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The Robinson-Breasted-Beard Outlines of European History

This course brings the essential conditions and institutions of history into the permanent possession of the student.

Through Part I of the Outlines, by Robinson and Breasted, the pupil obtains a broad view of Oriental, classical, and medieval history to the beginning of the eighteenth century. 730 pp, illustrated, $1.50

With Part II, by Robinson and Beard, he gains an illuminating knowledge of the origin and development of the great European powers to-day at war. 555 pp, illustrated, $1.50

In accordance with the modern trend in history teaching, both books bring historic fact into tangible relation with present conditions.

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Ancient Civilization

By ARTHUR MAYER WOLFSON, Ph.D., Author of "Essentials in Ancient History;" Principal, Julia Richman High School, New York, N. Y.

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OR the abridged treatment of ancient history recommended by the " Committee of Five,' this new book is ideal. It is intended for use in the first or second year of the high school course. The simple language, the vivid word-pictures, the interesting illustrations all contribute to the definite impression which this book leaves upon the mind of the pupil.

It emphasizes the economic, social and cultural life of the peoples of antiquity rather than their military history. In size, style and illustration this book is a new departure. The pictures not only illustrate the text, but also stimulate the imagination.



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University of Wisconsin


June 26 to August 5

346 Courses. 190 Instructors. Graduate and undergraduate work in all departments leading to all academic degrees. Letters and Science (including Medicine), Engineering, Law, and Agriculture (including Home Economics).

Teachers' Courses in high-school subjects. Strong programs in all academic departments. Exceptional research facilities.

Newer Features: Agricultural Extension, Athletic Coaching, Aesthetic and Folk Dancing, Community and Public School Music, Co-operation and Marketing, Festivals, Geology and Geography, German House, Journalism, Manual Arts, Moral Education, Physical Education and Play, Psychology of Public Speaking, Rural Sociology, School Administration, Speech Clinic, Zoology Field Course.

Favorable Climate. Lakeside Advantages

One fee for all courses, $15, except Law (10 weeks), $25. For illustrated bulletin, address REGISTRAR, UNIVERSITY, Madison, Wisconsin

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Present Tendencies in Teaching Freshman History1


Among the vital problems of the American college, the first-year student is one of the most serious and most persistent.2 Numerically he forms the largest single unit in the student body; practically, he is the most difficult to teach. He needs training and discipline, direction and inspiration, good counsel and patient friendliness. College teachers the country over are deeply conscious of their duty and their opportunity; and there is everywhere manifest a resolute endeavor to get back to the old-time ideal of a closer personal bond between student and teacher as a necessary ground of any adequate teaching. Whatever the special field of his labor, the first year of college should teach the student how to study, broaden his outlook over the realm of learning, quicken his interest, and go a long way toward making him master of himself. The subjects he pursues have no magic power to work these results; but the studies plus the men who teach them and the other worthy contacts and associations of college life should somehow be able to kindle a flame which would not readily go out.

Against this confessedly ideal background I want to trace in broad outline the present situation with reference to the history work of college freshmen. Instruction in history has come into college education so recently that we are yet in the experimental stage; nobody pretends to know any too much about it. History, too, is not the easiest subject in the curriculum to teach; it might fairly be regarded the hardest. It makes heavy demands on industry, intelligence, and sound judgment. At its best history is a discipline for mature minds, not for youth. It needs all the arts of the pedagog, all the wisdom of the good counsellor, to adapt historical instruction to the capacities of the young men and women who

1A paper read before the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, at Stanford University, Cal., November 27, 1915. A questionnaire was sent out to about thirty representative institutions, to which replies came from the following: Chicago, Cornell, Harvard, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford, Syracuse, Vassar, Western Reserve College for Women, and the State universities of California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. No attempt is made to cite this evidence in detail.

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These comments are fairly typical and need not be multiplied. Whether justly or unjustly, college instructors rather generally feel that high school graduates come into their classes with little historical knowl

edge, small power to handle materials, and feeble capacity for hard intellectual effort.

Many of the causes lie close to the surface and are the mutual concern of school and college. If the high school teaches the students, the college teaches the teachers. The school may well say to the college or the university, "Give us good teachers, and we will give you good students," University workers are recognizing the justice of this retort courteous and are loyally accepting the obligation. In that direction the outlook is hopeful.

There is also the perennial question of entrance examinations in history. The conditions are mainly chaotic. Some institutions require one subject for entrance, some another, many make no requirement at all. Some accept one subject for entrance credit, some another, some any history subject that is offered, 3 Professor Charles H. Haskins (Harvard).

4 Professor F. H. Hodder (University of Kansas). Professor N. M. Trenholme (University of Missouri).

• Miss Eleanor Ferris (Western Reserve College for Women).

7 V. Prettyman, "The Lack of Uniformity in the History Requirements for Admission to College." (“Educational Review," XLII, 516-518.)


if up to standard. In such a bedlam of conflicting usages, the schools cannot know what to do. To fit for one college means possibly to unfit for all others. College instructors also are fully cognizant of the situation, and there is a pronounced demand for a way out.

Two lines of action promising relief lie open before the colleges in this matter: strict adherence to fixed entrance requirements in history, with the necessary adjustment of college courses to such requirements, or entrance credits for any good work in high school history, with corresponding adjustment of college courses to such a policy. The firstnamed expedient has the virtues of simplicity and economy. If for example all colleges would require Ancient History for entrance and follow it with a freshman course in Medieval and Modern History, the correlation would be perfect; likewise in any similar combination. But the tendencies of the times seem not to be in that direction. The schools and colleges of to-day will not sacrifice breadth and liberality for simplicity and economy. If the high

schools were merely or mainly fitting schools, the method of fixed requirements might suffice; but the business of fitting for college is an ever-diminishing function of the American high school; it has a larger


The other expedient has more to commend it. Under its terms fixed requirements would disappear. Each school would teach such history subjects as it chose; the college would accept the offering at par value. No preference would be given; no pressure would be used. A stricter insistence on standards would supersede the playing of favorites among the high school courses in history. The drift of present usage in our schools seems clearly in this direction. In the whole field of secondary instruction fixed requirements are yielding to a broader policy, in history among the rest. The new way involves difficulties, as did the old; but they are not insuperable, and the gains are large.


For one thing, the more liberal policy encourages the schools to maintain as many history courses as possible a significant gain at the present moment when history is so heavily under fire from the camp of so-called "practical" subjects.

The colleges should be consistent, either refusing recognition to all high school electives, or granting equal rights to all. If a committee of college men prescribe such a program of studies as is laid down in the Report of the Committee of Seven, the colleges should give credit to any good piece of work done under the terms of that program. Such a solution means additional burdens for the college; but I hope to show later on that the burden can be borne.

The colleges should also be reasonable in their demands as to the attainments of high school gradu8 C. D. Kingsley, "The Report of the Committee on the Articulation of High School and College." (New England Association, " Proceedings," 1912, 667-673.) "History for College Entrance." (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, IV, 108.)

ates. High school teachers complain that we expect too much, and I fear we do. It has lately been shown that less than forty per cent. of the candidates who take the College Entrance Examination Board's examinations in history get a grade of sixty on a scale of one hundred.10 In part this pitiful showing is due to poor teaching; but in part it seems due to false standards. A careful study of the questions set by the Board in 1910 convinces me that altogether too much is expected.11 The questions in history would tax the powers of college graduates, if dealt with in any adequate way. Most of them predicate an ability to analyze, generalize and interpret far beyond the capacity of the high school student. Doubtless the schools can do much better than they are doing, and they need to be urged to it. But the colleges may well show patience and moderation at this point. If our higher institutions will send welltrained teachers into the schools, back them up in their work, and give generous recognition to the results they achieve, a great step will have been taken towards necessary correlation.

In the field of college history for freshmen three large aspects of the situation at once come into view: the ends to be sought, the courses to be offered, and the methods of instruction to be used.

identical with the ideal ends of education in general; The ideal ends of college history, I take it, are but who at this moment shall say what they are?12 Each one puts into the conventional phrases such content as he will. In the case of the history student we need not perplex ourselves overmuch with these weightier matters of the law. A clear majority of college undergraduates pursue historical studies simply for general culture. Of the remainder a clear majority purpose to become teachers of 9 D. S. Muzzey, The Problem of Correlating the Work in History in the Elementary School, High School and College." (Association of History Teachers of Middle States and Maryland, "Minutes of the Fourth Annual Convention," 1906, 13-28.) Harriet A. Tuell, "How Far Does the High School Course in History Fit for the College History Course? (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, VI, 272-277.) J. R. Angell, "The Duplication of School Work by the College." ("School Review," XXI, 1-10.)

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10" College Extrance Examination Board's Questions and the Rating of Candidates." (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, IV, 256-259.) Edgar Dawson, “Mortality in History Examinations and Its Causes." (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, IV, 259-262.)

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12 G. B. Adams, "The College Teaching of History." (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, I, 9-10.) C. H. Hayes, 'History in the College Course." ("Educational ReStimulating and Testing the Work of History Students in view," XLI, 217-231.) Eleanor L. Lord, "Methods of Colleges." (Association of History Teachers of Middle States and Maryland, "Minutes of Fifth Annual Convention," 1907, 25-37.) O. H. Williams, "Standards for Judging History Instruction." (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, VI, 235-241.)

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history in the schools. Only a remnant—very small but very honorable-look forward to specialization in the stricter sense.

Manifestly, the elementary instruction in history should adjust itself to these basic facts. It should do its best for the student to whom historical training is but an incident in his intellectual growth; it should provide the best possible equipment for the teacher of history in the schools; it should lay secure foundations for the history specialist. The practiThe practical question is whether any general course or courses inclusive of all the groups of students can meet their varying needs in a competent way. In either direction the problem of the freshman course is complex: it must include students with all sorts of preparation or none at all; it must include students with diverse interests and plans for the future. If successful, such a course must find the middle ground on which these conflicting demands are most nearly recon1 ciled; it must set for itself ends which are of the highest average utility to them all. Clearly such ends will need to be broad, general, and easily discernible, in order to meet the issues of the case.

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It is easy to define these a priori conditions, but hard to live up to them or tell how to live up to them. But certain general truths seem plain and essential. The freshman courses will serve their purpose in so far as they impart sound historical knowledge, give elementary training in the processes of historical study, and create a taste for such study in the future. That intangible but altogether vital entity which we call "historical-mindedness is, after all, the ideal goal of all our striving. To the hard-working, patient teacher it may indeed appear to be a flying goal, often only a wraith in the clouds; but he does not despair. Faint, though pursuing, he follows his vision, and makes it the guiding criterion of his daily tasks. Sound knowledge, practical power, persistent interest-these are the ends he seeks.

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Freshman history therefore may not be too technical and restricted; nor may it be too general and purely informational. It should be solid and exacting, claiming the respect always due to hard work. In matter and in method the course should be able to satisfy the larger needs of all the members of the To class. Whether they all should do precisely the same work, regardless of their divergent aims and interests, is a question of method in teaching. The tendency of to-day is certainly toward individual teaching in the fullest measure possible.


As to the subjects best adapted to historical instruction in the freshman year, there is yet wide divergence in theory and in practice.13 Returns from twenty of our larger institutions show the order of preference to be as follows: English History given

13 In addition to the replies from individual instructors, the following articles may be cited: "Problems of the Freshmen Course." (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, I, 152.) R. W. Kelsey, "Recent Changes in the Teaching of History," etc. (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, VI, 207

as a freshman subject in twelve institutions; Medieval and Modern History, in eight; Ancient History, in seven; American History (usually Colonial), in six; Medieval History, in four; Modern History, in three; General History, in three; Ancient and Medieval History, in one. These figures represent a limited inquiry; but I think them fairly typical. English History has the lead in the list over any other subject; but if we add to the combined Medieval and Modern History course the separate courses in these fields, there is a marked preponderance for Continental History, and this result is in accord with information from other sources. The preference of Medieval and Modern History and English History over the other two conventional "blocks in the curriculum arises largely, I take it, from the prevalence of a reverse order of choice in the high schools. Far more students elect Ancient History and American History in the schools than the other two fields; and this fact naturally determines the main direction of freshman courses in colleges. Ancient History continued to hold a strong place among firstyear courses, partly, no doubt, because of its close affiliation with the classical departments, partly because it is definitely preferred for historical training. American History has a fair degree of recognition; but it also has to meet some pronounced opposition as a subject for freshmen. In the returns from my questionnaire all the institutions offering American History for freshmen are western universities. General History is represented by three institutions, two of them women's colleges, although certain others show a tendency toward the same type of work. Broadly speaking, the evidence does not indicate any disposition to use the General Course in place of more limited areas for freshman instruction.

Out of these facts arises the question of correlating the freshman course with the work done in the schools. If the college gives but one history course for freshmen, such correlation must be very imperfect. If the college offers a number of elementary subjects, effective correlation is in its own hands. Unfortunately the subject matter of history does not provide so obvious a sequence of teaching processes as certain other branches of learning; but all the more, history teachers should seek to establish the best possible order of logical development. Where a number of courses are open to first-year students, it should be possible for them to arrange history programs without wasteful duplication of earlier school work; it should be possible, too, to progress in respect to methods of instruction from high school standards to college standards. All this, of course, on the assumption that the secondary school discharges its function in a satisfactory way. Until that ideal is 210.) A. C. Krey, "Introductory Courses in History at the University of Texas." (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, III, 123-125.) H. M. Stephens, "Courses in History in the Junior Colleges." (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, IV, 153-155.) N. M. Trenholme, "The Introductory History Course at the University of Missouri." (HISTORY TEACHER'S MAGAZINE, III, 6-7.)

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