THIS little book is in its way quite a curiosity. It is a survival of a method of instruction which was very popular in its day, but which it is to be hoped—notwithstanding that Magnall's “Questions” is still said to be a good property—even in country towns like Chelmsford, is on the road to extinction. Catechisms originated in the necessity of giving some uniformity and precision to oral religious instruction. Their great merit is of course that they remove all responsibility from the teacher, and merely require that their formulae should be taught with patience and perseverance. They render unnecessary, indeed even undesirable, any knowledge of the subject on the part of the teacher, and hence it is easy to see the reason of their popularity amongst persons engaged in education, and who, possessed of no scientific training, are yet anxious to get credit for teaching scientific subjects. Mr. Gibbs has evidently felt some uneasiness on this head, and points out accordingly in his preface that:—
A First Catechism of Botany.
By John Gibbs, of the Essex and Chelmsford Museum. (Chelmsford: Edmund Durrant and Co. London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co.)
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