Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

The book deals with oral as well as written composition, but not, as its name might suggest, with elocution. In arrangement and in contents it departs from the ingenious scheme formulated by Professor Wendell in his English composition and since then frequently followed. Taking clearness and interest as the two fundamental aims in composition, Professor Baldwin considers each of these in connection with the kind of writing in which it is most essential-clearness with exposition and interest with description. The first part of the book closes with a chapter on planning and paragraphing, and another on revision and the form of the sentence. The second part, less elementary and less necessary in high school work, contains practical chapters on the use of books and the collection of notes, the presentation of reading in argument, the structure of narrative, style, and the forms of composition in literature.

For class use, if simplicity of instruction and plenty of examples and exercises are desirable, the book seems not in all respects satisfactory. At times the author says more than is necessary or much that is of use to the teacher rather than the pupil. For the teacher at least the book is invaluable. It is original, fertile in suggestions, and adapted to the constantly changing uses to which writing is now put.

ALLAN F. WESTCOTT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

It is not going beyond bounds of strict truth to say that the newly published edition, bearing date 1910, of Webster's New international dictionary is by all means the first single-volume dictionary of the English language for everyday use on the teacher's desk or in the business man's office. If imitation is the sincerest flattery, then surely the great lexigraphical work begun so long ago by Noah Webster has received astonishing encomiums. This new edition, a volume of 2,700 pages, with 6,000 illustrations, carries the development of dictionary making beyond even the standard set by its predecessors. It is practical, clear, and complete. A treatise might be written on the scholarly zeal which has gone into its making, but to enlarge upon the features of such a book is rather the province of a journal of philology than of this REVIEW. (Springfield: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1909. 2,700 p.)

It is a satisfaction to note that a third edition has been called for of the interesting and important Introduction to public finance, by Professor Plehn, of the University of California, which first appeared in 1896. (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1909. 480 p. $1.75.)

A new volume of selections for the use of students of politics is entitled Select orations, edited by Professor Harding, of the University of Indiana. The orations are chosen to illustrate American political history, and extend from James Otis and Patrick Henry to Carl Schurz and Booker T. Washington. (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1909.520 p. $1.25.)

The third volume of Professor Spingarn's delightful Critical essays of the seventeenth century, covering the period from 1685 to 1700, has just appeared. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1900. 376 p.)

A college algebra, made by Professors Rietz and Crathorne, of the University of Illinois, presenting familiar material in new ways and with ingenious problems, is to be added to the list of college textbooks worthy of careful examination. (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1909. 261 p. $1.40.)

A new edition of Cæsar's Gallic war has been made by A. E. Hodges, instructor of Latin in the Wadleigh High School, New York. (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1909. 522 p. $1.25.)

Representative biographies is the title of a good book to pick up for an hour's reading now and then. The editors, Messrs. Copeland and Hersey, of the department of English at Harvard University, have selected the material of which the book is composed, and they have done it very agreeably. Both the autobiographic and the biographic selections are in themselves well worth the prominence given to them. (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1909. 642 p. $1.25.)

X

NOTES AND NEWS

Chemistry

One of the most suggestive addresses made and

at the recent meeting of the British AssociaCharacter

tion at Winnipeg was that delivered by Professor Henry E. Armstrong, as president of the chemical section.

Professor Armstrong is well known and remembered in the United States as a member of the first Mosely Commission, and as a trenchant and suggestive writer on fundamental educational problems.

The following extracts from Professor Armstrong's address will, we are sure, be gladly read by American teachers:

We have been led to recognize that our scheme of popular elementary education is a terrible failure, that its whole tendency has been to emasculate our population; yet at the very time that we are making this discovery we are beginning to force our higher education along lines which experience shows must be ineffective-along literary lines. I should be the last to deny that there is an undercurrent of improvement perceptible but this is directed only by sporadic influences and is in no way favored by most of those in authority. We are still suffering at the hands of those who have been our persecutors in the past—the clerics, who control most of the schools and whose outlook is almost as narrow as it ever was. The saving grace of science has in no way entered into their souls—how can it? The universities make no attempt to secure their redemption. London of late years has even reversed the enlightened policy the university so long pursued, and has allowed Latin to figure as alternative to science, not as the complement of science.

If properly taught in schools, chemistry will afford a means superior to all others, I believe, of training faculties which in these days should be developed in every responsible citizen. No other subject lends itself so effectively as a means of developing the experimental attitude of mind—the attiude of working with a clearly conceived purpose to a desired end, which is so necessary to success in these days; and if care be taken to inculcate habits of neatness and precision and of absolute truthfulness, if care be taken to teach what constitutes evidence, the moral value of such work is incalculable. But to be effective it must be done under proper conditions, systematically; the time devoted to the work must be adequate; I would even advocate that the subject be allowed to come before conventional geography and history and other unpractical subjects, assuming that the training is given in a practical way and with practical objects in view, not in the form of mere lessons learnt by rote; if taught in the form of mere didactic lessons it is as worthless as any other subject as mental discipline. Let me add that I would confine the teaching to a narrow range of problems but make it very thoro with reference to these.

Five-and-twenty years ago I made my appearance as an advocate of what has been dubbed the heuristic method—the method which entails putting the learner in the attiude of inquirer, in training the pupil to inquire always into the meaning of what is learnt. I believe it to be in principle the only true method of learning. The idea has found favor almost generally but the progress made in applying it has been slightand this was to be expected, as teachers were few and far between who could carry the method into execution; moreover, so few teachers will allow their pupils to learn: they are too impatient and insist on teaching them and on doing the work of teacher and learner-in fact, in these days, the learner is a rarity; examinations have almost destroyed the breed. If here you desire that your children shall grow up virile men and women with some honesty of purpose left in them, you will end and not mend a system which is sucking the very life-blood out of the youth in the Mother Country—you will insist that your children shall be taught little but learn much.

When studied as a special object, chemistry, in particular, is one of the subjects which must be worked at long and persistently-mere technical skill counts for so much and so few seem to possess the ability to become skilful chemists; in no other science does the element of understanding and an indefinable power of appreciating the character of changes as they occur play so conspicuous a part-in no other science is the faculty of judgment more necessary. In practise, the chemist in works is constantly called upon to exercise his judgment—he is only too often called upon to judge from appearances of conditions which are deep-seated; he is everywhere the works physician in fact. It is therefore necessary that he should be highly trained and thoroly versed in the art of inquiry. The men who in my experience have been successful are those who have learnt to think for themselves and who have been capable independent workers-sufficiently broad-minded and sufficiently practised in their art to be able to turn their attention in any desired direction; I should add that they have been men who have learnt to read-a much neglected art. Much has been said and written of late on the subject of technical training which is of value as bringing out the various points of view; the problem is a very difficult one, owing to the great number of interests to be considered and more especially the very uneven and often inferior quality of the material to be trained. The great danger of specialized technical training is the tendency to make it too narrow. Success in practise depends not merely on knowledge of subject but also, if not mainly, on the possession of

çertain human qualities which are not usually developed in the technical school and cannot be tested by examination—it is unnecessary to specify them.

It is undeniable that in England for many years past chemistry has suffered from the recognized fact that there has been little money in it -parents have been led therefore to prefer other careers for their sons and the subject has not secured its due proportion of intelligence and is suffering in consequence. Too many of those who have entered works have had neither the intelligence nor-to speak plainly—the presence and manners that are required to secure confidence. The presence of men of gentlemanly bearing and instincts, who have received thoro training in science, is urgently needed at the present time in many of our manufacturing establishments, to take the place of foremen of the old type, who have learnt all they know in the works and whose conceptions necessarily lack breadth; it is almost impossible to convince such men that improvements are possible; too often they adopt a selfish attitude and advisedly retard progress.

In Germany the chemist and the engineer have been placed on an equality and required to work together, with results which are altogether satisfactory. We need to adopt a similar practise. Any attempt to fuse the two into one will meet with failure, I am persuaded; they are called upon to work from different points of view—they need to be in sympathy and to understand one another but their work is complementary. I have watched engineering students closely during years past and am satisfied that, on the average, they represent a type of mind different from that of the chemist-the tendency of the one is to be constructive and of the other to be reflective: the analytical work done by the chemist in the laboratory is but the means to an end in the same way that the work done by the engineer in the drawing office is. Our future engineers should study chemistry and chemists should study engineering, in order that they may understand one another and work together—not in order that they may supplant one another.

In his Commencement address delivered last Requirements for a Good May before the Medical School of WashingMedical Student ton University, Dr. Charles S. Minot described a good medical student in these words:

The man who purposes to study medicine should have in high degree three gifts, not one of which is common among mankind, yet all of which he must have. The three gifts are: the power of reliable observation, intellectual endurance, loyalty.

If the estimate we have made of the needed capacities of a physician be correct, it follows that a good medical school can exist only with good students. Coins of full value can not be made of impure metal. We must, therefore, start with the consideration of the means to select students to the exclusion not merely of the bad ones, but also of the

« AnteriorContinuar »