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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/105

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GEIKIE ON THE TEACHING OF GEOGRAPHY.

lines will be found to be still more generalized, and a crowd of details and names that occupied a place on the wall-map can no longer find room on the much smaller delineation of the country upon the globe. The lesson that was enforced in passing from the large parish plan to the county map, and from the county map to the general wall-map of the country, may now again be dwelt upon in advancing from the wall-map to the globe. And thus, by a continuous chain of illustration, the minds of the learners are led upward and outward from their school surroundings to realize the shape and dimensions of the earth.

In bringing to a close my remarks on the elementary stage of geographical teaching, let me allude to one great advantage which the method of instruction here advocated seems to me to possess. In too many cases the education of the young never advances much beyond the elementary stage. If the geography-lessons have consisted of mere pages of definitions and statistics mechanically learned by rote, they are pretty sure to be soon in great part forgotten, and they leave little or no permanent influence behind them. But if such a system as I have sketched be followed, a lasting benefit can not but remain on the minds and characters of the young learners, even though most of the facts that were familiar enough at school should eventually slip out of their memory. Trained to use their eyes, and to reflect upon what they observe, they start in the race of life with those faculties quickened that tell powerfully on success. They are furnished, too, with a source of perennial pleasure in that capacity for the perception and enjoyment of Nature which these early lessons will have fostered.

Fully to discuss advanced geographical education as it deserves would require an ample and exhaustive treatise. This it is no part of my present plan to attempt. What I wish to do is rather to show how the same guiding ideas may be pursued from the elementary into and through the advanced stage. The latter is broadly characterized by the use of class-books or readers, by the practice of written exercises and essays, and by greater precision, detail, and breadth in the manner of treatment. The line to be pursued will largely depend upon the individual predilections of the teacher himself. In some cases the historical, in others the literary, in others the scientific aspect will be most congenial. It is well that insight into each of these sides of geography should be gained by the pupils. But, above all, the instruction must be earnest and thorough. I come back once more to the idea expressed at the beginning of these chapters that, in the higher stages as well as in the lower, the success of the teacher of geography depends upon his own firm grasp of his subject, upon the living interest he takes in it, and upon the sympathy which he can awaken in the minds and hearts of the young.