« AnteriorContinuar »
3. The ratio of work accomplished by the most advanced and least advanced students of the individual section is as 177 to 100, and if the most advanced student had remained to the end of the year at the same rate the ratio would have been 188 to 100. In this connection it should be remembered that this most advanced student was wholly or in part selfsupporting, played in the university band, which required more time than the usual military service, and was also in the regular class during the first semester, his gain being almost wholly made in the last half of
4. The most advanced student would complete the regular curriculum in approximately three and one quarter ordinary school years, and would probably do it in three years. The least advanced would complete the work in six years, or possibly less. But if the school year might be, say, forty-six weeks long, the time required would be two and one half calendar years and five and one quarter calendar years respectively.
The first and second of the foregoing results seem to indicate that several classes of men taught by different methods will reach approximately the same level of accomplishment, but this interpretation is not quite correct, because the individual work was not conducted with the same relative efficiency as the regular class-work, and the true indication, therefore, is that a measurable excess of accomplishment is possible under the individual plan. The four results, considered together, indicate the extent to which the man of quick intelligence is held back to the average in ordinary class-work, and the liability of the slow man to fail, be he never so faithful, because he cannot reach the average.
The third and fourth items seem to indicate that the quick student may get permanently into his profession from three fourths of a year to one and one half years earlier, if taught by the individual method, or he may secure a much broader education in the usual four years. It is not forgotten that summer vacation work when it is secured is valuable training, and that the proper length of the school year is an open question distinct from the question of individual instruction. The results indicated may, however, be considered contributions to the discussion of both questions.
A student expression may be of interest. At the end of the first semester there were vacancies in the section, and two men from the regular class applied for admission. One of these was perhaps the ablest man in the entire freshman class-certainly as able as any other. His opinion is worthy of considerable weight. He had the regular class training in the first semester and the individual teaching in the second. He really needed very little teaching, little more, in fact, than the assignment of work, though he did occasionally make mistakes as well as the rest. He was very positive in his preference for the individual work for three reasons: First, because he got a better working knowledge of the subject in the same time; second, because he found it agreeable to work on a single subject till a particular point was accomplished, or until tired, when he could take up another, it was a relief not to have small portions of several subjects to do each evening; third, because he could proceed at any rate of which he was capable, getting full advantage of ability and diligence, thus giving an incentive to full effort, which was lacking in the regular class-work for which he found himself doing just enough to get through with credit.
The slow, but faithful, man's reason, corresponding to the last of these arguments, would be that he finds himself able to progress as rapidly as consistent with thorough work without the danger of being carried faster than he can go with credit or of being left hopelessly behind.
A distinct advantage of the individual method, so patent that it need not be elaborated, is the opportunity given to any man, graduate or undergraduate, to enter at any time upon any subject for which he is prepared, and to follow it to any desirable or possible extent. The possibilities to the graduate student, to the undergraduate student of limited means, who can conveniently work but part of the year, and to the mature man desiring to investigate a single field, are very great, and the method in this particular seems to conform in the highest degree to the true university idea.
On previous occasions the writer has strenuously advocated before this body the individual method of teaching. He has done this without personal experience with the method, simply because it appealed to his reason as the rational way to deal with individuals no two of whom are alike. His experiment of the past year has taught him many things concerning the details of the work and has made his faith in the method absolute and unchangeable. (For discussion see page 99.)
PEDAGOGIC METHODS IN ENGINEERING
BY WILLIAM KENT,
The great advances in engineering practice in the past twenty-five years have been largely due first to the dissatisfaction of engineers and their employers with the way in which things were done in the past, and secondly, to the exercise of the engineer's brains in finding out better ways of doing them.
The work of the engineer has included the systematic study of the properties of his raw materials and of the ways in which these raw materials could be handled, so as to utilize them with the greatest possible saving of time and labor and so as to secure a maximum value of the finished product. This work of the engineer is still going on. People are not yet satisfied with what has been accomplished, and never were engineers more active in trying to find out still better ways of working. The same ideas apply to the technical colleges. Splendid as is the work they have done, no one is yet quite satisfied with them either in the kind of raw material they handle, the method of handling it, or the value of the finished product. Dissatisfaction that merely ends in complaint is of no use to the world, but dissatisfaction that leads thoughtful men to study how things may be improved is of the greatest benefit.
The technical college at present is not in condition to control the quantity or the quality of its raw material, the high school graduate. He must be accepted with all his imperfections. The problem for the educator is to study and classify these imperfections and devise ways and means of getting rid of them, so as to make the young men better students, and then, when they have acquired the proper study-habit, to devise ways and means of giving them such professional training as they should have, in the most efficient manner possible.
Let us consider the average freshman upon his arrival in the technical college. For the preceding twelve years he is supposed to have had training in the English language. He has criticized Shakespeare, Addison and Carlyle, and yet he cannot write a good composition of five hundred words on any subject which requires the use of his observing powers. His penmanship and his spelling are apt to be execrable and his paper is lacking in neatness. His spoken English is likely to be just as bad. If he has studied a lesson, he cannot recite it in such a manner as to convey information to his hearers. As to arithmetic, he has studied that from four to six years in the grammar school, but neglected it in the high school; and he cannot solve a complicated problem in compound interest, or in mensuration, without making mistakes. His reasoning powers are supposed to have been cultivated in his mathematical, linguistic and scientific courses, but he shows a greater desire to receive information passively as it may be handed out to him rather than to use his thinking powers to obtain it for himself.