« ForrigeFortsæt »
ing Rousseau's ideas to the education of his son and working for this object with the most scrupulous and unwavering care, is compelled at every step to stop and fall back on his own observations and on the memory of his mother's teaching. When we reflect that Rousseau had neither a son to educate nor a mother to remember, his mistakes will no longer surprise us.
The journal also shows us the gradual development of some of the most important principles of Pestalozzi's educational method, principles which were chiefly the result of his own experiments and reflections, but which also depended to some extent on the reaction which was taking place in him against Rousseau's theories.
The name of Pestalozzi's son was Jacob, but in German fashion he was generally called Jacobli. When the following notes were written, he was about three and a half years old. It must not be forgotten that at this time Pestalozzi was at Neuhof, and still busy with his agricultural operations.
January 27th, 1774.-I called his attention to some running water. He was delighted, and, as I walked on down the hill, followed me, saying to the water: 'Wait a moment; I shall be back directly.' Presently I took him to the side of the same stream again. 'Look,' he cried, 'the water comes down too; it runs from up there and goes lower and lower.' As we followed the course of the stream, I repeated several times: 'Water flows down hill.'
"I told him the names of a few animals, saying: 'The dog, the cat, etc., are animals, but your uncle, John, Nicholas, are men.' I then asked him: 'What is a cow, a sheep, the minister, a goat, your cousin, etc?' and he answered correctly nearly every time, his wrong answers being accompanied by a sort of smile which seemed to say that he did not mean to answer properly. I think behind this fun there must be a desire to see how far his will is independent of mine?"
January 29th.—I succeeded in making him sit for a long time at his lessons, after having first made him run and play out of doors in the cold. I can see that a man must be robust himself if he is to concern himself with his pupil's open-air games."
"January 30th.-He was soon tired of learning to read, but as I had decided that he should work at it regularly every day, whether he liked it or not, I determined to make him feel the necessity of doing so, from the very first, by showing him there was no choice between this work and my displeasure, which I made him feel by keeping him in. It was only after having been punished in this way three times. that he at last conquered his impatience. From that time he did his work willingly and cheerfully.
"I showed him that wood swims in water and that stones sink."
"February 1st.-I taught him the Latin names for the different parts of the head. By figures and examples, I taught him the meaning of such words as inside, outside, below, above, amid, beside, etc. I showed him how snow became water when brought indoors.
"I found that teaching was made easier by changes of the voice, that is, by speaking sometimes loud, sometimes soft, and by constantly varying the expression. But to what might this not lead?
"The other day he saw the butcher kill some pigs, and in a spirit of imitation arranged some pieces of wood and prepared to do the same. At this moment his mother called Jacobli.' 'No, no,' he replied, 'you should call me Butcher now!'"
"February 2nd.-I tried to make him understand the meaning of numbers. At present he only knows their names, which he says by heart without attaching any precise meaning to them. To have a knowledge of words with no distinct idea of the things they represent enormously increases the difficulty of getting at the truth. The most ignorant man would have been struck by this fact if he had been present at our lesson. The child has been in the habit of associating no difference of meaning with the various names of numbers he pronounces, and this habit has made him so careless and inattentive that I could make absolutely no impression on him to-day.
"Why have I been so foolish as to let him pronounce important words without taking care at the same time to give him a clear idea of their meaning? Would it not have been more natural not to teach him to say three' till he thoroughly understood the meaning of 'two', and is it not
ir this way that children should be taught to count? Ah! how far I have erred from Nature's paths in trying to improve on her teaching! May I never lose sight of these truths, so important for wisdom and virtue!
"Let yourself be governed by the child's love of imita tion! You have a stove in your room; draw it for him. Even if he should not succeed in a whole year in reproducing it exactly, he will at any rate have learned to sit still and work. There is instruction too, and, indeed, amusement in the comparison of mathematical figures and magnitudes. And again, to have one's own garden and grow all sorts of plants; to collect butterflies and insects, and classify them with exactitude and perseverance. What a preparation for social life! What a safeguard against idleness and stupidity! And how far all this is from our ordinary education which is so little suited to children, who should learn to read first in the book of Nature!
"I could only get him to read with difficulty; he has a thousand ways of getting out of it, and never loses an opportunity of doing something else. When he wants something he cannot get, he very cleverly pretends that what he wants would help him in his lessons, or in his reading. I have been much struck by these tricks for some days past; it is clearly my duty to watch them with the greatest care."
February 3rd.-I felt again to-day, no less strongly than yesterday, what a vicious system ours is for teaching a child to count. All words learned without thinking produce almost hopeless confusion in our minds, but how clear our knowledge would be, if we could receive the truth without alloy ! O God! who art my Father and the Father of my child, teach me to understand the holy natural laws by which Thou preparest us slowly by means of an innumerable variety of impressions for conceiving exact and complete ideas, of which words are but the signs.
"When the child knows the signs before learning to know the things they represent, and especially when he connects false ideas with them, our daily lessons and conversation do but fortify and increase his error and push him the further along a wrong path without our even suspecting it. How difficult it then is to correct the evil, whereas, by proceeding slowly from truth to truth, we should be following the luminous path of Nature."
"February 4th.-Since yesterday Jacobli has not been. well. To-day feverish symptoms frightened us, and we sent for the doctor. We had much difficulty to get the child to take any medicine. The doctor suggested that we should occasionally make him drink something unpleasant, but harmless, when quite well, in order that he might get so accustomed to it that when really ill he would no longer mind it. At first sight this seems to me a good idea, and I should be inclined to extend it to apply to education generally."
"February 13th.-Our care of Jacobli during his illness has made him more self-willed. I took a nut from him to crack it; he thought I was going to eat it and yelled with anger. I looked at him coldly, and then, without a word, took a second nut and ate them both before his eyes. He did not stop crying; I held him a looking-glass; he rushed off to hide himself.
"I have often admired the simple wisdom of our servant Nicholas. In the matter of education I am usually very anxious to learn the ideas of people who have been brought up quite naturally and without restraint, who have been taught by life itself and not by lessons. Nicholas,' I said, 'don't you think Jacobli has a good memory?' 'Yes,' he said; but you overload it.' This was just what I had often been afraid of. But,' I said, "if the child were burdened, I think we should notice it; he would lose heart and become timid and restless, at the very first symptoms of which I should of course stop.' 'Ah,' said Nicholas, 'then you really are anxious about the boy's spirit and happiness? That is just what I was afraid you would overlook.” Right, Nicholas! No education would be worth a jot that resulted in a loss of manliness and lightness of heart. So long as there is joy in the child's face, ardour and enthusiasm in all his games, so long as happiness accompanies most of his impressions, there is nothing to fear. Short moments of self-subjugation quickly followed by new interests and new joys do not dishearten.
"To see peace and happiness resulting from habits of order and obedience is the true preparation for social life.
"Father or schoolmaster, avoid, above all things, hurry and excitement; let your work be done quietly and in order. The greatest joys are often the result of long and
patient investigation. Do not let your own knowledge weigh too heavily on the child, rather let truth itself speak to him; never tire of placing before his eyes whatever is likely to instruct him or assist his development. Train his eyes and ears, but seldom ask him for an opinion. As a general rule, do not ask him to judge of things of which he is not in immediate need, but ask him for his judgment only as Nature asks you for yours. She does not ask you to judge of the breadth of the ditch at the side of which you are walking, she only shows it you; but what she does ask you to judge of is the breadth of the ditch which is in your way and which you have to cross. Thus, then, whenever you have an opportunity of making your child apply what he says, it is natural and useful to ask his opinion."
"February 14th.-To-day I was pleased; he was quite willing to learn. I played with him,-was horseman, butcher, everything he wished.
"I drew a few straight lines for him to copy. Füssli, the painter, said to me: Let everything you do be complete; do not pass from A to B, for instance, till A is perfectly known.'
"Be in no hurry to get on, but make the first step sound before moving; in this way you will avoid confusion and waste. Order, exactness, completion; alas, not thus was my character formed. And in the case of my own child in particular, I am in great danger of being blinded by his quickness, and rapid progress, and, dazzled by the unusual extent of his knowledge, of forgetting how much ignorance lurks behind this apparent development, and how much has yet to be done before we can go farther. Completeness, orderliness, absence of confusion. What important points!
"Since Ñature gives us our first language, might she not give us ten others in the same way? I am beginning to see that I am not following her method closely enough in teaching Latin; I must try to get into the way of always speaking it. But in this respect I am satisfied with Jacobli's progress."
"February 15th.-I have noticed to-day that my child has a habit which shows his cleverness, but which I must watch most carefully. When he asks for anything, he always begins either by answering objections which he thinks