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Joseph Payne's summing-up.
§ 105. Having now seen in which direction Pestalozzi would start the school-coach, let us examine (with reference
II. This nature is an organic nature-a plexus of bodily, intellectual and moral capabilities, ready for development, and struggling to develop themselves..
III. The education conducted by the formal educator has both a negative and a positive side. The negative function of the educator consists in removing impediments, so as to afford free scope for the learner's self-development. His positive function is to stimulate the learner to the exercise of his powers, to furnish materials and occasion for the exercise, and to superintend and maintain the action of the machinery.
IV. Self-development begins with the impressions received by the mind from external objects. These impressions (called sensations), when the mind becomes conscious of them, group themselves into perceptions. These are registered in the mind as conceptions or ideas, and constitute that elementary knowledge which is the basis of all knowledge.
V. Spontaneity and self-activity are the necessary conditions under which the mind educates itself and gains power and independence.
VI. Practical aptness or faculty, depends more on habits gained by the assiduous oft-repeated exercise of the learner's active powers than on knowledge alone. Knowing and doing (Wissen und Können) must, however, proceed together. The chief aim of all education (including instruction) is the development of the learner's powers.
VII. All education (including instruction) must be grounded on the learner's own observation (Anschauung) at first hand-on his own personal experience. This is the true basis of all his knowledge. First the reality, then the symbol; first the thing, then the word, not vice verså.
VIII. That which the learner has gained by his own observation (Anschauung) and which, as a part of his personal experience, is incor. perated with his mind, he knows and can describe or explain in his own words. His competency to do this is the measure of the accuracy of his observation, and consequently of his knowledge.
IX. Personal experience necessitates the advancement of the learner's mind from the near and actual, with which he is in contact, and which
The "two nations." Mother's lessons.
to England only) the direction in which it is travelling at present.
§ 106. For educational purposes we may, with Lord Beaconsfield, regard the English as composed of two nations, the rich and the poor. Let us consider these separately. In the case of the rich we find that the worst part of our educational course-the part most wrong in theory and pernicious in practice-is the schooling of young children, say between six and twelve years old. Before the age of six some few are fortunate enough to attend a good Kindergarten; but the opportunity of doing this is at present rare, and for most children of well-to-do parents there is, up to six years old, little or no organised instruction. Pestalozzi would have every mother made capable of giving such instruction. Froebel would have every child sent to a skilled "Kindergärtnerin." It seems to me beyond question that children gain immensely from joining a properly-managed Kindergarten; but where this is impossible, perhaps the mother may leave the child to the series of impressions which come to its senses without any regular order. According to the first Lord Lytton, the mother's interference might remind us of the man who thought his bees would make honey faster if, instead of going in search of flowers, they were shut up and had flowers brought to them. The way
he can deal with himself, to the more remote; therefore from the concrete to the abstract, from particulars to generals, from the known
the unknown. This is the method of elementary education; the opposite proceeding-the usual proceeding of our traditional teaching— leads the mind from the abstract to the concrete, from generals to particulars, from the unknown to the known. This latter is the Scientific method-a method suited only to the advanced learner, who it assumes is already trained by the Elementary method.
Mistakes in teaching children.
in which young children turn from object to object, like the bees from flower to flower, seems to show that at this stage their intellectual training goes on whether we help it or not. There is no doubt an education for children however young, and the mother is the teacher, but the lessons have more to do with the heart than the head.
§ 107. But the time for regular teaching comes at last, and what is to be done then? Let us consider briefly what is done.
Hitherto, the only defence ever made of our school-course leading up to residence at a University, has been that it aims not at giving knowledge but at training the mind. Youths then are supposed to be engaged, not in gaining knowledge, but in training their faculties for adult life. But when we come to provide for the "education" of children, we never think of training their faculties for youth, but endeavour solely to inculcate what will then come in useful. We see clearly enough that it would be absurd to cram the mind of a youth with laws of science or art or commerce which he could not understand, on the ground that the getting-up of these things might save him trouble in afterlife. But we do not hesitate to sacrifice childhood to the learning by heart of grammar rules, Latin declensions, historical dates, and the like, with no thought whatever of the child's faculties, but simply with a view of giving him knowledge (so-called) that will come in useful five or six years afterwards. We do not treat youths thus, probably because we have more sympathy with them, or at least understand them better. The intellectual life to which the senses and the imagination are subordinated in the man has already begun in the youth. In an inferior degree he can do what the man can do, and understand what the man
Children and their teachers.
can understand. He has already some notion of reasoning, and abstraction, and generalisation. But with the child it is very different. His active faculties may be said almost to differ in kind from a man's. He has a feeling for the sensuous world which he will lose as he grows up. His strong imagination, under no control of the reason, is constantly at work building castles in the air, and investing the doll cr the puppet-show with all the properties of the things they represent. His feelings and affections, easily excited, find an object to love or dislike in every person and thing he meets with. On the other hand, he has only vague notions of the abstract, and has no interest except in actual known persons, animals, and things.
§ 108. There is, then, between the child of eight or nine and the youth of fourteen or fifteen a greater difference than between the youth and the man of twenty; and this demands a corresponding difference in their studies. And yet, as matters are carried on now, the child is too often kept to the drudgery of learning by rote mere collections of hard words, perhaps, too, in a foreign language: and absorbed in the present, he is not much comforted by the teacher's assurance that "some day" these things will come in useful.
§ 109. How to educate the child is doubtless the most difficult problem of all, and it is generally allotted to those who are the least likely to find a satisfactory solution.
The earliest educator of the children of many rich parents is the nursemaid-a person not usually distinguished by either intellectual or moral excellence.* At an early age
* Most parents do not seem to think with Jean Paul, "If we regard all life as an educational institution, a circumnavigator of the world is less influenced by all the nations he has seen than by his nurse." (Levana, quoted in Morley's Rousseau.)
this educator is superseded by the Preparatory School. Taken as a body, the ladies who open "establishments for young gentlemen " cannot be said to hold enlarged views, or, indeed, any views whatever, on the subject of education. Their intention is not so much to cultivate the children's faculties as to make a livelihood, and to hear no complaints that pupils who have left them have been found deficient in the expected knowledge by the master of the next school. If anyone would investigate the sort of teaching which is considered adapted to the capacity of children at this stage, let him look into a standard work still in vogue (" Mang. nall's Questions "), from which the young of both sexes acquire a great quantity and variety of learning; the whole of ancient and modern history and biography, together with the heathen mythology, the planetary system, and the names of all the constellations, lying very compactly in about 300 pages.
Unfortunately, moreover, from the gentility of these ladies, their scholars' bodies are often treated in preparatory schools no less injuriously than their minds. It may be natural in a child to use his lungs and delight in noise, but
I will quote the first paragraph of this work which is still considered mental pabulum suited to the digestions of young ladies and children :
"Name some of the most Ancient Kingdoms.—Chaldēa, Babylonia, Assyria, China in Asia, and Egypt in Africa. Nimrod, the grandson o Ham, is supposed to have founded the first of these B.C. 2221, as well as the famous cities of Babylon and Nineveh; his kingdom being within the fertile plains of Chaldea, Chalonītis, and Assyria, was of small extent compared with the vast empires that afterwards arose from it, but included several large cities. In the district called Babylonia were the cities of Babylon, Barsita, Idicarra, and Vologsia," &c., &c.