Imatges de pàgina

guided by a knowledge of these, will follow one course, and avoid another. Especially in doubtful cases will he be glad to have recourse to this psychological analysis; and, in fact, there often lies for him no other course than either to proceed at haphazard, or to determine the matter according to the nature of the boy he has to act on, and the nature of the tools with which he has to work.

If we have at all succeeded in showing that there is a science of education, and that a knowledge of that science is of great use to the educator, the practical conclusion follows that all teachers should study this science; and another conclusion follows from that, that all teachers should be provided with the means of studying the science. In other words, there should be in every one of our universities professorships of the Science of Education. The teacher should be led through a survey of the whole sphere of his future activity by a man who has especially devoted himself to the investigation of the laws by which mind is developed.

THE AIM OF THE PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL. Dr. Donaldson, in a lecture at Edinburgh on the aim and end of a system of primary education for Scotland, supported by local and general taxation, remarks: Three aims have been proposed.

Education for a Trade or to get a Living. 1. The first is that the working-man should be trained simply for his trade. The working man is to be employed the whole of his life in acting on the material through the material. And to fit him to do this is the object which we should have in giving him a good education. Let us look at this aim as it is presented to us practically and theoretically. We shall look at it first practically. Here is a boy who is intended to be a shoemaker. For the most part of his life he is to be employed in working with leather, in making the various parts of a shoe. Is the schooling which the nation is to help in providing simply to fit him for making these various parts of the shoe well? Is he to learn to read, write, and cypher simply that he may be able to draw up accounts and advertise his boots ? Looking at it in this bald form, we cannot help feeling that such aim is inadequate. It is a substantial good both for the man and the community that he should have a trade, and that he should be a skilled workman; but there rise up two doubts-one whether the school is the place where he can best learn skill in his trade, and the second, whether the school is to do no more than fit him for his trade. This second doubt we may settle at once. The trade is the mere means by which the man is to live. But why is he to live? What object has he in living? He discharges so much of the duties of his life in helping his fellow-men through the services done by his trade. But he is fit for much more than contributing somewhat to the material comfort or luxury of his fellow-men. He is himself something infinitely higher than his trade. He has wants and aspirations far beyond those which can be satisfied by daily material action, and therefore, to confine our training to fitting him merely to be a tool for the comfort or gratification of others is not a satisfactory object on which to spend the national wealth.

This question has a theoretical side. It has been argued by one of our profoundest pscyhologists that those branches of study are most important which I are most necessary. Now the possession of a trade is an absolute necessity.

The workman must obtain the means of living, and therefore the knowledge or

training which enables a man to reach this is the most important. There is a fallacy here-a fallacy of an exceedingly ancient date. There is nothing more essential for our living than that we should be able to convert our food into blood. Yet we require no cducation to do this most important act. We do not require to know how the process takes place. We do not require to think about it at all. It is a very important operation in itself, but as far as our training goes it is of no importance at all. It was essentially necessary that Milion should breathe while he was writing the Paradise Lost. Ile need not have written the Paradise Lost at all, but he must have breathed if he lived. The breathing was an absolutely essential operation--the writing of Paradise Lost was not. Yet would it not be absurd to maintain that Milton's breathing was a grander work than his writing of Paradise Lost? The truth seems to be that there are certain activities which are the essential conditions of all our higher actions. These activities are for the most part involuntary, but some of them are within our power. So far as they are in our power we are bound to attend to them. But they need little or no training for the fair exercise of them; and education comes into full play only when we are trying to awaken the full swing of voluntary activity on subjects less pressing as daily necessities for mere animal life. but really essential to the inner and higher life of man. Quintilian has stated the matter very concisely and very wisely—“We cannot arrive at the highest excellence unless by starting from the beginnings, but as the work goes on those things which are first in order begin to be least." And the same principle is well laid down by Clemens Alexandrinus—“Now we know that those things which are difficult to procure are not necessary, but that those things which are necessary have been kindly made by God easy to obtain. Wherefore Democritus well says that nature and teaching are similar, and we have given the reason concisely, for teaching harmonizes man, and by harmonizing him gives him a nature; and it makes no difference whether a man be created such, or be fashioned into such a being through time and instruction. But the Lord has given both-one by creation, the other by the renewal and re-creation of his covenant. Now that which is advantageous to that which is highest is rather to be chosen ; but the mind is the chief thing of all.”

Education for the Citizenship. 2. The second aim which has been proposed for the training of the workingman in the school is to fit him to discharge all the duties of a citizen. This is a much higher aim than the preceding. The citizen has first of all to learn to respect and observe the laws of his country; he is to have a deep and loyal interest in its institutions and their prosperity; he is to exercise his right of assisting in the election of a member of parliament, and through his right he becomes occupied with thoughts as to what is best and wisest to do in regard to affairs both at home and abroad. He is, above all, deeply concerned with the relation between employer and cmployed, the laws of trade, and the interests of his fellow-workmen. Now our two questions come up here-Can the school do this for the workman? and does this exhaust the aim of the school? I answer that the school can do much towards forming the right citizen if this aim be kept distinctly in view in the arrangements; and I answer to the second question, that it does not exhaust the entire aim of the school, that there is a larger and higher aim, of which this forms a most important part, and this part is best accomplished, not by looking solely to itself, but by having always in view the larger and higher end.

Education for the Highest Development. 3. What is this larger and higher aim ? It is to make the pupil as perfect in every direction as we can; to bring out his nature into fullest activity on all sides; to develop his powers in an equable and harmonious completeness, so far as time and circumstances permit. This is the work of education. But those make a great mistake who suppose that there is one general ideal for all mankind, that there is one general mould into which all the individuals can be cast. Each human being has an individuality of his own; and not merely is he different originally in power from others, but all the special exercise of his powers is limited by time and by space. The child who goes to our schools is the child of the nineteenth century; he is enveloped by all the peculiarities of that century from his earliest breath; he cannot, if he would, escape from the overpowering influences of his age. And then he is the native and inhabitant of this country, he derives benefits from its institutions, he moves amidst its people, he is governed by its laws, he is by birth a member of the British nation, And so the full development of his powers as a human being can take place only in connection with the present age and his present country. And thus this general aim includes the two previous, and gives a higher value to them. His possession of a trade is his contribution to the general welfare as well as his own means of subsistence, and in the very attempt to be a good man he must be a good citizen. His training towards perfection of manhood lies through a knowledge and discharge of his duties as a workman and a citizen.

Limitations to the Highest Development. 1. First, there is the limitation as to time. The school has to do its work within a limited time. The period during which the child is to be at school is, generally speaking, between the ages of six and twelve. But often the period for school education is much less than six years. Out of this limitation two difficulties arise. The first is, that you can educate only according to the laws of the mind, and one fixed and firm law is that there is only one way of progress in the soul-only from the concrete to the abstract, only from the individual to the general, only from the known to the unknown, only from the affection which embraces few to the affection which embraces many; and never in a contrary way. Now the age at which the working boy is instructed does not admit of the highest developments. The mind is not strong enough, the mind has not had sufficient practice nor sufficient experience

And yet the school education should, as far as possible, be a w.le; and this is our second difficulty. The process of forming the mind and of evolving its powers is a slow one. It is not done in a day or a week. The wise educator has to calculate a long course of training and discipline to bring his pupils up to a certain standard of intellectual and moral excellence. But a stopping short of his plans, a break in his action, or rather a break off at the wrong time, may turn all his efforts to waste. Every one notices the absurdity of a house half built. Every one would blame a doctor for leaving off before the patient was cured; but it is not perceived so often that it may be equally fatal for the real results which we wish to gain by education to leave the training cut short in the middle.

2. A second limitation arises from the fact that the school is but one of the agents in education. A man receives his education from every possible source. He is drawn out by the external world, above all he is influenced by his own nature and impulses, and multitudes of men are acting upon him. The teacher is but one of these. He has the advantage of coming to his work with the deliberate purpose of evolving the powers of the child; but he may have to contend with opposing influences from without. This is specially the case with the lowest class of children. The homes of these children are antagonistic to true education. The lesson of the school is often undone at the fireside. The teacher has a continual battle to fight.

3. There is also a third limitation in the means which the teacher has to employ.

The first activity of the human mind is on the external world. Let us look at it in this its first development. An external object, say a tree, is before the eye. What takes place? The mind has some sensation, and when it reaches consciousness, the mind perceives a certain object before it, which has green leaves and branches and a stem. But it not merely perceives. It is filled with admiration of the beauty of the tree; it derives pleasure from gazing at it. It wonders at its size, it feels keen delight in looking at the greenness of the leaves, it is charmed with the symmetry of the branches. But let us suppose that the child goes away from the tree--the impressions die away-a blank is left-and the child has a desire to fill up the blank, to see the tree again at some future period, and in consequence of this desire it will leave its home at a proper opportunity and go to see the tree once more. Here we have the three aspects in which objects affect the mind. They present the child with perceptions which ultimately become the amount of knowledge which he possesses; they give rise to feelings or emotions; and they awaken desires which will lead to action. These three, then-representations or perceptions, feelings, and desires or conationsare the three directions which the human mind may take. But it is important to notice that our separation of them from one another is the result of an analytic process on our part, and that they are never really separated. There can be no perception which has not a certain amount of feeling and conation connected with it, and every feeling and conation may be presented to the mind in the shape of a perception or proposition. But the preponderance of the elements may vary exceedingly. At one time we may have a strong desire, with the representation almost entirely obscured. I see a beautiful face for the first time, and I am so lost in the charm which it exercises over me that I cannot tell one single feature in it. I can only say that it is beautiful. I have acquired such an intense desire for some particular object, that I forget altogether to think of the nature of the object and the consequences of my conduct.' I am so satisfied with the perception of a particular object, that I am not conscious of the pleasure I feel in the perception, and have almost no desire to recur to the subject after I have once thoroughly examined it.

Now it is the business of education to bring fully out these three activities of the mind. Every object is adapted to produce certain perceptions, certain emo. tions, and certain desires. And when the mind is so trained as to receive these aright, it is in a healthy state. In the case of perceptions, it takes clear and accurate note of the objects; it detects similarities, it unites them into groups, and gradually rises in this way from the individual and concrete to the highest and most abstract generalizations. In the case of the feelings, it learns to love those objects that are truly lovable, to admire those that are really admirable, to detest what we are intended to detest, and it puts a value upon the various objects; it feels this action to be higher and nobler than that other, this good to

be a greater good than this other. And from doing this in particular cases it riscs to the love of groups of similar lovable objects, expanding as it is developed ; and then it sets its desire on what is really desirable, and tries to attain it. And from these efforts in individual cases it rises to large general aims and long-continued pursuits in one direction.

We have thus three regions of culture for the human soul--the culture of the intellect, the culture of the feelings, and the culture of the practical powers of the soul. The culture of the last two leads to what is called character; and this, I need not say, is of primary importance, for it is the end which the nation as well as the individual ought to seek in its efforts to educate the rising genera. tion. But it is in this very field that the difficulty presents itself. Let me illas. trate it by an example. I take A, B, and C, to look at a picture in our National Gallery. Now I can tell positively what the three will perceive. They will all agree in stating that they saw certain colors, certain forms, certain groupings of the personages. But I can form no sure idea of what each felt and each desired on seeing the picture. A's mind may be clouded by previous distress, and so he is displeased with the picture; he does not like the principal figure; he thinks the coloring too bright, the whole appears to him as a daub. B admires the courage expressed in the face of the principal figure; he loves the man, but he hates the black scoundrel who is cringing before him. C is vexed that the picture is so badly framed; the frame might have been made to suit those of the other pictures. And so we might vary their emotions endlessly. It is the same with the desires. A would like to paint such a picture; B would like to buy it; C would like to know the artist; and so on. This illustration brings before you the fact that in dealing with the feelings and desires we are often working in the dark; that, in other words, we cannot teach people to feel in a particular way and to have particular desires; that the word applies only to the perceptions, to stating what we see, to giving information. And hence a distinction has been laid down between efforts made to draw out the whole of human nature and efforts made to draw out the intellectual powers. The one has been called education, the other instruction. The distinction is an important one, and it is well to notice it. The teacher has instruction for his principal work. It is mainly through instruction that he is to educate, and hence his action on the child's mind is to a certain extent contracted and rendered uncertain.

What the Primary Teacher Can Do. 1. First, then, there is a wide field for the teacher's activity in what is technically called discipline. The school is a little community; a miniature to some extent of the great body called the State, of which the young child is one day to be an active member. In this little community he may be disciplined into habits of punctuality, of regular and steady work, of respect for law and obedience to it, and even into love for his fellow-pupil, and affection for his master. Under this department of discipline, which is a necessary portion of a teacher's duty, much may be done to form character, and fit the child for doing his duty well as a member of the State.

2. Secondly, the instruction which is given may be applied at every step to the educating of his whole nature. Instruction has been divided into two classes-educating and non-educating. There is a kind of teaching which fails to affect the emotional and practical nature in the way in which the subjects taught should affect it, and the consequence is that the child is not only not the bet

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