« PreviousContinue »
-he has friends in the class, his being "there" makes a difference, and he is missed when he is away.
-the teacher and principal believe in him. He and his schoolmates have a part in planning what goes on in school. Their ideas count.
-his work is important to the group. Once he accepts responsibility for something which he is able to do and which is needed by the group, he must carry through; he approaches his responsibility with confidence that he can carry it. He knows that he does not have to work exactly as others do; instead, he can work at a pace and in a way that is comfortable for him. He learns, however, that he must often work hard to do the work he really wants to do.
-he can get help in carrying out his responsibilities from his teacher and classmates, from books and other source materials as he works alone, in a group, or as a committee member.
-he is becoming more skillful day by day as he learns to read, write, figure, listen, and talk; to make decisions on the basis of what he reads, hears, sees, and discusses; to express himself creatively through different mediums; and to work with materials and tools. He knows that as he becomes more skillful both he and the group profit.
-other children respect his rights and belongings and he is learning to respect their rights and their belongings.
-he can trust the teacher and his classmates and they can have faith in him.
-the teacher is a friend who will listen to him when he is troubled and will hold in confidence the things he tells her in confidence.
-he and the teacher and his parents are all friends, working together to help him "grow up" and since he is doing his best they, as well as he, are satisfied with his progress. Consequently, he is free from anxiety, tension, and fear.
The teacher who works well with children recognizes that in our country it is extremely important that people learn how to plan their lives well and to work and live in harmony with others. She knows that children can best develop the skills and qualities essential to happy and successful living in a day-by-day atmosphere which involves thoughtful planning. All over the country, classrooms reflect good pupil-teacher relationships.
The remainder of this bulletin contains a limited number of examples of some of the things that are happening in schools as children and teachers work together to accomplish purposes that are important to them as individuals and as members of a group.
Things of Concern to the Whole School
Some people might say that Sue Saki is "just a doll" from Japan. The children of the school know better, however. They know that she represents the spirit of American-Japanese understanding.
Today, Sue Saki is compiling a scrapbook in duplicate. One copy is for the friend who brought her from Japan and one for a Japanese teacher who visited the John Ward School last year. When this teacher went back to Japan, he started a series of radio broadcasts concerning the elementary school program. Through him and his broadcast Sue Saki will have a chance to “tell” the children of Japan of her experiences among the children of the Ward School. She will describe what home and school life can be like for an American child.
Every grade level in the school is contributing to Sue Saki's scrapbook. She has many subcommittees, a photographer, and writers working for her in the classrooms. It is expected that she will tell the story of the United States as it really is today. It is also expected that the spirit of friendly understanding between a group of American school children and a widening circle of Japanese young people will be enhanced by the observations of "just a doll."
Much excitement was aroused when it was decided that the elementary school children of the city were going to name the new school. The children in each "old" building were to suggest names. They studied about the people for whom they thought the school should be named, and each school sent in a list of suggestions. A committee drew up a ballot consisting of the 10 most frequently proposed names. On election day, the ballots were distributed to the schools and the children voted for their preference. The name receiving the highest vote was adopted.
At the beginning of the year the eighth-grade pupils, realizing that this was their last year in the school, decided to make a list of things "This School Needs." This was the only school most of them knew. They were proud of it but were conscious of certain lacks.
The group planned ways of getting at least some of the things. They thought through ways of earning money, of enlisting the help of the parent organization, of working with some of the service and civic clubs that had always been interested in the school, of presenting their problems to the school board. They talked over their plans with the principal.
By the end of the first semester the school board had put in the sink, provided window shades, and promised that another teacher would be added to the staff. The factory located in the town donated pipe for playground equipment. Some of the fathers and the eighth-grade boys made various pieces of climbing apparatus. They also put in a walk made of native stone. The mothers and older girls prepared supper at school on the days the men and boys worked. The middle-grade children helped serve. One of the mothers donated an old mirror which the children refinished. A service club gave some money for books in return
for a program the eighth-graders presented at one meeting. The children made wastebaskets out of large tin cans donated by one of the grocers. The children built a bicycle rack, but soon discovered that it was not sturdy enough. Now their problem was to find a way to buy one.
The seventh-grade pupils agreed to work toward getting the other things on the list when they got to be eighth-graders!
The fifth-grade pupils of the Greenfield School have functional number experiences. They set up a shop for buying and selling materials used in craft activities. All the children in the school patronize the store. The fifth-grade boys and girls are learning about borrowing money, buying through wholesale and retail stores, selling at a margin of profit large enough to keep themselves in business, keeping accurate records, measuring, and advertising. They are doing a service to the school, too. Interest in crafts as a hobby is keen. When the source of supplies is close at hand, enthusiasm is less likely to die!
Children and Teacher Work Together-On
Activities Within the Class
The second-grade teacher told the curriculum coordinator that she wanted very much to have the children take a more active part in planning but she just didn't know how to go about it. The coordinator suggested that a good way to begin might be to ask the children to plan an “opening exercise" for the following week.
When the teacher approached the children with the idea, they were full of plans. They made a long list of things to do. Because the children had never before had a chance to select things to do during school hours, much of the discussion that followed was irrelevant and impractical. As they looked over the list, they sensed how ridiculous or impossible some of their suggestions were. As they became more practical they decided to sing two of their favorite songs and then have Stephen and Ann put on the puppet show they had worked out.
Pleased with the success of this pupil-planned activity, the teacher decided that a trip to the airport would involve many situations that would call for group planning. But because the children were inexperienced, she wanted to be sure the planning would be successful. She talked with the principal; next she called the "room mother" and was assured that there would be cars available to transport the children. Then she visited the airport-to preview the possibilities.
The next day she listed on the board the many things the airport had to offer. She pointed out that it would take a week or more to see everything at the airport. The children decided what they wanted most to see during the 1-day trip. The boys and girls in each row gathered around the middle desk of the row and decided on two things they would like most to Fourteen points were listed on the board. After eliminating duplication, 9 were left. Definite plans had to be made on how to see all these things. The decision was that the children would divide themselves into three groups, each group being responsible for exploring three areas of interest. After the visit, each group would make a report to the class.
The children made a few simple rules to be observed on the trip. For several weeks after the trip was made much of the work was centered on the things they had learned. Together the children and teacher made