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A. R. BRUBACHER, Ph. D.,
Instructor in Greek in Yale University
DOROTHY E. SNYDER, B. A., PD. B.
The purpose of this book is to unify the teaching of English in the high school. English as a school study is more than grammar, more than composition, more than literature. It is a judicious combination of these three component parts. The authors feel that their work justifies itself only in so far as it gives grammar its rightful place in the study of English, treats composition as self-expression in language, and makes the reading of the books prescribed in English literature a profitable recreation.
Every child acquires the power of speech by unconscious imitation of the mother tongue. Since the model of imitation in America is frequently ungrammatical, the English of the average American child is frequently ungrammatical unless conscious correction and self-cultivation in language make it correct. It must therefore be the purpose of English teaching to give a norm by which the acquired speech habits may be corrected, by which the acquired language may be adjusted to the language of the writers and speakers of good English. This adjustment may be made in part by imitation of correct models, but grammar must always remain the touchstone by which correctness is judged. Even the models must be examined for grammatical values.
In the treatment of composition the authors have sought to shift the point of emphasis from literary composition to the practice of self-expression by means of language. They believe that the child should be taught to speak and write freely out of his experience without conscious regard for
formal, literary standards. Free self-expression in oral and written language is the fundamental aim of composition teaching. The exercises have been selected carefully so that they may fall within the experience and ready comprehension of high school students. The subjects are varied to suit the needs of the varied conditions of home and earlier training. The teacher must often determine the availability of the subjects for the particular class or for the individual pupil. The subject which necessarily induces spontaneous self-expression should always be chosen.
The chapter on oral composition is considered of special importance. The method used in that chapter should be continued throughout the English course and should receive emphasis in the daily recitation in all high school studies.
The chapter on Conversations about Books seeks to indicate a method for classroom discussions about the books prescribed for the work in literature. The authors believe that reading for pleasure is the chief aim of the literature work, and that the books should therefore be discussed from this point of view. They believe that the class discussions should be familiar conversations confined to topics of interest to young people. They would therefore leave the minute analysis of books for style and structure to the fourth high school year or to the college .class. Such minutiæ, if admitted at all, should be purely incidental.
The selections from H. W. Longfellow, Samuel Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes, Trowbridge, Hawthorne, and Thoreau are used by permission of and by special arrangement with the Houghton Mifflin Company, authorized publishers of their works; the selections from Norris's The Pit and The Octopus by permission of Doubleday, Page & Company; the quotation from Locke's The Derelict by permission of the John Lane Company; the quota
tions from Bryce's American Commonwealth, and Allen's The Reign of Law by permission of The Macmillan Company; the quotations from Gordy's History of the United States, Van Dyke's Days Off, and Stevenson's New Arabian Nights, Across the Plains, Markheim, Letter to Middleton, by permission of Charles Scribner's Sons; the quotation from Cody's World's Best Short Stories by permission of A. C. McClurg and Co.; and the quotations from Mabie's Under the Trees by permission of Dodd, Mead & Co.
The authors also desire to make grateful acknowledgment to Principal John Rush Powell of the Frank Louis Soldan High School of St. Louis, Missouri, and to Mr. Charles A. Dawson, of the Syracuse, New York, High School, for valuable suggestions and helpful criticism upon the manuscript.
A. R. BRUBACHER.
DOROTHY E. SNYDER. Schenectady, N. Y.
June 21, 1910