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PAUL KLAPPER, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Education
President of Columbia University
Yonkers-on-Hudson, New York
HE student of general problems of education or of
varying worth. In the last decade our secondary schools have undergone radical reorganization and have assumed new functions. A rich literature on every phase of the high school is rapidly developing to keep pace with the needs and the progress of secondary education. The literature on college education in general and college pedagogy in particular is surprisingly undeveloped. This dearth is not caused by the absence of problem, for indeed there is room for much improvement in the organization, the administration, and the pedagogy of the college. Investigators of these problems have been considerably discouraged by the facts they have gathered. This volume is conceived in the hope of stimulating an interest in the quality of college teaching and initiating a scientific study of college pedagogy. The field is almost virgin, and the need for constructive programs is acute. We therefore ask for our effort the indulgence that is usually accorded a pioneer.
In this age of specialization of study it is evident that no college teacher, however wide his experience and extensive his education, can speak with authority on the teaching of all the subjects in the college curriculum, or even of all the major ones. For this reason this volume is the product of a coöperating authorship. The editor devotes himself to the study of general methods of teaching that apply to almost all subjects and to most teaching situations. In addition, he coördinates the work of the other contributors. He realizes that there exists among college professors an active hostility to the study of pedagogy. The professors feel that one who knows his subject can teach it. The contributors have been purposely selected in order to dispel this hostility. They are, one and all, men of undisputed scholarship who have realized the need of a mode of presentation that will make their knowledge alive.
Books of multiple authorship often possess too wide a diversity of viewpoints. The reader comes away with no underlying thought and no controlling principles. To overcome this defect, so common in books of this type, a tentative outline was formulated, setting forth a desirable mode of treating, in the confines of one chapter, the teaching of any subject in the college curriculum. This outline was submitted to all contributors for critical analysis and constructive criticism. The original plan was later modified in accordance with the suggestions of the contributors. This final outline, which follows, was then sent to the contributors with the full understanding that each writer was free to make such modifications as his specialty demanded and his judgment dictated. This outline is followed in most of the chapters and gives the book that unifying element necessary in any book and vital in a work of so large a coöperating authorship.
The editor begs to acknowledge his indebtedness to the many contributors who have given generously of their time and their labor with no hope of compensation beyond the ultimate appreciation of those college teachers who are eager to learn from the experience of others so that they may the better serve their students.
TENTATIVE OUTLINE FOR THE TEACHING
IN THE COLLEGE
1. Aim of Subject X in the College Curriculum:
Is taught for disciplinary values ? What are they?
taught to prepare for professional studies?
groups of students? Does this apply to all the courses in your specialty? How does the aim govern the methods of
In what year or years should it be taught?
its — should be allotted to it?
What is the practice in other colleges?
general curriculum or be prescribed for students in art,
or professional groups?
Desired sequence of courses in this subject.
difficulties or logical sequence of facts?
scribed? For all groups of students?
In what years should the elective work be offered ? IV. Discussion of Methods of Teaching this Subject:
Place and relative worth of lecture method, laboratory work,
recitations, research, case method, field work, assignment
from a single text or reference reading, etc. Discussion of such problems as the following: Shall the first course in chemistry be a general and extensive
course summing up the scope of chemistry, its function in organic and inorganic nature, with no laboratory work
other than the experimentation by the instructor ? Should students in the social sciences study the subject de
ductively from a book or should the book be postponed and the instructor present a series of problems from the social life of the student so that the analysis of these may lead the student to formulate many of the generalizations that
are given early in a textbook course? Should college mathematics be presented as a series of sub
jects, e.g., algebra (advanced), solid geometry, trigonometry, analytical geometry, calculus, etc.? Would it be better to present the subject as a single and unified whole
in two or three semesters? Should a student study his mathematics as it is developed
in his book,- viz., as an intellectual product of a matured mind familiar with the subject,— or should the subject grow gradually in a more or less unorganized form from a series of mechanical, engineering, building, nautical, surveying, and structural problems that can be found in the
life and environment of the student? V. Moot Questions in the Teaching of this Subject. VI. How judge whether the subject has been of worth to the stu
dent? How test whether the aims of this subject have been realized ? How test how much the student has carried away? What
means, methods, and indices exist aside from the traditional examination ?