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Pause in the midst of your teaching and ask some pupil to repeat the main points from the beginning. When he is well begun, ask a second one to continue the review, and you will be amazed at the result unless you have real attention in your pupils. The captain of a steamer, whose hearing is dimmed, was frequently informed by his passengers: "It is a beautiful day, Captain." One day a quiet-voiced lady said to him: "What lighthouse is that, Captain?" To which he politely replied: "Yes, a very fine day."
So far from what we really expect is the answer we sometimes receive. The pupil is not thinking our thoughts. We do not have his attention. We are not teaching.
Right bodily conditions, however, have much to do with securing attention. To attend steadily to one thing for any considerable time is physically exhausting. Young pupils should not be expected to give steady attention for more than a few minutes to one thing. If this is not kept in mind by the teacher, confusion, restlessness, disorder, arise in the class. As the pupil advances in years the time of Bodily Conditions the recitation may be lengthened. With young pupils a change to some new activity is necessary. With older pupils a change in the order of thought
may suffice. This is a matter of such significance that the wisely-trained teacher will need to observe in her own pupils when attention yields to fatigue. No arbitrary time can be set as a limit to the recitation; and, perhaps, in the Sunday-school this caution is not really pertinent. The only guidance of value is this: Do not tax the attention of the pupil beyond the limit of his ability to give close attention to the exercise.
QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS.
For testing one's grasp of the subject, and
How do you explain the variation in attention on the part of the different members of your class?
How do our feelings influence our actions? Do we act as we think or as we feel?
Explain the relation between your acts and your interest.
Why did Paul begin his address on Mars' Hill by a reference "To the Unknown God?"
How does expectant attention differ from voluntary attention? from involuntary attention?
Discuss the phenomena of hypnotism in their relation to expectant attention.
Are you familiar with the general doctrine of suggestion as a teaching agency?
If the teacher takes up the lesson expecting to secure attention, is his expectation likely to be the more readily realized? Why?
In case you do not secure attention from your pupils,
name some things that may result in securing attention?
What is the measure of the rate of progress in unfolding the truths of the lesson?
Are you ever tedious in teaching? Are you ever too hasty or too obscure in covering the salient points in the lesson?
How will you distinguish between bodily attitude and true attention?
Should a teacher know the dominant interests of his pupils? Why?
SOME FACTS CONCERNING MEMORY
I HAVE hinted that the mind has power to enrich the facts of knowledge which it holds in consciousness. Let us not forget this statement while we consider an intermediate step in the development of knowledge in the soul. The report which the mind makes of the thing it perceives is called a percept. This percept is the mental result of a clear perception. It is by some writers called an idea, by which they mean that the mind has some sort of a picture of the thing that exists outside the mind. We speak of a real cat and of our idea of cat; of cow and of our idea of cow; of things generally and of
our ideas of these things. These ideas, then, are mental images of things. Just what they are like is not quite clear. But this is clear: By their frequent reappearance in consciousness we come to know them as the sign or image of the thing itself. Given the idea, the appropriate object is at once called by the idea into consideration. We do not often get the wrong idea for a thing. The mind is an accurate reporter. It seldom fails to
make true connection between a given object and its appropriate idea. We may depend upon the integrity of its processes and the correctness of its results.
But these ideas are not always in the focus of consciousness, not always the things of attention, not always the objects of interest. These ideas seem to be fleeting. They elude consciousness, and others take their place. They do this in spite of volition and of interest. Where do they go? Can they be recalled? They perhaps do not pass wholly out of consciousness, but they
are no longer the things of atWhat Memory Is tention. But they may be recalled and again be made the things of attention. The power by which the soul retains and recalls its past experiences and makes them again the things of attention is memory.
So important was memory held to be among the ancient Greeks, that they not only deified her as Mnemosyne, daughter of Uranus, but they made her the mother of the sacred muses. These nine muses were the guardian divinities whose function it was to preside over the nine important branches of knowledge. They lived on Mount Helicon, and Gray thus refers to their influence:
"From Helicon's harmonious springs
A thousand rills their mazy progress take."