10 History of Wake Forest College
slowly, and perhaps he is taxed with the selfish motive of retarding
their progress on purpose to swell his numbers and his emolument.
Dr. Hooper also complained of the neglect in the classical schools
of the common rudiments of English education. The spelling and
penmanship of young men sent from the academies to college were
such as would disgrace an urchin in an old field school. He had
spent many a sad hour over collegiate compositions trying to
decipher the writing and correcting such monstrous spellings as
"wright" and "rong," "kneighborhood," "hanous," "foliage,"
"seperate," "colledge," "jenius," "turrible," "persuit," etc. He called
this a serious evil and insisted that, "There should then be a
competent teacher of English attached to every grammar school, into
whose hands the boys should pass for an hour or two every day, to
be practiced in the several English branches." Along with the neglect
of English went the omission of a great part of the prescribed
classical course.
The teachers too were far from perfect. They were listless and
showed "a lamentable want of animation and vivacity of manner, a
want of spirit and energy in conducting business." They conducted
their recitations by following the book in a dull, unspirited way. So
great was the lack of proper educational methods among them that
Dr. Hooper insisted that the only effectual antidote for the evils of
the schools, the thing most needed to bring them to a high standard
was a "Seminary for the Education of School Masters."9
Who would have thought that a teacher in a small college in 1832, two-thirds of
a century before any serious effort was made to establish educational departments
in our colleges, could have formulated the argument for trained teachers so clearly
as Dr. Hooper does in the following paragraph from his notable address? He says:
"Now a seminary for teachers, conducted by men of high reputation would
furnish the results of all the wisdom and ingenuity that have been employed upon
the science of instruction in the different countries. There a man would learn what
are the best school books, what is the best course of study, what is the best mode
of imparting knowledge, the best mode of managing youth, and what are the
greatest attainments practical in a given time. All these important particulars he
would learn, as well as bring his own scholarship to much greater perfection. A
teacher trained at such a seminary would proceed with a confidence and courage
and enthusiasm now unfelt. He would not take
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