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appear to him, as his ear is smitten daily with the speech of his fellow-men, all of whom have been in public school, many of them in high school, some even through college, that the precept and labor of himself and his fellow-workmen have been in vain.

Especially is he stung with a sense of failure when he views the chosen reading, or choice of no reading, of the very ones whom he sometime introduced to certain riches of literature. It is hard to realize, as one observes popular adult taste in books and magazines, that at this very moment the youth of our land, those at least who are in process of being educated, are at this formative period having exhibited to them, faithfully and earnestly, with every resource of knowledge and sympathy and originality and vivacity and energy the teacher has at command, the beauties and satisfactoriness of good books. The contrast between this narrow stream of good reading running through our common life, and the great bookless or ill-booked plain which encloses it, seems almost like a fabulous thing. The tremendous circulation of the yearly quota of causeless books — publishers now tound us in terms of millions — seems to jeer at the faithful prophet of the prescribed classics and say, “Where are your Shakespeares and Stevensons aud Thackerays now? Do what you can with your student while you have him; we'll get him as soon as you're through.” And the teacher looks out upon the world and acknowledges that it is true, meekly and with selfreproof that he has not done his work better.

It is obviously his fault. Here is another place where the teacher should function for the whole world. So he redoubles his efforts, and looks about for a new method of making the forces of literature function in relation to the pupil. One rarely finds established methods of teaching literature; for this objective dissatisfaction with result bids the teacher be always up and seeking a new way. Year by year he leads the experimental life professionally, trying always for a means to establish a permanent relation between the books read and the pupil who reads them. He wanders from fact to interpretation and back; he mingles the emotional and the historical and gives no fixed preference to either. The inspirational method beckons him with its chance of individuality and originality, and he spends hours stroking and

twisting and man-handing beautiful lines, purring over them gently and ever anon breathing out, “Isn't it beautiful?” while sentimental pupils beam responsively upon him and he seems to be doing a lovely thing. Then one day he catches the humorous eye of a student in the back row, and is driven abruptly to announce an examination, the result of which is depressing to him. He goes back to the safe prosaic method of inquiry into fact and etymology, and analysis of figures, and looking up allusions, and identification of the homespun virtues of literature; and later he finds the very pupils so treated joining in the parrot cluck of the trite-minded, “Oh, I had to read A Tale of Two Cities in school, so of course I've never read any Dickens since." He decides to lecture on the content of the books read, thus developing the students' critical judgment and broadening their knowledge of thought, while at the same time he trusts them to do the work; his resulting popularity is gratifying to him, until he learns that his course is labeled "grapes” and that all the lightest students in school are flocking to his classes. And at any time, if he inquires into the outside reading of his classes – an imprudent and disheartening thing to do- or if he meets any body of them in post-school days, he is made aware that the reading they are doing of free choice is in most cases unaffected by any memory of the reading they were required to do. Or if he at any time falls into discussion of the matter with one outside his profession, he is likely to be told, plainly and for his own good, that his teaching of literature is impractical and ineffectual. And he is easily convinced that it is.

Perhaps the teacher is to blame. If public education is responsible for adenoids and honesty, for patriotism and daily baths, it should be willing to assume as a matter of course such a small concern as life-long taste in reading and permanent choice of thought-material. It surely is his fault if the pupils rebound like rubber balls from the surface of English literature, at which he has tossed them. The ideal which has constantly stimulated him to further endeavor, is to cause the student who has read one novel of Thackeray under compulsion, to read another at home, of his own free will — and then another. Every teacher dreams dreams. They are realized sometimes, but not

often enough to develop any smugness or vanity in him. And the public reminds him of his failure.

But after all, what if the teacher should turn around and demand a division of responsibility? Perhaps the home no longer functions in teaching its youth to read — but why shouldn't it? Is it an unaskable question?

When an instructor sits in front of a new class in literature and tries to form an estimate of what is before him, even former experience does not preclude a sense of bewilderment, as he contemplates not only the variety of mind — that goes without saying — but all the variety of taste and degree of knowledge and emotional experience and practical information which the different homes and lives of the students have furnished them. Your equipment for a new course in mathematics is your mental powers, by whatever name you call them; your preparation for reading a book is all that you have ever seen and done and thought and read. In a class of thirty there is present all that thirty different homes and experiences have supplied.

And in most cases the homes have supplied very little, in either taste or intellectual experience. For perhaps half-one hesitates to venture upon proportions — of any class, the literature read is entirely detached from anything else upon which their minds work. And this is not the fault of the literature chosen. In every high school — even in every college-a very large number of students come from practically bookless homes. Reading, except for a rather aimless dipping into newspapers, has no part in the life or occupation of the household — not necessarily one of poverty either. There is not even an expectation or illusion regarding it. The reading assigned to pupils from these households is an exotic sort of task, to which neither inclination nor custom nor example leads them.

From this grade they range on up, through those whose homes contain a certificate of respectability in the form of a bookcase with an impossible chaotic collection of rarely opened volumes, accidentally acquired; those from homes of assumed literary tastes, abounding in current magazines and new novels in sectional bookcases, and proud up-to-date readers; up at last to the comparatively few whose taste has been developed and to some de

gree established by careful home fostering and direction. And a teacher takes a medley like this and turns it all in upon the same field of literature. Being bound in the bands of the College Entrance Requirements, if he is in a high school, he gives them all, regardless of taste or knowledge or previous reading, Silas Marner, for example. Jocund or serious, ignorant or informed, they must all read it. One group, readers by taste and home encouragement, with quick visual and sympathetic imagination, and with some knowledge of English life already in hand, take it easily, pleasurably. At the other end of the class is a much larger group, home-starved, unread and uncurious, who know as much of details of English life as they do of the lost books of Tacitus. One boy connects the story with fifty things he has read before ; the other connects it with nothing. And out of this conglomerate the teacher is expected — since he alone functions — to develop a finer popular taste.

Moreover, this wide diversity does not depend organically upon any social or financial gradation in the homes represented. No Bradstreet or list of patronesses or society column will give you more than an inkling of what you may expect from your pupils. No matter what social grade the teacher deals with, he begins on a very uneven and unassured foundation for his teaching of literature. Not only the preparation but the attitude is often against him. The fact is, the high school pupil is asked to do, often, what he sees no one else doing. In all his acquaintance of adults — and he knows he is only preparing to be an adult like them — he sees no one reading what he knows as classics. He never, outside of class, hears them praised, or even talked about in any natural way. No one but English teachers is supposed to be interested in them; he even skeptically suspects that their interest is an enforced professional one.

He supposes his family to be intelligent enough for any purpose; but when he goes home from his recitation in English, he finds his mother who is “a great reader,” giving a few serious hours to Hall Caine or Florence Barclay, and regretting that the new books are really getting ahead of her. His father, whom he considers a very intelligent man, is reading magazines, and is about as likely to read The Vicar of Wakefield as he would be to amuse him

self with a game of logarithms. And those very parents will say later that they have not seen any result from the study of English in high school. If the average boy, on going home from school, should find any member of his family reading, of deliberate choice, for entertainment, any one of the classics read at school, the boy would be stricken beyond power of expression. As for poetry, the connection of that with any natural order of things is inconceivable. If anyone should quote Shelley or Browning at the dinner-table, he would do it shamefacedly, and the whole family would be embarrassed.

Even the sifted-out number who go from high school to college are still marked by the limitations of their training, or lack of training. If an instructor ventures to ask a class of undergraduates, even upperclassmen, what their unrequired reading is, the thing he learns casts a pall over his teaching for weeks. He finds that the very ones who are now dutifully reading Arnold and Meredith and Keats under his enthusiastic and sympathetic direction, are doing their outside reading from sources quite within their own generation. They ingenuously acknowledge preferences for Harold Bell Wright and Gene Stratton Porter and Myrtle Reed. They are not without literary standards for their choice, however; they find that these writers are “true to life," that you can "almost see" their characters, that their “Nature deseriptions are so beautiful.” College training has left the students' early taste undamaged.

The present liberality of theory in education—a conscious and striven-for catholicity — tends to put every kind of learning upon the same level.

At least that seems to be the application of this catholicity. If a boy can't learn Greek or chemistry, let him make a horse-shoe ; if a girl can't read poetry, let her trim a hat. In either case, the youth is being educated; and is not one result as good as the other, if not better? Democracy through education, is the cry. All learning or training is of the same grade. The Greek or science-trained boy and the hattrimming girl are one, with the advantage on the side of the girl ; the only purpose of education anyway is to show one how to make a living. If a man is making a living he is functioning in the highest possible way. English teachers have to hear from

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