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9. Per inductionem omnia.

This rule of Ratke's warns teachers against a very common mistake. The subject is to them in full view, and they make the most minute observations on it. But these things cannot be seen by their pupils; and even if the beginner could see these minutiæ, he would find in them. neither interest nor advantage. But when we apply Ratke's principle more widely, we find ourselves involved in the great question whether our method should be based on synthesis or analysis, a question which Ratke's method did not settle for us.

§ 19. IX. Everything by experience and examination of the parts. Or as he states the rule in Latin: Per inductionem et experimentum omnia.

Nothing was to be received on authority, and this disciple of Bacon went beyond his master and took for his motto: Vetustas cessit, ratio vicit ("Age has yielded, reason prevailed"); as if reason must be brand-new, and truth might wax old and be ready to vanish away.

the neglect of this principle. Take, e.g., the way in which children are usually taught to read. First, they have to say the alphabet-a very easy task as it seems to us, but if we met with a strange word of twenty-six syllables, and that not a compound word, but one of which every syllable was new to us, we might have some difficulty in remembering it. And yet such a word would be to us what the alphabet is to a child. When he can perform this feat, he is next required to learn the visual symbols of the sounds and to connect these with the vocal symbols. Some of the vocal symbols bring the child in contact with the sound itself, but most are simply conventional. What notion does the child get of the aspirate from the name of the letter h? Having learnt twenty-six visual and twenty-six vocal symbols, and connected them together, the child finally comes to the sounds (over 40 in number) which the symbols are supposed to represent.

R.'s method for language.

§ 20. From these rules of his we see that Ratke did much to formulate the main principles of Didactics. He also deserves to be remembered among the methodizers who have tackled the problem-how to teach a language.

At Köthen the instructor of the lowest class had to talk with the children, and to take pains with their pronunciation. When they knew their letters (Ickelṣamer's plan for reading Ratke seems to have neglected) the teacher read the Book of Genesis through to them, each chapter twice over, requiring the children to follow with eye and finger. Then the teacher began the chapter again, and read about four lines only, which the children read after him. When the book had been worked over in this way, the children were required to read it through without assistance. Reading once secured, the master proceeded to grammar. He explained, say, what a substantive was, and then showed instances in Genesis, and next required the children to point out others. In this way the grammar was verified throughout from Genesis, and the pupils were exercised in declining and conjugating words taken from the Book.

When they advanced to the study of Latin, they were given a translation of a play of Terence, and worked over it several times before they were shown the Latin.

The master then translated the play to them, each halfhour's work twice over. At the next reading, the master translated the first half-hour, and the boys translated the same piece the second. Having thus got through the play, they began again, and only the boys translated. After this there was a course of grammar, which was applied to the Terence, as the grammar of the mother-tongue had been to Genesis. Finally, the pupils were put through a course of exercises, in which they had to turn into Latin sentences

R.'s method and Ascham's.

imitated from the Terence, and differing from the original only in the number or person used.

Raumer gives other particulars, and quotes largely from the almost unreadable account of Kromayer, one of Ratke's followers, in order that we may have, as he says, a notion of the tediousness of the method. No doubt anyone who has followed me hitherto, will consider that this point has been brought out already with sufficient distinctness.

§ 21. When we compare Ratke's method with Ascham's, we find several points of agreement. Ratke would begin the study of a language by taking a model book, and working through it with the pupil a great many times. Ascham Idid the same. Each lecture according to his plan would be gone over "a dozen times at the least." Both construed to the pupil instead of requiring him to make out the sense for himself. Both Ratke and Ascham taught grammar not by itself, but in connection with the model book.

But the points of difference are still more striking. In one respect Ratke's plan was weak. It gave the pupils little to do, and made no use of the pen. Ascham's was better in this and also as a training in accuracy. Ascham was, as I have pointed out, a "complete retainer." Ratke was a "rapid impressionist." His system was a good deal like that which had great vogue in the early part of this century as the "Hamiltonian System." From the first the language was to be laid on "very thick," in the belief that "some of it was sure to stick." The impressions would be slight, and there would at first be much confusion between words which had a superficial resemblance, but accuracy it was thought would come in time.

§ 22. The contest between the two schools of thought of which Ascham and Ratke may be taken as representatives

Slow progress in methods.

has continued till now, and within the last few years both parties have made great advances in method. But in nothing does progress seem slower than in education; and the plan of grammar-teaching in vogue fifty years ago was inferior to the methods advocated by the old writers.*

* See Mr. E. E. Bowen's vigorous essay on "Teaching by means of Grammar," in Essays on a Liberal Education, 1867.

I have returned to the subject of language-learning in § 15 of Jacotot in the note. See page 426.




1. ONE of the most hopeful signs of the improvement of education is the rapid advance in the last thirty years of the fame of Comenius, and the growth of a large literature about the man and his ideas. Twenty-three years ago, when I first became interested in him, his name was hardly known beyond Germany. In English there was indeed an excellent life of him prefixed to a translation of his School of Infancy; but this work, by Daniel Benham (London, 1858), had not then, and has not now, anything like the circulation it deserves. A much more successful book has been Professor S. S. Laurie's John Amos Comenius (Cambridge University Press), and this is known to most, and should be to all,. English students of education. By the Germans and French Comenius is now recognised as the man who first treated education in a scientific spirit, and who bequeathed the rudiments of a science to later ages. On this account

great library of pedagogy at Leipzig has been named in his honour the "Comenius Stiftung."

§ 2. John Amos Komensky or Comenius, the son of a miller, who belonged to the Moravian Brethren, was born,

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