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The Student Vagabond


It has been said with much truth, that when a man exclaims. "Something ought to be done about this", he is in imminent peril of making a fool of himself. This remark holds rather well in practically any case; nowhere more timely than in matters dealing with the more theoretical aspects of existence-- education for example. So keeping the obvious moral well in mind, when the Vagabond decided to make a few observations anent the current tutorial system, anent the current tutorial discussion--entirely unofficially be it understood--he decided also not to urge that something should be done about it.

Not that he believes that the present tutorial system is without fault or flaw, quite the contrary. But the Vagabond wishes merely to voice a protest against the too great expansion of the tutorial field at the expense of the lecture system. And this is not--as the malicious will no doubt believe--because his business would decline if lectures were abolished; it is because he firmly believes that lecture courses are, if not more valuable than tutorial work, at least equal to it in educational benefit. Of course, the strong supporter will immediately exhibit the present Oxford system. With all his respect for Oxford, that does not seem to make very much difference. Need Harvard necessarily be modeled after Oxford?

There are certain things which it is necessary to possess in order to gain culture, which is the end of education, and these are a foundation of facts. It is these which the lectures are designed primarily to supply. All the personal contacts with one's tutor, the polishing off of the little niceties of knowledge are the whipped cream, the icing of the cake. The nourishment must come elsewhere, and that the tutorial system can supply it as well as the lectures seems to the Vagabond very doubtful. When a balance between the two is reached--sometime--when the lectures supply the raw material and the tutors arrange it symmetrically, the educational purpose of the University the Vagabond believes will be largely fulfilled.

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