Imágenes de páginas

ples which they evince, and for which they stand, calls into exercise the soul, the essence of one's being, and exalts consciousness to the realm of the real, and permanent, and satisfy ing. The quantum of life that men actually live is registered in the sum of their experiences upon this plane. It is only when men find truth, or beauty, or facts potential of either, that they are inspired to write. If I draw a triangle, and by nice mechanical measurements ascertain that the sum of its angles equals two right angles, I establish a fact, which I am prompted to tell, perhaps, but not to write a book about, or send report of to the papers. But if I chance to discover that the angles of every triangle are equal to two right angles, I have achieved a Truth, and, if it be new,-no matter were I Euclid, and writing were as difficult and costly as in his day, I cannot but give it to the world. The impulse would be the same if I had discovered a new principle in education, or economics, or sociology. The case or fact by which the discovery was made would be in teresting historically, as would be the apple that Newton saw fall, had it been preserved, but would otherwise be quickly dropped from mind.

The same is true in the sphere of Beauty. If I encounter a lank, awkward, bucolic lawyer, and observe nothing in him different from others of his type, I have before my mind simply a human fact, which I shall soon ignore. It is my habit, it is everybody's habit, to ignore things that do not carry any ulterior or ultimate significance. But if I finally interpret out of this man's speech and behavior the character of a Lincoln, I have discovered principles of worth and beauty that I am moved to set forth. Others, more moved and having greater knowl edge, will put forth books about him. I may be minded to write at least a sketch, an essay, or an oration, to make my individual feelings known. The same is true of whatsoever other principle or aspect of beauty shall have been discerned in God or Man or Nature.

The last or "ultimate" are really the first and nearest truths. That the three angles of every triangle equal two right angles is an "abstract" truth, last reached, but existent before my triangle, or anybody's triangle, was ever drawn. Similarly, the manliness, sympathy, and generosity discerned in a Lincoln are "abstract" principles of beauty, tardily interpreted and appreciated by the developing soul, yet existent be

fore human character or society began, or the foundations of the world were laid.

Truths and aspects of beauty alone engage and satisfy the soul. Facts have no power except as they evince a truth, or involve an experience of beauty. A triangle has no spiritual significance as such, but as an exhibition of the truth that its angles must always equal two right angles, it has power with the soul. That power is evinced by the high seriousness which the soul experiences in presence or on recognition of such truth. Greater truths induce this high seriousness in greater degree. This high seriousness involves or occasions a recognition of Truth as One and Unconditioned, in a widened and sharpened spiritual view which has been styled the "mathematical" and the "scientific imagination," but belongs to all departments in the domain of Truth alike.

Aspects and manifestations of Beauty occasion subjective experiences of delight and enthusiasm, which are generally known as Idealization. There is always recognition of Unconditioned Beauty, and some uplifting of the beauty discerned to or towards the uncondi tioned plane. This is "imagination" as usually understood. Imagination is, however, a generalized or abstract idea, and is properly only a name of the soul in the act or attitude of appropriating the Divine and Infinite under the forms of Ultimate (or Primal) Truth and Beauty.


There are three modes of presenting meaning, answering to the three distinct types of meaning to be expressed, the Fact Way, the Truth Way, and the Idealizing or Beauty Way.

I will take as the simplest of possible examples the sentence, It was spring again. In this there is no hint of "truths" or reasons, except in "again," which to most readers will not suggest much of natural law. There is also no. hint of any effect from what is told upon the feelings. This is the Fact, or prose Way.

The same idea may be expressed in such a way as not to declare, but merely to imply the fact through the laws or reasons for the fact: "The sun climbed north from the solstice, the earth and the air grew warm, and Nature opened again her breasts to flocks and men." In other words, the underlying principles of Truth are brought to mind as causes, and left to suggest the fact as their proper and necessary

effect. Since the emotion produced is High Seriousness, the mode of presentation is interpretative, and in the Truth Way.

The same idea may be expressed in such a way as not to declare, but merely to imply the fact through the experiences of Beauty that the fact occasions: "The swallows came back from the south, the wild geese flew, screaming, northward, the air was heavy with apple and peach blossoms, and the grass broke green again from the sere fields." In other words, the underlying principles of Beauty are brought to mind as causes, and left to suggest the fact as their proper and necessary effect. Since the emotion produced is one of Delight, the mode of presentation is interpretative, but in the Idealizing or Beauty Way.

It is now clear how Tennyson succeeded so easily in keeping the lines considered in Topic II above the plane of prose. In the first example the real sense to be expressed is, "I was of the Northern temperament and type." Hence the sentence, "For I was born in the North," and its prose-poetic paraphrase, "For I had had my birth-place in the North," are really interpretative in the truth way, since they make a cause do duty for one of its effects. But a principle so trite and familiar as this has little ef



fect in arousing imagination, and might almost be mistaken for a statement of plain fact. Evidently the author, if he contemplated such an expression, was dissatisfied, and sought further. If his mind, like Matthew Arnold's, had inclined to truth interpretation, he would likely have soon discerned or devised something more potential of "high seriousness,"-perhaps like this:

For Northern blood and fancies.

But Tennyson is not a truth poet, like Arnold; the great majority of his lines and expressions are couched in the Beauty Way. So here he communicates his meaning by making us realize how it would feel to lie in a cradle with the North Star shining almost directly overhead. Similarly, the other examples are of the third, or Idealizing, kind.

In the prose-poetic lines used as examples in Topic I, it seems more natural to interpret in the Truth Way. This, it will be noticed, is the mode used, except in the last two words of each line in the rhymed couplet, in the recasting at the end of Topic II. Yet it would have been just as easy to recouch the meaning, in each case, in the feeling or Beauty Way.

On the Teaching of English

T is the purpose of these papers to contribute something to the theory of teaching primary and secondary English, According to the belief of the writer, success in teaching composition is dependent largely upon a good knowledge of literary interpretation. A series of studies dealing fundamentally with the latter topic begins (pp. 108-111) with the present number of this MONTHLY, and will be rapidly developed into alliance with the subject here in hand. Meanwhile, certain introductory as pects of the problem will be considered and some general principles laid down.

The question of getting better results from English teaching in our secondary schools has aroused discussion enough, one would think, to have settled it or exhausted it long ago. As a matter of fact, it almost seems to have come to stay. The man of no ideas and the man of many are working shoulder to shoulder at contributions of advice to teachers, with a patience

L. A. SHERMAN, University of Nebraska.

which, were it not so depressing, would be sublime. There is no call for brash and dogged empiricism. The problem how to secure good English by school instruction is not unsolvable, like municipal government or the liquor question. Every other academic subject has been taught effectually. English can be handled as well as of late Geometry and Botany and History, by improved methods, have come to be, but only when or if we discover the principles which have been hitherto disregarded. It is wrong to assume that English stands pedagogically apart from other studies, for the burden of proof, if that were true, must rest with those who treat it as irretrievably harder and less practicable to teach.

Yet there is assumption of this sort, and no little of it, in the discussions of the day. One of the grounds is the continued poor qual ity of the English offered for college, in spite of increased requirements and, presumably, better teaching. It is scarcely doubtful that the Eng

lish of young men examined for college is poorer now than it was ten years ago. But the applicant of ten years ago was more select, was the product of greater sifting, than the applicant of to-day. The class to which the writer was admitted in Yale College in 1867 was not examined in English, and received no specific preparation in that subject. Yet I am persuaded that the average English proficiency of Yale classes then was higher than of Yale classes now. The students of that day were largely self-prepared in English; they had character enough, and aspiration enough, to recognize their deficiencies, and, without leaning on a teacher, to make these good. If they were in doubt about the spelling or pronunciation of a word, they looked it up. They were not too flabby to discuss and work out doubtful points in idioms and gram mar. The authorities took for granted that they did such things, and let them alone. How would it do for our colleges to withdraw all English requirements, and take the same things for granted now?

All the students, essentially, in classes of the period in question had been thoroughly drilled in "technical" grammar, and could parse the knottiest sentences out of Paradise Lost without re-reading. This was work done in grammar or early high-school years, before preparation for college was seriously begun. Fellow pupils who could not grasp that study did not think, and were not encouraged to think, of going to college. I believe that, with like sifting, twenty per cent of the candidates now admitted would remain at home. Moreover, the men who went to college in those days had not written many "themes," often none at all. But they had ideas, and wrote no such senseless and perfunctory stuff as is handed in to-day. They had not been taught to write, but they took prizes just the same. They had never studied the history of English literature, or conned prescribed volumes of classics, but they read standard authors devouringly, filching time from college tasks therefor. Without foundation other or better than Wells' Grammar and Greene's Analysis, with Pope and Milton as texts for parsing, they acquired more taste, and came nearer achieving a style, than the rank and file of their college successors who so baffle us today.

Let it not be thought that I would restore formal grammar to its old prominence as a sec ondary subject. It was extremely wasteful of

mental energy, and kept many gentle souls from culture. I insist merely that it helped make a set of conditions wholly unlike those under which educators are working now. In fact, every study was then handled in such a way as to cut off the "unfit," or prevent them from ever being fitted. The first task set for a class beginning Latin in those days of crude teaching was to memorize the rules of pronunciation. I suppose no ten in the hundred would learn such a "lesson" now. Part of the daily work under Dr. Taylor of Andover was to commit two fineprint pages of syntax in Andrews & Stoddard's Grammar. This was recited by some single student without omission, break, or prompting. A great many come to college now-a-days that could not or would not do work of that kind. Students that were able to compass such feats, day by day, got on without much teaching. Each college class was made up of picked men, often only one man from a town, and he the brainiest of his school or circle. The proportion has since greatly altered. Colleges have multiplied, new universities have opened with thousands of patrons, and the older institutions have quadrupled their attendance. Wealth has increased, and the number of students going to college to make their future has grown less and less. There is less earnestness, and vastly more dependence upon the method and the teacher.

The same assumption is encountered further in the notion, lately urged by a prominent educator, that there is something radically wrong with the brain of the American youth. The reason for the bad academic English in this country is the life which American young men lead as compared with the life led by their British cousins. Our youth make tours abroad, and undertake the diversions and dissipations of maturity before they are much more than out of childhood. Hence has come a certain demoralization, which, in tendency, renders their thinking unsystematic and even feeble, and their writing inorganic and progressively disgraceful. The typical Englishman's son, on the other hand, thinks sturdily and clearly, and writes his mother-English with conspicuous correctness and purity.

The reasoning here is specious, and, so far as I know, has not been called in question. It is an a priori argument, which, in face of obvious facts, gives way at once. It is safe to contradict the proposition that the British youth write

better English than the American because they are kept at home and made to grow more slowly. The cause named is a good cause, but not as producing the effect inferred. The English boy of good family is brought up among servants, apart from the sphere of best-spoken English, with no such opportunities of learning his mother-tongue as the American child enjoys. The American youth is generally privileged with the society of his parents, and not excluded, except on formal occasions, from hearing the table-talk of distinguished guests. The English lad, who lives in the nursery, is denied all this, and with no small detriment to his culture. At any given age, up to matriculation at the university, the oral English of the American is better than the oral English of the British student. Evidently the argument proves too much. The American youth, let us admit, sees the world rather early. The English youth does not. But the effect is not altogether harmful to the one, and of benefit to the other. The American youth is more precocious, and intense, and needs to be prepared for the life that men lead in this stirring country. The English youth is prepared for the greater inertia of his existence. We do not much need to ape or covet British slowness, in order to improve the quality of the English offered at entrance examinations.

There can be no question that the written English of the British student is much better

than of the American, both before and after admission to university residence. Yet English as such is not taught as a part of the British lad's preparation, nor as a university subject after his matriculation. Here is a paradox it were well not to ignore much longer, and it seems to furnish as good a starting point for the study of the whole question as one could ask. If the British student writes better English without specific instruction than the American with very much instruction indeed, and if the American writes poorer and poorer English while the requirements and the teaching in that subject are materially increased, it will be natural to inquire into the pedagogical quality of the instruction that the American student has received. Nobody pretends that the British boy is brighter than the American, for the advantage, so far as there is any, is not on his side. English university men are better picked than ours, for boys from the English "middle-class" are not flocking to Oxford and Cambridge, as the sons of traders and manufacturers here, grown rich since the war, have begun to go to college. The American student is perhaps less earnest, but can rise usually, when he must, to as high occasion. There is no help for it: we must look to our methods of English teaching. L. A. SHERMAN, University of Nebraska.



HE NORTH WESTERN MONTHLY undertakes in adding this department of School Administration to still further demonstrate that everything connected with our school work is a part of the great educational system in its truest sense. One of the much neglected departments in the great school system of our country is that of school administration. Many of the great workers have been looking upon the boards of education as a sort of necessity, kind of a "have to have," but not a part of the correlated force of the school system. Several attempts have been made during the past few years to supply a long felt want in bringing the work of school boards up to a higher plane

and into a closer touch all over the land, and that this particular department of school work might show the same advance that other departments have gained. To this end journals, magazines, and papers devoted exclusively to this particular work have been started, only in a little while to drop down into a special announcement paper or an advertising medium, while others have become a sort of a mutual admiration organ. Why is this so? Not because boards of education have reached perfection. Not that there is nothing new to be learned about the keeping of records, the purchasing of supplies, the managing of finances, the methods of economy without always utting teachers' salaries, etc. Possibly this change

was made because of lack of interest or support from the members of the boards of education. We admit that in no part of the school work is it harder to obtain a united and concentrated effort for the bettering of the schools of the nation, or the keeping in closer touch for true education, than in the department of school administration.

It is the aim of THE NORTH WESTERN MONTHLY to maintain this department, like the other departments of this magazine, as one of the correlated forces in our great educational system. The topics treated will be such problems as are of paramount interest in every city in the United States. To this end we invite correspondence along the lines of the problems that present themselves to boards of education for solution. This department will not be turned into an announcement bureau or a special advertising medium. It will reach the object sought by the publisher if superintendents and teachers would call the attention of their boards or directors to this particular depart ment.

A Permanent Uplift

E are coming to the close of a most remarkable century, and along every line of work the question is asked: "What are the obstacles in the way of progress, and how can we answer the Twentieth Century's call?" It does not take a very observing student long to note how many departments are working to answer this twentieth century call, and thus striving to maintain a permanent up lift in their special work. What about boards of education? Is there anything in this call to them? How shall they answer it? Many of the boards have caught the spirit of the forward movement and are noting that the position that they hold is not just a sinecure, but that it is a trust involving very earnest thought and high endeavors. This proposition is generally admitted, that the Americanizing of our population is practically committed to the schools of this country, and that the schools, in the proper performing of this work, depend upon the board of education. If the other departments of school work see the need of a permanent uplifting in their particular methods, why is there not also need of permanent uplift in the work of the boards of education. Some stirring has been seen, but more revolutionizing is needed. It will

be the aim of this department to crowd this work until we demonstrate the need and possibility of advancement. At the same time we shall not lose sight of the fact that the work of the board of education is strictly as much a direct part of the educational system as is the work of the superintendent or the teachers.

Glance over the pages of the educational journals or magazines. See how those most intimately connected with the schoolroom work are setting forth new plans, new methods of advancing the work of the teacher. Go out into any well ordered school and see how the superintendents are changing and correcting their courses of studies to conform to the best and most approved methods of teaching and imparting instruction. It is a constant strife after the permanent uplift in the work of the schoolroom. Turn from these departments to that of school administration. Turn over carefully the pages of the magazines and school journals. How many members of the boards of education are writing articles showing any interest in the great work of education? How many members of the boards of education are writing any articles touching upon the great question of school administration? How many members of the boards of education are even taking the pains to associate with the men and women, the lead. ers who are doing so much to advance the school system of our nation? How many members of boards of education are regular subscribers to our educational magazines, and thus keep closely in touch with the advancement of the problem of education? Unless the board keeps in close touch with this general uplift their own work will not advance. In the school work of to-day, must the teacher and superintendent do all of the uplifting? If it is left in that way the active superintendent will take up his part of the work and see that it is forced to the front; front; the well-informed teachers will keep their work well in hand with the general uplift; what will become of the administration part of the work? Must that be left, because of indifference, to just come along in "any old way"?

Enormous sums of money are expended every year in the maintaining of the great common school system of this land. That there should be great advance in the methods of administering this important trust must be apparent to every one who studies this question. The administration of this trust should be made by every board of education a plain business propo

« AnteriorContinuar »