Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/321

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307
THE STUDY AND TEACHING OF BIOLOGY.

moreover, as we shall be here, in more or less close connection with a splendidly-equipped hospital, so that we shall be able constantly to combine skilled pathological observation with physiological experiment in an excellent laboratory, we have duties to perform toward the advancement of scientific medicine, from whose performance I believe it would be criminal in us, as it would be shameful, to flinch in any way.

But to return to our special subject: the last three months of the student's second year should be occupied with a laboratory course of instruction in vegetable morphology and physiology, and with a course of lectures on embryology, accompanied with a full practical study of the development of the chick from the earliest stages of incubation.

The student will have now got an extensive acquaintance with biological facts and methods, and henceforth he should be allowed and encouraged to specialize his work. He would be permitted to select for, more detailed study in his third year either animal morphology, or botany, or physiology, and the best men in each subject would be picked out and allowed to act as demonstrators to the second-year students, and so be given the opportunity of acquiring a far more accurate knowledge than they could attain in any other way. For these third-year men, too, short advanced courses of lectures would be given from time to time, such as on the physiology of nutrition, the physiology of the senses, the geographical distribution of animals, on special morphological points, and so on, and also on the more important recent discoveries in various branches; and the best of them might be put on some easy bit of original work, to try their metal and whet their appetites.

After all this has been gone through, I think we can do no more in the way of teaching for our typical student; he has now advanced enough to teach himself, and, if he is good for anything, will do it better than others can do it for him. I think that among students so taught, as I have endeavored to indicate, we should be certain to meet with a large number of well-qualified men from among whom to select some of our fellows and associates, and would be justified in expecting from them work of the highest quality. As regards the remainder, those who display no special aptitude for scientific investigation, or no desire to devote themselves to science as a profession, they will at least have had the opportunity of acquiring a very thorough and practical knowledge of what modern biology means.

It now remains for me to give a sketch of what our work for the present year will be, so far as I see my way at present. To-morrow I commence a course of lectures on animal physiology, which I propose to deliver twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, at 1.15 p. m. I have been induced to select this hour on account of special circumstances affecting many of those who wish to attend this year, though as