Monday, July 30, 2012

The First American Book on Teaching Methods

The book was published in 1770. The author was Mennonite schoolmaster Christopher Dock. From Christian History:

His book was called Schul Ordnung, or School Management. Christopher Sauer I, a printer in Germantown, Pennsylvania, admired the good results that Christopher Dock produced with students by use of encouragement, kindness, and motivation. Christopher still believed in punishment, but his methods were milder than most. For example, he might put a yoke on a student who cursed; or require him or her to sit alone. Other teachers of the day relied more heavily on fear and whippings. Saur urged Christopher Dock to write a book explaining his methods. Dock prepared it around 1750, but then, for twenty years, refused to allow Saur to publish it. He did not want it released during his lifetime, afraid that it would look like he was trying to build a "monument" to himself.

Has anyone tried using a yoke? To be fair, Dock used some methods that resonate with today’s educational philosophy:

One of the modern things Dock did was to have the students in his two schools exchange their writings for comparison. He rewarded his pupils with chalk drawings on their hands and urged parents to further reward their children for good school work by giving them praise, pennies--and fried eggs. He recognized that "Different children need different treatment," because, as he said, "...the wickedness of youth exhibits itself in so many ways."


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