Mass. State Rep. Calls on University VP to Increase Transparency for Allston Multimodal Project


Harvard President Lawrence Bacow Made $1.1 Million in 2020, Financial Disclosures Show


Harvard Executive Vice President Katie Lapp To Step Down


81 Republican Lawmakers File Amicus Brief Supporting SFFA in Harvard Affirmative Action Lawsuit


Duke Senior’s Commencement Speech Appears to Plagiarize 2014 Address by Harvard Student



Dr. Samuel Drury, delivering the Inglis lecture on Secondary Education Wednesday night, stated that "the size of classes has no relation to the effectiveness of teaching." He supported this statement by citing a survey recently completed at the University of Minnesota. Such a view must be based on the belief that the chief function of education is to provide students with a complement of facts, for it is difficult to conceive a satisfactory scientific method of testing its less tangible results.

Since the tutorial system at Harvard is simply the ultimate refinement of the small class system, Dr. Drury's theory is of immediate interest. If the large class is equally valuable, the University could be relieved of a needless financial burden. It is precisely the "deep personal intimacy" that Dr. Drury mentioned as one of the virtues of the private school, however, that justifies the tutorial system, and, to a lesser degree, the small class. Doubtless the learning that can be summarized in outlines and tested by surveys can be equally well delivered to larger groups, but the deeper, more permament, more valuable influence that is the essence of education depends upon personal contact and the interchange of ideas between teacher and pupil. If this were not true, the whole school system might almost be replaced by an expanded series of public libraries.

In other aspects of the lecture, too, Dr. Drury showed a tendency to lose contact with educational reality. He lauded the spending of money on elaborate school buildings, for example, without mention of the disproportion between these expenditures and the salaries of teachers. Similarly, political control of the public schools was ignored in praise of their "freedom," their "contact with the students' daily life," and their "democracy." Finally, in a discussion of educational problems his concern with the "present-day care-freeness" of students in their dress, with their "carelessness and unwashed-ness" must seem misplaced.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.