Ellen G. White Writings

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Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, Page 215

Value of the Common Branches

In education the work of climbing must begin at the lowest round of the ladder. The common branches should be fully and prayerfully taught. Many who feel that they have finished their education are faulty in spelling and in writing, and can neither read nor speak correctly. Not a few who study the classics and other higher branches of learning, and who reach certain standards, finally fail because they have neglected to do thorough work in the common branches. They have never obtained a good knowledge of the English language. They need to go back and begin to climb from the first round of the ladder.

It is a mistake to allow students in our preparatory schools to choose their own studies. This mistake has been made in the past, and as a result students who had not mastered the common branches have sought to climb higher than they were prepared to go. Some who could not speak the English language correctly have desired to take up the study of foreign languages.

Students who, on coming to school, ask to be allowed to take the higher studies, should first be examined in the elementary branches. I was talking with a teacher in one of our conference schools, and he told me that some had come to this school with diplomas showing that they had taken some of the higher studies in other schools.

“Did you examine every such student,” I inquired, “to find out whether he had received proper instruction in those branches?”

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