Billeder på siden

picks up stones, and breaks the bright, scented flowers from their stalks, putting both stones and flowers into his mouth. He would fain stop the worm on its way, the butterfly as it flies past him, the lambs in the meadows. Nature is unfolding before his eyes and he is eager to enjoy everything; each day he learns something new, each day gives him a clearer conception of size, distance, and number.

"And now, mothers, what have you to do all this time? Nothing but follow the course that Nature and Providence are laying down for you. You see what objects God presents to your child as soon as he opens his eyes, you see the effect of his involuntary and, so to speak, inevitable perceptions, you see what pleases and amuses him. Let your whole conduct be regulated then by what you see; take your child near the object which strikes him and attracts him the most, show him his favourite objects again and again, search amongst everything within your reach-in the garden, the house, the meadows and fields-for those objects which, by their colour, shape, motion or brilliancy, have most in common with what he likes best. Surround his cradle with them and place them on the table where he takes his food. Give him full time to examine their properties at his ease, and let him observe that by putting new flowers into the vase where others have faded, by calling back the dog, or by picking up the fallen toy, you are often able to reproduce them when they disappear. This will be doing something for his heart and judgment; but you must never forget, O young mothers, that the one essential thing is that your child shall love you better than everything else, that his happiest smiles, his most eager attentions shall be for you alone, and that you, on your side, shall love nothing better than him."

Already, in the preface, Pestalozzi had appealed to the feelings of mothers. He there exhorts them and encourages them, and points out that they are not to follow these exercises from one end to the other without any variation, but that they must lose no opportunity of fixing the attention of their child on any object that may attract him—that, in short, the guide which he is giving them is but an example of how the child is to be taught to see properly and to express clearly what he has seen.

He then adds:

“I know too well how it will be; this poor husk, which is but the mere outward form of my method, will appear to be its real substance to a great number of men, who will endeavour to introduce this form into the narrow circle of their own ideas, and will judge of the value of the method according to the effects it produces in this strange association. I cannot prevent the forms of my method from having the same fate as all other forms, which inevitably perish in the hands of men who are neither desirous nor capable of grasping their spirit."

In spite of all these warnings, Pestalozzi's predictions were fulfilled. The Book for Mothers did not succeed;

some of his critics even did not understand what his intention had been in publishing it, and looked on it merely as an absurd experiment. Dussault, a celebrated and witty French journalist, gave the following humorous account of it:

"Pestalozzi takes a world of trouble to teach a child that his nose is in the middle of his face."

These words are actually to be found in the book, in the chapter on the relative positions of the parts of the body, which was drawn up by Krusi. Those, however, who already knew something of Pestalozzi and his doctrine, took a considerable interest in the book in spite of its defects. A French translation of it was published at Geneva, in 1821, but the translator withheld his name.

After the Book for Mothers came the books intended for sense-impressing exercises on number and form, that is, for the first instruction in arithmetic and geometry. They were begun by Krusi and Buss, but were afterwards completed by Schmidt.

These books were just as overburdened with details, just as prolix and tedious as the Book for Mothers, nor were they any more successful or any more useful, although the path to be followed is minutely mapped out.

These elementary books, as we have said, gave a false impression of Pestalozzi's method. People did not sufficiently understand that these series of statements were to result

from the child's own observation and experience; slaves to tradition, they only saw in them a lesson to be learned by heart and repeated mechanically. And thus, not without some show of reason, Pestalozzi's method has been blamed for a defect which is precisely the defect it was intended to


Pestalozzi's method is spirit and life, and before we can apply it we must be inspired by this spirit and this life; his work cannot be carried on by a mere stereotyped imitation of his procedure. And yet, since Pestalozzi's time, some of his less important principles have spread and taken root, and already, in nearly every country, effected a certain improvement in educational methods. This progress is both slight and incomplete, and very far indeed from what we should have been justified in expecting. But Pestalozzi's method will not produce its full results until his philosophy has been still further popularized, and all educationalists are thoroughly imbued with its spirit.

We have still to speak of a work that Pestalozzi wrote at this time (that is, between 1802 and 1805), but which he never published. The manuscript, written throughout in Pestalozzi's hand, is in the possession of Mr. Morf, of Winterthur, so that its authenticity is incontestable. It is called The Natural Schoolmaster, and was printed for the first time in 1872, in Seyffarth's collection. Its history is as follows:

The Book for Mothers, as it was published in 1803, was but a first instalment, and that a very unsatisfactory one, of a much more important work projected by its author. Pestalozzi's view was that, after having accustomed the child to talk about his physical impressions, it would be well to go on and accustom him to talk about his moral impressions. With this object, he took as his text the language itself, or rather, those words in the language which express such moral sentiments as the child is capable of understanding and from the explanation of which he is likely to profit. It was to this new work, which seems to have been undertaken at the same time as the first, that Pestalozzi gave the title, The Natural Schoolmaster. The book, both in plan and form, was entirely different from the Book for Mothers.

Whether the author was dissatisfied with his work, or whether time failed him to correct and complete it, we do not know; but this, at least, is certain, that he abandoned

his idea, and gave his manuscript to Krusi, with permission to make whatever use of it he thought best.

In putting this book on one side, Pestalozzi was far from giving up his intention of writing a work on the elementary teaching of language; a subject, indeed, at which he continued to work steadily till the end of his life, and on which he left a great quantity of manuscripts, which, however, with many others, were unfortunately lost some few years after his death. Schmidt, who was then in Paris, having asked to see them, Gottlieb sent them off to him. But they never reached their destination. Inquiries were made, and they were traced to Mulhouse, but, in spite of every effort, it was impossible to discover what became of them afterwards.

In 1829, Krusi, at that time the director of the Cantonal School at Trogen, decided to utilize for the public benefit the documents that had been entrusted to him. After studying the manuscript, therefore, and reducing it to order, he published a selection of passages in a pamphlet of some hundred and twenty pages, entitled: Paternal Instructions on the Moral Signification of Words; a Legacy from Father Pestalozzi to his Pupils.

In the preface, Krusi gives the history of the manuscript, and quotes the following passage from Pestalozzi's letters to Gessner:

"I hope to complete my reading-lessons by a legacy to my pupils, in which, after my death, they will find, connected with the principal verbs in the language, and stated in such a way as to strike them as they struck me, a certain number of moral instructions, all drawn from my own experience."

The paternal instructions are indeed based on the meanings of a series of words, nearly all of which are verbs.

The body of the work is preceded by a number of detached thoughts and notes, jotted down without any attempt at order, like so much material for a building that has never been completed. It is amongst these notes that we come across the title of the work: The Natural Schoolmaster; or, Practical Instructions based on the Simplest Principles of Education for Teaching Children all they

need know up to the age of six years. Then follows the dedication:

"To the People of Helvetia!

"I have seen thy degradation, thy terrible degradation, and I have had pity on thee, and long to help thee. I have neither talent nor knowledge, and I am of no account in the world, but I know thy needs. I give thee, then, myself and all that I have been able to accomplish for thee by the painful labours of my life.

"Read what I say without prejudice, and if any one should offer anything better, throw me aside, and let me sink back into the obscurity in which I have passed my life. But if no one can tell thee what I tell thee, if no one can help thee as I can, then give a tear to my memory and to the life I have lost for thy sake."

Amongst the preliminary notes we find some striking ideas as to the moral importance of good language-teaching which put us in mind of the work of Father Girard twenty years later; there are also plans for the study of language, and criticisms of the methods then in use. After speaking of the mischief done by the bad methods of so many schoolmasters, the author exclaims, "Jesus Christ, the only Master!" That, then, is where Pestalozzi looked for his model.

As we have said, the body of the work is a collection of instructions founded on the meanings of words. The words are arranged alphabetically, each word being accompanied by its derivatives, and each being taken successively in its different acceptations. To be thoroughly understood, the book must, of course, be read in German, but we will endeavour to give our readers some idea of it by translating the first paragraph:

"I. Achten, achtend, geachtet, erachten, beobachten, hochachten, verachten, sich selbstachten; die Achtung, die Selbstachtung.

"Children, the first word I am going to explain to you is Selbstachtung (attention to self, respect for self).

"It is this that makes you blush when you have done wrong; that makes you love virtue, pray to God, believe in

« ForrigeFortsæt »