is the ever-recurring question on which hinges the whole business of the school.

2. The character of the teacher, his permanent trend in whatever he does, is another hinge on which the value of his work turns.

3. The memory-how much or how little it shall be trained in school-work, treated in Chapter III, is the most important question in educational psychology. Excess in memorizing produces a permanent effect on the character of the pupil, giving him a tendency to follow routine and to conform to custom, rendering him obedient to authority, and, in extreme cases, superstitious of precedent and utterly lacking in originality; while neglect of memory and the cultivation of critical alertness produces bold, inquiring minds, and, in extreme cases, tending to impatience of all authority, human and divine, and thus producing inclination toward revolution or even anarchy.

4. Firmly convinced that the old education was in error in laying too much stress on the memory, the new education devotes itself to arousing the power of thinking and independent judgment, and therefore lays the greatest stress on the methods of inciting self-activity in the child of the primary school.

5. As a topic for his fifth chapter, Mr. Howland considers the ideal of scholarship, for this alone enables us to determine the limits proper for the conservative memory-culture as well as for the radical thought-culture.

6. The demeanor of the teacher is almost as important as his character, and this subject is treated by the author with eminent sagacity.

7. A study of the permanent effect of seemingly unimportant actions or habits in confirming or neutralizing good precepts renders the young teacher more circumspect.

8. The class recitation is the central agency of the teacher for regulating the mental habits of the child. By the questions and criticisms of the teacher, the pupil learns the defects of his own method of study. He sees also, in the recitations of his fellows, deficiencies in other directions than his own, and this experience makes him more alert in preparing the next lesson. The teacher thus by the aid of the recitation helps and strengthens each pupil's mind through the work of all the others. The pupil gains new self-knowledge, and learns how to re-enforce his own perceptions and reflections by those of his fellows.

9. Finally, in the matter of supervision—the relation of the head teacher to his subordinates—the author shows how one should so direct and control as to produce more and more ability of self-control and wise directive power on the part of his assistants.

The felicity of statement in many of these chapters will tempt the reader to turn often to passages like the following, wherein moral instruction is defined as not the inculcation of a moral philosophy, but the discipline under which pupils “acquire a power of self-control, a command of their affections, passions, and desires, with the intent and will to direct them to worthy ends”; or to such passages as this description of good order in the school-room: “Not that fixed and monotonous routine, enforced by the mere martinet in discipline, that deadens the vital force, stifles thought, quenches geperous ambition, and, regarding more the outward form than the inner life, aims only at uniformity, though only of dullness and stupidity ; but that quiet, unconscious harmony that results from each member moving undisturbed in his proper sphere, in willing conformity to an unfelt but all-controlling power; no rules for the sake of ruling, no friction or jarring of ill-adjusted parts none of the pomp and circumstance of military display, but all moving on to the attainment of a desirable end."

The fundamental conviction of the author is revealed in this definition of the true ideal of the new education :

“ We believe in the new education as we believe in a new tune, though it contains not a tone that was not in the old, despised one. We believe in it for the spirit of humanity underlying, overlying it, inspiring it, which makes the child its subject, its untiring study, its ceaseless hope; for its truer appreciation of the child-nature in its restless eagerness, its longings, its love of nature and of life, and its ceaseless striving to acquaint itself with its powers, its capabilities, and its surroundings; and for the wiser presentation of subjects suited to each stage of its advance and development, skillfully guiding its unrepressed and gladsome activities into the fruitful paths of experience and wiser satisfactions, turning aside from the dreary waste of enforced drudgery into the fresh and flowery fields of earnest because curious effort; and we believe in it especially for the better understanding of things and their names, its nicer observation of qualities and forms, its clearer conception of ideas, and its finer expression of thought.”

WILLIAM T. HARRIS. CONCORD, Mass., June, 1889.


THE several chapters of this volume comprise a series of papers read before the teachers of the public schools of Chicago and vicinity, and were prepared with no thought of publication, but solely to aid the teachers in their daily and hourly work in the interests of the children who throng our rooms.

Though in no sepse scientific treatises, they are the outgrowth of a large and varied experience and observation in the school-room, and are based, it is believed, upon correct psychologic principles.

It was their purpose to indicate the true purpose and spirit of the public school, the character and work of the teacher and her relations to her pupils, the proper sphere and duties of the principal, together with some suggestions as to the methods best suited to secure the desired end and make up the real life of the school.

To rid our schools of the old dull, dead routine, and make them the living fountain of health, happiness, and growth, to which we no more shall see the schoolboy " creeping like snail unwillingly," but with earnest, thoughtful face, hasting as to a new discovery,

« ElőzőTovább »