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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

The Teaching of History

The Teaching of History,

The proposal to abolish the formal study of the subject, and to substitute for it the use of a historical reading book in class. Of this suggestion I entirely approve, believing as I do that it would place the subject of history on a much better footing. It is much more important for us to awaken the love of the subject in the mind of the children than merely to cram them, as at present, with a few names and dates. If this suggestion be adopted by the department, a further improvement might easily be made. The historical reading books that would then be required for Standards IV. and V. should undoubtedly be restricted to the 'History of England,' including, of course, an account of the colonisation of Australia and New Zealand, but there seems no reason why the book for Standard VI. should not have a much wider scope, and consist of episodes from the history of the world, ancient and modem. It is said that until very recently there were many peasants living in France in such crass ignorance of the subject of geography that they really believed France to be the only country in the world: as we are teaching history at present here in New Zealand, our young people are likely to grow up under the impression that there is only one nation in the world. I don't ask is this wise; I say, is it safe? Passing on to the subject of