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le to the Publisestion of Dr. Eliot, now of the United States
exhibit, with equal precision, some facts as to comparative courses in vogue in typical preparatory schools of the United States. Following the suggestion of Dr. Eliot, particular reference will be made to the Public Grammar and Public Latin School of the city of Boston. To obtain the requisite data the writer has first tabulated the hours of recitation per week entering into the enseignement secondaire classique and the enseignement secondaire spécial of France. These tables have then been brought into com. parison with similar tables, prepared on precisely the same plan, of the courses of study in both the classical and scientific departments of certain typical fitting schools in the United States. The hours of recitation having been made the unit of the tabulation, the tables thus exhibit the total number of recitations in every subject taught, each year, and for the entire course of every school subjected to this examination. From the resultant figures the percentage of each study to the whole course has been also derived. The data as to the French courses were collated from the latest official programmes of the schools, as prescribed by the order of January 22, 1885, for the classical lycées,* and by the order of August 10, 1886, for the secondary special schools.f The data as to American schools were derived from information supplied by the head masters of the schools in question. The result of this tabulation has been to exhibit in full relief the curricula of both countries, and to bring into graphic view some very striking points of difference in the courses of study as carried out in the French and American schools, as well as to expose many singular differences of practice obtaining in our own schools. The large space that these tables would occupy precludes their publication in connection with this paper, but the methods of compilation are here mentioned, in order that such statements as may be made by the writer as to the details of the courses of instruction in both countries may be depended on as being as absolutely correct as a careful and conscientious tabulation can make them.
The programmes thus compared, at once exhibit two most important facts to which President Eliot has made no reference whatsoever, viz.: that if a boy in France is prepared for matriculation at seventeen years of age, instead of nineteen, as with us, it is due (1) to the fact that, between the ages of eight and seventeen, the French boy devotes more time to study than the American boy; and (2) to the further fact that, with his increased amount of reading, the French lad has had eliminated from his preparatory course the serious study of subjects considered by the
* Plan d'Études des Lycées-Programmes de l'Enseignement classiquc. Paris: Mai. son Delalain Frères.
Plan d'Études et Programmes de l'Enseignement secondaire spécial dans les Lycées et Colleges prescrit par Arêté du 10 Aout, 1886. Paris : Maison Delalain Frères.
French school authorities non-essential to that particular course, but which with us are still firmly intrenched in every preparatory school programme; in brief, that the results obtained under the French programmes, in both the classical and scientific preparatory schools, are due to honest hard work, persistently continued for a term of years on a well-defined plan, which is characterized by a complete disjunction of the courses that lead to college, from those that are intended for youth for whose anticipated career in life a knowledge of the classical languages is not deemed essential.
A comparative examination of the programmes of the Boston Latin School with the French lycée course brings out this excess of hours in the French school very prominently. The French boy, in his ten years' sojourn in the lycée, spends 8,560 hours in the recitation-room, while in the corresponding course in Boston * the recitation hours are 7,790 only. With a ten-per-cent excess in recitation hours, and a corresponding increase of study, it is evident that the two courses can not be considered “as substantially of the same strength.” However much we might "enrich" our curricula by imitating French methods, it seems quite clear that we certainly could not, by this process, hope to "shorten" them any.
Turning to the relative assignment of time to the subjects taught in common by the two schools, there is to be noted also one other point where the statistics and Dr. Eliot are at variance, One searches in vain for that “preponderance” of time given to the French language in the lycées as compared with the instruction in the English language in the Boston Latin School. In fact, the “preponderance” is, on the contrary, altogether on the side of the Boston schools, where over twenty-eight per cent of the whole course is devoted to the mother-tongue, to only 208 per cent in the lycées. This is an interesting fact, which will doubtless be surprising to most readers. It is a prevalent opinion in the United States that in our schools too little time is devoted to the study of our own language. And lest it may be urged that this “preponderance” is offset by the nine hours' course per week in philosophy, given in the last year, where, President Eliot states, “ French resumes almost exclusive possession of the programme,” it may be said that, according to the official programme, this claim can not be legitimately made. The course of philosophy in question embraces the elements of psychology, logic, morals, and metaphysics, with a study of the principal schools of philosophy and the various philosophical authors. In connection with the last-mentioned branch of the course, as is natural, considerable prominence is given to the French philosophical writers, and one hour per week of the nine is expressly devoted to the Latin and Greek authors. This course of philosophy, admirable as it is, and interesting as (perhaps) it may be to the average youngster of seventeen years, can in no sense be properly classed as an adjunct to the mothertongue instruction, except in so far as history, geography, or any other branch of study, carried on in the vernacular, can be so considered. In the programme it is very properly classified by itself.
* The programme of the Boston Latin School, embracing six vears of study, and that of the French lycées ten years, there have been prefixed to the tables of the Latin School --for purposes of comparison-the recitation hours of four years of the grammar-school courses preliminary to it. All references to the Latin School courses in this paper will, therefore, be understood as embracing the result of tabulation of ten years' school worknot that of the six years' course of the Latin School proper.
Referring to the courses in modern languages, there is certainly here no question as to where the preponderance lies. In the French lycée the living languages are made prominent from the preparatory year, and the strength of the course developed in the first three years. The total is 1,000 hours, or 1107 per cent of the whole hours, compared with 380 hours, or 4:9 per cent only in the Boston Latin School. Latin and Greek, which naturally form the pièces de résistance of the French classical course, are, as one might expect, much more prominent than with us. The Latin is begun in cinquième, the pupil eleven years of age, with ten hours of recitation per week, and is continued with reduced hours for six years, giving a total of 1,500 hours, against 1,293 hours at the Boston Latin School. In the last year (classe de philosophie) the technical study of Latin is omitted, but, as above stated, one hour per week of the nine allotted to philosophy is devoted to Greek and Latin authors, the original texts being freely employed. Greek is begun in the second term of the fourth year of the course, the pupil twelve years of age, with two hours per week for the rest of the year, and is continued through the classe de rhétorique. Taken together, the Greek and Latin recitations of the French course occupy 2,340 hours, contrasted with 1,805 hours in the Boston Latin School.
The importance attached to drawing in the French scheme of instruction is shown by the considerable time devoted to it. This is in most striking contrast to the almost general neglect of this important branch of education, not only at the Latin School of Boston, but at nearly all classical fitting schools in the United States. In the French lycée 79 per cent of the whole course is devoted to drawing; in the Boston Latin School the percentage is 2.9.*
Among the various illustrations of the difference of the two
* In the Latin School proper do instruction in drawing is given. The percentage referred to is derived from the preceding grammar-school courses.
programmes, none is more interesting than that of the relative number of hours devoted to mathematics in the French and American courses. The figures are as follows: French lycée, 740 hours; Boston Latin School, 1,387 hours. The French boy arrives at the end of his classical preparatory course of study, having been subjected on an average to less than two hours of recitation per week in mathematical subjects. The average American pedagogue would certainly rise with protests deep, and disgust profound, if ever it were proposed to him to fit a boy for college with an allowance of only 897 per cent of the whole school course for his arithmetic, algebra, and geometry.* Yet this is precisely what the French do—in their classical course. In the Boston representative course the percentage is 1768 per cent.
As the treatment of mathematics in the French classical course, with the limited time allotted to this study, is of general interest, a résumé of it is given here. In the preparatory class of the lycée, as well as in the classe de huitième following, the allotted time is devoted to simple arithmetical work in whole numbers, mental work, and to the solving of easy problems. In septième (third year of the course) are added decimal numbers and the metric * system, with drawing of geometrical figures. In the next year there is a review of work on whole numbers, a continuation of mental exercises and problems, and decimals; work on fractions is entered upon, and elementary geometry is begun. In the succeeding year arithmetic is continued, with the study of the rule of three, interest, discount, with simple problems in alligation, a detailed review of the metric system, and with further very elementary geometrical exercises. In quatrième, theoretical geometry is begun, with one recitation per week. In troisième, the two hours per week are devoted to a review of arithmetical subjects, elementary algebra is begun, and geometry is continued. In classe de rhétorique (ninth year of the course), two hours a week are devoted to recitations in solid geometry and cosmography; and in the last year (classe de philosophie), four hours per week, are devoted to a complete review of the work of the previous years in arithmetic, algebra, and geometry.
* The percentage of hours devoted to recitations in mathematics, in such typical fitting schools of the United States as bave supplied data to the writer, is as follows: Boston Latin School (with four years' grammar-school course added), 17.8 per cent. Boston English High School (with two years' grammar-school course added), 16.6 per cent. Phillips Academy, Exeter, N. H., classical course, 26:5 per cent; scientific course, 26.9 per cent. Williston Seminary, Easthampton, Mass., classical course, 26•7 per cent; scientific course, 2807 per cent. Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass., classical course, 2007 per cent; scientific course, 28.8 per cent. St. Paul's School, Concord, N. H., classical course, 24.9 per cent ; scientific course, 27.8 per cent. Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, N. J., classical course, 17 per cent; scientific course, 22.7 per cent. St. Mark's School, Southborough, Mass., exclusively classical, 21.6 per cent. Doubtless these percentages may, in some of the schools cited, be increased or decreased in the case of certain pupils; but they represent the mathematical courses as prescribed for the major portion of them. How strikingly the figures illustrate the different methods of treatment of the mathematical question, in the United States and France, will be understood when it is further stated that the percentage allowed to mathematics in the French lycée course is only 8.7 per cent, and in the secondary special course, where mathematical studies are considered by the French to be especially prominent, only 17 per cent.
It must be admitted that in this country the mathematical in. struction, sketched above, would be thought to afford a somewhat meager outfit for a young man intending to present himself for examination at any of our American colleges, with their present mathematical prerequisites. It is also obvious that the French, who, according to President Eliot, “are quite as skillful with numbers as the Americans," do not gain a skill in “ciphering" in the classical lycée course. This proficiency is obtained elsewhere, as will be further shown. The French are, indeed, not only skillful with numbers, but are as a nation eminent for their mathematical ability; and their management of the much-vexed problem of the relative time to be devoted to elementary mathematical branches in the classical fitting schools commends itself to the serious consideration of American educators. A comparative exhibit of the classical lycée and Boston School courses clearly shows that it is to the excess of hours of recitation as a whole, and in no small degree to the holding of mathematical studies in abeyance, that the French are enabled to accomplish what they do in the way of bringing their boys to college at an early age. Give to the Boston course, for instance, ten-per-cent increase of recitations, plus the difference existing at present between the respective hours given to mathematical studies in the lycée and Latin School courses, and
to Latin, in the Boston Latin School, during its entire six years' course. It still more closely represents the difference in the respective hours given in the two countries to modern languages and drawing, with the hours of the entire course in philosophy added. It clearly follows-reversing the point of view-that Harvard has but to slightly reduce its requirements in mathematics to the French lycée standard, to enable it to obtain from its matriculates
—those coming at least from the Boston Latin School-not only the attainments in philosophy considered so desirable by its president, but also considerable proficiency in such other branches of the French programme as its honorable faculty may “elect” to receive.
With the present public sentiment, and especially in view of the present requirements in mathematics on the part of American colleges, it is not probable that we can look for a reduction in mathematical studies in our classical preparatory courses to the point exhibited by the programmes as existing in France. But