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Monday, May 13, 2013

Let's Study Like It's 1899

I received a large shipment of books from someone who was cleaning house and have slowly been going through them. At least one little gem is marked for donation to the Mississippi Library Commission: The Official Syllabus for County Institutes for the Summer of 1899 for the State of Mississippi.

It was a temptation to keep--tiny green books look awfully nice on my bookshelves at home--but I hope more people will be able to enjoy it in the library. The book contains a run-down on what was taught in Mississippi schools, with additional thoughts on why education in each subject matter was considered important. Here are my favorite selections from the section devoted to literature:
  1. Literature is the record of thought emotion in all ages. To read is to know what has been said and done. It is more, it is to know the real, the better, and sometime the higher life. - C.D. Warner
  2. The reading habit is the most valuable thing the teacher can secure to the child.
  3. It follows, that no effort should be spared to establish this habit.
  4. It has been thought and said that the teacher hasn't time to teach Literature. The child can pick that up himself. The fact is, the teacher hasn't time not to teach it.
  5. Let no teacher treat it as a sort of side issue; it is the main issue.
  6. Drilling into the memory of a pupil the facts as to some author's birth, place of education, wife's name, list of works with the date at which he wrote them, and finally the time and place of his death is not teaching Literature.
  7.  The study of masterpieces relieves the monotony of school-life, cultivates the imagination, broadens the sympathies, and tends to the culture of the whole man.
  8. Pay especial attention to poetry. It is the natural language of the emotions, the vehicle by which one great soul speaks to a kindred soul the beauty and harmony of its conceptions.
  9. Seek to cultivate a love for reading. The reading habit should take the place of the idling time-killing habit.
  10. If necessary, devote less time to the usual school duties and give some time to Literature.
 As a reading fanatic, I wholeheartedly endorse this teaching method. Up next week? Math. I'm willing to wager that my approval will not be as easily forthcoming.

Official Syllabus County Institutes, Summer 1899. State of Mississippi.

1 comment:

  1. I love this. And especially because my own grandmother was possibly learning to be a teacher not too long after this was written. A gem!


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