Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 58.djvu/226

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218

POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of harmony with this point of view 'the book will have no interest'—all this serves to place the entire volume in so misleading and unfortunate a position that it would have been far better, rather than have it thus introduced, to have left the work untranslated. Under its present auspices it will prove to be a useful convenience to many, but a source of misconception and a stumblingblock to many more.

EDUCATION.

During the later part of the eighteenth century the conception of education as one phase of the development of the individual was established. There followed attention to the methodological aspect of the subject which resulted in the basing of the method of education upon psychology, instead of upon more or less fantastic analogies with nature. During the latter half of the present century has been established the conception of education as a social process, as one phase of human development. As a result, the historical and social aspects of education are becoming more scientific. There has been no history or historical sketch of education for the English reading public that possessed historic and scientific value until the recent appearance of Prof. Thomas Davidson's 'History of Education.' The author defines education as conscious human evolution and attempts to sketch the history of education in terms of dominant evolutionary thought. Frequently the author is guilty of that generality that has brought much of sociological thought into disrepute. His definition of education is so broad that it would include political and other phases of evolution that are conscious processes so far as the race is concerned. However, the revision of old ideas or the formulation of new ones is certain to provoke disagreement concerning essentials or details. It is the attempt that is significant in this case. It is but an earnest of the future. There is further evidence to this more scientific conception of the history of education. Hitherto the historical aspect of education has not passed beyond the biographical stage. But educational biography is now being written from this broader point of view. The interest is less in the individual and more in his relation to social practices and developing ideas. This attitude is best illustrated in the issues of the 'Great Educator Series,' edited by Prof. Nicholas Murray Butler. The latest issue, 'Comenius and the Beginnings of Educational Reform,' by Will S. Monroe, is well up to the higher standard set by previous issues. Comenius was to education what his contemporaries, Bacon and Descartes, were to science and philosophy. A biographical sketch of Comenius from this point of view, such as Mr. Monroe gives, is a valuable contribution to the literature of the new aspect of education.

Dr. L. Viereck publishes in the Educational Review an article narrating how even in the German gymnasium Latin is losing its traditional position. A movement is gaining ground looking toward beginning the study of Latin not in the lowest class of the gymnasium, but only after three years, thus leaving six years for the language. In this case Greek is begun two years later and is confined to the last four years of the course. This plan has the obvious advantage of not requiring boys to decide on their career in life at the age of ten years, but permits students of the 'real' gymnasium and of the traditional gymnasium to carry on the same studies for the first three years. The system, which was first tried in Frankfort in 1892, had a year ago been adopted in twenty-one schools and appears to be favored by the Prussian Government. Other straws showing how the current is setting in Germany are the establishment within a year of a doctorate in applied science and the decision that hereafter the doctor's diploma shall be written in German instead of Latin.