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But it should be added that there is much divergence of opinion and practice among teachers as to the amount of both kinds of Translation that is advisable in all three stages of the language course. It is one of those points on which there is much loose thinking and a matter in which extraneous factors, such as the exigencies of examinations and unfavourable conditions, are the cause of or the excuse for grave inconsistencies in method.
As regards the teaching of Grammar, it is important to guard against a certain misconception and to meet a certain criticism.
Many people are under the impression that we don't teach
grammar, and it is only too true that the work of our pupils, especially those who leave school at sixteen, is marred by much grammatical inaccuracy.
As regards the first point, it is obvious that by the inductive method described in the earlier portion of this chapter we are teaching grammar the whole time, but it is only gradually that each classification or category is completed, and even so, only those that are essential to the solidity of the edifice, at the height which it has reached. In short, we work inductively up to and not deductively from the abstract generalizations of the grammar-book. We end where the analytic method began, and, as our method is essentially heuristic, it is a training in observation and in scientific method. The interest aroused by the occasional puregrammar lessons, in which a whole or a portion of a grammatical category is tabulated, is sufficient proof of the educational value of this system.
But, and here we come to the second point mentioned above, it is in the deductive part of the business that our pupils are apt to fail us, if we are not on the watch to insist on their developing the habit of using the laws they have discovered and of referring to the linguistic types or examples from which they have been induced, both when they meet new examples and when they have to “test” the language forms spontaneously suggested by “direct " mental associations. We have not yet sufficiently recognized that the Direct Method implies the training of a different kind of “grammatical conscience ” from that which was the triumph of the old regime—the grammatical conscience which could turn out a passage of French grammatically perfect but
stylistically” worthless. We have to devise special exercises 1 and special expedients 2 to enlist our pupils' own interest and co-operation in the training of the “testing” habit.
This testing function of the “ grammatical conscience” is the necessary corollary of our whole system of the automatic association of language forms with definite sense impressions and mental representations. It is one more illustration of the way in which our method conforms to the pedagogic principle that not Reason and Rule must be the motive-power, but Instinct, controlled by the habit of Reason.
1 e. g. the so-called “research” exercises, consisting in the hunting up of various grammatical phenomena in a given passage and the collection of the uses of prepositions and of verbal constructions on the basis of the foreign similarities of meaning or form, independently of their English equivalents : e.g. demander, commander, défendre, permettre, fournir quelquechose à quelqu'un.
e.g. making each pupil keep a chart on which he enters, under suitable rubrics, the number of times he has broken important grammatical rules in particular pieces of work. Mr. E. A. Peers, M.A., of Felsted, has made most interesting and successful experiments on these lines, furnishing a remarkable example of the way in which children may be stimulated to mental self-discipline (vid. Journal of Experimental Psychology, March and June 1918, or Modern Language Teaching, March 1918).
But there is another factor in this problem of grammatical inaccuracy, and it is one which vitiates all comparison with the state of things in this respect under the old regime. The new methods have made it possible to teach the foreign language to a type of pupil that would be quite incapable of acquiring it on analytic lines, via grammar and translation, a type which is most prevalent among the pupils whose school career ends at sixteen, viz. the very ones whose work is most marred by grammatical inaccuracy. No one, 1 imagine, will question the value to the individual and to the nation of this extension of the field of foreign language teaching
To sum up, the New Teaching of foreign languages is essentially an oral and non-translational method, and its various manifestations, determined as they are by local and individual restrictions and reservations, are all forms, more or less pure and complete, of the Direct Method, the only method that fits in to a consistent scheme of education deduced from the principles of modern physiology and psychology. If the reforms of method in other branches of study are right, then the Direct Method is also right. They stand or fall together. And as to which of the two will be their fate, one has only to ask a Reform teacher to know. The enthusiasm of his belief is not mere sectarian ardour. If one hears him speak about his work, the immensely varied and intensely real field of experience that it opens to that highest desideratum, the cooperation of teacher and taught, one is involuntarily reminded of Emerson's carpenter, who places the trunk he wants to rough hew, not above his head but beneath his feet, so that at every stroke of his axe Nature comes to his help ; by his “method ” he enlists the force of
gravity and the whole universe approves and multiplies the least movement of his muscles. We are enthusiastically confident, because, when we are at work, we feel in ourselves and in our pupils the whole of Nature working with us.
This is a very different enthusiasm and a very different confidence from that of the grammarians of the Renaissance. These appealed, after all, to but a few—an intellectual aristocracy with an appetite for abstractions. It is to these grammarians that we owe the long tyranny of Grammar in language teaching.
The New Pedagogy is elaborating methods of instruction suited to a democratic age, for they bring within the reach of the many a command of foreign languages which is a tangible reality ; and it is highly significant that this should have the effect of relegating grammar to a subsidiary place, and of bringing into prominence those realistic, intuitive and creative factors which are essential conditions of all artistic expression, thus helping to restore to Art the place in Education which Plato assigned to her, and from which she has been ousted by the unholy alliance of the Puritan and the Pedant.
By W. H. D. ROUSE, M.A., Litt.D., F.R.G.S., ETC.
Many will be repelled at the outset by the suggestion of a New Teaching of classics ; but what I have to recommend is only partly new.
In method and aim it is a return to the most ancient tradition, in spirit also it follows the few men of genius who have given themselves to education ; but it is indeed new as compared with the practice of the last forty years, especially since we have been under the German influence. Routine and pedantry have settled on our schools like a blight, and it cannot be denied that the leaders of education have refused to face the truth. The result is that we are now in danger of seeing the whole study of classics destroyed. The only hope is in immediate and drastic measures of remedy ; even so the struggle will be far harder because of past negligence.
If classical study is to continue, it must be infused with the new spirit of reality which has already transformed parts of our school work. This is seen especially in the work of young children. We are no longer content to supply them with books and to hear lessons : their life is full and happy, their work is like a delightful scheme of play, not as their own games aimless and intermittent, but full of an intellectual purpose