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SUPERVISING PRINCIPAL IN THE INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS
NEW AND ENLARGED EDITION
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
IMPROVED methods in the teaching of spelling are replacing old ones as rapidly as the modern principle of teaching form through content is gaining recognition in schoolroom practice. The principles underlying the teaching of spelling are precisely those underlying the enriching and shortening of the entire course of study, by which the child takes a short cut to knowledge through an appeal to his interest and the power gained through the cultivation of his mind. So long as we hammer at the child's brain as though it were so much cold steel in the belief that if we hammer hard enough and long enough some impression must be made, so long will the teaching of spelling meet with a greater or less degree of failure.
It is a common fallacy for teachers to believe that if they teach the letters of a word, time will fill in the empty form with the proper content. Two things are forgotten in this process: first, that in the human mind nothing dwells in isolation and that the child puts some content into every form he learns — a wrong one if he is not supplied with the right one; and second, that the child, realizing that his teacher is indifferent to his knowing the content of the word, grows both mentally and morally careless.
To what purpose did a whole class write correctly the word error, when later they explained that “ Indians have bows and errors;” that “Errors (Arabs) live in the desert ;” and bade one “ Be an error (terror, hero) in the fight”? In future when the members of this class shall have need to express the idea “ error," why should we expect e-r-r-0-y to come forth auto