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prophets. Then into this group of guesses he sets a second question: "But whom say ye that I am?" This question dispelled all doubt. It crystallized conviction. It established clear knowledge. Thus the wise teacher understood how important it is to call up in the mind of the learner every possible explanation, and then, when the mind is balancing the issues, to put forward a question whose answer lifts the learner to a declaration of an opinion and the formulation of a conviction never again to be subject to revision. To drive a soul to the final and conclusive statement of truth is always of moment in the teaching process.
To question wisely is to catch glimpses of the inner life, the secret thoughts, the vital forces of a soul. It must be done in a spirit of loving concern for the pupil. The more intimately the life of the pupil is known, the more sacred becomes the office of teacher. Kinship of spirit is the best warrant to teach.
QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS.
For testing one's grasp of the subject, and
What reasons do you have for teaching carefully the meaning of words?
Should religious truth be set in more vague terms than other truth?
May religious truth be taught as clearly as secular truth?
Why is the unanswered question a source of concern? If the delay in finding answer to a question is prolonged, how does this delay affect the learner?
Explain clearly the value of the right activity of the mental process.
What are you doing to aid your pupil to clear views? Some questions are pertinent, some are impertinent. Explain and illustrate.
Enumerate the values of the question as a form of teaching.
What types of questions are wise? Why?
Study your own motive in questioning your pupil. What is the relative value of the question for the class and the question for the individual?
Explain the Socratic question.
Discuss the effect upon the pupils of unwise questions.
Frame ten wholly wise questions upon the subjectmatter of this chapter.
THE TEACHER'S PERSONAL EQUIPMENT
WE HAVE to this point been considering the opening of a soul into full bloom. We have seen it bud and grow and blossom. What shall the fruitage be? That will depend upon the nutrition and upon the pruning. The nutrition is the Word of God. The pruning is the act of the teacher.
The Act of
This act is of so great importance that I have thought it wise at this point to consider the teacher in his relation to the pupil, especially in his relation to the product of the teaching process as it is bodied forth in conduct. No religious instruction is worth the name that does not condition conduct. It is one thing to know the right. It is another thing to do the right. It is not enough that our pupils should know the right. They must do it. We live in deeds. The Sunday-school is to be judged by the life of its pupil. The teacher is to be justified by the manner of the pupil's living acquired under his guidance. If you entertain any other view of your function, throw it away.
We are met at the outset with the cry that teachers are born, not made; that some can teach and some cannot; and that any attempt to train teachers is essentially impossible. Let us be sure we are justified before we take such a position. I have seen thousands of teachers at work.
I have known them as pupils and as individuals. I am frank to admit that some people are so finely organized that they instinctively teach well. This number is not large. I know that most of the successful teachers of to-day are made, not born. Here, as in almost every sphere of activity that calls for skilled efforts, honest and sustained effort is sure to accomplish a worthy result. Lawyers, doctors, and clergymen are made over under professional discipline and study. Why, then, may we not assert the same of the teacher? We have many excellent teachers in our public schools because they have been trained to teach in some of our many excellent training schools. We shall accomplish equally important advances in our Sunday-school teaching when we accept this truth and act upon it.
Why do we hesitate to enter heart and soul upon a campaign of teacher-training? Is it because we are indifferent to the cause? Is it because we are unwilling to put forth an honest effort to achieve skill? Is it simply because we
do not? How I wish I had the power to stir the indifferent, the lazy, the negligent ones! I have in mind a large group of teachers who are anxious to do the best things, who are busy with a thousand cares, who turn to every possible guidance that offers promise of help, and who carry upon their consciences their responsibilities. For these my heart warms. For these I am willing to try, in the best way I know, to afford help. This group will teach far better tomorrow than they do to-day. These are the hope of our children, our Sunday-school, our church. For these I have a few suggestions.
You may feel that temperamentally you are not suited to teach. You may be hasty, and at times cross. You may be unsympathetic and cold. You may be impulsive and rash. You may be unnatural and foolish. You may be these and other things equally objectionable in the teacher. You may feel your limitations in scholarship, in methods, and in skill in teaching. What of it? These are limitations that you should remove, regardless of your position of teacher. If, then, teaching will aid you all the more surely to remove them, why not teach?
We all have our limitations. It is our business to remove them. To train as a teacher is a most direct manner of securing mastery over our own