Elementary Practical Chemistry has been written to meet the changes in the general methods of science teaching, which are the outcome of the development of modern views of scientific educationalists, and which find expression in the new syllabus of the Science and Art Department.
Formerly students were taught chemistry in the lecture room, the knowledge so gained being supplemented by a minimum amount of practical work, and that almost exclusively
analytical. The tendency of the present day is to make the student, from the very beginning, an investigator; to train and develop his faculties for observation; to make him find out facts and discover truths for himself; in other words, to make him think instead of merely committing to
memory what others have thought. I have therefore endeavored, as far as it is possible to do so in a text-book, to fall into line with these views. In actual practice the purely inductive method of instruction breaks down. There is so much that the student is required to learn, that life itself is
not long enough, and certainly the limited time at the disposal of the student is all too short, to admit of his going through the necessarily slow process of gaining this knowledge by his own investigations. Some facts he must take on trust, and the question therefore resolves itself into the judicious selection on the part of the teacher of the facts he will endeavor to let his students find out for themselves, and those he will teach them, and expect them to commit to memory.
In a text-book it is almost inevitable that, in giving such
directions as will lead a student on to the discovery of a fact,
the fact itself shall be stated.