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were expected not only to answer all practical questions which would be asked, but had to give mathematical demonstrations wherever such were included in the technical books that they studied On a number of occasions it was necessary to mark examination papers one hundred per cent. ; for said papers were absolutely without flaw, unless one were so captious as to criticise an occasional awkwardness in the English.
The success thus met with in teaching in Japan must be attributed to a great extent to the wonderful capacity of the Japanese student to imbibe ideas.
The students were the writer's friends, and are so yet. Most of them to this day write once or twice a year; and whenever there is any information of a technical nature that they cannot obtain in their country they apply to the writer for it, and it is generally obtained for them. There is no professional success which the writer has achieved that yields more satisfaction than this does; consequently it is easy to see why he is in such sympathy with the labors of this Society and to understand the reasons for the statement made at the outset of this address, viz., that there is no higher branch of civil engineering than the specialty of technical education.
DISCUSSION. PROFESSOR T. C. MENDENHALL said that he could add but very little to the interesting paper that Professor Waddell had presented. It was perhaps but justice to say that what one can accomplish by a given method with a given set of students to deal with, is by
no means an index of what one can accomplish by the same method with an entirely different set of students to deal with. No one appreciates that, probably, more than Professor Waddell, yet he has perhaps intimated in this paper that he considers the methods that he pursued there very decidedly superior to any that he was accustomed to use at home. The fact is, as probably every one knows who has had to do with the instruction of Japanese students, that there are many conditions existing among them that are rarely found to exist among students in this country or probably in any European country. The speaker felt sure that Professor Gray, who was also his colleague in Japan at the same time, shortly before Professor Waddell was there, would agree to that. It is not safe, therefore, to decide that a method which fits those people is altogether the best for the young men here, the circumstances are so very different. Students in Japan are very remarkable. In the first place they come—they did come, and no doubt it is still the case—they come with a hunger for learning and with an anxiety to make progress and to grow and grasp and master everything which is within their reach, that is not equalled in other countries, and of course that has a great deal to do with the fact that Professor Waddell could be the consulting engineer of the class and the fact that they could make most rapid progress under such conditions. The author might find it impossible to make such progress in this country with a set of American students. In other words, while agreeing with him in every respect in regard to his statement as to Japanese education and Japanese students, the speaker thought that if Professor Waddell had, since coming from Japan, taught some classes of American young men as some of the rest of us have done, he would probably still adhere to the more conservative methods.
PROFESSOR THOMAS GRAY said that he had very great pleasure in teaching Japanese students engineering for several years. He agreed perfectly with Dr. Mendenhall in his remarks with regard to the difference between a class of Japanese students and the classes in this country or the classes to be found in other countries. The Japanese student is especially attentive to the instruction given him, and there is never any question of discipline coming up in the Japanese class. The remark which Professor Waddell made in regard to some papers being marked a hundred because they were absolutely flawless, was a common experience. The speaker had found it necessary to mark many papers a hundred because the answers were given in precisely the same words which had been used when the subject was explained to the class. He was not quite sure how that was to be accounted for. He had been inclined to think, as the Japanese really committed so much to memory from childhood up, that it was no trouble for them to reproduce almost anything you told them. It is certainly very remarkable, the way in which they can absorb what is told them and reproduce it in almost exactly the same form in which they got it. The courses of study which are carried out in the colleges in which he was teaching were very similar to those which are carried out in Europe. The methods of teaching were also similar. He could say also that not only was the method which Mr. Waddell tried successful, but other methods were also perfectly successful. All produced excellent results in teaching in Japan; both lecture and recitation methods. It did not seem to matter much how one taught, providing the whole of the important part of the subject was covered, excellent results would be secured in that country.
BY THOMAS GRAY.
Professor of Dynamic Engineering, Rose Polytechnic Institute,
Terre Haute, Ind.
The subject “ Agreement on Definition of Engineering Terms” has been suggested as suitable for discussion by this Society. The present paper is intended only to bring the matter formally before this meeting and give an opportunity for interchange of views on the subject.
With regard to the mere form of definitions, it does not seem desirable to adopt perfect uniformity because the writer believes that variations in the mode of expressing an idea are often beneficial in assisting students to obtain a clear conception of what a term is intended to imply. It is perhaps strange, but it is nevertheless true, that a carefully worded and perfectly correct definition of a term or statement of a law or an axiom, which seems clear and simple to the author and to many readers, is yet very hard to understand by others who have been differently trained. A good illustration of this is found in Thomson's axiom in thermodynamics, sometimes called the second law. The statement is very carefully made by Thomson, and yet all the conditions implied are seldom appreciated by the student or even by authors and teachers. As a consequence we find the truth of the axiom frequently challenged. If any attempt is made to propose a standard dictionary of engineering terms, it would be well, after defining any important term or phrase, to give some illustrations of its application and historical development. In fact, the dictionary should