Billeder på siden

posed the entire intellectual curriculum, and the methods were purely grammatical.

As a result, Basedow's suggestions for educational improvement attained as great popularity as his theological productions had received abuse. After 1767 he was allowed by Bernstorff, the Minister of Education, to give all his time to reform and yet retain his salary. The following year, in his Address on Schools and Studies, and their Influence on Public Happiness, he called generally upon princes, governments, ecclesiastics, and others in power, to assist him in bringing out a work on elementary education, the plan of which was described in outline. The emperor of his native land, the sovereign of his adopted country, and several other rulers of Europe, together with such prominent persons as Bernstorff, Behrisch, Lavater, Goethe, and Kant, The Elemen- showed great interest, and a subsidy to the sum of ten

tarwerk con

tains prin

thousand dollars was speedily raised. Six years later, Basedow completed his promised textbook, Elementarwerk, and the companion work for teachers and parents Methodenbuch known as Methodenbuch. The Elementarwerk was issued

ciples from Comenius as

well as Rous

seau, and the

does not fol

low Rousseau in four volumes with one hundred accompanying plates, literally.

which were too large to be bound in with it, and contained many of the principles of Comenius as well as of Rousseau. It has, in fact, been referred to as 'the Orbis Pictus1 of the eighteenth century,' and gives a

1 See p. 31 for the Orbis Sensualium Pictus and its method.

Through his
Address on
Schools he

raised a
subsidy to
publish his

werk and Methoden



knowledge of things and words in the form of a dialogue. It deals first with natural phenomena and forces, then with morals and the mind, and the method of instruction in natural religion, and finally with social duties, commerce, and affairs. The Methodenbuch, while not following Rousseau literally, contains many ideas concerning the natural training of children that are suggestive of him. Later, Basedow, together with Campe, His followers Salzmann, and others of his followers, also produced a children's series of popular books especially adapted to the character, interests, and needs of children. Of these works, which are all largely filled with didactics, moralizing, religiosity, and scraps of scientific information, the best known is Robinson der Jüngere, more often called Swiss Family Robinson in America. It seems to have been suggested by Rousseau's recommendation of Robinson Crusoe as a textbook,1 and was published by Campe in 1779.


among them,

Swiss Family


The Course and Methods of the Philanthropinum

Eight years before this, however, Behrisch had induced Prince Leopold Friedrich Franz to allow Basedow to found at Dessau an educational institution, called the 'Philanthropinum,' which should embody that reformer's ideas. Leopold granted him a salary of eleven hundred

1 See p. 93.

in imitation of




Prince Leo

pold, Base

dow founded the 'Philanthropinum' at Dessau, to embody his ideas.

thalers,1 and three years later gave him an equipment of buildings, grounds, and endowment. At first Basedow had but three assistants, but later the number was considerably increased. The staff then included several very able men, such as Wölke, who had taught at Leipzig; Campe, chaplain at Potsdam; Salzmann, who had been a professor at Erfurt; and Matthison, the poet. The attendance at the Philanthropinum was very small in the beginning, since the institution was regarded as an experiment, but eventually the number of pupils rose to more than fifty. They came from many different countries, and the school soon had a wide reputation throughout Europe. After it had been in existence about a year and a half, Basedow invited the scholars and distinguished men from everywhere to attend a great public examination and determine whether the school ought to continue. There are extant two accounts of this inspection, one by Professor Schummel of Magdeburg and the other by Basedow himself, and from these we gain most of our information concerning the institution.

The aim of the school

The underlying principle of the school was "everywas to direct thing according to nature." The natural instincts and

and not suppress the natural

interests of the children were only to be directed and not altogether suppressed. They were to be trained as

1 A thaler was equivalent to about three shillings, or seventy-three cents.


children and not as adults, and the methods of learning instincts and were to be adapted to their stage of mentality. That all of the customary unnaturalness, discomfort, and want of freedom might be eliminated, the boys were plainly dressed in sailor jackets and loose trousers, their collars were turned down and were open at the neck, and their hair was cut short and was free from powder, pomade, and hair bags.


car- Every one

was given

While universal education was believed in, and rich Universal and poor alike were to be trained, it was felt that the natural education of the one class was for social activity and leadership, and of the other for teaching. Consequently, the wealthy boys were to spend six hours in school and two in manual labor, while those from families of small means labored six hours and studied two. Every one, however, was taught handicrafts pentry, turning, planing, and threshing—as a recognition industrial of the educative value of constructive work. There were also physical exercises and games for all. On the intellectual side, while Latin was not neglected, more attention was paid to the vernacular and French than to the classics, in order that instruction might deal with realities rather than words. According to the Elementarwerk, Basedow planned to create a wide objective and practical course. It was to give some account of man, including bits of anthropology, anatomy, and physiology; of brute creation, especially the uses of domestic

and physical training,

Latin was


[ocr errors]

was advocated, but so

cial distinctions were


to modern


and a wide


course was


Languages were taught by conversation,

games, and


arithmetic by



geometry by


geography by

extending out from home; and

deism by con-
fining the

from nature
for a time.

animals and their relation to industry; of trees and plants, with their growth, culture, and products; of minerals and chemicals; of mathematical and physical instruments; and of trades, history, and commerce. He afterward admitted that he had overestimated the amount of content that was possible for a child, and greatly abridged this material.1

The most striking characteristic of the school, however, was its improved methods. Languages were taught by speaking and then by reading, and grammar was not brought in until late in the course. Facility was acquired through conversation, games, pictures, drawing, acting plays, and reading on practical and interesting subjects. Similar linguistic methods had been recommended by Montaigne, Ratich, and Locke, and largely worked out by Comenius,2 but were never before made as practical as by Basedow and his assistants. His instruction in arithmetic, geometry, geography, physics, nature study, and history was fully as progressive as that in languages. Arithmetic was taught by mental methods, geometry by drawing figures accurately and neatly, and geography by beginning with one's home, and extending out into the neighborhood, the town, the country, and the continent. In a similarly direct way the pupils were instructed in matters of actual life. For example,

1 The actual program of each day is given in full in Barnard, German Teachers and Educators, pp. 519 f. 2 See pp. 31 and 46.

« ForrigeFortsæt »