Field work in high school geography
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In order to make objective teaching the keynote in geography, field work must be its foundation. Field work, properly conducted, will develop a feeling of self-reliance in the pupil. In using text books as a mine from which to dig information, he learns to depend upon it as the source of all information in that subject and unconsciously assumes the attitude of whatever is in it, is right. Not only this passive attitude is developed, but the text book method fails to develop initiative, independence, vigor in attacking a new problem; it does not encourage the investigative attitude of mind. This is shown by the student's willingness to lean on authority, to look for some sign or expression from the instructor when confronted by a new situation without the sustaining power of the text. It is only through the student's own solution of a problem that he gains true intellectual development. The power of observation, imagination, and reason is best developed under conditions which stimulate the mental activity of the individual by offering opportunity for the exercise of all his powers. Field work offers this opportunity. Every region is rich in problems that develop initiative and independence, that bring out the self-reliance of the pupil, that make mental effort a joy to him rather than a drag upon him, for he realizes his own capacity and is thereby encouraged to trust himself in advancing toward new subjects of study. Such results as initiative, independence, vigor of attack, pleasure and interest in the subject, will abundantly justify the time spent in the field.
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