Mr. Hamilton Holt, in the accompanying article on the experiment in higher education which is being carried out at Rollins College, presents suggestions which, though he says they "make no claim to revolutionary departure from the established order in the educational field," yet seem very extreme when compared with that order as established at Harvard.
His main objections to the orthodox system of education are directed against the institutions of lectures and recitations. The arguments he advances against these institutions, as well as the advantages he claims for the conference system, must be largely conceded as valid. But he fails to consider the merits of the institutions he condemns and the defects of that which he advocates. The most obvious advantages of the lecture system are the inspiration to be gained from a well-delivered address and the helpful organization of collateral work. The recitation system, with all its "court-room" associations, has still been found useful in subjects such as Mathematics, where the complexity of the work necessitates daily individual study. The conference plan, while adapted to certain subjects, to which it has been applied at Harvard, in others fails to provide the stimulus necessary to any but the most ambitious students.
The success of any system depends greatly on the personality of the teacher, and there is no reason to suppose that the adoption of the conference plan throughout a college would attract that particular type of pedagogue that Mr. Holt considers so essential to the success of his plan.