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on his slate, that is, the various lines, angles, and simple figures which are put before him.
These first lessons in linear drawing serve to train his eye and hand, and are thus a preparation for writing. He writes at first on his slate, beginning with the easiest letters, and with words formed from them. Before very long, however, he will be able to use pen and paper.
In teaching drawing, Pestalozzi makes great use of the square, which possesses several important advantages:
In the first place, it serves in ordinary drawing as a sort of basis for an infinite number of rectangular figures and patterns that the child can invent, vary, and develop, according to his fancy. In the next place, if divided into smaller squares or rectangles, it furnishes an admirable senseimpressing introduction to the study of geometry and the measurement of surfaces.
Lastly, this division of the square produces the table of fractions of fractions, by the help of which children acquire great facility in mental calculations with fractions.
Pestalozzi then speaks of the elementary books that he is planning: The ABC of Sense-Impression, and the Book for Mothers. He hopes that these books will enable mothers to instruct their children themselves.
It must be observed that these sense-impressing lessons in form, as they are described in this letter, were somewhat modified by Pestalozzi as his experiment progressed.
The ninth letter treats of the elementary teaching of numbers by sense-impression. The author begins by pointing out that, in the study of language and form, certain means and ideas have to be made use of which are foreign to the particular end. Amongst these is the testimony of the senses, often so liable to error. On the other hand, operations with numbers need no outside help, and always furnish us with exact results. Certain other sciences furnish us with exact results, too; but this is only because they depend on the science of numbers. Hence the immense importance of this subject of instruction, which not only develops the intellect, but is of such great practical utility.
Pestalozzi then shows that all arithmetical calculation consists in increasing or decreasing numbers by various methods which are simply intended to shorten the repetition of the formula: one and one are two, one from two is one.
But these abbreviations, which are all that is learnt in the school, have the disadvantage of becoming a mere matter of memory, and of destroying the intuitive conception of number. Thus we may have learnt by heart that four and three are seven, and feel that we have reached a certain definite result; but this result is not really ours, we have accepted it on trust, possibly without even knowing what the number seven represents. Without sense-impressing exercises the child can know nothing of numbers themselves; he can only know their names, and these may remain entirely without meaning for him for a long time.
For these exercises Pestalozzi first employs his "table of units," in which each unit is represented by a line, so that up to a hundred the child can make all operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, as it were by sight. And so afterwards, when he works in his head, he has a clear and exact idea of the numbers he uses, because he always thinks of them as collections of lines, and sees the numbers themselves instead of the conventional figures which represent them.
Then comes the "table of fractions," which was composed of squares, some whole, others divided horizontally into two, three, or even ten equal parts. From this the child learnt by sense-impression to count these parts of the unit, to form them into wholes, etc.
Then comes a "table of fractions of fractions," in which the squares were divided not only horizontally, but vertically, so that the method for reducing two fractions to the same denominator was self-evident.
In all these sense-impressing exercises on numbers, it is chiefly the attention, observation, and judgment of the child which are brought into play, and which, with a little help from the master, teach him to find out for himself what he has to learn, and state it in his own words. It would be a great mistake to see nothing but an exercise of memory in all this.
This part of the method was still further developed and improved by Pestalozzi after the publication of the work we are considering.
The tenth letter treats of sense-impression, as Pestalozzi calls all direct and experimental perception, whether in the physical or moral world. Sense-impressed ideas are those
which result immediately from these perceptions. Descriptions, explanations, and definitions will all remain without effect on the child's mind, unless he has already acquired a basis of sense-impressed ideas for them to rest upon. That being granted, we can sum up this whole letter in a few lines.
Sense-impression is the only basis of instruction, but for a very long time it has been completely neglected in education. After the invention of printing, the value of books was strangely exaggerated. Books were confused with knowledge, words with ideas. Nothing but books was employed in the schools, and men thought that by teaching the child to read-articulate, that is, the sound of different groups of letters-they were throwing open to him the gate of universal knowledge. And so men of books and words were made, men of letters, indeed, but in the narrowest and most literal acceptation of the term, and that unceasing and irrational love of talk began, which misleads and bewilders us by a deluge of words to which, in most men's minds, there are no precise ideas to correspond.
It was the same, too, for the moral and religious development. After the Reformation, the mania for dogmatizing was carried even into the education of little children, in order that they might be trained betimes in the methods of controversy. Instead of trying to open their hearts to the sentiments of faith, piety and virtue, people began by making them commit a catechism to memory; a set of abstract doctrines, that is, which could do little either for the minds or hearts of young children. Here again teaching is concerned with nothing but words.
In acting thus for so long, the schools were not only forsaking the path of Nature, but entirely neglecting the valuable impressions that spring from the direct observation of things and life, as well as all questions of personal and practical virtue.
Pestalozzi finishes this letter in the following words:
"Europe, with its system of popular instruction, was bound sooner or later to fall into error, or rather into the disorder which is threatening to ruin society. On the one hand, an immense height has been reached in science and art; on the other, the very foundations of a natural culture for the mass of the people have been lost. Just as no part
of the world has ever before risen so high, so none has ever fallen so low. Our continent is like the colossus spoken of by the prophet; its head of gold reaches to the clouds, but the feet which should support it are of clay.
"In Europe the culture of the people has ended by becoming an empty chattering, fatal alike to real faith and real knowledge; an instruction of mere words and outward show, unsubstantial as a dream, and not only absolutely incapable of giving us the quiet wisdom of faith and love, but bound, sooner or later, to lead us into incredulity and superstition, egotism and hardness of heart. But however this may be, the development of the mania for words and books, which pervades our whole system of popular education, has undoubtedly taught us at least one thing, and that is, that it is impossible for us to remain any longer as we
"Everything confirms me in my opinion that the only way of escaping a civil, moral and religious degradation, is to have done with the superficiality, narrowness, and other errors of our popular instruction, and recognize senseimpression as the real foundation of all knowledge."
In the eleventh letter, Pestalozzi speaks of self-impression as being the method employed by a mother. Prompted by her instinct and her affection, she introduces her child to Nature, now leading it nearer to distant objects, now bringing it those by which it is attracted. She does this either to soothe her child or amuse it; she has as yet no thought of teaching, and yet she is thus supplying the first and most indispensable element of all instruction. Why does the art of teaching refuse to build upon these simple and precious foundations? The Swiss mother hangs over her child's cradle a coloured paper-bird, which thus becomes the object of its first regards, first gestures and first games. In doing this she is opening a path in which we should do well to follow. The first part of the Book for Mothers (it was not yet written) will show how this good beginning may be continued by sense-impressing exercises in form, number and language. Words that are imperfectly understood may affect the whole future development of the child, for they introduce an element of confusion
into his mental conceptions, an element of unsoundness into his judgments. Many of our contemporaries are striking instances of this.
"The course of Nature in the development of humanity is invariable, it is therefore impossible that there should be two equally good methods of teaching. One only is good, and it is that which is entirely based upon the eternal laws of Nature; the others are bad precisely in proportion to their neglect of these laws. Neither I nor any other man am as yet in possession of this one good method, nor can we hope to do more than reach it slowly and gradually."
Further on, after saying that the child must first be taught to see properly and properly describe what he sees, and that definitions should not come till afterwards, Pestalozzi adds:
"The wisdom produced by premature definitions is like the mushroom, which grows fast in the rain, but dies at the first touch of the sun.
"The child must learn the first elements perfectly and completely.
"Any incompleteness will be a defect that will always make itself felt, and tend to prevent his nature from developing in its entirety. This is as true of the mind as of a garden.
"The empire of the senses must be subordinated to the essential end of our nature; that is, to the moral spiritual law. It is only his inner spiritual life that can give a man self-control, freedom and contentment.
The education of our race, then, must be dissociated from our sensual nature; which is, blind, and leads only to death, and entrusted to our moral and spiritual nature, which is Divine and eternal."
In the twelfth letter, Pestalozzi begins by calling attention to what he had said twenty years before, in the preface to Leonard and Gertrude :
"I stand aloof from men's quarrels about their opinions; but whatever makes them pious, honest, believing, and gentle, whatever can bring the love of God and their