« ForrigeFortsæt »
A portrait of Pestalozzi.
the enthusiasm has subsided disappointment follows. This was the case at Yverdun, and Pestalozzi outlived his Institute. But the principles on which he worked and the spirit in which he worked could not pass away; and, at least in Germany, all elementary schoolmasters acknowledge how much they are indebted to his teaching.
64. Of the state of things in the early days of the Institute we have a very lively account written for his own children by Professor Vuillemin, who entered it in 1805 as a child of eight, and was in it for two years. From this I extract the following portrait of Pestalozzi: "Imagine, my children, a very ugly man with rough bristling hair, his face scarred with small-pox and covered with freckles, an untidy beard, no neck-tie, his breeches not properly buttoned and coming down to his stockings, which in their turn descended on to his great thick shoes; fancy him panting and jerking as he walked; then his eyes which at one time opened wide to send a flash of lightning, at another were half closed as if engaged on what was going on within; his features now expressing a profound sadness and now again the most peaceful happiness; his speech either slow or hurried, either soft and melodious or bursting forth like thunder; imagine the man and you have him whom we used to call our Father Pestalozzi. Such as I have sketched him for you we loved him; we all loved him, for he loved us all; we loved him so warmly that when some time passed without our seeing hin, we were quite troubled about it, and when he again appeared we could not take our eyes off him" (Guimps, 315).
§ 65. At this time he was no less loved by his assistants, who put up with any quarters that could be found for them, and received no salary. We read that the money paid by
Prussia adopts Pestalozzianism.
the scholars was kept in the room of "the head of the family"; every master could get the key, and when they required clothes they took from these funds just the sum requisite. This system, or want of system, went on for some time with. out abuse. As Vuillemin says, it was like a return to the early days of the Christian Church.
§ 66. We have seen that the first Emperor Napoleon "could not be bothered about questions of A, B, C." His was the pride that goes before a fall. On the other hand the Prussian Government which he brought to the dust in the battle of Jena (1806) had the wisdom to perceive that children will become men, and that the nature of the instruction they receive will in a great measure determine what kind of men they turn out. How was Prussia again to raise its head? Its rulers decided that it was by the education of the people. "We have lost in territory," said the king; "our power and our credit abroad have fallen; but we must and will go to work to gain in power and in credit at home. It is for this reason that I desire above everything that the greatest attention be paid to the education of the people" (Guimps, 319). About the same time the Queen (Louisa) wrote in her private diary, “I am reading Leonard and Gertrude, and I delight in being transported into the Swiss village. If I could do as I liked I should take a carriage and start for Switzerland to see Pestalozzi; I should warmly shake him by the hand, and my eyes filled with tears would speak my gratitude... With what goodness, with what zeal, he labours for the welfare of his fellowcreatures! Yes, in the name of humanity, I thank him with my whole heart."
So in the day of humiliation Prussia seriously went to work at the education of the people, and this she did on
Ritter and others at Yverdun.
the lines pointed out by Pestalozzi. To him they were directed by their philosopher Fichte, who in his Addresses to the German Nation (delivered at Berlin 1807-8) declared that education was the only means of raising a nation, and that all sound reform of public instruction must be based on the principles of Pestalozzi.
To bring these principles to bear on popular education, the Prussian Government sent seventeen young men for a three years' course to Pestalozzi's Institute, "where," as the Minister said in a letter to Pestalozzi, "they will be prepared not only in mind and judgment, but also in heart, for the noble vocation which they are to follow, and will be filled with a sense of the holiness of their task, and with new zeal for the work to which you have devoted your life."
§ 67. Among the eminent men who were drawn to Yverdun were some who afterwards did great things in education, as e.g., Karl Ritter, Karl von Raumer the historian of education, the philosopher Herbart, and a man who was destined to have more influence than anyone, except perhaps Pestalozzi himself-I mean Friedrich Froebel. Ritter's testimony is especially striking. "I have seen," says he, "more than the Paradise of Switzerland, for I have seen Pestalozzi, and recognised how great his heart is, and how great his genius; never have I been so filled with a sense of the sacredness of my vocation and the dignity of human nature as in the days I spent with this noble man. Pestalozzi knew less geography than a child in one of our primary schools, yet it was from him that I gained my chief knowledge of this science; for it was in listening to him that I first conceived the idea of the natural method. It was he who opened the way to me, and I take
Causes of failure at Yverdun.
pleasure in attributing whatever value my work may have entirely to him."
§ 68. At this time we read glowing accounts of the healthy and happy life of the children; and throughout Pestalozzi never lost a single pupil by illness. With a body of very able assistants, instruction was carried on for ten hours out of the twenty-four; but in these hours there was reckoned the time spent in drill, gymnastics, hand-work, and singing. The monotony of school-life was also broken by frequent "festivals."
§ 69. And yet the Institute had taken into it the seeds of its own ruin. There were several causes of failure, though these were not visible till the house was divided against itself.
§ 70. First, Pestalozzi based the morality and discipline of the school on the relations of family life. He would be the "father" of all the children. At Burgdorf this relation seemed a reality, but it completely failed at Yverdun when the Institute became, from the number of the pupils and their differences in language, habits, and antecedents, a little world. The pupils still called him "Father Pestalozzi," but he could no longer know them as a father should know his children. Thus the discipline of affection slowly disappeared, and there was no school discipline to take its place.
§ 71. Next, we can see that even at Burgdorf, and still more at Yverdun, Pestalozzi was attempting to do impossibilities. According to his system, the faculties of the child were to be developed in a natural unbroken order, and the first exercises were to give the child the power of surmounting later difficulties by its own exertions. But this education could not be started at any age, and yet children of every age and every country were received into the
Report made by Father Girard.
Institution. It was not likely that the fresh comers could be made to understand that they "knew nothing," and must start over again on a totally different road. The teachers might take such pupils to the water of "sense-impressions," but they could not inspire the inclination to drink, nor induce the lad to learn what he supposed himself to know already. (Cfr. supra p. 64, § 4.)
§ 72. But there was a greater mischief at work than either of these. In his discourse to the members of the Institution on New Year's Day, 1808, Pestalozzi surprised them all by his gloom. He had had a coffin brought in, and he stood beside it. "This work," said he, 66 founded by love, but love has disappeared from our midst." This was only too true, and the discord was more deeply rooted than at first appeared. Among the brood of Pestalozzians there was a Catholic shepherd lad from Tyrol, Joseph Schmid by name, and he, in the end, proved a veritable cuckoo. As he shewed very marked ability in mathematics, he became one of the assistant masters; and a good deal of the fame of the Institution rested on the performances of his pupils. But his ideas differed totally from those of his colleagues, especially from those of Niederer, a clergyman with a turn for philosophy, who had become Pestalozzi's chief exponent.
73. After Pestalozzi's gloomy speech, the masters, with the exception of Schmid, urged Pestalozzi to apply for a Government inquiry into the state of the Institution. This Pestalozzi did, and Commissioners were appointed, among them an educationist, Père Girard of Freiburg, by whom the Report was drawn up. The Report was not favourable. Père Girard was by no means inclined to sit at the feet of Pestalozzi, as he had principles of his own. Pestalozzi, he