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Views in regard to what the course in English should be are changing year by year, an encouraging sign of growth. Three fundamental ideas seem to be winning wide acceptance. They are as follows: First, emphasis during the earlier years of the secondary school course should fall on practice in expression through the medium of simple, interesting, carefully graded exercises, with rhetorical theory well in the background; during the later years this practice should be continued, the tasks in composition less frequent but calling for longer, maturer effort, and something of rhetorical theory should be placed before the pupils. Second, the course in literature during the earlier years should be exceedingly simple, designed to break up careless reading habits and lead gradually to an appreciation of better things; during the junior and senior years the study of literature should become more and more systematic, not only acquainting the pupil with a few choice masterpieces but fixing in his mind methods of study, supplying him with the vocabulary necessary for intelligent discussion of books, and familiarizing him with the greatest names in English literature, so that after school days are over he may be equipped to continue his reading along profitable lines and in an intelligent way. Third, as the course progresses, practice in composition and practice in literary criticism should, within reasonable bounds, be correlated, this to be managed in part through the study of rhetoric.


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