One of the leading New York papers a few days ago published a column and a half communication from a Yale alumnus headed, "Instructors who Pump," on the way in which instruction was given there twenty years ago, and, as he claims, has continued up to the present time. He says that wholesome, intelligent study has been subverted to a rigorous system of hack questioning and recitation "marks." the object of which has been to show and record what the student does not know, rather than what he does. Attempts to interest the student in his work were then, and are now, rarely made, and through the great importance placed upon recitations pure and simple, the practice of "skinning" in all its forms has grown up. The writer remembers only one course in his whole college experience from which he got any real pleasure. With this one exception he feels that he can say with Teufelsdroch, "my teachers were hide-bound pedants."
The remedies proposed by the correspondent are first and foremost, a recognition of the fact that there are good and bad methods of teaching, and that the post graduate study of pedagogy should be encouraged. The instructors should be chosen for their power to teach, and not entirely for what they may know. Both professors and tutors should be paid much higher salaries, and the larger courses provided with additional instructors. Finally the alumnus demands, what seems most significant in view of the self-righteousness of present Yale undergraduate opinion, namely, that compulsory attendance at prayers shall be abolished, together with all ranking that depends on marks.