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ronment. As centers in this environment the author suggests the home, the local town, the school, the wild nature, and primary human occupations; and by selecting type materials from these centers we may get a simplified nature-study course. If, on the other hand, we accept no such guiding principles in selecting materials, we must either follow each of the natural sciences as a controlling center of study, or unsystematically pick from the field of general science—both of which alternatives are admittedly unadapted to elementary schools.
Concerning the selection and arrangement of types, the author holds that the common objects of the home and plant and animal life should come first, and topics of the physical nature-study later. Many topics from the centers of interest mentioned above should be serially arranged, developing thru the grades.
The main question of “Method in science lessons," discussed in Chapter III, is “how to get the problems of science before children in such a way as to bring them to the best exercise of their own independent powers in solving them. It consists in shrewd problem setting.” Many interesting suggestions helping teachers to follow this method are given.
The “Illustrative lessons” of Chapter VII and “The course of study" of Chapter IX contain many interesting suggestions, and all teachers of nature-study will profit by carefully examining them. Like all other similar attempts in these days, when nature-study is just beginning to get serious and critical attention, these “ Lessons” and the “Outline” cannot be expected to be more than a record of another teacher's theories and experiments with nature-study. Naturally there are points worthy of commendation and others inviting criticism. The outline resembles most others with which we are familiar, in that there appears to be no natural sequence of topics. For example, take in order the topics for the fourth grade: corn plant, weeds, kinds of rocks, common stars and constellations, the larger birds, cleanliness in kitchen, common tools and inventions, water in its various forms and uses, the skin, the metals, trees in winter, budding and grafting, temperance in eating and drinking, wild spring flowers, tame duck and goose, poisonous plants in the woods, care of chickens in spring, meadow flowers, a clean cellar. This is quite typical of the series of topics for each of the eight grades.
The volume closes with about twenty-five pages of lists of “books as an aid to science teaching.' This contains titles of many useful books, but the arrangement has been done so carelessly that the chapter has lost much of its possible value to those not already familiar with this special line of literature. Under “pedagogical books" we notice that five of the twentyfive have no possible connection with pedagogy. For example, Agassiz's Methods of study in natural history—a somewhat misleading title is the great naturalist's last stand for his special-creation theory. Just how such technical books as Gray's Anatomy may aid elementary-school teachers may not be clear to teaching biologists. Under "collateral reading for children” we see Sutherland's Book of bugs, but if humor is to be included, it should not be forgotten that Bill Nye and Mark Twain have both contributed to the literature of insects. And finally, a “supplementary list " of well-known books—including several titles previously cited-appears to have the one merit of filling a page, for there is no suggestion as to the place of the books in the attempted grouping on the preceding pages.
We have indicated only a few of the points which invite commendation and criticism. On the whole the book is an interesting and useful contribution to the literature of naturestudy, and it deserves to be read by all who are working with the deeper problems of that subject.
M. A. BIGELOW TEACHERS COLLEGE,
Notes on German schools: with special relation to curriculum and methods of teaching-By William H. Winch. New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1904. 265 p. $1.50 net.
With the numerous handbooks on the German school system by Russell, Bolton, Seeley, Prince, and Parsons, students of comparative education will welcome an intimate pen picture of the subjects and methods of class instruction in the elementary schools of Germany. Mr. Winch has not concerned himself with the broader problem of school organization and administration, but he has sought to give English and American teachers detailed accounts of class lessons witnessed by him in the subjects of study taught during the compulsory period of elementary-school attendance.
Mr. Winch notes that in the United States and Germany there is wide-spread recognition of the need of comparative work, with definite tests, but that in England this need is still without noticeable recognition; and he offers the results of his labors as a preliminary study for the use of English teachers. It is useless, he thinks, to pile up work in educational exhibitions, or to show samples of great excellence, unless we know the conditions of their production.
German educational authorities, he notes, are more inclined than English to believe that the scientific problems,-psychological and other,—upon which education is based, are matters for specialistic and scientific research. The English are prone to decide such questions upon a basis of information gained from teachers and inspectors, most of whom are too busy with actual administration, even if they possess the necessary scientific equipment. In Germany, on the other hand, such questions are assigned to trained psychologists and educational experts. In Breslau, to cite but one example, the school authorities recently commissioned Professor Ebbinghaus, at the head of the psychological laboratory of the university in that city, to investigate the nature and extent of nervousness and mental fatigue among the school children of that city.
After a brief statement of the grading, hours, fees, discipline, and promotion in German schools, the author proceeds to give pen pictures of lessons in arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, composition, history, grammar, modern language, elementary science, drawing, gymnastics, and singing witnessed in the schools of Frankfort, Hamburg, Leipzig, and Berlin. In work in arithmetic in Leipzig he noted the almost exclusive use of auditory memory in solving problems, in contrast with the readiness of the English teachers to employ the visual memory. He found the reading work in the same city exceedingly well done, but greater limitation of reading matter than in England. German teachers of history give instruction; they do not merely hear lessons from a book as in England (and America). In fact,“ saying lessons to the teacher," which is the basis of practically all work in elementary schools, and most of that in secondary schools in the United States and England, receives slight recognition in Germany.
“ The German teachers," says Mr. Winch,“ do not hold that their object is merely to stimulate interest in this subject [history), but to give a firm basis of sound elementary information."
More surprises in store for the English (and American) teachers in the study of geography in Germany. “ The pupils had no geography books, but every boy had an atlas which was clear and uncrowded; for geographical information which the map did not provide, the scholars were entirely dependent upon the oral lessons of the teacher, supplemented by such notes as he was able to give them.” The German schoolboy's power of description from a map Mr. Winch thought quite astonishing
The chief value of Mr. Winch’s book lies in its painstaking and accurate descriptions of class lessons in many subjects, and at the different stages of advancement of German school children. Since English reviewers are unfailing in the detection of provincialisms and Americanisms in educational books published on this side of the Atlantic, attention may be called to the use of the word scholar for lads in their teens, and even before. The absence of an index is one of the common faults of English publications of this class.
WILL S. MONROE STATE NORMAL SCHOOL,
A college text-book of botany–By George FRANCIS ATKINSON. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1905. xvi+737 p. $2.00 net.
The present book is a revision and elaboration of the author's Elementary botany, published in 1898. The plan of treatment remains essentially unchanged, the subject being discussed from physiological, morphological, and ecological standpoints. Part I, dealing with physiology, remains practically untouched, altho considerable new matter has been added in the discussion of the subjects of nutrition and digestion. In Part II, in which the principal chapters on morphology are unchanged, note should be made of the additional consideration given to the classification and relationships of the various groups. In each of the great groups of plants attention is first directed to several examples which illustrate in a marked way the progressive stages in the development of the plant body and the reproductive processes, after which additional types are briefly considered, with a view to giving a broader understanding of the relationships as represented in the regular sequences of classes, orders, and families.
The most noteworthy departure in the book will be found in the author's treatment of ecology, Parts III and IV. This portion of the work has been completely rewritten and so extended as to form the major feature of the book. Part III is devoted to plant members in relation to environment. Consideration is given to the organization of the plant and to the special functions and relations of the different members of the plant body. Part IV deals with vegetation forms in relation to environment. The topics discussed comprise the factors of environment, the laws of migration, the analysis of plant formations and societies. The composition and character of the various plant societies of the earth are considered in considerable detail. In Part V the work closes with a study of the representative families of angiosperms. Directions are given to the student in the prosecution of his work, and suggestions are offered to the teachers in the methods of presentation and in the preparation of material and laboratory supplies.
The scheme and spirit of the book are commendable. It is to be hoped that we are passing away from the generalities of picture-book botany, and we feel sure that this presentation of the essential facts and principles of botanical science will meet with hearty approval. The advisability, however, of confining within the limits of the present volume so extended a consideration of the subject may be questioned. It is evident that the author has been obliged in many chapters to resort to an unfortunate condensation in the discussion of topics. This treatment gives at times an unevenness to the discussion and destroys the balance in the consideration of the topics. This is particularly noticeable in the chapters on morphology, where it has been necessary to mention certain orders and families with but a line of comment, whereas co-ordinate