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Such as we have described has been the process with many a man, now forward in the world, who has appeared at first, as a boy, idle and unsatisfactory.
Mercury caught or rather picked up a tortoise lazily wandering on the misty sides of a classic mountain, famed for its lucid and cærulean summit, he seized the apparently purposeless creature, and after a skilful, though by no means painless operation made it musical under the stroke of the plectrum. Thenceforward it became the very joy of Phoebus, the architect of Thebes; the tamer of the pards of the forest, the charmer of the monsters of the deep, the companion of the festivals of Gods and men, sounding in the palaces of kings, and on the summit of Parnassus. To many a man the lines of Butler, written in burlesque, have been a sober verity.
“ Whipping, that's Virtue's governess,
Tutress of arts and sciences,
And all the honours of the gown.” In such cases a good Busby knows when to resign his rod without repenting of his theory. Let those Public Chartered Schools, whose privileges exempt them from the power of private dictation, (whilst they have the power of conferring pecuniary benefits which parents do not care to forego,) retain their independence in the exercise of authority, in spite of the demands of a not very reasonable public; who would have a mastery of subjects double in number what was required in former days, with an equal expenditure of time, with, in the instructors, twice the patience, and less than half the privilege of correction.
1. F. B.
ON METHODS OF TEACHING. In a former paper on this subject, we endeavoured to show that the value of mere methods of teaching has been very much overrated, and, in exemplification of this, we pointed out some of the errors into which elementary teachers have been led by a too rigid adherence to the particular methods introduced into this country by the Committee of Council on Education. We found, namely, that an almost indiscriminate use has been made of these methods, without regard to the peculiarities of each case, and that there is a tendency on the part of teachers to rely upon them for much that can only be effected by the immediate action of their own minds upon those of their scholars. Before proceeding further, we would only remark, that this tendency is, to a considerable extent, the unavoidable result of the recent movement in favour of popular education ; for, in the zeal awakened by the success of the new methods in particular instances, and the general ardour inspired by the whole movement, it was only natural, that many who had not sufficiently studied the principles of teaching, should be led to attach undue importance to the mere outward forms, without being able to embody the spirit, of the methods. · A similar tendency was produced by the first great educational movement in this country,
and was notoriously carried to an extent which proved 'uinous to the system then introduced. It was regarded by a distinguished writer, himself once a schoolmaster, as one of the evidences of a mechanical age, and described by him in the following strong language : "Not the external and physical alone is now managed by machinery, but the internal and spiritual also. Here too nothing follows its spontaneous course, nothing is to be accomplished by old, natural methods. Everything has its cunningly devised implements, its pre-established apparatus; it is not done by hand, but by machinery. Thus we have machines for Education : Lancastrian machines ; Hamiltonian machines ; monitors, maps, and emblems. Instruction, that mysterious communing of Wisdom with Ignorance, is no longer an indefinable tentative process, requiring a study of individual aptitudes, and a perpetual variation of means and methods, to attain the same end; but a secure, universal, straightforward business, to be conducted in the gross, by proper mechanism, with such intellect as comes to hand.”
In the last paper we further stated it as our opinion, that the attention of English schoolmasters has been too exclusively directed to the study of method, to the neglect of more important matters. We now propose to take up the subject here, in accordance with our engagement on that occasion.
Among those nations who have developed the science of “ Pédagogie" to the greatest extent, the following are the general topics which it is considered to embrace. In the first place, it comprehends the two great divisions, Education and Instruction, these words being used in their restricted sense. Education is subdivided into three parts:
1. Physical Education ; 2. Moral Education;
3. Religious Education ; and Instruction into two parts :
1. Didactics, or the principles of teaching. 2. Method,
We have here, then, the outlines of a course of study comprising an inquiry into the principles by which the education and instruction, or, as Mr. Stow would say, the training and teaching of children, ought to be regulated, in all the successive stages of their physical, mental, moral, and religious development. Now, we cannot avoid being struck, in considering the wide range of the science, by the small amount of progress which English schoolmasters have hitherto made in the study of it, and the almost total neglect of it in our training schools as a subject of special courses of lectures. The whole of the first great division of the science, which is of paramount importance, has received very little systematic consideration; and, of the second great division, the only part to which much attention has been given
* Carlyle, “ Signs of the Times.”
t Mr. Moseley, Her Majesty's Inspector of Training Schools, makes the following observations in his last report on these institutions :-"Nothing has more excited my surprise in the inspection of training-schools than the comparative neglect of all that belongs to the professional education of the teacher. The lectures specially directed to this object (if there be any) are generally assigned a subordinate place in the course, and intrusted to an inferior officer. The elementary school is too
is the practical one, involving, not so much principles themselves, as particular applications of them. This is certainly in accordance with our national character, and it has been remarked, generally, that while in Germany the science of instruction is most deeply studied, in England the art is most diligently practised; but it must be obvious that, in order to become a really efficient teacher, it is absolutely necessary to combine both theoretical knowledge and practical skill. The man whose mind is chiefly occupied with the development of the principles of education, is apt to overlook the best means and methods for their practical application; while the merely practical teacher will never be able to give his pupils a really liberal and comprehensive training, because he has not those enlarged views of the objects of mental and moral culture which are acquired by study and reflection.
The greatest schoolmaster whom the world has produced, to whom may be traced most of the enlightened views of the present day in regard to the education of the people, and the principles on which it ought to be conducted, is well known to have been comparatively unsuccessful as a practical instructor of youth.
“ The rapid progress
of his (Pestalozzi's) ideas," says the Rev. M. C. Woodbridge, "rarely allowed him to execute his own plans, and according to his system too much time was employed in the profound development of principles to admit of much attention to their practical application.” The failure of his institution at Yverdun was in great measure owing to this want of tact, as a teacher, combined, as it generally and almost necessarily will be, with a similar deficiency in reference to the ordinary affairs of life. It is quite remarkable, that, even in attempting to carry out his principle, that education should be practical, drawing its means of development from the actual circumstances of life, Pestalozzi gave an illustration of this defect in his character : he positively went to the expense of providing a series of engravings representing familiar objects, and had lessons given upon them in his school; nor did he perceive his error till his attention was directed to it by the following experience on the part of one of his disciples, to whom he had intrusted this instruction. “One day, the Master having presented to his class the engraving of a ladder, a lively little boy exclaimed, But there is a real ladder in the court-yard : why not talk about it rather than the picture !' • The engraving is here,' said the master, and it is more convenient to talk about what is before your eyes than to go into the court-yard to talk about the other.' The boy's observation, thus eluded, was for that time disregarded. Soon after, the engraving of a window formed the subject of examination : ' But why,' exclaimed the little objector, why talk of this picture of a window, when there is a real window in the room, and there is no need to go into the court-yard for it?' Again the remark was silenced; but in the evening both circumstances were mentioned to Pestalozzi. “The boy is right,' said he, 'the reality
much left out of the view of the training-school. There is, indeed, attached to each a so-called model school, but, comparatively, little of the interest of the institution centres in it. To this remark, as well as to many others, bearing unfavourably on the present state of training-schools, I must make an exception in favour of that at Cheltenham."-Minutes of Committee of Council on Education, 1850-1, vol. i. p. 140.
is better than the counterfeit: put away the engravings, and let the class be instructed by means of real objects.'"*
It is, of course, impossible to find an instance of a merely practical teacher among celebrated members of the profession; the influence of such a man is necessarily confined to his own school, and his immediate acquaintance; he does not enter the general field of speculative inquiry, or, at most, advances but a very short distance beyond its confines. We need not go far, however, for a type of this class ; they are still very numerous among us, in spite of the advance we have lately made in the adoption of sound principles of education. The old country schoolmaster, or, as he is called in the north of England, the dominie, is a fair specimen of a merely practical teacher. He is a man who goes about his work with a precision and straightforward energy that makes him despise the “new masters,” who are generally less decided and dogmatic in their mode of procedure. He will impart to his scholars, by individual instruction, a large amount of information on a variety of subjects: he will turn out excellent penmen, good practical or rule accountants, first-rate spellers, and tolerable readers, as far as the pronunciation of the words goes; and, if he has a taste for music, he will even teach a few to sing by ear both sacred and profane airs, while he accompanies them on his flute or violin. He has, it is true, a theory upon which he proceeds, and in defence of which he will talk down the stoutest opponent; but, unfortunately, it consists of just one simple and comparatively insignificant principle of mere instruction : it is, to form the mind by exercising the memory. He has no idea of training the mind as an instrument for dealing with knowledge; he rather imagines his office to consist in storing it with such information as, in his own, or the parents' view, may be requisite to carry his pupils well through life ; and when he has thus filled their knapsacks with the appropriate commodities, in the quantities proper to each, he starts them on their journey, with fond regret, but with evident satisfaction at the manner in which he has equipped them.
We have described extreme cases of the practical and the theoretical teacher, in order that we might exhibit in a strong light the general tendency of each. We do not of course intend them as types of the German and English schoolmasters respectively. At the time of Pestalozzi, they might indeed have stood for such ; but since then the German schoolmasters have made as great progress in practical skill, as the English have in theoretical knowledge. Still it is necessary to look upon these characters as the starting points from which the schoolmasters of both nations have set out, in order that we may estimate correctly the amount of their respective progress towards the true standard of a teacher. It is only with those of our own country, however, that we have now to do.
The advance that has been made by the present body of English teachers, as compared with the old country schoolmasters, whom they have been gradually replacing during the last ten years, has been confined, in the majority of cases, to increased attainments in the
* Dr. Mayo, preface to " Lessons on Objects.”
ordinary branches of knowledge, and an acquaintance with the improved methods of imparting elementary instruction. Now, in this the practical tendency is still manifest, although it has been modified by the addition of one element of theory: there is the same end to be accomplished, but the teacher has now a greater stock of materials at his command, and more skill in the employment of them. deeply sensible of the importance of this amount of progress, and we yield to none in the desire to acknowledge the obligations which we owe to our training schools and to the Committee of Council for promoting it; but, at the same time, it is only one step in the right direction, and teachers must not be content to stop here, as if nothing more remained to be done. The communication of knowledge is by no means the highest aiin of education. It is certainly of great importance as the framework for mental and even for moral culture; but the culture itself is still the chief object, and the instruction only the means of its attainment. Let us inquire a little more closely into this. It is a question of immeasurable importance, as it involves no less a consideration than that of man's destiny; for culture again is but the means for the accomplishment of this still higher end.
What then is man's destiny? How many there are, even among good men, who have no distinct idea as to the purpose for which they are placed here, no definite object towards which all their thoughts and actions are directed! The majority of men consider it the principal object of their life, to amass enough money to place their families in a position of independence; and they either wear out their existence in an unavailing struggle against fortune, or else they are successful, and settle down for the rest of their days without any object at all. Nor is this by any means an unworthy endeavour; on the contrary, there is something almost sacred in the anxiety of a father to secure his family against one of the greatest of earthly calamities, that of sinking into indigence, when he, their only support, shall be bowed down by the weight of years, or when, it may be, he is prematurely removed from them by the inscrutable decree of an all-wise Providence. Woman, again, almost universally regards it as the main object of her existence to prepare her children for the performance of their duties in life, and to train them in the practice of Christian virtues. Truly, this also is a high and holy duty; and nothing adds more grace to the maternal character than the spirit of self-denial in which it is mostly accomplished. Both of these duties, however, have reference to others, rather than to ourselves; and they depend entirely upon our relation to one another : they form, therefore, only a partial, and, to some extent, a contingent object of our existence. Apart from all the obligations which a man's relation to his fellow men imposes upon him, there must be some divine purpose which he is required to fulfil, and from which he may not swerve to the right or to the left, from the first moment of his consciousness, to the last hour of his life. It is not sufficient to answer, that we were created for God's pleasure, and to the showing forth of His glory, for we know, that whether we will or not, whether we obey or disobey His laws, we must contribute to the universal song of praise which rises from His created works. Independently of this general object of their creation, each of His works has a special task