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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/555

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THE SERIES METHOD.

of the courses at the Sorbonne and the Collége de France, and this is one of the reasons why many of the men and researches which have enriched French science hail from the École Normale.

One word more. As I have pointed out, the French École Normale was the result of a revolution; I may now add that France since Sedan has been doing, and in a tremendous fashion, what, as I have told you, Prussia did after Jena. Let us not wait for disastrous defeats, either on the field of battle or of industry, to develop to the utmost our scientific establishments and so take our proper and complete place among the nations.—Nature.

 

THE SERIES METHOD: A COMPARISON.
By CHARLOTTE TAYLOR.

BROADLY speaking, there are two methods which are used for the teaching of a language: that of the mother and that of the grammarian. The child learns its own or mother tongue from the mother; it learns a foreign tongue from a teacher, whose highest ambition is to be a grammarian. Does the child learn better from the mother or from the grammarian? Without doubt, from the mother, according to the mother method. If this is so, must we use the example of the mother or of the grammarian when we are to begin the teaching of a foreign language? Is there any reason why a foreign tongue should be otherwise taught than the mother tongue? Is it not at least worth the trouble to try the method of the mother, when it is every day demonstrated that pupils who have had five, six, seven years of teaching are unable, on leaving school, so much as to understand when the language they have been studying is used in conversation?

Let us attempt to obtain light on the differences between these two principal methods that exist for teaching a language. What is the mother's method? How does she teach the child to speak? First let us notice that the mother follows the child: she allows him first to show interest in something and' then helps him to express himself. Here we must pause to notice that what most interests the child is not a thing, an object for itself, but the capacity of the thing to do something, the possibilities of the thing for the performance of an action. A young child takes a thing in its hand and waves it, or strikes it against something, or passes it from one hand to the other; when it is older, it asks invariably, "What for?" The mother names the thing to the child, and also the action that may be therewith performed. The child begins to play. Here a specialty of the mother