Basics as a subject has undergone several significant changes in the last fifty years. According to the syllabi of 1933 basics was supposed to be the focus of all classroom work in the first and second years of the elementary school. Basics included not only basic knowledge about phenomena of the natural environment and the social one, but also drawing and handicraft.
This conception of basics remained practically unchanged until the year 1948 when the curriculum and syllabi were adopted for national schools (I. e. a new type of elementary school). From the year 1924 onwards, however, the vagueness of content and methods in basics as a subject had often been referred to, and it was pointed out that the results attained in basics were quite often unsatisfactory and did not correspond to the number of weekly teaching periods devoted to it, etc.
The new curriculum and syllabi of 1953 abolished basics as a separate subject. The subject-matter of basics became part of the subject-matter of the mother tongue. The System of Education Act of 1960 added a new component to the Czech language teaching, viz. object teaching. In the year 1976 basics was reintroduced into the curriculum of the junior elementary school as a separate subject which is allocated two teaching periods a week in the first and second years.
Frequent changes in the conception of the content and methods in basics teaching resulted in unsatisfactory attention being paid to both theoretical and practical questions concerning the teaching of this subject.
It is not uninteresting to note that questions concerning the conception of „object teaching“, its content, teaching methods and teaching aids, were dealt with as early as 1881 by a prominent Czech educationist, G. A. Lindner (1828—1887), in his remarkable study entitled „Vividness and Object Teaching“ which was published in the „Paedagogium“ journal, volume III (1881).
In the above-mentioned study G. A. Lindner demonstrates that the so-called object teaching ought to be a separate subject in the lowest grades of the elementary school.
In the same study he goes on to explain how the content of object teaching can be conceived. G. A. Lindner distinguished four conceptions:
1. conception combining the object content of the teaching material with speech training and grammatical exercises as well,
2. conception aimed at the so-called concentration of the teaching material,
3. conception aimed at the so-called concentration of the teaching material,
4. conception linking chronological sequence with individual seasons of the year.
G. A. Lindner also gave thought to teaching methods to be used in object teaching. He recommended the following process:
1. Preliminarily getting acquainted with the subject in question through the form of a dialogue.
2. Naming individual objects.
3. Classification of these objects into groups according to their number, material and matter, possibly according to position.
4. Specifying how each of these objects is used.
5. Description of the objects — shape, size, colour, lustre, hardness, etc.
6. Comparison and distinction of individual objects.
7. Moral lesson.
According to G. A. Lindner the methods of object teaching also included demonstration, which is absolutely essential especially in various exercises.
The teaching aids to object teaching were divided by him into five main groups:
1. Real objects.
4. Drawings. (He prefers drawings on the blackboard to ready-made drawings because the former arise before the pupils’ eyes.)
Lindner’s study has its undeniable value even today. It is one of the most scholarly articles on object teaching ever written in our country.