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The Seven Laws Of Teaching:As Applied To Engineering Education

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.479.1 - 1.479.7



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Ph.D., Richard H. Turpin

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2530

‘The Seven Laws of Teaching’ As Applied to Engineering Education

Richard H. Turpin, Ph.D. University of the Pacific


Each decade seems to bring new methods of pedagogy, with recent years witnessing personalized systems of instruction (PSI), audio tutorial (AT) methods, and computer assisted instruction (CAI), and the present time and technologies prompting interests in distance learning and multimedia. Expressing concern that a good foundation be the base of any "modern" pedagogy, the author of this paper reviews a book written in the mid 1800's by Dr. John Milton Gregory,1 a well known educator. Entitled The Seven Laws of Teaching, the objective of the book was "to set forth, in a certain systematic order, the principles of the art of teaching." First published in 1884, Dr. Gregory's book was subsequently revised and reissued in 1917 by W.C. Bagley and W.K. Layton of the University of Illinois. In the book, Dr. Gregory sets forth the following "laws": (1) The Law of the Teacher - A teacher must be one who knows the lesson or truth or art to be taught; (2) The Law of the Learner - A learner is one who attends with interest to the lesson; (3) The Law of the Language - The language used as a medium between teacher and learner must be common to both; (4) The Law of the Lesson - The lesson to be mastered must be explicable in the terms of truth already known by the learner -- the unknown must be explained by means of the known; (5) The Law of the Teaching Process - Teaching is arousing and using the pupil's mind to grasp the desired thought or to master the desired art; (6) The Law of the Learning Process - Learning is thinking into one's own understanding a new idea or truth or working into habit a new art or skill; (7) The Law of Review and Application - The test and proof of teaching done -- the finishing and fastening process -- must be a reviewing, rethinking, reknowing, reproducing, and applying of the material that has been taught, the knowledge and ideals and arts that have been communicated. Drawing from over twenty five years of experience in engineering education, the author discusses each law, making application of each to engineering education in the present time. A set of "rules" is defined associated with each law to make clear its proper application, and common violations of each are discussed. This paper, which is based upon Dr. Gregory's book, should be of interest to all engineering educators, but particularly to young faculty, as it describes with clarity and simplicity the fundamentals of teaching. To quote from the introduction to Dr. Gregory's book, "The first object of teaching, then, is to stimulate in the pupil the love of learning, and to form in him habits and ideals of independent study." He concludes with "The study of these laws may not make of every reader a perfect teacher; but the laws themselves, when fully observed in use, will produce their effects with .. certainty .." No matter what technology or method of pedagogy, all seven of the "laws of teaching" must be observed to assure success. Simple in their statement, they are key to success in managing the complex process of learning.

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Turpin, P. R. H. (1996, June), The Seven Laws Of Teaching:As Applied To Engineering Education Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6282

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