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The chief forms should be as familiar as the multiplication table. A letter that has one inadmissible feature in heading, salutation, or closing deserves censure.
Oral composition is growing in favor. Ability to think on one's feet and to express one's thoughts clearly, forcibly, and persuasively, should be the aim. Like the written work, this oral work should be definite and have a purpose. A class of boys, for example, sees a definite value in being trained to explain “how to make a weld” as a foreman must explain it to apprentices. It is not difficult for them to see that the one who interests his audience (the class), who holds their attention by his clear, distinct articulation and orderly presentation will very likely be able to control the men put in his charge. Young people are severe critics. Their vote of “good” or “bad” is a great incentive. Many excellent pupils who have for two years of their school life recited from five to ten minutes in a connected, orderly manner are often able to say but a few words, and those in a confused manner, when called upon to face a class. Oral composition is almost valueless unless the pupil stands before the class. Thirty pairs of strange, questioning, doubting, curious eyes are more terrifying than one familiar, critical pair that the pupil has been in the habit of reciting to, and hence the pupil gains valuable selfcontrol in learning to face them. An exercise where presence, showing dignity and control, is essential, makes a direct appeal to pupils. In such exercises the pupil finds himself and gains initiative. The oral work should be continuous throughout the course, not made up of just a few lessons for a few weeks. The aim should be development of power to think before an audience and to find the language in which to express oneself.
In general, the classroom activities in composition should spring from the life of the pupil and should develop in him the power to express his individual experiences. In order to assist in meeting these requirements a course has been suggested which includes for each year (a) specific aims; (b) a collection of suitable material; (c) suggestions as to method applicable to the material.
III. WORK BY GRADES.
GRADE X. A. Aims. 1. In general, clearer and more logical thinking; more correct, more clear
and forcible expression. 2. Particular emphasis should fall on the sentence and on the elaboration of
the paragraph. 3. Pupils should learn how to handle typical problems of business corr
spondence near to ordinary experience; telegrams. 4. Pupils should also have the opportunity of forming right habits in the
use of the newspaper. 5. Advance in punctuation,
B. Material, 1. For paragraph writing : Subjects familiar to the pupil which lend them
selves to treatment by contrast, by comparison, by example, by details, etc. Questions of civic interest and those concerning vocations are suitable material; also work in the shops or laboratories, and topics
taken from other subjects in the curriculum. 2. Themes based on literature, provided the exercises are of vital interest
to the pupil and do not lead to literary criticism and questions of technique. Problems of human conduct suggested by reading the classics furnish excellent material. For example: (a) Should Jean Valjean have revealed his identity? (b) Why Brutus failed. (c) Can the boy of to-day plan his life as Franklin did? (1) Gareth's ideals and the modern boy. (e) The development of the character of Silas
Marner, 3. For dramatization: Conversation in real life revealing character; argu
ments carried on by conversation concerning familiar subjects; chap
ters from books that lend themselves easily to the dramatic form. 4. Incidents written up as news stories; brief editorials on matters of
student opinion; advertisements, particularly if they can be put to use. 5. Class discussions of topics of current interest. 6. Spelling of words needed in themes; word building for increase of vo
cabulary. C. Method. 1. Pupils should be taught how to organize material by the use of notes and
outlines. Analysis of good paragraphs by contemporaries will help. 2. Pupils should also be taught how to test a paragraph as to its unity and
point of view by summarizing it in a single sentence. This and the preceding suggestion apply particularly to explanation, expression of
opinion, and historical narrative. 3. Study sentences by examining them in typical paragraphs. Let the class
see how a paragraph is divided into sentences-how the sentences suc
ceed each other and are related to each other. 4. Assist to greater ease in handling sentences by much sentence manipula
tion. Let the class condense, combine, transpose, expand, divide sentences of various types; make sure that they recognize grammatical
relationships. 5. Show how clearness may be obtained by the use of connectives; by cor
rect placing of modifiers; by unmistakable reference of pronouns; by correct sequence of tenses; by avoiding dangling participles; by omit
ting unnecessary words; by punctuation. 6. Speaking first and writing afterward is one way of insuring good organ
ization and effective treatment of details. 7. Require each pupil to keep a list of words and expressions which he
misuses or which he ought not to use at all, with correct equivalents.
GRADE XI. A. Aims. 1. To give experience in collecting and organizing material for themes of
some length-1,500 words or more; to teach the use of the expository outline for this purpose; to show how to secure interest and appro
priate emphasis. 2. To give practice in debating and parliamentary usage. 3. To extend and fix knowledge of the principles of paragraph structure
and sentence structure.
4. To make the use of words more mature and more accurate, 5. To provide varied practice in the preparation and presentation of short
talks, articles, editorials, and descriptions. B. Material. 1. For short themes, expository descriptions of natural phenomena and
mechanisms; plans of cities; discussions of colleges; informal argu
ments for and against certain vocations. 2. For long themes, material on science, manufacturing, commerce, or
biography gathered from current books and periodicals and from
observation. 3. Class study of prose, such as the best articles in the World's Work and
Review of Reviews, in order to develop the idea of logical construc
tion. 4. Class study of examples of social letters by recognized authors. 5. So much of grammar and rhetoric as the work of the pupils seems to
demand. C. Method. 1. Speaking, writing, reading good examples, and rewriting is a good
sequence of activities. 2. Have class exercises in the organization of material. 3. Let members of the class report progress, exchange readings and clip
pings and bibliography, 4. Let pupils hand in outlines in advance of finished papers. 5. Pupils should learn how to consult library catalogues and periodical
indexes such as the Reader's Guide, how to file notes and keep a card
index, and how to revise manuscript. 6. Most of the work of writing should be done in the classroom under super
vision. 7. There should be much testing of the pupils' work as to clearness through unity and coherence.
GRADE XII. A. Aims. 1. To continue and build upon the work of Grade XI as may be possible
and necessary. 2. To utilize special interests for particular classes where conditions permit
this. B. Material. 1. Current events, magazine articles, topics developed by observation and
library work, questions for informal debate, biography, general read
ing. 2. In special courses: (a) Short stories; (b) dramatizations and verse
making; (c) debating; (d) newspaper writing; (e) economic and
industrial interests; (f) commercial correspondence. C. Method.
In teaching the short story, the plot should be laid in the environment of the pupil, so that he writes about real experiences. A pupil who has lived in the West can give the atmosphere of the desert; and the boy who has been a porter on a boat on one of the Great Lakes during the summer feels at home in that environment, and the pictures he gives are likely to be vivid. Plots may be given outright to the pupil. The ability to make the reader see the story-the characters in action to make him feel that the conversation is “ real talk," should be the aim of the writer.
In teaching dramatization the work should touch the life of the pupil. Real problems may be worked out with types of characters familiar to the pupil. For instance, the class in house decoration may work out a short play. The pupils taking this course find a common problem—the redecorating and rearrangement of furniture in their own homes. So they select the scene; any home at house-cleaning time; mother and father who are away from home at the opening of the play; six children, from 12 to 22, who plan to arrange the furniture, rugs, etc., and to do some papering and refurnishing for themselves. The purpose is to bring out the development in taste of the pupils, the ideas of color, arrangement, etc., they have gained in the course in house decoration.
Local history may furnish much material for dramatization, as may any dramatic incident in history.
For the work in debating, wide reading on subjects of national importance. These subjects should be of present interest and should not be too difficult or involve too much detail.
For the work in exposition the nucleus of interest for the long expository theme should be in the mind of the pupil. He learns a little about radium. His curiosity is aroused. By using the Reader's Guide he finds he may learn almost all there is known about this interesting subject. A boy in the fourth year has made a gas engine. His interest in engines is keen enough to lead him to find out about marine engines. Economic questions concerning certain vocations are good material. The problem in the above cases will be to make the subjects interesting to an ordinary audience.
For the work in advertising analysis of good advertising in newspapers and magazines; the writing of advertisements for school activities--athletic contests, plays, social events, sales of products made in the school,
For journalism, the writing of editorials for school publications; the study of the “news story," and the application of its principles in the reporting of school activities-athletics, social events, etc. :
For verse writing: Material for writing verse should be confined to very simple themes which school life furnishes. An incident in American history might be put into the ballad form. Occasionally a pupil is found who may be encouraged to express genuine feeling in the lyric form.
IX. REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON LITERATURE IN THE TENTH, ELEVENTH, AND TWELFTH GRADES (SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL).
1. ENDS TO BE ATTAINED.
1. The literature lesson should broaden, deepen, and enrich the imaginative and emotional life of the student. Literature is primarily a revelation and an interpretation of life; it pictures from century to century the growth of the human spirit. It should be the constant aim of the English teacher to lead pupils so to read that they find their own lives imaged in this larger life, and attain slowly, from a clearer appreciation of human nature, a deeper and truer understanding of themselves.
2. The study of literature should arouse in the minds of pupils an admiration for great personalities, both of authors and characters in literature. No man is higher than his ideals. Human beings grow unconsciously in the direction of that which they admire. Teachers of English must, then, consciously work to raise the pupils' standards of what is true and fine in men and women. The literature lesson must furnish the material out of which may be created worthy and lasting ideals of life and conduct.
3. The literature lesson should raise the plane of enjoyment in reading to progressively higher levels. Reading is still the chief recreation of many people. It should be the aim of the English teacher to make it an unfailing resource and joy in the lives of all. To make it yield the greatest pleasure will involve the consideration of literature not only as to its content as a statement of facts and ideas but as an art. The literature teacher should not be content with arousing an interest in what is said: if he would give the fullest enjoyment, he must develop some appreciation of the way in which it is said.
4. In order that the reading habit may yield the pleasure and joy of which it is capable, the English lesson should give to the student such knowledge of the scope and content of literature as will leave him with a sense of abundance of interesting material, and a trained ability and desire to find for himself such intellectual and spiritual food as he may need for his growth and his pleasure.
5. In order that the above ends may be realized, the teacher of literature must assume his part in the conscious development of the intellectual faculties of his students. They must be trained not only