« ForrigeFortsæt »
PESTALOZZI'S METHODS OF TEACHING VARIOUS
Geography. In the Swan's Song Pestalozzi says that the accurate observation of the different conditions of water, at rest or in motion: its changing into dew, rain, vapour, steam, hoar-frost, hail, etc. and its action on other objects of nature; and the expressing of the results of such observations in clear and fitting language, give the beginnings of physical geography. The pupil must first be taught to observe the country around his own home; not studying it through a map, but by actually walking about the land itself. must learn to make a map-correcting any mistakes in his first attempts from fuller and more accurate knowledge gained from later visits-before he is allowed to see, much less to make use of, a school map. The maps used in school teaching should be blank maps.
One of the Yverdon pupils, Professor Vulliemin, thus describes the actual teaching in geography: "The first elements of geography were taught us from the land itself. We were taken to a narrow valley not far from Yverdon, where the river Buron runs. After taking a general view of the valley, we were made to examine the details, until we had obtained an exact and complete idea of it. We were then told to take some clay,
which lay in beds on one side of the valley, and fill the baskets which we had brought for the purpose.
"On our return to the castle, we took our places at the long table, and reproduced in relief the valley we had just studied, each one doing the part which had been allotted to him. In the course of the next few days more walks and more explorations, each day on higher ground, and each time with a further extension of our work. Only when our relief was finished were we shown the map, which by this means we did not see till we were in a condition to understand it."
From the very beginnings geography is to be correlated with the other sciences, such as natural history, agriculture, geology, etc.; not only because these are directly connected with each other, but also because greater and continuous interest is thus aroused.
Dr. Biber, after describing, in glowing terms, the pre-eminent advantages of the surroundings at Yverdon, for teaching geography to the pupils there, says: "He taught them to watch the gathering up of the morning mists, and the shadows of the early clouds, which passing over the glittering lake hid for a moment, as with a veil of gauze, its streams of undulating gold; he directed their eyes to the flaming characters with which the sun writes the farewell of day on the traceless surface of eternal snow; he stood listening with them to the majestic voice of nature, when the autumnal gale howling on the floods, rolled billow after billow to the bleak shore; he guided their steps to the mountain caves from whose deep recesses the stately rivers drew their inexhaustible supplies.
"Wherever he found a leaf in the mysterious book of creation laid open, he gave it to them to read, and
thus, within the narrow sphere of their horizon, taught them more of earth and earthborn beings, than they could have learned by travelling, in the pages of a heavy volume, all round the globe. This was indeed 'intuitive' teaching, and experience proved that, independently of the moral effect which such an intercourse with nature can never fail to produce, the reality and vivacity of the ideas awakened in the children, concerning the relations of the great elements to each other, and to the beings whose existence they support, ensured a permanent and lively attention to whatever ulterior instruction in the science of geography it was deemed expedient to impart.
"The simple features by which the hand of nature has distinguished the different countries, were presented to the mind long before the artificial mould into which man has cast them. Physical and mathematical geography, founded upon the ideas acquired by self-observation, formed the ground-work of this branch of the method, and statistical facts were superadded at the end, arranged in concise tables so as to facilitate their recollection."
History. Pestalozzi held that it was unwise to attempt to teach historical incidents, and their causes and effects, to young children. Not only are children unable and unfitted to judge of the doings and motives of men and nations, but their moral and intellectual progress is hindered and hampered by attempts to do this, and by so early an acquaintance with the wickedness and violence they have to learn about in the study of history.
Dr. Biber says: "The historical lessons laboured under still greater imperfections. Pestalozzi, from a
sort of prejudice which he had conceived against historical studies, gave but little encouragement to their cultivation in the establishment, and accordingly their treatment by the different teachers was, more than that of any other branch of instruction, subject to endless changes. One man read abstruse lectures; another drew up a set of synchronistical tables; to some it seemed preferable to connect all history with biographical sketches, while others indulged in lengthy discussions on the different forms of government, and the best polity; some hurried over the whole of the records of humankind in a few months; while others found their whole set of pupils changed between their ante- and postdiluvian lessons."
Science. It would not be too much to say that the whole Pestalozzian system is based upon, and developed through, science and the scientific method. There remains, therefore, only the special work in science, as such, to be considered. Here again Pestalozzi starts with ultimate beginnings, so far as these are known and useful for educational purposes. When, he says, a child has learned to observe accurately and to express correctly-in an elementary manner-what happens when salt and sugar are dissolved in water: the change from liquid to solid states: their crystallisation: the fermentation of wine in the cellar: its turning sour and becoming vinegar: the transformation of alabaster into plaster, marble into lime, sand into glass, etc., he has developed in himself the elementary scientific percepts, and is likely to have a tendency towards further scientific investigation.
Science teaching, he says, is chiefly (if not only) valuable in the early stages of education-for developing
in the individual their powers of intuition and thought, so that they may be enabled to judge wisely and act independently in the affairs of life. It is through intuitions (involving observations and perceptions) that nature, and life, educate men from their first moment to their last; and, therefore, the educator must educate in a like manner, or he will hinder rather than help a man's development.
Hence Pestalozzi's efforts to find the very simplest beginnings of knowledge (through intuitions), so that the learner might obtain a method and a habit of judging, inquiring and classifying. "The simple question: What materials in the three natural kingdoms can man use for his clothing?' gives an example of this. The child will consider and examine, from this point of view, many materials which he thinks may help him towards finding the answer to this technological problem. By such means he himself constructs the knowledge which he is to obtain. Of course the necessary subject matter must be made accessible to him in every possible way."
Of his actual methods we get some direct information from one of his own pupils. De Guimps speaks of "our mountain excursions. . . . As soon as we got to the high mountain pastures under the pines, we lost our feeling of fatigue, and fell to playing games or collecting herbs and minerals. . . . On returning from these excursions the pupils had to describe them, either orally or in writing, according to their ages. There was generally a great deal to say, as our attention was always carefully drawn to everything likely to prove instructive. These excursions were, in fact, practical lessons in natural history and geography."
Pestalozzi, in speaking of Krüsi, says: "In conse