Robert Frost was renowned and beloved not just for his poetry, but for his teaching. Teachers! Building your English curriculum? Check out what was being taught in English I at Pinkerton Academy while Robert Frost was a high school teacher there for inspiration–though I suspect he may have diverged a bit from the Pinkerton catalog. Want to see the more advanced levels of Pinkerton English around 1907 – 1911? Let us know! Or, come study at The Frost Place at the Conference on Poetry and Teaching (wink, wink. nudge, nudge.)
Didn’t know Frost taught at Pinkerton? Learn more about his life with our brand new interactive, multimedia timeline.
Tell us–how do you think this compares to a typical English curriculum today?
The Pinkerton Academy
The general aim of the course in English is twofold: to bring our students under the influence of the great books, and to teach them the satisfaction of superior speech.
Reading: Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe (not in class), Horatius at the Bridge, Sohrab and Rustum, selections from Odyssey, selections from Arabian Nights, ten short stories (in class). Expression in oral reading rather than intelligent comment is made the test of appreciation.
Composition: Fifty themes, written and oral; given direction by assignment of subjects. Criticism addressed to subject matter equally with form.
Rhetoric: Talks on the subject, what it is (with copious illustrations from the experience of the teacher) and where to be found.
Memorizing: Twenty poems from the Golden Treasury; basis of subsequent study of the history of English literature.
Excerpted from Frost, R. (1995). Collected poems, prose & plays. New York: Library of America.