By C. W. Bending and Edmund King (Auth.)
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Additional resources for Communication and the Schools
Ultimately we must all stand on our own feet, make our own interpretations, and, to the best of our ability and training, respond to the situations that life presents. The danger lies in the confusion between the terms "instruction" and "communication". To Plato, true communication only began in adult life, when through instruction a man had learned to mediate. With the truly educated man, this will continue through life, and with increasing powers of mediation should become a more powerful means of establishing true and unbiased concepts.
This aspect of language often flows over into the schools, and we find teachers, particularly of science and mathematics, who delight in obscure references, even in the earliest stages of study. It will be argued that science demands an exact terminology, but it is also true that this terminology must be sharply defined at every stage, and that each new contingency in a learning situation should contain the minimum of new references, 58 COMMUNICATION AND THE SCHOOLS and these should be relevant to the situation.
Language is being used to establish a friendly social situation between two people. The "Mi, mi, mi, mi, mi" repetitions of the one-year-old, who sees a cup of hot milk and wants it immediately, represent an elementary attempt to use language to pass on information, while the "I'm running round the chair" remark of the five-year-old represents egocentric language behaviour, which may persist as the basis of conceptual thought throughout life. It is most important that the teacher recognizes the varied patterns of speech utilization and the limitations of language patterns before he attempts to use media designed, either as mediating factors in a language situation, or media designed to present both language and mediating factors, simultaneously.