The pupils wrote compositions of one page or less every day, outside of the class. I gave them big subjects such as:-“Peace”, “The English People", "The Japanese”, etc. I have always found the big subject the most profitable for securing individual thought and good English expression both in regular class exercise and examination. I found in this particular class that I received a different sort of composition from each pupil. It brought out one pupil in particular, who was sent to me by the head of the English department with the remark that, in spite of his large number of errors in anything that would pass as an English composition, in real thought power he was superior to those in the class above him.

The first thing was to teach the pupil what a sentence is. As I noted before, this sort of pupil has not been able to learn, by any ordinary means used in teaching composition, when he is writing complete or incomplete or more than complete statements. It does no good to mark the pupil's paper with corrections in red ink, to arrange the mess into sentences, to call the pupil to the desk and ask him if he does not realize that this and this is a sentence and this and that is not a sentence. He has not learned this method in four or five years of training in the elementary school and one or more years in the secondary school.

This error, which has taken deep root in the out-of-the ordinary pupil in English is undoubtedly thought by many of the teachers who have tried in vain to correct it by ordinary means, to be due to mental deficiency in the pupil, or mental irregularity, at least. I think it may be attributed more justly to ordinary confusion, the result of trying to make the pupil write various kinds of sentences which no pupil in the secondary school can hope to write well and which are never used in their daily conversation or friendly letter writing; and which most of them will never use even after a college course. The error positively can be remedied and that quickly. My pupils recovered by the following means:

I told them that they must use a simple sentence, or a sentence of not over two clauses. I permitted them to use only the simple sentence, the compound sentence of two clauses, and the complex sentence of two clauses. I insisted on this. I repeated it every day. I commended them when they used it, or upbraided, scolded, or laughed at the muddle in their compositions when they attempted to use the more difficult sort of sentence. I tried to bring out the force of this kind of sentence, its beauty, its practical use. In the second place I insisted that the pupils should read their compositions aloud by themselves at home, to see if every group

of words they had begun with a capital letter and ended with a period was one sensible statement, no more and no less.

It was difficult for me to stick to the truth and treat each of the faults and its remedy separately. For instance, although I had the pupils read their compositions aloud for the reason and purpose just stated, I tried to have them use this exercise in hearing and common sense, as an aid to punctuation. I told them that if they would listen a little more acutely their ears would tell them where there was a comma. I did not have them learn a single rule of punctuation. I never mentioned looking up a rule of punctuation in a book. While making corrections before the class, I spoke about the phrase or clause thrown out of its natural order being set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma or commas, and of the commas put around "however," "indeed," and other similar adverbs; but, at the same time I showed the pupils that these were pauses which their ears should note in reading the sentence aloud. I showed the reason, also why a compound sentence of two clauses had a comma after the first clause, whether there is a co-ordinate conjunction after it or not. This was all I taught about punctuation.

I began to teach spelling with a Speller, but I discovered the first or second day that the pupils could not distinguish certain sounds. I asked how many had ever learned to give the alphabet by sounds or phonetically. Not one. So I had them learn a sort of phonetic alphabet the two following days giving one sound only for each letter. I allowed them to choose for themselves any one of the possible pronunciations of any vowel. The next day I showed them the difference between the voiced and the voiceless t, g, and s; I did not intend to have them learn this; it was merely a means of interesting them a little more in sounds. These two exercises awakened to a satisfactory degree the kind of hearing that helps pupils a great deal in spelling. They gave me the basis for emphasizing and re-emphasizing the fact that almost all of the longer words in English are spelled as they are pronounced.

In the second place, I showed the pupils repeatedly that they had a visual memory which would correct mosť of their mistakes

in words which were not spelled phonetically. I know that this method is used to a limited extent by some teachers, but I do not know of any who emphasize it strongly. The pupil is told to write out rapidly on scrap paper two spellings of any doubtful word and see which one looks right to him. I found that the only words of this class to which this method would not apply were words sounded alike but spelled differently, like "there” and “their”; but here the difficulty was not exactly one of spelling. A threatened penalty was the only means I used to secure the proper use of such words. The pupils usually had a spelling book in class. Sometimes a lesson was assigned which was recited. Perhaps two hundred words were pronounced and spelled orally by the pupils during the course, the emphasis being on the pronunciation. I doubt whether this formal spelling had any marked effect on the pupils beyond making them pay more attention to sounds.

I do not call the omission of a final “s" or "e" an error in spelling or grammar when the pupil clearly knows better and recognizes his mistake at once when it is pointed out to him and will scarcely believe he has made such an error if the teacher does not show him the paper. I do not think that the writing of "was” for “were", and errors of a similar kind, by the secondary school pupils are often grammatical blunders, but rather a sort of habitual carelessness which has grown to such a degree that ordinary care on the part of the pupil will not correct it. I approached this difficulty through the mechanical details of the composition. I insisted on a neat, well-arranged paper, margins at left and right, and a noticeable indentation for paragraphs: I insisted on good writing, plain, careful writing; and held the papers up before the class for admiration or condemnation. I told the pupils frankly my object in this and that they would acquire a carefulness in what they wrote as they gave added attention to these mechanical details.

The pupils had grammars but did not recite more than four or five lessons from them. I have never found formal grammar of much practical aid to the pupils in writing, if they have not learned it before they entered the secondary school. As care and interest in writing are developed in the pupils, they will write grammatically in the secondary school.

I did not lay much emphasis on paragraphing as there were so many more essential things to teach. Good paragraphing can come only from a sense of order or reason. Wherever there were two unmistakable groups of thought in a pupil's composition which I was reading aloud to the class, I would ask the class how many distinct groups of thought there were in the composition and consequently how many paragraphs. I found, however, that most of the pupils learned to paragraph, fairly well at least, in this simple way.

Clearness was the only rhetorical principle I emphasized. On this I insisted. I often called it sense and common-sense.

I read the daily compositions of every pupil to the class, making corrections as forcibly as possible.

ssible. Each pupil heard about his own particular errors or merits and those of the other members of the class. He seldom, however, saw his errors as no papers were handed back to him after the first few days. I think this is a point which all teachers should consider. I have not been able to see that any pupils in secondary schools and in the freshman year of college receive much benefit from having their exercises returned to them with their mistakes underlined to be corrected, or corrected by the teacher. Its usual effect on the pupil who needs correction and help is to discourage, puzzle, and bore him. I attempted to be kind in making these corrections before the class and used no sarcasm.

These are practically all the magic charms which, made it possible for eight pupils to write good compositions at the end of three weeks, to pass a composition test given by the head of the English Department, and to be promoted into their regular classes. I was much interested in each pupil. I thoroughly enjoyed working with them. In general, they worked well for me, although there was hardly one who was not indifferent, discouraged, or ashamed when he came to me. They gradually outgrew this disposition during the three weeks. My attitude toward this sort of pupil may mean something. I never allow myself to think that a pupil is inferior. His mind may present a hard problem for me to solve, but I merely admit that there are various sorts of good minds. I claim, too, from my experience that I can teach English or any of the languages commonly taught in our Secondary Schools to a pupil who can learn any other subject. I threatened a few times to put a pupil back into a lower class, but generally I tried to make him see that he was doing a rather big thing for himself in this class. On three or four occasions I gave the pupils talks on subjects about which they were writing and these relieved a certain formality and monotony which might have come into the work. My heart was with the class, with every pupil in the class; I studied him carefully and worked hard myself.

Outside the Harbor.
My treasure trove is all at sea !

Ne'er lifts a sail above the blue
But leaps my heart expectantly,

So has it been a life-time through!
The old dreams charm me in the new;

I wait; I watch now as before,
Only to see them sink from view,-

White ships that never sail to shore !

Though only ghostly shapes they be,

Though hopes long fled my sick heart rue,
Oh, still they witch the blood in me

As when in youth the Vision grew;
They draw me as their magic drew

In dawn of careless days of yore,
And all my vagrant thoughts pursue

White ships that never sail to shore !

Alas, they bide so far and free,

The soul's desire and aim and due,–
Such willful wings of destiny

As ne'er to human harbor flew !
Does interest of dreams accrue ?

Oh freighted they with all my store,
But to their course I hold no clue,-

White ships that never sail to shore !

Somewhere the Beautiful is True!

Wraith of the real the mirage—more
It can not picture. Real, too,
White ships that never sail to shore !

-Stokely S. Fisher.

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