How To Secure and Retain Attentionby James Laughlin Hughes
"There is and there can be no teaching, where the attention of the scholar is not secured. The teacher who fails to get the attention of his scholars, fails totally." So writes a thoughtful educator, and every observant teacher knows that the statements are correct. The most important work of a teacher both in. regard to the learning of school
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"There is and there can be no teaching, where the attention of the scholar is not secured. The teacher who fails to get the attention of his scholars, fails totally." So writes a thoughtful educator, and every observant teacher knows that the statements are correct. The most important work of a teacher both in. regard to the learning of school lessons and the formation of proper mental habits by his pupils, is the development of the power to give concentrated and sustained attention to a subject.
While fully agreeing with the opinion that natural aptitude has much to do in deciding the measure of a teacher's success, the author knows that the power of securing and retaining attention can be acquired and developed. This book has been written with a sincere desire to aid in the accomplishment of this important object.
Chapter I: Kinds of Attention
Chapter II: Characteristics of Positive Attention
Chapter III: Characteristics of the Teacher in Securing and Retaining Attention
Chapter IV: Conditions of Attention
Chapter V: How to Control a Class
Chapter VI: Method of Preserving and Stimulating the Pupils' Desire for Knowledge
Chapter VII: How to Gratify and Develop the Natural Desire for Knowledge
Chapter VIII: The Cultivation of the Senses
Chapter IX: General Suggestions
KINDS OF ATTENTION.
Attention may be Negative or Positive.
Negative Attention. A pupil may look without seeing, listen without being conscious of hearing, and hear without comprehending. He may sit and dream. The mind has inner as well as outer gates. The outer gates admit merely to the courtyard of the mind. A great many pupils keep the inner doors closed to much of the teaching done by their teachers. We may perceive without receiving distinct conceptions. Thousands look at a store window in passing it without being able to name or even give the color of a single article in it.
We may hear also without taking in the thoughts of the person speaking. How often men sit in church and hear a preacher's voice without noting his words! The sounds he makes gets through the gates of the castle wall, but the castle itself is shut and filled with other tenants. The telephonic key has not been adjusted, and direct communication has not been established. We hear various sounds—the bell of the factory or the school, the whistle of the steam engine, the song of the birds, &c.—without always being consciously impressed by them. Sometimes they influence or arrest our lines of thought, but more frequently, unless they convey a special message to us, we allow them to pass unheeded. Negative attention consists in the outward marks of attention merely. It is a form without reality; a seed without an active germ, from which nothing of life and beauty can ever spring.
Positive Attention. A pupil who gives positive or active attention, is attentive not merely with his body but with his mind. He has the inner as well as the outer gates of his mind open. His mind must be willing to receive the thoughts his teacher has to communicate, and it must not be preoccupied, or actively engaged with other thoughts. He must for a time forget his personality, and turn from thoughts of his own plays and work and all that directly interests him outside of the lesson. He must get out of his own current of thought and into that of his teacher.
Positive attention stands opposed to that rambling state of mind in which the thoughts move continually from one topic to another without dwelling upon any; and also to that apathetic and listless condition of the mind in which it is not conscious of thought; or in which ideas, if they exist, leave no trace in the memory. It is the kind of attention which a teacher must have from his pupils if he wishes to impress them. If he secures only negative, the minds of his scholars may be a thousand miles away, whilst their bodies may occupy positions of reverent attention.
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