In English, meanwhile, verse and prose can be learned by heart, andthe pupil's memory should be stored with stories of every kind--classicalmyth, European legend, and so forth. I do not think that the classicalstories and masterpieces of ancient literature should be made the vilebodies on which to practice the techniques of Grammar--that was a faultof mediaeval education which we need not perpetuate. The stories can beenjoyed and remembered in English, and related to their origin at a subsequentstage. Recitation aloud should be practiced, individually or in chorus;for we must not forget that we are laying the groundwork for Disputationand Rhetoric.
For we let our young men and women go out unarmed, in a day when armorwas never so necessary. By teaching them all to read, we have left themat the mercy of the printed word. By the invention of the film and theradio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure themfrom the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know whatthe words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edgeor fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions insteadof being the masters of them in their intellects. We who were scandalizedin 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, are notscandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight massedpropaganda with a smattering of "subjects"; and when whole classesand whole nations become hypnotized by the arts of the spell binder, wehave the impudence to be astonished. We dole out lip-service to the importanceof education--lip- service and, just occasionally, a little grant of money;we postpone the school-leaving age, and plan to build bigger and betterschools; the teachers slave conscientiously in and out of school hours;and yet, as I believe, all this devoted effort is largely frustrated, becausewe have lost the tools of learning, and in their absence can only makea botched and piecemeal job of it.
Opinion | Why Cyberbullying Rhetoric Misses the Mark