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General not special training.
lessons on the crops, the aspects of nature and on rural life are legitimate parts of a school course. But if children come from orderly and intelligent homes, in which they daily hear subjects discussed which are worth talking about, and if they know something about the country, lessons of this kind are less necessary. Bear in mind that anything you can do to make the knowledge derived from daily observation more exact and more useful, is worth doing, because it helps to make the future study of science easier. But do not imagine that everything of which it is a shame for a child to be ignorant, is necessarily your business to teach. The right rule of action appears to me to be this. It is no concern of ours to teach in schools that which an observant and intelligent child would learn out of doors; but it is our concern so to teach him as to make him observant and intelligent.
Nor is it incumbent on teachers to anticipate the re- Training, quirements of future life by giving the knowledge suited to not special this or that employment or profession. To do that ral. would not only be to do grave injustice to the child who did not mean to adopt the particular calling; but it would injure him who did, by prematurely specializing his knowledge and directing his thoughts into a certain money-making groove. The duty of the school is to call forth such activities and to give such knowledge as shall be available alike in all conceivable professions or employments; and it can do this rather by considering oftener what intellectual wants are human and universal, than what is the way in which any particular child is to get his livelihood. A well educated English gentleman does not it is true know so much about a steam engine as an engineer, nor so much about the rotation of crops as a farmer, nor so much about book-keeping as a city clerk, but he knows a great deal more about all three F. L :
than any one of them knows about the work of the other two; and this is simply because his faculty of thinking and observing has been cultivated on subjects chosen for their fitness as instruments of development, and not on subjects chosen with the narrow purpose of turning them to immediate practical use.
There can be little doubt that in the education of the future, a larger space will be occupied than heretofore by the discipline of the inductive sciences, and it will be well if those of you who are entering the profession, will accept this as inevitable; and qualify yourselves both to meet the want, and to guide a movement which must for good or evil have important consequences. It is for you to take heed that the newer knowledge
all be not less educative and inspiriting than the old, and that the word ‘science’ shall not degenerate into the symbol for what is empirical and utilitarian, nor for another kind of memory work.
He who sets himself to do this has before him vast fields of usefulness. “Lift up your eyes and look upon the fields, for they are white already to the harvest.” It may be that most of the teaching to be gained from Latin and Greek books has already been discovered; and that the capacities of the older forms of academic discipline have already been taxed to the uttermost. But in the direction we have been considering to-day, the prospect open before the wistful gazer is illimitable. Who can measure the possibilities of induction and experiment? Who knows what large generalizations may yet be possible respecting the course and constitution of nature, the tendency of history, the conditions of being and knowing on this earth, generalizations yet undreamed of either by the physicist or the philosopher ? And how are these triumphs to be attained if the scientific temper,—the spirit of enquiry, of caution, of reticence, The future of scientific teaching.
of hope, of enthusiasm, the delight in the perception of new truth, the careful and modest estimate of the worth of the truth when discovered,-is not fostered by our system of education ? For the present it is in Natural Science, in Physics, in Chemistry or Botany, that we recognize the region in which these qualities can best be cultivated and displayed. It is the region nearest to us. But once understood and explained it has its relations not only to the mundus visibilis but to the whole mundus intelligibilis, to “worlds not quickened by the sun,” to the interpretation of the history of man in the ages that are past, to the forecast of his indefinite improvement in the ages that are to come.
XV. THE CORRELATION OF STUDIES.
Review of the curricu. lum of school studies.
We have considered in succession the principal instruments which are in a teacher's hands for forming the character, and training the faculties of scholars, and it may be convenient here to recall them. There are (1) the teaching of mechanical arts as Reading and Writing, and generally the training of the pupil to action. (2) Instruction in useful information or Fact-lore, with a view to give the pupil knowledge. Then come the studies which are specially intended to promote thought; (3) Language teaching, which gives command over the instrument of thought and of expression; (4) Mathematics, which gives the laws of ratiocination from generals to particulars; and (5) Inductive science which gives the habit of observation; and of generalization from particular experience.
We have said that all these ingredients in a school course should be within your view when you try to fashion a plan of study either for a primary or secondary school, for boys or for girls. We have also given some reasons for thinking that after a time both the first and the second kinds of teaching become relatively less important, and that in the main, and especially in the later stages of your course, the formative and disciplinal and therefore the best parts of school training will be found to be composed of the last three elements. But
we may now go further and say that a reasonable regard to all three is more consistent with thoroughness in teaching than the limitation to one. The maxim, non multa, Multum sed multum, has a plausible sound, and seems to furnish a
non multa. justification to those whose ideal is to secure thorough scholarship in one department rather than many-sided culture. But in truth a pupil who leaves school, knowing only one language besides his own, and having learned it by comparison with his own, knowing also one branch of mathematics besides arithmetic, and one branch of Natural Science, is better educated--better fitted to receive all the subsequent knowledge which the experience of life may bring, and to know what to do with it, than the classical scholar, the mathematician, or the scientist pure and simple.
The good teacher seeks to give to each class of faculty a fair chance of development. He knows that it is impossible to determine with certainty very early in a scholar's career, what is the special department in which he is likely to achieve excellence. Nor is it at all necessary that you should know this too early. It has been often said that the ideally educated man, is one who knows something of many subjects, and a good deal of one subject. You are safe therefore in fashioning a somewhat comprehensive course so long as there is unity in it; and in making certain elements compulsory on all scholars, reserving alternatives and voluntary choice to the later stages of the school-life. You thus cast your net over a wider area, and prepare yourself to welcome a greater variety of abilities and aptitudes. You leave fewer minds to stagnate in apathy and indifference, and you discourage the tendency to attach an exaggerated value to particular subjects, and to indulge in the idle boast of learned ignorance. And if this be done, then