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The School World
A Monthly Magazine of Educational Work and Progress.
meet for the first time at Glasgow in September
next, may be taken as an index of the modern REVIEW AND OUTLOOK.
growth of interest in methods of instruction; and it
is believed this action of the Council of the British SES ENTIMENTAL considerations suggest that Association will have a profound and immediate
our first number to appear in the New effect on British education.
Century might appropriately be prefaced It is true that some of the events of the past with a few editorial remarks, in which past per- year have been a little discouraging-leading to formances and future prospects are surveyed —" in the conclusion as they do that the administrators contemplative fashion."
But though sentiment of English education have still to be convinced of provides a reasonable excuse for such an intro- the value of training and experience, whether duction to our third volume, the accomplishments obtained at a special college or by actual work in of 1900, and the well-grounded hopes for 1901, are the class room. Yet, on the other hand, teachers themselves sufficient to justily a short statement. themselves recognise more fully than ever before
We are able to begin a new-year's work with the that there is a science as well as an art of educa. gratifying assurance of a growing appreciation on tion. And now that the Consultative Committee the part of teachers and other educationists, of our have really begun to discuss the terms of admisefforts to obtain the opinions of experienced speci- sion to the Register of Teachers to be prepared alists on the teaching of subjects comprised in a immediately, our School Governors may become secondary school curriculum ; and for the oppor- impressed by an official recognition of the value to tunity The School World provides of placing on be attached to a practical acquaintance with the record the results of personal experiences of edu- principles of educational science and the canons of cational ways and means.
educational art. A glance at our correspondence columns should During 1901 several series of articles on subjects act as a corrective to the pessimist who declares not hitherto dealt with will be contributed by exthat teachers in secondary schools are indifferent perienced writers new to our columns and familiar to the necessity for improved methods in teaching, with the needs of the school. For instance, in and have limited views as to scholastic responsi. the early months of the year papers will be pubbility. To name only two or three examples: the lished (1) on Recent Researches in Classical Archæanimated and valuable discussion upon the heuristic ology so far as they affect the school teaching of method of teaching science (more especially physics Scripture History, Latin, and Greek ; (2) on the and chemistry) has, we know, been followed with Prevention of Infectious Diseases in Schools; (3) keen interest by some of the most distinguished on the set books in English Literature in many of men of science in the kingdom. The letters on the public examinations of the year. The reasonthe teaching of spelling show that even in the case able study of English Literature will be especially of the most elementary subjects there is always encouraged, not only by the publication of original something to be learnt from a frank interchange of articles, but also by the criticism of examination opinion; and the correspondence on leisure hour questions, by essay competitions, and in other pursuits for boys and girls demonstrates that help. ways. We intend, in fact, to spare no trouble ful suggestions on less purely pedagogic matters
to make The School World indispensable to can still be obtained by a friendly comparison of
teachers in secondary schools, and we confidently notes on the part of practical teachers.
appeal to our readers to assist us by making the The recent decision of the Council of the British magazine known to those of their scholastic friends Association to establish an Educational Section, to who are not yet familiar with it.
No. 25, Vol. 3.)
the ideals of examiners and of teachers may be COMMON EXAMINATION ERRORS.
reached if the latter will study the best of recent
text-books. II.-ENGLISH HISTORY.
(2) Methods of Teaching.-It will not do to begin By A. J. EVANS, M.A.
the course with "setting" the first chapter or first
reign” to be learnt, then the second, and so on XAMINERS find that, to a large extent, boys till the last, and then begin again. This is to lose
and girls pass or fail in English history by the wood in the trees. The first lessons should be
classes rather than by individuals. The devoted to making sure that the pupils have a obvious conclusion is that results depend not so thorough grip of some of the most important much on the industry or native powers of the events in the period. Specially should they be pupils as on the methods adopted by the teachers. made to know the names of the kings and the dates Again, it is found that, from the schools which are of their reigns. Then to this may constantly be successful in obtaining passes, comparatively few added new facts, grouped and re-grouped till attain to any high degree of success in this subject. ridiculous mistakes in chronology are morally The large majority of pupils manage only to escape impossible. Examiners generally are not pedanfailure. Often there does not seem to be even an tically desirous of absolute accuracy in dates, where endeavour to do more. An attempt will be made it does not seriously matter. But surely it does matter in this article to suggest some of the probable whether, 1,8.,
“ Lambert Simnel
comes before causes of this failure.
or after 1485, or whether the “ Long Parliament So low is the standard for a bare
in most met at the beginning or end of 1640. Dates are of our public examinations that a general failure useful to fix the order of events in minds that are of a class must be due to such neglect of the too youthful to learn that order as one of constant subject as is due to utter indifference. For such the cause and effect. Sometimes examiners find them only remedy is a change of intention—a change centuries wrong. which nothing that we can say here will effect, Much should be made of biographies. But here and which can be wrought only by a desire for caution is necessary. Who does not know of the success new-born out of whatever motives can be answer to “ Thomas Becket” questions that tells brought to bear. We do not suppose we count the famous romance and ends with the words, many such teachers, if any, among our readers. " they married and Thomas was their son "? See But for those who are desirous of raising their that the information given in answer to “Give the standard of success we make the following sug- life of_" is true, inclusive and relevant. gestion.
(3) Use of Periodical Test-papers.- In the early Failure to pass or to get honours in history stages the questions set should not be those exexaminations may be attributed, speaking gene- pected in the public examination. They should rally, to causes falling under three heads :
include mere memory questions, such as, “ Give (1) The Text-book.- Questions are set by ex- a list of: (say) kings, their wives and children, aminers or committees of examiners who survey battles with dates, men famous in this reign or the period as a whole and prefer to seek for period.” Specially important at this stage are the knowledge which the examinees have gained clear definitions. 66 What is or was-?" should and assimilated of history as such rather than be a frequent formula. Assize, Salic law, code, Act for their reception of the language of any one of Parliament, &c., &c., are words to which many book. The consequence is that no text- an examinee has attached no definite meaning. book, however good in quantity or quality, They can talk about the thing, very much about it,
, will be sufficient. For purposes of economy, but what it is they often do not know. When both of money and of time, the pupils can pro- this preliminary work has been completed sets of bably have no more than one book. But the questions should be made for the class with a view teacher should not be thus satisfied. Having to testing their powers of grouping events topically chosen the best manual to put into the hands of rather than chronologically. Suppose, for example, his scholars, he should set no limits to his own that the period under study is that of the first reading and note-taking. Before the term's work three Edwards. Such questions should be asked commences he should have a good working know- as, What were the relations between England ledge of the period to be studied, acquired from and Scotland during this period ?” thus requiring the widest possible reading, and extending to the pupil to remember "Wallace," " Bannockacquaintance with at least two or three of the best burn and “ Nevil's Cross” in one connection. text-books and some of the more important illus- Great regard should be paid to order and comtrative literature. Otherwise he will find in the position. Pupils should be taught to write good paper which his pupils will bring him hereafter English, to minimise their words while multiplying questions which required knowledge of matters, the information they give, so long as such inoften the most elementary, that have never entered formation is relevant. All such test papers should into his curriculum. It is true that the subject is be strictly time-papers. Pupils cannot too early wide, and it may often reasonably be argued that be taught that they must economise their time, it is impossible, in the greatest amount of time and that if they find they have not finished their allotted, to cover the ground implied by the exami- papers when the time is up, they have certainly nation paper. But a nearer approximation between been too prolix over some question or other. Such
prolixity defeats the candidates' aim in two ways. A busy examiner will often not wade through
SHAKESPEARE'S “HENRY V.” three sheets when he expected only six lines, and marks will thus be lost for information embedded
By J. A. NICKLIN, B.A. in “ talk," and answers are crowded out which the
Late Scholar of St. John's College, Cambridge. pupil may have been able to give well. All such papers should be returned to the pupil with their
ENRY V.” has to be considered by the errors of all kinds marked. Some suffer from
literary student (1) as an apotheosis of "trivial” blunders, such as dating events con
the fortune and the spirit of England; sistently just a century wrong. How is an ex- (2) as a continuation of “ Henry IV.” I put the aminer to know if this is mere slip or want of patriotic theme first, because it is by its repreknowledge ? He is bound in fairness to careful sentation of a united England, gathering itself up candidates to mark the careless lower. Others after the exhaustion of furious intestine strife to a misspell words even when they are given in the triumphant display of force in the eyes of the questions. Some give too little, others too much. world, that the later play resumes and completes Each must be treated individually and warned the earlier plays. The serious, historical matter against his peculiar failings.
of the two parts of “ Henry IV." finds its complePublic attention has been drawn to a too fre- ment and explanation in " Henry V." There is quent use of colloquialisms. This often arises from no need to dwell long the relations of the reproduction of familiar explanation or illus- the play to Shakespeare's own time and political tration used by the teacher. Many governmental beliefs. It is probable that in the later scenes the institutions are difficult of comprehension by the poet uttered the warm pleas for a close union child, and the use of such explanation is not to be between England and France under the influence deprecated. But when the pupil has thus been of sympathy
with Essex's Spanish policy-a policy led to understand, he should be taught to substi- of spirited aggression which would necessarily tute for the easy, familiar words the correct tech- depend for its success on the friendship of France. nical phrase. In this connection a word may be His predilection for Essex is hinted at in the useful as to the use of proper verbs. Treaties are prologue to Act V., where he prophesies the earl's not "passed,” but “made.” Parliamentary Bills triumphant return from Ireland, " bringing rebelare passed and then become Acts or statutes. Taxes | lion broached on his sword.” Undoubtedly the are granted. Hampden was not found guilty, but strong national feeling of the previous acts was an non-suited. The intelligent teacher will supply for expression, under dramatic limitations, of English himself other examples.
feelings towards Spain, and the exultation over the The elder candidates, at least, and so far as miraculous and unforeseen victory of Agincourt was possible even the younger ones, should be taught a reflex of the exultation of all Englishmen at the not to be bullied by the form of the question. miraculous overthrow of the Armada. And proMany an answer is spoiled by rushing the words bably King Henry's vision of a boy, half French, of the question into the first sentence of an half English, who will go to Constantinople and answer.
« What were the causes of the take the Turk by the beard, is a prophetic anticiCivil War ?" Answer : “ The causes of the pation of English triumphs and English expanCivil War were—" This can, to a large extent, sion. May it not be that Shakespeare's thought be avoided by training the pupils to pause a was glancing off to a king, part Scotch, part little before writing their answers. Tell them they English, who at this period might not unreasonneed be in no hurry to answer lest the teacher ably be expected to inherit and fulfil Elizabeth's point to the “next boy.” There should be a great ambitions ? Without wishing to insist on a very difference between answers to questions “ round dubious point, I may notice that Shakespeare has
Ι the class” and in a written examination. To sum introduced a Scots captain into the international up: the parting words of a teacher before send- confederacy of English, Welsh and Irish before ing pupils into a history examination should be : the walls of Harfleur. “ Understand clearly what the examiner expects The play, as I have said, is an apotheosis of the you to give as an answer to each question, specially English fortune and the English spirit. It is a if it is a double one. Be relevant, be concise, but companion piece to the “Persae" of Aeschylus, not too concise. Minimise mere words, but give and as that represents directly the Athenian as many thoughts as belong to the subject. Spell triumph over the Persians at Salamis, so this carefully. When wanting a date don't try to represents, though by mere suggestion and unexrecall figures, but order of events. Think a sen- pressed parallel, the English triumph over the tence out before you write it down. In a long Armada. The essence of drama is missing; the answer make paragraphs."
gradual development of character or its transfor
mation under unusual circumstances. It is mainly The student who is to enter the higher region of thought
concerned with simple action, and the drama being which the philosophy of history occupies must first have ob.
unsuitable for the display of mere action, the tained a substratum of dates and facts; must have had presented
somewhat inartistic device of descriptive prologues to him a carte du pays, by means of which he may assign its right
before the acts has been hit upon. It should be place to any new information he may be able to obtain.-Sir noticed that some of the finest passages occur in Joshua Fitch.
these prologues—Henry's voyage to France, the
English camp on the night before the battle,
I'll so offend to make offence a skill, Henry's triumphant return,- and that Henry's
Redeeming tiine when men least think I will. great speech to his army might have had place in
His companions were cruelly mistaken in thinkan epic as naturally as in a play.
ing that they possessed any influence over him. Still, there is a display of character, though not He understood them no more than they underof development of character: the British sim- stood him. He scarcely appreciated Falstaff's plicity and force which obtained their apotheosis inexhaustible wit ; it was the freedom, unconat Agincourt. Shakespeare's characterisation inventionality and carelessness of appearance that this play is wholly concerned with explaining the attracted him; when the call came to responsiqualities which made the English army victorious bility and authority, he could brush aside his old in the face of every obstacle, and the French army associations without regret. In his selfexperience the very dregs of humiliation in spite examination, as he prepares to leave the decision of every advantage. The king, the incarnation of of his cause to the God of Battles, he remembers manly simplicity and steadfast energy, nobles like his father's sin of usurpation, but he feels no York, Exeter and Westmoreland forgetting their remorse for his own past; it had the approval of self-assertion and all the unhappy feuds of old time his own conscience. In the scene in the Presence in the patriotic fervour which Henry knew so well Chamber, where the question of his succession to how to inspire, the honest purpose and professional the French Crown is debated, Henry shows himenthusiasm of Fluellen, the shrewd, prosaic valour self scrupulous in examination of his legal right, of Williams and Bates, are set into the sharpest but ready to act on the mere proof of legality. It relief by the fantastic, impracticable extravagances never occurs to him, as it would to a deeper of the French chivalry. There are no Frenchmen thinker, that those miseries of war, which he of the lower orders in the play, because Shake- himself so faithfully paints, need a much more speare understood that the French feudal system cogent justification than mere legality of claim. allowed no room for such a yeomanry as had Nor does it ever enter his mind to enquire whether decided the fate of Creçy and Poitiers. The scene he can lawfully sit upon the throne which his of hot-headed insouciance in the French camp is a father gained by unlawful insurrection. The fine piece of historic insight. It not only explains same calm assurance in external objective right the failure of the French army at Creçý, Poitiers shows itself in his threat to Harfleur, disclaiming and Agincourt, but it gives a prophetic representa- all responsibility for the outrages which would tion of the spirit which delivered the cavaliers as a ensue on its being taken by storm, and in his prey to the New Model of Cromwell. It should rejoinder to the soldiers' plea that the King must be remarked that Shakespeare has given the last answer for all the souls of the English who fell at touch to his picture of the disorganisation of the Agincourt. This absence of self-questioning, and French and the contagious spirit of victory among firm conviction in the righteousness of any position the English by making a French gentleman of that he has deliberately taken up, renders him undoubted courage, Monsieur le Fer, surrender to confident in the greatest dangers, prudent and the cowardly and low-born Pistol.
foreseeing in his measures, as in his insistence The character of the King can only be fully on provision against Scotch invasion, before apprehended when we regard it as the close and attempting aggression in France-(this because completion of the career of Prince Hal. As Pro- he looks always for an external justification of fessor Moore-Smith has pointed out, “ So long as his conduct, which will be especially evidenced Henry had been merely Prince of Wales, he had in reasonableness and success, and because he is had none of the responsibility of government. not distracted by those moral questionings which Born with a healthy, genial nature and an honest interfere with decided action)—and prompt to take love of truth and reality, he could not be content stern measures if they should appear necessary, to pass the May morn of his youth in the close as in his order to kill all the prisoners. atmosphere of statecraft and dissimulation; he
It must not be thought that Shakespeare wished must go out from his father's court, mix with all to mark the limitations of Henry invidiously. conditions of men, see things from all sides, and Rather, he was himself too near akin to a Hamlet while seeming only to laugh, feel within himself not to overprize a little the decision and directness that he was learning to understand (among other of a Henry. In some respects he has made things learning to understand the worthlessness of Laërtes show up the disadvantage of Hamlet. his associates)." Through all the riot of the comic Henry is altogether superior to Laërtes; he is scenes of Henry IV., Prince Hal had kept before differentiated by single - heartedness in aim, himself a certain ideal, a certain standard. It might magnificence in scope, grandeur in conduct. In not be a high standard--it was the standard of Henry Shakespeare has alike personified the irreflective honour of a man of action,-but at militant spirit of England and drawn the ideal least he was always faithful to it. He was willing
man of action. to be misconceived by others, but he would not Most of the characters in the play are drawn for anything deviate from his own conception of his with the same intention as Henry; it is to "show part.
“ Who! I rob? I a thief ? Not I, by the mettle of their pasture," to make us understand my faith!” he exclaims; and when he has con- the nature of the men who“ stuck all together" at sented to take part in a wild escapade, he explains, Agincourt. Of the yeomen, Bates and Williams, in a soliloquy, his own interior assurance
it is not necessary to speak much. They should