Individual Training in Our Colleges

By Clarence F. Birdseye | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX OUR SECONDARY SCHOOLS: THE FORMER COLLEGE COURSE MOVED BACK INTO THEM -- AGE AND MATURITY OF THEIR STUDENTS

THE early college courses were strong in Latin and Greek and in some of the Oriental languages, in composition or theses, in debates, orations and other public speaking. The object of the early colleges was simply to make clergymen, public speakers, and teachers to fit for the learned or Latin professions. Of this? early phase Dr. Thwing says: --

Strong points of earlier college course.

"The literary life of the time made its appeal to the ear rather than to the eye. There were few new books to read. Public opinion was influenced more by the orator than by the author. The literary training which in the modern college is given largely through reading, was given in the first college largely through speaking. . . . It is apparent, however, that the curriculum of the sort obtaining at the new and the old Cambridge lacked in the elements of culture. It had few studies designed to train the faculty of high and noble appreciation. It lacked in works and methods of the imagination. Neither was the course designed to make the scholar. It was narrow in content, limited in relationship, confined to elements of each subject. But be it said positively that such a course does train the thinker. It teaches the student to judge, to relate fact to fact, to compare and to infer. It trains the intellectual gymnast. It does not create the large mind, but it does create the exact mind."1

Literary appeal was to the ear.

But the relative prominence of the public speaker, whether as a clergyman or a lawyer, has largely passed away. Our activities run in other directions. We can never equal the old college courses in these regards. Our colleges themselves have long since relinquished the attempt to restore these features to their former prominence. Our high school courses compare more than favorably with any college course up to much less than one

High school courses broader than earlier college courses.

____________________
1
Thwing, 28, 31.

-124-

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