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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 85


Not least among the difficulties encountered in giving to Science its proper place in high-class education, is a deficiency of appropriate Teaching-power, which results from the small demand for it, and which is aggravated by the tendency of the S.K. Examinations to induce among Teachers the study of one or two isolated branches of Science, irrespective of each other, and of their bearings on the requirements of Daily Life. Accordingly the Teachers capable of taking charge of the whole, or a fair part, of even a 1st Grade Bionomic Course, elementary and applied, are comparatively few, and in many localities it may be found convenient to have recourse to a plan by which nearly the whole elementary range can be taught in the form of Lectures or Class Lessons, with a minimum of professorial assistance. To draw attention to this new pedagogic device was one of the chief objects I had in view in bringing out my Ten Lectures on Elementary Bionomic Knowledge, entitled "Science made Easy," and I cannot do better than borrow from the "Introduction," the following account of the plan in question. It is called the "Binary System of Delivery," because it involves the joint action of a Reader, who has the printed matter before him on his desk at the Lecture Table, and a Demonstrator, who has charge of the Illustrations.—"Wherever a specimen is to be shown, a diagram to be pointed to, or an experiment to be page 59 performed, a mark in the Text warns the Reader to make any pause that may be required. The Demonstrator, who has before him a list of Instructions, with every device for enabling him to be ready at the right moment, does the needful, and the reading is resumed without the least embarrassment or loss of time." A little cleverness and practice suffice to make the whole progress as rapidly, and with as much smoothness and homogeneity, as the discourse of an extempore professor. The Lectures being purposely contrived for adaptation to School-work, any intelligent Teacher can use selections from them for giving instruction to junior classes single-handed, whilst advanced pupils may with singular advantage, be trained to perform the parts of Reader and Demonstrator, and nearly all the Boys can co-operate in preparing the apparatus, thus acquiring a personal interest in a course of instruction essentially entertaining and obviously useful.