Saturday, December 26, 2015

To the teacher the textbook on agriculture

To the teacher the textbook on agriculture


Teachers sometimes shrink from undertaking the teaching of a simple textbook on agriculture because they are not familiar with all the processes of farming. By the same reasoning they might hesitate to teach arithmetic because they do not know calculus or to teach a primary history of the United States because they are not versed in all history. The art of farming is based on the sciences dealing with the growth of plants and animals. This book presents in a simple way these fundamental scientific truths and suggests some practices drawn from them. Hence, even though many teachers may not have plowed or sowed or harvested, such teachers need not be embarrassed in mastering and heartily instructing a class in nature's primary laws.

If teachers realize how much the efficiency, comfort, and happiness of their pupils will be increased throughout their lives from being taught to coöperate with nature and to take advantage of her wonderful laws, they will eagerly begin this study. They will find also that their pupils will be actively interested in these studies bearing on their daily lives, and this interest will be carried over to other subjects. Whenever you can, take the pupils into the field, the garden, the orchard, and the dairy. Teach them to make experiments and to learn by the use of their own eyes and brains. They will, if properly led, astonish you by their efforts and growth.

You will find in the practical exercises many suggestions as to experiments that you can make with your class or with individual members. Do not neglect this first-hand teaching. It will be a delight to your pupils. In many cases it will be best to finish the experiments or observational work first, and later turn to the text to amplify the pupil's knowledge.

Although the book is arranged in logical order, the teacher ought to feel free to teach any topic in the season best suited to its study. Omit any chapter or section that does not bear on your crops or does not deal with conditions in your state.

The United States government and the different state experiment stations publish hundreds of bulletins on agricultural subjects. These are sent without cost, on application. It will be very helpful to get such of these bulletins as bear on the different sections of the book. These will be valuable additions to your school library. The authors would like to give a list of these bulletins bearing on each chapter, but it would soon be out of date, for the bulletins get out of print and are supplanted by newer ones. However, the United States Department of Agriculture prints a monthly list of its publications, and each state experiment station keeps a list of its bulletins. A note to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., or to your own state experiment station will promptly bring you these lists, and from them you can select what you need for your school.

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