The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
The Correlation of Lessons
by V.H. Allemandy
[Victor H. B Allemandy is decribed as a literary scholar and "trained certificated Teacher, Author of 'The Normal History of English Literature' and of various other textbooks." He also wrote "A Handbook of English Idiom" and many studies on literary works.]
It has often been asserted that the schemes of lessons we draw up rarely, if ever, show any continuity. Lessons are given week in, week out, on subjects and topics of all descriptions, so that, at the close of the week a child has obtained an amount of "scrappy" information on subjects as remote from each other as the Polar regions. Such an assertion as mentioned above is absolutely true. But the contrary exists in Continental schools, for, in France and Germany, schemes are drawn up with the express intention that some of the lessons at any rate shall bear a relation to one another. A chaotic arrangement is seen in the way history is taught in English schools. Generally speaking, a historical scheme of lessons is drawn up in reigns--an arbitrary division. Each reign is treated as a separate one, and rarely, if ever, is any continuity observed. Not only is this the case in teaching history; the same method, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, is adopted by students when, studying history for their respective examinations. In many schemes particular events are chosen, and, even then, each event is treated as though it had a separate individual existence. If we turn to geography, we find the same state of things in existence. As a child passes from one class to another he studies special countries, but even when be has passed the Seventh Standard, he has no knowledge of the world as a whole, no knowledge of the relation of one country to another, nor the commercial relations existing between different countries. The physical and political geography is entered into minutely, but the commercial geography is often seriously neglected. Maps of particular countries are constantly before a boy's eyes, but he shows little familiarity with a map of the world, thus showing that his attention has been seldom drawn to it.
Again, if science forms one of the subjects of a school curriculum, one special science is chosen and isolated, and, as a rule, little information is given illustrating the interrelation of the sciences. If a more consistent and logical method were adopted, we should probably find that the knowledge we impart to our scholars would be better retained, and for a much longer period.
We are no longer bound by Codes. Every teacher can draw up a scheme of lessons according to his own ideas and methods of teaching, provided such a scheme obtains the sanction of Her Majesty's Inspector. Therefore, why not adopt a national plan so that, during the course of the week or month, as the case may be, the knowledge given in one subject may be utilised in another. It is a practical scheme which is adopted in all Herbartian schools. Herbart, the German philosopher and educationist, was the first to propound the idea of correlation in teaching. An admirable account, containing worked-out schemes of Herbart's Educational Theories, is given in Miss [Catherine] Dodd's Herbartian Principles of Teaching (Swan, Sonnenschein & Co.), which has recently been issued. We here append a few schemes showing how the correlation of lessons may be established. Others will suggest themselves to the thoughtful reader.
I. THE CRIMEAN WAR.
1. History of tile War.
II. THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR.
1. Geography of the United States.
[In (1) and (2) dwell more especially on the wealth, mineral and commercial, seaports, army and navy, and form of government. In (3) special importance should attached to the trade routes and submarine telegraphs].
1. Account of the Life of Bismarck.
[For information concerning (I) consult works on "Bismarck" by Lowe, J. W. Headlam, and Dr. Moritz Büch; and Character Sketch in The Review of Reviews for August, 1898].
IV. The RE-CONQUEST OF THE SOUDAN.
1. Geography of Egypt, the Soudan, and the Nile Valley.
[Valuable information on"The Re-conquest of the Soudan" will be found in Cassell's Wars of the Nineties, parts. 1, 2 and 3.]
Proofread by LNL, June 2020
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