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different German states, consisting of the school, confined to preparatory training; the college, under one name and another, assigned to liberal culture alone; and the university, provided with professional instruction, as well as with the means of further pursuing liberal education for those whose leisure or taste dispose them thereto, or who choose to make it their profession as teachers or authors.
As long as the universities retained their mediæval type, those of England-namely, Oxford and Cambridge—maintained their position among the first; but they have not kept up with the progress of improvement. Their mediæval course is no longer practical; and no adequate provision has been made for supplying its place. The highest praise of English education pertains to the collegiate schools. The practical course of the universities only carries forward to a higher point the work of the school, and answers the purposes of liberal culture—that is, it is of the nature of what belongs to the college.
In the French revolution of the last century, the university of Paris was entirely swept away, together with all the other universities of France. Public instruction was organized on a new plan by Napoleon I. That plan was abolished by Louis XVIII., who attempted one of his own, which the rule of the Hundred Days defeated. Upon reconstructing the government after the battle of Waterloo, the subject of education, was put into the hands of a commission which adopted substantially the ideas of Napoleon.
According to that method, the university is nothing else than government applied to the universal direction of public instruction. First in the series of institutions are the common schools of different grades; then the colleges and lyceums, both pertaining to the department of liberal culture; and highest in rank are academies, which are local divisions of the university, distributed over France, and the central authority and head of all is at Paris.
American universities fail in that clearness of segregation, which would assign them to their proper functions. In variably they retain the college as a part of their course, and make it their Faculty of Arts. In this they coincide with the uni
versities of Scotland. Consequently they have nothing which corresponds to the second course in the Arts, and the Master's degree is a mere empty title. At the same time, the attempt to combine the college with the university always produces an incongruity. The two parts of the institution will not cohere. They cannot properly be governed on the same principle. The university proper is a place of study for men already cultivated by liberal education, where they learn the professions to which they propose to devote their lives. And it is as desirable that they should be completely separated from the college, where immature youth are trained in the liberal arts, as it is that these latter should be separated from the grammar school, where boys are drilled in the elements. Each one can conduct its own work better alone.
In America, a true university is that which is established in various places over the country, in law schools, medical schools, and theological seminaries. Concerned with studies, which, to be pursued with most profit, demand a previous college training, yet unembarrassed by any complication with colleges, those institutions conduct their own work, after their own proper manner, in a very effective way. Advantages are no doubt to be derived from assembling them all at one place, libraries in common, for example; but perhaps not enough to counterbalance that of each one being put in its own most proper locality.
The university, as now distinguished from the school and college, is the professional part of a complete education; and its pupils are liberally educated men, already trained to a rational use of their faculties and determined to their respective purposes in life. Its internal government should be addressed to the end of maintaining order and inciting to diligence, by eliciting voluntary co-operation, bringing out the approval of judgment, and the action of conscience. Its peculiar restraints, over and above those of general society, are such as belong to a voluntary association for the attainment of a common end. The methods of instruction proper to the university are, accordingly, such as to aid the thinking of mature minds: as lectures, prelections, conversations on the subject of study and on books assigned to be read; demonstrations by means of drawings,
models, maps, charts, or of the actual subject; experiments, examinations, and practice in the formal processes of the profession in view.
The original method of teaching was that of dictating what was to be learned, making the pupil commit it to memory, and afterward examining him, to test his understanding of it, correct his errors, and fix the whole more firmly in his inind. As the class advanced, dictation expanded into the freer and broader current of lecture, in which a more matured capacity of apprehension was called into exercise. The amount of attainment was not great, but the course was long, owing to the slow and laborious method of progress. The introduction of text-books was a great improvement, especially in the earlier stages. Dictation could then be laid aside, though it is still practised, to some extent, with profit. In the part of his education to which that method belonged the student can now generally do better for himself, in mastering passages assigned to be read, if he is afterward thoroughly examined upon them. But at the stage of progress, where anciently dictation ripened into lecture, there is still nothing which can entirely take the place of the old method. For the use of lecture is not all summed up in supplying the lack of books. On many points it has still to serve that purpose; but is now far more needed on account of their unmanageable number. It is profitable to have a guide who can present us, in brief, with the substantial teaching of all that pertains to our subject of study. One man can thereby save, as well as direct, the time and efforts of many. To master the literature of a profession, and the substance of all its instructions, is the work of a life-time, and in some professions is too much for the longest human life; but one man, by devoting his whole attention to a single branch of it, may be able to present the amount of what is to be found in that branch, in a course of lectures not too prolonged for a place among the studies preparatory for the profession. Thus a corps of professors, each laboring consistently in his own department, can, within a few years, furnish an amount of information which no one of themselves, in his whole life-time, could have collected and digested. Moreover, it is of no little value to receive the influence proceeding from a mind kindled by en
thusiastic pursuit of one department of knowledge, and deep insight into its laws.
In all professions the power of correct and rapid observation, and assignment of things to their classes, is of inestimable value. And there is no better discipline of mind to that end, which education can propose, than the task of listening to lectures with a view to being examined on them. It is an exercise tending to the highest intellectual maturity to control attention to a strictly didactic lecture, to apprehend accurately its particular statements, its general plan and purport, while it is in the course of delivery, and to retain and marshal the whole for future use.
It is certainly pleasant to follow a teacher who is able to enlist attention and retain it; but of far more educational value for the student is it to learn to command his own attention to whatsoever his duty requires. The former is only to yield to the mastery of another mind; the latter is an act of self-control, going to render a man master of his own powers. The habit of mind formed by being entertained is superficial, never dares to penetrate beyond the outward effects of any thing; to the solid basis of the beautiful and entertaining it never reaches, and is ever helplessly dependent upon the work of others. It is not a result of education, except in as far as the capacity to enjoy certain objects goes. To be able to take interest in works of science and art, and their nice discriminations, to be impressible by the finest shades of beautiful affection does certainly belong to the best points of mental culture; but the mere capacity to be entertained does not. The least informed are the most easily entertained, and at the least expense.
It can never enable a man to work, to produce any of the effects which an educated man is expected to produce for the benefit of society.
A man, in acquiring power over his own attention, secures also power over the minds of others. All persons who do not possess it have a natural tendency to lean upon him who does. And every educated man ought to be such as his uneducated neighbors can have recourse to, as not only better informed touching his profession, but also as better able to turn all the powers of his mind with effect to any emergency which
may arise among them. The young commit a great mistake who exclusively attach themselves to that which is entertaining among their studies. Entertainment, of course, is not to be rejected when occurring naturally ; but by far the most profitable is that intellectual effort which takes hold of and masters what is orderly but not attractive. That student is earning the noblest triumphs, who, pushing through the outworks of an uninviting study, fighting his way manfully with every obstacle, at length reaches a point where the symmetry of the whole lies before him, and the delight of conquered knowledge dawns upon his heart. That is the man who will make an impression on the society in which he lives, if not upon the broader world, to be remembered long.
The effort of properly attending lectures is one which requires no little mental training such as is seldom found short of the higher classes in college, and then only in the case of those who have been faithful to their previous studies. A common defect of the uneducated, or imperfectly educated, mind is that of not giving attention correctly. To hear correctly, and at once, what is said, is a most desirable practical power, and not less important the habit of reporting correctly.
Popular lecturing is necessarily a different affair. Inasmuch as, in that case, a mixed audience is addressed, and mental preparation cannot be presumed, the lecture must take the character of entertainment, and make as little demand as possible upon that attention which is felt to be an effort. It belongs to the head of amusements, takes its place with the theatre and dramatic readings, and has little to do with education.
The recitation method of instruction is that which is best suited for boys at school, and in the greater part of the college course, and must be retained in the university, wherever drill is needed. The lecture is best for aiding the studies of mature minds in collecting and classifying information, and ought to interchange with the recitation in the more advanced part of the college course, while in the university it is necessarily the prevailing method.
In college, the grand objects in view have reference to self