« ForrigeFortsæt »
Schmid in flight.
thought, laid far too much stress on mathematics, and he drew from him a statement that everything taught to a child should seem as certain as that two and two made four. "Then," said Girard, "if I had thirty children I would not intrust you with one of them. You could not teach him that I was his father." Thus the Report, though very friendly in tone, was by no means friendly in spirit The Commissioners simply compared the performances of the scholars with what pupils of the same age could do in good schools of the ordinary type, and Père Girard stated, though not in the Report, that the Institution was inferior to the Cantonal School of Aargau. But the comparison of these incommensurables only shews that Girard was not capable of understanding what was going on at Yverdun. Indeed, he asserts "not only that the mother-tongue was neglected," but also that the children, "though they had reached a high pitch of excellence in abstract mathematics, were inconceivably weak in all ordinary practical calculations." This is absurd. In Pestalozzian teaching the abstract never went before ordinary practical calculations. The good Father evidently blunders, and takes "head-reckoning" for abstract, and pen or pencil arithmetic for practical work. Reckoning with slate or paper is no doubt "ordinary," but a distinction has often to be drawn between what is ordinary and what is practical.
§ 74. Soon after this the disputes between Schmid and his colleagues waxed so fierce that Schmid was virtually driven away. In 1810 he left Yverdun, and declared the Institution "a disgrace to humanity." Great was the disorder into which the Institution now fell from having over it only a genius with "an unrivalled incapacity to govern." The days which "remind us of the early Church
Schmid's return. P.'s fame found useful.
more, and financial difficulties naturally followed them. For the next five years things went from bad to worse, and the masters were then driven to the desperate, and, as it proved, the fatal step of inviting the able and strong-willed Schmid back again. He came in 1815, he acquired entire control over Pestalozzi, and drove from him all his most faithful adherents, among them not only Niederer, who had invited the return of his rival, but even Kruesi and the faithful servant, Elizabeth Naef, now Mrs. Kruesi, the widow of Kruesi's brother. Pestalozzi's grandson married Schmid's sister, and thus united with him by family ties, Schmid took entire possession of the old man and kept it till the end. His former colleagues seem to have been deceived in their estimate both of Schmid's integrity and ability. He completed the ruin of the Institution, and he was finally expelled from Yverdun by the Magistrates.
§ 75. But while Pestalozzi seemed falling lower and lower to the eyes of the inhabitants of Yverdun, and so had little honour in his own country, his fame was spreading all over Europe. Of this Yverdun was to reap the benefit. In 1813-14, Austrian troops marched across Switzerland to invade France. In January, 1814, the Castle and other buildings in Yverdun were "requisitioned" for a military hospital, many of the Austrian soldiers being down with typhus fever. In a great fright the Municipality sent off two deputies to headquarters, then at Basel, to petition that this order might be withdrawn. As the order threatened the destruction of his Institution, Pestalozzi went with them, and it was entirely to him they owed their success. On their return they reported that "no military hospital would be established at Yverdun, and that M. Pestalozzi had been received with most extraordinary favour."
Dr. Bell's visit.
Death of Mrs. Pestalozzi.
$75. On this occasion Pestalozzi took the opportunity of preaching to the Emperor Alexander on the necessity of establishing good schools and of emancipating the serfs. The Emperor took the lecture in good part, and allowed the philanthropist to drive him into a corner and "button-hole "
§ 76. In 1815 Pestalozzi received a visit from an Englishman, or more accurately Scotsman-Dr. Bell, who, however, like most of our compatriots, could find nothing in Pestalozzi. Whatever we may think of Bell as an educationist, he was certainly a poor prophet. On leaving Yverdun he said, "In another twelve years mutual instruction will be adopted by the whole world and Pestalozzi's method will be forgotten."*
877. In December, 1815, Pestalozzi was thrown more completely into the power of Schmid by losing the only companion from whom nothing but death could separate him his wife. At the funeral Pestalozzi, standing by the coffin, and as if heard by her whose earthly remains were in it, ran over the disasters and trials they had passed through together, and the sacrifices she had made for him. "What in those days of affliction," said he, “gave us strength to bear our troubles and recover hope?" and taking up a Bible he went on, "This is the source whence you drew, whence we both drew courage, strength, and peace.”
* Pestalozzi had from this country some more discerning visitors, e.g., J P. Greaves, to whom Pestalozzi addressed Letters, which were translated and published in this country; also Dr. Mayo, who was at Yverdun with his pupils for three years from 1818 and afterwards conducted a celebrated Pestalozzian school at Cheam. Dr. Mayo in 1826 lectured on Pestalozzi's system at the Royal Institution. Sir Jas. KayShuttleworth and Mr. Tufnell also drew attention to it in the "Minutes of Council on Education."
Works republished. Clindy. Yverdun left.
§ 78. The "death agony of the Institution," as Guimps calls it, lasted for some years, but in this gloomy period there are only two incidents I will mention. The first is the publication of Pestalozzi's writings, for which Schmid and Pestalozzi sought subscriptions; and the appeal was so cordially answered that Pestalozzi received £2,000. This sum he wished to devote to the carrying out of a plan he had always cherished of an orphanage at Neuhof; but the money seems to have melted we do not know how.
§ 79. The other incident is that of Pestalozzi's last success. In spite of Schmid he would open a school for twelve neglected children at Clindy, a hamlet near Yverdun. Here he produced results like those which had crowned his first efforts at Neuhof, Stanz, and Burgdorf. Old, absentminded, and incapable as he seemed in ordinary affairs, he, as though by enchantment, gained the attention and the affection of the children, and bent them entirely to his will. In a few months the number of children had risen to thirty, and wonderful progress had been made. Clindy at once became celebrated. Pestalozzi was induced to admit some children whose friends paid for them, and Schmid then persuaded the old man to remove the school into the Castle.
80. In 1824 the Institution, which had lasted for twenty years, was finally closed, and Pestalozzi went to spend his remaining days (nearly three years as it proved) at Neuhof, which was then in the hands of his grandson. The year before his death he visited an orphanage conducted on his principles by Zeller at Beuggen near Rheinfelden. The children sang a poem of Goethe's quoted in Leonard and Gertrude, and had a crown of oak ready to put on the old man's head; but this he declined. "I am not worthy of it," said he, "keep it for innocence."
Death. New aim; develop organism.
§ 81. On 17th February, 1827, at the age of eighty-one, Pestalozzi fell asleep.
§ 82. "The reform needed," said Pestalozzi," is not that the school-coach should be better horsed, but that it should be turned right round and started on a new track." This may seem a violent metaphor, but perhaps it is not more violent than the change that was (and in this country still is) necessary. Let us try to ascertain what is the right road according to Pestalozzi, and then see on what road the school-coach is now travelling.
§ 83. The grand change advocated by Pestalozzi was a change of object. The main object of the school should not be to teach but to develop.
84. This change of object naturally brings many changes with it. Measured by their capacity for acquiring school knowledge and skill young children may be considered, as one of H.M. Inspectors considered them, “the fag-end of the school." But if the school exists not to teach but to develop, young children, instead of being the "fag-end," become the most important part of all. development of all organisms more depends on the earlier than on the later stages; and there is no reason to doubt that this law holds in the case of human beings. On this account, from the days of Pestalozzi educational science has been greatly, I may say mainly, concerned with young children. For the dominating thought has been that the young human being is an undeveloped organism, and that in education that organism is developed. So the essence of | Pestalozzianism lies not so much in its method as in its aim, not more in what it does than in what it endeavours to do.