Imágenes de páginas

from imperative changes in the social order produced by the Industrial Revolution and the accentuation of Commercialism. But other changes apparently have little justification of commendation. Some studies were simply put into the state of "innocuous deseutude" because students did not elect to take them. Ancient geography, mental and moral philosophy, logic, evidences of Christianity have been completely eliminated as separate courses. Greek has practically passed and Latin has been displaced to some extent. At the same time the range of studies has been broadened to include a wider range of practical and vocational subjects. Culture has not been neglected. English has on the whole increased in quantitative requirements. The subject matter in Civics and History has undergone a vast change. Science has been introduced to a greater degree. But at the same time the subject matter of mathematics has undergone little change.

This period, particularly the last decade, has witnessed the development of education and of the faculties of education. Reference might be made to Inglis, The Principles of Secondary Education and to Bobbitt, The Curriculum, and to Bonser, The Elementary Curriculum, as evidence that the present curriculum is now receiving critical examination from the point of view of the individual needs and of the requirements of democracy. But this literature is all relatively new. As Professor Caldwell in the January 1922 Educational Review remarks:

"In my own school days we never questioned the nature of completeness of the subjects we studied. In English Grammar, for example, we regarded the subject as 'just born that way.' A few years ago," however, he states, "a group of us began to make experiments with an introductory course in science. Instead of accepting the subjects as selected and organized by men who knew the sciences but did not know young people, we brought together a group of teachers who knew the sciences and also knew young people. . . . Hundreds of pages of mimeographed materials were prepared, and these sent to many schools for trial. After trial and correction, much further use and further correction, it finally seemed safe to put these into a book for still wider use."

Professor Caldwell's experiment illustrates the kind of painstaking study that is required if education is to really function. The courses in High School Mathematics should receive a similar treatment. The National Committee on Mathematical Requirements, after a half dozen years of inquiry is prepared to make a report. This summary report includes among other things A List of Propositions in Plane and Solid Geometry and General Principles of Mathematical Instruction. This report should receive wide and sympathetic consideration. The school people generally should know just what values are claimed for Plane Geometry which warrant its universal inclusion in the graduation program of a high school student. Some such study as that prepared by Professor G. M. Wilson on The Social Uses of Arithmetic, and published in the Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, is to be welcomed concerning the practical utility of Plane Geometry. Anyhow, whatever values may be claimed or proved, our present knowledge of the subject would seem to warrant putting the course in competition with other courses. While all values claimed may be valid for all students it does not follow that all the values or any of them are valid for all students irrespective of ability or prospective career.

It has been the writer's experience that the present requirement in Geometry leads to one of two results. Either the teachers pass the student without insisting upon real knowledge of the subject or they do insist upon actual learning with the result that there are many “Flunkers" and "Repeaters." The first course is educationally immoral and insincere. A teacher may not believe that Geometry or other mathematics should be required and so would hesitate to discourage the student or retard his progress through the school system because he fails to make a passing grade. Habits of half learning thus acquired in Geometry may be carried over to other subjects and into later life. Nor can an abnormal number of failures be justified. Success, as Dr. Ayers pointed out ten years ago in his pioneer study, Laggards in Our Public Schools, is essential to every human being. Repetition of the course under the

same conditions is usually a spiritual and economic loss. This is no plea for soft pedagogy or catering to the whims of students. It is a plea that as our school population expands school administrators must insist on having clear and convincing reasons for making Plane Geometry a universal requirement. Instead of taking the course as valid for all ages, it is suggested that the same procedure as described by Professor Caldwell for science should now be adopted with respect to Geometry. No educator wants to leave undone anything which is socially or individually worth while and possible of attainment. But an increasing number have become skeptical about courses as essentials or fundamentals unless the proof is forthcoming to show that the given course is fundamental.

John Burroughs

He heard the confession of the pale and tear-stained grass,
A linnet touch, with broken wing, the mended window glass,
The sighing of a dependent, malformed birch.

He heard! His search

Was ever made to bring the darkness into light,

To crown the smallest life with interest, work and might—
No base affection soils

The soul of him who toils

In Nature's workshop, quaint yet always new

In Nature's workshop-the Master-hand in view-
He was paid from an abundant purse

Whose coins no one can curse!

[ocr errors][merged small]

And Spring was pencilling the trees

Along the foot-worn way,

Which found his cabin door ajar that April day.

An empty room! But there a hundred spirits spoke

From ledge, from roof, from wall, to revoke

A heavy thought. Ah, well! whose purpose true and high
Shall, love-tuned, be a gospel to the weak,

Its melody and grandeur cannot die!



Relating Geography To Vocational

SINCE the study of surface, climate, resources and


industries of a country is valuable to us only as we learn how they affect the people of that country and of the world, we have been learning our geography by way of the occupations of the people of each country. We have divided the class into groups to represent the workers in the chief occupations of each country, for instance, farmers, lumbermen and fishermen in Canada; ranchers, farmers and miners in Australia, or tulip growers, dairymen, and tile manufacturers in Holland.

One group always represents the wholesale merchants or business men. Then one person is chosen from each group to form a Board of Trade or Finance Committee, whose duty it is to look into and solve, as well as possible, the problems and difficulties brought to them by the representatives of the different occupations.

Each group of workers thinks up its own problems, many cf them based on articles from newspapers or magazines. One person takes the problem to the committee, whose members consult with him about it. They are free to consult encyclopedias, geographies, and magazines, or to call on the teachers if in doubt. When they have settled the difficulty, the representative reports to his group, and if they agree, the matter is settled and an agreement drawn up and signed; if they do not agree to the terms, further consulting is necessary.

Much of the work is done before and after school or at recess. The problems to be discussed are always stated to the class and the final report read in class. The teacher and the class then make suggestions and give the Finance Committee better ideas for the next time. Every member of the class serves on this committee at some time and also does his share in his own group.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

This work has shown the pupils plainly the interdependence of people in the various occupations, countries, and sections of countries, one on another. They have seen how transportation companies depend on labor and fuel, while the farmers and miners must ship their goods if they are to prosper; that a blight on Australian or Canadian wheat affects the price of flour in Boston, that an early frost in Florida raises the price or oranges and that a strike in the Pennsylvania coal mines may so increase the price of coal that there is no money for their new clothes. It is borne in on their minds that we depend on the workers in China for tea, and that we depend largely on foreign potash fields for our fertilizer without which our crops suffer. They see that exporters depend on maufacturers and railroads; they, in turn, on miners and laborers, and all depend on farmers for food, and if they fail a country, as they did in Russia, starvation for the masses follows.

This work has also developed the idea that much less than formerly, is man controlled by his natural environment, but, on the contrary, that people can improve and control, to a large extent, the natural conditions of a country. They see that man's industry and knowledge of science have conquered many of those obstacles once thought insurmountable: for they know that the people of New Orleans now have ice in their refrigerators, the people of Montreal enjoy tropical fruit in winter; Belgian towns far inland in Africa boast electric lights and telephones; the old malarial swamps of Panama have been made so sanitary that the death rate there is perhaps the lowest in the world, while the deserts of southern California, by the aid of irrigation, have blossomed into a veritable fairyland. Surely these miracles testify to the work of the people of many climes, and show that there must be that interchange of ideas, of products and of workers between countries if the world is to progress.

These are a few of our many problems which have aided us in developing these ideas:

I. Brought by the Trappers of Canada:

"The Canadian law forbids the trapping of foxes and musk

« AnteriorContinuar »