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The Opportunities of Science Masters at Schools


IN consequence of my publishing in your columns some facts on visual and other memory, I have been favoured with letters from many persons and from many countries; few however have been more acceptable than those from the masters and mistresses of schools. Confining my remarks for the present to the masters of the larger establishments, I may mention that the science masters of Cheltenham and of Winchester have promised assistance, but I write especially to acknowledge the aid already rendered to me by Mr. W. H. Poole, the science master of Charterhouse, and to make some comments thereon, in order to show how wide and yet how neglected a field for original research lies open to every schoolmaster. Mr. Poole has sent me returns from all the boys who attended his classes—172 in number. He selected certain of my questions concerning visual and other memory, he explained them clearly to the boys and interested them in the subject, and then he set them the questions to answer in writing, just as he would have set questions in the ordinary course of school-work. Lastly, he forwarded to me the replies in separate bundles corresponding to the different classes, and each paper was numbered, so that if I wanted to learn more about any of them and sent him the numbers, he could ascertain the names of the writers. In this simple manner, by almost a single stroke, Mr. Poole has called a mass of statistical data into existence, more thorough and complete than could perhaps have been procured in any other way. I have spent many hours in analysing the answers, and find that they bear generally the marks of painstaking and veracity; they have already led me to results which appear important, but of which this is not the time to speak.

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GALTON, F. The Opportunities of Science Masters at Schools. Nature 22, 9–10 (1880).

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