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education of the people is faulty, they, and every thing connected with them, suffer. National character, national prosperity, national happiness, all hang upon national education. A people is therefore good or bad, powerful or weak, fortunate or miserable, according to the principles inculcated, and the methods employed, in the education of the masses. Why then should not teachers, they who from their position ought, at least, to be the most conversant of all persons with the subject, advance their opinions through that organ which the age declares to be the popular means of communication ?
That writings concerning education are often controversial but proves its personal application. Unimportant statements gain general credence. They affect no one's interests, and are hence received without protest. But truths of universal application, however substantiated, will always be subjects of debate. For example, every one believes the historical record of Cæsar's life and character; for belief or disbelief is personally of little importance ; but the life and character of our Saviour are still a matter of controversy, for they are intimately connected with the present and future prospects of every immortal being. For the same reasons, the difference of opinion, the controversies, and even the disputes, which have always attended the progress of Education, are arguments which should be adduced to prove, rather than to disprove, its importance.
But you give us nothing new! What then ! Said Solomon, long since, “there is nothing new under the sun.” The world contains but few original truths upon any subject. Collect the books of the world, cull out the ideas they contain ; add the thoughts of all living ; then cast away the duplicates, and how comparatively small is the remainder. It would not require a large library to contain it. Moreover, there is falsehood as well as truth in originality. Had we the divine power of distinguishing good from evil, and should cull out still farther all that is false, the final remainder would be as small in bulk as it would be great in value, - its size would be in inverse ratio to its worth.
He who discovers to the world a truth, is as immortal as the truth itself. And notwithstanding the license of these advertising times, we cannot on these terms predicate immortality to our periodical, even to satisfy those who, like the Athenians,
spend their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing."
The men whose names have come down to us in remembrance, we estimate according to their originality. Even in this practical age we have a reverence for a Newton which we cannot entertain towards a Fulton. The one discovered, the
other invented. That is, the one gave to the world original truths; the other arranged modifications of truth for practical advantage. Truths then are few; but the deductions, the modifications, and the combinations of truth are infinite. They are subject to the rules of Arithmetical Permutation. They are like the musical scale, which with its few but infinitely varied notes furnishes inexhaustible melody. Different ages, different nations, and, indeed, all conceivable human differences, combine to increase the modifications of truth, moral, mental, and physical.
In the animal and vegetable kingdoms, God has made but few great classes, or orders; but their subdivisions, into genera, species, and individuals, are vastly varied. The applications of truth are analogous.
Again, of the species man no two individuals can be found exactly alike in either of his three natures; and in the details of life each requires a distinct inducement, and a personal application of truth, modified according to his condition and relation.
Though, then, our journal may not furnish new truths, we hope, among the shiftings of this changeable world, to find food sufficient for the seekers of novelty.
There is nothing, however, inappropriate in reproducing old truths. We want them ever before us, as lights in our dark pilgrimage. And is it fanciful to suppose that the mind necessarily requires the same truth to be often presented to it, just as the body desires, day by day, the same kind of food ? Though we say truths are few, yet the world has enough, if it will but act upon them. We know better than we do. Our object, then, is not so much to find new truths, as to persuade men to practise upon those they already know. In Education, as in religion, a great part of the educator's business consists in exhortation, or, as says Archbishop Whately, “the endeavoring to induce men to use those exertions which they themselves
know to be necessary for the attainment of the desired object.” ИИ There are some subjects so intrinsically important, that they require to be considered at all times,
in all ways, and by all persons. Religion, Government, and Education are examples. Hence we find that, in all ages of the world, these topics have engaged the attention of the enlightened portion of the community. In fact, all history is made up of the progress, or at least, condition, of these three great subjects. It is highly important for all interested in the advancement of Education, to notice also that the method of procedure with reference to all three, at any given time, or in any given nation, has been strikingly similar. Indeed, we might naturally infer similarity of treatment, from the vastness of the subjects considered, their relative and intrinsic importance, and also from the universality of their applica
tion, and their varied bearings upon each other. They have gone, hand in hand, through adversity and prosperity. They sunk together into the darkness of the middle ages. The reformation of one was the presage to the reformation of all. When despots ruled, they also decided for their subjects the character and amount of their religion and education. When, in the age of Elisabeth, individual mind, in contradistinction from royal prerogative, began to influence the masses, — before the times of division of labor, and consequently before topics of general interest had been appropriated for the distinct consideration of professional classes, - the great minds of England interested themselves almost equally in the progress of each. The Bacons and the Hookers wrote nearly as much upon one as another, and have left us a rich legacy upon all.
And now, in this age of equality, the people, those whom these things individually concern, are fast taking the reins in their own hands, and are driving on, by motive powers entirely their own, - Association and the Press.
In employing these powers, Education has been behind the other two. Associations for religious and political purposes have for years been held. In Education, associations are of more recent date. It has advanced rather through individual, than combined effort.
Religious and political periodicals are abundant; educational papers, comparatively few. The sects in religion, and the parties in politics, will in part account for this. For men will do much, when rivalry and contest excites to effort. There are no sects or parties in Education ; because, while the other two concern adults, the latter particularly concerns only children, who can neither form associations nor publish papers. In view of the whole matter, teachers, if we wish the education of the people to be cared for, as are their religion and government,
if we wish the teacher in Education to rank beside the teacher in Religion and in Government, we must use the same means that they employ.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association has been formed. We now offer the first number of its semi-monthly periodical, and we ask of all interested in the advancement of Education to give their support to both.
On parent's knees, à naked, new-born child,
From the Arabic, by Sir W. Jones.
TEACHING AND LEARNING.
The terms placed at the head of this communication are reciprocal, but not convertible. They both denote the same relation; but each implies a distinct, related object, and indicates the peculiar action of this object or person in its appropriate relation. To teach is one thing; to learn is another; and, though related to the former act, is entirely distinct from it, and performed by a different agent. It is true, the verb, to learn, is often vulgarly used interchangeably with the correlative term, to teach ; and this usage has sometimes been carelessly sanctioned by high literary authority. But it is time that this anomaly should be excluded as well from our colloquial as from our written language. To teach, is to communicate knowledge - to give instruction; to learn, is to acquire knowledge to be instructed. The teacher gives; the learner receives. The teacher imparts; the learner acquires. The teacher (truly, without diminishing his acquired stock, which actually increases, in his own mind, while it is thus diffused into the minds of others) communicates what he has previously learned ; and the learner makes what is thus communicated to him his own. The teacher, therefore, in the appropriate functions of his office, performs an act, depending on his own will, over which no other mind has control, while the learner, by the exercise of mental powers equally his own, makes an acquisition, corresponding with the strength of those powers, and the energy with which they are exercised.
Nor is this analysis of the relation between teacher and learner, or this proposed definite and precise use of the term learn, embarassed by the fact, that men are sometimes said to be self-taught. For, in cases in which this epithet is used with propriety, the learners make to themselves teachers. The very instruments and means by which they acquire knowledge, are their teachers. They hear the voice of Nature; they listen to the instructions of Revelation. They learn by observation and experience. The word and the works of God are their teachers; and, as truly as in any case, they sustain the subjective relation of pupils, recipients, — inquisitive, active recipients; putting forth their powers to reach the coming knowledge, and to mould and fashion it to their own capacities and habits of association ; and thus making it their own, and preparing it for future use.
These critical remarks, however, are here introduced, not so much for the sake of grammatical accuracy, as for the purpose of establishing a general principle for the guidance of practical teachers, and the benefit and highest improvement of their
pupils. For, so far as the term, to learn, is used to denote the act of him who communicates knowledge, it implies a state of passivity in him to whom the communication is made ; and thus, as the necessity of active exertion, on his part, seems to be superseded, all voluntary effort is discouraged, and he becomes indolent and inactive, of course. Indeed, the consequences of such an impression, as it is naturally made by the careless use of this term (though that impression be but a floating opinion), must be everywhere, and on all minds, pernicious and unfavorable, if not fatal, to high attainments in literature and science. Such an impression on the public mind, must lead to the adoption of injudicious expedients to promote the cause of general education, - expedients which may be of temporary, apparent utility, but such as must ultimately depress the standard of learning, enervate the mental powers of the rising generation, make smatterers and sciolists, and produce a race of superficial thinkers, instead of ripe scholars of vigorous intellects and high attainments. Such an impression, or rather sentiment, however indistinct, must produce, in the mind of the pupil, indolence and stupid inaction, --in that of the teacher, discouragement and a spirit of formality, - in that of the parent, and even the
nd and patron of learning, a disposition to complain and find fault with the most laborious and faithful teachers.
Let it never be forgotten, then, that the act of learning belongs to the pupil, and not to the teacher. Indeed, activity of mind is as requisite in the one as it is in the other, in order to secure the happy results of education, and especially of intellectual education. The pupil, as we said, must learn for himself. This is his own appropriate work, – a work which must be performed by himself; it cannot be done for him, by another. In order to acquire knowledge, he must put forth personal effort. He must seek, if he would find; he must strive, if he would ascend the hill and enter the temple of science. In other words, his mind must be in a recipient state, — wakeful, active,- putting forth its powers and pushing forward its susceptibilities, before he can participate in the benefits of the best instruction. Without this preparation in the pupil, and consequent reciprocal action with the teacher, all the labors of the latter will be lost. The knowledge imparted by the teacher will find no reception, certainly no permanent lodgment, in the sluggish mind of the pupil. Instruction, to constitute education, must be received as well as given; and so received as to exercise and discipline the faculties of the mind which it enters; so received as to be permanently held; so received and held as to become incorporated with the mental powers themselves, and ready for appropriate use. It must, indeed, become the