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treatises on education, from changes in the policy and work of other schools, from text-books and even in some cases from regulations drawn up by public authority with which the school is obliged to comply. Isolation indeed is so abnormal that it inevitably brings about its own remedy; and the result is that every one of our schools, though not formally and officially, is none the less effectually brought under the influence of some organized system, is guided by its standards, conducted in accordance with its methods and rated, in point of efficiency, on the basis of its requirements.
This affiliation, in the spirit if not in the letter, supplies just that broadening of interest and that feeling of solidarity which are prime requisites for success in the teacher's work. It may also have other consequences affecting the inner life of the school. But taking it at its initial value, regarding it simply as a means of inspiration and encouragement, we may ask whether it is not important to secure such helps from Catholic sources. schools must be to all intents and purposes coordinated with some system, and if our teachers are to be quickened by influences that emanate from higher planes of educational activity, is it not desirable that this system should be our own and these influences thoroughly Catholic? There are, no doubt, many different ways in which the pastor by explicit statement or gentle intimation can strengthen his teachers and kindle their enthusiasm; yet it seems to me that no word of his can be more helpful than that which keeps steadily before their minds the fact that their work is an integral, an essential part of Catholic education as a whole, that each effort they make affects, in one way or another, the teaching in college and university, and that consequently their success is what we all desire because it is indispensable to the success of our common undertaking.
Such appeals to the people and the teachers in behalf of our Catholic system are not, after all, so remote from the pastor's immediate and ordinary action. He understands, if anyone does, the value and the necessity of organization both for carrying on the work of religion and, more in particular, for securing efficiency in the school. He has no need of being told what it costs to build and equip a school, to provide teachers of the right
sort, to arrange curricula and grades and classes, to maintain standards, enforce discipline, do justice to the pupil and avoid injustice to the parent. In a word, within the compass of the parish and in proportion to the range of the school, he encounters all the problems which Catholic education has to deal with on a larger scale. The fact that he has handled them so well, meeting difficulties of all sorts bravely and patiently, must go on record as the greatest achievement of Catholic educational endeavor in this country. He has amply deserved the thanks not only of this Association, but of the Catholic Church at large; and if there be anyone to whom the words of commendation from the Holy Father may with special fitness apply, that one, in my estimation, is the pastor, as the head and director of the parochial school.
But what he has accomplished in the way of organization is precisely what we are aiming at in establishing and consolidating our Catholic system. By force of circumstances, the component parts are spatially separate and by traditional usage each performs its function in a somewhat autonomous fashion. These divisions, however, are not of the essence of education. Endowed as it is with various faculties, the mind is nevertheless a unitary being and there should be no break in its development. This, it may be, accounts for the attempts which have been made from time to time, and even within the modern period, to establish an institution that should comprise all grades of instruction and lead the pupil from the rudiments to the highest academic degrees. That these Utopian schemes did not succeed was due to causes with which the history of education has made us familiar. Without pausing to enumerate these, let me again remind you that the main endeavor of modern education is to neutralize as far as possible the effects of this institutional division. It is true, we have not as yet any one institution that pretends to do the whole work; but we do find the practical equivalent in those arrangements which coordinate the work of various institutions, and which are becoming so perfect that the pupil passes on from the lower to the higher by almost imperceptible changes.
What has made this adjustment advisable or necessary ? Undoubtedly it is the conviction-identical with what the pastor has gained by experience—that each phase in the educational process must occur just at the right time and must be related in this particular way to all the other phases. Whoever has organized an elementary school is fully aware that one grade must be nicely adjusted to another and that each teacher must take into consideration what the others are doing. You cannot afford to apply one set of principles in the first grade, another in the fourth and another in the seventh. For teaching the different subjects, special methods are required, according to the nature of each subject; but the fundamentals of method must be the same all the way through if we are to avoid confusion and useless repetition.
All this is so clear to the pastor that the statement of it need only hint at what he would probably describe in greater detail and with the emphasis that comes of experience. My purpose, for the time being, is to have the pastor look over the whole range of Catholic education and realize that order, adjustment and cooperation are just as necessary in the entire system as they are in his parochial school; as necessary, but much more difficult to secure. One source of difficulty lies, I believe, in the fact that hitherto we have tried to make each group of institutions as
possible in itself, on the mistaken idea that—there can be any real efficiency where no care is taken to secure coordinate action. The pastor, as an organizer, has interests in common with all other Catholic educators; and a moment's reflection will show him how those interests can best be furthered.
Let this, moreover be noted: whether the pastor is willing or not to take this larger view and to cooperate as the needs of the system require, he is, by the organization and management of his school, affecting inevitably all the rest of our educational work. He could not, even if he were so minded, put himself beyond the pale of relationship nor completely waive responsibility in the matter of our success or failure. Not only is the parochial school by its organization representative of the system at large; it is, moreover, the earliest organization in the edu
process. It controls the child at the very period when the mind is plastic-open to all the influences which the school exerts through order, correlation of subjects, selection of methods, example of teachers, skill and psychological wisdom in adapting
each stage of the process to the needs of growing intelligence. This is an immense advantage—this opportunity of dealing with the faculties, the inborn abilities and tendencies of the individual soul before it has been warped by the wrong sort of experience or imprudent training. But it is also a grave responsibility; first, because the child himself is not free or even able, as is the maturer student, to realize his own mental needs or to choose for himself what and how he shall study. In fact, whether he is ever to attain such an ability of electing his courses wisely, must depend in no small measure on the way he is trained from the start-on the development of his intellectual power to judge and even more perhaps on the development of his character to a point where he will be guided by worthy motives and directed by the advice of his elders, and yet show, in the strength of his will, both personal initiative and tenacity of purpose. Sooner or later, he must decide on his life course; and the elements of that decision, or at any rate the ability to reach it, are developed during his years in the school. It is true, we have not at our disposal any infallible means of discerning the native bent or special capacities of the mind in earliest childhood. With all the advances of psychology, we are still obliged to content ourselves with what is at best a probability as to the child's vocation. But if an unfailing test is ever devised, there can be no question as to when and by whom it should be applied.
On the other hand-and here the responsibility becomes yet more serious—it is practically impossible at any later period to undo what the elementary school has done. The college, as rule, provides in its entrance requirements for conditioning applicants who are not fully prepared; but this is no advantage either to the college or to the candidate for admission. Various devices are also employed to supply the deficiencies revealed at the entrance examination; but no college professor takes any delight in such supplemental remedial teaching. In any case, it necessarily involves an outlay of time and effort which, normally, should be otherwise expended. This is not to say that the college itself has reached the stage of perfection or that it can hold the school alone responsible for the shortcomings of its graduates. But it is certain that the problem of raising and maintaining the level of collegiate work is more readily solved when the preparatory training is up to the standard; and it is equally certain that the college cannot undertake to break the mould in which the student's mind is cast and shape it anew conformably to the requirements of collegiate study. In a word, education is a forward-moving process. It may be quickened or retarded, ,
. set going in the right direction or in the wrong; but it cannot be reversed.
What has been said of the work of preparation refers primarily to the training of the intelligence. Is it needful to add that it applies with still greater force to moral education? The essential reason, first and last, for which our schools exist is to inculcate the knowledge of what is right, and more important still, to cultivate the habit of doing what is right. We insist that intelligence and will shall be jointly developed and we cannot admit the claim, made now as it was made in pagan antiquity, that knowledge and virtue are one.
But we have further to insist that moral training is an indispensable requisite for securing all that we desire on the intellectual side. The ability to work is one thing, the will to work quite another. Neither wise arrangement of curricula, nor excellence of method, nor skill on the part of teachers will avail much with a pupil who has not been duly exercised in what may be called the school virtues--in punctuality, docility and industry—to say nothing of the specifically Christian qualities of mind and heart which our schools endeavor
A mere allusion to this phase of the subject must suffice, since our present purpose is not to dwell upon the need of moral education or discuss the manner in which it should be conducted, but rather to emphasize from this particular viewpoint one of the vital relationships in which the parochial school stands towards all later education and the work of more advanced institutions. It suffices, I mean, to point out that the pastor, in forming the character of the pupils in his school according to the principles and rules of morality, not only lays the foundation for right conduct, but also in a very essential degree imbues the will with those qualities which are indispensable for the cultivation of intellectual powers.