Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/435

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419
EDUCATION AS A SCIENCE.

ure altogether on the susceptibilities of his pupils: he would also avoid overdoing any one branch; he would consider proportion in the things to be taught. To be all language, all observation, all abstract science, all fine art, all bodily expertness, all lofty sentiment, all theology—would not be accepted as a proper outcome of any trainer's work.

The Prussian definition, good so far, does not readily accommodate itself to such circumstances as these—namely, the superior aptitude of individuals for some things rather than for others; the advantage to society of preeminent fitness for special functions, although gained by a one-sided development; the difficulty of reconciling the "whole man" with himself; the limited means of the educator, which imposes the necessity of selection according to relative importance.

Although by no means easy, it is yet possible to make allowance for these various considerations, under the theory of harmonious development; but, after the operation is accomplished, the doubt will arise whether much is gained by using that theory as the defining fact of education.

In the very remarkable article on education contributed by James Mill to the "Encyclopædia Britannica," the end of education is stated to be "to render the individual, as much as possible, an instrument of happiness, first to himself, and next to other beings." This, however, should be given as an amended answer to the first question of the Westminster Catechism—"What is the chief end of man?" The utmost that we could, expect of the educator, who is not everybody, is to contribute his part to the promotion of human happiness in the order stated. No doubt the definition goes more completely to the root of the matter than the German formula. It does not trouble itself with the harmony, the many-sidedness, the wholeness, of the individual development; it would admit these just as might be requisite for seeming the final end.

James Mill is not singular in his over-grasping view of the subject. The most usual subdivision of education is into physical, intellectual, moral, religious, technical. Now, when we inquire into the meaning of physical education, we find it to mean the rearing of a healthy human being, by all the arts and devices of nursing, feeding, clothing, and general regimen. Mill includes this subject in his article, and Mr. Herbert Spencer devotes a very interesting chapter to it in his work on Education. It seems to me, however, that this department may be kept quite separate, important though it be. It does not at all depend upon the principles and considerations that the educator, properly so called, has in view in the carrying out of his work. The discussion of the subject does not in any way help us in educational matters, as most commonly understood; nor does it derive any illumination from being placed side by side with the arts of the recognized teacher. The fact of bodily health or vigor is a leading postu-