Sunday, January 6, 2008

tiberius at capri

Just read this today:

The keynote of modern pedagogy is a protest against tradition, whether in subject-matter or in methods of presentation. No subject of instruction has, when compared with other studies of the curriculum, so long a tradition behind it as has Latin. Inasmuch as every study in our modern system of education must, as is fitting, prove its ability to secure a definite result of actual worth, we shall first attempt to ascertain what credentials it needs to present to prove its right of admission as a subject of instruction.

[...]

Of this fact the writer can recall two instances, the one connected with arithmetic, the other with English grammar. His teacher in arithmetic insisted that in a case of division of fractions he must not invert the divisor and multiply, but work instead by the method of finding a greatest common divisor. The case in grammar was that complex system of “diagramming” a sentence by countless lines and sub-lines until the thing looked like a railroad map; wherein the grammatical interest of the sentence had long since yielded to its possibilities as a model in drawing. Studies and the methods employed in their elucidation must produce a definite and practical result; if their aim is mental gymnastic alone, they have no place in secondary schools. They may yield a return in dollars and cents; or they may explain the laws of nature and their relations to our bodies; or they may present the evolution of the races; or mould character, inculcate ideals, and develop a feeling for the beautiful; and the like. But some definite and practical result, bearing directly on life, each study must effect before we can admit it. The study of Latin will yield no particular financial return.

[Eugene A. Hecker. 1909. The Teaching of Latin in Secondary Schools, pp.1f.]

How refreshing to see sentence diagramming slammed in favor of studying Latin. The best way to learn grammar is to learn another language than one’s own.

Labels:

2 Comments:

Blogger kvov0609 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 20, 2008 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger maxqnz said...

"How refreshing to see sentence diagramming slammed in favor of studying Latin. The best way to learn grammar is to learn another language than one’s own."

I agree entirely with the last sentence, but am not so sure about the Latin bit. Something about the affection for that old chestnut just makes me want to scream "Romanes Eunt Domus" at the top of my lungs. Make it Sanskrit instead. and get closer to the original pie, and to a bigger clutch of living languages.

February 21, 2008 at 4:57 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home