The Seven Laws of Teaching
by John Milton Gregory
Teaching, and its simplest sense, as the communication of experience.
1. The law of the teacher.
The teacher must know that which you would teach.
The unknowing teacher is like the blind trying to lead the blind with only an empty lamp to light the way.
The power of illustration comes only out of the clear and familiar knowledge.
Truth must be clearly understood before it can be vividly felt.
The well prepared teacher awakens in his people the active desire to study further.
Prepare each lesson by for a study.
Find in the lesson it’s analogies two more familiar facts and principles.
Study lesson until take shape and familiar language.
Find the natural order of the several steps of the lesson.
Find the relation of the lesson to the lives of the learners.
Have a definite time for the study of each lesson, in advance of the teaching.
Have a plan of study, but do not hesitate, when necessary, to study be on the plan.
Did not deny yourself the help of good books on the subject of your lessons.
2. The law of the learner.
The learner must attend with interest to the material to be learned.
Without attention the people cannot learn.
Knowledge cannot be passed like a material substance from one line to another. Ideas must be rethought, experience must be re-experienced.
Unless a pupil puts in their will and interest, we are unable to accomplish maximal effectiveness.
Teach the pupils to concentrate.
Since attention follows interest, it is folly to attempt to gain attention without first stimulating interest.
The two chief hindrances to attention or apathy and distraction.
Never beginning class exercise until the attention of the class has been secured.
Study for a moment the faces of the pupils to see if all are mentally, as well as bodily, present.
Pause whenever the attention is interrupted or lost, and wait until is completely regained.
Never wholly exhaust the attention of your pupils. Stop as soon as signs of fatigue appear.
Adapt the link of the class exercise to the ages of the pupils: the younger the pupils, debris for the lesson.
Arouse attention when necessary by variety in your presentation, but be careful to avoid distractions; keep the real lesson in view.
appeal whenever possible to the interests of your pupils. Find out what their favorite interests are and make use of them.
Look for sources of distraction, such as unusual noises, inside the classroom and out, and reduce them to a minimum.
Prepare beforehand thought-provoking questions.
Make your presentation as attractive as possible, using illustrations and all legitimate devices. Do not, however, let these devices be so prominent as themselves to become sources of distraction.
Maintain an exhibit in yourself the closest attention to and most genuine interest in the lesson. True enthusiasm is contagious.
The teacher should master the art of gaining and keeping attention, and of exciting genuine interest, and he will rejoice at the fruitfulness of his work.
3. The law of the learner
Language as a medium of communication between minds, a necessary instrument of teaching, and having like all of the factors in teaching of art, it’s own law.
The language used in teaching must be common, understood, to both teacher and learner.
The power of thought rests largely upon the five this fabric of speech.
Languages the vehicle of thought.
Not what the speaker expresses from his own mind, but what they hear understands and reproduces in his mind.
That teacher will do the best work who chooses his words wisely, raising the most in the clearest images in the minds of his pupils.
Languages the instrument as well as the vehicle of thought.
Language is also the storehouse of our knowledge. All that we know maybe found laid up in the words concerning it.
Words are not the only medium through which to speak. There are many ways to express thought. The eye, the head, but hand, the foot, the shoulder, are often used in speech in ways that are most intelligible.
Help the meaning of the words by illustrations.
As the acquisition of language is one of the important games in the process of education, do not be content to have your pupils listen in silence very long at a time, the matter how attentive they are. Encourage them to talk freely.
4. The law of the lesson.
The law of the lesson is that truth to be taught must be learned through truth already known.
Find out where your pupils know of the subject you wish to teach them; this is your starting point.
Begin with facts or ideas that line near your pupils, and that can be reached by a single step from what is already familiar.
Relate every lesson as much as possible to former lessons.
Arrange your presentation so that each step of the lesson shall lead easily and naturally to the next.
Teach your pupils that knowledge is power by showing how knowledge really helps to solve problems.
5. The law of teaching.
Excite and direct the self-activities of the pupil, and as a rule tell him nothing that he can learn himself.
Make your pupil a Discoverer of the truth – make him find out for himself.
Wake up your peoples minds. Set the pupils to thinking. Arouse the spirit of inquiry. Get your pupils to work.
We can learn without a teacher. If, then, we can learn without being taught, it follows that the true function of the teacher is to create the most favorable conditions for self-learning.
True teaching, then, is not that which gives knowledge, but that which stimulates pupils to gain it.
Questioning is not, therefore, merely one of the devices of teaching, it is really the whole of teaching.
It is only when the questioning spirit has been fully awakened, in the habit of raising questions has been largely developed, that the teaching process may embody the lecture plan.
Select lessons which relate to the environment and needs of the pupils.
Consider carefully the subject and the lessons to be taught, and find its point of contact with the lives of your pupils.
Excite the peoples interest in the lesson when it is assigned, buy some question or buy some statement which will awaken inquiry.
Place yourself frequently in the position of a people among your pupils, and join in the search for some fact or principal.
The lesson that does not culminate in fresh questions and wrong.
Observe each pupal to see that his mind is not wondering so as to forbid it’s activities being bent to the lesson in hand.
Count it your chief duty to awake in the minds of your pupils, and do not rest until each child shows his mental activity by asking questions.
Do not answer to promptly the questions asked, but restate them, to give them greater force and breadth, and often answer with new questions to secure deeper thought.
The chief in almost constant violation of this law of teaching is the attempt to force lessons by simply telling. “I have told you 10 times, and yet you don’t know!” exclaims a teacher of the sort, who is unable to remember that knowing comes by thinking, not by being told.
6. The law of the learning process
The pupil must reproduce in his own mind the truth to be learned.
While telling the teacher how to teach, it also tells the people how to study.
It is indispensable that the student should become an investigator.
Ask the pupil to express, in his own words, the meaning of the lesson as he understands it, and to persist until he has the whole thought.
Help the pupil to test his conceptions to see that they reproduce the truth taught, as far as his powers permit.
7. The law of review and application
The completion, test and confirmation of the work of teaching must be made by review and application.
The statement of the slaw seeks to include the chief aims of the review: to perfect knowledge, to confirm knowledge, and to render this knowledge ready and useful.
Not to review is to leave the work half done.
Consider reviews is always in order.
At the close of each lesson, glance backward at the ground which has been covered.
The best teachers give about one third of each period to purpose of review. Thus they make haste slowly but progress surely.
Find as many applications as possible. Every thoughtful application involves a useful and effective review.
Here to Serve,