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No. III. Instruction by Young Section-Men


Harvard University has a great responsibility towards the Freshman Class in seeing that the Class as a whole overcomes the difficult barrier between school and college as successfully as possible. The gap between prep and high school and college standards of instruction is a large one; consequently the transition is difficult.

In order that the average Freshman may meet the higher standards of college courses, he must be stimulated by first rate teachers, and guided by able and interested advisors. Unfortunately the section-men in the Freshman courses are young graduate students, who have had little or no experience in the art of teaching. Striving for Ph. D. degrees, they have little time to devote to their sections, as their promotion depends almost entirely upon their capacity to do research work. The Freshman advisor, likewise, is burdened with his own scholastic endeavors, and has not the time to hold frequent meetings with his advisees, talk over their problems with them and help them to find a solution to their difficulties.

If the average Freshman is to stay in college, he must be inspired and stimulated to intelligent study by able and competent teachers, and should not be left to the tender mercies of young, inexperienced, section-men, who are already overburdened with their own research work. Young instructors who have never taught before, are eminently unsuited to bear the lion's share of Freshman instruction. Because of the pressure of their own needs, they have not the time to guide the Yardlings, or the experience to teach them as they should be taught.

Naturally the older instructors cannot be expected to take over the jobs of section men, so for that reason the University must do everything within its power to improve the calibre of instruction offered by its young teachers. This could be done by lightening the amount of productive scholarship that is necessary for self-advancement, and putting more emphasis upon the calibre of the man's teaching, his ability to stimulate his classes, and hold their interest.

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