Popular Science Monthly/Volume 30/December 1886/Some Outlines from the History of Education IV
|←Life in the South-Sea Islands|| Popular Science Monthly Volume 30 December 1886 (1886)
Some Outlines from the History of Education IV
By W. R. Benedict
|The Physiology of Attention and Volition→|
By W. R. BENEDICT.
PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY AND LOGIC IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI.
THE institution at Dessau made distinct approaches to object-teaching. It remained for Pestalozzi, however, to give this method philosophical expression and justification. We know how the Pestalozzian idea has been enlarged and improved by Froebel and his followers. Our present purpose is to trace this idea in its beginning and development under Pestalozzi.
The reformer was born January 12, 1746, at Zürich. His first attempts to serve the people were of a literary character, and this as member of the staff of a political newspaper published for the improvement of the masses. He then entered the ministry and made an OUTLINES FROM THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION. 213
attempt to preach. After a pastorate even shorter than those of mod- ern times he applied himself to the study of law. Over- work com- pelled him to seek rest in the country. Here he soon entertained the purpose of becoming a farmer, because he believed that in this way he could best work for the culture of the farmers. The aim of his life seems justly set forth in these words : " To bring about a better destiny for the poor in the country, by a firm establishment and simplification of their means of education and instruction." His agricultural under- taking at Keuhof was a failure from the beginning. Meanwhile he opened an orphan asylum, and undertook the care of fifty parentless children. The time came when there was neither bread nor wood. Then eighteen years of waiting — of worse than waiting, of reproach and increasing self-distrust, verging close upon despair. In 1780 Pes- talozzi published " The Evening Hours of a Hermit," setting forth his educational doctrine in most suggestive phrase. A year later came " Lienhard and Gertrude " — a book for the people. This was written in a few weeks, and, as Pestalozzi says, *' without my knowing how I came to it. I felt its worth, but only as a man in a dream feels the value of a blessing. I saw the degradation of the people, and ' Lienhard and Gertrude' was a sigh over this degradation." It was fundamental with Pestalozzi that the education of the child should commence, as it were, at the first instant of life. " By the cradle must we begin to wrest from the hands of blind Nature the guidance of our race, that we may place it in the hands of that better power which has taught us by the experience of centuries to reflect upon the nature of her eternal laws."
During the winter of 1793-'94 Fichte gave lectures or discussions in Lavater's house. Pestalozzi was led by these interviews to write his second great work, entitled " Inquiries concerning the Course of Nature in the Development of the Race." Events soon called the re- former from writing to practical work. War, with its orphans, came into the valleys of Switzerland. An orphan asylum was opened near Stanz. Pestalozzi, already fifty-one years of age, took charge of this asylum. Very touching are his words : " I had gone to the most secret clefts of the mountains to find my work, and truly I found it. But think of my condition ! I, alone — deprived of all appliances for edu- cation — I alone overseer, keeper of accounts, house-servant, in an un- finished house, among evils of all kinds. The children numbered about ^^g'lty, all of different ages, some in open beggary, all entirely igno- rant. I stood in their midst. I repeated sounds to them, made them give the sounds after me. All who saw it were astonished at the result. It was really the pulse-beat of the art which I sought. I did not know what I was doing. I knew upon v/hat I had resolved — death, or the accomplishment of my purpose."
Pestalozzi found a more permanent resting-place at Yverdun. The institution which was established here continued from 1805 to 1825,
�� � and became most widely celebrated. "In 1809 the school contained fifteen teachers and one hundred and sixty-five students from Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, and North America." Here, as elsewhere, jealousy did its deadly work. The teachers quarreled for Pestalozzi's favor. In 1816 twelve teachers left the institution, and there was no help against the disorder. On the 17th of February, 1827, Pestalozzi died, these being his last words: "I forgive my enemies. May they now find peace! I go to eternal peace."
In outlining Pestalozzi's thought, I note the following points as perhaps best expressing his method: Education must be determined by the nature of that which is educated. Man is a law unto himself. What he is dictates the mode in which he shall be trained. Man's powers are not the result of accident—they are his own interior, original possessions. They came with him. Education, therefore, which does not base itself upon a right understanding of these integral human powers, and of the nature which they express, is not education-has no right to the name or the claim. Pestalozzi, by stating this truth, and by forcing it, as it were, into the world's consciousness, deserves lasting praise. Here is the first step toward a scientific treatment of education; it is not, in itself, such treatment, does not even prove such treatment possible—it is the point of beginning, the corrective, the safeguard. This truth is fundamental in Pestalozzi's thought. It found expression in "The Evening Hours of a Hermit," and is repeated in every subsequent writing. "Universal upbuilding of the inner powers of human nature is the universal aim of culture." Pestalozzi's system, therefore, when self-consistent, rests upon his interpretation of human nature. Our reformer believed man to have a threefold being. He was body, mind, and conscience. It is a vital part of Pestalozzi's thought that man's welfare depends upon a good and truth-obeying heart. Here is place for the religious element, and we find Pestalozzi speaking as follows: "Belief in God is the source of peace, peace is the source of inward order; inward order the source of undisturbed application of our powers, and this order becomes, in turn, the source of their growth and development to wisdom. Wisdom is the source of all blessing." We have thus far two essential factors in Pestalozzi's thought: education is determined by the nature of the educated—man is threefold, body, mind, and heart. Proceeding a step further we inquire. What precisely is it that this threefold being requires? Do body, mind, and conscience unite in demanding for their education a single method? Pestalozzi answers yes, and affirms that the common, universal law, is development. To-day we theoretically recognize this law, and admit its vital import in all educational endeavor; practically we too often ignore it, and proceed after the old and evil fashion of preparing the mind for market as the animal is prepared for sale. There was a time in the slowness of history when this very principle of development was unknown, a time when education was confounded with fact-knowledge. Pestalozzi found an illustration in the tree. Who can educate a crab-apple tree into a peach-tree? A crab-apple tree can be made a better crab-apple tree perchance, a peach-tree can be made a better peach-tree by development, by assisting the natural processes, by warding off destructive forces. Development must take place by assimilation of food. This is true for body, mind, and spirit. Around about man lies his food. Nature furnishes material for man's education. That is his development. Pestalozzi saw this, and he saw no less plainly that the material might hinder the development. Improperly given food will destroy life. There must, then, be a law for this development process; assimilation must proceed properly, or all will fail. The subject-matter of education must receive its law from the course of the development process. How does man unfold his powers? What is the order given here by man himself? Pestalozzi's answer brings us face to face with the essential characteristic of his method. Man unfolds his powers by beginning with sense-perception, with "Anschauung." This German term is nearly as untranslatable as the word "Gemüthlichkeit." Sense-perception covers perhaps the larger portion of the meaning, yet does not include it all. Anschauung signifies that clear discernment of an object which is given by direct face-to-face acquaintance. Man's development begins exactly here with such perception. This is the basis of all knowledge. The degree of intensity, the clearness, the comprehensiveness, the order of this perception, must be decisive respecting each individual's education. Pestalozzi says, "When I look back and ask myself what I have really accomplished for education, I find I have settled it that the fundamental principle of instruction lies in the recognition of perception as the absolute basis of all knowledge." This principle originates and philosophically justifies object-teaching. Perception has a law or method; standing at the bottom of education, perception leads naturally up in orderly gradation to that which is higher. Perception must be reduced by definite and psychologically arranged exercises to a perception science. When giving instruction, we must see to it that the objects are examined by the child one at a time, and not in the dim distance, but close at hand. We must see to it further that characteristic illustrations are brought forward, not any abnormal representations. From the perception of a thing arises its name, from the name we advance to an enumeration of its properties; from this we finally develop the definition, the clear idea. Here is the philosophy of object-teaching. Let the child see. This seeing must be something far greater than any general vision; it must be a seeing arranged according to a strict psychology. Pestalozzi worked out a system of object-teaching, or a psychology of perception. We have place for but the briefest statement: "The entire sum of all the external properties of an object is found within the object's circumference and in the relation of its number, and is made known by speech." Therefore the art of perception must start from this threefold basis—number, form, and speech. We must teach each object to the children as unity, separated from all with which it may seem to be bound. We must then teach them to observe the form of every object, that is, its measure and relations; lastly, we must make them acquainted with the entire circle of the words and names for the objects which they know. It would be of little service to follow Pestalozzi further in this direction. The arrangement of natural phenomena under form, word, and number, contains the fatal error of incomplete classification. There can be no question that form and number are modes of things, but this is a seriously inadequate account of Nature's manifestations. The supreme fact which the world teaches, and which thrusts itself upon us every hour of every day, is the fact of causative energy. Nature's great truth is cause and effect. Pestalozzi took little or no account of this, and consequently dealt with the form and number of objects, to an exclusion of the objects themselves. Pestalozzi had no place for chemistry, or physics, or physiology. Here lies the absurdity of object-teaching as often presented. He who fails to see Nature at work misses the organizing principle of her manifestations, and can not teach according to Nature. The principle of object-teaching was fundamental with Pestalozzi. As concerns this distinguishing feature of his thought, we would say that, because perception is the first step in the unfolding consciousness of a child, it does not follow that perception should be made supremely prominent in the education of the child. Were the child to remain a child, we should have regard solely to those things which might exercise his childish faculties. Since the child is to pass from childhood to manhood, it is well to have care lest over-development of the child-method tend to perpetuate a childish habit of mind.
Pestalozzi distinctly admits that the idea, not the vision, is the distinguishing mark of human reason. He repeatedly says that the child must be brought on to a full possession of the general notion, the concept. If, then, we make object-teaching, or the gaining of distinct sense-impressions, the exclusive work in all early training, we stand in danger of prolonging this childish state, and of failing to furnish the mind with clear, independent ideas. Directly, or indirectly, the movement now under consideration is responsible for one of the greatest evils of our time. I name this the pictorial disease. Everything must be depicted.
Literature, forgetting that grown men and women ought to be able to think, treats them as children, and illustrates. It has come to pass that we can not read a strong article or a strong book. Everything is diluted with pictures. Let me not be misunderstood. True art is the painter's poem—the hero's deed. True art is no llustration, no picture, no copy of Nature. It is Nature herself, as she has taken up her abode in the artist's mind and heart. Here is one who will paint you grass so that you shall think it is grass, and go to put your hand upon it. Here is one who will paint you no grass, but bring a green field with soft breezes playing over it, sweet odors rising from it, life dwelling in it; and this one is the artist. His language is no illustration, no picture, but something far higher, even an actual creation. The fundamental command of Pestalozzi, proceed vision- wise, is susceptible of exaggeration. Too literally obeyed, this command is harmful in all departments of human activity. This thought has wide application. It lies against all exclusively physical training, all training depending solely upon material objects. There is great danger lest such training keep the student from clearness of vision in the eye of the mind. He sees things, but, unless things lead to independent thoughts, they are nothing more than pictures upon the retina of flesh. Our thought is applicable to classical education, in so far a words become the objects and are studied as mere things. Latin and Greek, taught as vital parts of language, are, even in their minutest particles, so many expressions of the mysterious and indestructible power of thought. Pestalozzi's teaching that the clear idea is the result to be secured by education is unquestionably true. Man proceeds from sense-perception to concept when he proceeds normally. The end, however, is often lost sight of in the means; the idea is not realized because the object, the matter, the substance, is too prominent, too permanent, too overbearing.
The writer hopes that not the least result of this historical survey has been to set forth Pestalozzi's fundamental principle as a controlling power in the educational development of the past. Man not only should give law to his education, he has done so. The education of China was the Chinese interpretation of man; the education of India was the Indian interpretation of man; the education of Greece the Grecian interpretation of man; and the new education of to-day is our interpretation of man. Has man's nature been taken at its entirety by any educational scheme of the past? Is man's nature taken at its entirety by the educational system which to-day claims precedence and finality ?
We have seen man, the grown man, as a child: this was and is China. We have seen man as member of a caste, belonging body, soul, and estate to his order: this was and is India. We have seen man a Grecian or a Roman, self-conscious as a Grecian or Roman, not self-conscious as man. We have seen man a contra-natural member of a contra-natural church: this was the monk type of the perfect man. We have seen man, not satisfied with such interpretation of his nature, go back to Greece and Rome, finding in Demosthenes and Cicero the ideal being. To-day we see man as the producer, the builder, the one who brings things to pass.
In these "outlines" very much of importance has been omitted. This concluding paper does not make place for the things that were neglected. The very recent appearance, and for the first time in English, of "Histories of Education," offers excellent opportunity for that detailed and thoughtful consideration of our subject which its importance demands.
We pass to a brief consideration of Mr. Spencer's work on "Education, Physical, Intellectual, and Moral." This title gives plain recognition of the fact that education is threefold because man is threefold. Mr. Spencer's treatise originally appeared in four review articles, as follows: 1. "What Knowledge is of most Worth?" 2."Intellectual Education." 3."Moral Education." 4."Physical Education." It may be allowable to preface our remarks ujoon Mr. Spencer's teaching in these papers with some expression as to its value. We would vote to-day for compulsory legislation which should see to it that every parent and instructor and rational person read Mr. Spencer's articles on education, and then read them over again, and then studied them, and then practiced such portions of their teachings as we accept. Without doubt, the bearing of this last clause is all too apparent; but, as it is needed for the fair expression of our conviction, it shall remain un-altered.
Mr, Spencer has discovered that pigs, sheep, and horses are better taken care of than children. There is more and better science applied to the physical well-being of pigs than to that of our own race and kindred. Mr. Spencer states the desideratum in physical education as follows: "To conform the regimen of the nursery and school to the established truths of modern science."
"Without calling in question the great importance of horse-training and pig-feeding, we would suggest that, as the rearing of well-grown men and women is also of some moment, the conclusions indicated by theory and indorsed by practice ought to be acted on in the last case as in the first."
I quote at this point one of those paragraphs which would secure a vote for the compulsory legislation before mentioned: "There is a current theory, vaguely entertained, if not put into definite formula, that the sensations are to be disregarded. They do not exist for our guidance but to mislead us, seems to be the prevalent belief reduced to its naked form. It is a grave error. We are more beneficently constituted. It is not obedience to the sensations, but disobedience to them, which is the habitual course of bodily evils. Perhaps nothing will so much hasten the time when body and mind will both be adequately cared for as a diffusion of the belief that preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality. Men's habitual words and acts imply the idea that they are at liberty to treat their bodies as they please. The fact is, that all breaches of the laws of health are physical sins. When this is seen, then, and perhaps not till then, will the physical training of the young receive all the attention it deserves." In his paper on "Intellectual OUTLINES FROM THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION: 219
Education," Mr. Spencer presents a series of contrasts between past and present education. From an extreme in physical education fol- lowed an extreme in mental education — we are now learning the value of being good animals. Learning by rote or memory is passing away. Learning by rules is disappearing. From this has resulted the post- ponement of once earlier studies to a later time. This also is decidedly by way of contrast. "We have reached object -teaching or culture through observation. Again, we present truths in the concrete, not in the abstract. The seventh and last contrast is shown by the desire we manifest to make all acquirement of knowledge pleasurable. Mr. Spencer calls attention to the common characteristic of these con- trasts, viz., an increasing conformity to the methods of Nature. This leads to Pestalozzi's teaching that education must adapt itself to the natural process of mental evolution. After these special considera- tions, Mr. Spencer announces certain, principles which may serve as guides in the matter of intellectual education until the establishment of a rational psychology. " Proceed from the simpjle to the complex. Begin in the concrete and end in the abstract. Education must ac- cord, both in mode and arrangement, with the education of mankind considered historically. Education should proceed from the empirical to the rational. Self-development should be encouraged to the fullest extent. The method of instruction should create pleasurable excite- ment."
Education is to provide for man as a threefold being. The intel- lect must work upon all the material ofFered for development, must convert this material into organized knowledge. AVe now reach a subject that has been thought by almost all educators to present the question of questions, viz.. What subject-matter is best adapted to un- fold the complex nature of man ? While I regard the high impor- tance thus attached to this question as entirely beside the mark and a serious hindrance, I know that the matter can not be ignored. On all hands people seem constrained to reform education by determining what shall be taught. Let us note, for a moment, the forms of intel- lectual activity engaged in the acquisition of organized knowledge. These may be phrased as discrimination, detection of identity, and reproduction, both direct and creative. For the natural, proper action of these powers, the materieil is a matter of comparative indifference. I can analyze, synthesize, and remember, whether I deal with Latin, Greek, mathematics, chemistry, literature, or strictly speculative phi- losophy. That department which presents the largest number of facts, he&t, classified, will offer most opportunity for the action of the intel- lect. In all effort to educate, therefore, we should present that branch or those branches only which contain the most facts in the best order.
There was a time when it might have been fairly said that the classical languages alone met the necessity just indicated. After middle-age scholasticism had worn out the patience of men, and be-
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fore scientific discovery pointed to better things, there was naturally and necessarily a return to ancient Greece and Rome. The direction thus given to education could not but bring it to pass that the facts of the Greek and Latin languages should be both the most numerous and the best classified of any facts in the possession of men. The study of Greek and Latin was a way of deliverance from scholasti- cism, and as such was best calculated to educate the entire man. We see the historical and rational ground for that supremacy which was enjoyed by the classical languages in all educational undertakings. This supremacy, resting on most facts best classified, would necessa- rily give way before any other subject-matter pi-esenting an equal or greater number of facts as well or better classified. Now, it is a claim unqualifiedly put forth by those able to judge, that the physical sci- ences offer more facts under better classification than do Latin, Greek, psychology, ethics, history, or any other non-material study. This is a simple question of fact, if, indeed, it be a question at all. Allowing the claim, we shall conclude that the physical sciences have full right to take their places by the side of the classical languages so far as promoting the activities of the intellect is concerned. This disposes of the question of discipline. To analyze, synthesize, and remember, is to organize knowledge. When full opportunity is given for such men- tal operations the requirements of mental discipline are realized. Edu- cation, however, is something more than mental discipline. Education is the development of man's complex nature. When we discuss the question of material, therefore, we must discuss it in the light of man's nature. The question as to the relative value of Jcnoicledges'Mv. Spen- cer considers in his first article, and he does so, be it carefully observed, from a different education-idea. He says, " To prepare us for complete living is the function which education has to discharge." I would amend this, and say, to prepare us for complete heijig, complete hecom- ing, is the function which education has to discharge. Here is not a distinction without a difference. Had Mr. Spencer's language stood isolated from the rest of his article, it would have been possible to find in his words, " complete living," what is contained in the words "complete being." Connected, however, with Mr. Spencer's classifi- cation of human activities, with the principle on which this classifica- tion is based, and with the whole tenor of his article, the " complete living " presents, as it is intended to present, the practical, physical idea. Man is viewed as the producer, the one who brings things to pass, the one who adjusts himself to his environment. I remember all that Mr. Spencer has said about yielding to no one in his estima- tion of festhetical development, but I also remember these words : " As the fine arts occupy the leisure part of life, so should they occupy the leisure part of education"; and these words : "Here we see most dis- tinctly the vice of our educational system ; it neglects the plant for the flower," which may be true, and the supreme value of the flower
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remain unimpaired. Mr. Spencer believes that man's nature should be unfolded for the sake of making him a complete liver — we believe that man's nature should be unfolded for its own sake, for what there is in it of power for goodness, for what he, the man, can become by- loving reality and by serving his fellow-beings. These ideas are essentially different ; as much so as the culture-idea, of humanism and the useful idea of philanthi'opism. It should be understood, however, that we are not restating, in slightly different language, this culture- idea which humanism advocates. The word culture labors under the misfortune of being either too indefinite or too narrow. It means nothing, or it stands for general aesthetical development. The cult- ured man is thought of more from the side of mind and taste than from the side of moral excellence. The true education-idea embraces the development of the entire man, and any system which aims at else than this or less than this is defective in theory, and will be defective in practice. Let us interpret Mr. Spencer's language, not in itself alone, but in its connections, and as related to the entire course of his argu- ment. " How to live — that is the essential question for us ; not, how to live in the mere material sense only, but in the widest sense. The general problem, which comprehends every special problem, is, the right ruling of conduct in all directions, under all circumstances : in what way to treat the body, in what way to treat the mind, in what way to manage our affairs, in what way to bring up a family, in what way to behave as a citizen, in what way to utilize all those sources of happiness which Nature supplies ; how to use all our faculties to the greatest advantage of oui'selves and others ; how to live completely ; and this, being the great thing needful for us to learn, is, by conse- quence, the great thing which education has to teach." By the aid of this fundamental position Mr. Spencer sets forth the kind of material which he believes best qualified to educate man. *' Our first step is to classify, m the order of their imjiortance [italics the writer's], the leading kinds of activity which constitute human life." Mr. Spencer gives the following classification : I. Those activities which directly minister to self-preservation. II. Those activities which, by securing the necessaries of life, indirectly minister to self-preservation. III. Those activities which have for their end the rearing and discipline of off- spring. IV. Those activities which are involved in the maintenance of proper social and political relations. V. Those miscellaneous activi- ties which make up the leisure part of life, devoted to the gratification of the tastes and the feelings." This classification, so far as it is to be made the basis of educational endeavor, I can not but regard as funda- mentally defective. It proceeds from a confusion of primary necessity with primary value. Mr. Spencer, in commending his classification, says, " The actions and precautions by which, from moment to mo- ment we secure personal safety, must clearly take precedence of all others." Admitted, on a proper interpretation of this word precedence.
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I must know that poison, in certain quantities, will destroy me. Is this knowledge, therefore, more valuable than other knowledge ?
" The power of self-maintenance necessarily preceding the power of maintaining offspring, it follows that knowledge needful for self- maintenance has stronger claims than knowledge needful for family welfare, is second in value to none save knowledge needful for imme- diate self-preservation." Because I must know how to secure bread and potatoes, nay, more, because I must actually secure them, before I can support a family, is this bread and potato knowledge therefore in any sense more valuable than that knowledge of moral requirements which might help to make me a good father, a proper guide, and lov- ing companion to those who should look to me for protection ? Mr. Spencer further says: "Those various forms of pleasurable occupa- tion which fill up the leisure left by graver occupations — the enjoy- ments of music, jDoetry, painting — manifestly imply a pre-existing soci- ety. And consequently that part of human conduct which constitutes good citizenship is of more moment than that which goes out in ac- complishments or exercise of the tastes ; and, in education, prepara- tion for the one must rank before preparation for the other." What do these words "rank before " mean ? Before in necessity? Yes. Before in value ? No. Because we must be civilized before we can develop our a?sthetical, our moral and religious nature, therefore civil- ization is more valuable than the flower of spirituality ? The rose must have its roots and body, must have them well trained and cared for ; therefore the roots and body are more valuable than the opened bud with its wealth of color and fragrance. Let us hold clearly in mind Mr. Spencer's teaching as to the proper subordination of material in education. First should come that education which prepares for direct self-preservation ; second, that which prepares for indirect self- preservation ; third, that which prepares for parenthood ; fourth, that which prepares for citizenship ; fifth, that which prepares for the miscellaneous requirements of life. How shall this order be applied ? " Of course, the ideal of education is complete preparation in all these divisions ; but, failing that, the aim should be to maintain a due prox>ortion between the degrees of preparation in each. And what is due proportion ? It is an attention greatest where the value is ffreatest, less cohere the value is less, least icJiere the value is least.'^ Take this language in connection with the following sentence : " For the average man, we say, the desideratum is a training that ap- proaches nearest to perfection in the things which most subserve com- plete living, and falls more and more below perfection in the things that have more and more remote bearing on complete living^ Here we draw near Mr. Spencer's meaning in the words " complete living." Complete living is more to be sought in self-preservation than in the creation of a poem, the production of harmonies, the luxury of benev- olence. Man, Mr. Spencer himself being judge, is a threefold being,
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having body, mind and spirit. Wiiy slioiild we, in educating him, take least thought for the flower ? Why should we take less thought for the flower than for the roots ? Because without the roots there can be no flower? But so also %cith the roots it may chance that there shall be no flower. There is many a splendid body with soul so small that Omniscience scarce could find it. If we look primarily to the roots, think constantly of the roots, make the roots uppermost iu all endeavor, we shall develop roots and nothing else. Existence is, indeed, a struggle. Shall we not, then, educate men for their imme- diate task ? Most certainly. Shall we forget, or put at all into the background, the fact that men have a spiritual nature, and that in this lies their highest and fullest measure of being ? This, to some, may savor of cant and of the seminaries. Let it, however, be settled, aj^art from sects or creeds, whether there are such excellences as sin- cerity, purity, truthfulness, self-forgetfulness in the desire to be and to do good. Let it also be settled in what relation these stand to the other excellences of man's nature. Let it be seen whether they are not supreme in the sense of making up his icorth, in the sense, that is, of giving value to all his other attainments, physical and intellectual. These important matters being settled in the afiirma- tive, as very many would settle them even in our so-called material- istic age, education would at least proceed in a different spirit. While it would not be the business of education to make men and women good, it would be impossible to call those educated who had never so much as thought on goodness, or never considered themselves in the light of their highest possibilities and duties.
With respect to the subject-matter of education Mr. Spencer offers this delicious bit of satire : " Men who would blush if caught saying Iphigenia instead of Iphigenia show not the slightest shame in con- fessing that they do not know where the Eustachian tubes are located, what are the actions of the spinal cord, what is the normal rate of pul- sation, or how the lungs are inflated." This sentence may be turned about and made to utter truth as follows : Men who would blush in not knowing where the Eustachian tubes are located, what are the actions of the spinal cord, what is the normal rate of pulsation, or how the lungs are inflated, show not the slightest shame, not the very slightest shame, in confessing that they do not know when Plato lived or what he thought, when Goethe lived or what he thought, when Angelo lived or what he wrought. The entire duty of man is not to locate the Eustachian tubes. The entire duty of man is not to know the actions of the spinal cord, or how the lungs are inflated — not one particle more than it is bis entire duty to say Iphigenia. It is not ichat a man knows, b.ut hoio he knows what he knows, that de- termines the character of his education. This thought, in the writer's opinion, is fundamental. To lead up to it and to give it full emphasis has been the special object of all remarks here made upon Mr. Spen-
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cer's teaching concerning the relative value of knowledges. It was not expected that any argument with regard to his position in this matter would have weight for those who, of necessity, that is con- stitutionally, accept his opinions. As was shown in the contrasts be- tween humanism and philanthropisra, the antagonism rests upon a sharply defined natural dualism. Man is a creature of opposites. It is perfectly competent to say to him he good ; it is also perfectly competent to say to him be good for something. Argument may not hope to obliterate this distinction. The "Andover Review," June, 1886, contains three notable articles bearing on the present phase of our subject. These are : " The Group System of College Studies in the Johns Hoi^kins University," by President Oilman; "The Har- vard New Education," by Professor Howison ; and " Individualism in Education," by Dr. Denison, President Oilman shows that Johns Hopkins has, from the first, recognized the thorough-going distinc- tion between a college and a university. " The idea that university education should be based upon collegiate training is generally ad- mitted — except in the United States. This distinction the authorities in Baltimore have endeavored to emphasize. From the beginning, the plans included collegiate instruction for those who were not ready for graduate work." In attempting to provide college courses the old difliculty of the " curriculum " was encountered. Johns Hopkins met this difficulty by an intermediate course. Several parallel schemes were arranged which were of equal length and assumed to be equally difficult. They led to the same degree. They were spoken of as equally honorable." It is surprisingly interesting to note the studies found in all these courses. They are " logic, ethics, and psy- chology ; physical geography and history ; English, French, and Ger- man ; a laboratory course, for at least one year ; and also physical culture, vocal culture, and drawing." That the Johns Hopkins Uni- versity should require of all its undergraduate students such studies as logic, psychology, and ethics, must seem a trying thing to many of the younger materialists. That these subjects should be given pref- erence over Latin and Greek as furnishing a culture required for all undergraduates can not but seem incredible to thousands of classical instructors. President Gilman, expressing his own opinion of the plan, says : " I am far from thinking that the group system here devised is perfect, even for our requirements. It is constantly studied and frequent efforts are made to improve it. But, as far as I know, the instructors in this university are unanimous in thinking that it is the only method practicable for us to adopt. We should doubtless differ very much from one another in our estimate of the different courses, and xoe should he likely to counsel young men differently as to their selcctio^i.^ This sentence suggests the question whether the entire scheme is not more largely the result of compromise than of mutual conviction and agreement. That a large body of instructors
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should agree upon such prescribed studies as above set dowU; for all undergraduate students, will not find ready credence. The move- ment at Harvard which is now phrased as the new education, though an extreme, is perfectly natural, and easily lends itself to such brill- iant advocacy as that of Professor Palmer : " The old conception had been that there were certain matters, a knowledge of which consti- tuted a liberal education. Compared with the possession of these, the temper of the receiving mind was a secondary affair. Under the new conditions college faculties were forced to recognize personal apti- tudes. In assessing the worth of studies, attention was thus with- drawn from their subject - matter, and transferred to the response they called forth in the apprehender. Hence arose a new ideal of education in which temper of mind had pre-eminence over qucesita, the guidance of the powers of knowing over the store of matters known." Nothing could well be found more admirable than the reply of Professor Howison to this paragraph. So far as a recogni- tion of the needs of human nature is concerned, he seems to meet the case completely : " Study can not be liberalizing unless it is pur- sued in a temper of freely dutiful diligence, but no more can it be so if it does not put its subject in possession of the constitutive fibers of civilization [italics present writer's]. Our life in humanism is linked by vital threads to the growth of the past as well as to the environ- ment of the present — threads that can not be severed except on pen- alty of spiritual death." We inquire how shall the student be put in possession of the " constitutive fibers in the historic substance of civili- zation"? In reply. Professor Howison gives his curriculum for all undergraduate study :
" Languages, classical and modern ; mathematics, in all its general conceptions, thoroughly apprehended ; physics, acquired in a similar manner, and the other natural sciences, though with much less of de- tail ; history and politics ; literature, especially of the mother-tongue, but indispensably the masterpieces in other languages, particularly the classic ; philosophy, in the thorough elements of psychology, logic, metaphysics, and ethics, each historically treated, and economics, in the history of elementary principles, must all enter into any education that can claim to be liberal."
This is, indeed, a " liberal " course of study, but no amount of argument could persuade a large number of our educators, or of our average citizens, to insist upon such a course for each student. If here alone be a liberal education, many would say, so much the worse for a liberal education ; we will have none of it. To compel a boy, who has absolutely no natural disposition for it, to spend his years in groans over mathematics or classics, or psychology, logic, metaphysics, and ethics, would be a matter calling for action from the Society for Pre- vention of Cruelty. And yet the writer is in direct sympathy with the position of Professor Howison. The writer believes that these are
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the constitutive fibers of civilization, and would have them wrought into every young man or woman who might seek an education. Nev- ertheless — and this is the point of all our urging — true reform in edu- cation can not be found on this path. Agreement as to the subject- matter of study is an impossibility. All judgment on this point roots itself in the constitution of the individual, and, while many may agree that the topics named above compass the circle of being, they will not agree as to the desirability, much less the necessity, of demanding years of toil in such topics from each young man and woman. Professor Howison believes that " thoughtful and competent judges — outside of the Harvard circle — will stand by the plainly reasonable conviction that there is a sum of knowledge touched with sentiment, and invig- orated by masterly grasp, the lack of which demonstrates the lack of a truly cultivated mind." This is most admirable. But who are the thoughtful and competent judges ? And, when they have been found, who shall assure us that their curriculum will be that of Professor Howison ? From the nature of human nature there can not be such agreement. Individuality is as much a constitutive fact of each human being as is the trait which he shows in common with his fellows. This individuality, representing his inheritance, his child- hood, his training by environment, toill assert itself. And this means nothing more or less than that he, the given person, will go out toward certain subjects and withdraw from others. Force him to study Latin and Greek, or mathematics and physics, even through the college course, and you may do him irreparable harm. At all events, there is here an open question. The writer believes it will remain an open question until the time of the perfect psychology. Meanwhile the course of education can be advanced, and that on another line. This is the line of better teaching. One of the most important truths con- tained in Mr. Spencer's treatise is found, as I think, in the following paragraph : " A branch of knowledge which, as commonly taught, is dry and even repulsive, may, by folloiciyxg the method of Nature, be made extremely interesting and profoundly beneficial. "We say pro- foundly beneficial, because the effects are not confined to the gaining of facts, but often revolutionize the whole state of mind." A more pregnant sentence with regard to education can not be found. To follow the method of Nature in teaching a given subject means to recognize the special character of the subject itself, and at the same time to discern its natural place in the unfolding being of the pupil. The first secures the organic presentation of the subject joer se, the second finds in the pupil a natural — i. e., a constitutive — response to the matter as developed. The business of teaching is to establish re- lations, not to communicate facts ; these relations are between the beiBg of the pupil and subject studied. That there are, for all sub- jects, such relations, that these relations are, in all cases, natural, must be the guiding conviction with every teacher. Instead, then, of
�� � attempting to reform education by "devising courses," by finding out new things, by contesting the supremacy of this or that branch of knowledge, does it not seem wiser to insist upon right teaching? Subjects as doleful to the common student-mind as Latin grammar, Greek grammar, formal logic, psychology, and ethics, have been made "to revolutionize" the whole state of being for many a pupil, and this by right teaching. All knowledge is worthy—worthy the best of human endeavor, both to secure and to communicate. Let us, then, pass from this as from a matter not needful longer to be discussed, and demand true teaching.