Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/594

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bring the latter into sight. Though the purpose of college may still be beclouded, and though there is still much fighting in the dark over the curriculum, at least two things are pretty sure: first, within fairly wide limits, it makes little difference what the undergraduate is taught in his first two years, provided he is really taught;[1] and, secondly, teaching is not a trick that any man can pick up for himself. These two facts leave us with only one thing to do—train graduate students to be college teachers.

Our normal schools and teachers' colleges have proved this possible. They are turning out excellent high-school teachers, and, if that can be done, then at least good teachers for the first two undergraduate years are makable. The difference between high school and college is narrowing. The National Association of State Universities, in its efforts to create a Standard American College, aims to "differentiate its parts in such a way that the first two years shall be looked upon as a continuation of and a supplement to the work of secondary instruction, as given in the high school." Let us restrict our problem, then, to the making of a freshman and spohomore faculty. If we can furnish this much, the rest will be easy.

There are many reasons why the normal school should not be called upon to do this for us; but the chief one is that the institution offers no opportunity for genuine apprenticeship. And without apprenticeship, training is greatly hampered, as the normal schools themselves have learned in the case of the high-school teacher. To the college, then, falls the training. The larger universities must offer it in a graduate school, and somewhat after the following manner.

1. A three-year course, of which one year shall be given over to pedagogy and two to actual teaching, shall lead to a doctorate. I trust the pedagogy needs no explanation. The two practise years, however, may. They find their defense in the axiom that the only way to learn how to teach is to teach. And they find their excuse in the fact that the young teacher is a necessary evil. An ideal college, to be sure, would have, say, a professor ordinary for every freshman class of fifteen; but not even Mr. Rockefeller is willing to finance such an institution. And not all the money in the world could make all college instructors finished scholars. So surely as teachers must be born and bred, just so surely must the undergraduate always suffer more or less from immature instruction. But he will suffer least if led by young men who are engrossed, not in writing a thesis, but in their class work.

The course of training I suggest should lead to a Ph.D. in order to attach the same dignity to the expert teacher that now attaches to the skilled investigator. This means, of course, a sharp break with tradi-

  1. Not that Choctaw is just as good as chemistry, but the lower levels of all grand divisions of knowledge lie in about the same plane.