SPELLING BEES ARE ADVOCATED BY EDUCATORS
Not Feasible for Schools Here but Prof. Newsom Believes Young People Could Adopt the Idea With Profit
Old-fashioned spelling matches are advocated by Tucson educators as a means for improving the spelling of school students and creating interest in a branch of study which is most important in practical life, but in which the scholars of today do not get the results which they do in other studies.
Complaint is general among business men that students who come from the high schools and the public schools, and even the colleges and universities, are woefully deficient in spelling and punctuation. The mistakes made by young stenographers or young clerks, while very amusing, at the same time are very annoying to the employer, who thinks that such things as spelling and punctuation should be already learned by the time the young student quits the school room.
Is the deficiency in correct spelling the fault of the schools? Educators do not think so. The view seems to be taken by teachers that spelling is a rather peculiar branch of study in that it requires special application and aptitude on the part of the scholar.
S. C. Newsom, superintendent of the Tucson schools, is quite pronounced in his good opinion of the old-fashioned spelling matches. He said last evening:
Old Way Approved
"As a means for training good spellers I do not think that the old-fashioned spelling bee can be improved upon. By it much interest, rivalry and enthusiasm was excited, and a great many very fine spellers were trained that way. Nowadays in our schools we teach spelling by both written and oral methods. The old method was deficient in that it did not give enough attention to written spelling, but on the other hand it made up for the deficiency by training the mind and memory by oral spelling. I believe that a series of spelling matches held outside of the school, as is done in the state of Missouri, is a most excellent thing for the training of good spellers.
"Because we have so many scholars now in the schools it would be impossible to pursue the methods of the old-fashioned spelling bee in our public schools, but on account of the interest and rivalry excited they would be excellent aids to the school work if held outside of school."
Another leading educator in discussing the relation between the proposed spelling matches to the present system of teaching spelling said:
Requires Good Memory
"The course of spelling which extends through the public schools in Pima county is very carefully planned, and I do not see how it can be improved upon. Two books are used, one an elementary speller, liberally supplied with illustrations, and an advanced spelling book. Some persons seem to be specially gifted in spelling, and the ability to spell depends upon a good memory to quite an extent. Anything which will increase the interest of the student in his spelling will aid greatly. A series of spelling matches, with prizes offered, to be held outside if school hours, could be a good thing to stimulate interest in spelling, and should have very helpful effects."
In Missouri, the state mentioned by Mr. Newsom, there are a regular series of spelling matches held throughout the state, and representatives are sent to Jefferson City to meet in a final match for the spelling championship of the state. Prizes are also offered, and the movement has resulted in an increased interest in spelling and has also resulted in much better work being done in the schools.