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Title: An Essay Towards a Philosophy of Education - A Liberal Education for All
Author: Mason, Charlotte M.
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EDUCATION ***



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                           AN ESSAY TOWARDS
                       A PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION



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      |                                                      |
      |                _BY THE SAME AUTHOR_                  |
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      |                                                      |
      | HOME EDUCATION.                                      |
      |                                                      |
      | PARENTS AND CHILDREN.                                |
      |                                                      |
      | SCHOOL EDUCATION.                                    |
      |                                                      |
      | OURSELVES.                                           |
      |                                                      |
      | SOME STUDIES IN THE FORMATION OF                     |
      |      CHARACTER.                                      |
      |                                                      |
      | THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD: OR, THE                    |
      |        GOSPELS IN VERSE.                             |
      |        Each Volume profusely illustrated.            |
      |                                                      |
      |     VOL. I:   THE HOLY INFANCY.                      |
      |     VOL. II:  HIS DOMINION.                          |
      |     VOL. III: KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.                     |
      |     VOL. IV:  BREAD OF LIFE.                         |
      |     VOL. V:   THE GREAT CONTROVERSY.                 |
      |     VOL. VI:  THE TRAINING OF THE DISCIPLES.         |
      |                                                      |
      | THE AMBLESIDE GEOGRAPHY READERS.                     |
      |                                                      |
      |     BOOK 1.--ELEMENTARY. Maps, Plans, etc.           |
      |                                                      |
      |     BOOK 2.--CHIEF DIVISIONS OF THE WORLD,           |
      |            with special reference to the British     |
      |            Empire.                                   |
      |                                                      |
      |     BOOK 3.--COUNTIES OF ENGLAND.                    |
      |                                                      |
      |     BOOK 4.--EUROPE.                                 |
      |                                                      |
      |     BOOK 5.--ASIA, AFRICA, N. AND S. AMERICA,        |
      |            AUSTRALIA.                                |
      |                                                      |
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                          An Essay Towards
                      A Philosophy of Education

                     A LIBERAL EDUCATION FOR ALL


                                BY
                         CHARLOTTE M. MASON


                              LONDON
                KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER, & CO., LTD.
               BROADWAY HOUSE: 68-74, CARTER LANE, E.C. 4
                               1925



                    _Printed in Great Britain by
                   The Bowering Press, Plymouth._



                    “ALL KNOWLEDGE FOR ALL MEN.”
                                           _Comenius._


                                        “Books, we know,
      Are a substantial world, both pure and good,
      Round which, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
      Our pastime and our happiness will grow.”
                                          _Wordsworth._



                              Contents


                                                                   PAGE

  FOREWORD                                                        xxiii

  PREFACE                                                           xxv

  SYNOPSIS                                                         xxix

  INTRODUCTION                                                        1


                               BOOK I

                              CHAPTER I

  SELF-EDUCATION                                                     23

  Not self-expression--A person, built up from within--Life,
  sustained on food--Plant analogy misleading--Mental and
  physical gymnastics--Mental food--The life of the mind--Proper
  sustenance--Knowledge, not sensation or information--Education,
  of the spirit--Cannot be applied from without--Modern educators
  belittle children--Education will profit by divorce from
  sociology--Danger of an alliance with pathology--A comprehensive
  theory--Fits all ages--Self-education--All children have
  intellectual capacity--Should learn to ‘read’ before mechanical
  art of reading--Are much occupied with things and books--A
  knowledge of principles, necessary--Education chaotic for want of
  unifying theory--The motive that counts.


                             CHAPTER II

  CHILDREN ARE BORN PERSONS                                          33

  1.--_The Mind of a Child_: The baby, more than a huge
  oyster--Poets on infancy--Accomplishments of a child of
  two--Education does not produce mind--The range of a child’s
  thoughts--Reason and imagination present in the infant--Will and
  wilfulness.

  2.--_The Mind of a School-Child_: Amazing potentialities--Brain,
  the organ of mind--The “unconscious mind,” a region of
  symptoms--Mind, being spiritual, knows no fatigue--Brain, duly
  fed, should not know fatigue--A “play-way” does not lead to
  mind--Nor does environment--Mind must come into contact with
  mind--What is mind?--Material things have little effect upon
  mind--Education, the evidence of things not seen--Ideas, only fit
  sustenance for mind--Children must have great ideas--Children
  _experience_ what they hear and read of--Our want of confidence
  in children--Children see, in their minds--Mind, one and works
  altogether--Children must _see_ the world--Dangers of technical,
  commercial, historical geography--Every man’s mind, his means
  of living--All classes must be educated--The æsthetic sense--A
  child’s intellect and heart already furnished--He learns to order
  his life.

  3.--_Motives for Learning_: Diluted teaching--_Every_ child has
  infinite possibilities--The Parents’ Union School--The House of
  Education--Teachers must know capabilities and requirements of
  children.


                            CHAPTER III

  THE GOOD AND EVIL NATURE OF A CHILD                                46

  1.--_Well-Being of Body_: “Children of wrath”--“Little
  angel” theory--Good and evil tendencies--Education, handmaid
  of Religion--Religion becoming more magnanimous--New-born
  children start fair--Children, more of persons in their
  homes--Appetites--Senses--Undue nervous tension--Overpowering
  personality--Parasitic habits.

  2.--_Well-Being of Mind_: Mind, not a chartered
  libertine--Has good and evil tendencies--Intellectual
  evil--Intellect enthroned in every child--A child’s vivifying
  imagination--Explanations unnecessary--Children sense the
  meaning of a passage--_Incuria_--Going over same ground--Dangers
  of specialisation--Of the _questionnaire_--Capacity _v._
  aptness--Imagination, good and evil--Reason deified by
  the unlearned--Fallacious reasoning--A liberal education
  necessary--The beauty sense.

  3.--_Intellectual Appetite_: The desires--Wrong use of--Love of
  knowledge sufficient stimulus.

  4.--_Misdirected Affections_: The feelings--Love and
  justice--Moral education--Children must not be fed morally--They
  want food whose issue is conduct--Moral lessons worse than
  useless--Every child endowed with love--And justice--Rights and
  duties--Fine art of self-adjustment--To think fairly requires
  knowledge--Our thoughts are not our own--Truth, justice in
  word--Opinions show integrity of thought--Sound principles--All
  children intellectually hungry--Starve on the three R’s.

  5.--_The Well-Being of the Soul_: Education and the Soul of
  a child--Ignorance of the child--Approaches towards God--How
  knowledge grows--Narration--Great thoughts of great thinkers
  illuminate children--Education drowned by talk--Formative
  influence of knowledge--Self-expression--Education, a going forth
  of the mind--The “unconscious mind”--Mind always conscious--But
  thinks in ways of which we are unconscious--Dangers of
  introspection--“Complexes”--Necessity for a Philosophy of
  Education.


                            CHAPTER IV

  AUTHORITY AND DOCILITY                                             68

  Deputed authority, lodged in everyone--No such thing as
  anarchy--A mere transference of authority--Authority makes
  for Liberty--Order, the outcome of authority--Docility,
  universal--The principles of authority and docility inherent
  in everyone--_Crux_, to find the mean--Freedom, offered as
  solution--“Proud subjection and dignified obedience”--Secured
  by feeding the mind--Subservience _v._ docility--Docility
  implies equality--Physical activities do not sustain mind--Many
  relationships must be established--No undue emphasis--Sense of
  _must_ in teacher and child--Freedom comes with knowledge--The
  office makes the man--Children must have responsibility of
  learning--The potency of their minds--All children have quick
  apprehension--And the power of attention--Humane letters make for
  efficiency--Delightful to use any power--Common interests--Powers
  of attention and recollection a national asset--But want of
  intellectual interests a serious handicap.


                             CHAPTER V

  THE SACREDNESS OF PERSONALITY                                      80

  An adequate conception of children necessary--All
  action comes from the ideas held--The child’s estate
  higher than ours--Methods of undermining personality--
  Fear--Love--“Suggestion”--Influence--Methods of stultifying
  intellectual and moral growth--The desires--Of approbation--Of
  emulation--Of ambition--Of society--The natural desire of
  knowledge--Definite progress, a condition of education--Doctrine
  of equal opportunities for all, dangerous--But a liberal
  education the possibility for all.


                            CHAPTER VI

  THREE INSTRUMENTS OF EDUCATION                                     94

  1.--_Education is an Atmosphere_: Only three means of
  education--Not an artificial environment--But a natural
  atmosphere--Children must face life as it is--But must not be
  overburdened by the effort of decision--Dangers of intellectual
  feebleness and moral softness--Bracing atmosphere of truth and
  sincerity--Not a too stimulating atmosphere--Dangers of “running
  wild”--Serenity comes with the food of knowledge--Two courses
  open to us.

  2.--_Education is a Discipline_: We must all make efforts--But
  a new point of view, necessary--Children must work for
  themselves--Must perform the _act of knowing_--Attention, the
  hall-mark of an educated person--Other good habits attending upon
  due self-education--Spirit, acts upon matter--Habit is to life
  what rails are to transport cars--Habit is inevitable--Genesis
  of habit--Habits of the ordered life--Habits of the religious
  life--De Quincey on going to church--Danger of thinking in a
  groove--Fads.

  3.--_Education is a Life_: Life is not self-existing--Body pines
  upon food substitutes--Mind cannot live upon information--What
  is an idea?--A live thing of the mind--Potency of an
  idea--Coleridge on ideas--Platonic doctrine of ideas--Functions
  of education not chiefly gymnastic--Dangers attendant upon
  “original composition”--Ideas, of spiritual origin--The child,
  an eclectic--Resists forcible feeding--We must take the risk of
  the indirect literary form--Ideas must be presented with much
  literary padding--No one capable of making extracts--Opinions
  _v._ ideas--Given an idea, mind performs acts of selection and
  inception--Must have humane reading as well as human thought.


                             CHAPTER VII

  HOW WE MAKE USE OF MIND                                           112

  Herbartian Psychology--“Apperception masses”--Dangers of
  correlation--“Concentration series”--Children reduced to
  inanities--Mind, a spiritual organism--Cannot live upon
  “sweetmeats”--Burden of education thrown on teacher--Danger of
  exalting personality of teacher--“Delightful lessons”--_Across
  the Bridges_, by A. Paterson--Blind alleys--Unemployment--Best
  boys run to seed--Continuation Classes--Education Act of
  1918--An eight hours’ University course--Academic ideal of
  Education--Continuation school, a People’s University--Dangers
  of utilitarian education--The “humanities” in English--Narration
  prepares for public speaking--Father of the People’s High
  Schools--Munich schools--Worship of efficiency--A well-grounded
  humanistic training produces capacity--Mr. Fisher on Continuation
  Schools--A more excellent way--Education from six to seventeen--A
  liberal education for all.


                           CHAPTER VIII

  THE WAY OF THE WILL                                               128

  Will, “the sole practical faculty”--“The will is the man”--Its
  function, to choose, to decide--Opinions provided for us--We take
  second-hand principles--One possible achievement, character--Aim
  in education, less conduct than character--Assaults upon the
  will--“Suggestion”--Voluntary and involuntary action--We
  must choose between suggestions--Danger of suggestion given
  by another with intent--Vicarious choosing--Weakens power
  of choice--Parasitic creatures may become criminal--Gordon
  Riots--His will, the safeguard of a man--Indecent to probe
  thoughts of the “unconscious mind”--Right thinking, _not_
  self-expression--It flows upon the stimulus of an idea--Will must
  be fortified--Knowledge of the “city of Mansoul” necessary--Also
  instruction concerning the will--Dangers of drifting--A child
  must distinguish between will and wilfulness--A strong will
  and “being good”--Will must have object outside of self--Is
  of slow growth--Will _v._ impulse--A constant will, compasses
  evil or good--The “single eye”--_Bushido_--Will, subject to
  solicitation--Does not act alone--Takes the whole man--He must
  _understand_ in order to will--Will, a free agent--Choice, a
  heavy labour--Obedience, the sustainer of personality--Obedience
  of choice--Persons of constant will--Dangers of weak
  allowance--Two services open to all--Self and God--Will is
  supreme--Will wearies of opposition--Diversion--The “way of the
  will”--Freewill--We may not think what we please--Will supported
  by instructed conscience and trained reason--Education must
  prepare for immediate choice--Adequate education must be outward
  bound.


                            CHAPTER IX

  THE WAY OF THE REASON                                             139

  Reason brings forward infallible proofs--May be furtherer of
  counsels, good _or_ bad--Inventions--How did you think of
  it?--Children should follow steps of reasoning--Psychology
  of crime--Reasonable and right, not synonymous--Reason works
  involuntarily--Reason never begins it--Reason will affirm any
  theory--Logic, the formula of reason--But not necessarily
  right--Beauty and wonder of act of reasoning--But there
  are limitations--We must be able to expose fallacies--Karl
  Marx--Socialistic thought of to-day--Reason requires material
  to work upon--Reason subject to habit--Children must have
  principles--Be able to detect fallacies--Must know what Religion
  is--Miracles--Quasi-religious offers--Great things of life
  cannot be proved--Reason is fallible--Children, intensely
  reasonable--Reasoning power of a child does not wait upon
  training--But children do not generalise--Must not be hurried to
  formulate--Mathematics should not monopolise undue time--Cannot
  alone produce a reasonable soul.


                             CHAPTER X

  THE CURRICULUM                                                    154

  Standard in Secondary Schools set by public
  examinations--Elementary Schools less limited with regard
  to subjects--A complete curriculum in the nature of
  things--Education still at sea--Children have inherent
  claims--Law of supply and demand--Human nature a composite
  whole--The educational rights of man--We may not pick and
  choose--Shelley offers a key--Mistakes _v._ howlers--Knowledge
  should be consecutive, intelligent, complete--Hours of work, not
  number of subjects, bring fatigue--Short hours--No preparation.

  SECTION I: THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD                                   158

  Knowledge of God indispensable--Mothers communicate it
  best--Relation to God a first-born affinity--“Kiddies” not
  expected to understand--School education begins at six--_No
  conscious mental effort_ should be required earlier--Dr.
  Johnson on “telling again”--Two aspects of Religion--Attitude
  of Will towards God--Gradual perception of God--Goethe
  on repose of soul--Children must have passive as well as
  active principle--New Testament teaching must be grounded
  on Old--Sceptical children--Must not be evaded or answered
  finally--A thoughtful commentator necessary--Method of lessons,
  six to twelve, twelve to fifteen, fifteen to eighteen--Aids of
  modern scholarship--Dogmatic teaching comes by inference--Very
  little hortatory teaching desirable--Synthetic study of life and
  teaching of Christ, a necessity--“Authentic comment” essayed in
  verse--Catechism--Prayer Book--Church History.

  SECTION II: THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN                                  169

  (_a_) _History_: Montaigne on history--The League of Nations
  and its parallels--_Henry VIII_ on precedent--Dangers of
  indifference to history--Rational patriotism depends upon
  knowledge of history--History must give more than impressions
  and opinions--P.U.S. method multiplies time--Concentrated
  attention given to the right books--Condition, a _single_
  reading--Attention a natural function--Teacher’s interest
  an incentive--Teacher who “makes allowance” for wandering,
  hinders--Narration in the history lesson--Distinction between
  word memory and mind memory--English history for children of six
  to nine--Of nine to twelve--French history--Ancient history--For
  children of twelve to fifteen--Indian history--European
  history--History for pupils of fifteen to eighteen--Literature--A
  mental pageant of history--Gives weight to decisions,
  consideration to action, stability to conduct--Labour
  unrest--Infinite educability of all classes--Equal opportunity
  should be afforded--But uneasiness apt to follow--Knowledge
  brings its own satisfaction--Education merely a means of getting
  on, or, of progress towards high thinking and plain living.

  II: THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN                                          180

  (_b_) _Literature_: Literature in Form I--Classics, not
  written down--In Form II--Children show originality in “mere
  narration”--Just as Scott, Shakespeare, Homer--Children all
  sit down to the same feast--Each gets according to his needs
  and powers--Reading for Forms III and IV--Abridged editions
  undesirable--Children take pleasure in the “dry” parts--Must have
  a sense of wide spaces for the imagination to wander in--Judgment
  turns over the folios of the mind--Statesmanship, formed upon
  wide reading--Reading for Forms V and VI (fifteen to eighteen).

  II: THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN                                          185

  (_c_) _Morals and Economics_: _Citizenship_: Form
  I--Tales--Fables--Hears of great citizens--Form II--The
  inspiration of citizenship--Plutarch--Present day
  citizenship--Problems of good and evil--Plutarch does not
  label actions--Children weary of the doctored tale--The
  human story always interesting--Jacob--The good, which is
  all virtuous, palls--Children must see life whole--Must be
  protected from grossness by literary medium--Learn the science
  of proportion--Difficulty of choosing books--Chastely taught
  children watch their thoughts--Expurgated editions--Processes
  of nature must not be associated with impurity--Games--Offences
  bred in the mind--Mind must be continually and wholesomely
  occupied--A sound body and a sound mind--_Ourselves, our Souls
  and Bodies_--An ordered presentation of the possibilities and
  powers of human nature.

  II: THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN                                          190

  (_d_) _Composition_: Oral, from six to seven--Dangers of
  teaching composition--The art of “telling”--Power of composition
  innate--Oral and written from nine to twelve--Integral
  part of education in every subject--From twelve to
  fifteen--An inevitable consequence of free and exact use of
  books--Verse--Scansion--Rhythm--Accent--Subject must be one
  of keen interest--From fifteen to eighteen, some definite
  teaching--Suggestions or corrections--Education bears on the
  issues and interests of everyday life.

  II: THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN                                          209

  (_e_) _Languages_: English--Grammar--Begin with
  sentence--Difficulty of abstract knowledge--French--Narration
  from the beginning--Italian--German--Latin.

  II: THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN                                          213

  (_f_) _Art_: Art is of the spirit--Reverent knowledge of
  pictures themselves--Method--No talk of schools of painting
  or style--Picture tells its own tale--Drawing--Original
  illustrations--Figures--Objects--Colour--Field
  studies--Architecture--Clay-modelling--Artistic
  handicrafts--Musical Appreciation.

  SECTION III: THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNIVERSE                        218

  (_a_) _Science_: Huxley--“Common information”--Books should be
  literary in character--French approach to science--Principles
  underlying science meet for literary treatment--Details of
  application too technical for school work--Universal principles
  must be linked with common incidents--Verbiage that darkens
  counsel--Out-of-door work--Natural history, botany, astronomy,
  physiology, hygiene, general science--A due combination of field
  work with literary comments--Fatal divorce between science and
  the “humanities”--Nature Note Books--Science not a utilitarian
  subject.

  _Geography_: Suffers from utilitarian spirit--Mystery and
  beauty gone--Modern geography, concerned with man’s profit--A
  map should unfold a panorama of delight--Map work--Children
  read and picture descriptions--Knowledge of England, a key
  to the world--Naval history--Empire geography--Current
  geography--Countries of Europe--Romance of natural features,
  peoples, history, industries--Generalisations, not
  geography--Children must see with the mind’s eye--Two ways of
  teaching geography--Inferential method--But general principles
  open to modification--No local colour and personal interests--No
  imaginative conception--Panoramic method--Gives colour, detail,
  proportion, principles--Pictures not of much use--Except those
  constructed by the imagination from written descriptions--Survey
  of Asia--Africa--America--Physical geography--Geography in
  connection with history--Practical geography.

  III: THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNIVERSE                                230

  (_b_) _Mathematics_: Reasoning powers do not wait upon our
  training--Beauty and truth of Mathematics--A sense of limitation
  wholesome--We should hear _sursum corda_ in natural law--Mind
  invigorated by hard exercise--Mathematics easy to examine
  upon--Dangers of education directed not to awaken awe but to
  secure exactness--Which does not serve in other departments
  of life--Work upon special lines qualifies for work on those
  only--Mathematics to be studied for their own sake--Not as
  they make for general intelligence and grasp of mind--Genius
  has her rights--Tendency to sacrifice the “humanities” to
  Mathematics--Mathematics depend upon the teacher--Few subjects
  worse taught--A necessary part of education.

  III: THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNIVERSE                                233

  (_c_) _Physical Development, Handicrafts._ No special methods for
  these.


                               BOOK II

                           THEORY APPLIED


                              CHAPTER I

  A LIBERAL EDUCATION IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS                         235

  A liberal education, birthright of every child--Good life implies
  cultivated intelligence--Difficulty of offering Humanism to
  everyone--Problem solved at last--by the Drighlington School
  (Yorks)--Teachers, not satisfied--Potency, not property,
  characteristic of mind--We try to give potency rather than
  knowledge--Result, devitalisation--Mind receives knowledge _in
  order to grow, not to know_--Office of teacher depreciated--He
  has prophetic power of appeal and inspiration--Delightful
  commerce of equal minds--And friction of wills ceases--Children
  not products of education and environment--Carlyle on “a
  person”--Children not incomplete and undeveloped, but
  ignorant and weak--Potentialities of a child as he is--_David
  Copperfield_--Knowledge, conceived in mind--Ignorance, a chief
  cause of our difficulties--Matthew Arnold--Three divisions
  of knowledge--All classed under Humanism--Mind acts upon
  it--Vitality results--Mind and knowledge like ball and socket
  joint--Results of P.N.E.U. method made good by thousands of
  children--Work done by self-effort--Single reading tested
  by narration--No revision--For children _know_--Use proper
  names with ease--Write fully--Rarely make howlers--Get at
  gist of book or subject--Children of six to eight dictate
  answers at examination time--Teacher reads with intention--Is
  careful to produce author--Children listen with attention--No
  selection of subjects--Book read through--Older children read
  for themselves--Work done in less time--No preparation--No
  working-up--Time for vocational work--Such education, a social
  lever--A venture of faith--In knowledge and in children--A
  new product appears--Peculiar experience, misleading--General
  experience testifies to laws--Usual educational equipment
  based on false assumption--Which intervenes between child and
  knowledge--Method specially suitable for large classes--Labour
  of correction minimised--Choice of books--Character of P.U.S.
  examination--Children reject wrong book--Great cause of Education
  _v_. Civilisation--Grand elementary principle of pleasure--Only
  one education common to all.


                            CHAPTER II

  A LIBERAL EDUCATION IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS                          250

  Pelmanism, an indictment--Monotonous drudgery the stumbling-block
  to education--A “play way”--Handicrafts--Eurhythmics--Enthusiasm
  of teachers amazing--Education, a passion--_Joan and Peter_
  types--Public School men do the work of the world--But schools
  do not teach what a boy wants to know--Mulish resistance--Ways
  of mind subtle and evasive--The error of “not what you know
  that matters but how you learn it”--Every school must educate
  every scholar--What is knowledge?--Intellectual requirements
  satisfied by bridge and golf--Attention acts without marks,
  praise or blame--But training, not education--No faculties,
  only mind--Text-books make no appeal to mind--Way of Natural
  Science through field work illuminated by literature--Mind,
  a crucible, but no power to distil ideas from sawdust--Dr.
  Arnold--“Very various reading”--Mind, a deceiver ever--Class
  will occupy itself and accomplish nothing--Outer court of
  mind--Inner place where personality dwells--We “go over it in our
  minds”--Attention must not be allowed a crutch--Should be tested
  by the reader--Knowledge, received with attention, fixed by
  narration--We have ceased to believe in mind--Physical brain and
  spiritual mind--Education must go as a bolt to the mind--Teacher
  not a bridge--A key to humanistic teaching in English--A
  liberal education, measured by the number of substantives used
  with fitness and simplicity--The school not merely a nursery
  for the formation of character--Knowledge in common for the
  “masses” and the “classes”--All hearts rise to a familiar
  allusion--Speech with those who know--Opposition, natural
  resource of ignorance--A democratic education--We shall cease
  to present motives of self-interest and personal advantage--The
  classics in English--Old exclusive education must broaden its
  base and narrow its bounds--Avoid overlapping--Academic success
  and knowledge not the same thing--Brilliant, average and dull
  children delight in knowledge--It unites the household--Makes
  children delightful companions--A fine sense of things
  worth knowing and living for--Magnanimity, proper outcome
  of education--The schoolboy’s sterile syllabus--In spite of
  culture common among teachers--A method which brings promise of
  relief from _aphasia_--Barrenness in the written essay--Oral
  composition, a habit from six to eighteen--Method cannot be
  worked without a firm adherence to principle--Otherwise the books
  a failure--Parents must provide necessary books--Which must take
  root in the homes--Spelling comes with the use of books--Books
  _and_ text-books--The choice of books, a question of division of
  labour--Terminal examinations, records of permanent value--Bible
  teaching must further the knowledge of God--The law and the
  prophets still interpreters--History, the rich pasture of the
  mind--Amyot on history--Plutarch--Poets--Every age has its
  poetic aspect--Gathered up by a Shakespeare--A Dante--A world
  possession--An essence of history which is poetry--An essence of
  science to be expressed in exquisite prose--Art--Drawing, not
  a means of self-expression--Languages--Possibility of becoming
  linguists--Finally, another basis for education--Which must be
  in touch with life--We aim at securing the vitality of many
  minds--Which shall make England great in art and in life--Great
  character comes from great thoughts--Great thoughts from great
  thinkers--Thinking, not doing, the source of character.


                            CHAPTER III

  THE SCOPE OF CONTINUATION SCHOOLS                                 279

  Napoleonic Wars outcome of the wrong thinking of
  ignorance--Intellectual renaissance followed--To be superseded by
  the utilitarian motive--Continuation School movement--Technical
  education--The Munich Schools--“The utilitarian theory profoundly
  immoral”--“Service and self-direction”--But food and work not
  synonymous terms--The wide reading of great statesmen--Duly
  ordered education means self-sustaining minds and bodies--Moral
  bankruptcy--Co-existent with utilitarian education--Moral
  madness--National insanity--The better man does better
  work--German efficiency--We depreciate ourselves--People’s High
  Schools of Denmark--“A well of healing in the land”--“To blend
  all classes into one”--A profoundly Christian movement--Widely
  liberal as that of the “Angelic Doctor”--Agricultural
  schools--Humanistic training for business capacity--A village
  should offer happy community life--Intellectual well-being
  makes for stability--An empty mind seizes on any notion--A
  hungry mind, responsible for labour unrest--Continuation
  Schools should not exist for technical instruction--Evening
  hours still free for recreation--Eight hours a week for things
  of the mind--Not for opinions--Lest leisure bore and strikes
  attract--But for knowledge--Not for due exercise but for food--No
  education but self-education--A great discovery has been
  vouchsafed--Not a “good idea” or a “good plan”--But a natural
  law in action--Grundtvig saw impassible barrier of no literary
  background--But hope of Comenius “all knowledge for all men”
  is taking shape--In the case of thousands of children--Even
  dull and backward ones--Under the right conditions--Knowledge
  meet for the people--The Parents’ Union School--A common
  curriculum for _all_ children of _all_ classes--Test of a
  liberal education--Only one education common to all--Nothing
  can act but where it is--National work done by men brought up
  on the “humanities”--Fetish of progress--The still progress
  of growth--The “humanities” in English alone, bring forth
  stability and efficiency--A common ground of thought has cohesive
  value--Kindles light in the eyes--Peace, signalised by a new bond
  of intellectual life--Danger of ignorance in action--A hopeful
  sign--Demos perceives the lack.


                             CHAPTER IV

                   THE BASIS OF NATIONAL STRENGTH

  A LIBERAL EDUCATION FROM A NATIONAL STANDPOINT                    300

  1. _Knowledge_: Failure of attempt to educate average
  boy--Industrial unrest often reveals virtue but want
  of knowledge--Dangerous tendency--The spirit of the
  horde--Individual, less important--“Countenance,” a
  manifestation of thought, dropped out of use--Never were more
  devoted teachers--Substitutes for knowledge--A mischievous
  fallacy--A child brought up for uses of society--Joy in
  living a chief object of education--Knowledge is the
  source of Pleasure--Children get knowledge for their own
  sakes--Assets within power of all--Intellectual resources--No
  dull hours--Knowledge passed like light of torch from
  mind to mind--Kindled at original minds--A school judged
  by books used--Indirect method of teaching--Parables of
  Christ--Not enough even of the right books--Children, beings
  “of large discourse”--Alertness comes of handling various
  subjects--Scholarship _v._ knowledge--Napoleon a great
  reader--Nations grow great upon books--Queen Louisa of
  Prussia--Kant--Fichte--The Danes--The Japanese.

  2. _Letters, Knowledge and Virtue_: Classics take so much
  time--But University men, our educational achievement--Letters,
  the content of Knowledge--Knowledge, not a store but a
  state--Culture begins with the knowledge that everything has
  been said and known--We have a loss to make good--Rich and
  poor used to be familiar with the Bible--A well of English
  undefiled--And no longer rule as those who serve--Recklessness
  due to ignorance--Scholarship, an exquisite distinction--But not
  the best thing--Erudition, out of count--The average boy--Ladies
  of the Italian and French Renaissance--Tudor women--“Infinitely
  informed”--A leakage somewhere--Democracy coming in like a
  flood--Examination tests should safeguard Letters--Which open
  life-long resources--We need a practical philosophy--Not to be
  arrived at by Economics, Eugenics--But gathered harvests of
  Letters.

  3. _Knowledge, Reason and Rebellion_: Irresponsibility
  characterises our generation--Lettered ignorance follows specious
  arguments to logical conclusions--Reason apt to be accompanied
  by Rebellion--Reason cannot take place of Knowledge--Shakespeare
  on reason--The art of living is long--Bodies of men act with
  momentum which may be paralysing or propelling--Glorious thing
  to perceive action of mind, reasoning power--Greek training
  in use and power of words--Great thoughts anticipate great
  works--People, conversant with great thoughts--Knowledge
  of The Way, the Truth, the Life--A region of sterility
  in intellectual life--Science the preoccupation of our
  age--Principle of life goes with flesh stripped away--History
  expires--Poetry, not brought forth--Religion faints--Science,
  without wonder, not spiritual--Eighteenth Century Science
  was alive--Lister--Pasteur--Science, as taught, leaves us
  cold--Coleridge has revealed the secret--Science waits its
  literature--We are all to blame--Man does not live by bread
  alone--We are losing our sense of spiritual values--An industrial
  revolution--“Humbler franchises” won by the loss of “spiritual
  things”--Wordsworth--Trade Unionism a tyranny, centuries
  ago--Predicts no triumph for Syndicalism now--Irresponsible
  thought and speech--Question must be raised to plane of spiritual
  things--Working man demands too little--And things that do not
  matter--For knowledge, the basis of a nation’s strength.

  4. _New and Old Conceptions of Knowledge_: Knowledge,
  undefined and undefinable--Knowledge _v._ facts--England
  suffering from intellectual inanition--Mediæval conception
  of knowledge--_Filosofica della Religione Cattolica_--_The
  Adoration of the Lamb_--Promethean Fable--Knowledge does
  not arrive casually--Is not self-generated in man--“The
  teaching power of the Spirit of God”--Unity of purpose in
  the education of the race--Knowledge comes to the man who
  is ready--“Abt Vogler”--All knowledge is sacred--A great
  whole--Mind lives by knowledge--Which must not be limited
  by choice--or time--Knowledge and “learning”--Country needs
  persons of character--“New” educational systems present
  a grain of knowledge in a gallon of diluent--Rousseau’s
  theory--Joy in “sport”--Knowledge plays no part in
  these--“Get understanding,” our need--Fallacious
  arguments--Prejudice--Platitudes--Insincerity, outcome of
  ignorance--Most teachers doing excellent work--New universities
  full of promise--But need for the “Science of Relations”--And the
  Science of the proportion of things.

  5. _Education and the Fulness of Life_: “I must live
  my life”--What should the life be?--We are doing
  something--The book of nature--Relations with Mother
  Earth--Sports--Handicrafts--Art--We all thrive in the well-being
  of each--The contribution of our generation to the science
  of education--Person to be brought up for his own uses--But
  what of mind?--Mechanical art of reading, _not_ reading--An
  unsuspected unwritten law concerning “material” converted into
  knowledge--The Logos--“The words of eternal life”--Words,
  more things than events--Rhetoric a power--Motives conveyed
  by words--American negroes fell upon books--Mechanical labour
  performed in solitude--Labour goes better because “my mind to
  me a kingdom is”--Browning on mind--“Have mynde”--Faith has
  grown feeble, Hope faints, Charity waxes strong--But social
  amelioration not enough--The pleasant places of the mind--Books,
  “watered down”--Christ exposed profoundest philosophy to
  the multitude--Working men value knowledge--Can deal with
  it--Emotional disturbances come from mind hunger.

  6. _Knowledge in Literary Form_: Mind demands method--No one can
  live without a philosophy which points out the end of effort--A
  patchwork of principles betrays us--Human nature has not
  failed--But education has failed us--A new scale of values--We
  want more life--Engrossing interests--We want hope--Pleasure
  comes in effort, not attainment--We want to be governed--A new
  start--Other ways of looking at things--We are uneasy--And yet
  almost anyone will risk his life--Splendid magnanimity in the
  War--We are not decadent--Are ready for a life of passionate
  devotion--Our demands met by Words--And by the manifestation of
  a Person--“The shout of a King” among us--But _understanding_,
  prior to good works--A consummate philosophy which meets every
  occasion--The teaching of Christ--Other knowledge “dumb” without
  the fundamental knowledge--Our latest educational authority on
  imagination--Rousseau--Our chief business the education of
  the succeeding generation--The slough of materialism--Children
  must have freedom of city of mind even in order to handle
  things--Imagination does not work upon a visual presentation--Dr.
  Arnold and mental pictures--“Selections” to be avoided--Dangers
  of the flood-gates of knowledge--Erasmus--Rossetti--Friedrich
  Perthes--Publishers and their educational mission--Dr. Arnold
  on reading--A crucial moment--John Bull on the results of forty
  years’ education--England can be saved--Knowledge exalteth a
  nation--Matthew Arnold’s monition.


                          SUPPLEMENTARY

  TOO WIDE A MESH                                                   343

  A luminous figure of Education--But only ‘universal
  opportunity’--No new thing--No universal boon like air--Only
  for the few who choose--No reflection on Public Schools but
  on the system of the Big Mesh--The letters of two Public
  School boys pathetic but reassuring--Desire of knowledge,
  inextinguishable--But limitations of the absence of education--No
  cultivated sense of humour--No sense of the supreme
  delightfulness of knowledge--_Coningsby_--Teaching how to learn,
  a farce--No avenue to knowledge but knowledge itself.


  INDEX                                                             349


_The Trustees have, at the request of the Publishers, been obliged
to reduce the original volume. Two important sections on the
practical work have been omitted,--(A)--Children’s examination
answers and, (B)--Some discussions of the method by Educational
Authorities and teachers. A pamphlet will be issued from the
P.N.E.U. Office, 26, Victoria Street, S.W., covering section B.
Sets of children’s answers (A) can be seen at the P.N.E.U. Office,
26, Victoria Street, S.W._



                            Foreword


Our forefathers trusted of yore to the rod and to coercion for
the evoking in children of a love of learning. For the last fifty
years we have rested our hopes on the enthusiasm of the teachers.
But that enthusiasm, when not fictitious, often acts prejudicially
by diverting the child’s love of knowledge and new ideas into
admiration for his teacher: and when that fails, as it frequently
does, nothing is left, except extraneous and baneful appeals to
self-interest.

Miss Mason saw and in this volume has explained that the natural
and only quite wholesome way of teaching is to let the child’s
desire for knowledge operate in the schoolboy and guide the
teacher. This means that without foregoing discipline, nor cutting
ourselves off from tradition, we must continue experiments already
being started in our elementary schools. These are based on the
chastening fact that children learn best before we adults begin
to teach them at all: and hence that however uncongenial the task
may be, we must conform our teaching methods to those of Nature.
The attempt has often been made before. But in this volume there
is a rare combination of intuitive insight and practical sagacity.
The author refused to believe that the collapse of the desire for
knowledge between seven and seventeen years of age is inevitable.
So must we.

                                         EDWARD LYTTELTON, D.D.



                            Preface


It would seem a far cry from _Undine_ to a ‘liberal education’
but there is a point of contact between the two; a soul awoke
within a water-sprite at the touch of love; so, I have to tell
of the awakening of a ‘general soul’ at the touch of knowledge.
Eight[1] years ago the ‘soul’ of a class of children in a mining
village school awoke simultaneously at this magic touch and has
remained awake. We know that religion can awaken souls, that love
makes a new man, that the call of a vocation may do it, and in
the age of the Renaissance, men’s souls, the general soul, awoke
to knowledge: but this appeal rarely reaches the modern soul;
and, notwithstanding the pleasantness attending lessons and marks
in all our schools, I believe the ardour for knowledge in the
children of this mining village is a phenomenon that indicates new
possibilities. Already many thousands of the children of the Empire
had experienced this intellectual conversion, but they were the
children of educated persons. To find that the children of a mining
population were equally responsive seemed to open a new hope for
the world. It may be that the souls of all children are waiting for
the call of knowledge to awaken them to delightful living.

This is how the late Mrs. Francis Steinthal, who was the happy
instigator of the movement in Council Schools, wrote,--“Think of
the meaning of this in the lives of the children,--disciplined
lives, and no lawless strikes, justice, an end to class warfare,
developed intellects, and no market for trashy and corrupt
literature! We shall, or rather they will, live in a redeemed
world.” This was written in a moment of enthusiasm on hearing
that a certain County Council had accepted a scheme of work for
this pioneer school; enthusiasm sees in advance the fields white
to the harvest, but indeed the event is likely to justify high
expectations. Though less than nine years have passed since that
pioneer school made the bold attempt, already many thousands of
children working under numerous County Councils are finding that
“Studies serve for delight.”

No doubt children are well taught and happy in their lessons as
things are, and this was specially true of the school in question;
yet both teachers and children find an immeasurable difference
between the casual interest roused by marks, pleasing oral lessons
and other school devices, and the sort of steady avidity for
knowledge that comes with the awakened soul. The children have
converted the school inspectors: “And the English!” said one of
these in astonishment as he listened to their long, graphic,
dramatic narrations of what they had heard. During the last thirty
years we (including many fellow workers) have had thousands of
children, in our schoolrooms, home and other, working on the lines
of Dean Colet’s prayer for St. Paul’s School,--“Pray for the
children to prosper in good life and good literature;” probably all
children so taught grow up with such principles and pursuits as
make for happy and useful citizenship.

I should like to add that we have no axe to grind. The public good
is our aim; and the methods proposed are applicable in any school.
My object in offering this volume to the public is to urge upon all
who are concerned with education a few salient principles which are
generally either unknown or disregarded; and a few methods which,
like that bathing in Jordan, are too simple to commend themselves
to the ‘general.’ Yet these principles and methods make education
entirely effectual.

I should like to add that no statement that I have advanced in the
following volume rests upon opinion only. Every point has been
proved in thousands of instances, and the method may be seen at
work in many schools, large and small, Elementary and Secondary.

I have to beg the patience of the reader who is asked to approach
the one terminus by various avenues, and I cannot do so better than
in the words of old Fuller:--“Good Reader. I suspect I may have
written some things twice; if not in the same words yet in sense,
which I desire you to pass by favourably, forasmuch as you may
well think, it was difficult and a dull thing for me in so great
a number of independent sentences to find out the repetitions....
Besides the pains, such a search would cost me more time than I
can afford it; for my glass of life running now low, I must not
suffer one sand to fall in waste nor suffer one minute in picking
of straws.... But to conclude this, since in matters of advice,
Precept must be upon Precept, Line upon Line, I apologise in the
words of St. Paul, ‘To write the same things to you to me indeed is
not grievous, but for you it is safe.’”

I am unwilling to close what is probably the last preface I shall
be called upon to write without a very grateful recognition of the
co-operation of those friends who are working with me in what seems
to us a great cause. The Parents’ National Educational Union has
fulfilled its mission, as declared in its first prospectus, nobly
and generously. “The Union exists for the benefit of parents and
teachers of _all classes_;” and, for the last eight[2] years it
has undertaken the labour and expense of an energetic propaganda
on behalf of Elementary Schools, of which about 150[3] are now
working on the programmes of the Parents’ Union School. During the
last year a pleasing and hopeful development has taken place under
the auspices of the Hon. Mrs. Franklin. It was suggested to the
Head of a London County Council School to form an association of
the parents of the children in that school, offering them certain
advantages and requiring a small payment to cover expenses. At the
first meeting one of the fathers present got up and said that he
was greatly disappointed. He had expected to see some three hundred
parents and there were only about sixty present! The promoters of
the meeting were, however, well pleased to see the sixty, most of
whom became members of the Parents’ Association, and the work goes
on with spirit.

We are deeply indebted to many fellow-workers, but not even that
very courteous gentleman who once wrote a letter to the Romans
could make suitable acknowledgments to all of those to whom we owe
the success of a movement the _rationale_ of which I attempt to
make clear in the following pages.

                                            CHARLOTTE M. MASON.

  HOUSE OF EDUCATION,
      AMBLESIDE.
         1922.



A Short Synopsis

OF THE EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY ADVANCED IN THIS VOLUME

  “_No sooner doth the truth ... come into the soul’s sight, but
  the soul knows her to be her first and old acquaintance._”

  “_The consequence of truth is great; therefore the judgment of it
  must not be negligent._” (WHICHCOTE).


1. Children are born _persons_.

2. They are not born either good or bad, but with possibilities for
good and for evil.

3. The principles of authority on the one hand, and of obedience on
the other, are natural, necessary and fundamental; but--

4. These principles are limited by the respect due to the
personality of children, which must not be encroached upon, whether
by the direct use of fear or love, suggestion or influence, or by
undue play upon any one natural desire.

5. Therefore, we are limited to three educational instruments--the
atmosphere of environment, the discipline of habit, and the
presentation of living ideas. The P.N.E.U. Motto is: “Education is
an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.”

6. When we say that “_education is an atmosphere_,” we do not
mean that a child should be isolated in what may be called a
‘child-environment’ especially adapted and prepared, but that we
should take into account the educational value of his natural home
atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him
live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to
bring down his world to the ‘child’s’ level.

7. By “_education is a discipline_,” we mean the discipline of
habits, formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of
mind or body. Physiologists tell us of the adaptation of brain
structures to habitual lines of thought, _i.e._, to our habits.

8. In saying that “_education is a life_,” the need of intellectual
and moral as well as of physical sustenance is implied. The mind
feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous
curriculum.

9. We hold that the child’s mind is no mere _sac_ to hold
ideas; but is rather, if the figure may be allowed, a spiritual
_organism_, with an appetite for all knowledge. This is its proper
diet, with which it is prepared to deal; and which it can digest
and assimilate as the body does food-stuffs.

10. Such a doctrine as _e.g._ the Herbartian, that the mind is
a receptacle, lays the stress of Education (the preparation of
knowledge in enticing morsels duly ordered) upon the teacher.
Children taught on this principle are in danger of receiving much
teaching with little knowledge; and the teacher’s axiom is “what a
child learns matters less than how he learns it.”

11. But we, believing that the normal child has powers of mind
which fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, give him a
full and generous curriculum; taking care only that all knowledge
offered him is vital, that is, that facts are not presented without
their informing ideas. Out of this conception comes our principle
that,--

12. “_Education is the Science of Relations_”; that is, that a
child has natural relations with a vast number of things and
thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore,
handicrafts, science and art, and upon _many living_ books, for we
know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but
to help him to make valid as many as may be of--

                          “Those first-born affinities
      That fit our new existence to existing things.”

13. In devising a SYLLABUS for a normal child, of whatever social
class, three points must be considered:--

  (_a_) He requires _much_ knowledge, for the mind needs sufficient
  food as much as does the body.

  (_b_) The knowledge should be various, for sameness in mental
  diet does not create appetite (_i.e._, curiosity).

  (_c_) Knowledge should be communicated in well-chosen language,
  because his attention responds naturally to what is conveyed in
  literary form.

14. As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced,
children should ‘tell back’ after a single reading or hearing: or
should write on some part of what they have read.

15. A _single reading_ is insisted on, because children have
naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated by
the re-reading of passages, and also, by questioning, summarising,
and the like.

Acting upon these and some other points in the behaviour of mind,
we find that _the educability of children is enormously greater
than has hitherto been supposed_, and is but little dependent on
such circumstances as heredity and environment.

Nor is the accuracy of this statement limited to clever children
or to children of the educated classes: thousands of children in
Elementary Schools respond freely to this method, which is based on
the _behaviour of mind_.

16. There are two guides to moral and intellectual self-management
to offer to children, which we may call ‘the way of the will’ and
‘the way of the reason.’

17. _The way of the will_: Children should be taught, (_a_) to
distinguish between ‘I want’ and ‘I will.’ (_b_) That the way to
will effectively is to turn our thoughts from that which we desire
but do not will. (_c_) That the best way to turn our thoughts is
to think of or do some quite different thing, entertaining or
interesting. (_d_) That after a little rest in this way, the will
returns to its work with new vigour. (This adjunct of the will
is familiar to us as _diversion_, whose office it is to ease us
for a time from will effort, that we may ‘will’ again with added
power. The use of _suggestion_ as an aid to the will _is to be
deprecated_, as tending to stultify and stereotype character. It
would seem that spontaneity is a condition of development, and that
human nature needs the discipline of failure as well as of success.)

18. _The way of reason_: We teach children, too, not to ‘lean (too
confidently) to their own understanding’; because the function
of reason is to give logical demonstration (_a_) of mathematical
truth, (_b_) of an initial idea, accepted by the will. In the
former case, reason is, practically, an infallible guide, but in
the latter, it is not always a safe one; for, whether that idea be
right or wrong, reason will confirm it by irrefragable proofs.

19. Therefore, children should be taught, as they become mature
enough to understand such teaching, that the chief responsibility
which rests on them as _persons_ is the acceptance or rejection
of ideas. To help them in this choice we give them principles of
conduct, and a wide range of the knowledge fitted to them. These
principles should save children from some of the loose thinking and
heedless action which cause most of us to live at a lower level
than we need.

20. We allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and
‘spiritual’ life of children, but teach them that the Divine Spirit
has constant access to their spirits, and is their continual Helper
in all the interests, duties and joys of life.



Introduction


These are anxious days for all who are engaged in education.
We rejoiced in the fortitude, valour and devotion shown by our
men in the War and recognize that these things are due to the
Schools as well as to the fact that England still breeds “very
valiant creatures.” It is good to know that “the whole army was
illustrious.” The heroism of our officers derives an added impulse
from that tincture of ‘letters’ that every Public schoolboy gets,
and those “playing fields” where boys acquire habits of obedience
and command. But what about the abysmal ignorance shown in the
wrong thinking of many of the men who stayed at home? Are we to
blame? I suppose most of us feel that we are: for these men are
educated as we choose to understand education, that is, they can
read and write, think perversely, and follow an argument, though
they are unable to detect a fallacy. If we ask in perplexity,
why do so many men and women seem incapable of generous impulse,
of reasoned patriotism, of seeing beyond the circle of their own
interests, is not the answer, that men are enabled for such things
by education? These are the marks of educated persons; and when
millions of men who should be the backbone of the country seem to
be dead to public claims, we have to ask,--Why then are not these
persons educated, and what have we given them in lieu of education?

Our errors in education, so far as we have erred, turn upon the
conception we form of ‘mind,’ and the theory which has filtered
through to most teachers implies the out-of-date notion of the
development of ‘faculties,’ a notion which itself rests on the
axiom that thought is no more than a function of the brain. Here
we find the sole justification of the scanty curricula provided in
most of our schools, for the tortuous processes of our teaching,
for the mischievous assertion that “it does not matter what a
child learns but only how he learns it.” If we teach much and
children learn little we comfort ourselves with the idea that we
are ‘developing’ this or the other ‘faculty.’ A great future lies
before the nation which shall perceive that knowledge is the sole
concern of education proper, as distinguished from training, and
that knowledge is the necessary daily food of the mind.

Teachers are looking out for the support of a sound theory, and
such a theory must recognize with conviction the part mind plays
in education and the conditions under which this prime agent acts.
We want a philosophy of education which, admitting that thought
alone appeals to mind, that thought begets thought, shall relegate
to their proper subsidiary places all those sensory and muscular
activities which are supposed to afford intellectual as well as
physical training. The latter is so important in and for itself
that it needs not to be bolstered up by the notion that it includes
the whole, or the practically important part, of education. The
same remark holds good of vocational training. Our journals ask
with scorn,--“Is there no education but what is got out of books at
school? Is not the lad who works in the fields getting education?”
and the public lacks the courage to say definitely, “No, he is
not,” because there is no clear notion current as to what education
means, and how it is to be distinguished from vocational training.
But the people themselves begin to understand and to clamour for
an education which shall qualify their children for life rather
than for earning a living. As a matter of fact, it is the man who
has read and thought on many subjects who is, with the necessary
training, the most capable whether in handling tools, drawing
plans, or keeping books. The more of a person we succeed in making
a child, the better will he both fulfil his own life and serve
society.

Much thoughtful care has been spent in ascertaining the causes of
the German breakdown in character and conduct; the war scourge
was symptomatic and the symptoms have been duly traced to their
cause in the thoughts the people have been taught to think during
three or four generations. We have heard much about Nietzsche,
Treitschke, Bernhardi and the rest; but Professor Muirhead did us
good service in carrying the investigation further back. Darwin’s
theories of natural selection, the survival of the fittest, the
struggle for existence, struck root in Germany in fitting soil; and
the ideas of the superman, the super state, the right of might--to
repudiate treaties, to eliminate feebler powers, to recognize no
law but expediency--all this appears to come as naturally out of
Darwinism as a chicken comes out of an egg. No doubt the same
_dicta_ have struck us in the _Commentaries_ of Frederick the
Great; “they shall take who have the power, and they shall keep
who can,” is ages older than Darwin, but possibly this is what our
English philosopher did for Germany:--There is a tendency in human
nature to elect the obligations of natural law in preference to
those of spiritual law; to take its code of ethics from science,
and, following this tendency, the Germans found in their reading of
Darwin sanction for manifestations of brutality.

Here are a few examples of how German philosophers amplify the
Darwinian text:--“In matter dwell all natural and spiritual
potencies. Matter is the foundation of all being.” “What we call
spirit, thought, the faculty of knowledge, consists of natural
though peculiarly combined forces.” Darwin himself protests against
the struggle for existence being the most potent agency where the
higher part of man’s nature is concerned, and he no more thought
of giving a materialistic tendency to modern education than Locke
thought of teaching principles which should bring about the
French Revolution; but men’s thoughts are more potent than they
know, and these two Englishmen may be credited with influencing
powerfully two world-wide movements. In Germany, “prepared by a
quarter of a century of materialistic thought,” the teaching of
Darwin was accepted as offering emancipation from various moral
restraints. Ernst Haeckel, his distinguished follower, finds
in the law of natural selection sanction for Germany’s lawless
action, and also, that pregnant doctrine of the superman. “This
principle of selection is nothing less than democratic; on the
contrary it is aristocratic in the strictest sense of the word.”
We know how Büchner, again, simplified and popularised these new
theories,--“All the faculties which we include under the name of
psychical activities are only functions of the brain substance.
Thought stands in the same relation to the brain as the gall to the
liver.”

What use, or misuse, Germany has made of the teaching of Darwin
would not (save for the War) be of immediate concern to us, were
it not that she has given us back our own in the form of that
“mythology of faculty psychology” which is all we possess in the
way of educational thought. English psychology proper has advanced
if not to firm ground, at any rate to the point of repudiating the
‘faculty’ basis. “However much assailed, the concept of a ‘mind’
is,” we are told, “to be found in all psychological writers.”[4]
But there are but mind and matter, and when we are told again that
“psychology rests on feeling,” where are we? Is there a middle
region?


II

We fail to recognize that as the body requires wholesome food and
cannot nourish itself upon _any_ substance so the mind too requires
meat after its kind. If the War taught nothing else it taught us
that men are spirits, that the spirit, mind, of a man is more than
his flesh, that his spirit _is_ the man, that for the thoughts
of his heart he gives the breath of his body. As a consequence
of this recognition of our spiritual nature, the lesson for us
at the moment is that the great thoughts, great events, great
considerations, which form the background of our national thought,
shall be the content of the education we pass on.

The educational thought we hear most about is, as I have said,
based on sundry Darwinian axioms out of which we get the notion
that nothing matters but physical fitness and vocational training.
However important these are, they are not the chief thing. A
century ago when Prussia was shipwrecked in the Napoleonic
wars it was discovered that not Napoleon but Ignorance was the
formidable national enemy; a few philosophers took the matter in
hand, and history, poetry, philosophy, proved the salvation of a
ruined nation, because such studies make for the development of
personality, public spirit, initiative, the qualities of which the
State was in need, and which most advance individual happiness
and success. On the other hand, the period when Germany made her
school curriculum utilitarian marks the beginning of her moral
downfall. History repeats itself. There are interesting rumours
afloat of how the students at Bonn, for example, went in solemn
procession to make a bonfire of French novels, certain prints,
articles of luxury and the like; things like these had brought
about the ruin of Germany and it was the part of the youth to save
her now as before. Are they to have another Tugendbund?

We want an education which shall nourish the mind while not
neglecting either physical or vocational training; in short,
we want a working philosophy of education. I think that we of
the P.N.E.U. have arrived at such a body of theory, tested and
corrected by some thirty years of successful practice with
thousands of children. This theory has already been set forth in
volumes[5] published at intervals during the last thirty-five
years; so I shall indicate here only a few salient points which
seem to me to differ from general theory and practice,--

  (_a_) The children, not the teachers, are the responsible
  persons; they do the work by self-effort.

  (_b_) The teachers give sympathy and occasionally elucidate, sum
  up or enlarge, but the actual work is done by the scholars.

  (_c_) These read in a term one, or two, or three thousand pages,
  according to their age, school and Form, in a large number of set
  books. The quantity set for each lesson allows of only a single
  reading; but the reading is tested by narration, or by writing on
  a test passage. When the terminal examination is at hand so much
  ground has been covered that revision is out of the question;
  what the children have read they know, and write on any part of
  it with ease and fluency, in vigorous English; they usually spell
  well.

  Much is said from time to time to show that ‘mere book-learning’
  is rather contemptible, and that “Things are in the saddle and
  ride mankind.” May I point out that whatever discredit is due to
  the use of books does not apply to this method, which so far as I
  can discover has not hitherto been employed. Has an attempt been
  made before on a wide scale to secure that scholars should know
  their books, many pages in many books, at a single reading, in
  such a way that months later they can write freely and accurately
  on any part of the term’s reading?

  (_d_) There is no selection of studies, or of passages or of
  episodes, on the ground of interest. The best available book is
  chosen and is read through perhaps in the course of two or three
  years.

  (_e_) The children study many books on many subjects, but exhibit
  no confusion of thought, and ‘howlers’ are almost unknown.

  (_f_) They find that, in Bacon’s phrase, “Studies serve
  for delight”; this delight being not in the lessons or the
  personality of the teacher, but purely in their ‘lovely books,’
  ‘glorious books.’

  (_g_) The books used are, whenever possible, literary in style.

  (_h_) Marks, prizes, places, rewards, punishments, praise, blame,
  or other inducements are not necessary to secure attention, which
  is voluntary, immediate and surprisingly perfect.

  (_i_) The success of the scholars in what may be called
  disciplinary subjects, such as Mathematics and Grammar, depends
  largely on the power of the teacher, though the pupils’ habit of
  attention is of use in these too.

  (_j_) No stray lessons are given on interesting subjects; the
  knowledge the children get is consecutive.

The unusual interest children show in their work, their power
of concentration, their wide, and as far as it goes, accurate
knowledge of historical, literary and some scientific subjects, has
challenged attention and the general conclusion is that these are
the children of educated and cultivated parents. It was vain to
urge that the home schoolroom does not usually produce remarkable
educational results; but the way is opening to prove that the power
these children show is common to _all_ children; at last there is
hope that the offspring of working-class parents may be led into
the wide pastures of a liberal education.

Are we not justified in concluding that singular effects must have
commensurate causes, and that we have chanced to light on unknown
tracts in the region of educational thought. At any rate that
GOLDEN RULE of which Comenius was in search has discovered itself,
the Rule,--“WHEREBY TEACHERS SHALL TEACH LESS AND SCHOLARS SHALL
LEARN MORE.”

Let me now outline a few of the educational principles which
account for unusual results.


III

PRINCIPLES HITHERTO UNRECOGNIZED OR DISREGARDED

I have enumerated some of the points in which our work is
exceptional in the hope of convincing the reader that unusual
work carried on successfully in hundreds of schoolrooms--home
and other--is based on principles hitherto unrecognized. The
recognition of these principles should put our national education
on an intelligent basis and should make for general stability, joy
in living, and personal initiative.

May I add one or two more arguments in support of my plea,--

The appeal is not to the clever child only, but to the average and
even to the ‘backward’ child.

This scheme is carried out in less time than ordinary school work
on the same subjects.

There are no revisions, no evening lessons, no cramming or
‘getting up’ of subjects; therefore there is much time whether for
vocational work or interests or hobbies.

All intellectual work is done in the hours of morning school,
and the afternoons are given to field nature studies, drawing,
handicrafts, etc. Notwithstanding these limitations the children
produce a surprising amount of good intellectual work.

No home-work is required.

It is not that ‘we’ (of the P.N.E.U.) are persons of peculiar
genius; it is that, like Paley’s man who found the watch, “we have
chanced on a good thing.”

                                  “No gain
      That I experience must remain unshared.”

We feel that the country and indeed the world should have the
benefit of educational discoveries which act powerfully as a moral
lever, for we are experiencing anew the joy of the Renaissance, but
without its pagan lawlessness.

Let me trace as far as I can recall them the steps by which I
arrived at some of the conclusions upon which we are acting. While
still a young woman I saw a great deal of a family of Anglo-Indian
children who had come ‘home’ to their grandfather’s house and
were being brought up by an aunt who was my intimate friend. The
children were astonishing to me; they were persons of generous
impulses and sound judgment, of great intellectual aptitude, of
imagination and moral insight. These last two points were, I
recollect, illustrated one day by a little maiden of five who came
home from her walk silent and sad; some letting alone, and some
wise openings brought out at last between sobs,--“a poor man--no
home--nothing to eat--no bed to lie upon,”--and then the child was
relieved by tears. Such incidents are common enough in families,
but they were new to me. I was reading a good deal of philosophy
and ‘Education’ at the time for I thought with the enthusiasm of
a young teacher that Education should regenerate the world. I had
an Elementary School and a pioneer Church High School at this same
time so that I was enabled to study children in large groups; but
at school children are not so self-revealing as at home. I began
under the guidance of these Anglo-Indian children to take the
measure of a _person_ and soon to suspect that children are _more_
than we, their elders, except that their ignorance is illimitable.

One limitation I did discover in the minds of these little people;
my friend insisted that they could not understand English Grammar;
I maintained that they could and wrote a little Grammar (still
waiting to be prepared for publication!) for the two of seven and
eight; but she was right; I was allowed to give the lessons myself
with what lucidity and freshness I could command; in vain; the
Nominative ‘Case’ baffled them; their minds rejected the abstract
conception just as children reject the notion of writing an “Essay
on Happiness.” But I was beginning to make discoveries; the second
being, that the mind of a child takes or rejects according to its
needs.

From this point it was not difficult to go on to the perception
that, whether in taking or rejecting, the mind was functioning for
its own nourishment; that the mind, in fact, requires sustenance
as does the body, in order that it increase and be strong; but
because the mind is not to be measured or weighed but is spiritual,
so its sustenance must be spiritual too, must, in fact, be ideas
(in the Platonic sense of images). I soon perceived that children
were well equipped to deal with ideas, and that explanations,
questionings, amplifications, are unnecessary and wearisome.
Children have a natural appetite for knowledge which is informed
with thought. They bring imagination, judgment, and the various
so-called ‘faculties,’ to bear upon a new idea pretty much as the
gastric juices act upon a food ration. This was illuminating but
rather startling; the whole intellectual apparatus of the teacher,
his power of vivid presentation, apt illustration, able summing
up, subtle questioning, all these were hindrances and intervened
between children and the right nutriment duly served; this, on the
other hand, they received with the sort of avidity and simplicity
with which a healthy child eats his dinner.

The Scottish school of philosophers came to my aid here with
what may be called their doctrine of the desires, which, I
perceived, stimulate the action of mind and so cater for spiritual
(not necessarily religious) sustenance as the appetites do for
that of the body and for the continuance of the race. This was
helpful; I inferred that one of these, the Desire of Knowledge
(Curiosity) was the chief instrument of education; that this
desire might be paralysed or made powerless like an unused limb
by encouraging other desires to intervene between a child and the
knowledge proper for him; the desire for place,--emulation; for
prizes,--avarice; for power,--ambition; for praise,--vanity, might
each be a stumbling block to him. It seemed to me that we teachers
had unconsciously elaborated a system which should secure the
discipline of the schools and the eagerness of the scholars,--by
means of marks, prizes, and the like,--and yet eliminate that
knowledge-hunger, itself the quite sufficient incentive to
education.

Then arose the question,--Cannot people get on with little
knowledge? Is it really necessary after all? My child-friends
supplied the answer: their insatiable curiosity shewed me that the
wide world and its history was barely enough to satisfy a child who
had not been made apathetic by spiritual malnutrition. What, then,
is knowledge?--was the next question that occurred; a question
which the intellectual labour of ages has not settled; but perhaps
this is enough to go on with;--that only becomes knowledge to a
person which he has assimilated, which his mind has acted upon.

Children’s aptitude for knowledge and their eagerness for it made
for the conclusion that the field of a child’s knowledge may not be
artificially restricted, that he has a right to and necessity for
as much and as varied knowledge as he is able to receive; and that
the limitations in his curriculum should depend only upon the age
at which he must leave school; in a word, a _common_ curriculum (up
to the age of say, fourteen or fifteen) appears to be due to all
children.

We have left behind the feudal notion that intellect is a class
prerogative, that intelligence is a matter of inheritance and
environment; inheritance, no doubt, means much but everyone has
a very mixed inheritance; environment makes for satisfaction or
uneasiness, but education is of the spirit and is not to be taken
in by the eye or effected by the hand; mind appeals to mind and
thought begets thought and that is how we become educated. For this
reason we owe it to every child to put him in communication with
great minds that he may get at great thoughts; with the minds,
that is, of those who have left us great works; and the only vital
method of education appears to be that children should read worthy
books, many worthy books.

It will be said on the one hand that many schools have their own
libraries or the scholars have the free use of a public library and
that children do read; and on the other that the literary language
of first-rate books offers an impassable barrier to working-men’s
children. In the first place we all know that desultory reading is
delightful and incidentally profitable but is not _education_ whose
concern is _knowledge_. That is, the mind of the desultory reader
only rarely makes the act of appropriation which is necessary
before the matter we read becomes personal knowledge. We must read
in order to know or we do not know by reading.

As for the question of literary form, many circumstances and
considerations which it would take too long to describe brought me
to perceive that delight in literary form is native to us all until
we are ‘educated’ out of it.

It is difficult to explain how I came to a solution of a puzzling
problem,--how to secure attention. Much observation of children,
various incidents from one’s general reading, the recollection of
my own childhood and the consideration of my present habits of
mind brought me to the recognition of certain laws of the mind, by
working in accordance with which the steady attention of children
of any age and any class in society is insured, week in, week
out,--attention, not affected by distracting circumstances. It is
not a matter of ‘personal magnetism,’ for hundreds of teachers of
very varying quality, working in home schoolrooms and in Elementary
and Secondary Schools on this method,[6] secure it without effort;
neither does it rest upon the ‘doctrine of interest’; no doubt
the scholars are interested, sometimes delighted; but they are
interested in a great variety of matters and their attention does
not flag in the ‘dull parts.’

It is not easy to sum up in a few short sentences those principles
upon which the mind naturally acts and which I have tried to
bring to bear upon a school curriculum. The fundamental idea is,
that children are _persons_ and are therefore moved by the same
springs of conduct as their elders. Among these is the Desire of
Knowledge, knowledge-hunger being natural to everybody. History,
Geography, the thoughts of other people, roughly, the humanities,
are proper for us all, and are the objects of the natural desire
of knowledge. So too, are Science, for we all live in the world;
and Art, for we all require beauty, and are eager to know how to
discriminate; social science, Ethics, for we are aware of the need
to learn about the conduct of life; and Religion, for, like those
men we heard of at the Front, we all ‘want God.’

In the nature of things then the unspoken demand of children is
for a wide and very varied curriculum; it is necessary that they
should have some knowledge of the wide range of interests proper
to them as human beings, and for no reasons of convenience or time
limitations may we curtail their proper curriculum.

Perceiving the range of knowledge to which children as persons are
entitled the questions are, how shall they be induced to take that
knowledge, and what can the children of the people learn in the
short time they are at school? We have discovered a working answer
to these two conundrums. I say discovered, and not invented, for
there is only one way of learning, and the intelligent persons
who can talk well on many subjects and the expert in one learn in
the one way, that is, _they read to know_. What I have found out
is, that this method is available for every child, whether in the
dilatory and desultory home schoolroom or in the large classes of
Elementary Schools.

Children no more come into the world without provision for dealing
with knowledge than without provision for dealing with food. They
bring with them not only that intellectual appetite, the desire of
knowledge, but also an enormous, an unlimited power of attention to
which the power of retention (memory) seems to be attached, as one
digestive process succeeds another, until the final assimilation.
“Yes,” it will be said, “they are capable of much curiosity and
consequent attention but they can only occasionally be beguiled
into attending to their lessons.” Is not that the fault of the
lessons, and must not these be regulated as carefully with regard
to the behaviour of mind as the children’s meals are with regard to
physical considerations?

Let us consider this behaviour in a few aspects. The mind concerns
itself only with thoughts, imaginations, reasoned arguments;
it declines to assimilate the facts unless in combination with
its proper pabulum; it, being active, is wearied in the passive
attitude of a listener, it is as much bored in the case of a child
by the discursive twaddle of the talking teacher as in that of a
grown-up by conversational twaddle; it has a natural preference
for literary form; given a more or less literary presentation, the
curiosity of the mind is enormous and embraces a vast variety of
subjects.

I predicate these things of ‘the mind’ because they seem true of
all persons’ minds. Having observed these, and some other points
in the behaviour of mind, it remained to apply the conclusions to
which I had come to a test curriculum for schools and families.
Oral teaching was to a great extent ruled out; a large number
of books on many subjects were set for reading in morning
school-hours; so much work was set that there was only time for
a single reading; all reading was tested by a narration of the
whole or a given passage, whether orally or in writing. Children
working on these lines know months after that which they have read
and are remarkable for their power of concentration (attention);
they have little trouble with spelling or composition and become
well-informed, intelligent persons.[7]

But, it will be said, reading or hearing various books read,
chapter by chapter, and then narrating or writing what has been
read or some part of it,--all this is mere memory work. The value
of this criticism may be readily tested; will the critic read
before turning off his light a leading article from a newspaper,
say, or a chapter from Boswell or Jane Austen, or one of Lamb’s
Essays; then, will he put himself to sleep by narrating silently
what he has read. He will not be satisfied with the result but he
will find that in the act of narrating every power of his mind
comes into play, that points and bearings which he had not observed
are brought out; that the whole is visualized and brought into
relief in an extraordinary way; in fact, that scene or argument
has become a part of his personal experience; he _knows_, he has
assimilated what he has read. _This is not memory work._ In order
to memorise, we repeat over and over a passage or a series of
points or names with the aid of such clues as we can invent; we
do memorise a string of facts or words, and the new possession
serves its purpose for a time, but it is not assimilated; its
purpose being served, we know it no more. This is memory work by
means of which examinations are passed with credit. I will not try
to explain (or understand!) this power to memorise; it has its
subsidiary use in education, no doubt, but it must not be put in
the place of the prime agent which is _attention_.

Long ago, I was in the habit of hearing this axiom quoted by a
philosophical old friend:--“The mind can know nothing save what
it can produce in the form of an answer to a question put to
the mind by itself.” I have failed to trace the saying to its
source, but a conviction of its importance has been growing upon
me during the last forty years. It tacitly prohibits questioning
from without; (this does not, of course, affect the Socratic use
of questioning for purposes of _moral_ conviction); and it is
necessary to intellectual certainty, to the act of knowing. For
example, to secure a conversation or an incident, we ‘go over it
in our minds’; that is, the mind puts itself through the process
of self-questioning which I have indicated. This is what happens
in the narrating of a passage read: each new consecutive incident
or statement arrives because the mind asks itself,--“What next?”
For this reason it is important that only one reading should be
allowed; efforts to memorise weaken the power of attention, the
proper activity of the mind; if it is desirable to ask questions in
order to emphasize certain points, these should be asked after and
not before, or during, the act of narration.

Our more advanced psychologists come to our support here; they,
too, predicate “instead of a coterie of faculties, a single
subjective activity, attention;” and again, there is “one common
factor in all psychical activity, that is attention.”[8] My
personal addition is that attention is unfailing, prompt and
steady when matter is presented suitable to a child’s intellectual
requirements, _if_ the presentation be made with the conciseness,
directness, and simplicity proper to literature.

Another point should be borne in mind; the intellect requires a
moral impulse, and we all stir our minds into action the better if
there is an implied ‘must’ in the background; for children in class
the ‘must’ acts through the _certainty_ that they will be required
to narrate or write from what they have read with no opportunity of
‘looking up,’ or other devices of the idle. Children find the act
of narrating so pleasurable in itself that urgency on the part of
the teacher is seldom necessary.

Here is a complete chain of the educational philosophy I have
endeavoured to work out, which has, at least, the merit that it
is successful in practice. Some few hints I have, as I have said,
adopted and applied, but I hope I have succeeded in methodising the
whole and making education what it should be, a system of applied
philosophy; I have, however, carefully abstained from the use of
philosophical terms.

This is, briefly, how it works:--

  A child is a _person_ with the spiritual requirements and
  capabilities of a person.

  Knowledge ‘nourishes’ the mind as food nourishes the body.

  A child requires knowledge as much as he requires food.

  He is furnished with the desire for Knowledge, i.e., Curiosity;

      with the power to apprehend Knowledge, that is, attention;

      with powers of mind to deal with Knowledge without aid from
      without--such as imagination, reflection, judgment;

      with innate interest in all Knowledge that he needs as a
      human being;

      with power to retain and communicate such Knowledge; and to
      assimilate all that is necessary to him.

  He requires that in most cases Knowledge be communicated to him
  in literary form;

      and reproduces such Knowledge touched by his own personality;
      thus his reproduction becomes original.

  The natural provision for the appropriation and assimilation of
  Knowledge is adequate and no stimulus is required; but some moral
  control is necessary to secure the act of attention;

      a child receives this in the certainty that he will be
      required to recount what he has read.

  Children have a right to the best we possess; therefore their
  lesson books should be, as far as possible, our best books.

  They weary of talk, and questions bore them, so that they should
  be allowed to use their books for themselves; they will ask for
  such help as they wish for.

  They require a great variety of knowledge,--about religion, the
  humanities, science, art;

  therefore, they should have a wide curriculum, with a definite
  amount of reading set for each short period of study.

  The teacher affords direction, sympathy in studies, a vivifying
  word here and there, help in the making of experiments, etc., as
  well as the usual teaching in languages, experimental science and
  mathematics.

  Pursued under these conditions, “Studies serve for delight,”
  and the consciousness of daily progress is exhilarating to both
  teacher and children.

The reader will say with truth,--“I knew all this before and have
always acted more or less on these principles”; and I can only
point to the unusual results we obtain through adhering not ‘more
or less,’ but strictly to the principles and practices I have
indicated. I suppose the difficulties are of the sort that Lister
had to contend with; every surgeon knew that his instruments and
appurtenances should be kept clean, but the saving of millions
of lives has resulted from the adoption of the great surgeon’s
antiseptic treatment; that is from the substitution of exact
principles scrupulously applied for the rather casual ‘more or
less’ methods of earlier days.

Whether the way I have sketched out is the right and the only way
remains to be tested still more widely than in the thousands of
cases in which it has been successful; but assuredly education is
slack and uncertain for the lack of sound principles _exactly_
applied. The moment has come for a decision; we have placed our
faith in ‘civilisation,’ have been proud of our progress; and,
of the pangs that the War has brought us, perhaps none is keener
than that caused by the utter breakdown of the civilisation which
we have held to be synonymous with education. We know better now,
and are thrown back on our healthy human instincts and the Divine
sanctions. The educable part of a person is his mind. The training
of the senses and muscles is, strictly speaking, training and not
education. The mind, like the body, requires quantity, variety and
regularity in the sustenance offered to it. Like the body, the
mind has its appetite, the desire for knowledge. Again, like the
body, the mind is able to receive and assimilate by its powers of
attention and reflection. Like the body, again, the mind rejects
insipid, dry, and unsavoury food, that is to say, its pabulum
should be presented in a literary form. The mind is restricted to
pabulum of one kind: it is nourished upon ideas and absorbs facts
only as these are connected with the living ideas upon which they
hang. Children educated upon some such lines as these respond in
a surprising way, developing capacity, character, countenance,
initiative and a sense of responsibility. They are, in fact, even
as children, good and thoughtful citizens.

I have in this volume attempted to show the principles and methods
upon which education of this sort is being successfully carried
out, and have added chapters which illustrate the history of a
movement the aim of which is, in the phrase of Comenius,--“All
knowledge for all men.” As well as these I have been permitted
to use the criticisms[9] of various teachers and Directors of
education and others upon the practical working of the scheme.

It is a matter of rejoicing that the way is open to give to all
classes a basis of common thought and common knowledge, including a
common store of literary and historic allusions, a possession which
has a curious power of cementing bodies of men, and, in the next
place, it is an enormous gain that we are within sight of giving to
the working-classes, notwithstanding their limited opportunities,
that stability of mind and magnanimity of character which are the
proper outcome and the unfailing test of A LIBERAL EDUCATION.

I shall confine myself in this volume to the amplification and
illustration of some of the points I have endeavoured to make in
this introductory statement.



Book I



CHAPTER I

SELF-EDUCATION


The title of this chapter may awaken some undeserved sympathy;
gratifying visions of rhythmic movements, independent action,
self-expression in various interesting ways, occur to the mind--for
surely these things constitute ‘self-education’? Most of these
modern panacea are desirable and by no means to be neglected;
limbs trained to grace and agility, a hand, to dexterity and
precision, an eye made to see and an ear to hear, a voice taught to
interpret,--we know to-day that all these possibilities of joy in
living should be open to every child, and we look forward even too
hopefully to the manner of citizen who shall be the outcome of our
educational zeal.

Now, although we, of the Parents’ Union, have initiated some of
these educational outworks and have gladly and gratefully adopted
others, yet is our point of view different; we are profoundly
sceptical as to the effect of all or any of these activities upon
character and conduct. A person is not built up from without but
from within, that is, he is _living_, and all external educational
appliances and activities which are intended to mould his character
are decorative and not vital.

This sounds like a stale truism; but, let us consider a few
corollaries of the notion that ‘a child is a person,’ and that
a person is, primarily, living. Now no external application is
capable of nourishing life or promoting growth; baths of wine,
wrappings of velvet have no effect upon physical life except as
they may hinder it; life is sustained on that which is taken in by
the organism, not by that which is applied from without.

Perhaps the only allowable analogy with the human mind is the
animal body, especially the human body, for it is that which
we know most about; the well-worn plant and garden analogy is
misleading, especially as regards that tiresome busybody, the
gardener, who _will_ direct the inclination of every twig, the
position of every leaf; but, even then apart from the gardener, the
child-garden is an intolerable idea as failing to recognize the
essential property of a child, his personality, a property all but
absent in a plant. Now, let us consider for a moment the parallel
behaviour of body and mind. The body lives by air, grows on food,
demands rest, flourishes on a diet wisely various. So, of the
mind,--(by which I mean the entire spiritual nature, all that which
is not body),--it breathes in air, calls for both activity and rest
and flourishes on a wisely varied dietary.

We go round the house and round the house, but rarely go into the
House of Mind; we offer mental gymnastics, but these do not take
the place of food, and of that we serve the most meagre rations,
no more than that bean a day! Diet for the body is abundantly
considered, but no one pauses to say, “I wonder does the mind need
food, too, and regular meals, and what is its proper diet?”

I have asked myself this question and have laboured for fifty years
to find the answer, and am anxious to impart what I think I know,
but the answer cannot be given in the form of ‘Do’ this and that,
but rather as an invitation to ‘Consider’ this and that; action
follows when we have thought duly.

The life of the mind is sustained upon ideas; there is no
intellectual vitality in the mind to which ideas are not presented
several times, say, every day. But ‘surely, surely,’ as ‘Mrs.
Proudie’ would say, scientific experiments, natural beauty, nature
study, rhythmic movements, sensory exercises, are all fertile in
ideas? Quite commonly, they are so, as regards ideas of invention
and discovery; and even in ideas of art; but for the moment it
may be well to consider the ideas that influence life, that is,
character and conduct; these, it would seem, pass directly from
mind to mind, and are neither helped nor hindered by educational
outworks. Every child gets many of these ideas by word of mouth,
by way of family traditions, proverbial philosophy,--in fact, by
what we might call a kind of oral literature. But, when we compare
the mind with the body, we perceive that three ‘square’ meals a
day are generally necessary to health, and that a casual diet of
ideas is poor and meagre. Our schools turn out a good many clever
young persons, wanting in nothing but initiative, the power of
reflection and the sort of moral imagination which enables you to
‘put yourself in his place.’ These qualities flourish upon a proper
diet; and this is not afforded by the ordinary school book, or,
in sufficient quantity by the ordinary lesson. I should like to
emphasize _quantity_, which is as important for the mind as for the
body; both require their ‘square meals.’

It is no easy matter to give its proper sustenance to the mind;
hard things are said of children, that they have ‘no brains,’ ‘a
low order of intellect,’ and so on; but many of us are able to
vouch for the fine intelligence shewn by children who are fed
with the proper mind-stuff; but teachers do not usually take the
trouble to find out what this is. We come dangerously near to what
Plato condemns as “that lie of the soul,” that corruption of the
highest truth, of which Protagoras is guilty in the saying that,
“Knowledge is sensation.” What else are we saying when we run
after educational methods which are purely sensory? Knowledge is
not sensation, nor is it to be derived through sensation; we feed
upon the thoughts of other minds; and thought applied to thought
generates thought and we become more thoughtful. No one need invite
us to reason, compare, imagine; the mind, like the body, digests
its proper food, and it must have the labour of digestion or it
ceases to function.

But the children ask for bread and we give them a stone; we give
information about objects and events which mind does not attempt
to digest but casts out bodily (upon an examination paper?). But
let information hang upon a principle, be inspired by an idea,
and it is taken with avidity and used in making whatsoever in the
spiritual nature stands for tissue in the physical.

“Education,” said Lord Haldane, some time ago, “is a matter of the
spirit,”--no wiser word has been said on the subject, and yet we
persist in applying education from without as a bodily activity
or emollient. We begin to see light. No one knoweth the things of
a man but the spirit of a man which is in him; therefore, there
is no education but self-education, and as soon as a young child
begins his education he does so as a student. Our business is to
give him mind-stuff, and both quality and quantity are essential.
Naturally, each of us possesses this mind-stuff only in limited
measure, but we know where to procure it; for the best thought the
world possesses is stored in books; we must open books to children,
the best books; our own concern is abundant provision and orderly
serving.

I am jealous for the children; every modern educational movement
tends to belittle them intellectually; and none more so than a
late ingenious attempt to feed normal children with the pap-meat
which may (?) be good for the mentally sick: but, “To all wildly
popular things comes suddenly and inexorably death, without
hope of resurrection.” If Mr. Bernard Shaw is right, I need not
discuss a certain popular form of ‘New Education.’ It has been
ably said that education should profit by the divorce which is now
in progress from psychology on the one hand and sociology on the
other; but what if education should use her recovered liberty to
make a monstrous alliance with pathology?

Various considerations urge upon me a rather distasteful task.
It is time I showed my hand and gave some account of work, the
principles and practices of which should, I think, be of general
use. Like those lepers who feasted at the gates of a famished city,
I begin to take shame to myself! I have attempted to unfold (in
various volumes[10]) a system of educational theory which seems to
me able to meet any rational demand, even that severest criterion
set up by Plato; it is able to “run the gauntlet of objections,
and is ready to disprove them, not by appeals to opinion, but
to absolute truth.” Some of it is new, much of it is old. Like
the quality of mercy, it is not strained; certainly it is twice
blessed, it blesses him that gives and him that takes, and a sort
of radiancy of look distinguishes both scholar and teacher engaged
in this manner of education; but there are no startling results to
challenge attention.

Professor Bompas Smith remarked in an inaugural address at the
University of Manchester that,--“If we can guide our practice by
the light of a comprehensive theory we shall widen our experience
by attempting tasks which would not otherwise have occurred to us.”
It is possible to offer the light of such a comprehensive theory,
and the result is precisely what the Professor indicates,--a large
number of teachers attempt tasks which would not otherwise have
occurred to them. One discovers a thing because it is there, and
no sane person takes credit to himself for such discovery. On the
contrary, he recognizes with King Arthur,--“These jewels, whereupon
I chanced Divinely, are for public use.” For many years we have had
access to a sort of Aladdin’s cave which I long to throw open ‘for
public use.’

Let me try to indicate some of the advantages of the theory I am
urging:--It fits all ages, even the seven ages of man! It satisfies
brilliant children and discovers intelligence in the dull. It
secures attention, interest, concentration, without effort on the
part of teacher or taught.

Children, I think, all children, so taught express themselves
in forcible and fluent English and use a copious vocabulary. An
unusual degree of nervous stability is attained; also, intellectual
occupation seems to make for chastity in thought and life. Parents
become interested in the schoolroom work, and find their children
‘delightful companions.’ Children shew delight in books (other than
story books) and manifest a genuine love of knowledge. Teachers are
relieved from much of the labour of corrections. Children taught
according to this method do exceptionally well at any school. It is
unnecessary to stimulate these young scholars by marks, prizes, etc.

After all, it is not a quack medicine I am writing about, though
the reader might think so, and there is no 1_s._ 1½_d._ a bottle in
question!

Over thirty years ago I published a volume about the home
education of children and people wrote asking how those counsels
of perfection could be carried out with the aid of the private
governess as she then existed; it occurred to me that a series of
curricula might be devised embodying sound principles and securing
that children should be in a position of less dependence on their
teacher than they then were; in other words, that their education
should be largely self-education. A sort of correspondence school
was set up, the motto of which,--“I am, I can, I ought, I will,”
has had much effect in throwing children upon the possibilities,
capabilities, duties and determining power belonging to them as
persons.

“Children are born persons,” is the first article of the
educational _credo_ in question. The response made by children
(ranging in age from six to eighteen) astonished me; though they
only shewed the power of attention, the avidity for knowledge, the
clearness of thought, the nice discrimination in books, and the
ability to deal with many subjects, for which I had given them
credit in advance. I need not repeat what I have urged elsewhere
on the subject of ‘Knowledge’ and will only add that anyone may
apply a test; let him read to a child of any age from six to ten an
account of an incident, graphically and tersely told, and the child
will relate what he has heard point by point, though not word for
word, and will add delightful original touches; what is more, he
will relate the passage months later because he has visualised the
scene and appropriated that bit of knowledge. A rhetorical passage,
written in ‘journalese,’ makes no impression on him; if a passage
be read more than once, he may become letter-perfect, but the
spirit, the individuality has gone out of the exercise. An older
boy or girl will read one of Bacon’s Essays, say, or a passage from
De Quincey, and will write or tell it forcibly and with some style,
either at the moment or months later. We know how Fox recited
a whole pamphlet of Burke’s at a College supper though he had
probably read it no more than once. Here on the very surface is the
key to that attention, interest, literary style, wide vocabulary,
love of books and readiness in speaking, which we all feel should
belong to an education that is only begun at school and continued
throughout life; these are the things that we all desire, and how
to obtain them is some part of the open secret I am labouring to
disclose ‘for public use.’

I am anxious to bring a quite successful educational experiment
before the public at a moment when we are told on authority that
“Education must be ... an appeal to the spirit if it is to be
made interesting.” Here is Education which is as interesting and
fascinating as a fine art to parents, children and teachers.

During the last thirty years thousands of children educated on
these lines have grown up in love with Knowledge and manifesting a
‘right judgment in all things’ so far as a pretty wide curriculum
gives them data.

I would have children taught _to read_ before they learn
the mechanical arts of reading and writing; and they learn
delightfully; they give perfect attention to paragraph or page read
to them and are able to relate the matter point by point, _in their
own words_; but they demand classical English and cannot learn to
read in this sense upon anything less. They begin their ‘schooling’
in ‘letters’ at six, and begin at the same time to learn mechanical
reading and writing. A child does not lose by spending a couple
of years in acquiring these because he is meanwhile ‘reading’
the Bible, history, geography, tales, with close attention and a
remarkable power of reproduction, or rather, of translation into
his own language; he is acquiring a copious vocabulary and the
habit of consecutive speech. In a word, he is an educated child
from the first, and his power of dealing with books, with several
books in the course of a morning’s ‘school,’ increases with his age.

But children are not all alike; there is as much difference between
them as between men or women; two or three months ago, a small
boy, not quite six, came to school (by post); and his record
was that he could read anything in five languages, and was now
teaching himself the Greek characters, could find his way about
the Continental Bradshaw, and was a chubby, vigorous little person.
All this the boy brings with him when he comes to school; he is
exceptional, of course, just as a man with such accomplishments
is exceptional; but I believe that all children bring with them
much capacity which is not recognized by their teachers, chiefly
intellectual capacity, (always in advance of motor power), which we
are apt to drown in deluges of explanation, or dissipate in futile
labours in which there is no advance.

People are naturally divided into those who read and think and
those who do not read or think; and the business of schools is to
see that all their scholars shall belong to the former class; it is
worth while to remember that thinking is inseparable from reading
which is concerned with the content of a passage and not merely
with the printed matter.

The children I am speaking of are much occupied with things as well
as with books, because ‘Education is the Science of Relations,’ is
the principle which regulates their curriculum; that is, a child
goes to school with many aptitudes which he should put into effect.
So, he learns a good deal of science, because children have no
difficulty in understanding principles, though technical details
baffle them. He practises various handicrafts that he may know
the feel of wood, clay, leather, and the joy of handling tools,
that is, that he may establish a due relation with materials.
But, always, it is the book, the knowledge, the clay, the bird or
blossom, he thinks of, not his own place or his own progress.

I am afraid that some knowledge of the theory we advance is
necessary to the open-minded teacher who would give our practices
a trial, because every detail of schoolroom work is the outcome
of certain principles. For instance it would be quite easy
without much thought to experiment with our use of books; but in
education, as in religion, it is the motive that counts, and the
boy who reads his lesson for a ‘good mark’ becomes word-perfect,
but does not _know_. But these principles are obvious and simple
enough, and, when we consider that at present education is chaotic
for want of a unifying theory, and that there happens to be no
other comprehensive theory in the field which is in line with
modern thought and fits every occasion, might it not be well to try
one which is immediately practicable and always pleasant and has
proved itself by producing many capable, serviceable, dutiful men
and women of sound judgment and willing mind?

In urging a method of self-education for children in lieu of the
vicarious education which prevails, I should like to dwell on
the enormous relief to teachers, a self-sacrificing and greatly
overburdened class; the difference is just that between driving a
horse that is light and a horse that is heavy in hand; the former
covers the ground of his own gay will and the driver goes merrily.
The teacher who allows his scholars the freedom of the city of
books is at liberty to be their guide, philosopher and friend; and
is no longer the mere instrument of forcible intellectual feeding.



CHAPTER II

CHILDREN ARE BORN PERSONS


1.--THE MIND OF A CHILD

  “_No sooner doth the truth ... come into the soul’s sight, but
  the soul knows her to be her first and old acquaintance._”

  “_The consequence of truth is great, therefore the judgment of it
  must not be negligent._”

It should not surprise the reader that a chapter, designed to set
forth a startling truth, should open with the weighty words of an
old Divine (Whichcote). But truths get flat and wonders stale upon
us. We do not care much about the starry firmament, the budding
trees, the cunning architecture of the birds; and to all except
young parents and young brothers and sisters a baby is no longer a
marvel. The completeness of the new baby brother is what children
admire most, his toes and his fingers, his ears and all the small
perfections of him. His guardians have some understanding of the
baby; they know that his chief business is to grow and they feed
him with food convenient for him. If they are wise they give free
play to all the wrigglings and stretchings which give power to
his feeble muscles. His parents know what he will come to, and
feel that here is a new chance for the world. In the meantime, he
needs food, sleep and shelter and a great deal of love. So much we
all know. But is the baby more than a ‘huge oyster’? That is the
problem before us and hitherto educators have been inclined to
answer it in the negative. Their notion is that by means of a pull
here, a push there, a compression elsewhere a person is at last
turned out according to the pattern the educator has in his mind.

The other view is that the beautiful infant frame is but the
setting of a jewel of such astonishing worth that, put the whole
world in one scale and this jewel in the other, and the scale which
holds the world flies up outbalanced. A poet looks back on the
glimmering haze of his own infancy and this is the sort of thing he
sees,--

  “I was entertained like an angel with the works of God in their
  splendour and glory.... Is it not strange that an infant should
  be heir of the whole world and see those mysteries which the
  books of the learned never unfold?... The corn was orient and
  immortal wheat which never should be reaped nor was ever sown. I
  thought it had stood from everlasting to everlasting. The dust
  and stones of the street were as precious gold.... The green
  trees transported and ravished me. Their sweetness and unusual
  beauty made my heart to leap.... Boys and girls tumbling in the
  streets were moving jewels. I knew not that they were born or
  should die.... The streets were mine, the people were mine, their
  clothes and gold and silver were mine as much as their sparkling
  eyes, fair skins and ruddy faces. The skies were mine and so were
  the sun and moon and stars, and all the world was mine and I the
  only spectator and enjoyer of it.”

It takes a poet like Traherne to retain and produce such vivid
memories, though perhaps we can all recall the sense that we were
spectators at the show of life, and we can recollect a sunny
time before we were able to speak or tell what we knew. _Punch_
amused us at one time with a baby’s views of his nurse and his
surroundings and especially of the unwarranted pulls and pushes
to which he was subject; but probably an infant is no critic. His
business is to perceive and receive and these he does day in and
day out.

We have an idea that poets say more than they know, express more
than they see, and that their version of life must be taken _cum
grano_, but perhaps the fact is that no labour of the mind enables
them to catch and put into words the full realities of which they
are cognisant, and therefore we may take Wordsworth, Coleridge,
Vaughan and the rest as witnesses who only hint at the glory which
might be revealed. We are not poets and are disposed to discount
the sayings of the poets, but the most prosaic of us comes across
evidence of mind in children, and of mind astonishingly alert. Let
us consider, in the first two years of life they manage to get
through more intellectual effort than any following two years can
show. Supposing that much-discussed Martian were at last able to
make his way to our planet, think of how much he must learn before
he could accommodate himself to our conditions! Our notions of hard
and soft, wet and dry, hot and cold, stable and unstable, far and
near, would be as foreign to him as they are to an infant who holds
out his pinafore for the moon. We do not know what the Martian
means of locomotion are but we can realise that to run and jump and
climb stairs, even to sit and stand at will must require fully as
much reasoned endeavour as it takes in after years to accomplish
skating, dancing, ski-ing, fencing, whatever athletic exercises
people spend years in perfecting; and all these the infant
accomplishes in his first two years. He learns the properties
of matter, knows colours and has first notions of size, solid,
liquid; has learned in his third year to articulate with surprising
clearness. What is more, he has learned a language, two languages,
if he has had the opportunity, and the writer has known of three
languages being mastered by a child of three, and one of them was
Arabic; mastered, that is, so far that a child can say all that
he needs to say in any one of the three--the sort of mastery most
of us wish for when we are travelling in foreign countries. Lady
Mary Wortley Montagu tells us that in her time the little children
of Constantinople prattled in five tongues with a good knowledge
of each. If we have not proved that a child is born a person with
a mind as complete and as beautiful as his beautiful little body,
we can at least show that he always has all the mind he requires
for his occasions; that is, that his mind is the instrument of his
education and that _his education does not produce his mind_.

Who shall measure the range of a child’s thoughts? His continual
questions about God, his speculations about ‘Jesus,’ are they no
more than idle curiosity, or are they symptoms of a God-hunger
with which we are all born, and is a child able to comprehend as
much of the infinite and the unseen as are his self-complacent
elders? Is he ‘cabined, cribbed, confined,’ in our ways and does
the fairy tale afford a joyful escape to regions where all things
are possible? We are told that children have no imagination, that
they must needs see and touch, taste and handle, in order to know.
While a child’s age is still counted by months, he devotes himself
to learning the properties of things by touching, pulling, tearing,
throwing, tasting, but as months pass into years a _coup d’œil_
suffices for all but new things of complicated structure. Life is
a continual progress to a child. He does not go over old things in
old ways; his joy is to go on. The immensity of his powers brings
its own terrors. Let me again quote Traherne,--

  “Another time in a lowering and sad evening being alone in the
  field when all things were dead and quiet a certain wanton horror
  fell upon me beyond imagination. The unprofitableness and silence
  of the place dissatisfied me: its wildness terrified me. From
  the utmost ends of the earth fear surrounded me.... I was a weak
  and little child and had forgotten there was a man alive on the
  earth. Yet also something of hope and expectation comforted me
  from every border.”

Traherne never loses the lessons that come to him and he goes on,--

  “This taught me that I was concerned in all the world ... that
  the beauties of the earth were made to entertain me ... that the
  presence of cities, temples and kingdoms, ought to sustain me and
  that to be alone in the world was to be desolate and miserable.”

Reason is present in the infant as truly as imagination. As soon
as he can speak he lets us know that he has pondered the ‘cause
why’ of things and perplexes us with a thousand questions. His
‘why?’ is ceaseless. Nor are his reasonings always disinterested.
How soon the little urchin learns to manage his nurse or mother,
to calculate her moods and play upon her feelings! It is in him to
be a little tyrant; “he has a will of his own,” says his nurse,
but she is mistaken in supposing that his stormy manifestations of
greed, wilfulness, temper, are signs of will. It is when the little
boy is able to stop all these and restrain himself with quivering
lip that his will comes into play; for he has a conscience too.
Before he begins to toddle he knows the difference between right
and wrong; even a baby in arms will blush at the ‘naughty baby!’
of his nurse; and that strong will of his acts in proportion as he
learns the difficult art of obedience; for no one can make a child
obey unless he wills to do so, and we all know how small a rebel
may make confusion in house or schoolroom.


2.--THE MIND OF A SCHOOL-CHILD

But we must leave the quite young child, fascinating as he is, and
take him up again when he is ready for lessons. I have made some
attempt elsewhere[11] to show what his parents and teachers owe to
him in those years in which he is engaged in self-education, taking
his lessons from everything he sees and hears, and strengthening
his powers by everything he does. Here, in a volume which is
chiefly concerned with education in the sense of schooling, I am
anxious to bring before teachers the fact that a child comes into
their hands with a mind of amazing potentialities: he has a brain
too, no doubt, the organ and instrument of that same mind, as a
piano is not music but the instrument of music. Probably we need
not concern ourselves about the brain which is subject to the same
conditions as the rest of the material body, is fed with the body’s
food, rests, as the body rests, requires fresh air and wholesome
exercise to keep it in health, but depends upon the mind for its
proper activities.

The world has concerned itself of late so much with psychology,
whose province is what has been called ‘the unconscious mind,’
a region under the sway of nerves and blood (which it is best
perhaps to let alone) that in our educational efforts we tend to
ignore the _mind_ and address ourselves to this region of symptoms.
Now mind, being spiritual, knows no fatigue; brain, too, duly
nourished with the food proper for the body, allowed due conditions
of fresh air and rest, should not know fatigue; given these two
conditions, we have a glorious field of educational possibilities;
but it rests with us to evolve a theory and practice which afford
due recognition to mind. An authoritative saying which we are apt
to associate with the religious life only is equally applicable
to education. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh, we are
told; but we have forgotten this great principle in our efforts
at schooling children. We give them a ‘play way’ and play is
altogether necessary and desirable but is not the avenue which
leads to mind. We give them a fitting environment, which is again
altogether desirable and, again, is not the way to mind. We teach
them beautiful motion and we do well, for the body too must have
its education; but we are not safe if we take these by-paths as
approaches to mind. It is still true that that which is born of
the spirit, is spirit. The way to mind is a quite direct way. Mind
must come into contact with mind through the medium of ideas.
“What is mind?” says the old conundrum, and the answer still is
“No matter.” It is necessary for us who teach to realize that
things material have little effect upon mind, because there are
still among us schools in which the work is altogether material and
technical, whether the teaching is given by means of bars of wood
or more scientific apparatus. The mistress of an Elementary School
writes,--“The father of one of my girls said to me yesterday, ‘You
have given me some work to do. E. has let me have no rest until I
promised to set up my microscope and get pond water to look for
monads and other wonders.’” Here we have the right order. That
which was born of the spirit, the idea, came first and demanded to
confirm and illustrate. “How can these things be?” we ask, and the
answer is not _evident_.

Education, like faith, is the evidence of things not seen. We must
begin with the notion that the business of the body is to grow;
and it grows upon food, which food is composed of living cells,
each a perfect life in itself. In like manner, though all analogies
are misleading and inadequate, the only fit sustenance for the
mind is ideas, and an idea too, like the single cell of cellular
tissue, appears to go through the stages and functions of a life.
We receive it with appetite and some stir of interest. It appears
to feed in a curious way. We hear of a new patent cure for the
mind or the body, of the new thought of some poet, the new notion
of a school of painters; we take in, accept, the idea and for days
after every book we read, every person we talk with brings food to
the newly entertained notion. ‘Not proven,’ will be the verdict of
the casual reader; but if he watch the behaviour of his own mind
towards any of the ideas ‘in the air,’ he will find that some such
process as I have described takes place; and this process must be
considered carefully in the education of children. We may not take
things casually as we have done. Our business is to give children
the great ideas of life, of religion, history, science; but it is
the _ideas_ we must give, clothed upon with facts as they occur,
and must leave the child to deal with these as he chooses.

This is how he deals with Geography, for example:--

  “When I heard of any new kingdom beyond the seas the light and
  glory of it entered into me. It rose up within me and I was
  enlarged by the whole. I entered into it, I saw its commodities,
  springs, meadows, inhabitants and became possessor of that new
  room as if it had been prepared for me so much was I magnified
  and delighted in it. When the Bible was read my spirit was
  present in other ages. I saw the light and splendour of them,
  the land of Canaan, the Israelites entering into it, the ancient
  glory of the Amorites, their peace and riches, their cities,
  houses, vines and fig-trees.... I saw and felt all in such a
  lively manner as if there had been no other way to those places
  but in spirit only.... Without changing place in myself I could
  behold and enjoy all those. Anything when it was proposed though
  it was a thousand years ago being always present before me.”

I venture again to quote Traherne because I know of no writer who
retains so clear a memory of his infancy; but Goethe gives as full
and convincing an account of his experience of the Bible,[12] I say
‘experience’ advisedly, for the word denotes the process by which
children get to know. They _experience_ all the things they hear
and read of; these enter into them and are their life; and thus it
is that ideas feed the mind in the most literal sense of the word
‘feed.’

Do our Geography lessons take the children _there_? Do they
experience, live in, our story of the call of Abraham?--or of the
healing of the blind man on the way to Jericho? If they do not,
it is not for lack of earnestness and intention on the part of
the teacher; his error is rather want of confidence in children.
He has not formed a just measure of a child’s mind and bores
his scholars with much talk about matters which they are able
to understand for themselves much better than he does. How many
teachers know that children require no pictures excepting the
pictures of great artists, which have quite another function than
that of illustration? They see for themselves in their own minds
a far more glorious, and indeed more accurate, presentation than
we can afford in our miserable daubs. They read between the lines
and put in all the author has left out. A child of nine, who had
been reading Lang’s _Tales of Troy and Greece_, drew Ulysses on
the Isle of Calypso cutting down trees to make a raft; a child of
ten, revelling in _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_, drew that Indian
Princess bringing her lovely boy to Titania. We others are content
to know that Ulysses built a raft, that the boy was the child of
an Indian Princess. This is how any child’s mind works, and our
concern is not to starve these fertile intelligences. They must
have food in great abundance and variety. They know what to do with
it well enough and we need not disturb ourselves to provide for
the separate exercise of each so-called ‘faculty’; for the mind
is one and works all together; reason, imagination, reflection,
judgment, what you please, are like ‘all hands’ summoned by the
‘heave-ho!’ of the boatswain. All swarm on deck for the lading of
cargo, that rich and odorous cargo of ideas which the fair vessel
of a child’s mind is waiting to receive. Do we wish every child in
a class to say,--or, if he does not say, to feel,--“I was enlarged
wonderfully” by a Geography lesson? Let him see the place with
the eyes of those who have seen or conceived it; your barographs,
thermographs, contour lines, relief models, sections, profiles and
the like, will not do it. A map of the world must be a panorama
to a child of pictures so entrancing that he would rather ponder
them than go out to play; and nothing is more easy than to give him
this _joie de vivre_. Let him see the world as we ourselves choose
to see it when we travel; its cities and peoples, its mountains
and rivers, and he will go away from his lesson with the piece
of the world he has read about, be it county or country, sea or
shore, as that of “a new room prepared for him, so much will he
be magnified and delighted in it.” All the world is in truth the
child’s possession, prepared for him, and if we keep him out of his
rights by our technical, commercial, even historical, geography,
any sort of geography, in fact, made to illustrate our theories,
we are guilty of fraudulent practices. What he wants is the world
and every bit, piece by piece, each bit a key to the rest. He reads
of the Bore of the Severn and is on speaking terms with a ‘Bore’
wherever it occurs. He need not see a mountain to know a mountain.
He sees all that is described to him with a vividness of which
we know nothing just as if there had been “no other way to those
places but in spirit only.” Who can take the measure of a child?
The Genie of the Arabian tale is nothing to him. He, too, may be
let out of his bottle and fill the world. But woe to us if we keep
him corked up.

Enough, that the children have minds, and every man’s mind is his
means of living; but it is a great deal more. Working men will have
leisure in the future and how this leisure is to be employed is a
question much discussed. Now, no one can employ leisure fitly whose
mind is not brought into active play every day; the small affairs
of a man’s own life supply no intellectual food and but small and
monotonous intellectual exercise. Science, history, philosophy,
literature, must no longer be the luxuries of the ‘educated’
classes; all classes must be educated and sit down to these things
of the mind as they do to their daily bread. History must afford
its pageants, science its wonders, literature its intimacies,
philosophy its speculations, religion its assurances to every man,
and his education must have prepared him for wanderings in these
realms of gold.

How do we prepare a child, again, to use the æsthetic sense with
which he appears to come provided? His education should furnish him
with whole galleries of mental pictures, pictures by great artists
old and new;--Israels’ _Pancake Woman_, his _Children by the Sea_;
Millet’s _Feeding the Birds_, _First Steps_, _Angelus_; Rembrandt’s
_Night Watch_, _The Supper at Emmaus_; Velasquez’s _Surrender of
Breda_,--in fact, every child should leave school with at least a
couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in
the halls of his imagination, to say nothing of great buildings,
sculpture, beauty of form and colour in things he sees. Perhaps we
might secure at least a hundred lovely landscapes too,--sunsets,
cloudscapes, star-light nights. At any rate he should go forth
well furnished because imagination has the property of magical
expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold.

It is not only a child’s intellect but his heart that comes to
us thoroughly furnished. Can any of us love like a little child?
Father and mother, sisters and brothers, neighbours and friends,
“our” cat and “our” dog, the wretchedest old stump of a broken toy,
all come in for his lavish tenderness. How generous and grateful he
is, how kind and simple, how pitiful and how full of benevolence
in the strict sense of goodwill, how loyal and humble, how fair
and just! His conscience is on the alert. Is a tale true? Is a
person good?--these are the important questions. His _conscience_
chides him when he is naughty, and by degrees as he is trained,
his _will_ comes to his aid and he learns to order his life. He is
taught to say his prayers, and we elders hardly realize how real
his prayers are to a child.


3.--MOTIVES FOR LEARNING

Now place a teacher before a class of persons the beauty and
immensity of each one of whom I have tried to indicate and he will
say, “What have I to offer them?” His dull routine lessons crumble
into the dust they are when he faces children as they are. He
cannot go on offering them his stale commonplaces; he feels that he
may not bore them; that he may not prick the minds he has dulled
by unworthy motives of greed or emulation; he would not invite a
parcel of children to a Timon feast of smoke and lukewarm water.
He knows that children’s minds hunger at regular intervals as do
their bodies; that they hunger for knowledge, not for information,
and that his own poor stock of knowledge is not enough, his own
desultory talk has not substance enough; that his irrelevant
remarks interrupt a child’s train of thought; that, in a word, he
is not sufficient for these things.

On the other hand, the children, the children of the slums
especially, have no vocabulary to speak of, no background of
thought derived from a cultured environment. They are like goodly
pitchers, capable of holding much but with necks so narrow that
only the thinnest stream can trickle in. So we have thought
hitherto, and our teaching has been diluted to dishwater and the
pitchers have gone empty away.

But we have changed all that. Just as in the War the magnanimous,
patriotic citizen was manifested in every man so in our schools
every child has been discovered to be a person of infinite
possibilities. I say every child, for so-called ‘backward’ children
are no exception. I shall venture to bring before the reader
some experiences of the _Parents’ Union School_ as being ground
with which I am familiar. Examination papers representing tens of
thousands of children working in Elementary Schools, Secondary
Schools and home schoolrooms have just passed under my eye. How the
children have revelled in knowledge! and how good and interesting
all their answers are! How well they spell on the whole and how
well they write! We do not need the testimony of their teachers
that the work of the term has been joyous; the verve with which the
children tell what they know proves the fact. Every one of these
children knows that there are hundreds of pleasant places for the
mind to roam in. They are good and happy because some little care
has been taken to know what they are and what they require; a care
very amply rewarded by results which alter the whole outlook on
education. In our Training College, the students are not taught how
to stimulate attention, how to keep order, how to give marks, how
to punish or even how to reward, how to manage a large class or a
small school with children in different classes. All these things
come by nature in a school where the teachers know something of the
capacities and requirements of children. To hear children of the
slums ‘telling’ _King Lear_ or _Woodstock_, by the hour if you will
let them, or describing with minutest details Van Eyck’s _Adoration
of the Lamb_ or Botticelli’s _Spring_, is a surprise, a revelation.
We take off our shoes from off our feet; we ‘did not know it was
in them,’ whether we be their parents, their teachers or mere
lookers-on. And with some feeling of awe upon us we shall be the
better prepared to consider how and upon what children should be
educated. I will only add that I make no claims for them which
cannot be justified by hundreds, thousands, of instances within our
experience.



CHAPTER III

THE GOOD AND EVIL NATURE OF A CHILD

_Children are not born bad but with possibilities for good and for
evil._


1.--WELL-BEING OF BODY

A well-known educationalist has brought heavy charges against us
all on the score that we bring up children as ‘children of wrath.’
He probably exaggerates the effect of any such teaching, and the
‘little angel’ theory is fully as mischievous. The fact seems
to be that children are like ourselves, not because they have
become so, but because they are born so; that is, with tendencies,
dispositions, towards good and towards evil, and also with a
curious intuitive knowledge as to which is good and which is evil.
Here we have the work of education indicated. There are good and
evil tendencies in body and mind, heart and soul; and the hope set
before us is that we can foster the good so as to attenuate the
evil; that is, on condition that we put Education in her true place
as the handmaid of Religion. The community, the nation, the race,
are now taking their due place in our religious thought. We are no
longer solely occupied in what an Irish woman called ‘saving yer
dirty sowl.’ Our religion is becoming more magnanimous and more
responsible and it is time that a like change should take place
in our educational thought. We find ourselves in open places
breathing fresher air when we consider, not the education of an
individual child or of a social class or even of a given country,
but of the race, of the human nature common to every class and
country, every individual child. The prospect is exhilarating and
the recognition of the potentialities in any child should bring
about such an educational renaissance as may send our weary old
world rejoicing on its way.

Physicians and physiologists tell us that new-born children start
fair. A child is not born with tuberculosis, for example, if with
a tendency which it is our business to counteract. In the same
way all possibilities for good are contained in his moral and
intellectual outfit, hindered it may be by a corresponding tendency
to evil for every such potentiality. We begin to see our way. It
is our business to know of what parts and passions a child is made
up, to discern the dangers that present themselves, and still
more the possibilities of free-going in delightful paths. However
disappointing, even forbidding, the failings of a child, we may be
quite sure that in every case the opposite tendency is there and we
must bring the wit to give it play.

Parents have this sort of mother-wit more commonly than we
outsiders, teachers and the like. Of course, we know of the
mothers and fathers who can’t do anything with Tom and hope the
schoolmaster will lick him into shape. But how often on the other
hand are we surprised to see how much more of persons Bob and Polly
are in their own homes than at school! Perhaps this is because
parents know their children better than do others and for that
reason believe in them more; for our faith in the divine and the
human keeps pace with our knowledge. For this reason it behoves
us teachers to get a bird’s eye view of the human nature which is
present in every child. Everybody knows that hunger, thirst, rest,
chastity are those natural endowments of the body by means of which
it grows and functions; but in every child there are tendencies
to greediness, restlessness, sloth, impurity, any one of which by
allowance may ruin the child and the man that he will be.

Again, our old friends, the five senses, require direction and
practice. Smell, especially, might be made a source of delicate
pleasure by the habit of discriminating the good smells of
field and garden, flower and fruit, for their own sakes, not as
ministering to taste, which, unduly pampered, becomes a man’s
master. But there is little that is new to be learned about the
body and those various body-servants with which it is equipped.
Education already does her part in training the muscles,
cultivating the senses, ordering the nerves, of all children, rich
and poor; for in these days we perceive that the development which
is due to one child is due to all. If we make a mistake in regard
to physical education it is perhaps in the matter of ordering the
nerves of a child. We do not consider enough that the nourishment,
rest, fresh air and natural exercise, proper for the body as a
whole, meet the requirements of the nervous system and that the
undue nervous tension which a small child suffers in carrying a cup
of tea, an older boy or girl in cramming for an examination, may be
the cause later of a distressing nervous breakdown. We are becoming
a nervous, overstrained nation and though golf and cricket may
do something for us, a watchful education, alert to arrest every
symptom of nervous over-pressure, would do much to secure for every
child a fine physique and a high degree of staying power.

A snare which attends the really brilliant teacher is the
exhausting effect upon children of an overpowering personality.
They are such ardent and responsive little souls that the teacher
who gives them nods and becks and wreathéd smiles may play the Pied
Piper with them. But he or she should beware. The undue play of
the personality of the teacher is likely to suppress and subdue
that of his scholars; and, not only so, children are so eager to
live up to the demands made upon them that they may be brought to a
state of continual nervous over-pressure under the influence of a
‘charming personality.’ This sort of subjection, the _Schwärmerei_
of the Germans, was powerfully set forth in a recent novel in which
an unprincipled and fascinating mistress ‘ran’ her personality with
disastrous results. But the danger does not lie in extreme cases.
The girl who kisses the chamber door of her class mistress will
forget this lady by and by; but the parasitic habit has been formed
and she must always have some person or some cause on which to hang
her body and soul. I speak of ‘she’ and ‘her’ perhaps unfairly,
because ever since the Greek youth hung about their masters in the
walks of the Academy there have been teachers who have undermined
the stability of the boys to whom they devoted themselves. Were his
countrymen entirely wrong about Socrates? A tendency to this manner
of betrayal is the infirmity of noble minds, of those who have the
most to give; and for this reason, again, it is important that we
should have before us a bird’s eye view, let us call it, of human
nature.


2.--WELL-BEING OF MIND

There is a common notion that it is our inalienable right not
only to say what we please but to think as we please, that is, we
believe that while body is subject to physical laws, while the
affections, love and justice, are subject to moral laws, the mind
is a chartered libertine. Probably this notion has much to do with
our neglect of intellect. We do not perceive that the mind, too,
has its tendencies both good and evil and that every inclination
towards good is hindered and may be thwarted by a corresponding
inclination towards evil; I am not speaking of moral evil but
of those intellectual evils which we are slow to define and are
careless in dealing with. Does the teacher of a large class always
perceive that intellect is enthroned before him in every child,
however dull and inattentive may be his outer show? Every child
in such a class is open to the wonders that science reveals, is
interested in the wheeling worlds of the winter firmament. “Child
after child,” said a schoolmistress, “writes to say how much they
have enjoyed reading about the stars.” “As we are walking sometimes
and the stars are shining,” says a girl of eleven in an Elementary
School, “I tell mother about the stars and planets and comets. She
said she should think astronomy very interesting.”

But we teach astronomy, no, we teach ‘light and heat’ by means of
dessicated text-books, diagrams and experiments, which last are no
more to children than the tricks of white magic. The infinitely
little is as attractive to them as the infinitely great and the
behaviour of an atom, an ion, is a fairy tale they delight in,
that is, if no semblance to a fairy tale be suggested. The pageant
of history with its interplay of characters is as delightful as
any tale because every child uses his own film to show the scenes
and exhibit the persons. We fuss a good deal about the dress,
implements and other small details of each historic period but
we forget that, give the child a few fit and exact words on the
subject and he has the picture in his mind’s eye, nay, a series,
miles long of really glorious films; for a child’s amazing,
vivifying imagination is part and parcel of his intellect.

The way children make their own the examples offered to them is
amazing. No child would forget the characterisation of Charles
IX as ‘feeble and violent,’ nor fail to take to himself a lesson
in self-control. We may not point the moral; that is the work
proper for children themselves and they do it without fail. The
comparative difficulty of the subject does not affect them. A
teacher writes (of children of eleven),--“They cannot have enough
of Publicola and there are always groans when the lesson comes to
an end.”

I have said much of history and science, but mathematics, a
mountainous land which pays the climber, makes its appeal to mind,
and good teachers know that they may not drown their teaching in
verbiage. As for literature--to introduce children to literature
is to instal them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring
a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast
exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being
familiar with it from the very first. A child’s intercourse must
always be with good books, the best that we can find. Of course,
we have always known that this is the right thing for children in
cultivated homes, but what about those in whose dwellings books are
little known? One of the wise teachers in Gloucestershire[13] notes
that a recognition of two things is necessary in dealing with this
problem. First, that,--

  “To explain the meaning of words destroys interest in the story
  and annoys the child. Second, that in many instances it is
  unnecessary. Although a child’s dictionary knowledge of words
  is lacking it does not follow that the meaning of a sentence or
  paragraph is unknown to him ... neither is the correct employment
  of the words beyond him in writing or narrating. Two examples
  of this power to sense the meaning were observed last term.
  There is a particular boy in Form IIB who has not hitherto been
  looked upon as possessing high intelligence. Classified by age he
  ought to be two Forms higher. Last term in taking the story of
  Romulus and Remus, I found that in power of narrating and degree
  of understanding (that is, of ‘sensing’ a paragraph and either
  translating it into his vocabulary or in using the words read to
  him) he stood above the others and also above the majority in the
  next higher Form.”

  “What has surprised us most,” said the Headmaster of A., “is
  the ready way in which boys absorb information and become
  interested in literature, literature which we have hitherto
  considered outside the scope of primary school teaching. A year
  ago I could not have believed that boys would have read Lytton’s
  _Harold_, Kingsley’s _Hereward_, and Scott’s _Talisman_ with
  real pleasure and zest or would study with understanding and
  delight Shakespeare’s _Macbeth_, _King John_ and _Richard II_;
  but experience has shown us we have underrated the abilities and
  tastes of the lads we should have known better.”

That is the capital charge against most schools. The teachers
underrate the tastes and abilities of their pupils. In things
intellectual, children, even backward children, have extraordinary
‘possibilities for good’--possibilities so great that if we had the
wit to give them their head they would carry us along like a stream
in spate.

But what about intellectual tendencies, or ‘possibilities for
evil’? One such tendency dominates many schools notwithstanding
prodigious efforts on the part of the teachers to rouse slumbering
minds. Indeed, the more the teacher works, the greater the
_incuria_ of the children, so the class is prodded with marks,
the boys take places, the bogie of an oncoming examination is
held before them. Some spasmodic effort is the result but no
vital response and, though boys and girls love school, like
their teachers and even their lessons, they care not at all for
knowledge, for which the school should create enthusiasm. I can
touch here on no more than two potent means of creating _incuria_
in a class. One is the talky-talky of the teacher. We all know
how we are bored by the person in private life who explains and
expounds. What reason have we to suppose that children are not
equally bored? They try to tell us that they are by wandering eyes,
inanimate features, fidgetting hands and feet, by every means at
their disposal; and the kindly souls among us think that they want
to play or to be out of doors. But they have no use for play
except at proper intervals. What they want is knowledge conveyed in
literary form and the talk of the facile teacher leaves them cold.

Another soothing potion is little suspected of producing mental
lethargy. We pride ourselves upon going over and over the same
ground ‘until the children know it’; the monotony is deadly. A
child writes,--“Before we had these (books) we had to read the same
old lot again and again.” Is it not true? In the home schoolroom
books used by the grandmother are fit for the grandchildren, books
used in boys’ schools may be picked up at second-hand stalls with
the obliterated names of half-a-dozen successive owners. And what
of the compilations, neither books nor text-books, which do duty in
Elementary Schools? No wonder Mr. Fisher said, in opening a public
library, that he had been “surprised and pained when visiting
Elementary Schools to find that there was nothing in them which
could be called a book, nothing that would charm and enlighten and
expand the imagination.” And yet, as he went on to say, the country
is “full of artistic and literary ability and always has been so.”
If this ability is to be brought into play we must recognise that
children are not ruminants intellectually any more than physically.
They cannot go over the same ground repeatedly without deadening,
even paralysing results, for progress, continual progress is the
law of intellectual life.

In matters of the mind again _Habit_ is a good servant but a bad
master. Specialisation, the fetish of the end of the last century,
is to be deprecated because it is at our peril that we remain too
long in any one field of thought. We may not, for example, allow
the affairs and interests of daily life to deprive the mind of its
proper range of interests and occupations. It is even possible for
a person to go into any one of the great fields of thought and to
work therein with delight until he become incapable of finding his
way into any other such field. We know how Darwin lost himself in
science until he could not read poetry, find pleasure in pictures,
think upon things divine; he was unable to turn his mind out of
the course in which it had run for most of his life. In the great
(and ungoverned) age of the Renaissance, the time when great things
were done, great pictures painted, great buildings raised, great
discoveries made, the same man was a painter, an architect, a
goldsmith and a master of much knowledge besides; and all that he
did he did well, all that he knew was part of his daily thought and
enjoyment. Let us hear Vasari on Leonardo,--

  “Possessed of a divine and marvellous intellect and being an
  excellent geometrician, he not only worked at sculpture ... but
  also prepared many architectural plans and buildings ... he made
  designs for mills and other engines to go by water; and, as
  painting was to be his profession, he studied drawing from life.”

Leonardo knew nothing about Art for Art’s sake, that shibboleth
of yesterday, nor did our own Christopher Wren, also a great
mathematician and master of much and various knowledge, to whom
architecture was rather a by-the-way interest, and yet he built St.
Paul’s. What an irreparable loss we had when that plan of his for
a beautiful and spacious London was flung aside because it would
cost too much to carry it out! Just so of our parsimony do we fling
aside the minds of the children of our country, also capable of
being wrought into pleasaunces of delight, structures of utility
and beauty, at a pitifully trifling cost. It is well we should
recognise that the business of education is with us all our lives,
that we must always go on increasing our knowledge.

Of the means we employ to hinder the growth of mind perhaps none
is more subtle than the _questionnaire_. It is as though one
required a child to produce for inspection at its various stages
of assimilation the food he consumed for his dinner; we see at once
how the digestive processes would be hindered, how, in a word,
the child would cease to be fed. But the mind also requires its
food and leave to carry on those quiet processes of digestion and
assimilation which it must accomplish for itself. The child with
capacity, which implies depth, is stupified by a long rigmarole on
the lines of,--“If John’s father is Tom’s son, what relation is Tom
to John?” The shallow child guesses the riddle and scores; and it
is by the use of tests of this kind that we turn out young people
sharp as needles but with no power of reflection, no intelligent
interests, nothing but the aptness of the city _gamin_.

_Imagination_ may become like that cave Ezekiel tells of wherein
were all manner of unseemly and evil things; it may be a temple
wherein self is glorified; it may be a chamber of horrors and
dangers; but it may also be a House Beautiful. It is enough for us
to remember that imagination is stored with those images supplied
day by day whether by the cinema, the penny dreadful, by Homer or
Shakespeare, by the great picture or the flaming ‘shocker.’ We have
heard of the imaginative man who conceived a passion for the Sphinx!

In these days when _Reason_ is deified by the unlearned and plays
the part of the Lord of Misrule it is necessary that every child
should be trained to recognize fallacious reasoning and above all
to know that a man’s reason is his servant and not his master; that
there is no notion a man chooses to receive which his reason will
not justify, whether it be mistrust of his neighbour, jealousy of
his wife, doubts about his religion, or contempt for his country.

Realising this, we ‘see reason’ in the fact that thousands of men
go on strike because two of their body have been denied permission
to attend a certain meeting. We see reason in this but the men
themselves confound reason with right and consider that such a
strike is a righteous protest. The only safeguard against fallacies
which undermine the strength of the nation morally and economically
is a liberal education which affords a wide field for reflection
and comparison and abundant data upon which to found sound
judgments.

As for that _æsthetic_ ‘appetency’ (to use Coleridge’s word) upon
which so many of the gentle pleasures of life depend, it is open
to many disasters: it dies of inanition when beauty is not duly
presented to it, beauty in words, in pictures and music, in tree
and flower and sky. The function of the sense of beauty is to open
a paradise of pleasure for us; but what if we grow up admiring the
wrong things, or, what is morally worse, arrogant in the belief
that it is only we and our kind who are able to appreciate and
distinguish beauty? It is no small part of education to have seen
much beauty, to recognize it when we see it, and to keep ourselves
humble in its presence.


3.--INTELLECTUAL APPETITE

As the body is provided with its appetites, by undue indulgence
of any one of which a man may make shipwreck, but which duly
ordered should result in a robust and vigorous frame; so, too,
the spiritual part of us is provided with certain caterers whose
business it is to secure that kind of nourishment which promotes
spiritual or intellectual growth in one or another direction.
Perhaps in no part of our educational service do we make more
serious blunders than in our use of those _desires_ which act as
do the appetites for the body’s service. Every child wants to be
approved, even baby in his new red shoes; to be first in what is
going on; to get what is going; to be admired; to lead and manage
the rest; to have the companionship of children and grown people;
and last, but not least, every child wants _to know_. There they
are, those desires, ready to act on occasion and our business is to
make due use of this natural provision for the work of education.
We do make use of the desires, not wisely, but too well. We run our
schools upon _emulation_, the desire of every child to be first;
and not the ablest, but the most pushing, comes to the front. We
quicken emulation by the common desire to get and to have, that
is, by the impulse of avarice. So we offer prizes, exhibitions,
scholarships, every incentive that can be proposed. We cause him
to work for our _approbation_, we play upon his vanity, and the
boy does more than he can. What is the harm, we say, when all
those springs of action are in the child already? The athlete is
beginning to discover that he suffers elsewhere from the undue
development of any set of muscles; and the boy whose ambition, or
emulation, has been unduly stimulated becomes a flaccid person. But
there is a worse evil. We all want knowledge just as much as we
want bread. We know it is possible to cure the latter appetite by
giving more stimulating food; and the worst of using other spurs
to learning is that a natural love of knowledge which should carry
us through eager school-days, and give a spice of adventure to the
duller days of mature life, is effectually choked; and boys and
girls ‘Cram to pass but not to know; they do pass but they don’t
know.’ The divine curiosity which should have been an equipment for
life hardly survives early schooldays.

Now it has been demonstrated very fully indeed that the
delightfulness of knowledge is sufficient to carry a pupil joyfully
and eagerly through his school life and that prizes and places,
praise, blame and punishment, are unnecessary in so far as they
are used to secure ardent interest and eager work. The love of
knowledge is sufficient. Each of those other stimuli should no
doubt have its natural action, but one or two springs of action
seem to be played upon excessively in our schools. Conduct gives
opportunity for ‘virtue emulously rapid in the race’ and especially
that part of conduct known as ‘play’ in which most of the natural
desires come into action; but even in play we must beware of
the excess of zeal which risks the elimination of the primary
feelings of love and justice. In the schoolroom, without doubt,
the titillation of knowledge itself affords sufficient stimulus to
close attention and steady labour; and the desire of acquisition
has due play in a boy who is constantly increasing his acquirements.


4.--MISDIRECTED AFFECTIONS

We are aware of more than mind and body in our dealings with
children. We appeal to their ‘feelings’; whether ‘mind’ or
‘feelings’ be more than names we choose to give to manifestations
of that spiritual entity which _is_ each one of us. Probably we
have not even taken the trouble to analyse and name the feelings
and to discover that they all fall under the names of love and
justice, that it is the glory of the human being to be endowed with
such a wealth of these two as is sufficient for every occasion of
life. More, the occasions come and he is ready to meet them with
the ease and triumph of the solvent debtor.

But this rich endowment of the moral nature is also a matter with
which the educator should concern himself. Alas, he does so. He
points the moral with a thousand tedious platitudes, directs,
instructs, illustrates and bores exceedingly the nimble and
subtle minds of his scholars. This, of the feelings and their
manifestations, is certainly the field for the spare and guarded
praise and blame of parent and teacher; but this praise or blame is
apt to be either scrapped by children, or, taken as the sole motive
for conduct, they go forth unused to do a thing ‘for it is right’
but only because somebody’s approbation is to be won.

This education of the feelings, moral education, is too delicate
and personal a matter for a teacher to undertake trusting to
his own resources. Children are not to be fed morally like
young pigeons with predigested food. They must pick and eat for
themselves and they do so from the conduct of others which they
hear of or perceive. But they want a great quantity of the sort
of food whose issue is conduct, and that is why poetry, history,
romance, geography, travel, biography, science and sums must all
be pressed into service. No one can tell what particular morsel a
child will select for his sustenance. One small boy of eight may
come down late because--“I was meditating upon Plato and couldn’t
fasten my buttons,” and another may find his meat in ‘Peter Pan’!
But all children must read widely, and know what they have read,
for the nourishment of their complex nature.

As for moral lessons, they are worse than useless; children want
a great deal of fine and various moral feeding, from which they
draw the ‘lessons’ they require. It is a wonderful thing that every
child, even the rudest, is endowed with _Love_ and is able for all
its manifestations,--kindness, benevolence, generosity, gratitude,
pity, sympathy, loyalty, humility, gladness; we older persons are
amazed at the lavish display of any one of these to which the most
ignorant child may treat us. But these aptitudes are so much coin
of the realm with which a child is provided that he may be able to
pay his way through life; and, alas, we are aware of certain vulgar
commonplace tendencies in ourselves which make us walk delicately
and trust, not to our own teaching, but to the best that we have in
art and literature and above all to that storehouse of example and
precept, the Bible, to enable us to touch these delicate spirits to
fine issues. St. Francis, Collingwood, Father Damien, one of the
V.C.’s among us, will do more for children than years of talk.

Then there is that other wonderful provision for right living
without which no neglected or savage man-soul exists. Everyone has
_Justice_ in his heart; a cry for ‘fair play’ reaches the most
lawless mob, and we all know how children torment us with their
‘It’s not fair.’ It is much to know that as regards justice as
well as love there exists in everyone an adequate provision for
the conduct of life: general unrest, which has its rise in wrong
thinking and wrong judging far more than in faulty conditions, is
the misguided outcome of that sense of justice with which, thank
God, we are all endued.

Here, on the face of it, we get one office of education. This, of
justice, is another spiritual provision which we fail to employ
duly in our schools; and so wonderful is this principle that we
cannot kill, paralyse, or even benumb it, but, choked in its
natural course, it spreads havoc and devastation where it should
have made the soil fertile for the fruits of good living.

Few of the offices of education are more important than that
of preparing men to distinguish between their rights and their
duties. We each have our rights and other persons have their duties
towards us as we towards them; but it is not easy to learn that
we have precisely the same rights as other people and no more;
that other people owe to us just such duties as we owe to them.
This fine art of self-adjustment is possible to everyone because
of the ineradicable principle which abides in us. But our eyes
must be taught to see, and hence the need for all the processes of
education, futile in proportion as they do not serve this end. To
think fairly requires, we know, knowledge as well as consideration.

Young people should leave school knowing that their thoughts are
not their own;[14] that what we think of other people is a matter
of justice or injustice; that a certain manner of words is due from
them to all manner of persons with whom they have to deal; and that
not to speak those words is to be unjust to their neighbours. They
should know that truth, that is, justice in word, is their due and
that of all other persons; there are few better equipments for a
citizen than a mind capable of discerning the truth, and this just
mind can be preserved only by those who take heed what they think.
“Yet truth,” says Bacon, “which only doth judge itself, teacheth
that the enquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of
it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the
belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good
of human nature.”

If justice in word is to be duly learned by all scholars still more
is integrity, justice in action; integrity in work, which disallows
ca’canny methods, whether those of the artisan who does as little
as he can in the time, or of the schoolboy who receives payment
in kind--in his support, the cost of his education and the trust
imposed in him by parents and teachers. Therefore he may not scamp,
dawdle over, postpone, crib, or otherwise shirk his work. He learns
that “my duty towards my neighbour” is “to keep my hands from
picking and stealing,” and, whether a man be a workman, a servant,
or a prosperous citizen, he must know that justice requires from
him the integrity in material which we call honesty; not the common
honesty which hates to be found out, but that refined and delicate
sense of values which George Eliot exhibits for us in ‘Caleb Garth.’

There is another form in which the magnanimous citizen of the
future must be taught the sense of justice. Our opinions show
our integrity of thought. Every person has many opinions whether
his own honestly thought out, or notions picked up from his pet
newspaper or his companions. The person who thinks out his
opinions modestly and carefully is doing his duty as truly as if he
saved a life because there is no more or less about duty.

If a schoolboy is to be guided into the justice of thought
from which sound opinions emanate, how much more does he need
guidance in arriving at that justice in motive which we call sound
principles. For what, after all, are principles but those motives
of first importance which govern us, move us in thought and action?
We appear to pick up these in a casual way and are seldom able to
render an account of them and yet our lives are ordered by our
principles, good or bad. Here, again, we have a reason for wide and
wisely ordered reading; for there are always catch-words floating
in the air, as,--‘What’s the good?’ ‘It’s all rot,’ and the like,
which the vacant mind catches up for use as the basis of thought
and conduct, as, in fact, paltry principles for the guidance of a
life.

Here we have one more reason why there is nothing in all those
spiritual stores in the world’s treasury too good for the
education of _all_ children. Every lovely tale, illuminating poem,
instructive history, every unfolding of travel and revelation of
science exists for children. “_La terre appartient à l’enfant,
toujours à l’enfant_,” was well said by Maxim Gorky, and we should
do well to remember the fact.

The service that some of us (of the P.N.E.U.) believe we have
done in the cause of education is to discover that all children,
even backward children, are aware of their needs and pathetically
eager for the food they require; that no preparation whatever is
necessary for this sort of diet; that a limited vocabulary, sordid
surroundings, the absence of a literary background to thought
are not hindrances; indeed they may turn out to be incentives to
learning, just as the more hungry the child, the readier he is for
his dinner. This statement is no mere pious opinion; it has been
amply proved in thousands of instances. Children of a poor school
in the slums are eager to tell the whole story of _Waverley_,
falling continually into the beautiful language and style of the
author. They talk about the Rosetta Stone and about treasures in
their local museum; they discuss Coriolanus and conclude that ‘his
mother must have spoiled him.’ They know by heart every detail of
a picture by La Hooch, Rembrandt, Botticelli, and not only is no
evolution of history or drama, no subtle sweetness, no inspiration
of a poet, beyond them, but they decline to know that which does
not reach them in literary form.

What they receive under this condition they absorb immediately and
show that they _know_ by that test of knowledge which applies to
us all, that is, they can tell it with power, clearness, vivacity
and charm. These are the children to whom we have been doling out
the ‘three R’s’ for generations! Small wonder that juvenile crime
increases; the intellectually starved boy must needs find food for
his imagination, scope for his intellectual power; and crime, like
the cinema, offers it must be admitted, brave adventures.


5.--THE WELL-BEING OF THE SOUL

If we leave the outer courts of mind and body, the holy places of
the affections and the will (we shall consider this last later)
and enter that holy of holies where man performs his priestly
functions, we may well ask with diffidence and humility what may
education do for the Soul of a child? “What is there that outwits
the understanding of a man or that is out of the range of his
thoughts, the reach of his aspirations? He is, it is true, baffled
on all hands by his ignorance, the illimitable ignorance of even
the wisest, but ignorance is not incapacity and the wings of a
man’s soul beat with impatience against the bars of his ignorance.
He would out, out into the universe of infinite thought and
infinite possibilities. How is the soul of a man to be satisfied?
Crowned kings have thrown up dominion because they want that which
is greater than kingdoms; profound scholars fret under limitations
which keep them playing upon the margin of the unsounded ocean of
knowledge; no great love can satisfy itself with loving; there
is no satisfaction save one for the soul of a man, because the
things about him are finite, measurable, incomplete and his reach
is beyond his grasp. He has an urgent, incessant, irrepressible
need of the infinite.”[15] “I want, am made for, and must have a
God;”--not a mere serviceable religion,--because we have in us an
infinite capacity for love, loyalty and service which we cannot
expend upon any other.

But what sort of approaches do we prepare for children towards
the God whom they need, the Saviour in Whom is all help, the King
Who affords all delight, commands all adoration and loyalty? Any
words or thoughts of ours are poor and insufficient, but we have a
treasury of divine words which they read and know with satisfying
pleasure and tell with singular beauty and fitness. “The Bible
is the most interesting book I know,” said a young person of ten
who had read a good many books and knew her Bible. By degrees
children get that knowledge of God which is the object of the
final daily prayer in our beautiful liturgy--the prayer of St.
Chrysostom--“Grant us in this world knowledge of Thy truth,” and
all other knowledge which they obtain gathers round and illuminates
this.

Here is an example of how such knowledge grows. I heard a class of
girls aged about thirteen read an essay on George Herbert. Three
or four of his poems were included, and none of the girls had read
either essay or poems before. They ‘narrated’ what they had read
and in the course of their narration gave a full paraphrase of _The
Elixir_, _The Pulley_, and one or two other poems. No point made by
the poet was omitted and his exact words were used pretty freely.
The teacher made comments upon one or two unusual words and that
was all; to explain or enforce (otherwise than by a reverently
sympathetic manner, the glance and words that showed that she too,
cared), would have been impertinent. It is an interesting thing
that hundreds of children of this age in Secondary and Elementary
Schools and in families scattered over the world read and narrated
the same essay and no doubt paraphrased the verses with equal ease.
I felt humbled before the children knowing myself incapable of such
immediate and rapid apprehension of several pages of new matter
including poems whose intention is by no means obvious. In such
ways the great thoughts of great thinkers illuminate children and
they grow in knowledge, chiefly the knowledge of God.

And yet this, the chief part of education, is drowned in torrents
of talk, in tedious repetition, in objurgation and recrimination,
in every sort of way in which the mind may be bored and the
affections deadened.

I have endeavoured to sketch some of the possibilities for good
and the corresponding possibilities for evil present in all
children; they are waiting for direction and control, certainly,
but still more for the formative influence of knowledge. I have
avoided philosophical terms, using only names in common use,--body
and soul, body and mind, body, soul and spirit,--because these
represent ideas that we cannot elude and that convey certain
definite notions; and these ideas must needs form the basis of our
educational thought.

We must know something about the material we are to work upon if
the education we offer is not to be scrappy and superficial. We
must have some measure of a child’s requirements, not based upon
his uses to society, nor upon the standard of the world he lives
in, but upon his own capacity and needs. We would not willingly
educate him towards what is called ‘self-expression’; he has little
to express except what he has received as knowledge, whether by
way of record or impression; what he can do is to assimilate and
give this forth in a form which is original because it is modified,
re-created, by the action of his own mind; and this originality is
produced by the common bread and milk which is food for everyone,
acting upon the mind which is peculiar to each individual child.

Education implies a continuous going forth of the mind; but
whatever induces introspection or any form of self-consciousness
holds up as it were the intellectual powers and brings progress to
a standstill. The reader may have noticed with some disappointment
that I have not invited him to the study of psychology as it is
understood to-day. No doubt there exists a certain dim region
described as the unconscious mind, a sort of half-way house between
mind and matter, a place where the intellect is subdued to the
action of nerves and blood. Mind is of its nature infinitely
and always conscious and to speak of the unconscious mind is a
contradiction in terms; but what is meant is that the mind thinks
in ways of which we are unconscious; and that our business is to
make ourselves aware by much introspection, much self-occupation,
of the nature and tendencies of this ‘unconscious’ region. The
results of this study, so far as they have been arrived at, are
not encouraging. The best that is in us would appear to find its
origin in ‘complexes,’ sensual, erotic, greedy. Granting that such
possibilities are in us safety, lies in so nourishing the mind
that seed of baseness may bear fruit of beauty. Researches in this
region are deeply interesting no doubt, to the psychologist, and
may eventually bear fruit if only as contributing a quota to the
classification of knowledge; but no authority on the subject is
willing to offer at present his researches as a contribution to
educational lore. It may be that the mind as well as the body has
its regions where _noli me tangere_ is a counsel of expedience;
and, by the time we have dealt with those functions of the mind
which we know, we may find ourselves in a position to formulate
that which we certainly do not possess, a Science, should it not be
a Philosophy, of Education?



CHAPTER IV

AUTHORITY AND DOCILITY

_The principles of Authority on the one hand and Docility on the
other are natural, necessary and fundamental_


The War has made surprises stale but in those remote pre-war
days we were enormously startled by the discovery of wireless
telegraphy. That communications should pass through almost infinite
space without sign or sound or obvious channel and arrive instantly
at their destination took away our breath. We had the grace to
value the discovery for something more than its utility; we were
awed in the presence of a law which had always been there but
was only now perceived. In something the same way we have been
electrified by the discovery in the fields of France of heroism
in the breast of every common soldier. Now, just such discoveries
wait us in the field of education and any miner in this field may
strike a vein of ore which shall enrich the world. The citizens
of an ancient city on the shores of Gennesaret made one of those
startling discoveries and knew how to give it a name; they found
out that Christ ‘spake with authority’ and not as their scribes.

It is not ours to speak with authority; the ‘verily, verily I
say unto you’ is a divine word not for us. Nevertheless deputed
authority is among us and in us. ‘He is an authority’ on such and
such a subject, is a correct expression because by much study
he has made it his own and has a right to speak. This deputed
authority appears to be lodged in everyone, ready for occasion.
Mr. Benjamin Kidd has told us how the London policeman is the very
embodiment of authority, implicitly obeyed in a way surprising to
strangers. Every king and commander, every mother, elder sister,
school prefect, every foreman of works and captain of games,
finds that within himself which secures faithful obedience, not
for the sake of his merits but because authority is proper to his
office. Without this principle, society would cease to cohere.
Practically there is no such thing as anarchy; what is so-called is
a mere transference of authority, even if in the last resort the
anarchist find authority in himself alone. There is an idea abroad
that authority makes for tyranny, and that obedience, voluntary or
involuntary, is of the nature of slavishness; but authority is, on
the contrary, the condition without which liberty does not exist
and, except it be abused, is entirely congenial to those on whom it
is exercised: we are so made that we like to be ordered even if the
ordering be only that of circumstances. Servants take pride in the
orders they receive; that our badge of honour is an ‘Order’ is a
significant use of words. It is still true that ‘Order is heaven’s
first law’ and order is the outcome of authority.

That principle in us which brings us into subjection to authority
is docility, teachableness, and that also is universal. If a man
in the pride of his heart decline other authority, he will submit
himself slavishly to his ‘star’ or his ‘destiny.’ It would seem
that the exercise of docility is as natural and necessary as that
of reason or imagination; and the two principles of authority and
docility act in every life precisely as do those two elemental
principles which enable the earth to maintain its orbit, the one
drawing it towards the sun, the other as constantly driving it into
space; between the two, the earth maintains a more or less middle
course and the days go on.

The same two principles work in every child, the one producing
ordered life, the other making for rebellion, and the _crux_ in
bringing up children is to find the mean which shall keep a child
true to his elliptical orbit. The solution offered to-day is
freedom in our schools; children may be governed but they must
not be aware that they are governed, and, ‘Go as you please,’
must be the apparent rule of their lives, while, ‘Do as you’re
bid,’ is the moving force. The result of an ordered freedom is
obtained, that ordered freedom which rules the lives of 999 in
1000 of the citizens of the world; but the drawback to an indirect
method of securing this result is that when, ‘Do as you please,’
is substituted for, ‘Do as you’re bid,’ there is dissimulation
in the air and children fail to learn that habit of ‘proud
subjection and dignified obedience’ which distinguishes great men
and noble citizens. No doubt it is pleasing that children should
behave naturally, should get up and wander about, should sit
still or frolic as they have a mind to, but they too, must ‘learn
obedience’; and it is no small element in their happiness and ours
that obedience is both delightful and reposeful.

It is the part of the teacher to secure willing obedience, not
so much to himself as to the laws of the school and the claims
of the matter in hand. If a boy have a passage to read, he obeys
the call of that immediate duty, reads the passage with attention
and is happy in doing so. We all know with what a sense of added
importance we say,--“I must be at Mrs. Jones’s by eleven.” “It
is necessary that I should see Brown.” The life that does not
obey such conditions has got out of its orbit and is not of use
to society. It is necessary that we should all follow an ordered
course, and children, even infant children, must begin in the way
in which they will have to go on. Happily they come to us with the
two inherent forces, centripetal and centrifugal, which secure to
them freedom, _i.e._, self-authority, on the one hand, and ‘proud
subjection’ on the other.

But parents and those who stand _in loco parentis_ have a delicate
task. There must be subjection, but it must be proud, worn as a
distinction, an order of merit. Probably the way to secure this
is to avoid standing between children and those laws of life and
conduct by which we are all ultimately ruled. The higher the
authority, the greater distinction in obedience, and children are
quick to discriminate between the mere will and pleasure of the
arbitrary teacher or parent and the chastened authority of him who
is himself under rule. That subservience should take the place
of docility is the last calamity for nation, family or school.
Docility implies equality; there is no great gulf fixed between
teacher and taught; both are pursuing the same ends, engaged on the
same theme, enriched by mutual interests; and probably the quite
delightful pursuit of knowledge affords the only intrinsic liberty
for both teacher and taught. “He is the freeman whom the truth
makes free,” and this freedom the steady pursuit and delightful
acquirement of knowledge afford to us day by day. “The mind is
its own place,” we are told, “and in itself can make a heaven of
hell, a hell of heaven”; and that heaven of the mind, is it not
continual expansion in ordered freedom? And that restless, burning,
inflammatory hell, does it not come of continual chafing against
natural and righteous order?

As for the superficial freedom of sitting or standing, going or
coming, that is a matter which settles itself, as do all the
relations between teacher and taught, once children are allowed a
due share in their own education, not a benefit for us to confer
but rather a provision for them to take. Our chief concern for
the mind or for the body is to supply a well-ordered table with
abundant, appetising, nourishing and very varied food, which
children deal with in their own way and for themselves. This
food must be served _au naturel_, without the predigestion which
deprives it of stimulating and nourishing properties and no sort
of forcible feeding or spoon feeding may be practised. Hungry
minds sit down to such a diet with the charming greediness of
little children; they absorb it, assimilate it and grow thereby in
a manner astonishing to those accustomed to the dull profitless
ruminating so often practised in schools. When the teacher avoids
hortatory methods, his scholars change position when they have a
mind to; but their mind is commonly to sit still during a lesson
time because they are so intent on their work that they have no
desire for small divagations; while, on the other hand, the teacher
makes it his business to see that the body gets its share, and an
abundant share, of gymnastics whether by way of games or drill.
But this is a subject well understood in modern schools and it is
only necessary to say that though mental activity promotes bodily
functions in a surprising way--has not an American physiologist
discovered that people may live to 160 or 1000 years (!) if they
continue to use their minds?--athleticism, on the other hand, if
unduly pursued, by no means promotes mental activity.

In days when the concern of educators seems to be to provide
an easy option for that mental activity, the sole condition of
education, it must be _urged_ that manual dexterity, gardening,
folk-dancing, and the like, while they fulfil their proper
function in training nerve and muscle to ready responsiveness,
_do not sustain mind_. Nor, again, can we educate children upon
the drama, even the Shakespearean drama, nor upon poetry, even
the most musical and emotional. These things children must have;
but they come into the world with many relations waiting to be
established; relations with places far and near, with the wide
universe, with the past of history, with the social economics of
the present, with the earth they live on and all its delightful
progeny of beast and bird, plant and tree; with the sweet human
affinities they entered into at birth; with their own country and
other countries, and, above all, with that most sublime of human
relationships--their relation to God. With such a programme before
his pupils only the uninstructed teacher will put undue emphasis
upon and give undue time to arithmetic and handicrafts, singing or
acting, or any of the hundred specifics which are passed off as
education in its entirety.

The sense of _must_ should be present with children; our mistake
is to act in such a way that they, only, seem to be law-compelled
while their elders do as they please. The parent or teacher who is
pestered for ‘leave’ to do this or that, contrary to the discipline
of the house or school, has only himself to thank; he has posed as
a person _in_ authority, not _under_ authority, and therefore free
to allow the breach of rules whose only _raison d’être_ is that
they minister to the well-being of the children. Two conditions are
necessary to secure all proper docility and obedience and, given
these two, there is seldom a conflict of wills between teacher and
pupils. The conditions are,--the teacher, or other head, may not
be arbitrary but must act so evidently as one under authority[16]
that the children, quick to discern, see that he too must do the
things he ought; and therefore that regulations are not made for
his convenience. (I am assuming that everyone entrusted with the
bringing up of children recognises the supreme Authority to Whom
we are subject; without this recognition I do not see how it is
possible to establish the nice relation which should exist between
teacher and taught.) The other condition is that children should
have a fine sense of the freedom which comes of knowledge which
they are allowed to appropriate as they choose, freely given with
little intervention from the teacher. They do choose and are happy
in their work, so there is little opportunity for coercion or for
deadening, hortatory talk.

But the principle of authority, as well as that of docility, is
inherent in children and it is only as the tact and judgment of the
teacher make opportunity for its free play that they are prepared
for the duties of life as citizens and members of a family.
The movement in favour of prefects, as in Public Schools, is a
recognition of this fact and it is well that children should become
familiar with the idea of representative authority, that is, that
they are governed by chosen members of their own body, a form of
self-government. To give effect to the idea, the prefect should be
elected and children shew extraordinary insight in choosing the
right officers. But that is not enough because only a few are set
in authority; certain small offices should be held in rotation
by every member of a class. The office makes the man as much as
the man makes the office and it is surprising how well rather
incompetent children will perform duties laid on them.

All school work should be conducted in such a manner that children
are aware of the responsibility of learning; it is _their business_
to know that which has been taught. To this end the subject
matter should not be repeated. We ourselves do not attend to the
matters in our daily paper which we know we shall meet with again
in a weekly review, nor to that if there is a monthly review in
prospect; these repeated aids result in our being persons of
wandering attention and feeble memory. To allow repetition of a
lesson is to shift the responsibility for it from the shoulders of
the pupil to those of the teacher who says, in effect,--“I’ll see
that you know it,” so his pupils make no effort of attention. Thus
the same stale stuff is repeated again and again and the children
get bored and restive, ready for pranks by way of a change.

Teachers are apt to slight their high office and hinder the
processes of education because they cherish two or three fallacies.
They regard children as inferior, themselves as superior,
beings;--why else their office? But if they recognized that the
potency of children’s minds is as great or greater than that of
their own, they would not conceive that spoon-feeding was their
mission, or that they must masticate a morsel of knowledge to make
it proper for the feeble digestion of the scholar.

We depreciate children in another way. We are convinced that
they cannot understand a literary vocabulary so we explain and
paraphrase to our own heart’s content but not to theirs. Educated
mothers know that their children can read anything and do not offer
explanations unless they are asked for them; and we have taken it
for granted that this quickness of apprehension comes only to the
children of educated parents.

Another misapprehension which makes for disorder is our way of
regarding attention. We believe that it is to be cultivated,
nursed, coddled, wooed by persuasion, by dramatic presentation,
by pictures and illustrative objects: in fact, the teacher,
the success of whose work depends upon his ‘personality,’ is
an actor of no mean power whose performance would adorn any
stage. Attention, we know, is not a ‘faculty’ nor a definable
power of mind but is the ability to turn on every such power,
to concentrate, as we say. We throw away labour in attempting
to produce or to train this necessary function. There it is in
every child in full measure, a very Niagara of force, ready to be
turned on in obedience to the child’s own authority and capable of
infinite resistance to authority imposed from without. Our part is
to regard attention, too, as an appetite and to feed it with the
best we have in books and in all knowledge. But children do it ‘on
their own’; we may not play Sir Oracle any more; our knowledge is
too circumscribed, our diction too poor, vague, desultory, to cope
with the ability of young creatures who thirst for knowledge. We
must put into their hands the sources which we must needs use for
ourselves, the best books of the best writers.

I will mention only one more disability which hinders us in our
work as teachers; I mean that depreciation of knowledge which is
just now characteristic of Englishmen. A well-known educationalist
lately nailed up the thesis that what children want in the way
of knowledge is just two things,--How to do the work by which
they must earn their living and how to behave as citizens. This
writer does not see that work is done and duties performed in the
ratio of the person who works: the more the man is as a person,
the more valuable will be his work and the more dependable his
conduct: yet we omit from popular education that tincture of humane
letters which makes for efficiency! One hears, for instance, of
an adolescent school with some nine thousand pupils who come in
batches of a few hundreds, each batch to learn one or other of a
score or so of admirable crafts and accomplishments; but not one
hour is spent in a three or four years’ course in this people’s
university on any sort of humane knowledge, in any reading or
thinking which should make the pupils better men and women and
better citizens.

To return to our method of employing attention; it is not a casual
matter, a convenient, almost miraculous way of covering the ground,
of getting children to know certainly and lastingly a surprising
amount; all this is to the good, but it is something more, a root
principle vital to education. In this way of learning the child
comes to his own; he makes use of the authority which is in him in
its highest function as a self-commanding, self-compelling, power.
It is delightful to use any power that is in us if only that of
keeping up in cup and ball a hundred times as (to the delight of
small nephews and nieces), Jane Austen did. But to make yourself
attend, make yourself know, this indeed is to come into a kingdom,
all the more satisfying to children because they are so made that
they revel in knowledge.

Here is some notice of a day or two spent in London by a child of
eleven which reaches me as I write:--

  “Mother took her to Westminster Abbey one afternoon and while I
  was seeing her to bed she told me all the things she had noticed
  there which they had been hearing about in ‘architecture’ this
  term. She loves ‘architecture.’ She also expressed her anxiety
  to make acquaintance with the British Museum and see the things
  there that they had been ‘having’ in their term’s work. So the
  next morning we went there and studied the Parthenon Room in
  great detail. She was a most interesting companion and taught me
  ever so much! We also went to St. Paul’s and Madame Tussaud’s
  where she was delighted to see so many people out of ‘history.’
  The modern people did not interest her so much except Jack
  Cornwell and Nurse Cavell.”

It will be noticed that the child is educating herself; her friends
merely take her to see the things she knows about and she tells
what she has read, a quite different matter from the act of pouring
information down the throats of the unhappy children who are taken
to visit our national treasure houses.

A short time ago when the King and Queen paid a private visit to
the British Museum, in the next hall, also, no doubt, examining
the Parthenon Room, were a group of children from a London County
Council School, as full of information and interest as the child
above mentioned because they had been doing the same work. It was
not a small thing for those children to know that their interests
and delights were common to them and their Sovereigns. Of such
strands are formed the cord which binds society; and one of the
main purposes of a ‘liberal education for all’ is to form links
between high and low, rich and poor, the classes and the masses, in
the strong sympathy of common knowledge. The Public Schools have
arrived at this through the medium of the classics; an occasional
‘tag’ from Horace moves and unites the House of Commons, not only
through the urbane thought of the poet but because it is a key to a
hundred associations. If this has been effected through the medium
of a dead language, what may we not hope for in the way of common
thought, universal springs of action, conveyed through our own rich
and inspiring literature?

Consider what this power of perfect attention and absolute
recollection should be to every employer and chief, what an asset
to the nation! I heard this week of a Colonel who said that his
best subaltern was an old “P.U.S.” (Parents’ Union School) boy; and
this sort of evidence reaches us continually. There are few who do
not know the mischievous and baffling effects of inattention and
forgetfulness on the part of subordinates; and we visualize a world
of surprising achievement when children shall have been trained to
quick apprehension and retention of instructions.

We may not pose before children, nor pride ourselves on dutiful
getting up of knowledge in order to deliver it as emanating from
ourselves. There are those who have a right to lecture, those who
have devoted a life-time to some one subject about which they
have perhaps written their book. Lectures from such persons are,
no doubt, as full of insight, imagination and power as are their
written works; but we cannot have a score of such lecturers in
every school, each to elucidate his own subject, nor, if we could,
would it be good for the children. The personality of the teacher
would influence them to distraction from the delight in knowledge
which is itself a sufficient and compelling force to secure perfect
attention, and seemly discipline.

I am not figuring an ‘Erewhon,’ some Utopia of our dreams; we of
the P.N.E.U. seem to have let loose a force capable of sending
forth young people firm with the resolve--

      “I will not cease from mental strife
      Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
      Till we have built Jerusalem
      In England’s green and pleasant land.”

Practically all schools are doing wonders. The schoolmaster is
abroad in the land and we are educating ‘our masters’ with immense
zeal and self-devotion. What we have reason to deplore is that
after some eight or twelve years’ brilliant teaching in school,
the cinema show and the football field, polo or golf, satisfy the
needs of our former pupils to whatever class they belong. We are
filled with compassion when we detect the lifeless hand or leg,
the artificial nose or jaw, that many a man has brought home as
a consequence of the War. But many of our young men and women
go about more seriously maimed than these. They are devoid of
intellectual interests, history and poetry are without charm for
them, the scientific work of the day is only slightly interesting,
their ‘job’ and the social amenities they can secure are all that
their life has for them.

The maimed existence in which a man goes on from day to day without
either nourishing or using his intellect, is causing anxiety to
those interested in education, who know that after religion it is
our chief concern, is, indeed, the necessary handmaid of religion.



CHAPTER V

THE SACREDNESS OF PERSONALITY

  _These principles (i.e., authority and docility) are limited by
  the respect due to the personality of children which may not
  be encroached upon whether by the direct use of fear or love,
  suggestion or influence, or by undue play upon any one natural
  desire._


People are too apt to use children as counters in a game, to be
moved hither and thither according to the whim of the moment.
Our crying need to-day is less for a better method of education
than for an adequate conception of children,--children, merely as
human beings, whether brilliant or dull, precocious or backward.
Exceptional qualities take care of themselves and so does the
‘wanting’ intelligence, and both of these share with the rest in
all that is claimed for them in the previous chapters. Our business
is to find out how great a mystery a person is _quâ_ person. All
action comes out of the ideas we hold and if we ponder duly upon
personality we shall come to perceive that we cannot commit a
greater offence than to maim or crush, or subvert any part of a
person.

We have many ingenious, not to say affectionate, ways of doing
this, all of them more or less based upon that egoism which
persuades us that in proportion to a child’s dependence is our
superiority, that all we do for him is of our grace and favour,
and that we have a right, whether as parents or teachers, to do
what we will with our own. Have we considered that in the Divine
estimate the child’s estate is higher than ours; that it is ours
to “become as little children,” rather than theirs to become as
grown men and women; that the rules we receive for the bringing
up of children are for the most part negative? We may not despise
them, or hinder them, (“suffer little children”), or offend them by
our brutish clumsiness of action and want of serious thought; while
the one positive precept afforded to us is “feed” (which should be
rendered ‘pasture’) “my lambs,” place them in the midst of abundant
food. A teacher in a Yorkshire Council School renders this precept
as,--“I had left them in the pasture and came back and found
them feeding,” that is, she had left a big class reading a given
lesson and found them on her return still reading with eagerness
and satisfaction. _Maxima reverentia debetur pueris_ has a wider
meaning than it generally receives. We take it as meaning that we
should not do or say anything unseemly before the young, but does
it not also include a profound and reverent study of the properties
and possibilities present in a child?

Nor need we be alarmed at so wide a programme. The vice which
hinders us in the bringing up of children is that so heavily
censured in the Gospel. We are not simple; we act our parts and
play in an unlawful way upon motives. Perhaps after all the least
reprehensible pedagogic motive is that which is most condemned
and the terrorism of ‘Mr. Creakle’ may produce a grey record in
comparison with the blackness of more subtle methods of undermining
personality. We can only touch upon a few of these, but a part may
stand for the whole. For the action of fear as a governing motive
we cannot do better than read again our _David Copperfield_ (a
great educational treatise) and study ‘Mr. Creakle’ in detail for
terrorism in the schoolroom and ‘Mr. Murdstone’ for the same vice
in the home. But,--is it through the influence of Dickens?--fear
is no longer the acknowledged basis of school discipline; we have
methods more subtle than the mere terrors of the law. Love is one
of these. The person of winning personality attracts his pupils
(or hers) who will do anything for his sake and are fond and
eager in all their ways, docile to that point where personality
is submerged, and they live on the smiles, perish on the averted
looks, of the adored teacher. Parents look on with a smile and
think that all is well; but Bob or Mary is losing that growing time
which should make a self-dependent, self-ordered person, and is
day by day becoming a parasite who can go only as he is carried,
the easy prey of fanatic or demagogue. This sort of encroachment
upon the love of children offers as a motive, ‘do this for my
sake’; wrong is to be avoided lest it grieve the teacher, good is
to be done to pleasure him; for this end a boy learns his lessons,
behaves properly, shows good will, produces a whole catalogue of
schoolboy virtues and yet his character is being undermined.

‘Suggestion’ goes to work more subtly. The teacher has mastered the
gamut of motives which play upon human nature and every suggestion
is aimed at one or other of these. He may not use the nursery
suggestions of lollipops or bogies but he does in reality employ
these if expressed in more spiritual values, suggestions subtly
applied to the idiosyncrasies of a given child. ‘Suggestion’ is too
subtle to be illustrated with advantage: Dr. Stephen Paget holds
that it should be used only as a surgeon uses an anæsthetic; but
it is an instrument easy to handle, and unconsidered suggestion
plays on a child’s mind as the winds on a weathercock. “Unstable
as water, thou shalt not excel” is the unfortunate child’s doom;
for how is it possible for stability of mind and character to
evolve under a continual play of changing suggestions? But this
it will be said is true of the unconsidered suggestion. What of
a carefully laid train, all leading in the same direction, to
produce perseverance, frankness, courage, any other excellent
virtue? The child is even worse off in such a case. That particular
virtue becomes detestable; no other virtue is inviting; and he is
acquiring no strength to stand alone but waits in all his doings
for promptings from without. Perhaps the gravest danger attending
this practice is that every suggestion received lays the person
open to the next and the next. A due respect for the personality of
children and a dread of making them incompetent to conduct their
own lives will make us chary of employing a means so dangerous, no
matter how good the immediate end.

Akin to suggestion is influence, which acts not so much by
well-directed word or inciting action as by a sort of atmosphere
proceeding from the teacher and enveloping the taught. Late in
the last century goody-goody books were written about the beauty
of influence, the duty of influence, the study of the means of
influence, and children were brought up with the notion that to
influence other persons consciously was a moral duty. No doubt
such influence is inevitable; we must needs affect one another,
not so much by what we do or say as by that which we are, and so
far influence is natural and wholesome. We imbibe it from persons
real and imaginary and we are kept strong and upright by currents
and counter-currents of unstudied influence. Supineness before a
single, steady, persistent influence is a different matter, and
the schoolgirl who idolises her mistress, the boy who worships his
master, is deprived of the chance of free and independent living.
His personality fails to develop and he goes into the world as a
parasitic plant, clinging ever to the support of some stronger
character.

So far we have considered incidental ways of trespassing upon
those rights of personality proper to children, but we have more
pervasive, if less injurious, ways of stultifying intellectual and
moral growth. Our school ethic rests upon, our school discipline is
supported by, undue play upon certain natural desires. It is worth
while to reflect that the mind also has its appetites, better known
as desires. It is as necessary that Mind should be fed, should grow
and should produce, as that these things should happen to Body,
and just as Body would not take the trouble to feed itself if it
never became hungry, so Mind also would not take in that which it
needs if it were not that certain Desires require to be satisfied.
Therefore schoolmasters do not amiss in basing their practice upon
the Desires whose very function appears to be to bring nourishment
to Mind. Where we teachers err is in stimulating the wrong Desires
to accomplish our end. There is the desire of approbation which
even an infant shows, he is not happy unless mother or nurse
approve of him. Later this same desire helps him to conquer a sum,
climb a hill, bring home a good report from school, and all this
is grist to the mill, knowledge to the mind; because the persons
whose approbation is worth having care that he should learn and
know, conquer idleness, and get habits of steady work, so that his
mind may be as duly nourished every day as is his body. Alas for
the vanity that attends this desire of approbation, that makes the
boy more solicitous for the grin of the stable-boy than for the
approval of his master! Nay, this desire for approval may get such
possession of him that he thinks of nothing else; he must have
approval whether from the worthless or the virtuous. It is supposed
that outbreaks of violence, robbery, assassinations, occur at times
for the mere sake of infamy, just as deeds of heroism are done for
the sake of fame. Both infamy and fame mean being thought about
and talked about by a large number of people; and we know how this
natural desire is worked by the daily press; how we get, now a film
actress, now a burglar, a spy, a hero, or a scientist set before
us to be our admiration and our praise.

Emulation, the desire of excelling, works wonders in the hands of
the schoolmaster; and, indeed, this natural desire is an amazing
spur to effort, both intellectual and moral. When in pursuit of
virtue two or a score are ‘emulously rapid in the race,’ a school
acquires a ‘good tone’ and parents are justified in thinking
it the right place for their boy. In the intellectual field,
however, there is danger; and nothing worse could have happened
to our schools than the system of marks, prizes, place-taking, by
which many of them are practically governed. A boy is so taken up
with the desire to forge ahead that there is no time to think of
anything else. What he learns is not interesting to him; he works
to get his remove.

But emulation does not stand alone as Vicegerent in our schools;
another natural desire whose unvarnished name is avarice labours
for good government and so-called progress cheek by jowl with
emulation. “He must get a scholarship,”--is the duty of a small boy
even before he goes to school, and indeed for good and sufficient
reasons. Sometimes the sons of rich parents carry off these prizes
but as a rule they fall to those for whom they are intended, the
sons of educated parents in rather straitened circumstances, sons
of the clergy, for example. The scholarship system is no more
than a means of distributing the vast wealth left by benefactors
in the past for this particular purpose. Every Grammar School has
its own scholarships; the Universities have open scholarships and
bursaries often of considerable value; and a free, or partially
free, education is open to the majority of the youth of the upper
middle class on one condition, that of brains. It is small wonder
that every Grammar and Public School bases its curriculum upon
these conditions, knows exactly what standard of merit will secure
the ‘Hastings,’ knows the boys who have a chance, and orders their
very strenuous work towards the end in view. It is hard to say what
better could be done and yet this deliberate cult of cupidity is
disastrous; for there is no doubt that here and there we come upon
impoverishment of personality due to enfeebled intellectual life;
the boy did not learn to delight in knowledge in his schooldays and
the man is shallow in mind and whimsical in judgment.

It is hopeless to make war from without on a system which affords
very effectual help in the education of boys who are likely later
to become of service to the country; but Britain must make the
most of her sons and many of these men are capable of being more
than they are. It is from within the schools that help must come
and the way is fairly obvious. Most schools give from eleven in
the lowest to eight hours in the highest Forms to ‘English’ that
is, from twenty to sixteen consecutive readings a week might be
afforded in a wide selection of books,--literature, history,
economics, etc.,--books read with the concentrated attention which
makes a single reading suffice. The act of narrating what has
been read might well be useful to boys who should be prepared for
public speaking. By a slight alteration of this kind, in procedure
rather than in curriculum or time-table, it is probable that our
schools would turn out many more well-read, well-informed men and
convincing speakers than they do at present. Such a method, even
if applied to ‘English’ only, would tend to correct any tendency
in schools to become mere cramming places for examinations, would
infect boys with a love of knowledge and should divert the natural
desire for acquisition into a new channel, for few things are more
delightful than the acquisition of knowledge.

We need not delay over that desire of power, ambition, which plays
its part in every life; but the educator must see that it plays
no more than its part. Power is good in proportion as it gives
opportunities for serving; but it is mischievous in boy or man
when the pleasure of ruling, managing, becomes a definite spring
of action. Like each of the other natural desires, that for power
may ruin a life that it is allowed to master; ambition is the cause
of half the disasters under which mankind suffers. The ambitious
boy or man would as soon lead his fellows in riot and disorder
as in noble effort in a good cause; and who can say how far the
labour unrest under which we suffer is inspired and inflamed
by ambitious men who want to rule if only for the immediate
intoxication of rousing and leading men? It is a fine thing to say
of a multitude of men,--“I can wind them round my little finger”;
and the much-burdened Head of a school must needs beware! If the
able, ambitious fellow be allowed to manage the rest, he cheats
them out of their fair share of managing their own lives; no boy
should be allowed to wax feeble to make another great; the harm to
the ambitious boy himself must be considered too, lest he become an
ignoble, manœuvring person. It is within a teacher’s scope to offer
wholesome ambitions to a boy, to make him keen to master knowledge
rather than manage men; and here he has a wide field without
encroaching on another’s preserve.

Another desire which may well be made to play into the
schoolmaster’s hands is that of society, a desire which has much
to do with the making of the naughty boys, idle youths and silly
women of our acquaintance. It is sheer delight to mix with our
fellows, but much depends on whom we take for our fellows and why;
and here young people may be helped by finger-posts. If they are so
taught that knowledge delights them, they will choose companions
who share that pleasure. In this way princes are trained; they
must know something of botany to talk with botanists, of history
to meet with historians; they cannot afford to be in the company
of scientists, adventurers, poets, painters, philanthropists or
economists, and themselves be able to do no more than ‘change the
weather and pass the time of day’; they must know modern languages
to be at home with men of other countries, and ancient tongues to
be familiar with classical allusions. Such considerations rule the
education of princes, and every boy has a princely right to be
brought up so that he may hold his own in good society, that is,
the society of those who ‘know.’

We hear complaints of the cast-iron system of British society; but
how much of it is due to the ignorance which makes it only possible
to men and women to talk to those of their own clique, soldiers
with soldiers, schoolmasters and schoolboys with their kind? The
boy who wants to be able to talk to people who ‘know’ has no
unworthy motive for working.

We have considered the several desires whose function is to
stimulate the mind and save us from that _vis inertiæ_ which is our
besetting danger. Each such desire has its place but the results
are disastrous if any one should dominate. It so happens that
the last desire we have to consider, the desire of knowledge, is
commonly deprived of its proper function in our schools by the
predominance of other springs of action, especially of emulation,
the desire of place, and avarice, the desire of wealth, tangible
profit. This divine curiosity is recognised in ordinary life
chiefly as a desire to know trivial things. What did it cost? What
did she say? Who was with him? Where are they going? How many
postage stamps in a line would go round the world? And curiosity
is satisfied by incoherent, scrappy information which serves no
purpose, assuredly not the purpose of knowledge whose function is
to nourish the mind as food nourishes the body. But so besotted is
our educational thought that we believe children regard knowledge
rather as repulsive medicine than as inviting food. Hence our
dependence on marks and prizes, athletics, alluring presentation,
any jam we can devise to disguise the powder. The man who wilfully
goes on crutches has feeble incompetent legs; he who chooses to
go blindfold has eyes that cannot bear the sun; he who lives on
pap-meat has weak digestive powers, and he whose mind is sustained
by the crutches of emulation and avarice loses that one stimulating
power which is sufficient for his intellectual needs. This atrophy
of the desire of knowledge is the penalty our scholars pay because
we have chosen to make them work for inferior ends. Our young men
and maidens do not read unless with the stimulus of a forthcoming
examination. They are good-natured and pleasant but have no wide
range of thought, lofty purpose, little of the magnanimity which is
proper for a citizen. Great thoughts and great actions are strange
to them, though the possibility is still there and they may yet
shew in peace such action as we have seen and wondered at during
the War. But we cannot always educate by means of a great war;
the penalties are too heavy for human nature to endure for long.
Therefore the _stimuli_ to greatness, magnanimity, which the war
afforded we must produce in the ordinary course of education.

But knowledge is delectable. We have all the ‘satiable curiosity’
of Mr. Kipling’s Elephant even when we content ourselves with
the broken meats flung by the daily press. Knowledge is to us as
our mother’s milk, we grow thereby and in the act of sucking are
admirably content.

The work of education is greatly simplified when we realize
that children, apparently all children, want to know all human
knowledge; they have an appetite for what is put before them, and,
knowing this, our teaching becomes buoyant with the courage of
our convictions. We know how Richelieu shut up colleges throughout
France, both Jesuit and secular, “in order to prevent the mania
of the poor for educating their children which distracts them
from the pursuits of trade and war.” This mania exists with us,
not only in the parents but in the children, the mania of hungry
souls clamouring for meat, and we choke them off, not by shutting
up schools and colleges, but by offering matter which no living
soul can digest. The complaints made by teachers and children of
the monotony of the work in our schools is full of pathos and all
credit to those teachers who cheer the weary path by entertaining
devices. But mind does not live and grow upon entertainment; it
requires its solid meals.

The Gloucestershire teachers, under Mr. Household’s direction,
have entered so fully into the principles implied in the method,
that I am tempted to illustrate largely from their experience.[17]
But they by no means stand alone. Hundreds of other teachers have
the same experiences and describe them as opportunity offers. The
finding of this power which is described as ‘sensing a passage,’
is as the striking of a vein of gold in that fabulously rich
country, human nature. Our ‘find’ is that children have a natural
aptitude for literary expression which they enjoy in hearing or
reading and employ in telling or writing. We might have guessed
this long ago. All those speeches and sayings of untamed warriors
and savage potentates which the historians have preserved for us,
critics have declined as showing too much cultivated rhetoric to
have been possible for any but highly educated persons. But the
time is coming when we shall perceive that only minds like those of
children are capable of producing thoughts so fresh and so finely
expressed. This natural aptitude for literature, or, shall we say,
rhetoric, which overcomes the disabilities of a poor vocabulary
without effort, should direct the manner of instruction we give,
ruling out the talky-talky of the oral lesson and the lecture;
ruling out, equally, compilations and text-books; and placing
books in the hands of children and only those which are more or
less literary in character that is, which have the terseness and
vividness proper to literary work. The natural desire for knowledge
does the rest and the children feed and grow.

It must be borne in mind that in proportion as other desires
are stimulated that of knowledge is suppressed. The teacher who
proposes marks and places as worthy aims will get work certainly
but he will get no healthy love of knowledge for its own sake and
no provision against the _ennui_ of later days. The monotony I
have spoken of attends all work prompted by the _stimuli_ of marks
and places; such work becomes mechanical, and there is hardly
enough of it prepared to last through the course of a boy’s school
life. The master of a Preparatory School remarks,--“It must be a
well-known fact (I am not speaking of the exceptional but of the
average boy) that new boys are placed too low. We find--it is a
common experience--that if we send up a boy whether he be a good
mathematician, a good classic, a good English scholar or a good
linguist, a couple of years will pass by before he is doing at the
Public School the work he was doing when he left us.” The Public
Schoolmaster makes the same sort of complaint; he says, that “At
twenty the boy is climbing the same pear-tree that he climbed at
twelve,” that is to say, work which is done in view of examinations
must be of the rather narrow mechanical kind upon which it is
possible to set questions and mark answers with absolute fairness.
Now, definite progress, continual advance from day to day with no
treading of old ground, is a condition of education.

There is an uneasy dread in some minds lest a liberal education
for all, the possibility which is now before us, should cause a
social _bouleversement_, such an upheaval as obtained in the French
Revolution. But this fear arises from an erroneous conception. The
doctrine of equal opportunities for all is no doubt dangerous. It
is the intellectual rendering of the ‘survival of the fittest’ and
we have had a terrible object lesson as to how that doctrine works.
The uneasy, ambitious spirit comes to the front, gets all the
chances, dominates his fellows, and thinks no upheaval too great a
price for the advancement of himself and his notions. Men of this
type come to the top through the avenue of examinations. Ambition
and possibly greed are seconded by dogged perseverance. As was said
of Louis XIV, such men elevate their practice into a theory and
arrogate to their habits the character of principles of government.
And these pseudo-principles inflame the populace because they
promise place and power to every man in the state, with no sense of
the proportion he bears to the rest. Probably the ‘labour unrest’
of to-day is not without connexion with the habit of working in
our schools for prizes and places. The boy who works to be first
and to get something out of it does not always become the quiet,
well-ordered citizen who helps to cement society and carries on the
work of the State.

Knowledge pursued for its own sake is sedative in so far as it
is satisfying; and the splendid consciousness that every boy in
your Form has your own delight in knowing, your own pleasure in
expressing that which he knows, shares your intimacy with this and
the other sage and hero, makes for good fellowship and magnanimity
and should deliver the citizen from a restless desire to come to
the front. It is possible that a conscientious and intelligent
teacher may be a little overwhelmed when he considers all that goes
to a man, all that goes to each of the boys under his care. It is
true that,--

                                “There lives
      No faculty within us which the Soul
      Can spare: and humblest earthly weal demands
      For dignity not placed beyond her reach
      Zealous co-operation of all means
      Given or required to raise us from the mire
      And liberate our hearts from low pursuits
      By gross utilities enslaved; we need
      More of ennobling impulse from the past
      If for the future aught of good must come.”

Wordsworth is no doubt right. There is no faculty within the soul
which can be spared in the great work of education; but then every
faculty, or rather power, works to the one end if we make the
pursuit of knowledge for its own sake the object of our educational
efforts. We find children ready and eager for this labour and their
accomplishment is surprising.



CHAPTER VI

THREE INSTRUMENTS OF EDUCATION


I.--EDUCATION IS AN ATMOSPHERE

  _Seeing that we are limited by the respect due to the personality
  of children we can allow ourselves but three educational
  instruments--the atmosphere of environment, the discipline
  of habit and the presentation of living ideas. Our motto
  is,--‘Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.’ When we
  say that education is an atmosphere we do not mean that a child
  should be isolated in what may be called a ‘child environment’
  specially adapted and prepared, but that we should take into
  account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere both
  as regards persons and things and should let him live freely
  among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down
  his world to the ‘child’s’ level._

Having cut out the direct use of fear or love, suggestion or
influence, undue play upon any one natural desire, emulation, for
example, we are no longer free to use all means in the education
of children. There are but three left for our use and to each of
these we must give careful study or we shall not realise how great
a scope is left to us. To consider the first of these educational
instruments; for a decade or two we have pinned our faith on
environment as a great part of education; as, say, nine-tenths
rather than a third part of the whole. The theory has been,--put
a child in the right environment and so subtle is its influence,
so permanent its effects that he is to all intents and purposes
educated thereby. Schools may add Latin and sums and whatever
else their curriculum contains, but the actual education is, as
it were, performed upon a child by means of colour schemes,
harmonious sounds, beautiful forms, gracious persons. He grows up
æsthetically educated into sweet reasonableness and harmony with
his surroundings.

  “Peter’s nursery was a perfect dream in which to hatch the soul
  of a little boy. Its walls were done in warm, cream-coloured
  paint and upon them Peter’s father had put the most lovely
  patterns of trotting and jumping horses and dancing cats and dogs
  and leaping lambs, a carnival of beasts ... there was a big brass
  fire-guard in Peter’s nursery ... and all the tables had smoothly
  rounded corners against the days when Peter would run about. The
  floor was of cork carpet on which Peter would put his toys and
  there was a crimson hearthrug on which Peter was destined to
  crawl ... there were scales in Peter’s nursery to weigh Peter
  every week and tables to show how much he ought to weigh and when
  one should begin to feel anxious. There was nothing casual about
  the early years of Peter.”

So, Mr. Wells, in that inconclusive educational treatise of his,
_Joan and Peter_. It is an accurate picture of the preparation
for ‘high-souled’ little persons all over the world. Parents make
tremendous sacrifices to that goddess who presides over Education.
We hear of a pair investing more than their capital in a statue
to adorn the staircase in order that ‘Tommy’ should make his
soul by the contemplation of beauty. This sort of thing has been
going on since the ‘eighties at any rate and, as usual, Germany
erected a high altar for the cult which she passed on to the rest
of us. Perhaps it is safe to say that the young Intelligenzia
of Europe have been reared after this manner. And is the result
that Neo-Georgian youth _Punch_ presents to us with his air
of weariness, condescension and self-complacency? Let us hear
Professor Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose, the Indian scientist, on one of
his conclusions concerning the nervous impulse in plants,--

  “A plant carefully protected under glass from outside shocks
  looks sleek and flourishing but its higher nervous function is
  then found to be atrophied. But when a succession of blows”
  (electric shocks) “is rained on this effete and bloated specimen,
  the shocks themselves create nervous channels and arouse anew the
  deteriorated nature. Is it not the shocks of adversity and not
  cotton wool protection that evolve true manhood?”

We had thought that the terrible succession of blows inflicted
by the War had changed all that; but, no; the errors of
education still hold sway and we still have amongst us the
better-than-my-neighbour folk, whose function, let us hope, is to
administer the benefits of adversity to most of us. What if parents
and teachers in their zeal misread the schedule of their duties,
magnified their office unduly and encroached upon the personality
of children? It is not an environment that these want, a set of
artificial relations carefully constructed, but an _atmosphere_
which nobody has been at pains to constitute. It is there, about
the child, his natural element, precisely as the atmosphere of
the earth is about us. It is thrown off, as it were, from persons
and things, stirred by events, sweetened by love, ventilated,
kept in motion, by the regulated action of common sense. We all
know the natural conditions under which a child should live; how
he shares household ways with his mother, romps with his father,
is teased by his brothers and petted by his sisters; is taught
by his tumbles; learns self-denial by the baby’s needs, the
delightfulness of furniture by playing at battle and siege with
sofa and table; learns veneration for the old by the visits of his
great-grandmother; how to live with his equals by the chums he
gathers round him; learns intimacy with animals from his dog and
cat; delight in the fields where the buttercups grow and greater
delight in the blackberry hedges. And, what tempered ‘fusion of
classes’ is so effective as a child’s intimacy with his betters,
and also with cook and housemaid, blacksmith and joiner, with
everybody who comes in his way? Children have a genius for this
sort of general intimacy, a valuable part of their education; care
and guidance are needed, of course, lest admiring friends should
make fools of them, but no compounded ‘environment’ could make up
for this fresh air, this wholesome wind blowing now from one point,
now from another.

We certainly may use atmosphere as an instrument of education, but
there are prohibitions, for ourselves rather than for children.
Perhaps the chief of these is, that no artificial element be
introduced, no sprinkling with rose-water, softening with cushions.
Children must face life as it is; if their parents are anxious and
perturbed children feel it in the air. “Mummie, Mummie, you aren’t
going to cry this time, are you?” and a child’s hug tries to take
away the trouble. By these things children live and we may not
keep them in glass cases; if we do, they develop in succulence and
softness and will not become plants of renown. But due relations
must be maintained; the parents are in authority, the children in
obedience; and again, the strong may not lay their burdens on the
weak; nor must we expect from children that effort of decision, the
most fatiguing in our lives, of which the young should generally be
relieved.

School, perhaps, offers fewer opportunities for vitiating the
atmosphere than does home life. But teaching may be so watered
down and sweetened, teachers may be so suave and condescending,
as to bring about a condition of intellectual feebleness and
moral softness which it is not easy for a child to overcome. The
bracing atmosphere of truth and sincerity should be perceived in
every school; and here again the common pursuit of knowledge by
teacher and class comes to our aid and creates a current of fresh
air perceptible even to the chance visitor, who sees the glow of
intellectual life and moral health on the faces of teachers and
children alike.

But a school may be working hard, not for love of knowledge, but
for love of marks, our old enemy; and then young faces are not
serene and joyous but eager, restless, apt to look anxious and
worried. The children do not sleep well and are cross; are sullen
or in tears if anything goes wrong, and are, generally, difficult
to manage. When this is the case there is too much oxygen in the
air; they are breathing a too stimulating atmosphere, and the
nervous strain to which they are subjected must needs be followed
by reaction. Then teachers think that lessons have been too hard,
that children should be relieved of this and that study; the
doctors probably advise that so-and-so should ‘run wild’ for a
year. Poor little soul, at the very moment when he is most in need
of knowledge for his sustenance he is left to prey upon himself!
No wonder the nervous symptoms become worse, and the boy or girl
suffers under the stigma of ‘nervous strain.’ The fault has been in
the atmosphere and not in the work; the teacher, perhaps, is over
anxious that her children should do well and her nervous excitation
is catching. “I am afraid X---- cannot do his examination; he loves
his work but he bursts into tears when he is asked an examination
question. Perhaps it is that I have insisted too much that he
must never be satisfied with anything but his best.” Poor little
chap (of seven) pricked into over exertion by the spur of moral
stimulus! We foresee happy days for children when all teachers know
that no other exciting motive whatever is necessary to produce
good work in each individual of however big a class than that love
of knowledge which is natural to every child. The serenity and
sweetness of schools conducted on this principle is surprising to
the outsider who has not reflected upon the contentment of a baby
with his bottle!

There are two courses open to us in this matter. One, to create by
all manner of modified conditions a hot-house atmosphere, fragrant
but emasculating, in which children grow apace but are feeble
and dependent; the other to leave them open to all the “airts
that blow,” but with care lest they be unduly battered; lest,
for example, a miasma come their way in the shape of a vicious
companion.


2.--EDUCATION IS A DISCIPLINE

  _By this formula we mean the discipline of habits formed
  definitely and thoughtfully whether habits of mind or of body.
  Physiologists tell us of the adaptation of brain structure to
  habitual lines of thought, i.e., to our habits._

Education is not after all to either teacher or child the fine
careless rapture we appear to have figured it. We who teach and
they who learn are alike constrained; there is always effort to
be made in certain directions; yet we face our tasks from a new
point of view. We need not labour to get children to learn their
lessons; that, if we would believe it, is a matter which nature
takes care of. Let the lessons be of the right sort and children
will learn them with delight. The call for strenuousness comes with
the necessity of forming habits; but here again we are relieved.
The intellectual habits of the good life form themselves in the
following out of the due curriculum in the right way. As we have
already urged, there is but one right way, that is, children
must do the work for themselves. They must read the given pages
and tell what they have read, they must perform, that is, what
we may call the _act of knowing_. We are all aware, alas, what a
monstrous quantity of printed matter has gone into the dustbin of
our memories, because we have failed to perform that quite natural
and spontaneous ‘act of knowing,’ as easy to a child as breathing
and, if we would believe it, comparatively easy to ourselves. The
reward is two-fold: no intellectual habit is so valuable as that
of attention; it is a mere habit but it is also the hall-mark
of an educated person. Use is second nature, we are told; it is
not too much to say that ‘habit is ten natures,’ and we can all
imagine how our work would be eased if our subordinates listened to
instructions with the full attention which implies recollection.
Attention is not the only habit that follows due self-education.
The habits of fitting and ready expression, of obedience,
of good-will, and of an impersonal outlook are spontaneous
bye-products of education in this sort. So, too, are the habits of
right thinking and right judging; while physical habits of neatness
and order attend upon the self-respect which follows an education
which respects the personality of children.

Physiologists tell us that thoughts which have become habitual
make somehow a mark upon the brain substance, but we are bold in
calling it a mark for there is no discernible effect to be quoted.
Whether or no the mind be served by the brain in this matter, we
are empirically certain that a chief function of education is the
establishment of such ways of thinking in children as shall issue
in good and useful living, clear thinking, æsthetic enjoyment, and,
above all, in the religious life. How it is possible that spirit
should act upon matter is a mystery to us, but that such act takes
place we perceive every time we note a scowling brow, or, on the
other hand,--

      “A sweet attractive kind of grace,
      A full assurance given by looks;
      Continual comfort in a face,
      The lineaments of gospel books.”

We all know how the physical effort of smiling affects ourselves in
our sour moods,--

      “Nor soul helps flesh more now, than flesh helps soul.”

Both are at our service in laying down the rails, so to speak, upon
which the good life must needs run.

In the past we have, no doubt, gone through an age of infant
slavery, an age of good habits enforced by vigorous penalties,
conscientiously by the over scrupulous eighteenth century parent,
and infamously by the schoolmasters, the ‘Creakles’ and the
‘Squeers’ who laboured only for their own ease and profit. Now,
the pendulum swings the other way. We have lost sight of the fact
that habit is to life what rails are to transport cars. It follows
that lines of habit must be laid down towards given ends and
after careful survey, or the joltings and delays of life become
insupportable. More, habit is inevitable. If we fail to ease life
by laying down habits of right thinking and right acting, habits of
wrong thinking and wrong acting fix themselves of their own accord.
We avoid decision and indecision brings its own delays, “and days
are lost lamenting o’er lost days.” Almost every child is brought
up by his parents in certain habits of decency and order without
which he would be a social outcast. Think from another point of
view how the labour of life would be increased if every act of the
bath, toilet, table, every lifting of the fork and use of spoon
were a matter of consideration and required an effort of decision!
No; habit is like fire, a bad master but an indispensable servant;
and probably one reason for the nervous scrupulosity, hesitation,
indecision of our day, is that life was not duly eased for us in
the first place by those whose business it was to lay down lines of
habit upon which our behaviour might run easily.

It is unnecessary to enumerate those habits which we should aim at
forming, for everyone knows more about these than anyone practises.
We admire the easy carriage of the soldier but shrink from the
discipline which is able to produce it. We admire the lady who can
sit upright through a long dinner, who in her old age prefers a
straight chair because she has arrived at due muscular balance and
has done so by a course of discipline. There is no other way of
forming any good habit, though the discipline is usually that of
the internal government which the person exercises upon himself;
but a certain strenuousness in the formation of good habits is
necessary because every such habit is the result of conflict. The
bad habit of the easy life is always pleasant and persuasive and
to be resisted with pain and effort, but with hope and certainty
of success, because in our very structure is the preparation for
forming such habits of muscle and mind as we deliberately propose
to ourselves. We entertain the idea which gives birth to the act
and the act repeated again and again becomes the habit; ‘Sow an
act,’ we are told, ‘reap a habit.’ ‘Sow a habit, reap a character.’
But we must go a step further back, we must sow the idea or notion
which makes the act worth while. The lazy boy who hears of the
Great Duke’s narrow camp bed, preferred by him because when he
wanted to turn over it was time to get up, receives the idea of
prompt rising. But his nurse or his mother knows how often and
how ingeniously the tale must be brought to his mind before the
habit of prompt rising is formed; she knows too how the idea of
self-conquest must be made at home in the boy’s mind until it
become a chivalric impulse which he cannot resist. It is possible
to sow a great idea lightly and casually and perhaps this sort
of sowing should be rare and casual because if a child detect a
definite purpose in his mentor he is apt to stiffen himself against
it. When parent or teacher supposes that a good habit is a matter
of obedience to his authority, he relaxes a little. A boy is late
who has been making evident efforts to be punctual; the teacher
good-naturedly foregoes rebuke or penalty, and the boy says to
himself,--“It doesn’t matter,” and begins to form the unpunctual
habit. The mistake the teacher makes is to suppose that to be
punctual is troublesome to the boy, so he will let him off; whereas
the office of the habits of an ordered life is to make such life
easy and spontaneous; the effort is confined to the first half
dozen or score of occasions for doing the thing.

Consider how laborious life would be were its wheels not greased by
habits of cleanliness, neatness, order, courtesy; had we to make
the effort of decision about every detail of dressing and eating,
coming and going, life would not be worth living. Every cottage
mother knows that she must train her child in habits of decency,
and a whole code of habits of propriety get themselves formed
just because a breach in any such habit causes a shock to others
which few children have courage to face. Physical fitness, morals
and manners, are very largely the outcome of habit; and not only
so, but the habits of the religious life also become fixed and
delightful and give us due support in the effort to live a godly,
righteous and sober life. We need not be deterred by the fear that
religious habits in a child are mechanical, uninformed by the ideas
which should give them value. Let us hear what the young De Quincey
felt about going to church:--

  “On Sunday mornings I went with the rest of my family to church:
  it was a church on the ancient model of England having aisles,
  galleries, organ, all things ancient and venerable, and the
  proportions were majestic. Here, whilst the congregation knelt
  through the long litany, as often as we came to that passage so
  beautiful amongst many that are so where God is supplicated on
  behalf of ‘all sick persons and young children’ and ‘that He
  would show His pity upon all prisoners and captives,’ I wept in
  secret, and raising my streaming eyes to the upper windows saw,
  on days when the sun was shining, a spectacle as affecting as
  ever prophet can have beheld ... _there_ were the Apostles that
  had trampled upon earth and the glories upon earth, _there_ were
  the martyrs who had borne witness to the truth through flames
  ... and all the time I saw through the wide central field of the
  window where the glass was uncoloured white fleecy clouds sailing
  over the azure depths of the sky.”

And then the little boy had visions of sick children upon whom God
would have pity.--

  “These visions were self-sustained, the hint from the Litany,
  the fragment from the clouds, those and the storied windows
  were sufficient.... God speaks to children also in dreams and by
  the oracles that lurk in darkness; but in solitude, above all
  things when made vocal to the meditative heart by the truths and
  services of a national church, God holds with children ‘communion
  undisturbed.’”

With such a testimony before us, supported by gleams of
recollection on our own part, we may take courage to believe that
what we rightly call Divine Service is particularly appropriate
to children; and will become more so as the habit of reading
beautifully written books quickens their sense of style and their
unconscious appreciation of the surpassingly beautiful diction of
our liturgy.

We have seen the value of habit in mind and morals, religion
and physical development. It is as we have seen disastrous when
child or man learns to think in a groove, and shivers like an
unaccustomed bather on the steps of a new notion. This danger is
perhaps averted by giving children as their daily diet the wise
thoughts of great minds, and of many great minds; so that they may
gradually and unconsciously get the courage of their opinions.
If we fail in this duty, so soon as the young people get their
‘liberty’ they will run after the first fad that presents itself;
try it for a while and then take up another to be discarded in its
turn, and remain uncertain and ill-guided for the rest of their
days.


3.--EDUCATION IS A LIFE

We have left until the last that instrument of education implied in
the phrase ‘Education is a life’; ‘implied’ because life is no more
self-existing than it is self-supporting; it requires sustenance,
regular, ordered and fitting. This is fully recognised as regards
bodily life and, possibly, the great discovery of the twentieth
century will be that mind too requires its ordered rations and
perishes when these fail. We know that food is to the body what
fuel is to the steam-engine, the sole source of energy; once we
realise that the mind too works only as it is fed education will
appear to us in a new light. The body pines and develops humours
upon tabloids and other food substitutes; and a glance at a ‘gate’
crowd watching a football match makes us wonder what sort of
mind-food those men and boys are sustained on, whether they are
not suffering from depletion, inanition, notwithstanding big and
burly bodies. For the mind is capable of dealing with only one kind
of food; it lives, grows and is nourished upon ideas only; mere
information is to it as a meal of sawdust to the body; there are no
organs for the assimilation of the one more than of the other.

What is an idea? we ask, and find ourselves plunged beyond our
depth. A live thing of the mind, seems to be the conclusion of our
greatest thinkers from Plato to Bacon, from Bacon to Coleridge. We
all know how an idea ‘_strikes_,’ ‘_seizes_,’ ‘_catches hold of_,’
‘_impresses_’ us and at last, if it be big enough, ‘_possesses_’
us; in a word, behaves like an entity.

If we enquire into any person’s habits of life, mental
preoccupation, devotion to a cause or pursuit, he will usually
tell us that such and such _an idea struck him_. This potency of
an idea is matter of common recognition. No phrase is more common
and more promising than, ‘I have an idea’; we rise to such an
opening as trout to a well-chosen fly. There is but one sphere
in which the word idea never occurs, in which the conception of
an idea is curiously absent, and that sphere is education! Look
at any publisher’s list of school books and you shall find that
the books recommended are carefully dessicated, drained of the
least suspicion of an idea, reduced to the driest statements of
fact. Here perhaps the Public Schools have a little pull over the
rest of us; the diet they afford may be meagre, meagre almost to
starvation point for the average boy, but it is not destitute
of ideas; for, however sparsely, boys are nourished on the best
thoughts of the best minds.

Coleridge has done more than other thinkers to bring the conception
of an idea within the sphere of the scientific thought of to-day;
not as that thought is expressed in _psychology_, a term which he
himself launched upon the world with an apology for it as _insolens
verbum_ (“we beg pardon for the use of this _insolens verbum_ but
it is one of which our language stands in great need.” _Method_, S.
T. Coleridge) but as shewing the reaction of mind to an idea. This
is how in his _Method_ Coleridge illustrates the rise and progress
of such an idea:--

  “We can recall no incident of human history that impresses the
  imagination more deeply than the moment when Columbus on an
  unknown ocean first perceived that baffling fact, the change of
  the magnetic needle. How many instances occur in history when
  the ideas of nature (presented to chosen minds by a Higher Power
  than Nature herself) suddenly unfold as it were in prophetic
  succession systematic views destined to produce the most
  important revolutions in the state of man! The clear spirit of
  Columbus was doubtless eminently methodical. He saw distinctly
  that great leading idea which authorised the poor pilot to become
  a ‘promiser of kingdoms.’”

Here we get such a genesis of an idea as fits in curiously with
what we know of the history of great inventions and discoveries
“presented to chosen minds by a higher Power than Nature herself.”
It corresponds too, not only with the ideas that rule our own
lives, but with the origin of practical ideas which is unfolded to
us by the prophet Isaiah:--

  “Doth the ploughman plough continually to ... open and break the
  clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof,
  doth he not cast abroad the fitches and scatter the cummin and
  put the wheat in rows ... for his God doth instruct him aright
  and doth teach him.... Bread corn is ground for he will not ever
  be threshing it.... This also cometh from the Lord of Hosts
  which is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.”[18]

Let us hear Coleridge further on the subject of those ideas which
may invest us as an atmosphere rather than strike as a weapon:--

  “The idea may exist in a clear and definite form as that of a
  circle in that of the mind of a geometrician or it may be a
  mere instinct, a vague appetency towards something ... like the
  impulse which fills a young poet’s eyes with tears.”

These indefinite ideas which express themselves in an ‘appetency’
towards something and which should draw a child towards things
honest, lovely and of good report, are not to be offered of set
purpose or at set times: they are held in that thought-atmosphere
which surrounds him, breathed as his breath of life.

It is distressing to think that our poor words and ways should be
thus _inspired_ by children; but to recognise the fact will make us
careful not to admit sordid or unworthy thoughts and motives into
our dealings with them.

Coleridge treats in more detail those definite ideas which are not
inhaled as air but are conveyed as meat to the mind:--

  “From the first or initiative idea, as from a seed, successive
  ideas germinate.” “Events and images, the lively and
  spirit-stirring machinery of the external world, are like light
  and air and moisture to the seed of the mind which would else
  rot and perish.” “The paths in which we may pursue a methodical
  course are manifold and at the head of each stands its peculiar
  and guiding idea. Those ideas are as regularly subordinate
  in dignity as the paths to which they point are various and
  eccentric in direction. The world has suffered much in modern
  times from a subversive and necessary natural order of science
  ... from summoning reason and faith to the bar of that limited
  physical experience to which by the true laws of method they owe
  no obedience. Progress follows the path of the idea from which
  it sets out requiring however a constant wakefulness of mind to
  keep it within the due limits of its course. Hence the orbits of
  thought, so to speak, must differ from among themselves as the
  initiative ideas differ.” (_Method_, S. T. C.).

Is it not a fact that the new light which biology is throwing upon
the laws of mind is bringing us back to the Platonic doctrine that
“An idea is a distinguishable power, self-affirmed and seen in
unity with the Eternal Essence”?

I have ventured to repeat from an earlier volume[19] this
slight exposition of Coleridge’s teaching, because his doctrine
corresponds with common experience and should reverse our ordinary
educational practice. The whole subject is profound, but as
practical as it is profound. We must disabuse our minds of the
theory that the functions of education are in the main gymnastic,
a continual drawing out without a corresponding act of putting in.
The modern emphasis upon ‘self-expression’ has given new currency
to this idea; we who know how little there is in us that we have
not received, that the most we can do is to give an original twist,
a new application, to an idea that has been passed on to us; who
recognise, humbly enough, that we are but torch-bearers, passing on
our light to the next as we have received it from the last, even
we invite children to ‘express themselves’ about a tank, a Norman
castle, the Man in the Moon, not recognising that the quaint things
children say on unfamiliar subjects are no more than a patchwork of
notions picked up here and there. One is not sure that so-called
original composition is wholesome for children, because their
consciences are alert and they are quite aware of their borrowings;
it may be better that they should read on a theme before they write
upon it, using then as much latitude as they like.

In the early days of a child’s life it makes little apparent
difference whether we educate with a notion of filling a
receptacle, inscribing a tablet, moulding plastic matter, or
nourishing a life, but as a child grows we shall perceive that only
those _ideas_ which have fed his life are taken into his being;
all the rest is cast away or is, like sawdust in the system, an
impediment and an injury.

Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas. Ideas are of
spiritual origin, and God has made us so that we get them chiefly
as we convey them to one another, whether by word of mouth, written
page, Scripture word, musical symphony; but we must sustain a
child’s inner life with ideas as we sustain his body with food.
Probably he will reject nine-tenths of the ideas we offer, as he
makes use of only a small proportion of his bodily food, rejecting
the rest. He is an eclectic; he may choose this or that; our
business is to supply him with due abundance and variety and his
to take what he needs. Urgency on our part annoys him. He resists
forcible feeding and loathes predigested food. What suits him best
is pabulum presented in the indirect literary form which Our Lord
adopts in those wonderful parables whose quality is that they
cannot be forgotten though, while every detail of the story is
remembered, its application may pass and leave no trace. We, too,
must take this risk. We may offer children as their sustenance the
Lysander of Plutarch, an object lesson, we think, shewing what a
statesman or a citizen should avoid: but, who knows, the child
may take to Lysander and think his ‘cute’ ways estimable! Again,
we take the risk, as did our Lord in that puzzling parable of the
Unjust Steward. One other caution; it seems to be necessary to
present ideas with a great deal of padding, as they reach us in a
novel or poem or history book written with literary power. A child
cannot in mind or body live upon tabloids however scientifically
prepared; out of a whole big book he may not get more than half
a dozen of those ideas upon which his spirit thrives; and they
come in unexpected places and unrecognised forms, so that no grown
person is capable of making such extracts from Scott or Dickens
or Milton, as will certainly give him nourishment. It is a case
of,--“In the morning sow thy seed and in the evening withhold not
thine hand for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this
or that.”

One of our presumptuous sins in this connection is that we
venture to offer opinions to children (and to older persons)
instead of ideas. We believe that an opinion expresses thought
and therefore embodies an idea. Even if it did so once the very
act of crystallization into opinion destroys any vitality it may
have had; _pace_ Ruskin, a crystal is not a living body and does
not feed men. We think to feed children on the dogmas of a church,
the theorems of Euclid, mere abstracts of history, and we wonder
that their education does not seem to take hold of them. Let us
hear M. Fouillée[20] on this subject, for to him the _idea_ is all
in all both in philosophy and education. But there is a function
of education upon which M. Fouillée hardly touches, that of the
formation of habits, physical, intellectual, moral.

  “‘Scientific truths,’ said Descartes, ‘are battles won.’ Describe
  to the young the principal and most heroic of these battles; you
  will thus interest them in the results of science and you will
  develop in them a scientific spirit by means of the enthusiasm
  for the conquest of truth.... How interesting Arithmetic and
  Geometry might be if we gave a short history of their principal
  theorems, if the child were meant to be present at the labours
  of a Pythagoras, a Plato, a Euclid, or in modern times, of a
  Descartes, a Pascal, or a Leibnitz. Great theories instead of
  being lifeless and anonymous abstractions would become living
  human truths each with its own history like a statue by Michael
  Angelo or like a painting by Raphael.”

Here we have an application of Coleridge’s ‘captain-idea’ of every
train of thought; that is, not a naked generalisation, (neither
children nor grown persons find aliment in these), but an idea
clothed upon with fact, history and story, so that the mind
may perform the acts of selection and inception from a mass of
illustrative details. Thus Dickens makes ‘David Copperfield’ tell
us that,--“I was a very observant child,” and that “all children
are very observant,” not as a dry abstraction, but as an inference
from a number of charming natural incidents.

All roads lead to Rome, and all I have said is meant to enforce the
fact that much and varied humane reading, as well as human thought
expressed in the forms of art, is, not a luxury, a tit-bit, to be
given to children now and then, but their very bread of life, which
they must have in abundant portions and at regular periods. This
and more is implied in the phrase, “The mind feeds on ideas and
therefore children should have a generous curriculum.”



CHAPTER VII

HOW WE MAKE USE OF MIND

  “_We hold that the child’s mind is no mere sac to hold ideas but
  is rather, if the figure may be allowed, a ‘spiritual organism’
  with an appetite for all knowledge. This is its proper diet with
  which it is prepared to deal and what it is able to digest and
  assimilate as the body does food-stuffs._

  “_Such a doctrine as the Herbartian, that the mind is a
  receptacle, lays the stress of education, the preparation of food
  in enticing morsels, duly ordered, upon the teacher. Children
  taught on this principle are in danger of receiving much teaching
  but little knowledge; the teacher’s axiom being ‘what a child
  learns matters less than how he learns it.’_”


I cannot resist presenting the Herbartian Psychology in the dry
light of Scottish humour.[21]

  “We have failed to explain ideas by the mind, how about
  explaining the mind by ideas? You are not to suppose that this is
  exactly how Herbart puts it, Herbart is a philosopher, a German
  philosopher. It is true that he starts with the mind or, as he
  prefers to call it, a soul: but do not fear that the sport of
  the hunt is to be spoiled for that ... the ‘given’ soul is no
  more a real soul than it is a real crater of a volcano. It has
  absolutely no content: it is not even an idea trap. Ideas can
  slip in and out of it as they please, or, rather, as other ideas
  please but the soul has no power either to call, make, keep,
  or recall, an idea. The ideas arrange all these matters among
  themselves. The mind can make no objection.”

  “‘The soul has no capacity nor faculty whatever either to
  receive or produce anything: it is therefore no _tabula rasa_
  in the sense that impressions, foreign to its nature, may be
  made on it. Also it is no substance in Leibnitz’s sense, which
  includes original self-activity. It has originally neither ideas,
  nor feelings, nor desires. Further, within it lie no forms of
  intuition and thought, no laws of willing and acting, nor any
  sort of predisposition however remote towards these. The simple
  nature of the soul is totally unknown and for ever remains so.
  It is as little a subject for speculative as for empirical
  psychology.’ (_Lehrbuch zur Psychologie_, by Herbart: Part III:
  pp. 152, 153.) Thus, a vigorous _vis inertiæ_ is the only power
  of the mind. Still it is subject to the action of certain forces.
  Nothing but ideas (_Vorstellung_) can attack the soul so that the
  ideas really make up the mind.”

We are familiar with the struggle of ideas on the threshold, with
the good luck of those that get in and especially of those that
get in first and mount to high places; with the behaviour of
ideas, very much like that of persons who fall into groups in an
anarchical state. This behaviour is described as the formation of
‘apperception masses’ and the mass that is sufficiently strong has
it all its own way and dominates the mind. Our business is not to
examine the psychology of Herbart, a very serious and suggestive
contribution to our knowledge of educational principles, but
rather to consider how it works out practically in education. But
before we examine how Herbartian psychology bears this test of
experiment, let us consider what Professor William James has to say
of psychology in general.

  “When we talk of psychology as a natural science,” he tells us,
  “we must not assume that that means a sort of psychology that
  stands at last on solid ground. It means just the reverse. It
  means a psychology particularly fragile and into which the waters
  of metaphysical criticism leak at every joint, a psychology all
  of whose elementary assumptions and data must be reconsidered
  in wider connections and translated into other terms. It is,
  in short, a phrase of diffidence and not of arrogance; and it
  is indeed strange to hear people talk triumphantly of the ‘New
  Psychology’ and write Histories of Psychology when into the
  real elements and forces which the word covers not the first
  glimpse of clear insight exists. A string of raw facts, a little
  gossip and wrangle about opinions, a little classification and
  generalisation on the mere descriptive level ... but not a single
  law ... not a single proposition from which any consequence can
  casually be deduced.”

But Professor James went on and wrote his extraordinarily
interesting book on psychology, and we must do the same though our
basis is no more than the common experience of mankind so far as
one mind can express the experience common to us all.

Herbart’s psychology is extraordinarily gratifying and attractive
to teachers who are, like other people, eager to magnify their
office; and here is a scheme which shows how every child is a new
creation as he comes forth from the hands of his teacher. The
teacher learns how to do it; he has but to draw together a mass
of those ideas which themselves will combine in the mind into
which they effect an entrance, and, behold, the thing is done:
the teacher has done it; he has selected the ideas, shewn the
correlation of each with the other and the work is complete! The
ideas establish themselves, the most potent rule and gather force,
and if these be good, the man is made.

Here, for example, is a single week’s ‘Correlation of Subjects’
worked out by a highly qualified teacher. “_Arithmetic_ (_Decimal
Fractions_), _Mathematics_ (_Simple Equations_, _Parallelograms_),
_Science_ (_Latent Heat_), _Housecraft_ (_Nerves_, _Thought_,
_Habits_), _Geography_ (_Scotland_, _General Industries_); or,
again, for another week,--under the same headings,--_Metric
problems_, _Symbols_ (_four rules_), _Triangles_ (_sum angles_),
_Machinery_, _Circulation_, _Sculpture of the British Isles_.”
The ideas, no doubt, have an agility and ability which we do not
possess and know how to jump at each other and form the desired
‘apperception masses.’

A successful and able modern educationalist gives us a valuable
introduction to Herbartian Principles, and, by way of example, “_A
Robinson Crusoe Concentration Scheme_,” a series of lessons given
to children in Standard I in an Elementary School. First we have
nine lessons in literature and language, the subjects being such
as ‘_Robinson climbs a hill and finds he is on an island_.’ Then,
ten object lessons of which the first is,--_The Sea_, the second,
_A Ship from Foreign Parts_, the sixth, _A Life-Boat_, the seventh,
_Shell-Fish_, the tenth, _A Cave_. How these ‘objects’ are to be
produced one does not see. The third series are drawing lessons,
probably as many, a boat, a ship, an oar, an anchor and so on. Then
follows a series on manual training, still built upon ‘Robinson’;
the first, a model of the sea-shore; then, models of Robinson’s
island, of Robinson’s house and Robinson’s pottery. The next course
consists of reading, an indefinite number of lessons,--‘passages
from _The Child’s Robinson Crusoe_ and from a general Reader on
the matters discussed in object lessons.’ Then follows a series
of writing lessons, “simple composition on the subject of the
lessons ... the children framed the sentences which the teacher
wrote on the blackboard and the class copied afterwards.” Here is
one composition,--“Robinson spent his first night in a tree. In
the morning he was hungry but he saw nothing round him but grass
and trees without fruit. On the sea-shore he found some shell-fish
which he ate.” Compare this with the voluminous output of children
of six or seven working on the P.U.S. scheme upon any subject
that they know; with, indeed, the pages they will dictate after a
single reading of a chapter of _Robinson Crusoe_, _not_ a ‘child’s
edition.’

Arithmetic follows with, no doubt, as many lessons, “many mental
examples and simple problems dealt with Robinson”; the eighth and
last course was in singing and recitation,--‘I am monarch of all I
survey,’ etc. “The lessons lasted about forty-five minutes each....
Under ordinary conditions the story of ‘Robinson Crusoe’ would be
the leading feature in the work of a whole year ... in comparing
the English classes with the German classes I have seen studying
‘Robinson Crusoe’ I was convinced that the eagerness and interest
was as keen among the children here as in the German schools....
One easily sees what a wealth of material there is in the further
development of the story.” One does indeed! The whole thing must
be highly amusing to the teacher, as ingenious amplifications
self-produced always are: that the children too were entertained,
one does not doubt. The teacher was probably at her best in getting
by sheer force much out of little: she was, in fact, acting a part
and the children were entertained as at a show, cinema or other;
but of one thing we may be sure, an utter distaste, a loathing,
on the part of the children ever after, not only for ‘Robinson
Crusoe’ but for every one of the subjects lugged in to illustrate
his adventures. We read elsewhere of an apple affording a text for
a hundred lessons, including the making of a ladder, (in paper),
to gather the apples; but, alas, the eating of the worn-out apple
is not suggested! The author whom we quote for ‘Robinson Crusoe’
and whom we refrain from naming because, as a Greek Chorus might
say, ‘we cannot praise,’ follows the ‘Robinson’ series with another
interminable series on the Armada.

The conscientious, ingenious and laborious teachers who produce
these ‘concentration series’ are little aware that each such lesson
is an act of _lèse majesté_. The children who are capable of and
eager for a wide range of knowledge and literary expression are
reduced to inanities; a life-long _ennui_ is set up; every approach
to knowledge suggests avenues for boredom, and the children’s
minds sicken and perish long before their school-days come to
an end. I have pursued this subject at some length because we,
too, believe in ideas as the proper and only diet upon which
children’s minds grow. We are more in the dark about Mind than
about Mars! We can but judge by effects, and these appear to point
to the conclusion that mind is a ‘spiritual organism.’ (I need
not apologise for speaking of that which has no substance as an
‘organism,’--no greater a contradiction in terms than Herbart’s
‘apperception masses.’) By an analogy with Body we conclude that
Mind requires regular and sufficient sustenance; and that this
sustenance is afforded by ideas we may gather from the insatiable
eagerness with which these are appropriated, and the evident growth
and development manifested under such pabulum. That children like
feeble and tedious oral lessons, feeble and tedious story books,
does not at all prove that these are wholesome food; they like
lollipops but cannot live upon them; yet there is a serious attempt
in certain schools to supply the intellectual, moral, and religious
needs of children by appropriate ‘sweetmeats.’

As I have said elsewhere, the ideas required for the sustenance of
children are to be found mainly in books of literary quality; given
these the mind does for itself the sorting, arranging, selecting,
rejecting, classifying, which Herbart leaves to the struggle of
the promiscuous ideas which manage to cross the threshold. Nor
is this merely a nominal distinction; Herbart was a philosopher
and therefore his thought embraced the universal. Probably few
schools of the day are consciously following the theories of
this philosopher; but in most schools, in England and elsewhere,
so far as any intelligent _rationale_ is followed it is that of
Herbart. There are many reasons for this fact. A scheme which
throws the whole burden of education on the teacher, which exalts
the personality of the teacher as the chief agent in education,
which affords ingenious, interesting, and more or less creative
work to a vast number of highly intelligent and devoted persons,
whose passionate hope is to leave the world a little better than
they found it by means of those children whom they have raised
to a higher level, must needs make a wide and successful appeal.
It appeals equally to Education Committees and school managers.
Consider the saving involved in the notion that teachers are
compendiums of all knowledge, that they have but, as it were,
to turn on the tap and the necessary knowledge flows forth. All
responsibility is shifted, and the relief is very great. Not only
so but lessons are delightful to watch and to hear; the success
of jig-saw puzzles illustrates a tendency in human nature to
delight in the ingenious putting together of unlikely things, as,
for example, a lifebuoy and Robinson Crusoe. There is a series of
small triumphs to be observed any day of the week, and these same
triumphs are brought about by dramatic display,--so ingenious,
pleasing, fascinating, are the ways in which the teacher chooses
to arrive at her point. I say ‘her’ point because women excel in
this kind of teaching, but men do not come far short. What of the
children themselves? They, too, are amused and entertained, they
enjoy the puzzle-element and greatly enjoy the teacher who lays
herself out to attract them. There is no flaw in the practical
working of the method while it is being carried out. Later, it
gives rise to dismay and anxiety among thoughtful people.

Much water has run under the bridge since several years ago Mr. A.
Paterson startled us out of self-complacency with his _Across the
Bridges_. We as a nation were well pleased at the time with the
result of our efforts; nothing could be more intelligent, alert,
brighter, than the seventh standard boy about to leave school
and take up his life work. Conditions were unpropitious. We know
the old story of inviting blind alleys, present success and then
unemployment, with resulting depreciation in character. What is to
be done? The question of after conditions is now being taken up
seriously. We have Continuation Classes which even if a boy be
out of work will help him to the Chinese art of ‘saving his face.’
But Mr. Paterson condemns the schools for the rapidity with which
their best boys run to seed. He does not quote the case of the boy
who gets work, earns fair wages, conducts himself respectably,
goes to a ‘Polytechnic,’ the sort of boy with whom Mr. Pett Ridge
makes us familiar, who is so much less than he might be, so crude
in his notions, so unmoral in his principles, so poor in interests,
so meagre if not coarse in his choice of pleasures and after all
such a good fellow at bottom. He might have been taught in school
to utilise his powers, to come into the enjoyment of the fine mind
that is in him; but in schools,--

  “There is too much learning and too little work. The teacher
  ready to use the powers that his training and experience have
  given him works too hard while the boy’s share in the struggle
  is too light. It is possible to make education too easy for
  children and to rob learning of the mental discipline which often
  wearies but in the end produces concentration and the capacity
  to work alone.... He is rarely left to himself with the book in
  his hands, forced to concentrate all his mind on the dull words
  before him with no one at hand to explain or make the memory work
  easier by little tricks of repetition and association.... The boy
  who reaches the seventh standard with every promise and enters
  the service of a railway company is first required to sit down by
  himself and master the symbols of the telegraphic code. This he
  finds extremely irksome for the only work he has ever done alone
  before is the learning of racy poetry which is the very mildest
  form of mental discipline.” “‘Silent reading’ is occasionally
  allowed in odd half-hours ... it might well be a regular subject
  for reading aloud is but a poor gift compared with the practice
  of reading in private.”[22]

What does his curriculum do for the boy? Let us again hear Mr.
Paterson:--[23]

  “What is the educational ideal set before the average boy
  whose school-days are to end at fourteen? What type is it that
  the authorities seek to produce? A glance at the syllabus
  will reassure the ordinary cynic who still labours under the
  quaint delusion that French and Algebra and violin-playing
  are taught in every London Elementary School at the expense
  of the ratepayer.... The syllabus was designed to leave a boy
  at fourteen with a thoroughly sound and practical knowledge
  of reading, writing and arithmetic and with such grounding in
  English, geography and history, as may enable him to read a
  newspaper or give a vote with some idea of what he is doing....
  But these are all subsidiary to teaching the three ‘R’s’ which
  between them occupy more than half the twenty-four hours of
  teaching in the week.... It is certain that the present object in
  view is dispiriting to master and boy alike for a knowledge of
  reading, writing and arithmetic is no education and no training
  but merely the elementary condition of further knowledge. In many
  schools the boy is labouring on with these mere rudiments for
  two or more years after all reasonable requirements have been
  satisfied. The intelligent visitor looking at the note-books
  of an average class will be amazed at the high standard of the
  neatness and accuracy but he will find the excellence of a very
  visible order. The handwriting is admirable, sixteen boys out
  of thirty can write compositions without a flaw in grammar or
  spelling. Yet it will occur to him that the powers of voluntary
  thought and reason, of spontaneous enquiry and imagination,
  have not been stirred. This very perfection of form makes
  him suspicious as to the fundamental principles of our State
  curriculum. In Public Schools boys are not trained to be lawyers,
  or parsons, or doctors, but to be men. If they have learned to
  work systematically and think independently they are then fit to
  be trained for such life and profession as taste or necessity
  may dictate. But at our Elementary Schools we seem to aim at
  producing a nation of clerks for it is only to a clerk that this
  perfection of writing and spelling is a necessary training.”

The very faults of his qualities nullify the work of the teacher.
His failing is that he does too much. Once more we quote our
authority:--

  “With the average boy there is a marked waste of mental capital
  between the ages of ten and thirteen and the aggregate of this
  loss to the country is heavy indeed. Ten years at school conquer
  many of the drawbacks of home and discover a quick, receptive
  mind in the normal child.... Many opportunities have been lost
  in these years of school but after fourteen there is a more
  disastrous relapse. The brain is not taxed again and shrivels
  into a mere centre of limited formulæ acting automatically in
  response to appetite or sensation. The boy’s general education
  fails utterly. Asia is but a name that it is difficult to
  spell though at school he spoke of its rivers and ports.... It
  is probable that the vocabulary of a working man at forty is
  actually smaller than it was at fourteen so shrunk is the power
  of the mind to feed upon the growing experience of life.... Of
  the majority of boys it is true to say that only half their
  ability is ever used in the work they find to do on leaving
  school, the other half curls up and sleeps for ever.”

Here we have a depressing prospect of grievous waste in the future.
We all applaud the Education Act of 1918, are convinced that every
boy and girl will receive education until the end of his sixteenth,
possibly eighteenth, year. A wave of generous feeling passed over
the nation and employers were willing to support the law; and
if the eight hours conceded be spent in making the young people
more reliable, intelligent and responsible persons no doubt the
employers will be rewarded for their generosity.

But there are rocks ahead. The only way to take advantage of this
provision is to make this an eight hours’ University course. Now
as Mr. Paterson happily remarks the Universities do not undertake
to prepare barristers, parsons, stockbrokers, bankers, or even
soldiers and sailors, with a specialised knowledge proper for each
profession. Their implicit contention is, given a well-educated
man with cultivated imagination, trained judgment, wide interests,
and he is prepared to master the intricacies of any profession;
while he knows at the same time how to make use of himself, of
the powers with which nature and education have endowed him for
his own happiness; the delightful employment of his leisure; for
the increased happiness of his neighbours and the well-being of
the community; that is, such a man is able, not only to earn his
living, but to _live_.

The Universities fulfil this claim; the various professions
abound with men who, in newspaper phrase, are ‘ornaments to
their professions,’ and who gave up leisure and means to serve
their fellow-citizens as magistrates, churchwardens, members of
committees, special constables when needed, until lately, members
of Parliament, holding service as an honour, and as proud as was
‘Godfrey Bertram,’ that unhappy laird in _Guy Mannering_, to write
‘J.P.’ after their names. The enormous amount of voluntary service
rendered in such ways throughout the Empire as well as that of
insufficiently, or duly, paid service justifies the Universities in
their reading of their peculiar function. But not only so, generous
disinterested work can never be paid for, and our great statesmen,
churchmen, soldiers and civil servants, as well as the members of
County, Municipal, and Urban District Councils, have done their
_devoir_ over and above the bond.

To secure this same splendidly devoted voluntary service from all
classes is the task set before us as a nation, a task the more
easy because we have all seen it fulfilled in the War when every
man was a potential hero. Now is it not the fact that the Army
proved itself an unequalled University for our men, offering them
increased knowledge, broad views, lofty aims, duty and discipline,
along with the finest physical culture? So much so, that instead of
going on from where the War left off, we have to be on the watch
against retrograde movements, physical, moral, intellectual. The
downward grade is always at hand and we know how easy it is. We
cannot afford another great war for the education of our people
but we must in some way supply the ‘University’ element and Mr.
Fisher’s great Act points out such a way. The young people are for
four years (a proper academic period) to be under influences that
make for ‘sweetness and light.’ But we must keep to the academic
ideal: all preparation for specialised industries should be taboo.
Special teaching towards engineering, cotton-spinning, and the
rest, is quite unnecessary for every manufacturer knows that given
a ‘likely’ lad he will soon be turned into a good workman in the
works themselves. The splendid record of women workers in the war
supports our contention. The efforts of Technical Schools and the
like are not greatly prized by the heads of firms so far as the
technical knowledge they afford goes. Boys from them are employed
rather on the off chance that they may turn out intelligent and apt
than for what they know beforehand of the business. Here is one
more reason for treating the Continuation School as the People’s
University and absolutely eschewing all money-making arts and
crafts. Denmark and Scandinavia have tried this generous policy of
educating young people, not according to the requirements of their
trade but according to their natural capacity to know and their
natural desire for knowledge, that desire to know history, poetry,
science, art, which is natural to every man; and the success of the
experiment now a century old is an object lesson for the rest of
the world.

Germany has pursued a different ideal. Her efforts, too, have
been great, unified by the idea of utility; and, if we will
only remember the lesson, the war has shown us how futile is an
education which affords no moral or intellectual uplift, no motive
higher than the learner’s peculiar advantage and that of the State.
Germany became morally bankrupt (for a season only, let us hope)
not solely because of the war but as the result of an education
which ignored the things of the spirit or gave these a nominal
place and a poor rendering in a utilitarian syllabus. We are
encouraged to face the fact boldly that it is a People’s University
we should aim at, a University with its thousands of Colleges up
and down the land, each of them the Continuation School (the name
is not inviting) for some one neighbourhood.

But, it will be argued, the subject matter of a University
education is conveyed for the most part through the channel of
dead languages, Latin and Greek. Our contention is that, however
ennobling the literature in these tongues, we cannot honestly
allow our English literature to take a second place to any other,
and that therefore whatever Sophocles, Thucydides, Virgil, have
it in them to do towards a higher education, may be effected more
readily by Milton, Gibbon, Shakespeare, Bacon, and a multitude of
great thinkers who are therefore great writers. Learning conveyed
in our common speech is easier come by than that secreted in a dead
language and this fact will help us to deal with the inadequacy of
the period allowed. Given absolute attention, and we can do much
with four hundred hours a year (1,600 hours in our four years’
course) but only if we go to work with a certainty that the young
students crave knowledge of what we call the ‘humanities,’ that
they read with absolute attention and that, having read, they
_know_. They will welcome the preparation for public speaking, an
effort for which everyone must qualify in these days, which the act
of narration offers.

The alternative is some such concentration scheme as that indicated
in _Robinson Crusoe_,--a year’s work on soap, its manufacture,
ingredients, the Soap Trade, Soap Transport, the Uses of Soap,
how to make out a Soap invoice, the Sorts of Soap, and so on _ad
infinitum_. Each process in the iron, cotton, nail, pin, engine,
button,--each process in our thousand and one manufactures--will
offer its own ingenious Concentration Scheme. The advocates of
utilitarian education will be delighted, the young students will be
kept busy and will to some extent use their wits all the time. With
what result? Some two centuries ago when a movement for adolescent
education agitated Europe, devastated by the Napoleonic wars, we
English took our part. The current early divided into two streams,
the material and the spiritual, the useful and the educative, and
England, already great in manufactures, was carried along by the
first of these streams, followed by Germany, France, Switzerland;
while the Scandinavian group of countries learned at the lips of
that ‘Father of the People’s High Schools’ that “spirit is might,
spirit reveals itself in spirit, spirit works only in freedom.” We
see the apotheosis of utilitarian education in the Munich schools
on the one hand and in the _morale_ of the German army on the
other. But we are slow to learn because we have set up a little tin
god of efficiency in that niche within our private pantheon which
should be occupied by personality. We trouble ourselves about the
uses of the young person to society. As for his own use, what he
should be in and for himself, why, what matter? Because, say we,
if we fit him to earn his living we fit him also to be of service
to the world and what better can we do for him personally? We
forget that it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but
by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God shall man
live,--whether it be spoken in the way of some truth of religion,
poem, picture, scientific discovery, or literary expression; by
these things men live and in all such is the life of the spirit.
The spiritual life requires the food of ideas for its daily bread.
We shall find, in the words of a well-known Swedish professor,
that, “just as enrichment of the soil gives the best conditions for
the seed sown in it so a well-grounded humanistic training provides
the surest basis for a business capacity, and not the least so in
the case of the coming farmer.” But we need not go so far afield,
we have a prophet of our own, and I will close this part of my
subject by quoting certain of Mr. Fisher’s words of wisdom:--

  “Now let me say something about the content of education, about
  the things which should be actually taught in the schools, and
  I am only going to talk in the very broadest possible way. In my
  afternoon’s reading I came upon another very apposite remark in
  the letters of John Stuart Mill. Let me read it to you:--

    ‘What the poor, as well as the rich, require is not to be
    taught other people’s opinions, but to be induced and enabled
    to think for themselves. It is not physical science that will
    do this, even if they could learn it much more thoroughly than
    they are able to do.’

  “The young people of this country are not to be regenerated by
  economic doctrine or economic history or physical science; they
  can only be elevated by ideas which act upon the imagination and
  act upon the character and influence the soul, and it is the
  function of all good teachers to bring those ideas before them.

  “I have sometimes heard it said that you should not teach
  patriotism in the school. I dissent from that doctrine. I think
  that patriotism should be taught in the schools. I will tell you
  what I mean by patriotism. By patriotism I do not mean Jingoism,
  but what I mean by patriotism is an intelligent appreciation of
  all things noble in the romances, in the literature and in the
  history of one’s own country. Young people should be taught to
  admire what is great while they are at school. And remember that
  for the poor of this country the school is a far more important
  factor than it is for the rich people of this country....

  “I say that I want patriotism in the larger sense of the term
  taught in the schools. Of course there is a great deal to
  criticise in any country, and I should be the last person to
  suggest that the critical faculty should not be exercised and
  trained at school. But before we teach children to criticise
  the institutions of their country, before we teach them to be
  critical of what is bad, let us teach them to recognize and
  admire what is good. After all life is very short; we all of us
  have only one life to live, and during that life let us get into
  ourselves as much love, as much admiration, as much elevating
  pleasure as we can, and if we view education merely as discipline
  in critical bitterness, then we shall lose all the sweets of life
  and we shall make ourselves unnecessarily miserable. There is
  quite enough sorrow and hardship in this world as it is without
  introducing it prematurely to young people.” ...

  N.B.--Probably some educational authorities may decide to give
  one hour or two weekly to physical training and handicrafts,
  in which case the time-table must allow for so much the less
  reading. But I should like to urge that, with the long evening
  leisure of which there is promise, Club life will become an
  important feature in every village and district. Classes will
  certainly be arranged for military and other drills, gymnastics,
  dancing, singing, swimming, carpentry, cooking, nursing,
  dress-making, weaving, pottery, acting,--in fact, whatever the
  quickened intelligence of the community demands. No compulsion
  would be necessary to enforce attendance at classes, for which
  the machinery is already in existence in most places, and which,
  associated with Club life, would have certain social attractions
  in the way of public displays, prize givings and so on. The
  intellectual life of the Continuation School should give zest to
  these evening occupations as well as to the Saturday Field Club
  which no neighbourhood should be without.

I have put the case for Continuation Schools as strongly as may be,
but there is a more excellent way. In these days of high wages it
may well happen that parents will be willing to let their children
remain at school until the end of their seventeenth year, in which
case they will be able to go on with the ‘secondary education’
which they have begun at the age of six and we shall see a new
thing in the world. Every man and woman will have received a
liberal education; life will no longer discount the ideas and
aims of the schoolroom, and, if according to the Platonic saying,
“Knowledge is virtue,” knowledge informed by religion, we shall see
even in our own day how righteousness exalteth a nation.



CHAPTER VIII

I.--THE WAY OF THE WILL

  _We may offer to children two guides to moral and intellectual
  self-management which we may call ‘the Way of the Will’ and ‘the
  Way of the Reason.’_

  _The Way of the Will: Children should be taught (a) to
  distinguish between ‘I want’ and ‘I will.’ (b) That the way
  to will effectively is to turn our thoughts away from that
  which we desire but do not will. (c) That the best way to turn
  our thoughts is to think of or do some quite different thing,
  entertaining or interesting. (d) That after a little rest in this
  way, the will returns to its work with new vigour. (This adjunct
  of the will is familiar to us as diversion, whose office it is to
  ease us for a time from will effort that we may ‘will’ again with
  added power. The use of suggestion as an aid to the will is to be
  deprecated, as tending to stultify and stereotype character. It
  would seem that spontaneity is a condition of development, and
  that human nature needs the discipline of failure as well as of
  success.)_


The great things of life, life itself, are not easy of definition.
The Will, we are told, is ‘the sole practical faculty of man.’
But who is to define the Will? We are told again that ‘the Will
is the man’; and yet most men go through life without a single
definite act of willing. Habit, convention, the customs of the
world have done so much for us that we get up, dress, breakfast,
follow our morning’s occupations, our later relaxations, without an
act of choice. For this much at any rate we know about the will.
Its function is to _choose_, to decide, and there seems to be no
doubt that the greater becomes the effort of decision the weaker
grows the general will. Opinions are provided for us, we take our
principles at second or third hand, our habits are suitable and
convenient, and what more is necessary for a decent and orderly
life? But the one achievement possible and necessary for every man
is character; and character is as finely wrought metal beaten into
shape and beauty by the repeated and accustomed action of will.
We who teach should make it clear to ourselves that our aim in
education is less conduct than character; conduct may be arrived
at, as we have seen, by indirect routes, but it is of value to the
world only as it has its source in character.

Every assault upon the flesh and spirit of man is an attack however
insidious upon his personality, his will; but a new Armageddon is
upon us in so far as that the attack is no longer indirect but is
aimed consciously and directly at the will, which is the man; and
we shall escape becoming a nation of imbeciles only because there
will always be persons of good will amongst us who will resist the
general trend. The office of parents and teachers is to turn out
such persons of good will; that they should deliberately weaken
the moral fibre of their children by suggestion is a very grave
offence and a thoughtful examination of the subject should act as
a sufficient deterrent. For, let us consider. What we do _with the
will_ we describe as voluntary. What we do _without the_ conscious
action of _will_ is involuntary. The will has only one mode of
action, its function is to ‘choose,’ and with every choice we make
we grow in force of character.

From the cradle to the grave suggestions crowd upon us, and such
suggestions become part of our education because we must choose
between them. But a suggestion given by intent and supported by an
outside personality has an added strength which few are able to
resist, just because the choice has been made by another and not
by ourselves, and our tendency is to accept this vicarious choice
and follow the path of least resistance. No doubt much of this
vicarious choosing is done for our good, whether for our health of
body or amenableness of mind; but those who propose suggestion as
a means of education do not consider that with every such attempt
upon a child they weaken that which should make a man of him,
his own power of choice. The parasitic creatures who live upon
the habits, principles and opinions of others may easily become
criminal. They only wait the occasion of some popular outburst to
be carried into such a fury of crime as the Gordon Riots presented:
a mad fury of which we have had terrible examples in our own day,
though we have failed to ascribe them to their proper cause, the
undermining of the will of the people, who have not been instructed
in that ordering of the will which is their chief function as men
and women. His will is the safeguard of a man against the unlawful
intrusion of other persons. We are taught that there are offences
against the bodies of others which may not be committed, but who
teaches us that we may not intrude upon the minds and overrule
the wills of others; that it is indecent to let another probe the
thoughts of the ‘unconscious mind’ whether of child or man? Now
the thought that we choose is commonly the thought that we ought
to think and the part of the teacher is to afford to each child
a full reservoir of the right thought of the world to draw from.
For right thinking is by no means a matter of _self_-expression.
Right thought flows upon the stimulus of an idea, and ideas are
stored as we have seen in books and pictures and the lives of men
and nations; these instruct the conscience and stimulate the will,
and man or child ‘chooses.’ An accomplished statesman[24] exhibited
to us lately how the disintegration of a great empire was brought
about by the weakness of its rulers who allowed their will-power to
be tampered with, their judgment suggested, their actions directed,
by those who gained access to them.

There is no occasion for panic, but it is time that we realised
that _to fortify the will_ is one of the great purposes of
education, and probably some study of the map of the City of
Mansoul would afford us guidance: at least, a bird’s eye view of
the riches of the City should be spread before children. They
should themselves know of the wonderful capacities to enter upon
the world as a great inheritance which exist in every human being.
All its beauty and all its thought are open to everyone. Everyone
may take service for the world’s use, everyone may climb those
delectable mountains from whence he gets the vision of the City of
God. He must know something of his body with its senses and its
appetites: of his intellect, imagination and æsthetic sense: of his
moral nature, ordered by love and justice. Realising how much is
possible to Mansoul and the perils that assail it, he should know
that the duty of self-direction belongs to him; and that powers for
this direction are lodged in him, as are intellect and imagination,
hunger and thirst. These governing powers are the conscience and
the will. The whole ordering of education with its history, poetry,
arithmetic, pictures, is based on the assumption that conscience
is incapable of ordering life without regular and progressive
instruction. We need instruction also concerning the will. Persons
commonly suppose that the action of the will is automatic, but no
power of Mansoul acts by itself and of itself, and some little
study of the ‘way of the will’--which has the ordering of every
other power--may help us to understand the functions of this
Premier in the kingdom of Mansoul.

Early in his teens we should at least put clearly before a child
the possibility of a drifting, easy life led by appetite or desire
in which will plays no part; and the other possibility of using the
power and responsibility proper to him as a person and _willing_ as
he goes. He must be safeguarded from some fallacies. No doubt he
has heard at home that Baby has a strong will because he cries for
a knife and insists on pulling down the table-cloth. In his history
lessons and his readings of tale and poem, he comes across persons
each of whom carries his point by strong wilfulness. He laughs
at that rash boy Phaëton, measures Esau with a considering eye,
finds him more attractive than Jacob who yet wins higher approval;
perceives that Esau is wilful but that Jacob has a strong will,
and through this and many other examples, recognises that a strong
will is not synonymous with ‘being good,’ nor with a determination
to have your own way. He learns to distribute the characters he
comes across in his reading on either side of a line, those who
are wilful and those who are governed by will; and this line by no
means separates between the bad and the good.

It does divide, however, between the impulsive, self-pleasing,
self-seeking, and the persons who have an aim beyond and outside
of themselves, even though it be an aim appalling as that of
Milton’s Satan. It follows for him that he must not only _will_,
but will with a view to an object outside himself. He will learn
to recognise in Louis XI a mean man and a great king, because
France and not himself was the object of his crooked policy. The
will, too, is of slow growth, nourished upon the ideas proposed to
it, and so all things work together for good to the child who is
duly educated. It is well that children should know that while the
turbulent person is not ruled by will at all but by impulse, the
movement of his passions or desires, yet it is possible to have
a constant will with unworthy or evil ends, or, even to have a
steady will towards a good end and to compass that end by unworthy
means. The simple rectified will, what our Lord calls ‘the single
eye,’ would appear to be the one thing needful for straight living
and serviceableness. But always the first condition of will, good
or ill, is an object outside of self. The boy or girl who sees
this will understand that self-culture is not to be accepted as
an ideal, will not wonder why _Bushido_ is mighty in Japan, will
enter into the problem which Browning raises in _The Statue and the
Bust_. By degrees the scholar will perceive that just as to _reign_
is the distinctive function of a king, so to _will_ is the function
of a man. A king is not a king unless he reigns and a man is less
than a man unless he wills. Another thing to be observed is that
even the constant will has its times of rise and fall, and one of
the secrets of living is how to tide over the times of fall in will
power.

The boy must learn too that the will is subject to solicitations
all round, from the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye and
the pride of life; that will does not act alone; it takes the
whole man to will and a man wills wisely, justly and strongly, in
proportion as all his powers are in training and under instruction.
We must understand in order to will. “How is that ye _will_ not
understand?” said our Lord to the Jews; and that is the way with
most of us, we _will_ not understand. We look out for great
occasions which do not come and do not see that the sphere for the
action of our wills is in ourselves. Our concern with life is to be
fit, and according to our fitness come our occasions and the uses
we shall be put to.

Unlike every other power in the kingdom of Mansoul, the will is
able to do what it likes, is a free agent, and the one thing the
will has to do is to prefer. “_Choose_ ye this day,” is the command
that comes to each of us in every affair and on every day of our
lives, and the business of the will is to choose. But, choice,
the effort of decision, is a heavy labour, whether it be between
two lovers or two gowns. So, many people minimise this labour by
following the fashion in their clothes, rooms, reading, amusements,
the pictures they admire and the friends they select. We are
zealous in choosing for others but shirk the responsibility of
decisions for ourselves.

What is to be said about obedience, to the heads of the house
first, to the State, to the Church, and always to the laws of God?
Obedience is the test, the sustainer of personality, but it must
be the obedience of choice; because choice is laborious, little
children must be trained in the obedience of habit; but every
gallant boy and girl has learned to _choose_ to obey all who are
set in authority.

Such obedience is of the essence of chivalry and chivalry is that
temper of mind opposed to self-seeking. The chivalrous person is
a person of constant will for, as we have seen, will cannot be
exercised steadily for ends of personal gain.

It is well to know what it is we choose between. Things are only
signs which represent ideas and several times a day we shall find
two ideas presented to our minds and must make our choice upon
right and reasonable grounds. We shall thus be on our guard against
the weak allowance which we cause to do duty for choice and against
such dishonest fallacies as, that it is our business to get the
best that is to be had at the lowest price; and it is not only in
matters of dress and ornament, household use and decoration, that
we run after the cheapest and newest. We chase opinions and ideas
with the same restlessness and uncertainty; any fad, any notion in
the newspapers, we pick up with eagerness. Once again, the will
is the man. The business of the will is to choose. There are many
ways to get out of the task of choosing but it is always,--“Choose
you this day whom ye will serve.” There are two services open
to us all, the service of God, (including that of man) and the
service of self. If our aim is just to get on, ‘to do ourselves
well,’ to get all possible ease, luxury and pleasure out of our
lives, we are serving self and for the service of self no act of
will is required. Our appetites and desires are always at hand to
spur us into the necessary exertions. But if we serve God and our
neighbour, we have to be always on the watch to choose between the
ideas that present themselves. What the spring is to the year,
school days are to our life. You meet a man whose business in the
world appears to be to eat and drink, play golf and motor; he may
have another and deeper life that we know nothing about, but, so
far as we can see, he has enlisted in the service of self. You meet
another, a man of position, doing important work, and his ideas
are those he received from the great men who taught him at school
and College. The Greek Plays are his hobby. He is open to great
thoughts and ready for service, because that which we get in our
youth we keep through our lives.

Though the will affects all our actions and all our thoughts, its
direct action is confined to a very little place, to that postern
at either side of which stand conscience and reason, and at which
ideas must needs present themselves. Shall we take an idea in
or reject it? Conscience and reason have their say, but _will_
is supreme and the behaviour of will is determined by all the
principles we have gathered, all the opinions we have formed. We
accept the notion, ponder it. At first we vaguely intend to act
upon it; then we form a definite purpose, then a resolution and
then comes an act or general temper of mind. We are told of Rudyard
Kipling that his great ambition and desire at one time was to keep
a tobacconist’s shop. Why? Because in this way he could get into
human touch with the men who came to buy their weekly allowance of
tobacco. Happily for the world he did not become a tobacconist but
the idea which moved him in the first place has acted throughout
his life. Always he has men, young men, about him and who knows how
many he has moved to become ‘Captains Courageous’ by his talk as
well as by his books!

But suppose an unworthy idea present itself at the postern,
supported by public opinion, by reason, for which even conscience
finds pleas? The will soon wearies of opposition, and what is to be
done? Fight it out? That is what the mediæval Church did with those
ideas which it rightly regarded as temptations; the lash, the hair
shirt, the stone couch, the emaciated frame told of these not too
successful Armageddons.

When the overstrained will asks for repose, it may not relax to
yielding point but may and must seek recreation, diversion,--Latin
thought has afforded us beautiful and appropriate names for that
which we require. A change of physical or mental occupation is
very good, but if no other change is convenient, let us _think_ of
something else, no matter how trifling. A new tie, or our next new
hat, a story book we are reading, a friend we hope to see, anything
does so long as we do not suggest to ourselves the thoughts we
_ought_ to think on the subject in question. The will does not
want the support of arguments but the recreation of rest, change,
diversion. In a surprisingly short time it is able to return to
the charge and to choose this day the path of duty, however dull
or tiresome, difficult or dangerous. This ‘way of the will’ is a
secret of power, the secret of self-government, with which people
should be furnished, not only for ease in practical right doing, or
for advance in the religious life, but also for their intellectual
well-being. Our claim to free will is a righteous claim; will
can only be free, whether its object be right or wrong; it is a
matter of choice and there is no choice but free choice. But we are
apt to translate free will into free thought. We allow ourselves
to sanction intellectual anarchism and forget that it rests with
the will to order the thoughts of the mind fully as much as the
feelings of the heart or the lusts of the flesh. Our thoughts
are not our own and we are not free to think as we choose. The
injunction,--“Choose ye this day,” applies to the thoughts which we
allow ourselves to receive. Will is the one free agent of Mansoul,
will alone may accept or reject; and will is therefore responsible
for every intellectual problem which has proved too much for a
man’s sanity or for his moral probity. We may not think what we
please on shallow matters or profound. The instructed conscience
and trained reason support the will in those things, little and
great, by which men live.

The ordering of the will is not an affair of sudden resolve; it is
the outcome of a slow and ordered education in which precept and
example flow in from the lives and thoughts of other men, men of
antiquity and men of the hour, as unconsciously and spontaneously
as the air we breathe. But the moment of choice is immediate and
the act of the will voluntary; and the object of education is to
prepare us for this immediate choice and voluntary action which
every day presents.

While affording some secrets of ‘the way of the will’ to young
people, we should perhaps beware of presenting the ideas of
‘self-knowledge, self-reverence, and self-control.’ All adequate
education must be outward bound, and the mind which is concentrated
upon self-emolument, even though it be the emolument of all the
virtues, misses the higher and the simpler secrets of life. Duty
and service are the sufficient motives for the arduous training of
the will that a child goes through with little consciousness. The
gradual fortifying of the will which many a schoolboy undergoes is
hardly perceptible to himself however tremendous the results may be
for his city or his nation. Will, free will, must have an object
outside of self; and the poet has said the last word so far as we
yet know,----

      “Our wills are ours we know not how;
      Our wills are ours to make them Thine.”



CHAPTER IX

2.--THE WAY OF THE REASON

  _We should teach children, also, not to lean (too confidently)
  unto their own understanding because the function of reason is
  to give logical demonstration of (a) mathematical truth and (b)
  of initial ideas accepted by the will. In the former case reason
  is, perhaps, an infallible guide but in the latter is not always
  a safe one, for whether the initial idea be right or wrong reason
  will confirm it by irrefragable proofs._

  _Therefore children should be taught as they become mature enough
  to understand such teaching that the chief responsibility which
  rests upon them as persons is the acceptance or rejection of
  ideas presented to them. To help them in this choice we should
  afford them principles of conduct and a wide range of fitting
  knowledge._


Every child, every man, who comes to a sudden halt watching the
action of his own reason, is another Columbus, the discoverer of
a new world. Commonly we let reason do its work without attention
on our part, but there come moments when we stand in startled
admiration and watch the unfolding before us point by point of a
score of arguments in favour of this carpet as against that, this
route in preference to the other, our chosen chum as against Bob
Brown; because every _pro_ suggested by our reason is opposed
to some _con_ in the background. How else should it happen that
there is no single point upon which two persons may reason,--food,
dress, games, education, politics, religion,--but the two may take
opposite sides, and each will bring forward infallible proofs
which must convince the other were it not that he too is already
convinced by stronger proofs to strengthen his own argument. Every
character in history or fiction supports this thesis; and probably
we cannot give a better training in right reasoning than by
letting children work out the arguments in favour of this or that
conclusion.

Thus, Macbeth, a great general, returns after a brilliant victory,
head and heart are inflated, what can he not achieve? Could he not
govern a country as well as rule an army? Reason unfolds the steps
by which he might do great things; great things, ay, but are they
lawful, these possible exploits? And then in the nick of time he
comes across the ‘weird Sisters,’ as we are all apt to take refuge
in fatalism when conscience no longer supports us. He shall be
Thane of Cawdor, and, behold, confirmation arrives on the spot. He
shall also be king. Well, if this is decreed, what can he do? He
is no longer a free agent. And a score of valid arguments unfold
themselves showing how Scotland, the world, his wife, himself,
would be enhanced, would flourish and be blessed if he had the
opportunity to do what was in him. Opportunity? The thing was
decreed! It rested with him to find the means, the tools. He was
not without imagination, had a poetic mind and shrank before the
horrors he vaguely foresaw. But reason came to his aid and step by
step the whole bloody tragedy was wrought out before his prescient
mind. When we first meet with Macbeth he is rich in honours, troops
of friends, the generous confidence of his king. The change is
sudden and complete, and, we may believe, reason justified him at
every point. But reason did not begin it. The will played upon by
ambition had already admitted the notion of towering greatness or
ever the ‘weird Sisters’ gave shape to his desire. Had it not been
for this countenance afforded by the will, the forecasts of fate
would have influenced his conduct no more than they did that of
Banquo.

But it must not be supposed that reason is malign, the furtherer
of ill counsels only. Nurse Cavell, Jack Cornwell, Lord Roberts,
General Gordon, Madame Curie, leave hints enough to enable us
to follow the trains of thought which issued in glorious deeds.
We know how Florence Nightingale received, welcomed, reasoned
out the notion of pity which obsessed her, and how through many
difficulties her great project for the saving of the sick and
suffering of her country’s army worked itself out; how she was able
to convey to those in power the same convincing arguments which
moved herself. That was a happy thought of the mediæval Church
which represented the leading idea of each of the seven Liberal
Arts by a chosen exponent able to convince others by the arguments
which his own reason brought forward. So Priscian taught the world
Grammar; Pythagoras, Arithmetic; and the name of Euclid still
stands for the science which appealed to his reason. But it is not
only great intellectual advances and discoveries or world-shaping
events for good or evil, that exhibit the persuasive power of
reason. There is no object in use, great or small, upon which
some man’s reason has not worked exhaustively. A sofa, a chest of
drawers, a ship, a box of toy soldiers, have all been thought out
step by step, and the inventor has not only considered the _pros_
but has so far overcome the _cons_ that his invention is there,
ready for use; and only here and there does anyone take the trouble
to consider how the useful, or, perhaps, beautiful article came
into existence. It is worth while to ask a child, How did you think
of it? when he comes to tell you of a new game he has invented, a
new country of the imagination he has named, peopled and governed.
He will probably tell you what first ‘put it into his head’ and
then how the reasons one after another came to him. After,--How
did _you_ think of it?--the next question that will occur to a
child is,--How did _he_ think of it?--and he will distinguish
between the first notion that has ‘put it into his head’ and the
reasoned steps which have gone to the completion of an object,
the discovery of a planet, the making of a law. Sometimes a child
should be taken into the psychology of crime, and he will see that
reason brings infallible proofs of the rightness of the criminal
act. From Cain to the latest great offender every criminal act has
been justified by reasoned arguments which come of their own accord
to the criminal. We know the arguments before which Eve fell when
the Serpent played the part of the ‘weird Sisters.’ It is pleasant
to the eye; it is good for food; it shall make you wise in the
knowledge of good and evil--good and convincing arguments, specious
enough to overbear the counter-pleadings of Obedience. Children
should know that such things are before them also; that whenever
they want to do wrong capital reasons for doing the wrong thing
will occur to them. But, happily, when they want to do right no
less cogent reasons for right doing will appear.

After abundant practice in reasoning and tracing out the reasons of
others, whether in fact or fiction, children may readily be brought
to the conclusions that reasonable and right are not synonymous
terms; that reason is their servant, not their ruler,--one of those
servants which help Mansoul in the governance of his kingdom. But
no more than appetite, ambition, or the love of ease, is reason to
be trusted with the government of a man, much less that of a state;
because well-reasoned arguments are brought into play for a wrong
course as for a right. He will see that reason works involuntarily;
that all the beautiful steps follow one another in his mind without
any activity or intention on his own part; but he need never
suppose that he was hurried along into evil by thoughts which he
could not help, because reason never begins it. It is only when he
chooses to think about some course or plan, as Eve standing before
the apples, that reason comes into play; so, if he chooses to think
about a purpose that is good, many excellent reasons will hurry
up to support him; but, alas, if he choose to entertain a wrong
notion, he, as it were, rings the bell for reason, which enforces
his wrong intention with a score of arguments proving that wrong is
right.

A due recognition of the function of reason should be an enormous
help to us all in days when the air is full of fallacies, and
when our personal modesty, that becoming respect for other people
which is proper to well-ordered natures whether young or old,
makes us willing to accept conclusions duly supported by public
opinion or by those whose opinions we value. Nevertheless, it is
something to recognise that probably no wrong thing has ever been
done or said, no crime committed, but has been justified to the
perpetrator by arguments coming to him involuntarily and produced
with cumulative force by his own reason. Is Shakespeare ever wrong?
And, if so, may we think that a Richard III who gloats over his
own villainy as villainy, who is in fact no hypocrite, in the
sense of acting, to himself--is hardly true to human nature? Great
is Shakespeare! So perhaps Richard was the exception to the rule
which makes a man go out and hang himself when at last he sees his
incomparable villainy, and does not Richard say in the end,--“I
myself find in myself no pity for myself”? For ourselves and our
children it is enough to know that reason will put a good face on
any matter we propose; and, that we can prove ourselves to be in
the right is no justification for there is absolutely no theory
we may receive, no action we may contemplate, which our reason
will not affirm. Of course we know by many infallible proofs that
Bacon wrote Shakespeare, and an ingenious person has worked out
a chain of arguments proving that Dr. Johnson wrote the Bible!
Why not? For a nation of logical thinkers, the French made an
extraordinary _faux-pas_ when they elected the Goddess of Reason to
divine honours. But, indeed, perhaps they did it because they are a
logical nation; for logic gives us the very formula of reason, and
that which is logically proved is not necessarily right. We need
no longer wonder that two men equally upright, equally virtuous,
selected out of any company, will hold opposite views on almost any
question; and each will support his views by logical argument. So
we are at the mercy of the _doctrinaire_ in religion, the demagogue
in politics, and, dare we say, of the dreamer in science; and we
think to save our souls by being in the front rank of opinion
in one or the other. But not if we have grown up cognisant of
the beauty and wonder of the act of reasoning, and also, of the
limitations which attend it.

We must be able to answer the arguments in the air, not so much by
counter reasons as by exposing the fallacies in such arguments and
proving on our own part the opposite position. For example, “that
very lovable, very exasperating but essentially real, though often
wrong-headed enthusiast,” Karl Marx, dominates the socialistic
thought of to-day. Point by point, for good or for evil, the
Marxian Manifesto of 1848 is coming into force. “For the most
advanced countries,” we are told, “the following measures might
come into very general application.”

(1) “Expropriation of landed property and application of rent
to State Expenditure.” We have not space to examine the Marxian
proposition in detail but let us consider a single fallacy. It
is assumed that the rent of landed property is for the sole use,
enrichment and enjoyment of the owner. Now the schedule of the Duke
of Bedford, for example, published recently, shows that the income
derived from park property is inadequate to its upkeep and to the
taxes imposed upon the owner. Again, landowners are not only large
employers of labour, generally under favourable conditions, but
they keep up a very important benefaction; most of the extensive
landowners make of their places _public_ parks kept in beautiful
order at their _private_ expense.

(2) “Heavy progressive taxation.” The fallacy lies in the fact
that the proletariat in whose interest the Manifesto was issued
must necessarily on account of their numbers be large taxpayers.
Therefore it is upon them that heavy progressive taxation will
press--as we have all seen in Russia--to the point of their
extinction.

(3) “Abolition of inheritance.” A measure designed to reduce all
persons to the same level. As we know, the abolition of class is
the main object of socialism. But the underlying fallacy is the
assumption that class is stable and is not in a state of continual
flux, the continual upward and downward movement as of watery
particles in the ocean. The man at the bottom to-day may be at the
top to-morrow, as we see, not only in Soviet Russia, but in most
civilised countries. Attempts to control this natural movement are
as vain as King Canute’s command to the ocean.

(4) “Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.”
Assumed authority must be supported by tyranny, that worst tyranny
which requires all men to think to order, as they must in a Soviet
State, or be penalised to make them powerless. The fallacy lies in
a misconception of human nature. There is nothing that men will
not sacrifice for an idea, for such an idea as that of freedom of
thought and of movement.

(5), (6), (7), deal with centralisation, credit, of transport,
of factories, of instruments of production in the hands of the
State,--the State, that is, Everyman,--the Proletariat, in
fact,--in whose hands all wealth and means of obtaining wealth
shall be lodged.

Here we have a logically thought-out preparation for the
government of the people, by the people, for the people; but the
underlying fallacy is that it makes for revolution which effects no
change but a mere change of rulers, better or worse as may be. In
the Soviet Republic, according to the law of perpetual social flux,
new rulers would come to the top, arbitrary and tyrannical, because
not hemmed in by precedent and custom; and children will be at no
loss to show how the last state of a nation so governed is worse
than the first.

(8) “Compulsory obligation of labour upon all.” The initial idea
of a Soviet State is that it shall afford due liberty and equal
conditions for all. But even in the contemplation of such a State
it was necessary to postulate for everybody conscription and the
discipline of an army.

(9) “Joint prosecution for Agriculture and Manufacture.” The aim
being the gradual removal of the distinction of town and country.
Here is a point in the Manifesto which we should all like to see in
practice but--is it possible?

(10) “Public and gratuitous education for all children.” This
happily we have seen carried out with the proviso, ‘for whom
it may be necessary or desirable.’ The difficulty lies in the
conception of education formed by a Soviet community; and the
plea for free education is a specious blind, the intention being
such an education as shall train the coming generation in rabid
revolutionary principles.

To continue our examination of the Tenth Maxim; the next clause
(_b_) requires “abolition of children’s labour in factories in its
present form.” So far so good. Happily we have lived to see this
abolition; there may be a sinister reading of the clause but on the
surface it carries the assent of all good citizens.

(_c_) “Union of education with material production.” Here from
motives of economy we are going the way of the Communists in our
Continuation Schools; but a fallacy underlies the maxim which may
well frustrate our efforts towards the better education of the
people. The assumption is that the boy who learns, say, certain
manufacturing processes, _pari passu_ with his intellectual
education does better in the future than he who gives the full
period to education. There is no consensus of the opinion of
employers to prove that this is the case. On the contrary, given a
likely boy, and a manufacturer will be satisfied that he will soon
learn his business in the ‘works.’ But the function of education is
not to give technical skill but to develop a person; the more of a
person, the better the work of whatever kind; and as I have said
before, the idea of the Continuation School is, or should be, a
University course in the ‘humanities’; not in what have been called
the ‘best humanities,’ _i.e._, the Classics, though whether these
are in any sense ‘best’ is a moot question, but in the singularly
rich ‘humanities’ which the English tongue affords.

These Ten Marxian Maxims give us ample ground for discussion not
for lectures or for oral lessons, but for following for a few
minutes any opening suggested by ‘current events,’ a feature in
the children’s programme of work. But they must follow arguments
and detect fallacies for themselves. Reason like the other powers
of the mind, requires material to work upon whether embalmed in
history and literature, or afloat with the news of a strike or
uprising. It is madness to let children face a debatable world with
only, say, a mathematical preparation. If our business were to
train their power of reasoning, such a training would no doubt be
of service; but the power is there already, and only wants material
to work upon.

This caution must be borne in mind. Reason, like all other
properties of a person, is subject to habit and works upon the
material it is accustomed to handle. Plato formed a just judgment
on this matter, too,[25] and perceived that mathematics afford no
clue to the labyrinth of affairs whether public or private.

We have seen that their reading and the affairs of the day should
afford scope and opportunity for the delight in ratiocination
proper to children. The fallacies they themselves perpetrate when
exposed make them the readier to detect fallacies elsewhere.

What are we to do? Are we to waste time in discussing with children
every idle and blasphemous proposition that comes their way? Surely
not. But we may help them to principles which should enable them to
discern these two characters for themselves. A proposition is idle
when it rests on nothing and leads to nothing. Again, blasphemy is
a sin, the sin of being impudent towards Almighty God, Whom we all
know, without any telling, and know Him to be fearful, wonderful,
loving, just and good, as certainly as we know that the sun
shines or the wind blows. Children should be brought up, too, to
perceive that a miracle is not less a miracle because it occurs so
constantly and regularly that we call it a law; that sap rises in a
tree, that a boy is born with his uncle’s eyes, that an answer that
we can perceive comes to our serious prayers; these things are not
the less miracles because they happen frequently or invariably, and
because we have ceased to wonder about them. No doubt so did the
people of Jerusalem when our Lord performed many miracles in their
streets.

When children perceive that,--“My Father worketh hitherto and I
work”--is the law which orders nations and individuals: that “My
spirit shall not always strive with man,” is an awful warning
to every people and every person; that to hinder the mis-doing,
encourage the well-doing of men and nations is incessant labour,
the work of the Father and the Son:--to a child who perceives
these things miracles will not be matters of supreme moment because
all life will be for him matter for wonder and adoration.

Again, if we wish children to keep clear of all the religious
clamours in the air, we must help them to understand what religion
is.--[26]

  “Will religion guarantee me my private and personal happiness? To
  this on the whole I think we must answer, No; and if we approach
  it with a view to such happiness, then most certainly and
  absolutely No.”

Here is a final and emphatic answer to the quasi religious offers
which are being clamourously pressed upon hesitating souls. Ease
of body is offered to these, relief of mind, reparation of loss,
even of the final loss when those they love pass away. We may
call upon mediums, converse through table-rappings, be healed by
faith,--faith, that is, in the power of a Healer who manipulates
us. Sin is not for us, nor sorrow for sin. We may live in continual
odious self-complacency, remote from the anxious struggling souls
about us, because, forsooth, there is no sin, sorrow, anxiety or
pain, if we _will_ that these things shall not be. That is to say,
religion will “guarantee me my private and personal happiness,”
will make me immune from every distress and misery of life; and
this happy immunity is all a matter within the power of my own
will; the person that matters in my religion is myself only.
The office of religion for me in such a case is to remove all
uneasiness, bodily and spiritual, and to float me into a Nirvana
of undisturbed self-complacency. But we must answer with Professor
Bosanquet, “absolutely NO.” True religion will not do this for me
because the final form of the religion that will do these things is
idolatry, self-worship, with no intention beyond self.

To go on with our quotation,--

  “Well, but if not that then what? We esteem the thing as good
  and great, but if it simply does nothing for us, how is it to be
  anything to us? But the answer was the answer to the question and
  it might be that to a question sounding but slightly different,
  a very different answer would be returned. We might ask, for
  instance,--‘does it make my life more worth living?’ And the
  answer to this might be,--‘It is the only thing that makes life
  worth living at all.’”

In a word, “I want, am made for and must have a God.”

No doubt through the sweetness of their faith and love children
have immediate access to God, and what more would we have? ‘Gentle
Jesus’ is about their path and about their bed; angels minister
to them; they enjoy all the immunities of the Kingdom. But we may
not forget that reason is as active in them as the affections.
Towards the end of the last century people had a straight and easy
way of giving a reasonable foundation to a child’s belief. All the
articles of the Christian Faith were supported by a sort of little
catechism of ‘Scripture Proofs’; and this method was not without
its uses. But, to-day, we have to prove the Scriptures if we rely
upon Scripture proofs and we must change our point of attack.
Children must know that we cannot prove any of the great things of
life, not even that we ourselves live; but we must rely upon that
which we know without demonstration. We know, too, and this other
certainty must be pressed home to them, that reason, so far from
being infallible, is most exceedingly fallible, persuadable, open
to influence on this side and that; but is all the same a faithful
servant, able to prove whatsoever notion is received by the will.
Once we are convinced of the fallibility of our own reason we are
able to detect the fallacies in the reasoning of our opponents and
are not liable to be carried away by every wind of doctrine. Every
mother knows how intensely reasonable a child is and how difficult
it is to answer his quite logical and foolishly wrong conclusions.
So we need not be deterred from dealing with serious matters with
these young neophytes, but only as the occasion occurs; we may not
run the risk of boring them with the great questions of life while
it is our business to send them forth assured.

We find that, while children are tiresome in arguing about trifling
things, often for the mere pleasure of employing their reasoning
power, a great many of them are averse to those studies which
should, we suppose, give free play to a power that is in them, even
if they do not strengthen and develop this power. Yet few children
take pleasure in Grammar, especially in English Grammar, which
depends so little on inflexion. Arithmetic, again, Mathematics,
appeal only to a small percentage of a class or school, and, for
the rest, however intelligent, its problems are baffling to the
end, though they may take delight in reasoning out problems of
life in literature or history. Perhaps we should accept this tacit
vote of the majority and cease to put undue pressure upon studies
which would be invaluable did the reasoning power of a child wait
upon our training, but are on a different footing when we perceive
that children come endowed to the full as much with reason as with
love; that our business is to provide abundant material upon which
this supreme power should work; and that whatever development
occurs comes with practice in _congenial fields of thought_. At
the same time we may not let children neglect either of these
delightful studies. The time will come when they will delight in
words, the beauty and propriety of words; when they will see that
words are consecrated as the vehicle of truth and are not to be
carelessly tampered with in statement or mutilated in form; and
we must prepare them for these later studies. Perhaps we should
postpone parsing, for instance, until a child is accustomed to
weigh sentences for their sense, should let them dally with figures
of speech before we attempt minute analysis of sentences, and
should reduce our grammatical nomenclature to a minimum. The fact
is that children do not generalise, they gather particulars with
amazing industry, but hold their impressions fluid, as it were;
and we may not hurry them to formulate. If the use of words be
a law unto itself, how much more so the language of figures and
lines! We remember how instructive and impressive Ruskin is on the
thesis that ‘two and two make four’ and cannot by any possibility
that the universe affords be made to make five or three. From
this point of view, of immutable law, children should approach
Mathematics; they should see how impressive is Euclid’s ‘Which is
absurd,’ just as absurd as would be the statements of a man who
said that his apples always fell upwards, and for the same reason.
The behaviour of figures and lines is like the fall of an apple,
fixed by immutable laws, and it is a great thing to begin to see
these laws even in their lowliest application. The child whose
approaches to Arithmetic are so many discoveries of the laws which
regulate number will not divide fifteen pence among five people
and give them each sixpence or ninepence; ‘which is absurd’ will
convict him, and in time he will perceive that ‘answers’ are not
purely arbitrary but are to be come at by a little boy’s reason.
Mathematics are delightful to the mind of man which revels in the
perception of law, which may even go forth guessing at a new law
until it discover that law; but not every boy can be a champion
prize-fighter, nor can every boy ‘stand up’ to Mathematics.
Therefore perhaps the business of teachers is to open as many doors
as possible in the belief that Mathematics is one out of many
studies which make for education, a study by no means accessible
to everyone. Therefore it should not monopolise undue time, nor
should persons be hindered from useful careers by the fact that
they show no great proficiency in studies which are in favour with
examiners, no doubt, because solutions are final, and work can be
adjudged without the tiresome hesitancy and fear of being unjust
which beset the examiners’ path in other studies.

We would send forth children informed by “the reason firm, the
temperate will, endurance, foresight, strength and skill,” but we
must add resolution to our good intentions and may not expect to
produce a reasonable soul of fine polish from the steady friction,
say, of mathematical studies only.



CHAPTER X

THE CURRICULUM[27]

  _We, believing that the normal child has powers of mind which fit
  him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, give him a full and
  generous curriculum, taking care only that all knowledge offered
  to him is vital, that is, that facts are not presented without
  their informing ideas. Out of this conception comes our principle
  that:--_

  “Education is the Science of Relations”; _that is, a child has
  natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so
  we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts,
  science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our
  business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him
  to make valid as many as may be of_--

      “_Those first-born affinities
      That fit our new existence to existing things._”

  _In devising a syllabus for a normal child, of whatever social
  class, three points must be considered_:--

    (_a_) _He requires much knowledge, for the mind needs
    sufficient food as much as does the body._

    (_b_) _The knowledge should be various, for sameness in mental
    diet does not create appetite (i.e., curiosity)._

    (_c_) _Knowledge should be communicated in well-chosen
    language, because his attention responds naturally to what is
    conveyed in literary form._

  _As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children
  should “tell back” after a single reading or hearing: or should
  write on some part of what they have read._

  _A_ single reading _is insisted on, because children have
  naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated
  by the re-reading of passages, and also, by questioning,
  summarising, and the like._

  _Acting upon these and some other points in the behaviour of
  mind, we find that the educability of children is enormously
  greater than has hitherto been supposed, and is but little
  dependent on such circumstances as heredity and environment._

  _Nor is the accuracy of this statement limited to clever children
  or to children of the educated classes: thousands of children in
  elementary schools respond freely to this method, which is based
  on the_ behaviour of mind.


Few things are more remiss in our schools than the curriculum which
is supposed to be entirely at the option of the Head: but is it?
Most Secondary schools work towards examinations which more or less
afford the privilege of entry to the Universities. The standard to
be reached is set by these and the Heads of schools hold themselves
powerless.

Though Elementary schools no longer work with a view to examination
results yet as their best pupils try for scholarships admitting
them to secondary schools, they do come indirectly under the same
limitations. There is, however, much less liberty in Secondary than
in Primary schools with regard to the subjects taught and the time
devoted to each. The result is startling. A boy of eight in an
Elementary school may shew more intelligence and wider knowledge
than a boy of fourteen in a Preparatory school, that is, if he have
been taught on the principles I have in view, while the other boy
has been instructed with a view to a given standard of scholarship.
The Preparatory school boy does, however, reach that standard in
Latin, if not in Greek also, and in Mathematics.

If we succeed in establishing a similar standard which every
boy and girl of a given age should reach in a liberal range of
subjects, a fair chance will be afforded to the average boy and
girl while brilliant or especially industrious young people will go
ahead.

We labour under the mistake of supposing that there is no natural
law or inherent principle according to which a child’s course of
studies should be regulated; so we teach him those things which,
according to Locke, it is becoming for a ‘gentleman’ to know on
the one hand, and, on the other, the arts of reading, writing and
summing, that he may not grow up an illiterate citizen. In both
cases the education we offer is too utilitarian,--an indirect
training for the professions or for a craftsman’s calling with
efforts in the latter case to make a boy’s education bear directly
on his future work.

But what if in the very nature of things we find a complete
curriculum suggested? “The human race has lost its title deeds,”
said Voltaire, and mankind has been going about ever since seeking
to recover them; education is still at sea and Voltaire’s epigram
holds good. We have not found our title deeds and so we yield to
the children no inherent claims. Our highest aim is to educate
young people for their uses to society, while every faddist is
free to teach what he pleases because we have no title deeds to
confront him with. Education, no doubt, falls under the economic
law of supply and demand; but the demand should come from the
children rather than from teachers and parents; how are their
demands to become articulate? We must give consideration to this
question because the answer depends on a survey of the composite
whole we sum up as ‘human nature,’ a whole whose possibilities are
infinite and various, not only in a budding genius, the child of a
distinguished family, but in every child of the streets.

A small English boy of nine living in Japan, remarked,--“Isn’t it
fun, Mother, learning all these things? Everything seems to fit
into something else.” The boy had not found out the whole secret;
everything fitted into something within himself.

The days have gone by when the education befitting either a
gentleman or an artisan was our aim. Now we must deal with a child
of man, who has a natural desire to know the history of his race
and of his nation, what men thought in the past and are thinking
now; the best thoughts of the best minds taking form as literature,
and at its highest as poetry, or, as poetry rendered in the
plastic forms of art: as a child of God, whose supreme desire and
glory it is to know about and to know his almighty Father: as a
person of many parts and passions who must know how to use, care
for, and discipline himself, body, mind and soul: as a person of
many relationships,--to family, city, church, state, neighbouring
states, the world at large: as the inhabitant of a world full of
beauty and interest, the features of which he must recognise and
know how to name, and a world too, and a universe, whose every
function of every part is ordered by laws which he must begin to
know.

It is a wide programme founded on the educational rights of man;
wide, but we may not say it is impossible nor may we pick and
choose and educate him in this direction but not in that. We may
not even make choice between science and the ‘humanities.’ Our part
it seems to me is to give a child a vital hold upon as many as
possible of those wide relationships proper to him. Shelley offers
us the key to education when he speaks of “understanding that grows
bright gazing on many truths.”

Because the relationships a child is born to are very various, the
knowledge we offer him must be various too. A lady teaching in Cape
Colony writes,--“The papers incorporated in the pamphlet _A Liberal
Education: Practice_ (by A. C. Drury) testify to--to me--an almost
incredible standard of proficiency. The mistakes are just the kind
of mistakes that children should make and no more of them than just
enough to keep them from being priggish. There are none of those
howlers of fact or expression that make one view one’s efforts with
a feeling of utter despondency.”

The knowledge of children so taught is consecutive, intelligent
and complete as far as it goes, in however many directions. For it
is a mistake to suppose that the greater the number of ‘subjects’
the greater the scholar’s labour; the contrary is the case as
the variety in itself affords refreshment, and the child who has
written thirty or forty sheets during an examination week comes out
unfagged. Not the number of subjects but the hours of work bring
fatigue to the scholar; and bearing this in mind we have short
hours and no evening preparation.


SECTION I

THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

Of the three sorts of knowledge proper to a child,--the knowledge
of God, of man, and of the universe,--the knowledge of God ranks
first in importance, is indispensable, and most happy-making.
Mothers are on the whole more successful in communicating this
knowledge than are teachers who know the children less well and
have a narrower, poorer standard of measurement for their minds.
Parents do not talk down to children, but we might gather from
educational publications that the art of education as regards young
children is to bring conceptions down to their ‘little’ minds. If
we give up this foolish prejudice in favour of the grown-up we
shall be astonished at the range and depth of children’s minds;
and shall perceive that their relation to God is one of those
‘first-born affinities’ which it is our part to help them to make
good. A mother knows how to speak of God as she would of an absent
father with all the evidences of his care and love about her and
his children. She knows how to make a child’s heart beat high in
joy and thankfulness as she thrills him with the thought, ‘my
Father made them all,’ while his eye delights in flowery meadow,
great tree, flowing river. “His are the mountains and the valleys
his and the resplendent rivers, whose eyes they fill with tears
of holy joy,” and this is not beyond children. We recollect how
‘Arthur Pendennis’ walked in the evening light with his mother
and recited great passages from Milton and the eyes of the two
were filled ‘with tears of holy joy,’ when the boy was eight.
The teacher of a class has not the same tender opportunities but
if he take pains to get a just measure of children’s minds it is
surprising how much may be done.

The supercilious point of view adopted by some teachers is the
cause of the small achievements of their scholars. The ‘kiddies’
in a big girls’ school are not expected to understand and know
and they live down to the expectations formed of them. We (of the
P.N.E.U.) begin the definite ‘school’ education of children when
they are six; they are no doubt capable of beginning a year or two
earlier but the fact is that nature and circumstances have provided
such a wide field of education for young children that it seems
better to abstain from requiring _direct_ intellectual efforts
until they have arrived at that age.

As for all the teaching in the nature of ‘told to the children,’
most children get their share of that whether in the infant school
or at home, but this is practically outside the sphere of that
part of education which demands a _conscious mental effort_, from
the scholar, the mental effort of telling again that which has
been read or heard. That is how we all learn, we tell again, to
ourselves if need be, the matter we wish to retain, the sermon, the
lecture, the conversation. The method is as old as the mind of man,
the distressful fact is that it has been made so little use of in
general education. Let us hear Dr. Johnson on the subject:--

  “‘Little people should be encouraged always to tell whatever they
  hear particularly striking to some brother, sister, or servant,
  immediately, before the impression is erased by the intervention
  of newer occurrences.’ He perfectly remembered the first time
  he heard of heaven and hell because when his mother had made
  out such a description of both places as she thought likely to
  seize the attention of her infant auditor who was then in bed
  with her, she got up and dressing him before the usual time, sent
  him directly to call the favourite workman in the house to whom
  she knew he would communicate the conversation while it was yet
  impressed upon his mind. The event was what she wished and it
  was to that method chiefly that he owed the uncommon felicity of
  remembering distant occurrences and long past conversations.”
  (Mrs. Piozzi).

Now our objective in this most important part of education is
to give the children the knowledge of God. We need not go into
the question of intuitive knowledge, but the expressed knowledge
attainable by us has its source in the Bible, and perhaps we cannot
do a greater indignity to children than to substitute our own or
some other benevolent person’s rendering for the fine English,
poetic diction and lucid statement of the Bible.

Literature at its best is always direct and simple and a normal
child of six listens with delight to the tales both of Old and New
Testament read to him passage by passage, and by him narrated in
turn, with delightful touches of native eloquence. Religion has two
aspects, the attitude of the will towards God which we understand
by Christianity, and that perception of God which comes from a
gradual slow-growing comprehension of the divine dealings with
men. In the first of these senses, Goethe was never religious, but
the second forms the green reposeful background to a restless and
uneasy life and it is worth while to consider how he arrived at so
infinitely desirable a possession. He gives us the whole history
fully in _Aus Meinem Leben_, a treatise on education very well
worth our study. There he says,--

  “Man may turn where he will, he may undertake what he will but
  he will yet return to that road which Dante has laid down for
  him. So it happened to me in the present case: my efforts with
  the language” (Hebrew, when he was ten) “with the contents of the
  Holy Scriptures, resulted in a most lively presentation to my
  imagination of that beautiful much-sung land and of the countries
  which bordered it as well as of the people and events which
  have glorified that spot of earth for thousands of years....
  Perhaps someone may ask why I set forth here in such detail this
  universally known history so often repeated and expounded. This
  answer may serve, that in no other way could I show how with the
  distractions of my life and my irregular education I concentrated
  my mind and my emotion on one point because I can in no other
  way account for the peace which enveloped me however disturbed
  and unusual the circumstances of my life. If an ever active
  imagination of which the story of my life may bear witness led
  me here and there, if the medley of fable, history, mythology,
  threatened to drive me to distraction, I betook myself again to
  those morning lands, I buried myself in the five books of Moses
  and there amongst the wide-spreading, shepherd people I found the
  greatest solitude and the greatest comfort.”

It is well to know how Goethe obtained this repose of soul, this
fresh background for his thoughts, and in all the errors of a
wilful life this innermost repose appears never to have left
him. His eyes, we are told, were tranquil as those of a god, and
here is revealed the secret of that large tranquility. Here,
too, Goethe unfolds for us a principle of education which those
who desire their children to possess the passive as well as the
active principle of religion would do well to consider; for it is
probably true that the teaching of the New Testament, not duly
grounded upon or accompanied by that of the Old, fails to result
in such thought of God, wide, all-embracing, all-permeating, as
David, for example, gives constant expression to in the Psalms.
Let us have faith and courage to give children such a full and
gradual picture of Old Testament history that they unconsciously
perceive for themselves a panoramic view of the history of
mankind typified by that of the Jewish nation as it is unfolded
in the Bible. Are our children little sceptics, as was the young
Goethe, who take a laughing joy in puzzling their teachers with
a hundred difficulties? Like that wise old Dr. Albrecht, let us
be in no haste to explain. Let us not try to put down or evade
their questions, or to give them final answers, but introduce them
as did he to some thoughtful commentator who weighs difficult
questions with modesty and scrupulous care. If we act in this way,
difficulties will assume their due measure of importance, that
is to say, they will be lost sight of in the gradual unfolding
of the great scheme whereby the world was educated. I know of no
commentator for children, say, from six to twelve, better than
Canon Paterson Smyth (_The Bible for the Young_). He is one of the
few writers able to take the measure of children’s minds, to help
them over real difficulties, give impulse to their thoughts and
direction to their conduct.

Between the ages of six and twelve children cover the whole of
the Old Testament story, the Prophets, major and minor, being
introduced as they come into connection with the Kings. The teacher
opens the lesson by reading the passage from _The Bible for the
Young_, in which the subject is pictorially treated; for example,--

  “It is the battle field of the valley of Elah. The camp of Israel
  is on one slope, the big tents of the Philistines on the other.
  The Israelites are rather small men, lithe and clever, the
  Philistines are big men, big, stupid, thick-headed giants, the
  same as when Samson used to fool them and laugh at them long ago.
  There is great excitement on both sides,” etc.

There will be probably some talk and discussion after this
reading. Then the teacher will read the Bible passage in question
which the children will narrate, the commentary serving merely as a
background for their thoughts. The narration is usually exceedingly
interesting; the children do not miss a point and often add
picturesque touches of their own. Before the close of the lesson,
the teacher brings out such new thoughts of God or new points of
behaviour as the reading has afforded, emphasising the moral or
religious lesson to be learnt rather by a reverent and sympathetic
manner than by any attempt at personal application.

Forms III and IV (twelve to fifteen) read for themselves the whole
of the Old Testament as produced by the Rev. H. Costley-White in
his _Old Testament History_. Wise and necessary omissions in this
work make it more possible to deal with Old Testament History, in
the words of the Authorised Version, than if the Bible were used as
a single volume. Then, “each period is illustrated by reference to
contemporary literature (e.g., Prophets and Psalms and monuments).”
Again, “Brief historical explanations and general commentary are
inserted in their proper places.” For example, after Genesis iii,
we read, as an introduction to the story of Cain and Abel,--

  “The original object of this story was to explain the development
  of sin amongst mankind and the origin of homicide which in this
  first instance was actual murder. There are difficulties in the
  story which do not admit of satisfactory explanation. It may be
  asked,--‘Why did God not accept Cain’s offering?’ ‘How was His
  displeasure shewn?’ ‘What was the sign appointed for Cain?’ ‘Whom
  did he marry?’ The best way to answer such questions is to admit
  that we do not know, but we may add that these early stories are
  only a selection which do not necessarily form a consistent and
  complete whole, and that in this very case there are signs that
  the original story has been cut down and edited.

  “Among the lessons taught are the following,--(1) God judges
  man’s motives rather than his acts. The service of the heart is
  worth more than any ceremonial. (2) It is not the sin of murder
  that is condemned so much as the sin of jealousy and malice: cf.
  the Sermon on the Mount, Matt, xxi, 6. (3) The great doctrine of
  the Brotherhood of Man, that each man is his brother’s keeper and
  has his share of responsibility for the conditions of the lives
  of others. (4) Sin always brings its own punishment. (5) God
  remonstrates with man before the climax of sin is reached.”

The footnotes which form the only commentary upon the text are
commendably short and to the point.

Having received a considerable knowledge of the Old Testament in
detail from the words of the Bible itself and having been trained
to accept difficulties freely without giving place to the notion
that such difficulties invalidate the Bible as the oracle of God
and our sole original source of knowledge concerning the nature
of Almighty God and the manner of His government of the world,
children are prepared for a further study of divinity, still
following the Bible text.

When pupils are of an age to be in Forms V and VI (from 15 to 18)
we find that Dummelow’s _One Volume Bible Commentary_ is of great
service. It is designed to provide in convenient form,--

  “A brief explanation of the meaning of the Scriptures.
  Introductions have been supplied to the various books and Notes
  which will help to explain the principal difficulties, textual,
  moral or doctrinal, which may arise in connection with them.
  A series of articles has also been prefixed dealing with the
  larger questions suggested by the Bible as a whole. It is hoped
  that the Commentary may lead to a perusal of many of the books
  of Holy Scripture which are often left unread in spite of their
  rare literary charm and abundant usefulness for the furtherance
  of the spiritual life.... In recent years much light has been
  thrown upon questions of authorship and interpretation and the
  contributors to this volume have endeavoured to incorporate in it
  the most assured results of modern scholarship whilst avoiding
  opinions of an extreme or precarious kind. Sometimes these
  results differ from traditional views but in such cases it is not
  only hoped but believed that the student will find the spiritual
  value and authority of the Bible have been enhanced rather than
  diminished by the change.”

The Editor has in these words set forth so justly the aims of the
Commentary that I need only say we find it of very great practical
value. The pupils read the general articles and the introductions
to the separate Books; they read too the Prophets and the poetical
books with the notes supplied. Thus they leave school with a fairly
enlightened knowledge of the books of the Old Testament and of the
aids modern scholarship has brought towards their interpretation;
we hope also with increased reverence for and delight in the ways
of God with men.

The New Testament comes under another category. The same
commentaries are used and the same methods followed, that is, the
reverent reading of the text, with the following narration which
is often curiously word perfect after a single reading; this is
the more surprising because we all know how difficult it is to
repeat a passage which we have heard a thousand times; the single
attentive reading does away with this difficulty and we are able
to assure ourselves that children’s minds are stored with perfect
word pictures of every tender and beautiful scene described in the
Gospels; and are able to reproduce the austere if equally tender
teaching which enforces the object lessons of the miracles. By
degrees the Person of Our Lord as revealed in His words and His
works becomes real and dear to them, not through emotional appeals
but through the impression left by accurate and detailed knowledge
concerning the Saviour of the World, Who went about doing good.
Dogmatic teaching finds its way to them by inference through a
quiet realisation of the Bible records; and loyalty to a Divine
Master is likely to become the guiding principle of their lives.

I should like to urge the importance of what may be called a poetic
presentation of the life and teaching of Our Lord. The young reader
should experience in this study a curious and delightful sense of
harmonious development, of the rounding out of each incident, of
the progressive unfolding which characterises Our Lord’s teaching;
and, let me say here, the custom of narration lends itself
surprisingly to this sort of poetic insight. Every related incident
stands out in a sort of bas-relief; every teaching so rendered
unfolds its meaning; every argument convinces; and the personages
reveal themselves to us more intimately than almost any persons
we know in real life. Probably very little hortatory teaching is
desirable. The danger of boring young listeners by such teaching
is great, and there is also the further danger of provoking
counter-opinions, even counter-convictions, in the innocent-looking
audience. On the whole we shall perhaps do well to allow the
Scripture reading itself to point the moral.

“We are at present in a phase of religious thought, Christian and
pseudo-Christian, when a synthetic study of the life and teaching
of Christ may well be of use. We have analysed until the mind
turns in weariness from the broken fragments; we have criticised
until there remains no new standpoint for the critic; but if we
could only get a whole conception of Christ’s life among men and
of the philosophic method of His teaching, His own words should be
fulfilled and the Son of Man lifted up, would draw all men unto
Himself. It seems to me that _verse_ offers a comparatively new
medium in which to present the great theme. It is more impersonal,
more condensed, is capable of more reverent handling than is prose;
and what Wordsworth calls the ‘authentic comment’ may be essayed
in verse with more becoming diffidence. Again, the supreme moment
of a very great number of lives, that in which a person is brought
face to face with Christ, comes before us with great vividness in
the Gospel narratives, and it is possible to treat what we may call
dramatic situations with more force, and at the same time with more
reticence, in verse than in prose.

“We have a single fragment of the great epic which the future may
bring forth,--

                     ‘Those holy fields
      Over whose acres walked those blessed feet
      Which fourteen hundred years ago were nailed
      For our advantage to the bitter cross.’

“If Shakespeare had given us the whole how rich should we be! Every
line of verse dealing directly with Our Lord from the standpoint of
His personality is greatly treasured. We love the lines in which
Trench tells us,--

      ‘Of Jesus sitting by Samarian well
      Or teaching some poor fishers on the shore.’

and Keble’s,--

      ‘Meanwhile He paces through the adoring crowd
      Calm as the march of some majestic cloud.’

or his,--

      ‘In His meek power He climbs the mountain’s brow.’

Every line of such verse is precious but the lines are few, no
doubt because the subject is supremely august. Meantime we are
waiting for the great epic: because the need seems to be urgent
the writer has ventured to offer a temporary stop-gap in the six
volumes of _The Saviour of the World_.” (_From the Preface to the
first volume_).

A girl of thirteen and a half (Form IV) in her Easter examination
tackled the question: “_The people sat in darkness_”.... “_I am
the Light of the World._” _Shew as far as you can the meaning of
these statements._ She was not asked to write in verse, and was she
not taught by a beautiful instinct to recognise that the phrases
she had to deal with were essential poetry and that she could best
express herself in verse?

      “The people sat in darkness--all was dim,
      No light had yet come unto them from Him,
      No hope as yet of Heaven after life,
      A peaceful haven far from war and strife.
      Some warriors to Valhalla’s halls might go
      And fight all day, and die. At evening, lo!
      They’d wake again, and drink in the great hall.
      Some men would sleep for ever at their fall;
      Or with their fickle Gods for ever be:
      So all was dark and dim. Poor heathens, see!
      _The Light ahead_, the clouds that roll away,
      The golden, glorious, dawning of the Day;
      And in the birds, the flowers, the sunshine, see
      The might of Him who calls, ‘Come unto Me.’”

A girl of seventeen (Form V) answered the question: _Write an essay
or a poem on the Bread of Life_, by the following lines,--

      “‘How came He here,’ ev’n so the people cried,
      Who found Him in the Temple: He had wrought
      A miracle, and fed the multitude,
      On five small loaves and fish: so now they’d have
      Him king; should not they then have ev’ry good,
      Food that they toiled not for and clothes and care,
      And all the comfort that they could require?--
      So thinking sought the king....
                                    Our Saviour cried:
      ‘Labour ye not for meat that perisheth,
      But rather for the everlasting bread,
      Which I will give’--Where is this bread, they cry,
      They know not ’tis a heavenly bread He gives
      But seek for earthly food--‘I am the Bread of Life
      And all who come to Me I feed with Bread.
      Receive ye then the Bread. Your fathers eat
      Of manna in the wilderness--and died--
      But whoso eats this Bread shall have his part
      In everlasting life: I am the Bread,
      That cometh down from Heaven; unless ye eat
      Of me ye die, but otherwise ye live.’
      So Jesus taught, in Galilee, long since.

      “The people murmured when they heard His Word,
      How can it be? How can He be our Bread?
      They hardened then their hearts against His Word,
      They would not hear, and could not understand,
      And so they turnéd back to easier ways,
      And many of them walked with Him no more.
      May He grant now that we may hear the Word
      And harden not our hearts against the Truth
      That Jesus came to teach: so that in vain
      He may not cry to hearts that will not hear,
      ‘I am the Bread of Life, for all that come,
      I have this gift, an everlasting life,
      And room within my Heavenly Father’s House.’”

The higher forms in the P.U.S. read _The Saviour of the World_
volume by volume together with the text arranged in chronological
order. The lower forms read in turns each of the Synoptic Gospels;
Form IV adds the Gospel of St. John and The Acts, assisted by the
capital Commentaries on the several Gospels by Bishop Walsham How,
published by the S.P.C.K. The study of the Epistles and the Book
of Revelation is confined for the most part to Forms V and VI.
The Catechism, Prayer-book, and Church History are treated with
suitable text-books much in the same manner and give opportunities
for such summing-up of Christian teaching as is included in the
so-called dogmas of the Church. We find that Sundays together with
the time given to preparation for Confirmation afford sufficient
opportunities for this teaching.[28]


SECTION II

THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN

(_a_) HISTORY

I have already spoken of history as a vital part of education and
have cited the counsel of Montaigne that the teacher ‘shall by the
help of histories inform himself of the worthiest minds that were
in the best ages.’ To us in particular who are living in one of
the great epochs of history it is necessary to know something of
what has gone before in order to think justly of what is occurring
to-day. The League of Nations, for example, has reminded us not
only of the Congress of Vienna but of the several Treaties of
Perpetual Peace which have marked the history of Europe. It is
still true that,--

      “Things done without example, in their issue
      Are to be feared. Have you a precedent
      Of this commission?”
                                (_Henry VIII._)

We applaud the bluff King’s wisdom and look uneasily for precedents
for the war and the peace and the depressing anxieties that have
come in their train. We are conscious of a lack of sound judgment
in ourselves to decide upon the questions that have come before
us and are aware that nothing would give us more confidence than
a pretty wide acquaintance with history. The more educated among
our ‘Dominion’ cousins complain that their young people have no
background of history and as a consequence ‘we are the people’ is
their master thought; they would face even the loss of Westminster
Abbey without a qualm. What is it to them where great events
have happened, great persons lived and moved? And, alas, this
indifference to history is not confined to the Dominions; young
people at home are equally indifferent, nor have their elders such
stores of interest and information as should quicken children with
the knowledge that always and everywhere there have been great
parts to play and almost always great men to play those parts: that
any day it may come to anyone to do some service of historical
moment to the country. It is not too much to say that a rational
well-considered patriotism depends on a pretty copious reading of
history, and with this rational patriotism we desire our young
people shall be informed rather than with the jingoism of the
emotional patriot.

If there is but little knowledge of history amongst us, no doubt
our schools are in fault. Teachers will plead that there is no
time save for a sketchy knowledge of English history given in a
course of lectures of which the pupils take notes and work up
reports. Most of us know how unsatisfying is such a course however
entertaining. Not even Thackeray could introduce the stuff of
knowledge into his lectures on _The Four Georges_. Our knowledge
of history should give us something more than impressions and
opinions, but, alas, the lack of time is a real difficulty.

Now the method I am advocating has this advantage; it multiplies
time. Each school period is quadrupled in time value and we find
that we get through a surprising amount of history in a thorough
way, in about the same time that in most schools affords no more
than a skeleton of English History only. We know that young people
are enormously interested in the subject and give concentrated
attention if we give them the right books. We are aware that our
own discursive talk is usually a waste of time and a strain on the
scholars’ attention, so we (of the P.N.E.U.) confine ourselves
to affording two things,--knowledge, and a keen sympathy in the
interest roused by that knowledge. It is our part to see that every
child _knows_ and _can tell_, whether by way of oral narrative
or written essay. In this way an unusual amount of ground is
covered with such certainty that no revision is required for
the examination at the end of the term. A _single reading_ is a
condition insisted upon because a naturally desultory habit of mind
leads us all to put off the effort of attention as long as a second
or third chance of coping with our subject is to be hoped for.
It is, however, a mistake to speak of the ‘effort of attention.’
Complete and entire attention is a natural function which requires
no effort and causes no fatigue; the anxious labour of mind of
which we are at times aware comes when attention wanders and has
again to be brought to the point; but the concentration at which
most teachers aim is an innate provision for education and is not
the result of training or effort. Our concern is to afford matter
of a sufficiently literary character, together with the certainty
that no second or third opportunity for knowing a given lesson will
be allowed.

The personality of the teacher is no doubt of much value but
perhaps this value is intellectual rather than emotional. The
perception of the teacher is keenly interested, that his mind and
their minds are working in harmony is a wonderful incentive to
young scholars; but the sympathetic teacher who believes that to
attend is a strain, who makes allowance for the hundred wandering
fancies that beset a child--whom he has at last to pull up with
effort, tiring to teacher and pupil--hinders in his good-natured
efforts to help.

The child of six in IB has, not stories from English History, but
a definite quantity of consecutive reading, say, forty pages in
a term, from a well-written, well-considered, large volume which
is also well-illustrated. Children cannot of course themselves
read a book which is by no means written down to the ‘child’s
level’ so the teacher reads and the children ‘tell’ paragraph by
paragraph, passage by passage. The teacher does not talk much and
is careful never to interrupt a child who is called upon to ‘tell.’
The first efforts may be stumbling but presently the children get
into their ‘stride’ and ‘tell’ a passage at length with surprising
fluency. The teacher probably allows other children to correct any
faults in the telling when it is over. The teacher’s own really
difficult part is to keep up sympathetic interest by look and
occasional word, by remarks upon a passage that has been narrated,
by occasionally shewing pictures, and so on. But she will bear in
mind that the child of six has begun the serious business of his
education, that it does not matter much whether he understands this
word or that, but that it matters a great deal that he should learn
to deal directly with books. Whatever a child or grown-up person
can tell, that we may be sure he knows, and what he cannot tell,
he does not know. Possibly this practice of ‘telling’ was more
used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries than it is now. We
remember how three gentlemen meet in _Henry VIII_ and one who has
just come out of the Abbey from witnessing the coronation of Anne
Boleyn is asked to tell the others about it, which he does with
the vividness and accuracy we obtain from children. In this case
no doubt the ‘telling’ was a stage device, but would it have been
adopted if such narration were not commonly practised? Even in our
own day a good _raconteur_ is a welcome guest; and a generation or
two ago the art was studied as a part of gentlemanly equipment. The
objection occurs that such a social accomplishment is unnecessary
for children and is a mere exercise of memory. Now a passage to be
memorised requires much conning, much repetition, and meanwhile the
learners are ‘thinking’ about other matters, that is, the _mind_
is not at work in the act of memorising. To read a passage with
full attention and to tell it afterwards has a curiously different
effect. M. Bergson makes the happy distinction between _word_
memory and _mind_ memory, which, once the force of it is realised,
should bring about sweeping changes in our methods of education.

Trusting to mind memory we visualise the scene, are convinced by
the arguments, take pleasure in the turn of the sentences and frame
our own upon them; in fact that particular passage or chapter has
been received into us and become a part of us just as literally as
was yesterday’s dinner; nay, more so, for yesterday’s dinner is of
little account to-morrow; but several months, perhaps years hence,
we shall be able to narrate the passage we had, so to say, consumed
and grown upon with all the vividness, detail and accuracy of the
first telling. All those powers of the mind which we call faculties
have been brought into play in dealing with the intellectual
matter thus afforded; so we may not ask questions to help the child
to reason, paint fancy pictures to help him to imagine, draw out
moral lessons to quicken his conscience. These things take place as
involuntarily as processes of digestion.

Children of seven are promoted to Form IA in which they remain
for a couple of years. They read from the same capital book, Mrs.
Marshall’s _Our Island Story_, and about the same number of pages
in a term; but while the readings in IB are confined to the first
third of the book embodying the simpler and more direct histories,
those in IA go on to the end of the volume and children learn at
any rate to love English history. “I’d a lot sooner have history
than my dinner,” said a sturdy boy of seven by no means inclined to
neglect his dinner.

In IA the history is amplified and illustrated by short biographies
of persons connected with the period studied, Lord Clive, Nelson,
etc.; and Mrs. Frewen Lord’s delightful _Tales from Westminster
Abbey_ and _from St. Paul’s_ help the children immensely in
individualising their heroes. It is good to hear them ‘tell’
of Franklin, Nelson, Howard, Shaftesbury, and their delight in
visiting the monuments is very great. One would not think that
Donne would greatly interest children but the excitement of a small
party in noticing the marks of the Great Fire still to be seen on
his monument was illuminating to lookers-on.

Possibly there is no sounder method of inculcating a sane and
serviceable patriotism than this of making children familiar with
the monuments of the great even if they have not the opportunity
to see them. Form II (ages 9 to 12) have a more considerable
historical programme which they cover with ease and enjoyment.
They use a more difficult book than in IA, an interesting
and well-written history of England of which they read some
fifty pages or so in a term. IIA read in addition and by way
of illustration the chapters dealing with the social life of
the period in a volume, treating of social life in England. We
introduce children as early as possible to the contemporary history
of other countries as the study of English history alone is apt to
lead to a certain insular and arrogant habit of mind.

Naturally we begin with French history and both divisions read from
the _First History of France_, very well written, the chapters
contemporary with the English history they are reading. The
readiness with which children write or tell of Richelieu, Colbert,
Bayard, justifies us in this early introduction of foreign history;
and the lucidity and clearness with which the story is told in
the book they use results on the part of the children in such a
knowledge of the history of France as throws light on that of their
own country and certainly gives them the sense that history was
progressing everywhere much as it was at home during the period
they are reading about.

The study of ancient history which cannot be contemporaneous we
approach through a chronologically-arranged book about the British
Museum (written for the scholars of the P.U.S. by the late Mrs.
W. Epps who had the delightful gift of realising the progress of
the ages as represented in our great national storehouse). I have
already instanced a child’s visit to the Parthenon Room and her
eager identification of what she saw with what she had read, and
that will serve to indicate the sort of key to ancient history
afforded by this valuable book. Miss G. M. Bernau has added to the
value of these studies by producing a ‘Book of Centuries’ in which
children draw such illustrations as they come across of objects of
domestic use, of art, etc., connected with the century they are
reading about. This slight study of the British Museum we find very
valuable; whether the children have or have not the opportunity of
visiting the Museum itself, they have the hope of doing so, and,
besides, their minds are awakened to the treasures of local museums.

In Form III children continue the same history of England as in II,
the same French history and the same British Museum Book, going on
with their ‘Book of Centuries.’ To this they add about twenty to
thirty pages a term from a little book on Indian History, a subject
which interests them greatly.

Slight studies of the history of other parts of the British Empire
are included under ‘Geography.’

In Form IV the children are promoted to Gardiner’s _Student’s
History of England_, clear and able, but somewhat stiffer than that
they have hitherto been engaged upon, together with Mr. and Mrs.
Quennell’s _History of Everyday Things in England_ (which is used
in Form III also). Form IV is introduced to outlines of European
history. _The British Museum for Children_ and ‘Book of Centuries’
are continued.

It is as teachers know a matter of extreme difficulty to find the
exactly right book for children’s reading in each subject and
for some years we have been regretting the fact that Lord’s very
delightful _Modern Europe_[29] has been out of print.

The history studies of Forms V and VI (ages 15 to 18) are more
advanced and more copious and depend for illustration upon readings
in the literature of the period. Green’s _Shorter History of the
English People_ is the text-book in English history, amplified,
for example, by Macaulay’s _Essays on Frederick the Great_ and the
_Austrian Succession_, on _Pitt_ and _Clive_. For the same period
we use an American history of Western Europe and a very admirable
history of France, well-translated from the original of M. Duruy.
Possibly Madame de Staël’s _L’Allemagne_ or some other historical
work of equal calibre may occur in their reading of French. It is
not possible to continue the study of Greek and Roman history in
detail but an admirably written survey informed with enthusiasm is
afforded by Professor de Burgh’s _The Legacy of the Ancient World_.
The pupils make history charts for every hundred years on the plan
either adapted or invented by the late Miss Beale of Cheltenham,
a square ruled into a hundred spaces ten in each direction with
the symbol in each square showing an event which lends itself to
illustration during that particular ten years. Thus crossed battle
axes represent a war.

The geographical aspects of history fall under ‘Geography’ as a
subject. This course of historical reading is valued exceedingly
by young people as affording a knowledge of the past that bears
upon and illuminates the present. The writer recollects meeting
a brilliant group of Oxford undergraduates, keen and full of
interest, but lamentably ignorant, who said, “We want to know
something about history. What do you advise us to read? We know
nothing.” Perhaps no youth should go to College without some such
rudimentary course of English, European, and, especially, French
history, as is afforded by the programmes.[30] Such a general
survey should precede any special course and should be required
before the more academic studies designed to prepare students for
‘research work.’

It will be observed that the work throughout the Forms is always
chronologically progressive. The young student rarely goes over
old ground; but should it happen that the whole school has arrived
at the end of 1920, say, and there is nothing for it but to begin
again, the books studied throw new light and bring the young
students into line with modern research.

But any sketch of the history teaching in Forms V and VI in a given
period depends upon a notice of the ‘literature’ set; for plays,
novels, essays, ‘lives,’ poems, are all pressed into service and
where it is possible, the architecture, painting, etc., which the
period produced. Thus questions such as the following on a term’s
work both test and record the reading of the term,--“Describe the
condition of (_a_) the clergy, (_b_) the army, (_c_) the navy,
(_d_) the general public in and about 1685.” “Trace the rise of
Prussia before Frederick the Great.” “What theories of government
were held by Louis XIV? Give some account of his great ministers.”
“Describe the rise of Russia and its condition at the opening of
the eighteenth century.” “Suppose Evelyn (Form VI) or Pepys (Form
V) in counsel at the League of Nations, write his diary for three
days.” “Sketch the character and manners of Addison. How does he
appear in _Esmond_?”

It is a great thing to possess a pageant of history in the
background of one’s thoughts. We may not be able to recall this or
that circumstance, but, ‘the imagination is warmed’; we know that
there is a great deal to be said on both sides of every question
and are saved from crudities in opinion and rashness in action. The
present becomes enriched for us with the wealth of all that has
gone before.

Perhaps the gravest defect in school curricula is that they fail to
give a comprehensive, intelligent and interesting introduction to
history. To leave off or even to begin with the history of our own
country is fatal. We cannot live sanely unless we know that other
peoples are as we are with a difference, that their history is as
ours, with a difference, that they too have been represented by
their poets and their artists, that they too have their literature
and their national life. We have been asleep and our awaking is
rather terrible. The people whom we have not taught, rise upon us
in their ignorance and ‘the rabble,’--

      “As the world were now but to begin
      Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
      They cry,--‘Choose we!’”
                               (_Hamlet._)

Heaven help their choice for choosing is indeed with them, and
little do they know of those two ratifiers and props of every
present word and action, Antiquity and Custom! It is never too late
to mend but we may not delay to offer such a liberal and generous
diet of History to every child in the country as shall give weight
to his decisions, consideration to his actions and stability to his
conduct; that stability, the lack of which has plunged us into many
a stormy sea of unrest.

It is to be noted that ‘stability’ is the mark of the educated
classes. When we reflect upon the disturbance of the national
life by labour unrest and, again, upon the fact that political
and social power is passing into the hands of the majority, that
is of the labouring classes, we cannot but feel that there is a
divine fitness, a providential adaptation in the circumstance
that the infinite educability of persons of all classes should
be disclosed to us as a nation at a time when an emotional and
ignorant labouring class is a peculiar danger. I am not sure that
the education implied in the old symbol of the ladder does make
for national tranquility. It is right that equal opportunity of
being first should be afforded to all but that is no new thing. Our
history is punctuated by men who have risen, and the Roman Church
has largely founded herself as has the Chinese Empire upon this
doctrine of equal opportunity. But let us remember that the men
who climb are apt to be uneasy members of society; the desire for
knowledge for its own sake, on the other hand, finds satisfaction
in knowledge itself.

The young men see visions; the hardships of daily life are
ameliorated, and while an alert and informed mind leads to decency
and propriety of living it does not lead to the restless desire to
subvert society for the sake of the chances offered by a general
upheaval. Wordsworth is right:--

      “If rightly trained and bred Humanity is humble.”

We live in times critical for everybody but eminently critical for
teachers because it rests with them to decide whether personal
or general good should be aimed at, whether education shall be
merely a means of getting on or a means of general progress towards
high thinking and plain living and therefore an instrument of the
greatest national good.[31]


II

THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN

(_b_) LITERATURE

Except in Form I the study of Literature goes _pari passu_ with
that of History. Fairy tales, (Andersen or Grimm, for example),
delight Form IB, and the little people re-tell these tales
copiously, vividly, and with the astonishing exactness we may
expect when we remember how seriously annoyed they are with
the story-teller who alters a phrase or a circumstance. Æsop’s
_Fables_, too, are used with great success, and are rendered, after
being once heard, with brevity and point, and children readily
appropriate the moral. Mrs. Gatty’s _Parables from Nature_, again,
serve another purpose. They feed a child’s sense of wonder and are
very good to tell. There is no attempt to reduce the work of this
form, or any other, to a supposed ‘child level.’ Form IA (7 to 9)
hears and tells chapter by chapter _The Pilgrim’s Progress_ and the
children’s narrations are delightful. No beautiful thought or bold
figure escapes them. Andrew Lang’s _Tales of Troy and Greece_, a
big volume, is a _pièce de resistance_ going on from term to term.

The great tales of the heroic age find their way to children’s
hearts. They conceive vividly and tell eagerly, and the difficult
classical names instead of being a stumbling-block are a delight,
because, as a Master of a Council school says,--

  “Children have an instinctive power by which they are able to
  sense the meaning of a whole passage and even some difficult
  words.”

That the sonorous beauty of these classical names appeals to them
is illustrated by a further quotation from the same Master,--

  “A boy of about seven in my school the other day asked his mother
  why she had not given him one of those pretty names they heard in
  the stories at school. He thought Ulysses a prettier name than
  his own, Kenneth, and that the mother of his playmate might have
  called him Achilles instead of Alan.”

There is profound need to cultivate delight in beautiful names
in days when we are threatened with the fear that London itself
should lose that rich halo of historic associations which glorifies
its every street and alley, that it may be made like New York,
and should name a street X500,--like a workhouse child without
designation; an age when we express the glory and beauty of the
next highest peak of the Himalayas by naming it K2! In such an age,
this, of their inherent aptitude for beautiful names, is a lode of
much promise in children’s minds. The Kaffir who announced that
his name was ‘Telephone’ had an ear for sound. Kingsley’s _Water
Babies_, _Alice in Wonderland_, Kipling’s _Just So Stories_, scores
of exquisite classics written for children, but not written down to
them, are suitable at this stage.

Form IIB has a considerable programme of reading, that is, not the
mere mechanical exercise of reading but the reading of certain
books. Therefore it is necessary that two years should be spent
in Form IA and that in the second of these two years the children
should read a good deal of the set work for themselves. In IIB
they read their own geography, history, poetry, but perhaps
Shakespeare’s _Twelfth Night_, say, Scott’s _Rob Roy_, _Gulliver’s
Travels_, should be read to them and narrated by them until they
are well in their tenth year. Their power to understand, visualise,
and ‘tell’ a play of Shakespeare from nine years old and onwards is
very surprising. They put in nothing which is not there, but they
miss nothing and display a passage or a scene in a sort of curious
relief. One or two books of the calibre of _The Heroes of Asgard_
are also included in the programme for the term.

The transition to Form IIA is marked by more individual reading
as well as by a few additional books. The children read their
‘Shakespeare play’ in character. Certain Council School boys, we
are told, insist on dramatising Scott as they read it. Bulfinch’s
_Age of Fable_ admits them to the rich imaginings of peoples who
did not yet know. Goldsmith’s poems and Stevenson’s _Kidnapped_,
etc., may form part of a term’s work, and in each and all children
shew the same surprising power of knowing, evinced by the one sure
test,--they are able to ‘tell’ each work they have read not only
with accuracy but with spirit and originality. How is it possible,
it may be asked, to show originality in ‘mere narration’? Let us
ask Scott, Shakespeare, Homer, who told what they knew, that is
narrated, but with continual scintillations from their own genius
playing upon the written word. Just so in their small degree do the
children narrate; they see it all so vividly that when you read or
hear their versions the theme is illuminated for you too.

Children remain in Form II until they are twelve, and here I would
remark on the evenness with which the power of children in dealing
with books is developed. We spread an abundant and delicate feast
in the programmes and each small guest assimilates what he can.
The child of genius and imagination gets greatly more than his
duller comrade but all sit down to the same feast and each one gets
according to his needs and powers.

The surprises afforded by the dull and even the ‘backward’ children
are encouraging and illuminating. We think we know that man is an
educable being, but when we afford to children all that they want
we discover how straitened were our views, how poor and narrow
the education we offered. Even in so-called deficient children we
perceive,--

  “What a piece of work is man.... In apprehension, how like a god!”

In Forms III and IV we introduce a _History of English Literature_
carefully chosen to afford sympathetic interest and delight while
avoiding stereotyped opinions and stale information. The portion
read each term (say fifty pages) corresponds with the period
covered in history studies and the book is a great favourite with
children. They have of course a great _flair_ for Shakespeare,
whether _King Lear_, _Twelfth Night_, _Henry V_, or some other
play, and _The Waverleys_ usually afford a contemporary tale.
There has been discussion in Elementary Schools as to whether
an abridged edition would not give a better chance of getting
through the novel set for a term, but strong arguments were brought
forward at a conference of teachers in Gloucester in favour of
a complete edition. Children take pleasure in the ‘dry’ parts,
descriptions and the like, rendering these quite beautifully
in their narrations. Form IV may have quite a wide course of
reading. For instance if the historical period for a term include
the Commonwealth, they may read _L’Allegro_, and _Il Penseroso_,
_Lycidas_, and contemporary poets as represented in a good
anthology, or, for a later period, Pope’s _Rape of the Lock_, or
Gray’s poems, while Form III read poems of Goldsmith and Burns. The
object of children’s literary studies is not to give them precise
information as to who wrote what in the reign of whom?--but to give
them a sense of the spaciousness of the days, not only of great
Elizabeth, but of all those times of which poets, historians and
the makers of tales, have left us living pictures. In such ways the
children secure, not the sort of information which is of little
cultural value, but wide spaces wherein imagination may take those
holiday excursions deprived of which life is dreary; judgment, too,
will turn over these folios of the mind and arrive at fairly just
decisions about a given strike, the question of Poland, Indian
Unrest. Every man is called upon to be a statesman seeing that
every man and woman, too, has a share in the government of the
country; but statesmanship requires imaginative conceptions, formed
upon pretty wide reading and some familiarity with historical
precedents.

The reading for Forms V and VI (ages 15 to 18) is more
comprehensive and more difficult. Like that in the earlier Forms,
it follows the lines of the history they are reading, touching
current literature in the occasional use of modern books; but young
people who have been brought up on this sort of work may, we find,
be trusted to keep themselves _au fait_ with the best that is being
produced in their own days. Given the proper period, Form V would
cover in a term Pope’s _Essay on Man_, Carlyle’s _Essay on Burns_,
Frankfort Moore’s _Jessamy Bride_, Goldsmith’s _Citizen of the
World_ (edited), Thackeray’s _The Virginians_, the contemporary
poets from an anthology. Form VI would read Boswell, _The Battle of
the Books_, Macaulay’s _Essays_ on Goldsmith, Johnson, Pitt; the
contemporary poets from _The Oxford Book of Verse_, and both Forms
read _She Stoops to Conquer_. This course of reading, it will be
seen, is suggestive and will lead to much reading round and about
it in later days. As for the amount covered in each Form, it is
probably about the amount most of us cover in the period of time
included in a school term, but while we grown-up persons read and
forget because we do not take the pains to _know_ as we read, these
young students have the powers of perfect recollection and just
application because they have read with attention and concentration
and have in every case reproduced what they have read in narration,
or, the gist of some portion of it, in writing.

The children’s answers[32] in their examination papers, show that
literature has become a living power in the minds of these young
people.


II

THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN

(_c_) MORALS AND ECONOMICS: CITIZENSHIP

Like Literature this subject, too, is ancillary to History. In Form
I, children begin to gather conclusions as to the general life of
the community from tales, fables and the story of one or another
great citizen. In Form II, Citizenship becomes a definite subject
rather from the point of view of what may be called the inspiration
of citizenship than from that of the knowledge proper to a citizen,
though the latter is by no means neglected. We find Plutarch’s
_Lives_ exceedingly inspiring. These are read aloud by the teacher
(with suitable omissions) and narrated with great spirit by the
children. They learn to answer such questions as,--“In what ways
did Pericles make Athens beautiful? How did he persuade the people
to help him?” And we may hope that the idea is engendered of
preserving and increasing the beauty of their own neighbourhood
without the staleness which comes of much exhortation. Again, they
will answer,--“How did Pericles manage the people in time of war
lest they should force him to act against his own judgment?” And
from such knowledge as this we may suppose that the children begin
to get a sympathetic view of the problems of statesmanship. Then,
to come to our own time, they are enabled to answer,--“What do
you know of (_a_) County Councils, (_b_) District Councils, (_c_)
Parish Councils?”--knowledge which should make children perceive
that they too are being prepared to become worthy citizens, each
with his several duties. Our old friend Mrs. Beesley’s _Stories
from the History of Rome_ helps us here in Form IIB instead of
Plutarch, illumined by Macaulay’s _Lays of Ancient Rome_. In giving
children the knowledge of men and affairs which we class under
‘Citizenship’ we have to face the problem of good and evil. Many
earnest-minded teachers will sympathise with one of their number
who said,--

  “Why give children the tale of Circe, in which there is such
  an offensive display of greediness, why not bring them up
  exclusively on heroic tales which offer them something to live up
  to? Time is short. Why not use it all in giving examples of good
  life and instruction in good manners?”

Again,--

  “Why should they read any part of _Childe Harold_, and so become
  familiar with a poet whose works do not make for edification?”

Now Plutarch is like the Bible in this, that he does not label the
actions of his people as good or bad but leaves the conscience
and judgment of his readers to make that classification. What to
avoid and how to avoid it, is knowledge as important to the citizen
whether of the City of God or of his own immediate city, as to know
what is good and how to perform the same. Children recognise with
incipient weariness the doctored tale as soon as it is begun to be
told, but the human story with its evil and its good never flags in
interest. Jacob does not pall upon us though he was the elect of
God. We recognise the justice of his own verdict on himself, “few
and evil have been the days of my life.” We recognise the finer
integrity of the foreign kings and rulers that he is brought in
contact with, just as in the New Testament the Roman Centurion is
in every case a finer person than the religious Jew. Perhaps we
are so made that the heroic which is all heroic, the good which
is all virtuous, palls upon us, whereas we preach little sermons
to ourselves on the text of the failings and weaknesses of those
great ones with whom we become acquainted in our reading. Children
like ourselves must see life whole if they are to profit. At the
same time they must be protected from grossness and rudeness by
means of the literary medium through which they are taught. A daily
newspaper is not on a level with Plutarch’s _Lives_, nor with
Andrew Lang’s _Tales of Troy and Greece_, though possibly the same
class of incidents may appear in both. The boy, or girl, aged from
ten to twelve, who is intimate with a dozen or so of Plutarch’s
_Lives_, so intimate that they influence his thought and conduct,
has learned to put his country first and to see individuals only as
they serve or dis-serve the State. Thus he gets his first lesson in
the science of proportion. Children familiar with the great idea
of a State in the sense, not of a government but of the people,
learn readily enough about the laws, customs and government of
their country; learn, too, with great interest something about
themselves, mind and body, heart and soul, because they feel it is
well to know what they have it in them to give to their country.

We labour under a difficulty in choosing books which has exercised
all great thinkers from Plato to Erasmus, from Erasmus to the
anxious Heads of schools to-day. I mean the coarseness and
grossness which crop up in scores of books desirable otherwise for
their sound learning and judgment. Milton assures us with strong
asseveration that to the pure all things are pure; but we are
uneasy. When pupils in the higher forms read the _Areopagitica_
they are safeguarded in some measure because they perceive that to
see impurity is to be impure. The younger children are helped by
the knowledge we offer them in _Ourselves_, and chastely taught
children learn to watch over their thoughts ‘because of the
angels.’ So far as we can get them we use expurgated editions; in
other cases the book is read aloud by the teacher with necessary
omissions. We are careful not to associate the processes of nature
whether in the plant or animal world with possible thoughts of
impurity in the mind of a child. One point I should like to touch
upon in this connection. The excessive countenance sometimes
afforded to games by the Heads of schools is not altogether for the
sake of distinction in the games. “I keep under my body,” says St.
Paul, and games which exhaust the physical powers have as their
unspoken _raison d’être_ the desire to keep boys and girls decent.
No doubt they do so to some extent though painful occurrences
come to light in even the best schools. Now a fact not generally
recognised is that offences of the kind which most distress parents
and teachers are _bred in the mind_ and in an empty mind at that.
That is why parents, who endeavour to save their sons from the
corruption of the Public School by having them taught at home,
are apt to miss their mark. The abundant leisure afforded by home
teaching offers that empty chamber swept and garnished which
invites sins that can be committed in thought and in solitude. Our
schools err, too, in not giving anything like enough work of the
kind that from its absorbing interest compels reflection and tends
to secure a mind continually and wholesomely occupied. Supply a
boy with abundant mental pabulum, not in the way of desultory
reading, (that is a sort of idleness which leads to mischief), but
in the way of matter to be definitely known, give him much and
sound food for his imagination, speculation, aspiration, and you
have a wholesome-minded youth to whom work is a joy and games not a
strain but a healthy relaxation and pleasure. I make no apology for
what may appear like a divergence from the subject of citizenship,
because all boys and girls should know that they owe a sound mind
and a sound body as their personal contribution alike to their city
and their State.

_Ourselves, our Souls and Bodies_ (by the Writer) is much used
in the P.U.S., as I know of no other attempt to present such a
ground plan of human nature as should enable the young student to
know where he is in his efforts to ‘be good’ as the children say.
The point of view taken in this volume is, that all beautiful and
noble possibilities are present in every one; but that each person
is subject to assaults and hindrances in various ways of which he
should be aware in order that he may watch and pray. Hortatory
teaching is apt to bore both young people and their elders; but an
ordered presentation of the possibilities and powers that lie in
human nature, and of the risks that attend these, can hardly fail
to have an enlightening and stimulating effect.

But the objects we have in view in teaching ‘Everyday Morals’ and
‘Citizenship’ cannot be better illustrated than by a few papers[33]
written by children of various ages, dealing with self management,
and exemplifying the virtues that help and serve city and country.
“Oh dear,” said a little girl coming out of a swimming bath, “I’m
just like Julius Cæsar, I don’t care to do a thing at all if I’m
not best at it.” So, in unlikely ways, and from unlikely sources,
do children gather that little code of principles which shall guide
their lives.


II

THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN

(_d_) COMPOSITION

Composition in Form I (A and B) is almost entirely oral and is so
much associated with Bible history, English history, geography,
natural history, that it hardly calls for a special place on the
programme, where however it does appear as ‘Tales.’ In few things
do certain teachers labour in vain more than in the careful and
methodical way in which they teach composition to young children.
The drill that these undergo in forming sentences is unnecessary
and stultifying, as much so perhaps as such drill would be in the
acts of mastication and deglutination. Teachers err out of their
exceeding goodwill and generous zeal. They feel that they cannot
do too much for children and attempt to do for them those things
which they are richly endowed to do for themselves. Among these
is the art of composition, that art of ‘telling’ which culminates
in a Scott or a Homer and begins with the toddling persons of
two and three who talk a great deal to each other and are surely
engaged in ‘telling’ though no grown-up, not even a mother, can
understand. But children of six can tell to amazing purpose. The
grown-up who writes the tale to their ‘telling’ will cover many
pages before getting to the end of “Hans and Gretel” or “The Little
Match Girl” or a Bible story. The facts are sure to be accurate and
the expression surprisingly vigorous, striking and unhesitating.
Probably few grown-ups could ‘tell’ one of Æsop’s _Fables_ with
the terse directness which children reproduce. Neither are the
children’s narrations incoherent; they go on with their book,
week by week, whatever comes at a given time,--whether it be
Mrs. Gatty’s _Parables from Nature_, Andersen or Grimm or _The
Pilgrim’s Progress_, from the point where they left off,--and there
never is a time when their knowledge is scrappy. They answer such
questions as,--“Tell about the meeting of Ulysses and Telemachus,”
or, “about Jason and Hera.” “Tell how Christian and Hopeful met
with Giant Despair,” or, “about the Shining Ones.”

Children are in Form IA from 7 to 9 and their reading is wider
and their composition more copious. They will ‘tell’ in their
examinations about the Feeding of the Four Thousand, about the
Building of the Tabernacle, How Doubting Castle was demolished,
about the burning of Old St. Paul’s, How we know that the world is
round and a great deal besides; for all their work lends itself to
oral composition and the power of such composition is innate in
children and is not the result of instruction. Two or three points
are important. Children in IB require a quantity of matter to be
read to them, graduated, not according to their powers which are
always present, but they require a little time to employ their
power of fixed attention and that other power which they possess of
fluent narration. So probably young children should be allowed to
narrate paragraph by paragraph, while children of seven or eight
will ‘tell’ chapter by chapter. Corrections must not be made during
the act of narration, nor must any interruption be allowed.

Children must not be teased or instructed about the use of stops
or capital letters. These things too come by nature to the child
who reads, and the teacher’s instructions are apt to issue in the
use of a pepper box for commas. We do not say that children should
never read well-intentioned second-rate books, but certainly they
should not read these in school hours by way of lessons. From their
earliest days they should get the habit of reading literature which
they should take hold of for themselves, much or little, in their
own way. As the object of every writer is to explain himself in
his own book, the child and the author must be trusted together,
without the intervention of the middle-man. What his author does
not tell him he must go without knowing for the present. No
explanation will really help him, and explanations of words and
phrases spoil the text and should not be attempted unless children
ask, What does so and so mean? when other children in the class
will probably tell.

Form II (A and B), (ages 9 to 12). Children in this Form have
a wider range of reading, a more fertile field of thought, and
more delightful subjects for composition. They write their little
essays themselves, and as for the accuracy of their knowledge
and justice of their expression, why, ‘still the wonder grows.’
They will describe their favourite scene from _The Tempest_ or
_Woodstock_. They write or ‘tell’ stories from work set in Plutarch
or Shakespeare or tell of the events of the day. They narrate from
English, French and General History, from the Old and the New
Testament, from _Stories from the History of Rome_, from Bulfinch’s
_Age of Fable_, from, for example, Goldsmith’s or Wordsworth’s
poems, from _The Heroes of Asgard_: in fact, Composition is not
an adjunct but an integral part of their education in every
subject. The exercise affords very great pleasure to children,
perhaps we all like to tell what we know, and in proportion as
their composition is entirely artless, it is in the same degree
artistic and any child is apt to produce a style to be envied for
its vigour and grace. But let me again say there must be no attempt
to teach composition. Our failure as teachers is that we place too
little dependence on the intellectual power of our scholars, and
as they are modest little souls what the teacher kindly volunteers
to do for them, they feel that they cannot do for themselves. But
give them a fair field and no favour and they will describe their
favourite scene from the play they have read, and much besides.

Forms III and IV. In these Forms as in I and II what is called
‘composition’ is an inevitable consequence of a free yet exact use
of books and requires no special attention until the pupil is old
enough to take of his own accord a critical interest in the use of
words. The measured cadences of verse are as pleasing to children
as to their elders. Many children write verse as readily as prose,
and the conciseness and power of bringing their subject matter to
a point which this form of composition requires affords valuable
mental training. One thing must be borne in mind. Exercises in
scansion are as necessary in English as in Latin verse. Rhythm and
accent on the other hand take care of themselves in proportion as a
child is accustomed to read poetry. In III and IV as in the earlier
Forms, the matter of their reading during the term, topics of the
day, and the passing of the Seasons, afford innumerable subjects
for short essays or short sets of verses of a more abstract nature
in IV than in III: the point to be considered is that the subject
be one on which, to quote again Jane Austen’s expression, the
imagination of the children has been ‘warmed,’ They should be asked
to write upon subjects which have interested them keenly. Then when
the terminal examination comes they will respond to such a question
as,--“Write twelve lines (which must scan) on ‘Sir Henry Lee,’ or
‘Cordelia,’ or Pericles, or Livingstone,” or, to take a question
from the early day’s of the War, “Discuss Lord Derby’s Scheme. How
is it working?”; or, (IV) an essay on “The new army in the making,
shewing what some of the difficulties have been and what has been
achieved.”

Forms V and VI. In these Forms some definite teaching in the art
of composition is advisable, but not too much, lest the young
scholars be saddled with a stilted style which may encumber them
for life. Perhaps the method of a University tutor is the best that
can be adopted; that is, a point or two might be taken up in a
given composition and suggestions or corrections made with little
talk. Having been brought up so far upon stylists the pupils are
almost certain to have formed a good style; because they have been
thrown into the society of _many_ great minds, they will not make a
servile copy of any one but will shape an individual style out of
the wealth of material they possess; and because they have matter
in abundance and of the best they will not write mere verbiage.
Here is an example of a programme set for a term’s work in these
two Forms,--“A good précis; letters to _The Times_ on topics of the
day; subjects taken from the term’s work in history and literature;
or notes on a picture study; dialogues between characters occurring
in your literature and history studies; ballads on current events;
(VI) essays on events and questions of the day; a patriotic play in
verse or prose.” Here are questions set for another term,--“Write
a pæan, rhymed or in blank verse, on the Prince of Wales’s tour
in the Dominions.” “An essay, dated 1930, on the imagined work of
the League of Nations.” Form V, “Write a woeful ballad touching
the condition of Ireland, or, a poem on the King’s garden party to
the V.C.’s.” “An essay on the present condition of England, or, on
President Wilson.”

The response of the young students to such a scheme of study is
very delightful. What they write has literary and sometimes poetic
value, and the fact that they can write well is the least of the
gains acquired. They can read, appreciating every turn of their
author’s thought; and they can bring cultivated minds to bear on
the problems of the hour and the guiding of the State; that is
to say, their education bears at every point on the issues and
interests of every day life, and they shew good progress in the art
of becoming the magnanimous citizens of the future. Here are a few
examples[34] of the compositions of the several Forms.


(F. B. IIA. Council School.)

ARMISTICE DAY

      Soldiers dying, soldiers dead,
      Bullets whizzing overhead.
      Tommies standing cheerily by.
      Waiting for their time to die;
      Soon the lull of firing comes,
      And naught is heard but the roll of drums.

      And now the last shell crashes down,
      A soldier reels in pain
      Too late the glad news comes to him.
      He never moves again,
      He is the Unknown Warrior,
      A man without a name.

      Two years have passed and home he comes,
      To the hearts that loved him well,
      Who is the Unknown Warrior,?
      No lips the tale can tell,
      His tomb is in the Abbey,
      Where the souls of Heroes dwell.

      A nations sorrow and a nations tears,
      Have gone with the nameless man,
      Who knows, who can tell, the Warriors name,
      We think that no man can,
      So let our sorrow turn to joy
      On the grave of the Unknown man.


(A. B. 13¾. III.)

_Write some lines, in blank verse, that must scan on one of the
following: (a), Scylla and Charybdis; (b), The White Lady of
Avenel; (c), The Prince of Wales in India._

THE WHITE LADY OF AVENEL

      The sun had set and night was drawing on,
      The hills stood black against the twilight sky.
      A faint young crescent moon shone dimly forth
      Casting a pale and ghostly radiance
      Upon the group of pine trees on the hill,
      And silvering the rivers eddying swirl.
      Now all was silent, not a sound disturbed
      The summer night, and not a breath of wind
      Stirred in the pines. All nature slept in peace.
      But what was that, standing up in the shade?
      A woman, straight, and slim, all clad in white,
      Upon her long soft hair a misty crown,
      And ever and anon she deeply sighed,
      Leaning against the rugged mountain rock,
      Like to a moon beam, or a wisp of smoke.
      And on her shimmering, moonlit, robe she wore
      A golden girdle, in whose links was woven
      The fortunes of the house of Avenel.
      A cloud past o’er the moon, and the slim ghost
      Faded and disapeared into the air.
      A breeze sprang up among the pine trees tall;
      And then the river murmuring on its way
      Whispered a sad lament unto the night.


(K. L. 13½. III.)

_Write in Ballad Metre some lines on “Armistice Day” or “Echo.”_

ARMISTICE DAY, or THE UNKNOWN WARRIOR

      Within the ancient Abbey’s sacred pyle,
      Which proudly guards the noblest of our dead.
      Where kings and statesmen lie in every aisle,
      And honoured poets, soldiers, priests are laid;

      Behold a stranger comes. From whence is he?
      Is he of noble birth; of rank or fame?
      Was he as great as any whom we see
      Around, who worked to make themselves a name?

      Surely he is a prince, nay, e’en a king?
      For see the waiting thousands gathered here;
      And hear the streets of ancient London ring
      To the slow tramp of men who guard his bier!

      And, surely, ’tis the King himself who comes
      As chiefest mourner on this solemn day,
      And these who walk behind him are his sons--
      All here to mourn this man. Who is he? Say!

      How long the ranks of men who follow him
      To his last resting-place--the House of God.
      Our bishops, soldiers, statesmen all are here,
      Gathered to lay him in his native sod.

      You ask “Is he a prince?” I answer “No!
      Though none could be interred with greater state!
      This man went forth to guard us from a foe,
      Which threatened this our land--He did his work!”

      He raised the flag of Liberty on high
      And challenging the powers of Wrong and Might
      He gave up all he had without a sigh
      And died for the good cause of God and Right.


Nor is a sense of humour wanting,--

(M. O. 13. III.)

_Write in Ballad Metre some lines on “Echo.”_

ECHO

      Jupiter once went away from his wife
        To flirt with some nymphs in a wood
      But Juno, suspecting that he was with them
        Came after as fast as she could.

      Now Echo, a nymph, knew that Juno was there
        That the nymphs they would soon be found out,
      And so she kept Juno away from the wood
        For if they had gone she did doubt.

      But Juno knew all; and her anger was great
        And Echo this dreadful thing heard
      “Since you are so fond of talking, from now
        You only shall have the last word!”

      Now Echo went far from the dwellings of men
        And spent her sad life all alone
      And often she’d weep and think of the past
        And over her fate make her moan.

      Echo loved a Greek youth, but he could not love her.
        And she watched him all day from her bower
      Till she pined away, all but her voice, which lives still,
        And the youth was turned into a flower.


(R. C. 15. III. Elementary, Convent School.)

_Write some verses on (a) ‘Dandie Dinmont,’ or, (b) ‘Atalanta,’ or,
(c) Allenby._

      Atlanta was a huntress,
      Who dearly loved the chase.
      She out-ran the deer in fleetness,
      And possessed a lovely face.

      Many eager suiters sought her,
      But they sought her all in vain,
      For she vowed she’d never marry
      And her suiters all were slain.

      She had heeded well the warning,
      From a witch well skilled in lore,
      Who had told her if she married,
      Happiness was hers no more.

      Then a youth whom Venus favoured,
      Came one day to run the race,
      And by throwing golden apples,
      He out-ran her in the chase.

      In their hour of joy and triumph
      Venus they forget to thank,
      And the goddess sore offended,
      Lowered them to the wild beast’s rank.


(J. T. III.)

      Phaëton was a wilful youth who always got his way.
      He asked to drive his father’s charge upon a certain day.
      But Phœbus knowing well what danger lurkéth in the sky,
      Implored of him to wish again and not that task to try.
      But Phaëton determined was to best this dangerous way,
      And leaped into the chariot to spite his father’s sway.
      The horses started forward at a dashing headlong pace,
      Phaëton tried to hold them back and modify the race.
      With dreadful swiftness on he flew, losing his proper road,
      The earth and sky began to smoke in an alarming mode.
      At length when all had burst in flames, Jupiter cried aloud,
      Phaëton who had lost his head was killed beneath a cloud.


(H. E. M. 15-8/12 IV.)

_Write thirty lines of blank verse on (a), “A Spring Morning”
(following “A Winter Morning Walk”), or, (b), Pegasus, or, (c),
Allenby._

A SPRING MORNING.

      ’Tis Spring; and now the birds with merry song
      Sing with full-throated voice to the blue sky
      On which small clouds float, soft as a dove’s wing.
      Against the blue the pale-green leaflet gleams.
      The darker green of elder, further down,
      Sets off the brilliance of the hawthorn-hedge.
      Close to the ground, the purple violet peeps
      From out its nest of overhanging leaves.
      On yonder bank the daffodils toss their heads
      Under the shady lichen trees so tall.
      Close by a chesnut, bursting into leaf,
      Drops down it’s sticky calyx on the ground;
      An early bumble-bee dives headlong in
      To a half-opened flower of early pear.
      O’erhead, in the tall beech trees, busy rooks,
      With great caw-caws and many angry squawks
      Build their great clumsy nests with bits of twig
      And little sticks just laid upon a bough.
      And by the long, straight, path tall fir trees wave
      Their graceful heads in the soft whisp’ring breeze
      And pressed against one ruddy trunk, an owl
      In vain tries to avoid the light of day,
      But blinks his wise old eyes, and shakes himself,
      And nestles close amid the sheltering leaves.
      Now on the rhubarb-bed we see, glad sight,
      Large red buttons, which promise fruit quite soon
      And further down the lettuce shoots up pale
      Next to a row of parsley, getting old.
      But see the peas, their curly tendrils green
      Clinging to their stout pea-sticks for support.


(B. B. 15. IV.)

A SPRING MORNING

          Soft on the brown woods
          A pale light gleams,
          And slowly spreading seems
      To change the brown wood to a land of dreams,
        Where beneath the trees
        The great god Pan,
        Doth pipe, half goat, half man,
        To satyrs dancing in the dawning wan.
        And then comes Phœbus,
        The visions fade
        And down the dewy glade
      The rabbits scuttle o’er the rings they made.
        In the fields near-by
          The cattle rise
        And where the river lies
      A white mist rises to the welcoming skies.
        Where the downs arise
        And blue sky crowns
        Their heads, fast o’er the mounds
      The mist is driv’n to where the ocean sounds.
        White wings against blue sky,
        Gulls from the cliffs rise,
        Watching, with eyes
      That see from shore to where the sky line lies,
        Where blue sea fades in bluer skies
          Soft, doth the tide creep
          O’er the golden sands
          With sea-weed strands
      Which, mayhap, knew the dawn of other lands.


(R. B. IV.)

_Write thirty lines of blank verse on “Pegasus.”_

      The sky was blue and flecked with tiny clouds
      Like sheep they ran before the driving wind
      The sun was setting like a big red rose
      The clouds that flew by him like rose-buds were
      And as I gaz’d I saw a little cloud
      White as the flower that rises in the spring
      Come nearer, nearer, nearer as I looked
      And as it came it took a diff’rent shape
      It seemed to turn into a fairy steed.
      White as the foam that rides the roaring waves
      Still it flew on until it reached the earth
      And galloping full lightly came to me
      And then I saw it was a wondrous thing
      It leapt about the grass and gently neighed
      I heard its voice sound like a crystal flute
      “Oh come” he said “with me ascend the sky
      Above the trees, above the hills we’ll soar
      Until we reach the home of all the gods
      There will we stay and feast awhile with them
      And dance with Juno and her maidens fair
      And hear dear Orpheus and the pipes of Pan
      And wander, wander, wander up above”
      “Oh fairy steed, oh angel steed” I said
      “Horse fit for Jupiter himself to ride
      What is thy name I pray thee tell me this”
      Then came the magic voice of him again
      “If thou wilt know my name then come with me.”
      Yet tell me first I hesitating said
      He told me and when I had heard the name
      I leapt upon his back and flew with him.


(A. B. 16. V.)

_Some verses, in the metre of Pope’s “Essay on Man,” on the meeting
of the League of Nations._

      From each proud kingdom and each petty state
      The statesmen meet together to debate
      Upon the happy time when wars shall cease
      And joy shall reign, and universal peace.
      No more shall day with radience cruelly bright
      Glare down upon the carnage of the fight.
      No more shall night’s dark cloak be rent aside
      By flashing shells and searchlight’s stealthy glide
      No more shall weary watchers wait at home
      With straining eyes for those that cannot come
      The nations shall forget their strife and greed
      The strong shall help the weak in time of need
      May they succeed in every peaceful plan
      If war can cease as long as man is man.


(E. H. 16-11/12. V.)

_Gather up in blank verse the impressions you have received from
your reading of Tennyson’s poems._

      Take up a volume of the poet’s works,
      Read on, lay it aside, and take thy pen,
      Endeavour in a few, poor, worthless lines
      To give expression of thy sentiments....
      Surely this man loved all the joys of life,
      Saw beauty in the smallest and the least,
      Put plainer things that hitherto were dim,
      And lit a candle in the darkest room.
      His thoughts, now sad, now gay, may surely be
      The solace sweet for many a weary hour,
      His words, drunk deeply, seem to live and burn
      Clear, radiant, gleaming from the printed page.
      Nature to him was dear and so has made
      Her wiles for other men a treasure vast.
      Old Books, his master mind could comprehend
      Are shown to us as pictures to a child.
      Read on--and when the volume’s put away,
      Muse on the learnings thou hast found therein;
      The time thus spent thou never will repent,
      For love of good things all should seek and find.


(E. P. H. 16-11/12 V.)

A LULLABY SONG

      The little waves are sighing on the shore,
      And the little breezes sobbing in the trees;
      But the little stars are shining,
      In the sky’s blue velvet lining,
      And Lady Sleep is tapping at the door.

      The little gulls are flying home to shore,
      And the little lights are flashing from the ships,
      But close your eyes, my sweet,
      And be ready then to greet
      Dear Lady Sleep who’s tapping at the door.

      The wind is rising all around the shore,
      And the fishing boats speed home before the gale;
      But hark not to the rain
      That is lashing on the pane,
      For Lady Sleep has entered by the door.

      The storm has sunk the ships and swept the shore,
      But there’s weeping in the town and on the quay,
      But, sweet, you’re dreaming fast
      Even though the dawn be past,
      And Lady Sleep has gone, and closed the door.


(M. H. 17⅓. VI.)

_Write a letter in the manner of Gray on any Modern Topic._

  Mr. Gray to Mr. ----     At Torquay.

  My dear ----

  “Savez vous que je vous hais, que je vous deteste--voici des
  termes un peu forts,” still, I think that they are justified,
  imagine leaving a friend for two months in this place without
  once taking up the pen upon his behalf. If this neglect be due
  only to your low spirits, I will for once pardon you but only
  upon condition that you should come down here to visit me and at
  the same time strengthen your constitution. I can promise you but
  little diversion, but I think that the scenery will repay the
  journey--not to speak of myself. You will also be able to study
  many “venerable vegetables” which are not usually to be found in
  England. But, I waste your time and my paper with these “bêtises”
  and I know well upon what subject your mind is at present
  dwelling--which of us indeed is not thinking of Ireland. I would
  give much to hear your views upon the subject. For my part it
  seems to me that there can be but one true view, and it surprises
  me mightily to hear so much discussion upon the subject. Are we
  not truly a peculiar nation who pass bills of Home Rule etc.,
  with much discussion and debate, when neither of the two parties
  concerned will accept the conditions that we offer them? The one
  considering they give too little freedom, and the other too much.
  Accursed be the man who invented a bill which was and will be the
  cause of so much trouble “in sæcula sæculorum.” Surely we need
  not have any doubt as to what line of action we should adopt,
  surely it has not been the habit of England to let her subjects
  revolt without an attempt to quell them, surely the government
  will not stand by and see its servants murdered, and the one
  loyal province oppressed. But alas many things are possible with
  such a government. Here it is said by people who have been driven
  from that country by incendiaries that the Government will let
  things take their course till everything is in such a condition
  that the Premier will rise in the house and say “You see how
  things stand--it is no use trying to control Ireland, let us
  leave it to the Seinn Feiners, and live happily ever afterwards,
  free from such unprofitable cares.”

  Such is the talk, but I believe it not. We have as a nation
  always muddled things but we have muddled through triumphant
  in the end. It is so obvious that our interests and those of
  Ireland co-incide, that even to contemplate separation is to me
  incredible.

  Thus I remain your harassed friend, etc.


(N. S. 15-10/12. VI.)

_Gather up in blank verse the impressions you have received from
your reading of Tennyson’s poems._

ON READING TENNYSON’S POEMS.

      Oh! Prophet of an era yet to come,
      When men shall sing where men were wont to speak
      In words which even Englishmen knew not.
      And when I read thy songs, at once I felt
      The breath of Nature that was lurking there.
      And then I knew that all thy life thou dwelt
      Amid the changing scenes of Nature’s play,
      And knew the very language of the birds,
      And drank the essence of the honeysuckle.
      And when thou wast but young, I knew thy thoughts,
      Thy Doubts and struggles, for thou gave them me;
      And yet, had I been thee, my thoughts would still
      Have rested deep within my heart; but still
      T’would be relief to pour out all my woes
      In the sweet flow of sympathetic verse.
      Thy epithets produce a vivid scene
      Of knights in armour or of maiden fair,
      And yet, methinks, the fairness of her face
      Doth sometimes cover many a fault below.
      But to thy genius and thy work for ever
      Be owed a debt of thankfulness that we
      No longer tread the paths of level Pope
      Or read those words that are not English-born.


(K. B. 16. V.)

THE CLOUDS

      Among the spirits of the nearer air
      There are three children of the sun and sea--
      The Genii of the clouds; it is their care
      To give the ocean’s bounty to the earth:
      Oft they retain it in a time of dearth,
      But they give all, however much it be.

      The youngest of the three is very fair;
      She is a maiden beautiful and sweet,
      Of ever varying mood, changeful as air.
      Now, plunged in merriment, she takes delight
      In all she sees, now tears obscure her sight;
      A breeze-swept lake shows not a change more fleet.

      The fleecy clouds of April own her sway--
      They, golden, lie against the golden sun,
      Or sport across the blue when she is gay;
      But when, anon, her girlish passions rise,
      She marshalls them across the sunny skies
      To flood the earth, then stops ere half begun.

      Her elder brother is of different mien,
      The clouds he governs are of different mould;
      When the earth pants for moisture he is seen
      To spread his clouds across the filmy blue.
      When his rain falls, it steady is and true;
      Persistent, gentle, ceaseless, yet not cold.

      From the grey bowl with which he caps the earth,
      It sweetly falls with earth-renewing force.
      Not April’s rapid change from grief to mirth
      Excites its fall, but calm, determined thought
      Of middle age, of deeds from judgment wrought;
      He recks not blame, but still pursues his course.

      Aged, yet of awesome beauty is the third,
      Of flashing eye and sullen, scornful brow--
      With an imperious hand she guides her herd
      Of wild, tempestuous mood; quick roused to ire
      Is she, slow to forgive, of vengeance dire;
      Before her awful glance the tree-tops bow.

      And when enraged, she stretches forth a hand--
      A long, thin hand--to North, South, East and West,
      And draws from thence clouds num’rous as the sand;
      They crowd on the horizon, and blot out
      The sun’s fair light; then, like a giant’s shout,
      The thunder booms at her dread spear’s behest.


(A. P. V.)

_Sketch a scene between a “Mr. Woodhouse” of to-day and a neighbour
of his._

  SCENE:--Mr. Woodhouse’s private study.

  _Persons present_:--Owner of study, and Miss Syms, a very modern
  young lady.

  _Mr. Woodhouse._--“Oh, good afternoon Miss Syms, I am charmed to
  see you. Dear, dear, how dark it is. One might almost think it
  were evening, if the clock opposite did not directly oppose the
  fact.”

  _Miss S._--“Oh, I don’t know, it’s not so bad out. I’m awfully
  sorry to blow in like this, but I came to enquire after Miss
  Woodhouse’s cold. Is she better?”

  _Mr. W._--“How very thoughtful of you! No, I am afraid dear
  Emma is very indisposed. It is so trying having an invalid in
  the house, it makes me quite miserable when I think of my poor
  daughter having to stay all alone, in bed. But really, that is
  almost the best place in this dreadful weather. Do you really
  mean to say that you have been taking a walk.”

  _Miss S._--“Yes, why on earth shouldn’t I? It’s about the only
  way to get really warm.”

  _Mr. W._--“If the liberty might be allowed me, (dryly) I should
  say, that it was the one way in which to get a feverish cold,
  besides making oneself thoroughly miserable; and the ground is so
  damp under foot!”

  _Miss S._--“Oh, it hasn’t been raining much lately. I only got
  caught in a little shower, (visible start from Mr. W.). (coyly,)
  Excuse me, but is that a box of cigarettes up there on the
  mantlepiece?”

  _Mr. W._--“Cigarettes? Oh, no! I couldn’t think of keeping them
  near the house. I _never_ smoke. It irritates my throat, which is
  naturally weak.”

  _Miss S._--“But don’t your visiters ever take the liberty
  of enjoying something of the sort? Besides, what about Miss
  Woodhouse?”

  _Mr. W._--(horrified,) “Dear Emma smoke a cigarette!! Why, I
  never heard of such a thing. What would she say if I told her.
  Dear Emma smoke, no, no, certainly not.”

  _Miss S._--(Laughing,) “Oh, I am sure I’m very sorry. I didn’t
  mean to offend.

  How do you think the old Johnnies in Ireland are behaving
  themselves?”

  _Mr. W._--(coldly,) “I _beg_ your pardon.”

  _Miss S._--(sweetly,) “I said, how do you think matters are
  looking, in Ireland.”

  _Mr. W._--“I am sorry, I think I could not have heard aright
  before.--Matters in Ireland, yes, oh I think the Irish rebels are
  positively awful. To think of breaking into houses, and turning
  the poor inhabitants out into the cold streets, (where they
  probably nearly die of cold), it is too dreadful!”

  _Miss S._--“Oh, I s’pose they are rather brutes sometimes. But
  in a way I almost sympathise with them. I wouldn’t like to have
  to knuckle under to the English (catching sight of Mr. W.’s
  expression of horror and pained surprise,) I really think I’d
  better get a move on. Please don’t look at me like that! I really
  don’t mean half I say. Cheerio!!”

  _Mr. W._--“Good afternoon Miss Syms, it was so kind of you to
  come. (aside) Oh, how unfeeling of dear Emma to have a cold, if
  it means visiters like this every hour. (aloud,) Good afternoon,
  can you find your way out. I really shall catch cold if I move
  out of this room!!”


(E. G. 17. V.)

_Write some lines on “Spring” in the metre of “Allegro.”_

SPRING

        Begone! for a short space
      Ye whistling winds, and fogs, and snowy clouds,
        And frosts that with fair lace
      Each window-pane in dainty pattern shrouds,
        Offsprings of Winter, ye!
      Begone! find out some icy arctic land.
        Upon that cheerless strand
      ’Mongst piercing ice, and chilling glaciers dwell
        Such regions suit ye well,
      Go, cold Winter, well are we rid of thee!
        Come Spring, thou fairest season come!
        With the bee’s enchanting hum,
        And the dainty blossoms swinging
        On the tree, while birds are singing,
        See how they clothe the branches gray
        In dress of freshest pink, all day,
        Then when the dewy evening falls
        They close their flowers till Morning calls.
        Sweet Morn! Spring leads thee by the hand
        And bids thee shine o’er all the land;
        Thou send’st forth beams of purest gold,
        To bid the daffodils unfold,
        While Spring bends down with her fresh lips
        To kiss the daisie’s petal tips.
        And as she walks o’er the green sward
        A cheerful mavis, perfect bard
        Breaks into song; his thrilling notes
        Are echoed from a hundred throats
        Of eager birds, who love to sing
        To their sweet mistress, fairest Spring.
        Then as she sits on mossy throne
        A scarlet lady-bird, alone,
        Bids her good welcome; and above
        Is heard the cooing of the dove.
        Two butterflies in russet clad
        Fly round her head with flutt’rings glad;
        While at her side a giddy fly
        Buzzes his joy that she is nigh,
        Oh! Spring my heart’s desire shall be
        That thou wilt ever dwell with me!


II

THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN

(_e_) LANGUAGES

_English_ is rather a logical study dealing with sentences and
the positions that words occupy in them than with words and what
they are in their own right. Therefore it is better that a child
should begin with a sentence and not with the parts of speech, that
is, he should learn a little of what is called analysis before he
learns to parse. It requires some effort of abstraction for a child
to perceive that when we speak, we speak about something and say
something about it; and he has learned nearly all the grammar that
is necessary when he knows that when we speak we use sentences
and that a sentence makes sense; that we can put words together
so as to make utter nonsense, as,--“Tom immediately candlestick
uproarious nevertheless”--a string of words making perfect nonsense
and therefore not a sentence. If we use words in such a way as to
make sense we get a sentence; “John goes to school” is a sentence.
Every sentence has two parts, (1), the thing we speak of, and (2),
what we say about it. We speak of John, we say about him that he
goes to school. At this stage the children require many exercises
in finding out the first and second parts of simple sentences.
When they are quite familiar with the fact that the first part of
a sentence is what we speak about, they may get a name for it,
subject, which will be made simpler to them if they know the word
subject means that which we talk about. For instance, we may say,
the subject of conversation was parsley, which is another way of
saying the thing we were speaking about was parsley. To sum up such
a lesson, the class should learn,--Words put together so as to make
sense form a sentence. A sentence has two parts, that which we
speak of and what we say about it. That which we speak of is the
subject.

Children will probably be slow to receive this first lesson in
abstract knowledge, and we must remember that knowledge in this
sort is difficult and uncongenial. Their minds deal with the
concrete and they have the singular faculty of being able to make
concrete images out of the merest gossamer of a fairy tale. A seven
year old child sings,--

      “I cannot see fairies,
      I dream them.
      There is no fairy that can hide from me;
      I keep on dreaming till I find him.
      There you are, Primrose! I see you, Blackwing!”

But a child cannot dream parts of speech, and any grown-up twaddle
attempting to personify such abstractions offends a small person
who with all his love of play and nonsense has a serious mind. Most
children can be got to take in the notion of a sentence as, words
making sense, especially if they are allowed a few excursions into
non-sense, the gibberish of strings of words which do not make
sense. Again, by dint of many interesting exercises in which they
never lose sight of the _subject_, they get hold of that idea also.

One more initial idea is necessary if children are not to wander
blindfold through the mazes of grammar ‘as she is’ not ‘spoke,’
but writ in books. They must be familiar with verbs and perhaps
the simplest way to approach this idea is to cause them to make
sentences with two words, the thing they speak of and what they say
about it,--Mary sings, Auntie knits, Henry runs. In each of these
examples, the child will see the thing we speak of and what we say
about it.

But these are matters familiar to all teachers and we have nothing
new in the teaching of grammar to suggest; but we probably gain in
the fact that our scholars pay full attention to grammar, as to all
other lessons. We look forward hopefully to the result of efforts
so to unify grammar that it will no longer perplex the student, as
English, Latin, French grammar, each with its own nomenclature.

Children in Form IIB have easy French Lessons with pictures which
they describe, but in IIA while still engaged on the _Primary
French Course_ children begin to use the method which is as full of
promise in the teaching of languages as in English, that is, they
are expected to narrate the sentence or paragraph which has been
read to them. Young children find little difficulty in using French
vocables, but at this stage the teacher should with the children’s
help translate the little passage which is to be narrated, then
re-read it in French and require the children to narrate it. This
they do after a time surprisingly well, and the act of narrating
gives them some command of French phrases as far as they go, much
more so than if they learnt the little passage off by heart. They
learn French songs in both divisions and act _French Fables_ (by
Violet Partington) in Form IIA. This method of closely attentive
reading of the text followed by narration is continued in each
of the Forms. Thus Form II is required to “Describe in French,
picture 20.” “Narrate the story _Esope et le Voyageur_.” Part of
the term’s work in Form III is to “Read and narrate _Nouveaux
Contes Français_, by Marc Ceppi.” Form IV is required amongst other
things to “Read and narrate Molière’s _Les Femmes Savantes_.”
Forms V and VI are required to “Write a résumé of _Le Misanthrope_
or _L’Avare_,” “Translate into French, _Modern Verse_, page 50,
‘Leisure.’”

We have not space to follow in detail the work of the P.U.S. in
French, which of course includes the usual attention to French
Grammar but it may interest the reader to see the sort of thing
that students of the House of Education are able to accomplish in
the way of narration. The French mistress gives, let us suppose, a
lecture in history or literature lasting, say, for half an hour. At
the end the students will narrate the substance of the lecture with
few omissions and few errors. Here is an example of the sort of
thing Mr. Household heard, on the occasion of a short visit to the
House of Education, Ambleside,--

  “A French lesson was given to the second-year students by the
  French mistress, a native of Tournai, who came to Ambleside in
  1915. She had been teaching in England for some years, but had
  not previously come into contact with Miss Mason’s methods.
  Those methods were exactly followed during the lesson. There
  was the book of recognised literary merit, the single reading,
  and the immediate narration--of course in French. The book was
  Alphonse Daudet’s _Lettres de Mon Moulin_, and the story read
  was ‘La Chèvre de M. Seguin.’ Before the reading began, a few--a
  very few--words of explanation were given--of course, in French.
  Then nine pages of the story were read straight through by the
  mistress, without pause or interruption of any kind, at the same
  pace that one would read an English story. The students followed
  by ear only: they had no books. As soon as the reading ended,
  on the instant, without hesitation of any kind, narration began
  in French, different members of the class taking up the story
  in turn till it was finished. All were good; some astonishingly
  good. To all French was a tongue in which they could think and
  speak with considerable facility. Yet the time given to French
  is two hours and three-quarters a week only. Such results compel
  attention. It may be added that last year the writer heard a
  history lecture on the reign of Louis XI given in French by
  the same mistress to the then senior students, and the content
  of the lecture was narrated in a similar manner, with the same
  astonishing success.”

This hitherto unused power of concentrated attention in the study
of languages whether ancient or modern appears to hold promise of
making us at last a nation of linguists. We have attained very good
results in Italian and German by this same method, both in the
House of Education and the Practising School belonging to it, and
we are in a fair way to produce noticeable results in Latin. The
Classical mistress writes,--

  “Latin is taught at the House of Education by means of narration
  after each section has been thoroughly studied in grammar, syntax
  and style. The literature studied increases in difficulty as
  the pupil advances in grammar, etc. Nothing but good Latin is
  ever narrated, so the pupil acquires style as well as structure.
  The substance of the passage is usually reproduced with the
  phraseology and style of the original and both students and
  children learn what is really Latin and realise that it is a
  language and not a mere grammar.”

Here we get Grammar, that is, construction, learned as we learn it
in English, at the lips of those who know, and the extraordinary
readiness in acquiring new words shewn by the scholars promises
English folk the copious vocabulary in one or another foreign
language, the lack of which is a national distress.


II

THE KNOWLEDGE OF MAN

(_f_) ART

There are few subjects regarded with more respect and less
confidence in our schools than this of ‘Art.’ Of course, we say,
children should have their artistic powers cultivated, especially
those who have such powers, but _how_ is the question. The neat
solution offered by South Kensington in the sixties,--freehand
drawing, perspective, drawing from the round, has long been
rejected; but nothing definite has taken its place and we still
see models of cones, cubes and so on, disposed so that the eye may
take them in freely and that the hand may perhaps produce what the
eye has seen. But we begin now to understand that art is not to be
approached by such a macadamised road. It is of the spirit, and
in ways of the spirit must we make our attempt. We recognise that
the power of appreciating art and of producing to some extent an
interpretation of what one sees is as universal as intelligence,
imagination, nay, speech, the power of producing words. But there
must be knowledge and, in the first place, not the technical
knowledge of how to produce, but some reverent knowledge of what
has been produced; that is, children should learn pictures, line
by line, group by group, by reading, not books, but pictures
themselves. A friendly picture-dealer supplies us with half a dozen
beautiful little reproductions of the work of some single artist,
term by term. After a short story of the artist’s life and a few
sympathetic words about his trees or his skies, his river-paths or
his figures, the little pictures are studied one at a time; that
is, children learn, not merely to see a picture but _to look at
it_, taking in every detail. Then the picture is turned over and
the children tell what they have seen,--a dog driving a flock of
sheep along a road but nobody with the dog. Ah, there is a boy
lying down by the stream drinking. It is morning as you can see
by the light so the sheep are being driven to pasture, and so on;
nothing is left out, the discarded plough, the crooked birch, the
clouds beautiful in form and threatening rain, there is enough for
half an hour’s talk and memory in this little reproduction of a
great picture and the children will know it wherever they see it,
whether a signed proof, a copy in oils, or the original itself in
one of our galleries. We hear of a small boy with his parents in
the National Gallery; the boy, who had wandered off on his own
account, came running back with the news,--“Oh, Mummy, there’s
one of our Constables on that wall.” In this way children become
acquainted with a hundred, or hundreds, of great artists during
their school-life and it is an intimacy which never forsakes them.
A group of children are going up to London for a treat. “Where
would you like to go?” “Oh, Mummy, to the National Gallery to see
the Rembrandts.” Young people go to tea in a room strange to them
and are delighted to recognise two or three reproductions of De
Hooch’s pictures. In the course of school-life children get an Open
Sesame to many art galleries, and to many a cultivated home; and
life itself is illustrated for them at many points. For it is true
as Browning told us,--

      “For, don’t you mark, we’re made so that we love
      First when we see them painted, things we have passed
      Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see.”

Here is an example of how beautiful and familiar things give quite
new delight when they are pictured. A lady writes,--

  “I was invited to a small village to talk about the P.U. School.
  Twelve really interested women came in spite of heavy rain.... I
  suggested introducing them to some of the friends their children
  had made and we had a delightful picture talk with Jean B.
  Corot, delightful to me because of the way one woman especially
  narrated. She did it as if she had been set free for the first
  time for months. It was the ‘Evening’ picture with a canal on the
  right and that splendid mass of quiet trees in the centre. The
  others gave bits of the picture but she gave the whole thing. It
  was a green pasture to her.”

The noteworthy thing is that these women were familiar with all
such details as Corot offers in their own beautiful neighbourhood,
but Browning is right; we learn to see things when we see them
painted.

It will be noticed that the work[35] done on these pictures is
done by the children themselves. There is no talk about schools of
painting, little about style; consideration of these matters comes
in later life, but the first and most important thing is to know
the pictures themselves. As in a worthy book we leave the author
to tell his own tale, so do we trust a picture to tell its tale
through the medium the artist gave it. In the region of art as
elsewhere we shut out the middleman.

Forms V and VI are asked to,--“Describe, with study in sepia,
Corot’s ‘Evening.’” Beyond this of a rough study from memory of
a given picture or of any section of it, these picture studies
do not afford much material for actual drawing; they are never
copied lest an attempt to copy should lessen a child’s reverence
for great work. We are shy in speaking of what we do in actual
drawing since Herr Cizek came among us and shewed what great
things children could do with scarcely any obvious teaching and
but little suggestion. But probably such work is only to be done
under the inspiration of an artist of unusual powers and I am
writing for teachers who depend upon their children rather than
upon themselves. They illustrate favourite scenes and passages
in the books read during the term and the spirit with which the
illustrations are drawn and the fitting details introduced make
the teacher aware of how much more the children have seen in the
passage than he has himself. Their courage in grappling with
points of technique is very instructive. They tackle a crowd with
wonderful ingenuity, a crowd listening to Mark Antony’s oration,
cheering the Prince of Wales in India, in fact wherever a crowd is
wanted it is suggested pretty much as an artist would give it by
a show of heads. Like those Viennese children they use all their
paper, whether for a landscape or the details in a room. They
give you horses leaping brooks, dogs running after cats, sheep
on the road, always with a sense of motion. It is evident that
children study the figures they see with due attention and will
give you a gardener sharpening his scythe, their mother sewing,
a man rowing, or driving, or mowing. Their chairs stand on four
legs and their figures on two feet in a surprising way, and they
are always on the watch to correct their errors by what they see.
They have a delightful and courageous sense of colour, and any
child will convince you that he has it in him to be an artist.
Their field studies give them great scope. The first buttercup in
a child’s nature note book is shockingly crude, the sort of thing
to scandalise a teacher of brush-drawing, but by and by another
buttercup will appear with the delicate poise, uplift and radiance
of the growing flower.

Drawing is generally so well taught now that we need do no more
than emphasize one or two special points in our work, such as the
definite study of pictures and the illustrations of Nature Note
Books.

We do what is possible to introduce children to Architecture; and
we practise clay-modelling and the various artistic handicrafts,
but there is nothing unusual in our work in these directions.[36]

With Musical Appreciation the case is different; and we cannot do
better than quote from an address made by Mrs. Howard Glover at the
Ambleside Conference of the Parents’ Union, 1922:--

  “Musical Appreciation--which is so much before the eye at the
  present moment--originated in the P.N.E.U. about twenty-five
  years ago. At that time I was playing to my little child much of
  the best music in which I was interested, and Miss Mason happened
  to hear of what I was doing. She realised that music might give
  great joy and interest to the life of all, and she felt that just
  as children in the P.U.S. were given the greatest literature
  and art, so they should have the greatest music as well. She
  asked me to write an article in the _Review_ on the result of my
  observations, and to make a programme of music each term which
  might be played _to_ the children. From that day to this, at the
  beginning of every term a programme has appeared; thus began a
  movement which was to spread far and wide.

  “Musical Appreciation, of course, has nothing to do with playing
  the piano. It used to be thought that ‘learning music’ must mean
  this, and it was supposed that children who had no talent for
  playing were unmusical and would not like concerts. But Musical
  Appreciation had no more to do with playing an instrument than
  acting had to do with an appreciation of Shakespeare, or painting
  with enjoyment of pictures. I think that all children should take
  Musical Appreciation and not only the musical ones, for it has
  been proved that only three per cent. of children are what is
  called ‘tone-deaf’; and if they are taken at an early age it is
  astonishing how children who appear to be without ear, develop it
  and are able to enjoy listening to music with understanding.”


SECTION III

THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNIVERSE

(_a_) SCIENCE[37]

Huxley’s axiom that science teaching in the schools should be
of the nature of ‘common information’ is of use in defining our
limitations in regard to the teaching of science. We find another
limitation in the fact that children’s minds are not in need of the
mental gymnastics that such teaching is supposed to afford. They
are entirely alert and eager to know. Books dealing with science
as with history, say, should be of a literary character, and we
should probably be more scientific as a people if we scrapped all
the text-books which swell publishers’ lists and nearly all the
chalk expended so freely on our blackboards. The French mind has
appreciated the fact that the approach to science as to other
subjects should be more or less literary, that the principles which
underlie science are at the same time so simple, so profound and
so far-reaching that the due setting forth of these provokes what
is almost an emotional response; these principles are therefore
meet subjects for literary treatment, while the details of their
application are so technical and so minute as,--except by way of
illustration,--to be unnecessary for school work or for general
knowledge. We have not a copious scientific literature in English
but we have quite enough to go on with in our schools. We find an
American publication called _The Sciences_ (whose author would seem
to be an able man of literary power) of very great value in linking
universal principles with common incidents of every day life in
such a way that interest never palls and any child may learn on
what principles an electric bell works, what sound means, how a
steam engine works, and many other matters, explained here with
great lucidity. Capital diagrams and descriptions make experiments
easy and children arrive at their first notions of science without
the verbiage that darkens counsel. Form IIA read _Life and Her
Children_ by Arabella Buckley and get a surprising knowledge of the
earlier and lower forms of life. IIB take pleasure in Kingsley’s
_Madam How and Lady Why_. They are expected to do a great deal
of out-of-door work in which they are assisted by _The Changing
Year_, admirable month by month studies of what is to be seen
out-of-doors. They keep records and drawings in a Nature Note Book
and make special studies of their own for the particular season
with drawings and notes.

The studies of Form III for one term enable children to--“Make
a rough sketch of a section of ditch or hedge or sea-shore and
put in the names of the plants you would expect to find.” “Write
notes with drawings of the special study you have made this term.”
“What do you understand by calyx, corolla, stamen, pistil? In
what ways are flowers fertilised?” “How would you find the Pole
Star? Mention six other stars and say in what constellations they
occur.” “How would you distinguish between Early, Decorated and
Perpendicular Gothic? Give drawings.” Questions like these, it will
be seen, cover a good deal of field work, and the study of some
half dozen carefully selected books on natural history, botany,
architecture and astronomy, the principle being that children
shall observe and chronicle, but shall not depend upon their own
unassisted observation.

The study of natural history and botany with bird lists and plant
lists continues throughout school life, while other branches of
science are taken term by term.

The questions for Form IV for one term illustrate the various
studies of the scholars in natural history, general science,
hygiene and physiology; in fact, their studies are so various that
it is difficult to give each a separate title in the programme:--


  GEOGRAPHY.

  1. Write a short sketch of Central Asia, with map.

  2. Compare Palestine with the Yorkshire moors. Describe the
  valley of the Jordan.

  3. “There is but one Nelson.” Illustrate by half-a-dozen
  instances.

  4. What is said in _Eöthen_ of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?


  NATURAL HISTORY.

  1. What do you know of (_a_), the manatee, (_b_), the whalebone
  whale (sketch of skeleton), (_c_), porpoises and dolphins?

  _or_, 1. Describe (_a_), quartz crystals, (_b_), felspar, (_c_),
  mica, (_d_), hornblende. In what rock do these occur?

  2. What do you know of insectivorous plants? Name those you know.

  3. What circumstances strike you in a walk in summer?


  GENERAL SCIENCE.

  1. What do you understand by,--(_a_), electrical attraction,
  (_b_), repulsion, (_c_), conductors, (_d_), insulators, (_e_),
  methods of obtaining electricity?

  2. Prove that “you never see matter itself,” and show how sight
  gives us knowledge.


  PHYSIOLOGY.

  1. Describe the structure of the human ear.

Perhaps _Some Wonders of Matter_ by Bishop Mercer is the most
inspiring of the half-dozen volumes in current use in Form IV for
this section of their work. The questions indicate the varied
nature of the work and the answers shew that in every case the
knowledge is fairly wide and thorough. All the children in the
school are usually ready to answer each question on the work of the
term.

Forms V and VI again cover a wide field as the following questions
on a term’s work sufficiently indicate,--


  GEOGRAPHY.

  VI.

  1. Show how the discovery of the New World affected England in
  commerce and war.

  2. According to what general law is life distributed on the earth?

  3. Describe the Siege of Mexico by Cortes, and its surrender.

  VI. & V.

  4. How has the war affected (_a_), Luxembourg, (_b_), the Eastern
  frontier of Belgium, (_c_), Antwerp and the Scheldt?

  V.

  1. Show how the Restoration affected our American possessions.

  2. Show accurately how longitude is determined.

  3. Sketch the history and character of Montezuma.


  GEOLOGY AND GENERAL SCIENCE.

  VI.

  1. Discuss fully (_a_), the cause of radio-activity, (_b_),
  gravitation.

  2. What have you to say of the scenic aspects of the English
  Trias? Name a dozen of the fossils. Sketch half-a-dozen.

  V.

  1. Give as full an explanation as you can of colour.

  2. Describe the composition of the igneous rocks. Where do they
  appear?


  BIOLOGY, BOTANY, ETC.

  VI.

  1. What are the characters of the backboneless animals? Describe
  half-a-dozen examples.

  2. Describe and account for the vegetation of (_a_), woodlands,
  (_b_), heath, (_c_), moorland, (_d_), meadow.

  V.

  1. How would you classify the industries of animals? Give
  examples.

  2. Describe the flora of the seashore.

  VI. & V.

  3. Describe, with drawings, the special study you have made this
  term.


  ASTRONOMY.

  VI.

  1. What do you understand by precession? Describe the precession
  and mutation of the earth’s axis.

  V.

  1. Write an essay on the planet Mercury.

If we wanted an excuse for affording children a wide syllabus
introducing them at any rate to those branches of science of which
every normal person should have some knowledge, we find it in
the deprecatory words of Sir Richard Gregory in his Presidential
Address in the Education Science Section of the British
Association. He said that,--

  “Education might be defined as a deliberate adjustment of a
  growing human being to its environment, and the scope and
  character of the subjects of instruction should be determined
  by this biological principle. What was best for one race or
  epoch need not be best for another. The essential mission of
  school science was to prepare pupils for civilised citizenship
  by revealing to them something of the beauty and the power of
  the world in which they lived, as well as introducing them to
  the methods by which the boundaries of natural knowledge had
  been extended. School science, therefore, was not intended to
  prepare for vocations, but to equip pupils for life. It should
  be part of a general education, unspecialised, but in no direct
  connexion with possible university courses to follow. Less than
  three per cent. of the pupils from State-aided secondary schools
  proceeded to universities, and yet most of the science courses in
  these schools were based on syllabuses of the type of university
  entrance examinations. The needs of the many were sacrificed to
  the few.

  “Too much importance was attached to what could be covered by
  personal experiment and observation. Every science examination
  qualifying for the first school certificate, which now
  represented subjects normally studied up to about sixteen years
  of age, was mainly a test of practical acquaintance with facts
  and principles encountered in particular limited fields, but not
  a single one afforded recognition of a broad and ample course
  of instruction in science such as was a necessary complement to
  laboratory work.

  “The numbers [of examination candidates] suggested that general
  scientific teaching was almost non-existent. The range of
  instruction in the portions of subjects taken, moreover, was
  almost confined to what could be taught in a laboratory. Reading
  or teaching for interest or to learn how physical science was
  daily extending the power of man received little attention
  because no credit for knowledge thus gained was given in
  examinations. There was very special need for the reminder that
  science was not all measurement, nor all measurement science.”

It is reassuring to see methods that we have pursued for
over thirty years with admirable results recommended thus
authoritatively. The only sound method of teaching science is to
afford a due combination of field or laboratory work, with such
literary comments and amplifications as the subject affords. For
example, from _Ethics of the Dust_ children derive a certain
enthusiasm for crystals as such that their own unaided observation
would be slow to afford. As a matter of fact the teaching of
science in our schools has lost much of its educative value through
a fatal and quite unnecessary divorce between science and the
‘humanities.’

The nature note books which originated in the P.U.S. have
recommended themselves pretty widely as travelling companions and
life records wherein the ‘finds’ of every season, bird or flower,
fungus or moss, is sketched, and described _somewhat_ in the
manner of Gilbert White. The nature note book is very catholic and
finds room for the stars in their courses and for, say, the fossil
anemone found on the beach at Whitby. Certainly these note books
do a good deal to bring science within the range of common thought
and experience; we are anxious not to make science a utilitarian
subject.


GEOGRAPHY

The teaching of Geography suffers especially from the utilitarian
spirit. The whole tendency of modern Geography, as taught in
our schools, is to strip the unfortunate planet which has been
assigned to us as our abode and environment of every trace of
mystery and beauty. There is no longer anything to admire or to
wonder at in this sweet world of ours. We can no longer say with
Jasper Petulengro,--“Sun, moon and stars are sweet things, brother;
there is likewise the wind on the heath.” No, the questions
which Geography has to solve henceforth are confined to how and
under what conditions is the earth’s surface profitable to man
and desirable for his habitation. No more may children conceive
themselves climbing Mont Blanc or Mount Everest, skating on the
Fiords of Norway or swimming in a gondola at Venice. These are not
the things that matter, but only how and where and why is money
to be made under local conditions on the earth’s surface. It is
doubtful whether this kind of teaching is even lucrative because
the mind works on great ideas, and, upon these, works to great
ends. Where science does not teach a child to wonder and admire it
has perhaps no educative value.

Perhaps no knowledge is more delightful than such an intimacy
with the earth’s surface, region by region, as should enable the
map of any region to unfold a panorama of delight, disclosing not
only mountains, rivers, frontiers, the great features we know as
‘Geography,’ but associations, occupations, some parts of the past
and much of the present, of every part of this beautiful earth.
Great attention is paid to map work; that is, before reading a
lesson children have found the places mentioned in that lesson
on a map and know where they are, relatively to other places, to
given parallels, meridians. Then, bearing in mind that children
do not generalise but must learn by particulars, they read and
picture to themselves the Yorkshire Dales, the Sussex Downs, the
mysteries of a coal-mine; they see ‘pigs’ of iron flowing forth
from the furnace, the slow accretions which have made up the
chalk, the stirring life of the great towns and the occupations
of the villages. Form II (A and B) are engaged with the counties
of England, county by county, for so diverse are the counties in
aspect, history and occupations, that only so can children acquire
such a knowledge of England as will prove a key to the geography
of every part of the world, whether in the way of comparison or
contrast. For instance, while I write, the children in IIA are
studying the counties which contain the Thames basin and “Write
verses on ‘The Thames’” is part of their term’s work. _Our Sea
Power_, by H. W. Household, is of extraordinary value in linking
England with the world by means of a spirited account of the
glorious history of our navy, while the late Sir George Parkin,
than whom there is no better qualified authority, carries children
round the Empire. They are thrown on their own resources or those
of their teachers for what may be called current Geography. For
instance, “Learn what you can about _The Political Map of Europe
after the Great War_. (Evans, 4_d._).”

In Form III the Geography is still regional, that is, children are
led to form an intimate acquaintance with the countries of Europe
so that the map of any country calls up in a child’s imagination
a wonderful panorama of the diversities of the country, of the
people, their history and occupations. It is evident that this
kind of geographical image cannot be secured in any other way
than by considering Europe country by country. They begin with a
general survey of the seas and shores of the continent, of the
countries and peoples, of the diversities of tongues and their
historical origin, of the plains and mountains, of the rivers
and their basins; a survey after which they should be able to
answer such questions as,--“Name three rivers which flow into the
Baltic.” “What lands form the southern and eastern shores of the
Mediterranean?” “What countries are washed by the Baltic?” “Between
what parallels does Europe extend? What other continents lie partly
within the same parallels?” The young scholars are at home with the
map of Europe before they consider the countries separately.

The picture we present of the several countries is meant to be
before all things interesting and at the same time to provide an
intelligent and fairly exhaustive account of the given country.
Whatever further knowledge a child acquires will fit in to this
original scheme. For example, “The Rhône Valley and the Border
lands.”[38]

  “The warm and fertile Rhône valley belongs in climate to the
  southern region, where, although the vine is grown, large
  plantations of olive and mulberry occupy much of the land. We
  are apt to think of the South of France as the sunny south, the
  sweet south, ‘but,’ says a writer whom we have already quoted,
  ‘it is austere, grim, sombre’ ... but the mulberry feeds the
  silkworm and so furnishes material for the great manufacture of
  France. Lyons, the second city of France, is the seat of the silk
  manufacture including those of velvets and satins. It is seated
  upon a tongue of land at the confluence of the rapid Rhône and
  the sluggish Saône, and along the banks of both rivers are fine
  quays.”

This extract indicates how geographical facts are introduced
incidentally, pretty much as a traveller comes across them. The
work for one term includes Belgium, Holland, Spain and Portugal,
and the interests connected with each of these countries are
manifold. For example,--

  “On the seashore near Leyden is Katwyck where the expiring Rhine
  is helped to discharge itself into the sea by means of a wide
  artificial channel provided with no less than thirteen pairs of
  enormous floodgates. These are shut to keep out the sea when the
  tide is coming in, and open to let the streams pass out during
  ebb tide. Notwithstanding these great works the once glorious
  Rhine makes but an ignoble exit. The delta of this river may be
  said to include the whole breadth of Holland.”[39]

It will be noticed that an attempt is made to shew the romance
of the natural features, the history, the industries, so that a
country is no more a mere matter of names on a map, or of sections
shewn by contour lines. Such generalisations are not Geography
but are slow conclusions which the mind should come to of itself
when it acquires intimacy with a region. Something of a literary
character is preserved in the Geography lessons. The new feature in
these is the study of maps which should be very thorough. For the
rest the single reading and narration as described in connection
with other work is sufficient in this subject also. Children cannot
tell what they have not seen with the mind’s eye, which we know as
imagination, and they cannot see what is not told in their books
with some vividness and some grasp of the subject. The thoroughness
of the map study is shewn by such a question to be answered from
memory as,--“What part of Belgium does the Scheldt drain? Name any
of its feeders. Name ten famous places in its basin. What port
stands at the head of its estuary?” We find great light thrown upon
the geography of the Empire in a little book of literary quality,
_Fighting for Sea Power in the Days of Sail_.

There are two rational ways of teaching Geography. The first is
the inferential method, a good deal in vogue at the present time;
by it the pupil learns certain geographical principles which he is
expected to apply universally. This method seems to me defective
for two reasons. It is apt to be misleading as in every particular
case the general principle is open to modifications; also, local
colour and personal and historical interests are wanting and the
scholar does not form an intellectual and imaginative conception
of the region he is learning about. The second which might be
called the panoramic method unrolls the landscape of the world,
region by region, before the eyes of the scholar with in every
region its own conditions of climate, its productions, its people,
their industries and their history. This way of teaching the most
delightful of all subjects has the effect of giving to a map of a
country or region the brilliancy of colour and the wealth of detail
which a panorama might afford, together with a sense of proportion
and a knowledge of general principles. I believe that pictures are
not of very great use in this study. We all know that the pictures
which abide with us are those which the imagination constructs from
written descriptions.

The Geography for Form IV[40] includes Asia, Africa, America
and Australasia. But the same principle is followed: vivid
descriptions, geographical principles, historical associations and
industrial details, are afforded which should make, as we say, an
impression, should secure that the region traversed becomes an
imaginative possession as well as affording data for reasonable
judgments. The pupil begins with a survey of Asia followed by a
separate treatment of the great countries and divisions and of the
great physical features. Thus of Siberia we read,--

  “All travellers unite in praise of the free Siberian peasant. As
  soon as one crosses the Urals one is surprised by the extreme
  friendliness and good nature of the inhabitants as much as by the
  rich vegetation of the well-cultivated fields and the excellent
  state of the roads in the southern part of the government of
  Tobolsk.”

or,--

  “The glossy jet black soft thick fur of the sea-otter is the most
  valuable of all the Russian skins. Next ranks the skin of the
  black fox. But though a thousand of its skins are worth no more
  than one skin of the sea-otter, the little grey squirrel whose
  skins are imported by the million really plays the most important
  part in the Siberian fur trade.”

Of Further India,--

  “Pigou, the middle division, is really the vast delta of the
  Irrawaddy, a low-lying country which yields enormous quantities
  of rice while on the higher grounds which wall in the great river
  are the finest teak forests in the world.”

Africa follows Asia with the discoveries of Livingstone, Speke,
Burton, Grant, etc. We get an account of African village life and
among the chapter headings are Abyssinia, Egypt, Up the Nile, The
Soudan, The Sahara, The Barbary States, South Africa, Cape Colony,
The Islands. America follows with an account of the progress of
discovery, a geographical sketch of South America, the Andes
and the Mountain States, Chili, Peru, Bolivia, etc., the Great
Plains of South America, Central America, North America, Canada, a
historical sketch of the United States, the Eastern States, States
of the Mississippi valley, the prairies, the Western States and
territories, California. In the section on the Eastern States we
read,--

  “Stretching from this chain (the Alleghanies) is the great
  Appalachian coalfield which extends through Pennsylvania,
  Virginia and Ohio, with a length of 720 miles containing, it is
  said, coal enough to supply the world for four thousand years!
  Iron occurs with the coal in great abundance. Most of this
  coal is of the kind called Anthracite. It is extremely slow in
  burning, emits no smoke, but has a painfully drying effect upon
  the air of a room. Sir Charles Lyall speaking of Pottsville on
  this coalfield says,--‘Here I was agreeably surprised to see
  a flourishing manufacturing town with the tall chimneys of a
  hundred furnaces burning night and day, yet quite free from
  smoke. Leaving this clear atmosphere and going down into one of
  the mines it was a no less pleasing novelty to find that we could
  handle the coal without soiling our fingers.’”

But enough has been said to indicate the sort of intimacy that
scholars in Form IV get with all quarters of the world, their
geography, landscape, histories and industries, together with the
study of the causes which affect climate and industries. Geikie’s
_Physical Geography_ affords an admirable introduction to the
principles of physical geography.

Forms V and VI are expected to keep up with the newspapers and
know something about places and regions coming most into note in
the current term. Also, in connection with the history studied,
Seeley’s _Expansion of England, The Peoples and Problems of
India_, Geikie’s _Elementary Lessons in Physical Geography_,
Mort’s _Practical Geography_, and Kipling’s _Letters of Travel_
are included in the reading of one term. In these Forms the young
students are expected to apply their knowledge to Geography, both
practical and theoretical, and to make much use of a good Atlas
without the map questions which have guided the map work of the
lower Forms.


III

THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNIVERSE

(_b_) MATHEMATICS

The question of Arithmetic and of Mathematics generally is one of
great import to us as educators. So long as the idea of ‘faculties’
obtained no doubt we were right to put all possible weight on a
subject so well adapted to train the reasoning powers, but now
we are assured that these powers do not wait upon our training.
They are there in any case; and if we keep a chief place in our
curriculum for Arithmetic we must justify ourselves upon other
grounds. We take strong ground when we appeal to the beauty and
truth of Mathematics; that, as Ruskin points out, two and two make
four and cannot conceivably make five, is an inevitable law. It
is a great thing to be brought into the presence of a law, of a
whole system of laws, that exist without our concurrence,--that
two straight lines cannot enclose a space is a fact which we can
perceive, state, and act upon but cannot in any wise alter, should
give to children the sense of limitation which is wholesome for all
of us, and inspire that _sursum corda_ which we should hear in all
natural law.

Again, integrity in our dealings depends largely upon ‘Mr.
Micawber’s’ golden rule, while ‘Harold Skimpole’s’ disregard of
these things is a moral offence against society. Once again,
though we do not live on gymnastics, the mind like the body, is
invigorated by regular spells of hard exercise.

But education should be a science of proportion, and any one
subject that assumes undue importance does so at the expense of
other subjects which a child’s mind should deal with. Arithmetic,
Mathematics, are exceedingly easy to examine upon and so long
as education is regulated by examinations so long shall we have
teaching, directed not to awaken a sense of awe in contemplating a
self-existing science, but rather to secure exactness and ingenuity
in the treatment of problems.

What is better, it will be said, than a training in exactness and
ingenuity? But in saying so we assume that this exactness and
ingenuity brought out in Arithmetic serve us in every department
of life. Were this the case we should indeed have a royal road to
learning; but it would seem that no such road is open to us. The
habits and powers brought to bear upon any one educational subject
are exercised upon that subject simply. The familiar story of how
Sir Isaac Newton teased by his cat’s cries to be let in caused a
large hole in the door to be made for the cat and a small one for
the kitten, illustrates not a mere amusing lapse in a great mind
but the fact that work upon special lines qualifies for work upon
those lines only. One hears of more or less deficient boys to whom
the study of _Bradshaw_ is a delight, of an admirable accountant
who was otherwise a little ‘deficient.’

The boy who gets ‘full marks’ in Arithmetic makes a poor show in
history because the accuracy and ingenuity brought out by his sums
apply to his sums only: and as for the value of Arithmetic in
practical life, most of us have private reasons for agreeing with
the eminent staff officer who tells us that,--

  “I have never found any Mathematics except simple addition of
  the slightest use in a work-a-day life except in the Staff
  College examinations and as for mental gymnastics and accuracy
  of statement, I dispute the contention that Mathematics supply
  either any better than any other study.”

We have most of us believed that a knowledge of the theory and
practice of war depended a good deal upon Mathematics, so this
statement by a distinguished soldier is worth considering. In a
word our point is that Mathematics are to be studied for their own
sake and not as they make for general intelligence and grasp of
mind. But then how profoundly worthy are these subjects of study
for their own sake, to say nothing of other great branches of
knowledge to which they are ancillary! Lack of proportion should be
our _bête noire_ in drawing up a curriculum, remembering that the
mathematician who knows little of the history of his own country or
that of any other, is sparsely educated at the best.

At the same time Genius has her own rights. The born mathematician
must be allowed full scope even to the omission of much else that
he should know. He soon asserts himself, sees into the intricacies
of a problem with half an eye, and should have scope. He would
prefer not to have much teaching. But why should the tortoise keep
pace with the hare and why should a boy’s success in life depend
upon drudgery in Mathematics? That is the tendency at the present
moment--to close the Universities and consequently the Professions
to boys and girls who, because they have little natural aptitude
for mathematics, must acquire a mechanical knowledge by such heavy
all-engrossing labour as must needs shut out such knowledge of the
‘humanities’ say, as is implied in the phrase ‘a liberal education.’

The claims of the London Matriculation examination, for example,
are acknowledged by many teachers to be incompatible with the wide
knowledge proper to an educated person.

Mathematics depend upon the teacher rather than upon the text-book
and few subjects are worse taught; chiefly because teachers have
seldom time to give the inspiring ideas, what Coleridge calls, the
‘Captain’ ideas, which should quicken imagination.

How living would Geometry become in the light of the discoveries of
Euclid as he made them!

To sum up, Mathematics are a necessary part of every man’s
education; they must be taught by those who know; but they may not
engross the time and attention of the scholar in such wise as to
shut out any of the score of ‘subjects,’ a knowledge of which is
his natural right.

It is unnecessary to exhibit mathematical work done in the P.U.S.
as it is on the same lines and reaches the same standard as in
other schools. No doubt his habit of entire attention favours the
P.U.S. scholar.


III

THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNIVERSE

(_c_) PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT, HANDICRAFTS

It is unnecessary, too, to say anything about games, dancing,
physical exercises, needlework and other handicrafts as the methods
employed in these are not exceptional.[41]



Book II

Theory Applied



CHAPTER I

A LIBERAL EDUCATION IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS


I need not waste time in attempting to convince the reader of what
we all know, that a liberal education is, like justice, religion,
liberty, fresh air, the natural birthright of every child. Neither
need we discuss the scope of such an education. We are aware that
good life implies cultivated intelligence, that, according to the
Platonic axiom, ‘Knowledge is virtue,’ even though there be many
exceptions to the rule. Educated teachers are not slow to perceive
the part the Humanities play in a worthy scheme of education, but
they are faced by enormous difficulties which are admirably summed
up in a recent work,--[42]

  “The tragedy of modern education has been the prolonged failure
  of Humanism to secure conditions under which its purpose might be
  realised for the people at large.”

It is because we (of the Parents’ Union School) have succeeded in
offering Humanism under such conditions that we believe the great
problem of education is at last solved. We are able to offer the
Humanities (in the mother tongue) to large classes of children from
illiterate homes in such a way that the teaching is received with
delight and freely assimilated. One swallow does not make a summer,
we all know, but the experience of one school shows that it is
possible to carry out a pretty full literary programme joyously and
without effort while including all the usual school activities.
Wireless telegraphy was, so to speak, in the air before the first
Marconi message was sent, but that first wireless message made
it possible for any passenger on board a Channel steamer to send
such a message. Just so, the experiment in the Drighlington School
(Yorkshire) placed the conditions for a humanistic education at the
service of any teacher. I am much impressed by the amount of work
of this kind which is already being done in our schools. I heard
the other day of a man whose whole life had been elevated by a
single inspiring (poetic) sentence which he heard as a schoolboy;
we have been told that the ‘man in the street’ cannot resist a row
of books; we are told, too, that the War has made us a nation of
readers, both at home and in the trenches, readers largely of the
best books in poetry and history; is there no credit due to the
schools for these things? But teachers are not satisfied; their
reach is greater than their grasp and they are more aware of the
sordid lives about them, of the “dull, unfeeling, barren ignorance”
which prevails, than of any success they have yet attained.
Therefore they fret under the time limitations which seem to make
it impossible to do anything worth while in such vast subjects as
History and Literature, for example.

I wonder does this uneasiness point to a fact which we are slow
to realise,--that the requirements of the mind are very much like
those of the body? Both require as conditions of health,--activity,
variety, rest and, above all, food. There has been some tendency
among us to offer gymnastics, whether intellectual or physical,
by way of a square meal of knowledge, which is as if one were
to invite a boy to Swedish Drill by way of his dinner; and that
wretched misnomer ‘education’ is partly to blame. Now, potency,
not property, is the characteristic of mind. A child is able to
deal with much knowledge, but he possesses none worth speaking
of; yet we set to work to give him that potency which he already
possesses rather than the knowledge which he lacks; we train
his reason, cultivate his judgment, exercise this and the other
faculty, which we have no more to do with than with the digestive
processes of a healthy child; we know that the more we meddle with
these the worse for the child; but what if the devitalisation
we notice in so many of our young people, keen about games but
dead to things of the mind, is due to the processes carried on
in our schools, to our plausible and pleasant ways of picturing,
eliciting, demonstrating, illustrating, summarising, doing all
those things for children which they are born with the potency to
do for themselves? No doubt we do give intellectual food, but too
little of it; let us have courage and we shall be surprised, as we
are now and then, at the amount of intellectual strong meat almost
any child will take at a meal and digest at his leisure.

Perhaps the first thing for us to do is to get a just perception
of what I may call the relativity of knowledge and the mind. The
mind receives knowledge, not in order that it may know, but in
order that it may grow, in breadth and depth, in sound judgment and
magnanimity; but in order to grow, it _must know_.

The fact is that we are handicapped, not so much by the three or
four difficulties I have already indicated, as by certain errors of
judgment, forms of depreciation, which none of us escape because
they are universal. We as teachers depreciate ourselves and our
office; we do not realise that in the nature of things the teacher
has a prophetic power of appeal and inspiration, that his part
is not the weariful task of spoon-feeding with pap-meat, but the
delightful commerce of equal minds where his is the part of guide,
philosopher and friend. The friction of wills which makes school
work harassing ceases to a surprising degree when we deal with the
children, mind to mind, through the medium of knowledge.

Next, we depreciate children, even though most teachers lay down
their lives for their charges with amazing devotion. We have been
so long taught to regard children as products of education and
environment, that we fail to realise that from the first they are
persons; and, as Carlyle has well said,--

  “The mystery of a person, indeed, is ever divine, to him that has
  a sense for the godlike.”

We must either reverence or despise children; and while we regard
them as incomplete and undeveloped beings who will one day arrive
at the completeness of man, rather than as weak and ignorant
persons, whose ignorance we must inform and whose weakness we must
support, but whose potentialities are as great as our own, we
cannot do otherwise than despise children, however kindly and even
tenderly we commit the offence.

As soon as he gets words with which to communicate with us, a
child lets us know that he thinks with surprising clearness and
directness, that he sees with a closeness of observation that
we have long lost, that he enjoys and that he sorrows with an
intensity we have ceased to experience, that he loves with an
abandon and a confidence which, alas, we do not share, that he
imagines with a fecundity no artist among us can approach that he
acquires intellectual knowledge and mechanical skill at a rate so
amazing, that, could the infant’s rate of progress be kept up to
manhood, he would surely appropriate the whole field of knowledge
in a single lifetime! (It is worth while in this connection to
re-read the early chapters of _David Copperfield_.)

I am considering a child as he is, and am not tracing him, either
with Wordsworth, to the heights above, or, with the evolutionist,
to the depths below; because a person is a mystery, that is,
we cannot explain him or account for him, but must accept him
as he is. This wonder of personality does not cease, does not
disappear, when a child goes to school; he is still ‘all there’
in quite another sense from that of the vulgar catch-word. But we
begin to lose the way to his mind from the day that he enters the
schoolroom; the reason for this is, we have embraced the belief
that ‘knowledge is sensation,’ that a child knows what he sees and
handles rather than what he conceives in his mind and figures in
his thoughts. I labour this point because our faith in a child’s
spiritual, _i.e._, intellectual educability is one of our chief
assets. Having brought ourselves face to face with the wonder of
mind in children, we begin to see that knowledge is the aliment
of the mind as food is that of the body. In the days before the
War, a lifetime ago it seems, our insular contempt for knowledge
was a by-word; except for a schoolmaster or other thinker here and
there, nobody took knowledge seriously; we announced boldly that
it did not matter what a child learned but only how he learned
it. As for mere ‘book-learning,’ for that we had a fine contempt!
But we have changed all that. We are beginning to suspect that
ignorance is our national stumbling-block, a chief cause of those
difficulties at home which hinder our efforts abroad. For ignorance
there is only one cure, and that is, knowledge; his school is the
seat of knowledge for a child, and whatever else his teachers do
for him, first of all they must sustain him with knowledge, not in
homœopathic doses, but in regular, generous servings. If we ask,
what is knowledge?--there is no neat and ready answer at hand.
Matthew Arnold, we know, classifies all knowledge under three
heads,--the knowledge of God, divinity, the knowledge of man,
known as the ‘humanities’ and the knowledge of the physical world,
science, and that is enough to go on with. But I should like to
question this division and to class all three parts of knowledge
under the head of Humanism, which should include all knowledge
that makes a direct appeal to the mind through the channel of
literary form; now, the substance of Divinity is contained in
one of the three great literatures of the world, and Science, in
France if not usually in England, is embodied in a beautiful and
poetic literature of great clarity, precision and grace. Is it
not then allowable to include all knowledge of which literature
is a proper medium under the head of ‘Humanism’? One thing at any
rate we know with certainty, that no teaching, no information
becomes knowledge to any of us until the individual mind has acted
upon it, translated it, transformed, absorbed it, to reappear,
like our bodily food, in forms of vitality. Therefore, teaching,
talk and tale, however lucid or fascinating, effect nothing until
self-activity be set up; that is, self-education is the only
possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of
a child’s nature.

I have endeavoured to call your attention to a certain undervaluing
of children and undervaluing of knowledge which seem to me to mar
our twentieth century ideal of education, fine as that is. If we
realise that the mind and knowledge are like two members of a ball
and socket joint, two limbs of a pair of scissors, fitted to each
other, necessary to each other and acting only in concert, we shall
understand that our function as teachers is to supply children with
the rations of knowledge which they require; and that the rest,
character and conduct, efficiency and ability, and, that finest
quality of the citizen, magnanimity, take care of themselves. “But
how?” cries the teacher, whose life is spent in the labour of
Sisyphus. I think we have chanced on a way that, at any rate, works
to admiration, the principles and practice of which I am anxious to
bring before you.

Let me first repeat[43] a few of the results that have been made
good by thousands of children, and within the last few years by
many Council Schools throughout the country:--

The children, not the teachers, are the responsible persons; they
do the work by self-effort.

The teachers give the uplift of their sympathy in the work and
where necessary elucidate, sum up or enlarge, but the actual work
is done by the scholars.

These read in a term from one thousand to between two and three
thousand pages, according to age and class, in a large number of
set books; the quantity set for each lesson allows of only a single
reading.

The reading is tested by narration, or by writing on a test passage.

No revision is attempted when the terminal examination is at hand;
because too much ground has been covered to allow of any ‘looking
up.’

What the children have read they know, and write on any part of it
with ease and fluency, in vigorous English. They usually spell well.

During the examinations, which last a week, the children cover say
from twenty to sixty sheets of Cambridge paper, according to age
and class; but if ten times as many questions were set on the work
studied most likely they would cover ten times as much paper.

It rarely happens that all the children in a class are not able
to answer all the questions set in such subjects as history,
literature, citizenship, geography, science. But here differences
manifest themselves; some children do better in history, some in
science, some in arithmetic, others in literature; some, again,
write copious answers and a few write sparsely; but practically all
know the answers to the set questions.

In the course of an examination they deal freely with a great
number of substantives, including many proper names; I once had the
names used by a child of ten in an examination paper counted; there
were well over a hundred, of which these are the ‘A’s’--

  Africa, Alsace-Lorraine, Abdomen, Antigonons, Antennæ, Aphis,
  Antwerp, Alder, America, Amsterdam, Austria-Hungary, Ann Boleyn,
  Antarctic, Atlantic;

and these are the ‘M’s,’--

  Megalopolis, Maximilian, Milan, Martin Luther, Mary of the
  Netherlands, Messina, Macedonia, Magna Charta, Magnet, Malta,
  Metz, Mediterranean, Mary Queen of Scots, Treaty of Madrid;

and upon all these subjects the children wrote as freely and fully
as if they were writing to an absent sister about a new family of
kittens!

The children write with perfect understanding as far as they go
and there is rarely a ‘howler’ in hundreds of sets of papers.
They have an enviable power of getting at the gist of a book or
subject. Sometimes they are asked to write verses about a personage
or an event; the result is not remarkable by way of poetry, but
sums up a good deal of thoughtful reading in a delightful way; for
example,--the reading of _King Lear_ is gathered in twelve lines on
‘Cordelia,’--

CORDELIA

      Nobliest lady, doomed to slaughter,
      An unlov’d, unpitied daughter,
      Though Cordelia thou may’st be,
      “Love’s” the fittest name for thee;
      If love doth not, maid, bestow
      Scorn for scorn, and “no” for “no,”
      If love loves through scorn and spite,
      If love clings to truth and right,
      If love’s pure, maid, as thou art,
      If love has a faithful heart,
      Thou art then the same as love;
      Come from God’s own realms above!

                       M. K. C. 10-10/12 Form II.

A life of Livingstone (read in connection with the Geography of
Africa) is thus epitomised,--

LIVINGSTONE

      “The whole of Africa is desert bare,
      Except around the coast.” So people said,
      And thought of that great continent no more.
      “The smoke of thousand villages I’ve seen!”
      So cried a man. He knew no more. His words
      Sank down into one heart there to remain.
      The man who heard rose up and gave his all:
      Into the dark unknown he went alone.
      What terrors did he face? The native’s hate,
      The fever, tetse-fly and loneliness.
      But to the people there he brought great Light.
      Who was this man, the son of some great lord?
      Not so. He was a simple Scottish lad
      Who learnt to follow duty’s path. His name
      Was Livingstone, he will not be forgot.

                                E. P. (15.) Form IV.

And here is a rendering of Plutarch’s _Life of Pericles_ by a girl
of fourteen in Form IV,--

      Oh! land, whose beauty and unrivalled fame;
      Lies dead, obscure in Time’s great dusty vault.
      Not so in memory, for truly here,
      Each and alike look up and do revear
      Those heroes of the hidden past. Plato,
      Who’s understanding reached the wide world’s end;
      Aristides, that just and noble man.
      And last, not least, the great wise Pericles
      Who’s socialistic views and clever ways
      For governing the rich and poor alike
      Were to be envied. In his eyes must Greece
      Live for ever as the home of beauty.
      So to the Gods great marble shrines he made,
      Temples and theatres did he erect;
      So that the beauty of his beloved Greece
      Might live for ever. And now when seeing
      What is left of all those wondrous sights
      We think not of the works _themselves_
      But rather of the man who had them built.

                                                 J. F.

One wonders is ‘socialistic’ used for democratic; any way, the
notion is original. There is little to be said for the technique of
the verses but I think the reader will agree that each set shows
thoughtful appreciation of some part of the term’s reading. The
verses are uncorrected.

Much use is made according to this method of the years from 6 to
8, during which children must learn to read and write; they get at
the same time, however, a good deal of consecutive knowledge of
history and geography, tale and fable, some of which at the end of
the term they dictate in answer to questions and their answers form
well-expressed little essays on the subjects they deal with.

The time appropriated in the time-table at this stage to the
teaching of some half-dozen more or less literary subjects such as
Scripture, and the subjects I have indicated, is largely spent by
the teachers in reading, say, two or three paragraphs at a time
from some one of the set books, which children, here and there
in the class, narrate. The teacher reads with the intention that
the children shall know, and therefore, with distinctness, force,
and careful enunciation; it is a mere matter of sympathy, though
of course it is the author and not himself, whom the teacher is
careful to produce. This practice, of the teacher reading aloud
and the class narrating, is necessarily continued through all the
classes of an elementary school, because some of the books used
are rather costly and only one copy is furnished. I wonder does
this habit of listening with close attention to what is read aloud
tend to equalise the children of the ‘uneducated’ with those of the
educated classes? Certainly, the work of the two is surprisingly
equal. By the way, there is no selection of subjects, passages or
episodes on the ground of interest. The best available book is
chosen and read through in the course, it may be, of two or three
years.

Let me add that the appeal of these principles and this method
is not to the clever child only but to the average and even to
the ‘backward’ child; indeed we have had several marked successes
with backward children. Just as we all partake of that banquet
which is ‘Shakespeare’ according to our needs and desires, so do
the children behave at the ample board set before them; there
is enough to satisfy the keenest intelligence while the dullest
child is sustained through his own willing effort. This scheme
of fairly wide and successful intellectual work is carried out
in the same or less time than is occupied in the usual efforts
in the same directions; there are no revisions, no evening
preparations (because far more work is done by the children in
ordinary school-time than under ordinary school methods, when the
child is too often a listener only): no note-taking, because none
are necessary, the children having the matter in their books and
knowing where to find it; and as there is no cramming or working up
of subjects there is much time to spare for vocational and other
work of the kind.

Such an education as I am urging should act as a social lever also;
everyone is much occupied with problems concerning amelioration of
life for our ‘poorer classes’ but do we sufficiently consider that,
given a better education, the problems of decent living will for
the most part be solved by the people themselves?

Like all great ventures of life this that I propose is a venture
of faith, faith in the saving power of knowledge and in the
assimilative power of children. Its efficacy depends upon the fact
that it is in the nature of things, that is, in the nature of
knowledge and in the nature of children. Bring the two together in
ways that are sanctioned by the laws of mind and, to use a figure,
a chemical combination takes place and a new product appears, a
person of character and intelligence, an admirable citizen whose
own life is too full and rich for him to be an uneasy member of
society.

Education is part and parcel of religion and every enthusiastic
teacher knows that he is obeying the precept,--‘feed my
lambs’--feed with all those things which are good and wholesome for
the spirit of a man; and, before all and including all, with the
knowledge of God.

I have ventured to speak of the laws of mind, or spirit, but indeed
we can only make guesses here and there and follow with diffidence
such light as we get from the teachings of the wise and from
general experience; general experience, because peculiar experience
is apt to be misleading; therefore, when I learned that long tried
principles and methods were capable of application to the whole of
a class of forty children in the school of a mining village, I felt
assured that we were following laws whose observance results in
education of a satisfying kind.

The mind requires sustenance as does the body, that it may increase
and be strong; so much everybody knows. A long time ago it was
perceived that the pabulum given in schools was of the wrong
sort; Grammar rules, lists of names and dates and places,--the
whole stock in trade of the earlier schoolmaster--was found to
be matter which the minds of children reject: and, because we
were wise enough to see that the mind functions for its own
nourishment whether in rejecting or receiving, we changed our
tactics, following, so we thought, the lead of the children. We
did well, and therefore are prepared, if necessary, to do better.
What, then, if our whole educational equipment, our illustrations,
elucidations, questionings, our illimitable patience in getting a
point into the children, were all based on the false assumption of
the immature, which we take to connote the imperfect, incomplete
minds of children? “I think I could understand, Mummy, if you did
not explain quite so much,”--is this the inarticulate cry of the
school child to-day? He really is capable of much more than he
gets credit for, but we go the wrong way about getting his capable
mind into action.

We err when we allow our admirable teaching to intervene between
children and the knowledge their minds demand. The desire for
knowledge (curiosity) is the chief agent in education: but this
desire may be made powerless like an unused limb by encouraging
other desires to intervene, such as the desire for place
(emulation), for prizes (avarice), for power (ambition), for praise
(vanity). But I am told that marks, places and prizes (except for
attendance) do not figure largely in Elementary Schools, therefore
the love of knowledge for its own sake is likely to have a freer
course in these schools than in others.

That children are born persons,--is the first article of the
educational _credo_ which I am concerned to advance; this implies
that they come to us with power of attention, avidity for
knowledge, clearness of thought, nice discrimination in books even
before they can read, and the power of dealing with many subjects.

Practical teachers will say, guarantee to us the attention of our
scholars and we will guarantee their progress in what Colet calls
‘good literature,’ I have already explained[44] how I came to a
solution of this puzzling problem,--how to secure attention.

Let me add again that the principles and methods I have indicated
are especially suitable for large classes; what is called the
‘sympathy of numbers’ stimulates the class, and the work goes with
added impetus: each child is eager to take part in narration or
to do written work well. By the way, only short test answers are
required in writing, so that the labour of correction is minimised.

To two further points I must invite attention; the choice of books
and the character of the terminal examinations. I do not know
better how to describe the sort of books that children’s minds will
consent to deal with than by saying that they must be literary
in character. A child of seven or eight will narrate a difficult
passage from _The Pilgrim’s Progress_, say, with extraordinary
zest and insight; but I doubt if he or his elders would retain
anything from that excellent work, Dr. Smiles’s _Self-Help_! The
completeness with which hundreds of children reject the wrong book
is a curious and instructive experience, not less so than the
avidity and joy with which they drain the right book to the dregs;
children’s requirements in the matter seem to be quantity, quality
and variety: but the question of books is one of much delicacy and
difficulty. After the experience of over a quarter of a century[45]
in selecting the lesson books proper to children of all ages, we
still make mistakes, and the next examination paper discovers the
error! Children cannot answer questions set on the wrong book; and
the difficulty of selection is increased by the fact that what they
like in books is no more a guide than what they like in food.

The moment has come to try the great cause of _Education v.
Civilisation_, with the result, let us hope, that the latter will
retire to her proper sphere of service in the amelioration of
life and will not intrude on the higher functions of inspiration
and direction which belong to Education. Both Civilisation and
Education are the handmaids of Religion, but, each in its place,
and the one may not thrust herself into the office of the other.
It is a gain, any way, that we are within sight of giving to all
members of the working classes notwithstanding their limited
opportunities that stability of mind and magnanimity of character
which are the proper outcome and the unfailing test of a LIBERAL
EDUCATION; also it is to the good that “the grand elementary
principle of pleasure” should be discovered in unexpected places,
in what is too often the drudgery of the schoolroom.

Milton’s ideal of a “complete and generous education” meets our
occasions;--“that which fits a man to perform justly, skilfully
and magnanimously all the offices both private and public of peace
and war”; and perhaps it remains for our generation to prove that
this ideal is open to and necessary for persons of all sorts and
conditions. It has been well said that,--

  “Just as there is only one kind of truth common to us all, so
  there is only one education common to us all. In the case of the
  education of the people the only question is: How is this common
  education to be developed under the circumstances of simple
  conditions of life and large masses of people? That this should
  be accomplished is the decisive mark of all real education.”

The writer (Eucken) offers no solution of this problem: and it
remains with the reader to determine each with himself whether that
solution which I here propose is or is not worth a trial.



CHAPTER II

A LIBERAL EDUCATION IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS


Mighty is the power of persistent advertisement. The author of _The
Pagan_ may or may not be bringing an indictment against Pelmanism,
but without any doubt ‘Pelmanism’ is bringing an indictment against
secondary education. Half a million souls, Judges and Generals,
Admirals and Barristers, are protesting that they have not been
educated. No doubt the spirit that informs advertisements is often
a lying spirit but claims so well attested as these may have
something in them, and we who are engaged in secondary education
are uneasy. Again, we have the Board of Education desiring that
returns should be made promptly of all schools not already in
communication with the State, which, by the way, is taking paternal
action in several directions to secure a liberal education for
_all_ His Majesty’s lieges. “Pay the schoolmaster well and you
will get education” is the panacea of the moment, and so we get
in one neighbourhood a village schoolmaster with a salary of £350
and a house, and a singularly able curate, an Oxford man, with a
wife and family and no house who flourishes on £150 a year! Work,
however, is more than wages, and this exclusive stress on high
salaries is a tacit undervaluing of teachers. Most of us know of
fine educational work being done with little inducement in the way
of either pay or praise. The real drawback to a teacher’s work
and the stumbling-block in the way of a liberal education is the
monotonous drudgery of teaching continually what no one wants to
learn. Before the War, the President of the British Association
complained that education was uninteresting alike to pupils,
teachers and parents. That is why we are always learning and never
knowing, and why teachers exert themselves to invent a ‘Play Way,’
why handicrafts, ‘Eurhythmics’ and the like are offered, not as
adjuncts to, but as substitutes for, education, why our Public
Schools are exhorted to change their ways and our lesser private
schools are threatened with extinction.

And with all this the intelligence and devotion, the enthusiasm
and self-sacrificing zeal of teachers generally is amazing. They
realise that education is, not merely an interest, but a passion;
and this is true not only of the heads and the staffs of great
schools but of those hundreds of little private schools scattered
over the country.

We have all heard of “the two Miss Prettymans, who kept a girls’
school at Silverbridge. Two more benignant ladies than the Miss
Prettymans never presided over such an establishment.” As for
Miss Annabella Prettyman, the elder, “it was considered ... that
she did all the thinking, that she knew more than any other
woman in Barsetshire, and that all the Prettyman schemes for
education emanated from her mind. It was said, too, by those who
knew them best, that her sister’s good-nature was as nothing to
hers, that she was the most charitable, the most loving, the most
conscientious of schoolmistresses.” To be sure Miss Ann, the
younger sister, knew more about Roman History and Roman Law than
about current history and English Law, but what would you have?

Here was a type of school with which Trollope was familiar
generations ago, and perhaps it would not be hard to find such
another school in every ‘Silverbridge’ of to-day. To-day, however,
we are uneasy, and in our unrest produce “Joan and Peter” types
of education; that is, small schools indulge in freaks and great
schools with much reason to believe in themselves are aware of
a hitch somewhere, for they fail to turn out many boys or girls
who have intellectual interests, or have that flexibility of mind
which Matthew Arnold tells us their Academy gives to our neighbours
across the Channel. There is that bugbear of ‘Pelmanism’ urging a
charge of inadequacy against our methods; there is always some new
book by a man who brings railing accusations against his particular
school; and here is a tempered protest from Colonel Repington which
is telling:--

  “When I look back upon Eton schooling I regard it with mixed
  feelings, for I loved my five years at Eton, gloried in its
  beauties and traditions, and was in upper division when I left.
  But all the same I was conscious that Eton was not teaching me
  the things that I wanted to know, and was trying to teach me
  things that revolted me, particularly mathematics and classics. I
  wanted to learn history, geography, modern languages, literature,
  science, and political economy, and I had a very poor chance at
  Eton of obtaining anything but a smattering of any one of them. I
  do not agree that we learnt nothing or were lazy. We worked very
  hard, but at what, to my mind, were useless things, and, with my
  feet planted firmly in the ground, I resisted in a mulish way all
  attempts to teach me dead languages and higher mathematics. I
  believe that I was right. Classics have left nothing with me but
  some ideas that I could have learnt better from a crib.”

Probably the writer is mistaken as to what he owes to Eton. Without
those five years he might not have become the authority on the
theory and practice of war he is admitted to be. Who knows how much
‘Cæsar’ may have influenced him as a small boy! No doubt Public
Schools have many defects but they also have the knack of turning
out men who do the work of the world. We know about the ‘playing
fields,’ but perhaps when all is said it is the tincture of the
classics that every public schoolboy gets which makes him ‘to
differ.’ Nevertheless such protests as ‘Eton was not teaching me
the things I wanted to know’ deserve consideration.

It is easy to condemn the schools, but the fact is, a human being
is born with a desire to know much about an enormous number of
subjects. How is the school time table to get them all in or an
adequate treatment of any one of them? Then, boys (and girls too)
offer a resisting medium of extraordinary density. Every boy
‘resists in a mulish way’ attempts to teach him, not only dead
languages and higher mathematics, but literature and science and
every subject the master labours at; with the average boy a gallon
of teaching produces scarce a gill of learning, and what is the
master to do? It is something to know, however, that behind all
this ‘mulishness’ there is avidity for knowledge, not so much for
the right sort (every sort is the right sort), but put in the right
way, and we cannot say that every way is the right way.

I put before the reader what we (of the P.N.E.U.) have done towards
the solution of this educational problem with sincere diffidence,
but also with courage, because I know that no persons are more open
to conviction on reasonable grounds than are many distinguished
Headmasters and Mistresses; may they, if convinced, have the
courage of their convictions!

So little is known about the behaviour of mind that it is open to
anyone to make discoveries in this _terra incognita_. I speak, not
of psychology, of which we hear a great deal and know very little,
but of mind itself, whose ways are subtle and evasive; nevertheless
that education only is valid which has mind for its objective. The
initial difficulty is the enormous field of knowledge to which a
child ought to be introduced in right of his human nature and of
those “first born affinities” which he lives to make good. First
and chiefest is the knowledge of God, to be got at most directly
through the Bible; then comes the knowledge of man, to be got
through history, literature, art, civics, ethics, biography, the
drama, and languages; and lastly, so much knowledge of the universe
as shall explain to some extent the phenomena we are familiar with
and give a naming acquaintance at any rate with birds and flowers,
stars and stones; nor can this knowledge of the universe be carried
far in any direction without the ordering of mathematics. The
programme is immense and school life is limited. What we may call
the ‘Academic’ solution of the problem is,--teach a boy to know one
thing thoroughly, say, Greek or Chemistry or Mathematics, and you
give him the key to all knowledge. Therefore, we are told, it is
not what you know that matters, but how you learn it; and a grammar
grind, a mathematics grind or a laboratory ‘stunt,’ with a few
odd matters thrown in, is supposed to answer all the purposes of
education. The plan answers fairly well with the dozen best boys or
girls in any school, because these are so keen and intelligent that
they forage for themselves in various directions; but it does not
answer with the average pupil, and he is coming in for his share of
public attention. Shortly we shall have a new rule,--every school
must educate _every_ scholar in the three sorts of knowledge proper
to him as a human being. What is knowledge? some one will say, and
there is no pat, neatly-framed answer to be given; only this we can
assert,--Knowledge is that which we know; and the learner knows
only by a definite act of knowing which he performs for himself.
But appalling _incuria_ blocks the way. Boys and girls do not want
to know; therefore they do not know; and their future intellectual
requirements will be satisfied by bridge at night and golf by day.

It has come to us of the Parents’ Union School to discover great
avidity for knowledge in children of all ages and of every class,
together with an equally remarkable power of attention, retention,
and intellectual reaction upon the pabulum consumed. The power
which comes into play in the first place is, of course, attention,
and every child of any age, even the so-called ‘backward’ child
seems to have unlimited power of attention which acts without mark,
prize, place, praise or blame. This fact clearly recognised opens
great possibilities to the teacher; though his first impulse be
to deny statements which seem to him sweeping and absurd. But the
education of the future will probably offer us intellectual assets
in human nature as surprising as the ethical values exhibited by
the War.

We have not attained but I think we are on the way to attainment.
After over a quarter of a century of experiment on a wide scale and
consequent research, we have discovered what children are able to
know and desire to know; what their minds will act upon in the ways
of judgment and imagination; what they are incapable of knowing;
and under what conditions knowledge must be offered to them. We do
not want a ‘play-way,’ nor need we substitute arts and crafts or
eurhythmics or even ‘rugger’ and the swimming bath, as things that
boys take to, whereas learning goes against the grain. Physical
and mechanical training are necessary for the up-bringing of the
young, but let us regard them for the moment as training rather
than education,--which ought to concern itself with things of the
mind. Education as we know it is admirably designed to ‘develop
the faculties’; but if “All that’s an exploded idee,” if there
be no faculties to develop, but only mind,--alert, self-active,
discriminating, logical, capable alike of great flights and of
minute processes--we must necessarily alter our educational
tactics. Mind is benefitted by occasional gymnastics just as is
‘Brother Body,’ but cannot subsist on these any more than ‘Body’
can live on Swedish drill.

As I have said, knowledge, that is, roughly, ideas clothed upon
with facts, is the proper pabulum for mind. This food a child
requires in large quantities and in great variety. The wide
syllabus I have in view is intended in every point to meet some
particular demand of the mind, and the curious thing is that in a
syllabus embracing a score of subjects the young learner is quite
unconfused, makes no howlers, and never mixes, say, a fact of
English with a fact of French history.

Again, we have made a rather strange discovery,--that the mind
refuses to know anything except what reaches it in more or less
literary form. It is not surprising that this should be true of
children and persons accustomed to a literary atmosphere but
that it should be so of ignorant children of the slums points to
a curious fact in the behaviour of mind. Persons can ‘get up’
the driest of pulverised text-books and enough mathematics for
some public examination; but these attainments do not appear to
touch the region of mind. When we get a young Pascal who enters
voluntarily and eagerly into the study of mathematics he finds
himself in a region of high thinking and self-existent law of the
very nature of poetry; minds of this calibre assert themselves; but
this is a gift and does not come of plodding. For the general run
of scholars probably the “Association of Head Mistresses” are right
and a less exacting standard should be set for public examinations.

Of Natural Science, too, we have to learn that the way into the
secrets of nature is not through the barbed wire entanglements of
science as she is taught but through field work or other immediate
channel, illustrated and illuminated by books of literary value.

The French Academy was founded to advance _Science_ and Art, a
fact which may account for the charming lucidity and the exquisite
prose of many French books on scientific subjects. The mind is a
crucible which brings enormous power to act on what is put into it
but has no power to distil from sand and sawdust the pure essence
of ideas. So much for the manner of food which that organism (if I
may be allowed the figure) called the mind requires for its daily
subsistence. How various this sustenance must be I have already
indicated and we remember how urgently Dr. Arnold insisted on ‘very
various reading’ in the three parts of knowledge, knowledge of God,
of man, and of the universe.

But the mind was a deceiver ever. Every teacher knows how a class
will occupy itself diligently by the hour and accomplish nothing,
even though the boys think they have been reading. We all know how
ill we could stand an examination on the daily papers over which
we pore. Details fail us, we can say,--“Did you see such and such
an article?” but are not able to outline its contents. We try to
remedy this vagueness in children by making them take down, and get
up, notes of a given lesson: but we accomplish little. The mind
appears to have an outer court into which matter can be taken and
again expelled without ever having entered the inner place where
personality dwells. Here we have the secret of learning by rote,
a purely mechanical exercise of which no satisfactory account has
been given, but which leaves the patient, or pupil, unaffected.
Most teachers know the dreariness of piles of exercises into
which no stray note of personality has escaped. Now there is a
natural provision against this mere skimming of the ground by the
educational plough. Give children the sort of knowledge that they
are fitted to assimilate, served in a literary medium, and they
will pay great attention. What next? A clever _questionnaire?_
Questions, as Dr. Johnson told us, are an intrusion and a bore;
but here we have a word of ancient wisdom for our guidance; “The
mind can know nothing except what it can express in the form of
an answer to a question put by the mind to itself.” Observe, not
a question put by an outsider, but, put by the mind to itself. We
all know the trick of it. If we want to tell the substance of a
conversation, a sermon, a lecture, we ‘go over it in our minds’
first and the mind puts its question to itself, the same question
over and over again, no more than,--What next?--and lo, we have it,
the whole thing complete! We remember how one of Burke’s pamphlets,
by no means light affairs, was told almost verbatim at a College
supper. We admire such a feat and think it quite out of our reach
but it is the sort of thing that any boy or girl of fifteen could
do if allowed to read the pamphlet only once; a second reading
would be fatal because no one can give full attention to that
which he has heard before and expects to hear again. Attention
will go halt all its days if we accustom it to the crutch. We as
teachers offend deeply in this matter. We think that we shall be
heard for our much speaking and we repeat and enforce, explain
and illustrate, not altogether because we love the sound of our
own voices, but because we depreciate knowledge, we depreciate
children, and we do not understand that the mind and knowledge
are as the two members of a ball and socket joint, each of them
irrelevant without the other. ‘Education’ will have turned over a
new leaf once we realise that knowledge is to the mind as food is
to the body, without which the one faints and flags and eventually
perishes as surely as does the other.

The way to bring this panacæa into use is exceedingly simple. Let
the child (up to any age while he is an infant in the eye of the
law) tell what he has read in whole or in part on the instant, and
again, in an examination paper months later. ‘Mere verbal memory,’
some reader will say, and there is no answer to be given but that
which one must give to oneself. Let the objector read an essay of
Lamb’s, say, or of Matthew Arnold’s, _Lycidas_ or the ‘raven’
scene in _Barnaby Rudge_ and then put himself to sleep or wile
away an anxious or a dull hour by telling to himself what he has
read. The result will be disappointing; he will have forgotten this
and that turn of thought, link in the chain of argument, but he
will know the whole thing in a surprising way; the incidents, the
figures, the delicate play of thought in the author will be brought
out in his mind like the figures in the low relief which the
sculptor produces from his block. He finds he has taken in ‘mind
stuff’ which will come into use in a thousand ways perhaps as long
as he lives.

Here we get the mind forces which must act continuously in
education,--attention, assimilation, narration, retention,
reproduction. But what of reason, judgment, imagination,
discrimination, all the corps of ‘faculties’ in whose behoof the
teacher has hitherto laboured? These take care of themselves and
play as naturally and involuntarily upon the knowledge we receive
with attention and fix by narration as do the digestive organs
upon duly masticated food-stuff for the body. We must feed the
mind as the body fitly and freely; and the less we meddle with the
digestive processes in the one as in the other the more healthy the
life we shall sustain. It is an infinitely great thing, that mind
of man, present in completeness and power in even the dullest of
our pupils; even of him it may be said,--

  “Darkness may bound his Eyes, not his Imagination. In his Bed he
  may lie, like Pompey and his Sons, in all quarters of the Earth,
  may speculate the Universe, and enjoy the whole World in the
  Hermitage of Himself.”

We are paying in our education of to-day for the wave of
materialism that spread over the country a hundred years ago.
People do not take the trouble to be definitely materialistic now,
but our educational thought has received a trend which carries us
whither we would not. Any apostle of a new method is welcome to
us. We have ceased to believe in mind, and though we would not
say in so many words that “the brain secretes thought as the liver
secretes bile,” yet the physical brain rather than the spiritual
mind is our objective in education; therefore, “things are in the
saddle and ride mankind,” and we have come to believe that children
are inaccessible to ideas or any knowledge.

The message for our age is, Believe in mind, and let education go
straight as a bolt to the mind of the pupil. The use of books is a
necessary corollary, because no one is arrogant enough to believe
he can teach every subject in a full curriculum with the original
thought and exact knowledge shown by the man who has written a
book on perhaps his life-study. But the teacher is not moved by
arrogance but by a desire to be serviceable. He believes that
children cannot understand well-written books and that he must make
of himself a bridge between the pupil and the real teacher, the man
who has written the book.

Now we have proved that children, even children of the slums,
are able to understand any book suitable for their age: that is,
children of eight or nine will grasp a chapter in _Pilgrim’s
Progress_ at a single reading; children of fourteen, one of Lamb’s
Essays or a chapter in _Eöthen_, boys and girls of seventeen
will ‘tell’ _Lycidas_. Given a book of literary quality suitable
to their age and children will know how to deal with it without
elucidation. Of course they will not be able to answer questions
because questions are an impertinence which we all resent, but they
will tell you the whole thing with little touches of individual
personality in the narrative. Perhaps this is the key to the
enormous difficulty of humanistic teaching in English. We are no
longer overpowered by the mass of the ‘humanities’ confronted with
the slow process of getting a child to take in anything at all of
the author he is reading. The slow process is an invention of our
own. Let the boy read and he knows, that is, if he must tell again
what he has read.

This, of telling again, sounds very simple but it is really a
magical creative process by means of which the narrator sees what
he has conceived, so definite and so impressive is the act of
narrating that which has been read only once. I dwell on the single
reading because, let me repeat, it is impossible to fix attention
on that which we have heard before and know we shall hear again.

Treat children in this reasonable way, mind to mind; not so much
the mind of the teacher to that of the child,--that would be to
exercise undue influence--but the minds of a score of thinkers
who meet the children, mind to mind, in their several books, the
teacher performing the graceful office of presenting the one
enthusiastic mind to the other. In this way children cover an
incredible amount of ground in the time at their disposal.

Perhaps there is no better way of measuring a person of liberal
education than by the number of substantives he is able to use
with familiarity and discrimination. We remember how Scott tried
a score of openings with the man on the coach and got no further
until he hit upon ‘bent leather’; then the talk went merrily for
the man was a saddler. We have all had such experiences and know to
our shame that we ourselves have victimised interlocutors who have
not been able to find our particular ‘bent leather.’ Now, this is
a matter for teachers to consider. There are a thousand subjects
on which we should have definite knowledge and be able to speak
with intelligence; and, indeed, do we not set ‘general knowledge’
papers, with the result that boys and girls are ‘out’ for scrappy
information and provide material for comic paragraphs? There is no
remedy for this state of things but a great deal of _consecutive_
reading from very various books, all of some literary value; and
this we find can be accomplished readily in school hours because
one reading is sufficient; nor should there be any revision for
the distant examination. Here is an uncorrected list of 200 names,
used with ease and fitness in an examination on one term’s work by
a child of eleven in Form II.

  Abinadab, Athenian, Anne Boleyn, Act of Uniformity, Act of
  Supremacy, America, Austria, Alcibiades, Athens, Auckland,
  Australia, Alexandria, Alhambra.

  Bible, Bishop of Rochester, Baron, Bean-shoots, Bluff, Bowen
  Falls, Bishoprics, Blind Bay, Burano.

  Currants, Cupid, Catholic, Court of High Commission, Cranmer,
  Charles V, Colonies, Convent, Claude, Calais, Cook Strait,
  Canterbury Plain, Christchurch, Cathedral, Canals, Caliph of
  Egypt, Court of the Myrtles, Columbus, Cordova.

  David, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Guise, Dunedin, Doge’s
  Palace.

  England, Emperor, Empire, Egmont (Count), English Settlement.

  Flour, Fruits, French, Francis I, Francis of Guise, Ferdinand,
  Foveau Strait, Fuchsias, Fiords, Ferns.

  Greek, Germany, Gondolas, “Gates of the Damsels,” Gondoliers,
  Granada, Gate of Justice, Gypsies.

  Henry VIII, History, Hooper, Henry II, Hungary, Haeckel.

  Israel, Italian (language), Italy, Infusoria.

  Jesse, Jonathan, Joseph, John, Jerusalem, James, Jane Seymour.

  King of Denmark, King of Scotland, Kiwi.

  “Love-in-idleness,” Lord Chancellor, Lord Burleigh, Lord Robert
  Dudley, Lime, Lyttleton, N.Z., Lake Tango.

  Mary (The Virgin), More (Sir Thomas), Music, Martyr’s Memorial,
  Milan, Metz, Monastery, Mary, Queen of Scots, Mediterranean,
  Microscope, Messina, Middle Island, Mount Egmont, Mount Cook,
  Milford Sound, Museum, Moa, Maoris, Mussulman, Moorish King.

  Naomi, Netherlands, Nice, New Zealand, North Island, Napier,
  Nelson.

  Oberon, Oxford, Orion.

  Pharisees, Plants, Parliament, Puck, Pope, Protestant, Poetry,
  Philosophy, “_Paix des Dames_,” Philip II, Paris, Planets, “Pink
  Terraces,” Piazetta, Philip of Burgundy.

  Queen Catherine, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, Queen Isabella,
  Queen Juana.

  Ruth, Robin Goodfellow, Ridley, Reformation, Radiolaria,
  Rotomaliana (Lake), Rea.

  Saul, Samuel, Simeon, Simon Peter, Sunshine, Sugar-cane, Spices,
  Sultan, Spain, St. Quentin, Socrates, Stars, Sycamore, Seed-ball,
  Stewart Island, Seaports, Southern Alps, Scotch Settlement, St.
  Mark, St. Theodore, St. Maria Formosa (Church), Sierra Navada.

  Temple, Titania, Testament, Treaty, Turks, Toul, Thread Slime,
  Tree Ferns, Timber Trees, Trieste, Toledo.

  Verdure, Venus (Planet), Volcano, Volcanic Action, Venice.

  Wheat, Wiltshire, William Cecil, Walsingham, Winged Seed,
  Wellington, Waikato.

  Zaccharias, Zebedee.

The fitness and simplicity with which these substantives are
employed is evidenced in the complete sets of papers that
follow.[46]

Supposing we have succeeded in shifting a conscientious and
intelligent teacher from one mental position to another, suppose
that he give up the notion of developing ‘faculties’ because he
perceives that mind is complete and sufficient and wants nothing
but its proper pabulum; that, again, he yield his place as the
medium of all knowledge because his boys are qualified to deal with
knowledge at first hand from the right books; suppose he scrap all
the text-books and compendiums he has in use, perceiving that only
that curious outsider, the verbal memory, and not the mind, will
consent to deal with these dry-as-dust compilations; suppose he
concede that much knowledge of various sorts and therefore a wide
curriculum is necessary for the production of an intelligent and
magnanimous citizen; supposing he has proved that any boy can face
such a curriculum because all boys have immense power of attention
and are able to know their work after a single reading,--surely
he has still one or two strongholds that have not been attacked!
What he aims at, he will tell you, is, not to open avenues of
approach to the subjects about which intelligent citizens should
know something, but to give pretty thorough knowledge in two or
three directions and to turn out straight Englishmen; that is,
he looks upon school as a nursery for the formation of character
rather than for the acquisition of knowledge. As for the one or two
subjects, practically, classics and mathematics, I have nothing
to say; those subjects are of real value and also under existing
regulations pretty high attainments in them are necessary as a
preliminary to professional advancement. It is possible that when
a boy has the habit of covering the ground rapidly he may get more
into the given ‘period’ and leave a margin for the wider range
of subjects proper to a liberal education. Experiments in this
direction are being tried in one of our great Grammar Schools,
and how important such experiments are to us as a democracy, I
need not be at pains to show. There is every promise that the
‘masses’ will learn to read in their schools in such wise as to
produce in a terminal examination as considerable a list of names
as those on the preceding page. If the masses know ‘Sancho Panza,’
Elsinore, ‘Excalibur,’ ‘Rosinante,’ ‘Mrs. Jellaby,’ redstart,
‘Bevis,’ bogbean,--the classes must know these things too with
easy intimacy. If the one class is familiar with the pictures of
the Van Eycks, with ‘Comus,’ ‘Duessa,’ ‘Baron of Bradwardine,’ the
other class must know them too, and be able to use the knowledge
with such effect as does the ‘Honourable Member’ when he quotes a
familiar tag from Horace. He touches a spring to which all hearts
rise, because allusions to what we know are like the light on ‘old
familiar faces.’ What we want is a common basis of thought, such
a ground work as we get from having read the same books, grown
familiar with the same pictures, the same musical compositions, the
same interests; when we have such a fundamental basis, we shall be
able to speak to each other whether in public speaking or common
talk; we shall “all hear ... in our own tongue the wonderful works
of God” because we have learned a common speech through those who
in their books have lived to educate the race. And how persuasively
shall we speak to those who know, and therefore do not present the
dead front of opposition--the natural resource of ignorance!

A democratic education must have new features. We must all be able
to ‘take the front’ of men and women by speaking of that which
they have known and felt and already found joy in. So shall we
cease to present motives of self interest and personal advantage as
incentives to public action; we shall touch springs of poetry, of
heroism, to which all natures have the habit of rising; and thus
shall we build “Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.”
Towards this, we must have read the same books, only in English
rather than in Latin or Greek, because the people will probably
never have time to attain proficiency in these; neither, as a
matter of fact, has the average boy at our great schools. If we
must still have an exclusive education to which only the few best
in a school can attain,--and it seems to me that we must, that this
is, in fact, the one thing we have achieved, an education that has
accomplished great results in character and conduct;--but if we
would keep this possession, we must at the same time broaden its
base and narrow its bounds. We must give wide reading in the lower
forms, reading that everybody has read, and we must so compress
our classical and mathematical work in the higher Forms that much
history and ‘English’ may be included. I speak without authority
but is it not true that there is overlapping in the passage from
Preparatory to Public School, from one Form to a higher, from the
Sixth to the University? Probably it will be found possible to give
the old training which has produced such notable results, but to
make it an inclusive not an exclusive education, to take in the
books which everyone should know, the pictures everyone should be
familiar with, the history, the travel, in which we should all be
at home, some understanding of the phenomena which come before us
all. Once we give up the notion that education is a development
of the ‘faculties’ to be accomplished by the teacher, and realize
that it is on the contrary an appropriation of wide knowledge
which the pupil must get for himself, there is some fear that the
old exclusive education must go by the board; but this would be a
national calamity. We must keep that to which we have attained and
add to it the wide reading of a liberal education. The careers of
‘Joan’ and ‘Peter,’ as depicted by Mr. Wells are instructive. Peter
is not entered for a recognised Public School for his guardian
had many things against such schools, but games are his chief
concern. Later we find the two at College, and of Joan it is said,
“No religion has convinced her of a purpose in her life, neither
Highmorton nor Cambridge has suggested any mundane devotion to
her nor pointed her ambitions to a career. The only career these
feminine schools and Colleges recognized was a career of academic
success and teaching.” The implicit charge against the schools is
that they try each in its own way to find a substitute for the
saving grace of knowledge. Academic success and knowledge are not
the same thing and many excellent schools fail to give their pupils
delight in the latter for its own sake or to bring them in touch
with the sort of knowledge that influences character and conduct.
The slow, imperceptible, sinking-in of high ideals is the gain that
a good school should yield its pupils.

We have, if not a higher, yet another standard which it may be
interesting to consider. We offer children knowledge for its own
sake and our pupils discover that ‘studies serve for delight.’ We
do not give our best attention to brilliant children, it is not
necessary; these work well on their own account and so do the
average and even the dull pupils. Historical characters become
real to them and a fairly wide historical field comes under their
purview; they do not grow up in crass ignorance of the history
of foreign countries; they understand, for example, the India of
to-day the better because they have some slight intimacy with Akbar
as a contemporary of Elizabeth. They take to themselves a lesson
from the youthful presumption of ‘Phaëton’; ‘Midas’ and ‘Circe,’
Xerxes and Pericles enrich the background of their thoughts. The
several Forms get through a great deal of reading because we
have discovered that a single reading suffices to secure a clear
knowledge (as far as it goes) of a subject, given the right book.
Therefore, many books are necessary, and each is read consecutively
so that the knowledge acquired is not scrappy and insecure. I know
that teachers enjoy the work set term by term fully as much as
do the children and that a schoolroom life in which there is no
monotony, no dulness, little or no idleness or inattention, does
away with the necessity to make games the paramount interest of the
school--to make them indeed a stem necessity rather than a joyous
relaxation.

The introduction of the methods I advocate has a curious effect
on a whole family. The old nurse and the gardener are told of the
adventures of ‘Waverley.’ “A. B. has named a moss her father picked
on the tip-top of Ben Lawers. It is very rare and only grows on
Ben Lawers and one other mountain. She is so pleased,” and so, no
doubt, is her father! The whole household thinks of and figures to
itself great things, for nothing is so catching as knowledge and
that fine temper of mind that knowledge brings with it. Children so
taught are delightful companions because they have large interests
and worthy thoughts; they have much to talk about and such casual
talk benefits society. The fine sense, like an atmosphere, of
things worth knowing and worth living for, this it is which
produces magnanimous citizens, and we feel that Milton was right in
claiming magnanimity as the proper outcome of education.

When we compare the large number of books, of historical and
literary personages, the range of natural phenomena, with which
children brought up on these lines are acquainted, with the sterile
syllabus, not very well mastered, which is the schoolboy’s normal
fare, we find matter for reflection. Yet I suppose that in few
things is the general moral and intellectual progress evidenced
more than in the culture common among the teachers of secondary
schools. Every Head knows how to draw up the best possible syllabus
and to secure good work, if upon narrow lines, but we (of the
P.N.E.U.) work at an advantage when, as I have said, we recognise
one or two natural laws.

I have no doubt that some of my readers are interested in the work
we are doing in Elementary schools,--a work the more astonishing
because children who have little vocabulary to begin with, no trace
of literary background, show themselves able to hear or read a
work of literary value and after a single reading to narrate pages
with spirit and accuracy, not hedging at the longest names nor
muddling complicated statements. This was a revelation to us, and
it signifies that a literary education is open to all, not after
tedious and laborious preparation, but immediately. The people wait
only for the right books to be put into their hands and the right
method to be employed.

Let me repeat that we live in times critical for everybody, but
eminently critical for teachers, because it rests with them whether
personal or general good shall be aimed at, whether education
shall be merely a means of getting on, or a means of general
progress towards high thinking and plain living, and therefore an
instrument of the greatest national good.

Let me beg that Heads of schools, so far in sympathy with me that
they perceive we are at the parting of the ways, will consider a
method which brings promise of relief.

We are in a condition, for example, to answer the questions to be
considered by the Departmental Committee on English:--

  “Can history and literature be brought into closer relations
  with the school curriculum than is the case at present? How much
  grammar is necessary? Could not oral composition and drama and
  debate, do something to cure our national _aphasia_? How can the
  preparatory schools improve their English teaching? How can the
  school essay be redeemed from barrenness? How can examinations be
  made a test of English without destroying the love of literature?”

These questions might have been framed with a view to bring out
the attainments of the Parents’ Union School. History, European
as well as English, runs in harness with literature. Some Syntax
is necessary and a good deal of what may be called historical
Grammar, but, not in order to teach the art of correct writing and
speaking; this is a native art, and the beautiful consecutive and
eloquent speech of young scholars in narrating what they have read
is a thing to be listened to not without envy. As to _aphasia_, to
quote a Director of Education on this subject,--“Conversational
readiness becomes a characteristic. A quarter of a century of these
methods with all the children of England and the strong silent
Englishman should be a rare bird!” A schoolmaster remarks that his
big boys are now eager to speak at some length--a thing new in his
experience. Consider what an asset this should be to a country
whose safety will depend more and more upon the power in the middle
classes of clear and conclusive speech. Oral composition is the
habit of the school from the age of six to eighteen. “Children of
ten who read Shakespeare” is the heading of an article in a local
newspaper which sent a reporter to investigate the P.N.E.U. method
at work in a school as the result of an article in the _Nineteenth
Century and After_ written by the Headmaster. As for preparatory
schools, we can do no more than offer them a method the results of
which in teaching English are rather surprising. The final question
as to how examinations may be made a source of intellectual
profit is I think sufficiently answered in the P.U.S. children’s
examination papers.

We do not invite Heads of schools to take up work lightly, which
implies a sound knowledge of certain principles and as faithful a
practice. The easy tolerance which holds smilingly that everything
is as good as everything else, that one educational doctrine
is as good as another, that, in fact, a mixture of all such
doctrines gives pretty safe results,--this sort of complacent
attitude produces lukewarm effort and disappointing progress. I
feel strongly that to attempt to work this method without a firm
adherence to the few principles laid down would be not only idle
but disastrous. “Oh, we could do anything with books like those,”
said a master; he tried the books and failed conspicuously because
he ignored the principles. We teachers are really modest and
diffident and are not prepared to say that we are more capable of
handling a subject than is a carefully chosen author who writes
especially upon that subject. “Yes, but,” says a young and able
teacher, “we know better how to reach the minds of children than
does the most eloquent author speaking through the dull pages of a
book.” This is a contention of which we have finally disposed. We
have shown that the mass of knowledge, evoking vivid imagination
and sound judgment, acquired in a term from the proper books, is
many times as great, many times more thoroughly visualised by the
scholars, than had they waited upon the words of the most able and
effective teacher. This is why we insist upon the use of books.
It is not that teachers are not eminently capable but because
information does not become knowledge unless a child perform the
‘act of knowing’ without the intervention of another personality.

Heads of schools are a generous folk and perhaps they have some
reason to think parents are niggardly, but the provision of the
necessary books by the parents is a _sine quâ non_. It is our part
to see to it that books take root in the homes of our scholars
and we must make parents understand that it is impossible to give
a liberal education to children who have not a due provision of
very various books. Moreover, it is impossible to teach children
to spell when they do not read for themselves; we hear complaints
of the difficulties of spelling, of the necessity to do violence
to the language which is dear to us all in order to make ‘spelling
made easy’; but in thousands of cases that come before us we
find that children who use their books for themselves spell well
because they visualise the words they read. Those who merely
listen to their teacher have no guide (in English at any rate)
to the spelling of the words they hear. We are, perhaps, opposed
to oral lessons or lectures except by way of occasional review
or introduction. For actual education children must do their own
work out of their own books under the sympathetic guidance of
an intelligent teacher. We find, I may add, that once parents
recognise how necessary a considerable supply of books is, they
make no difficulty about getting those set in our programmes. Mr.
Fisher says,--“there are books and text-books,” and the day is at
hand when we shall all see that the latter are of no educational
value. We rarely use text-books in the Parents’ Union School but
confine ourselves as far as possible to works with the imaginative
grasp, the touch of originality, which distinguish a book from a
text-book. Perhaps we should apologise for ourselves as purveyors
not precisely of books but of lists of books. Every headmaster or
mistress is able to draw up such lists, but think of the labour
of keeping some 170 books in circulation with a number of changes
every term! Here is our excuse for offering our services to
much-occupied teachers. There has been talk from time to time about
interfering with the liberty of teachers to choose their own books,
but one might as well contend for everyman’s liberty to make his
own boots! It is one of those questions of the division of labour
which belong to our civilisation; and if the question of liberty be
raised at all, why should we not go further and let the children
choose their books? But we know very well that the liberty we
worship is an elusive goddess and that we do not find it convenient
to do all those things we are at liberty to do.

The terminal examinations are of great importance. They are not
merely and chiefly tests of knowledge but records which are
likely to be permanent. There are things which every child must
know, every child, for the days have gone by when ‘the education
befitting a gentleman’ was our aim.

The knowledge of God is the principal knowledge, and no teaching
of the Bible which does not further that knowledge is of religious
value. Therefore the children read, or if they are too young to
read for themselves the teacher reads to them, a passage of varying
length covering an incident or some definite teaching. If there
are remarks to be made about local geography or local custom, the
teacher makes them before the passage has been read, emphasizing
briefly but reverently any spiritual or moral truth; the children
narrate what has been read after the reading; they do this with
curious accuracy and yet with some originality, conveying the
spiritual teaching which the teacher has indicated. Now this is
no parrot-exercise, but is the result of such an assimilation of
the passage that it has become a part of the young scholar. It is
only by trying the method oneself on such an incident, for example,
as the visit of Nicodemus or the talk with the woman of Samaria,
that we realise the wonderful clearness with which each incident
is brought out, the fullness of meaning with which every phrase
is invested by such personal effort. This method of teaching is
especially valuable in dealing with the Gospel history, but none
of us who read during the War the daily lessons appointed by the
Church could fail to be struck by the fact that the law and the
prophets still interpret the ways of God, and we shall not do well
if we tacitly treat the Old Testament as out-of-date as a guide to
life.

Next in order to religious knowledge, history is the pivot upon
which our curriculum turns. History is the rich pasture of the
mind--which increases upon the knowledge of men and events and,
more than all, upon the sense of nationhood, the proper corrective
of the intolerable individualism of modern education. Let Amyot
tell us,--

  “How greatly is the reading of histories to be esteemed, which
  is able to furnish us with more examples in one day, than the
  whole course of the longest life of any man is able to do.
  Insomuch that they which exercise themselves in reading as they
  ought to do, although they be but young, become such in respect
  of understanding of the affairs of this world, as if they were
  old and grayheaded and of long experience. Yea, though they
  never have removed out of their houses, yet are they advertised,
  informed and satisfied of all things in the world.”

Hence, the great value of the Old Testament,--history and poetry,
the law and the prophets; and perhaps no one was more sensible of
this educative value of the Scriptures than Goethe, though he was
little sensible of their more spiritual worth. We endeavour to
bring records contemporary with the Bible before children, using
the contents of certain Rooms of the British Museum as a basis.
Episodes of Greek and Roman history come in, partly for their
historical, partly for their distinctly ethical value. Plutarch is,
of course, our great authority.

  “(Plutarch) hath written the profitable story of all authors.
  For all other were fain to take their matter, as the fortune of
  the countries whereof they wrote fell out: But this man being
  excellent in wit, learning, and experience, hath chosen the
  special acts of the best persons, of the famousest nations of the
  world.” (_North_).

English History is always with us, but only in the earliest years
is it studied alone. It is not, as we know, possible always to
get the ideal book, so we use the best we can find and supplement
with historical essays of literary value. Literature is hardly
a distinct subject, so closely is it associated with history,
whether general or English; and whether it be contemporary or
merely illustrative; and it is astonishing how much sound learning
children acquire when the thought of an age is made to synchronise
with its political and social developments. A point which I
should like to bring before the reader is the peculiar part which
poetry plays in making us aware of this thought of the ages,
including our own. Every age, every epoch, has its poetic aspect,
its quintessence, as it were, and happy the people who have a
Shakespeare, a Dante, a Milton, a Burns, to gather up and preserve
its meaning as a world possession.

Let me repeat that what is called ‘composition’ is an inevitable
consequence of this free yet exact use of books and requires no
special attention until the pupil is old enough to take naturally
a critical interest in the use of words. Civics takes place as a
separate subject, but it is so closely bound up with literature and
history on the one hand and with ethics, or, what we call everyday
morals, on the other, that the division of subjects is only
nominal.

We have considered in a previous chapter[47] what we do for
children as inhabitants of a world ordered by natural law. Here we
have a contention with some teachers of science who maintain that a
child can only learn what he discovers for himself _de novo_. The
theory is plausible, but the practice is disappointingly narrow and
inexpansive. The teacher has got his knowledge through books; why
then are they taboo for the children? Probably the reason is that
text-books of science are dessicated to the last degree, so the
teacher hopes to make up for their dryness by familiar talk about
the Hydra, for example, as a creature capable of close friendships,
about the sea-anemone as a ‘Granny’ of enormous longevity; that is,
the interest of the subject is made to depend upon side issues.
The French scientists know better; they perceive that as there
is an essence of history which is poetry so there is an essence
of science to be expressed in exquisite prose. We have a few
books of this character in English and we use them in the P.U.S.
in conjunction with field work and drawing--a great promoter of
enthusiasm for nature.

I have already shown[47] what we do, for example, in the way of
affording children familiar acquaintance with great music and
great pictures. An eminent art-dealer in London paid us a pretty
compliment when he said,--“Lord help the children!” were our work
to come to an end; and he had reason for he had just sold to P.U.S.
children thousands of little exquisite reproductions of certain
pictures by Velasquez which were the study of the term; no wonder
that a man who loves art and believes in it should feel that
something worth while was being done. In drawing, the scholars work
very freely in colour from natural figures and objects and draw
scenes visualised in the term’s reading. We do not teach drawing as
a means of self-expression; the scholars express, not themselves,
but what they can see and what they conceive.

I have already gone into the teaching of languages; the habit of
fixed attention and ready narration which the P.U.S. pupils acquire
should be of value in this branch of work, and I believe a new era
is opening for us and we English will at last become linguists. At
the House of Education the students narrate in French,[48]--more
readily and copiously than they do in English,--the courses of
lectures in French history and literature which form part of
their work. In German and Italian they are able to read a scene
in a play and ‘tell’ the scene in character, or a short passage
from a narrative. We rather emphasise Italian, the language is so
beautiful and the literature so rich, and I should like to suggest
that schools should do the same. Latin and Greek we learn in the
usual ways, but we apply the method of narration to the former.

I must commend any further study of the _rationale_ of our syllabus
to the reader’s own kind consideration; he will perceive that
we have a principle of correlation in things essential, but no
fatiguing practice of it in detail. But to one more statement, a
very daring one, I beg for favourable attention. The common theory
and practice of education are on trial. It is idle to ‘develop
the faculties’ if there be no faculties, but only _mind_, which,
like Wordsworth’s cloud, moves altogether when it moves at all.
Therefore, those subjects whose _raison d’être_ is to develop this
and the other faculty are practically out of court and we must seek
another basis for education. Subjects of instruction which would be
valuable if reason, judgment, imagination, had to be ‘developed’
become as meretricious, as much ‘accomplishments,’ as those early
Victorian accomplishments over which we make merry. Education must
be in touch with life. We must learn what we _desire to know_.
Nobody talks to his friend about ‘stinks,’ about the niceties of
Greek accents, nor, unless the two be mathematicians, about surds.
But, when Jupiter is regnant, how good to tell and to learn! What
a welcome companion is he who can distinguish between songs that
differ in the vespers of the birds! How grateful the company of the
reader of history who brings forward parallels to episodes in the
great War! We are apt to work for one thing in the hope that we
shall get another and a very different thing; we don’t. If we work
for public examinations, the questions in which must be of a narrow
academic cast, we get a narrow, accurate, somewhat sterile type of
mind. We reap as we have sown.

The future of England depends largely upon Secondary schools;
let the Heads of these lay out a liberal field of study and
astonishingly fair things will grow in that garden of mind in which
we are invited to sow the seeds of all knowledge. My bold proposal
is that the Heads of Secondary Schools from the least to the
greatest should adopt a scheme of work following the lines I have
indicated, _faute de mieux_, that of the Parents’ Union School, and
that they should do this for the nation’s sake.

Mr. Masefield remarks,--

  “There can be no great art without great fable. Great art can
  only exist where great men brood intensely on something upon
  which all men brood a little. Without a popular body of fable
  there can be no unselfish art in any country. Shakespeare’s art
  was selfish till he turned to the great tales in the four most
  popular books of his time, Holinshed, North’s Plutarch, Cinthio
  and De Belleforest. Since the newspaper became powerful, topic
  has supplanted fable and subject comes to the artist untrimmed
  and unlit by the vitality of many minds.”

It is this vitality of many minds that we aim at securing and
entreat educational workers and thinkers to join in forming a
common body of thought which shall make England great in art no
doubt, and also great in life.

This is the way to make great men and not by petty efforts to form
character in this direction or in that. Let us take it to ourselves
that great character comes out of great thoughts, and that great
thought must be initiated by great thinkers; then we shall have a
definite aim in education. Thinking and not doing is the source of
character.

  (Here followed a set of examination answers in each form. Space
  forbids their inclusion but specimen sets can be seen at the
  P.N.E.U. Office.)



CHAPTER III

THE SCOPE OF CONTINUATION SCHOOLS


A hundred years ago, about the close of the Napoleonic wars, there
was such another stirring among the dry bones as we are aware of
to-day. All the world knew then, as now, that war was the outcome
of the wrong thinking of ignorance, and that education was the
nostrum for minds diseased.

Prussia led the way; not the children but the young people were
the immediate concern of Statesmen, and, guided by the philosophy
of Fichte, and organised under the statesmanship of Stein, that
noble league of youth, the Tugendbund, came into being. Prussia
was miserably impoverished, but her concern was not with the arts
which should make her rich; her young people looked to philosophic
principles for precept and to history for example, and, it was well
with the land.

Not only in Prussia but throughout western Europe there was a more
or less active intellectual renaissance, but, whether because the
times were not ripe or the peoples were not worthy, the high ideals
of the early days of the century were superseded by the utilitarian
motive.

When the ‘Continuation School’ movement revived, envy of the
commercial and manufacturing successes of England actuated the new
effort; and already in 1829 a Bavarian statesman had announced
that if you would have the fruit you must sow the seed, that is,
manufacturing success is to be had only at the cost of technical
education.

We all know the result in the great Munich schools where first-rate
organisation and admirable teaching have produced an appreciable
effect upon German industries. But the best German minds have long
been aware that “an education which has powerful economic interests
behind it is apt to become too narrowly utilitarian in motive and
to lose that ideal element which gives all education its chief
power over character.” As Mr. Lecky has said concerning morals,
“the Utilitarian theory is profoundly immoral.”

The occasion brought forth the man; we know how in 1900 Dr.
Kirschensteiner chanced to see the announcement of a prize offered
for an essay on the best way of training youth. He wrote the essay,
was crowned by the Academy of his country, and that essay in
pamphlet form has influenced opinion and directed action throughout
the west: Professors Dewey and Stanley Hall in the United States,
Dr. Armstrong and Sir Philip Magnus at home, are among its leading
exponents.

And what was the note of this new gospel of education? Practically
that same note which had proceeded from England, France,
Switzerland, a century earlier: a utilitarian education should be
universal and compulsory; child and adolescent should be “saturated
with the spirit of service, provided with the instruments of
effective self-direction.” Behold, Utopia at hand! every young
person fitted, body and soul, for the uses of society; as for his
own uses, what he should be in and for himself--why, what matter?

It is not that the eminent educationalists I have referred to
would willingly sacrifice the individual youth to society; on the
contrary they would raise him, give him place and power, give him
opportunity; place his feet on the rungs of that ladder we used to
hear about; but we have all been misled by mistaken views as to
the function of education. We have believed that knowledge may be
derived from sensation, that what we have seen with our eyes and
our hands have handled affords us the nutriment our souls demand.
No doubt a boy uses his mind to some purpose when he makes, for
example, an ingenious model; and, seeing mind at work, we run away
with the notion that food and work are synonymous terms; for the
body they may be so in a certain sense, for work brings pay and pay
buys food, but no such indirect transaction is possible to mind;
a mind perpetually at heavy work is a sort of intellectual navvy,
whose food must be proportioned to his labour. Our great statesmen,
Gladstone, Lord Salisbury and others, knew this, and their wide and
deep reading in other matters than politics should not occasion
surprise.

The War has forced new ideas upon us; we begin, for instance, to
realise the avidity of the _adult_ mind for instruction; it was
startling to read of 1,500 soldier candidates for twenty vacant
places in a certain class. We begin to see that mind, the mind of
all sorts and conditions of men, requires its rations, wholesome
and regularly served. As things are we shall have to see to it
that everybody gets fed; but our hope is that henceforth we shall
bring up our young people with self-sustaining minds, as well
as self-sustaining bodies, by a due ordering of the process of
education. We hope so to awaken and direct mind hunger that every
man’s mind will look after itself.

What is the proper food of mind, has already been discussed but
we may assume that education should make our boys and girls rich
towards God (we remember the fool of the parable who failed because
he was _not_ “rich towards God”), rich towards society and rich
towards themselves. I will not press my point by urging the moral
bankruptcy which has been exposed to us during recent years as
co-existent with, if not caused by, utilitarian education; for
the catastrophe has been accelerated by the sort of moral madness
of which we too have had our seasons in the past,--witness our
_Barnaby Rudge_ and _Peveril of the Peak_ episodes; we have indeed
been carried off our feet by a fallacious notion once and again,
but our national insanity has on each occasion been short-lived
because our education hitherto has not taught us to believe a lie.

We are not worse than others, and if we think well of ourselves
as a nation, why, national pride and personal modesty do not go
ill together; in peace-time we have bitter things to say of our
British working-man, but all the same he compares favourably with
the somewhat sardonic Latin, the sullen Teuton, whom we all know.
And the better man does the better work. We have heard much of
German efficiency, and perhaps the German excels in little matters
like doors that shut, blinds that draw, springs that act, things of
domestic utility important in a country with a more extreme climate
than ours; but these are little matters and perhaps our failing is,
not to do our best except on big occasions; give us a big job or a
big war and we show our mettle.

But probably in all our considerable industries we excel. German
women will purr over the material of our dresses with “Ach,
englisches Tuch!” Well dressed men are English tailored in English
cloths. We buy, or bought, things “made in Germany” because they
were cheap, but the most costly and most desired goods in German
shops are advertised as “englisch.”

This is a point to be borne in mind in considering the education of
adolescents. We are given to depreciating ourselves and each other,
but in fact we have no lee-way to make up; as both a manufacturing
and commercial nation we are well in the van and are without
inducement to sell the people’s birthright for a mess of pottage.

Before I come to the point I desire to make, let us consider
whether the problem of Continuation Schools has been attacked
anywhere more successfully than in those countries of Middle
Europe. Some of them, Germany especially, have done all that
is to be done in response to the cry for efficiency with its
resultant big returns and high wages; but from the beginning of the
Continuation School movement in, say, 1806, the four north-western
countries have worked towards different ends. In Denmark they have,
not Continuation Schools, but People’s High Schools, a pleasanter
name for possibly a pleasanter thing.

Denmark, like Germany, was, as we know, devastated by the
Napoleonic wars, but had been vitalised by the liberation of its
serfs in 1788, and this prepared the ground for Grundtvig, that
poet, historian and enthusiast, who became the “Father of the
People’s High Schools.”

“Where there is most life, there is the victory,” said he, and
the immediate way to an access of life he saw in “A Danish High
School accessible to young people all over the land,” a school
which should inspire “admiration for what is great, love for what
is beautiful, faithfulness and affection, peace and unity, innocent
cheerfulness, pleasure and mirth.” Observe, there is no word of
‘efficiency’ in this poet’s dream, but he did assure Charles VIII
that with such a school, “a well of healing in the land,” he might
afford to smile at the newspapers, whether they chose to praise or
blame. The King gave heed, begged for a further development of his
plans than was afforded in the original pamphlet, and by 1845 the
schools he had dreamed of began to be.

We cannot follow the development of these Danish People’s Schools,
but in 1903-4 their pupils numbered over three thousand men and
rather more women, and wise men cherished the hope that “the new
Danish school for youth is to have the good fortune to blend all
classes of the people into one.”

All of these High Schools bear the mark of the genius of their
“Father”--whose pupils have known how to sum up his teaching in
three sayings,--“Spirit is might; Spirit reveals itself in spirit;
Spirit works only in freedom.” We are able to trace the source of
these sayings, and indeed this movement seems to have been from
the first profoundly Christian--Christian in no narrow sense,
but sharing the wide liberality of that _Allegoria filosofica
della Religione Cattolica_ conceived by the ‘Angelic Doctor’ and
pictured by Simone Memmi on the walls of the Spanish chapel in
Santa Maria Novella (Florence): the several teachers commemorated
were themselves illustrious pagans but not therefore the less under
Divine teaching. Here, it seems to me, is an educational _credo_
worth reviving in these utilitarian days, and some such creed seems
to have been Grundtvig’s, though probably independently conceived.
His great hope is that “above all, some acquaintance with popular
literature, especially with the poetry and history of one’s own
country, will create a brand new world of readers all over the
land.”

I cannot go into the question of the Agricultural Schools of which
it is said that “the Danish Agricultural School is the child of the
Danish Folkshöjskole, and must, like this, have Christian faith and
national life for its basis.” In the careless days before the War
we could all testify to the excellence of Danish butter, but did we
consider the “resolution and capacity” with which Danish peasants
passed over from the making of poor butter in their various small
holdings to the “manufacture in co-operative dairies of butter of
an almost uniform fineness”? This, too, says an eminent Swedish
Professor, is due to the High Schools, for, said he, “Just as the
enrichment of the soil gives the best conditions for the seeds
sown in it, so a well-grounded humanistic training provides the
surest basis for business capacity, and not the least so in the
case of the coming farmers.”[49] These are weighty words deserving
our consideration at a moment when we, too, are on the eve of a new
departure.

The three neighbouring countries watched the experiments in Denmark
with keen interest, and almost simultaneously People’s High Schools
sprang up in all four.

These northern High Schools, necessarily winter schools, were not
open at the time of my visit, but two or three things casually
observed might, I think, be traced to their influence. For
instance, Copenhagen itself, as compared with Munich, strikes one
as a city with a soul. At the Hague, again, I saw an artisan in
his working clothes shewing pictures in one of the galleries to
his boy of seven who looked earnestly and listened eagerly. The
young people in the great Delft porcelain works shewed traces of
culture and gentleness in countenance and manner. But nothing
struck me more than what I saw in the general shop of an out of
the way village in Sweden; the villagers were peasants and the one
shop sold cabbages and herrings, cheese and calico; but across the
small-paned window was a shelf closely packed with volumes in paper
covers which had not had time to get dusty; of course I could not
read all the titles, but among them were translations from French,
German and English. I noticed slim volumes of Scott, Dickens,
Thackeray, Ruskin, Carlyle and the last thing out. One felt assured
that the village was in ‘kingdom come,’ that of a long winter’s
evening, in any home, one read aloud whilst the rest worked, that
there was much to talk about when friends met and lovers walked.
(How sad, by the way, to read that ‘Tommy,’ whom we all love and
revere, is quick to form friendships but that these do not progress
for the friends have nothing to talk about.) Think of little plays
got up, of public readings given by the villagers themselves; might
such things be with us, the lure of the town would cease to draw
our village men and maids, for the village that can offer a happy
community life, sustained by the people themselves, is able to hold
its people.

Our upper and middle classes, professional and other, are
singularly stable folk, and they are so, not because of their
material but of their intellectual well-being; in this sense only
they are most of them the ‘Haves’ as compared with the ‘Have-nots.’
The reason is not far to seek. Are there not agitators abroad whose
business it is to sow seeds of discontent in the gaping minds of
the multitude? The full mind passes on, but that which is empty
seizes on _any_ new notion with avidity, and is hardly to be blamed
for doing so; a hungry mind takes what it can get, and the baker is
apt to be lenient about prosecuting the starving man who steals a
loaf. I do not hesitate to say that the constantly recurring misery
of our age, ‘Labour Unrest,’ is to be laid at the door, not of the
working man, but of the nation which has not troubled itself to
consider the natural hunger of mind and the manner of meat such
hunger demands.

I have tried to establish that the Kultur offered by the Munich
type of Continuation School has had no good effect upon morals or
manners and no conspicuously good effect upon manufactures.

That England is under no necessity to follow Germany’s lead in this
matter for Germany allows our superiority by paying a high price
for our goods.

That Denmark and the neighbouring states, on the contrary, excel in
those things in which we fall short.

That the People’s High Schools of Denmark are worthier of our
imitation than the Continuation Schools of Germany.

That they are so because character and conduct, intelligence and
initiative, are the outcome of a humanistic education in which the
knowledge of God is put first.

But we cannot take educational prescriptions designed for another
patient; the Grundtvig Schools are for students ranging from
eighteen to twenty-five, not for the more difficult ages from
fourteen to eighteen. Again, these People’s High Schools are
residential. In countries so largely agricultural it is possible
for a great part of the young adult population to spend the five
winter months year by year at one of these People’s High Schools.
Their case and ours do not go on all fours. Our problem is the
young adolescent in a country largely manufacturing.

Now, we have received our cloth, and not in ungenerous measure.
How shall we cut our coat, that is, how shall we spend those seven
or eight hours a week in which “Education” is to do her part
for the young citizen? If we take the easiest way, we shall let
the boy do what he is doing for the rest of the week,--work for
his employer, whether directly, by way of increased output, or
indirectly, by way of increased skill. This would be a betrayal. No
employer wishes to take with one hand what he gives with the other;
besides, what employer doubts the ability of his staff to train his
young employees? Again, the technique of any employment takes but
little time to understand. It is the practice that is of value,
and such practice is--work. Continuation Schools should not exist
for technical instruction; they are established definitely for the
sort of education of which such instruction forms no part; and will
not the evening hours be free as they are at present for technical
classes, gymnastic clubs, and various forms of recreative exercise?

This particular gift of _time_ must be dedicated to things of the
mind if we believe that mind too requires its rations and that to
use the mind is by no means the same thing as to feed it.

With the best will in the world to give boys and girls something
on which to chew the cud, real mind-stuff for digestion and
assimilation, we find that the flood-gates are opened; an ocean of
things good to know overwhelms us and we have--eight hours a week!
We seize on that blessed word compromise and see two possibilities:
we are in a hurry to make good citizens. Now, good citizens must
have sound opinions about law, duty, work, wages, what not; so we
pour opinions into the young people from the lips of lecturer or
teacher, his opinions, which they are intended to take as theirs.
In the next place there is so much to be learned that a selection
must needs be made; the teacher makes this selection and the young
people are “poured into like a bucket,” which, says Carlyle, “is
not exhilarating to any soul.” Some ground is covered; teachers and
Education Authorities are satisfied; and if, when the time comes,
the young people leave school discontented and uneasy, if their
work bore them and their leisure bore them, if their pleasures are
mean and meagre, and if they become men and women rather eager
than otherwise for the excitement of a strike, that is because the
Continuation, as the Elementary, School will have failed to find
them.

This is the real educational difficulty in schools for all classes,
for pupils of all ages,--the enormous field of knowledge which it
is necessary to cover in order to live with intelligence and moral
insight. Know one thing well and you have the power to apprehend
many things is the academic solution, which has not worked
altogether badly, but it cannot be stretched to fit our present
occasion,--the “Enlightenment of the Masses.” What we may call
the ‘academic’ doctrine assumes that mind like body is capable
of development in various directions by means of due exercise.
Profounder educational thought, however, reveals mind to us as of
enormous capacity, self-active, present in everyone and making but
one demand--its proper pabulum. Feed mind duly and its activities
take care of themselves. As the well-fed workman is fit for all his
labours, so the duly nourished mind knows, thinks, feels, judges
with general righteousness. The good man and magnanimous citizen is
he who has been fed with food convenient for him.

Such a view of education naturally includes religion, not only “for
his God doth instruct him and doth teach him,” but because we may
take knowledge roughly as of three sorts,--knowledge of God, to be
got first-hand through the sacred writings, knowledge of man, to be
arrived at through history, poetry, tale; through the customs of
cities and nations, civics; through the laws of self-government,
morals. One other great branch of knowledge remains. Every youth
should know something of the flowers of the field, the birds of the
air, the stars in their courses, the innumerable phenomena that
come under general observation; he should have some knowledge of
physics, though chemistry perhaps should be reserved for those who
have a vocation that way.

Here are we on the verge of that new life for our country which we
all purpose, faced with infinite possibilities on either hand,--the
vast range of knowledge and the vast educability of mind. Another
certainty presents itself, that we have not time for short cuts:
the training of muscle and sense, however necessary, does not
nourish mind; and, on the other hand, the verbiage of a lecturer is
not assimilated. There is no education but self-education and only
as the young student works with his own mind is anything effected.

But we are not without hope. An astounding field has been
opened to us; thousands of children in Council Schools are doing
incredible things with freedom and joy. They have taken in hand
their own education and are greedy of knowledge for its own sake,
knowledge in the three great fields that I have indicated.

The fact is that a great discovery has been vouchsafed to
us, greater, I think, as concerns education, than any since
the invention of the first alphabet. Let us again refer to
Coleridge[50] on the origin of great discoveries. Coleridge gives
no qualification to the minds which receive these great ideas,
they are not described as great minds, but, he says, they are
“previously prepared to receive them,” that is, the great ideas.
If the reader will forgive me for saying so I think my mind has
been so prepared--by extraordinary incapacity in one direction, the
direction, roughly, of academic attainments, and by some degree of
capacity in other directions, and it has been gradually borne in
upon me that this incapacity and this capacity are pretty general,
and perhaps afford a key to the problem of education. A further
preparation came to me in unusual opportunities for testing and
understanding the minds of children and young people. I am anxious
to bring this idea of a discovery before the reader because our
methods are so simple and obvious that people are inclined to take
them up at random and say that extensive reading is a “good idea
which we have all tried more or less” and that free narration
“is a good plan in which there is nothing new.” It is true that
we all read and that narration is as natural as breathing, its
value depending solely upon what is narrated. What we have perhaps
failed to discover hitherto is the immense hunger for knowledge
(curiosity) existing in everyone and the immeasurable power of
attention with which everyone is endowed; that everyone likes
knowledge best in a literary form: that the knowledge should be
exceedingly various concerning many things on which the mind of
man reflects; but that knowledge is acquired only by what we may
call “the _act of knowing_,” which is both encouraged and tested
by narration, and which further requires the later test and record
afforded by examinations. This is nothing new, you will say, and
possibly no natural law in action appears extraordinarily new; we
take flying already as a matter of course; but though there is
nothing surprising in the action of natural laws, the results are
exceedingly surprising, and to that test we willingly submit these
methods.

“All is not for all” was the sad conclusion of that Danish patriot
and prophet. No doubt Grundtvig thought of the impassable barriers
presented by a poor and mean vocabulary and a field of thought
without literary background. So “all is not for all” he said, even
as a prophet of our own proclaims that a worthy education is only
for the _élite_. Books are not for the people, was Grundtvig’s
conclusion; wherefore those young Danes were lectured to by men
of enthusiasm who had their country’s literature and history at
their fingers’ ends and could convey the temper of their own minds.
A great deal was effected, but minds nourished at the lips of a
teacher have not the stability of those which seek their own meat.

But what if all _were_ for all, if the great hope of Comenius--“All
knowledge for all men”--were in process of taking shape? This is
what we have established in many thousands of cases, even in those
of dull and backward children, that any person can understand any
book of the right calibre (a question to be determined mainly by
the age of the young reader); that the book must be in literary
form; that children and young persons require no elucidation
of what they read; that their attention does not flag while so
engaged; that they master a few pages at a single reading so
thoroughly that they can ‘tell it back’ at the time or months
later whether it be the _Pilgrim’s Progress_ or one of Bacon’s
Essays or Shakespeare’s plays; that they throw individuality
into this telling back so that no two tell quite the same tale;
that they learn incidentally to write and speak with vigour and
style and usually to spell well. Now this art of telling back is
_Education_ and is very enriching. We all practise it, we go over
in our minds the points of a conversation, a lecture, a sermon, an
article, and we are so made that only those ideas and arguments
which we go over are we able to retain. Desultory reading or
hearing is entertaining and refreshing, but is only educative here
and there as our attention is strongly arrested. Further, we not
only retain but realise, understand, what we thus go over. Each
incident stands out, every phrase acquires new force, each link
in the argument is riveted, in fact we have performed THE ACT OF
KNOWING, and that which we have read, or heard, becomes a part
of ourselves, it is assimilated after the due rejection of waste
matter. Like those famous men of old we have found out “knowledge
meet for the people” and to our surprise it is the best knowledge
conveyed in the best form that they demand. Is it possible that
hitherto we have all been like those other teachers of the past who
were chidden because they had taken away the key of knowledge, not
entering in themselves and hindering those who would enter in?

To-day we are in this position. We realise that there is an act of
knowing to be performed; that no one can know without this act,
that it must be self-performed, that it is as agreeable and natural
to the average child or man as singing is to the song thrush,
that “to know” is indeed a natural function. Yet we hear of the
_incuria_ which prevails in most schools, while there before us are
the young consumed with the desire to know, can we but find out
what they want to know and how they require to be taught.

Humanistic education, whether in English or Latin, affects conduct
powerfully; knowledge of this sort is very welcome to children
and young persons; a good deal of ground may be covered because a
single reading of a passage suffices; this sort of humanistic work
has been tried with good effect; and if our Continuation Schools
are to be of value they must afford an education on some such lines.

The Parents’ Union School, originally organised[51] for the benefit
of children educated at home, is worked by means of programmes
followed by examination papers sent out term by term. When the same
work, if not the whole of it, was taken up by Council Schools,[52]
the advantage of such an organisation was apparent, especially in
that it afforded a common curriculum for children of all classes.
By using this curriculum we were enabled to see that the slum child
in a poor school compares quite favourably with the child of clever
or opulent parents who had given heed to his education.

Now one of our national difficulties is the fact that we have
no common basis of thought or ground for reflection. No doubt,
by pretty copious reading, links of common interests might be
established, and the schoolroom might do at least as much for
the general life as does the cricket-pitch. The scheme works
practically without a hitch in Council Schools; this is the sort of
work that the highest class in these Schools, (in Standard VII),
are doing with great success and very great delight. They read
English, French and General History (three or four volumes), two or
three books dealing with citizenship and morals from various points
of view; Literature, contemporary with the history read (several
works); natural history, physical geography and science (three or
four books); Scripture (chiefly the Bible). Every term brings a new
programme of work, the continuation usually of books already in
reading. Children in Secondary Schools and in families remain for
one year in Form IV and that work seems adapted to the status of
Continuation Schools for the first year or two. After that the more
advanced programme (Forms V and VI) might be used in the same way.
This work would appeal to young people as being unlike the ordinary
school grind, and as giving them opportunity for consecutive
speaking and essay writing.

There is probably no better test of a liberal education than the
number of names a person is able to use accurately and familiarly
as occasion requires. We all recollect a character of Miss Austen’s
who had no opinion to offer as to whether the Bermudas should be
described as the West Indies or not, because she had never called
them anything in her life!

Now, here is an alphabetical (uncorrected) list taken from the
examination papers of a girl of thirteen, containing 213 proper
names, all of them used accurately, easily and with interest.

  Amaziah, Ariel, Ayrshire, Arcot, America, Austrian Army,
  Artemidorus, Antium, Aufidius, Auditors, Apotheosis, Altai
  Mts., Assouan, Africa, Atbara, Annulosa, Arachnoida, Armadillo,
  Albumen, Abdomen, Auricles, Angle, Arc.

  Burns (Robert), Bastille, Bombay, Bengal, Burke, Black Hole
  of Calcutta, British Museum, Benevolence, Basalt, Butterfly,
  Beetles, Blood-vessels, Berber, Blue Nile Baghdad, Burne Jones.

  Cowper, Calcutta, Clive, Canada, Colonel Luttrel, Cleopatra,
  Candace, Coriolanus, Cassowary, Cormorants, Curlews, Cranes,
  Calyptra, Cotton grass, Chalk, Conglomerate, Crustacea,
  Cheiroptera, Carnivora, Chyle, Centre of Circle, China Proper,
  Canton, Cairo, Cheops, Circe.

  ‘Dick Primrose,’ “Deserted Village,” Dupleix, Demotic characters,
  Ducks, Despotic Government, Doctor Livingstone, Deposits, Delta,
  Diaphragm, Duodenum.

  England, East India Company, Economical Reform, Europe, Emperor
  of Austria, Empress of Russia, Emu, Eastern Turkestan, Egypt.

  France, Frederick the Great, Frederick William of Prussia,
  Flightless birds, First Cataract, Foraminifera.

  Gadarenes, Gizeh, Great Commoner, George III, General Warrants,
  Governor General, Grace and Free-will, Greek language,
  Generosity, Gulls, Granite, Grubs, Gastric juice, Globules.

  Huldah, Highlands of Scotland, Herodotus, Hieroglyphics, Herons,
  Hoang-ho, Hedgehog, Hydrochloric Acid, Hydrocarbons, Heart.

  Isaiah, India, Influence of light.

  Josiah, Judah, Jehosaphat, Jerusalem, Jonas, Jonah, Jesuits,
  Jansenists, Japan.

  Künersdorf, Kuen Lun Mts., Kioto, Karnac, Khartum, Kolcheng,
  Kalabari.

  Lord North, “Lords in Waiting” of Love, Land birds, Lamellæ,
  Luxor, Lake Ngami, Loanda, Lake Nyassa.

  Manasseh, Mongolia, Manchuria, Madras, Mahrattas, Member of
  Parliament, Middlesex, Methodists, Mississippi Company, Maria
  Theresa, Mummies, Microscopic Shells, Membrane.

  Nagasaki, Nile, Nitrogenous food.

  ‘Olivia Primrose,’ Ostriches.

  Pharisees, ‘Primrose (Mrs.),’ Philosophers Plassey, Pitt, Prime
  Minister, Pragmatic Sanction, Prague, Peace of Hubertusburg,
  Pity, Puffins, Penguins, Plovers, Pelicans, Plants, Polytrichum
  formosum, Peristom, Porphyric, Puddingstone, Pepsin, Peptone,
  Pancreas, Pulmonary artery, Pamir Plateau, Prairies, Pyramid,
  Portuguese West Africa.

  Quilemane.

  Rome, Rossbach, Rosetta Stone, Rhea, Rodentia.

  Sea of Galilee, ‘Sophia Primrose,’ Surajah Dowlah, Seven Years’
  War, Silesia, Saxony, Secretary, Storks, Sandpipers, Seedlings.

  “The Task,” Treaty of Dresden, Tullus, Trade Unions, Trustees,
  Treasurer, Tropical countries.

  Ulysses, Ungulata.

  Volcanic eruptions, Vermes, Vertebrate, Villi, Ventricles, Vernæ
  Cavæ, Vicar of Wakefield, Volscians, Vice President.

  Wallace, Walpole, War of Independence, Wilkes, Whitfield, Wesley,
  War of the Austrian Succession, Water birds, Wady Halfa.

  Yang-tse-kiang.

  Zonga, Zambesi, Zorndorff.

This is ‘Secondary’ work, but supposing the young people of a
Continuation School, who could not read all the books on the
programmes, got some degree of intimacy, some association, with,
say, one hundred such names in a term, we might believe that they
were receiving a liberal education. This is the sort of work we
hope to see done in Continuation Schools by pupils from fourteen
to sixteen. The young people of the future between sixteen and
eighteen should be prepared to work in Forms V and VI.

It is not the best children that answer the examination questions;
the general rule is that everybody takes every question. I have
touched only on the more humanistic subjects as whatever is done
in Mathematics, for instance, the Head of the Continuation School
will no doubt arrange; and indeed so much has been done in the
Elementary School already that probably the keeping of fictitious
account books would be a sufficient exercise for young people who
show some mathematical talent.

No cost whatever is attached to the adoption and continued working
of this method[53] except the cost of books and of these, young
wage-earners would no doubt buy their own, so that by degrees
each would form his little library of books that he has read,
understands and knows his way about. I should like to quote a few
sentences from Professor Eucken on the education of the people:--

  “By education of the people it must not for a moment be supposed
  that we mean a special kind of education. We do not refer to
  a condensed preparation of our spiritual and intellectual
  possessions, suitable for the needs and interests of the great
  masses; we are not thinking of a diluted concoction of the real
  draught of education which we are so kind and condescending as
  to dispense to the majority. No!... There is only one education
  common to us all.” “We can all unite in the construction of a
  spiritual world over against that of petty human routine. Thus
  there is, in truth, a possibility of a truly human education, and
  therefore of a true education of the people.”

The Jena Professor sees clearly enough the task before us all; but
he sees, or sets forth, no possible way of accomplishing it, nor
is there any other way than that which we have set forth that can
afford this sort of liberal education; the electric telegraph was
not discovered twice over.

After all our protests we are in our way utilitarian for no other
study is so remunerative as that of the ‘humanities.’ Let me draw
the reader’s attention to one point. Instability, unrest, among our
wage-earners is the serious danger threatening our social life.
Now it is said that nothing can act but where it is and the class
which acts steadily where it is, at some outpost of empire, on a
home estate, in Parliament, where you will, is the class educated
at Public Schools, that is, men brought up on the ‘humanities.’
Strong language will be used about the deadness and decadence of
these men although they do much of our national work. Their defects
are obvious and manifold, but still, as I say, the public work
that is done is, for the most part, done by men whom no one could
describe as progressive. Is there not some confusion of ideas about
this fetish of progress? Do we not confound progress with movement,
action, assuming that where these are there is necessarily advance?
Whereas much of our activity is like the waves of the sea, going
always and arriving never. What we desire is the still progress
of growth that comes of root striking downwards and fruit urging
upwards. And this progress in character and conduct is not attained
through conditions of environment or influence but only through the
growth of ideas, received with conscious intellectual effort.

It will be possible to have only a little of this strong meat in
Continuation Schools, but a little goes a long way, how far, our
Public School men illustrate; for a careful analysis will bring us
to the conclusion that not Latin and Greek, Games, Athletics, or
environment, but the ‘humanities’ in English alone will bring forth
the stability and efficiency which we desire to see in all classes
of society.

I have said that we have after all a generous allowance of cloth
from which to cut our garment, seven or eight hours a week. In
that time we may get in, page for page, book for book, as full a
complement of the ‘humanities,’ poetry, history, essay, tragedy,
comedy, philosophy, between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, as
our public men have imbibed at their schools. To be sure these
do it in the classic tongues while for those there is only plain
English; but however duly we magnify Greek literature we cannot
honestly say that that of England is second to any the world
has yet seen. We can give to the people the thought of the best
minds and we can secure on their part the conscious intellectual
effort, the act of knowing, which bears fruit in capability,
character and conduct. We cannot offer to the people the grace of
scholarship in the allotted time, but no doubt earnest souls will
find a way to get this surpassing excellence also; if there be
profit in ‘grinding at Grammar’ that they must forego, too, but
the inspiration and delight of entering into an intellectual world
full of associations, this they should have, a well of healing and
fountain of delight.

Now a common ground of thought is inestimable in what may be
called its cohesive value; and what we desire to afford to the
nation at large is such another background of thought, sketched in
like that of the Public School man from the books men and women
have read at school, books which made them intimate with Pitt and
Fox, ‘Dick Swiveller,’ ‘Mrs. Quickly,’ with daffodils and clouds
and nightingales as the poets have seen them, with a thousand
promiscuous and seemingly purposeless scenes and sayings which
somehow combine to serve the purpose of a background throwing the
thoughts and incidents of to-day into clear relief. For this reason
we, like the Public Schools, all read the same books, with such an
intensive single reading that for the rest of the lives of these
young people phrases or allusions they come across will kindle in
their eyes that ‘light which never was on sea or land.’ We may hope
that Public Schools will presently add this modicum of English to
their classical studies; then the candidate for election will have
something to appeal to other than the desire to better himself,
which is supposed to dominate every man. By the way, is the paucity
of literary or historical allusions, not in Latin, to be heard
in the House due to the fact that the audience cannot be counted
upon to rise to a reference not included in the well-known school
books? If so, we shall change all that; once the _masses_ read, the
_classes_ must read, too, and the Peace will be signalised by a new
bond of intellectual life in common.

“There is no more dreadful sight,” says Goethe, “than ignorance
in action,” and is not this the sight that is at the present
time dismaying us all? Demos is king to-day, and who may dispute
his right? But let us all give him the chance to become that
philosopher-king who according to an ancient dream was to be the
fit ruler, or rulers, of the people. The hopeful sign is that
Demos himself perceives his lack, and clamours for the humanistic
education in which he sees his salvation.



CHAPTER IV

THE BASIS OF NATIONAL STRENGTH[54]

A LIBERAL EDUCATION FROM A NATIONAL STANDPOINT


I

KNOWLEDGE

We have from time to time given some attention to the failure of
our attempts to educate “The Average Boy,” and it may be useful
to look into one or two fundamental principles upon which this
question and others seem to me to depend. For if our conceptions
of education are heterogeneous and incoherent, naturally, we
shall have a tangle of examination schemes evolved to test our
ill-conceived work.

Educationally, we are in a bad way. We were told some time ago,
in _Across the Bridges_, of the rapid deterioration of the bright
intelligent responsive schoolboy who has passed through the sixth
and seventh standards. Why? we ask. Industrial unrest often
reveals virtue, even heroism of a sort, in the working man, but a
lamentable want of knowledge--lack of education; he appears to have
little insight, imagination, or power of reflection. The tendency
in his class is that “dangerous tendency which we must all do our
best to resist” indicated by Mr. Burns at a public meeting some few
years ago; “the spirit of the horde,” he said, “is being developed;
and whether it is in exhibitions, sports, or legislation, the
individual is becoming less and less important and the mob more
and more so.” And again, “the tendency of the present day in all
modern movements is for great crowds to be brought together to see
other people play; and that is extending not only to play, but to
other fields of life.” Could the industrial movement of to-day be
better diagnosed? Again we ask, Why? As for those young men from
Public Schools who fail in the Dominions, enough has been said
about them; but those other Public School men who succeed in a
measure at outposts of the Empire because of the virtue that is in
them, do they not fail sometimes in an equal measure for lack of
the insight, imagination, intelligence, which come of knowledge? As
for the people who stay at home, “educated” men and women, I write
as an old woman who remembers how in the sixties and seventies
“countenance” was much talked of; “an intelligent countenance,”
“a fine countenance,” “a noble countenance,” were matters of
daily comment. The word has dropped out of use; is it because the
thing signified has dropped out of existence? Countenance is a
manifestation of thought, feeling, intelligence; and it is none of
these, but stolid indifference combined with physical well-being,
that we read in many faces to-day.

If we have these grounds for discontent, education is no doubt
the culprit at the bar, though there never was, I suppose, a
more heroic and devoted body of teachers at work. They get for
themselves the greater blessing of those who give; but the children
suffer, poor little souls; “poured into like a bucket,” they
receive without stint, and little comes of it. There is no lack
of zeal on the part of the teaching profession, but there is a
tendency amongst us to depreciate knowledge and to depreciate our
scholars. Now, knowledge is the material of education, as flour is
the material of bread; there are substitutes for knowledge, no
doubt, as there are for flour. Before the era of free meals I heard
of a little girl in East London whose mother gave her a penny, to
buy dinner for herself and her little sister, when the two set out
for school. The child confided to her teacher that a ha’porth of
aniseed drops “stays your stomach” more than a halfpenny bun. Now,
our schools are worked more or less upon aniseed drops--marks,
prizes, scholarships, blue ribbons, all of which “stay the stomach”
of the boy who does not get the knowledge that he needs. That is
the point. He needs knowledge as much as he needs bread and milk;
his appetite for knowledge is as healthy as his appetite for his
dinner; and an abundant regular supply at short intervals of
various knowledge is a constitutional necessity for the growing
youth as well as for the curious child; and yet we stay his hunger
pangs upon “aniseed drops.”

We do worse. We say, “What is the good of knowledge? Give a boy
professional instruction, whether he is to be a barrister or a
bricklayer, and strike out from his curriculum Greek or geography,
or whatever is not of utilitarian value. Teach him to play the game
and handle the ropes of his calling, and you have done the best for
him.” Now, here is a most mischievous fallacy, an assertion that
a child is to be brought up for the uses of society only and not
for his own uses. Here we get the answer to the repeated question
that suggested itself in a survey of our educational condition. We
launch children upon too arid and confined a life. Now personal
delight, joy in living, is a chief object of education; Socrates
conceived that knowledge is for pleasure, in the sense, not that
knowledge is one source, but is the source of pleasure.

It is for their own sakes that children should get knowledge.
The power to take a generous view of men and their motives, to
see where the greatness of a given character lies, to have one’s
judgment of present events illustrated and corrected by historic
and literary parallels, to have, indeed, the power of comprehensive
judgment--these are admirable assets within the power of every
one according to the measure of his mind; and these are not the
only gains which knowledge affords. The person who can live upon
his own intellectual resources and never know a dull hour (though
anxious and sad hours will come) is indeed enviable in these
days of intellectual inanition, when we depend upon spectacular
entertainments _pour passer le temps_.

If knowledge means so much to us, “What is knowledge?” the reader
asks. We can give only a negative answer. Knowledge is not
instruction, information, scholarship, a well-stored memory. It is
passed, like the light of a torch, from mind to mind, and the flame
can be kindled at original minds only. Thought, we know, breeds
thought; it is as vital thought touches our minds that our ideas
are vitalized, and out of our ideas comes our conduct of life. The
case for reform hardly needs demonstration, but now we begin to see
the way of reform. The direct and immediate impact of great minds
upon his own mind is necessary to the education of a child. Most of
us can get into touch with original minds chiefly through books;
and if we want to know how far a school provides intellectual
sustenance for its scholars, we may ask to see the list of books in
reading during the current term. If the list be short, the scholar
will not get enough mind-stuff; if the books are not various, his
will not be an all-round development; if they are not original, but
compiled at second hand, he will find no material in them for his
intellectual growth. Again, if they are too easy and too direct,
if they tell him straight away what he is to think, he will read,
but he will not appropriate. Just as a man has to eat a good dinner
in order that his physical energies may be stimulated to select
and secrete that small portion which is vital to him, so must the
intellectual energies be stimulated to extract what the individual
needs by a generous supply, and also by a way of presentation that
is not obvious. We have the highest authority for the indirect
method of teaching proper to literature, and especially to poetry.
The parables of Christ remain dark sayings; but what is there more
precious in the world’s store of knowledge?

How injurious then is our habit of depreciating children; we water
their books down and drain them of literary flavour, because we
wrongly suppose that children cannot understand what we understand
ourselves; what is worse, we explain and we question. A few
pedagogic maxims should help us, such as, “Do not explain” “Do not
question,” “Let one reading of a passage suffice,” “Require the
pupil to relate the passage he has read.” The child must read to
know; his teacher’s business is to see that he knows. All the acts
of generalization, analysis, comparison, judgment, and so on, the
mind performs for itself in the act of knowing. If we doubt this,
we have only to try the effect of putting ourselves to sleep by
relating silently and carefully, say, a chapter of Jane Austen or
a chapter of the Bible, read once before going to bed. The degree
of insight, the visualization, that comes with this sort of mental
exercise is surprising.

As I have said, a child in his seventh year will relate _The
Pilgrim’s Progress_, chapter by chapter, though he cannot read it,
and some half-dozen other books of the best we can find for him. In
his eighth or ninth year he works happily with a dozen books at a
time, books of history, adventures, travels, poems. From his tenth
to his twelfth year he reads considerable books of English and
French history, seriously written, Shakespeare’s historical plays,
North’s _Plutarch’s Lives_, and a dozen other worthy books. As he
goes up the school, his reading becomes wider and more difficult,
but every one knows the reading proper at the ages of fifteen,
seventeen, eighteen. The right books are given, but not enough
of them. The reading dietary is too meagre for the making of a
full man. A score of first-rate books should appear in the school
curriculum term by term. The point that I insist upon, however, is
that from his sixth year the child should be an “educated child”
for his age, should love his lesson books, and enjoy a terminal
examination on the books he has read. Children brought up largely
on books compare favourably with those educated on a few books and
many lectures; they have generous enthusiasms, keen sympathies, a
wide outlook and sound judgment, because they are treated from the
first as beings of “large discourse looking before and after.” They
are persons of leisure too, with time for hobbies, because their
work is easily done in the hours of morning school.

It is not necessary to speak of modern languages and mathematics,
field work in natural history, handiwork, etc. Schools are pretty
much agreed about the treatment of these subjects. As for Latin and
Greek, the teaching of these and the possibility of getting in any
work beyond these is a crucial question; but I think it is open to
Public Schoolmasters to discover that, given boys who have read
and thought, and who have maintained the habit of almost perfect
attention that a child begins with, the necessary amount of work in
the Classics may be done in a much shorter time, and that the mind
of the pupil is the more alert because it is engaged in handling
various subjects.

Perhaps, too, some enlightened Headmaster may come to distinguish
between scholarship and knowledge--a distinction which practical
men, like Napoleon, for example, have known how to draw. Probably
there never was a life on which the ‘humanities’ exercised a more
powerful influence; rarely has there been such an example of the
power of the informed mind to conquer the world. Napoleon is the
final answer to the contention that a knowledge of books has no
practical value, for there was, perhaps, no incident in his career
that was not suggested, inspired, illustrated by some historical
precedent, some literary apophthegm. He was, as we know, no
scholar, but he read diligently, even in the midst of absorbing
affairs, Homer, the Bible, the Koran, poetry, history, Plutarch.

Nations grow great upon books as truly as do individuals. We know
how that heroic young Queen, Louisa of Prussia, perceived that the
downfall of her country was not due to Napoleon alone, but also
to national ignorance, and that if Prussia were to rise it must
be through the study of history. So she set herself to work at
the history of modern Europe during that sojourn at Memel, when
she knew poverty as a peasant woman knows it. The disciples of
Kant founded a league of virtue to arouse Prussian students to the
duty of patriotism; Fichte knew how to issue a trumpet call; the
nation became a nation of students, and the son of Queen Louisa
established the German Empire! Alas, that an age should have
come when the ‘humanities’ were proscribed on German soil--and
humanity followed them into exile! A noble view of education was
as righteousness exalting a nation; but, alas, we all know what
universal havoc and disaster have proceeded from the debased and
materialised theory of education promulgated at Munich.

The Danes, again, as we all know, owe their rise out of illiteracy
to the Napoleonic impulse. After we had seized their battleships,
by way of clipping the claws of Bonaparte, they set to work to make
themselves the first farmers in Europe; this they have done in and
through their schools and their continuation schools, where they
get, not technical instruction, but a pretty wide course in history
and literature. As for the Japanese revolution of some fifty years
ago, history has little to show of a finer quality; and this,
again, was the work of a literary people.

If we would not be left behind by the East and the West we must,
as other nations have done, “add to our virtue, knowledge”; and we
are still competent, as some of these are not, to mount from the
bottom rung of the Apostolic educational ladder. It rests with us
to add to our faith, virtue, and to our virtue, knowledge. It is
an unheard of thing that the youth of a great nation should grow
up without those ideals, slow enough in maturing, which are to be
gathered for the most part from wide and wisely directed reading.


II

LETTERS, KNOWLEDGE AND VIRTUE

The following fragments of a valuable letter illustrate the
contention of the foregoing chapter:--

  “There is one thing, however, one note of regret, and that is
  that one paragraph, that on classical education, was not more
  expanded. I am satisfied that your central view covers the whole
  truth; and I am going to give you a small individual experience
  illustrating this fact--viz., that an early education in the
  great books of our own language, read, with enjoyment, by
  children and appropriately given to them from year to year, is
  the true groundwork of later expansion. Here is the story:--My
  three daughters were suckled on Walter Scott and Shakespeare.
  Later, about the ages of from ten to twelve, off their own, they
  took up Plutarch’s Lives, Bunyan, Defoe, and in the same period
  they refused to learn arithmetic and geography, the former on
  the ground of its monotony, and the latter, because, although
  they loved it, they held that the existing system of teaching
  geography was ‘rotten,’ and that geography ought to be learnt by
  going to the places. I knew better than to remonstrate. I meekly
  suggested that perhaps they would substitute something else in
  their curriculum, and they said at once, in an obviously prepared
  sentence, ‘That’s just it, we want to learn Latin and harmony.’
  Now here comes _your_ point (in that lamentably abbreviated
  paragraph):--

  ‘Given boys (or girls) who have read and thought, and who have
  maintained the habit of almost perfect attention that a child
  begins with, the necessary amount of work in the classics may be
  done in a much shorter time, and the mind of the pupil is the
  more alert because it is engaged in handling various subjects.’

  Six months later these girls knew more Latin than I learnt in
  six years under distinguished scholars with very eminent names.
  They could sling passages from Horace appropriately; they knew
  the first two Eclogues and half the Æneid by heart; they regarded
  Cicero’s Letters to Atticus as a ‘penny post’ affair, and were
  quite unduly familiar with the private life of Seneca. But all
  this did not interfere with their painting or their horsemanship,
  and better authorities on cricket and the Turf I don’t happen to
  know. That is the illustrative episode. The point, in my mind, is
  that an early education from great books with the large ideas and
  the large virtues is the only true foundation of knowledge--the
  knowledge worth having.”

This interesting letter brings us straight to a question which I
thought had been pretty fully threshed out; and I tackle it with
diffidence, only because an outsider may see aspects overlooked by
experts. The gist of the charges brought against Public Schools
is,--Classics take up so much time that there is no opportunity for
_Litteræ Humaniores_ in any other form. It is easy to say,--Gain
time by giving up Greek; but, in the first place, Public Schools,
with our old Universities in sequence, are our educational
achievement. Other efforts are experimental, but this one thing we
know--that men are turned out from this course who are practically
unmatched for quality, culture, and power; even the average B.A.
shows up better than his compeers, and a degree in Arts signifies
more than one in any other faculty.

We return thus to my original contention--that letters, primarily,
are the content of knowledge; that if Wellington ever said how
Waterloo was won, it was not on the playing-fields only, but in the
class-rooms of Eton; that Cæsar, Thucydides, _Prometheus Bound_,
have won more battles than we know on fields civil and military.
A little strong meat goes a long way, and even the average Public
School boy turns out a capable man. But, alas, if capable, he is
also ignorant; he does not know the history and literature of
his own country or any other. He has not realised that knowledge
is, not a store, but rather a state that a person remains within
or drops out of. His degree taken, he shuts his books, reads the
newspapers a little, perhaps a magazine or two, but otherwise
occupies himself with the interests of sports, games, shows, or
his employment. What is to be done, we wonder vaguely, to secure
to this average boy some tincture of knowledge and some taste for
knowledge? The expedient of dropping Greek to make room for other
things recurs; but on reflection we say, “No”; for culture begins
with the knowledge that everything has been known and everything
has been perfectly said these two thousand years ago and more.
This knowledge, slowly drummed into a youth, should keep him from
swelled head, from joining in the “We are the people” cry of the
blatant patriot; and there is no better way of knowing a people
than to know something of their own words in their own speech.

It is well, by the way, that we should remember that we have as a
nation an enormous loss to make good; time was, and not so long
ago, when rich and poor were intimately familiar with one of the
three great classical literatures. Men’s thoughts were coloured,
their speech moulded, their conduct more or less governed, by
the pastoral idylls called “Genesis,” the impassioned poetry of
Isaiah, the divine philosophy of John, the rhetoric of Paul--all,
writings, like the rest of the Bible, in what Matthew Arnold calls
“the grand manner.” Here is the well of English undefiled from
which men have drawn the best that our literature holds, as well as
their philosophy of life, their philosophy of history, and that
principal knowledge we are practising to do without--the knowledge
of God. And we wonder that the governing classes should forget how
to rule as those who serve; and that the working man, brought up
on “Readers” in lieu of a great literature, should act with the
obstinate recklessness proper to ignorance.

But to return to the main issue. How shall we instruct the
ignorance and yet retain the classical culture of the average
Public School boy? I should like to suggest, again, with
diffidence, that he, like his more brilliant compeer, is driven
through a mill the outpour of which should be scholarship. Now,
scholarship is an exquisite distinction which it would be ill
for us as a nation to miss; but if all the men in an assemblage
were decorated, who would care to wear an order? Some things are
precious for their rarity, and to put a school in the running
for this goal is as absurd as the ambition of the little boy who
meant to be a Knight of the Garter when he grew up. The thing is
not to be done; some men are born to be scholars, as the shape
of their heads testifies. The rest of us take pleasure in their
decoration, but are not envious, for scholarship is not the best
thing, and does not necessarily imply that vital touch of mind
upon mind out of which is got knowledge. As for erudition, we may
leave that out of count, it is hardly even an aim at the present
time. The geniuses, as one to some thousands, say, of our best, do
not trouble themselves much about the regimen we offer--classics
or modern languages, or what not; an idle tale, a puppet show, the
meanest flower that blows, is enough for them. Anyway, they take
care of themselves, and we come back to the average boy.

He must learn his Greek and Latin, but there is an easier way;
the girls mentioned in the letter I cite had hit upon it. That
favourite girl pupil of Vittorino’s who spoke and wrote Greek
with “remarkable purity” at twelve, having, so to speak, done
with Latin at an earlier age--she, we may be sure, had not been
through the grammar school grind. Nor had any of the learned ladies
of the Italian and the French Renaissance, the list of whose
accomplishments leaves us breathless. While still children, we know
how early they married, their knowledge of the classics was copious
(and not too wholesome), they knew two or three modern languages,
could treat the wounded, nurse the sick, prepare simples, govern
great households, ride to chase, yes, and kill too! and do
exquisite embroidery. Our own women of the Tudor times appear
likewise to have been “infinitely informed” and to have carried
their learning gaily; Maria Theresa, by no means a learned lady,
could make speeches and converse with her Magyar nobles in Latin,
and they could respond, neither knowing the native speech of the
other. If these things were true of girls and women, how much more
was expected of boys and men!

Are we persons of less intelligence, or how did they do it all?
_Every preparatory school knows how._ Perhaps few boys enter Public
Schools who could not pass “Responsions,” that is, who are not,
as far as Greek goes, ready for Oxford. I once heard a Headmaster
say:--

  “A boy does as much Latin now by the age of twelve as he will
  ever need for examination purposes, and he spends the next eight
  years in doing over again and again the same work! A clever boy
  of twelve could easily pass Responsions.”

A headmaster in Newfoundland mentions in his school report for 1905
a boy who “began Greek in October and passed the Oxford Responsions
in January.”

There is a leakage somewhere, and there is overlapping, and both
are due to the examinations upon which scholarships are awarded.
Something must be done, because Public Schools, with all their
splendid records, are not effective in the sense that they turn
out the average boy a good all-round man. For better or for worse,
who knows? the Democracy is coming in like a flood, and our old
foundations will be tossed about in the welter unless we make haste
to strengthen our weak places. Might not a commission--consisting
of two or three headmasters, as many preparatory school masters,
University “Dons,” and public men (once public school boys and
now the fathers of such boys) look into the question and devise
examination tests which shall safeguard Letters, ancient and
modern, without putting too high a premium upon scholarship?

Once the hands of schoolmasters were united, they would no doubt
devise means by which our friend, the average boy, would get such
a knowledge of the classics as should open life-long resources
to him. Like the ‘Baron of Bradwardine’ he would go about with a
pocket Livy (as he would say, “Titus Livius,”) to be read, not
laboured at a few lines at a time: _The Seven against Thebes_,
_Iphigenia in Aulis_, the few tragedies left to us by the great
dramatists would form part of the familiar background of his
thoughts. He would know somewhat of the best that has been written
in Greek and Latin, whether through printed translations or through
the text itself rendered in the sort of running translation which
some masters know how to give. _Pari passu_, he would do his share
of gerund-grind, and construe the two or three books of his present
limited acquaintance. But his limitations would be recognised, and
he would not be required to turn out Greek and Latin verse.

Meantime his master will require him to know pretty intimately a
hundred worthy books in addition to the great novels--to be read
in class periods, in vacation, and in leisure time--his knowledge
of each to be tested by a single bit of oral description or
written work in verse or prose. “Ground he at Grammar,” sums up
every successful school boy’s record as it did that of the dead
“Grammarian”; but the ten or twelve years of school life should
yield more than this.

I say nothing now about the teaching of science, for which most
schools provide, except that for our generation, science seems
to me to be the way of intellectual advance. All the same, the
necessity incumbent upon us at the moment is to inculcate a
knowledge of _Letters_. Men and their motives, the historical
sequence of events, principles for the conduct of life, in fact,
practical philosophy, is what the emergencies of the times require
us to possess, and to be able to communicate. These things are not
to be arrived at by any short cut of economics, eugenics, and the
like, but are the gathered harvests of many seasons’ sowing of
poetry, literature, history. The nation is in sore need of wise
men, and these must be made out of educated boys.


III

KNOWLEDGE, REASON, AND REBELLION

We have been very busy about education these sixty years or
more--diligently digging, pruning, watering; but there is something
amiss with our tree of knowledge; its fruits, both good and evil,
are of a mean, crabbed sort, with so little to choose between them
that superior persons find it hard to determine which is which.
To examine the individual apples would be a long process, but let
me take one at a venture: is it not true that a conviction of
irresponsibility characterises our generation?

If this be true, seeing that we all think as we have been brought
up to think, our education is at fault. Faulty education is to
blame if private property be recklessly injured in broad day, if
working men do vital injury to their country thinking to serve
their caste, if there be people who love to have it so, as long
as their own interests are immune. The melancholy fact is that
the people who do damage to private property, to public interests,
and to that more delicate asset of a nation, public opinion, are
all by way of being educated in their several degrees. All of them
can write and speak clearly, think logically if not sincerely,
and exhibit a certain practical ability. It is true that the War
has changed much and has brought us a temporary salvation, but
education must secure to us our gains or the last state of the
nation may be worse than the first.

No doubt we are better and not worse than our forefathers; and,
where we err, it is through ignorance. “Through ignorance ye did
it,” was said of the worst crime that men have done; and that
appalling offence was wrought for no worse reason than because it
is the habit of more or less lettered ignorance to follow specious
arguments to logical conclusions. The sapient East knows all
about it. Lady Lugard tells us how “the Copts have a saying that
‘in the beginning when God created things He added to everything
its second.’ ‘I go to Syria,’ said Reason; ‘I go with you,’ said
Rebellion.” We need not follow the other pairs that went forth, but
still Reason is apt to be accompanied by Rebellion when it sets out
in search of a logical issue.

For it is a fatal error to think that reason can take the place of
knowledge, that reason is infallible, that reasonable conclusions
are of necessity right conclusions. Reason is a man’s servant,
not his master; and behaves like a good and faithful servant--a
sort of ‘Caleb Balderstone,’ ready to lie royally in his master’s
behoof--and bring logical demonstration of any premiss which the
will chooses to entertain. But the will is the man, the will
chooses; and the man must _know_, if the will is to make just
and discriminating decisions. This is what Shakespeare, as great
a philosopher as a poet, set himself to teach us, line upon
line, precept upon precept. His ‘Leontes,’ ‘Othello,’ ‘Lear,’
‘Prospero,’ ‘Brutus,’ preach on the one text--that a man’s reason
brings certain infallible proofs of any notions he has wilfully
chosen to take up. There is no escape for us, no short cut; art is
long, especially the art of living.

In the days when the working man represented only the unit of
his family he picked up enough knowledge to go on with at church
and chapel, by scrutinizing his neighbour’s doings, in the
village parliament, held at pump or “public,” from the weekly
news-sheet. But we have changed all that: bodies of working men
have learned by means of union to act with a momentum which may
be paralysing or propelling _according to whether the men have
or have not knowledge_. Without knowledge, Reason carries a man
into the wilderness and Rebellion joins company. The man is not
to be blamed: it is a glorious thing to perceive your mind, your
reasoning power, acting of its own accord as it were and producing
argument after argument in support of any initial notion; how is
a man to be persuaded, when he wakes up to this tremendous power
he has of involuntary reasoning, that his conclusions are not
necessarily right, but rather that he who reasons without knowledge
is like a child playing with edged tools? Following his reason,
he acquires this and the other sort of freedom; but is it not
written:--

                        “Nor yet
      (Grave this upon thy heart!) if spiritual things
      Be lost through apathy, or scorn, or fear,
      Shalt thou thy humbler franchises support,
      However hardly won or justly dear.”

If, then, the manners and the destinies of men are shaped by
knowledge, it may be well to inquire further into the nature
of that evasive entity. Matthew Arnold helps us by offering a
threefold classification which appeals to common sense--knowledge
of God, knowledge of men, and knowledge of the natural world;
or, as we should say, Divinity, the Humanities, and Science.
But I think we may go further and say that Letters, if not (as
I said before) the main content of knowledge, constitute anyway
the container--the wrought salver, the exquisite vase, even the
alabaster box to hold the ointment.

If a man cannot think without words, if he who thinks with words
will certainly express his thoughts, what of the monosyllabic habit
that is falling upon men of all classes? The chatter of many women
and some men does not count, for thought is the last thing it is
meant to express. The Greeks believed that a training in the use
and power of words was the chief part of education, recognising
that if the thought fathers the word, so does the word in turn
father the thought. They concerned themselves with no language,
ancient or modern, save their own, but of that they acquired a
consummate appreciation. With the words came the great thoughts,
expressed in whatever way the emergencies of the State called
for--in wise laws, victorious battles, glorious temples, sculpture,
drama. For great thoughts anticipate great works; and these come
only to a people conversant with the great thoughts that have been
written and said. In what strength did the youngest and greatest
of our Premiers bring about the “revival of England”? He was
fortified by illimitable reading, by a present sense of a thousand
impossibilities that had been brought to pass--of a thousand
things so wisely said that wise action was a necessary outcome.
To say that we as a nation are suffering from our contemptuous
depreciation of knowledge is to say that we scorn Letters, the
proper vehicle of _all_ knowledge.

Let us glance at the three departments of knowledge to see in
regard to which of the three we are most in error. Some of us are
content with such knowledge of Divinity as is to be picked up from
the weekly sermon heard in church, but even with the qualification
of a degree in Arts I wonder do our divines lift us as much as
they might into that serener region where words fitly spoken beget
thoughts of peace and holy purpose? That worship is the main end
of our Church services is a sublime ideal, but, “The Way, without
which there is no going, the Truth, without which there is no
knowing, the Life, without which there is no living,” must needs
be set before us in “words that burn,” and we wait for preachers
like those of a bygone day, “Whose pulpit thunders shook a nation’s
soul.”

It is possible that the Church may err in keeping us underfed upon
that knowledge which is life, but she does not send us away empty.
We get some little share, too, of literature, poetry, history: a
phrase, a line, lights up a day for us; to read of Charles Fox’s
having said, “Poetry’s everything,” of that black conqueror of the
Soudan who said, “Without learning life would have neither pleasure
nor savour”--these things do us good, we cannot tell why.

But there is a region of apparent sterility in our intellectual
life. Science says of literature, “I’ll none of it,” and science is
the preoccupation of our age. Whatever we study must be divested to
the bone, and the principle of life goes with the flesh we strip
away: history expires in the process, poetry cannot come to birth,
religion faints; we sit down to the dry bones of science and say,
Here is knowledge, all the knowledge there is to know. “I think
that is very wonderful,” a little girl wrote in an examination
paper after trying to explain why a leaf is green. That little girl
had found the principle--admiration, wonder--which makes science
vital, and without wonder her highest value is, not spiritual, but
utilitarian. A man might as well collect matchboxes, like those
charming people in one of Anatole France’s novels, as search for
diatoma, unless the wonder of the world be ever fresh before his
eyes. In the eighteenth century science was alive, quick with
emotion, and therefore it found expression in literature. Still, a
Lister, a Pasteur, moves us, and we feel that in one department of
science, anyway, men stirred by the passion of humanity (“letters”
at the fountain head?) are doing monumental work.

But for the most part science as she is taught leaves us cold;
the utility of scientific discoveries does not appeal to the best
that is in us, though it makes a pretty urgent and general appeal
to our lower avidities. But the fault is not in science--that
mode of revelation which is granted to our generation, may we
reverently say?--but in our presentation of it by means of facts
and figures and demonstrations that mean no more to the general
audience than the point demonstrated, never showing the wonder and
magnificent reach of the law unfolded. The Hebrew poet who taught
us that “Breadcorn is bruised ... because his God doth instruct him
and doth teach him,” glorified life. Coleridge has revealed the
innermost secret, whether of science or literature: speaking on the
genesis of an idea, he says, “When the idea of Nature (presented
to chosen minds by a Higher Power than Nature herself),” etc. The
man who would write for us about the true inwardness of wireless
telegraphy, say, how truly it was a discovery, a revealing of that
which was there and had been there all along, might make our hearts
burn within us. No doubt there are many scientific men who are also
men of letters, and some scientific books as inspiring as great
poems--but science is waiting for its literature; and, though we
cannot live in shameful ignorance and must get what we can out of
the sources open to us, science as it is too commonly taught tends
to leave us crude in thought and hard and narrow in judgment.

We are told that in times of great upheaval it profits not to cast
blame on this or that section of the community; that we are all to
blame even for the offences of individuals; and we partly believe
it because our fathers have told us; thus did the prophets humble
themselves before God, and bemoaned each his exceeding great sin in
the sin of his people. We, too, are meek under chastisements, but
we are vague and, to that extent, insincere. Perhaps our duty is
to give serious thought to the problems of our national life; then
we may come to realise that man does not live by bread alone; we
may perceive that “bread” (or cake!) is our sole and final offer
to all persons of all classes; that we are losing our sense of any
values excepting money values; that our young men no longer see
visions, and are attracted to a career in proportion as “there’s
money in it.” Nothing can come out of nothing, and, if we bring up
the children of the nation on sordid hopes and low ambitions, need
we be surprised that every man plays for his own hand?

We recognise now and then, when the shoe pinches, that the nation
is in the threes of a revolution, but do we take trouble to find
out the cause of “industrial unrest” and the correct attitude
of the public towards that unrest? The revolution which is in
progress may, it seems to me, develop on either of two lines: the
men may get those “humbler franchises” they covet, but at the
loss of “spiritual things”--such as the character for fair play,
straight dealing, and loyalty to contract, which we like to think
of as distinctively English. But what about the warning that these
“humbler franchises” will be likewise lost? Trade unionism is no
new thing; centuries ago and for centuries, as we know, England
and Europe were under the dominion of those states within the
State--the Trades Guilds. At this distance of time we can afford
to admire these for the spiritual things to which they held fast;
their religious organisation, the thorough training they afforded
to their apprentices, and the obligation every member of a guild
was under to use just weights and measures and to turn out first
rate work of whatever kind. But, notwithstanding these moral
safeguards, the tyranny of the guilds became insupportable, and
they disappeared into the limbo of things no longer serviceable.
Could any dream of Socialism, again, offer more perfect conditions
than did the Russian village communes? But these too established a
tyranny which was felt to be more oppressive than serfdom itself:
the _Mir_ disappeared, lost in that Gehenna which engulfed the
guilds.

Wordsworth’s prophetic lines should instruct us. “However hardly
won or justly dear” those humbler franchises for which men are
standing out in their tens of thousands with unanimity, courage,
devotion to a cause justified by their REASON, they will not be
able to support those same franchises if spiritual things, the real
things of life, be lost in gaining them. Therefore we may predict
that the present movement may well issue in worse things but will
not issue in the triumph of either trade unionism or syndicalism.

Here is our opportunity. We blame the workmen for their
irresponsible action, for what seems to us the reckless way in
which the poorest are impoverished and multitudes of workers are
compelled to unwilling idleness. But those of us who are neither
miners nor owners may not allow ourselves irresponsible thought or
speech, and we may contribute our quota towards appeasement. It is
within everybody’s province to influence public opinion, if it be
only the opinion of two or three; we may raise the whole question
to a higher plane, the plane of those spiritual things--duty,
responsibility, brotherly love (towards all men)--which make the
final appeal. We could not, and we need not try to, obstruct the
revolution of which we are vaguely conscious, but we may help
to make it a turn of the wheel which shall bring us out of the
darkness of a Simplon Tunnel into the light and glory of a Lombard
plain. We may, respecting the claims of working men, perceive that
they demand too little, and that the things they demand are not
those which matter. Even the shock of a revolution is not too high
a price for an experience which should convince us that knowledge
is the basis of a nation’s strength.


IV

NEW AND OLD CONCEPTIONS OF KNOWLEDGE

I have so far advanced that “knowledge” is undefined and probably
indefinable; that it is a state out of which persons may pass and
into which they may return, but never a store upon which they
may draw; that knowledge-hunger is as universal as bread-hunger;
that our best provision for conveying knowledge is marvellously
successful with the best men, but rather futile with the second
best; that persons whose education has not enriched them with
knowledge store up information (statistics and other facts),
upon which they use their reasoning powers; that the attempt to
reason without knowledge is disastrous; and that, during the
present distress, England is, for various economical reasons, in
a condition of intellectual inanition consequent upon a failure
in her food supply, in this case the supply of food proper for
the mind. I have glanced at Knowledge under the three headings
suggested by one who speaks with authority, and have contended
that, even if the knowledge be divisible, the vehicle by which
it is carried is one and indivisible, and that it is generally
impossible for the mind to receive knowledge except through the
channel of letters.

But the mediæval mind had, as we know, a more satisfactory
conception of knowledge than we have arrived at. Knowledge is for
us a thing of shreds and patches, knowledge of this and of that,
with yawning gaps between.

The scholastic mediæval mind, probably working on the scattered
hints which the Scriptures offer, worked out a sublime _Filosofica
della Religione Cattolica_, pictured, for example, in the great
fresco painted by Simone Memmi and Taddeo Gaddi (which Ruskin
has taught us to know), and implied in “The Adoration of the
Lamb” painted by the two Van Eycks. In the first picture we get
a Pentecostal Descent, first, upon the cardinal virtues and the
Christian graces, then, upon prophets and apostles, and below these
upon the seven Liberal Arts represented each by its captain figure,
Cicero, Aristotle, Zoroaster, etc., none of them Christian, not
one of them a Hebrew. Here we get the magnificent idea that all
knowledge (undebased) comes from above and is conveyed to minds
which are, as Coleridge says, previously prepared to receive it;
and, further, that it comes to a mind so prepared, without question
as to whether it be the mind of pagan or Christian; a truly liberal
catholic idea, it seems to me, corresponding marvellously with the
facts of life. As sublime and even more explicit is the Promethean
fable which informed the Greek mind. With the sense of a sudden
plunge we come down to our own random and ineffectual notions, and
are tempted to cry with Wordsworth,--

              “Great God! I’d rather be
      A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn,”

and know that a God had brought gifts of knowledge to men at awful
cost, than to sit serene in the vague belief that knowledge arrives
in incoherent particles, no one knows how and no one knows whence;
or that it is self-generated in a man here and there who gets out
of himself new insight into the motions of mind and heart, a new
perception of the laws of life, the hint of a new amelioration in
the condition of men.

Because the notion that we entertain of knowledge as being
heterogeneous lies at the root of our heterogeneous theories of
education, it may be as well to quote a passage from Ruskin’s
description of that picture in the chapel of the Church of Santa
Maria Novella to which I have referred:--

  “ ... On this side and the opposite side of the Chapel are
  represented by Simon Memmi’s hand, the teaching power of the
  Spirit of God and the saving power of the Christ of God in the
  world according to the understanding of Florence in his time.

  “We will take the side of intellect first. Beneath the pouring
  forth of the Holy Spirit in the point of the arch beneath are the
  three Evangelical Virtues. Without these, says Florence, you can
  have no science. Without Love, Faith and Hope--no intelligence.
  Under these are the four Cardinal Virtues ... Temperance,
  Prudence, Justice, Fortitude. Under these are the great Prophets
  and Apostles.... Under the line of Prophets, as powers summoned
  by their voices are the mythic figures of the seven theological
  or spiritual and the seven geological or natural sciences; and
  under the feet of each of them the figure of its Captain-teacher
  to the world.” (_Mornings in Florence._)

That is, the Florentines of the Middle Ages believed in “the
teaching power of the Spirit of God,” believed not only that
the seven Liberal Arts were fully under the direct outpouring
of the Holy Ghost, but that every fruitful idea, every original
conception, be it in geometry, or grammar, or music, was directly
derived from a Divine source.

Whether we receive it or not, and the Scriptures abundantly support
such a theory regarding the occurrence of knowledge, we cannot fail
to perceive that here we have a harmonious and ennobling scheme
of education and philosophy. It is a pity that the exigencies of
his immediate work prevented Ruskin from inquiring further into
the origin, the final source, of knowledge, but we may continue
the inquiry for ourselves. In “the teaching power of the Spirit
of God” we have a pregnant and inspiring phrase. Supposing that we
accept this mediæval philosophy tentatively for present relief,
what would be our gains?

First, the enormous relief afforded by a sense of unity of purpose,
of progressive evolution, in the education of the race. It induces
great ease of mind to think that knowledge is dealt out to us
according to our preparedness and according to our needs; that God
whispers in the ear of the man who is ready in order that he may be
the vehicle to carry the new knowledge to the rest of us. “God has
a few of us whom He whispers in the ear,” ‘Abt Vogler’ is made to
say; and another poet causes his Explorer to cry:--

  “God chose me for His whisper, and I’ve found it, and it’s yours!”

Next, that knowledge, in this light, is no longer sacred and
secular, great and trivial, practical and theoretical. All
knowledge, dealt out to us in such portions as we are ready for, is
sacred; knowledge is, perhaps, a beautiful whole, a great unity,
embracing God and man and the universe, but having many parts
which are not comparable with one another in the sense of less or
more, because all are necessary and each has its functions. Next,
we perceive that knowledge and the mind of man are to each other
as are air and the lungs. The mind lives by means of knowledge;
stagnates, faints, perishes, deprived of this necessary atmosphere.

That, it is not for a man to choose, “I will learn this or that,
the rest is not my concern”; still less is it for parent or
schoolmaster to limit a child to less than he can get at of the
whole field of knowledge; for, in the domain of mind at least
as much as in that of morals or religion, man is under a Divine
Master; he has to know as he has to eat.

That, there is not one period of life, our school days, in which
we sit down to regular meals of intellectual diet, but that we must
eat every day in order to live every day.

That, knowledge and what is known as “learning” are not to be
confounded; learning may still be an available store when it is
not knowledge; but by knowledge one grows, becomes more of a
person, and that is all that there is to show for it. We sometimes
wonder at the simplicity and modesty of persons whose knowledge
is matter of repute; but they are not hiding their light; they
are not aware of any unusual possessions; they have nothing to
show but themselves, but we feel the force of their personalities.
Now, forceful personalities, persons of weight and integrity, of
decision and sound judgment, are what the country is most in need
of; and, if we propose to bring such persons up for the public
service, the gradual inception of knowledge is one condition
amongst others.

There are various delightfully “new” educational systems in favour,
in all of which a grain of knowledge is presented in a gallon of
warm diluent. We have the theory that it does not matter what a
child learns, but only how he learns it; which is as sound as,
It does not matter what a child eats, but only how he eats it,
therefore feed him on sawdust! Then, we have Rousseau’s primitive
man theory, that a child must get all his knowledge through his own
senses and by his own wits, as if there were no knowledge waiting
to be passed on by the small torch-bearer; and there is the theory
which obtained in Catholic England, exemplified in more than one
of the Waverley Novels, in the sports purveyed for her tenantry
by ‘Lady Margaret Bellenden,’ for example. Those men and maidens
had been trained as children to be “supple, active, healthy, with
senses alert, ready for dance and song, with an eye and ear ready
for the beautiful, intelligent, happy, capable.” (I quote from a
valuable letter in _The Times_). What with our morris-dances,
pageants, living pictures, miracle plays, and so on, we are
reviving the Stuart educational ideals, and no doubt we do well to
aim at increasing the general joy. But our age requires more of us;
in the sort of self-activity and self-expression implied in these
and in half a dozen other educational theories, knowledge plays no
part, and the city _gamin_ exhibits in perfection every quality
of gaiety, alert intelligence, delight in shows, which we set
ourselves to cultivate.

“With all thy getting, get understanding,” is the message for our
needs, and understanding is, in one sense, the conscious act of the
mind in apprehending knowledge, which is in fact relative, and does
not exist for any person until that person’s mind acts upon the
intellectual matter presented to it. “Why will ye not understand?”
is the repeated and poignant question of the Gospels.

That is what ails us as a nation, we do not understand; not
ignorant persons only, but educated men and women, employ
fallacious arguments, offer prejudices for principles, and
platitudes for ideas. If it be argued that these failures are
due less to ignorance than to insincerity, I should reply that
insincerity is an outcome of ignorance; the darkened intelligence
cannot see clearly. “The day is unto them that know,” but knowledge
is by no means the facile acquirement of those who, according to
Ruskin, “cram to pass and not to know.”

I would not be understood as passing strictures upon the vast
and excellent educational work nearly all teachers are doing;
it is impossible to go into an Elementary School without being
impressed by the competence of the teachers and the intelligence
of the children; I have already paid a worthless tribute to Public
Schools, and should like here to add a word of affectionate
and hearty appreciation of the High School girl as I know her,
thoughtful and well educated--a person quite undeserving of the
slings and arrows of outrageous criticism too freely aimed at
her. As for our new Universities, they remove the stigma under
which many of us have suffered in presence of the numerous centres
of intellectual life which add dignity and grace to continental
cities. The new Universities are full of promise for the land.

We have, no doubt, arrived at a good starting place, but we may
not consider that the journey is accomplished. I need not repeat
the charges to which we have laid ourselves open because of our
ignorance, but I shall endeavour to take a closer survey of the
field of education as regarded from the standpoint of knowledge
and the innate affinities existing in the mind with that knowledge
which is proper for it. For the present the need is that “abstract
knowledge” should present itself to practical persons as the crying
demand of the nation; the “mandate,” let us say, pronounced by
certain general failures to understand the science of relations,
and that other neglected form of knowledge, “the science of the
proportion of things.”


V

EDUCATION AND THE FULLNESS OF LIFE

“I must live my life!” said the notorious bandit who before the War
terrorized Paris; and we have heard the sort of cant often, even
before _The Doll’s House_ gave to “self-expression” the dignity of
a cult; nevertheless, the brigand Bonnot has done an ill turn to
society, for a misguiding theory neatly put is more dangerous than
an ill-example.

We are tired of the man who claims to live his life at the general
expense, of the girl who will live hers to her family’s annoyance
or distress; but there really is a great opportunity open to the
nation which will set itself to consider what the life of a man
should be and will give each individual a chance to live his life.

We are doing something; we are trying to open the book of nature
to children by the proper key--knowledge, acquaintance by look and
name, if not more, with bird and flower and tree; we see, too,
that the magic of poetry makes knowledge vital, and children and
grown-ups quote a verse which shall add blackness to the ashbud,
tender wonder to that “flower in the crannied wall,” a thrill
to the song of the lark. As for the numerous field clubs of the
northern towns, the members of which, weavers, miners, artisans,
reveal themselves as accomplished botanists, birdmen, geologists,
their Saturday rambles mean not only “life,” but splendid joy. It
is to be hoped that the opportunities afforded in the schools will
prepare women to take more part in these excursions; at present the
work done is too thorough for their endurance and for their slight
attainments.

In another direction we are doing well; we are so made that
every dynamic relation, be it leap-frog or high-flying, which we
establish with Mother Earth, is a cause of joy; we begin to see
this and are encouraging swimming, dancing, hockey, and so on, all
instruments of present joy and permanent health. Again, we know
that the human hand is a wonderful and exquisite instrument to be
used in a hundred movements exacting delicacy, direction and force;
every such movement is a cause of joy as it leads to the pleasure
of execution and the triumph of success. We begin to understand
this and make some efforts to train the young in the deft handling
of tools and the practice of handicrafts. Some day, perhaps, we
shall see apprenticeship to trades revived, and good and beautiful
work enforced. In so far, we are laying ourselves out to secure
that each shall “live his life”; and that, not at his neighbour’s
expense; because, so wonderful is the economy of the world that
when a man really lives his life he benefits his neighbour as
well as himself; we all thrive in the well-being of each. We are
perceiving, too, that a human being is endowed with an ear attuned
to harmony and melody, with a voice from which music may issue,
hands whose delicate action may draw forth sounds in enthralling
sequence. With the ancient Greeks, we begin to realise that music
is a necessary part of education. So, too, of pictorial art; at
last we understand that every one can draw, and that, because to
draw is delightful, every one should be taught how; that every one
delights in pictures, and that education is concerned to teach him
what pictures to delight in.

A person may sing and dance, enjoy music and natural beauty, sketch
what he sees, have satisfaction in his own good craftsmanship,
labour with his hands at honest work, perceiving that work is
better than wages; may live his life in various directions, the
more the merrier. A certain pleasant play of the intellect attends
the doing of all these things; his mind is agreeably exercised;
he thinks upon what he is doing, often with excitement, sometimes
with enthusiasm. He says, “I must live my life,” and he lives it
in as many of these ways as are open to him; no other life is
impoverished to supply his fullness, but, on the contrary, the sum
of general joy in well-being is increased both through sympathy and
by imitation.

This is the sort of ideal that is obtaining in our schools and
in the public mind, so that the next generation bid fair to be
provided with many ways of living their lives, ways which do not
encroach upon the lives of others. Here is the contribution of our
generation to the science of education, and it is not an unworthy
one; we perceive that a person is to be brought up in the first
place for his own uses, and after that for the uses of society;
but, as a matter of fact, the person who “lives his life” most
completely is also of most service to others because he contains
within him provision for many serviceable activities which are
employed in living his life; and, besides, there is a negative
advantage to the community in the fact that the man is able to live
on his own resources.

But a man is not made up only of eyes to see, a heart to enjoy,
limbs delightful in the using, hands satisfied with perfect
execution: life in all these kinds is open more or less to all
but the idly depraved. But what of man’s eager, hungry, restless,
insatiable mind? True, we teach him the mechanical art of reading
while he is at school, but we do not teach him to read; he has
little power of attention, a poor vocabulary, little habit of
conceiving any life but his own; to add to the gate-money at a
football match is his notion of adventure and diversion.

We are, in fact, only taking count of the purlieus of that vast
domain which pertains to every man in right of his human nature.
We neglect mind. We need not consider brain; a duly nourished and
duly exercised mind takes care of its physical organ provided that
organ also receives its proper material nourishment. But our fault,
our exceeding great fault, is that we keep our own minds and the
minds of our children shamefully underfed. The mind is a spiritual
octopus, reaching out limbs in every direction to draw in enormous
rations of that which under the action of the mind itself becomes
knowledge. Nothing can stale its infinite variety; the heavens and
the earth, the past, the present, and future, things great and
things minute, nations and men, the universe, all are within the
scope of the human intelligence. But there would appear to be, as
we have seen, an unsuspected unwritten law concerning the nature of
the “material” which is converted into knowledge during the act of
apprehension. The idea of the _Logos_ did not come by chance to the
later Greeks; “The Word” is not a meaningless title applied to the
second Person of the Trinity; it is not without significance that
every utterance which fell from Him is marked by exquisite literary
fitness; (a child’s comment on a hymn that was read to her was,
“that is not poetry; Jesus would have said it _much_ better”);
in rendering an account of His august commission Christ said:--“I
have given unto them _the words_ which Thou gavest me”; and one
disciple voiced the rest when he said, “Thou hast _the words_ of
eternal life.” The Greeks knew better than we that words are more
than things, more than events; with all primitive peoples rhetoric
appears to have been a power; the grand old sayings which we have
scorned as inventions are coming to their own again, because, what
modern is capable of such inventions? Men move the world, but the
motives which move men are conveyed by words. Now, a person is
limited by the number of things he is able to call by their names,
qualify by appropriate epithets; this is no mere pedantic ruling,
it belongs to that unfathomable mystery we call human nature; and
the modern notion of education, with its shibboleth of “things
not words,” is intrinsically demoralizing. The human intelligence
demands letters, literature, with a more than bread-hunger. It is
almost within living memory how the newly emancipated American
negroes fell upon books as the famished Israelites fell upon food
in the deserted camp of Sennacherib.

Only as he has been and is nourished upon books is a man able to
“live his life.” A great deal of mechanical labour is necessarily
performed in solitude; the miner, the farm-labourer, cannot think
all the time of the block he is hewing, the furrow he is ploughing;
how good that he should be figuring to himself the trial scene in
the _Heart of Midlothian_, the “high-jinks” in _Guy Mannering_,
that his imagination should be playing with ‘Ann Page’ or ‘Mrs.
Quickly,’ or that his labour goes the better “because his secret
soul a holy strain repeats.” People, working people, do these
things. Many a one can say out of a rich experience, “My mind to me
a kingdom is”; many a one cries with Browning’s ‘Paracelsus,’ “God!
Thou art mind! Unto the master-mind, Mind should be precious.
Spare my mind alone!” We know how “_Have mynde_” appears on the
tiles paving the choir of St. Cross; but “_mynde_” like body, must
have its meat.

Faith has grown feeble in these days, hope faints in our heavy
ways, but charity waxes strong; we would make all men millionaires
if we could, or, at any rate, take from the millionaires to give
to the multitude. No doubt some beneficent and venturous Robin
Hood of a minister will arise (has arisen?) to take steps in
that direction; but when all has been done in the way of social
amelioration we shall not have enabled men to “live their lives”
unless we have given them a literary education of such sort that
they choose to continue in the pleasant places of the mind. “That
is all very well in theory,” some one objects, “but look at the
Masses, are they able to receive Letters? When they talk it is in
journalese, and anything in the nature of a book must be watered
down and padded to suit their comprehension.” But is it not true
that working men talk in “journalese” because it is only the
newspapers that do them the grace to meet them frankly on their
own level? Neither school education nor life has put books in
their way, and their adoption of the only literary speech that
offers but proves a natural aptitude for Letters. One cannot always
avoid appeal to the authority one knows to be final, and I will
not apologise for citing the fact at which no doubt we have all
wondered that Christ should expose the profoundest philosophy to
the multitude, the “Many,” whom even Socrates contemns.

May I quote, with apologies to the writer, a letter signed “A
Working Man,” written in answer to one of mine which was honoured
by being reprinted in _The Times Weekly Edition_? (It is good, by
the way, that such a journal should be in the hands of working
men). My correspondent “thanks Heaven that there are still a few
persons left in this country who regard education as somewhat
different from a means of _keeping a shop_.” We may all thank
Heaven that there are working men who value knowledge for its own
sake and hate to have it presented to them as a means of getting on.

The fact is, Letters make a universal appeal because they respond
to certain innate affinities: young Tennysons, De Quinceys, and
the like, are, as we all know, inordinate readers, but these are
capable of foraging on their own account; it is for the average,
the dull, and the backward boy I would lay urgent claim to a
literary education; the minds of such as these respond to this
and to no other appeal, and they turn out perfectly intelligent
persons, open to knowledge by many avenues. For working men whose
intelligence is in excess of their education, Letters are the
accessible vehicle of knowledge; having learned the elements of
reading, writing, and summing, it is unnecessary to trouble them
with any other “beggarly elements”; their natural intelligence and
mature minds make them capable of dealing with difficulties as they
occur; and for further elucidation every working men’s club should
have an encyclopædia. Some men naturally take to learning, and
will struggle manfully with their Latin grammar, and Cicero, their
Euclid and trigonometry. Happy they! But the general conclusion
remains, that for men and women of all ages, all classes, and
all complexions of mind, Letters are an imperative and daily
requirement to satisfy that universal mind-hunger, the neglect of
which gives rise to emotional disturbances, and, as a consequence,
to evils that dismay us.


VI

KNOWLEDGE IN LITERARY FORM

I have so far urged that knowledge is necessary to men, and that,
in the initial stages, it must be conveyed through a literary
medium, whether it be knowledge of physics or of Letters, because
there would seem to be some inherent quality in mind which prepares
it to respond to this form of appeal and no other. I say in the
initial stages, because possibly, when the mind becomes conversant
with knowledge of a given type, it unconsciously translates the
driest formulæ into living speech; perhaps it is for some such
reason that mathematics seem to fall outside this rule of literary
presentation; mathematics, like music, is a speech in itself, a
speech irrefragably logical, of exquisite clarity, meeting the
requirements of mind.

To consider Letters as the staple of education is no new thing; nor
is the suggestion new that to turn a young person into a library
is to educate him. But here we are brought to a stand; the mind
demands method, orderly presentation, as inevitably as it demands
knowledge; and it may be that our educational misadventures are due
to the fact that we have allowed ourselves to take up any haphazard
ordering that is recommended with sufficient pertinacity.

But no one can live without a philosophy which points out the
order, means and end of effort, intellectual or other; to fail
in discovering this is to fall into melancholia, or more active
madness: so we go about picking up a maxim here, a motto there,
an idea elsewhere, and make a patchwork of the whole which we
call our principles; beggarly fragments enough we piece together
to cover our nakedness and a hundred phrases which one may hear
any day betray lives founded upon an ignoble philosophy. No doubt
people are better than their words, better than their own thoughts;
we speak of ourselves as “finite beings,” but is there any limit
to the generosity and nobility of almost any person? The hastily
spoken “It is the rule at sea,” that distressed us a while ago,
what a vista does it disclose of chivalric tenderness, entire
self-sacrifice! Human nature has not failed; what has failed us is
philosophy, and that applied philosophy which is called education.
Philosophy, all the philosophies, old and new, land us on the horns
of a dilemma; either we do well by ourselves and seek our own
perfection of nature or condition, or we do well by others to our
own loss or deterioration. If there is a mean, philosophy does not
declare it.

There are things of which we have desperate need: we want a
new scale of values: I suppose we all felt when, in those days
before the War, we read how several millionaires went down in
the “Titanic” disaster, not only that their millions did not
matter, but that they did not matter to them; that possibly they
felt themselves well quit of an incessant fatigue. We want more
life: there is not life enough for our living; we have no great
engrossing interests; we hasten from one engagement to another and
glance furtively at the clock to see how time, life, is getting
on; we triumph if a week seems to have passed quickly; who knows
but that the approach of an inevitable end might find us glad to
get it all over? We want hope: we busy ourselves excitedly about
some object of desire, but the pleasure we get is in effort,
not in attainment; and we read, before the War, of the number
of suicides among Continental schoolboys, for instance, with
secret understanding; what is there to live for? We want to be
governed: servants like to receive their “orders”; soldiers and
schoolboys enjoy discipline; there is satisfaction in stringent
Court etiquette; the fact of being “under orders” adds dignity
to character. When we revolt it is only that we may transfer our
allegiance. We want a new start: we are sick of ourselves and of
knowing in advance how we shall behave and how we shall feel on
all occasions; the change we half-unconsciously desire is to other
aims, other ways of looking at things. We feel that we are more
than there is room for; other conditions might give us room; we
don’t know; any way, we are uneasy. These are two or three of the
secret matters that oppress us, and we are in need of a philosophy
which shall deal with such things of the spirit. We believe we
should be able to rise to its demands, however exigeant, for the
failure is not in us or in human nature so much as in our limited
knowledge of conditions.

The cry of decadence is dispiriting, but is it well-founded? The
beautiful little gowns that have come down as heirlooms would
not fit the “divinely tall” daughters of many a house where
they are treasured. We have become frank, truthful, kind; our
conscientiousness and our charity are morbid; we cannot rest in
our beds for a disproportionate anxiety for the well-being of
everybody; we even exceed the generous hazard, that, peradventure
for a good man one might be found to die; almost any man will risk
his life for the perishing without question of good or bad; and we
expect no less from firemen, doctors, life-boatmen, parsons, the
general public. And what a comment on the splendid magnanimity of
men does the War afford!

An annoying inquiry concerning risks at sea almost resulted in a
ruling that no one should let himself be saved so long as others
were in danger; it is preposterous, but is what human nature
expects of itself. No, we are not decadent on the whole, and our
uneasiness is perhaps caused by growing pains. We may be poor
things, but we are ready to break forth into singing should the
chance open to us of a full life of passionate devotion. Now, all
our exigeant demands are met by words written in a Book, and by the
manifestations of a Person; and we are waiting for a Christianity
such as the world has not yet known. Hitherto, Christ has existed
for our uses; but what if a time were coming when we, also,
should taste the “orientall fragrancie” of, “My Master!” So it
shall be when the shout of a King is among us, and are there not
premonitions? But these things come not by prayer and fasting, by
good works and self-denial, alone; there is something prior to all
these upon which our Master insists with distressful urgency, “Why
will ye not know? Why will ye not understand?”

My excuse for touching upon our most intimate concerns is that this
matter, too, belongs to the domain of Letters; if we propose to
seek knowledge we must proceed in an orderly way, recognising that
the principal knowledge is of most importance; the present writer
writes and the reader reads, because we are all moved by the spirit
of our time; these things are our secret preoccupation, for we have
come out of a long alienation as persons “wearied with trifles,”
and are ready and anxious for a new age. We know the way, and we
know where to find our rule of the road; but we must bring a new
zeal and a new method to our studies; we may no longer dip here
and there or read a perfunctory chapter with a view to find some
word of counsel or comfort for our use. We are engaged in the study
of, in noting the development of, that consummate philosophy which
meets every occasion of our lives, all demands of the intellect,
every uneasiness of the soul.

The arrogance which pronounces judgment upon the written “Word”
upon so slight an acquaintance as would hardly enable us to
cover a sheet or two of paper with sayings of the Master, which
confines the Divine teaching to the great Sermon, of which we are
able to rehearse some half-dozen sentences, is as absurd as it is
blameworthy. Let us give at least as profound attention to the
teaching of Christ as the disciples of Plato, say, gave to his
words of wisdom. Let us observe, note-book in hand, the orderly and
progressive sequence, the penetrating quality, the irresistible
appeal, the unique content of the Divine teaching; (for this
purpose it might be well to use some one of the approximately
chronological arrangements of the Gospel History in the words of
the text). Let us read, not for our profiting, though that will
come, but for love of that knowledge which is better than thousands
of gold and silver. By and by we perceive that this knowledge is
the chief thing in life; the meaning of Christ’s saying, “Behold,
I make all things new,” dawns upon us; we get new ideas as to the
relative worth of things; new vigour, new joy, new hope are ours.

If we believe that knowledge is the principal thing, that knowledge
is tri-partite, and that the fundamental knowledge is the knowledge
of God, we shall bring up our children as students of Divinity and
shall pursue our own life-long studies in the same school. Then we
shall find that the weekly sermons for which we are prepared are as
bread to the hungry; and we shall perhaps understand how enormous
is the demand we make upon the clergy for living, original thought.
It is only as we are initiated that science and “Nature” come to
our aid in this chief pursuit; then, they “their great Original
proclaim”; but while we are ignorant of the principal knowledge
they remain dumb. Literature and history have always great matters
to speak of or suggest, because they deal with states or phases of
moral government and moral anarchy, and tacitly indicate to us the
sole key to all this unintelligible world; and literature not only
reveals to us the deepest things of the human spirit, but it is
profitable also “for example of life and instruction in manners.”

We are at the parting of the ways; our latest educational
authority, one who knows and loves little children, would away
with all tales and histories that appeal to the imagination;
let children learn by means of things, is her mandate; and the
charm and tenderness with which it is delivered may well blind us
to its desolating character. We recognise Rousseau, of course,
and his _Emile_, that self-sufficient person who should know
nothing of the past, should see no visions, allow no authority.
But human nature in children is stronger than the eighteenth
century philosopher and the theories which he continues to inform.
Whoever has told a fairy tale to a child has been made aware of
that natural appetency for letters to which it is our business
to minister. Are we not able to believe that words are more than
meat, and, so believing, shall we not rise up and insist that
children shall have a liberal diet of the spirit? Rousseau, in
spite of false analogies, fallacious arguments, was able to summon
fashionable mothers and men of the world throughout Europe to the
great task of education, because his eloquence convinced them that
this was their assigned work and a work capable of achievement;
and we who perhaps see with clearer eyes should do well to cherish
this legacy--the conviction that the education of the succeeding
generation is the chief business of every age.

Nevertheless, though we are ourselves emerging from the slough
of materialism, we are willing to plunge children into its heavy
ways through the agency of a “practical” and “useful” education;
but children have their rights, and among these is the freedom
of the city of mind. Let them use things, know things, learn
through things, by all means; but the more they know Letters the
better they will be able, with due instruction, to handle things.
I do not hesitate to say that the whole of a child’s instruction
should be conveyed through the best literary medium available. His
history books should be written with the lucidity, concentration,
personal conviction, directness, and admirable simplicity which
characterizes a work of literary calibre. So should his geography
books; the so-called scientific method of teaching geography now
in vogue is calculated to place a child in a somewhat priggish
relation to Mother Earth; it is impossible, too, that the human
intelligence should assimilate the sentences one meets with in
many books for children, but the memory retains them and the child
is put in the false attitude of one who offers pseudo-knowledge.
Most of the geography books, for example, require to be translated
into terms of literature before they can be apprehended. Great
confidence is placed in diagrammatic and pictorial representation,
and it is true that children enjoy diagrams and understand them
as they enjoy and understand puzzles; but there is apt to be
in their minds a great gulf between the diagram and the fact
it illustrates. We trust much to pictures, lantern slides,
cinematograph displays; but without labour there is no profit, and
probably the pictures which remain with us are those which we have
first conceived through the medium of words; pictures may help us
to correct our notions, but the imagination does not work upon a
visual presentation; we lay the phrases of a description on our
palette and make our own pictures; (works of art belong to another
category). We recollect how Dr. Arnold was uneasy until he got
details enough to form a mental picture of a place new to him. So
it is with children and all persons of original mind: a map to put
the place in position, and then, all about it, is what we want.

Readings in literature, whether of prose or poetry, should
generally illustrate the historical period studied; but selections
should be avoided; children should read the whole book or the whole
poem to which they are introduced. Here we are confronted by a
serious difficulty. Plato, we know, determined that the poets in
his “Republic” should be well looked after lest they should write
matter to corrupt the morals of youth; aware of what happened in
Europe when the flood-gates of knowledge were opened, Erasmus was
anxiously solicitous on this score, and it is a little surprising
to find that here, Rossetti was on the side of the angels. Will
the publishers, who, since Friedrich Perthes discovered their
educational mission, have done so much for the world, help us
in this matter also? They must excise with a most sparing hand,
always under the guidance of a jealous scholar; but what an ease
of conscience it would be to teachers if they could throw open the
world of books to their scholars without fear of the mental and
moral smudge left by a single prurient passage! Many, too, who have
taken out their freedom in the republic of letters would be well
content to keep complete library editions in costly bindings in
their proper place, while handy volumes in daily use might be left
about without uneasiness.

The Old Testament itself after such a (very guarded) process would
be more available for the reading of children; and few persons
would feel that Shakespeare’s plays suffered from the removal
of obscenities here and there. In this regard we cherish a too
superstitious piety. In another matter, let that great “remedial
thinker,” Dr. Arnold, advise us:--“Adjust your proposed amount of
reading to your time and inclination; but whether that amount be
large or small let it be varied in its kind and widely varied. If
I have a confident opinion on any one point connected with the
improvement of the human mind it is on this.” Here we get support
for a varied and liberal curriculum; and, as a matter of fact, we
find that the pupil who studies a number of subjects knows them as
well as he who studies a few knows those few.

Children should read books, not about books and about authors;
this sort of reading may be left for the spare hours of the
dilettante. Their reading should be carefully ordered, for the
most part in historical sequence; they should read to _know_,
whether it be _Robinson Crusoe_ or Huxley’s _Physiography_; their
knowledge should be tested, not by questions, but by the oral (and
occasionally the written) reproduction of a passage after one
reading; all further processes that we concern ourselves about in
teaching, the mind performs for itself; and, lastly, this sort of
reading should be the chief business in the class room.

We are at a crucial moment in the history of English education.
John Bull is ruminating. He says, “I have laboured at the higher
education of women; let them back to the cooking-pot and distaff
and learn the science (!) of domestic economy. I have tried for
these forty years to educate the children of the people. What is
the result? Strikes and swelled head! Let them have ’prentice
schools and learn what will be their business in life!” John Bull
is wrong. In so far as we have failed it is that we have offered
the pedantry, the mere verbiage, of knowledge in lieu of knowledge
itself; and it is time for all who do not hold knowledge in
contempt to be up and doing; there is time yet to save England and
to make of her a greater nation, more worthy of her opportunities.
But the country of our love will not stand still; if we let the
people sink into the mire of a material education our doom is
sealed; eyes now living will see us take even a third-rate place
among the nations, for it is knowledge that exalteth a nation,
because out of duly-ordered knowledge proceedeth righteousness and
prosperity ensueth.

“Think clear, feel deep, bear fruit well,” says our once familiar
mentor, Matthew Arnold, and his monition exactly meets our needs.



SUPPLEMENTARY

TOO WIDE A MESH


“The wide world dreaming on things to come” is concentrating on a
luminous figure of education which it beholds, dimly, emerging from
a cloudy horizon. This gracious presence is to change the world,
to give to all men wider possibilities, other thoughts, aims: but,
alas, this Education which is to be open to all promises no more
on a nearer view than to make Opportunity universal--that is, in
spiritual things, he may take who has the power and he may keep who
can.

The net is cast wide no doubt and brings in a mighty haul but the
meshes are so wide that it will only retain big fishes. Now this is
the history of education since the world was and is no new thing.
The mediæval schools of castle or abbey, the Renaissance schools,
the very schools of China, have all been conducted upon this
plan. Education is for him who wants it and can take it but is no
universal boon like the air we breathe or the sunshine we revel in.

We are a little sorry for the effect of this limitation upon the
‘working classes’: only a small percentage of the children of these
are ‘big’ enough to be retained in the examination net which, to
do it justice, explores all waters. A few of the pass men may do
big things and fill big posts, but for the rest, a large percentage
is, in practice, illiterate except for the spelling out of a local
‘rag’ for football and parish news.

But is the mischief confined to what we call the ‘working
classes’? Is it not a fact that in most schools the full force
of instruction is turned on upon a few boys who are likely to
distinguish themselves? While for the rest of the school teaching
is duly given no doubt but the boys find they may take it or leave
it as the humour takes them.

We were all fascinated a while ago by the story of a pair of
charming ‘Twins’; these went through the usual preparatory school
education and then passed on to a great Public School where they
remained until they were nineteen; that is, they had ten or twelve
good years among most excellent opportunities. As they were
attractive boys we may take it that their masters were not at any
rate unwilling to teach them. Their record should have been quite
a good one, and, though it is the fashion to sneer a little at
Public Schools, we know that these have turned out and do turn
out the best and most intellectual men the country has occasion
for. Therefore what happened in the case of these ‘Twins’ does
not cast any reflection upon Public Schools but solely upon the
system of the Big Mesh. Here are some of the things we read in that
delightful biography:--

  “While in hospital after a smash at polo R---- wrote to
  F----:--‘I enjoyed it immensely. What lucky people we are taking
  an interest in so many things!’”

Surely here was material for a schoolmaster to work upon! Again, we
read:--

  “They never ceased to wonder at the magnificence of the world and
  they carried a divine innocence into soldiering and travel and
  sport and business and, not least,--into the shadows of the Great
  War.”

And this ‘wonder’ of theirs was the note that marked them at
school. Again, what material for their instructors!

  “But,” we read, “at X---- they showed little interest in books
  and, later, were wont to lament to each other that ‘_They had
  left school wholly uneducated._’” (The italics are ours.)

Their kindly biographer and dear friend goes on to say:--

  “But they learnt other things,--the gift of leadership, for
  instance, and the power of getting alongside all varieties of
  human nature.”

But was not this nature rather than nurture, school nurture at any
rate, for these gifts seem to have been a family inheritance? Born
in 1880, they left school in 1899, when there follows a delightful
record for the one brother of successful and adventurous sport
while--

  “R---- was soon absorbed in the city ... and beginning to lament
  his want of education.” “F----, while in Egypt was greatly
  impressed by Lord Cromer and writes to R----, ‘he is quite the
  biggest man we have!... to hear him talk is worth hearing.’”

The two brothers correspond constantly and R---- takes the part
of mentor to his brother. He advises him to learn _The Times_
leaders by heart to improve his style,--“because they are very good
English.” Again,--

  “I will send you out next mail a very good book, _Science and
  Education_, by Professor Huxley which I have marked in several
  places, the sort of book you can read over again.” R---- “had
  discovered that he was very badly educated and was determined to
  remedy this defect:--‘It don’t matter ... I do believe not having
  learned at X---- so long as one does so now.’”

See the fine loyalty of the young man; his failures were not to be
put down to his school!

If the schools take credit for any one thing it is that they show
their pupils ‘how to learn’; but do they? We are told that R----
set to work at a queer assortment of books and writes to F----:--

  “Anyone can improve his memory: the best way is by learning by
  heart--no matter what--and then when you think you know it,
  say it or write it.... After two or three days you are sure to
  forget it again and then instead of looking at the book ‘strain
  your mind’ and try to remember it. Above all things always keep
  your mind employed. One great man (I forget which) used to see
  a number on a door, say 69, and tried to remember all that had
  happened in the years ending in 69. Or, see a horse and remember
  how many you have seen that day.... Asquith always learns things
  by heart, he never wastes a minute; as soon as he has nothing to
  do he picks up some book. He reads till 1-30 every night. When
  driving to the Temple next morning he thinks over what he has
  read. Result: he has a marvellous memory and knows everything.”

Think of the Herculean labours the poor fellow set for both himself
and his brother! They ran an intellectual race across a ploughed
field after heavy rain and the marvel is that they made way at
all. Yet these two brothers had sufficient intellectual zeal to
have made them great men as Ambassadors, Governors of Dominions,
Statesmen, what not; whereas so far as things of the mind go, they
spent their days in a hopeless struggle, alert for any indication
which might help them to make up lee-way, and all because,
according to their own confession, they ‘had learned nothing at
school.’ Here are further indications of R----’s labours in the
field of knowledge:--

  “I am reading Rosebery’s _Napoleon_ and will send it to you.
  What a wonder he was! Never spent a moment of his life without
  learning something.... I enclose an essay from Bacon’s book.
  Learn it by heart if you can. I have and think it a clinker....
  I have also finished _Life of Macaulay_. I have always wondered
  how our great politicians and literary chaps live.... I also
  send you a Shakespeare. I learnt Antony’s harangue to the Romans
  after Cæsar’s death; I am also trying to learn a little about
  electricity and railroad organization, so have my time filled
  up. _Pickwick Papers_ I also send to you. I have always avoided
  this sort of books but Dickens’ works are miles funnier than the
  rotten novels one sees.... I have learnt one thing by my reading
  and my conversation with Professors,--_you and I go at a subject
  all wrong_.” (Italics ours.)

These letters are pathetic documents and, that they are reassuring
also, let us be thankful. They do go to prove that the desire of
knowledge is inextinguishable whatever schools do or leave undone;
but have these nothing to answer for when a pursuit which should
yield ever recurring refreshment becomes dogged labour over heavy
roads with little pleasure in progress?

Here, again, is another evidence of the limitations attending an
utter absence of education. A cultivated sense of humour is a
great factor in a joyous life, but these young men are without it.
Perhaps the youth addicted to sports usually fails to appreciate
delicate nonsense; sports are too strenuous to admit of a subtler,
more airy kind of play and we read:--

  “R---- heard Mr. Balfour and Lord Reay praising _Alice in
  Wonderland_. Deeply impressed he bought the book as soon as he
  returned to London and read it earnestly. To his horror he saw
  no sense in it. Then it struck him that it might be meant as
  nonsense and he had another try, when he concluded that it was
  rather funny but he remained disappointed.”

We need not follow the career of these interesting men further.
Both fell early before they were forty. Their fine qualities
and their personal fascination remained with them to the end,
as did also, alas, their invincible ignorance. They laboured
indefatigably, but, as R---- remarked,--“You and I go at a subject
all wrong!”

The schools must tell us why men who attained mediocre successes
and the personal favour due to charming manners and sweet natures
were yet somewhat depressed and disappointed on account of the
ignorance which they made blind and futile efforts to correct; but
they never got so far as to learn that knowledge is delightful
_because one likes it_; and that no effort at self-education can
do anything until one has found out this supreme delightfulness of
knowledge.

It must be noted that this failure of a great school to fulfil its
purpose occurred twenty years ago, and that no educational body has
made more well-considered and enlightened advances than have the
Headmasters of the great Public Schools. Probably that delightful
group of Eton boys in _Coningsby_ has always been and is to-day
typical; there is a certain knightly character in the fine bearing
and intelligent countenances of the Head Boys one comes across
there which speaks well for their intellectual activity. The
question is whether more might not be done with the average boy.

The function of the schools is no doubt to feed their scholars on
knowledge until they have created in them a healthy appetite which
they will go on satisfying for themselves day by day throughout
life. We must give up the farce of teaching young people how to
learn, which is just as felicitous a labour and just as necessary
as to teach a child the motions of eating without offering him
food; and studies which are pursued with a view to improve the mind
must in future take a back seat.

The multitudinous things that every person wants to know must
be made accessible in the schoolroom, not by diagrams, digests,
and abstract principles; but boys and girls, like ‘Kit’s little
brother,’ must learn ‘what oysters is’ by supping on oysters. There
is absolutely no avenue to knowledge but knowledge itself, and
the schools must begin, not by qualifying the mind to deal with
knowledge, but by affording all the best books containing all the
sorts of knowledge which these ‘Twins,’ like everyone else, wanted
to know. We have to face two difficulties. We do not believe in
children as intellectual persons nor in knowledge as requisite and
necessary for intellectual life. It is a pity that education is
conducted _in camera_ save for the examination lists which shew
how the best pupils in a school have acquitted themselves, the
half-dozen or dozen best in a big school. Finely conscientious as
teachers are they can hardly fail to give undue importance to their
group of candidates for examination and a school of four or five
hundred stands or falls by a dozen head boys.

  [See note under Table of Contents for (_a_) the large number of
  children’s answers, and (_b_) Book IV of which only Chapter 1
  appears in this volume].



Index


  abridged editions, 183

  _Abt Vogler_, 324

  academic solution of educational problems, the, 254, 288

  Academy (French), 252, 256

  _Across the Bridges_, by A. Paterson, 118, 119, 300

  act of knowing, 99, 254, 271, 292, 298;
    knowledge acquired by, 291

  Adams, Professor John, 112

  æsthetic sense, 43;
    open to disaster, 56

  affections, mis-directed, 58

  Albrecht, Dr., 162

  allusions, literary, 264

  Ambleside, 212, 217

  _Ambleside Geography, The_, 226-229

  Amyot, on history, 273

  anarchy, 69

  ‘Angelic Doctor,’ The, 284

  ‘aniseed drops,’ educational, 302

  _aphasia_, our national, 269

  ‘appetency,’ 56, 107

  apprenticeship, 328

  architecture, 77, 217, 220

  arithmetic, 59, 73, 141, 151, 152, 230-233

  Armstrong, Dr., 280

  Arnold, Dr., 257, 340, 341

  Arnold, Matthew, 239, 252, 258, 309, 315, 342

  art, xxx, 14, 43, 45, 63, 154, 157, 254;
    teaching of, 213-217, 275;
    is of the spirit, 214;
    power of appreciating, 214;
    reverent knowledge of, 214

  Arthur, King, 28

  assimilation, 259

  astronomy, 50, 220, 222

  Astrophel, 100

  athleticism and mental activity, 72

  atmosphere, education is an, xxix, 94-99

  attention, 259;
    a habit, 100;
    a natural function, 171;
    how secured, 13-15, 17, 28, 45, 76, 255;
    must not have crutches, 258;
    power of, present in children, xxxi, 7, 14, 18, 76, 154, 171, 255,
        263, 290;
    the hall-mark of an educated person, 99;
    the prime agent in education, 16, 76, 247;
    weakened by efforts to memorise, 17;
    unfailing, 17, 171, 291

  _Aus Meinem Leben_ (Goethe), 161

  Austen, Jane, 16, 77, 193, 294

  authority, natural, necessary and fundamental, xxix, 68-78, 97, 134;
    deputed, 68;
    the condition of liberty, 69;
    order, outcome of, 69;
    chastened, 71;
    _vide_ self-authority

  average boy, the, 300, 310, 312


  Bacon, 7, 29, 61, 105, 124, 143

  _Barnaby Rudge_, 259, 282

  ‘Baron of Bradwardine,’ the, 312

  Bergson, Henri, 173

  Bernhardi, F. von, 3

  Bible, The, 143, 186, 272, 273;
    in curriculum, 30, 40, 61-65, 160-165, 254;
    fine English of, 160, 309;
    method of, lesson, 159-169;
    and critical teaching, 163

  Big Mesh, The system of the, 344

  biology, 221

  Blake, William, 79

  Board of Education, 250

  body, well-being of, 46;
    a sound, 189

  Bompas Smith, Professor, 27

  Bonnot, 327

  books, many, xxx, 7, 12, 15, 30, 59, 76, 267, 271, 303;
    living, xxx, 303;
    worthy, 12, 18, 26, 52, 75, 104, 191, 260, 268;
    delight in, 28;
    text-books, 50, 53, 105, 256, 263, 271, 275;
    difficulty of choosing, 187, 248;
    choice of, 248, 272;
    P.U.S., tested by examinations, 248;
    ‘classes’ and ‘masses’ must read the same, 264;
    about books, 341

  Bosanquet, Bernard, 149

  Bose, Professor Sir Jagadis Chandra, 95

  botany, 220, 221

  brain, adaptation of, to habits, xxx, 101;
    thought not a function of, 2, 4, 260;
    subject to same conditions as body, 38;
    should not know fatigue, 38;
    mind takes care of, 330

  British Association, The, 222, 251

  British Museum, The, 77, 175, 176, 274

  Browning, Robert, 100, 133, 215, 331

  Büchner, 4

  Burns, John, 300

  _Bushido_, 133


  ‘Caleb Garth,’ 61

  ‘Caleb Balderstone,’ 314

  Carlyle, Thomas, 238, 288

  Catechism, The, 169

  Cavell, Nurse, 77, 141

  Character, the one achievement possible, 129;
    more important than conduct, 129;
    formation of, 264, 278;
    magnanimity of, 248

  Charles IX, 50

  chemistry, 254

  _Childe Harold_ (Byron), 186

  child-garden, 24

  children, waiting for call of knowledge, xxv;
    are born persons, xxix, 13, 18, 29, 36, 80, 238;
    have good and evil tendencies, xxix, 47-49, 52, 61, 66, 85, 86,
        88, 89;
    must live under natural conditions, xxix, 96-99;
    have appetite for knowledge, xxx, 10, 11-13, 14, 18, 29, 44, 53,
        58, 62, 77, 89, 91, 124;
    can deal with knowledge, xxx, 10, 14, 18, 40, 72, 109, 117, 154,
        237, 263;
    require much and various knowledge, xxx, 11, 12, 14, 19, 25, 72,
        109, 111, 116, 125, 154, 157, 253, 256, 263, 288-290;
    and in literary form, xxxi, 13, 17, 18, 29, 30, 51, 92, 109, 154,
        160, 172, 218, 248, 256, 260, 291;
    have power of attention, xxxi, 7, 14, 18, 29, 75, 154, 171, 255,
        263, 291;
    enormous educability of, xxxi;
    must have principles of conduct, xxxi, 62;
    must have responsibility of learning, 6, 74, 99;
    have powers common to _all_, 8;
    backward, 9, 62, 183, 245, 255, 291;
    are ignorant, 10;
    have imagination, 10, 18, 36, 41, 50;
    and judgment, 10, 18;
    hindered by apparatus of teacher, 11, 54;
    made apathetic by spiritual malnutrition, 11, 54;
    must have great thoughts, 12, 40;
    must read many books, xxx, 7, 12, 15, 30, 59, 76, 267, 271, 303;
    must read to know, 13, 99;
    are bored by talk, 15, 19, 41, 44, 52, 58;
    intellectual capacity of, belittled, 26, 31, 75, 81, 158, 192,
        238, 246;
    are not all alike, 30, 241;
    first notions of, 35;
    and language, 35;
    early thoughts of, 36, 238;
    experience what they hear and read, 40;
    hearts of, thoroughly furnished, 43, 60;
    of the slums, 44, 63, 256, 260, 293;
    all, persons of infinite possibilities, 44, 156;
    start fair, 47;
    muscles and nerves of, 48;
    have power to sense meaning, 51, 181;
    not intellectual ruminants, 53;
    dangers of feeding, morally, 59;
    must think fairly, 61;
    capacity and needs of, 66, 157;
    and the sense of ‘must,’ 73;
    offences against, 81;
    must be relieved of decisions, 97;
    need bracing, not too stimulating, atmosphere, 98;
    should not ‘run wild,’ 98;
    must form good habits, 100;
    grow upon ideas, 109;
    should know something of their own capacities, 131, 187, 189;
    must follow arguments and detect fallacies, 147;
    must know what religion is, 149;
    educational rights of, 157, 339;
    howlers of _v._ mistakes, 158, 256;
    have affinity for God, 158;
    able for school education at five, but no conscious mental effort
        desirable until six, 159;
    examination answers of, 167, 168, 185, 191, 193, 194, 195-209,
        244;
    enjoy classical names, 181;
    must see life whole, 187;
    must learn science of proportion, 187;
    chastely taught, watch their thoughts, 188;
    do not generalise, 224;
    devitalised, 237;
    not products of education or environment, 238;
    not incomplete beings, but ignorant, 238;
    powers of, 9, 238, 255;
    shown in verses, 242-243;
    offer a resisting medium, 253;
    need physical and mechanical training, 255;
    beings ‘of large discourse,’ 305;
    should be persons of leisure, 305

  China, schools of, 343

  Chinese Empire, 179

  Christ, parables of, 304;
    gave profoundest philosophy to the multitude, 332;
    does not exist for our uses only, 336;
    teaching of, must receive profound attention, 337

  Christianity, 336

  Chrysostom, St., Prayer of, 64

  cinematograph displays, 340

  Circe, 186, 267

  _Citizens to Be_, by Miss M. L. V. Hughes, 235

  citizenship, 185-189, 254, 274;
    the inspiration of, 185;
    ancillary to history, 185;
    problem of good and evil in, 186

  Cizek, Herr, 216

  Coleridge, S. T., 35, 56, 105-108, 110, 233, 290, 318, 322

  Colet, Dean, xxvi, 247

  Collingwood, Lord, 60

  Comenius, 8, 20, 291

  composition, 190-209;
    oral, 190, 269;
    art of, should not be taught, 190, 192, 269;
    not an adjunct of education, 192;
    in verse, 193, 242;
    definite teaching of, in Forms V and VI, 193, 194;
    power of, innate in children, 191;
    written, 192;
    comes of free and exact use of books, 193;
    children’s, 195-209

  concentration, 8, 15;
    innate, 171

  _Coningsby_, 348

  conscience, present in infant, 37;
    governing power of man, 131

  _Continuation Schools_, edited by Sir Michael Sadler, 285

  Continuation Schools, a Liberal Education in, 119, 124, 127, 147;
    the scope of, 279-299;
    movement and technical education, 279;
    not for technical instruction, but for things of the mind, 287

  Copenhagen, 285

  Copts, 314

  Cornwell, Jack, 141

  correlation, principle of, 276

  correlation lessons, 114, ff.

  Council Schools, P.U.S. work in, xxv, 77, 81, 181, 182, 195, 241,
        290, 293

  ‘countenance,’ a manifestation of thought, 301

  ‘Creakle, Mr.’ 81, 101

  Curie, Madame, 141

  curriculum, a full, xxx, 14, 19, 30, 154, 263;
    a common, 12, 293;
    principles bearing upon the, 13, 31, 156-158;
    in P.U.S., 15, 28, 154-234;
    in Grammar and Public Schools, 85;
    and the formation of habits, 99;
    in Elementary Schools, 155;
    standard set by examinations, 233;
    a complete, suggested by the nature of things, 156


  Damien, Father, 60

  dancing, 234

  Darwin, 3, 4, 5, 54

  _David Copperfield_, 81, 111, 238

  democracy, 312

  Demos clamours for humanistic education, 299

  Denmark, education in, 123, 283-287, 291, 306

  De Quincey, 29, 103, 333

  Departmental Committee on English, 269

  desires, which stimulate mind, 11, 88;
    cater for spiritual sustenance, 11;
    atrophy of, 89;
    _v._ other desires, 247;
    must be used wisely, 56;
    right and wrong, 84

  Dewey, Professor, 280

  Dickens, 81, 111

  discipline, xxix, xxx;
    secured by knowledge-hunger, 11;
    education a, 99-104

  discrimination, 259

  diversion, xxxi

  Divine Spirit, xxxi;
    Divine sanctions, 20

  docility, 68;
    universal, 69;
    _v._ subservience, 71;
    implies equality, 71

  _Doll’s House, The_ (Ibsen), 327

  drawing, 217, 329

  Drighlington Girls’ School, xxv, 236


  economics, 73, 313

  education;
    a liberal, xxv, 8, 21, 78, 92, 127, 235, 250, 261, 264, 266, 271,
        294, 296;
    gives stability of mind, 248;
    makes for sound judgment, 56;
    three instruments of, xxix, 94;
    and atmosphere, xxix, 94-99;
    and discipline of habit, xxix, xxx, 99-104;
    is a life, xxix, 104-111;
    is the Science of Relations, xxx, 31, 154;
    little dependent on heredity and environment, xxxi;
    errors in, 2, 5, 24, 26, 38, 41, 44, 53, 58, 59, 75-77, 82-89, 91,
        94-96, 98, 105, 110, 114-122, 129, 155, 178, 190, 237, 246,
        254, 304;
    a philosophy of, 2, 18, 67;
    and training, 3, 5, 6, 20, 39, 48, 147, 287;
    must nourish mind, 6, 72, 105, 111, 253, 255, 260;
    discoveries in, 9, 62, 68, 104, 255, 256, 290;
    and the Desires, 11, 58, 84-90;
    Knowledge the concern of, 2, 93, 266;
    is of the spirit, 12, 26, 30, 38, 39, 125;
    attention, the prime agent of, 16, 76, 247;
    lacks exact application of principles, 19;
    “new,” 27;
    distinguished from psychology, sociology, pathology, 27;
    in want of a unifying theory, 32;
    does not produce mind, 36;
    and use of leisure, 42, 79, 121;
    the work of, 46, 60, 248, 281, 287;
    the handmaid of Religion, 46, 79, 248;
    business of, always with us, 54;
    of the feelings, 59;
    of the soul, 63;
    drowned by talk, 65;
    and capacity of child, 66;
    a going forth of the mind, 66, 137;
    popular, 76;
    a free, 85, 146;
    definite progress a condition of, 91;
    not mainly gymnastic in function, 108, 236;
    in Denmark and Scandinavia, 123, 125, 283-287, 291, 306;
    in Germany, 123, 125, 279, 280, 306;
    utilitarian, 125, 156, 180, 224, 279-283, 302;
    co-existent with moral bankruptcy, 281;
    in France, 125;
    in Switzerland, 125;
    Secondary, 127, 250-278;
    less liberty than in Primary, 155;
    character, the aim of, 129, 287;
    must fortify will, 131;
    title deeds of, 156;
    beginning of definite, 159;
    a science of proportion, 231-233;
    a social lever, 245;
    solves problems of decent living, 245;
    a venture of faith, 245;
    part and parcel of Religion, 246;
    _v._ Civilisation, 248;
    a common, 249, 264, 296;
    a democratic, 265;
    not for the best children only, 254;
    hindered by materialism, 259;
    an exclusive, our great achievement, 265;
    overlapping in, 265;
    a literary, open to all, 268;
    humanistic, affects conduct, 293;
    an early, from great books, the true foundation of knowledge, 308;
    of the race, 324;
    new systems of, 325;
    result of forty years’, 342;
    should be universal boon like air, 343;
    as exemplified by two Public School boys, 343-348

  Education Act, 121, 122

  Eliot, George, 61

  efficiency, 125

  Elementary Schools, 326;
    P.N.E.U. propaganda on behalf of, xxvii;
    P.U.S. methods in, xxxi, 13, 14, 39, 44, 50, 268;
    books in, 53;
    concentration schemes in, 115;
    A Liberal Education in, 235-249;
    gain by no marks, no places, 247

  _Emile_, by J. J. Rousseau, 338

  _Encyclopædia Britannica_, 5, 17

  ‘English,’ 86, 147, 209-211

  English Literature, 124, 298

  environment, xxix, 94-99;
    educability of children little dependent on, xxxi, 155;
    not way to mind, 38;
    _v._ atmosphere, 96;
    children not products of, 238

  Erasmus, 187, 340

  erudition, 310

  ethics, 14, 254, 274

  _Ethics of the Dust_, by John Ruskin, 223

  Eton, 252, 308, 348

  Eucken, Professor, 249, 296

  Euclid, 152, 233

  eugenics, 313

  eurhythmics, 251, 255

  examinations, 231, 256, 277, 291;
    University entrance, 155, 233;
    and scholarships, 155;
    P.U.S., 158, 167, 168, 171, 178, 220, 221, 241-243, 262, 270, 272,
        293-296;
    should set less exacting standard, 256;
    tests which shall safeguard Letters, 312;
    papers and children’s answers, 195-209

  Ezekiel, 55


  faculties, 11, 17, 259, 263, 266;
    out-of-date, 2, 230, 255;
    Büchner on, 4;
    none to develop, 255, 276

  fallacious arguments, 326

  Fichte, 279, 306

  Fisher, Mr. H. A. L., 53, 122, 126

  Fouillée, M., 110

  Fox, Charles, 29;
    on poetry, 317

  _Four Georges, The_, by Thackeray, 171

  France, Anatole, 317

  France, education in, 125

  Francis, St., 60

  Franklin, the Hon. Mrs., xxviii

  Frederick the Great, 3

  French, the teaching of, 211-213

  French Revolution, The, 4, 92

  Fuller, Thomas, xxvii


  Gaddi, Taddeo, 322

  games, 188;
    should be joyous relaxation rather than stern necessity, 267

  Genesis, 309

  geography, teaching of, 14, 30, 40, 59, 177, 220, 221, 224-230;
    dangers of ‘scientific,’ 41;
    suffers from utilitarian spirit, 224;
    and travel, 226;
    the romance of, 227;
    not generalisations, 227;
    inferential method of teaching, 227-228;
    panoramic method, 227-228;
    literary character of, 228

  geology, teaching of, 221

  geometry, the teaching of, 233

  German, the teaching of, 213

  Germany, moral breakdown of, 3, 123;
    influence of Darwin on, 3, 4;
    utilitarianism in, 6, 123, 125, 280, 286, 306;
    cult of æstheticism in, 95;
    philosophers of, 3, 4;
    school curriculum in, 6;
    efficiency in, 282, 283

  Gibbon, 124

  Gladstone, W. E., 281

  Gloucester teachers’ P.U.S. conference, 183

  Gloucestershire, 51, 90

  God, knowledge of, 64, 65, 158-169, 239, 246, 254, 287, 289, 310,
        315;
    the principal knowledge, 272, 338

  ‘Godfrey Bertram,’ 122

  Goethe, 40, 160-162, 273, 299

  Gordon, General, 141

  Gordon Riots, 130

  Gorky, Maxim, 62

  Gospels, The, 165, 166, 169

  grammar, the teaching of, 7, 10, 141, 151, 152, 209-211, 269

  Greek, 124, 155, 254, 308

  Greeks and the power of words, 316

  Gregory, Sir Richard, on science teaching, 222

  Grundtvig, 125, 283, 284, 291

  _Guy Mannering_, 122, 331

  gymnastics, intellectual and physical _v._ knowledge, 236


  Habit, xxix, 53, 99-104, 128, 147;
    is inevitable, 101;
    a bad master, 101;
    act repeated becomes, 102;
    religious, 103

  Haeckel, Ernst, 4

  Hague, The, 285

  Haldane, Lord, 26

  Hall, Professor Stanley, 280

  _Hamlet_, 179, 183

  handicrafts, xxx, 31, 73, 154, 217, 234, 251, 255, 328

  _Heart of Midlothian_, The, 331

  _Henry VIII_, 170, 173

  Herbart, 112, 113, 114, 117

  Herbartian doctrine, xxx, 113, 117

  Herbert, George, 64

  heredity, educability of children little dependent on, xxxi, 155

  High School girl, the, 326

  history, 14, 30, 42, 50, 59, 62, 73, 77, 151, 157, 169-180, 254,
        267;
    a vital part of education, 169, 273;
    church, 169;
    English, 170-175, 176, 177;
    French, 175, 176, 177;
    ancient, 175, 176, 177, 274;
    Indian, 176, 267;
    European, 176, 177;
    British Empire, 176;
    and literature, 176, 177, 180, 184, 269, 274;
    and citizenship, 185, 274;
    geographical aspects of, 177;
    as a background for thought, 178;
    time given to, 170;
    necessary for a sane life, 178;
    gives weight to decision, consideration to action, stability to
        conduct, 179;
    charts, by Miss Beale, 177

  _Home Education Series_, 6, 27

  Homer, 182, 190

  home work, 9

  hope, we want, 335

  Horace, 78, 264

  horde, spirit of, a dangerous tendency, 300

  Household, Mr. H. W., 90, 212

  House of Education, The, 15, 212, 213, 276

  “howlers,” 158, 256

  Humanism, 240;
    for the people at large, 235

  humanistic training surest basis for business capacity, 285

  ‘Humanities,’ The, 14, 157, 235, 239, 260, 297, 305;
    in English, 298

  human nature, prefers natural to spiritual law, 3;
    a composite whole, 156;
    possibilities of, infinite and various, 156;
    an ordered presentation of the powers of, 189;
    has not failed, 335

  Huxley on the teaching of science, 218

  hygiene, 220


  Ideas, xxix, xxx, 290;
    mind feeds on, xxx, 10, 20, 25, 39, 40, 105, 109, 110, 117, 256;
    informing, xxx, 26, 154;
    initial, xxxi;
    Platonic, 10, 108;
    that influence life, 25;
    give birth to acts, 80, 102, 303;
    potency of, 105;
    rise and progress of, 106, 107;
    Coleridge’s ‘captain,’ 110;
    behaviour of, 113;
    correlation of, 114;
    instruct conscience and stimulate will, 130;
    choice between, 134;
    growth of, 297

  Ignorance, dangers of, 1, 5, 279, 299, 310, 314;
    is not incapacity, 63;
    our national stumbling-block, 239;
    only one cure for, 239

  Imagination, 25, 259;
    present in children, 11, 18, 36, 41, 50;
    present in infant, 37;
    may be stored with evil images, 55

  _Incuria_ of children, 52, 254, 292

  India, 267

  influence, 83

  information _v._ knowledge, 26, 184, 303, 321

  initiative, 25

  insincerity an outcome of ignorance, 326

  integrity, 61

  intellect not a class prerogative, 12;
    enthroned in every child, 50

  intellectual conversion, xxv, xxvi

  intellectual appetite, 56

  intelligence not a matter of inheritance and environment, 12

  introspection, 66

  irresponsibility characterises our generation, 313

  Isaiah, 106, 309, 318

  Italian, teaching of, 213


  James, Professor William, 113, 114

  Japan, 133;
    revolution in, 306

  Jewish nation, history of, 162

  _Joan and Peter_, by H. G. Wells, 95, 252, 266

  Johnson, Dr., 143, 160;
    on questions, 257

  Jordan, xxvi

  judgment, power of, 259;
    present in children, 9, 18

  justice, 60-62


  Kant, 306

  Keble, 167

  Kidd, Benjamin, 69

  _King Lear_, 45, 242

  Kipling, Rudyard, 89, 135, 181

  Kirschensteiner, Dr. and Munich Schools, 280

  knowledge, call of, xxv;
    appetite for, xxx, 10, 11, 14, 18, 20, 29, 44, 53, 57, 77, 89, 90,
        92, 117, 124, 253, 255, 290, 302;
    must be vital, xxx, 39, 44, 105, 154;
    quantity and variety of, xxx, 11, 14, 19, 116, 123, 154, 157, 253,
        256, 257, 263, 288, 289, 290;
    must be literary in form, xxx, 13, 15, 18, 29, 30, 51, 91, 109,
        111, 154, 160, 172, 218, 248, 256, 260, 290;
    assimilation of, xxx, 12, 14, 16, 18, 155, 240, 292;
    the sole concern of education, 2, 12, 93;
    the necessary food of mind, 2, 18, 75, 88, 239, 256, 258;
    consecutive, 7, 158, 172, 244, 261, 267;
    accurate, 8;
    what is? 12, 239, 254, 303;
    a basis of common, for all classes, 20, 78, 264, 293, 298, 299;
    not sensation, 26;
    of good and evil, 46;
    love of, sufficient stimulus for work, 58, 79, 98;
    of God, 64, 65, 158-169, 239, 246, 254, 272, 287, 289, 310, 315,
        338;
    formative influence of, 65;
    brings freedom, 71, 73;
    depreciation of, 76, 301, 316;
    is delectable, 89;
    creates bracing atmosphere, 97;
    _v._ teaching, 118;
    is virtue, 127, 235;
    of man, 169-218, 239, 254, 289, 315;
    of the Universe, 218-234, 239, 254, 289, 316;
    relativity of, and mind, 237, 240, 324;
    stops friction, 238;
    substitutes for, 302;
    ‘The source of pleasure,’ 302;
    Matthew Arnold on, 239;
    received with attention, and fixed by narration, 259;
    not same as academic success, 266;
    unifying effect of, 267;
    ‘Meet for the people,’ 292;
    a distinction between, and scholarship, 305;
    ‘Letters,’ the content of, 308;
    not a store but a state, 309;
    of the Life, the Truth, the Way, 317;
    the basis of a nation’s strength, 321;
    _v._ information, 303, 321;
    mediæval conception of, 321;
    all, is sacred, 324;
    a great unity, 324;
    and ‘learning,’ 325;
    exalteth a nation, 342

  _Kultur_, 286


  Lamb, Charles, 16, 258, 260

  languages, the teaching of, 209-213, 254, 276

  Latin, the teaching of, 94, 124, 155, 213

  League of Nations, 169

  learning, by rote, 257;
    and knowledge, 325;
    labour of, not decreased by narrowing curriculum, 158

  Lecky, Mr., on utilitarian theory, 280

  _Lehrbuch zur Psychologie_, 113

  Leibnitz, 110, 113

  Leonardo da Vinci, 54

  lessons, dull routine, 44

  ‘Letters,’ knowledge and virtue, 307;
    the vehicle of knowledge, 308;
    a knowledge of, necessary, 313;
    make a universal appeal, 333;
    the staple of education, 334

  _Liberal Education, A: Practice_, by A. C. Drury, 157

  life, not enough for our living, 335

  listening, habit of, 244

  Lister, 19, 318

  literary form, children must have, xxx, 15, 18, 29, 30, 51, 91, 109,
        111, 154, 160, 172, 218, 248, 256, 260, 290;
    children educated out of, 13

  Literature, the teaching of, 42, 43, 52, 62, 151, 157, 180-185, 254;
    natural aptitude for, 91;
    illustrates history, 176, 177, 180, 184, 269, 274;
    a living power, 185;
    and history, sole key to unintelligible world, 338;
    reveals deepest things, 338

  Locke, 4, 156

  _Logos_, 330

  Louis XI, 132

  Louis XIV, 92

  Louisa, Queen of Prussia, 306

  Lugard, Lady, 314

  Lysander, 109


  _Macbeth_, 140

  magnanimity, 89, 248, 268

  magnetism, personal, 13, 48, 49

  Magnus, Sir Philip, 280

  maps, 224

  Marconi, 236

  Maria Theresa, 311

  marks, 7, 11, 28, 52, 247, 302;
    unnecessary, 45

  Marx, Karl, 144

  Masefield, John, on vitality of mind, 277

  mathematics, the teaching of, 7, 59, 148, 151, 152, 153, 155,
        230-233, 254, 256, 264, 296;
    appeal to mind, 51;
    beauty and truth of, 230, 334;
    undue importance of, 231;
    not a royal road to learning, 231;
    to be studied for their own sake, 232;
    success should not depend on, 232;
    depend upon the teacher, 233;
    badly taught, 233

  matter, not the foundation of all being, 4;
    and mind, 5

  Memmi, Simone, 284, 322, 323

  Memory, 14, 16;
    mind _v._ word, 173, 263;
    knowledge, mental not verbal, 258, 303

  mental food and work not synonymous terms, 281

  _Method_, Coleridge’s, 106, 107

  method, special points of P.N.E.U.;
    children do the work, 6, 19, 192, 216, 241;
    teachers help, 6, 19, 241;
    single reading, 6, 15, 171, 241, 258, 261, 263, 267, 291, 293,
        304;
    narration, 6, 15, 18, 30, 45, 65, 155, 163, 165, 172, 180, 182,
        190, 191, 211, 241, 261, 272, 276, 291;
    no revision, 6, 9, 15, 171, 241, 245, 262;
    no special selections, 7, 244;
    many books, 7, 12, 15, 30, 59, 76, 241, 267, 268, 271, 303;
    children’s delight in books, 7, 19, 30, 45;
    attention secured by books, 7, 13, 30, 45, 276;
    consecutive knowledge, 7, 158, 172, 244, 261, 267;
    takes less time, 9, 245;
    no preparation, 9, 158, 245;
    children occupied with things as well as books, 31;
    short hours, 158;
    examinations, 158, 167, 168, 171, 178, 195-209, 241-243, 262, 263,
        270, 272;
    children form a good style, 194;
    power of dealing with names, 181, 262, 264, 294-296;
    suitable for large numbers, 247;
    success depends on principles, 270

  ‘Micawber, Mr.,’ 231

  ‘Midas,’ 267

  Milton, 110, 124, 132, 159, 188, 274;
    on ideal of education, 249, 268;
    _Areopagitica_, 188

  Mind, habits of, xxix, 53, 100;
    feeds on ideas, xxix, 2, 10, 15, 18, 20, 25, 39, 40, 105, 111,
        117, 256, 257;
    not a receptacle, xxx, 112;
    a spiritual organism, xxx, 24, 38, 117;
    has appetite, xxx, 10, 20, 39, 57, 89, 281;
    must be fed, xxx, 5, 10, 18, 20, 24, 25, 41, 71, 105, 111, 117,
        154, 236, 239, 246, 259, 263, 281, 288;
    can deal with knowledge, xxx, 10, 18, 41, 72, 117;
    not made up of faculties, 2, 17;
    in education, 2, 6, 253;
    thought alone appeals to, 2, 12, 15;
    is one, 5, 41;
    is spiritual, 5, 38;
    action of, stimulated by desires, 11, 13, 88;
    nature of, 20;
    house of, 24;
    must have labour of digestion, 26, 237;
    the instrument of education, 36;
    spiritual, _v._ physical brain, 38, 100, 260, 330;
    amazing potentialities of, 38;
    ‘the unconscious,’ 38, 66, 130;
    tendency to ignore, 38;
    the means of living, 42;
    good and evil tendencies of, 46, 49, 52;
    not a chartered libertine, 49;
    use of term, 66;
    always conscious, 66;
    heaven of, 71;
    not sustained by physical or emotional activity, 72, 289;
    must not be intruded upon, 130;
    deals with intellectual matter without aids, 172;
    potency not property characteristic of, 237;
    laws of, 245, 246, 290;
    behaviour of, 253;
    duly fed, its activities take care of themselves, 289;
    vast educability of, 289;
    receives knowledge to grow, 237;
    must know, 237;
    wonder of, 239;
    and knowledge, 240, 324;
    functions for its own nourishment, 246;
    of children not immature, 246;
    stability of, 248;
    benefits by occasional gymnastics, 255;
    a crucible, cannot distil from sawdust, 257;
    a deceiver ever, 257;
    outer court of, 257;
    how, works, 257;
    -stuff, 259;
    forces which act in education, 259;
    we must believe in, 260;
    moves altogether when it moves at all, 276;
    demands method, 334

  miracles, 148

  Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley, 36

  Montaigne, on history, 169

  Moral, impulse, 17;
    offences bred in the mind, 188;
    training, 58, 59

  morality, school, 188

  morals, everyday and economics: citizenship, 185-189

  _Mornings in Florence_, by John Ruskin, 323

  Muirhead, Professor, 3

  Munich, 285, 306;
    Schools, 125, 280, 286

  ‘Murdstone, Mr.,’ 81

  Music, 329

  Musical Appreciation, by Mrs. Howard Glover, 217, 218


  Napoleon, 5;
    a great reader, 305, 306

  Napoleonic wars, 125, 279, 283

  Narration, 99, 115, 165, 166, 180, 182, 190, 258-261, 291, 292;
    method of, xxx, 6, 15-17, 29, 30, 51, 64-65, 155, 163, 172-173,
        191, 241, 244, 304;
    _v._ reproduction, 18, 30, 272;
    of slum children, 45, 63;
    depends on single reading, 6, 15, 171, 241, 258, 261, 263, 267,
        291, 293, 304;
    a preparation for public speaking, 86, 124;
    literary expression in, 90;
    Dr. Johnson on, 160;
    must not be interrupted, 172, 191;
    in the teaching of languages, 211-213, 276;
    a natural power, 191

  National Gallery, The, 215

  natural history, the teaching of, 220

  natural selection, 4

  Nature Note Books, 217, 219, 223

  Nature Study, xxx, 73, 154, 219, 328

  needlework, 234

  New Testament, 165, 187;
    teaching of, must be grounded on Old, 161

  Newton, Sir Isaac, 231

  Nietzsche, 3

  Nightingale, Florence, 141

  _Nineteenth Century and After_, 270

  note-taking, 245, 257


  Obedience, natural, necessary and fundamental, xxix, 68-79, 97, 134;
    dignified, 70;
    willing, 70;
    the test of personality, 134

  obligation, 17

  obscene passages, 341

  Old Testament, 160-165, 341;
    as a guide to life, 273

  opinions, _v._ ideas, 110;
    of teacher, 288

  opportunity, doctrine of equal, 92, 179;
    universal, a fallacy, 343

  oral lessons, xxvi, 15, 271

  order, how to keep, 45

  _Ourselves, Our Souls and Bodies_, 188, 189


  _Pagan, The_, 250

  ‘Page, Ann,’ 331

  Paget, Dr. Stephen, on suggestion, 82

  Paley, 9

  ‘Paracelsus,’ 331

  _Parents and Children_, 108

  Parents’ Associations, xxviii

  Parents’ National Educational Union, xxix, 6, 9, 23, 62, 79, 159,
        171, 217, 253, 268, 270;
    mission of, to all classes, xxvii

  P.N.E.U. Philosophy, xxix;
    fits all ages, satisfies brilliant children, helps the dull,
        secures attention, interest, concentration, 28

  Parents’ Union School, xxviii, 13, 45, 78, 212, 217, 223, 233, 235,
        254, 269, 275-277, 293;
    books in, 271;
    education free to Elementary Schools, 296

  Parthenon Room, 175

  Pascal, 256

  Pasteur, 318

  Paterson, Mr. A., 118, 119, 121

  patriotism, a sane, 174

  Paul, St., xxvii, 188, 309

  Pelmanism, the indictment of, 250, 252

  ‘Pendennis, Arthur,’ 159

  People’s High Schools in Denmark, 283-286

  Person, a child is a, xxix, 13, 18, 29, 36, 44, 238;
    chief responsibility of a, to accept ideas, xxxi;
    marks of an educated, 1, 100;
    the more of a, the better citizen, 3, 76, 147;
    the measure of a, 10, 80;
    a, built up from within, 23;
    a, is a mystery, 238;
    a, measured by the wide and familiar use of substantives, 261;
    a, brought up first for his own uses, then for society, 329;
    a, who ‘lives his life,’ 329;
    nobility of a, 334

  personality, respect due to, xxix, 24, 81-84, 97, 100, 125, 129;
    development of, 5, 147;
    of teacher, 7, 172;
    undue play of, 78, 82, 129;
    in narration, 18, 260

  Perthes, Friedrich, 341

  ‘Peter Pan,’ 59

  Pett Ridge, Mr., 119

  ‘Petulengro, Jasper,’ 224

  _Peveril of the Peak_, 282

  philosophy, 43;
    a, necessary to life, 334;
    a consummate, 337

  physical training, xxx, 48, 72, 154, 233, 255

  pictures _v._ descriptions, 340

  picture study, 214-217, 275

  Pied Piper, The, 48

  Piozzi, Mrs., 160

  platitudes, 326

  Plato, 25, 27, 59, 148, 187, 337, 340;
    on ideas, 10, 105, 108;
    on knowledge, 127, 235

  ‘play way,’ a, 251, 255;
    not avenue to mind, 38

  pleasure, grand elementary principle of, 248

  Plutarch, 109, 185-187;
    on history, 274

  poetry, 59, 72, 157

  Poland, 184

  Prayer Book, The, 169

  prejudices, 326

  ‘Prettymans, the Miss,’ 251

  progress, fetish of, 297

  Promethean fable, 322

  Protagoras, 25

  Prussia, 5, 279, 306

  pseudo-knowledge, 340

  psychology, English, 4;
    mythology of ‘faculty,’ 4;
    said to rest on feeling, 5;
    _v._ sociology, allied to pathology, 27;
    modern, 66;
    little known of, 253

  Public Schools, 1, 74, 78, 85, 91, 105, 120, 188, 251, 252, 265,
        266, 297, 301, 308-313, 326, 344;
    our educational achievement, 308;
    ignorance of boys, 309, 310

  public opinion, 314, 320

  _Punch_, 34, 95


  _questionnaire_, dangers of, 54, 257

  ‘Quickly, Mrs.,’ 331


  R’s, the three, 63

  _raconteur_, a good, 173

  reading, a _single_, 6, 15, 171, 241, 258, 261, 263, 267, 291, 293,
        304;
    desultory, not education, 13, 189;
    in order to know, 14;
    and writing, 30, 244;
    must be consecutive, 261, 267

  Reason, 259; the way of the, xxxi;
    present in the infant, 37;
    must not be deified, 55;
    justifies any notion, 55, 143;
    confounded with right, 56;
    does not begin it, 140;
    brings infallible proofs of any idea, 139, 315;
    works involuntarily, 142;
    is subject to habit, 147;
    is fallible, 150, 314;
    and rebellion, 314;
    cannot take the place of knowledge, 314

  reflection, 25

  religion, 14, 40, 43, 46, 64, 73, 79, 239, 289;
    teaching of, 159-169;
    two aspects of, 160-161;
    difficulties in, 162, 164

  Rembrandt, 63, 215

  Renaissance, The, xxv, 9, 54;
    Italian and French, 311;
    Schools, 343

  Repington, Colonel, 232, 252

  reproduction, 259

  ‘Responsions,’ 311

  retention, 259

  revision of lessons, 6, 9, 15, 171, 241, 245, 262

  rewards, 7

  _Richard III_, 143

  Richelieu, 90

  Roberts, Lord, 141

  Rosetta Stone, 63

  Rossetti, 340

  Rousseau, J. J., 325, 338, 339

  Ruskin, John, 110, 152, 230, 322, 323, 326

  Russia, 320;
    Soviet, 145


  St. Cross, 332

  Salisbury, Lord, 281

  _Saviour of the World, The_, 167

  Scandinavia, education in, 123, 125

  scholarship, an exquisite distinction, 310;
    _v._ knowledge, 305

  schools, not merely a nursery for the formation of character, 264;
    find substitutes for knowledge, 266

  _Schwärmerei_, 49

  Science, xxx, 14, 31, 40, 42, 51, 59, 154, 157, 239, 256;
    teaching of, 218-230, 275;
    approached by field-work, with literary comments, 223, 256;
    fatal divorce between, and the ‘humanities,’ 223, 318;
    must rouse wonder, 224, 317;
    the mode of revelation granted to our generation, 318;
    waiting for its literature, 318;
    of relations, 327;
    of the proportion of things, 327

  Science, Social, 14

  Scott, Sir Walter, 110, 182, 190, 261

  Scottish philosophers, 11

  scrupulosity of to-day, 101

  Secondary Schools, 127;
    a liberal education in, 250-278

  self-authority, 17, 71, 74, 75, 76

  self-culture, not an ideal, 133

  self-direction necessary, 131

  self-education comes from within, 23;
    education must be, 26, 28-32, 38, 77, 99, 240, 241, 289

  self-expression, 66, 108, 276, 326, 327

  _Self-Help_, by Dr. Smiles, 248

  self-knowledge, 131, 137

  sensory activities, 2, 48

  Shakespeare, 55, 124, 143, 167, 170, 182, 183, 245, 270, 274, 314,
        341

  Shaw, Mr. Bernard, 27

  Sisyphus, 240

  ‘Skimpole, Harold,’ 231

  Socialism, 320

  Socrates, 49, 302, 332;
    use of questioning, 17

  Sophocles, 124

  soul, well-being of the, 63;
    the Holy of Holies, 63;
    satisfaction for, 64

  specialisation, dangers of, 53, 254

  spelling, 271

  Spirit, Divine, xxxi;
    is the man, 5;
    education is of the, 12, 26, 30;
    born of spirit, 39;
    use of term, 65;
    acts upon matter, 100;
    is might, reveals itself in spirit, works only in freedom, 125,
        284

  spontaneity, condition of development, xxxi

  ‘Squeers, Mr.,’ 101

  stability, mark of educated classes, 179

  _Statue and the Bust, The_, 133

  Stein, 279

  Steinthal, Mrs. Francis, xxv

  stops, use of, 191

  Stuart educational ideals, 326

  “Studies serve for delight,” xxvi, 7, 19, 266;
    make for personality, 5

  Suggestion, xxxi, 82, 83;
    a grave offence, 129;
    weakens moral fibre, 129;
    causes involuntary action, 129;
    weakens power of choice, 130

  superman, 3, 4

  Sweden, 285

  Switzerland, education in, 125

  syllabus, points to be considered in a, xxx, 154, 268;
    a wide, 256;
    the best, 268;
    a, must meet demands of mind, 256;
    sterile, of schoolboy, 268

  sympathy of numbers, 247


  ‘tales,’ 30, 132, 190

  teacher, part of, in education, 6, 19, 118, 130, 237, 240, 241, 246,
        260, 261, 304;
    personality of, 7, 48, 78, 82, 129, 172;
    intellectual apparatus of, 11;
    not a mere instrument, 32;
    must understand human nature of child, 47;
    underrates tastes and abilities of children, 52, 238;
    must read aloud with intention, 244;
    comes between children and knowledge, 247;
    finds education a passion, 251

  teaching how to learn, a farce, 348

  Tennyson, 138, 333

  things, “are in the saddle,” 7, 260;
    children occupied with, 31

  thinking, not doing, a source of character, 278

  thought, not simply a function of brain, 2, 4, 260;
    great, necessary for children, 5, 12, 130;
    alone appeals to mind, 12;
    begets thought, 12, 303;
    action follows on due, 24;
    our, not our own, 60, 137;
    right, not self-expression, follows upon an idea, 130;
    socialistic, fallacies in, 144-147;
    sins committed in, 188;
    common basis of, 264, 298

  Thucydides, 124

  _Timon of Athens_, 44

  ‘Titanic,’ 335

  Trades’ Unions, 315;
    Guilds, 319

  Traherne, 34, 36, 37, 40

  Training, intellectual, 2, 24, 147, 255;
    physical, 2, 6, 20, 48, 255;
    vocational, 2, 3, 5, 6, 287, 302;
    not education, 255

  Treitschke, 3

  Trench, 167

  Trollope, A., 251

  truth, justice in word, 61

  Tudor women, 311

  Tugendbund, 6, 279


  Ulysses, 41

  _Undine_, xxv

  Universities, People’s, 123

  unrest comes from wrong thinking, 60;
    Labour, 92, 179, 286, 297, 300, 319;
    Indian, 184


  Van Eyck’s, ‘Adoration of the Lamb,’ 322

  Vasari, 54

  Vaughan, 35

  verbal understanding _v._ dealing with books, 172

  Vienna, Congress of, 170

  village community life, 286

  Vittorino, 310

  Voltaire, 156


  _Waverley Novels, The_, 63, 325

  Wellington, The Duke of, 102, 308

  Whichcote, xxix, 33

  Whitby, 223

  White, Gilbert, 223

  wilfulness, signs of, 37

  Will, the way of the, xxxi, 128, 131;
    function of, to choose, 128, 129, 133;
    action of, is character, 129;
    the safeguard of a man, 130;
    and danger of suggestion, 130;
    education must fortify, 131;
    the governing power of man, 131;
    fallacies concerning, 132;
    nourished upon ideas, 132;
    must have objects outside self, 133;
    the function of man, 133;
    implies understanding, 133;
    a free agent, 133;
    is supreme, 135;
    needs diversion, 136;
    free, not free thought, 136, 137;
    ordering of, 137;
    is the man, 314

  Witte, Count, 130

  words, beauty of, 151;
    vehicle of truth, 151;
    use of, 316

  Wordsworth, William, 35, 93, 166, 180, 238, 276, 320, 322

  work, the better man does the better, 282

  working men and their leisure, 42

  worship, a sublime ideal, 317

  Wren, Sir Christopher, 54

  writing, 30


  Yorkshire, Drighlington School, xxv, 236



FOOTNOTES:

[1] Now ten.

[2] Now ten.

[3] Now over 300 in 1924.

[4] I quote from the article on Psychology in the _Encyclopædia
Britannica_ as being the most likely to exhibit the authoritative
position.

[5] _The Home Education Series._

[6] In connection with the _Parents’ Union School_.

[7] The small Practising School attached to the House of Education
(ages of scholars from six to eighteen) affords opportunities for
testing the programmes of work sent out term by term, and the
examinations set at the end of each term. The work in each Form is
easily done in the hours of morning-school.

[8] I again quote from the article on Psychology in the
_Encyclopædia Britannica_.

[9] See _Some Discussions of the Method_. (P.N.E.U. Office, 1/-).

[10] _The Home Education Series._

[11] _Home Education_, by the Writer.

[12] See _Some Studies in the Formation of Character_, by the
Writer.

[13] See _Some Impressions of the Ambleside Method_. (P.N.E.U.
Office, price 9d.)

[14] See _Ourselves, our Souls and Bodies_. By the Writer.
(P.N.E.U. Office.)

[15] _Ourselves, our Souls and Bodies._ By the Writer.

[16] _Parents and Children._ By the Writer.

[17] See _Some Impressions of the Ambleside Method_. (P.N.E.U.
Office, price 9d.)

[18] Isaiah xxviii.

[19] _Parents and Children_, by the Writer.

[20] _Education from a National Standpoint._

[21] _The Herbartian Psychology applied to Education_, by John
Adams.

[22] _Across the Bridges_, by A. Paterson.

[23] _Across the Bridges_, by A. Paterson.

[24] _Memoirs of Count Witte._

[25] _Education of the Young._

[26] _What Religion Is_, by Bernard Bosanquet, D.C.L.

[27] All particulars may be had from The Director, Parents’ Union
School, Ambleside. The illustrations in the way of children’s
answers for the various sections of this chapter have been omitted
for want of space, except in the case of a few answers under
Composition.

[28] Examples of the work of scholars of various ages illustrating
what has been said may be seen at the P.N.E.U. Office.

[29] This book is now in print again.

[30] Of the Parents’ Union School.

[31] Examination papers giving some idea of the scope of the
history studies in the P.U.S. may be seen at the P.N.E.U. Office.

[32] Examination Papers can be seen at the P.N.E.U. Office.

[33] Examination Papers can be seen at the P.N.E.U. Office.

[34] These answers are uncorrected and are taken from Examination
papers not sent back. Most parents and teachers have their papers
returned.

[35] Examination answers can be seen at the P.N.E.U. Office.

[36] For details see the Parents’ Union School programmes.

[37] Specimens of the children’s Examination work can be seen at
the P.N.E.U. Office.

[38] _The Ambleside Geography_; Book IV, by the Writer.

[39] _Ambleside Geography_: Book IV.

[40] _The Ambleside Geography_: Book V, by the Writer.

[41] For details see the Parents’ Union School programmes.

[42] _Citizens to Be_, by Miss M. L. V. Hughes.

[43] cf. “Introduction.”

[44] pp. 13 to 15.

[45] The P.U.S. was started in 1890.

[46] These are omitted for want of space but other sets can be seen
at the Office of the P.N.E.U.

[47] Chapter X.

[48] See Chapter X.

[49] cf. _Continuation Schools_, ed. by Sir Michael Sadler, and
published by the Manchester University, 1908, to which the writer
is greatly indebted.

[50] Page 106.

[51] 1890.

[52] 1913.

[53] In Elementary and Continuation Schools.

[54] The Author owes to the Editor of _The Times_ permission to
reprint the chapters under this heading written in 1912; as also
the happy titles of the several chapters and the general title.



  TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE

  Footnote [47] is referenced twice from page 275.

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.

  Pg xxii: an entry for ‘INDEX   349’ has been added at the end of
           the Table of Contents.
  Pg 3: ‘about Nietszche’ replaced by ‘about Nietzsche’.
  Pg 17: ‘a congerie of’ replaced by ‘a coterie of’.
  Pg 72: ‘Not, again, can we’ replaced by ‘Nor, again, can we’.
  Pg 82: ‘the idiosyncracies’ replaced by ‘the idiosyncrasies’.
  Pg 89: ‘satiable curtiosity’ replaced by ‘satiable curiosity’.
  Pg 139: ‘irrefragible proofs’ replaced by ‘irrefragable proofs’.
  Pg 140: ‘no more then they’ replaced by ‘no more than they’.
  Pg 168: ‘clothes and ca e’ replaced by ‘clothes and care’.
  Pg 181: ‘by naming it D2’ replaced by ‘by naming it K2’.
  Pg 197: ‘statemen all’ replaced by ‘statesmen all’.
  Pg 200: ‘And ne tles close’ replaced by ‘And nestles close’.
  Pg 202: ‘eyes for thoes’ replaced by ‘eyes for those’.
  Pg 232: ‘perfer not to have’ replaced by ‘prefer not to have’.
  Pg 275: ‘by Velasqeuz which’ replaced by ‘by Velasquez which’.
  Pg 334: ‘irrefragibly logical’ replaced ‘irrefragably logical’.
  Pg 357: ‘Nietszche, 3’ replaced by ‘Nietzsche, 3’.



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