A Syllabus and Note Book for Ancient History (Classic Reprint)

A Syllabus and Note Book for Ancient History (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from A Syllabus and Note Book for Ancient History

The fundamental problem of the student in history courses in the secondary school is how to study efficiently. The fundamental problem of every teacher of history in high schools is how to teach the student to study. One of the most favorable signs of the times in secondary education is the tendency to emphasize this phase, and to aid in its solution from the administrative standpoint by introducing various plans for supervised study.

Unsupervised study is inefficient study. As to what form the supervision shall take, there is room for difference of opinion. Local conditions may make many ideal plans impossible under the circumstances. As to the need for supervising and controlling the study methods of the student, however, there is no room for difference of opinion.

In the hope of assisting history teachers to solve this problem, this notebook has been prepared. It is the outcome of the authors own teaching experience, and the principles embodied in it have been successfully tested in practice.

Six notebooks are planned in this series, some of them yet in preparation, each to furnish the basis for a semesters work. The plan of the course embodies the recent tendency to subordinate the Ancient and Mediaeval History and to greatly extend the time devoted to Modern and American History and Civics. The content of each semesters work is as follows:

1. Civilization and History of the Ancient World (to about 800 A.D.)

2. Civilization and Development of Mediaeval Europe (to about1648).

3.Modern European History to the close of the Napoleonic Wars, including American Colonial History.

4. The 19th Century in Europe.

5. American National History, 1783.

6.American Government and Civics.

About 70 lessons are planned in each semesters work, each of which is intended to serve as the topic for one recitation. Each syllabus consists of an outline, and various other helps which are self-explanatory.

The instructions on "How to Study" are the result of the authors experience with high school freshmen and sophomores during a supervised study period daily of 30 minutes. It is believed that the principles embodied in these instructions are sound, and that the students will find it helpful to follow them closely. The teacher should see that these methods are being used:

The instructions are divided into the following sections:

1. How to study the textbook.

2. Reading in other books - source books and secondary works.

3. Notebook exercises - maps, themes, outlines.

4. Historical Fiction.

5. How we know about the past.

The first section is an organized body of suggestions to the pupil for use in getting the content of the textbook, fixing it firmly in mind, and evaluating the importance of the different parts. The second section proceeds on the hypothesis that history teaching is only half done without intelligent use of sources other than the textbook, and that some training in the use of historical method can, and should, be practised from the earliest years of high school. The third section contains instructions to pupils how to go about doing notebook assignments Experience has shown the author that such detailed hints are necessary. The fourth section recognizes the the value and importance of reading good historical fiction, and includes a list of some novels adapted for the semester's reading.

For the section on "How we know about the Past," the excuse is offered that a short and understandable account of the methods of historical research is needed in order that work with sources shall mean much to the student, and that such an account is not available elsewhere.

It is the author's opinion that all these features are necessary to the best work in history. Local conditions may make some features impossible. In that case, the instructions on
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