The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899, April 01, 1893, Page 4, Image 4

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evolved, must bo grasped with n pretty firm
hand. Tlo teacher need not. bo n specialist,
but the nonror he can come to it the bettor.
Secondly, some original documents must be
secured and made accessible to the pupils.
Now let us sec how we can use this docu
mentary matter. Wo have, for example,
the leaflet containing "Extracts from Official
Declarations of the United States, Embody
ing the Monroe Doctrine, l7Sfl-lSi)l."
Enough copies have been procured to set the
whole class at work. Each member of the
class is to read and study it; he must find
out what are its provisions; he must notice
when issued and the circumstances which
called it forth; he must find out what it
meant; he must be kept at it till he has dis
covered that the doctine was a gradual
growth, the product of many circumstances,
and many minds; in short, he must try to
find out everything that can be drawn out of
these papers. This process of minute study,
if wisely directed, will result in the develop
ment of the power of observation to a degree
approximating at least the results obtained
as the result of a similar plan when followed
in studying a fish under Professor Agassi,
or a plant under Professor Bessey. Then
the next step, after canning on this study
till the teacher feels sure that the pupil has
seen all there is in the topic at that time for
him, is to have him put in clear and concise
language the results of his observations.
Accuracy will thus be cultivated, and power
of expression gaiued. These results can, of
course, only be realized when the teacher
has the topic fairly well in hand, and has
enough ingenuity to keep up the interest.
An opportunity to develop the power of
comparison is offered in this problem, for
the pupils may .be set to work to determine
the various ideas of Washington, of Jeffer
son, of Adams, of Monroe, and of others in
regard to the so-called Monroe Doctrine.
His judgment may be strengthened by
weighing the motives that influenced each in
pronouncing for the whole or a part of this
doctrine. Finally, when the topic has been
completed, as far as timo and material will
permit, the class may bG asked to put their
knowledge in written form, with the idea of
securing a presentation marked by cogency
of argument, and finish in stylo and literary
taste. It may be remarked in passing, that
in the study of this little leaflet, not only
will tho student gain a direct knowledge of
this topic, but also a vivid impression will
be left of many of the leading characters in
American history. Monroe and Adams,
especially, will thereafter bo living realities.
Alexander of Russia and Princo Motternich,
of Austria, and the Holy Alliance will mean
something to him, for he will see that they
were intimately connected with an important
epoch in our own country's history. The
student and the teacher will both be working
for some definite end, viz: trying to solve a
problem, calling for original thinking; and as
far as the pupil, at least, is concerned, he
will be struggling to write history, and, in a
miniature way, doing all that Bancroft or
Von Hoist have done. In this investigation,
which E have supposed to be going on for
some days, perhaps even for weeks, it goes
without saying that the pupil will perhaps bo
using all the text-books that he can lay his
hands on that may throw side-light on the
men, the times, the ideas then dominant,
and the general course of events. If he
really gets into the spirit of investigation,
there is no danger in this, for he will be
ready to criticise, rather than copy any of
the authorities he may consult. Thus his
independence may actually be strengthened
in this way. Again we may notice, in pass
ing, that the investigation of a single prob
lem, like this, will arouse an interest in a
thousand and one other issues, and will leave
a vast mass of information for use in solving
other questions that are to be attacked.
& vfr -55-
These examples have been chosen only by
way of illustration. In your schools, the
character of tho topics chosen will have to
depend on the age of the pupils, the re
sources at hand for investigation, the knowl
edge of the teacher, and many other circum-