursery rhyme by its picture in the Mother Goose book, and a few children, repeating the words to themselves, associate the pattern of words with the sounds and teach themselves to read as did some of their ancestors from reading the Lord's Prayer on the Horn Book.

Among the books in the infants' classroom, the home-made book which incorporates children's favourite phrases and interests has a special place. When telling a story, teachers often build up a book of the story, the reading of which becomes an almost ritual-preface or conclusion to a continuation or retelling. Children begin to perceive that things, pictures and words can be complementary in communicating meaning, and ask their teacher's help in adding words to the pictures they paint or the models they make. Often they read and copy these words, and indeed, for some children, writing proves the best approach to reading. If the life and play of the classroom are sufficiently like the life outside, many opportunities occur for the introduction of the written language, without the teacher's going to the length of labelling 'cupboard', 'table' and 'window'. The children's private possessions, class tools and equipment generally have their places designated by the appropriate names, and there are occasions when written reminders of the need for cleanliness and care may be useful. Dramatic play, based on home, hospital, shop, or railway station, will demand its lists, prescriptions, tickets and notices. Children, who are content at first with the crudest of symbols, come to want greater realism in these as in other properties.

In this kind of incidental introduction to reading and writing, which is particularly characteristic of the younger infant classes, some stimulus is given to all children, whatever their ability. For one child the play or story is all; another child pretends to read; a third is in fact learning the shapes of words; all are being offered an incentive to read. An experienced teacher knows by children's response when they are ready for systematic instruction in reading. A diagnosis is based on an all-round impression of children's maturity, on their competence in speech, their attitude to books and their interest in and recognition of words


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and phrases. To hold back an able child who has had at home many of the experiences which other children do not meet until they come to school, is to risk disheartenment and boredom. On the other hand the preoccupation with reading shown by some young children is the product of their parents' anxiety, and too early a start on a primer may lead to disappointment and failure which can prejudice later attempts to read. In most infant classes, some children are likely to be reading fluently while others are most profitably occupied with books as a part of their play.

(b) Systematic instruction in reading in the primary school

There is so much sound practice and common ground in the teaching of reading in infant schools that the various methods can be briefly summarised and discussion concentrated on points of controversy. Within living memory, four main methods and innumerable modifications and combinations of them have been tried. The 'alphabetic' method has virtually disappeared, though some teachers continue to teach the alphabet at a very early age. The able child who may have already picked up the names of the letters from rhymes or games, and the shapes from ABC books, establishes a useful piece of learning which is necessary for the use of a dictionary or a gazetteer. It may be wiser to defer consolidation of the letter-names with less able children until they have accepted the idea that one letter may stand for several sounds.

Where the 'alphabetic' method introduced children to letter-names, the 'phonic' method teaches them letter-sounds and common combinations of sounds. It has the advantage of offering children a means of reading unfamiliar words. Though sounds were, and still are, often taught to whole classes, containing children of widely varying ability and attainment in reading, 'phonic' teaching has increasingly taken account of individual needs. But most teachers would agree that the method has disadvantages. English spelling is notoriously non-phonetic and many of the most common words in a young child's vocabulary cannot be read by 'phonic' means; conversely, a primer which consists almost entirely of words that can be 'sounded' is bound to be stilted, even though such extreme examples as 'an ox is on it' or 'hug the pug Meg' are passing out of use. If children get


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little help from the sense in a phonic primer, they also get little help from the shape of the words, since, in order to simplify the range of sounds, the vocabulary is usually limited to short words of similar appearance. The difficulties children experience in practising this method are illustrated by the way in which some fail to combine initial and final sounds which they have successfully identified, and others continue to 'sound' words which they can read at sight.

Considerations such as these have prompted experiments with further methods of teaching reading, generally known as the 'look and say' and the 'sentence' methods. In the first, children memorise the look of words; in the second, they are introduced to whole sentences and phrases, which they later break down into the component words. The strength of such methods is that from the outset children read material that they understand, though, in primers based on the 'sentence' method as in others, the need for frequent repetition of vocabulary is bound to reduce interest. Children who are taught exclusively in this way may be bewildered when they meet a word which is new to them, and may be too quick to guess at the general sense instead of looking carefully at the words they are reading.

There is something to be learnt from each method which has been found useful in the past. Most teachers of young children will agree that just as we recognise objects by the evidence and counter-check of our senses, so children are helped to read by having a variety of aids and methods available to them, reading now by the look of the word, now by its initial sound, now by guessing from the context. The last is a method as useful in reading Shakespeare as in reading a primer. Where teachers differ is in the proportion of each method in their usual prescription and in the extent to which they adjust the proportion to the needs of individual children. There is very general agreement, though theory and practice do not always coincide, that children should begin by reading material that has interest and meaning for them. All that has been said earlier about creating an environment of which written language is a natural part is an amplification of this point. The ablest children may deduce for themselves a knowledge of the letter-sounds which makes formal instruction unnecessary for them. Children with good visual memories can also go a long way towards success by 'sentence' and 'look and say' methods. For most children a stage will come


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when some teaching of combinations of sound, coupled with an explanation of its limitations as a key to reading, will increase confidence and a readiness to tackle fresh words.

There are differences also in the extent to which teachers rely on primers and on commercially produced reading apparatus. Many start by reading home-made books relating to the stories they tell and to their pupils' lives at home and at school, but it is still possible to find a room for the youngest children dominated by pictures and flash-cards featuring the characters about whom the slower pupils may not be reading until two or three years later. A few teachers continue to rely on home-made books for early formal instruction in reading and may use them until children can enjoy story books. Most teachers, however, feel that they need the support of primers in diagnosing and in securing progress. The advantages of the better kind of primer are undeniable; a carefully graduated vocabulary, frequent repetition, suitable print and an attractive lay-out. Substance and style, particularly of the first books in the various series, are often less satisfactory. The limitation of vocabulary tends to produce a thin and artificial style and helps to explain a lack of interesting characters and incident, which may also be due to an exaggerated vogue for the homely in children's intellectual diet. If primers are used, it is important that achievement in the skill of reading should compensate for some lack of interest, and that children should not work so long on them that the purpose of reading, to find out and to enjoy, is obscured. Teachers need therefore to give thought to the right moment for introducing primers to individual children. They also need to give concentrated help at critical moments of progress when 'Hear me read' becomes a constant request.

When children's progress is slow, some teachers arrange for them to read successively the first primers of several series. Unless vocabularies are very similar, this practice may sacrifice the main advantage of primers - a carefully controlled vocabulary - without obtaining the balancing gain in interest and narrative of a simple story book. It may be better to use a varied range of primers as alternatives. The child who is easily discouraged might be given a series in which each book is brief enough to be quickly covered. The slower children usually need primers which defer the difficulties of word-synthesis until a fair vocabulary has been established. A child who fails with a primer


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biassed towards one method of teaching reading, may have more success with a series with a different emphasis. The ablest children should spend little time on primers or on reading apparatus, but should very soon be reading real books. The allocation of considerable spells of time to reading apparatus, like the consecutive use of several first primers, may point to a premature start on reading. Many gifted and conscientious teachers improvise useful apparatus for specific purposes. When classes are large, they may also occupy some children with commercial apparatus so that they themselves can concentrate for the time being on other children, talking to them, hearing them read and helping them to put down ideas in writing. They would do well to review the apparatus critically from time to time and not to overestimate the volume of learning which derives from it. For many children there must be a laborious stage in the process of learning to read but when this is prolonged there is reason to suspect an error of judgement in assessing reading readiness or in selecting suitable methods.

The 'alphabetic' and 'phonic' methods of teaching reading originated in a period when class teaching was taken for granted and when it was the practice for children to read in unison or to read round the class, each individual reading in turn. The development of reading in groups represented a great advance; it opened the way to a better adjustment of work to ability and provided opportunities for individual help and practice. Many teachers have now substituted the individual child for the group. This does not exclude some provision for class reading, particularly with older junior children, nor does it mean that teachers of younger children will never economise their time by working with a group. But the group is fluid and children are not held back in their reading to the point they have reached with their teachers or their companions. 'Group reading', as a specific technique for increasing the amount that each child reads aloud, survives most commonly in the lower part of the junior school. In assessing its value, teachers might consider the quality of the books being read, the effect on the 'leaders', who are frequently reading books which are less stimulating than the ones they would choose for themselves, the standard of reading aloud in a group which is not receiving immediate help from the teacher, and the distraction caused by several children reading aloud simultaneously. They might also compare the time allowed for


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silent reading with that allowed for reading aloud, recollecting that it is commonly in silent reading that most attention is given to meaning. Teachers may come to the conclusion that, with the present development of individual reading, there will rarely, if ever, be occasion for the whole class to be reading aloud in groups, though to read a prepared passage to a small group may be a useful exercise for children who are not yet able to read aloud to the class. Opportunities will readily be found for children who are sufficiently skilled to read to their class, or, on special occasions, to the school.

(c) Transition from the infant school to the junior school

Most children will have made progress in reading before they leave the infant school, and many will have read widely from the good collection of books which should always be provided. It is important that these children should find as generous a provision in their new schools. It is also necessary to remember the children who have not yet responded to the stimulus to read and who still need the incidental approach to reading through conversation, interests and home-made books that is characteristic of the infant school. The junior school requires experts in these and other methods of teaching reading. Consistency of attitude and plan throughout the primary school stage matters more than continuity in detail, but some overlap in the books available in the infant and junior schools will give children confidence after their move. A child who is making rapid progress with particular books should be given an opportunity to continue with them. On the other hand, too pedantic a regard for continuity may result in children working at books which they associate with failure and which may be too babyish for their maturing interests. An intimate contact between infant and junior schools provides a more reliable guide to children's attainments than the results of word recognition tests, which often bear little relation to the children's ability to read in a context. Testing immediately after the move to the junior school can be disturbing to children and misleading to teachers. In exceptional cases of prolonged reading difficulties, Heads and assistants may find the evidence of objective and diagnostic tests a useful addition to their other knowledge of the children. To give tests


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frequently and to all children can absorb time which is better spent in teaching.

(d) Individual reading in infant and junior schools

The rudiments of reading mastered, children need a plentiful supply of books of good quality, and time and quiet in which to read them. In many primary schools the distinction between 'library books' and other books is gradually disappearing. If too much time is given to 'readers', which usually consist of short stories and passages, children may be denied the opportunity of developing the power of sustained interest which should be a reflection of their increasing maturity. Moreover, if children are to develop a taste for reading, they must be able to browse and sample for themselves, though the teacher's knowledge and individual advice will be an invaluable help in their selection of books. A choice once made, children need conditions for reading which take some account of their varying spans of attention. To make 'library books' available only for odd moments or for one period a week is to ask children to read on terms which most adults would find intolerable, and, in all probability, to lower the standard of what is read. In a growing number of schools, books can be taken home as well as read in school. Children who have good conditions for reading at home sometimes find difficulty in reading at school because of the distraction of other things going on in the classroom. For their sake and even more for the sake of those who do not know quiet at home and may never achieve complete concentration there, teachers need to contrive times and places so that children can read at length and in peace. Now that silence is no longer expected in the classroom, children's indifference to noise may be exaggerated.

The more time that is allowed for individual reading, the more thought must be given to the purchase of books, which are difficult to select from the multitude that are published each year. Several useful annotated lists of children's books have been printed in recent years and can be kept up to date by the publications of the various Library and Book Associations and the reviews in reliable periodicals. A knowledge of children's books is so important that in some schools one member of staff acts as specialist adviser to the Head and to his colleagues. Though there has been a remarkable development in recent years, it is not yet common enough to find a sufficient range in


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the class libraries for young children. On the one hand there should be well-loved simple books, books to which children can return as in good homes they go back to old favourites when they need to relax or to be reassured; on the other hand the books should match the wide range of attainment in children of the same age and the extraordinary strides which they can make in the course of a year. Story books should be chosen both for substance and for style, and should include a balance of the established children's classics and of good contemporary stories. In selecting poetry books, contents and appearance should be considered. Some books are rightly chosen primarily for the pleasure of their pictures and layout, others for the information they contain. At first there will be many books on natural history and on the mechanical inventions which absorb much of the interest of young children. Later a heavier representation of true adventure stories and accounts of our own times and of the past can be included. Reference books, accurate and not oversimplified, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, atlases and maps should be easily accessible to all. There should be books to awaken interest and books to satisfy it, and a recognition that children can learn much from difficult books when curiosity is aroused. Throughout the primary school, the classroom collection of books should include attractive books, of as many types as possible, within the interest and reach of the less proficient readers. These children in particular need an inducement to read. However good the training in use of books, wastage must be expected in a library that is constantly used; it is almost as important to remove the worn-out as to keep up with children's current interests.

It is the experience of most teachers that children are so dependent on their classroom base in the infant school and the lower part of the junior school that the class library is more important at these stages than a central collection. For the younger infants, there is much to be said for shelving of the rack type which can take books lying flat without straining the binding; as the children grow older a bigger proportion of books can be traditionally shelved, as long as the shelves are accessible and there is provision for special display. The arrangement of the classroom library may vary from year to year, and indeed more frequently, according to the taste of the class and its particular needs. There may be occasions when books are distinguished


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according to their difficulty and others when the usual simple arrangement based on subject matter is adjusted to fit the current work that is being undertaken by the class. The central library, though it is never likely to replace the class library in a primary school, is sometimes successful in infant schools and increases in importance in the junior school. It can be housed in any space where it is possible for the books to be arranged with some dignity, for books to be borrowed without disturbing a class, and for a group of children to read in reasonable conditions. It might include an overflow of recreational books from class libraries, the more expensive reference books of which only one copy is available, and also periodicals; and the books can be arranged and their borrowing organised so as to provide a simple introduction to the practice in a public library.

(e) Range and quality in reading

However skilfully books are selected and arranged, much will depend on the way teachers introduce books or authors to the class, and on their discussion of books with individuals or groups. Most teachers find it helpful for children to keep a record of the books they read, and various devices such as the writing of comments and the answering of questions have been tried as checks on the thoroughness of children's reading. Discretion is needed to ensure that these devices do not become routines which destroy concentration and pleasure in reading; realism is added if children know that their comments will be discussed with them and will be borne in mind when replacement of books is considered. In assessing the development of a child's reading and the guidance to be given, a teacher needs to take a broad view and be prepared to tolerate the period of standstill which may be a reaction to strain in another field or may be the pause which precedes further progress.

Throughout the primary school, children should be enjoying books at several levels of difficulty, and their choice of books should be influenced not only by class and individual discussion but also by the direct example of the books the teacher reads to the class. Towards the top of the junior school, the abler children will profit from following in their own copies some of the books which are read to them and from taking some share in the reading aloud. Even this may not meet the needs of the ablest children, who need special help just as much as the weakest, and might


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sometimes be formed into a group to read, perhaps with the Head, a book too exacting for the rest of the class. Occasional class use of history and geography textbooks and careful supervision in the use of informative books for individual and group work are usually more economical ways of practising and testing comprehension than can be found in the exercises on detached passages in 'English Courses'.

An estimate of success in teaching reading must look far beyond the mechanical skill of reproducing the right sounds and include the understanding, use and enjoyment of the written word. It is not enough to ask 'Can children read?' We need to ask 'Do children read?' and 'Do some of the books they choose represent the highest level of which they are capable?' Where children are being taught to read in this sense, some are using books of an adult kind before they leave the primary school. And of those whose mastery of reading is secure, many are able to read aloud a prepared passage in a way that gives pleasure to those who listen.

(f) Writing in the infant school

In this chapter, reading and writing are separately treated for convenience; but many infant teachers find that children make most progress when reading and writing are regarded as interdependent. Many years ago, writing other than copy writing was considered too difficult for young children and even their copy writing might be confined to single letters and to lists of similarly sounded words. A survival of this underestimate of children's powers is to be seen in schools where children who can read fluently are limited in their writing to answering questions and to filling in blanks, or where the class waits to try its hand at writing until all are ready. It is becoming more usual for children to be encouraged from the beginning to write the phrases and sentences, about their everyday life and the story-book world, which form the basis of their introduction to reading. Reference has already been made to the writing, often a mixture of real and 'pretend' writing, which arises from play, and to the words children dictate to their teachers. As children's fluency in speech and in reading develops, they will embark, with little thought of the difficulties, on accounts of their own experiences and on invented stories, relying now on their reading books as dictionaries, now on the lists of words and picture dictionaries in


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the classroom. Very young children enjoy making individual dictionaries and ask for their teacher's help in putting in the words they need. In encouraging this spontaneous writing, teachers may have been influenced by the flowering of young children's painting in recent years. The present development of writing is little less remarkable and takes forms various enough to correspond with all the activities of an infant school. It includes diaries, news books, longer records of special occasions, nature records, books that supplement models as a phrase supplements a picture, books arising from individual interests which may range from pets to planets, stories invented or retold, playlets and verse. The conditions of success are similar to those for children's painting: encouragement and individual help from the teacher; suitable tools and paper, and help in making home-made books appropriate in size to the purpose children have in mind; examples of good handwriting; the stimulus of experience at first hand and indirectly through story and poem, and of talk to clarify it.

There are dangers to be avoided in this heartening development. In encouraging children to write and in putting a value on fluency, care should be taken not to imply that there is virtue in sheer length of writing unrelated to what has to be said. Moreover new conventions may be only a little less limiting than old: the compiling of a diary or a news book, when interest in it is dead, can produce writing as repetitive and monotonous as that which often resulted from questions on a picture. Finally, though there is a pattern of taking in and giving out, of receiving impressions and giving new shape to them, the pattern cannot be automatically completed. Factual learning often calls for an immediate outcome in language, but deeper experiences may demand a longer pause for reflection and assimilation.

The function of the teacher is in no aspect of education more delicate than in relation to children's original work. Many children will be anxious before they leave the infant school to use their writing as a means of communication. If a letter is to be understood by its recipient, a record of plant growth to be of use to the class, or a story to be added to the class library, some approximation to the conventions of spelling and punctuation becomes necessary. By reading aloud what they have written, children can be helped to see the purpose of the simpler forms of punctuation. Correction, at this stage above all, should be positive. It


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should be done in the child's own presence and be primarily directed to helping him to fulfil his own purpose in writing. Help in spelling and punctuation will usually be given to individuals, sometimes to a group and rarely to the whole class.

(g) Development in the junior school

When children transfer to the junior school they might usefully take examples of their written work with them. Some children will have hardly begun to read and write, but many will already be writing fluently and can suffer a severe setback if they are made to begin again from the beginning. It is well to note that the simple sentence may represent for children a retrogression from the sequence in thought and appreciation of relationships implied in their use of the conjunction 'and'. Moreover, the loss of vigour and fluency which results from confining their writing to exercises in the use of the simple sentence is worse than the discursiveness and shapelessness the exercises are intended to cure. Fluency may also be endangered by a premature or excessive emphasis on handwriting or by a failure to give children the help they are needing with it. This matter is fully dealt with elsewhere;* it is necessary here only to stress the variations in the ages at which children are ready to be taught style in handwriting and the use of pen and ink. Transitions should be gradual and children should be allowed to do as adults do and fall back on pencil when the substance of their writing is making heavy demands.

At this stage, as in the infant school, the essentials in composition are to have a reason for writing and something to write about, to have frequent opportunities to write, to have time to finish, to be neither over-anxious about accuracy nor lacking in respect for the reader. The recapitulation of stories offers opportunities for writing in which sequence is controlled by the action of the story. Help in using a suitable vocabulary can be given in the first telling and consolidated in preparation for writing. Similarly the description of experiences which teacher and children have had in common will offer an occasion for writing preceded by discussion. The quality of children's writing will be partly determined by the help they are given in savouring experience to the full. Accurate observation is as important as subsequent discussion about what has been seen. The recording

*See Chapter XIV Handwriting.


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of group work will provide practice in summary, and the subsequent compilation of a class book may raise useful questions about arrangement of material. Young children often approach such problems more easily on a large scale through the idea of chapters in a book than through paragraphs in a composition.

Where good use is made of such opportunities as these, there will be little need for formal composition, but in addition to this directed writing there should be much that is personal and spontaneous, weighted towards the factual or the imaginative according to a child's own gifts and interests. The teacher's contribution to such writing is best made through individual discussion; a proportion of what is written may be done in rough; some part should be polished so that it reaches the highest standard of which the child is capable. He will be the readier to strive for this standard if he feels that what he has to say is really important, and still more if he knows that his writing will be read by others.

From a study of individual children's writing, the teacher can diagnose what help is needed for this or that individual if clarity, grammatical accuracy, punctuation and spelling are to maintain some relationship with fluency. Wide reading of books of good quality can help in all these respects, as also does the teacher's discriminating correction of written work. Frequently a child's best exercise is to improve, after discussion, a short passage of his own writing. Exercises in correctness and punctuation are best devised for a specific purpose and are often required only by a group. Adjustment to attainment and need in this kind of work has lagged behind practice in other aspects of the curriculum, and many teachers continue to make their pupils work systematically through textbooks of English exercises. While helpful ideas are to be found in some of these books, the exercises should always remain subordinate to children's writing and be used with great caution. Some exercises may have value as a basis for oral discussion but to write them out subsequently will add little; other exercises may have a value for a section of the class; exercises such as those which require the use of homonyms in a sentence may be unnecessary for some children and confuse others for a long time; some exercises blunt children's sensitivity to language by requiring them to pair as synonyms words which have their own distinctive flavour. In general, too much time is spent by older and younger juniors on


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exercises of this type and on comprehension exercises which bear little relation to their other work.

Despite the difficulties of English spelling, many children assimilate correct spelling mainly through their reading. They pick it up. Other children need the support of the few rules that are generally valid and of the systematic memorisation of the look of the more common words which they spell incorrectly when they write. Children who have poor visual memories may be helped by spelling out words. The ablest children can be interested in language and given an aid to memory by hearing of the derivation of words whose spelling is associated with their origin. Though most teachers now realise that most children learn little from dictation, it is still too common for the same spellings to be set for a class of widely varying ability and for spellings to include words outside children's usual vocabulary and needs. Junior school children should be able to use a dictionary and should have one in their desk for reference. It is generally found that the spelling in a class reflects the teacher's care for it and his appreciation of good spelling when the class achieve it.

With the older and abler children, attention can be given not only to accuracy and fluency but also to the elements of form and style. Some of their writing should be limited in length so that it can be as polished as possible. Their sights can perhaps be raised by reading and discussing with them narrative and descriptive passages of good quality as a preliminary to attempts at writing of a similar kind. Their attention can also be drawn to effective beginnings in the books they read and they can be encouraged to give especial thought to their own opening and concluding sentences, without being pressed to an introductory paragraph which may make for a slow or irrelevant start. Similarly they can be encouraged to arrange their thoughts in order without being tied down to a plan of paragraphs which may impede the growth and flow of thought. Able children are ready to choose their words with some deliberation but particular care is needed to ensure that they do not make their written work a patchwork of clichés and of stilted expressions. The best safeguards are the sincere, exact and lively speech of the teacher, the good quality of what is read, the omission of exercises whose purpose is to perpetuate hackneyed similes, 'green as ...', 'cool as ...', and the avoidance of such subjects for writing as 'a walk


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in spring' save on those occasions when children will be protected from the conventional by the vitality of a recent experience. At this time children may also need to be laughed gently out of the extravagances of substance and vocabulary which often result from too heavy a diet of 'comics'. Much can be done by the competing influence of well-written books which feed children's love of action. In all this training, teachers have a most valuable instrument in the commendation they give to what is best in a child's writing.

At the top of the junior school the most important writing will continue to be that which arises naturally from the daily life of the school. History, geography and scripture can afford many opportunities for narrative writing and for summarising information discovered from books or learnt from the teacher. Occasions can also be found for recording first-hand observations and experiments of a mathematical or scientific kind. Children readily appreciate the need for accuracy, for clear statements and correct order in this kind of writing. At this stage, some teachers introduce prescribed composition in order to secure a balanced range of writing. The topics set should always be within children's experience or their imaginative reach. They can include direct experiences and the experiences children hear about and see through books, the radio, the cinema and television. Originality does not require the bizarre for a stimulus but rests often on a sensitive response to the familiar. A special warning may be needed about subjects so established by tradition as the autobiographies of inanimate objects - which, by imputing feelings to them, almost force children into insincere writing - and the reflective essay, be it on hobbies or pets, which demands a detachment and generalisation which even the abler children of this age can scarcely achieve without artificiality. Whether or not some compositions are prescribed, frequent opportunities should be found for children to write on subjects freely chosen by themselves. Class newspapers and magazines can provide an incentive for this kind of writing and should demand a high standard of accuracy. Much of the writing can be given a preliminary reading and editing by children responsible for the appropriate section of the news-sheet or magazine, and appeal need be made to the teacher only in case of difficulty. Where drama is lively and poetry is enjoyed, some children attempt to write plays and verse. Many occasions can also be


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found for the writing and sending of personal letters, which allow for freedom in subject matter while requiring good standards in execution.

Opportunities will occur in connection with most fields of learning for stimulating children's awareness of language. Material rich in linguistic interest can be found, for example, in the names of arithmetical measures or in the names of flowers and herbs growing in the school garden. Many aspects of language can arouse the curiosity of children of primary school age, provided that the treatment is not too systematic. They are interested in the meaning of their own surnames and of place-names. They can follow some of the extensions of meaning of such words as 'head' and 'cross', and appreciate the relationship between 'pig' and 'pork' or 'gentleman' and 'villain'. Even in the infant school, some children notice the connection between sound and sense in onomatopoeic words such as 'crack' and 'crash' or 'murmur' and 'whisper'. Discussion of the daily uses of simile and metaphor in slang expressions can open children's eyes to more subtle examples of figurative language. Work of this kind should encourage children to make use of the standard dictionaries, which should be available, in addition to individual dictionaries, in each classroom. The recognition of the simpler parts of speech and of their function in the sentence can be included in this language study with the abler pupils, who will be interested to see how some common words play many parts; its purpose, like that of most language study, will be to deepen understanding rather than to correct usage.

The test of all that is done will be its effect on children's speech, on their understanding of words and on their writing. In evaluating children's writing, it is hardly possible to dissociate what is said from the manner in which it is said. Where children's writing lacks vigour, sincerity or coherence, teachers need to look critically at the whole range of children's experiences in school. Towards the end of the primary school, a very wide diversity in type and quality of written work is to be expected, including work prescribed and spontaneously undertaken on every aspect of the curriculum. It should serve the purpose for which it is intended, should reflect with increasing competence children's widening knowledge and should bear also the stamp of their personality.


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D. THE ARTS OF LANGUAGE

(a) Story

In all that has been said so far, much emphasis has been placed on children's need to have something to talk and to write about. This material is to be found no less at second hand than at first hand, and great stories will not only enlarge experience but will also illumine and interpret it. The contribution of story and other literature is so often taken for granted that it is worth pausing to consider in some detail its value for children, for only if teachers know why they tell stories will they choose wisely and afford them sufficient emphasis. In stories, the youngest children seek an opportunity to learn about themselves, to explore their own situation without the strain of personal entanglement and to reconcile themselves to it. This is the justification for the homely story, for stories about children and their parents and the routine of the day. For all but the very youngest children, such a story needs detail if it is to be convincing. It is even more important that the world of childhood that is portrayed should be authentic and its dark places neither shunned nor falsified. The child is fortunate who discovers in a story his own problems of self-control and who first meets the sorrows of separation and death in the setting of a story rather than face to face. And if in story children explore themselves and their relationships, they can also find in story a respite and relief from present strains. The lonely child forgets his isolation in stories of friendship, and most children need from time to time to escape from the pressure and frustration of the moment into the fantasies of the fairy and animal worlds. Sometimes indeed children may flee too far into fantasy but often they are only escaping from themselves, as they are, to the characters they may become. In the religious story and heroic story they can see the possibilities that are open to them: they can see the weak triumph by faith and persistence and they can see failure redeemed by heroism; and as children identify themselves, now with one hero, now with another, suggestion can help to form - yet not constrain - the self which will finally emerge. From the interchange of roles which story offers to children, the beginnings of sympathy can grow - the ability to put oneself in another's place and to appreciate new relationships and an unfamiliar material background. This is one way in which detachment can be fostered, the detachment with-


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out which imagination and perception will be distorted. It is moreover from stories and from example that the abstractions are bodied forth in children's minds: good and evil become more than actions prescribed or forbidden; gentleness, truth and justice become ideals which can help to create the virtues they represent. Many of the greatest stories told in school are a world heritage, and others are the common property and bond of unity of those countries whose culture stems from Greece and Rome and Christian Europe. But we have a special obligation to transmit to children the stories of our own country, from which we derive much of our sense of community and national values, and which carry, in addition to their original meaning, the significance which the centuries have given them.

The ideal role of story, consolidating, compensating for and extending children's experience, has been described, but it remains to apply it to each stage of primary education. The earliest beginnings of story, told to the two or three year old, need to be so closely related to children's lives that stories of the teacher's invention are usually the best. It is helpful if each stage of the story is complete in itself since very young children cannot appreciate development, and it is best to defer the difficulties caused by an autobiographical form until children are able to use pronouns with confidence. A story read at this time or a little later can be told with the book in the hand. Occasions should be sought when a group of children can cluster round, a group small enough for all to see the pictures in the book. The storyteller can enlarge on the matters on which the children are anxious for more detail but remain faithful to the rhythmic phrases or repetition in which the youngest wish to join. They will already enjoy the humour of topsy turvydom and they may take particular pleasure in the word of unusual sound, whether it is nonsense such as 'Hi cockalorum' or a sophisticated word picked up from adult speech.

It is pleasing that in the infant school the tradition holds firm of a story a day, and that some stories are told and some are read. Teachers are often very skilful in creating the intimate setting required for a story: to have the children grouped round them contributes to a sensitive adjustment between teacher and children and helps the children to play an active part in the story. Such clear thought is not always given to the choice of stories to be told and read. At moments of strain, when a new baby is born


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in the family or when children first come to school, it is helpful for them to hear stories of those who are faced by similar situations. This need has been well understood in our times and has influenced a great proportion of books written for young children. But it is right also to bear in mind Dr Johnson's remark, 'Babies do not want to hear about babies; they like to be told of giants and castles and of somewhat which can stretch and stimulate their little minds'. If children's play shows a need to investigate their own lives, it shows no less clearly their desire to grow up; as they move towards the top of the infant school, they are ready to leave the security of 'here and now' for the romance of 'once upon a time' and the adventures of 'far away'. Many of the traditional fairy tales, myths and folk stories are particularly suitable for children of this age because of the universality of their themes and imagery, the boldness of their characterisation and situations, the consistency of their fantasy and the clarity of their moral judgements. Children are often surprisingly matter of fact in their attitude to death and disaster as long as its background is not too similar to their own, but it is important that right should triumph, that the small, the weak and the good, with whom they tend to identify themselves, should 'live happily ever after'. If there is reason to suppose that a story will strain children's emotions too far, the right course is to defer rather than to bowdlerise it. Much will depend on the teacher's confidence and skill in handling the story.

It has already been suggested that some stories should be told and that some should be read so that children can have an insight into the pleasures to be found in books, and this principle holds good throughout the primary school. Stories chosen to be read aloud should have some distinction of language, whether in the range or interest of vocabulary or in the rhythm of its arrangement. There is no better way for children to catch the rhythm of good prose than by hearing it well read. If teachers are to do justice to such language they need to read the story beforehand, so that they can identify themselves imaginatively with it, be quick to insert a synonym for a difficult word and light in their occasional comment on a humorous passage, a happy description or an unusual word. There are some stories, such as Uncle Remus, Alice in Wonderland and The Just-So Stories, whose virtue is so inextricably associated with their language that no retelling can catch their quality; they should


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be left alone until their language can be enjoyed. There are other stories, such as some of the adventures of Odysseus or the story of Chanticleer and the fox, which can be told at different levels to children of almost any age, though, when the time comes, the vigour of a modern translation of an original text can infuse fresh life into die familiar. Whether the story is to be told or read, it is important that teachers should turn to the best version that can be found, making their own judgements about the merits of an eighteenth or nineteenth century translation of the Arabian Nights or of the Norse sagas as contrasted with the terseness of the latest translation. If teachers are themselves accustomed to going to the original, or as near to it as possible, they will be in a better position to discriminate between good versions of well-known stories for the children's library and the even greater number of travesties.

The problem of quality of reading - whether by the teacher to the children or by the children for themselves - which exists already in the infant school, becomes more serious in the junior school, where literature is sometimes relegated to one period a week. This economy goes some way to explain the use of the retold classic, its story so compressed that it may become meaningless, the characters attenuated, the description omitted and the quality of language lost. This treatment is the more unfortunate because the primary school years offer an ideal opportunity for introducing children to the fairy tales of East and West, to the myths of Greece and Rome and Northern Europe, to the heroic stories of the Middle Ages, to knights as various as Gawain, the Red Cross Knight and Don Quixote, and to the exploration of new worlds in Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe and Pilgrim's Progress. In addition to this adult literature which children in successive generations have made their own - and it is a mark of the great book that it can be enjoyed at many levels - teachers will want to acquaint their pupils with some of the best of the books which have been written on both sides of the Atlantic since children's literature became an established genre. These will probably include the fairy tales of Hans Andersen and George Macdonald, domestic stories as varied as those of Johanna Spyri, Louisa Alcott and the prolific Victorian children's novelists, the adventure stories of Mark Twain and Stevenson, and the stories of Lewis Carroll, Kipling and of Kenneth Grahame which defy classification. Any child must be


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the poorer who does not meet Walter de la Mare's prose and verse. But the contemporary also speaks to children, and teachers should make a serious effort to know the best writers of their own time in their own and in other countries and should accept their books into the canon of literature on which they spend time with the children.

Some children are already beginning to ask whether a story is true before they leave the infant school, and the older juniors will place a high value on the truth of an adventure story. It is not always easy to find true stories and factual accounts of literary quality to read to children, but this is a field in which skilful teachers intersperse story and reading, and often share short passages from their own reading with their pupils. In this way able juniors can enjoy suspense and heroism from biographies and autobiographies - or from the better escape stories of the second world war - the quiet humour of reminiscences of Victorian childhood, the vision of wild life and of little known peoples in books of travel, and many passages from the great naturalists.

There is a danger that in preparing stories and in choosing books teachers will underestimate children's ability to respond to good language and style. Good style in story-telling knows no age-limits, though such techniques as the long-deferred appearance of the hero in the Odyssey or the inversions of time common in many modern stories are likely to be too difficult for all but the older children. Teachers might give special thought to the beginnings and endings of stories, and to the place of climax and anticlimax. Above all they need to be selective and not over-simple in the words they use, stimulating children with language that is exact, colourful, sonorous and amusing.

In choosing literary material to present to children, teachers might also keep in mind the interdependence of imaginative and first-hand experience, the extent to which children notice the things they have already heard about and imagine the more vividly when some parts of their imaginative experience can be referred back to the real world. Constant opportunities will be needed for the kind of discussion through which children reconcile the real and the story-book worlds.

(b) Poetry

Good stories have a special claim to inclusion in young


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children's education because of the light they throw on life and because of their power to foster sentiments and nourish the imagination. The same is true, in equal degree, of the national heritage of poetry; and poetry, if sensitively chosen and presented, can make a unique appeal to children if only because the poet and the child have much in common in their perception of the world and in their use of language. Both poet and child see freshly and delight in detail of sight and sound; both tend to think and remember in images and by association of imagery; both see what is new in terms of likeness to what is known and rely in their language on simile and metaphor. Children's use of figurative language, due in part no doubt to a shortage of vocabulary which forces a novel use of such words as are known, can range from the odd description of a zebra as 'a horse in pyjamas' to the evocative 'deep London' for Piccadilly Circus or 'shadow of a sound' for an echo.

But poetry will not take its proper place in school unless it is enjoyed by teachers as well as by children; only then will selection be sure, only then will it be possible to avoid the twin pitfalls of the fixed poetry period, in which the amount read is mechanically determined by the length of the period, and the too casual allocation of odd moments to poems lightly chosen and read with little preparation.

On the informal programmes of the nursery school and of the younger children in the infant school, times of quiet and relaxation when children are ready to respond to poetry are not difficult to find. Save where speech training rhymes have ousted the nursery rhyme, the traditional material holds its place, though teachers' choices do not always range widely enough in the many excellent collections of rhymes. In nursery rhyme, they can find romance of thought and language - 'How many miles to Babylon?', beauty of imagery and sound - 'Grey goose and gander, waft your wings together ...', lively narrative and robust humour - 'There was an old woman, as I've heard tell ...' a surprisingly wide vocabulary, and the repetitions which help memorisation. It is at the stage immediately following the nursery rhyme, for which a profusion of verse, peopled by insipid fairies described in monosyllables, has been written, that particular care is needed to see that the poetry chosen keeps pace with children's interest and vocabulary. If the general idea of a poem is within children's understanding, good reading by


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the teacher and the children's delight in sound will carry them over verbal difficulties. On this basis, medieval carols, folk songs, some of Shakespeare's songs and short extracts from lyrical and descriptive poetry are within children's reach before they leave the infant school. If it is felt necessary to add some verse, including nonsense verse, written specifically for children, examples can best be sought among the works of those who are poets at an adult level and who have written for themselves as well as for children. It would be well to omit the whimsy but retain the fantasy, to cut out the mawkish or at least to retain it at its best in the gentle child of A Child's Garden of Verse, who was, after all, the product of years of sickness and insomnia, to balance the mildness of the Land of Counterpane with the robustness of Walter de la Mare's:

'No bed, no bed' we shouted,
And wheeled our eyes from home
To where the green and golden woods
Cried 'Come!'*
What are the poetic qualities that will appeal to children, as they move through the primary school? They will enjoy colour and texture of language and of sound, the unexpected and exciting word, the clear-cut image which helps them to look, for example, at the thrush's nest with a poet's exactitude of observation, refrains, strong rhythms and a sense of movement. As for subject matter, poems that tell stories, introduce stirring scenes of action and present humorous situations, with amusing twists and exaggerations, will commend themselves increasingly to children. They can appreciate the half-told story whose ending they must invent for themselves, and poems that describe the world they know and the world they dream of. The field is so wide that it is difficult to select particular poems for mention. Much that is suitable is to be found in collections of ballads, in the works of standard poets and in contemporary British and American poetry. It is worth emphasising that difficult poems will often yield short passages that children can enjoy, and that children can derive much pleasure from the sound of great poetry which is but imperfectly understood.

*Walter de la Mare. Collected Rhymes and Verses. By permission of the Literary Trustees of Walter de la Mare and the Society of Authors as their representative.


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It is possible to make only the broadest generalisations on the treatment of poetry in the classroom. The earliest appeal of poetry through the nursery rhyme rests partly on an element of incantation. Teachers who know some poetry by heart and are ready with it at the right moment can hold their classes as spellbound as was the wedding-guest by the Ancient Mariner. But whether teachers read, or speak poems with the book in the hand, great importance attaches to the interpretation. First hearings are as important for children as other first impressions, and poetry is meant above all to be heard. Children also should be given many opportunities for reading poetry aloud, but, if as much thought is given to those who listen as to those who read, classes will not be made to listen to an unconsidered succession of readings.

Children will not be able to choose poems to read to others unless they have opportunities for reading much to themselves. From the first the classroom library should include poetry, no less attractively bound and produced than prose, though a decorative page is perhaps to be preferred to illustrations, which may interpose themselves between the 'inner eye' and its vision. Anthologies, however good, are not sufficient, but need to be supplemented by selections of the works of individual poets, including those of the present time. It will then be possible for children to make their own collections of favourite poems. Similarly some periods may be set aside as sessions in which children read aloud poems they have chosen for themselves, guided sometimes by previous agreement on a theme. The preparation for such a session might include an informal arrangement of the room and, more important, individual help and practice for children in the reading of their selected poems.

Some of the poems read in class may lend themselves to dramatic or choral treatment. This treatment can add to children's enjoyment of poetry, provided that it is not extended to poems unsuited for it by their substance or by the difficulty of their rhythm. It is seldom rewarding in the primary school to 'produce' and polish verse-speaking for public performance, nor should it be exploited as a means of speech training, though it may contribute incidentally to better speech.

It is most difficult of all to advise on how much talk there should be about poetry and poets. The practice of individual teachers varies very much. Though the poems matter far more


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than the poets, a word or two about a poet may give children a feeling of intimacy with him. A light touch is all-important, whether in the explanation of a phrase before reading a poem or in the skilful juxtaposition of two poems which may aid children's understanding without denying them the sense of personal discovery. Though many children are well able to explain what the words and sounds of a poem suggest to them, little purpose is served - and indeed harm may be done - by asking them whether they like it.

In the past, poetry often became a drudgery because of an emphasis on memorisation, but whenever poetry is loved, much is learnt by heart. The youngest children will demand the repetition by which rhymes can be memorised, though the pleasures of the familiar need to alternate with the stimulus of the novel. If the atmosphere of a classroom is favourable to poetry, and particularly where a teacher himself has set an example in memorisation, children can readily be encouraged to select full-length poems or extracts from them that they will enjoy learning. Many take pleasure and pride in their memorised collection. But the memorisation of a poem should not be made a test of industry and accuracy. Though children should often speak the poems learnt, they may need to have the book beside them to ensure that the quality of their interpretation is not impaired by self-consciousness or strain. The old exaggerations of expression have so far disappeared that it is hardly necessary to mention them.

An appreciation of poetry comes as much from writing poetry as from reading it, but the writing should not be made a compulsory task. Children are helped in the writing of their own verse if they hear poetry in as wide a range of rhythms as possible. The inclusion of some blank verse will show them that they need not always strain after rhyme. Abler children at the top of the junior school also enjoy getting the feel of rhythm by practising writing in such marked rhythms as that of 'Hiawatha', but it is unlikely that it will be on these occasions that their writing will be nearest to poetry.

(c) Drama

The beginnings of drama are to be found in children's play, which serves some of the same purposes for children as drama


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for the adult. Through dramatic play children can soliloquize, can express their feelings about their everyday experiences and go some way towards overcoming their fears and solving their problems. At first this play seems to be largely imitative, though, at an early stage, play with an imaginary playmate can find a place. As children grow older they begin to act versions of the stories they hear, and to identify themselves so closely with the characters from these stories that they can weave fresh incidents round them and invent new companions for them. The beginnings of dramatic form - the arrangement of incidents to build up to a dramatic climax - do not usually appear until late in the junior stage. Last of all comes conscious interpretation for the benefit of an audience. In the early years, dramatic play is solitary and the small spontaneous groups that may develop among children of four and five years old are short-lived. Even when children have reached the stage of acting stories, they often prefer individual play, in which each is a hero or plays each character in turn, to the discipline of a group. There is a parallel development in the contribution made by speech. At first the play is expressed predominantly through movement; monologue and snatches of conversation and comment result from the movement rather than stimulate it. The older the children, the more coherent the group, the bigger becomes the part played by dialogue, though even children of eight and nine are often more concerned with what they are doing than with what they are saying, and represent characters by posture, gesture, facial expression and incident, and only subordinately by speech. When language is used by children who have thrown themselves into a part, it is often, if terse, very much to the point, and when children are playing stories which have moved them, vivid language from the story may overflow into the play. Before they leave the primary school, the abler children may be anxious to script their parts on special occasions, and some children will be writing complete short plays.

What has been described is the development of spontaneous dramatic play at home or in school, though anyone who recollects family charades will realise that even at home young children's play is often made to fit the designs of older children, and that the influence of a visit to the pantomime or of a television programme may be considerable. But to accept this is not to commend the practice, which survives in some infant schools, of


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expecting five-year-old children to act in a coherent group, nor to believe that time is well spent by children whose dramatisation of stories consists in repeating their teacher's phrases and gestures. Even in infant schools, children are sometimes expected to 'speak up' for the sake of a classroom audience which is often itself gaining nothing. In some junior schools, children are taught prematurely the conventions of playing to an audience, and spend much time in reading, and, for special occasions, in memorising, short plays of very doubtful value. In other schools drama is limited to the kind of dramatisation in which dramatic techniques are used as a means of consolidating knowledge.

A growing number of schools have become dissatisfied with the tradition of directed dramatisation and premature play-reading, and are trying to replace it by work which gives more rein to originality. In the nursery school there are few problems; dressing-up clothes are almost universally provided and chairs or tables can suffice for garage or engine or cinema queue. As children approach infant school age they appreciate a house or shop big enough to play in; they continue to enjoy dressing up and like to use dramatic properties. Often they need no more than a symbol, as long as the symbol is relevant: the long train for the queen, the apron for the nurse, the walking stick for the old man. Careful thought is needed about the decent housing of dressing-up clothes and properties, which might include some of a kind to stimulate the development of group play. For the rest, children need space for their play and the discreet word from the teacher which may help one child to sustain a role and encourage another child to experiment in a new part. Teachers should watch for the progress in dramatic play which can be expected as children move through the infant school.

Some teachers find that children who have begun to act stories enjoy miming a story as it is told to them. Teachers need, however, to be on their guard lest they play too much on children's emotions, and to be careful that their narration does not block the emergence of spontaneous speech. Children's use of words can be encouraged but should not be so emphasised that it cramps movement. Once children have begun to work in groups, stories can be discussed by the class and split into sections, each of which can be played by a group. The subject matter of religious instruction and history often supplies excellent material


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for dramatic purposes, provided that children are imaginatively involved in it.

The next phase is often associated with improvisation: an idea or theme is suggested which children work out for themselves in terms of movement and speech, the proportions of each varying very widely. Particularly when children have derived satisfaction from their improvisation or story-play, they may want to do further work on it. This is the stage when they will profit from discussions with their teachers about sequence, characterisation and dialogue. The result may be the transformation of an acted story into a coherent play, though the actors may know nothing of the unities of time or place and may approximate much more closely to the unrestricted sequence of folk drama. When dialogue has developed, some children may want to polish their plays by committing them to paper. They may also be becoming ready, by the top of the junior school, to interpret the plays of others. The difficulty is to find suitable scripts. Medieval mystery plays and mummers' plays are often more rewarding than plays written specifically for schools and are nearer to the children's own conventions. At this stage some children like to have an audience. A 'domestic' audience is best, an audience which is of the players' own level of maturity, or, if adult, one which does not distract the children and which understands the difference between children's plays and the theatre. Inventiveness can be deadened by an adult stage with a proscenium. Children need plenty of space for movement and can make good use of portable blocks to provide settings in which their action can be viewed from all sides.

The quality of dramatic work derives in part from the basic relationships in school, in part from all the other work which is going on in movement and in language. Training in exact and imaginative observation, nourishment with good literature, and the kind of atmosphere in which there is no self-consciousness, are as important as discussion on problems of a specifically dramatic kind. Throughout the primary school, the degree of children's absorption in their play-acting will be an essential element in any assessment of its worth, as also will be the extent to which the play contributes to a more sensitive understanding of the story or experience which it represents.

In no field of education are the teacher's personal influence, taste and values more important than in the arts, whose power


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to affect men's lives is greater than many suspect. Children are highly vulnerable - vulnerable in their sensitivity and in the quickness with which they form impressions - vulnerable in their lack of discrimination, which, if it leaves them exposed to what is good, leaves them also exposed to the evil and the shoddy. The not infrequent clash of standards between the outside world and the world of school presents many problems; but the main answer must lie in the quality of what is put before children in school, the quality of the experiences the children enjoy and of the learning which is gained from them, the quality of the teacher's speech, of the stories he tells and the poetry he reads. To this must be added the teacher's skill in drawing children's attention to what they as individuals most need. The teacher's concern for quality, and his understanding of children and their individual difficulties, are indeed the conditions for progress in the whole field of language, both at the primary stage and afterwards.




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CHAPTER XII

Mathematics

[See my note at the end of this chapter if you need explanations of the imperial measures and pre-decimal coinage mentioned.]

A. INTRODUCTORY

There is no subject in the primary school curriculum which gives rise to more thought at the present time than mathematics. It is significant not only that it is the theme of discussions and conferences in all parts of the country among primary teachers themselves, but that mathematicians are increasingly giving thought and attention to the development of their subject in the minds of young children.* This interest springs partly from the contemporary need to have as many good mathematicians as the country can produce and as widespread an understanding of mathematical communication as is possible, and partly - and here teachers have been especially active - from the feeling that the time and energy spent on teaching mathematics (or 'number' or 'arithmetic') in primary schools produces too seldom in children lasting interest, general competence or the confident attitude towards mathematical problems that might have been expected.

What follows in this chapter makes no pretensions to giving complete answers to the many questions that arise. It offers ideas and suggestions which are based on what has been observed in schools, in the hope that teachers will find something to stimulate and guide their own thinking and so lead them to more effective practice.

In all primary schools some mathematics is taught, whether it is called 'number', or 'arithmetic' or 'practical mathematics', and whether it is in set lessons or as an incidental part of children's general work. Are the schools merely following tradition or are there compelling reasons why a proportion of children's primary school life should be spent in the learning of mathematics?

*See for example the Mathematical Association's Mathematics in the Primary School.


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Tradition certainly plays a part, perhaps as a legacy from the days of payment by results. Mathematics was, and still is, a subject in which performance can be assessed with a fair amount of objectivity. Also, in the past, much time was spent on the learning of mathematics because there was a strong belief that the training given was of general value, that the virtues of accuracy, concentration and logical thinking which are encouraged in mathematical training were automatically transferred to other activities. In its crude form this idea is now discredited but it is true that mathematics, well taught, may have an influence on children's general attitude to learning, and that ways of tackling problems in other situations are influenced for good by sound mathematical training. Mathematics has retained its traditional importance as an examination subject; it is widely used in examinations for allocation to secondary education and for the measurement of children's progress; also parents and teachers often quote a child's success in arithmetic as evidence of his progress at school.

B. REASONS FOR TEACHING MATHEMATICS

The question which may reasonably be asked by teachers today is: 'Obviously we must teach mathematics in our schools if our children are to pass external examinations, but what other reasons are there for teaching it?' If the learning of mathematics is conceived of as nothing more than the daily grinding out of pages of mechanical sums, then probably the answer is that there is little justification for spending a great deal of time on it. If, however, it is conceived of as something which will help children (and adults) to solve some of the problems of living, to order and extend their everyday experiences so that they may better deal with their affairs, then it becomes of great importance. The attempt to achieve this aim makes more demands on the teacher, but there will be compensation in the added interest and stimulation which both teacher and children will enjoy.

It may be useful to consider some further reasons for learning mathematics in the primary school.

(a) Historical

Mathematical thought is part, and a great part, of the heritage of the race. Children should not remain unaware of this activity


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of the human mind, by which, to some extent, our own individual minds have been moulded. By its aid man has measured the distances to the stars, forecast eclipses, navigated the seas and the air, made maps of the earth, built cathedrals and bridges, split atoms and designed machines from the simple lever to the most complicated space satellite or electronic computer; all the elaborate business transactions between men, between groups of men, and between nations are founded on a knowledge of mathematics. And the subject is growing; the need to know more about the structure of the atom led to the development of new algebras and geometries. To quote a great mathematician, it is 'a study which did not begin with Pythagorus and will not end with Einstein, but it is the oldest and the youngest of them all'.* It is a continuing and unique way of thought and children should become acquainted with it, and experience it, at however humble a level.

(b) Utilitarian

As babies, children are surrounded by shapes, and their lives are subject to the rhythm of time. Later they are concerned with houses, and buses, and pages of books, all of which have numbers, with clocks, the hands of which turn through angles, thus measuring the passage of time, with calendars which register dates, with the ages of various people and the differences in their ages. Our environment is daily becoming more mathematical in its implications; the vocabularies of even young children contain words such as wavelength, supersonic speed, acceleration, gradient, interplanetary and atomic energy - words, which until comparatively recently were part of the vocabulary of the scientist and the mathematician only. Children and adults are confronted by these mathematical ideas at different levels; if they are to talk intelligently about, and deal efficiently with, their environment it is essential that words should have some precision of meaning and only through mathematics can some of these words be defined.

Every adult needs a certain amount of mathematics in order to live in this complex society and feel some sense of mastery over his environment. Everyone must be able to deal with numbers,

*GH Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology Cambridge University Press.


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with money, and with the quantities such as length, weight, time and capacity. In addition, increasing numbers of adults are needed to follow occupations which require more technical mathematical knowledge. Society must have its clerks, engineers of all types, and atomic physicists. It is true that with the advent of calculating machines there is no longer the need for man to undertake long computations; but the design, programming and maintenance of these machines require more advanced mathematical knowledge than mere computation.

It may be argued that the mathematics of the engineer and the atomic physicist is remote from the work done in the primary school. Nevertheless, it is in the primary school that children's attitudes towards mathematics are created; if children become confused and unable to master the work at this age, the feeling of fear and frustration may remain with them throughout their lives.

(c) Aesthetic

Aesthetic satisfaction may seem a somewhat unusual value to expect in the mathematical work of a primary school. As the subject is often taught, it may seldom emerge, but if it does not, the fault lies, not in the subject, but in the teaching. The elegance, the order, the pattern and the generality which are inherent in even the most elementary work can be appreciated by all children in some measure if the work is presented with this aim in mind. Clearly the teacher must be aware of these qualities himself, and appreciate them. It may be that some primary teachers need to know more about mathematics. They are now fortunate in that they are all within reach, either by post or by a personal visit, of an educational library where there is a librarian who will help in suggesting suitable reading. If more primary teachers developed an interest in mathematics there might be a different emphasis in the teaching, and children, most of whom begin by enjoying their work with numbers and shapes, would continue to enjoy mathematics to the end of their lives; unfortunately, their enthusiasm is often allowed to die.

Children find pure arithmetic fascinating; the often heard statement that children love doing pages of little sums has probably much truth in it; they find enjoyment in manipulating numbers and in gaining power over them. But discussion of the sometimes strange properties possessed by numbers plays


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far too little part in much arithmetic teaching. They might discuss, for example, the nine times table, the casting out of nines, triangular numbers and their relations with square numbers. There are many even simpler results. For instance, because 9 + 7 = 16, then 19 + 7 = 26, and 29 + 7 = 36. Facts like these many children never discover for themselves, but they should become obvious if the decimal notation is fully understood in all its simplicity and economy.

C. THE TEACHING OF MATHEMATICS

It is often said that if children are to enjoy mathematics, and if they are to apply what they learn in school to the affairs of life, then they must understand what it is about. What is meant by understanding? It is a difficult question which exercises the minds of mathematical teachers at all levels. Obviously children cannot wait to use the idea of 'four' until they are capable of understanding it fully. This is a postgraduate exercise, and if children never use the idea of 'four', the stage of postgraduate mathematics will never be reached. In any case whether teachers wish them to use it or not they will use it; they live lives apart from that in the classroom.

When learning a new mathematical process children should at least know for what purpose they will use it, and be convinced that it gives the 'right answer' to the problem. This implies that they can find the 'right answer' by a more rudimentary method or by using concrete material. For example, if they are being taught the multiplication process they should realise that this is an economical way of doing repeated addition and they should satisfy themselves that the new process gives the same answer. They should also be capable of using this process in significant situations.

This does not mean that teachers should continually return to the early stages and thus retard progress. Once children feel that they have reached at least the degree of understanding mentioned above, and that their 'sentiment of rationality' has been satisfied, then the new ideas become a part of them and they use them, as they use language. When they speak they do not stop to think out the definition of every word they use, or they would never talk; but they must have some understanding of the words and sentences they use, and the teacher's aim should be to


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increase and develop this understanding, by widening and deepening the meaning.

Responsibility for being aware of what depth of understanding can be demanded from particular children rests with the teacher, as he alone watches the learning process from day to day. Very little is known of the mental processes by which children learn mathematics but research which has been done suggests that children are too often expected to deal with mathematical ideas which they do not sufficiently understand and cannot assimilate in their early school days.

There may, however, be some processes and ideas which the teacher thinks it important to teach at a particular stage, even though he knows that it is difficult to give adequate justification for them. For example, he may think that by the time children are, say, seven or eight they should be able to use the subtraction process. There are many ways of performing this process, some of which are more easily explained than others. If he believes that the 'equal additions' method is the best he may find it difficult to show why the method is valid. He can however show that it works in a variety of examples which can be tested practically and so lead the children to have belief in the method, as opposed merely to belief in his statement that it will work. This is a method which permeates all science - the observation of many particular cases leads to a belief in a general result, which can be tested by further experiment. Later the general result may be seen as a deduction from simpler results.

The teacher's desire that children should believe in their own reasoning powers will be a guide for him in this notoriously difficult problem of children's understanding.

How are children to be taught mathematics in the primary school so that their interest in the subject will grow all the time and they will leave the primary school feeling that they are looking forward to the next stage and are competent to deal with it?

Mere accuracy of computation is not enough. Certainly children must learn addition and multiplication facts and they must learn the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division processes as applied to numbers and quantities, and to use these processes accurately - otherwise no satisfaction can be obtained from the attempts to solve problems. There is always a sense of frustration if a child or an adult wishes to do a piece of work and finds either that he has not the requisite tools, or, if he has them,


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that they are not sharp enough for his purpose. Nevertheless he must also know what work he wishes to do with his tools and what tools are required for a given purpose. It would not be thought sufficient if a workman had sharpened a tool to a fine edge and then practised for weeks the correct method of using it; he would be expected to make something with the tool. Similarly it would seem wasteful if a pianist practised scales for years and never attempted to use his technique to interpret a piece of music. Both the workman and the pianist, though probably deriving pleasure from the mastery of their technique, would have stopped short of the important end of their work. Similarly children derive pleasure from their mastery of mathematical techniques, but these are learned so that they may be used, and so that they may be seen as part of a wider mathematical structure.

It is not generally realised how, in mathematics, a class can develop its own mathematical knowledge. When history, for example, is being taught children will need to be given some facts; they cannot deduce the story of the Armada from their previous knowledge of Queen Elizabeth I's reign. With skilful teaching, however, they can be led to discover the process of addition as a more economical method than counting in ones, and multiplication as an economical method of performing repeated additions. If they know how to multiply numbers they can then deduce how to multiply, say, shillings and pence by a number; they are merely changing the base from ten to twelve. In the same way, at a later stage, in the secondary school, a knowledge of the geometry of the triangle enables them to deduce the geometry of many-sided figures, of the circle and of the conic sections. This 'awakening of the learner's belief in reason and his confidence in the truth of what is being demonstrated'* is one of the fundamental aims of the teaching of mathematics and can permeate any syllabus, however stereotyped.

If children are to play this important part in their own learning of mathematics then there will need to be interplay between the minds of the teacher and of the children, and between the minds of the children themselves. This will entail discussion; therefore it is important that there should be talking in mathe-

*Bertrand Russell: 'The Study of Mathematics' from Mysticism and Logic. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London.


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matics lessons, the discussion of new situations for which the children's present knowledge is inadequate, the development of that knowledge further, perhaps to the stage of evolving a new process, and the seeing of the implications of the new discovery.

Another important part of mathematical teaching which can be dealt with by discussion is the development of an interest in general number relations and in interesting facts about particular numbers. For example, that if any number be multiplied by an even number the result is an even number, that the square numbers 0, 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36 ... have the odd numbers in succession as differences, that 60 is not only 6 x 10, but also 1 x 60, 2 x 30, 3 x 20, 4 x 15, 5 x 12 etc. Time spent in encouraging children to notice these things and to become familiar with them gives a two-fold benefit - it gives the children great pleasure and increases their confidence in dealing with numbers, and it also simplifies the learning process in that they have far fewer unrelated facts to deal with.

The emphasis on discussion does not mean that all children within a class or group should be expected to work at the same speed. If they do, then something is wrong with the teaching; either the slower ones are being dragged along in a confused state of mind or the quicker are bored. When a discussion is finished there should be opportunity for the children to work individually and for the teacher to deal with the difficulties of a child or of a group who have not grasped the ideas. Where a class works in groups it may sometimes be of value to have all the groups dealing with the same topic and to allow the ablest group to range more widely over the field. The brightest children in the primary school are capable of doing far more than is usually asked of them; their powers are developed in only a very limited way by giving them more and harder mechanical sums of the same type. Of more value is work, perhaps still on the same topic, which stimulates ingenuity and originality.

The general principles of teaching which emerge from the preceding paragraphs may be applied to any syllabus and at any stage of teaching. They may be summarised as follows:

1. The teacher should know, well in advance, what he means to teach and how he means to teach it. He should ensure progression at all times, keeping in mind the abilities of the children. It is essential that this progression should apply to the brighter children as well as to the duller. Too


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often the bright child, who learns something very quickly, is not allowed to progress until the child of average ability has caught up with him.

2. The teacher should be preparing well in advance for the introduction of a new idea or process, using situations that arise in the classroom and in other subjects and in practical work.

3. Having prepared the ground he will need to draw together all the various incidental information and facts in a discussion with the children, and will probably then find that some children, with judicious guidance, can work out on their own initiative the steps necessary to deal with the new problem.

4. There will be a period of consolidation when the children practise the new work until the teacher is satisfied that they have mastered the new process or the new skill sufficiently for the time being. Even though errors are occasionally made it may be better to let the topic rest after a time and to return to it later. This calls for experienced judgement on the part of the teacher; the important facts are that children must practise calculating techniques, but that calculation should not occupy too much of any child's time in mathematics.

5. The techniques have been introduced because they are seen as superior methods of solving introductory problems. They will continue to be used to solve problems, perhaps chosen from a textbook, or made up by the teacher. The use of problems occurring in children's everyday lives, while admirable if the problems exist or can be contrived, needs careful forethought, especially with a large class. Too often such problems provide very little arithmetic, and that too difficult for children to deal with. It is more important that problems should be significant, that is, that they should refer to situations which children understand. To take an example - here are four problems of greatly differing significance to primary children and yet all involve the simple arithmetical sum 7½ ÷ 3:

(a) Three ounces of sweets cost 7½d. How much does one ounce cost?

(b) Three stamps of the same colour cost 7½d. What colour were they?


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(c) What is the volume of a cone whose base and height are the same as those of a cylinder whose volume is 7.5 litres?

(d) What is the logarithm of the cube root of the number whose logarithm is 7.5?

Problem (a) would be significant for most children in a junior school, problem (b) for some, and problems (c) and (d) for few or none.

6. If work previously learned is constantly used in the subsequent teaching there should be less need for formal revision; but this will always have a place in teaching.

7. Along with the continued extension of ideas and techniques, their practice and application, time should also be given to the learning of number facts, and whether this becomes wearisome depends mostly on the teacher. He will try to keep a balance between the two opposing ideas, that children must sometimes spend time learning facts that are not intrinsically interesting, and that, on the other hand, children learn more quickly and lastingly if they are interested.

D. CHILDREN LEARNING MATHEMATICS

Children living in a normal environment will learn their mother tongue without direct teaching; so inevitably will they learn to deal with mathematical ideas. As in their daily lives they learn language through contact with the external world, a world which includes other children and adults, so do they consciously and unconsciously absorb mathematical ideas while manipulating objects and while watching and listening to others.

Too frequently in dealing with children on their entry to the infant school teachers tend to ignore the very considerable background of mathematical knowledge which the children already possess. This knowledge will vary according to their experiences during the first five years of their lives. Children who have gone shopping with their mothers, or perhaps alone, who have helped with the household chores, who have watched men at work, who have played in the garden with other children, putting water or earth into cans or jars, may have a far better mathematical background than those who have not had these advantages. A valuable experience for the teacher of the youngest class would be to


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make a list of the words and ideas concerned with mathematics which children use by the time they first come to school. Most children will know the number names (although perhaps only as a meaningless jingle with no reference to counting); many will know words such as heavy, light, ounce, year, month, week, day, just right, big, little, pound, shilling, penny, quick, slow, half, both, pair (of shoes), lots, thin, thick, wide, long, high, low, tall, short; they will use words involving comparison such as bigger, biggest, less, more, twice, double; they will recognise certain shapes such as circles (sun, plate, clock face), spheres (ball) and rectangles (table, room, carpet); they will know that they find halves by dividing into two parts (not necessarily equal!); they may be able to find quarters; they may be able to appreciate the idea of ratio (e.g. in the story of The Three Bears the sizes of the individual bowls, chairs and beds are proportional to the sizes of the bears). In all these cases there may be little precise knowledge but the words they use certainly mean something to the children.

They will also have used numerals in many different ways: 'I am five years old', 'It is five o'clock (TV time)', 'I have five bricks', 'I catch a No. 5 bus', 'My house is the fifth down the street'. They will almost certainly see no connection between all these different uses of the word 'five', but if the teaching which they receive in the infant school is to have significance for them this rudimentary knowledge should be used skilfully. To teach number as though it were a foreign language with which children have had no previous acquaintance is wasteful of time and children's experience; even more important is the loss of an opportunity to illustrate a fundamental principle - the continuity of mathematical learning. There are no categories such as infant number, junior arithmetic, grammar school or university mathematics; those ideas which children discover and learn at the beginning of their lives are those which (after the ideas have gradually become more and more precise) they will use at the university. As Sir Percy Nunn said, 'The teacher of infant number is a teacher of mathematics'.

For example, when children learn to count they are using the idea of a one-one correspondence, that is, to one object corresponds one number-name. This same idea is used by the pure mathematician in his work on transfinite numbers and projective geometry. Again, when children learn to measure, say, length,


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they may decide that two lengths are equal if by putting a ruler alongside each length they find that each length corresponds to the same marking on the ruler. This is a particular case of the abstract law that if a = b and c = b then a = c.

(a) The infant school

It would not be desirable to lay down how much work should be covered during this stage of children's education; so much depends on personal factors, on the ability of the children and on their early experience, and on the knowledge and experience of the teacher.

After children have entered the infant school they will continue to meet situations in their home lives which will increase their store of mathematical knowledge; but this knowledge will still be unordered and vague. The first function of the teacher in the infant school is to make this knowledge more orderly and more precise and to help children to build up a vocabulary in which the words have a greater precision of meaning. Some children will need to have experiences which will give to them that background knowledge which others have gained from their home environment, and it is very important to realise that this stage cannot be hurried.

All children need an environment which will stimulate discussion about shape, size, number and quantity. It is only by talking with children that the teacher can find out what they know and how vague or how clear their conceptions are. She must create situations out of which mathematical ideas will arise, though some such situations may arise spontaneously in the day-to-day life in the classroom and the teacher will use them to increase the children's vocabularies and their awareness of mathematical content. Although to an outsider this may appear a haphazard method it is valuable if the teacher knows what experience she wishes children to have at any particular time. For example the distribution of milk can be an experience at several different levels. It can be a counting exercise, it can later create a situation in which the meaning of 1 can be discussed, the bottles can be counted in groups of 3, the number of girls wanting milk can be added to the number of boys wanting milk and the result checked, and eventually the process of division can be illustrated in finding how many pints of milk have been drunk. To the teacher this apparently incidental teaching is following a


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definite pattern which she has thought out in advance, though this does not preclude side-stepping. An intelligent child may evolve a method of working out a problem which leads along a path different from that which the teacher intended. Such discoveries on the part of children are certainly to be welcomed; they are moments of insight and a teacher will have to decide whether she will discuss the matter individually with the child, leading him on to further insight, or whether she will make it a teaching point for all the children who can appreciate it.

From this stage of clarifying the children's ideas and giving them a vocabulary the teacher will proceed in the same way to more definite teaching of number and quantity. By putting together 3 objects and 2 objects, by adding 3 inches to 2 inches, by mixing 3 ounces and 2 ounces and finding that 3 and 2 always give 5, children will be gaining experience which will enable them to deal with abstract addition; they will realise the generality of the statement that 3 + 2 = 5. They will know it because they have discovered it, not because a teacher says that it is true.

(i) Apparatus and games

What specially designed apparatus should be used in the infant school? How far should children's experience of numbers and quantities come by way of artificially contrived situations? These again are very personal questions and depend on the attitude of the teacher.

All apparatus used should have a purpose which the teacher understands clearly even if the children do not. If all their mathematical learning arises from the use of artificial apparatus children tend to think of this learning as something divorced from everyday life, and the way is paved for 'learning to do sums' which have no connection with the world in which children live. Sticks, counters, beads, and shells are all useful aids for counting; apparatus which encourages counting in groups is needed because counting in ones, if carried on too long, becomes an obstruction to economical thought. Bead frames are valuable for many purposes and especially for the teaching of notation; indeed it is probable that our present highly efficient decimal notation grew out of the use of the bead frame, known as the abacus, which in turn probably originated in man's ten fingers.

Apparatus can be used, among other things, for developing


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the basic ideas of relationship (for example, by matching and grading); clarifying ideas of quantity (clocks, weight scales, tape measures); the making automatic of recognition and of skills (associating a picture of three things with the word three and the symbol 3, flash cards on which are written the number bonds); and the learning of processes (bead frames, shops, cardboard or real money, apparatus which associates number with length and perhaps colour. Self-correcting apparatus is often useful for learning but when used for testing defeats its end).

There is a place in the infant school for number games, whether communal or individual, but it should not be assumed that all games are of equal value; some might even develop false ideas from the beginning.

Young children will sing rhymes involving the numerals and these may involve counting their fingers or counting each other; situations which give some purpose to counting, together with the enjoyment of a song and game, have value. Later the children may play games with skittles and dominoes, and perhaps counting-on games such as Ludo and Snakes and Ladders. From all these games the teacher should try to extract as much mathematical experience as possible if she is considering them as aids to mathematical education; otherwise she may assume that children have gained experience which they have not. She will need to watch the games in action and make comments which will bring out the numerical ideas. For example, if children are given dominoes to play with and are merely told the rules of the game, they might as well be playing with small blocks with matching pictures on the ends - the five-spot may have no connection with 'five-ness', it may just be a pattern that matches a pattern which is on the table. Similarly counting-on games may perpetuate counting in ones to the stage where it hinders progress. At the beginning of their school life children will obviously count on in this type of game, but later they can be encouraged to add (23 + 3 = 26, therefore the counter is moved on to square 26).

Playing at shops can be of great value, but much thought is needed on the part of the teacher if time is not to be wasted; it may be that children are gaining valuable experience in other directions, but it should not be assumed too easily that they are gaining mathematical experience. The teacher should see that playing at shops makes progressive demands on children's


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intelligence. At the earliest stages a shop will probably provide an occasion for making things, including price tickets with 2d. or 3d. written on them; it will also involve simple counting, whether counting the number of pennies required or the cost of two articles bought (leading up to statements of the type 2 + 3 = 5). Later it will provide an occasion for clarifying vague ideas on money and coins which children already possess. It may also provide an opportunity for introducing the decimal notation if something (say buttons) is sold in packets of ten and a child who wants 13 buttons buys (and records) that he had bought one packet and 3 buttons. Still later, children may use measuring rules for the making of cartons or boxes or other equipment for the shop, and may also gain experience with weight scales. They can learn that weight is not directly proportional to size if the materials are different, e.g. that a container filled with sand will weigh more than the same container filled with paper cuttings and that a cardboard penny is lighter than a real one. When children can read, cards can be made on which there are instructions for several pieces of work connected with a shop, e.g. 'Take 2 half-crowns from the money box. How much have you? Record this. Buy ..... at the shop and pay with one half crown. How much money have you left? Record this. Buy 3d. bars of chocolate with the money left. How many bars can you buy? Have you any money left? Write down on your paper the story of buying the bars of chocolate'. The teacher who is working with the children will invent a variety of games which can be played with the shop and she will always have in mind what she wants the children to learn and how they are preparing themselves to understand a new and more difficult idea.

(ii) Experience of quantity

By considering discrete objects children gain a store of factual knowledge of numbers and of their relationships; by dealing with measures of various types not only are they gaining more specific knowledge of the inch, foot, ounce, pint, etc, and how to measure with them, they are also gaining a deeper insight into number. Numbers are used to measure quantities and, in measuring, relations between numbers can be seen. Hence it is important to have apparatus such as rulers and scales as part of the classroom equipment. Whatever measuring is done should have an aim; it is possible for children to use rulers in an


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apparently skilful fashion and yet have little idea of the properties of length. It is, for example, common to find that children who have been in the habit of measuring their heights against a wall ruler during all their time in the infant school, will estimate the height of one of themselves as 3 inches! That is, they have looked at the marks opposite a head which may be the 3 of 4 feet 3 inches, and in recording the height they have written the 4 feet as something which is merely part of the ritual.

By using measuring apparatus of many kinds children will comprehend the meaning of words which they already know. They will see that an inch is small, a foot longer, and a yard still longer, and they will gain some idea of the relationship between inch and foot. Towards the end of their infant course children may well have learned that 12 inches are equivalent to one foot, that 12 pennies are equivalent to one shilling, and 16 ounces to one pound weight. They may also be able to estimate lengths roughly, even if only to decide whether a length would be more satisfactorily measured in inches, feet or yards.

In general the teacher will select those properties of length, weight, time, etc, which are important and likely to be understood by children and will build firm ideas from incidental knowledge through experiment and discussion.

(iii) Written work

Written 'sums' should not be begun too early since premature written work often has the effect of producing work which is done completely by rote - 'this is the way to do this sum' - and children suffer throughout their lives from lack of understanding. They are incapable of applying the processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in any situation, because the 'sum' may be a set of meaningless symbols which children, being intelligent, have learned to manipulate, but which have no connection with the money they spend or with the lengths they measure.

The first introduction to written work should be as recording. Children use the number four as a word, they know some of its meanings, they may have seen the symbol 4 on a peg in the cloakroom, they will have used it in the jingle 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. If they have counted four objects then they might well record the number as 4 (and also perhaps as the word 'four'). If they have threaded beads in the order 2, 4, 7, 6 then they might record this


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pattern of threading in symbols. Later when they have solved, with counters, or other objects, some problem involving the addition of 2 and 3 they can record their findings in the shorthand form 2 + 3 = 5. But this should come only after they have dealt with this sort of situation sufficiently often to realise that 2 things and 3 things are always 5 things, and this is a situation that children need to meet repeatedly. Nothing is gained by labelling the sums 2 cats + 3 cats = 5 cats, or 2 pennies + 3 pennies = 5 pennies. What is recorded is that 2 + 3 = 5 irrespective of what the numbers being added represent. After much experience of dealing with actual situations involving facts of this type children can practise the addition bonds in abstract form and begin to deal with the structure of mathematics.

Besides being able to recognise and write the numerals and later the numbers of two or more digits children must learn to deal with the signs +, -, x, ÷, and =. Teachers read these symbols in various ways. Some will say that '+' means 'add', others 'and', and others 'count on', others 'plus'; some will say '=' means 'are', others 'make', others 'come to', others 'equals'. It is important that the statement 2 + 3 = 5 should be read to make sense of at least one of the meanings to the children. Later, perhaps towards the end of the primary course, the statement 3 + 2 = 5 (read as 'three plus two equals five') can be shown to cover a whole range of meanings such as those to be found in ¾ + ½ = 1¼, where the plus sign could not be sensibly read as 'count on' since by count we mean progression by ones.

The same applies to the signs for subtraction, multiplication and division. In the infant school many children are not ready to deal with written statements involving division, such as 12 ÷ 3 = 4; the mathematical structure involved will be discussed in the section on the junior school.

Some teachers find difficulty in teaching children to deal with zero. If when numeration is discussed zero is thought of as the starting point to the number scale there should be less difficulty. A number is the answer to 'How many?' It is perfectly reasonable to give the answer 'none', which is written '0'. 'If I have two pennies and spend two pennies how many have I left?' can lead without difficulty to the writing of 2 - 2 = 0. A scale marked in equal divisions 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 is helpful to children. They can see that 0 is one less than 1. Twenty (written 20) means 2 tens and 0 units, just as 25 means 2 tens and 5 units.


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Probably, some of the difficulty arises because children do not often give the word 'nought' as an answer to the question 'how many?' They usually reply 'none' or 'no pennies'. If, when they record this fact, they say the word 'nought' as they write, the symbol '0' will become familiar to them as a number.

(iv) Cooperation with the junior school

Besides being aware of what knowledge is possessed by children on entering school the infant teacher needs to be concerned with the learning process in the junior school. More cooperation between teachers in infant schools and those who receive the children in junior schools would help to preserve continuity of mathematical teaching. If the teacher of a first-year junior class were to discuss with the infant teacher how the children have learned mathematics, what they have achieved in ideas as well as in processes and what they have not learned, there would be a great economy of effort in the junior school, and far less sense of frustration among children. Many teachers find that although such meetings take time and trouble, more accurate and useful knowledge is gained from them than from the time-consuming testing which otherwise takes place during the first weeks of children's life in a junior school. The results of such testing after a long holiday, in strange conditions and sometimes in unfamiliar language, are less reliable than the knowledge and the judgement of the infant teacher. While written records are better than no information it would be still better to see the methods employed and to talk informally with the infant teachers. In a combined junior and infant school there is generally no difficulty in finding opportunities for such discussions; it is more difficult when the junior school is in a different building and when children are admitted from several infant schools, but the effort made to establish such contacts is amply repaid.

(b) The junior school

In the junior school children have much to learn and much experience on which to build; fortunately most of them, at this age, want to learn and will bring enthusiasm to any learning which satisfies their curiosity and gives them a feeling of power over their environment. Mathematics, well taught, will do both.

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It is often said that the allocation examinations* restrict the scope of junior school mathematics. It is probable that a good performance could best be achieved by a broader content and treatment than one which keeps strictly to examination requirements. The teaching of mathematics, or any other subject, implies far more than preparation for an examination.

In considering the work of the junior school the far-reaching interests and curiosity of children must be fully taken into account. Many mechanical devices are now part of their everyday lives; they are interested in speeds, in time, in navigation and in maps; they see graphical representation on posters, in magazines and on television. All these can be used to give purpose to the teaching of mathematics and to broaden the whole conception of the work. It is not suggested that these topics should be made items of a new junior school syllabus; but they should be used to give point to the teaching. Geometrical ideas and graphical representation, besides being of value in themselves, often illuminate the work being done in arithmetic. There may be opportunities for the introduction of some of the simple ideas of mechanics such as the principle of the lever, a principle learned, in action, by every child who has played with a see-saw.

Infants will have had experience of addition facts, such as 3 + 2 = 5, with the corresponding facts 5 - 3 = 2 and 5 - 2 = 3; they may have learned facts such as 2 x 8 = 16 with its corresponding facts 8 x 2 = 16, 16 ÷ 8 = 2. At some stage in the junior school they must be expected to learn both addition and multiplication facts systematically. Progress is slow until these facts are known. As long as children have to think out, or work out, each time they use it, what eight sevens are, or as long as they have to count on their fingers when they wish to know 8 + 5, they will find it difficult to deal with the processes which they are learning. Once these facts become automatic, energies are left free for more advanced thought. In the same way, it is essential that processes should eventually become automatic in order that children may use them in significant situations, without having to give too much thought to the manipulation of the numbers.

The number and variety of mechanical processes cannot be laid down categorically, but it is probable that, in the past, the

*See Chapter VI, Section on effects of allocation to secondary education.


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mathematical education of most children has been too exclusively restricted to computation. A reasonable standard of accuracy in computation is only one criterion of successful teaching. If children are to see the need for learning new work and how it links on to their previous knowledge, and if they are to be able to apply it to significant situations, the teacher will find that the time spent on mere calculation must, of necessity, be reduced.

(i) Number relationships

The multiplication tables form, for the child, an early acquaintance with ordered number relationships. Any teaching of tables which does not make the pattern and order clear to the children will be missing a great opportunity of helping them to see some of the fascination of mathematics. There are many opinions as to how tables should be learned; some teachers would build them up in the sequence of the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ..., others would not make up the tables until nearly all the number facts are learned; it would seem more reasonable to learn in sequence, as ordered tables, those which have some relation to each other; for example 2, 4, 8 are closely related, so are 3, 6, 9 and so are 5 and 10; the table of sevens must be learned independently, but probably by the time the children are ready to learn this table all the individual terms except 7 x 7 will have been met in other tables. Rhythmic counting in 3s, 5s, 7s, etc, helps to bring out the patterns. Later, a number square will emphasise the patterns of, and the interrelation between, the various tables.* This recognition of the grouping and patterns, interesting though it may be, is not sufficient. Ultimately the facts must be learned, and it is possible for the routine necessary for their learning to give satisfaction and enjoyment.

Besides the tables there are other relations between numbers which should be emphasised; these will have been introduced in the infant school but should continue to be an important part of junior school teaching. Some children will notice that there are numbers which have no factors, some will catch a glimpse of the economy of thought which our Arabic notation has produced (especially if their attention is drawn to the Roman notation as seen on clock faces); many children will need to have these

*See the Mathematical Association report on The Teaching of Mathematics in Primary Schools, Chapter 3.


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relations pointed out to them when opportunity arises, and a few will see them only with difficulty.

ii) Apparatus and practical work

Teachers are becoming increasingly aware that children may still need to use apparatus and concrete material after they leave the infant school. Some children will need counters and bead frames if they have not yet mastered the processes of counting and simple addition and subtraction, and many will need further experience in handling money and measures. In general, however, the purpose of apparatus will change as children grow older. During their years at school they are building up a body of knowledge which is part of their way of thought. They can think out what will happen if a certain situation is presented to them - they do not need the concrete material in their hands. Practical work may still be necessary when a new process of calculation or a new topic is being introduced, for example fractions or area; it may help children to see familiar ideas in new contexts.

Often the so-called practical work is relegated to a special period called 'Practical Arithmetic' on the timetable, and the work done in that period, while it may be interesting in itself, may have little relevance to the work done in other arithmetic lessons. The need for practical work may arise in any lesson. If the idea of area is to be developed at some future date, reference to it might be made when patterns are being drawn or there may be discussion of what is meant by the area of the netball pitch, or by the area of a country as shown on a map in an atlas; a teacher's ingenuity or a child's curiosity will provide an opportunity for wishing to find the area of a circle. This is all practical work and leads naturally to discussion of economical methods of finding areas and also to a clearer conception of area, so that children will not automatically say that it is length times breadth, only to be confounded when the shape is not rectangular. This is not to suggest that the junior school is the place where methods of finding the area of circles should be taught to all children, though some might be ready to learn them; the importance of introducing non-rectangular shapes at an early stage is that children shall not assume, as they often do, that the word area applies exclusively to rectangles.

In some schools boys have lessons concerned with


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geometrical drawing and model-making while girls are being taught needlework. This arrangement tends to divorce the work done in these periods from that done in other mathematics lessons, chiefly because only half the arithmetic class is acquainted with the ideas met in the geometrical drawing lesson. Where enterprising work of this kind is done with the whole class, as an integral part of the mathematics syllabus, both boys and girls benefit. The teacher is able to link all the work more closely and to use measurement to amplify and illustrate the rest of the work; the girls gain valuable experience in measuring purposefully and develop geometrical ideas. It is sometimes said that girls in secondary schools appear to have less aptitude than boys for mathematics because they have missed this 'exploratory' stage in their primary schools.

(iii) Problems

The solution of problems has already been discussed in preceding paragraphs. What is a problem for one child is not a problem for another, or for the same child when he is older. The dividing line between non-problems and problems separates those questions which children can tackle without reflection from those questions to which they do not immediately see how to find an answer. The mechanical sum 12 x 3 may be a problem to a child who has not yet learned multiplication tables. Thus, training children to solve problems is training them to overcome difficulties for themselves, and they do not receive this training if the teacher removes all the difficulties in advance. If problems are taught as types, only the first one or two remain as problems; the rest are merely mechanical sums, and even less valuable than the usual mechanical sums, because children waste much time reading the words in order to abstract the numbers which they know in advance will be, say, added together when found. The problems become what Ballard called 'An ounce of arithmetic to a pound of padding'.

Children may solve a problem practically at the class shop or post office, they may solve it by using counters or they may solve it mentally. In all these cases they may use rudimentary methods, such as repeated addition or subtraction; the teacher's task is then to show them, at the point where he thinks it useful, how much more elegantly and economically they could solve the problem by using, say, multiplication or division. Further, the


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children should be able to deal with the arithmetic, in some fashion, when they have eventually decided what must be done with the numbers; and lastly the problems should be of reasonable difficulty, so that confidence is not damaged by too much failure to solve them or boredom engendered by too easy success. For these reasons some teachers use work cards so that children attempt problems individually matched to their ability, experience and interest.

The solution of problems, whether arising from actual situations or referring to imaginary ones, whether invented specifically by the teacher or by the compiler of a textbook, is one of the most important parts of mathematical learning. Much of the work done in the primary school is meant to be used in the world outside the school, both at the time and in later life, in situations which can be roughly reproduced or imagined in the classroom. The only way in which we can learn to apply knowledge is by actually trying to apply it.

E. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

(a) The structure of mathematics

Whatever views are held about the possibility of a logically developing course of mathematics for children there can be no doubt that teachers themselves should have carefully considered elementary numerical and quantitative ideas and relations. Without such consideration they cannot see the structure of the body of mathematical knowledge which they wish the children to have. The meaning of one idea presupposes the meaning of others and there are steps from one idea to another. A teacher who is unaware of these relationships finds it impossible to diagnose a child's difficulties and to further his understanding. It may be that some of the most intelligent children would, towards the end of their junior school course, gain much satisfaction from looking back and analysing the structure in the same way that the teacher should have done before starting to teach.

(i) Notation

Although young children will not appreciate the power and the economy of the Arabic notation it is essential that the teacher should. This notation is often taken for granted and yet it is one of man's greatest inventions. With ten symbols


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(0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) we can write any number however large and, if we use a decimal point, however small. Not only is it a perfect recording instrument (the Greeks and Romans could record numbers, but only clumsily, in their notations) but it is also a calculating instrument of great power and elegance, as is readily seen by comparing attempts to multiply one hundred and forty-six by seventy-three in Roman and Arabic notations. If decimal fractions are taught in the junior school the teacher may, at the same time, discuss the knowledge of place value, already vaguely possessed by the children, and demonstrate to them the wonder of the Arabic notation.

(ii) Addition

Addition saves recounting all the individuals in two or more groups when the number in each group is known, but until the addition facts are known automatically there will still be counting on from the number in one group through the individuals of the other. This is a crutch which should be discarded as early as possible.

(iii) Subtraction

The ideas of subtraction are much more difficult than those of addition. Subtraction arises from such questions as:

(i) What must be added to 7 to make 10?
(ii) What must 7 be added to, to make 10?
(iii) What is left if 7 be taken from 10?
(iv) What must be taken from 10 to leave 7?
and further difficulty arises from the addition question
(v) What must 7 be taken from to leave 3?
The language here puzzles many children; in questions (i) and (ii) the word 'add' comes into the question and yet the process required is subtraction. In question (v) we have the words 'taken from' and the process required is addition. These examples are given in order that the teacher may see the difficulties inherent in the idea of subtraction and the variety of problems that give rise to the statement 10 - 7 = 3. If children are to deal competently with questions of this type they must know the relationship between 7, 3 and 10 in all its forms: 7 + 3 = 10, 3 + 7 = 10, 10 - 3 = 7 and 10 - 7 = 3. With small numbers children will probably answer a question by intuition or quick trial and error; good teaching will enable them to see that the process


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used is subtraction, and so help them to answer questions involving larger numbers.

In general, subtraction arises as one way of comparing numbers or quantities, and determines how much larger or smaller is one thing than another.

(iv) Multiplication

Multiplication arises in adding equal collections. Just as the answer to an addition sum can be found by counting, so the answer to a multiplication sum can be found in counting in twos, threes or whatever is the number in each of the equal collections. If children are asked how many dots there are in : : : : : they may say 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, or they may write 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 10 or 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = five twos = 10. Here the conventional sign for multiply could be introduced and the sum written as 5 x 2, read at first as 'five twos' or 'five times two'. The rectangular pattern of dots shows that they could also have been counted as 5 + 5, hence the statement 2 x 5 = 10 can be made. This shows that 5 x 2 = 2 x 5 (the commutative law).

Children at this stage can use harder words than 'multiply' and where appropriate they should be encouraged to use this word in preference to the ugly word 'timesing'.

Some difficulty arises with the words applied to multiplication of quantities. 5d. x 2 may be read as five-pence multiplied by two, but 2 x 5d., if read as 'two multiplied by five-pence', is nonsense; it would have to be read 'two five-pences'. Since, however, it can be seen that the commutative law still holds and that (5 x 2) pennies = (2 x 5) pennies, there is no lasting difficulty.

(v) Division

This is probably one of the most difficult ideas which children have to grasp, especially when dealing with remainders. Just as subtraction and addition are different aspects of the same relation, so are multiplication and division. As one recent textbook writer states:

'Addition is counting from zero in ones.
Subtraction is counting towards zero in ones.
Multiplication is counting from zero in equal groups.
Division is counting towards zero in equal groups.'*
*Bass and Dowty Counting and Arithmetic in the Infant School. Harrap, 1956.


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Children meet division at an early stage as sharing - 'I share 12 apples between 3 children. How many apples each?' The working out of this problem with concrete material involves giving each child one apple, then each child another apple, then a third and a fourth and then finding that no apples remain. Each child counts his apples and the answer is '4 apples each'. On the other hand a problem such as 'How many 3d. bars of chocolate can I buy for 1/- [one shilling]?' involves an entirely different method of approach practically. The shilling is replaced by 12 pennies, a group of 3 pennies is taken for one bar of chocolate, and another and so on, until all the pennies are used. The groups of 3 pennies are counted, there are 4 groups, so 4 bars of chocolate can be bought.

In the first problem the children are making three equal groups from 12 but they do not know, until they have finished the sharing, how many will be in each group. In the second problem they have to take out groups of three and then see how many groups they have. Both problems (and still other different types) give rise to the statement 12 ÷ 3 = 4.

In the first type of problem the idea of a remainder is simpler to understand than in the second. If 14 apples and 3 children are taken as the data it is obvious when only 2 apples are left that another round of sharing is impossible, therefore there are 2 apples left, i.e. 14 = (4 x 3) + 2.

In the second type if 1s. 2d. and 3d. bars of chocolate are the data, after making piles of 3 pennies there are 2 pennies left. The answer to the question 'How many bars of chocolate?' cannot be given as 4 and remainder 2, it should be '4 bars of chocolate and 2d. left over'. From this type of question the idea of a remainder as a fraction is more easily seen. The answer could be 4 2/3 bars of chocolate (if the shopkeeper were willing to divide up the bars!). It is not suggested that children should have all these ideas put before them, but the teacher must be aware of them if he is to help children solve their difficulties.

(vi) Fractions

Fractions were invented as an extension of the number system, initially the sequence of positive integers. The need for fractions arises because the unit (whether of length, or weight, or time or whatever it is) is too large for a particular purpose and must be broken up into parts. The integers, which until this


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new invention have been 'the numbers', now become 'the whole numbers', which have wider application than the fractional numbers. For example, we can talk meaningfully of 7 dogs but not of 1/7 of a dog; on the other hand there is meaning in half a cake.

Before children can be expected to apply the four rules to fractions they must first understand the notation thoroughly, that is they must become familiar with fractions of the form 1/n and they must know what is meant by 1/7 or 1/11. They must also learn that 1/n gets smaller as n gets larger although they may only know it in the particular cases 1/3 > 1/4 and 1/7 > 1/10. 'If I divide something up into 4 equal parts, will each part be bigger or less than if I divide it into 3?' Eventually the child arrives at the general law (unformulated) that 1/n > 1/m where m > n.

Meaning has then to be given to the form a/n. This may arise in several different ways. If ¾ is considered, there may have been a collection of quarters and three of them taken, or there may have been three wholes and 4 equal partitions made.

When the meaning of 1/n and a/n is understood children can then begin to discuss equivalence, e.g. 3/4 = 6/8 = 30/40, from which methods for adding and subtracting follow readily.

The learning of what is meant by multiplying or dividing by a fraction may be considered as a generalisation of methods of multiplying and dividing by integers. A set of problems which gives meaning to the idea of multiplication by a fraction may be as follows:

2 lb. at 4d. a lb. cost 8d.
2 lb. at 4½d. a lb. cost 9d.
How much will 2½ lb. at 4d. a lb. cost?
How much will 2½ lb. at 4½d. a lb. cost?
Similarly with division, although here children may find difficulty in understanding that the division process may result in a larger answer.

For example,

(1) How many 2d. stamps can be bought for 1/-?
(2) How many ½d. stamps can be bought for 1/-?
Children can see that the answer to (1) is obtained by writing 12 ÷ 2, and may follow on, with skilful questioning, to see that the answer to (2) is similarly obtained by writing 12 ÷ ½, which


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gives the answer 24, but this does not imply that they can understand that 12 ÷ ½ = 12/1 x 2/1 = 24.

From the last and some foregoing paragraphs it will be seen that the general idea of division is difficult and some teachers may think that, if children are to understand how to apply the process, the teaching of it should be left until later in their lives. They will be able to deal with simple problems which can be solved intuitively or by rudimentary methods, and some intelligent children may be led to an understanding of the process. It is unlikely that to the slower children of 10 years it will be more than a 'ritual'.

(vii) The general laws of mathematics

Underlying all work on the four rules are the notational rule, and the commutative, associative and distributive laws of combination of numbers.

Commutative a + b = b + a and a x b = b x a

Associative (a + b) + c = a + (b + c) and a x (bc) = (ab) x c

Distributive a (b + c) = ab + ac

For example 23 x 2 = (20 x 2) + (3 x 2) (the distributive law together with the notational rule, 23 = 20 + 3) = 40 + 6 = 46 (notational rule)

Similarly 26 x 2 = 20 x 2 + 6 x 2 = 40 + 12 = 40 + (10 + 2) = (40 + 10) + 2 (associative law) = 50 + 2 = 52

This process is almost identical with the following:

2s. 8d. x 2 = (2s. x 2) + (8d. x 2) = 4s. + 16d. = 4s. + (12d. + 4d.) = (4s. + 1s.) + 4d. = 5s. 4d.

There is one important point of difference in notation here; 4s. means 4 shillings, 40 (in the previous example) means, not 4 noughts, but 4 tens.


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Similarly 144/3 = (100 + 40 + 4)/3 (notational rule)

= ((100 + 20) + (20 + 4))/3 (associative rule)

= (120 + 24)/3 (notational rule)

= 120/3 + 24/3 (associative law)

= 40 + 8

= 48 (notational rule)

The process of multiplication by units and larger numbers, and of short and long division, are merely extensions of these applications of general laws.

(b) Extensions of work to fields other than arithmetic

While any systematic course in algebra would be out of place in the normal junior school, the use of letters to represent numbers is an idea which many juniors do not find difficult. It is valuable that children should see that general statements about numbers can be economically made. For example a + b = b + a; 99x = 100x - x; a/d + b/d = (a + b)/d; x things costing y pence cost xy/12 shillings. Difficulties of notation such as the dropping of the multiplication sign, the writing of x/y for x ÷ y, and the use of brackets can be introduced gradually. Not only should letters be used to represent numbers in general in this way and in suitable formulae, but they should also be used to represent unknown particular numbers, and arguments made leading to simple equations and their solution. The setting down of a problem in symbolic form will often be enough to secure its solution. Thus a child using A = LB and wishing to find the breadth of a rectangle whose area is 100 sq. ft. and whose length is 12 feet will gain much from seeing 100 = 12 x B written down and being left to his own devices to find B. A sequence such as 4, 7,10,13 ... can be developed in an algebraical way. What is the rule for finding the nth number in the sequence? How many numbers in the sequence must be written down before reaching 100?


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All junior school children have some experience of spatial relations through their work in infant classes and their everyday lives; they know the shapes of various figures, such as the triangle, sphere, circle. In the junior school this experience can be extended; they may become acquainted with angles, especially the right angle, they may learn something about parallel lines and the properties of triangles. They may meet the mathematical ideas of locus and envelope. They enjoy using ruler and compasses and making constructions; children of 9 years old have been seen thinking out a construction for a quatrefoil window in the neighbouring church.

Representational and graphical work of all kinds, at the children's own level, can provide much material for stimulating thought and much practice in dealing with numbers, especially if it is connected with the work being done in some other subject, say geography or nature study. For example children in a top junior class, after looking in their atlases, asked what the lines of longitude and latitude on the maps were. A simple explanation was given with great clarity by the teacher; then followed what the children considered to be a most exciting 'game' - they found the approximate latitude and longitude of various towns, and, given latitude and longitude, found the towns. (Incidentally this was a good exercise in interpolation; they guessed what the latitude would be when they found a town lying between the 40th and the 50th parallels). At the end of this lesson the teacher said (not to the children) 'In my next arithmetic lesson I shall put two rectangular axes on the board for my brightest group and see if they can plot points. I shall leave them to do it alone, telling them to remember latitude and longitude.' This is a good example of awareness of mathematical implications, though the teacher himself was not a mathematician and was probably unaware that he was about to set the children discovering coordinate geometry!

The idea of time is a fruitful topic for junior schools; the pendulum, the hour glass and home-made water clocks can all be used to record the passing of time, with extensions to the idea of the hands moving through angles on the face of a clock. The use of a pendulum gives rise to much questioning and discovery on the part of the children, and the whole topic can be connected with history.

The principle of the pendulum is a part of mechanics and


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there may be other ideas from mechanics which could be introduced with profit; as yet little has been done in this direction in the junior school. Children are interested in speed and many of them have a vague idea of the meaning of acceleration and so on. The equinoctial sundial, in which the shadow of a stick moves at 15 degrees an hour, is well within the comprehension of some 9 or 10 year old children, and from it they will learn much about the sun's apparent motion.

But most of these children under 11 years are not yet ready to have the principles of mechanics, or formal geometry, or the motions of the heavenly bodies explained to them mathematically. What is suggested is that every opportunity should be taken to relate the mathematics which the children are learning in school to their own interests and to the external world. The topics discussed above should be taken when they arise and when they are likely to make a contribution to the more formal work in hand.

(c) Class organisation and correction of work

There is considerable variation in the methods used in the classroom. In some classes children work with textbooks or work cards at their own speed, coming to the teacher for explanation and correction of work. Here the advantage is that each child discusses his difficulties and errors personally with the teacher. But there are also many disadvantages, among them lack of communal interest and discussion, the fact that the teacher repeats the same explanation to different children in turn, and the fact that no textbook can take advantage of a mathematical situation arising in the classroom, or provide illustrations as spontaneous and significant as those of the teacher.

On the other hand if the class is working as a whole children may have the same test in mental arithmetic, listen to the same lesson and be required to work out the same set of exercises from the board or textbook. Answers may then be marked right or wrong by the children or by the teacher, often after the exercises have been worked out on the blackboard. This method, while providing opportunity for discussion, makes no provision for differing capabilities, and it wastes the time of those children who need no help on the points discussed, and does not ensure that those in difficulty can locate the cause.


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Most teachers find a mean between these extremes and vary their methods so as to reap the advantages of individual work and correction, while not losing the stimulus of communal discussion. There are times for classwork, for group work, for individual work; there are times for exploring new ideas together, for enabling children to make their own discoveries, for practice and consolidation in groups or individually, and, at intervals, for testing. Ideally every child should make progress at his own pace, but this does not mean that he should always work in isolation. His pace may, in fact, be determined to a certain extent by the group with which he is working; he may be stimulated by opportunities for discussion at his own level.

Whatever the method of teaching the teacher should be aware that mathematics is a subject in which success in new techniques depends on confident earlier knowledge. For example, children cannot successfully deal with long division until they can add, subtract and multiply. Without this previous knowledge not only will they fail to learn the process, however long the teacher may try to teach it to them, but they may eventually set up a resistance to all mathematical teaching and be unable to use what little knowledge they possess. No teacher should say of a child, 'He ought to have learned this' and then proceed on the assumption that he has. If he has not, future teaching will create confusion and dislike for the subject. Emotional difficulties and backwardness are closely related; for some children success comes very slowly and only with careful and sympathetic matching of work to their capabilities.

If the teacher is to be fully aware of children's difficulties then correction of work is important. It is not enough that a child should know that a mistake has been made; he should know as precisely as possible what the mistake is - an error in copying, an error in tables, a mistake in method, a failure in the understanding of words or a 'conventional' error, such as writing 107/- for 5 7s. 0d. The teacher need not necessarily point out the errors, but either teacher or child should find them. Many teachers allow children access to answers; this encourages them to seek for their own mistakes and also helps to dispense with any waiting for the teacher to correct exercises, a procedure which is wasteful of learning time. If children are to be allowed to mark their own answers then class relationships must be good, so that no child is driven to cheating by insecurity or undue


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competitiveness. Fundamental mistakes should be discussed with the child and, if they are general, with the group or the class. From time to time, very careful scrutiny of each child's work is necessary, for nothing can replace the constructive help and guidance of the teacher.

A powerful weapon against inaccuracy is the teacher's own example in the careful setting out of work on the blackboard, and the expectation (or perhaps insistence) that children will set theirs out likewise. He can also draw attention to ways in which work can be checked; for example, by adding successively up and down columns of figures, by using addition to check subtraction, by considering the size and sense of answers to problems. But checks of calculation should not normally be harder than the original calculation; it is, for example, unsuitable to use long division to check long multiplication.

Inaccuracy in calculation may be due to many causes, among them insecurity of previous knowledge, faulty knowledge of tables, working at too quick or too slow a rate, anxiety, or weariness of the same sort of work. Diagnostic testing can reveal persistent errors and should be followed up by remedial work. Rapid calculation, where only the answer is to be written down, may be stimulating for many children, but may damage the confidence of a slow-thinking child. It is essential that none of the children should lose interest, the weak ones by continual failure, the quick ones by too easily gained success. It is probable that the most efficient method is to fix speed and complication at a level where expectation of success for each child is high. It follows then that on occasions when the purpose of the teaching is to increase accuracy the whole class may not be the best teaching unit.

F. GENERAL

The task envisaged for the successful teacher of primary school mathematics is seen to be a heavy one and all the more so because he is normally teaching several other subjects, in some of which he may have a more personal interest. But if the subject is worth teaching, and it is to be hoped that every teacher will feel that it is, then it is worth teaching well. It is well known that many young people are leaving our schools at the age of 15 or older with a positive distaste for mathematics; teachers in primary


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schools can do much to prevent the development of this attitude, which so often arises because children have learned their mathematics by rote and have seldom seen enough meaning in what they are being required to do.

Some primary teachers maintain that they themselves have this same attitude and that they have little mathematical ability. Many of them are too modest, and could, by reading and discussion, gain considerable insight into the fundamental ideas and the applications of mathematics. Their growing awareness of the fascination and importance of mathematics would not only be of interest and delight to themselves, but would communicate itself to the children, who would then have a far better chance of realising their potential mathematical capacities, whether limited to the simple calculations of everyday life or reaching forward to the discoveries of a Newton or an Einstein.


[Note

Imperial measures Pounds and ounces (written as, for example, 2lb. 4oz.) are still in use, alongside metric measures. The pound is divided into 16 ounces. (1lb. = 454g).

Pre-decimal coinage Before 1971, the pound () was divided into 20 shillings (written as, for example, 2s. or 2/-). A shilling was divided into 12 pennies or pence (written as, for example, 6d.) There were also half-pence (a ha'penny) and quarter pence (a farthing).]


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CHAPTER XIII

Art, Craft and Needlework

1. Art and Craft

A. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT

The history of Art and Craft teaching is the story of a slowly changing social attitude, with its broadening conception of the nature and purpose of these activities, and the gradual recognition that in every one of us there is some native power of imaginative expression.

Little remains of the drawings of young children of earlier times, no doubt because their elders regarded what they managed to do, in an atmosphere that was unconducive to such pursuits, as too crude and unfinished to merit preservation. In his book Gentleman's Exercise published in 1634, Henry Peacham wrote:

'Painting I love and admire in others, because ever naturally from a child, I have been addicted to the practice hereof; yet when I was young I have been cruelly beaten by my ill and ignorant schoolmasters when I have been taking in black and white the countenance of some one or other ... Yet could they never beat it out of me, though I remember one master I had took me one time drawing which he perceiving in a rage strook me with the great end of the rod and rent my paper, swearing that I was placed with him to be made a Scholler and not a Painter.'

We may be certain that where they have found the chance children have always drawn and made things - and probably always in the same sort of way; certainly those faint drawings still to be seen upon the nursery wall in Haworth Parsonage share an idiom common to children today. The urge to record impressions of life in this way would seem always to have been present: it is only the official recognition of it that has been long delayed.

The very names by which this aspect of a child's make-up and needs have been known are a clear indication of our changing view of their place and importance in education. The instructions issued to Her Majesty's Inspectors in 1840 contained among the Special Questions on Infant Schools the following:


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'Industry
How many children learn to sew?
To knit?
To plait straw?
To keep the garden-border free from weeds?
To sweep the school-floors, etc.?

Imitative Arts
Do the children learn to draw on the wall or on a board, right-lined figures from objects or copies?
Do they learn to draw the roman capital letters and numerals?
Are these steps the preliminaries to learning to write?
Do they in this way learn to write the letters upon the wall, or on a board?'

'Industry' and 'imitation' continued for long to occupy young children, although less than twenty years later it is surprising to find none other than Herbert Spencer observing that 'the spreading recognition of drawing as an element in education is one among many signs of the more rational views on mental culture now beginning to prevail',* and he urges that the young child should be encouraged to draw 'things that are large, things that are attractive in colour, things round which its pleasurable associations must cluster - human beings from whom it has received so many emotions; cows and dogs which interest by the many phenomena they present; houses that are hourly visible and strike by their size and contrast of parts'. Further, he emphasised the need for using colour, and he laid less stress on results than on children developing their 'efforts at self-culture'. He condemned the practice of drawing from copies, 'and still more so, that formal discipline in making straight lines and curved lines and compound lines, with which it is the fashion of some teachers to begin'. Even so, such time as was allotted in the rigid timetables of the nineteenth century schools to 'Drawing' continued for the most part to be of a bleak mechanical kind which left no room for personal expression; and this was true too of the plain needlework for the girls.

By the turn of the century 'hand and eye training' was the watchword. There was much 'freehand drawing' from 'flat copies'; and stress was also laid on making representations in pencil of 'flat' objects such as an umbrella or walking stick hung

*Herbert Spencer: Education - Intellectual, Moral and Physical (1854-1859) Published in book form, 1861.


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upon the blackboard, followed by efforts in the same medium to imitate the appearance of a 'solid' object such as a box or a bottle or sometimes a flower. It was the infants who suffered most at this time. The situation is summed up in a paragraph from the report of Miss Heale, a Woman Inspector of the Board of Education, published in 1905:

'The drawing varies greatly; there is still some work on squared paper in stereotyped patterns, accomplished to the detriment of eyesight and with painful calculation of the lines up and lines down and lines across, which have to be marked with dots before a line ¼ in. long, perhaps, is drawn. The best drawing I saw the Babies do was in sand - just a mouse, without any repetition.'

There are men and women still teaching today who must remember their own experiences as young children in Edwardian times. They will recollect that it was considered sinful to draw in lines as their prehistoric forefathers did, but that all forms were to be developed from a 'mass'. With crayons they were taught to make every shape form a mass, working outwards from a nebulous whirl of strokes at the centre; the cunning child might fix the contours of the tomato or orange that he was supposed to represent with a line as an aid, but this he took care to conceal before his teacher came to examine his work.

These teachers may also remember the introduction of brushwork - how the teacher mixed saucers of water-colour (usually Prussian blue, sap green, or crimson lake) and demonstrated the making of a petal shape upon the paper by pressing upon it a single blob with a soft brush; how formal patterns were built up with these and, when proficiency had been gained, a flower complete with leaves symmetrically placed was painted. In the recently introduced 'Handwork' lesson the more advanced schools gave instruction in making a carefully measured mount or card frame for the painting, and the children who made it well were shown how to embellish theirs with patterns in macramé twine.

But handwork was concerned mainly with the 'paper modelling' - or, for older children, 'cardboard modelling' - of dog kennels, boxes with and without lids, and other objects that lent themselves to such geometrical, manual exercises. There were occasional excursions into modelling with little balls of grey plasticine, and many will remember the progressive exercises devised in rolling and coiling, that culminated in as literal a


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representation as possible of a potato, complete with its shoots, or an apple on its stalk. There were at the same time teachers, working quietly and unobtrusively, who believed that children were capable of more than this. Some of the firsthand drawings of plants, feathers, and other natural objects, for example, rendered in pen or water-colour, by their children, were both sensitive and beautiful.

It was not until the years following the First World War, however, that there was any particular awakening to the potentialities and resources of children. Since the end of the nineteenth century Franz Cizek had been working in Vienna with a rare intuitive understanding of children's approach to drawing and painting; and to many who saw the exhibitions of his pupils' pictures in this country in the early twenties this work was a revelation. English boys and girls, educated under different conditions, would probably not work in this way, but surely the discovery that children have an art of their own - in some respects akin to the art of primitive peoples - would also be shared here. Educational thought at the time was beginning to lead teachers to consider children as growing and maturing individuals, each with his peculiar gifts and personality. The moment was certainly ripe for those teachers, scattered throughout England in towns and villages, who believed in Art and Craft as the birthright of every boy and girl, to go ahead, and this they did. Many encountered opposition and prejudice, and there was for a while great difficulty in finding suitable materials with which to work. Yet that great educational advance of which they were a part is now generally recognised as one of the major revolutions of this century in the teaching of young children.

To the vision, courage and skill of Marion Richardson teachers owe a profound debt. Her struggle to liberate children's urge and power to paint pictures and make patterns culminated in the memorable London exhibition of 1938, when once and for all it was established that some boys and girls are essentially artists.

Only very slowly, however, out of the old ideas of 'Industry' and 'Imitative Arts', and the entirely separate ideas of 'Drawing' and 'Handwork', there emerged the conception of Art and Craft considered as one broad aspect of living. The direct vision and creative attitude of the child surely did not need to stop at painting and pattern-making but might be given an


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outlet also in the great traditional crafts. The section of the Handbook of Suggestions (1937) on Art and Craft opens with this statement:

'Design - the common ground of the arts and crafts. The chief purpose in combining the hitherto separate chapters on 'Drawing' and 'Handwork' and substituting for them a single chapter with the title 'Art and Craft' is to stress the importance of design, which forms the common ground shared by Handicraft with Drawing and every other form of graphic art ... Whatever he creates or interprets, the artist seeks to achieve something that will cause both in himself and in others a feeling of satisfaction - similar perhaps to what we experience in our response to the works of nature - through the use of design appropriate to the medium he has chosen. So, too, the crafts, which are primarily concerned with the making of serviceable things in various materials, have each its own technique. The good craftsman, whilst suiting his material to the particular end he had in view, seeks, like the artist, to arouse similar feelings of satisfaction by the use of appropriate design. Thus, design, - the character of which is determined, in each art, by the experiences it expresses and the medium employed, and in each craft, by its practical purpose and the material used, - provides a link between the arts and the crafts'.

Yet it must be admitted that today, while the majority of young children have opportunities to paint freely, craftwork falls far behind. Trivial occupations, sometimes using spurious materials and often only those that have been 'manufactured', without much relation either to a genuine craft or to the interests and attitude of children, tend to usurp the place of true craft teaching; and the whim of the moment or the use of some fashionable new material too often dictates what is done. It is then that Craft degenerates into a merely manual process in which mind and spirit have no part, whereas it should be thought of as the whole creative process by which a carefully made design or plan is achieved. But where, on the other hand, children's visual sensibility and feeling for material are encouraged from the start, and they paint a picture, model in clay, create a costume, arrange some flowers, paint or print a pattern, or explore the possibilities of all manner of raw materials, including native ones such as rush, straw, willow, wood, wool and clay, with equal zest and sense of purpose, they happily never see any division nor indeed much distinction between these activities. They grow in their respect for materials, for their inherent qualities, and the ways of using them; and because they love


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making things they bring all their imagination and power to whatever absorbs them at the moment.

The foolish separation between Art and Craft in our present day life which has led to the making of so much that is ugly to look at and unpleasant to use should be a warning. We know that if an artist is not a craftsman the less artist he, and we also know that a craftsman worthy of the name is always an artist. Indeed, printing is as much a craft as weaving is an art. The education of children should surely aim at fulfilling their creative powers as both artists and craftsmen; and at the same time it should foster their growth as discerning people, able to choose and select, to discriminate between the true and the counterfeit, to reject the shoddy and false and hold fast to that which is good - in short, to form firsthand judgements, to grow in critical awareness and in the capacity to enjoy the arts and crafts of mankind.

B. CHILDREN AS ARTISTS AND CRAFTSMEN
'Do you remember, when you were first a child,
Nothing in the world seemed strange to you?
You perceived, for the first time, shapes already familiar,
And seeing, you knew that you had always known
The lichen on the rock, fern-leaves, the flowers of thyme,
As if the elements newly met in your body,
Caught up in the momentary vortex of your living
Still kept the knowledge of a former state,
In you retained recollection of cloud and ocean,
The branching tree, the dancing flame.'*
Thus a poet makes articulate what in some measure we all feel; and since the writer is an English woman, brought up in the northern parts of these islands, it is naturally with things indigenous to them that she most closely identifies herself, though the thought she utters is universal. The Austrian poet, Rilke, searches into the recesses of early childhood and finds this same affinity - almost kinship - with the things about him in his home:

*From 'Message from Home' by Kathleen Raine, from Collected Poems. Hamish Hamilton.


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'The sugar bowl, the glass of milk
Would never waver the way people would waver.
The apple lay. Sometimes it did me good
To hold tight to it, a hard ripe apple -
The big table, the coffee cups that never moved.
They were good, they quieted the year.
And my toys did me good too, sometimes.
They were by me like the other things, as sure as they
Only not so peaceful. They stood, as though half way
Between me and my hat, in watchfulness forever.
There was a wooden horse, there was a rooster,
There was the doll without a leg.
I did so much for them.
I made the sky small when they looked at it.
Since, almost from the start, I understood
How alone a wooden horse is. You can make one,
A wooden horse, one any size:
It gets painted, then you pull it,
And it's the real street it pounds down then.
When you call it a horse, why isn't it a lie?
Because you feel that you're a horse, a little,
And grow all maney, shiny, grow four legs ...
And wasn't I wood, a little, too,
For its sake, and grew hard and quiet
And looked out at it from an emptier, woodier face?'*
For every child there would seem to be something of this oneness with the elemental, universal materials of the natural world of stone and wood, of leaves and flowers, together with this intense identification with those man-made things that are his daily comfort and his companion from the start. And since what anyone child feels and sees about him will not be quite like that of any other we are each of us unique in this respect. The home and the world outside it make their mark on each one.

Through the ages it has been the life and labour of the land and its own native character that have permeated most deeply, and given our Art and Craft - whether professional or in the popular idiom of the people - its essential quality. The weather, the soil, the vegetation and wild life, the variety of the scene, all these have given to men's work a peculiarly indigenous character. Even today, when the local idiom often seems submerged under

*From Requiem on the Death of a Boy by Rainer Maria Rilke (Translated by Randall-Jawell, Partisan Review, 1953).


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industrial development, English children remain essentially English. While they share with boys and girls the world over certain needs and characteristics, they nevertheless retain, in their approach and in their way of using materials, something that is deeply embedded in their native culture. True, the influences upon this culture from beyond these islands have been many and continuous, but each in its turn has been so completely assimilated as to become an inherent part of tradition. There may be few vestiges of folk art alive in England today, yet wherever they are still found they are unmistakable. Perhaps it is the craftsmanlike respect for the materials chosen, the restraint or subtlety of the colour, or the loving attention to detail that shows itself; be that as it may, such work could not have been produced elsewhere: it has emerged from a certain way of life lived in a certain place with long traditions and where certain materials are ready to hand. And this has significance for the teacher, who may not always understand why, for example, a small meticulous drawing made with a fine point may sometimes satisfy a child's need more completely than the now familiar large painting in bold powder colour. It is clearly possible for adults greatly to influence the work of children and for mere passing fashion to dictate what they shall do; yet, when they can feel free to be themselves, children often surprise us by what they choose to do and how they set about it. Moreover, since a child brought up in, say, a northern industrial city or a new housing estate sees and experiences a life very different from that of a coastal village in the south west or a quiet suburb of a cathedral town in the midlands, the paintings he makes and the things he constructs may be expected to show in some degree the peculiar impact of his environment. But the point must not be pressed too far. It is those common attributes and needs among children that will concern teachers most. For instance, in the two-dimensional world of their paintings, problems of recession may not interest many; and proportion, in the adult sense, is not their concern. What the camera reveals is not what they attempt to reveal. Drawing, painting, and making things are for them a means by which they not only explore their world and learn, but through which they also express and sometimes communicate their emotions and ideas.

This is not to suggest that boys and girls are receivers of some heavenly gift that their less fortunate teachers must be


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careful not to sully! On the contrary, if children are to grow to the full they need to be helped specifically and consistently to use this native language that we call Art. The teacher needs to see that it is a fundamental basis for learning and maturing. Like all forms of language, its use involves effort: there must be respect for the materials employed if they are to be properly handled as instruments of ideas. Above all, children have to be helped to observe and see; and their school environment and their experience within it should together lead them to see with a growing acuteness and discernment, with finer appreciation and subtler feeling. Children cannot be expected to grow in visual awareness unless they are taught. Their nature is such that if they are merely surrounded by attractive materials and then 'allowed to develop on their own' they fail to develop but rather repeat a performance ad nauseam and with diminishing effort and sincerity of feeling. Art and Craft are not mere recreation; they involve hard work and constant effort to master materials and techniques as they are appropriate to children's growing needs and powers. It must be recognised that laziness and slovenliness can mar what they paint or make no less than what they do in any other field; and a sense of progression is as necessary here as in every other aspect of education.

The teacher can neither impose an adult standard nor leave children to flounder. Nor can he hope to find that they will conform to any theory of Art. It must be recognised that a way of teaching that makes for freer expression on the child's part also allows for freer expression on the part of the teacher, who must therefore sedulously avoid using the child as a vehicle. The influence of the teacher is undeniably necessary. Just how far it should extend must be decided by the individual, who must face the possibility of a child expressing what is more the teacher's than his own if it penetrates too deeply. What is certain is that it is temptingly easy for a teacher to put too much of himself into the work of his children, and often this happens without his having even realised it.

The essence of the artist is his uniqueness: no two children are alike. Within any group there will be some who, by virtue of their innate sensibility, will see far further and work with much greater expressiveness than others; while some, and especially those with a meagre background, will respond only haltingly to what is offered them. But, undoubtedly, the experience of an


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education in learning to see must be provided for all children - not as an isolated 'subject' or as a set of skills to be practised, but as a very means of learning and living.

The pleasures of looking, seeing and making begin very early in the life of a child. Whatever his background, the materials composing it make some impact upon him; and from the start he uses for his enjoyment those means that might be called without extravagance the equipment of the artist.

(a) Children's sense of shape and solid form

From babyhood a child will have handled flat, two-dimensional shapes like a leaf, or a sheet of paper; and besides he will have experienced a sense of volume and depth in objects that are spherical like a ball or an orange, and in things hollowed out like a bowl or a shell. He will be well acquainted, too, with angular three-dimensional forms like a box or a brick. He will use his hands to realise the solidity and girth of these things, as when he smoothes his fingers round the body of his mug, both inside and out. At the seaside he not only runs the sand through his fingers but draws linear shapes in it too, and he pats and moulds wet lumps of it into solid 'puddings'.

Quickly he recognises differences in shape and size: flat discs, like buttons and coins, are seen to be unlike the spherical forms of marbles and balls, and he loves to sort things and arrange them in kind and size.

Shapes that move, like waves and animals, branches and grasses, trains and motor cars, all delight him, and each seems to impress its essential character upon his vision, or so his early power to recognise and select forms would seem to indicate; and he is soon able to draw them convincingly with symbols and conventions that are often startlingly apt. The helicopter has already taken its place in children's mythology, as the aeroplane and farm tractor quickly did as soon as they came into their ken. The infinite diversity of shapes made by man and the teeming variety of the shapes of nature equally absorb the attention of young children. Nothing seems to be devoid of interest: everything is worth seeing.

(b) Children's feeling for texture

Nor is it only the shape of a thing that draws a child to it: the very nature of its surface, its peculiar texture, must be realised.


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We all know that for the cook, the gardener and the architect, for instance, the element of texture is all-important, and for the young child it quickly shows as a compelling source of interest and wonder. 'Don't touch!' is a hard demand to make, for only through touching and handling is it possible to learn the most intimate nature of a substance.

In his food and in his toys a child will show strong preferences; one prefers the smooth and slippery and another the pitted and rough; one shrinks from velvet and fur, while another finds pleasure in them. What is important to the teacher is to recognise that children generally are so aware of texture that to them it is an essential quality of every shape; and experience shows that many boys and girls are surprisingly discerning in regard to it. A well-shaped plastic bowl may nevertheless be repellent to a child who has already taken pleasure in the glazed surface of an earthenware one; a boy may love to polish a well-used leather belt for the obvious pleasure which its mature patina gives him; the collections which children, from the nursery to the top of the junior school, like to make seem to be selected and enjoyed as much for their individual textures as for their forms and colours; pebbles and stones, fabrics of all sorts, and papers in endless variety, to name a few such collections, are of inestimable value and a constant source of pleasure.

(c) Children's sense of pattern and arrangement

A texture may be so pronounced and so regular that it becomes a pattern in itself: the child may see corrugated packing paper as a pattern of stripes, or a huckaback towel as a pattern of squares. Daily he sees patterns of the orderly kind that arise inevitably out of constructional methods; bands or stripes in boarded floors or wooden palings; chequered patterns of tiled surfaces and window patterns; spot patterns pricked in biscuits; the patterns that threads or cane or willow make when woven; complicated half-drop and zigzag arrangements of brickwork and parquet flooring. He meets, too, the informal patterns of random walling in stone or flint, of the markings of a tabby cat or a speckled hen, of sunlight and shadow, ivy closely covering a wall, people and traffic moving about the streets; or of a group of objects (that the painter would call a still-life).


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A child has an eye

    'for dappled things -
For skies of couple-coloured as a brindled cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscapes plotted and pieced - fold, fallow and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.'*
Arrangements of shapes, whether repeated in a regular order or loosely composed as in a painting, are extraordinarily telling to a child; they are so significant to him that when he paints a picture he often makes of it a good design: the symbols he employs and the way in which he arranges them to make his meaning clear belong to a world not of accidental photographic appearance but of pattern and order. He has grown up with pattern and order in his games and rhymes and stories; and laying a meal, or arranging flowers in a bowl or setting out plants in a border are no less pattern-making. With paint or crayon children will seldom tire of making borders and all-over patterns for their own purpose - which is often solely for the satisfaction of creating them. With potato or other simple blocks they will enjoy that peculiar pleasure that comes with printing or stamping a pattern. They will like, too, to make rubbings of patterns, from the surfaces of natural forms like bark and leaves and of the countless patterns incised in brass, slate and stone in our churches, or in the pierced, scored and moulded surfaces of many of the industrial products in everyday use.

The teacher who himself cares about pattern will be quick to feed his pupils' desire for finding and collecting patterns from both art and nature, for these will form the source from which their own designing will derive. Indeed, the importance to children of sharing a grown-up's fascination with a phenomenon so deeply rooted in the life and work of mankind cannot be overestimated. Where there are growing plants to observe - with, maybe, photographs that reveal cellular arrangements or other patterns not visible to the sight - and insects and animals to watch; and where children's interest in design is fostered through acquaintance with good printed textiles and well-printed books; and where pattern is seen less as a surface embellishment than as an element that is intrinsic in the object

*From Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins.


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displaying it, the response is wholehearted. For this is a sphere where no child need meet failure, and here is an interest that may well become lifelong.

(d) Children's sense of colour

The shapes, textures and patterns of things, for a child as for an adult, are of course intimately associated with their colour. The enchanting brilliance of lights, fire, flowers, toys and bright clothing will have been one of the earliest delights. Familiarity with a full, rich red, with a clean, pure yellow, and with a blue that tends neither to red nor green, should be part of every child's enjoyment. This is not to say that muted and subtle colour has no attraction for the very young; observation shows that the reverse is often true, for where red, yellow and blue paints, with black and white also, are provided, and children are encouraged to make their own palette from these raw ingredients, they rarely employ a colour that is not a mixture of several; black and white are freely used to lighten or darken a tone and as frequently to change a colour itself; greys and browns and subtle greens often occur, and pale fawns, ochres and greyish pinks are not uncommon.

Likes and dislikes are both strong. Even before coming to school many children will already have gone through phases of liking this or that colour particularly or of shunning another. It would seem that a colour is sometimes associated with a happy or unhappy experience or person or place, and is liked or not accordingly. Any infant teacher knows that children frequently use colour without any reference to actuality; there is nothing irrational in this, since they have usually no thought whatever of imitating natural appearance. Rather, they tend to employ colour for its own sake, seeming to relish the sensuous quality of the paint itself or the very nature of the fat wax crayon as much as the actual colour. What is clear to many teachers, after the experience of the past twenty years in infant and junior schools, is that colour - whether used as paint, weaving yarns, fabrics, chalk or crayon, card or paper - reflects the personality of the user so unmistakably that they must never be surprised at what any child may choose.

However, as in every other field, there is much to be taught. First, the teacher must take full responsibility for choosing what is brought into the school for the children to use. Here much can


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be done to steer them clear of ugliness, for what is already harsh, vulgar and crude before it ever reaches children cannot possibly be redeemed by being made beautiful in their hands. Then the teacher, in his eagerness to give children access to gay, pure colour, must be careful not to neglect that wide field of subtler colour already mentioned. The collection of natural objects is the obvious starting point. Interest in one such colour, say grey or brown or white, might be focused by gathering and displaying as wide a range as possible of things of that colour only, when the variety within its compass will surprise and interest everyone. To match such a colour in paint is a piece of work worthy of the most intelligent and sensitive junior child. Junior school children, too, will engage with zest in exploring the nature and range of a particular colour; they will only begin to know the quality of yellow, for example, when they have brought together, and arranged according to tone and kind, every yellow thing they can find, from palest cream and greenish yellows, through ochres, golds and orange-yellows, to darker mustard yellows and khaki. Comparing, contrasting, matching, mixing, inventing, and, above all, using colours in association with others - sometimes quite deliberately restricting the palette and at other times spreading the range wide: these are some of the most obvious means of building up in children a foundation of colour experience and knowledge. The ability to select and use colour with confidence can only be cultivated by practice, with much trial and error; to provide plenty of worthwhile, purposeful experience is therefore the prime business of the teacher.

C. CHILDREN'S EARLY EXPERIENCE OF THE CRAFTS

Most of the great crafts of mankind will have impinged upon the lives of children before they come to school. Within the home, however humble, furniture and joinery, pottery and glass, cookery, basketry, textiles and the printed word contribute to the daily life. In books and journals the young child meets not only the ancient shapes of letters but photographs and drawings and perhaps lithographs and wood engravings. Outside he sees buildings, probably both old and new, good and bad, in materials chosen merely for cheapness or more carefully according to their purpose and the resources and methods of the region. A child


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may see the plumber or carpenter at work or his mother making clothes or knitting. In the country he may still watch roofs and ricks being thatched, stone walls being built, hedges being cut and laid, and baskets, gates and hurdles being made; and in town and country he will certainly see amateur gardeners absorbed in their hobby. It is through watching people using their hands on well-chosen materials for a sensible purpose that children gain a proper view of the crafts. They see them then as a part of ordinary life, not as an artificial revival or as a pursuit for the few.

(a) Sources of inspiration

Throughout history the artist and the craftsman have derived inspiration from two great sources - things made by man, and the things of nature - and in their own way children too turn to the works of man and to the objects of the natural world as the inevitable starting point.

(i) Man-made things

The bewildering welter of things made by man, in the past and today, is for children an abiding source of wonder. A motor car, a lawn mower, a cup and saucer or a pair of shoes may be as much the stuff of a child's imagination as an exquisitely engraved glass of the seventeenth century, the medieval carving in the parish church, a fine bridge or the latest ocean liner. It is indeed a comforting thought that the child who daily sees only mean streets and the common articles of bare living is not denied the pleasures of seeing, and he can transmute through his imagination and his memory the most commonplace things, making them the material of his art. All comes as grist to his mill. Though by ten or eleven he may begin to take pleasure in drawing things from direct observation, long before that time he will have been constantly storing impressions of objects, learning about how they are made, enjoying seeing or using them, and unconsciously through his association with them building up some standards of judgement in regard to them. He comes to know what is a 'good job of work' and what is shoddy, what is intended to be temporary and what permanent. Nice finish does not pass him by, and at a surprisingly early age he admires skilful workmanship.

In the junior school, particularly, children can be helped to learn more about things, to see more in them, and to realise more


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fully their pictorial qualities, if an occasion is contrived for some special concentration of interest upon a particular type of object, when a number of its kind are brought together and enjoyed as an exhibition and the occasion made memorable. In local museums and the private collections of friends and the homes of the children themselves there are many more things worth borrowing for such a purpose from time to time than is generally realised. Just as in poetry and story it is found of immense value to be constantly widening and enriching children's diet, so in visual education it is important always to be extending the range, quickening the observation with what is unfamiliar or arresting, beautifully made, old and well-loved, curious and strange, or on the other hand, so familiar that children have ceased to look at it.

In infant and junior schools where there are many good things for boys and girls to see and live with and get to know well, there is a noticeable robustness, strength of attack, and substance in what they do. It may easily happen that a child paints a picture or makes an object that is superficially attractive but empty of content and expressive of no deeply felt experience; on the other hand, that same child may, as a direct result of living in a challenging and stimulating environment and gaining knowledge of things through day-to-day familiarity with them, be moved to make a tremendous effort to give shape to something he has genuinely felt.

(ii) Natural objects

Plants and animals, all living and growing things and the earth itself, are a deep source of wonder to children. If they are given the opportunity to grow and tend plants, to care for animals, and to collect natural objects, children show an absorption and a power of sustained observation that are truly scientific, and it is in this way that they store those impressions that feed their imaginations. They so delight in the divers forms, textures, patterns and colours of nature that they must collect, arrange, and even on occasion classify them. Leaves and flowers, ferns, mosses and lichens; fruits and seeds in their infinite variety of size and kind; lumps of chalk, curious flints, flat slabs of limestone, smooth pebbles - no two alike; grasses, rushes, straw; fungi, feathers and shells with their strange markings; the skins and rinds and coverings of fruits and vegetables - some


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fluted, some glossy, some rough, such things as these that may be had for the finding, are at the root of all design. To house and display such a constantly changing assortment will always be a problem, even in the easiest building; yet it must be faced that familiarity with these things can be one of the most formative influences, and to restrict or deny this aspect of a child's growth is seriously to impoverish him. Not every teacher can be expected to be a gardener or a naturalist, and some may even feel repelled at the sight of the creatures that fascinate their pupils: theirs is a formidable obstacle to overcome, yet if they see the value to their children of imaginative observation they will find a means of fostering it.

A room where there are growing plants to watch, and where the things that children find are placed for all to enjoy, is at once inviting and stimulating; for here is a source of knowledge that can inform all the work that children do and can bring to it a positive vitality and sense of pleasure that is absent in a dreary, empty setting.

In Art and Craft, as in other spheres; children give out only to the extent that they have been filled. The teacher must realise that he has not only the wealth of the world's Art and Craft to draw upon but also the wealth of Nature. If he as an adult draws constantly from these sources, if his own imagination is quickened, nourished, and sustained by them, then this will certainly be true of the boys and girls in his care.

D. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ENVIRONMENT

It cannot be too strongly emphasised that a child is affected and influenced, for good or ill, by his surroundings. It has been said elsewhere that the mean street or the featureless suburb can provide material for his picture-making as significant to him as the Cotswold village or Georgian terrace: that is another matter. A child cannot escape the impact of his environment, and it must be remembered that a school is a place specially intended to provide an environment that is good. The new and well designed school building, made of good and suitable materials, is of course the supreme example; though the art of living in a new building, so that its standards are not marred or its opportunities wasted, is one that calls for considerable and sensitive care. Ugliness can


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creep in all too easily. Fortunately it is possible, by determination and imagination, to make any room a wholesome and stimulating place; 'the seeing eye' can transform any environment. Most children daily suffer a bombardment of ugliness and shoddiness; at least the school can avoid adding to the onslaught, and it is within the capacity of any school to show that it stands for honest, decent workmanship and clean, simple standards. 'Good taste' is sometimes a vague, insipid commodity: there can be no recipe for achieving the ideal environment. Moreover, a classroom is not a museum, or a living room, or a show piece; yet by exercising discriminating choice when something new has to be admitted and when materials for the children's use are bought, and by considering the arrangement of the furniture and the way the walls are used, much can be done to teach sound visual standards.

E. DRAWING AND PAINTING

Experience of watching young children shows that from a very early age they begin learning to see. Drawing is for them, as it were, a pre-literate language; it is a fundamental medium through which they perceive, explore, learn, express, and sometimes communicate - though the communication may not at first be conscious. The adult artist and the young child have this in common: as they learn to see they also learn to use these images - compounded of their seeing, remembering and imagining - in their drawing and painting; they constantly dip into their store as they work. It is only by constant looking, searching and observing that true, imaginative seeing can emerge, and the teacher has a significant part to play in helping children in this. As has already been said, it is all too easy to make them see with his own eyes; and if he happens to be caught up in some temporary fashion or whim he may unwittingly cause them to put aside their own vision for the sake of the tricks they are being shown. Further, if the teacher seeks some pre-conceived 'result' from his pupils - determined by some theoretical view of what children are like rather than by seeing them as they really are - this concern is bound to stultify their growth. All teaching must necessarily be influenced by current thought, and the teacher needs always to be aware of present-day trends and values if he is to understand the situation of which his children are the most


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contemporary part. It is not likely that he will have had any specialist Art and Craft training: it is as a general teacher, alive to the needs of his pupils and able himself to gain pleasure from the Arts, that he approaches his work. He will put sincerity as the highest quality in whatever his pupils do. He may need to clear his mind of certain long-held notions, such as that drawing is a matter of imitating a likeness. If he struggles to get his children to draw things 'right' - that is, as a catalogue of graphic facts, recorded as a literal copy of the surface appearance of things - he may fail to tap their latent powers of imagery, in the pursuit of a truth that lies deeper. As he grows, a child's vision will increasingly call upon impressions of things, imaginatively observed, and by the time he reaches the top of the junior school the observation of his physical sight will probably play an important part in what he draws and paints; he wants things to look 'right' in a way that did not interest him formerly. Yet even at this stage the concern with what might be described as the underlying harmony of 'significant form' remains uppermost. In a treatise by the fifteenth century Tuscan painter and teacher, Cennino Cennini, there occurs a description of painting which is as true for us today as when it was written:

'After which comes an Art dependent on the operations of the hand, and this is called Painting, for which we must be endowed with both imagination and skill in the hand, to discover unseen things: beneath the obscurity of natural objects, and to arrest them with the hand, presenting to the sight that which did not before appear to exist.'*

If imagination is thought of less as the ability to invent something new than as the capacity to disclose as new that which already exists, then it must be said that it is very present in the paintings of children. They look at things and are helped to see; and, if their observation is deeply felt, they recognise no such distinctions as 'imaginative' drawing and drawing from 'memory'. There can be no drawing or painting that is non-imaginative, save those graphic records of surface facts made only to serve a scientific or similar end. To 're-enkindle commonplace' has always been and must continue to be the prime aim of the artist.

*Cennino Cennini: The Book of the Art ('Il libro dell' Arte o Trattatto della Pittura'). Translated by Christiana J Herringham, and published by Allen and Unwin, 1899.


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Children cannot be expected to paint or draw with zest and purpose if they have nothing to say. A stimulating school life will often bring them to the point of knowing what they want to do; and it must be said that what thus arises, spontaneously and naturally, out of their own vivid experiences is often their best; for it is then that they pour out their whole being upon the paper. To be told, however, to 'draw just what you like', when there may seem no reason for drawing anything, may prove an intolerable burden. The response made by the majority to such an empty gesture is to give a repeat performance, to play for safety, or just to fill in time. There are many occasions when the teacher very properly plays a part in choosing what children shall draw or paint. He takes up some point of interest and, by description or suggestion, so reveals its pictorial possibilities that his pupils are themselves enabled to fill out the framework. The prescribed or dictated picture may thus have very real value, especially to those children who are not very sure of themselves.

Though the atmosphere may be all that could be desired and the children are on the brink of genuine expression they will fail to gain satisfaction unless the physical arrangements are sensibly planned and the teacher himself has had enough personal experience of the materials to have a broad appreciation of them. Considerable ingenuity is required to make it possible for boys and girls in crowded conditions to work undisturbed. Many schools find that where space and equipment are meagre it is only possible to have a section of a class at a time attempting work on a large scale; in some schools there is rarely any occasion throughout the day when an entire class works as one; and in these all available space and materials are customarily utilised in this way.

Tools with which to draw should be available in as great a variety as possible. Since children naturally draw in line the range may include crayons, chalks, soft black pencils, coloured pencils and pens - for even before they write with pens some children take pleasure in drawing with them; the brush, too, is for many a sympathetic drawing instrument, and where possible there should be brushes both hard and soft, round and flat, large and small. A wide variety of surfaces and tones upon which to draw or paint is equally desirable. If papers of differing thicknesses and textures, shapes and sizes, together with panels of waste strawboard and card are available, the right piece can then


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be chosen to suit the job in hand, and a dead level of uniformity is avoided.

Water-colour, that most English medium of painting, is so subtle and difficult to manage that it will seldom meet the needs of young children, though on occasion they may enjoy applying fresh, transparent washes to some of their line drawings. More generally useful is body colour, either in powder form or ready mixed to a cream in screw-topped jars. The younger children will find enough to satisfy them in a range comprising black and white, yellow, red and blue; with these raw ingredients they should constantly be encouraged to explore a wide field of colour, making all manner of new colours as they mix. For this purpose each child needs a palette, which must be big enough for proper mixing. As they gain experience with this limited range it will be well to enlarge it; two different yellows, two reds, and two kinds of blue will permit wider experiment, and such a range is likely to satisfy the most fastidious and sensitive eye. The teacher's part will always be to encourage his pupils to gain more and more knowledge of colour, to extend their own range by mixing and experiment, to learn to match a certain colour and achieve a certain tone and to note subtle differences.

F. THE MAKING OF PATTERNS

For many young children, to build up a pattern with lines and broad areas of colour is as satisfying as pictorial painting. They are quick to see the bases underlying the making of patterns - the spot, the stripe, the motif repeated in a number of ways - and they never seem to tire of using them, singly or in combination. Particularly in schools where the rhythmical quality of handwriting is appreciated and where from the start the infants are encouraged, with brush and crayon, to 'write' patterns as well as to draw or paint them, their all-over and border designs will have this easy-flowing, calligraphic quality. Patterns may be drawn in a thick, colourless, wax crayon, and washed over with transparent paint, which the wax will resist, so that the design shows up bright and clear against its background. Another old and equally satisfying method is to comb patterns in the wet surface of a mixture of powder paint and paste, using a pointed stick, a broad lettering pen, a metal comb of the kind used for 'graining' woodwork, or a piece of card with a serrated edge; as


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in the other methods described, the nature of the tool and other materials used will dictate the character of the pattern produced.

While symmetry undoubtedly fascinates children, and they enjoy the formal radiating patterns so abundant in flowers, they also find satisfaction in organising within a given space a pattern composed of lines and masses arranged quite informally. For this purpose they may employ pencil, crayon and paint, or they may use an assortment of pieces of cloth and other materials to build up designs in montage, and - as in appliqué and embroidery - they will enjoy the richness that comes from the use of both opaque and transparent colour. They often love to embellish the surface and enrich the textures of chosen areas until the whole has a jewel-like quality and exists in its own right, so to speak, as a picture.

To make patterns not by drawing or painting but by holding a block in the hand, charging it with colour, and printing with it, brings its own satisfaction. Printed impressions may be made with all manner of devices, from potato-blocks, wooden sticks, the cut ends of interesting stalks of plants, to pieces of strip rubber or other such suitable substance cut with scissors to a pleasing shape; sometimes a block will be used in combination with shapes drawn with brush or crayon.

Arranging certain carefully chosen things to make a pattern, as in the craft of mosaic, also appeals to children. The material which they will collect for the purpose may range from seeds, pebbles, grain and other natural forms to torn paper shapes; the latter will be applied to card or paper, but the former will be pressed into place in some easily yielding background such as a thin layer of white plasticine. While it is clear that an activity of this kind can have only a limited value it must be admitted that there are some children who gain confidence more readily through constructing a design by this concrete means than by any other. If pattern-making is seen as an action, or sometimes as a game, and is never restricted to work on paper, it can then take its proper place as an enjoyable element in everyday life. The arrangement of flowers, to take one example, might well be thought of as making a design; the decoration of the Christmas cake, the laying of a meal, planning a harvest festival, even the arrangement of the seating in a classroom, all involve the making of patterns. The same is true of weaving. When a child first attempts to weave, taking a strand over, under, over, under


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other strands, he sees unmistakably how this repeated pattern becomes the very fabric itself.

G. THE CRAFTS: A GENERAL SURVEY

Fascination with the way materials can be used is one of the most noticeable characteristics of children. Throughout the primary stage they show eager interest in anyone who is making anything; their absorption in whatever they themselves attempt to make and the lengths to which they are prepared to go in order to achieve their end, may surprise and even confound the inexperienced teacher. All the great universal crafts compel their attention. But their degree of manual capacity and their interest do not suggest that they should themselves learn to practise any one of these crafts further than to satisfy their own enquiring minds: they must all learn handwriting, and there are other reasons besides historical ones why needlework may still be regarded as a craft to be learnt as a separate accomplishment. For the most part, however, to learn something about the nature of certain basic materials and methods and the nature of certain traditional crafts, rather than to acquire any specialised skill in their practice, should be the aim. Above all, children need opportunities for personal experiment and expression; the results they achieve must be viewed in this light, for what they do should be appraised by the teacher in his knowledge of each child's capacity, rather than according to some preconceived standard.

In the nursery and infant school many opportunities can be found for giving children that broad experience of materials which may later serve them more specifically in connection with a craft.

No age is too young for a child to handle clay. Potter's clay of good quality and in ample quantity, stored under damp cloths in a galvanised metal bin, is now regarded by many schools as an essential part of their equipment. The act of pounding, kneading, and shaping this amenable substance carries with it a unique satisfaction. What is 'made' with it seems far less important: something that is first called a boat may the next minute be a bowl or father's hat and when the session is over it becomes once more a part of the half-hundredweight lump in the bin. Seldom, indeed, even at the top of the junior school - except in special


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circumstances where a suitable kiln is available - will there be any need or reason to preserve an object beyond the normal life of a piece of unfired clay. Though children will put a great deal of themselves into making pots, both coiled and pressed, usually at the suggestion of the teacher, their modelling is more likely to take the form of figures and animals and other objects connected with whatever is the most absorbing interest of the moment. Where soft stone is ready to hand, or in downland country where there are lumps of chalk in plenty, older children may choose to carve rather than to model, using the simplest of improvised tools for the purpose.

From early childhood, boys and girls will construct houses, buses, ships, tractors, and the like, quickly seeing the potentialities of whatever materials can be gathered together. Laths, planks, blocks, and odd pieces of timber, with appropriate tools for shaping and construction, together with strawboard, corrugated card, hessian and other sorts of cloth, wire, rope, rubber tubing, gauze, dowel rods, boxes of all shapes and sizes, sheets of polythene, and whatever clean waste material can be found, will all serve their purpose. Girls as well as boys will want the pleasure of discovering how things are made and the satisfaction of seeing an ambitious piece of work through to its conclusion. There are some who will always prefer to work alone, but much will be done in groups, usually with one child recognised by the others as the leader.

It is regrettable that for many children, as soon as they cease to be called infants, these experiences, with all the endeavour and learning involved, must cease. Such things as wood and woodworking tools are no longer considered fit for girls to handle, and instead they ply the needle; boys are no longer expected to tack or hem, but pursue some restricted geometrical exercises, or at best follow a graded course in a particular craft. With changing interests some change of approach and organisation is obviously necessary. But a vigorous life in the junior school can hardly be lived without a great deal of simple constructional work, the making of models, designing and sewing, and much else that involves - albeit at a different level - the kind of experience with materials associated with the infant school, and this experience will need to be continued by both boys and girls. At the junior stage, however, children's interests penetrate more deeply. For example, interest in making puppets, in


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dressing up, together with a growing knowledge of substances such as wool, linen, cotton and modern fibres, may lead to closer enquiry and experiment. A boy may prepare raw wool, spin it with a spindle of his own making, dye it with plants he has himself collected, and weave it on a loom which he has constructed. A girl may want to know how patterns on cottons are printed. She may print a fabric with a block; she may produce another pattern by applying it to white cloth in a dye-resisting wax, plunge it into blue dye, and finally iron out the wax to reveal her design, white against a blue ground; or she may experiment with an equally old method by which she first dyes her cloth and then applies the pattern with a bleaching agent; she will not employ the materials of industry but use instead permanganate of potash as a dye and lemon juice to discharge the pattern. After such experiments children will look at textiles with a closer and more critical attention.

Any small child likes to be taught the proper way to fold a large sheet of paper, first folio, then quarto, then octavo, to make a book, stitching it in the traditional way of the professional bookbinder. If from their early years children are shown how to work in this way they will make books and folders as they need them, without fuss or the need for apparatus. There are countless occasions for producing books for special purposes, when the kind of paper, the size, the cover, and the layout of the pages must all be considered as a whole. The arrangement of writing or lettering upon a single or double page, the margins, and the illustrations are all matters of intelligent concern that can be taught by day to day familiarity; constant reference to good examples - which are fortunately abundant today, and many of which can be collected without cost - is perhaps the best teacher. In schools where boys and girls habitually make records of what they do in the form of books, and where at an early stage they become practised in dealing with paper and card, in tearing and cutting it, in stitching and in using adhesives, there is a craftsmanlike approach to work and a real sense of accomplishment.

It is tempting to measure the success of Art and Craft teaching solely by the quality of the drawings and paintings, models, puppets, and books that the children make: the charm of young children's work can easily cloud the judgement of adults. Where Art and Craft are realised not as an isolated 'subject' but as an


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integral part of the school's life and learning then what is produced is a reflection of the school's whole attitude of mind. Art and Craft are thus seen as a part and function of the whole curriculum, just like reading and writing.


2. Needlework

A. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCHOOLS
'At needlework in the afternoon she was no better. The girls around her in the class were making pinafores for themselves, putting in tiny stitches and biting off their cotton like grown women, while she was still struggling with her first hemming strip. And a dingy, crumpled strip it was before she had done with it, punctuated throughout its length with blood spots where she had pricked her fingers'.*
Thus Flora Thompson remembers what must have been the common experience of many young children in the elementary schools of later Victorian England. She relates how when the Squire's wife paid her visits to school to inspect the work the girls trembled, knowing that their sewing
'would never pass that eagle eye without stern criticism. She would work slowly along the form, examining each piece, and exclaiming that the sewing was so badly done that she did not know what the world was coming to. Stitches were much too large; buttonholes were bungled and tapes sewn on askew; and the feather-stitching looked as though a spider had crawled over the piece of work. But when she came to examine the work of one of the prize sewers her face would light up. "Very neat! Exquisitely sewn!" she would say, and have the stitching passed round the class as an example.'†
In those early days, soon after the introduction of compulsory instruction in reading, writing and arithmetic for all, when the teaching of plain sewing to girls became obligatory, proficiency in stitchery was the single aim. Within these limits much beautiful work was done, and the samplers and specimens of those days are greatly prized; but there were very many for whom such work meant only drudgery and dislike. Matthew

*Lark rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson (OUP 1945) p. 178.

Ibid., p. 190.


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Arnold, in his General Report for 1878 - that is, some sixteen years after the introduction of needlework into the curriculum - regrets that 'the bulk of the secular education given in our elementary schools has nothing of that formative character which in education is demanded', and goes on to say, 'As regards sewing, calculating, writing, spelling, this is self-evident. They are necessary, they have utility, they are not formative'. Behind those words there is the feeling of one who must often have seen six year olds at their weary, profitless task of trying to acquire proficiency in 'thimble and needle drill' and endeavouring to perform complicated feats of stitchery on unyielding scraps of fabric. It is not strange that in the tedium of minute stitching - seam-and-fell, run-and-fell, stroking of gathers, setting into a band, tucking and frilling - he could find little that was reassuring. Every technique had to be separately mastered before a child was judged competent to begin the hand-sewing of a garment, cut and fixed by the teacher, which would ultimately be assessed as a compendium of stitches rather than as a piece of clothing to be worn.

Comfort lies in the fact that then, as now, fortunate children enjoyed valuable experience at home by watching the skilled woman at work, by playing with the household piece-bag and dressing dolls and dressing up, and so gradually acquiring the wish to make things themselves and the ability to match the wish. If ribbons and lace and all the delightful printed stuffs were denied them in the schoolroom, at least at home many were able to realise something of the intense pleasure of a craft that has always played a large part in the lives of people of all ages in all countries and in all cultures.

The Report on Children under five years of age in Public Elementary Schools by Women Inspectors which the Board of Education published in 1905 is illuminating. It shows that still in some schools there was sewing for four to five year olds for three hours per week 'with No. 6 needles', though in others 'Needlework and knitting and their attendant drills are practically absent from the teaching of children under five'. The chief fact that an investigation into children's eyesight brought forth was that the number of girls with bad sight was very much in excess of that of the boys, in fact nearly twice as many. The Report observes, 'As needlework and knitting are the only occupations indulged in by girls and not by boys, the above facts


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seem to point to this subject as the probable cause of the mischief'.

As a result of such investigations much bigger tools (too big, many would say) were introduced into the schools. With the use of larger tools there was unfortunately a corresponding loss of rhythm in much of the sewing. Most schools shared a set, universal scheme, in which processes were taught and then applied to the making of 'garments' carefully graduated in difficulty. For the most part the planning and cutting out were still done by the teacher, who by now, however, had access to a pleasanter variety of textiles from which to choose. Calico and flannel gave place to some of the attractive newer materials; coloured underclothes and printed cotton dresses became the fashion, and the market was filled with gay and inviting fabrics. Probably the most powerful influence was the great change that took place in children's clothing as the mass of garments of Edwardian days gave place to simpler, lighter, well-cut clothes. The schemes of needlework in the schools reflected the change and some of the obsolete processes were abandoned and simpler, bolder work was attempted.

By the early twenties the use of brightly coloured fabrics (including extremely coarse hessian and canvas), large needles and coarse threads were firmly established. This was an era of 'decorative stitchery': it gave joy and satisfaction to the children because for the first time their thirst for colour was met and they were able to execute the work with reasonable speed. At its worst the work was ungainly and superficial; the large stitches and over-embellished surfaces were often quite unsuited to any everyday use. The work was not always related to the experiences of children but was thought of rather as a preliminary stage to learning to sew - though it often failed in this objective because the tools were ill chosen. At their best, however, the results were delightfully fresh and spontaneous and reflected the children's own pleasure. The craft was thus freed from the limitations of mere utility and the way was opened for much that is done in primary schools today.

B. THE PRESENT POSITION

(a) Children up to seven

Needlework is much more than using needle and thread to


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sew; and it is hardly possible either to think of it or to teach it in isolation from other activities.

The materials of the craft are part of the children's earliest experience and touch their lives at many points. They are dressed and help to dress themselves in clothes that are variously fashioned and made of different fabrics. They handle the furnishings around them and get to know the materials of which their soft toys are made. They watch people knit and sew by hand or by machine. Both at home and at school, in young children's play the devising and wearing of clothes, veils and headgear often take a prominent place. Children seem to enjoy the contrast between different textures, and they use eagerly all kinds of braids, tapes, laces, buttons, pins and beads. They never tire of wearing cloaks and hats and flowing robes and trains.

The infant school recognises the value of such early experience and seeks to extend it by helping children to find their way further into the craft. Besides the costumes for dressing up there should be attractive boxes for pieces of cloth of all kinds, which the children sort and arrange as well as use for their own purposes. Bits of fur, velvet, feathers, ribbon, paper and card of different colours and textures, cord and balls of wool and whatever stimulating materials of this kind may come to hand should also be saved and made available for the children to use.

To the discovery of the nature of materials is added the discovery of tools and what they will do. Children want to emulate grown-ups, and, working in homely fashion, they are as eager to use scissors, thread and needle as paint brush, rolling pin or saw. If they are given the chance and suitable tools with which to work, boys and girls in the infant school plan, cut out and make clothes for dolls and articles for their play ranging from the strip of cloth, loosely tied and crudely tacked, to the simple garment perhaps of magyar shape. In so doing there is no conscious disregard for niceties of finish or wear: the whole aim is to contrive something to serve an immediate and usually urgent purpose.

Perhaps because of its association with grown-ups at home knitting is often a favourite pursuit among both boys and girls in infant schools and in spite of its complicated movements they achieve a considerable degree of success.

In all this the teacher gives the kind of help a mother gives: the occasional word and suggestion, unobtrusive guidance, or


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direct help, and always the opportunity of seeing her at work herself. It is probably from this last that most is learnt. If the teacher sees her part as not primarily instruction in technique but as helping children to employ fabric and thread to make what they have set out to make she will find the best time and the most appropriate way of giving help or of showing how something is done.

(b) Children from seven to eleven

Boys and girls entering the junior school with a background of craft experience of the kind described are ready to go further and deeper as their interests change and their powers grow; if they have not had such experience in the infant school, what has been described above makes a good starting point, even in the junior school, if allowances are made for the greater range of the children's interests and the growth of their powers of dexterity. Children in the first year or two of the junior school continue to enjoy using fabrics in many ways, cutting, shaping and sewing, dressing dolls, making puppets, furnishing and equipping many things used in their work. They often print patterns on the material they use. Much of what they do will grow out of the day to day experiences of the classroom, and many children write about the things they make. They need and like to finish their work quickly using the kind of technique that suits the purpose of the moment. At the same time, much teaching and guidance can be given individually and in groups. It is not always realised how much is achieved by children in this way. At this stage foundations are laid for future development of the craft: stitches and processes are mastered as they are needed in situations understood by the children. Many of the exercises in the teaching of sewing sometimes found in the lower classes of junior schools have been found to be unnecessary; such repetitive exercises may be at the expense of the children's planning, measuring and cutting for themselves. Even at this age, when children are interested, they are prepared to repeat and practise whatever skill they need to achieve their aim.

Boys and girls should continue to work together at this stage. The recommendations of the Cross Commission of 1888 that instituted 'linear drawing for boys' as a proper alternative to plain sewing for girls, has been unfortunate both for the boys and the girls. There are schools where the teaching of art and


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craft is planned as a whole, and on any one occasion boys and girls, working singly or in groups, may be modelling, painting, sewing, weaving, making models or puppets, printing patterns, or making simple books. In such schools there may be no special periods set aside for teaching this or that particular craft and, at least in the first two years of the junior school, boys and girls share in them all.

In the later years of the junior school, however, boys and girls begin unmistakably to show differences in their interests. Yet many girls continue to enjoy handling clay, cardboard and sometimes wood, and boys still turn to fabrics, needle and thread as they need them. In a minority of schools, therefore, boys and girls remain together for craftwork, including needlework, even at the top of the school. Much depends upon the accommodation and equipment available, though most depends upon the point of view of the teachers.

However the junior school is organised, it is comparatively easy to allow for a great variety of effort and achievement in the lower classes, but, as in other fields of work, as children grow to the top of the school they become more skilful in the use of tools and materials and want their work to approximate much more closely to adult standards; the girls like to make simple garments and articles which they can wear and use with pride. This is the most difficult stage in the teaching of needlework. It is essential that whatever is produced should be planned and made from start to finish by the girl herself, and therefore a scheme of work should show progression in all sides of the work and not in sewing only. Too often progress is measured only by increasing skill in stitchery or by more difficult construction. The same progression should be found in the choice of material, ability to measure and cut, and skill in all that goes to the making of what is undertaken.

Sometimes the children make simple paper patterns and occasionally they use bought patterns. From time to time they need to make things quickly and without much finish, and here there might be greater use of a sewing machine since children today often use one at home long before they meet it in school. There must be time too for continuing experiments with material, including the making of things of perhaps little lasting use in themselves, but of great value to the girl herself at that particular stage of her progress.


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To plan for such work makes great demands on the teacher. A good scheme of work provides for great variation in the children's skill and leaves opportunities to pursue unforeseen interests. Sometimes the class may work as one, perhaps in the discussion of materials or in the enjoyment of a small exhibition. More often the children work in groups receiving as much teaching as they need at the time, while a few girls may work individually each on her own separate job.

Whatever the planning of the work may be there are certain principles to be considered. A child needs to be helped to give shape to her ideas and to see a piece of work through to a satisfying end. At the same time it is out of her acquaintance with interesting well-made things that, in a large measure, she learns discrimination and builds up standards of judgement. While few schools, perhaps, are able to acquire a wide collection of first range examples of needlework, all can from time to time borrow a few and display them well. Perhaps the work that is indigenous to the British Isles is our most natural source of inspiration even in the junior schools. Though this work does not include the kinds of things which the children themselves are likely to make, it is good for them to see the fine examples of needlework from other times and places. Such displays might include a smock, a patchwork quilt from Wales or Durham, a Shetland shawl, lace from Devon or Buckinghamshire, fishermen's jerseys, or a christening robe of an earlier time; to these may be added the beautifully hand-sewn clothing of Victorian and Edwardian days, and good examples of our own time from countries other than our own. In homes and private collections and in our local museums are countless pieces of needlework of great interest and a school should help the children to know any of these which are accessible.

Secondly, if children are to cultivate their power to select the right material for the right purpose they must be given the chance to choose from as great a variety of materials as possible. The initial selection must of course be the responsibility of the teacher, who needs always to be on the look out for what is stimulating and fresh and suitable for them to handle. Besides traditional materials - wool, cotton, silk and linen - the teacher will need to explore the possibilities of fabrics woven from some of the man-made fibres and yarns.

As in the infant school, the piece bag - or, better still, the


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collection of attractive boxes to hold fabrics and oddments of many different kinds - will continue to be a very necessary part of the equipment. This may contain materials which the children cannot yet handle with technical skill, though they learn a great deal from using them in their own way. In addition to, and often alongside, this experimental work children need to be helped to use a more restricted range of fabrics, attractive in colour, plain or simple in design, and of such textures that the handling of them is easy. They must have appropriate tools: needles of suitable length and thickness that can easily be threaded, scissors that cut efficiently; pins with good points, thimbles that fit, and an iron to smooth and press. There should be a variety of suitable sewing threads. As in any other subject there must be books to turn to for pleasure and information - books which are dictionaries for sewing, with good photographs, patterns, charts and diagrams. One of the useful developments in the teaching of needlework in recent years has been the greater use of self-teaching apparatus in which stitches and processes are shown, stage by stage, in the actual size likely to be used in the articles which the children are making. Children need to be taught how to use these aids but, having learnt, they are much more independent of the teacher.

Thirdly, competence only comes through a certain amount of trial and error, and it must be recognised that when children cut cloth they may sometimes spoil it. A supply of cheap experimental material is therefore needed, and it should not be expected that, with children of this age, needlework in schools can pay for itself out of the sale of its products.

As they grow older children will become more critical of their work and increasingly aware of the standards generally accepted by their elders. By the age of eleven many of the abler girls will be competent in a variety of ways. They will have some genuine understanding of the nature and inherent qualities of many different materials and they will plan, select, cut and use them in a craftsmanlike way. They will have mastered some of the established processes of construction and decoration, and may be able to use a sewing machine. Their own stitchery can be expected to have an easy rhythmical flow. It is possible that they will have made fabrics themselves, either by weaving or knitting; they may also have spun and dyed some of the threads they use. They may have printed fabrics with blocks they themselves have


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cut, or have embroidered cloth with coloured wools and threads. Their experience of the craft of needlework will in no sense have been a watered-down version of that of adults; from the start they will have been taught time-honoured ways and means that they can go on using all their lives.

As in other subjects, the children at the end of their junior schooling will vary greatly in their achievements. While the best may be working with the dexterity and confidence of their sisters in the secondary schools, others may still be finding the use of needlework tools and materials a difficult art and will need much more help and encouragement before they master it.




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CHAPTER XIV

Handwriting

A. THE NATURE OF HANDWRITING

ITS HISTORY

The experience of the post-war years has shown that, where children are helped to master the craft of handwriting so that they are able to use it for their records with enjoyment and skill, their interest and their sense of proper pride are quickened; and many teachers would claim that the substance of what they write is greatly strengthened. However that may be, handwriting, like reading, is something that has special significance for the primary school, and it is therefore considered here in some detail.

The two or three year old who is so consumed with interest in watching his parent write a letter that he begs to be allowed to write one too, scribbles across the page lines that are not greatly unlike the calligraphic rhythms of mature handwriting. From the start, in fact, a young child seems to be aware that to write is to make flowing rhythmic bands of pattern; and it happens to be true that that is what our everyday handwriting has always been, at any rate since the Renaissance, when there was a conscious effort to reform it.

The great writing masters of that time taught a cursive hand that was the natural outcome of writing the ancient Roman letter forms swiftly with a pen. These monumental shapes, when interpreted by a stiff quill sharpened to an edge like a chisel's, inevitably took on a character that depended on the nature of this tool. As it was held at a constant angle while directed across the page it produced lines ranging in thickness from a hair's breadth to the pen's full width; moreover, as the letters came to be written more freely and coupled or linked according to their shape, and as the writing was seen as a forward-moving line of pattern, the character of the letters tended to become compressed. In contrast to the formal book hand of the professional scribe, where each letter usually stood upright and separate as


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in printed type, the informal running hand that has evolved from it for everyday use was one in which the individual letters were no longer seen in isolation but ran on from one to the next as a continuous pattern. It was the natural outcome of the swift informal rendering of the alphabet chosen as a model and the nature of the tool that was most often used for writing it.

Some young children of Tudor, Elizabethan and Stuart times, who were privileged to come under the influence of such scholars as Roger Ascham, were certainly taught to write such a hand as this. It was clean and economical in form, and swift, legible and graceful; and it showed unmistakably its honourable pedigree. The copybooks devised by some of the great masters of the craft showed models that were beautifully reproduced by printing from woodblocks. Later, as the work was turned over to the copper-plate engravers, whose method of reproduction had become the cheap and popular one, the writing tended to lose some of its essential character in the florid excesses of engraving; the flexible, fine-pointed steel pen replaced the stiff, square-ended quill, and thin or thick strokes were now produced by muscular pressure upon the pen. The maxim of the copybooks was 'Lightly on the up-strokes, heavy on the down'.

So there came into almost general use in our nineteenth century schools that offshoot from traditional handwriting aptly known as Copperplate, and the style persists in a number of schools today. At its best this hand is both legible and beautiful but, as those who were taught it as children and have continued to use it will know, it all too rapidly degenerates into illegible scribble when written with speed. Few adults still use the sharp, pliable pen nibs of their schooldays; they have long since resorted to the broader and more rigid ones now commonly manufactured.

It must not be supposed, however, that the chisel-edged pen was the exclusive tool before the invention of the steel copper-plate pen. The stiff blunt style too was sometimes employed for informal work, much of which showed a swift, personal and essentially cursive quality. While the dangers inherent in the use of its modern equivalent are obvious, even so it cannot be ruled out as a writing tool.


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B. TWENTIETH CENTURY DEVELOPMENTS

From the turn of the nineteenth century onwards there have been various attempts to bring back the craft of handwriting to the main stream of tradition. The introduction of print script into infant schools was a sincere effort to teach young children the bold, wholesome Roman letter forms rather than the somewhat emasculated version of nineteenth century pot-hooks. That this was not handwriting but print - not a cursive hand but a formal book hand - soon became evident. On leaving the infant school the child was either required to put away childish things and start proper 'grown-up' writing from scratch, or helped to turn his script into cursive handwriting; after the primary stage he might be left to catch whatever feature attracted him from whatever styles came his way, so that by adulthood he possessed a mongrel hand that gave no satisfaction to him to write or to others to read. In this matter alone in the curriculum there has been tolerated not only a lack of progression but even a positive setback.

It was left to a teacher, Marion Richardson, and to various exponents of Renaissance hands who were not teachers but scribes, to bring the schools back to the simple truth that handwriting is essentially a rhythmical pattern of lines across a page. Marion Richardson laid emphasis on children's inherent sense of movement and pattern and showed how the craft of handwriting grew out of it; and the scribes drew attention once more to the sources of traditional handwriting and to the essential nature of the pen, making available again superb historic examples for schools to see and use as models. For no new letter shapes have been invented; we can but use those that have come down through history. Just as there is a recognised and accepted pronunciation of sounds, with latitude for dialectal variation, so there is a universally established way of making letters, and the sensitive ear or eye rebels against liberties that are taken with either. The unchangeable, significant letter forms which continue to serve our purpose best today are so established within our civilisation that we cannot tamper with them; it is not possible to devise a new basic form: we can only accept what history gives us.


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C. THE PRESENT POSITION

So we come to our own time; and it is a heartening thought that, in an age when so little of craftsmanship is expected of anyone and when it is easy to say that few people care about quality and standards of work done by hand, very many - both in schools and outside - are deeply concerned to give handwriting once more its proper dignity as the most universal of all crafts. Thousands of adults today are enjoying a new found pleasure in learning to write a traditional hand well.

D. THE INFANT SCHOOL

(a) The beginning

Some of this number are teachers in infant schools, and they realise that, as in other aspects of learning, young children appear to learn most easily and surely from the example that they themselves set. If the first writing that children see is the simplest possible version of the traditional running hand then they straightway begin to copy it. Provided the teacher has herself mastered the craft she should not find it difficult to present to them a 'standard' form of it, that is to say, one without her own idiosyncrasies or deviations from the norm. Knowing that children tend to exaggerate such differences she is therefore careful to let them see only the clear, elemental letter shapes, each showing its essential features that distinguish it from every other. The words and simple sentences she may write for a child beneath the pictures he draws - and which he may copy - will be written in such a hand. She and her children will write with chalk, charcoal, crayon, brush or soft thick pencil according to the need, though the last will probably be used more often.

(b) Handwriting as rhythmical movement

When she writes for her children to see she will usually write a fully cursive hand, where many of the letters are naturally linked. When copying what she writes not all children will at first use these ligatures; some may draw the letters separately, packing them closely into words. It has surprised many teachers to find that young children are quicker to come to a completely running hand than was formerly thought; they soon see that some letters are joined by a horizontal stroke and some by a


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diagonal one, while others do not lend themselves to being linked. What is important is to encourage children to recognise that a word is a complete piece of pattern, and that a lot of words moving together rhythmically across the page make a larger pattern. In the course of the school day children will make patterns with other forms than letters and with other materials than crayons and pencils, and all this variety will reinforce and strengthen their sense of rhythm. If from the start they are helped to see that handwriting is a form of movement, then they will enjoy it in the same spirit that they enjoy moving their own bodies. While the shapes made with the pencil may be small in scale yet they need never be mean or restricted in kind; and each is related to the other; no letter exists alone but each is a part of a larger pattern.

(c) Teaching technique

As the business of recording in writing becomes more necessary and absorbing to a child he may need more technical help from his teacher. For example, if he grips his writing tool or holds it awkwardly he may be prevented from achieving an easy flow in what he tries to write. Nothing is more frustrating than this, and the teacher may need to show him how lightly she holds her pencil as she takes it on its way across the page. Then the child may find difficulty in drawing the essential portrait of a particular letter so that it can be immediately recognised; possibly the child has not fully seen or recognised its shape hitherto, and it is only when his teacher makes it clear to him that he becomes aware of it, Always a child must be allowed the time he needs to practise at his own pace until he himself sees that he is making good progress.

On occasion the teacher may find it convenient to demonstrate a point to a group, and she can only do this if she has mastered the art of writing well upon a wall-board. This requires no mean skill and a great deal of practice. For this purpose the teacher may like to sharpen her chalk like a chisel-edged pen, though, if she holds it as she does her pen so that the angle it makes with the surface of the board is constant, it will wear itself down to such an edge after a little use. Alternatively the teacher may prefer to write with 'lettering chalk' designed for the purpose, or she may choose to break a stick of chalk into lengths of


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about half an inch, using each as though it were a pen of that width; obviously a new piece is needed very frequently, though this is no inconvenience. It is interesting to see how six and seven year olds who have by now had a good deal of daily writing practice will sometimes deliberately rub down the points of their own crayons and coloured and black pencils to a chisel edge, on sandpaper or some other rough surface, and will delightedly show their teacher that their writing is made up of thick and thin strokes like hers. While obviously it would be unwise to consider the calligraphic nature of the tool to such an extent at this stage it is nevertheless revealing that some children do in fact appreciate calligraphic quality even at this early age. The pencils and crayons they use approximate more nearly to the comparatively blunt stylus mentioned earlier, and not until they come to handle pens in the junior school will they be concerned with the character of writing with a chisel-edge. There is every reason for ensuring that whatever notices, labels, titles or other pieces of handwriting children see in the infant school should be as good of their kind as the teacher can make them and that they should be done in a fully mature hand. The more children see of these universal letter shapes the better they come to know them: they are their source and they set their standard.

(d) Writing and reading

It is perhaps strange that children should find no difficulty at all when in their story and picture books they encounter both the round, upright letter forms and their narrower, slightly sloping counterpart: there is no confusion for them here but they regard them as variations of the same alphabet. If their teacher writes a traditional hand her writing will be not unlike the slightly sloping variation, and so will their own. They may sometimes be heard to call this 'writing' and to call the upright form 'printing', and no one would say that they are very far wrong in doing so. Be that as it may, experience shows that any fears the teacher may have that the children's ability to read the printed word might be hindered, because they do not 'print' but 'write', are groundless. It would certainly seem that children's power to recognise, within the range of accepted variations, the essential shapes of the Roman alphabet is far greater than was once recognised.


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(e) How children use handwriting. Its arrangement upon the page

Unless young children are given ruled paper on which to write very few of them find any need of lines to guide them: they launch out fearlessly upon a plain sheet, often showing surprising, if unconscious, control. Moreover, since their writing may sometimes be in coloured crayons upon a large sheet of sugar paper, at other times be painted with a brush beneath a picture, or consist of pages in a diary closely written in black pencil, the lined sheet of writing paper is not often likely to meet their need. Further, children are quick to appreciate the arrangement of printing or of handwriting upon a page; they are used to the nice balance between the mass of type and the margins in the printed books they handle, and in what they themselves do they very naturally emulate a somewhat similar layout. Everyone knows that a piece of handwriting is clear and satisfying to read and look at to the extent that the disposition of the lines of writing upon the page, the spaces between them, and the proportions of the margins are harmonious. The experience of those teachers who have given consideration to such matters with children in infant schools undoubtedly shows that boys and girls readily accept and make their own the customary page arrangement that has come down to us through history. The formation of early habits of orderly planning of the page, varied to suit the work in hand and without the cramping restriction of arbitrary lines, is the best possible foundation for a child's written work.

(f) Achievement at the end of the infant school

As he grows confident in his skill a child takes pleasure in practising and using it. The remarkable development which we are seeing today in the scope, the quality, and the quantity of written work among six and seven year olds has been considered elsewhere. Many teachers find that 'print script' is not providing an adequate vehicle for this output and they are consequently turning again to traditional cursive handwriting. In some infant schools it is a common sight to see the oldest children absorbed in filling page after page with what they want to say, matching their thoughts with a swift flowing handwriting that helps rather than hinders them, that can be easily read, and that is good to look at, And in any schools where from the start a


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reasonable hand has been consistently taught and encouraged even the least able children will write it satisfactorily and will take pride in using it; and the more so if it is made clear to them that they are being taught something which is not merely of temporary use ultimately to be abandoned, but a hand that will continue to serve them always.

F. THE JUNIOR SCHOOL

(a) A widening view of handwriting as a craft

If such a start has been made, the handwriting of most children during their first two years in the junior school need undergo little change. All by now will write a fully cursive hand that with regular use and practice can be expected steadily to mature. If the craft is regarded seriously they will want to practise it for its own sake, quite apart from using it for their day to day needs.

It is particularly on these occasions that children should see and perhaps even deliberately model their own handwriting upon first-rate examples. The teacher's own work, whether on the wall-board or in the books of individual boys and girls, will continue to be the greatest influence, but the more the teacher is able to broaden the children's own view by surrounding them with sound historical and contemporary hands the more likely are they to grow in sensitivity.

In many of our churches there are fine inscriptions on brass, slate and stone - particularly of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries - that might (with permission) be rubbed and the impressions enjoyed in school. In this connection it should be noted that if a rubbing is taken with a white wax crayon or a candle, instead of the customary black heel-ball, and is afterwards washed over with ink or paint the result is a crisp 'positive' instead of the usual 'negative', and so the character of the original is more nearly preserved. Besides making rubbings it is possible for any school to collect good photographic reproductions of historical examples of fine handwriting; among advertisements there is pleasant contemporary work to be found; and a school may find it stimulating, too, to see an occasional display of the handwriting of another school, or of older pupils, or sometimes of the everyday hands of adults who respect the craft.


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(b) Teaching technique

As in the infant school, the teacher must continue to check such deviations from what might be regarded as standard handwriting as rob a child's work of clarity and flow. By eight or nine a child may be expected to have established his handwriting fairly firmly, though some letter forms or the writing of certain combinations of letters may still present difficulty and call for specific help and practice. A greater problem at this stage is to keep children's handwriting free from mannerisms; one child may borrow a spurious letter form or unconsciously copy some distortion or ugly mode of linking letters from another, or there may be a tendency to excessive angularity or the reverse; the fashion can spread with such alarming speed that the teacher may need to suppress it at once by deliberately teaching a satisfactory alternative and affording special practice in using it. On the whole, however, children show such good sense in these matters that apart from passing phases there is nothing to hinder a steady strengthening of their hold upon the craft.

It cannot be too strongly stressed that now as in the infant school children's handwriting needs to be seen as part of their whole experience of movement, rhythm and pattern. Certainly the deeper and more varied their experience the more readily do they seem to acquire skill and grace in writing a running hand: their sense of movement is not restricted to one field but enters all others. It is the practice in some schools during this stage to encourage children to paint patterns and letter shapes on a large scale with stiff, flat brushes on sheets of newspaper; they write such patterns as occur to them, employing the elliptical or pointed rhythms inherent in traditional calligraphy rather than the fat, open shapes of print. Primarily these patterns are enjoyed for their own sake, but at the same time their loosening effect and consequently their direct bearing upon children's approach to handwriting have significance.

Sometimes, instead of a brush, a wedge of stiff felt or matchbox wood may be used; this is cut like a broad lettering pen to give an edge measuring as much as half, three quarters, or even one inch, and is fitted into a holder. Such a tool inevitably creates shapes closely allied to those made with a quill or pen, producing lines in a great range of thicknesses. A reed or piece of cane, cut in the same way and dipped in ink or paint, gives pleasure to


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write and draw with too and, like the 'felt pen', surprises the child who wields it by the variety in the width and character of the lines it makes. There is also the satisfying process - with an element of magic in it for children - of making bold writing movements across a white page with a thick crayon of colourless wax, and then of flooding the area with colour and seeing the white, crisp, calligraphic pattern emerge. At this stage, too, a minority of children enjoy writing and pattern-making with a pencil of the kind expressly designed for lettering, the lead of which is flat and thus lends itself to being cut like a chisel. It produces writing of a scale so large that the essential elements in its construction cannot be overlooked; it flatters by its pen-like gradations from thin to thick but at the same time it reveals every weakness.

(c) The pen

Of all the new tools that a child in the junior school encounters probably none is quite as important to him as the pen. No two children are likely to be ready to write with it at the same time, and although for most this time is during their ninth year there are some who feel at home with it long before and others who are not able to use it competently until much later. Possibly the less said about the pen to children the better. If they have learnt to write fluently in pencil and have grown used to seeing their elders write with stiff, broad-edged pens they usually show an eagerness to learn the discipline of the tool themselves, and they take to the pen with an easy confidence that often confounds adults.

The chief need is that the pen offered to the child should be a workmanlike tool - one, in fact, that the teacher would wish to use. It must be one that resists pressure, since the marks it will make will never be the result of muscular pressure but will depend on the width of the end of the pen itself. This end will be cut like a chisel, and it may be cut square or oblique. Many right-handed children like one that is cut 'right oblique'; many left-handers are much happier with one that is cut in 'oblique reverse' fashion, that is to say, with the cut sloping away from right to left; and all are able to use one that is cut square. A number of good pens are now available, cut in these three different ways, and made in fine, medium and broad widths. Many schools find that the simple slip-on reservoirs that are


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provided are a great convenience, especially in the early stages of penmanship. The pen holder must be one that a child can take comfortably into his hand; a mere fluted stick is unsatisfactory. Thick, well-shaped holders can now be obtained.

The teacher usually prefers the convenience of a fountain pen and, apart from expense, it would be hard to find adequate reasons for not allowing a junior child to use one; and now that there are cheap and well designed fountain pens on the market many boys and girls do, in fact, procure and cherish their own. In any case it should be possible in every school for each child to have his own dip pen, for which he must be taught and expected to care.

To provide good writing ink is a much more difficult problem. Most teachers agree that the weak fluid that so often serves as ink in our schools has in part been responsible for much of the poor quality and lack of interest in handwriting. A child cannot be expected to respect a material that is inadequate for its purpose. Where schools are able to buy good ink they undoubtedly see an ample return for the expenditure.

Given a good pen and as good ink as can be afforded a child needs only to be watched to see that he holds his pen at a constant angle to the horizontal writing line; trouble does not arise unless he turns his pen from time to time. As long as he does not vary his pen-hold and his writing position the widths of the strokes that the pen makes can look after themselves. The pen is normally held so that its edge meets the writing line at an angle of about forty-five degrees; it is that angle which will produce a zigzag line where the up-strokes are fine and the down-strokes are as broad as the full width of the pen. Any writing position that ensures that a child produces such a line with ease is probably the best for him. Normally he will sit square to his desk, and he must be comfortable, so that he is never taut and rigid; he will hold his right elbow away from the side of his body, the shaft of his pen pointing towards his right fore-arm. If the teacher encounters difficulty in helping a left-handed child to find his best position for writing the best plan is to encourage the child to experiment for himself with his pen until he is able to write, without any muscular pressure, a pointed rhythm like that described. It is probable that in order to do so he will keep his left elbow close to his side, pointing his penholder somewhat towards the right of his body, and perhaps tending to turn his


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hand to the left from the wrist so as to sharpen the angle at which the pen meets the paper. It is important for the teacher to recognise that the child who naturally writes with his left hand is in no sense at a disadvantage and that no problem need arise. There will be many variations among children both in their writing position and in the way in which they hold the pen; what matters is that they should sit easily and hold it so that to use it gives them pleasure and that peculiar satisfaction that comes from the right use of any tool.

(d) Achievement at the end of the junior school

The use of a pen should never mean the abandonment of pencils and other writing materials. A full life during the final two years in the primary school will involve a child in a great bulk of handwriting for all manner of purposes. There will be the formal occasion - the programme, rhyme sheet, notice, or letter of invitation - that will call for some studied effort in both planning and execution, whether with brush, pencil, crayon or pen; there will be the child's personal notes and jottings in pencil, which none but he may see but which nevertheless need never degenerate into scribble; and there will be that greater body of work with the pen, in notebooks and on charts, the lists he makes, the anthologies he compiles, and all the personal expression of what he has himself seen and felt and remembered. A child's handwriting practice need never consist of scrappy, isolated exercises but can always have some real purpose.

The craft of handwriting, if it serves him well, should make this mass of writing a satisfying thing for him to do. The way he handles the pen, shapes the letters and words, and moves the pen rhythmically across the page should by now be almost second nature to him. The more experience he has of making his own books and folders, of planning the layout of their pages and filling them with his own writing and drawing, the more properly fastidious is he likely to become; he likes the look of a well designed page and he learns to discriminate in what he sees about him. Ten and eleven year olds who have had these opportunities, who have been brought up to regard handwriting as a part of our history and culture, are not easily taken in by the shoddy and meretricious; they bring to the books they handle, to the lettering and typography of the journals and advertisements they meet with daily, and no less to the everyday handwriting of


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which they see so much, a critical awareness and a growing care for good standards that are sometimes surprisingly mature for their years. They like to see a job well done and, in a peculiar way, handwriting exactly satisfies this desire.





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CHAPTER XV

Music

A. INTRODUCTORY: MUSIC AND LANGUAGE

For the young child at home or in school music and language are so closely interwoven that he can sometimes be overheard, when at play, passing naturally from speech to song and back again with no apparent consciousness of the change. A similar attitude has been observed among adults in primitive communities; for example, much of the oldest poetry that has come down to us seems to have been sung or intoned rather than declaimed. Milton's 'Sphear-born harmonious Sisters, Voice, and Vers' symbolise two related modes of using the same vocal organs. The elements of stress, speed, and pitch have their place in speech no less than in song. Nor is purely instrumental music without its connections with language. Various types of solo and choral song have played an important part in the evolution of instrumental idioms, textures, and forms; and indeed most of our modern instruments of music can be traced back to prototypes in the primitive harp, horn, pipe and drum whose sounds were once venerated as supernatural voices and credited with magical powers.

Although speech and music as modes of human expression have tended to develop independently to an extent that makes their remarriage in solo or choral song a matter of artistic effort and compromise, their original relationship can never be disregarded by the teacher. There is hardly any principle for the teaching of language that is not applicable to the teaching of music. Much of what has already been said about language, both in Chapter II and in Chapter XI, should therefore be treated as a background to the present subject.

Music is a specialised language, learnt in the same way as the mother-tongue, by hearing and imitation from early infancy. It is a language with its own idioms, many of which are derived


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from the idioms of speech, Musical idioms are almost, though not quite,* as arbitrary as the idioms of a spoken language. The musical scales, for example, which form the framework of what we recognise as a tune, are conventional patterns of tones and semitones that have evolved by an intricate historical process. Without their control music would be incoherent and incomprehensible, as some contemporary composers admit when they substitute for traditional scales another discipline such as the twelve-note system. The definition of a tune as 'a series of sounds that people are used to' is thus something more than a witticism. For the teacher the fundamental truth is that until a child has got used to the pitch-patterns accepted by our musical culture through hearing them arranged and rearranged in tunes, he cannot begin to reproduce them with his vocal organs; he cannot 'sing in tune'. The relevance of this process to the common problem of 'growlers' is discussed later in this chapter.

Response to the rhythmic element in musical language usually develops more rapidly. In musical rhythm also there is a common stock of idioms - groups of shorter and longer, lighter and heavier sounds, - which musicians are constantly manipulating in fresh ways. Some of these idioms derive from bodily movements and gestures, others from verbal patterns, an origin that is reflected in an interesting way in the subtle differences that occur between the folk tunes of different peoples; the Hungarian language, for example, has imposed on the simplest traditional melodies types of rhythm that appear to be easy for Hungarian children to apprehend but come less naturally to those whose language is differently constructed.

In music, as in speech, the whole of an idea must be presented before its grammatical parts. Melodic intervals and rhythmic figures can be studied as separate entities only after they have been repeatedly heard in the context of simple but complete tunes, which are comparable to the units of thought or sentences from which language study begins. For example, there is a time for directing conscious attention to the melodic group d-r-m, but not until it has been repeatedly heard and subconsciously retained in such contexts as

*The reservation is made because the natural laws of acoustics have certainly influenced the development of music, especially in the growth of the harmonic system on which modem European music is based.


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the nursery songs Curly Locks, and Frère Jacques. Similarly, the rhythmic grouping

will be learnt not in isolation but as the basic pattern of Hickory dickory dock and other 'six-eight' tunes.

The written language of music can only be introduced naturally and effectively when there has been ample preparation of this kind. The symbols that have to be memorised before beginning to sing from staff notation are remarkably few. The principle of the stave with its lines and spaces must be understood, and the shapes of the most commonly used notes must be learnt, as they often are at a comparatively early age through rhythmic percussion playing. But there are many details, including letter names of notes, bar lines, time signatures, and key signatures, which need not be explained or even mentioned in the earlier stages of vocal reading. The aim is to gain fluency in singing simple tunes from notation with the help of whatever preliminary information - the position of the tonic on the stave, for example - that the teacher feels to be necessary. Reading facility, with music as with language, comes not so much from instruction as from constant practice. In other words, it depends more on skill than knowledge. Notation must be appreciated by pupil and teacher alike as an aid to enjoyment, a means of quickly and accurately learning a new piece of music or recalling a familiar one. It is true that very simple tunes can be picked up and memorised entirely by ear; but even in the primary school a stage is soon reached when notation becomes an aid and indeed a necessity. The bright junior class learning every song by rote, with the only copy of the music in the hands of the teacher, is being deprived of valuable opportunities for developing self-reliance, and may be cut off from a great deal of music which it could, with the help of notation, assimilate and enjoy.

Although attention has been drawn to some parallels between music and language, it is well to bear in mind one important difference. Whereas choral speech is still, in spite of interesting modern experiments, a comparatively rare device, choral music is as common as solo song, and probably plays an even more important part in the musical life of the amateur. While the teaching of the mother tongue must always be directed towards the needs of individuals, the teaching of music is concerned with


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both the individual and the group. Music reading, for example, can be practised chorally, and probably no harm is done if the more expert children lead and the rest follow; but it will be all the better if time can also be found for practising individual reading, whether with the voice or with an instrument such as the recorder. Part of the contribution of music to a balanced education lies in its appeal both to the least gregarious and to the most sociable of pupils. Even so, it is usually advisable to keep groups reasonably small for musical work. The general practice, formerly common, of combining two or more classes for music lessons is now happily disappearing.

A powerful factor in musical education is the teacher's own enjoyment of music, and his power to communicate that enjoyment through confident but sensitive presentation. The most useful musical asset the primary school teacher can possess is a pleasant, unforced singing voice. Instrumental skill is also an advantage, and even the most modest keyboard technique can be put to effective use by concentrating on playing the melody alone, with expressive touch and musicianly phrasing, and by avoiding the use of more or less complex harmonies which might impair clarity, accuracy and rhythmic flow. Some teachers find the recorder or violin more satisfactory than the piano for presenting simple melodies, and some provide simple and musicianly accompaniments by means of the guitar. The teacher's resources may be supplemented by a carefully planned use of broadcasts and gramophone records. Whatever means of presentation are selected, the object must always be to give the pupils direct experience of the music in a way that will immediately capture their interest and imagination. If this is achieved, the process of learning will be both rapid and pleasant. It is a fair test of a music lesson to consider how much real enjoyment has been shared by the teacher and the children.

Making music is a creative process, whether considered from the standpoint of the composer or the interpreter. Both aspects can find their places in the primary school. The direct creation of music may be more difficult than performance or re-creation, but nevertheless there are ways in which it can be attempted. The children may, for example, carry on a process which the composer has already begun by adding original rhythmic patterns to existing material, a technique to which the traditional percussion band may lend itself, especially in the junior school.


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Song-melodies may be shared among sections of the class on the basis of phrase-construction; different vowel-sounds may be substituted for words in a song; or experiments in interpretation may be carried out by trying various schemes of dynamics. Unaccompanied and accompanied verses may alternate, and simple piano accompaniments can be played in different registers of the keyboard. If other instruments such as recorders or violins are available, experiments in scoring for various combinations can be made by pupils and teacher in partnership.

The provision of scope for initiative, either in the creative or re-creative sense, helps to bring a spirit of adventure and exploration into the music lesson, and counteracts any tendency towards over-direction on the teacher's part such as may endanger spontaneity. The pupils will soon realise that hard work is required in the pursuit of excellence, a discipline which music exacts like any other art. They will grudge no effort if the goal is clear and seems worth striving for, and the making of music is regarded as an act in which everyone can take part according to his gifts.

B. MUSIC AT THE NURSERY AND INFANT STAGES

When a child comes to school he normally brings with him a considerable variety of musical experience. Much of this will doubtless have come from sound and television broadcasts ranging in suitability from such series as Listen with Mother to more sophisticated programmes preferred by the older members of the family. Snatches of contemporary popular song heard at home and elsewhere may also have made their impression. More fortunate are the children born into homes where music is a respected part of everyday life, where the adults or older children play instruments, or where the mother is able to pass on the nursery songs that form the one section of our native folksong that has never entirely disappeared from oral tradition. There will be few children who have not become aware of the raw materials of music, the differences in quality of sound and volume that result from tapping, banging and twanging various objects, and of the satisfaction of improvising rhythms by such primitive means.

The nursery years, that bring adults and children so closely


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together, can play an important part in providing the most valuable elements in those early experiences of music which are a natural and satisfying part of a child's life. It is the task of nursery and infant schools to enlarge the scope of musical activity, without necessarily making use of formal instruction or set lesson periods.

The more freely music can enter into the daily life of small children the better, and their own teacher, working in the normal surroundings of her room, is in the best position to realise at what points in the school day some kind of musical activity is possible and appropriate, whether the whole group or a few individual members of it should take part, and what materials are required. Some of the qualities of sounds - their pitch, direction and intensity - may be discovered with the aid of orthodox and also of improvised instruments, and through experiment the children can gain an understanding of the different timbres derived from sound-producing materials - wood, metal, glass, stretched strings and so on.

Singing comes foremost among the resources available at any time of day; it calls for no apparatus apart from the teacher's voice, and experience shows that there are few teachers of young children who cannot learn to sing simply, naturally and rhythmically the traditional songs that are the children's heritage and that should form the basis of all their musical training of the primary stage. Even if the teacher is a pianist she should cultivate the habit of unaccompanied singing, which allows her to get closer, both physically and imaginatively, to the children, though she may find an instrument, which need not invariably be the piano, an aid to ensuring that the pitch of the song is suitable to the range of the children's voices. It is best to present a simple song as a whole, without separating words from tune, and the teacher will be able to do this with confidence if she has memorised it. As the songs become longer it is still desirable to present them as a whole, though it may be necessary to teach them phrase by phrase, a method that helps towards the appreciation of the rhythmic shape of the song and towards breath control. Formal exercises in breathing and tone formation are seldom effective with small children; musical phrasing and pleasing tone develop through imitation of good patterns set by the teacher and by the more talented children in the group. An easy lilting rhythm, carried through from verse to verse, helps to


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maintain brightness and naturalness and to avoid the breathiness that often results from flagging rhythm.

The inability of some children, frequently boys, to sing in tune is a defect that is often described as 'droning' or 'growling'. It is commonly caused either by difficulties of muscular coordination or by faulty listening; seldom is it a sign of true tone-deafness, which is incident in only a minute fraction of the population, nor is it to be regarded as a symptom of being unmusical. On the contrary, the 'droner', though not always conscious of his defective pitch-adjustment, is often enthusiastic to an embarrassing degree. Given the freedom to sing as a normal member of the group, perhaps in proximity to good singers, and encouraged to listen attentively, he will probably gain control of his voice by the time he is eight or nine years old. The droner generally has a normally developed rhythmic sense and can take part in percussion playing, and towards the end of his infant school life his sense of pitch may be helped considerably by playing any simple melodic instrument. The presence of several 'droners' in one group is an almost certain sign that the group has heard and taken part in singing too infrequently, and the remedy is obvious.

Many excellent books of traditional English nursery songs, with others adapted from foreign sources, are now available, and all nursery and infant schools should have a selection of them. Some of the most useful books suffer from overloaded piano accompaniments, which can be omitted or simplified if they cause any difficulty. Many simple folk songs lend themselves to antiphonal singing between teacher and children or between one group of children and another, and some give scope for the children to take the parts of different characters. To this wealth of traditional song-literature may be added a few songs by modern composers, but great care is needed in selecting them; there is much poorly written or dull music to be avoided, and some of the best can only be effective if a capable pianist is available. Traditional singing games have a perennial vitality; not so the specially written 'action songs' in which every gesture is prescribed.

It may be well worthwhile to introduce the older children in the infant school to the pitch names (often called 'solfa names') and time names (sometimes termed 'French time names') that have proved their value both in primary and in secondary


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schools. Unless the teacher thoroughly understands these devices, however, the children will derive little benefit from them. It is important to realise, in the first place, that they are fundamentally aids to the ear; later they can and should be linked with the conventional symbols of ordinary musical notation, but there is no need to treat them as an independent system of notation. The spelling out of the names on the blackboard, therefore, or on flash cards is pointless. Further, the whole purpose of the names is to clarify relationships between sounds, and this purpose is defeated if the names are presented as isolated units. They are best introduced in association with easy phrases from tunes the children know, the teacher patterning a phrase of a few notes in which she has substituted pitch or time names for the customary words, and letting the children imitate what she sings. This again involves careful preparation on the teacher's part, and it should be done very frequently, for a few minutes on each occasion, as an enjoyable game. The children will soon gain fluency and confidence in manipulating the syllables orally, and with consistent practice will find in the junior school that they already hold the clues to the notation of music. When all seven of the diatonic major pitch names have been introduced they should still be practised in relation to tunes; aimless singing up and down the solfa scale is a tedious, mechanical and generally useless procedure. Whether staff notation is actually introduced in the infant school depends on a number of considerations: how much oral practice it has been possible to give the children, their general ability as indicated by their reading age, and the interest and proficiency of the teacher. Even if no specific teaching of notation is undertaken the children's curiosity may be aroused by placing a few attractive books of tunes in their library or music corners.

The music corner may be in the classroom, in a corridor or in the hall - anywhere that provides free access for individual children or small groups. It should contain simple instruments such as tambourines, drums, xylophones, glockenspiels and tubular bells. The variety of instruments will enable them to discover experimentally a great deal about pitch relationship, tone quality and differences of volume, and the percussion instruments especially can be used imaginatively in connection with movement, dramatic work and singing. This kind of experiment and improvisation should precede any attempt to form a


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disciplined percussion group, and the melodic training possible through instruments like the xylophone, which produce sounds of definite and graduated pitch, should be regarded as at least equal in importance to purely rhythmic percussion. In all instrumental work the small group is preferable to the large class; indeed, the conventional percussion band lesson might well give place to a more flexible treatment in which small groups of players form only part of a varied pattern that can include singing and movement. From these activities may spring ideas for seasonal celebrations, informal concerts and the like.

The combination of movement with music has been the subject of much experiment, especially in primary schools, and the whole question calls for clear thinking and continued study. Moving to music may mean several different things. It can take the obvious form of fitting steps to a dance tune, a relationship that is predetermined when the music and the movement have evolved together, as in traditional dances. Or the relationship may be less precise, as when movement follows the general structure of a piece of music - its phrase-lengths, its climaxes and cadences and so on - without attempting to reproduce its metrical pattern. Or it may even be based almost entirely on an emotional parallelism, with free movement responding to the prevailing mood of the music. It is often assumed that all children move spontaneously to music that attracts them, but experience shows that they vary considerably in this, some having real difficulty in making any response in movement except a limited and conventional one. For this reason, music may be a hindrance rather than a stimulus to movement. On the other hand, music that contains an easily-grasped metrical pattern, like that of many traditional tunes, may give scope for individuality if the children are encouraged to carry out the pattern according to their own ideas, whether these lead them to move over a wide area or to confine themselves to a restricted space. A few clear principles emerge from these somewhat complex considerations. First, much should not be expected from young children until they have acquired resources for movement apart from musical associations. Secondly, it is not always as easy as it may appear to extract a rhythmic pattern from a musical texture; and it may be helpful in the earlier stages to use percussion instruments, rather than gramophone records or piano, to suggest movement, with opportunities for the children to


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supply their own accompaniment when moving, or to play rhythms for other children to move to. Thirdly, any music used for movement must, however simple, have high quality; music played with distorted accentuation, or specially written to accompany one narrowly specified type of movement, or improvised inadequately, should not be tolerated in any scheme of musical training.

Even when music is played with the express intention of evoking a response in movement, it may be found that certain children prefer to sit quietly and listen. This preference should be respected; indeed for all the children there should be frequent opportunities for listening to very short pieces played by the teacher on some instrument or reproduced by gramophone records or wireless [radio]. It is quite unnecessary that music presented to children should have associations with a story or a picture, or that they should be encouraged to visualise such associations. The range of music young children find interesting is commonly underestimated. On the other hand, their span of attention is short and should not be stretched unduly. Once they have heard something they enjoy they will welcome it again and again, and the familiarity that comes from frequent re-hearing is an important factor in forming sound and pleasurable habits of listening.

C. MUSIC IN THE JUNIOR SCHOOL

It is not easy, in the physical conditions of many junior schools, to reconcile the natural and growing demand of children of this age for disciplined team work with the wider range of individual interest and ability that now becomes increasingly apparent. Out of class activities, which are nowadays fostered in so many schools, are a great help in giving scope to the keener and more talented children, while judicious planning of the curriculum and timetable can generally avoid the disadvantages of combining classes for singing.

Specialist teaching of certain subjects, including music, has been adopted with intention in many junior schools, and through force of necessity in many others. If there is on the staff a musician of parts he may help in planning, and in general act as consultant to colleagues and children. He may form a school


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choir, and organise and keep close contact with instrumental work requiring visiting teachers. His room may be a recognised music room suitably sited and equipped for the purpose, even though some other kinds of work may have to go on there also. But in any school where there is the desire to let music play its part in the scheme of junior education, some at least of the teaching must fall to the class teacher, who knows his children individually and can foresee occasions for bringing music into touch with other branches of the curriculum. It is hardly necessary to mention that if several teachers are concerned in the teaching of music all should be in possession of the scheme of work for the whole school, and that periodical staff conferences and other means should be used to ensure, in this subject as in others, continuity of treatment and steady progression towards agreed aims.

The core of the song repertory in the junior school, as at the earlier stages, should be formed of traditional material - the folk and national songs of our own and other lands. Hundreds of these are now in print, and their exploration is a fascinating pursuit for those who wish to avoid the staleness that may result from teaching the same list of songs from year to year. The non-specialist teacher may find it safest to rely entirely on these traditional songs, and need not hesitate to do so. The fundamental reason for basing musical education on folk song and dance tune does not spring from a timid conservatism, but rather in a realisation that a song that has come down through generations of oral tradition nearly always owes its survival to sound construction and sincerity of utterance. Gifted contemporary authors and composers often produce songs of comparable quality, but the chances of discovering such happy inventions among a mass of inferior writing are comparatively small; they are certainly no greater than those of finding contemporary verse or stories that can stand up to the challenge of the past.

Older juniors may widen their song repertory by judicious choice from classical and modern composers and learn, first through antiphonal singing, and later through canons, rounds and descants, something of the joy of part-singing. Much of their singing at all stages should be unaccompanied, so that they sense the need for easy and beautiful tone, well-shaped vowels, lively lips, vital rhythm and flexibility in shaping the contour of phrases. The mood of the song must be realised first of all, for


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interpretation is the target at which all technical skills, including accuracy of notes, should be aimed. It is a mistake to try to 'learn the song' and subsequently 'put in the expression', or to separate words and tune during the first stages of the learning process. Children love contrast of mood and speed - light, fast 'lip-songs' are a particular delight - but pitch and tempo should be congenial to the range of their voices and their natural rate of movement. Many hymn books, not specially edited for children, print the tunes in keys chosen to allow baritones in the congregation to sing the melody in comfort; some hymns may therefore need to be transposed even a third higher for children. Even a good song book may contain tunes that are all the better for an upward transposition, and very often this process is all that is required to give fresh impetus to a tune that shows a tendency to flatten in performance. The cause of flatness is almost invariably boredom or indifference, which may be accentuated by over-use of a limited part of the vocal range.

The treatment of 'growlers' has already been discussed. These children should never be excluded from the singing class, nor silenced altogether when the others are singing. A little individual attention usually produces rapid improvement in sense of pitch and control of voice, and the provision of simple instruments as an alternative means of musical expression is particularly helpful in such cases.

The place of a scheme of music reading in the junior school has already been referred to. Such a course can succeed with most children only if firmly based on oral facility in using pitch names and time names. The pitch names can be practised through known tunes printed on the solfa ladder. This, incidentally, should not invariably rise from lower to upper doh with one or two steps by way of extension at either end. Probably as many major tunes lie between the dominants (soh and soh) as between the tonics (doh to doh). Nor should the modal scales (lah to lah, ray to ray, etc) be neglected, as they are not only beautiful in themselves but provide a convenient introduction to the classical forms of the minor mode. The French time names have a double value, first as a means of clearly, rapidly, and pleasantly articulating rhythmic patterns, and secondly as a means of analysing them aurally. They should always be used musically, with natural rhythm free from clumsy stresses and with sensitive phrasing. There is no need to spell out the rhythm-names, either in


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French or English orthography; they are meant to be heard and felt, not seen.

Once these devices have been translated into the symbols of staff notation - and remarkably few symbols are required to read a very large number of simple tunes - there should be regular and frequent, but not laborious, reading practice. The main effort should be towards securing fluency, and the temptation to engage in exhaustive theoretical explanations should be resisted. Much can be taken for granted, at least in the earlier stages, and perhaps in the later ones, by all but the ablest children. There is, for example, no need to avoid keys like E major that are convenient for singing on the assumption that the key signature must first be elucidated, since all that the children require is to be shown the position of the keynote on the staff. On the other hand, the fact that C major is the easiest key to read on a keyboard instrument does not imply that it is a particularly easy or grateful key for sight-singing. Similarly, if attention is given to phrasing and note values, much of the apparatus of time-signatures and bar-lines can be taken in one's stride in reading a simple tune. As reading power grows it should constantly be brought into service; the elucidation of a difficult vocal or instrumental phrase, the attempt at reading a suitably chosen phrase in a new song or piece, are obvious examples, and use of the blackboard is important. The first 'readers' in either pitch or rhythm may be anthologies of favourite phrases, the notation of which is recorded by the child with the help of the teacher and with little or no explanation; but, as no one can learn to read a language without seeing it often in print, it is desirable to provide, at least in the upper half of the junior school, copies of songs and hymn books with the melody line in staff notation. Some teachers like to use one of the many published sight-reading manuals to supplement these; the best contain carefully chosen and graded extracts from song melodies and other literature, and avoid those chronic maladies of the sight-reading exercise - the insistence on using the entire scale in every eight bar melody, the neglect of ranges other than the doh-doh octave, the timorous avoidance of anacrusis, and the lack of sense of phrasing and climax - all of which make a tune unnaturally difficult to sing and unsatisfying when sung.

Finally, however anxious we may be to develop reading skill in junior school children, we should not exclude from the child-


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ren's repertory songs that are technically too difficult to be incorporated, except perhaps in part, in their sight-reading work. It would be unfortunate if the useful connection between reading and repertory were made so rigid as to preclude any worthy musical experience with a direct appeal to the ear and the imagination.

A child who plays an instrument, whether tubular bells, recorder, pipe, or violin, will probably advance more quickly in pitch reading with it than with his voice. At the same time, a child learning to play any instrument should be taught to hear the expected note mentally before he plays it, so that he may know by ear, as well as by sight and touch, whether the sound produced is correct. Mention has already been made of the informal use of percussion instruments and recorders. Group discipline has its place with both, but it is not the first stage. Percussion playing, often too hastily discarded when the children leave the infant school, may have fruitful developments in the junior school, especially if they are encouraged to work out their own rhythmic patterns and produce their own scorings. Recorders are instruments of ancient and honourable lineage with a large repertory of music properly belonging to them; they are invaluable aids to fluency in pitch reading; and they begin to yield pleasure at an early stage of learning.

The most successful teaching of the more difficult instruments, such as the violin, is usually found in schools that enjoy a full and varied musical life. There is little doubt that, given suitable conditions, the primary school is the stage at which the violin and the 'cello can be introduced to selected children with the greatest hope of success. Skilled instruction is essential, and will generally be provided by a visiting specialist who has made a study of modern practice in group teaching. The cooperation of one or more members of the full-time staff of the school, is, however, equally important, since they alone can supervise individual and group practice on the school premises and give opportunities for the children to exercise their new skills among their companions. The instrumental teacher should be able and willing to demonstrate freely to his pupils and, if possible, he should play quite often to them and to the other children. If he is not a full-time member of the staff, the more he can be felt to belong to the life of the school the less will be the disappointing wastage of enthusiastic beginnings.


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There will be many occasions when music can be used with movement, drama, history, or literature, and often very profitably in connection with seasonal festivals. A concert for its own sake has a useful place, so long as the children's interests are not unduly subordinated to impressing the audience. School music festivals have done much to show what can be achieved in taste, variety and skill. They are exciting events, and so may be incentives to children's keenness, but sometimes they have been allowed to influence unduly, or even to dictate, the musical activities of the school. Operettas written for children are all too often open to the objection that the quality of the music is poorer than the songs they normally sing. It is perhaps not necessary to emphasise the freshness and variety that music can contribute to the daily Act of Worship.

Opportunities for listening, on which stress has already been laid in discussing the infant stage, should continue in the junior school along with active music-making. The various series of music broadcasts, if selected with the needs of a particular group of children in mind, may offer a refreshing enlargement of the children's repertory and a range of resources not easily available in the classroom. But the quality of reproduction must be good, close attention should be paid to the age range for which the broadcasts are planned, and the children should have copies of the appropriate pamphlets.

Every teacher of juniors will find it worthwhile to discuss with the children the music they hear out of school, especially through sound broadcasting and television programmes, for only by doing so can he learn his pupils' tastes and the full nature and extent of their experience of music.


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CHAPTER XVI

History

A. THE PROBLEMS OF TEACHING HISTORY TO THE YOUNG

Despite the value which has often been placed on history as a school of example and a medium of tradition, its position in English education has never been very secure. When, in the nineteenth century, history was recognised as a separate subject, it had to compete with the claims of the classics in the grammar schools and with the claims of the three Rs in the elementary schools. There, under the Revised Code of 1862, history was an optional subject, which could be begun by children in standard IV. From standard IV to standard VI, that is from about the age of ten to twelve, the children were to study the outlines of English history to the death of George III. But it was in private and out of school education that history played its greatest part. Charlotte Yonge, introduced at 5½ to a standard six-volume Ancient History, John Stuart Mill reading and re-reading Gibbon between the ages of five and seven, Lord Rosebery falling 'under the wand of the enchanter Macaulay' at 11, Miss Wedgwood discovering 'the document' at much the same age and copying all she could see on view in the show cases in the British Museum; these were the childhood conquests of history in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With more ordinary children, whether taught at home or at school, there was little need to worry whether what was learnt was understood, since it was learnt by rote, often in catechism form from one or another modification of Miss Mangnall's Questions. Yet there were items in these curious collections of facts which must have struck the imagination of the learners, some of whom may have been no less impressed by the introduction of post-horses and stages in the reign of Richard III than by his 'wading to the throne through the blood of his nearest relations'. The moral


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element was as strong in the Questions as it was in Dr Arnold's teaching. Judgements of good kings and bad kings, of good men and bad men are unhesitating and children memorised a definition of 'true glory' on which to base their own later verdicts and indeed to model their lives.

Towards the close of the nineteenth century and during the twentieth century the difficulties in teaching history to young children were manifestly increasing. It was partly that history was becoming ever wider and more complicated. It was partly that history was looked on less as a story and more as a science; even in the textbook the arbitrary classification of the Questions - 'Name the three most luxurious Romans' - was giving way to cause and effect, and biography was losing ground to movements. It was partly that preoccupation with the rise of democracy, with economic influences and with international relations led to an emphasis on these aspects of history, all of which were outside the grasp of young children. Moreover, as systematised research uncovered facts which seemed in some cases to demand a reversal of earlier judgements and as the new study of psychology threw doubts on man's responsibility for his actions, some teachers became less confident about using history as a basis for moral instruction.

And if the matter of history was becoming more difficult to present, teachers were at the same time becoming more sensitive about what and how young children could learn. Whereas in the past the stress had been placed on finding out what was objectively important and teaching it, now much more attention was being given to children's interests. The belief was becoming widespread that adult generalisations must not be forced too soon on children who would only be stimulated by what they understood and for whom learning must have a 'here and now' value. The words 'here and now' point indeed to another difficulty in the teaching of history, a difficulty of which present day educators have become increasingly aware. Shakespeare when he makes Polixenes in The Winter's Tale describe his childhood as that of one who

'thought there was no more behind
But such a day tomorrow as today
And to be boy eternal'
is at one with psychologists and our own experiences in recognising that children live intensely in the present and look little


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before and after. For many children of seven even their own birthday is 'coming' or 'gone' and no greater precision in word or imagination may be possible for them. Their time divides into a present which seems at moments as unending as the Mad Hatter's Tea Party and a past, a 'once upon a time', when mother and father were children and might have fallen into the hands of highwaymen or pirates. In the years between seven and eleven, most children's perception of time deepens and becomes more exact. A year added to their age which they accept proudly but on trust on their eighth birthday has more precise meaning for them by nine or ten, and by ten or eleven most children's memories have lengthened and a few children may be able to get some sense of past time by measuring it against their memories.

But if children in our primary schools profit only from what they, in some measure, understand, and if the younger children have so little sense of time, what place can there be for historical material in their education? In trying to answer this question it may be useful to look for a lead to the writers of children's stories. Difficulties of time have not frightened them away from the past - they know too well the attraction to children of a new world to explore, remote but real, colourful and complete. But they take their readers back into the past, not by a path of logical connections and rarely by the association of past and present; their open sesame is sheer magic, the flight of the carpet, the twist of the ring, the standing within the charmed circle. Are they perhaps wiser in this than we in school who have hoped that, by laborious devices, by a river of time on frieze or in notebook, or by a sequence of pictures, children who cannot compass their own lives may visualise the passing of centuries?

By magic, too, the magic of a well-told story, good teachers can introduce their pupils, if not to history, at least to histories, if not to the panorama, at least to the tableau, if not to the period, at least to the 'timeless moment'. If history in its full sense explains and interprets heritage, these stories are among the most precious parts of that heritage itself. They are at the root of an interest in history and their inspiration sends the archaeologist to his 'dig', the historian to his research. Well chosen and well told, they are self-justified. They stimulate the child's imagination and extend his experience; they can give him for companions and playmates the heroes and geniuses of


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mankind and in such company his knowledge of himself and his own aspirations can grow. They set before him in parable the standards by which men have ruled their lives and the ideals through which they have reached the heights. They can introduce him to a life which, though different from his own, is yet worthy of respect, and in such a way humility and tolerance can develop. They stir the child's emotions and in the imaginative act of putting himself in another's place sympathy is born. Within the narrower circle of historical values, stories in their settings will present children with the idea of change, with a world which is credible and yet other than that they know. At the same time a specialised vocabulary is being built up without which historical knowledge is hardly possible and certainly not communicable.

B. STORIES FROM HISTORY

Amidst the embarrassing wealth of stories from the ancient civilisations of East and West, from Europe and from the New World, how can a selection be made rigorous enough to give the children the detail which they crave? 'In our halls is hung armoury of the invincible knights of old' - and we can, at least at this stage, prefer the story which has a noble element, while taking care to avoid a thin-blooded virtue too sophisticated for children who may be alienated rather than inspired by it. If we are not as bold as the Victorians in condemning the great whose actions and motives appear unworthy, we can at least let history speak to children of the importance of men's choices and of the results which flow from them. If we spend more time today on the lives of the 'mute inglorious Miltons', we must not on this account deny to children the force of great example. All stories worth telling, whether they are legends or historical narratives, will have in common the quality of sincerity, and there can be little place for the trivial, the anecdote which lights up neither the person nor the time. As the children grow older, historical significance will weigh increasingly in the selection of stories. Choices will also be determined by the teacher's own enthusiasms, and even more by his knowledge of his pupils. Only in this light can he be sure when, for example, to tell the kind of story which by its emphasis on childhood will make the deeper impression


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and will encourage his listeners to identify themselves with the character about whom they have been hearing.

Some tentative guidance on the choice of stories may perhaps be found in rough generalisations about the dominant interest of children in primary schools. The last year of the infant school and the early years in the junior school, when fantasy and reality are not always distinguishable and when interest in the fairy tale is at its height, suggest themselves as especially suitable for myth and legend. There might be stories from the Odyssey, stories from Herodotus and Plutarch of the stand of Leonidas or the taming of Bucephalus, and stories from the Old Testament. The BBC have set an example in including in their World History Series stories of ancient India and China; and the legends of our European neighbours and our own country must not be forgotten. Beowulf fighting with Grendel, Roland at Roncevaux, Robin Hood in Sherwood, these are the continuing legacy of the past to childhood. And to balance these heroes of romance, there might be stories of the saints, the friendships of beasts and saints from the writings of The Desert Fathers, the stories of St Christopher and St Elizabeth from The Golden Legend, and the legends of the early Franciscans in The Little Flowers of St Francis. More enterprise might perhaps be shown in selection. If English children should hear of St Augustine, might they not also hear of Paulinus 'tall of stature and a little stooping', of Cuthbert, delighting in childhood 'in mirth and clamour' but later so gentle that the eider-ducks nestled in his garments, and of Boniface, missionary and martyr, whose letters are full of love for his own people and the Germans whom he converted.

At first, there is little point in separating historical from other kinds of stories, though the teacher will try to maintain a reasonable balance of interests. Equally there is no need to labour the distinction between fact and legend but, as children grow older, they will begin to ask whether things really happened, will make their own distinctions and will want their teachers' help in doing so. This does not mean that legend must be eliminated or its didactic uses over-stressed. Some children can however begin to understand that legends may describe truly the time when they were written, if not the facts which they relate. They can become acquainted with Chaucer by hearing some of the stories which he and his contemporaries enjoyed.


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They will see that the legend of the Holy Grail is a story of medieval knights just as Our Lady's Tumbler is a story of the medieval church. A skilful teacher can draw from saga and myth the detailed background which will bring the historical figure to life. In this way, the later Danish invasions can be given reality by the account of the sagas of the building of the Long Serpent, of the way it was manned and the part it played in battle.

Stories of real people have an added appeal for children at the age of eight or nine, whose growing skill is helping them to feel at home in their world and ready to extend their reach. This is the moment for heroic stories, stories of Saladin and St Louis, stories of Hudson and Nansen, stories which show in action the qualities which children esteem, skill, audacity, endurance, courage and loyalty. This is the time for such adventures as the hairbreadth escapes of Charles II after Worcester. The narrative is at once authentic, romantic and significant but its effectiveness will hang on the liberal use of the detail which the king himself has provided. Whether children live the story will depend on their hearing not only of the moments of suspense when the king was in the oak tree or riding in front of Jane Lane but also the homely details, the king's face hastily blackened with soot and later stained with walnut juice, his hair cut round a basin with the shears, and his feet blistered with unaccustomed walking.

As children hear these stories, islands will emerge from the formless and, to them, uncharted ocean of the past. As the children grow older, these stories can be concentrated about a person or a period and in this way some of the islands will become sizeable and populous. If, for example, the principal characters of the time of Elizabeth are well drawn, the children will themselves ask the questions - and sometimes find the answers - from which the crowd and background can be filled in. In this way even juniors can get some intuition of 'period', of the kinds of things which go together, of Elizabeth and her court, of masques and Shakespeare's plays, of discoveries abroad and increasing comfort at home in the great houses 'more glass than wall'. This is as good a foundation as children can have for developing a sense of time which will serve when rote memory fails. On occasion, a concentration of stories can be centred not on a period of time but on a movement such as the Crusades or the Discoveries. The story may then turn into what is almost a


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historical narrative and children may learn how a common impulse has cut across national boundaries. It is important however to avoid the temptation to be exhaustive, to treat a topic in an adult way, to begin at the beginning and go on to the end. Children do not need to learn about the Phoenicians to appreciate Marco Polo's visits to the Great Khan. At the same time, an interest caught by the adventures of Captain John Smith may well be developed by stories of Jesuit encounters with Red Indians in their exploration of the Mississippi and by accounts of nineteenth and twentieth century contacts between missionaries and natives.

In such a way as this, some children discover not only islands but, as it were, archipelagos in the ocean past, and, if the metaphor is static, it is in keeping with children's view of history which is rarely dynamic save on an intimate scale. Children will of course vary widely in their ability to see connections in history and in their sense of time. For the sake of those who are developing an idea of time, a sequence of stories, mainly about our own country and arranged in chronological order, might be provided for the last year in the junior school. A time chart will be useful at this point and may be supported by the learning of key dates associated with the stories which are told. These stories will be a foundation for the history that is to follow; but more than this, they will help the children who are coming to be at home in their material background to share more fully also in the mental and spiritual background of their country. To 'belong' in this way matters the more to children today when the instability of society threatens many of the traditional ways of initiation into the adult world. Lastly, to be familiar with these stories is to enter into the richness of meaning which historical associations give to our speech and to our heritage of prose and poetry.

C. SOURCES OF STORY AND THE USE OF BOOKS

Stories will therefore play a major part in introducing children to historical material. But if the story is to achieve its end it must be accurate, at least in a general sense, and either it must be well told or, if it is to be read, its language must be worth hearing. Whether the story is told or read, the children lose much if they do not hear the 'very words'. 'Serve God daily, love one another,


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preserve your vituals, beware of fire and keep good company' - in these words of Humphrey Gilbert is caught something of the flavour of Elizabethan seamanship. No better advice can indeed be given than to go to the first-hand source, to the excellent cheap editions of the Iliad and the Odyssey, to the Norse Sagas, to Bede, to Froissart and Joinville, to selections from Hakluyt and other collections of travel stories, and to Pepys and the great diarists. Yet it cannot be pretended that all difficulties are then solved. Much of the Iliad is quite unsuitable for children but the teacher who reads it at first hand and makes a personal selection can hope to be true to its spirit. If the facts recorded by Herodotus or the medieval chroniclers are not always accurate and need to be checked from a standard history, this weakness is more than compensated for by an underlying authenticity and a convincing detail about the very things in which children are interested. Helpful guidance about both first hand sources and good secondary authorities can be found in the pamphlets published by the Historical Association. A selection of source books might well be purchased for the teachers' library; some, at least, in good children's abridgements, might be included in the children's library and with them as good a range as can be found of lively biography, good imaginative stories in a historical setting and simple books of information.

These books will be the more popular if they are well illustrated, and the word pictures in stories, too, need to be supplemented by illustration. Town children, unaided, will see a Roman road and a turnpike in terms of their own back street. Many junior school teachers have been aware of this danger and have made good use of history pictures and of the film strips which are becomingly increasingly available. Sometimes perhaps teachers have been too readily satisfied with simplified modern reconstructions and have overlooked the abundance of first hand material which is available among the publications of museums and art galleries, both local and national. But too much must not be asked of the imagination of children who may be disheartened, after hearing of the beauties of Athens, to see a photograph of what may seem to them to be 'old ruins'.

D. MEANS OF EXPRESSION

There will be times when the story will stand alone and to add


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anything would be anticlimax. But in general, when children are invigorated by listening to stories, when they can see and inhabit a new world, they will want to express their feelings and tell what they know. They need to work over the material themselves and make it their own. They talk and ask questions. They re-enact their experiences in movement and drama; for the younger children the easier beginning may be the mime, with perhaps the spoken words of the story breaking in when they are known; later, with their teacher's encouragement, children may find that they can add spontaneous speech; some, before they leave the junior school, are writing and rehearsing their own plays.

Most children want to draw and paint, and certainly at the lower end of the primary school worry little about their pictures 'looking right'. They construct and model in whatever materials are available to them and it is the teachers' responsibility to see that these are as suitable as possible. The durability of the pyramids - or the solidity of a Norman castle - is more readily conveyed by clay than by paper or cardboard. Care is also needed to maintain some proportion between the time spent on models and their historical or other value. Children of this age write words and sentences to supplement their pictures and models; and, as they increase in skill, the written story may come to loom larger than the picture. But what they think worth writing may not be the 'important facts' as seen from Olympian heights; and if we are to avoid the reproach of Alice and her friends, whose history was the driest thing they knew, we must not expect children to docket their stories so soon in textbook points. Notebooks should, rather, be records of the children's impression in pictures and in words, anthologies of the ballad verse, the memorable phrase or curious fact.

All these forms of expression, if they are indeed the children's own, are likely to be full of errors and anachronisms. The king will wear his crown at times other than the Christmas, the Easter and the Pentecost of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. A stirring letter from Sir Walter Raleigh in the Tower may end with a twentieth century salutation. The more the children enter into what they are doing the more certainly will they make mistakes. But from the beginning there should be an internal coherence about what they do. The child who rides may harness the horses at Hastings in the manner of today but at least he should harness them for the gallop. All the teacher's skill is


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needed if he is to know when to let errors pass and when the moment has come to add to the child's knowledge and clarify his picture. Skilfully taught, even young children begin to learn what many adults fail to see, that clothes and houses are not simply a matter of arbitrary fashion and changing architectural style but clothe and house the spirit of their time. This kind of teaching, when the children are ready for it, narrows down the field of inaccuracy in picture, in model and in play. It can also be most fruitful in stimulating curiosity about the past, and it is as much a part of good history teaching to stimulate this curiosity as to give an imaginative experience. With older juniors this might be the starting point for the occasional accurate model, for which information would have to be collected and simple reference books or an encyclopaedia would have to be consulted. It might create the demand for a detailed study of the background of a story - or of the groups of stories to which reference has already been made. In its simpler forms, this study of a period is well suited to the older children in the primary school; it offers opportunities for individual and group work, and children of this age enjoy working in groups; topics and duties can be shared out and standards exacted in the measure of the wide range of ability and talent which is to be found in the junior school.

E. USE OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND OF LOCAL HISTORY

Some teachers have succeeded in awakening curiosity about the remote past by introducing their pupils to the romance of archaeology. Ten and eleven year old children, given to inventing their own codes and symbols, will enter with zest into the present difficulties of deciphering Minoan script or the problems which were set by the Rosetta stone. To relive with Howard Carter his first sight of the tomb of Tutankhamen, or to review with Sir Leonard Woolley the successive layers of Ur, is as stimulating to the imagination as it is to stand with Cortez and gaze at the Pacific. Interest in the evidence, particularly if some of it is local, seems also to be the best approach to prehistory, which might well be postponed until the later part of the junior school course when the non-literary character of the evidence can be explained and when comparisons can be made between


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the way of life it suggests and that of primitive tribes of the present day.

And if children's curiosity can be stimulated by the remote past, it can also be roused by changes in very recent times. Most children have available to them in the memories of their parents and grandparents a direct source of information about the last fifty years. A first hand list of changes in the neighbourhood can be built up on this basis and supplemented and corrected by books. Some teachers, particularly in country schools, have experimented with exhibitions to illustrate the changing life of their districts. A surprising collection of significant relics of the past can be found at home, lent to school, handled, talked over and exhibited. Old photograph and postcard albums depict changes in town and village and the vagaries of fashion, candle snuffers and locking tea caddies, fans and vinaigrettes, snuff boxes and deed boxes speak of passing social and economic customs. The fast recurring births and deaths in the Family Bible and the frequent references to early death in the nineteenth century autograph album may be a starting point for a growing understanding of a major historical change. When relics of the past are found to have meaning, the time has come for a carefully prepared and discriminating visit to the local museum where the children may perhaps be allowed to examine a Roman lamp, a tinder box, old cooking utensils or a nineteenth century doll's house.

The awakening of historical curiosity has also been among the aims of the experiments made by some junior school teachers who have centred their work on the children's environment. This kind of work can be in line with the interest of older juniors in exploration and investigation. It starts with what the children know at first hand and can help them to see the familiar with fresh eyes; it overrides the subject divisions, which are quite artificial to young children; it can break down the barriers between school and the outside world; it offers many opportunities for individual initiative and cooperation. It must however be frankly accepted that areas vary greatly in their suitability for this way of working. Where the pattern of streets and their names reveal the medieval town; where there is an old church, with a knightly effigy, a wool merchant's brass or a Charities' board; where familiar names and local occupations of an earlier age can be found on the tombstones in the village


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churchyard - there you will have material to stimulate curiosity and to quicken the imagination. But children need a great deal of help to get the most out of what they see and teachers are able to give this help only if they too have seeing eyes, a good general background and a sufficient knowledge of where to go for additional information.* Castles must be garrisoned, churches peopled with their congregations, towns thronged with citizens and with country visitors, and, if the battle of Edgehill is to be fought again, it might be well to recall not only the contending armies but also the old knight who knowing nothing of the Civil War was found hunting between the lines. If this is done, some children before they leave the junior school will be recognising the reasons for the defences of the Norman castle, for the big windows and open aisles of the wool church or the recessed window frames of the mid eighteenth century town house. It will help if castle or monastery can be visited repeatedly and if at each visit some learning is planned but much is allowed to come spontaneously from the children's questions and investigation; arrangements recently made by the Ministry of Works should make this possible in buildings under their care. In some areas where there are no major antiquities, the smaller survivals - the holy well, the mounting block, the fire society mark, the Victorian letter-box, the country milestone surviving in the built-up area - can also be powerful in evoking the past. And it is imaginative re-creation of the past, with curiosity as a spur, which is appropriate to junior children rather than a comprehensive account of the evolution of town or village. There is a place in this work for local stories. Wulfstan, building the Cathedral of Worcester, suppressing the Bristol slave trade, reconciling Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, or James Woodforde, carrying out his humbler duties peacefully and charitably, should be remembered in their own districts, at least. Some of these stories could also form part of the sequence of national history which has been suggested as suitable for the older juniors. Local history can often serve in this way to illustrate what is happening in other parts of the country. But, however rich the locality, there are stories which the children should hear which cannot have local associations. There are also some

*Helpful book lists in local history are published by the Historical Association and by the Standing Conference of Local History of the National Council of Social Service.


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places whose history is too overlaid or sophisticated for young children to appreciate. Faced with this difficulty, the sensitive teacher will turn to other talismans, to the improvised museum, to phrases like 'lock, stock and barrel' or 'through fire and water' which children meet in story books, to the nursery rhyme and to the games which children play.

The bridgehead from present to past may often, indeed, be found in the children's hobbies. The boy who collects locomotive numbers and can recognise the types may soon, with the aid of the encyclopaedia or of old magazines, acquire the story of the local railway - and of much else; it could be the same with the enthusiasts for motors, for aeroplanes and for postage stamps. Other children will be interested to learn the history of the writing and measurements which they use. In these ways a study of what are often called 'lines of development' may be followed by primary school children. Undertaken individually or by a group, such work can be genuinely rooted in interest, although, as has already been suggested, care must be taken not to prolong or refine it beyond the capacity of children. This kind of work affords an incentive for children to find out information for themselves within a limited field in which fairly simple books do exist. Opportunities will also arise for the children to narrate and explain the facts they have discovered.

F. HISTORY AND OTHER SUBJECTS

The historical material to which young children respond does not fit tidily into two or three periods in a timetable. Much of what is often described as history might pass equally well for English, religious instruction, art, craft or geography. Yet, before they leave the primary school, the abler children should be getting some idea of the interests covered by the adult fields of knowledge. In schools where the curriculum is organised on a subject basis there needs to be an overflow of enquiries and attitudes from one subject to another rather than a laboured correlation, which may end in suffocating the interest which it was intended to create. In schools where the children are able to have a flexible timetable and their class teacher for most of the day, many occasions for stimulating and for satisfying historical curiosity arise spontaneously from the children's interests. Individually and corporately the children at any one time will


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have not one but many interests, and too close a concentration on a 'centre of interest' may be as cramping as too elaborate a correlation of subjects.

But, whatever the methods used in the school, the teacher's task in the field of history is first to feed his pupils' imaginations with good stories, and secondly to arouse their intellectual curiosity about the past. And, as the children become older, as their collection of stories grows and fresh fields of enquiry are opened up, so alongside should grow the simple illustrated time chart, which represents the temporal framework in which they all dwell.




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CHAPTER XVII

Geography and Natural History

A. INTRODUCTORY

(a) Geography and Natural History considered together

It has been customary when considering the teaching of these subjects, even in the primary school, to treat them as distinct fields of study although both are concerned with the exploration and understanding of the world. However, the knowledge which young children gather about their own surroundings and about the world at large is neither acquired nor organised as a number of differentiated school subjects. It is very doubtful whether such distinctions are appropriate until children reach the upper classes of the junior school. Even at that age the schemes of work for geography and natural history often include the same topics for study and, in both subjects, the children's work gains much of its vitality from the impact of direct experience and from first-hand studies of the real thing. Systematic studies of the weather, the soil or the distribution of animals on local farms, for example, may belong as much to one subject as to the other. A visit to the docks may lead children to study the transport of merchandise along local roads and railways or it may lead them to carry out experiments on flotation and the Plimsoll line. Geography and natural history, therefore, are considered together in this chapter and are only treated separately when work in the junior school is discussed.

Children of primary school age are intensely curious about their surroundings as every adult knows when he is subjected to their searching and repeated questioning. They have an alertness of eye which is attracted by colour and movement and by both the familiar and the curious. They enjoy exploring their surroundings not only through sight and sound but also through the senses of touch, smell and taste, senses which sometimes become dulled in adults. They have a keen ear for sound, an appreciation of repetitive and rhythmic phrases. They collect


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avidly all manner of things, living and non-living; shells, pebbles, bus tickets, wild flowers, butterflies, fossils and postage stamps, car numbers and the names of railway engines. At first children collect anything at random according to the dictates of the moment and make no attempt to classify or order their collections. The roots of a child's knowledge of geography and natural history lie in these vivid undifferentiated experiences of childhood. As they grow older they notice similarities and differences and begin to group the things they collect; they enjoy factual information for its own sake and their interests are sustained over longer periods. These characteristics are possessed in varying measure by all boys and girls of primary school age. They suggest to the teacher ways to develop an interest in work which can serve as an introduction to the adult fields of science and they may also provide the beginnings of a permanent interest in some branch of geography or natural history. Children's interests as shown by their questions and spontaneous experiments are, at this age particularly, a good guide to the appropriate topics for study, and the teacher's function becomes that of directing their attention, suggesting methods of learning, providing suitable opportunities for study, assisting them in the organisation of their knowledge and, in all this, of making his own unique contribution to their knowledge through skilful exposition and illustration, questioning and demonstration. Curiosity and the spirit of inquiry are not difficult to rouse in children where woods and streams are to be explored or a farm or pond is to be visited; and curiosity itself is quickened by the wonder which many children feel for some of the magnificent and splendid phenomena of the world - the moon and stars, the sea and volcanoes - for the miracle of living creatures and for stories of man's heroic discoveries and inventions.

The common ground of geography and natural history is, then, the world beyond the classroom and especially that part of it which can be visited and studied by children and teacher together. The common method of study is one of careful observation and honest recording of what is actually seen by the observers; it is a method which applies equally to investigations carried out during a visit or expedition and to those made subsequently when specimens brought back to school are studied at leisure. Later sections of this chapter refer both to visits made for the purpose of first-hand inquiry and to the various forms of


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record which children may find suitable in particular circumstances. Some general remarks, however, will not be out of place here.

(b) Visits and expeditions

If any visit, whether to a wood, pond, museum, park, quarry, brick works, farm or railway station is to be successful it will demand considerable preliminary preparation both by the teacher and children. The group should be of such a size that the teacher can organise it with confidence and talk to its members from time to time. He needs to be familiar with the route, to note the time the journey takes and to be aware of any dangers that might be encountered. Permission to cross private land may also have to be obtained. The farmer, forestry guide, lock keeper or whoever is meeting the party will have to be briefed as to the nature of the work the class is attempting, the questions the children may ask and the type of information they are seeking in order that a willing guide shall not discourse at length on matters beyond their comprehension and outside their interest. By careful preliminary discussion with the class the teacher can ensure that they have a clear idea of the purpose of the expedition and of the behaviour that is expected of them. Group work will have to be planned, work sheets drawn up and, if necessary, a simple map of the route and area duplicated. It is important also to consider what kind of notes can be made on the spot by children of different ages and abilities. These preparations, while not depriving children of the joy of discovery and novelty, enable them to derive maximum benefit from an expedition and minimise the complaints so often levelled against visitors to the countryside. One visit or expedition usually provides junior children with ample work for weeks to follow, but it sometimes happens that when children set about making a record they find their information is incomplete or inaccurate. The need for verification or for additional knowledge provides a sound reason for a second visit. Progress will be looked for in this as in other forms of study; from a series of out of door inquiries the children should acquire both the attitude of mind and the techniques which make further work of this kind increasingly effective.

(c) Recording

Children, both individually and in groups, usually make some


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record of their work. Talking and conversation, both with their teacher and with each other, are essential for clarifying ideas and, as children grow older, for separating the facts that are relevant to the matter in hand from those that are not. Discussion between teacher and children about the most sensible way of recording and the most suitable media for the purpose is, therefore, most valuable. It is likely to make all the difference between success and failure when children are allowed reasonable freedom of choice in this matter and not compelled merely to copy the teacher's notes or sketches. In the actual process of expressing what they know they will often be encouraged to closer observation; for example, when drawing or modelling a port or when recording the behaviour of a beetle they may need to find out more details to complete their work. But when the form has been determined then the result should be the children's own record expressed in their own words and in their own way and based upon their own observations and knowledge. Their records may be made exclusively for their own use, perhaps to bring out the significance of the observations they have made, or for communication to other children for comparison and verification or to serve as a point of departure for new experiments. In any case the integrity of the children's work should never be sacrificed to mere accuracy in the sense of recording the 'right' answer when the evidence is either lacking or contradictory. This principle embodies the spirit of scientific inquiry; indeed, as a later paragraph on the junior school suggests, the learning of facts at that age may often be less important than the path to knowledge which is followed and the attitudes that are formed on the way.

There is one particular form of work which is a prelude to later work in natural history and scientific geography; this is the keeping of systematic records in which counting or measuring or weighing is undertaken. This aspect of the study is important and many suitable opportunities will arise in the junior school. These exercises should be exacting at all stages and should often involve more than the mere counting. The simple weather records kept by an infant might be matched at the top of the junior school by pupils working out and graphing the mean temperature for a week, plotting the amount of rainfall, picking out the prevailing winds, describing the kinds of clouds and comparing the weather with that of a village on the other side of


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the hills. This work should show steady progress corresponding to the age and ability of the children.

B. THE NURSERY SCHOOL

Many young children when they come to the nursery school know little outside their home and its immediate surroundings, their school and the journey to and from school. What the teacher can do is to plan an environment both in the school and in the playground and garden which will give the children the fullest opportunity to explore an abundance of living and non-living material. A beginning can be made by setting up and maintaining aquaria and vivaria, by displaying flowers, twigs and berries attractively in season, and by growing seeds and bulbs. The children themselves should play their part both in providing and in caring for a continually changing nature table. In addition children will learn a great deal about the qualities of materials such as sand, water, wood and clay by handling them, through manipulating everyday things like sieves, funnels and a variety of other utensils and receptacles; and through playing with toys in orthodox and in unorthodox ways. In the garden children will learn much about the living things which surround them. At this stage, although no attempt is made to teach natural history, children enjoy growing plants for themselves, watching, feeding and playing with their pets, and talking about what they see and do. In these ways and through the helpful comments of adults and by listening to stories, children learn a great deal about the world around them.

C. THE INFANT SCHOOL

In the infant school this type of exploration will be continued and extended. The infant stage is a time of getting to know objects by name, of receiving a multitude of impressions, of constant repetition and expression. As far as living things are concerned, this is a critical time for determining whether a child's attitude towards them will be fearful or fearless, cruel or kind. In addition to the range of things familiar in the nursery, there is a place in the infant school for a variety of everyday objects such as magnets, magnifying glasses, mirrors, clockwork and other toys. Through handling these things children will learn a little of their different properties. They will no doubt discover


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that some things are heavy and others light, some heavier and some lighter than others; and that some objects float in water and others sink. They will discover the difference in feel of, say, wood and metal, and will become aware of variations in such properties as colour, shape, texture and balance. At this age children's observations and comments reveal a widespread interest in how animals behave and in how things work; their interest is mainly in things that live and move. In the garden, through sowing and tending their plants and through feeding and cleaning their pets, their knowledge of living things will be extended and the idea of preserving life rather than destroying it will be fostered. Walks in fields, woods or meadows, visits to farms, parks, railway stations, or other places of interest in the vicinity are further means of extending the children's knowledge of the neighbourhood. Visits, which at this stage are usually to places near at hand, should generally be carefully prepared. This does not preclude the necessity of taking advantage of unexpected opportunities which may be lost if not seized immediately. For example, a visit may be made to the farm to see the newly born lambs or foal, to the river to see the first salmon leaping after the autumn rains, or to the park to examine some bird or animal tracks in the snow and perhaps to find those of a squirrel and so dispel the idea that these animals hibernate throughout the winter. The need for reference material will soon be felt. It should not be a substitute for first-hand study but should serve to supplement and stimulate the children's own observations, and, at the same time, encourage habits of reading both for information and pleasure. In its simplest form, the reference material can comprise collections of pictures, specimens, photographs and drawings. Simple maps, the globe and models all have their place in the infant school and, though for young children these will be very simple, they should be the normal and familiar apparatus of learning. As soon as children begin to read, the range may be widened to include simple though accurate and well illustrated books, perhaps in the first place compiled by children and teacher. Throughout the primary school, and particularly in the earliest stages, children want to talk about their interests and discoveries. They also paint and model and, as they grow older, they rely increasingly on short written statements framed in their own words and, no doubt, illustrated.


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D. THE JUNIOR SCHOOL

(a) Geography

The field of geography for children in the junior school lies both in the immediate environment and in many other parts of the world beyond. These two aspects can be considered in turn.

(i) The study of the locality

A study of the locality has at least two main merits. In the first place there is often a particular intensity about children's awareness of the district in which they are brought up. Its phenomena tend to be thought of in a proprietary manner - 'our woods, our streets, our barn', and, well used, this interest provides an excellent starting point for many themes and inquiries. Secondly, a study of the locality can - and should - be based very largely on first-hand experience. This makes a far more vivid and memorable impression than any second-hand account could do, and helps to make more real and intelligible much that can be learnt only vicariously. Thus the deep absorption which most children show in watching a stream blocked up and ponded back by floating logs, and their own participation in strengthening the little dam and in feeling the rush of the water through their fingers, give at least some basis for comprehending something of the purpose and power of the Assuan Dam or Sukkur Barrage. What they have experienced at first hand of the ponding back of the tiny lake brings nearer to their understanding the broadened Nile and Indus above their massive concrete walls. Acquaintance with a neighbouring Devon farm, including the size of the fields and the number of animals and the crops on each field, may help children from Exeter to acquire an accurate picture of a farm in the Fens or in the basin of the Murray-Darling. If this kind of direct contact is accompanied, as it should be, with conversation between teacher and children, asking and answering questions in easy give and take, the children's geographical vocabulary should make sound progress and such technical terms as delta, ford, escarpment, clay, sandstone, port, market garden or arable farm, should acquire gradually a more precise meaning.

First-hand experience is often sufficiently stimulating to provoke further investigations. For example, children who have found sea shells or crystals in familiar rocks may well go on to


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delve in other quarries and to search in books or museums to find out more about what they have seen or collected. A class visit to a fishing port might create an interest in fishing that could lead to studies of fishing in other continents, and fire lighting on a school excursion might incidentally give rise to a lesson on primitive fire lighting throughout the world.

(ii) The study of other parts of the world

The teacher's object here is to build up in the children's minds knowledge, as true and vivid as he can, of what other lands look like, of what it is like to live and work there. His greatest asset is his own experience of travel, and it is fortunate for the children in primary schools that an increasing number of teachers, whether as students, or later in life, have been to foreign lands. He should draw fully on this experience in his geography teaching for, suitably illustrated, it is likely to carry a sense of reality and immediacy, next only to first-hand experience for the children themselves. Failing actual travel, a teacher is fortunate if his reading has made other realms familiar to him with all the variety and detail of life in them which the textbooks so frequently omit. He will not hesitate to use and to read to the children suitable passages from the many excellent travellers' accounts which are now available and which he himself has enjoyed. Good pictures and photographs, film-strips, cine-films and broadcasts provide vicarious experience approaching reality, though only through imagination and the memory of some related personal experience can children realise such important elements of living as desert heat or the characteristic odours of breaking glacier water and of hot pine woods. And, short of first-hand knowledge, it is hard to convey to others the impact on body and mind of the light and colour of southern Europe, of the prairie blizzards or of the heavy dampness of the jungle, though reading can do much. It is important to realise that visual and other aids need discussion and reading to fill out the experience to which they contribute. The sound film, broadcasts and gramophone records can give some idea of natural sounds, and can, moreover, bring the songs and speech of other peoples to the ears of the children. Whenever possible, the characteristic arts and crafts should also be made part of the life of other peoples. Models and specimens are useful and, in some areas, may be borrowed from museums as well as seen


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there. They can be employed not only to illustrate what has already been accepted or discussed, but more often as a starting point for an investigation.

(iii) Stories and travellers' tales

Stories set in other lands are a valuable source of information for children as for adults, and often give as vivid a sense of reality as do travellers' accounts. Stories used for this purpose should be accurate, not only in general impressions, but also in detail, since it is often detail which particularly interests a child and which is carried in memory to later years. In a story woven round the children of South China, for example, one should find the people clad in the clothes, eating the food and playing the games of South China - even if possible, of a specific part of South China. Traditional stories, also, are often invaluable, for their own inherent excellence as stories as well as for the vivid geographical background they frequently provide. A word of warning is, however, required. Whatever the story, care is needed lest the picturesque alone seize the interest of the children and they be left with an unbalanced picture. A surprising number of children appear to have the impression that all dwellers in the equatorial forests are pygmies, that Eskimos live only in igloos and that the western states of America are still ravaged by wars of cowboys and Red Indians. Of other aspects of life in these areas, and of recent changes, they are often unaware.

Stories of the remote and legendary places of the earth will fire their imaginations; the deserts of Arabia, and Antarctica, the dense forests of the Amazon, the Himalayas, the prairies and Rio, all spell romance and adventure. It would indeed be sad if in the course of learning geography the fascination of such names and all that they connote should be lost in the dull generalisations of school textbooks. In children, as in adults, accounts of the great power and energy in nature seldom fail to awaken interest - power which at times has overwhelmed men in great catastrophes, such as that of Krakatoa or of the floods of the Yellow River or of the East and West Lynn. But less tragic phenomena are no less impressive - the gradual building up of the deltas of the Mississippi or Tigris-Euphrates, the Victoria Falls, the occurrence of sea shells on Alpine peaks, or the sea pounding and crumbling a headland to fashion the Needles.


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This power of Nature challenges man; and man's answer to it can be enthralling to children. There is no dearth of true stories of high courage; Scott's struggle against Antarctic blizzards and the last sacrifice of Captain Oates; Sir Vivian Fuchs' journey across the South Pole; Heyerdahl and Livingstone in the Pacific and in Africa; Hillary and Tensing on Everest are but a few of the dramatic examples to which counterparts can be found from Ulysses to Freya Stark. For children it is not hard to understand Mallory's answer when asked why he would risk his life to climb Everest: 'Because it's there'. Children can also be led to enjoy the less adventurous, but no less important, of man's efforts at resistance to, or cooperation with, Nature. The waters nourished by the snows of the Himalaya have been harnessed and distributed over the dry Punjab, so that where fifty years ago there were only nomads feeding their camels and goats on thorny bushes there are now green ribbons of grass and trees, settled agriculture, and large prosperous towns. Niagara, powerful and wonderful though she still is, has been made to yield for man's use light and energy needed by New York and Toronto. The Andes have been pierced at 12,000 feet beneath the Uspallata Pass and at even greater heights in Peru. And, just as the desert has been made moist and fertile, so in contrast, along the coast of Holland, large parts of the sea have been drained of their water and turned into rich farmlands.

Thus to learn geography effectively, so that it awakens their interest and spurs them on to find out more, so that it gives them the satisfaction of richer imaginings and more coherent understandings of the world they live in, children need full scope for their curiosity, for appreciation of splendour and power in nature, and, not least, for what man has endured and achieved in his endeavours to explore the world and to control and use its vast resources.

(iv) The use of the globe, maps and books

The globe, the most realistic representation of the earth as a whole, should be available to the children at all stages. Though no juniors will be ready for the mathematics needed to understand all it could tell them, it should acquire increasing meaning for them through gradual explanation and repeated use. From frequent reference to it, the children should become familiar with the relative grouping, size and shapes of land masses and


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oceans, and know something of the great land and sea routes, and the more direct air routes crossing lands and seas where neither rail nor ship can go. Further, the use of the globe, combining with observations which the pupils make of such phenomena as the varying length of sun shadows, the varying length of day and night, and the apparent movements of the sun and stars, will help in leading to a conception of the earth as a spinning sphere revolving round the sun and to some of the implications of this conception.

Since geography is so essentially concerned with place and spatial distribution, maps are an indispensable source of information and should become a source of increasing interest and delight. Facility in their interpretation is a skill which can grow with the familiarity acquired by constantly looking at and using them, as well as through direct instruction. Some deliberate instruction may, indeed, be necessary but, generally speaking, map reading is best picked up in the course of using maps rather than through learning it as an isolated skill. If children are to get a clear understanding of what maps represent, they need first to compare them with the landscape itself and, later, to compare them with oblique and vertical photographs. If, for example, eight year old juniors have constant access to 25 inch and 6 inch maps of their locality (25 inch if in an urban area), or of a farm they are visiting, or a river they are exploring, much skill is mastered incidentally. They should soon come to recognise such shapes as those of the neighbouring fields, and, later, scale and direction would also acquire meaning. As their skill develops, they should make more serious use of 2½ inch and 1 inch maps in which conventions become increasingly necessary and detail is omitted. These should be used as reference material for finding out more about their locality, their holiday haunts, or the small regions at home or abroad which are being studied. Such experience with large and medium scale maps is an excellent basis for the use of the much smaller scale maps generally found in atlases. Both large scale maps and atlases give such pleasure to children and they can learn so much from them incidentally, both of skill and knowledge, that they should always be readily accessible in the classroom and, in the case of larger atlases and maps, in the school library. It might be expected that many children will have some understanding of scale before they leave the junior school, and that here there will be close links with mathematics.


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The making of maps is also, for children, one of the best means of expression. Their first efforts may be little more than rough solid models or else pictures showing where they have been and what they saw. These often develop into simple pictorial plans or sketches. With older pupils in the junior school they may be based on the measurement of distances and recognised conventions, though not essential, may often usefully be employed. At all stages there are facts and relationships which are best described by maps, though individual pupils will make differing use of them. A few children can also go one stage further and employ, for such features as meanders, slopes of escarpments or the position of fossil beds, the useful allied skill of field sketching.

Books are of first importance. Both text and pictures should be geographically accurate, as well as attractive to and suitable for the children. Some teachers find a graded series of textbooks of use; but more prefer to have available books in much greater variety than the purchase of class sets would allow. Thus, individual copies, or small sets of three or four books, with such reference material as encyclopaedias, gazetteers and geographical magazines, increasingly fill the bookshelves in the classroom. Such provision is essential if the children are to pursue geographical inquiries for themselves, individually or in groups, and if the abler children are to have adequate opportunity for learning as much as they are capable of understanding.

(v) Recording

Reference has been made on page 291 both to the ways in which children may record the results of their own observations and to the purposes which such records may serve. The work in geography affords many opportunities for accurate observation and description and, in a simple way, for relating cause and effect. For example, children may be encouraged to show on a map precisely how a farmer uses his fields, the distribution of certain factories or certain trees, plants or animals; or they may make a regular record of winds, clouds, rainfall, temperature, places where snow lasts longest, flood levels, spring lines. Staged experiments such as the making of a river delta in a sand tray or the creation of 'ocean' currents in a tank may also be systematically described.

The scrap-book is another form of record to which children


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turn readily in the junior school. It summarises information on some chosen topic which they have obtained for themselves from a variety of sources. These books, full of pictures drawn, copied or cut from journals and newspapers, and with extracts often copied from books, can be of great value. The children are often deeply interested and exercise much ingenuity in finding their material. They may ask many relevant questions, in school and out, and may write up or illustrate what they know with imagination, and altogether work very hard in putting together a creditable collection of information. But if, as frequently happens, the children receive too little guidance in selection, too little teaching in the art of summarising what they have learnt from a book and in arranging what they have collected, their work shows little advance as they get older and, as a result, little use can be made of it. Their books could be the subject of discussion with other groups of children, as well as with the teacher; they could become, as they are in some schools, a self-made reference library, and they could be used in revision of the term's or the year's work. It is important to see that a reasonable amount of lasting knowledge accrues to the children from their inquiries, and that their making of books shows some progression in selection and arrangement and in their ability to deal with material in relation to a purpose.

(vi) The scheme of work and the outcome of the course

The different topics studied by children in geography depend, as in other subjects, on their ages, abilities, interests and needs. These should be considered individually, so far as possible, with a general scheme of work for the class and the school as a whole. Home background and life out of school will exert their influence; what is appropriate for children who rarely move far from home may differ from what is best for those who do. On the other hand some knowledge is appropriate to whole groups or classes and, at some time during the course, to the school as a whole. The Head and teachers of each school, then, do not confine their work within a rigid syllabus; but considering what the environment and the experience and interests of the staff have to offer of most value, they plan accordingly. By allowing a large measure of initiative to the children, the teacher can go a long way towards making full use of their particular interest and suiting the work to their levels of ability. For these reasons,


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individual work, or work in small groups, has become increasingly common in schools. The stimulus deriving from important current events or from the geographical association of work in other branches of the curriculum should be fully used. It might be added that what children learn in school is all the more effective if they see it in the context of contemporary happenings so that they realise that geography, like history, is always, and is still, being made.

What the children have learnt by the time they leave the junior school must necessarily vary greatly from child to child and school to school. It is not possible here to do more than indicate in general terms what kind of experiences in geography most of the children will have had and what they might be expected to have gained from them, but in each school the Head should have a clear idea of what he expects from the children and this should be shown in the scheme of work.

They might well have a lively and intimate acquaintance with their own immediate environment. Children in the country should, for example, know something of the kind and position of woods, streams, hills and other features of the landscape. They might know something of the life on local farms and of the crops grown, and have some acquaintance with local roads and railways and be aware of the distance and direction of nearby villages and towns. Weather conditions and local building materials, as known from observation, might be suitable fare for both town and country children. Children living in a town should also be expected to know, mainly from personal experience, such things as the main roads in and out of the town, the markets, the kind and position of factories, the rivers, canals, bridges, castles, old walls and railway stations. At the same time the sensitive teacher will lead pupils towards an appreciation also of those immaterial things that go to make up the personality of their district. A child in Ely, for example, should be able to picture an island dominated by the towers of a cathedral which sent out its chimes at sunset over the marshes: and he should know of Hereward and the Causeway over which he was betrayed. Children in the north will know of Border forays and Peel Towers; those in the west of Welsh Marches and ancient hill top villages; those in Nottingham of the men of Forest Green as well as of cigarettes and lace; those in Cornwall and Devon of pirates and admirals and Merlin as well as of tin and china clay. And


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each county has its treasury of folk songs and ballads and its wealth of history tied up in the names of its villages, fields and families and in the position of its administrative boundaries. Of these things too the children might know something.

For other parts of their own country, many children should have built up comparable though less intimate pictures of a few small regions using second-hand material as well as school journeys or holiday visits for the purpose; in some cases specific topics, such as coal-mining or fishing, might have been studied instead of a small area. These detailed studies, as the children grow older, should have fallen into place in filling out a picture of their country as a whole. They should form a basis for building up a general picture of the main features of its shape and relief, its weather, its principal towns and counties and its important industries. There are also things intangible which are significant to their country as a whole and not merely to one small area. The lower Thames is the hub of England as well as of London; the hunting shires form the 'pastoral heart of England', not merely of the midlands; the white cliffs of Dover have significance beyond the bounds of Kent.

At the same time as the children were building up pictures of their immediate district and of their country, they should also have been given similar pictures of other parts of the world, which, by discussion and by careful choice of reading matter and illustration, had been made alive with vivid detail. This can have been done if the regions or topics have been kept sufficiently small. There is in this spotlighting of particular places and topics less likelihood of over-generalisation in the interests of simplification. These imaginative expeditions overseas, leading to isolated patches of knowledge, should have been accompanied by frequent reference to the globe as well as to an atlas. Mainly in this way, the pupils should have begun to fill in the intervening gaps and to recognise and be able to name certain patterns on the surface of the globe such as the major distribution of land, water, mountains, rivers, chief countries and cities, vegetation and some peoples. It might also be appropriate for some of the older and abler juniors to have given more cohesion to their subject by studying distributions such as those of certain animals, trees and crops throughout the world and to have become acquainted in a simple way with such consequences of a spinning and revolving globe as day and night, winter and summer, and


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differences of time: in fact to have begun some study of systematic geography.

Behind all this, transcending national and geographical differences, is the idea of common humanity which has given rise to the various specialised agencies - Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), etc - which exist to help all who need it and which embody man's concern for man. Interest and value may be added to many a geography lesson by appropriate references to the idea and its expression.

(b) Natural History

(i) The scope of natural history in the junior school

The kind of work described as suitable for nurseries and infant schools should provide an admirable foundation on which to build a junior school course. Here too the work arises in the first place from the children's experience which increases in range year by year. The environment in which the children live, the books they read, the toys they play with and the film, radio and television programmes they see and hear can suggest a variety of subjects for investigation both biological and physical. It follows that natural history in the primary school should be generously interpreted. It should be a first-hand study embracing both the living and the non-living material which can be found in children's surroundings. It might include, for example, some weather study, geology and mechanics, some stories about plant and animal life in other parts of the world, simple astronomy, and an acquaintance with some of the outstanding figures and some of the more dramatic events in the long story of science. In the past too little time, and perhaps too little thought, have been given to a course ranging as widely as this, and the traditional emphasis on the study of living things together with a sense of inadequate knowledge on the part of the teacher has diverted his attention from topics of elementary physical science. It is for the teacher to emphasise topics which are suitable both to the age of the children and to the ends he has in view. Above all else he should be concerned to foster an appreciation of nature and at the same time to develop in children a questioning attitude of mind and a readiness to find out for themselves. Whilst no one will belittle the acquisition of factual information from other sources than first-hand experience, the


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learning of facts in natural history and other branches of science at this age is often less important than the path to knowledge which is followed and the attitudes that are formed on the way. The knowledge which a child acquires from a direct study of nature is likely to take firm root. Moreover, by trying to devise experiments to answer his own questions he is, in a simple but fundamental way, learning some of the elements of scientific method, and his work takes on a new integrity.

It is not possible to divorce the work out of doors, whether in the garden or in the immediate surroundings of the school or on expeditions further afield, from the work in the classroom, since one springs from the other. In this work the teacher's foremost role is that of guide and co-worker, but there are many occasions when a talk from the teacher is needed to direct observation and stimulate enquiry. Talks of this kind are usually dictated by immediate needs and serve to answer questions and to give knowledge for which the children are ready. In order to work in this way, the teacher needs to be an enthusiast, humble before the wonders of the world, and able to explain without explaining away. No less important is the unbiased critical mind which can recognise a problem, is willing to tackle it and is quick in improvisation. The ability to ask apposite questions and the patience to wait while children fumble for the answer or make articulate their own questioning are of equal significance. Children often know much more than they can express readily in words. To help them to learn from contact with living things and from handling, observing and experimenting with a variety of inanimate objects requires greater knowledge and skill on the part of the teacher than does a more stereotyped course of work in which the teacher arranges everything beforehand, leaving no problems for the children to solve.

Ideally this work demands a classroom where the children have room to move about, where there is a small work bench, some shelves or tables on which to keep living things, and where inanimate things can be examined and simple experiments performed. In short the work bench and shelves take the place of the customary nature table and include examples drawn from physical as well as biological materials. If such a 'general interest table' is to be successful in stimulating enquiry it must be attractive and must afford children the opportunities to handle the things displayed and to find information for themselves. It


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is essential that what is on the table should be changed frequently and that there should be progress in its treatment. For example, young children delight in gathering dandelions and in 'telling the time' from a dandelion clock, but older children are capable of much more. The question 'why are dandelions so common and so difficult to remove from a lawn?' might be the starting point for a practical investigation. Such an investigation might include observations on seed dispersal, germination and an examination of the underground storage organs. Whilst young children enjoy playing with their pets, the care of pets by older children could be accompanied by records of food consumption, growth, changes in weight and the birth of young. Such records will involve a considerable amount of reading, writing and calculation. In addition practical problems will arise such as the construction of simple homes to accommodate the family that is growing in both number and size.

(ii) The beginnings of physical science

Children can continue to discover the properties and behaviour of a wide variety of non-living things and, becoming increasingly sensitive to their similarities and differences, begin to classify and arrange these things according to the properties they exhibit. Thus, beginning from an understanding of such words as hard, soft, heavy, light, rough and smooth, which they gained in the infant school, they might go on to appreciate the qualities described as rigid, pliable, malleable, elastic, brittle, dense, opaque, translucent and pungent. They can distinguish variations within each of these qualities; for example, they can arrange a number of springs in order of springiness or several metals in order of hardness, having first devised their own experiments to detect the differences, that is to say, having planned to make their observations under controlled conditions. Work of this kind, which may well arise incidentally through the study of other topics, indeed of other subjects, requires children to think about the nature of the problems they want to solve or the questions they want to answer. Accurate observation through the use of all their senses and a sensibility of language are both part of its price and part of its reward. It is, perhaps, when this stage is reached that children can readily appreciate, for example, the magnifying glass and the thermometer as aids to their sense, in other words as aids to their powers of discrimination. Further,


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if given time, they can begin to distinguish clearly between evidence which is relevant and that which is irrelevant to their simple inquiries. Although a great deal of work has been done to investigate the development of children's powers of reasoning and their interpretation of natural phenomena, there is still great scope in this field for the teacher of junior children who is prepared to study his pupils, their questions and their explanations in natural history. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that in physical science, for example, the potential achievements of the ablest pupils in the junior school have yet to be revealed. The gaps in their knowledge are sometimes mistaken for mere stupidity when in fact, as most parents of argumentative children know, their powers of reasoning at the age of ten or eleven are often well developed.

Some of the most stimulating topics for inclusion in the junior school course are probably those to be found in mechanics. For instance, the question might be asked 'What is the easiest way to pull a nail out of a piece of wood?' Different circumstances demand different methods, but experiment and discussion might make clear the value of a pivot and the function of a lever, and might show that the relative length of its arms is important. This might in turn throw light upon what children have probably already discovered by themselves, namely that it is easier to cut a piece of wire with good pliers if it is placed close to the pivot. In all these investigations the results would be observed and recorded in qualitative rather than quantitative terms. But for children who want to state their conclusions with greater precision, these and similar experiments may provide opportunities to extend their ideas of a scale and the relation of one scale-reading to another - ideas which they will have met earlier in handling weights and rulers. The problem of how to balance weights on a pivoted bar might lead to the discovery of a method of comparing weights. There are endless physical problems associated with children's lives and interests; for example problems arising from the use of small electric batteries, the elements of magnetism, lenses, pulleys and gear wheels, and from flotation, inspired perhaps by the sailing of model boats or by a visit to the docks and an interest in the loading of cargoes and the Plimsoll line, from simple work on heat and temperature, elementary studies of air and water, the weather and the soil. All these are but some of the topics which impinge on the lives of


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most children. Such topics call for simple practical investigation even though the conclusions drawn from them may be tentative and incomplete, and may seldom lead to generalisations. The ideas to which investigations of this kind give rise must accumulate in children's minds before they can be systematised into a coherent body of knowledge that is recognised by the name of a 'subject' as adults understand the word. Premature attempts to build up systems of knowledge on inadequate experience have often impoverished the quality of the children's work and given it a spurious maturity. Much of the apparatus needed for science in junior schools can be improvised, and it should be on a scale large enough to afford evidence which is convincing. Moreover, to be convinced, children often need to see the same thing happen over and over again. Generalisations are made too often from the evidence of a single experience and too seldom from a comparison of repeated trials or with the results obtained by others. Verification of observation is an essential step even in the simplest experiment. The topics chosen for study should afford the children many simple and convincing experiences of that kind. In making his selection the teacher will want to avoid those which would be best left for serious study in the secondary school.

(iii) The study of living things

The topics chosen for nature study will vary from season to season. Even in congested areas the study of natural history is not impossible. With a little encouragement, children will bring into school specimens collected during their weekend walks and excursions. In view of the amazing variety and prodigality of Nature, there is a strong case for introducing as many different examples as possible. Occasions will arise when it may be desirable to reintroduce the same material for a different purpose, but in each case the treatment will be different. For example, infants will enjoy the stickiness of horse chestnut buds or the velvety feel of ash buds, but juniors might note such features as bud arrangement and leaf scars, and recognise the twigs as part of the tree they know. They will be interested in determining the age of trees and twigs, or in the uses of wood, willow for cricket bats, and alder for gardening clogs.

Autumn provides a wealth of coloured leaves, fungi, berries and other fruits. With young juniors, observations at this time


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of year on the activities of wild life, of the farmer and the gardener provide a useful comparison with the preparations for winter in the home.

Winter affords a good opportunity for investigating and collecting the 'crumbs' which animals leave when they feed. Children can find, for example, the torn cones left by squirrels seeking the seeds. Other traces of animals can be equally rewarding and may reveal to the observer less well known facts about the habits of animals. Hairs adhering to barbed wire were in one case the first clue that badgers lived in the neighbourhood. This led to a search for their tracks and eventually resulted in the locating of the sett. Through patient watching near the sett, individual children saw both parents and cubs and were led to the conclusion that, counter to the information gleaned from a book, a badger does not hibernate all through the winter. During the course of a nature expedition in early spring the discovery of a collection of small bleached bones on a narrow plank across a stream revealed a kingfisher's feeding perch. A group of children were subsequently rewarded by the sight of a kingfisher fishing, feeding and nesting, and learnt much of its habits.

In spring the early flowers and insects, germinating tree seedlings and collections of liverworts and mosses, offer many possibilities for variation on the nature table. Summer provides an abundance of life affording many opportunities for investigations by individuals and groups of children. In carrying out this work, equipment need present few problems since much of this can be improvised and, in the case of older juniors, can be made by the children themselves. It is perhaps worth noting that two or three small aquaria (where the ratio of surface to volume is large) prove more useful than one large tank, and that a variety of smaller insect breeding cages is more valuable than one large one.

(iv) The use of the garden

The value of a garden cannot be over-stressed. In urban areas, where sites are restricted, window boxes, miniature gardens in disused sinks or tubs, or roof gardens might offer a partial substitute. Where land is available, the place and function of a garden in a primary school need careful consideration. The layout and design of the garden will, to some extent, be determined by size, aspect, contours and locality, but in every


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case the garden should be freely open to the children and form an attractive setting to the school building.

The garden can be so planned that repetitive and mechanical maintenance work is reduced to a minimum, but even so adult labour will have to be employed for the heavier manual tasks. If the children are to derive the maximum enjoyment from the garden for work and play, a lawn and a hard surface area are desirable. A simple weather station, sundial, bird tables, baths and nesting boxes might well be included together with a pets' corner. If pets are to be kept at school - there is every reason why they should be - they must be kept in conditions which approximate as nearly as possible to the ideal. If it is not possible to provide such conditions then children can bring their own pets, as visitors, when occasion demands. Part of the school garden could be used to grow food for the pets. A further plot of ground might be set aside as a place in which children could carry out their own investigations and experiments. The younger children might, for example, learn to dig, sow, plant, and grow their own salad crops, and the older ones might grow some of the crops they have noticed on farms, or plant some seedling trees given to them after a visit to a forestry nursery or plantation, and they might study the soil itself.

(v) Expeditions

The work in the classroom and that done in the garden are complementary, and to these may be added a third branch of the work, namely that arising from expeditions to study pond life, birds, trees, flowers, hedgerows or the life on a farm. Here again outdoor work is more difficult for a town school, but is rarely impossible. In the exceptionally difficult case an extraordinary effort is justified on occasions if it brings children who are familiar only with pavements and chimneys into contact with the countryside. Towns have their parks and bomb sites, and often a not too distant green belt. Following the visit the children will want to identify the material collected and this will require a ready supply of reference books. They will want also to maintain for study the living things which they brought back to school. For example, children will learn by watching the day to day development of trout eggs, given to the class during a visit to a fish hatchery or the opening and subsequent flowering of buds, the germination of seeds, or the hatching of insect eggs


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into caterpillars, the feeding, growth and skin casting of the caterpillars, followed by pupation and the final emergence of the adult insect. The finding of a queen ant with a colony of workers might lead to an interest in watching the behaviour of these animals in a formicarium. An interesting pond dipping expedition might often result in the establishment of an aquarium in order to observe more closely the habits of some of the pond dwellers.

(vi) Stories and reference material

Often from their first hand observation children can only discover part of the story of any plant or creature and will look to the teacher to make good the deficiencies. Children who have caught elvers swimming up estuaries will be interested to hear the amazing story of the migration of eels. Similarly children who have watched swallows nesting or heard the cuckoo will be interested in the migrations of these and other familiar birds. Stories read or told and retold should be a source of interest. Children who in one mood accumulate facts and figures, at another time want to hear of the 'purring of the great gold lion of the sun who licks us into life like the lioness her cubs', and there need be no incompatibility between the careful observation of the habits of pet rabbits or mice and a thorough enjoyment of Toad and Brer Fox. Whilst there is a place for story and imagination there can be none for insincerity and sentimentality.

There is need for a generous supply of reference material comprising accurate illustrations, good photographs and books all readily available to individuals seeking information on questions arising from day to day work. Informative books should be accurate both in text and illustration and contain nothing that children will later have to unlearn. They should be in such a form that children can readily find their way about them and should give information in a simple and straightforward way. They should make demands on the children and help them to develop their powers of observation. In selecting books for younger children it is useful to remember that they are often interested on the one hand in topics which are remote and far away such as the sun and stars, rare animals and animals of other lands, and on the other hand in everything which concerns themselves, their pets, their homes and their gardens. Imagination is strong throughout childhood and older children


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can enjoy biographies of famous scientists such as Fabre, Pasteur, Lister, Jenner and Madam Curie. They may also be stimulated by hearing short extracts from the diaries of such exact observers as Gilbert White, John Clare and Charles Darwin.

(vii) The outcome of the course

In the course of all this work it is obvious that the children will have covered a wide range of topics, and care is needed to ensure that the treatment of these topics is progressive as the children pass through the school. When they leave the primary school children will not all have learnt a prescribed collection of facts, but most should have become interested in the world around them and have assimilated a body of living knowledge. They should know their own district well and should appreciate something of the variety of plant and animal life and of the various ways in which animals and plants live. They should have been introduced to the activities of living creatures and, through the care of pets, should have learnt something of hygiene and the laws of health. The abler children should have begun to relate one to another some of the apparently isolated studies they have undertaken in the course of the work, and this may have led them towards some important generalisations concerning such biological principles as feeding, growth, reproduction, death and decay. They should also have become increasingly aware of the place of man in their local community, and through simple biographies have had a glimpse of a few great scientific discoverers and benefactors.

The scope of what is undertaken may vary from school to school, and locality to locality; but in a technological age it is perhaps salutary to remind ourselves that, though it is right and necessary that children, in their own way, should know what they mean when they talk of sound barriers, jets and diesels, and should have some intelligent apprehension of the mechanical world around them, it is also essential that they should feel a friendly and continuing interest in the natural world, in which after all, lie the roots of their own being.

E. CONCLUSION

Throughout this chapter it has been assumed that most children will enter with zest into certain experiences to satisfy their


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curiosity, their sense of wonder and beauty and their growing need to know the reason why. The course in the primary school can be said to be successful if the children have come to regard ignorance as a challenge to inquiry in which their own observations play a major part and if they have learnt to support and amplify these observations by referring to books and other sources of information. Their observations should have become increasingly careful and accurate and their recording of what they have discovered should have been honest. But even in normal children enthusiasm has often to be skilfully and patiently aroused and still more skilfully sustained; and it has to be aroused in a group of individuals where each reacts differently from his neighbour. If he is to succeed the teacher must himself be sensitive to wonder and beauty and must retain a fresh and curious mind, because the spirit of inquiry is fostered by infection rather than advice.




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Part 4

THE SPECIAL PROBLEMS OF WALES






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CHAPTER XVIII

The Special Problems of Wales

A. INTRODUCTORY

The underlying principles of life and education are the same for Wales and England. It is the good fortune of Welsh children that they can, throughout their lives, participate in two national cultures, both of which form part of the European tradition, and which have been inextricably associated with one another for many centuries. One of the central aims of Welsh schools must be to extend to Welsh children the benefits of association with England and its language and literature and of participation in its intellectual achievements and, at the same time, to maintain and nurture their respect for the best of their particular heritage. Teachers in the schools of Wales will consider the general material of this book as important for their work. They will also expect some guidance in those matters of special concern to them. This chapter is concerned with such matters, and deals in outline with problems of school organisation, the approach to the teaching of Welsh and English under varying circumstances, and related aspects of the general curriculum of primary schools.

B. ORGANISATION

In Wales the existence of two languages and the uneven distribution of those who speak them complicate the task of schools and challenge the ingenuity of teachers. The success of schools in such conditions depends in the first instance, though not exclusively, upon an organisation which takes account of the linguistic classification of the pupils and which aims at enabling all children to receive their early education through the medium of their mother tongue and to consolidate their command of it.


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From these standpoints, the mainly Welsh-speaking areas and the thoroughly anglicised areas present no problem, the appropriate language being taught as the mother tongue and used as the medium of instruction. In the first case, English is invariably taught as the second language to all pupils. In the second, the policy of the local education authority governs the situation: this decides whether Welsh is taught as a second language. Problems of organisation are difficult in linguistically mixed areas, where there are Welsh-speaking and non-Welsh-speaking pupils in widely varying proportions. Here several factors have to be taken into account - the size of the schools, the proportion of the linguistic groups, the available accommodation, travelling facilities and the number of teachers able to teach Welsh.

Where the two language groups exist in fairly equal proportions within the school and other circumstances permit, pupils are classified accordingly in separate classes and each group or stream works in parallel, as if it were a Welsh or English medium school. Where this is impossible, because of the disproportion of the two language groups, teaching units of different age groups may be formed, to ensure that both language groups within the same school receive an education based upon the use of their mother tongues.

In those areas where the Welsh-speaking children are in a very small minority and where the number in any one school may be too small to provide prospects of any kind of permanent parallel grouping within a school, other solutions are sought. All the Welsh-speaking pupils may be brought together and given most of their education through their mother tongue: another method is to bring them together for instruction through the medium of Welsh in those subjects most closely linked with social life, e.g. Religious Instruction, History, Geography, as well as Welsh language, but to keep them within the main stream of the school for other purposes. Some instances occur, however, where these solutions are not possible. Then a separate school may be established; if parents desire it, Welsh-speaking children for a wide catchment area will be transferred to it, and thereafter the school will resemble one in a mainly Welsh-speaking area. This solution must presuppose satisfactory transport facilities.


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C. WELSH

The Central Advisory Council for Education (Wales) issued a report in 1953 on 'The Place of Welsh and English in the Schools of Wales'. It contains these words:

'The general policy we recommend would aim at making the children of Wales bilingual, so that the English-speaking population would acquire as satisfactory a control of the Welsh language as most of the Welsh-speaking children have of English.'

This pronouncement carries with it far-reaching implications. The Council clearly assumed that a responsible nation will always strive to preserve its language. They agreed that in Wales this meant the Welsh language, because it is in a special way the link of the Welsh people with their past. It is the vehicle for committing much of their heritage to the future; it represents a valuable element in the contemporary culture of the country, and through all manner of institutions its influence pervades the whole of Welsh life. The Council therefore concluded that teachers in Wales should accept this situation and pay regard not only to the past but take their due responsibility for the future, using the language not only as a traditional means of communication but as an adequate instrument for contemporary life, undeterred by the challenge of the vast changes which modern applied science and technology have brought about in the environment of this small country. In Circular 15 (Wales) the Minister of Education commended the views of the Council to the consideration of Welsh local education authorities and invited them to review their language policies and to formulate a ten years' programme. Some authorities have responded to the Minister's invitation, with the result that the use of Welsh in many schools has improved considerably in recent years.

There are now many Welsh-speaking schools where children are receiving an admirable education. They are able to use their mother tongue fluently in speech and writing. Suitable Welsh material has become abundant at the primary stage. There are plenty of nursery and other rhymes, legends and traditional songs and they are now the substance of the life of the schools that use them. These results are best obtained when teachers are not only Welsh-speaking but also competent in the use of Welsh as a medium of instruction for all the work of the school. In recent years remarkable progress has been attained in providing


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teachers with ample and varied supplies of reading books in Welsh, simple books of reference dealing with the varied interests of children, books describing life in Wales and in other countries, illustrative material such as films, film-strips, pictures and display material and maps. Remote village schools are now able, by means of the mobile library, to draw upon the resources of the County Library, and schools in more populated areas are using local libraries to a greater extent than ever before. This applies to pupils and teachers alike and it involves no departure from the accepted principle that each individual school should aim at possessing its own efficient working library.

By today, however, the majority of those who are learning Welsh cannot do so in an intimate environment where the language is freely spoken. Many of them hear it only in school, and even those who live in mixed linguistic communities and have greater opportunities of hearing it spoken need to be taught the language from the start. This means that Welsh may be the second language for the majority of those who are learning it but, even so, it is a second language with a difference - it is not a second language in the sense of being foreign to them. It is the language of their forebears, still the mother tongue of large groups in Wales.

Fortunately opportunities for hearing good Welsh spoken abound. There are relatively few schools or villages where there is no branch of Urdd Gobaith Cymru; radio and television reach nearly every home, and the influence of regular religious services in the Welsh language should not be underestimated. A helpful background and lively incentives to learn Welsh as a second language are still present.

Teachers will do well to avoid the temptation to teach below the children's level or to make the approach of their teaching too formal and desiccated. Language must be made a function of social life, and the weakness of much of the teaching of Welsh as a second language in the past has been its dissociation from the social life which gives it significance. Matters have been improving recently and on the whole Welsh now enjoys its rightful place within the curriculum of primary schools and is no longer treated as a troublesome addition to a heavy burden of subjects.

Welsh-speaking members of the staff of schools are accepting their responsibilities wherever that is possible and using the


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language in incidental conversation, weaving it into Religious Instruction, History, Geography, Music and Nature Study and giving the children ample opportunities to use what they have learned in the Welsh lesson in their informal activities. Much is done in this way to vitalise Welsh lessons and, more important still, to help children see the significance and point of learning the language.

But however successful this cooperation may be, there are instances where it is impossible because the specialist teacher is the only member of the staff who can speak Welsh. Combined operations on a staff basis are therefore not practicable, no matter how sympathetic the other teachers may be. This makes the task much harder, but even so difficulties are not insuperable. A Welsh room can be set aside, within which Welsh will be spoken; its furnishing will be chosen to give pupils a picture of contemporary and historical Wales - portraits of representative and historic figures, pictures of Welsh places of interest, records of Welsh music and successions of suitable exhibitions are only some of the things that can be profitably provided in such a room. Devices of this kind are part of the strategy of the indirect approach which so often gives satisfactory results.

In the end, however, there is no substitute for steady and enlightened work in the classroom. The direct and indirect approach are necessary and complementary to one another, particularly where the second language teaching has to be done in a difficult environment; indeed, the teacher of Welsh to English-speaking children has to hold both in careful equilibrium. Formal items of instruction cannot be neglected in his programme. Consequently the elements of the language, its vocabulary, grammar and sounds, need to be carefully graded and presented systematically. Work in the actual lesson has to be obviously progressive and sufficiently rapid to give the pupils pleasure in their progress without discouraging them on account of its apparently unrealistic demands. Two extremes are to be avoided - on the one hand a perfunctory aimlessness which creates distaste and hampers progress and on the other a too exclusive reliance upon rigid and mechanical drill. In his classwork the good teacher will strike a happy mean; having carefully made his plan to ensure continuous development, he will illuminate and verify his presentation of the graded linguistic


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material by drawing upon resources of poetry and music, by making appropriate use of drama and mime, and by referring to Welsh stories, places and events of interest. In this way language work can develop to a point where it becomes a genuine instrument of knowledge, stimulating interest and avoiding the dreadful boredom of treadmill instruction.

The efforts of teachers in primary schools must also presuppose that their work will be continued in the secondary schools. Nothing is better calculated to stimulate enthusiasm for this work than the knowledge that it will be continued at the secondary stage.

D. ENGLISH

The extent to which English is the mother tongue of most children in Wales varies from area to area and even within areas. In some instances it has been the home language for several generations, while in others it has been so established in comparatively recent years. There are parts of the country where the position of English differs only slightly, if it differs at all, from its position in the rest of Great Britain. Many of the children of these areas come from thoroughly English homes and arrangements to teach them Welsh in school may not be available. Their needs are covered by what has already been said in this book about the teaching of English, with this important qualification - just as the child in England and the Welsh child in Wales will want to know about the traditional stories of other lands and the history of other nations, so the English child in Wales will expect to learn about the country and to be told the traditional stories of the land. There is an ample store of material written in English about Wales which could be well used in speech and composition, and there are excellent collections of Welsh folk tales. No teacher of English anywhere could wish for a more interesting and valuable store of legend in translation than the Mabinogion, for instance.

Where the process of anglicisation is proceeding apace, another approach is required. Accent and intonation and very often the framework of the language and its grammar will need very close and constant attention. The Welsh child will not be satisfied with any standard of spoken or written English which is not acceptable in England. As he grows, his contacts with


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England and Englishmen will become increasingly important. If he is to speak English well and write it with ease, he must be given the chance of hearing good English, well spoken, not least by his teachers. In the end 'all language be gotten and gotten onlie by imitation. For as ye are to heare so ye learne to speake, and whom ye onlie heare, of them ye onlie learne.' At the same time, however correctly the Welshman may speak English, more often than not he will be recognised, and indeed will be proud to be recognised, as a Welshman. He will be no different in this respect from an educated Englishman of whatever origins, and his speech will be equally acceptable, provided it is clear and pleasant. The aim is not to impose a uniformity upon the Welsh-speaking child which is regarded as reprehensible in England, but to enable him, while maintaining his individuality as a Welshman, to be at home where English is spoken, to have confidence and assurance in his use of the language, as well as a knowledge and understanding of English life.

In many parts of Wales, however, English, in the fullest sense, is a second language and the tide of English influence is still not felt to be overwhelming. Here the teacher's aim will not differ from that of the teacher of English in the rest of Wales, though the methods and techniques may need to be formulated more consciously and exactly. Schemes of work will need to give greater attention at the commencement to the acquisition of a vocabulary and the employment of simple but flexible sentences. The period of formal instruction in the language need not be uninteresting and mechanical, nor need it be prolonged. Experience has shown that English can be successfully taught as a second language without its precipitate employment as a medium for teaching. Substance needs to be injected into the instruction from the commencement. There is, fortunately, a sufficiently wide range of rhymes, songs and simple stories to provide the teacher with ample linguistic material satisfactorily suited to the ages of all children and graded according to their proficiency in the language.

In its first stages the work will be oral, to familiarise the children with the sounds of the language and to help them enjoy using it in song, story and dramatic work based on legend and history. Such sound oral training ensures that comparisons between English and Welsh are avoided. Reading and writing


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belong to a later stage. There need be no hurry, because no child in any part of Wales can escape the presence of the English language in print. There is no possibility, either, of insulating him or of attempting to do so. The important consideration is that fluency of speech and expression should not be impeded by an over-formalised approach to the language.

E. FIELDS OF STUDY

The study of Language and the attainment of bilingual proficiency will be meaningless and is indeed unlikely to succeed if the child's interest is not simultaneously directed to a varied pattern of studies. The acquisition of language is a prior condition for a full life. Where two languages exist and where, in consequence, a greater emphasis than usual may be attached to a linguistic education, it is vital to give substance to their study and to establish the child's upbringing on as broad a basis of understanding as possible.

Thus all that is said in earlier sections of this book on the study of environment applies fully to Wales, where it is particularly important to remember that the local study which neither illustrates the past nor deepens the child's awareness of the living community must fail in its highest purpose.

Geography should open out from the neighbourhood to the land of Wales, but in the study of neighbourhood there will be an eye for 'those immaterial things that go to make up the personality of their district' and which are, for children, the Open Sesame to the romance of the past and the key to the understanding of the present, The grey ruin on Llyn Peris, the pilgrims' path at Nevern, a lonely farm on Epynt, can still speak to a child's imagination. To study the marketing of early potatoes in Pembrokeshire in the present day without knowing about the meditations of saints and pilgrims in the County long ago may be useful, but it is not enriching. Mere factual studies of the Preseli country will be stillborn, too, if they ignore its absorbing and varied cultural life. Knowledge of the enterprises of the Bersham ironmasters must be supplemented by an appreciation of the modern community of Rhos, which has preserved its Welsh culture in the midst of industrialisation.

Similarly, the study of the land of Wales to which the exploration of the neighbourhood should lead, looks for those


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'things intangible which are significant to their country as a whole'. Children will be told of 'Mon, Mam Cymru', of Eryri 'Cadernid Gwynedd', the fortress of Wales, and of the great valleys of Dee, Severn, Usk and Wye, the gateways of invasion. They will follow in the footsteps of great travellers, from Giraldus Cambrensis, 'Gerallt Gymro', through the times of the drovers, to Pennant and George Borrow. Nor will they neglect the connection between the land of Wales and the modes of life of its people and how they earn their living. The farm-bred Anglesey boy will learn about the miner of Glamorgan, and the quarrying boy about the steelworkers of Margam and Ebbw Vale. Such a modern Itineraria Cambrensis would help to overcome the estrangement and compartmentalising that geography itself has sometimes furthered. In these and other ways boys and girls can come to know the land in which they live and, through this knowledge, when the time comes, they will be able to look at other lands with clearer insight and deeper understanding. The Schools Service of the National Museum of Wales is designed to provide useful and otherwise not easily available material for these and other studies.

The transition from geography to History is an easy one. In history few schools in Wales are far from ancient monuments, farms and places, roads and fields that can light up a page of history. What region bears no mark or reminder of invaders by land and sea? The map of Wales still witnesses to the passage of prince and abbot, warrior and pilgrim, Puritan and Methodist; in a small country the study of almost any locality can be the study of the nation's history in miniature.

The child can therefore early become familiar with his country's past through an expanding knowledge of his home and neighbourhood, his 'bro'. At the same time he cannot but hear the great legends and folklore of Wales - stories of King Arthur, the Mabinogion, the legends of Cantre'r Gwaelod (the Lowland Hundred) and of Llyn y Fan. He will know the life of St David and something of his great influence. Then will come the stories of leaders of men, from Caradog to Glyn Dwr, including Hywel Dda, Gruffyd ap Llywelyn, Owain Gwynedd, the Lord Rhys and the two Llywelyns. In his picture gallery will be seen courtier adventurers of Elizabethan days; the Welsh martyrs Protestant and Catholic, Bishop Morgan, Morgan Llwyd, Dr


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Richard Price, Hywel Harris, Morgan John Rhys, 'Rebecca and her daughters', Mary Jones, and a host of others. Moreover he can become a spectator at great events: he will attend the conference which Hywel Dda summoned to Hen-dy-gwyn-ar-Daf, the 'National' Eisteddfod of 1176, the Parliament at Machynlleth, and join the little class with Griffith Jones in the church porch at Llanddowror. Nor will he lack experience of the 'timeless moment' if he can stand with Caradog when he refused to bow to his Imperial conqueror, or if he can overhear that Welshman of Pencader challenging the Norman might of Henry II or Glyn Dwr revealing his identity to his host, Sir Lawrence Berkrolles, at Coity.

He will learn to know the national institutions of Wales, the University of Wales with its constituent colleges, the National Library of Wales, the National Museum at Cardiff with the Folk Museum at St Fagans. These belong in a real sense to the people of Wales; its schoolchildren now visit them in increasing numbers.

Similarly, great days in the nation's calendar will be recalled - St David's Day; the National Eisteddfod of Wales, the National Eisteddfod of Urdd Gobaith Cymru; the annual Goodwill Day. Goodwill Day will signify the historic and contemporary setting of the schools. There have been Welshmen in every age who have ventured beyond their own shores. The crossing of the 'unhermited' sea to Ireland and Brittany held no terrors for the saints of the sixth century. Hywel Dda, in the tenth century, made the perilous pilgrimage to Rome. The Welsh archers won fame on many a battle field in the Hundred Years War. The gentry of Wales flocked to the Tudor Court, Puritans, like John Penry, found a prison and martyrdom in London. Let the children visit New Lanark to meet Robert Owen, stand in line with the Welsh Fusiliers at Albuera, and remember Betsi Davies who shared Florence Nightingale's work in the Crimea. The story of the Welsh colonisers in Patagonia has been recorded. Few indeed are the localities in Wales which have not sent missionaries to China, India, Africa and the South Seas, and two world wars have sent successive generations of Welshmen as members of a great company to all parts of the world.

But this world has also come to Wales. In our times the Llangollen International Eisteddfod at once represents and


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promotes normal cultural traffic between England and Wales and gives it a precious European and international range.

Other subjects in the curriculum of the primary schools of Wales have a direct relation to its culture, but not to the same degree as language and social studies. No school should ever attempt to confine its pupils' contacts with its country's culture in any subject; rather they should be a living part of the ethos of the school and of its character as a community.

In Music, Welsh traditional song holds tremendous possibilities to teachers and pupils. In its range and variety it could be regarded as something more than a mere appendage to the language lesson, useful and indeed essential as it is there, and become a valuable and living source of musical instruction and inspiration in the primary schools of Wales. There is, however, a real need for a comprehensive bilingual edition of traditional melodies, properly selected, arranged, classified and annotated specifically for schools. Folk songs, while far from exhausting the repertoire of the schools, can meet all the basic requirements of musical training. Their study can ensure not only the preservation of a treasured heritage but also safeguard standards of musical appreciation.

Penillion singing, at its best in the setting of the strict metres, is a specifically Welsh practice of ancient origin, which should be fostered wherever possible. It lies on the borderland where music and poetry meet and its literary value is undoubted. Musically, however, its harmonic framework is at present restricted, and there is here a great opportunity for research and experiment to heighten the musical interest of this intriguing art.

In Art and Crafts, though the aims and methods of teaching will not differ very much wherever the work is done, teachers in Wales should nevertheless bear in mind that they are living in a land which, for the most part, rests easily and pleasantly upon the eye. This claim can be made not only for the acknowledged beauty spots of both north and south, but also for other districts not usually regarded as conventionally admirable, such as the industrial valleys of South Wales. In painting, the older pupils especially can be encouraged to depict in their own way something of the rich scene and varied life of Wales, expressing in pictorial form the character and customs of the people both in the normal round of their daily lives and in incidents,


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anniversaries and communal events which have national character and significance.

Physical Education in Wales will naturally conform in the main to what might be called the broad British pattern, but it can, particularly in the primary school, take some of its colour and flavour from the country. Lessons will benefit from the inclusion of local variations of widely known games, while Welsh history and legend provide a rich store of characters and dramatic themes for games and for the creative use of basic movement and dance. Teachers are already making much use of traditional dances, rediscovered and revived in recent years.

F. THE TEACHER IN WALES

Much is said elsewhere in this book about the importance of the teacher and about the qualities and attitudes which characterise the best. In Wales, more so than elsewhere, they hold the key to much that is most valuable in the country's heritage. Theirs, if they will take it, is the opportunity to bring the children of Wales into living relation with Welsh life, past and present, in its most intimate and widest setting, and to integrate education and tradition so that the children of Wales may enjoy a unified and unifying education.

Teachers, once convinced of the worth of what they are doing, will be at pains to know their country themselves, its physical features and natural resources, the life and work of its people and their history and, as far as may be, their literature. Loving what they know, they will be the better able to share their life and knowledge with their pupils, communicating it to them through their 'naws' (that untranslatable Welsh word), what they themselves have felt. Teachers who can respond to such names as Ty Ddewi, Morfa Rhuddlan and Pantycelyn, to such songs as 'Ar Hyd y Nos' and 'Gwyr Harlech' and to such words of power as 'hiraeth', 'aelwyd', 'gwerin', will bring the full force of a fine inheritance to bear upon the lives of those who have been entrusted to their care, and they will do this without a disregard of the wider heritage which is enjoined in other chapters of this book.

The training of Welsh teachers aims to equip them for this work. It is deeply concerned to make students more knowledgeable about Wales without making them narrowly Welsh; indeed


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this should be impossible with a properly designed course, for liberally to know Wales is to touch all the movements which have shaped the history of Great Britain, Europe and the world.

The matter of this chapter lies at the centre of such training. It needs, also, to be concerned with the history of education in Wales, with the relation of the school curriculum with the community, with the problems of bilingualism in Wales and in other countries, methods of first and second language teaching, the language policies of various authorities, problems of the production of materials in Welsh and English suited to the schools.

The teacher can, in the last resort, only communicate himself, his own personality and his knowledge. His training is the initial equipment he requires. He must continue to read, to enrich his own life, or he will fail to convince his pupils of the worth of the pursuits that, by word of mouth, he may commend. The technique of teaching language in a bilingual community is essentially a growing point in education throughout the world today. Teachers in the schools of Wales are involved in it. Some are making a significant contribution by the new knowledge that they acquire and the successful experiments that they conduct.


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Index

(Principal references to a topic are printed in heavy type)

'Able' children 63, 73, 151-2, 158, 163, 165, 174, 186, 245, 287, 303
'Activity' methods 52
Agreed Syllabus 118, 124
Apparatus (see also Materials) 44, 133, 191, 199
Archaeology 284
Arithmetic see Mathematics
Art 66, 67, 213, 327
Audio-visual aids 103
Backward children see Handicapped children
Beginning school 28, 41
Behaviour 17, 23, 31, 38, 43, 78, 87, 115
Bicycles 101
Bilingualism 317
Books
    infant school 44, 49, 153, 156, 167
    history 281
    junior school 63, 74, 155, 169, 298
    nursery school 29, 30, 167
Broadcasts, School 101, 274, 279
Buildings 8, 28, 40, 90, 229
Cennini, Cennino 231
Child Guidance Service 92
Classes, size of 8, 42
Classification of children 42, 68, 95, 318
Competition 59, 75, 211
Concentration, child's power of 20, 38, 72, 96
Consultative Committee's Reports 4, 6
Control of class 83, 86
Conversation, child's ability 46, 55, 139, 142
Cooperation with parents 28, 31, 42, 71, 76, 87, 91
Corporal punishment 88
Corporate worship 95, 117, 118, 274
Correction of work 160, 209
Craft work 55, 66, 213, 327
Curriculum 113
Dance 61, 133, 328
Design see Art and Craft
Development of child 16, 24, 37, 54, 56, 63, 113, 115, 131
Dialect 146
Differences in children 14, 24, 39, 59, 65, 68, 77, 96, 221
Discipline 31, 38, 78
Disobedience 87
Drama 133, 144, 150, 164, 174
Drawing (see also Art) 113, 213, 230, 283
English (see also Language) 61, 74, 113
    in Wales 317, 322
Equipment see Materials
Examinations 74, 99, 180, 197
Films and filmstrips 103, 282
Foreign languages 73, 115, 332


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Garden 293, 294, 309
Geography 61, 67, 113, 289, 324
'Gifted' children see 'Able' children
Hadow Report 4, 6
Handbooks of Suggestions 3, 9
Handicapped children 70, 106
Handwriting (see also Writing and Written Work) 159, 247
Headteacher 69, 76, 86, 91, 92, 95, 99
Health 32, 89
    education 89
History 61, 67, 113, 275, 325
    local 284
Hopkins, Gerard Manley 224
Imagination 21, 38, 231
Infant school stage 5, 15, 35, 37, 78, 114
    Art and Craft 235
    Geography 293
    Handwriting 159, 250
    History 279
    Language 135, 140, 142, 149, 156, 159, 176
    Mathematics 190
    Music 264
    Natural History 293
    Needlework 240
    Religious Instruction 114, 126
Institute of Christian Education 121, 125
Intellectual growth 17, 30, 39, 56
Junior school stage 5, 7, 15, 54, 56, 78, 114
    Art and Craft 236
    Geography 295
    Handwriting 254
    History 279, 285
    Language 144, 155, 161
    Mathematics 196
    Music 269
    Natural History 295
    Needlework 242
    Religious Instruction 114, 126
Language (see also Reading, Speech and Writing) 18, 24, 55, 61, 63, 66, 67, 73, 74, 135
    foreign 73, 115
    in Wales 317
    WeIsh 317
Libraries 156, 157
Livestock 44, 51, 64, 293, 306, 308, 310
Local Studies 74, 284, 295, 302, 324
Manual Ability 19, 72, 235
Materials and equipment 29, 43, 48, 84, 232, 241, 244, 267
Mathematics 51, 55, 67, 74, 179, 229
    addition 185, 202
    algebra 207
    apparatus 191, 199
    arithmetic 73, 113, 179, 182
    division 190, 203
    fractions 204
    general laws 206
    geometry 200
    graphs 208
    mechanics 208, 307
    multiplication 185, 198, 203
    notation 201
    problems 187, 200
    subtraction 184, 202
    written work 194
Meals 33, 94
Memory 38, 57
Milk 33
Mime see Drama
Movement (see also Dance) 268
Music 61, 260, 327, 333


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Natural history (see also Nature Study) 289, 304
Nature study 61, 67, 114, 228
Needlework 113, 238
Non-teaching staff 28, 94
Number see Mathematics
Nursery classes (see also Nursery school) 34
Nursery school stage 5, 15, 27, 78, 114
    Art and Craft 235
    Environment and contact with Nature 293
    Language 135, 140, 149, 176
    Music 264
    Religious Instruction 114, 126
Painting 44, 66, 114, 230, 283
Parents, cooperation with 28, 31, 42, 71, 76, 87, 91
Pattern making 223, 233, 243
Peacham, Henry 213
Pen, use of 161, 256
Pets see Livestock
Physical activity and education 55, 61, 113, 130, 328
Play 21, 24
Poetry 61, 170
Posture 90
Pottery 235
Pre-school years 15, 136
Projects 62
Promotion of children 42, 54, 56, 68
Punishment 88
Raine, Kathleen 218
Read, Herbert 142
Reading (see also Language) 24, 37, 46, 50, 55, 64, 73, 113, 146, 148, 166, 252
Records, of children's progress 61, 97
Records, children's own 55, 161, 164, 291, 300
Religious Instruction 95, 113, 117
    county schools 118, 120
    rights of withdrawal (children) 122
    right to contract out (teacher) 122
    voluntary schools 118, 121
'Reserved' Teachers 121
Richardson, Marion 216, 249
Rilke, Rainer Maria 219
Road Safety 101
Rural Schools 26, 51
Schemes of work 96, 127, 133, 301
Science 61, 67, 113, 306
School Broadcasting Council 102
School Health Service 88, 90
Scripture see Religious Instruction
Secondary education - allocation to 74, 99, 180, 197
Singing 113, 146, 265, 270, 327
Size, of classes 8, 40, 42
Size, of schools 5
Sleep 34
Social attitudes and relationships 16, 23, 38, 43, 47, 54, 59, 64, 79, 88, 98, 115, 140
Special educational treatment 106
Speech (see also Language) 18, 37, 55, 61, 63, 114, 135, 136
    training 146
Spelling 160, 163
Spencer, Herbert 214
Story 30, 102, 166, 277, 297, 311, 322, 325
'Streaming' 69
Student teachers 93
Television (at home) 103, 274
Tests 97, 99, 155
Thompson, Flora 238, 334


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'Three Rs' 68, 113
Time, child's sense of 20, 23, 57, 276
Timetables 85, 95
    infant school 47, 50
    junior school 60
    nursery school 31
Toilet 33, 47, 90
Under-fives (see also Nursery School and Pre-school)
    admission to infant schools 35
Visits 30, 61, 290, 291, 294, 303, 310
Visual Aids 103
Wales 317
Walter de la Mare 130, 172
Welsh Language 317
Worship see Corporate Worship
Writing and written work (see also Handwriting) 24, 49, 50, 55, 61, 73, 113, 148, 159, 194, 258