Biology Through Nature Study

Constance M. Le Plastrier


The reproach urged by educational reformers against those who clung too closely to the classical ideal was that the culture given was too one-sided, being founded on one point of view, that is, appreciation of beauty of expression to be gained by the study of Greek and Latin authors. Thus the poets and other writers in those languages were studied to the exclusion of all else so that the national literature of a country was neglected, whilst many of those able to write passable verses in the classical style could not write correctly a paragraph in their mother tongue. We have certainly changed all that, and in our schools English language and its literature hold the first place, though we note that there is still in certain quarters a suspicion, as it were, of all that is new and seems likely to disturb the prestige of the old. Thus our curriculum is still open to improvement, seeing that matriculation requirements rest mainly on English, mathematics and a language, in some instances a classical one. In other examinations a certain amount of English is compulsory for candidates, who may then select some six or seven other subjects, most of which are what we may term "booky " and which are apt to degenerate into tests of memory. Science, though admitted freely now to the curriculum, is still too specialised, in the lower forms in particular, for the broader the foundation we can lay the greater can be the edifice erected thereon. As the average student enters upon the five year course with little or no preliminary training in observation, experiment or education, she is ill-fitted to profit even by elementary work in the sciences set forth in the syllabus.

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