Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Economic Entomology, vol. 4 (February 1911).


Public domain.


In a discussion of the methods of teaching entomology, it is almost necessary to take a hasty view of the growth of the subject and of the different methods of imparting knowledge in it during the past half century. We need scarcely go back of this, because for the United States, at least, the growth of the teaching of entomology as a subject included in a college curriculum has had its growth within that time. In fact, practically all of the development of the teaching outside of two or three localities has been within the last twenty-five' years. Naturally the methods in vogue in the early teaching of the subject were derived from the teaching of related subjects such as Botany and Geology, but even for these the different programs of instruction were in a very crude form up to thirty or forty years ago: The growth of the methods of teaching has necessarily followed the growth of the subject as an application for economic purposes as well as for the impartation of knowledge as a science. Naturally, then, for the teaching of Economic Entomology the development of methods must have brrn within vrry recent time. The early plan of teaching was quite naturally that of the lecture systeni, partly because of the scattered conditIon of the material and lack of definite texts in the science, and partly because of the prevalent idea that the lecture system was the most satisfactory and, perhaps, the least troublesome to the teacher. Later, however, this was combined with more or less of field work, and then with some laboratory courses, and at the present time the method which I suspect is the most general is a combination of these various methods; that is, more or less of the lecture system including illustrations by chart or lantern, or collection incorporated in class work, along with text references and quizzes. These associated with definite laboratory courses, with dissections of typical forms, and a definite allotment of field work involving the collection of material in its natural habitat, its preparation for preservation, and more or less of identification for the practice in systematic work. These methods, of course, vary with regard to the preparation of the students and the progress they have made in their studies. For more advanced work it includes the most precise methods of microscopical study and all of the refinements that have been evolved with reference to the study of minute anatomy and the special methods of field research to determine ecologic conditions. Entertaining lectures about insects or insect habits, while they