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daily become easier, according as the method of instruction is simplified, and the number of educated people increased.
"I have proved two things which will be of considerable use to us in bringing about this desirable improvement. The first is that it is possible and even easy to teach many children of different ages at once and well; the second, that many things can be taught to such children even whilst they are engaged in manual labour. This sort of teaching will appear little more than an exercise of memory, as indeed it is; but when the memory is applied to a series of psychologically graduated ideas, it brings all the other faculties into play. Thus, by making children learn at one time spelling, at another exercises on numbers, at another simple songs, we exercise not only their memory, but their power of combination, their judgment, their taste, and many of the best feelings of their hearts. In this way it is possible to stimulate all a child's faculties, even when one seems to be exercising his memory only.
"These exercises not only gave my children an ever-increasing power of attention and discernment, but did very much for their general mental and moral development, and gave that balance to their natures which is the foundation of human wisdom.
"You yourself have seen, my friend, how the giddiest of them would often burst into tears, how the courage of innocence developed, and how the higher feelings of the most intelligent became gradually more and more active. You must not, however, be deceived, and think that the work was already accomplished. Moments of highest hope alternated with hours of disorder, sorrow, and anxiety.
"I myself was not always the same. You know what I am when ill-will and spite are in league against me. Like the worm that so easily eats its way into the fast-growing plant, malice attacked the very heart of my work.
"Certain men would just glance at my immense task, and finding something which was not so well managed as in their own room or kitchen, or in some richly endowed institution, would at once give me the benefit of their advice and wisdom. But, as I could never follow it, they all looked on me as a man upon whom advice was thrown away, and used to say to each other, 'There is nothing to be done with him; he is a little queer in the head.'
This was the hardest thing I had to bear.
"You will hardly believe that it was the Capuchin friars and the nuns of the convent that showed the greatest sympathy with my work. Few people, except Truttman, took any active interest in it. Those from whom I had hoped most were too deeply engrossed with their high political affairs to think of our little institution as having the least degree of importance.
"Such were my dreams; but at the very moment that I seemed to be on the point of realizing them, I had to leave Stanz."
In spite of its great length and many repetitions, this letter seems to us to be one of the most interesting and important documents in the whole field of modern pedagogy.
It contains first a general sketch of an organic education proceeding from within to without by the development and exercise of the child's faculties and sentiments. It speaks of instruction as the fruit of the child's own activity, which must be directed, from the very first, in view of that growth of his faculties which will enable him to learn by himself. It speaks, besides, of a rational method of teaching reading combined with writing and spelling, of the introduction into the popular school of useful facts of geography and natural history, and of the first attempt at that system of mutual instruction which has since been so badly imitated.
The conclusions to be drawn from this experiment at Stanz have been summed up by Morf, one of the men who have studied Pestalozzi with the greatest care and the greatest intelligence, and the author of the most complete biography that has been published of this philosopher of education. His summing up is as follows:
1. "Man's knowledge must be founded on sense-impression. Without this basis, it is but empty verbiage, fraught with more danger even than ignorance for the future happiness of men.
2. "Each branch of instruction must start from a point which is within reach of the child's earliest powers. From this point he must be led forward by a chain of ideas so carefully graduated, that he is able to reach each successive link by his own strength.
3. "The method and means of instruction must be made so clear and so simple as to be capable of adoption by all mothers and teachers, no matter how little talent or education
they may have. In no other way can we look for any large diffusion of enlightenment amongst the people.
4. "In each branch the child must be exercised in the simplest elements till he is entirely master of them, and it must be the same for every step that adds anything new to what is already known. Wherever this principle is not faithfully observed, there can be no true intellectual culture, but merely a confused knowledge, which must remain barren. 5. "Teaching must be addressed to the whole class, and not merely to each individual child; the chief means for this is to make the whole class repeat the master's words in chorus. In this way everybody is occupied, nobody remains inactive, all are compelled to take part in the common work.
6. "Time or rhythm, which men find so useful in any combined work or game, must also be observed in this exercise. It prevents the confusion which would result from a large number of voices, and strengthens the impression made by the teaching.
7. "With this method of instruction, children can practise writing and drawing, even while they are being taught other things. In this way they train their hand and eye, and begin to form their taste. Pestalozzi employed slates for this purpose, on which the children wrote with pencils of the same material. The advantages of this latter innovation, which was due to Pestalozzi, and has since rendered so much service in elementary schools, are its cheapness and the ease with which writing can be rubbed out and corrected."
These propositions, which resume the main points of the letter we have quoted, contain the essential principles upon which, in the present century, the general reform of elementary education has been conducted, and which have led in particular to the institution of good primary schools.
We have now to see how Pestalozzi applied and developed these principles in the new openings he found for his indefatigable activity.
PESTALOZZI AT BURGDORF.
After teaching gratuitously in the Non-Burgesses' School, he is appointed to the Burgesses' School. The School Commission report on his method. He presents an account of his doctrine to the Society of the Friends of Education. His health seriously impaired by overwork.
PESTALOZZI did not stay long at the Gurnigel. No sooner had his health begun to mend than he was again seized with that impetuous zeal for what he called his work, his work without which he could not live-the raising of the people by education. He impatiently awaited the evacuation of Lower Unterwalden by the French troops, for he wanted to return to Stanz and continue his experiment. We have seen that the decision of the Government made this impossible.
Once more Pestalozzi saw the destruction of all his hopes. Not in a position to found such an establishment as he had always thought necessary for the realization of his views, and obliged to give up this project that he had cherished for so long, he had now to look for some other way of reaching the same end, and he decided to become a schoolmaster.
It was to the little town of Burgdorf, in the canton of Berne, that he offered his services; he asked for no salary, but simply for permission to give lessons to the children of one of the primary schools. This modest request was at first refused, and we can hardly wonder at it.
Till then Pestalozzi's only real success had been the publication of Leonard and Gertrude. His practical experiments had been very short-lived, and had left nothing behind them calculated to give the public a favourable idea of his talents. "He seems to work well enough for a few months," people had said when he left Stanz, "but it does not last. We might have known that it would be so; he knows nothing thoroughly,
and is entirely unpractical. Because he wrote a novel at thirty, it does not follow that he can teach at fifty."
Charles Monnard describes Pestalozzi at this time as follows:
"At that time the Burgdorf authorities would not have dared to entrust Pestalozzi with a primary school; this man, since so celebrated, would have had no chance whatever against even the most ordinary candidates. He had everything against him; thick, indistinct speech, bad writing, ignorance of drawing, scorn of grammatical learning. He had studied various branches of natural history, but without any particular attention either to classification or terminology. He was conversant with the ordinary numerical operations, but he would have had difficulty to get through a really long sum in multiplication or division, and had probably never tried to work out a problem in geometry. For years this dreamer had read no books.
"He could not even sing, though, when unusually excited or elated, he would hum snatches of poetry to himself; not, however, with very much tune.
"But instead of the usual knowledge that any young man of ordinary talent can acquire in two years, he understood thoroughly what most masters were entirely ignorant of—the mind of man and the laws of its development, human affections, and the art of arousing and ennobling them. He seemed to have almost an intuitive insight into the development of human nature, which indeed he was never tired of contemplating."
Two men, however, of a certain influence in the town, Schnell, prefect of Burgdorf, and Doctor Grimm, recognised Pestalozzi's true merit. They interceded in his favour, and after some trouble, obtained permission for him to teach in a little school in the lower town intended for the children of non-burgesses.
Burgdorf is situated a few leagues to the north-east of Berne, on the river Emme, where the rich valley of the same name opens into the plain of the river Aar. An ancient
1 History of the Swiss Confederation, the continuation of Jean de Muller.