Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/438

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an analysis that the cost can be calculated; and, by means of this, we can best observe whether contradictory demands are made upon the educator.

What we have been drifting to, in our search for an aim, is the work of the school. This may want a little more paring and rounding to give it scientific form, but it is the thing most calculated to fix and steady our vision at the outset.

Now, in the success of the schoolmaster's work, the first and central fact is the plastic property of the mind itself. On this depends the acquisition not simply of knowledge but of everything that can be called an acquisition. The most patent display of the power consists in memory for knowledge imparted. In this view the leading inquiry in the art of education is how to strengthen memory. We are, therefore, led to take account of the several mental aptitudes that either directly or indirectly enter into the retentive function. In other words, we must draw upon the science of the human mind for whatever that science contains respecting the conditions of memory.

Although memory, acquisition, retentiveness, depends mainly upon one unique property of the intellect, which accordingly demands to be scrutinized with the utmost care, there are various other properties, intellectual and emotional, that aid in the general result, and to each of these regard must be had, in a science of education.

We have thus obtained the clew to one prime division of the subject—the purely psychological part. Of no less consequence is another department, at present without a name—an inquiry into the proper or natural order of the different subjects, grounded on their relative simplicity or complexity, and their mutual dependence. It is necessary to success in education that a subject should not be presented to the pupil until all the preparatory subjects have been mastered. This is obvious enough in certain cases: arithmetic is taken before algebra, geometry before trigonometry, inorganic chemistry before organic; but in many cases the proper order is obscured by circumstances, and is an affair of very delicate consideration. I may call this the analytic, or logical, department of the theory of education.

It is a part of scientific method to take strict account of leading terms, by a thorough and exhaustive inquiry into the meanings of all such. The settlement of many questions relating to education is embarrassed by the vagueness of the single term "discipline."

Further, it ought to be pointed out, as specially applicable to our present subject, that the best attainable knowledge on anything is due to a combination of general principles obtained from the sciences, with well-conducted observations and experiments made in actual practice. On every great question there should be a convergence of both lights. The technical expression for this is the union of the deductive and inductive methods. The deductions are to be obtained