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cation, not only to the powers of the body and mind, but also to the divine element within the soul.
In consecrating his life to a reform of elementary education, Pestalozzi not only sought to stop the sources of indi. vidual poverty and suffering, but also to root out vices which were undermining the whole of European society, and preparing a fatal catastrophe for civilization. This idea comes out in most of his works. We need only remind our readers of the almost prophetic words he addressed to Mrs. Niederer when entrusting her with his manuscript on the causes of the French Revolution.
What Pestalozzi considered the real cause of the evil was not so much the absence of instruction for the people as a vicious method of teaching, which paralyzed the faculties it should have developed, and blunted the sympathies it should have quickened. And yet, as a general rule, it is this old method which has continued to prevail in the remarkable extension that has nearly everywhere been given to popular instruction in the course of this century. And thus it happens that this grand diffusion of enlightenment, as it is called, has often but aggravated the very evil it was intended to cure.
As Pestalozzi considered his elementary education to be the chief means for preserving our civilization from the terrible dangers he foresaw, we must endeavour to show how such an education, if generally applied, might contribute to bring about a change in existing conditions, and correct many of the vices which are to-day troubling society and threatening its future.
In the first place, it would give true liberty of heart and mind, without which no other liberty can be enjoyed; it would tend to re-establish in every citizen that independence of development and character which teaches a man to observe and judge for himself, without allowing himself to be absorbed by party or sect, and made a mere puppet in the hands of others. We should then no longer see the great majority of men with no other beliefs, judgments, or feelings than the beliefs, judgments, and feelings of the mass, blindly following the lead of the most skilful and violent mob orator.
Moreover, this really educational instruction, by making the child the agent of his own knowledge, gives him both taste and facility for learning by himself. Formed thus, the young man takes pleasure in devoting his leisure to self
instruction, and thus avoids temptations and the formation of habits which are often no less deadly in their effect on society than on his family and himself.
This instruction, too, that every one continues to acquire by his own observations and his own judgment, shields men from the tyranny of fashionable opinions,-opinions of the majority, that is, which at certain times are almost forced upon us, however full of error they may be. And it is not alone in economical science that men blindly accept false systems.
To-day the craze for natural science has replaced the unintelligent contempt with which it was formerly regarded; it has even come to be spoken of as science, as though there were no other; and its authority, often invoked even outside its domain, is almost the only authority still recognized. And thus we hear people declaring that the progress of natural science has put moral science to shame. May we not believe that men would be less exposed to such a confusion of ideas if their knowledge were the fruit of faculties trained from infancy, and the conquest of their attention, spirit of observation, and independent judgment?
One of the greatest dangers in these democratic times is the separation in the education of the different classes of society. The rich have one education, the poor another; the two classes, each going its own way, get farther and farther apart; with different habits, tastes, ideas, and feelings, nay, with a different language even, they end by no longer understanding each other; and so misunderstanding breeds mistrust, and mistrust not infrequently hatred. It is easy to see how much this evil would be lessened if all children could remain together in the same schools up to the age of thirteen or fourteen; for, by that time, they would have a common stock of ideas, knowledge, and language, and durable relations would be possible between them. Schools in the spirit of Pestalozzi would render such an education as this possible, without even the richest and most particular parents having anything to fear for their children. We should not only want teachers, however, animated by Pestalozzi's spirit, but a considerable increase in the number of primary classes. But this latter reform we shall certainly have to wait for, although the need is very generally felt.
There is, however, a reform which might easily be realized at once, and which, though less complete, would still do
much to lessen the lamentable antagonism that so often divides men engaged in different occupations.
It is now the custom for children intended for classical studies to begin Latin at eight or nine years of age, from which time they are, if not entirely separated, at any rate distinguished from their comrades who are preparing for industrial pursuits. Their work is quite different from the work of the others, and they are more or less encouraged to hold themselves aloof.
This state of things is not only bad for the harmony and sympathy that it is so desirable to see existing between al classes of society, but has besides the serious disadvantage of compelling parents to decide upon a calling for their children before they are in a position to judge of their tastes and aptitudes, with the result that many boys are launched into classical studies who will never succeed in them, and many, who at fourteen are clever and eager to learn, find themselves shut out from the liberal professions because they did not make their choice before. This state of things is also exceedingly bad for the studies themselves.
Pestalozzi was long ago struck by the painful waste of time and labour involved in trying to teach children Latin before they are acquainted with the principles of their own language, that is to say, before they have any knowledge of grammar, without which it is impossible for them to arrive at any understanding of a dead language. He even insisted that the study of a foreign modern language should precede the study of Latin, that the child might be provided with a first simple means of grammatical comparison.
This system has since been attempted a hundred times in different countries, even in important public establishments as at Berne, and has always met with complete success. Pupils who have only commenced the study of dead languages at the age of thirteen or fourteen, have invariably made such rapid progress, that in a few years they have more than made up for the time which they seemed to have lost, but which in reality they had employed far more usefully.
And yet this reform has not yet been generally adopted, for nothing is more difficult than to change a system of studies which has slowly grown, as it were, into a national custom, and which is intended to preserve a certain unity between the schools of a country. Books and methods
adapted to children who as yet know nothing, would not of course do for those whose minds were already well formed. Besides, the reform would have to be carried out in all schools simultaneously, so that pupils might pass from one to another without detriment to their work. This reform, however, would be so advantageous in every respect, that it will certainly some day be adopted.
One of the chief vices of modern society is pride, in all its forms vanity, ambition, the spirit of rivalry and domination, the desire to shine, to rise above others, to surpass them in power and in wealth; and this vicious tendency, into which our nature so easily slips, is aggravated nearly every day in class-rooms where the activity of the pupils is stimulated by prizes and other unwise means. Instead of being satisfied with the natural emulation which, in a properly conducted school, results from the very nature of things, and from the satisfaction of doing well and meeting with success, teachers employ all sorts of artificial means to excite and keep alive an unhealthy and un-Christian emulation, a desire for distinctions and honours, and a spirit of rivalry, which is not always unmixed with spite, envy, and hatred.
In his very earliest works, Pestalozzi condemned and proscribed these artificial means of exciting emulation; and in his after labours he did better still and rendered them superfluous. His elementary exercises, in fact, by reason of their starting-point, gradation, and connection, are so thoroughly adapted to the faculties, tastes, and needs of the child, that he takes part in them with pleasure, the mere satisfaction of feeling that he is learning and discovering, and that his powers are increasing, being a sound and sufficient stimulus. And so when we teach children by the rational elementary method, we are no longer tempted to make their vanity the stimulus to activity.
These are a few only of the points of view from which the discovery of the great educational reformer appears to us to be the chief factor in the solution of the social problem by which we are confronted to-day.
To sum up, that part of Pestalozzi's work which will endure, and that which constitutes him the benefactor of humanity, is his application of his philosophy to an elementary method of education. If we have succeeded in our attempt to explain this method, it will be clear to everybody that it does not
consist in a certain set procedure, and that no perfect type of it is to be looked for in what was done either at Burgdorf or Yverdun. It will be clear, too, why Pestalozzi himself was never entirely satisfied with what he had done, and why he went on working and searching till his life's end.
He died at his work, this noble friend of the poor; and, dying, he addressed a supreme appeal to those who might do more and better than he had done, and continue after him the work that he had the sorrow of leaving unfinished. In his humble modesty he seems to have forgotten that it was he who had accomplished the hardest and most important task, by laying bare the vices of his time, discovering the principles of a salutary reform, and throwing a way open in which we have now but to walk.
It is for the true and warm friends of humanity, those who, understanding Pestalozzi, feel themselves at one with him in spirit and heart, to answer his appeal, and follow him in the difficult path made easier by his devotion. To-day, the gate stands wide open, and the need is pressing.