Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/65

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55
MANUAL TRAINING.
PSM V46 D065 Philadelphia manual training schools curriculum.jpg

manual training school is essentially a modern-language school. In addition to the mother tongue only one other language is studied, and that is German. The humanities include, besides these, history, literature, and economics. The juniors have a lesson in English every day. The work is very elementary. It is a practical drill in the use of language. It is as difficult as it is elementary. And the difficulty lies chiefly in the fact that the home forces do not co-operate. If the same number of people who now have a blind faith in the talismanic virtue of foreign languages as a means of culture could be made to appreciate the importance of an accurate use of our own beautiful mother tongue, we might reasonably hope for much better things. As it is, the daily lesson in English is a little oasis of how to use the tongue in a dreary desert of how not to use it. I have a friend, a shrewd man, who maintains that the national habit of lying is a direct outgrowth of our inaccurate use of English. The observation is worth considering.

The intermediates devote seven hours to the humanities. Two hours are given to German, an introduction to the grammar with easy reading and conversation, and five hours to history and literature. The two latter studies go hand in hand. For example, during the first term, while ancient history is being studied, the literature consists in a reading of Plutarch's Lives, Stories from the Iliad, and other books of ancient content. The same parallelism is followed in the succeeding terms during the study of mediæval and modern European history. The plan was adopted experimentally, but its success has now manual training school is essentially a modern-language school. In addition to the mother tongue only one other language is studied, and that is German. The humanities include, besides these, history, literature, and economics. The juniors have a lesson in English every day. The work is very elementary. It is a practical drill in the use of language. It is as difficult as it is elementary. And the difficulty lies chiefly in the fact that the home forces do not co-operate. If the same number of people who now have a blind faith in the talismanic virtue of foreign languages as a means of culture could be made to appreciate the importance of an accurate use of our own beautiful mother tongue, we might reasonably hope for much better things. As it is, the daily lesson in English is a little oasis of how to use the tongue in a dreary desert of how not to use it. I have a friend, a shrewd man, who maintains that the national habit of lying is a direct outgrowth of our inaccurate use of English. The observation is worth considering.

The intermediates devote seven hours to the humanities. Two hours are given to German, an introduction to the grammar with easy reading and conversation, and five hours to history and literature. The two latter studies go hand in hand. For example, during the first term, while ancient history is being studied, the literature consists in a reading of Plutarch's Lives, Stories from the Iliad, and other books of ancient content. The same parallelism is followed in the succeeding terms during the study of mediæval and modern European history. The plan was adopted experimentally, but its success has now