FILMING THE FAILURES
Another solution has been offered the ever-present problem of weeding out the ineffective in the colleges, this time from the University of Chicago. Dean Robertson gives as the three main reasons for student failures "unintelligent reading, inadequate preparation, and lack of purpose.
The second of these three causes of failure is difficult to test out accurately, but under the new plan proposed at Chicago it is hoped that at least the first and the third can be detected. The method to be used calls in the aid of the latest of the arts, the "movie". Studies have been made before of the "life of the clam" or the "insect world at work and play", why not of students? The camera will be set up in the study-halls for "close-ups" "slows" and careful analysis of the student mind at work. If a man is on the line, if he needs a C to stay in college and is suspected of D tendencies, then a showing of the film will reveal the whole terrible truth. Either he is or he is not studying, and woe to the individuals whose methods or whose make-up are faulty!
The rest of the world of education will watch with interest to see the results obtained at Chicago. Like other "Nature films" if the pictures can succeed in being true to nature, their value may be unquestioned. If not, they are likely to develop only one new means of bluff, the science of writing an examination bluebook not only to convince the instructor of a passing knowledge of the subject, but also of a serious intensity of purpose every minute to get this knowledge out. It is to be feared that the general effect of the films will be about as convincing as the acting of the lions in a melodrama, after the first few minutes of play. The action will be there but somehow there will be missing the spontaneous sincerity which holds the audience breathless in its seats.