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Shun over-directing.


29. Although the governor is to devote himself to a single child, Rousseau is careful to protest against overdirection. "You would stupify the child," says he, "if you were constantly directing him, if you were always saying to him, 'Come here! Go there! Stop! Do this! Don't do that!' If your head always directs his arms, his own head becomes useless to him." (Ém. ij., 114). Here we have a warning which should not be neglected by those who maintain the Lycées in France, and the ordinary private boarding-schools in England. In these schools a boy is hardly called upon to exercise his will all day long. He rises in the morning when he must; at meals he eats till he is obliged to stop; he is taken out for exercise like a horse; he has all his indoor work prescribed for him both as to time and quantity. In this kind of life he never has occasion to think or act for himself. He is therefore without self-reliance. So much care is taken to prevent his doing wrong, that he gets to think only of checks from without. He is therefore incapable of self-restraint. In the English public schools boys have much less supervision from their elders, and organise a great portion of their lives for them"How is it that Madame Necker-Saussure understood the child better than Rousseau did? She saw in the child two things, a creation and a ground-plan, something finished and something begun, a perfection which prepares the way for another perfection, a child and a man. God, Who has put together human life in several pieces, has willed, it is true, that all these pieces should be related to each other; but He has also willed that each of them should be complete in itself, so that every stage of life has what it needs as the object of that period, and also what it needs to bring in the period that comes next. Wonderful union of aims and means which shews itself at every step in creation ! In everything there is aim and also means, everything exists for itself and also for that which lies beyond it! (Tout est but et tout est moyen; tout est absolu et tout est relatif.)" J. J. R., ij., 151.

Lessons out of school. Questioning. At 12.

selves. This proves a better preparation for life after the school age; and most public schoolmasters would agree with Rousseau that "the lessons the boys get from each other in the playground are a hundred times more useful to them than the lessons given them in school: les leçons que les 'écoliers prennent entre eux dans la cour du collège leur sont cent fois plus utiles que tout ce qu'on leur dira jamais dans la classe." (Em. ij., 123.)

$ 30. On questions put by children, Rousseau says: "The art of questioning is not so easy as it may be thought; it is rather the art of the master than of the pupil. We must have learnt a good deal of a thing to be able to ask what we do not know. The learned know and inquire, says an Indian proverb, but the ignorant know not what to inquire about." And from this he infers that children learn less from asking than from being asked questions. (N. H., 5th P. 490.)

§ 31. At twelve years old Émile is said to be fit for instruction. "Now is the time for labour, for instruction, for study; and observe that it is not I who arbitrarily make this choice; it is pointed out to us by Nature herself."

32. What novelties await us here? As we have seen Rousseau was determined to recommend nothing that would harmonise with ordinary educational practice; but even a genius, though he may abandon previous practice, cannot keep clear of previous thought, and Rousseau's plan for instruction is obviously connected with the thoughts of Montaigne and of Locke. But while on the same lines with these great writers Rousseau goes beyond them and is both clearer and bolder than they are.

$ 33. Rousseau's proposals for instruction have the fol lowing main features.

No book-learning. Study of Nature.

Ist. Instruction is to be no longer literary or linguistic. The teaching about words is to disappear, and the young are not to learn by books or about books.

2nd. The subjects to be studied are to be mathematics and physical science.

3rd. The method to be adopted is not the didactic but the method of self-teaching.

4th. The hands are to be called into play as a means of learning.

§ 34. 1st. Till quite recently the only learning ever given in schools was book-learning, a fact to which the language of the people still bears witness: when a child does not profit by school instruction he is always said to be "no good at his book." Now-a-days the tendency is to change the character of the schools so that they may become less and less mere "Ludi Literarii." In this Rousseau seems to have been a century and more in advance of us; and yet we cannot credit him with any remarkable wisdom or insight about literature. He himself used books as a means of "collecting a store of ideas, true or false, but at any rate clear" (J. Morley's Rousseau, j. chap. 3, p. 85), and he has recorded for us his opinion that "the sensible and interesting conversations of a young woman of merit are more proper to form a young man than all the pedantical philosophy of books" (Confessions, quoted by Morley j., 87). After this, whatever we may think of the merit of his suggestions we can sit at the Sage's feet no longer.

§ 35. 2nd. Rousseau had himself little knowledge of Inathematics and natural science, but he was strongly in favour of the "study of Nature"; and in his last years his devotion to botany became a passion. His curriculum for Émile is in the air, but the chief thing is to get him to

Against didactic teaching.

attend to the phenomena of nature, and "to foster his curiosity by being in no hurry to satisfy it."

§ 36. 3rd. About teaching and learning, there is one point on which we find a consensus of great authorities extending from the least learned of writers who was probably Rousseau to the most learned who was probably Friedrich August Wolf. In one form or other these assert that there is no true teaching but self-teaching.

Past a doubt the besetting weakness of teachers is "telling." They can hardly resist the tendency to be didactic. They have the knowledge which they desire to find in their pupils, and they cannot help expressing it and endeavouring to pass it on to those who need it, "like wealthy men who care not how they give." But true "teaching," as Jacotot and his disciple Joseph Payne were never tired of testifying, is "causing to learn," and it is seldom that "didactic" teaching has this effect. Rousseau saw this clearly, and clearly pointed out the danger of didacticism. As usual he by exaggeration laid himself open to an answer that seems to refute him, but in spite of this we feel that there is valuable truth underlying what he says. "I like not explanations given in long discourses," says he; "young people pay little attention to them and retain little from them. The things themselves! The things themselves! I shall never repeat often enough that we attach too much importance to words: with our chattering education we make nothing but chatterers."* Accordingly Rousseau lays down the rule that Émile is not to learn

☐ 66 "Je n'aime point les explications en discours; les jeunes gens y font peu d'attention et ne les retiennent guère. Les choses! les choses! Je ne répéterai jamais assez que nous donnons trop de pouvoir aux mots : avec notre éducation babillarde nous ne faisons que des babillards." Em. iij., 198.

R. exaggerates about self-teaching.

science but to invent it (qu'il n'apprenne pas la science; qu'il ! l'invente); and he even expects him to invent geometry. As Émile is not supposed to be a young Pascal but only an ordinary boy with extraordinary physical development such a requirement is obviously absurd, and Herbart has reckoned it among Rousseau's Hauptfehler (Päd. Schriften, ij., 242). The training prescribed is in fact the training of the intellectual athlete; and the trainer may put the body through its exercises much more easily than the mind. Of this the practical teacher is only too conscious, and he will accept Rousseau's advice, if at all, only as "counsels of perfection." Rousseau says: "Émile, obliged to learn of himself, makes use of his own reason and not that of others; for to give no weight to opinion, none must be given to authority; and the more part of our mistakes come less from ourselves than from other people. From this constant exercise there should result a vigour of mind like that which the body gets from labour and fatigue. Another advantage is that we advance only in proportion to our strength. The mind like the body carries that only which it can carry. When the understanding makes things its own before they are committed to memory, whatever it afterwards draws forth belongs to it; but if the memory is burdened with what the understanding knows nothing about we are in danger of bringing from it things which the understanding declines to acknowledge."*

* "Forcé d'apprendre de lui-même, il use de sa raison et non de celle d'autrui; car, pour ne rien donner à l'opinion, il ne faut rien donner à l'autorité ; et la plupart de nos erreurs nous viennent bien moins de nous que des autres. De cet exercice continuel il doit résulter une vigueur d'esprit semblable à celle qu'on donne au corps par le travail et par la fatigue. Un autre avantage est qu'on n'avance qu'à proportion de ses forces. L'esprit, non plus que le corps, ne porte que ce qu'il peut

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