College’s Founder’s Day Program Focuses On School’s Influence On Education

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Robert Schell, SUNY Oswego professor emeritus, will present a Founder’s Day program during College Hour on Tuesday, October 14, at 1:05 – 2:05 P.M., in the Historic Classroom of Sheldon Hall on the Oswego campus. Entitled, Sheldon’s Nine Commandments, the program is sponsored by the Oswego Emeriti Association. The presentation will give some understanding of the pioneering work done here in Oswego that had great influence on the development of education in America and other countries as well.

In 1862, Edward Austin Sheldon, began his book, A Manual of Elementary Instruction, with a list of nine principles of teaching and learning that became the foundation of the “Oswego Movement.” These principles were both ground-breaking and controversial when they were introduced. They led to changes in the way that teachers were trained and children were taught. While many of the specifics of Sheldon’s approach have faded into history, the principles have stood the test of time and are a basis for modern educational theory and practice. The purpose of this Founder’s Day Program is to highlight Sheldon’s continuing contribution to the twenty-first century classroom.

Sheldon’s principles of instruction

* Activity is a law of childhood. Accustom the child to do — educate the hand.
* Cultivate the faculties in their natural order—first form the mind, then furnish it.
* Begin with the senses, and never tell a child what he can discover for himself.
* Reduce every subject to its elements—one difficulty at a time is enough for a child.
* Proceed step by step. Be thorough. The measure of information is not what the teacher can give, but what the child can receive.
* Let every lesson have a point; either immediate or remote.
* Develop the idea—then give the term—cultivate language.
* Proceed from the known to the unknown—from the particular to the general—from the concrete to the abstract—from the simple to the more difficult.
* First synthesis, then analysis—not the order of the subject, but the order of nature.

All are welcome and there is no cost for the program.