Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quote for the day: In defense of reluctant writers

From Youth: Its Education, Regimen, and Hygiene (1906), by G. Stanley Hall, , Ph.D., LL.D., President of Clark University and Professor of Psychology And Pedagogy 
Closely connected with this, and perhaps psychologically worse, is the substitution of the pen and the scribbling fingers for the mouth and tongue. Speech is directly to and from the soul. Writing, the deliberation of which fits age better than youth, slows down its impetuosity many fold, and is in every way farther removed from vocal utterance than is the eye from the ear. Never have there been so many pounds of paper, so many pencils, and such excessive scribbling as in the calamopapyrus [Pen-paper] pedagogy of to-day and in this country.  Not only has the daily theme spread as infection, but the daily lesson is now extracted through the point of a pencil instead of from the mouth. The tongue rests and the curve of writer's cramp takes a sharp turn upward, as if we were making scribes, reporters, and proof-readers. In some schools, teachers seem to be conducting correspondence classes with their own pupils. It all makes excellent busy work, keeps the pupils quiet and orderly, and allows the school output to be quantified, and some of it gives time for more care in the choice of words. But is it a gain to substitute a letter for a visit, to try to give written precedence over spoken forms? Here again we violate the great law that the child repeats the history of the race, and that, from the larger historic standpoint, writing as a mode of utterance is only the latest fashion.

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