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we owe the reform of elementary education, a reform, however, which, notwithstanding the progress already made, is still far from complete.
And yet Pestalozzi is still very little known, and not at all understood, even those who have heard of him having but a vague idea of the principles that guided him, and of the end that, in spite of disappointment and failure, he steadily pursued for so long.
Throughout his life Pestalozzi had always the same object in view; and though the idea which animated him developed with age and experience, it never really changed. As the illusions of his youth vanished, his work appeared more holy and more beautiful, and the means he had employed more and more insufficient. And so he never ceased in his efforts to perfect and complete them. No man was ever less satisfied with himself; no man was ever so quick to learn from experience. In one thing alone did he refuse to listen to its teaching: ingratitude never lessened his kindness, nor deceit his trust.
A history of Pestalozzi must, above all, be a history of the development of the great idea which, in its successive stages, he sought to put into practice in the various enterprises of his life. In this way alone can it be true, clear, and complete.
Such is the task we have set ourselves in writing this book, in which all who wish to understand Pestalozzi's work will find its true results, and, we hope, some practical help for the improvement of education.
Pestalozzi, like other men, had his faults and his weaknesses, which it would be unfair to the public and to him to hide. To the public, the historian's duty is to hide nothing of the truth; to Pestalozzi, to show him as he himself has chosen to appear in his appeal to posterity (Song of the Swan) in which, in an excess of humility and forbearance, he has even gone so far as to say that his faults alone were the cause of his misfortunes, condemning himself that he might save the beneficent idea he was bequeathing to humanity. His glory will lose nothing if we respect this last wish.
Pestalozzi's great and beautiful character is like no other; the eagle and the dove, the lion and the lamb are there, the woman and the child, perhaps, more than the man. Its originality, to be fully understood, must be studied from its very earliest growth, and hence the importance of every detail we have been able to collect concerning the childhood of a man who has already had so many biographers, but the history of whose life is still so full of error and defects.
Amongst the innumerable works on Pestalozzi, we must particularly notice Pompée's, which was published in Paris in 1850, under the auspices of the Academy of Moral and Political Science.
He gives certain facts which are generally wanting in the Swiss and German biographers, and which we have made use of in the present work. He draws, too, a very true and lively picture of the man and his life of devotion; but the account of the fall of the Yverdun Institute is so full of strange errors and mistaken views, that it would seem that the author must have drawn from a source which was not entirely trustworthy. It is this, undoubtedly, that has made him unfair to many of Pestalozzi's friends and fellowworkers.
Before finishing this work, on which we have been long engaged, we were fortunately able to profit by the many German publications which, for some years past, have been throwing new light on the life and work of Pestalozzi.
Two in particular have been very useful to us :
First, that of Mr. Morf, at one time head of the Training College in Canton Berne, and then Director of the Orphanage at Winterthur, entitled, Documents for the Biography of Henry Pestalozzi. Mr. Morf has gone through public records, private letters, family papers, and indeed anything that was likely to throw light on the life of his hero, with indefatigable zeal, and judges the work of the educational reformer with much pedagogical penetration.1
The second is that of Mr. Seyffarth, of Luckenwalde, near Brandenburg, who, between 1870 and 1873, published in eighteen volumes the first really complete edition of Pestalozzi's works. Cotta's edition, in 1826, included many books which were not written by the master, but by his assistants, whilst several of Pestalozzi's most important works were wanting. Mr. Seyffarth has further enriched his collection by the addition of several interesting and characteristic smaller works which had remained unpublished, and by prefacing each of the bigger works with a well-written introduction.
How is it that so much has been talked and written about Pestalozzi in Germany lately? Because she knows her present greatness is owing, in a large measure, to him.
After Jena, when Napoleon persisted in rejecting the principles of the Swiss Reformer, Germany, on the contrary, adopted them, and, reorganizing her public education in this spirit, produced a generation of men who were not only instructed but educated. Afterwards, however, she gradually neglected Pestalozzi's doctrine, especially from the moral point of view, and the Prussian schools degenerated. To-day, for instance, they would be incapable of forming men like those the country still possesses in the flower of their age. All the best minds are well aware of
He has lately published a second book, entitled, Leaves from the Story of Pestalozzi's Life and Sorrows.
this, and an effort is being made to restore to his old honourable position the man whose educational doctrine was one of the chief means of raising Prussia when she had fallen so low.
At Easter, 1872, there was a Congress in Berlin of delegates from the Societies of Elementary Teachers in Brandenburg, Saxony, Hanover, and Hesse-Nassau. The Congress represented more than ten thousand teachers, and decided upon the creation of a National Society of German Elementary Teachers, the headquarters of which should be in Berlin.
On the 4th of April, Dr. Falk, the Minister of Religion and Education, received a deputation of delegates, who made three requests in the name of the Congress.
According to the Hanover Courier the third request ran thus:
"The extension of the programme of study for elementary teachers, and the organization of training schools in accordance with the pedagogic principles of Pestalozzi, which, thanks to the protection of Queen Louisa, Stein, William Humboldt, Fichte, etc., formerly enjoyed so much favour in Prussia and so visibly contributed to the regeneration of the country.'
In France, the first attempts at educational reform in the spirit of Pestalozzi were owing to the efforts of men like Cochin and Pompée; not however that the full value of the labours of the Swiss pedagogue was not recognized at the outset by a large number of distinguished men of all shades of opinion. It will be enough to mention Maine de Biran, de Vailly, Georges Cuvier, de Gérando, de Lasteyrie, Madame de Staël, de ClermontTonnerre, de Dreux-Brézé, Bourbon-Busset, Biot, Geoffroi-SaintHilaire, Sébastiani, de Laborde, Gaultier, Jomard, Choron, Ordinaire, Matter, Delessert, de Broglie, Casimir Perrier, and Victor Cousin. But it is since the labours of Madame PapeCarpentier, and especially since the conferences on sense-impressing teaching in the Exhibition of 1878, that we may say that every intelligent teacher in France has sought to reduce elementary education to the principles laid down by Pestalozzi. pedagogical works published during the last ten or fifteen years are all animated by the same spirit; and if they do not all explicitly recommend the Pestalozzian method, they at least obey the tendency. May the book we are now publishing contribute to the success of their efforts!
1 This word-or sense-impressed-I have used throughout for intuitif (anschaulich). For intuition (Anschaulichkeit) I have said sense-impression. [Translator.]