Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/374

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I. On the Part of Language in Education.

Language ought to occupy a predominant position in school life.

II. The Classics in Language Training.

The mind-making property of the classics has been established beyond all doubt by innumerable experiments made upon juvenile minds of all types. It does not appear to me that, in the face of this mass of accumulated evidence, it can be regarded as a question open to dispute.

III. The Classics vs. the Modern System.

The essential difference between the classical and the modern system is the difference between training and teaching. A classical education is practically a training pure and simple: a modern education is a combination of training and teaching with mainly a teaching aim. . . . Like most other questions, there is no absolute distinction between the two systems—their difference is a matter of degree.

IV. The Classics still Promise the best Training for the Professions.

V. The Classics not suited to Commercial Training.

On this point I would make the obvious comment that the preparation for commerce, business and the trades, formerly entrusted to the apprentice system, has now been systematized through the "business college" and is being taken up in the omnium gatherum of the state university. So the "engineer" now gets his practical experience in the form of laboratory work at a technical school—but must often go over it again in the shops when he leaves the school. However much the classics might clarify the judgment and purge the taste of such students, it may well be that the classics have no closer claim upon them than when they were trained under the apprentice system. But sincere reflection would, I feel sure, persuade the most radical that classical study includes what is, for young people, the best training element in scientific study, viz., the accurate observation of phenomena, and the analysis and synthesis of the language crystal is a sort of crystallography of thought, with a subject matter intensely human. Students of my own who have gone over to the practical side have had no sort of doubt, that they carried with them minds trained for the apprehension and combination of phenomena.

VI. Substitutes for the Classics.

After all his generous recognition of the tried educative value of the classics Professor Hill concludes:

I have but one explanation. It was the rebound on to English which the classical drill produced. We were ceaselessly searching the pages of the dictionary. We were learning new words. We were studying English syntax.

These be fine words. We must admire them for their style, and we may fancy that this style is due to the classical study to which Professor Hill pleads guilty in his youth. Far from minimizing the force in these words we may as well admit that they contain truth, but is it the whole truth? Many persons have learned to write English without having studied any foreign language and without having studied Eng-