The New Teaching Method


Pastor Schweizer had prepared a daily schedule for the young schoolmaster, as follows:

[9.00 a.m.-9.30 a.m.] He was to drill the children in mental arithmetic. Then alphabet training was given to the first grade until 10 o'clock by drawing the letters on the blackboard, beginning with the vowels followed by the consonants. Gradually they were to be shown how syllables are formed from the letters inscribed on the blackboard. What had been so inscribed, was also to be written in the students' individual notebooks, enabling their parents on a daily basis to be kept abreast of what their children had learned.From 10:00 until 10:30 the schoolmaster was directed to focus his blackboard presentation to the children in the next group whose level had mastered the ABC's and to point their attention to simple, mono-syllabic word formation with particular emphasis on root and stem words. This training was to continue by exposing the students to the concept of prefixes and suffixes and the resulting multisyllabic words stemming from them. From 10.30 until the end of the hour he was directed to spend time with the next level students, those who had achieved a modicum of reading capability, which was to accomplished by reading an article or other text aloud to them in a very clear fashion. After the recitation Schoolmaster Strickler was obliged to familiarize his pupils with the key words and adjectives employed in the article along with an exploration of its main content.

At noon, homework assignments were to be given out and explained to those who could not yet write; then those who had achieved a level of writing ability were scheduled to receive their writing practice followed by a reading exercise or something else to be learned by heart. From 2 o'clock until 3 each class, one after the other, was to listen to the lessons of the other classes enabling the children of each one to recite and articulate to the others. In this exercise the readers were allotted more time than in the morning. Their reading books were the New Testament, "Kinderfreund" by Professor Schulthessen and Steinmüller's "Schulbuch".

Pastor Schweitzer noted the following observations: "For four months this local school has been carrying out the new improved teaching curriculum . It was first introduced to fourteen pupils, who adapted to it so well, that more and more children were attracted until quite soon there was a head count of sixty students. Normally there is an attendance of between forty and fifty students in school. It is unfortunate that my district is so widely spread; there are areas within it from which it is impossible to send the children to school especially during the winter; however, I do hope there will be more children attending in the spring and the summer."

He is full of praise for the young schoolmaster when he says, "He is very loving of the children. Pay attention to his guidance, for he holds the trust of these grateful parents, to the point that some of them in appreciation have presented him with gifts. He earns this gratitude because he invests all of his diligence and loyalty in the children, because he so agrees with the new curriculum -- he even dreams about it, and because he continues his studies of it on a daily basis. Therefore I have taken the liberty to encourage him to consider a higher educational position. To that end soon I will appoint him to be his father's assistant, providing him, thereby, the necessary status to further develop the school."


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