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you will be obliged, in spite of your good heart, to let things take their course; whereas, if you acquire knowledge and power, you will be able to give good advice, and save many a man from misery.'
"I have generally found that great, noble, and high thoughts are indispensable for developing wisdom and firmness of character.
"Such an instruction must be complete in the sense that it must take account of all our aptitudes and all our circumstances; it must be conducted, too, in a truly psychological spirit, that is to say, simply, lovingly, energetically, and calmly. Then, by its very nature, it produces an enlightened and delicate feeling for everything true and good, and brings to light a number of accessory and dependent truths, which are forthwith accepted and assimilated by the human soul, even in the case of those who could not express these truths in words. This verbal expression of the truths which rule our lives is not so generally useful to humanity as it is thought to be by men who have been accustomed for centuries to hear Christian instruction conveyed by question and answer, regardless of result, and who for a generation past have seen the mania of our poor century for empty speech more and more encouraged, alas! by the very people who pretend to enlighten it.
"I believe that the first development of thought in the child is very much disturbed by a wordy system of teaching, which is not adapted either to his faculties or the circumstances of his life.
"According to my experience, success depends upon whether what is taught to children commends itself to them as true, through being closely connected with their own personal observation and experience.
"Without this foundation, truth must seem to them to be little better than a plaything, which is beyond their comprehension, and therefore a burden. Truth and justice are certainly more than empty words to men, for they are the outcome of inward convictions, high views, noble aspirations, and sound judgment, to say nothing of the external signs by which their power may be made manifest.
“And what is not less true is that this sentiment of truth and justice, when it has developed simply and soberly in the depths of a man's soul, is his best safeguard against the chief
and most deadly consequences of prejudice; nor will it ever allow error, ignorance, or superstition, however bad they may be in themselves, to influence him as they do and always must influence those who, without a trace of love or justice in their hearts, are incessantly prating of religion and right. "These general principles of human instruction are like pieces of pure gold; the particular truths which depend upon them are but silver and copper. I cannot help comparing the swimmer, who loses himself in this sea, made up of so many thousand drops of truth, to a merchant who, after having amassed a fortune, penny by penny, should become so attached not only to the general principle of looking after the pence, but to each individual penny, that the loss of a single one would distress him as much as that of a golden guinea.
"When the peaceful exercise of his duty produces a harmony between a man's powers and feelings, when the charm of pure relations between men is increased and ensured by the wider recognition of certain simple and lofty truths, there is nothing to be feared from prejudices; they will disappear before the natural development of these feelings and powers like darkness before the dawn.
"Human knowledge derives its real advantages from the solidity of the foundations on which it rests. The man who knows a great deal must be stronger, and must work harder than others, if he is to bring his knowledge into harmony with his nature and with the circumstances of his life. If he does not do this, his knowledge is but a delusive will-o'the-wisp, and will often rob him of such ordinary pleasures of life as even the most ignorant man, if he have but common sense, can make quite sure of. That, my dear friend, is why I felt it to be so important that this harmony of the soul's powers, the combined effect of our nature and first impressions, should not be disturbed by the errors of human art.
"I have now put before you my views as to the family spirit which ought to prevail in an educational establishment, and I have told you of my attempts to carry them out. I have still to explain the essential principles upon which all my teaching was based.
"I knew no other order, method, or art, but that which resulted naturally from my children's conviction of my love for them, nor did I care to know any other.
"Thus I subordinated the instruction of my children to a
higher aim, which was to arouse and strengthen their best sentiments by the relations of every-day life as they existed between themselves and me.
"I had Gedicke's reading-book, but it was of no more use to me than any other school-book; for I felt that, with all these children of such different ages, I had an admirable opportunity for carrying out my own views on early education. I was well aware, too, how impossible it would be to organize my teaching according to the ordinary system in use in the best schools.
"As a general rule I attached little importance to the study of words, even when explanations of the ideas they represented were given.
"I tried to connect study with manual labour, the school with the workshop, and make one thing of them. But I was the less able to do this as staff, material, and tools were all wanting. A short time only before the close of the establishment, a few children had begun to spin; and I saw clearly that, before any fusion could be effected, the two parts must be firmly established separately-study, that is, on the one hand, and labour on the other.
"But in the work of the children I was already inclined to care less for the immediate gain than for the physical training which, by developing their strength and skill, was bound to supply them later with a means of livelihood. In the same way I considered that what is generally called the instruction of children should be merely an exercise of the faculties, and I felt it important to exercise the attention, observation, and memory first, so as to strengthen these faculties before calling into play the art of judging and reasoning; this, in my opinion, was the best way to avoid turning out that sort of superficial and presumptuous talker, whose false judgments are often more fatal to the happiness and progress of humanity than the ignorance of simple people of good sense.
"Guided by these principles, I sought less at first to teach my children to spell, read, and write than to make use of these exercises for the purpose of giving their minds as full and as varied a development as possible.
"I made them spell by heart before teaching them their A B C, and the whole class could thus spell the hardest words without knowing their letters. It will be evident to every
body how great a call this made on their attention. I followed at first the order of words in Gedicke's book, but I soon found it more useful to join the five vowels successively to the different consonants, and so form a well graduated series of syllables leading from simple to compound.1.
"I had gone rapidly through the scraps of geography and natural history in Gedicke's book. Before knowing their letters even, they could say properly the names of the different countries. In natural history they were very quick in corroborating what I taught them by their own personal observations on plants and animals. I am quite sure that, by continuing in this way, I should soon have been able not only to give them such a general acquaintance with the subject as would have been useful in any vocation, but also to put them in a position to carry on their education themselves by means of their daily observations and experiences; and I should have been able to do all this without going outside the very restricted sphere to which they were confined by the actual circumstances of their lives. I hold it to be extremely important that men should be encouraged to learn by themselves and allowed to develop freely. It is in this way alone that the diversity of individual talent is produced and made evident.
I always made the children learn perfectly even the least important things, and I never allowed them to lose ground; a word once learnt, for instance, was never to be forgotten, and a letter once well written never to be written badly again. I was very patient with all who were weak or slow, but very severe with those who did anything less well than they had done it before.
"The number and inequality of my children rendered my task easier. Just as in a family the eldest and cleverest child readily shows what he knows to his younger brothers
1 We have here suppressed certain details which apply to German only, and can hardly be translated. But it is clear that the syllabaries for teaching reading, which were not employed in the schools till long afterwards, had already at this time been invented by Pestalozzi. He had already begun, too, to connect the teaching of writing with that of reading and spelling, and used to make his children read written characters before printed ones. His views on this subject are explained in his work, How to Teach Spelling and Reading. Gessner, Zurich and Berne, 1801.
and sisters, and feels proud and happy to be able to take his mother's place for a moment, so my children were delighted when they knew something that they could teach others. A sentiment of honour awoke in them, and they learned twice as well by making the younger ones repeat their words. In this way I soon had helpers and collaborators amongst the children themselves. When I was teaching them to spell difficult words by heart, I used to allow any child who succeeded in saying one properly to teach it to the others. These child-helpers, whom I had formed from the very outset, and who had followed my method step by step, were certainly much more useful to me than any regular schoolmasters could have been.
"I myself learned with the children. Our whole system was so simple and so natural that I should have had difficulty in finding a master who would not have thought it undignified to learn and teach as I was doing.
My aim was so to simplify the means of instruction that it should be quite possible for even the most ordinary man to teach his children himself; thus schools would gradually almost cease to be necessary, so far as the first elements are concerned. Just as the mother gives her child its first material food, so is she ordained by God to give it its first spiritual food, and I consider that very great harm is done to the child by taking it away from home too soon and submitting it to artificial school methods. The time is drawing near when methods of teaching will be so simplified that each mother will be able not only to teach her children without help, but continue her own education at the same time. And this opinion is justified by my experience, for I found that some of my children developed so well as to be able to follow in my footsteps. And I am more than ever convinced that as soon as we have educational establishments combined with workshops, and conducted on a truly psychological basis, a generation will necessarily be formed which, on the one hand, will show us by experience that our present studies do not require one tenth part of the time or trouble we now give to them, and on the other, that the time and strength this instruction demands, as well as the means of acquiring it, may be made to fit in so perfectly with the conditions of domestic life, that every parent will easily be able to supply it by a member or friend of the family, a result which will