Imagens da página

must object to the degree of reliance put on the recapitulation theory, to the dogmatism (p. 110) concerning the child (Cf. Dewey's “Interest and effort” in Education, p. 84ff.), to such overstatements as that a teacher "had nearly stifled her pupils” with a room temperature of 73°, and to the introduction of such unnecessary material as the quotation (p. 92) from Romeo and Juliet to support the belief that the climate of the temperate zone encourages early puberty.


Professor Charles H. Judd, of the University of Chicago, has set himself the difficult task of applying the principles of sound method and the results of modern psychological study to the presentation in the secondary school of the subjects appropriate to its program. His book is entitled The psychology of high school subjects. It is carefully and thoroly done and high school teachers will find it well worth careful study. Now and again the reader comes across statements or recommendations that suggest criticism and discussion. A good way to use this book would be to have its various positions freely discust by groups of high school teachers. (Boston: Ginn & Company, 1915.

1915. 515 p. $1.50.)

A most excellent new book on French elementary education is L'école primaire et l'education morale et democratique, by M. Alfred Moulet, with a preface by M. Buisson, who was so long a director of elementary education in France. M. Moulet undertakes to examine the foundation on which the French elementary school rests, as well as to discuss the objections which have been brought against popular education in a democracy, particularly from the standpoint of those who believe that the government-supported lay school is sadly lacking as an agency for moral education. Nowhere in recent educational literature have we seen a more convincing exposition of the contrary view than that which is set out at length in this volume by M. Moulet. (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1915. 389 p. 1ofr.)



[ocr errors]

Bulletin 665 of the United States Bureau Cities and

of Education contains, under the title colleges

The university and the municipality, a summary of the proceedings of the first session, at Washington, in November, 1914, of the newly organized National Association of Municipal Universities.

The contents of the pamphlet are a number of addresses on the aims and purposes of the urban university, the principal one of which, The municipal university, was delivered by President Dabney of the University of Cincinnati before the National Association of State Universities; and brief descriptions of urban universities, considered typical, by members of these institutions.

The character of the new Association, it is interesting to note, is more accurately indicated by the title of the Bulletin than by its own, in that its membership is made up, not of colleges and universities controlled and financed by cities, as might appear, but as the call for the organization meeting stated it, “of all municipal universities and other universities in cities interested in the service of their communities.” The dividing line of eligibility and interest thus drawn by the Association is, accordingly, between the urban and the suburban institutions of the country. To justify such a demarcation, it is now clearly the opportunity of the latter to organize an association that should replace “cities” by "villages” in the above formulation, in order to refute the possible inference that the suburban universities are not interested in the service of the communities that house them and of which they generally consider themselves more or less a part. A National Association of Villatic Universities will doubtless soon be organized to fill this gap and to fortify the presumption that of making associations there is no end.

Aside from the question of the necessity of organizing a separate association to consider the subjects with which this new body is concerned, there can, however, be no doubt of the importance of a movement to bring more clearly to the consciousness of the university its relation and its duty to the community. The matter is not at all a new one, but it is a sign of the times that it is receiving on the part of the university itself a new attention that can not fail to be of immense profit, alike to the university as a vitalizing force in its scheme of education, and to the community as an invaluable aid in working out its problems of living. If the new organization can appreciably contribute to these results, it will even have justified itself as one more university association.

The department of public instruction of Tests of efficiency Oakland, California, has issued under the in spelling

title Spelling efficiency in the Oakland schools, the report by J. B. Sears, Assistant Professor of Education in Leland Stanford University, of the study of the present state of efficiency in the teaching of spelling in the public schools of Oakland, undertaken in October, 1914, in cooperation with the Principals' Study Club of that city. The purpose of the investigation was to make a complete survey of this branch of the elementary school curriculum, covering a test of spelling efficiency in grades two to eight inclusive in all the schools concerned, as well as the administration, supervision, and teaching of the subject. The test given was that devised by Dr. Leonard P. Ayers and previously used in the public schools of Springfield, iu., and of Butte, Mont. The test was given in 40

Ill schools to a total of 12,985 children, and was so arranged that all classes of the same grade should take the test at the same hour of the day and without knowing that it was in any way unusual.

The results are contained in full in the report with diagrams and tables of statistics for schools, for grades, and for the city as a whole. The report also deals with the influence of individual differences in age, sex, and general school standing; with the influence of social factors, such as the father's occupation and nationality, and the home language; and, finally, presents the results of the test in the light of the teaching of spelling from the point of view of time distribution, lesson assignments and teaching methods.

As a whole, the city of Oakland, according to the report, spells better than its neighbors who have been measured by similar tests. The results show, however, that particularly

. in the lower grades there is no definite grade standard of efficiency maintained in the city. The differences between the averages for different schools are pronounced, the high averages being maintained, on the whole, by the larger schools, and the low averages by the small schools. Similarly, there is a wide range in the variability of grade averages within various schools, all grades in one school receiving close to the same average, while in another school they are far apart. Over one-fifth of the children spelled all the words correctly in their grade. About one child in ten spelled less than half of the words correctly. All showings point to a serious overlapping of grades; and as between separate schools and between separate grades in the same school no definite standards for administering this branch of the curriculum apparently exist.

In the matter of sex it appears from the tables that there is a clear difference in spelling in favor of the girls, that the difference is constant, and that it increases with age, tho not with any great degree of regularity. In respect to the occupation of fathers, the children of men in the professions rank highest and those of laborers lowest in the list. Children from homes where a foreign language is spoken do not spell as well, according to the tables, as do children from homes where only English is spoken, but there is no direct evidence, says the report, that their home language is directly responsible for this, in that both make the same errors and in approximately the same proportion. From this study at least, the report concludes, it appears that the mother tongue, when foreign, offers no handicap due in any peculiar way to the home language.

Some of the results of the survey, as set forth by the report, are not equally convincing. From the point of view of choice of future occupation, it appears from the tables that agriculture and baseball, for instance, have attracted a much lower type of spelling ability than that attracted by music or nursing, and the report goes on to say that it is clear that baseball does not attract brains, if spelling efficiency measures brains. This comes dangerously near to shattering an idol were it not for the doubt that is cast upon spelling as an infallible standard of cerebral capacity. It may not be, says the report, with due seriousness, that low spelling efficiency causes a boy to wish to become a ball player. There may be other things, it is conceded with plausibility, like race, health conditions, low intelligence, home life, or something of the sort, that enter into the problem, “but it remains true that the twentyfour boys included in the statistics who desire to become baseball players are notoriously poor spellers.” The general conclusion arrived at in this respect is that the occupational choice of a child indicates, at least roughly, what his spelling efficiency is. Those who have chosen an occupation which demands unusual spelling ability are the best spellers, while those who have chosen occupations in which ability to spell is not of first importance are below average in spelling efficiency. There are some exceptions, however, since children whose choice it is to become auto repairers, aviators, or hairdressers, average higher than those who want to be wireless operators, mail clerks, or merchants. The relative order of excellence as here given, which is that of the report, is somewhat disappointing, since from the nature of the calling, it might fairly be supposed that the intending aviators and not the hairdressers would attain the highest level.

The report has been compiled with exceptional care and

« AnteriorContinuar »