« السابقةمتابعة »
GRADED AND UNGRADED. SCHOOLS
GEORGE B. AITON
STATE INSPECTOR OF HIGH SCHOOLS FOR MINNESOTA
The Athenæum Press
THE compiler of the Descriptive Speller believes in spelling and in a spelling book. He believes in spelling, not only for purposes of composition and correspondence, but because it gives power over words and power over a printed page. He believes in a spelling book because it relieves the teacher from the drudgery of writing vocabularies on the board, because it relieves pupils from the trying task of reading distant words, and because printed words are more natural to the eye. The page of a speller makes a lasting impression.
Written spelling for accuracy, oral spelling for pleasure and facility. Where a vocabulary should be written once it should be spelled orally, and rapidly, and confidently a dozen times. Too much written spelling causes weariness and distaste. Brief, lively oral exercises are a pleasure, they waken up faculty and give a sense of strength very satisfactory to learners.
An effort has been made to arrange such groups of words as a teacher would desire to use in connection with the other lessons of the day. The vocabularies are chosen from scores of texts in each subject, regardless of publishers, and are adapted to go with any reputable school texts in the market. Each group consists of related words pertaining to some topic in which children may be supposed to have an interest, some topic connected with the playground, nature study, nursery tales, number work, health lessons, domestic affairs, biography,
leading industries, farm life, arithmetic, geography, history, grammar, literature, elementary science, birds, plants, authors, citizenship, etc.
This is not an etymological speller, but some attempt has been made to indicate various sources of the English language, the way words have been made up, and how they have come to have their present meaning. Diacritical marks have been introduced sparingly, but words have been syllabicated as an aid to pronunciation. A few rules for spelling have been given, but experience shows that, in the main, it is easier to spell outright than by rule and exception.
It is believed that interest in a group of words renders spelling less formidable, and that an interesting group may safely admit a word or two that would be too difficult if undertaken alone or in connection with unrelated words of similar difficulty. Common words likely to be misspelled are introduced repeatedly. This feature, it is thought, obviates the need of review lessons. Many words not needed in correspondence are given as words of general information that make for intelligence.
Free use has been made of dictation exercises. They have been chosen with a view to creating an interest in succeeding exercises and for their intrinsic value. British teachers understand the value of dictation better than we do. No exercise is better calculated to give power — power to use the English language -- and no exercise is a better test for power.
. The exercises are arranged in six parts corresponding essentially to the grades usually known as the third to the eighth inclusive. The entire text is graded in such a way that it is believed a class may follow the order of the book quite as well as in an ordinary speller, but greater interest may be aroused
and better results secured by assigning lessons with careful reference to season, weather, occasion, and topic. Spring flowers, for instance, should be taken up in the spring when children are going out to gather flowers. Christmas vocabularies should come late in December; local officers are naturally of interest about election time. Terms of percentage should be assigned when a class is about to take up that part of arithmetic. An alphabetical index at the end of the text will enable teachers to find a desired lesson readily.
In case of disputed spellings the easier spelling has been adopted, save that it has not been considered wise or within the province of a spelling book to anticipate changes in usage.
Experience has shown that bringing such words as new, gnu, and knew together confuses the learner and leads to eccentricities, such as “gnew,” that a child would have never thought of if led to study words in natural groups which strengthen associations already in his mind. Lessons of this type have been omitted.
GEORGE B. AITON. MINNEAPOLIS, June, 1901.