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ment. That we have such a completed practical psychology, or any such logical and symmetrical course or courses of study based upon it, is more than can be asserted, for education, as a science, is still in its infancy; but we certainly have attained to certain general principles which are fundamental as regards the elementary education of the future; and the most important of these, which is even now revolutionizing all our methods of elementary teaching, is the direct result of the progress of modern physical science. It is, that education begins with the concrete, and not with the abstract, and that the right method for the teaching even of language itself is the right training and development of the child's senses. The Latin grammar, therefore, as the right instrument for training the youthful mind, is fast disappearing, along with that birch which was its material symbol and needful complement, and a striking witness to the absurdity of the use we put it to. Requiescat in pace! The lovers of the noble science of classical philology may well be congratulated on its emancipation from such degrading servitude.
In place of this rude and crude, and now happily obsolescent theory, a deeper philosophy is leading us to inquire into the nature of the undeveloped mind, and the true order of the development of its faculties, and is, at the same time, guiding us to the right choice of means for stimulating their natural and healthful growth and unfolding. And here I will say that the answer which psychology gives to these questions seems to me a little in danger of being misinterpreted for the time being by one class of educational reformers. In their reaction against the premature and unnatural stimulus given to the powers of abstraction by the old system, they are in danger of running into the opposite extreme of paying a too exclusive attention to the development of the observing powers in the new-a tendency which the influence of modern physical science on our educational ideas, especially, tends to foster. I doubt whether one extreme will prove any better than the other, for both are equally one-sided. The true lesson we are to learn is, above all things, to have regard to balance and proportion. The youthful mind is not a different thing from the same mind in its maturity. The germs of all faculties exist in it, and their development is in no linear order, but rather like rays. diverging from one centre; and the true conception of the different stages of education is, as being divided by concentric circles, cutting those rays at equal distances from the centre. The child's observing powers should furnish him with intellectual material no faster than his powers of abstraction can work it up into intellectual products, or than the development of his powers of expression can give form to them. On the other hand, his powers of expression should never be developed in empty words, beyond the limits of his acquisition of the ideas words stand for, as is now the case with so much of our word-mongering education. Again, his imagination should never outrun his reason on the
one hand, nor his memory overload it on the other, in accordance with that preposterous doctrine we sometimes hear propounded, which advocates the employment of the youthful memory in laying up stores of unintelligible knowledge, in anticipation of an after-time, when it will become intelligible—as if there could be such a thing as notunderstood knowledge, in any other sense than as we speak of undigested food-turning to poison in the system. The child is a philosopher, a moralist, a poet in little, quite as much as he is an observer or a rememberer, and his whole moral and intellectual growth will be warped and stunted so long as you insist upon looking on him as a mere observing or a mere memorizing machine, a mere receptacle for facts or for words either.
If I am right in this view of the true character of elementary education, it follows that the great departments, into which it should from the very first be divided, correspond exactly with the primary divisions of knowledge itself, as they will continue for the pupil forever after. Let me, for the purposes of this discussion, make a triple division of knowledge into physical, ethical, and æsthetical, according as our thought is concerned with the world of matter, the world of mind, and the world of art or beauty. I am concerned here less for strictness of philosophical accuracy than for the practical convenience of this division. Now, as, in accordance with our fundamental conception of liberal education, the question as to a choice between these departments of liberal learning is a futile one, because all are essential elements in our conception of liberal education-so, if I am right, no conception of elementary education can be a correct one that does not provide for them all from the very beginning.
I need hardly point out what a change in all our methods this change in our philosophy implies; for it involves the doctrine that the true place to begin the teaching of all art, all science, all knowledge, is the primary school; and I am not in the least afraid of the seeming paradox. Rather I would earnestly maintain that, unless we treat the child in the primary school as the germ and embryo of all he is destined afterward to become, our education will be doomed to ignominious failure. Whatever, therefore, enters into our conception of liberal education-and we have already seen that nothing less than all extant knowledge should enter into it-that should enter into it from the beginning. Language and literature should be the subjects of elementary teaching; science should be the subject of elementary teaching; art should be the subject of elementary teaching. Whatever is to enter into the higher stages of education is to have its seed planted there, or it never will be planted. The true distinction, therefore, between disciplinary and non-disciplinary, is not a distinction between one set of studies begun early and another set of studies begun late, one set of studies pursued for training, and another set of studies mastered for use: it is a distinction between the earlier and the later
stages of all studies whatever. The child, as well as the man, is linguist, student of science, artist, philosopher, moralist, poet, though his philology, science, art, philosophy, will be childish, not manly, germs and intuitions, not results of developed reason. Is it not obvious that in this view elementary schools become something far more than places for drilling the youthful mind in the use of the mere tools of knowledge? Is it not obvious, moreover, that, looked at from this point of view, a man's profession is only the outgrowth and fruitful consummation of his whole training; a divergence, when the time arrives that the whole of knowledge becomes too wide a field to cultivate, into some special fruit-bearing direction, which, whatever it may be, will lead to a truly liberal profession, inasmuch as by a man so trained his calling cannot but be followed in a liberal spirit?
We have in England and America no conception of what may be accomplished in the early stages of education, because we have been, to so great an extent, adherents of the grindstone-theory. "Nowhere,” says Mr. Joseph Payne, commenting on the lamentable, almost ludicrous, failure of that embodiment of the grindstone-theory, applied to popular teaching through the medium, not of the Latin grammar, but of the three R's-I mean the so-called English "Revised Code”"nowhere have I ever met, in the course of long practice and study in teaching, with a more striking illustration of the great truth that, just in proportion as you substitute mechanical routine for intelligent and sympathetic development of the child's powers, you shall fail in the object you are aiming at." I think that the insignificant results of our present elementary schools, as compared with the amount of time, thought, and money, expended on them, and their want of real vitality, are to be mainly traced to this fundamentally false conception of elementary teaching as concerned only with the acquisition of the mere tools of knowledge. By its fruits, or rather by its barren
1 "Of four-fifths of the scholars about to leave school, either no account, or an unsatisfactory one, is given by an examination of the most strictly elementary kind" (Report for 1869-'70). "We have never yet passed 20,000 in a population of 20,000,000 to the sixth standard; whereas old Prussia, without her recent aggrandizement, passed nearly 380,000 every year" (speech of Mr. Mundella, in the House of Commons, March 18, 1870). "What we call education in the inspected schools of England is the mere seed used in other countries, but with us that seed, as soon as it has sprouted, withers and dies, and never grows up into a crop for the feeding of the nations" (speech of Dr. Lyon Playfair, in the House of Commons, June 20, 1870). See the Fortnightly Review for August, 1873, and Payne in Social Science Transactions for 1872. If we should ever need-which God forbid!-a warning against the folly of substituting a sectarian for a national system of popular education, we may find it in the wretched perversion of English popular education in the hands of her Established Church.
"What wonder if very recently an appeal has been made to statistics for the profoundly foolish purpose of showing that education is of no good-that it diminishes neither misery nor crime among the masses of mankind? I reply, Why should the thing which has been called education do either the one or the other? If I am a knave or a fool, teaching me to read and write won't make me less of either one or the other
ness, we may know it; and I add that it is because in our common schools we are completely outgrowing it, that day by day we see in them so much new life.
So much in regard to the debt which a liberal education is destined soon to owe to the progress of psychology, giving prevalence to truer views in regard to its rudimentary processes. Let me pass to the second influence, which is acting powerfully to modify all our previous conceptions of the subject; I mean the progress of modern linguistic science. I take this next in order because, contrary to the current of thought prevailing at the present moment, I believe the old doctrine will still be found to hold true, even after physical science shall have at last found its true place in the new education, that the study of that wonderful world of matter, which is the stage on which man plays his earthly part, wonderful as it is, is yet inferior in dignity and importance to the study of the being and doing of the actor who plays his part thereon. Scientific studies, though for the time being in the ascendant, yet, even when all their rights shall be accorded to them, will, in a well-balanced system, take their place a little below ethical studies. This, I say, as not believing in the current materialistic philosophy in any of its forms, but as being an immaterialist, as I must phrase it, since we have been robbed by unworthy and degrading associations of the word spiritualist. But, without raising any question of precedence between branches of study which are both essential to any true conception of a complete education, let me proceed to point out that the progress of linguistic science and of modern literature has totally transformed the educational character and position of the ethical studies of which they are the instrument and the embodiment. When the Revival of Learning gave birth to the present classical system of literary, or, as I have termed it, ethical liberal study, it did so by putting into the hands of scholars not merely two grammars as instruments of youthful mental discipline, as the advocates of the grindstone-system would fain have us believe, but two languages unless somebody shows me how to put my reading and writing to wise and good purposes.
"Suppose any one were to argue that medicine is of no use, because it could be proved statistically that the percentage of deaths was just the same among people who had been taught how to open a medicine-chest, and among those who did not so much as know the key by sight. The argument is absurd; but it is not more preposterous than that against which I am contending. The only medicine for suffering, crime, and all the other woes of mankind, is wisdom. Teach a man to read and write, and you have put into his hands the great keys of the wisdom-box. But it is quite another matter whether he ever opens the box or not. And he is as likely to poison as to cure himself, if, without guidance, he swallows the first drug that comes to hand. In these times a man may as well be purblind as unable to read-lame, as unable to write. But I protest, that if I thought the alternative were a necessary one, I would rather that the children of the poor should grow up ignorant of both these mighty arts than that they should remain ignorant of that knowledge to which these arts are means."-(Huxley, "Lay Sermons" p. 43.)
that unlocked the stores of a whole new world of ethical thought, in the shape of the philosophy, the history, and the poetry contained in Greek and Roman literature. How assiduously those literatures were studied, how they leavened the whole thought of Europe, and mightily contributed to disperse the intellectual darkness and break the bonds of the spiritual despotism of the medieval Church, we all know. Classical philosophy, history, poety, and art, nourished the European mind, and were almost the sole foundation of its culture, through all the period during which the Latin and Teutonic races of Western Europe were slowly elaborating languages and literatures of their own. They were thus of necessity the main instrument of culture of the schools during the period when, save the obsolete scholastic philosophy, no other instrument was forthcoming; and I do not think it possible to overrate the debt which Western Europe owes to them. But gradually their educating influence has been absorbed, and in great measure exhausted, while partially, but by no means wholly, out of the nutriment they furnished have sprung the national languages and literatures which, as more and not less powerful educating instrumentalities, are to supersede them. It is to ignore the vast progress of the human mind since the days of Erasmus to try any longer to make classical learning stand in the same relation to the modern student that it stood in to Erasmus: and Erasmus, if he were alive today, would be the first to abandon the dead pedantries of the past for the fountains of new thought he would see flowing all round him.
When I say, then, that I think the languages and literatures of Greece and Rome are soon to be abandoned, as the sole or main instruments of that side of liberal culture which I have preferred to call ethical rather than literary, it is not that I do not fully recognize their value and beauty, or the vast service they have done in emancipating and training the mind of Western Europe: it is not that I do not recognize their value as among the specialties of liberal culture now. It is only as the sole or chief instruments of literary school training that I believe them to be superseded. So far from believing that they will be abandoned, I believe they will be more diligently and successfully studied in the future, when they will be left as a specialty in the hands of that small number of students who, at any time, in this modern world of ours, will of their own free choice' pursue them. As a
1 The advocates of the classical theory sometimes point triumphantly to the number of students who, in colleges where the elective system prevails, freely, as they say, elect the classics; but it should be remembered that at present their whole previous school training has been by compulsion classical. Of science they are absolutely ignorant; and it is not strange that they should prefer to go on in studies whose elementary difficulties they have partially overcome, rather than engage in a belated encounter with new difficulties, of a sort for which their minds have been by their very previous training unfitted. The present system at some of our colleges of giving an election between science and literature, after admission, and no similar election in regard to preparatory studies, seems to me to be the very reductio ad absurdum of the grindstone-theory.