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GUIDE BOOKS TO ENGLISH
CHARLES B. GILBERT
LECTURER ON EDUCATION, WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY
SCHOOL AND ITS LIFE,” ETC.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This, the second “Guide Book to English,” consists of two parts: a Course of Language Lessons, and a Grammar.
It is quite too common in the higher books of language series either to omit productive language exercises altogether or so to subordinate them to the claims of technical grammar as seriously to impair their effectiveness. As a result, not infrequently the fluency and freedom of expression acquired in the lower grades are lost in the grammar school. This is due in some instances to the requirements of formal examinations and the exactions of “ the man higher up,” who applies tests, if not actually incompatible with free and effective expression, at least so independent of it as to make it easy to meet them with a minimum of skill in the use of language.
A high school principal, whose pupils came to him as the result of such formal tests, when asked in what he found them best equipped and in what most deficient, said, “ They are best in English grammar and weakest in English language.”
Indeed, during the grammar school period there are the strongest of psychological reasons for continuing the free language exercises. The pupils have now
arrived at “the awkward age,” when expression of all: kinds is difficult because of self-consciousness and its resulting embarrassment. Hence there is especial need of exercises that encourage expression in all proper ways and give confidence to the student.
This is one of the strong arguments for manual training in the grammar grades. It also makes it desirable to continue the expressive activities employed in connection with language study in the lower grades, as is suggested in this book.
But especially does this condition make it important to keep language expression still in the foreground and while teaching the essentials of grammar, to subordinate such teaching to the demands of effective expression.
PART ONE – LANGUAGE The language lessons are placed before the grammar in this book to indicate the continuity of plan running through the two “ Guide Books to English.”
The various exercises suggested may be divided into three classes. (1) The Study of Literature, (2) Reproduction, both oral and written, (3) Original Production.
The Study of Literature serves the twofold purpose of securing familiar and friendly acquaintance with the best models and of cultivating correct habits of expression and good style. To that end the literature given and suggested is abundant in amount and varied in character.
The Reproductive Exercises tend to fix in the mind correct forms and to develop a vocabulary. Both oral and written exercises are offered. It is hoped that the
teachers using this book will avoid the common error of omitting oral reproduction in the higher grades. Here, as in the more elementary classes, it is of great importance, both for enlarging the vocabulary and for cultivating fluency.
Original Production, naturally, is the chief means of developing power of thought and facility of expression.
In obedience to the principle that the first essential of literary production is having something to say, a wide range of topics is offered, largely, however, such as the children's own environment is likely to suggest. In particular, much use has been made of the other school subjects in correlation.
Many coöperative studies are given which offer abundant opportunities for general reviews and for varied forms of expression. These exercises also create interest and afford valuable social training, as well as many lessons in the art of getting information from various sources.
The authors, while recognizing the absolute necessity of free expression, recognize also the importance of orderly and effective arrangement of thought. If pupils organize their own thoughts, they are as free as when uttering loose, unorganized thought, and vastly more effective. Hence much attention is paid to the organization of thought.
Many outlines are given for study, and throughout the book a frequent injunction is, “ Make an Outline.”
For those schools that can do more than the prescribed work, and for those in which the teachers prefer to vary the topics, several additional suggestive outlines are given on pages 145–157.