Imágenes de páginas

the passionate life of ancient Rome and finds some precision and beauty in Latin word and phrase, he has enlarged his capacity and increased his taste for the good things in English literature. Since familiarity with the best writers sets a high ideal of literary values and since only the more important Latin writers are ever studied in the high school, students should in the Latin class find considerable aid in formulating their critical standards. The qualities of literature are the same in all languages and therefore whatever literary taste is acquired in studying a foreign or ancient language is valuable in the study of our own writers. I do not say that one cannot enjoy English literature without acquaintance with Latin, but a knowledge of Latin is of incalculable value to one who wishes to understand not only our literary forms, which are often inheritances from Latin, but also the content in which Latin ideas, idioms, and allusions are inextricably mingled.

Suppose we take no account of the literary taste thus formed, of this rich heritage of fact and fancy, of the opening of this new window of culture, but consider simply the training the student may get in making inferences, in clear, original thinking. The circumstances of Dido's death may call for more investigation into the social life of Carthage and Rome; the participation of each of the classes of Roman people in the government as revealed in Cicero's orations may suggest reasons for the failure of the Roman Republic; conclusions will likely be drawn from the similarity of Latin myths to Biblical and other stories and legends. Such intelligent inquiry, certain to be stressed by the good Latin teacher, develops the student's powers of organizing ideas and of reasoning and starts him out upon the road to investigation, to thinking for himself. It is necessary to repeat that the material in which he is making research, is the life, the language, and the art of a race and a culture which contributes many of the best elements of modern civilization. Latin was once the universal language; Latin culture is today a bond of sympathy between the educated of all nations. If properly done, the study of Latin in the high school will be wasted time for no one; but will develop just those

habits of thinking and research which the student in any calling in life will need.

I do not say that everybody should study Latin. It certainly is not needed in the making of most livings; but it joins hands with English in training students in effective speech power and in cultivating the appreciation of the "best that has been said and done in the world." It forms the habits of self-correction by showing how to analyze speech. It gives the key to hundreds of Latin words in our language, their meaning and spelling. It calls linguistic ingenuity into action by compelling the translator to search for effective English equivalents for Latin phrases and idioms. It gives the student a standard by which he can value and enjoy other literature that may be read. It trains him to organize details, make comparisons and inferences, and thus fits him for more successful study and observation when he goes to college or out into the business world.


Seas of green, the pastures lie,
Ocean blue, the boundless sky,
Buds unfolding, birds and flowers,
Beautiful this world of ours.

This, the message Nature brings,
This, the song the robin sings:
"Youth undying,

Time defying"

Out of Death eternal springs.


Classification and Promotion of Pupils


W. D. ARMENTROUT, COLORADO STATE TEACHERS COLLEGE. UCH attention has been paid to the problem of grading and promotion of pupils during the last few years. The chief basis of classification has grown out of the grading system which has depended upon the chronological age as its basis. The time of entrance upon school work, promotion and graduation have been based fundamentally on chronological age. The age basis, however, has proved inadequate because of the intellectual inequality, or the differences in intellectual ability of pupils of the same age. Many attempts have been made to adapt instruction to inequality of pupils within each age group. The Batavia plan attempted to do away with retardation by means of individual help and assistance. This and all similar schemes do not permit a necessary change of the curriculum in adaptation to the ability of the individual. No allowances are made for variation in speed with which pupils may master the curriculum.

At the present time there are two general methods, with several variations, of classifying and promoting pupils. One plaa breaks up age levels by allowing individuals or groups to advance more rapidly or slowly with or without a change in the character of the work pursued by the different groups. There are two types of this method being proposed at the present time. Cne plan requires a very large elementary school where there are between twenty-eight and thirty-two rooms. Children are promoted three or four times a year. For instance there are five first grades, the first one covering the first two months work, the second one covering the third and fourth months work, the third one covering the fifth and sixth months work, etc. Under this plan children are promoted whenever they are capable of doing the advanced work.

Another type of this first method is in a system where pupils who have completed grade six in June may be promoted to grade eight in September if (1) mental age September 1st is fourteen years, three months and they are in the upper sixty-nine per cent of the class in the June Tests, (2) if mental age is thirteen years, nine months to fourteen years, two months, and they are in the upper thirty-one per cent of the class, (3) if mental age is thirteen years, three months to thirteen years, eight months and they are in the upper seven per cent of the class. Grades three, four, five, are treated similarly. Brighter pupils who enter grade one in February complete grade one and two in a year and a half. The duller ones spend a year and one-half in grade one. Skipping a grade always calls for an unusual amount of readjustment on the part of the pupil and at best is only a make-shift. The system of grading should be so organized that pupils do not get behind the grade they should be in. This result is brought about by the second type of classification. This plan divides pupils into ability groups at different age levels. In some places these groups follow the same general curriculum but pursue the work with a different degree of thoroughness or detail. A variation from this plan and the one the writer considers to be the best is where we have a different curriculum for each group. This provides all the advantages and none of the disadvantages of skipping a grade. In one system the following plan is advocated: An eight year course for pupils whose Intelligence Quotient is ninety-three to one hundred-seven (the average pupil), a nineyear course, less academic and more manual work, for pupils whose I. Q. is seventy-eight to niney-two, a seven year course for pupils whose I. Q. is one hundred eight to one hundred twenty


Unless subject-matter is adapted to the mental ability or learning capacity of pupils it can have very little educative value for them. If classes are not grouped according to their mental ability it is practically impossible to present subject-matter in such a way that the majority of the class may grasp it. If the school is large enough there can be found three and perhaps four distinct groups of pupils.

Otis describes three types. First, there are those to whom the conduct of the recitation seems fairly well adapted. They give good attention and learn moderately well. Second, there are the pupils who do not seem to be able to keep up with the discussion; when questioned they show difficulty in grasping the fundamental points of the lesson. Such pupils, indeed, may have "passed" in the work of the previous grade. Very likely they show lack of interest because of lack of understanding, and often give up trying to follow. They then either fall into a sort of dreamy state or listen hopelessly while the discussion passes entirely over their heads. Subsequent individual instruction is often necessary to enable them to continue with the subject. Third, there are the pupils who understand the teacher's first explanations. Often they are not given an immediate opportunity of self-expression, but are compelled to listen quietly while a second or third detailed explanation is given for the benefit of the less intelligent pupils. These pupils then either sit in a state of greater or less boredom or cast about for some mischief in which to expend their surplus energies.

It is becoming a well-recognized fact that a pupil who falls into the first group in one subject tends to fall into the same group in all subjects, and that the same is true of pupils falling into the second or third groups. There may be, here and there, marked exceptions to this rule, but it is true in general. One is naturally led to the conclusion, therefore, that the pupils of the second type mentioned simply lack the general mental capacity to assimilate knowledge as rapidly as the other pupils, though their having passed the grade below would seem to indicate that if given sufficient time they could understand the subjects under discussion, at least fairly well. One is led to conclude also that the pupils of the third type mentioned possess a degree of native mental ability which enables them to acquire knowledge more rapidly than do their fellows.

This being the case, if it is possible to teach the "bright" pupils separately, so that they might progress as rapidly and to as great a degree of achievement as their capabilities would per

« AnteriorContinuar »