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thing, for the reality. Give me a boy who has set his mind upon mastering every problem in his algebra, satisfactorily demonstrating every original proposition in his geometry, one who persists in his purpose until it is attained, and I will show the material from which the successful men of the century are made. This is the secret that accounts for Field, Edison, Pasteur, Koch, and nineteen-twentieths of all the other men eminent in art, invention, science.
Encourage a boy to rely upon himself, to disdain help, and you have done much for his permanent advantage. Too much of school work to-day has the child assume a passive attitude while the teacher does the talking, the thinking, is the only one really active. While I believe most heartily in talks, exercises, lectures, in which the teacher does the most of the work, I should insist also upon a time sacred to study; a time when the child's best efforts should be directed towards the mastery of the difficulties in his special branch of study. If the teacher removes all the obstacles in the pupil's path, levels all his mountains for him, he will be a weakling, a dependent all his days. A writer in a recent number of the MONTHLY, gets at the truth when he says, "the most substantial and enduring educational results must still come from learning lessons thoroughly and reciting them well."
At the May examinations for ad
mission to the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, 24 only out of 64 applicants met the requirements. It was my privilege to see the questions; while they were searching, yet they contained nothing farfetched, nothing unusually difficult. The fault lay with the applicants and was to be found in the fact that they had not developed the habit of self-reliance and mastery.
Closely allied to self-reliance, but with much more of the moral element in it, is self-control. It is this which distinguishes man most largely from the brute. The latter is the creature of instinct and impulse, the former is supposed to enthrone reason and will. To assist the child in the control of his impulses, in becoming his own ruler, the school should be organized.
The prohibitions of the school room, "thou shalt not whisper nor otherwise engage in communication", "thou shalt not permit thy mind to linger upon the social of last evening, or to wander to the ball game of the morrow", "thou shalt not be overcome of evil to locate the bent pin upon thy neighbor's seat in his absence", and others like unto these that are a part of the code, written or unwritten, of every school, are intended not only for the preservation of the peace, quiet, and dignity of the school community, but they should be set forth and explained to the pupil as intended largely for his aid in the government of himself. The ideal
of a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, governed by restraints from within. and not by restraints from without, should ever be kept before the pupils of our schools.
What can be accomplished by faithful efforts in this direction, can best be shown by relating the story of the transforming influence of self-control upon a large school in one of the less favored districts of the city of Nashville, as told me by Thos. P. Ballard, of the publishing firm of Ginn & Co. Having heard of the school as remarkable for its self governing qualities, Mr. Ballard determined to see for himself. Entering a large room in which were seated several hundred pupils, he found them all quietly intent upon their tasks, although no teacher, principal or monitor was present. A few raised their eyes from their books as Mr. Ballard seated himself at the teacher's desk, but the greater part took no note of his presence. After some minutes a side door opened and a class that had been reciting filed quietly to their seats, while another section as quietly arose and withdrew. For nearly an hour this large school pursued its work, without the least internal disturbance. Upon the return of the principal, Mr. Ballard was informed that the school had called itself to order, pursued its tasks, dismissed itself for several days at a time, without the presence of a teacher.
There are, doubtless, many such schools in different parts of the
country. They show what can be in the way of habit of self-control.
What a valuable contribution to the body of citizenship must be such a band of students as they go forth into the life of a community. Appeals to the honesty, honor, the best in boys and girls, when made by a teacher who is the impersonation of honor and self-control himself, are not without results. The whole organization of the schools should contribute to the formation of this habit in every boy and girl.
Before we leave this subject, we wish to lay emphasis upon the virtue or habit of unselfishness. If our age needs any one thing more than another, it is a redemption from the overweening materialistic tendencies, that are infecting all phases of our life and breeding disaffection, disorder, lawlessness, avarice, oppression, injustice. Selfishness and greed sit enthroned. In our haste to get rich, we too often give conscience to the winds, and honor to the dogs; we trample upon honesty, and sacrifice virtue. Even the church is sometimes used as a means of social and business preferment, and the training of the schools. as a means to selfish aggrandizement. The repression of this egoistic spirit can best be done in childhood. The teacher, particularly the primary teacher, can do much to inculcate an interest in others, a love for others, that will develop into a blessed altruism, recognizing the brotherhood of man and the father
hood of God. To repeat then, schools should aim to cultivate in all their pupils habits of regularity, punctuality, cheerfulness, obedience, mastery, self-control, unselfishness.
No narrow, exclusive definition of education befits the age and country in which we live. That of Dr. Emerson E. White, I think clearly and forcibly states its true ends and aims.
"Education is any process or act which results in knowledge, power or skill. It includes not only teaching and learning, but all acts, processes and influences which occasion these results, whether as scholarship, culture, habit or character." Note that the true ends of education as laid down by this high and accepted authority are: scholarship, culture, habit, character. To these might be added for the public school a high ideal of citizenship in hearty accord with our democratic institutions.
Time forbids a discussion of all these ends. I have already spoken of habit, permit me for a short time to speak of the last and loftiest, character.
Too long have many schools all over our land been cursed by low ideals. Even to-day, teachers are to be found who feel that they have fully performed their duty when. they have given their pupils an ac
quaintance with the required quantum of arithmetic, or Latin, or science. The boy may be profane, but he understands the theory of cube root; he has never learned selfcontrol, but with Caesar he has conquered the Gallic tribes; his honesty is not above suspicion, but he comprehends the binomial theorem; he is impure in thought and act, but he is familiar with the nebular hypothesis; he may be untruthful, but he can talk glibly of volts, ohms, amperes, resistance coils, and Wheatsone bridges. Think you this is the education the times demand?
To shape and strengthen character the work and methods of a school should be adapted to that purpose. To this end courses of study should be framed. These will require the best thought of boards of education, teachers and superintendents. Then it is to be hoped that along with a knowledge of science, language and mathematics, along with mental acumen, will be acquired the virtues of truthfulness, obedience, industry, honesty, fidelity, justice, conscientiousness, forgiveness, gratitude, purity.
There can be no doubt that if the schools take care to produce "manly men" and "womanly women" that these will be sure to solve many of the vexed questions, social, economic and moral that are troubling the world.
NATURE WORK IN THE PRIMARY GRADES.
BY SARAH W. SMITH.
To live rightly is to live in right relation to God, nature, and our fellows. Then if, as Spencer says, it is the office of education to prepare for right living, is it wise or reasonable to ignore or neglect the nature work in the primary grades? If by nature study we meant only the acquisition of a few facts, we might safely postpone the study for more mature years, providing we were sure of having the pupils in school then, but nature work, rightly taught, means the formation of habits of observation and discrimination. It means the cultivation of the heart as well as the head. It means the multiplying of one's resources and power of enjoyment an hundredfold if carried on in the impressionable period of life. It is the ear of childhood that is best fitted to "list to Nature's teaching." Ours are dulled by the din of traffic, the sounding brass and tinkling cymbals of men, and jarring discords from within.
Do you know why I never find four-leaved clovers, or cocoons, and but seldom a bird's nest? Because I never had my attention called to them in the days when I had leisure to see. This lack in my early training can never be met by any book knowledge obtainable since. It is a mistake to think that because one
has nature all about him he must necessarily know her ways. I never knew even a country boy to make careful, accurate, systematic observation, or even obtain much general information, of the world. about him unaided by home or school. One reason for this is the unsatisfactory answers he usually receives in his early quest for knowledge of these things, and so, not being able to understand the most common phenomena about him, he soon forms the habit of taking it all as a matter of course, and thinking very little about it. Later the schools teach him the lazy habit of going to books for all information, so if the time ever comes when he desires to know about birds he buys and reads a book on birds, or if he wants to know more about plant life he studies Gray's "How Plants Grow", and flatters himself that he is studying nature.
The moral tone of every school will be greatly raised by the introduction of the nature studies into its curriculum. It gives life and interest to all school work, puts teachers and pupils in loving sympathy as no dull routine work can; gives the children thoughts of the good, true and beautiful, thus crowding out the low, mischievous and idle; leads to reverent, loving knowledge
of the Father of all, and teaches kindness and care for all He has made. Then the fact that the child enters school already interested and curious regarding the world of nature makes this the line of least resistance for him, which is a matter of no little consequence in these early years of difficult beginnings. Why, then, ignore all that in which he is interested to plunge him into. that for which he has no use and cares naught? What does he care whether bureau is spelled with an eau or uea; whether three and four are seven or eight unless it is marbles and he is playing for keeps; whether a certain letter begins with the right or left curve, while he does want to know where the rain comes from, what makes the creek so crooked, how plants grow, and where the cricket and earth worm live.
May not the child's idea of relative values be as correct as ours, tinctured with worldly prudence and utilitarianism? It is quite too common for ambitious parents and a few superintendents and high school teachers to ridicule the idea of teaching children to make mud balls, paint butterflies, and make jimcracks out of paper, when they might forsooth be learning the multiplication table or writing their spelling lesson! not realizing that any of us to-day would be willing to give all the multiplication table we ever knew for the ability to model skilfully in clay, paint a but
terfly, or build according to laws of symmetry and beauty. If we had power to do the greater, the less could be learned in any odd hours when needed. Let us not longer ignore the child's natural interests and bent, but strive to cultivate in him all his God-given powers, rather than to mold him according to our faulty notions.
While in the National Museum last winter I saw an ignorant looking man leading two large, brightlooking boys, possibly of eight and ten years of age. With a tight grip on the hand of each boy the father rushed up and down the halls, looking at all things, but really seeing nothing. The boys hung back, desiring to see things, but when the younger ventured to say, "What is that, papa?" he was silenced with a very emphatic "Now, don't be asking me what things are; I don't know." This in such a bothered, helpless tone, that I pitied father and boys. In my note-book, among mention of other curiosities, I put down: "Blind father leading two wide-awake boys." And I sighed as I thought of the numerous blind leaders not of the blind, but of our bright, wide-awake youth, who are having their eyes closed to the beauties all around them that they may learn books, books, and hear words, words, when the mind and heart are hungry for things. They ask bread and we give them a stone, and then when they acquire something of an appetite for stones, we