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the practical man, "The trouble with English teaching is that all the material of it is impractical and quite out of touch with modern life. Give them something up to date.
Substitute Shaw for Shakespeare and George Ade for Bacon and you will get some result.” Well, perhaps you would ; the force of gravity does assist results.
We make this sort of democracy a slogan without considering whether there is any possibility in it or not. Calling tatting and Æschylus the same thing does not make them so. Pedagogy joys in talking lightly of impossibilities. And in fact we nearly all leave gaps in our recognition of things. We avoid the word aristocracy, in our speech, and all terms that imply serious admission of class distinctions. And yet we all know, whether we are honest enough to acknowledge it or not, that distinctions are going to exist. We may achieve an ideal social scheme in which there will be no artificial gradations, but there will always be natural ones. We talk of universal education, but we really know that it will never come about. Some will be educated and some — even of those who go through high school and college - will not There will never be a level. Education is not a levelling but an individualizing process. Children of all grades and classes enter high school; and they emerge, not in the same grades and classes, for some will rise and some will sink in the process, but in quite as many. The shifting is determined in part by the school, but more by factors which lie outside of it. The English teacher, for example, wishes that all who pass through his hands might emerge lovers of good reading, prepared to use all that literature has to offer. In his heart, however, he knows that that will never be. Their attainment was determined largely before they ever came to him, determined by their home and its irresponsibility, by their parentage, by the whole course of creation, which may have made all men free, but by no means gave them all the same literary taste.
We need a new distribution of responsibility, and the school should really assist in it, instead of making the division constantly more unequal. In English, some means of uniform grouping of pupils would be of much assistance and would do
away with the heterogeneity which gives a sort of dazedness to much of the present instruction. What I should like to propose as a natural and practical basis for the gradation of these pupils would be, not their age or head-measurements, nor a record of their previous work in other subjects, but an examination of their parents. Examinations, I know, are falling into disrepute among lecturers especially, who are fond of coming among us and saying that it is a sign of inefficiency for a teacher to give an examination. But this would be one of those practical examinations, which we are all passing or failing in, consciously or unconsciously, all the time. Even those lecturers do not know, perhaps, that we are really examining them while we listen, and sometimes finding them below the passing mark.
This method would require both parents, when they wish to enter a child in high school, for instance, to give a list of their own reading for the past year, the magazines they subscribed for and especially those they bought at the news-stands, the daily paper the father took regularly, as well as the one he read on the car going home, dictagraph records of the family conversation for an entire week, a catalogue of the family library and an explanation of how it was acquired, a list of amusements, both those the parents took alone and those they shared with the children — and anything else the examining board might think pertinent. With these points in hand there would be little difficulty in forming a prompt estimate of the taste of the pupil, his speech usage, general knowledge, and many other things about him. A board would readily determine what work he needed and was capable of doing. The families of a town could be graded as A, B, C, and so on down to Z;- if that did not furnish low enough grades the Greek alphabet could be added below 2,- and kept on record in that way. As they sent up successive children to be entered in school, it would be necessary for the authorities only to look at the family record and assign the youth to his natural place. If at any time the parents should become ambitious to raise the initial rating of their children, they could apply for a new examination, to show that the character of the home had appreciably improved.
The teacher or principal, on entering a new pupil from a family
already on record, would merely look at his register and say, “Robinson? C. W., on Fortieth Street? Let me see - Your family subscribed last year for such and such magazines. They bought pretty regularly such others. They haven't in five years read a book that was more than six months old - generally the very latest possible. They read all the works of So-and-So-consider him the best writer they know. They attend some movingpicture show twice a week. Ye-es. Well, we'll start you in Class W and see what you can do." The method would be very simple.
It might be a good thing to institute a similar test for patrons of colleges. It would doubtless lower the mortality rate there. In this case there should be added an affadavit, taken under stern oaths, of the parents' purpose in sending their offspring to college, and especially of their hope and expectation regarding the result. The college could reserve the right to reject any applicants, or accept them only on probation.
Of course a pupil should not be held absolutely to this resulting classification; he could have a chance to show that by some exception to law, or some outside opportunity or special cffort of the teacher, he had better taste or judgment than his parents. That often happens. The plan would not necessarily lead to caste-making. It might even have a good reflexive effect, in that the pupil might, for the sake of his own credit and standing, take in hand the reading and amusements of his parents and the choice of a family library. A general intellectual advance might come about through it, if parents were once convinced by such a definite and authoritative sign that the home did function in relation to its children.
English is the most obvious and natural field for an initial experiment of this sort, but there are doubtless other departments where it would also be effective. If it were proved to all parents that they were actually affecting their children's intellectual progress it would be worth while. This plan would really be the basis for a new sort of Parent-Teacher Association, a very natural and potential one. There might in time be developed a new activity of the parental conscience, which has by no means been dormant in all its functions. A beautiful emu
lation might arise between the school and the home, and a parental avarice of duties equal to that of the school at present The school would still be the dominant element, of course, and there would be no reason why emulation should pass into jealousy. The home has really been a very good thing, considering everything. Some of us, if we had to choose between what we learned at school and what we learned at home, would take the latter accumulation, not for any sentimental reasons but merely on its merits. It would be a pity, on the whole, to do away with the home, as some educators practically propose. Would it not be better to make it an important annex the public schools, than to discard it entirely?
MARGARET LYNN. University of Kansas.
MACHIAVELLI IN MARLOWE
Through the present recurrence of a “strong age" in the history of nations, attention is likely to be focussed again on the works of Niccolò Machiavelli, whose shade still haunts the minds
Quite recently, a writer in the Springfield Republican pointed to the "growing burden of Machiavellianism in German books" which has for years been disturbing." It is altogether probable that students of contemporary events will be strongly tempted to discover in the political spirit of to-day the ominous positivism of the Florentine secretary, and to see in certain aspects a causal connection between them. The cry of Nationalism, uttered with such evident feeling in the last chapter of Il Principe, the doctrine of the Superman, argued with such cool impersonality throughout that compact little treatise, the tacit denial of the existence of public or political morality everywhere so frankly suggested, invest his book with a startlingly vivid and realistic interest. Perhaps at no time has the world at large been in a better position to ponder his reflections with understanding. Modern representatives of his political theory have popularized his ideas, if not his name. Nietzsche has philosophized Machiavelli. Germany, in the opinion of some, is putting him into practice now, though Frederick the Great, when very young, condemned him as he would not have condemned him later in his career.
In other days the name of Machiavelli was widely known and frequently taken, - especially in England. His thought, however, was misunderstood, and his method uncomprehended. The Elizabethan playwrights cultivated assiduously their pseudoacquaintance with the Italian thinker, and Eduard Meyer, in his Machiavelli and the Elizabethan Drama, has demonstrated impressively the vogue enjoyed by Machiavelli among such characteristic writers for the stage as Kyd, Peele, Greene, Ben Jonson, Dekker, Heywood, Webster, Chapman, Middleton, Beaumont and Fletcher, Shakespeare, and the lesser lights of the theatre. Critics of the calibre of Courthope and John Morley have at