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To summarize briefly, we have these six vital elements-principles, one might call them-of an elementary course of study:
I. Essential and usable knowledge, logically developed.
II. Discipline of the intellect and development of personal powers.
III. Adaptability to local needs and conditionsusability. IV. Provision for culture and good expression.
V. Moral influence or heart training. VI. Correlation of subjects and unity.
Coming to the application of these fundamentals to the material composing the course of study, we find a wide divergence of opinion and a great difference of usage. Uniformity is hardly to be found, yet certain things may be reasonably demanded in emphasis, choice and treatment of subjects.
In the whole list of studies, old and new, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are pre-eminently the most important, and of these Reading-taken in its broad sense—is the greatest. One authority regards the course of study simply as an extension of this subject. An educated man is frequently referred to as a wellread man.
The course of reading must include :ist, a good method of primary and intermediate instruction; and, a predominance of good literature adapted to the comprehension of the child, and chosen with respect to the interest, culture and moral principles it may arouse; 3rd, provision, by material and methods, for good voice and expression in upper grades a widespread lack at present; 4th, the judicious arrangement of supplementary reading for in
formation. Reading should have a place twice a day on the program for the first three years of school, and once daily for the rest of the elementary course.
The essentials of Writing are three ;-a free, legible penmanship; a knowledge of forms and arrangement; and a good literary style, the last being practically the technical form of written composition, and this should naturally be closely associated with language work in all grades.
By common consent, nowadays, much of the littleused portions of Arithmetic is dropped from the elementary course, and emphasis is properly placed on accuracy, reasoning power and rapidity in the subjects most commonly used by the average person of good information and wide interests. The list of omissions given by Dr. McMurry in his paper read at Atlanta (February, 1904), would command general assent. Arithmetic should not receive especial emphasis the first year or two of school life, but later ranks as one of the chief studies in the curriculum.
After these three subjects the next in importance is Language-including Grammar. These fundamental principles regarding its treatment are well established.
Language work is the center of unity and correlation in the course of study.
The whole course must be planned so as to produce appreciation, command and habitual use of good English, attained more by practice and example than by rule and precept.
3. Technical grammar should be taught chiefly if not wholly in the upper grades of the grammar school, and must insure thoroughness in the ordinary con
structions of English, omitting exceptions of little value and involved analysis, parsing and diagrams.
4. Composition work without a rich fund of information and thought is impossible, and grammar work without application and practice is dead. It is undeniable that our pupils gain but meager power of expression, resort to colloquial language of doubtful correctness immediately after leaving the school-room, and by no means form the habit even in school of using clear, correct English, whether talking or writing. Both teacher and pupil often look upon Language as a subject as distinct from all other subjects and from daily life as Latin or French.
The "new Geography" has hardly become crystallized yet to an extent that will render any detailed statement of its treatment safe, but it is evident that whatever the book or method used, the outline should aim to secure these ends :
Ist. To train the pupil to observe the facts of Geography about him, and reason from them.
2nd. To teach Geography comparatively, beginning with the home and extending the subject by the laboratory and topical methods.
3rd. To train the imagination, reason and memory.
4th. To emphasize the physical features of the earth; the distribution, character and uses of plants, animals and minerals; the land as divided into nations; the nature, activities and relations of these nations.
In history the rational course of study emphasizes the great movements of peace and progress and points out clearly the causes, course and results of wars without placing undue stress upon the details of battles and campaigns. It chooses epochs rather than inci
dents, groups events about great movements and great men, traces growth and development, calls for training in good citizenship, and holds up worthy acts and noble men as ideals for our admiration and imitation.
The earlier teaching of History should be largely biographical and narrative, and in upper grades the subject is developed chronologically and logically, using topical and outline methods which call for the use of various books, pamphlets, magazines and other sources of information. The pupil is led to think and reason, not to memorize merely.
Geography and History must be made to supplement and enrich each other, and in this correlation History is the subordinate subject, necessarily so in other countries than our own, advisedly so in the United States, where familiarity with the complex conditions of its complete geography is so important.
In the outline of any subject, whether of these I have mentioned or of any other in the course of study, the same general principles must be applied, and those parts emphasized that have a close relation to the real needs of life, giving but slight attention to or omitting altogether those things that do not minister to the æsthetic, ethical, or practical needs of life, nor the thorough and best development of the child.
It is certain that these subjects,—the mother tongue, American citizenship, elementary science, nature study and various kinds of manual training-should receive more attention; and in general, "those subjects and arts which will best fit the multitude, who will never receive more than an elementary education, for the ordinary duties as well as the privileges of life."
THE RELATION OF PRACTICAL AGRICUL
TURE TO THE COURSE OF STUDY.
PRINCIPAL JOHN L. ALGER, JOHNSON, VT.
When John Ruskin said, "As the art of life is learned it will be found that all lovely things are also necessary," he crystallized into that one unforgetable sentence two fundamental principles of modern education which relate very directly to the topics under discussion here to-day.
Education is learning to live, to be sure, but it is learning to live by living. That which is lived most, educates most. In short, we are the product of what we feel most, think most, desire most, and strive for most. To create conditions under which the child may really feel, think, desire, and do, is the first step in that true education which Ruskin terms, "learning the art of life.”
The value of systems of education must be measured by the degree to which they lay hold in a truly practical manner upon the real life of the real child, enlisting dominant interests, and stimulating self-activities at every point.
It is with this estimate of values constantly in mind that we shall consider the relation of practical agriculture to the elementary school course.
Very recent years have witnessed no more significant and far-reaching educational movement than the establishment of school gardens for the systematic study and practice of the simplest arts of agriculture. In spite of the fact that fifteen years ago gardens of