Webster’s American Education—§ 6 — Democratic Thinker

American Thought

Noah Webster, shortly after the end of the Revolutionary War, publishes an essay in his American Magazine outlining his reasons and methods for revising the educational system in the new republic.


NEW YORK, 1788.


§ 6.  Diversity of Studies in the same School.

ANOTHER error, which is frequent in America, is that a master undertakes to teach many different branches in the same school. In new settlements, where people are poor, and live in scattered situations, the practice is often unavoidable: But in populous towns, it must be considered as a defective plan of Education. For suppose the teacher to be equally master of all the branches which he attempts to teach, which seldom happens, yet his attention must be distracted with a multiplicity of objects, and consequently painful to himself and not useful to the pupils. Add to this the continual interruptions which the students of one branch suffer from those of another, which must retard the progress of the whole school. It is a much more eligible plan to appropriate an apartment to each branch of Education, with a teacher who makes that branch his sole employment. The principal academies in Europe and America are on this plan, which both reason and experience prove to be the most useful.

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