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Professor Michael Sadler, formerly the Director of Special Inquiries and Reports for the Board of Education, in a paper on "The place of the preparatory school for boys in secondary education in England," says:

"The quality of the work done in classics is specially remarkable; and it would be a grievous mistake to think that anything short of the very best teaching in other subjects could effectively take the place of what is now so well done in Latin and Greek. Many experienced and skillful schoolmasters are convinced that exact teaching in the classical languages is an unrivaled discipline for the mind—not in a directly utilitarian sense, but in its indirect effect on the logical powers. Many other people, while not prepared to concede the unique excellence of the older classical training, would cordially agree that, in skillful hands, the teaching is thoro and that, in a certain limited sense, it severely disciplines the mind of the boys. But they feel that it often fails to induce a wide range of intellectual interests. It causes the boys to miss their one opportunity of learning many things far more appropriate than advanced classics to their natural tastes and years."


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On the question of Latin Verse composition, Dr. Hely Hutchinson Almond, headmaster of a public school, in a paper The preparatory school product from the point of view of a public school master," declares that the making of Latin verses cultivates resource and ingenuity more than anything that a boy does "; and, lest you curtly dismiss his opinion as that of a hide-bound pedant, let me ask you to listen to his ideal of the standard by which the preparatory school product should be judged: "We shall be on the highroad," he says, " to have the 'preparatory school product' more as he ought to be when parents as well as public school authorities come to care more for what he is than for what he knows; for his powers of intelligence and reasoning rather than for a packed portmanteau of information; for health, activity, and high spirits rather than for the strokes he has learned at cricket. Let them estimate the influence of his school life by the openness of the boy's countenance, the frankness of his manner, the courtesy, kindliness, and honesty of his conduct, by the clearness of his com

plexion and the good development of his chest and arms; by his fertility in resource; by the books and parts of a newspaper which he reads; and by the subjects on which he cares to talk."

On the other hand, Headmaster Robinson, already quoted, says of Latin verse composition: "In the great majority of cases verses are either stolen from a Gradus, or pieced together out of the tags that long practice has taught the boy how to use. In other words, they are no test of originality, but only of ingenuity and a well-drilled memory. It must be a common experience of public school masters to find that a boy who has produced a surprisingly good set of verses in his scholarship examination, is quite devoid of the taste, the imaginativeness, which his performance had seemed to imply.”

I have said nothing of the physical training or the social life provided for the boys of the English preparatory schools. Interesting and significant as these aspects of education are, and important as is their share in the results achieved in the narrower domain of the specifically intellectual work of the schoolroom, the consideration of them would take me too far afield. I will close this paper with a few brief observations on the more striking contrasts which it suggests between English and American practice in the restricted field which it covers.

It is clear that the so-called public schools, which conspicuously embody the traditional English ideals of secondary education, have, as compared with our American high schools and endowed secondary schools, the immense advantage of resting, for a foundation, on a body of preparatory schools which constitute, in conjunction with them, an organically related, selfconsistent, progressive system of education. We may not accept the ideals embodied in that system—indeed, it is at least doubtful whether the great majority of thoughtful Englishmen accept them, and it is certain that a respectable minority of competent English critics distinctly reject them—but that a self-consistent system, whatever its defects of detail may be, is, as such, of priceless value will not be disputed. In England, as in Germany, the boy who is to enjoy the advantages of a prolonged school training begins the appropriate study of sec

ondary school subjects at the age of nine years, and continues the study of them to the age of nineteen years, under the prescriptions of a well understood and harmoniously administered system of training that has grown with the growth of the nation, that embodies the nation's ideals, and that is identified with the national greatness. This English system insensibly and naturally merges elementary with secondary education five years before the adolescent period begins, and carries the mental development of the boy forward without marked break until the instincts and powers of carly manhood open; the prevailing American practice draws a sharp line of demarcation between elementary and secondary education at the age of fourteen and, by delaying the beginnings of secondary education, voluntarily sacrifices, thru misdirected effort, two years of precious time. By postponing the introduction of secondary subjects to the age of fourteen, and confining our children to the dreary round of elementary subjects until the period of adolescence begins, we show a want of faith in the unfolding powers of the mind which no facts drawn from experience can be found to justify. If it could be proved that the mental development of English and German boys is hindered by the early introduction of such subjects as algebra, geometry, Latin and French, and that the mental development of American boys is promoted by the late introduction of them, then the prevailing American practice would stand amply justified. But will any competent observer maintain that this is true? On the contrary, do not reason and experience alike prove that such postponement results in arrested development?

Again, look at the size of the classes in the English preparatory schools and the ratio of teachers to pupils. Compare the prevailing organization of American elementary schools into classes numbering forty to fifty with the prevailing organization of the English preparatory schools into classes numbering eight to ten. We train our boys during the elementary period by companies; they train theirs by squads. Our organization naturally and inevitably leads to mass teaching and lockstep promotion; theirs rather to tutorial training and advancement according to proficiency. With us all the members of a class

are taught the same subjects in a body; with them a boy may study mathematics with one group of associates, Latin with another, and French with a third.

When I read, in the report of the Mosely Commission, the disparaging comments of our English visitors on the school work in the classics which they saw in this country, I was somewhat discouraged to find that critics of so friendly a spirit found so much to censure and so little to commend. But when, on investigation, I learned who our critics were, and what their antecedents had been; that they had personally experienced the classical training given in the English preparatory and public schools, and later at the universities, and that they were naturally imbued with the spirit of those institutions, I took heart again. From their point of view, their criticisms were natural and just; if they had been familiar with our environment, and had been capable of viewing our work in a sympathetic spirit, their observation would have been more enlightened, and their interpretation more perspicacious.

It is, of course, to be remembered that the schools which I have described are schools for the favored few, not for the unprivileged many; that the maintenance of them tends to perpetuate the social distinctions which, theoretically at least, we disapprove; that the higher standard reached by them in a limited range of subjects is purchased at the expense of the normal development, and therefore of the real interests, of a considerable proportion of the boys who attend them; that the individual attention lavished on the boys belonging to them exists side by side with a callous indifference to the mental development of the great multitude of boys who stand lower in the social scale; that national enthusiasm for universal education is relatively non-existent in England; and, finally, that in all these important respects our national standards are probably more altruistic, and therefore intrinsically nobler than theirs. If this is true, it is a proper subject for self-congratulation. But the fact that our lowest standard in education is distinctly higher than their lowest, and that our average is probably higher than their average, should not lead us to rest content with the undoubted fact that their highest standard of

secondary education is greatly in advance of ours. I am persuaded that, in the earlier and later stages of secondary education, and especially in the interrelation of the two, we have much to learn from England, and that, in some departments, we can more profitably go for instruction to the preparatory schools of England than to the Progymnasien of Germany.




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