« ForrigeFortsæt »
structed before our eyes the minutest details of ancient domestic life. One might pursue this process of specialisation and subdivision into many other branches, but it is enough to say that the study of History has become a general name for several groups of highly differentiated scholars who work exclusively at special sides of the whole historical field.
The consequence of this has been one, which is, in a way, a direct contradiction of the view of Arnold. It has been thought necessary to divide History from Literature, and to make it a parallel and as it were alternative subject. A special Tripos in History was established by a Grace at Cambridge in 1873 and the first examination was held in 1875. A similar step had been taken some years before at Oxford, where, however, for some time the school of history was combined with the school of law. Henceforth, at both Universities, it became possible to graduate in History, as an alternative to Mathematics or Classics.
The general upshot of this was a curious one. We have seen that, up to the time of Arnold, History was practically not taught as a subject at our Public Schools and Universities. His influence, however, was so great, and was backed by such an overwhelming weight of social opinion that History gradually came to be studied more or less thoroughly at both one and the other. This process was, however, an exceedingly gradual one. When the Public School Commissioners published their report in 1864, it was still the case at Winchester that neither "ancient nor modern history is taught in set lessons, and ancient history does not enter as a separate subject into any of the School Examinations." "I wish," says Dr Moberly, the Head Master, to the Commissioners, "we could teach more history; but as to teaching it in set lessons, I should not know how to do it." It is worth while to compare with this remark of the good Doctor's a passage in Mr A. F. Leach's History of Winchester College, where, describing the extreme aridity and dulness of the purely classical studies, even in the Sixth Form, he says
that the one or two exceptions to this dulness live in his memory as for instance when one day in the year 1866, Dr Moberly came into the room and told them that war had been declared between Prussia and Austria. He delighted the boys by giving them a vivid account of the relations of those two powers in the past, and of the circumstances which had brought on the war, and he wound up by hazarding the prophecy that the war would perhaps last the lifetime of some of them. As a matter of fact the war was over in six weeks. This was just two years after Dr Moberly had said that he should not know how to teach set lessons in history.
This entire absence of the set teaching of History at Winchester in 1864 may be compared with the account of the elaborate system of teaching of the subject, as now conducted there, given on pp. 220, 221 of the Report of the American Committee of Seven on the Study of History in Schools.
Similar particulars might be given with regard to other Public Schools, but the main point is that whereas in the first third of the century, history was scarcely taught at all, and that in the second third it was introduced into Rugby by Arnold, and elsewhere by his pupils and followers, as for instance by Vaughan at Harrow, in the third section of the century it. practically became universal in Schools, in one form or other, and was made a Special subject at the Universities as one of the alternative avenues to a Degree in Arts.
The specialist character given by this change at the Universities to the study of History seriously threatens its position as a part of a liberal education. · Arnold's view was, as we have seen, that History was essential to a comprehension alike of literature and of life, and must indispensably be taught in appropriate shapes to every class of the School.
On the other hand, the recent view tends to the specialist conception, namely that History is one of a number of options which a boy may choose between, as soon, at any rate, as he reaches the age of 15 or 20. While the classical specialist is
doing Greek Iambics, the history specialist is reading Mommsen and Stubbs, and the mathematical specialist is doing the Binomial Theorem or Trigonometry.
An exactly similar conception prevailed until this very year 1900, in the Primary Schools. History was an option which might be taken or left at the discretion of the schoolmaster, with the further provision that it must not be taken if any two other class subjects were selected. Thus if Geography and English Grammar were taught at any Elementary School, ipso facto History was excluded.
This extraordinary view of knowledge-that you can cut it into slices like a melon, and that it is unwholesome for any one person to take more than two or three of these slices for himself, has practically destroyed within the present century the idea of an 'all-round' liberal education in England. That idea does not exist at our Universities; it does not exist at our Public Schools; it does perhaps, exist, though precariously, at some of the Girls' High Schools; it has sprung into existence again in the Primary Schools, through the introduction of the Block Grant in this present year of grace.
But at the moment we see the paradoxical result that the emergence of History as a distinct subject from Literature, so far from securing it a safe place in the curriculum of a general education, threatens to relegate it to the limbo of alternative specialisms, along with Organic Chemistry and the Integral Calculus. Poor Clio! scarcely had she once more taken her place among the Muses, welcomed by her sisters of Poetry and Science, than she and the rest of them are torn from the lovely group in which they moved with arms intertwined, and shut up by the grim inquisitors of mysterious Examination Boards, into separate compartments, where, in spite of their shrieks, they are cut up into subdivisions, such as archaeology, palaeography, anthropology, epigraphy, and I know not what. Every subdivision is carefully dried into mummy, and then labelled
Part I Division II of Subject xxxiii (c) in some University Calendar.
We all of us know the forces which have relentlessly driven us in this direction. The difficulty is truly a great one. The field of knowledge has been extended and deepened during the last 75 years to a degree unparalleled in the previous history of mankind, and the question how to give a general education which shall be at once wide and at the same time not superficial, has been made immensely more complicated. It is to that question, on the solution of which our intellectual vitality in the future more than on any other depends, that we shall have to address ourselves in the twentieth century. I venture to think that Herbart in theory, and Arnold in practice, have much to suggest the practicable solution. We must lighten our curricula not by throwing away this or that indispensable limb of the organic unity of knowledge, but by making those curricula consciously represent that unity, by showing the organic connexion of their different parts and obliging each subject to play into the hands of all. When we seriously set ourselves to carry out that task, we shall find that history, in its widest sense, as the record of the process by which man has come to be what he is, already furnishes a subject by means of which it will be possible to correlate the various aspects of knowledge, as they have in positive fact been correlated in the gradual upward progress of humanity.
SCIENCE TEACHING IN SCHOOLS.
THE subject of this lecture is such an extremely wide one that I propose to devote my attention almost exclusively to the teaching of experimental science and botany, because it is in these directions that very special attention has been given in recent years to the methods of teaching.
In tracing the history of science teaching in schools, it is important to notice the very powerful influence that has been exerted by the Science and Art Department. It has become the fashion in recent years to abuse this Department in season and out of season for all the shortcomings in methods of scientific instruction, and undoubtedly its influence on the teaching in schools has been far from an unmixed good. It would, however, be impossible to overestimate the beneficent influence it has exerted in adult instruction in science and art throughout the country. The reason of its comparative failure in the schools in the past is not difficult to explain.
In 1835, schools of design were established by the Government under the Board of Trade for the purpose of extending a knowledge of art and design among the manufacturing population. In 1852 this was extended to elementary schools, under a separate department, the department of practical art. In