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growth of further inventive skill among the industrial classes. There is another purpose for which it is equally necessary. There are changes constantly taking place in the industrial world which, although beneficial in other respects, are tending to check if not to destroy the development of inventive genius among workmen. These changes are results of the increasingly minute division of labor from which in all branches of industry there seems to be no escape. The workman has come to be more and more confined to one special line of work, and the scope of the operations performed by any one man is becoming constantly narrower.

There can be no question but that this exceedingly minute division of labor tends to narrow the mental horizon of the workman, to diminish his interest in his work, and to acquaint him with simply a few details of the process performed, thus giving him little or no insight into the principles underlying the operation. In the working classes of Great Britain all these results of the division of labor are especially noticeable; for there the process of division has been going on for a longer time than in this country, while the same educational forces have not in that country been operative. The inevitable result is that the division of labor, while increasing the immediate product, does at the same time threaten to strike a serious blow at the progress of invention.

Now industrial education offers, in the industrial realm, almost the only escape from this evil. The same results which we have before shown to be derived from this training, will again prove to be of assistance. The workman before being confined to one narrow branch of work will have been given a training in mechanical principles and processes which will go far to prevent his mental view from being confined to the mere details of one small process. For with his general mechanical knowledge he will be more able to look upon the work he performs as a part of one larger process, with which he can become somewhat familiar. Having once understood this he will not be likely to sink to the level of a mere drudge, blindly performing an assigned part. This comprehension of his position as an individual in a larger economy will enable him to apply himself to the realization of his largest measure of usefulness. It will furnish him with the motive as well as the ability to do this. He will first intelligently perform his assigned work, and can then seek to improve upon the methods by which he accomplishes it. In this way it would seem that some obvious evils of modern industrial tendencies could be obviated.

We have thus attempted to indicate two directions in which industrial training can be made to contribute largely toward the attainment of the highest form of economic life. In view of the necessity for such economic development, the importance of this form of education as a factor in social progress is sufficiently evident.

THE

THE OBSERVATION LESSON.

A PEDAGOGICAL FANTASY.

BY LOUIS J. BLOCK, A. M.,

Principal of the Andersen School, Chicago, Illinois.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

HE author wishes to state that he is not a disbeliever in the Observation or Science Lesson properly restricted to its due place and function. Also towards the leaders in the new educational movement, promising so much excellence, he has that attitude of attention which they have the right to demand. The light shafts of his satire are aimed at the exaggerations of admirable things which throw the whole plan of education out of symmetry by ignoring much that has been tried and not found wanting, and by forcing into its place that which can by no means serve as a substitute, and which, useful in its proper sphere, becomes only ludicrous when presented as a universal solvent of all difficulties. He has expressed a righteous dislike of those empirics who, incapable of comprehending the ideas of the masters, employ the newer methods as opportunities for personal display and vulgar selfadvertisement. He has said something against the practice of anonymous journalistic enterprise, which disfigures educational periodical publications, and which wears the convenient cloak of a few straggling letters of the alphabet in the dissemination of foolish gossip and the satisfaction of private animosities. He has entered his protest against somewhat prevalent opinions which appear to convert mind and thought into impossible and grotesque phantoms of the senses. He hopes that this is not too large a gateway into so small a village, and leaves his excursion into the realm of romance-writing to the amusement and profit of such readers as he may have the good fortune to obtain.

I have learned that my experience of a resuscitation from a sleep of many years is not confined to me. While examining some musty records in our Atheneum, I discovered a volume called "Looking Backward." I read it with strained and unflagging interest. It recounted a set of circumstances analogous to those which accompanied my awakening from a sleep of over two hundred years. The nineteenth century had just begun to sink below the horizon when my friend, an ardent disciple of Binet and Charcot, agreed to produce in me an artificial slumber from which I should not awaken for a predetermined (within somewhat variable limits) and prolonged expanse of years. To such an experiment I was eager to lend myself, because of certain opinions which I held in regard to the perdurability of soul. The risk of returning to consciousness under conditions wholly beyond ascertainment did not deter me; every precaution was taken to insure my comparative safety, and marvellously did the scientific foresight of my friend provide for the full emergency. What were all these safeguards I shall not here explain; I leave that to the elaborate exposition of my experiences on which I am diligently engaged; suffice it to say that I fell asleep two hundred years ago and awakened into a civilization new and strange beyond the wildest conjecture that any of my contemporaries could have framed.

I have no intention in this brief and inadequate article of reproducing my impression of the existing state of society and life, nor of making contrasts between it and the one from which I have just emerged; I must relegate such profound discussions to the magnum opus of my life, to the book in which I shall endeavor to elucidate the progress and destiny of the race from the novel point of view which I alone of the present denizens of the earth occupy; but, in pondering some theories in regard to the natural and necessary unfolding of the human powers of mind and heart, I suddenly awoke to the thought that methods of education actually in vogue in the schools might be of some service to me, and, in consequence, I made application to the usual authorities to assist me in the prosecution of my inquiries. I am emboldened to make public this succinct account of what I saw, because I am persuaded that the community at large is but little acquainted with the marvellous results that are at present attained in the preparatory schools.

I was directed to a beautiful section of the great City of the Commonwealth. I was driven through the charming and admira

bly kept streets to a singular looking building, which deviated as far from the conventional school house as the extraordinary instruction within it separated itself from the routine which I had been familiar with in the dead and half-enlightened centuries. The room into which I was taken was a veritable museum. Cases extending around it were filled with specimens of extinct animal life, and models in clay and plaster of huge monsters, that revelled in the prehistoric slime, met me on all sides. A tank containing young alligators occupied one corner, and the cray-fish, ever inclined to look backward, disported himself in another, and no doubt anticipated with due glee his approaching utilization. An occasional grasshopper escaped from a species of aviary in which he was kept for purposes that I dimly divined. Objects curious and even unsightly were crowded into every available inch of space; the walls were covered with charts delineating every natural and unnatural, ancient and modern, antediluvian and archæologic object that had ever visited the pale glimpses of the moon ; and the ceiling, in whose center shone a brazen sun of dazzling dimensions, illustrated the regular gyrations of the planets about that luminary, with the capricious intrusion of a vagabond comet, here and there, into the staid and well-regulated dance of the legitimate members of the family. The children seemed undismayed by this accumulation of scientific bric-a-brac; they were assembled in small groups about a teacher, and several classes were in progress at the same time. Beside each group stood a swinging black-board, and the teacher, whose radiant and perennial smile struck me with a momentary sense of artificiality, appeared to be engaged principally in transcribing the utterances of the pupils. The class to which my attention was first given had just finished an Observation Lesson, and was now preparing to read the sentences, which, dictated by its members, the erudite lady, to whose gentle ministrations their advancement had been solemnly confided, had placed on the board. I will here reproduce the sentences as I copied them at the time:

"The plesiosaurus flourished æons ago.

The æon is an Hellenic term for an indefinite expanse of time. The pterodactyl was contemporaneous with the ichthyosaurus. That was called the Reptilian Age.

These gigantic reptiles have now vanished from the terraqueous globe.

The pterodactyl was a vertebrate.

I am a vertebrate.

The pterodactyl had two wings, ten fingers, one beak, and a mouth full of teeth.

I wish that I had lived when the pterodactyl lived.

I might have had one to play with."

The children, who were enraptured with this novel and thoughtprovoking lesson, were a few months more than six years of age. I was quite unable to give full utterance to my amazement at this extraordinary display of useful, nay indispensible, erudition, as I now deem it, although at the time I was not wholly assured of the wisdom of thus beginning education with geologic eras so strange and remote; but in reply to my questions I was promptly informed that the child-life was an epitome of the life of the race, that the child began where the race began, that his development was the succession of the stages by which history developed, that in education it is above all important to begin at the real beginning, that the class had already passed through the nebular hypothesis, and were now, as I had perceived, ravished with delight by the glorious revelations of paleontology. I had been a witness to their eager interest, and I was told with the emphasis of unquestionable truth that their progress was incredibly rapid. I was still in some dubitation as to the propriety of calling this an Observation Lesson, but my hesitancy disappeared when the teacher smilingly and condescendingly gave me to understand that observation with the passage of the evolutionary years had undergone, as all the human faculties, a process of subtilization, and the acuter senses of the new generation enabled them to pierce through the mists of time, and observe the realities of the past with even greater clearness than the more complex products of the present. This progressive subtilization of the senses had been begun in this very town in which we were now standing, on the very spot (ever to be remembered and held sacred) where the present school-room arose, in my own former period of existence, by benefactors of mankind, whom the world could never forget nor sufficiently honor. Their names, unfortunately in the lapse of ages, had been lost, but as the founders and introducers of the Observation Lesson, infallible panacea of all human ills, and the real begetter of the millenial condition in which the world found itself, they would forever shine as the chief stars in the

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