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187 Plants, A Handbook of British. By W. Lowndes Not-
Plato and the other Companions of Socrates. By George
Platonic Republic, Education in the
138 Problems and Theorems, À Collection of. By Rev. R.
19 Proceedings of Societies 37, 77, 115, 158, 197, 235, 276, 317,
355, 391, 438, 469
Progressive English Reader, The. By James Douglas 268
384 Prussia in the time of Frederick the Great, Schools in 94
Public Schools Calendar, The
Schoolroom, The English
Schools of England from an American point of view, The
School Series. Edited by Rev. G. R. Gleig, M.A.
Science and Science Teaching.
Scotland, The Religious difficulty in
Scottish Universities, Subjects of Examination for Degrees
Scripture Facts Chronologically arranged in plain and
Single Entry Book-keeping, An Improved Principle of.
By D. Sheriff
Stammering and Stuttering. By James Hunt, Ph. D.,
Hughes, F.R.G S.
Treatise on the Construction of Maps, A. By W. Hughes,
A. Ferran, M.A,
Webster's Complete Dictionary of the English Language,
An Enlarged and Illustrated Edition of, By Dr B. C.
334 Women's Work, Essays on. By Bessie Rayner Parkes 300
424 Writer, The Ready. By H. Combes, and E. T. Stevens,
HE success of a national system of This magazine is devoted to the advancement
education depends entirely on two of both the objects which a national system of things : its capability of procuring education must keep in view. It is untrammelled the best men for schoolmasters, and by any party connections. Its pages are open to
its capability of giving these school- any who have really something to say on educamasters the freest scope for the exercise of their tional matters; and though this freedom of opinion gifts.
may occasionally produce somewhat of variableFirst and most essential of all to the success of ness in its tone, or even of inconsistency, yet we a school is the schoolmaster. Place an incapable feel assured that it is only by the free expression schoolmaster in a school, indoctrinate him in the of the opinions of thoughtful men that the truth best systems of teaching, supply him with the will be reached and substantial good done. finest schoolroom, give him unlimited command Schoolmasters are men who can think for themof the best apparatus, let him choose his own con- selves. They can derive good from articles from ditions of influencing his pupils, and yet the school the sentiments of which they may differ. And in will be a failure. This is a fact which educational this magazine the opinion of any one who is reformers are apt to forget. Again and again we practically engaged in the work of education will see men spend handsome sums on schoolrooms, find a place, whether it be in harmony with, or in and yet exceedingly niggardly in the payment of opposition to, the opinions of the editor or contrithe schoolmaster. Again and again we find men butors, provided only it be expressed with brevity exert themselves to set a school agoing, but once and courtesy. they have got the building up amid festivity and It is especially the work of this magazine to speechifying, they leave the schoolmaster to throw light on processes by which the schoolstruggle with poverty and neglect.
master can do his work successfully. No reform At the same time, the very best schoolmaster is so radical as this. And this reform lies within may have his work considerably impeded, if he the power of schoolmasters themselves. If we does not get free scope for the exercise of his get to understand our work thoroughly, we come powers. If the schoolmaster is a man of thought to possess a power which is incalculable. We reand character, he will strongly impress his pupils ceive the pupils at an age when their minds are in the worst circumstances. His whole influence exceedingly impressible. Day by day they grow will tend to elevate and dignify them for life. harder and harder, get into more distinct grooves But the influence will not be so great nor so per of thought and passion. It is while they are vasive as it might be, if he is not furnished with under us that their desires and thoughts take a healthy class-room, with ample apparatus, and shape, and consequently, if we can lay hold of the with freedom from worldly cares and anxieties. youthful mind and exercise a control over it which
science and character can enable us to wield, we our exertions, and of the best means of attaining do as much for the real welfare of the nation as the aim and end. There is nothing into which the any class in the community.
schoolmaster is more apt to fall than into routine, To exercise this influence with effect and pre- and there is nothing more ruinous to the minds cision, it is necessary that we should know how of his pupils and to his own. A mechanical, dull to conduct the processes of education in the most schoolmaster is the greatest of curses : a living, successful manner. And, accordingly, for this intelligent, thoughtful, and upright schoolmaster purpose we have resolved to commence with this is the greatest of blessings. We trust these new volume of our magazine a series of articles on articles will be used by our readers to keep their the best methods of teaching various branches. minds active and thoughtful on the subjects which They will be written by different contributors, and they discuss. may therefore contain differences of opinions. In this introductory paper we take up a few of There is no harm in this. What we can guarantee the great principles which must regulate the is of far more consequence, that they will be writ- giving of any lessons whatsoever. These printen by men whose opinions it is worth having, ciples are well known to every schoolmaster. who have thought well on the subjects on which They, in fact, are stale common places to too many. they write, and have had ample practical experi- But commonplaces are often the most important ence.
of all truths. But their importance depends The usefulness of such a series of articles is not entirely upon the vitality with which they are apto be measured merely by what they may contain. prehended. A great truth become dead is a comThere are at present some very good books on the monplace. A commonplace rendered alive is often method of teaching. We may mention, in parti- a great truth. And this we must continually cular, Tate's “Philosophy of Education," and keep in mind when we have to deal with living Currie's “Principles and Practice of Common- souls. The fundamental principles according to School Education.” These should be in the hands which we must act are often easily seen. They of every teacher. But these books are not final. are so easily seen that we are apt to pass them by Psychology is advancing, the science of education as if they were not worth looking at, or we nod is advancing. In Germany and in France, impor- to them as old acquaintances, and feel no more tant works on education are now and then appear- interest in them. Yet it may be affirmed that ing. In Germany especially, there is a large almost all the progress which we are likely to amount of thought devoted to educational laws. make in educational science will not be made by And we wish in this magazine and in these the discovery of new laws, but by exhibiting how articles at once to unfold what progress may be old and common laws are continually violated, made in other countries, and to contribute our how well-ascertained principles have been egrequota to the advancement.
giously neglected through thoughtlessness and We believe also that the reading of these articles indifference. may be of great use to schoolmasters above and The one great principle which ought to guide beyond the truths which may be stated in them. all our thoughts in regard to method is to follow We have found it in our experience to be profit- nature. In all our action on our pupils we must able to have some work on education beside us, hold before our view that there is a right method which we may take up and read for a few minutes and many wrong methods, and that the right before engaging in the actual work of teaching method is to be ascertained by an observance of Such a dip into a thoroughly good book prepares what takes place when the mind is undisturbed the mind for its work, gives it a tone for it, and by distracting and perverting influences. The awakens it to a full sense of responsibility. The great difficulty which lies before us here is to asStoics of the ancient world tried to overcome evil certain exactly what the method in nature is. by thinking, by meditating on the great laws of But we are well on in our way to solve the diffiman's being. The Treatises of Seneca, and the culty when we resolve to watch the processes of Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius, are close medita- nature with the utmost care, tions on the duties of life. And no doubt such The first natural law which we notice is, that meditation must have strengthened their minds we must first instruct in the concrete before dealing and fitted them for many a trial and many a con- with the abstract. The senses are our first instruquest over passion. We must take a leaf out of ments of knowledge, and this fact establishes an their book. We must continually, perpetually, order which we cannot reverse with impunity think of the work we have to do, of the children In reality, we cannot reverse the order at all. we have to deal with, of the aim and end of all There is no knowledge possible in any other order.
But we may make the attempt. The means of ledge, reduce it to abstract propositions, and retain conveying direct knowledge is through the senses. it by means of these propositions. In some We must bring the child in contact with the respects this is an absolutely necessary operation. object, if the knowledge is to be real. But it so The power of abstraction will never come if there happens that we use words also to convey know- is not a sufficient stock of concrete observations. ledge, that is, in the first instance to direct But when once the child has begun to form abthe child to the means of procuring real know- stract propositions, we may block up his mental ledge. But every teacher is under strong temp- activity by giving him, ready made, what he tation of giving words instead of producing the should make for himself. Thus, in every case first hand knowledge. The teacher explains a the child should make his definitions, not get word, the child commits the explanation to them. He should not be informed what a thing memory, and the teacher is satisfied. The child is, but be made to discover it with his eyes and has learned to know the word, but he may know hands. He should not have objects classified for nothing of the thing. A child is told that “Geo- him, but he should be led to discern tho order for graphy is the science which desoribes the surface bimself. He should not have the parts of speech of the earth.” But what real knowledge is there defined for him, but he should be led to observe here to the child, if he has not become practically the different funotions of words in a sentence, and acquainted with one science, or if he has got no to define words according to the functions which adequate notion of his own country, much less of he thus sees them perform. He should not have the whole earth? What is the use of telling him to commit to memory laws of syntax, but he that England is 420 miles long, if he has not should be led to observe the construction of senactually walked a mile, so as to have some con- tences and discover the laws for himself. And so ception of its length, or that the population of with many of the principal propositions which we Great Britain was near 28,000,000 at a certain have in geography. In history, on the other date, if he has as yet formed no conception of hand, the discovery of laws is work only for the
many a hundred people are? We have maturest minds. The young mind would be taken instances from goography, but we might puzzled and bewildered by the vast array of facts have taken them as well from history, arithmetic, which it would have to know, if it were to inquire or almost any of the subjects commonly taught into any portion of history scientifically. The In fact, the law must become deeply impressed pupil is, therefore, in history to have mainly a on the mind of every teacher, if he is to be suc- succession of picturos, of true living pictures, with cessful at all.
He must feel its tremendous a fair portraiture of the passions and motives
And he must recognise the fact, which animated the leading characters. He is also
, that he has himself passed, to a considerable especially to be introduced into the lives of the extent, out of the preliminary stage, that he has great and good men who have helped to make the got for himself a vast stock of first hand intui- human race nobler and wiser. And these pictions on which to base his subsequent knowledge, tures are to have their effect naturally, and not and that he is now accumulating knowledge and through the tagging on of morals to them. They ideas on the basis of this early knowledge; that will act as a more powerful stimulus to good, if therefore he is at a different stage from that at they are left to their own natural influence, than which his pupils are, and that he is consequently if they are accompanied with wearisome moral liable to forget the stage of his pupils, and to act discourses, or even valuable abstract propositions towards them as if they were at his own. This which do not sink into the soul of the child. is specially the case in regard to instruction in We are continually liable to break through this morals and religion. For we may express the important law, for two reasons : first, because we same principle when we say that facts must come are strongly tempted to it by our own state of before principles. We extend the principle, how- mind ; and, secondly, because an unfortunato ever, when we add that the principles are to come habit of using text-books for every subject has out of the facts, that there is to be a natural genesis become very prevalent. of the abstract out of the concrete. When the mind We are tempted to it by our own state of mind. is long familiar with the concrete, when it has We have mastered the subject which we intend come to be able to realise the concrete, even in to teach. We have mapped it out in our minds. the absence of the object, it will of itself naturally We present it to ourselves arranged and classified. come to have abstract ideas. When it has become And, therefore, the natural order for us now is to familiar with a long series of appearances or state our proposition, and then to illustrate it or occurrences, it will naturally formulise its know-prove it. This order too is more congenial to any
tendency to indolence or impatience we may have. pupil, we are to think of the pupil's mind, ascerIt seems a slow business to give instance after tain what he knows already, and out of his sphere instance to children when we might attain our of knowledge select some portion to which we may aim if we were at once to give our generalisation. attach the new information, An acquaintance Yet we are wrong in imagining any such thing. with the psychological laws, which Beneke has We do not attain our aim. It is not the implant- brought out, throws a flood of light on this propoing of generalisations in the mind of the child sition. For every previous piece of knowledge is which is our aim. It is awakening and rousing seen to be an actual power itself, to be capable of into full activity the intellectual life of the child. endless combinations, and to derive strength, and We wish to make him capable of generalising for give strength from its combinations. If there is himself.
a portion of knowledge in the child's mind to Again, text-books are almost invariably framed which we can attach the new knowledge, and we on the plan of giving the proposition first, and neglect this, then we have neglected a means of then the illustrations or proofs of it. This is no awakening interest in the lesson, and of deepening doubt the clearest method of exhibiting results. the impression which our teaching might make. And this generation seems to have become en- Another law sometimes laid down is that we slaved to text-books. They are the plagues of are to proceed from the parts to the whole. But children often. Young people are often set to this is a questionable law; in fact its title to a read dreary propositions in small print, when law may well be denied. The truth contained in they should be revelling in the “ Pilgrim's Pro- it may be expressed thus There are in nature gress” and “ Robinson Crusoe.” We are at the natural wholes. These must be taken as our present day taxing young minds, of children, boys materials at starting. And we are gradually to and blooming maidens, with far two diversified ascend from these natural wholes to larger and intellectual exertion, conducted almost solely more comprehensive wholes, and we are to descend through books. This is good neither for soul nor from them into their parts. Nature presents us body. Schoolmasters are often absurdly blamed with two infinities, the infinitely great, and the for this. It is no fault of theirs. Many of them infinitely small. We cannot reach either the one have protested. Many of them are protesting. or the other. But our minds naturally form But, as long as the public does not take sufficient units for themselves. These natural units admit interest in the right methods of education, this of addition. We can also divide them. But both text-book system will go on and flourish. The processes are the result of culture; and to make consequence of it often is, that the schoolmaster this culture as easy, and as successful as possible, has to teach many subjects in the way least cal- we must start from the natural unit. Thus, in culated to evoke intellectual life. Perhaps it discussing the method of teaching a child to read, might be broadly asserted that, at the commence- we ask ourselves, What is the natural unit? Is it ment of every study whatsoever, it were better to the letter or the word ? The answer must be the dispense with text-books. The teacher should word. The child conceives the word as one unhave his own plan, and should be ready to modify divided whole, as one sound. In teaching him to that plan in accordance with the circumstances of read, therefore, we must start from the word, and the case.
But he should not be constrained by we must lead him by frequent exercise of the ear any printed book, much less should the children. to notice if he can discover component elements Then, and then only, will he have a fair chance of in the word, if he can discover the multiplicity doing full justice to the intellectual powers of his in the natural unity. So again in grammar, what pupils.
is the natural unity? Is it the word or is it the Another law which we may lay down as a sentence? We at once see that from this point settled one in method is, that we should always of view the sentence is the natural unit. Our proceed from the known to the unknown, not from object is to get at the laws by which thought is the unknown to the known. In reality this law is expressed. We must, therefore, commence with much the same as the last, for what is first known the sentence, and out of the observation of the is the concrete, what is unknown is the abstract, functions which each word performs in giving the and we have seen that the abstract should not be sense, we are to divide words into classes. On presented before the concrete. But the law the other hand, in geography, we start with the admits of a wider application, if we turn our knowledge of the natural units around us.
We attention from subjects in themselves to the state know a house first; we add house to house, and of the pupil's mind Then we may state the law we get a village ; we add village to village, and thus : that in imparting any information to a land to land, and we get a county; and we add