The old fashioned idea of teaching was that the children should play a passive part. They were completely in the hands of their teachers, to be molded into a certain pattern set by formal education, and to emerge as school leavers full of facts which, they had all too often learnt off by heart and parrot-woes. Often, none of these facts were related to life. The children were made to absorb them as a sponge absorbs water. this attitude was adequately summarized by Addison in the eighteenth century. "What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul," he said.
Nowadays, such attitudes to teaching have completely changed and, while a certain store of facts must be learnt for examination purposes and indeed as a background to ordinary living, today such facts are not the 'be all' and 'end all.' Each child is regarded as an individual and not as a cypher in an educational machine. The teacher's aim is to develop the full potential of each child. He must be taught to respond to and to participate in the activities connected with learning and to -co-operate with the teacher so that everything he does is geared to his own life and to developing his control over his own environment. Today therefore, the facts and the subjects studied are secondary to the development of the child's whole personality. Hence, subjects cover a much wider range these days, from technical and practical subjects to current affairs and commerce.
To claim a child's interest, great importance is placed on purposive learning which means practical work of all kinds for the pupil. Such work must be varied as a child soon becomes bored when one particular activity is carried on for too long. His interest is not stimulated neither is the require skill acquired.
New attitudes mean new methods. Oral teaching, a time-honored method is still used, but not to the same extent. The teacher must do some talking, but children are encouraged to talk too, to ask questions and to...