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Talked Good Sense

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Despite the bad condition of the roads about 135 of Washtenaw's teachers assembled at Saline last Satuxday to attend the mid winter meeting of the County Association. As President Essery was late in arriving the meeting was called to order by Commissioner Wedemeyer,and aftera song by the Saliüe High School choir Stipt. R. O. Austin, of Saline, presented a paper on the "Future of Euglish Syutax." The subject was handled in a very able mannar. All text books of grammar and rhetoric are emphatic in the enunciation of the principie that usage is the law of grammar, and that the office of the grammarian is not to lay down sets of arbitrary rules but only to explain existing forrns. But in praotice these authors are far from consistent. They ding with slavish subordination to traditioual rules aud forms of expi-ession that have loug been obsolete. Tne English language is in almost as muoh of a trausitional stage today as it was in the twelfth century and books should keep abreast of the times. The speaker proooeded to criticize many of the defiuitions given iu text-books as erroneous or misleadiog. Gender has no place in English grammar. Likewise tbere is littleusein regarding persou as a property of the noun. There was once a subjeotive mode, but it is now practioally obsolete ; whiJe as far the imperativo mode there is little excuse for saying that it ever existed. The property of comrnanding belongs to the sentenoe and not to the verb alone. Syntax and analysis are the all important parts of formal grammar. Tho speaker pointed out many oases in whioh there is a couflict between reputable usage and the rules laid down by text-books. The nice distinctions in the use of "shall" and "will" are no lcnger regarded. By actual ooviut, nino out of ten of the speakers who appear on the University platíorm use tne objective form afrer the verb "be" as: "It is me" itot "It is I." The discussion of the paper was opened by Supt. M. A. Whitney, of Ypsilanti. "Usage is the basis of grammar but whose usage? Not that of the majority of the people but that of the best writers and thinkers. Even the men who appear upon the University platform could not be taken as the Standard. Commissioner Wedemeyer commended the ideas advanced by Prof. Austin. The usage of the better class of newspapers could not be entirely disregarded. Á large majority of the reporters employed by such journals are eduoated meu, perhaps college graduates. At this point a paper on "hunger" was announced and after a son g by the ohoir an adjournment was taken till 1:30. President Essery presided at the afternoon session. A song by a quartet was well received and an encoré brought out "Gently Glides our Boat. " Mrs. F. Caldwell Heller theu preseuted a paper on "teaching Reading in the District Schools. " Reading is a very important subject as the ability of the pupil to learn other lessons depends upon his being a careful, thoughtful reader. Children are great mimios and teachers should bear this in mind, aud when reading anything in thair presence read it with proper inflectiou and empbasis. The greatest impediment to success in the district schools ii lack of time. Blaekboard1 may be of great assistance. Place new words on the board, properly syllabicated and marked diacritically, and have them read by the class. Teach the pnpils to talk the lesson instead of prooeeding in the old sing-song, buzz-saw fashiou. After a short discussion Supt. M. A. Whitney gave an address on the subject "What Should a Course of Study Include?" Reading is the most important. One requisite for teach'ng reading well is interesting subject matter and in this respect there has been a great improvement in the last few ears. Memorize good literature early. Word-calling is not reading. Thoughtgetting is the important thing. Children should be taught to read in four or five years time instead of taking eight years as now. 'Good literature should ocoupy a place in every course of study. The pupil should' become familiar with the best American and some Britisb authors. Spelling - Pupils can learn to spell in much shorter time than is usnally taken. Teachers should give their best efforts to teaching spelling. Spelling and penmanship are poorly taught. Mathematics - Introduce some elementary work in algebra and geometry. The chisf object of mathematics is to develop the reasoning faculties. Grammar sbould be studied largely in connection with reading and literatue. Language - incluiug innch tehnical grammar but not studied as such. Pupils should be taught tnexpress theit thoughts clearly and oarefnlly. Don' look far for snbjeots for composition ex j ercise. Nature study seeius very I cult bnt in reality is not so. Study grains, grasses, trees, birds, ininerals, er.c. Geography - Try to show that the earth was prepared for the home of mau. Too many details are taughtnow. Take ruuou of the time usually given to geog raphy for nature study orhistory. History should not be limited to the United ; States. Childien are greatly interested in the history of öreece, Rome, England, etc, as well as in that of the United States. Connect history with geography. In addition to the above all pupils should be taught to sing, and drawing should be taught in conneotion with other studies. More attention should be given to penmanship. Nettie M. Gillett presented a paper on "School Ethics. " Education should develop the moral as well as the mental powers Strive to develop consoience. Muoh proflt may be derived from good books. Instill infco theminds of pupils that "no manliveth tohiniself. " Make the sohoolroom as attraotive as possible. One is sure to meet with many disoouragments. Even nineteenth century podagpgues cannot be expected to perform ijiniracles. Remember that "Daty done is viotory won." Discussion opened by Copunissioner Wedemeyer. To teacb arithmetic, geography, etc. is not tho teacb's wbole duty. We must strive to mate men and woruen who will be of use to the world. Teaoh patriotism and the spirit of charity and kindness. Supt Whitney - Take material for teaching ethics from history, storiesand best literature. President Essery - Thnughts are largely influenced by surroundings. Paint buildings, clean up yards, beautify school grounds, school house, etc. iliss Lena Mallory then read an interestijBg paper on "Drawing" and af ter some Jfürther discussions and music an adjournment was taken with theunderstaudipg tbat the next meeting would be hela at Chelsea. "Í ■


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