« PreviousContinue »
his program of study; and the next group presents some ideals of intellectual work. The remainder of the book deals with the student interests outside of the curriculum, such as general reading, recreation and athletics, college spirit, college morals, student government, etc.
The second value that this material has for the course in English composition is that it enables the instructor to make the course incite to thinking and to intellectual expansion. In the composition course it seems wise to emphasize ideas, rather than literary models or set exercises, by allowing the student to encounter fresh and stimulating thoughts, which one may adopt and apply to one's own experience, or which one may combat or modify in accordance with individual conviction. To throw the emphasis upon formal matters is unwise and is an illustration of what Huxley has described as making the student practice the use of knife, fork, and spoon without giving him a particle of meat. But if the student is provided before he writes with the materials of thought in the form of some reading which, firmly thought out and clearly expressed, stimulates to thinking, the ways and means of clear expression assume new significance to him. The field of college life offers many inviting subjects for writing and oral discussion which are well within the comprehension and experience of the student.
The selections in this book are therefore intended as a body of stimulating material. Though suggestiveness in point of ideas has been the main criterion of choice, these selections will serve well also as models of clear, direct, and incisive modern English. The selections have not been brought together for the purpose of representing the different types of discourse, but simply to set the student to the general task of correct and effective writing. It so happens, however, that these selections will readily serve as a basis for the expository and argumentative writing which, in most colleges, is the fundamental part of the first-year course in writing. The material in this book will be
found suited either for the work of a semester or of a whole session.
The question of the method to be used in handling this material is one for each individual instructor to solve, and no attempt has been made by the editor to indicate an elaborate plan for using it. The underlying principles in his mind are first, the reading of the essays; second, the discussion of their leading thoughts;and third, the writing by the student on topics suggested by this reading and discussion. The free discussion is important because it produces an atmosphere of interested and clear thinking which aids greatly the writing of compositions. The topics for discussion and practice in writing given in connection with the selections are merely suggestive and should be freely modified as the needs of particular classes may dictate. One point, however, seems essential to success in this method. It is that in assigning exercises for writing the student should be given some one point to explain and illustrate or to criticise rather than a whole article to summarize and condense. The first is a stimulating and essentially original task, the second a dull and deadening one; the first demands thought, the second prohibits it. The more definitely the topic can be narrowed to a precise focus, the more suggestive it will prove to the thoughtful student and tend to become one upon which he can enlarge to the limits of his intellectual resources.
Although due acknowledgments for permission to reprint the articles brought together in this book are scattered through its pages, it is pleasure here to record in a general way grateful appreciation of these generous permissions, and an obligation equally to the authors who have consented to this use of their writings and to the publishers who have graciously dismissed copyright restrictions.
M. G. F.
Davidson College, Davidson, N. C.
The Science and Philosophy of Recreation George John Romanes 2911