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Another phase of the subject is the question of adult education, a problem growing out of the tremendous tide of immigration which is constantly coming to our shores. This element must be assimilated. They have no time to go to school. They come to America to make their fortunes. At first they understand nothing of our language, our laws, our resources or our ideals. can make the leisure hours of these people entertaining and at the same time educative and uplifting we shall keep them from spending those hours in the saloon, and at the same time mold their thought and raise their ideals. New York City is alive to this question. Nearly 6,000 free lectures to adults are to be given there during the coming winter and the great majority of them are to be illustrated by means of lantern slides.
It is doubtful if the educational forces of the State realize the full value of the aid extended them in the preparation by the Education Department of this illustrative material. Although it is used to a large extent in many communities, it is not used as generally as it will be when its value is more fully recognized. The State of New York stands alone in the world in the aggressive and systematic prosecution of this work, and a knowledge of that fact and seemingly an appreciation of the value of such a help has spread throughout the entire world. There is scarcely a week passes that a communication is not received at the Education Department making inquiry as to the operation of the scheme. These have come from many States in the Union, the countries of Europe and even from China.
Visual Instruction is not a fad, it does not assume to take the place of any system of instruction nor to overthrow any pet theories. It is merely an aid to be used by the instructor in the manner in which in his judgment it will do the most good. It is always to be remembered, however, that the human mind grasps a more intelligent and lasting idea of an object of which it can see the length, breadth, thickness, color and proportions, rather than of one of which it gathers those details from the printed page.
Report of Committee on Current Literature
Chicago English Club
GRACE DARLING, CHAIRMAN
IN N CHICAGO there is an English club of rather unusual character. Organ
ized by Mr. James Hosic, head of the English department in the Chicago Normal School, the club includes representatives from all grades of teachers. Among the members are kindergarten teachers, elementary school and high school teachers, elementary, grammar and high school principals, assistant superintendents, instructors in the Chicago Normal School, Lewis Institute, the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. The membership is, however, limited to sixty.
The purpose of the organization as defined in the constitution is "to promote acquaintance and the spirit of co-operation among all who teach the English language or its literature in Chicago; to discuss the methods and materials of English teaching in the elementary school, the high school, and the college; to aid in securing a reasonable continuity of English work throughout the various stages of school work; and to further in every possible way the right use, understanding, and appreciation of our Mother Tongue."
In striving to attain its object, the club works through committees—committees on Literature, on Grammar and Composition, on Oral Expression, on Libraries, on Continuity of English Work, on Current Literature and Publication, on English Work in Other Places. Every member of the club is supposed to serve on one of these committees, and each committee is required to make one formal report of its work during the year. These reports are presented after a luncheon for which the committee on “ Social and Convivial Features” makes arrangements once a month at some hotel.
This paper, with the bibliography that follows, is the report of the Committee on Current Literature. It is the first formal report of that committee since the club was organized late in the winter of 1905. The conimittee has undertaken to compile a bibliography of all magazine articles of pedagocial or of general interest, bearing upon English language, literature, usage; and of all books that may be called aids to English teaching, that have been published between May, 1905, and May, 1906. These include readers, language lessons, grammars, rhetorics, histories of English literature, everything except the various editions of the classics. It is obvious that had the classics been considered, the committee would have been, like Dr. Manette in the Tale of Two Cities, buried,-buried for eighteen years.
In compiling this bibliography, the chairman either visited personally or wrote to twenty-two publishing houses explaining the work that the committee was trying to do. Although in nearly all cases the publishers were exceedingly courteous and entirely willing to supply the books, it is to be feared that for several reasons the bibliography is not entirely complete.
The books for the elementary and grammar schools have been divided among five different teachers and principals for review. Since the work was in so
many different hands, it was necessary to agree upon certain criteria as basis for reviewing, in order to insure some uniformity. It was therefore agreed that:
I. Formal grammar should not be taught before the seventh grade.
II. Good language books should devote considerable space to exercises in conversation, reproduction, picture study, etc.
III. Suitable selections should be provided for memorizing.
IV. In books designed for the seventh and eighth grades, some work in derivation should appear, but this should be very simple.
V. Provision should be made for drill in letter writing.
None of these reviewers have spoken to the chairman of the superior qualities of any of the books reviewed by them except of the Language Lessons published by Atkinson, Mentzer & Grover of Chicago, and edited by Mr. Wisely and Miss Griswold, and of the Wisely grammar. Many of the books, however, such as the Macmillan series of readers by Baker and Carpenter, have received very favorable comment. The Robert Louis Stevenson Reader, published by the American Book Company, is a charming literary production. The child that would not enjoy such a book must be impervious to artistic form. Another publication by the American Book Company, the Waste Not, Want Not Stories, compiled from Maria Edgeworth's writings by Clifton Johnson, was very favorably reviewed, but, according to some members of the club who have used it in school, is not popular with the pupils.
The publications belonging distinctly to secondary work have been reviewed with much diffidence by the chairman of the committee. Though she is usually in hearty accord with Mrs. Poyser in saying, “ There is no pleasure in living if you're to be corked up forever, and only dribble your mind out on the sly like a leaky barrel," this is an occasion where the chairman would prefer a tightly corked barrel. Since the nature of the task forbids this, the best she can do is to give a definite statement of her point of view as a starting point for those heated arguments in which all English teachers delight.
A good text-book in rhetoric then should conform to most of these requirements:
I. It must be usable, with a good table of contents and a complete index, and so lettered, paragraphed and divided into sections that the teacher can easily direct the pupil to the desired article.
II. It should be readable, but definite, and so arranged that some parts may be used in one year, others deferred to a later period. For example, the book ought to be so planned that in the ninth grade the teacher could present the topic sentence and some idea of the unity of the paragraph, and leave other specific paragraph drill until the tenth grade.
III. For books for the first year there should be a brief definite review of the essentials of English grammar. The student must know the fundamental principles of grammar to follow intelligently a course in rhetoric. These must be reviewed in the high school, but all the review work need not be done in one year.
IV. A minimum of rhetorical theory should be presented, simply and definitely, in connection with the various elements of the composition.
V. The books should discuss clearly the forms of discourse and give at least part of a chapter to letter writing.
VI. Many exercises should be provided, and these ought to be varied, suggestive and stimulating to the pupil, and progressive.
Mr. M. E. Haggerty, in the April Educator Journal, in a paper that analyzes the course of study for English of nine' high schools, says that all courses show traces of five influences. These are:
(a) The report of the Committee of Ten.
(e) W. F. Webster's paper before the National Educational Association at Washington, D. C., in 1898. In this paper, Mr. Webster outlined a course of study based on the “ forms of discourse." These same influences are very apparent in most of the modern rhetorics. There is also a new tendency to lay more stress than has hitherto been placed on oral composition. At the same time, only three of the rhetorics of the year provide especially for oral composition.
With the exception 'of three books, which are evidently written by teachers who believe more thoroughly in the presentation of rhetorical theory as theory than does the writer of this article, the rhetorics of the year conform pretty well to the requirements outlined above.
Among the best books is Mr. Thorndike's The Elements of Rhetoric and Composition. The text is sufficiently flexible in arrangement to allow the teacher to use the different chapters as need arises. It differs from the usual order in several points. The most noticeable departure is that the work on the forms of discourse is divided : two of the four chapters that deal with paragraphs treat of themes of two paragraphs, taking the expository and argumentative paragraph first. After the discussion of the paragraph follow four chapters on longer themes. The principles here developed are applied, now to exposition, now to description, as circumstances require. Another unusual feature is that the exercises closing each chapter always include some questions that lead inductively to the subject to be discussed in the next chapter. For example the chapter on coherence closes with these questions:
“Read over again the paragraphs quoted in the text of chapter six. What words or phrases are specially impressed on your mind? By what methods are these made emphatic? Can you group any of these methods into classes; as Repetition, Antithesis, Climax, or any other? Make a list of all the methods for emphasizing ideas in sentences that you can discover, and give examples under each." The next chapter, of course, discusses emphasis.
Another very interesting book is that by Frederick H. Sykes of the Teachers' College in New York City. The most characteristic feature of the work is the use made of models. Like Stevenson, who learned to write by playing the “ sedulous ape” to Hazlitt and others whom his boyish admiration bade him imitate, the child is to learn to write by following great models. Another departure is the rather extended use made of fables, stories from the Bible, classical myths and medieval stories. In the opening chapter, after a selection for memorizing, there is the fable of “The Fox and the Grapes ;" then, under oral composition, the pupil is asked to imitate the fable in telling the story of the cow and the clover field, the boy and the football team, the girl and the diamond ring. For written composition are suggested imitations of the story about the country and the city mouse, taking such subjects as the wild and the tame rabbit. The exercises arouse the child's interest and are well adapted to the first months of the ninth grade.
An analysis of Lesson XLVI from the same book will show other unusual features, and how the work is correlated.
1. The opening lines from Wordsworth's Michael, given for memorizing. II. The Catskills, from Irving's Sketch Book.
III. Principles-Description-point of view, the fixed point of view and the traveler's point of view explained.
IV. Composition-Six sets of exercises suggested, most of which call for the description of some scene from a fixed point of view, though some involve a review of previous work.
From this outline it is evident that there are provided extracts for memorizing, illustrative material drawn from literature, and abundant exercises. These are, for the most part, interesting and suggestive. In spite of these good points, however, the book has several defects. The same order followed chapter after chapter grows monotonous. Moreover, since the author intends this book to be used in the first two years in secondary schools, there are too many technical terms introduced. One concrete illustration will serve: Under argumentation are introduced such terms as exordium, syllogism and method of residues. But, since text-books are something not to be taught, this unnecessary amount of definition is a minor defect compared with the labor the book saves the teacher by its illustrations and by numerous excellent exercises.
MAGAZINE ARTICLES The magazine articles for the year comprise many of distinctly pedagogical interest, and others of more general concern. Among those of the pedagogical class belongs one by E. C. Noyes, in the School Review, on Class Criticism in Teaching of English, where Mr. Noyes gives a definite plan, apparently from his own experience, for making class criticism effective in saving the teacher and training the class. The most comprehensive article on English work, however, that appears in the School Review is one that every teacher ought to see. It is a report, in the January number, of a committee from the New England Association of Teachers on "Aids in Teaching English." The introduction formulates the principles in accordance with which the books are judged. Then twenty-three books in rhetoric and composition for the elementary schools are reviewed, and twenty-seven on the same subject for secondary schools.
A paper in the October Critic, by Miss Marks, an instructor at Mount Holyoke, is also interesting. In this she arraigns the college girl for her ignorance of literature. Miss Marks gave an unexpected examination to 186 sophomores with amusing results. One hundred fourteen did not know Milton's century; four assigned Shakspeare to the nineteenth century; sixty had never heard of Thanatopsis; fifty-nine did not know Maggie Tulliver ; cighty-seven could not place Launcelot Gobbo, though one inventive young lady thought he was the “father of the girl whom Hamlet loved.” At first blush we are horrified at the ignorance that does not remember, after our careful introduction, so well-known friend of ours as Launcelot Gobbo, but is not "the