Italicized words are enclosed by underscores (italic).
Bold-faced words are enclosed by equal signs (bold).
THE VITALIZED SCHOOL
FRANCIS B. PEARSON
Superintendent of Public Instruction of Ohio Author of "The Evolution of the Teacher" "The High School Problem" "Reveries of a Schoolmaster"
New York The MacMillan Company 1918 Copyright, 1917, by the MacMillan Company. Published February, 1917. Reprinted January, 1918.
The thoughtful observer must have noted in the recent past many indications of an awakened interest both in the concept of education and in school procedure on the part of school officials, teachers, and the public. Educators have been developing pedagogical principles that strike their roots deep into the philosophy of life, and now their pronouncements are invading the consciousness of people of all ranks and causing them to realize more and more that the school process is an integral part of the life process and not something detached from life.
The following pages constitute an attempt to interpret some of the school processes in terms of life processes, and to suggest ways in which these processes may be made identical.
It is hoped that teachers who may read these pages may find running through them a strand of optimism that will give them increased faith in their own powers, a larger hope for the future of the school, and an access of zeal to press valiantly forward in their efforts to excel themselves.
F. B. P.
COLUMBUS, OHIO, January, 1917.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. TEACHING SCHOOL II. THE TEACHER III. THE CHILD IV. THE CHILD OF THE FUTURE V. THE TEACHER-POLITICIAN VI. SUBLIME CHAOS VII. DEMOCRACY VIII. PATRIOTISM IX. WORK AND LIFE X. WORDS AND THEIR CONTENT XI. COMPLETE LIVING XII. THE TIME ELEMENT XIII. THE ARTIST TEACHER XIV. THE TEACHER AS AN IDEAL XV. THE SOCIALIZED RECITATION XVI. AGRICULTURE XVII. THE SCHOOL AND THE COMMUNITY XVIII. POETRY AND LIFE XIX. A SENSE OF HUMOR XX. THE ELEMENT OF HUMAN INTEREST XXI. BEHAVIOR XXII. BOND AND FEAR XXIII. EXAMINATIONS XXIV. WORLD-BUILDING XXV. A TYPICAL VITALIZED SCHOOL
THE VITALIZED SCHOOL
Life and living compared.—There is a wide difference between school-teaching and teaching school. The question "Is she a school-teacher?" means one thing; but the question "Can she teach school?" means quite another. School-teaching may be living; but teaching school is life. And any one who has a definition of life can readily find a definition for teaching school. Much of the criticism of the work of the schools emanates from sources that have a restricted concept of life. The artisan who defines life in terms of his own trade is impatient with much that the school is trying to do. He would have the scope of the school narrowed to his concept of life. If art and literature are beyond the limits of his concept, he can see no warrant for their presence in the school. The work of the schools cannot be standardized until life itself is standardized, and that is neither possible nor desirable. The glory of life is that it does not have fixity, that it is ever crescent.
Teaching defined.—Teaching school may be defined, therefore, as the process of interpreting life by the laboratory method. The teacher's work is to open the gates of life for the pupils. But, before these gates can be opened, the teacher must know what and where they are. This view of the teacher's work is neither fanciful nor fantastic; quite the contrary. Life is the common heritage of people young and old, and the school should be so organized and administered as to teach people how to use this heritage to the best advantage both for themselves and for others. If a child should be absent from school altogether, or if he should be incarcerated in prison from his sixth to his eighteenth year, he would still have life. But, if he is in school during those twelve years, he is supposed to have life that is of better quality and more abundant. Life is not measured by years, but by its own intensity and scope. It has often been said that some people have more life in threescore and ten years than Methuselah had in his more than nine hundred years.
Life measured by intensity.—This statement is not demonstrable, of course, but it serves to make evident the fact that some people have more of life in a given time than others in the same time. In this sense, life may be measured by the number of reactions to objectives. These reactions may be increased by training. Two persons, in passing a shop-window, may not see the same objects; or one may see twice as many as the other, according to their ability to react. The man who was locked in a vault at the cemetery by accident, and was not discovered for an hour, thought he had spent four days in his imprisonment. He had really lived four days in a single hour by reason of the intensity of life during that hour.
Illustrations.—In the case of dreams, we are told that years may be condensed into minutes, or even seconds, by reason of the rapidity of reactions. The rapidity and intensity of these reactions make themselves manifest on the face of the dreamer. Beads of perspiration and facial contortions betoken intensity of feeling. In such an experience life is intense. If a mental or spiritual cyclometer could be used in such a case, it would make a high record of speed. Life sometimes touches bottom, and sometimes scales the heights. But the distance between these extremes varies greatly in different persons. The life of one may have but a single octave; of the other, eight, or a hundred, or a thousand. The life of Job is an apt illustration. No one has been able to sound the depths of his suffering, nor has any one been able to measure the heights of his exaltation. We may not readily compute the octaves in such a life as his.
The complexity of life.—It is not easy to think life, much less define it. The elements are so numerous as to baffle and bewilder the mind. It looks out at one from so many corners that it seems Argus-eyed. At one moment we see it on the Stock Exchange where men struggle and strive in a mad frenzy of competition; at another, in a quiet home, where a mother soothes her baby to sleep, where there is no competition but, rather, a sublime monopoly. Again, it manifests itself in the clanking of machinery where men are tunneling the mountain or constructing a canal to unite oceans; or, again, in the laboratory where the microscope is revealing the form of the snow crystal. One man is watching the movements of the heavenly bodies as they file by his telescope, while another writes a proclamation that makes free a race of people. Another man is leading an army into battle, while some Doctor MacClure is breasting the storm in the darkness as he goes forth on his mission of mercy.
Manifestations of life.—These manifestations of life men call trade, commerce, history, mathematics, science, nature, and philanthropy. And men write these words in books, and other men write other books trying to explain their meaning. Then, still others divide and subdivide, and science becomes the sciences, and mathematics becomes arithmetic, and algebra, and geometry, and trigonometry, and calculus, and astronomy. Here mathematics and science seem to merge. And, in time, history and geography come together, and sometimes strive for precedence.
Thus, books accumulate into libraries and so add another to the many elements of life. Then magazines are written to explain the books and their authors. The motive behind the book is analyzed in an effort to discover the workings of the author's mind and heart. In these revelations we sometimes hear the rippling of the brook, and sometimes the moan of the sea; sometimes the cooing of the dove, and sometimes the scream of the eagle; sometimes the bleating of the lamb, and sometimes the roaring of the lion. In them we see the moonbeams that play among the flowers and the lightning that rends the forest; the blossoms that filter from the trees and the avalanche that carries destruction; the rain that fructifies the earth and the hurricane that destroys.
Life in literature.—Back of these sights and sounds we discover men—Cicero, Demosthenes, Homer, Isaiah, Shakespeare, Milton, Dante. We trace the thoughts and emotions of these men and find literature. And in literature, again, we come upon another manifestation of life. Literature is what it is because these men were what they were. They saw and felt life to be large and so wrote it down large; and because they wrote it thus, what they wrote endures. They stood upon the heights and saw the struggles of man with himself, with other men, and with nature. This panorama generated thoughts and feelings in them, and these they could not but portray. And so literature and life are identical and not cooerdinates, as some would have us think.
Life as subject matter in teaching.—In teaching school, therefore, the subject matter with which we have to do is life—nothing more and nothing less. We may call it history, or mathematics, or literature, or psychology,—but it still remains true that life is the real objective of all our activities. And, as has been already said, we are teaching life by the laboratory method. We are striving to interpret the thing in which we are immersed. We feel, and think, and aspire, and love, and enjoy. All these are life; and from this life we are striving to extract strength that our feeling may be deeper, our thinking higher, our aspirations wider and more lofty, our love purer and nobler, and our own enjoyment greater. By absorbing the life that is all about us we strive to have more abundant and abounding life.
The teacher's province.—Such is the province of one who essays the task of teaching school. School is life, as we have been told; but, at the same time, it is a place and an occasion for teaching life. If we could detach history from life, it would cease to be history. If literature is not life, it is not literature; and so with the sciences. These branches are but variants or branches of life, and all emanate from a common center. Whether we scan the heavens, penetrate the depths of the sea, pore over the pages of books, or look into the minds and hearts of men, we are striving after an interpretation of life.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. Distinguish between a "school teacher" and a "man or woman who teaches school."
2. Discuss the importance of the following agencies of the school in securing for children "life of a better quality and more abundant": play; revitalized curricula; vitalized teachers; medical inspection; social centers; moral instruction.
3. Discuss both from the standpoint of present practice and ideal educational principles: "More abundant life rather than knowledge is the chief end of instruction."
4. What changes are necessary in school curricula and in the methods of school organization, instruction, and discipline, in order that the chief purpose of our schools, "more abundant life," may be realized?
5. Justify the apparent length of the school day to teachers and pupils, as a means of determining the quality of the work of the school.
6. Some teachers maintain that school is a preparation for life, while the author maintains that "school is life." Is this difference in the concept of the school a vital one?
7. How may this difference of concept affect the work of the teacher? the attitude of the pupil?
8. What definition of education will best harmonize with the ideals of this chapter?
Teachers contrasted.—The vitalized school is an expression of the vitalized teacher. In the hands of the teacher of another sort, the vitalized school is impossible. Unless she can see in the multiplication table the power that throws the bridge across the river, that builds pyramids, that constructs railways, that sends ships across the ocean, that tunnels mountains and navigates the air, this table becomes a stupid thing, a dead thing, and an incubus upon the spirits of her pupils. To such a teacher mathematics is a lifeless thing, without hope or potency, the school is a mere convenience for the earning of a livelihood, the work is the drudgery of bondage, and the children are little less than an impertinence. The vitalized teacher is different. To her the multiplication table pulsates with life. It stretches forth its beneficent hand to give employment to a million workers, and food to a million homes. It pervades every mart of trade; it loads trains and ships with the commerce of nations; and it helps to amplify and ennoble civilization.
Vitalized mathematics.—In this table she sees a prophecy of great achievements in engineering, architecture, transportation, and the myriad applications of science. In brief, mathematics to her is vibrant with life both in its present uses and in its possibilities. She knows that it is a part of the texture of the daily life of every home as well as of national life. She knows that it pertains to individual, community, and national well-being. Knowing this, she feels that it is quite worth while for herself and her pupils, both for the present and for the future. She feels that, if she would know life, she must know mathematics, because it is a part of life; that, if she would teach life to her pupils, she must teach them mathematics as an integral part of life; and that she must teach it in such a way that it will be as much a part of themselves as their bodily organs. She wants them to know the mathematics as they know that the rain is falling or that the sun is shining, because the rain, the sunshine, and the mathematics are all elements of life. Her great aim is to have her pupils experience the study just as they experience other phases of life.
The teacher's attitude.—Such a teacher with such a conception of life and of her work finds teaching school the very reverse of drudgery. Each day is an exhilarating experience of life. Her pupils are a part of life to her. She enjoys life and, hence, enjoys them. They are her confederates in the fine game of life. The bigness and exuberance of her abundant life enfolds them all, and from the very atmosphere of her presence they absorb life. Their studies, under the influence of her magic, are as much a part of life to them as the air they breathe or the food they eat. No two days are alike in her school, for life to-day is larger than it was yesterday and so presents a new aspect. Her spirit carries over into their spirits the truths of the books, and these truths thus become inherent.
College influences.—She teaches life, albeit through the medium of subjects and books, because she knows life. Her college work did not consist in the gathering together of many facts, but in accumulating experiences of life. Many of these experiences were acquired vicariously, but they were no less real on that account. Her generous nature was able to withstand the most assiduous efforts of some of her teachers to quench the flames of life that glowed in the pages of books, with the wet blanket of erudition. She was able to relive the thoughts and feelings of the authors whose books she studied and so make their experiences her own. She could reconstitute the emotional life of her authors and gain potency through the transfusion of spirit. Her books were living things, and she gleaned life from their pages.
Reading and life.—She can teach reading because she can read. Reading to her is an experience in life. The words on the printed page are not meaningless hieroglyphics. They are the electric wires which connect the soul of the author with her own, and through which the current is continually passing. When she reads Dickens, Tiny Tim is never a mere boy with a crutch, but he is Tiny Tim, and, as such, neither men nor angels can supplant him on the printed page. She knows the touch of him and the voice of him. She laughs with him; she cries with him; she prays with him; she lives with him. In her teaching she causes Tiny Tim to stand forth like a cameo to her pupils, with no rival and no peer. This she can do because he is a part of her life. She has no occasion either to pose or to rhapsodize. Sincerity is its own explanation and justification.
Power of understanding.—When she reads "Little Boy Blue" she can hear the sobbing of a heartbroken mother and thus, vicariously, comes to know the universality of death and sorrow. But she finds faith and hope in the poem, also, and so can see the sunlight suffusing the clouds of the mother's grief. Thus she enters into the feeling of motherhood and so shares the life of all the mothers whose children are her pupils. In every page she reads she crosses anew the threshold of life and gains a knowledge of its joys, its sorrows, its triumphs, or its defeats. In short, she reads with the spirit and not merely with the mind, and thus catches the spiritual meaning of what she reads. She can feel as well as think and so can emotionalize the printed page. Nature has endowed her with a sensory foundation that reacts to the emotional situations that the author produces. Thus she understands, and that is the prime desideratum in reading. And because she understands, she can interpret, and cause her pupils to understand. Thus they receive another endowment of life.
Books as exponents of life.—She has time for reading as she has time for eating and drinking, and for the same reason. To her they are all cooerdinate elements of life. She eats, and sleeps, and reads because she is alive; and she is more alive because she eats, and sleeps, and reads. She taps the sources of spiritual refreshment, without parade, and rejoices in the consequent enrichment of her life. She does not smite the rock, but speaks to it, and smiles upon it, and the waters gush forth. She descends into Hades with Dante, and ascends Sinai with Moses, and is refreshed and strengthened by her journeys. She sits enrapt as Shakespeare turns the kaleidoscope of life for her, or stands enthralled by Victor Hugo's picture of the human soul. Her sentient spirit is ignited by the fires of genius that glow between the covers of the book, and her fine enthusiasm carries the divine conflagration over into the spirits of her pupils. There is, therefore, no drag or listlessness in her class in reading, because, during this exercise, life is as buoyant and spontaneous as it is upon the playground.
The meaning of history.—In her teaching of history she invests all the characters with life, because to her they are alive. And because they are alive to her they are alive to her pupils. They are instinct with power, action, life. She rehabilitates the scenes in which they moved, and, therefore, they must be alive in order to perform their parts. They are all flesh and blood people with all the attributes of people. They are all actuated by motives and move along their appointed ways obedient to the laws of cause and effect. They are not named in the book to be learned and recited, but to be known. She causes her pupils to know them as they would come to know people in her home. Nor do they ever mistake one for the other or confuse their actions. They know them too well for that. These characters are made to stand wide apart, so that, being thus seen, they will ever after be known. History is not a directory of names, but groups of people going about their tasks. They hunger, and thirst, and love, and hate, and struggle with their environment as their descendants are doing to-day.
Language and vitality.—When she is teaching a language, it is never less than a living language. In Latin the syntax is learned as a means, never an end. The big things in the study loom too large for that. The pupils become so eager to see what Caesar will do next that they cannot afford the time to stare long at a mere ablative absolute. They are following the parade, and are not to be turned aside from their large purpose by minor matters. They are made to see and hear Cicero; and Rome becomes a reality, with its Forum, its Senate, and its Mamertine. When Dido sears the soul of the faithless AEneas with her words of scorn, the girls applaud and the boys tremble. When Troy burns, there is a real fire, and Achates is as real as the man Friday. When the shipwrecked Trojans regale themselves with venison, it is no make-believe dinner, but a real one. Where such a teacher is, there can be no dead language, no dry bones of history, and no stagnation in the stream of life.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. What suggestions are offered for the vitalization of mathematics? history? reading? language?
2. In what ways is vitalization of subject matter related to its socialization?
3. How may motivation in teaching the multiplication table be assisted by vitalization?
4. What is to be included in the term "read" in the sentence "She can teach reading because she can read"?
5. Add to the author's list of children in literature whom the vitalized teacher may introduce as companions to her pupils.
6. Why is extended reading essential to success in teaching?
7. What works of Dante have you read? of Victor Hugo? of Shakespeare? How will the reading of such authors improve the teaching ability of elementary teachers?
8. What are the distinguishing characteristics of the vitalized teacher?
The child as the center in school procedure.—The child is the center of school procedure in all its many ramifications. For the child the building is erected, the equipment is provided, the course of study is arranged and administered, and the teacher employed. The child is major, and all else is subsidiary. In the general scheme even the teacher takes secondary place. Teachers may come and go, but the child remains as the focus of all plans and purposes. The teacher is secured for the child, and not the child for the teacher. Taxpayers, boards of education, parents, and teachers are all active in the interests of the child; and all school legislation, to be important, must have the child as its prime objective. Colleges of education and normal schools, in large numbers, are working at the educational problem in an effort to develop more effective methods of training the teachers of the child. A host of authors and publishers are giving to the interest of the child the products of their skill. In every commonwealth may be found a large number of men and women whose time and energies are devoted to the work of the schools for the child.
All children should have school privileges.—All these facts are freely admitted, wherever attention is called to them, but we still have truant officers, and child labor laws. We admit the facts, but, in our practices, strive to circumvent their application. If the school is good for one child, it is good for all children. Indeed, the school is maintained on the assumption that all children will take advantage of and profit by its presence. If there were no schools, our civilization would surely decline. If school attendance should cease at the end of the fifth year, then we would have a fifth-year civilization. It rests, therefore, with the parents of the children, in large measure, whether we are to have an eighth-grade civilization, a high-school civilization, or a college civilization.
Parental attitude.—Schools are administered on the assumption that every child is capable of and worthy of training, and that training the child will make for a better quality of civilization. The state regards the child as a liability during his childhood in the hope that he may be an asset in his manhood. In this hope time and money are devoted to his training. But, in the face of all this, there are parents, here and there, who still look upon their own children as assets and would use them for their own comfort or profit. They seem to think that their children are indebted to them for bringing them into the world and that their obligation to the children is canceled by meager provision of food, shelter, and clothing. They seem not to realize that "life is more than fruit or grain," and deny to their children the elements of life.
The rights of the child.—All this is a sort of preface to the statement that the child comes into the world endowed with certain inherent rights that may not be abrogated. He has a right to life in its best and fullest sense, and no one has a right to abridge this measure of life, or to deprive him of anything that will contribute to such a life. He goes to the school as one of the sources of life, and any one who denies him this boon is doing violence to his right to have life. He does not go to school to study arithmetic, but studies arithmetic as one of the elements of life; and experience has demonstrated that arithmetic may be learned in the school more advantageously than elsewhere. He goes to school to have agreeable and profitable life. Each day is an integer of life and must be made to abound in life if it is to be accounted a success.
Child life.—Again, the child has a right to the quality of life that is consistent with and congenial to his age. A seven-year-old should be a seven-year-old, in his thinking, in his activities, in his amusements, and in his feeling. We should never ask or want him to "put away childish things" at this age, for these childish things are a proof of his normality and good health. His buoyant life and good health may prove disastrous to the furniture in his home, but far better marred furniture than marred childhood. If, at this age, he should become as quiet and sedate as his father, his parents and teacher would have cause for alarm. It is the high privilege of the parent and the teacher to direct his activities, but not to abridge or interdict them. If the teacher would reduce him to inaction and silence, she may well reflect that if he were an imbecile he would be quiet. He will not pass this way again; and if he is ever to have the sort of life that is in harmony with his age, he must have it now.
Childhood curtailed.—He has a right, also, to the full measure of childhood. This period is relatively short, and any curtailment does violence to his physiological and psychological nature. All the years of his childhood are necessary for a proper balancing of his physical and mental powers, that they may do their appointed work in after years. Entire volumes have been devoted to this subject, but, in spite of these volumes, some mothers still try to hurry their daughters into the duties and responsibilities of adult life. One such mother went to the high school to get the books of her fifteen-year-old daughter and, upon being asked why the daughter was leaving school, replied, "Oh, she's keeping company now." That daughter will never be the hardy plant in civilization that she ought to be, because she was reared in a hothouse atmosphere. That mother had no right to cripple the life of her child by thwarting nature's decrees.
Detrimental effects.—The pity of it all is that the child is at the mercy of the parent, or of the teacher, as the case may be. We become so eager to have "old heads on young shoulders" that we begrudge the child the years that are necessary for the shoulders to attain that maturity of strength that is needful for supporting the "old heads." Then ensues a lack of balance, and, were all children thus denied their right to the full period of youth, we should have a distorted civilization. Dickens inveighs against this curtailment of youth prodigiously, and the marvel is that we have failed to learn the lesson from his pages. We need not have recourse to Victor Hugo to know the life of little Cosette, for we can see her prototype by merely looking about us.
The child's right to the best.—As the child has a right to life in its fullness, so he has a right to all the agencies that can promote this type of life. If he meets with an accident he has a right to the best surgical skill that can be secured, and this right we readily concede; and equally he has a right to the best teacher that money will secure. If he has a teacher that is less than the best, the time thus lost can never be restored to him. A lady who had an unskillful teacher in her first year in the high school now avers that he maimed her for life in that particular study. Life is such a delicate affair that it demands expert handling. If we hope to have the child attain his right to be an intelligent cooeperating agent in promoting life in society, then no price is too great to pay for the expert teaching which will nurture the sort of life in him that will make him effective.
The child's native tendencies.—Then, again, the child has a right to the exercise of the native tendencies with which he is endowed. In fact, these tendencies should be the working capital of the teacher, the starting points in her teaching. There was a time when the teacher punished the child who was caught drawing pictures on his slate. Happily that sort of barbarity disappeared, in the main, along with the slate. The vitalized teacher rejoices in the pictures that the child draws and turns this tendency to good account. Through this inclination to draw she finds the real child and so, as the psychologists direct, she begins where the child is and sets about attaching to this native tendency the work in nature study, geography, or history. When she discovers a constructive tendency in the child, she at once uses this in shifting from analytic to synthetic exercises in the school order. If he enjoys making things, he will be glad of an opportunity to make devices, or problems, or maps.
The play instinct.—She makes large use, also, of the play instinct that is one of his native tendencies. This instinct is constantly reaching out for objects of play. The teacher is quick to note the child's quest for objects and deftly substitutes some phase of school work for marbles, balls, or dolls, and his playing proceeds apace without abatement of zest. The vitalized teacher knows how to attach the arithmetic to this play instinct and make it a fascinating game. During the games of arithmetic, geography, history, or spelling, life is at high tide in her school and the work is thorough in consequence. Work is relieved of the onus of drudgery whenever it appears in the guise of a game, and the teacher who has skill in attaching school studies to the play instinct of the child will make her school effective as well as a delight to herself and her pupils. In such a plan there is neither place nor occasion for coercion.
Self-expression.—Another right of the child is the right to express himself. The desire for self-expression is fundamental in the human mind, as the study of archaeology abundantly proves. Since this is true, every school should be a school of expression if the nature of the child is to have full recognition. Without expression there is no impression, and without impression there is no education that has real value. The more and better expression in the school, therefore, the more and better the education in that school. In the vitalized school we shall find freedom of expression, and the absence of unreasoning repression. The child expresses himself by means of his hands, his feet, his face, his entire body, and his organs of speech, and his expression through either of these means gives the teacher a knowledge of what to do. These expressions may not be what the teacher would wish, but the expression necessarily precedes intelligent teaching.
Imagination.—These expressions may reveal a vivid imagination, but they are no less valuable as indices of the child's nature on that account. It is the very refinement of cruelty to try to interdict or stifle the child's imagination. But for the imagination of people in the past we should not have the rich treasures of mythology that so delight us all. Every child with imagination is constructing a mythology of his own, and from the gossamer threads of fancy is weaving a pattern of life that no parent or teacher should ever wish to forbid or destroy. Day by day, he sees visions and dreams dreams, and so builds for himself a world in which he finds delight and profit. In this world he is king, and only profane hands would dare attempt to dethrone him.
The child's experiences.—His experiences, whether in the real world, or in this world of fancy, are his capital in the bank of life; and he has every right to invest this capital so as to achieve further increments of life. In this enterprise, the teacher is his counselor and guide, and, in order that she may exercise this function sympathetically and rationally, she must know the nature and extent of his capital. If he knows a bird, he may invest this knowledge so as to gain a knowledge of many birds, and so, in time, compass the entire realm of ornithology. If he knows a flower, from this known he may be so directed that he may become a master in the unknown field of botany. If he knows coal, this experience may be made the open sesame to the realms of geology. In short, all his experiences may be capitalized under the direction of a skillful teacher, and made to produce large dividends as an investment in life.
Relation to school work.—Thus the school becomes, for the child, a place of and for real life, and not a place detached from life. There he lives effectively, and joyously, because the teacher knows how to utilize his experiences and native dispositions for the enlargement of his life. He has no inclination to become a deserter or a tenant, for life is agreeable there, and the school is made his chief interest. His work is not doled out to him in the form of tasks, but is graciously presented as a privilege, and as such he esteems it. There he learns to live among people of differing tastes and interests without abdicating his own individuality. There he learns that life is work and that work is the very quintessence of life.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. How should dividends on school investments be estimated?
2. What are the inherent rights of childhood?
3. What use may be made of play in the education of children?
4. Explain why adults are often unwilling to cooeperate through lack of opportunity to play in childhood.
5. Illustrate from your own knowledge and experience how the exercise of native tendencies may be the means of education.
6. What modes of self-expression should be used by pupils of elementary schools? of high schools?
7. What may the vitalized teacher do to assist in the development of self-expression? What should she refrain from doing?
8. Suggest methods whereby the teacher may discover the content of the child's world.
9. How may the child's experience, imagination, and expression be interrelated?
10. Why is the twentieth century called the "age of the child"?
THE CHILD OF THE FUTURE
Rights of the coming generations.—Any school procedure that limits its interests and activities to the present generation takes a too restricted view of the real scope of education. The children of the next generation, and the next, are entitled to consideration if education is to do its perfect work and have complete and convincing justification. The child of the future has a right to grandfathers and grandmothers of sound body and sound mind, and the schools and homes of the present are charged with the responsibility of seeing to it that this right is vouchsafed to him. In actual practice our plans seem not to previse grandfathers and grandmothers, and stop short even of fathers and mothers. The child of the next generation has a right to a father and a mother of untainted blood, and neither the home nor the school can ignore this right.
Transmitted weaknesses.—If these rights are not scrupulously respected by the present generation, the child of the future may come into the world under a handicap that all the educational agencies combined can neither remove nor materially mitigate. If he is crippled in mind or in body because of excesses on the part of his progenitors, the schools and hospitals may help him through life in a sorry sort of fashion, but his condition is evermore a reminder to him of how much he has missed in comparison with the child of sound body and mind. If such a child does not imprecate even the memory of the ancestors whose vitiated blood courses through his stricken body, it will be because his mind is too weak to reason from effect to cause or because his affliction has taught him large charity. He will feel that he has been shamefully cheated in the great game of life, with no hope of restitution. By reason of this, his gaze is turned backward instead of forward, and this is a reversal of the rightful attitude of child life. Instead of looking forward with hope and happiness, he droops through a somber life and constantly broods upon what might have been.
Attitude of ancestors.—Whether he realizes it or not, he reduces the average of humanity and is a burden upon society both in a negative and in a positive sense. In him society loses a worker and gains a dependent. Every taxpayer of the community must contribute to the support which he is unable to provide for himself. He watches other children romp and play and laugh; but he neither romps, nor plays, nor laughs. He is inert. Some ancestor chained him to the rock, and the vultures of disease and unhappiness are feeding at his vitals. He asks for bread, and they give him a stone; he asks for life, and they give him a living death; he asks for a heaven of delight, and they give him a hell of despair. He has a right to freedom, but, in place of that, he is forced into slavery of body and soul to pay the debts of his grandfather. Nor can he pay these debts in full, but must, perforce, pass them on to his own children. Sad to relate, the father and grandfather look upon such a child and charge Providence with unjust dealing in burdening them with such an imperfect scion to uphold the family name. They seem blind to the patent truth before them; they seem unable to interpret the law of cause and effect; they charge the Almighty and the child with their own defections; they acquit themselves of any responsibility for what is before their eyes.
Hospitals cited.—Our hospitals for abnormal and subnormal children, and our eleemosynary institutions, in general, are a sad commentary upon our civilization and something of a reflection upon the school as an exponent of and a teacher of life. If the wards of these institutions, barring the victims of accidents, are the best we can do in the way of coming upon a solution of the problem of life, neither society nor the school has any special warrant for exultation. These defectives did not just happen. The law of life is neither fortuitous nor capricious. On the contrary, like begets like, and the law is immutable. With lavish hand, society provides the pound of cure but gives only superficial consideration to the ounce of prevention. The title of education will be cloudy until such time as these institutions have become a thing of the past. Both pulpit and press extol the efforts of society to build, equip, and maintain these institutions, and that is well; but, with all that, we are merely trying to make the best of a bad situation. Education will not fully come into its own until it takes into the scope of its interests the child of the future as well as the child of the present; not until it comes to regard the children of the present as future ancestors as well as future citizens.
The child as a future ancestor.—If the children of the future are to prove a blessing to society and not a burden, then the children of the present need to become fully conscious of their responsibilities as agencies in bringing to pass this desirable condition. If the teacher or parent can, somehow, cause the boy of to-day to visualize his own grandson, in the years to come, pointing the finger of scorn at him and calling down maledictions upon him because of a taint in the family blood, that picture will persist in his consciousness, and will prove a deterrent factor in his life. The desire for immortality is innate in every human breast, we are taught, but certainly no boy will wish to achieve that sort of immortality. He will not consider with complacency the possibility of his becoming a pariah in the estimation of his descendants, and will go far in an effort to avert such a misfortune. There is no man but will shudder when he contemplates the possibility of having perpetuated upon his gravestone or in the memory of his grandchild the word "Unclean."
The heart of the problem.—Here we arrive at the very heart of the problem that confronts the home and the school. We may close our eyes, or look another way, but the problem remains. We may not be able to solve it, but we cannot evade it. Each day it calls loudly to every parent and every teacher for a solution. The health and happiness of the coming generations depend upon the right education of the present one, and this responsibility the home and the school can neither shirk nor shift. We take great unction to ourselves for the excellence of the horses, pigs, and cattle that we have on exhibition at the fairs, but are silent as to our failures in the form of children, that drag out a half-life in our hospitals. In one state it costs more to care for the defectives and unfortunates than to provide schooling facilities for all the normal children, but this fact is not written into party platforms nor proclaimed from the stump. In the face of such a fact society seems to proceed upon the agreeable assumption that the less said the better.
Misconceptions.—We temporize with the fundamental situation by the use of such soporifics as the expressions "necessary evil" and the like, but that leaves us exactly at the starting point. Many well-meaning people use these expressions with great frequency and freedom and seem to think that in so doing they have given a proof of virtue and public spirit. It were worthy only of an iconoclast to deprecate or disparage the legislative attempts to foster clean living. All such efforts are worthy of commendation; but in sadness it must be confessed that, laudable as these efforts are, they have not produced results that are wholly satisfactory. Defectives are still granted licenses to perpetuate their kind; children still enervate their bodies and minds by the use of narcotics; and society daintily lifts its skirts as it hurries past the evil, pretending not to see. Legislation is an attempt to express public sentiment in statutory form; but public sentiment must precede legislation if it is to become effective. Efforts have been made through the process of legislation to deny the granting of marriage licenses to people who are physically unsound, but the efforts came to naught because public sentiment has not attained to this plane of thinking. Hence, we shall not have much help from legislation in solving our problem, until public sentiment has been educated.
The responsibility of the school.—This education must come, in large part, through the schools, but even these will fail until they come into a full realization of the fact that their field of effort is life in the large. Time was when the teacher thought she was employed to teach geography, grammar, and arithmetic. Then she enlarged this to include boys and girls. And now she needs to make another addition and realize that her function is to teach boys and girls the subject of Life, using the branches of study as a means to this end. In a report on the work of the schools at Gary, Indiana, the statement is made that the first purpose of these schools seems to be to produce efficient workers for the mills. This seems to savor of the doctrine of educational foreordination, and would make millwork and life synonymous. Life is larger than any mill. We may be justified in educating one horse for the plow and another for the race track, but this justification rests upon the fact that horses are assets and not liabilities.
Clean living.—Clean living in this generation will, undeniably, project itself into the next, and we have only to see to it that all the activities of the school function in clean living in the child of to-day, and we shall surely be safeguarding the interests of the child of the future. But clean living means more than mere externals. The daily bath, pure food, fresh air, and sanitary conditions are essential but not sufficient in themselves. Clean thinking, right motives, and a high respect for the rights and interests of the future must enter into the scheme of life. There must be no devious ways, no back alleys, in the scheme, but only the broad highway of life, open always to the sunlight and to the gaze of all mankind. All this must become thoroughly enmeshed in the social consciousness and in the daily practice of every individual, before the school can lay claim to success in the art of teaching efficient living.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. Investigate the following agencies as means for providing future generations with ancestors of untainted blood: legislation; moral education; physical education; sex hygiene and eugenics; penal institutions; medical science.
2. Enumerate some of the physical and mental handicaps of the child who is not well born.
3. What powerful appeal for clean living may be made to the adolescent youth?
4. As a concrete example of children being punished for the sins of their fathers even unto the third and fourth generation, read the history of the Juke family.
5. To what extent does the school share the responsibility for the improvement of the physical and moral quality of the children of the future?
6. What kind of teaching is needed to meet this responsibility?
7. Reliable authorities have estimated that 60 per cent or 12,000,000 of the school children of America are suffering from removable physical defects; that 93 per cent of the school children of the country have defective teeth; and that on the average the health of children who are not in attendance at school is better than that of those who are in school. In the light of these facts discuss the failure or success of our schools in providing fit material for efficient citizenship.
The politician defined.—The politician has been defined as one who makes a careful study of the wants of his community and is diligent in his efforts to supply these wants. This definition has, at the very least, the merit of mitigating, if not removing, the stigma that attaches to politicians in the popular thought. Conceding the correctness of this definition, it must be evident that society is the beneficiary of the work of the politician, and would be the gainer if the number of politicians were multiplied. The motive of self-interest lies back of all human activities, and education is constantly striving to stimulate and accentuate this motive. Even in altruism we may find an admixture of self-interest. The merchant who arranges his goods artistically may hope by this means to win more patronage, but, aside from this, he wins a feeling of gratification. His self-interest may look either toward a greater volume of business or to a better class of patrons, or both. While he is enlarging the scope of his business, he may be elevating the taste of his customers. In either case his self-interest is commendable. A successful merchant is better for the community than an unsuccessful one.
Self-interest.—The physician is actuated by the motive of self-interest, also. His years of training are but a preparation for the competition that is certain to fall to his lot. He is gratified at the increase of his popularity as a successful practitioner. But he prescribes modes of living as well as remedies, and so tries to forestall and prevent disease, while he is exercising his curative skill. He tries not only to restore health, but also to promote good health in the community by his recommendations of pure food, pure water, fresh air, and exercise. His motives are altruistic even while he is consulting self-interest. None but the censorious will criticize the minister for accepting a larger parish even with a larger salary attached. The larger parish will afford him a wider field for usefulness, and the larger salary will enable him to execute more of his laudable plans.
The methods of the politician.—Hence it will be seen that, in the right sense, merchants, physicians, and ministers are all politicians in that they seek to expand the sphere of their activities. Like the politician they study the wants of the people in order to win a starting point for leadership. True, there are quacks, charlatans, hypocrites, and demagogues, but none of these, nor all combined, avail to disprove the validity of the principle. It has often been said that the churches would do well to study and use the art of advertising that is so well understood by the saloons. This is another way of saying that the methods of the politician will avail in promoting right activities as well as wrong ones. The politician, whether he is a business man or a professional man, proceeds from the known to the related unknown, and thus shows himself a conscious or unconscious student of psychology. He studies that which is in order to promote that which should be.
Leadership.—The politician aspires to leadership, and that is praiseworthy, provided his cause is a worthy one. If the cause is unworthy, the cloven foot will soon appear and repudiation will ensue, which will mark him unsuccessful as a politician. He may be actuated by the motive of self-interest, in common with all others, but this interest may focus in the amelioration of conditions as they are or in the advancement of his friends. The satisfaction of leadership is the sole reward of many a politician, with the added pleasure of seeing his friends profit by this leadership. A statesman is a politician grown large—large in respect to motives, to plans and purposes, and to methods. The fundamental principle, however, remains constant.
The politician worthy of imitation.—The successful politician must know people and their wants. He must know conditions in order to direct the course of his activities. Otherwise, he will find himself moving at random, and this may prove disastrous to his purposes. Much misdirected effort has been expended in disparaging the politician and his methods. If the man and his methods were better understood, they would often be found worthy of close imitation in the home, in the school, in the church, in the professions, and in business.
Education and substitution.—Education, in the large, is the process of making substitutions. Evermore, in school work, we are striving to substitute something better for something not so good. In brief, we are striving to substitute needs for wants. But before we can do this we must determine, by careful study and close observation, what the wants are. Ability to substitute needs for wants betokens a high type of leadership. The boy wants to read Henty, but needs to read Dickens or Shakespeare. How shall the teacher proceed in order to make the substitution? Certainly it cannot be done by any mere fiat or ukase. Those who are incredulous as to the wisdom of establishing colleges of education and normal schools to generate and promote methods of teaching have here a concrete and pertinent question: Can a college of education or normal school give to an embryo teacher any method by which she may effectively substitute Shakespeare for Henty?
Methods contrasted.—Some teachers have attempted to make this substitution by means of ridicule and sarcasm and then called the boy stupid because he continued to read his Henty. Others have indulged in rhapsodies on Shakespeare, hoping to inoculate the boy with the Shakespearean virus, and then called the boy stolid because he failed to share their apparent rapture. The politician would have pursued neither of these plans. His inherent or acquired psychology would have admonished him to begin where the boy is. He would have gone to Henty to find the boy. Having found him, he would have sat down beside him and entered into his interest in the book. In time he would have found something in the book to remind him of a passage in Shakespeare. This passage he would have read in his best style and then resumed the reading of Henty. Thus, by degrees, he would have effected the substitution, permitting the boy to think that this had been done on his own initiative.
The principle illustrated.—The vitalized teacher observes, profits by, and initiates into her work the method of the politician and so makes her school work vital. Beginning with what the boy wants, she lures him along, by easy stages, until she has brought him within the circle of her own wants, which are, in reality, the needs of the boy. The boy walks along in paces, let us say, of eighteen inches. The teacher moderates her gait to harmonize with his, but gradually lengthens her paces to two feet. At first, she kept step with him; now he is keeping step with her and finds the enterprise an exhilarating adventure. She is teaching the boy to walk in strides two feet in length, and begins with his native tendency to step eighteen inches. Thus she begins where the boy is, by acquainting herself with his wants, attaches her teaching to his native tendencies, and then proceeds from the known to the related unknown. Libraries abound in books that explain lucidly this simple elementary principle of teaching, but many teachers still seem to find it difficult of application.
Substitution illustrated.—This method of substitution becomes the rule of the school through the skill of the vitalized teacher. The lily of the valley is substituted for the sunflower, in the children's esteem, and there is generated a taste for the exquisite. The copy of the masterpiece of art supplants the bizarre chromo; correct forms of speech take the place of incorrect forms; the elegant usurps the place of the inelegant; and the inartistic gives place to the artistic. The circle of their wants is extended until it includes their needs, and these, in turn, are transformed into wants. Thus all the pupils ascend to a higher level of appreciation of the things that make for a more comfortable and agreeable civilization. They work under the spell of leadership, for real leadership always inspires confidence.
Society and the school.—At its best, society is but an enlarged copy of the vitalized school. Or, to put it in another way, the vitalized school is society in miniature. As the school is engaged in the work of making substitutions, so, in fact, is society. Legislative bodies are striving to substitute wise laws for the laws that have fallen behind the needs of the times, that the interests of society may be fully conserved. The church is substituting better methods of work in all its activities for the methods that have become antiquated or ineffective. This it does in the hope that its influence may be broadened and deepened. Ministers and officials are constantly pondering the question of substitutions. The farmer is substituting better methods of tilling the soil for the methods that were in vogue in a former time before science had invaded the realms of agriculture, to the end that he may increase the yield of his fields, make larger contributions to commerce, increase his profits, and so be better able to gratify some of the higher desires of his nature.
The automobile factory.—Each successive model in an automobile factory is a concrete illustration of the process of making substitutions, and each substituted part bears witness to a close scrutiny of past experiences as well as of the wants of prospective purchasers. The self-starter was a want at first; but now it is a need, and, therefore, a necessity. If the school would but make as careful study of the boy's experiences and his wants as the manufacturer does in the case of automobiles, and then would attach the substitutions to these experiences and wants, the boy would very soon find himself in happy possession of a self-starter which would prove to be the very crown of school work. The automobile manufacturer is both a psychologist and a politician.
Results of substitutions.—As a result of substitutions we have better roads, better houses, better laws, cleaner streets, better fences, better machinery, more sanitary conditions, and a higher type of conduct. We step to a higher level upon the experiences of the past and make substitutions as we move upward. The progress of civilization is measured by the character of these substitutions and the rapidity with which they are made. The people on the Isle of Marken make but few substitutions, and these only at long intervals, and so they are looked upon as curiosities among humans. In all our missionary enterprises we are endeavoring to persuade the peoples among whom we are working to make substitutions. Instead of their own, we would have them accept our books, our styles of clothing, our plans of government, our modes of living, our means of transportation, and, in short, our standards of life. But, first of all, we must learn their standards of life; otherwise we cannot proceed intelligently or effectively in the line of substitutions. We must know their language before we can teach them ours, and we must translate our books into their language before we can hope to substitute our books for theirs. All the substitutions we hope to make presuppose a knowledge of their wants. Hence the methods of the missionary bear a close analogy to the methods of the politician.
The Idealist.—This is equally true of the vitalized teacher. She is a practical idealist. In the words of the poet, her reach is beyond her grasp, and this proclaims her an idealist. In her capacity as a politician she makes a close study of the wants of her constituents, both pupils and parents, and so learns how best to articulate school work with the interests of the community. She does not hold aloof from her pupils or their homes, but studies them at close range, as do the missionary and the politician. She lives among them and so learns their language and their modes of thinking and living. Only so can she come into sympathetic relations with them and be of greatest service to them in promoting right substitutions. She finds one boy surcharged with the instinct of pugnacity. This tendency manifests itself both in school and at home. Her own conclusions are ratified by the parents. He wants to fight. His whole nature cries aloud for battle. In such a case, neither repression nor suppression will avail. So she attaches a phase of school work to this native disposition and gives his pugnacious instinct a fair field.
An example.—Enlisting him as her champion in a tournament, she pits against him a doughty antagonist in the form of a problem in arithmetic. In tones of encouragement she gives the signal and the fight is on. The boy pummels that problem as he would belabor a schoolmate on the playground. His whole being is focused upon the adventure. And when he has won his meed of praise, he feels himself a real champion. The teacher merely substituted mind for hands in the contest and so fell in with his notion that fighting is quite right if only the cause is a worthy one. He is quick to see the distinction and so makes the substitution with alacrity and with no loss of self-respect. Ever after he disdains the vulgar brawl and does not lose the fighting instinct. Thus the vitalized teacher by knowing how to make substitutions wins for society a valiant champion. If we multiply this example, we shall readily see how such a teacher-politician deserves the distinction of being termed a practical idealist.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. Distinguish the following terms: demagogue; politician; statesman; and practical idealist.
2. Subject to what limitations should a successful teacher be a politician?
3. Enumerate the qualities of a successful politician that teachers should possess.
4. How does the author define education? Criticize this definition.
5. What resemblances has the process of education to the evolution of machinery? to the evolution of biological species?
6. Describe methods by which the tactful teacher may secure helpful substitutions in the child's life.
7. In what respects does society resemble a vitalized school?
8. Illustrate how teachers may utilize for the education of the child seemingly harmful instincts.
Acquisitiveness.—In fancy, at least, we may attain a position over and far above the city of London and from this vantage-place, with the aid of strong glasses, watch a panorama that is both entrancing and bewildering. The scene bewilders not alone by its scope, but still more by its complexity. The scene is a shifting one, too, never the same in two successive minutes. Here is Trafalgar Square, with its noble monument and the guardian lions, reminding us of Nelson in what is accounted one of the most heroic naval engagements recorded in history. As we look, we reconstitute the scene, far away, in which he was conspicuous, and reread in our books his stirring appeal to his men. Thence we glance up Regent Street and see it thronged with equipages that betoken wealth and luxury. Richly dressed people in great numbers are moving to and fro and giving color to the picture. A shabby garb cannot be made to fit into this picture. When it appears, there is discord in the general harmony. All this motion must have motives behind it somewhere; but we can only conjecture the motives. We have only surface indications to guide us in our quest for these. But we are reasonably certain that these people are animated by the instinct of acquisition. They seem to want to get things, and so come where things are to be had.
Desires for things intangible.—There are miles of vehicles of many kinds wending their tortuous, sinuous ways in and out along streets that radiate hither and thither. They stay their progress for a moment and people emerge at Robinson's, at Selfridge's, at Liberty's. Each of these is the Mecca of a thousand desires, and faces beam with pleasure when they reappear. Some desire has evidently been gratified. Others alight at the National Gallery and enter its doors. When they come forth it is obvious that something happened to them inside that building. The lines of care on their faces are not so evident, and their step is more elastic and buoyant. Their desires did not have tangible things as their objectives as in the case of the people who entered the shops for merchandise, but their faces shine with a new light and, therefore, their quest must have been successful. As we look, we realize that desires for intangible things may be as acute as for tangible ones, and that the gratification of these desires produces equal satisfaction.
Westminster Abbey.—Not far away other throngs are invading Westminster Abbey. In those historic and hallowed precincts they are communing with the Past, the Present, and the Future. All about them is the sacred dust of those who once wrought effectively in affairs of state and in the realm of letters. History and literature have their shrine there, and these people are worshipers at that shrine. All about them are reminders of the Past, while the worshipers before the Cross direct their thoughts to the Future. Earth and Heaven both send forth an invitation for supreme interest in their thoughts and feelings. History and literature call to them to emulate the achievements whose monuments they see about them, while the Cross admonishes them that these achievements are but temporal. Here they experience a fulfillment of their desires. Their knowledge is broadened, and their faith is lifted up. The Past thrills them; the Future inspires them; and thus the Present is far more worth while.
House of Parliament.—Across the way is Parliament, and this conjures up a long train of events of vast import. The currents that flow out from this power-house have encircled the globe. Here conquests have been planned that electrified nations. Here have been generated vast armies and navies as messengers of Desire. Here have been voted vast treasures in execution of the desires of men for territorial extension and national aggrandizement. These halls have resounded with the eloquence of men who were striving to inoculate other men with the virus of their desires; and the whole world has stood on tiptoe awaiting the issue of this eloquence. Momentous scenes have been enacted here, all emanating from the desires of men, and these scenes have touched the lives of untold millions of people.
Commerce.—We see the Thames near by, teeming with ships from the uttermost corners of the earth, and we think of commerce. We use the word glibly, but no mind is able to comprehend its full import. We know that these ships ply the seas, bearing food and clothing to the peoples who live far away, but when we attempt to estimate the magnitude of commerce, the mind confesses to itself that the problem is too great. We may multiply the number of ships by their tonnage, but we get, in consequence, an array of figures so great that they cease to have any meaning for the finite mind. The best and most that they can do for us is to make us newly aware that the people who dwell in the jungles of Africa, who roam the pampas of South America, who climb the Alps, the Rockies, the Andes, and the Himalayas, all have desires that these ships are striving to gratify.
Social intercourse.—Going up the river to Hampton Court we see people out for a holiday. There are house-boats with elaborate and artistic fittings and furnishings, and other craft of every sort that luxury can suggest. One could imagine that none but fairies could stage such a scene. The blending of colors, the easy dalliance, the rippling laughter, the graceful feasting, and the eddying wavelets all conspire to produce a scene that serves to emphasize the beauty of the shores. Underneath this enchanting scene of variegated beauty we discover the fundamental fact that man is a gregarious animal, that he not only craves association with his kind but that playing with them brings him into more harmonious communion with them. In their play they meet upon the plane of a common purpose and are thus unified in spirit. Hence, all this beauty and gayety is serving a beneficent purpose in the way of gratifying the inherent desire of mankind for social intercourse.
The travel instinct.—At Charing Cross the commerce drama is reenacted, only here with trains instead of boats, and, mainly, people instead of merchandise. Here we see hurry and bustle, and hear the shriek of the engine and the warning blast of the guard. Trains are going out, trains are coming in. When the people step out upon the platforms, they seem to know exactly whither they are bound. There are porters all about to help them achieve their desires, and cabs stand ready at the curb to do their bidding. Here is human commerce, and the trains are the answer to the call of the human family to see their own and other lands. These trains are swifter and more agreeable for nomads than the camel of the desert or the Conestoga wagon of the prairie. The nomadic instinct pulls and pushes people away from their own door-yards; hence railways, trains, engines, air brakes, telegraph lines, wireless apparatuses, and all the many other devices that the mind of man has designed at the behest of this desire to roam about.
Monuments.—Further down the Thames we see Greenwich, which regulates the clocks for the whole world, and furnishes the sea captain the talisman by which he may know where he is. Over against St. Paul's is the Bank of England, which for long years ruled the finances of the world. Yonder is the Museum, the conservator of the ages. There is the Rosetta Stone, which is the gateway of history; there the Elgin Marbles, which proclaim the glory of the Greece that was; there the palimpsests which recall an age when men had time to think; and there the books of all time by means of which we can rethink the big thoughts of men long since gone from sight. There are things that men now call curiosities that mark the course of minds in their struggles toward the light; and there are the sentiments of lofty souls that will live in the hearts of men long after these giant stones have crumbled.
Desire for pastoral beauty.—Beyond the city, in the alluring country places, we see a landscape that delights the senses, ornate with hedges, flowers, vine-clad cottages, highways of surpassing smoothness, fertile fields, and thrifty flocks and herds. There are carts and wagons on the roads bearing the products of field and garden to the marts of trade. Men, women, and children zealously ply the hoe, the plow, or the shovel, abetting Nature in her efforts to feed the hungry. In this pastoral scene there is dignity, serenity, and latent power. Its beauty answers back to the aesthetic nature of mankind, and nothing that is artificial can ever supplant it in the way of gratifying man's desire for the beautiful.
Economic articulation.—Through all the diversified phases of this panorama there runs a fundamental principle of unity. There are no collisions. In the economy of civilization the farmer is cooerdinate with the artist, the artisan, and the tradesman. But, if all men were farmers, the economic balance would be disturbed. The railroad engineer is major because he is indispensable. So, also, is the farmer, the legislator, the artist, and the student. There is a degree of interdependence that makes for economic harmony. The articulation of all the parts gives us an economic whole.
Aspirations.—This panorama is a picture of life; and the school is life. Hence the panorama and the school are identical; only the school is larger than the panorama, even though the picture is reduced in size to fit the frame of the school. The pupils in the school have dreams and aspirations that reach far beyond the limits of the picture of our fancy. And all these aspirations are a part of life and so are indigenous in the vitalized school. And woe betide the teacher who would abridge or repress these dreams and aspirations. They are the very warp and woof of life, and the teacher who would eliminate them would suppress life itself. That teacher is in sorry business who would fit her pupils out with mental or spiritual strait-jackets, or mold them to some conventional pattern, even though it be her own. These pupils are the prototypes of the people in our panorama, and are, therefore, animated by like inclinations and desires.
Desire is fundamental.—Here is a boy who is hungry; he desires food. But so does the man who is passing along the street. The man is focusing all his mental powers upon the problem of how he shall procure food. The man's problem is the boy's problem and each has a right to a solution of his problem. The school's business is to help the boy solve his problem and not to try to quench his desire for food or try to persuade him that no such desire exists. This desire is one of the native dispositions to which the work of the school is to attach itself. Desires are fundamental in the scheme of education, the very tentacles that will lay hold upon the school activities and render them effective. The teacher's large task is to strengthen and nourish incipient desires and to cause the pupil to hunger and thirst after the means of gratifying them.
Innate tendencies.—Each pupil has a right to his inherent individuality. The school should not only begin where the boy is, but should begin its work upon what he is. Only so can it direct him toward what he ought to be. If the boy would alight at the National Gallery in order to regale himself with the masterpieces of art, why, pray, should the teacher try to curtail this desire and force him into Westminster Abbey? If she will accompany him into the Gallery and prove herself his friend and guide among the treasures of art, she will, doubtless, experience the joy of hearing him ask her to be his companion through the Abbey later on. The Abbey is quite right in its way and the boy must visit it soon or late, but to this particular boy the Gallery comes first and he should be led to the Abbey by way of the Gallery. In school work the parties are all personally conducted, but the rule is that a party is composed of but one person.
Illustration.—The girl is not to be condemned because she desires to visit the Selfridge shop rather than the Museum. The teacher may rhapsodize upon the Museum to the limit of her strength, but the girl is thinking of the beautiful fabrics to be seen at the shop, and, especially, of the delicious American ice cream that can be had nowhere else in London. It is rather a poor teacher who cannot lead the girl to the British Museum by way of Selfridge's. If the teacher finds the task difficult, she would do well to traverse the route a few times in advance. The ice cream will help rather than hinder when they stand, at length, before the Rosetta Stone or read the original letter to Mrs. Bixby. The store and the Museum are both in the picture, and the teacher must determine which should come first in the itinerary of this girl. The native dispositions and desires will point out the way to the teacher.
The old-time schoolmaster was fond of setting as a copy in the old-fashioned copy book "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"; but, later, when he caught Jack playing he gave him a flogging, thus proving himself both inconsistent and deficient in a knowledge of psychology and fair play. If we are going to Greenwich we shall save time by taking the longer journey by way of Hampton Court. As we disport ourselves amid the beauties and gayeties of the Court we can prolong our pleasures by anticipating Greenwich, and so make our play the anteroom of our work.
Variety in excellence.—In the vitalized school we shall find each pupil eager in his quest of food for the hunger he feels, and the teacher rejoicing in the development of his individuality. She would not have all her pupils attain the same level even of excellence. They are different, and she would have them so. Nor would she have her school exemplify the kind of order that is to be found in a gallery of statues. Her school is a place of life, eager, yearning, pulsating life, and not a place of dead and deadening silence. Her pupils have diversified tastes and desires and, in consequence, diversified activities, but work is the golden cord that binds them in a healthy and healthful unity. This is sublime chaos, a busy, happy throng, all working at full strength at tasks that are worth while, and all animated by hopes and aspirations that reach out to the very limits of space.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. What may the school do to give helpful direction and needed modifications to the instinct of acquisition?
2. The ultimate ends of education are more efficient production and more intelligent consumption. How and by what means may the school bring about a more intelligent choice of tangible and intangible things?
3. What hint may the teacher of geography receive from the brief description of London's points of interest?
4. Compare a vitalized school with the panorama of London.
5. To what extent must individual differences be recognized by the teacher in the recitation? in discipline?
6. Suggest means whereby pupils may be induced to spend their evenings with Dickens, Eliot, Macaulay, or Irving in preference to the "movies."
A conflict.—There was a fight on a railway train—a terrific fight. The conductor and two other Americans were battling against ten or more foreigners. These foreigners had come aboard the train at a mining town en route to the city for a holiday. The train had hardly got under way, after the stop, when the fight was on. The battle raged back and forth from one car to the other across the platform amid the shouts and cursing of men and the screams of women. Bloody faces attested the intensity of the conflict. One foreigner was knocked from the train, but no account was taken of him. The train sped on and the fight continued. Nor did its violence abate until the train reached the next station, where the conductor summoned reenforcements and invoked the majesty of the law in the form of an officer. The affray, from first to last, was most depressing and gave to the unwilling witness a feeling that civilization is something of a misnomer and that men are inherently ferocious.
Misconceptions.—More mature reflection, however, served to modify this judgment, and the application of some philosophy resolved the distressing combat into a relatively simple proposition. The conductor and his assistants were fighting for their conception of order, and their opponents were fighting for their conception of manhood. Reduced to its primal elements, the fight was the result of a dual misconception. The conductor was battling to vindicate his conception of order; the foreigners were battling to vindicate their conception of the rights of men in a democracy. Neither party to the contest understood the other, and each one felt himself to be on the defensive. Neither one would have confessed himself the aggressor, and yet each one was invading the supposed rights of the other. Judicial consideration could readily have averted the whole distressing affair.
Foreign concept of democracy.—The foreigners had come to our country with roseate dreams of democracy. To their conception, this is the land where every man is the equal of every other man; where equal rights and privileges are vouchsafed to all men without regard to nationality, position, or possessions; where there is no faintest hint of the caste system; and where there are no possible lines of demarcation. Their disillusionment on that train was swift and severe, and the observer could not but wonder what was their conception of a democracy as they walked about the streets of the city or gave attention to their bruised faces. Their dreams of freedom and equal rights must have seemed a mockery. They must have felt that they had been lured into a trap by some agency of cruelty and injustice. After such an experience they must have been unspeakably homesick for their native land.
"Melting pot."—Their primary trouble arose from the fact that they had not yet achieved democracy, but had only a hazy theoretical conception of its true meaning. Nor did the conductor give them any assistance. On the contrary he pushed them farther away into the realm of theory, and rendered them less susceptible to the influence of the feeling for democracy. Before these foreigners can become thoroughly assimilated they must know this feeling by experience; and until this experience is theirs they cannot live comfortably or harmoniously in our democracy. To do this effectively is one of the large tasks that confront the American school and society as a whole. If we fail here, the glory of democracy will be dimmed. All Americans share equally in the responsibility of this task. The school, of course, must assume its full share of this responsibility if it would fully deserve the name of melting pot.
Learning democracy.—Meeting this responsibility worthily is not the simple thing that many seem to conceive it to be. If it were, then any discussion appertaining to the teaching of democracy would be superfluous. This subject of democracy is, in fact, the most difficult subject with which the school has to do, and by far the most important. Its supreme importance is due to the fact that all the pupils expect to live in a democracy, and, unless they learn democracy, life cannot attain to its maximum of agreeableness for them nor can they make the largest possible contributions to the well-being of society. It has been said that the seventeenth century saw Versailles; the eighteenth century saw the Earth; and the nineteenth century saw Humanity. Then the very pertinent question is asked, "Which century will see Life?" We who love our country and our form of government fondly hope that we may be the first to see Life, and, if this privilege falls to our lot, we must come to see life through the medium of democracy.
The vitalized school a democracy.—Life seems to be an abstract something to many people, but it must become concrete before they can really see it as it is. Democracy is a means, therefore, of transforming abstract life into concrete life, and so we are to come into a fuller comprehension of life through the gateway of democracy. The vitalized school is a laboratory of life and, at the same time, it is the most nearly perfect exemplification of democracy. The nearer its approach to perfection in exemplifying the spirit and workings of a democracy, the larger service it renders society. If the outflow from the school into society is a high quality of democracy, the general tone of society will be improved. If society deteriorates, the school may not be wholly at fault, but it evidently is unable to supply to society reenforcement in such quantity and of such quality as will keep the level up to normal.
Responsibility of the individual.—In society each individual raises or lowers the level of democracy according to what he is and does. The idler fails to make any contributions to the well-being of society and thus lowers the average of citizenship. The trifler and dawdler lower the level of democracy by reason of their inefficiency. They may exercise their right to vote but fail to exercise their right to act the part of efficient citizens. If all citizens emulated their example, democracy would become inane and devitalized. Tramps, burglars, feeble-minded persons, and inebriates lower the level of democracy because of their failure to render their full measure of service, and because, in varying degrees, they prey upon the resources of society and thus add to its burdens. Self-reliance, self-support, self-respect, as well as voting, are among the rights that all able-bodied citizens must exercise before democracy can come into its rightful heritage.
The function of the school.—All this and much more the schools must teach effectively so that it shall be thoroughly enmeshed in the social consciousness or their output will reveal a lack of those qualities that make for the larger good of democratic society. Democracy must be grooved into habits of thought and action or the graduates of the schools will fall short of achieving the highest plane of living in the community. They will not be in harmony with their environment, and friction will ensue, which will reduce, in some degree, the level of democracy. Hence, the large task of the school is to inculcate the habit of democracy with all that the term implies. Twelve years are none too long for this important work, even under the most favorable conditions and under the direction of the most skillful teaching. Indeed, civic economy will be greatly enhanced if, in the twelve years, the schools accomplish this one big purpose.
Manifestations of democratic spirit.—We may not be able to resolve democracy into its constituent elements, but the spirit that is attuned to democracy is keenly alive to its manifestations. The spirit so attuned is quick to detect any slightest discord in the democratic harmony. This is especially true in the school democracy. A discordant note affects the entire situation and militates against effective procedure. In the school democracy we look for a series and system of compromises,—for a yielding of minor matters that major ones may be achieved. We look for concessions that will make for the comfort and progress of the entire body, and we experience disappointment if we fail to discover some pleasure in connection with these concessions. We expect to see good will banishing selfishness and every semblance of monopoly. We expect to find every pupil glad to share the time and strength of the teacher with his fellows even to the point of generosity, and to find joy in so doing. We expect to find each pupil eager to deposit all his attainments and capabilities as assets of the school and to find his chief joy in the success of all that the school represents.
Obstacles in the path.—But it is far easier to depict democracy than to teach it. In fact, the teacher is certain to encounter obstacles, and many of these have their source in American homes. Indeed, some of the most fertile sources of discord in the school may be traced to a misconception of democracy on the part of the home. One of these misconceptions is a species of anarchy, which appropriates to itself the gentler name of democracy. But, none the less, it is anarchy. It disdains all law and authority, treads under foot the precepts of the home and the school, flouts the counsels of parents and teachers, and is self-willed, obstinate, and defiant. Democracy obeys the law; anarchy scorns it. Democracy respects the rights of others, anarchy overrides them. Democracy exalts good will; anarchy exalts selfishness. Democracy respects the Golden Rule; anarchy respects nothing, not even itself.
Anarchy.—When this spirit of anarchy gains access to the school, it is not easily eradicated for the reason that the home is loath to recognize it as anarchy, and resents any such implication on the part of the school. The father may be quite unable to exercise any control over the boy, but he is reluctant to admit the fact to the teacher. Such a boy is an anarchist and no sophistry can gloss the fact. What he needs is a liberal application of monarchy to fit him for democracy. He should read the Old Testament as a preparation for an appreciative perusal of the New Testament. If the home cannot generate in him due respect for constituted authority, then the school must do so, or he will prove a menace to society and become a destructive rather than a constructive agency. Here we have a tense situation. Anarchy is running riot in the home; the home is arrayed against the attempts of the school to correct the disorder; and Democracy is standing expectant to see what will be done.
Snobbery.—Scarcely less inimical to democracy than anarchy is snobbery. The former is violent, while the latter is insidious. Both poison the source of the stream of democracy. If the home instills into the minds of children the notion of inherent superiority, they will carry this into the school and it will produce a discord. A farmer and a tenant had sons of the same age. These lads played together, never thinking of superiority or inferiority. Now the son of the tenant is president of one of the great universities, and the son of the proprietor is a janitor in one of the buildings of that university. Democracy presents to view many anomalies, and the school age is quite too early for anything approaching the caste system or snobbery. The time may come when the rich man's son will consider it an honor to drive the car for his impecunious classmate.
Restatement.—It needs to be repeated, therefore, that democracy is the most difficult subject which the school is called upon to teach, not only because it is difficult in itself, but also because of the attitude of many homes that profess democracy but do not practice it. To the influence of such homes one may trace the exodus of many children from the schools. The parents want things done in their way or not at all, and so withdraw their children to vindicate their own autocracy. They are willing to profit by democracy but are unwilling to help foster its growth. They not only lower the level of democracy but even compel their children to lower it still more. The teacher may yearn for the children and the children for the teacher, but the home is inexorable and sacrifices the children to a misconception of democracy.
Cooeperation.—Democracy does not mean fellowship, but it does mean cooeperation. It means that people in all walks of life are animated by the common purpose to make all their activities contribute to the general good of society. It means that the railroad president may shake hands with the brakeman and talk with him, man to man, encouraging him to aspire to promotion on merit. It means that this brakeman may become president of the road with no scorn for the stages through which he passed in attaining this position. It means that he may understand and sympathize with the men in his employ without fraternizing with them. It means that every boy may aspire to a place higher than his father has attained with no loss of affection for him. It does not mean either sycophancy or truculence, but freedom to every individual to make the most of himself and so help others to make the most of themselves.
The democratic teacher.—Democracy is learned not from books but from the democratic spirit that obtains in the school. If the teacher is surcharged with democracy, her radiating spirit sends out currents into the life of each pupil, and the spirit of democracy thus generated in them fuses them into homogeneity. Thus they become democratic by living in the atmosphere of democracy, as the boy grew into the likeness of the Great Stone Face.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. How may elementary teachers inculcate the principles of true democracy?
2. By what means may public schools assist in the transformation of illiterate foreigners into "intelligent American citizens"?
3. What are some of the weaknesses of democracy which the public school may remedy? the press? public officials? the people?
4. Are such affairs as are described in the beginning of the chapter peculiar to democracies? Why or why not?
5. How may school discipline recognize democratic principles, thereby laying the foundation of respect for law and order by our future citizens?
6. What qualities of citizens are inconsistent with a high level of democracy?
7. Discuss the extent to which the management of the classroom should be democratic.
8. How may the monarchical government of a school fit pupils for a democracy? How may it unfit them?
9. In what ways may the following institutions raise the level of democracy: centralized schools? vocational schools? junior high schools? moonlight schools? evening schools?
Patriotism as a working principle.—The vitalized school generates and fosters patriotism, not merely as a sentiment, but more particularly as a working principle. Patriotism has in it a modicum of sentiment, to be sure, as do religion, education, the home, and civilization; but sentiment alone does not constitute real or true patriotism. The man who shouts for the flag but pursues a course of conduct that brings discredit upon the name of his country, belies the sentiment that his shouting would seem to express. The truly patriotic man feels that he owes to his country and his race his whole self,—his mind, his time, and his best efforts,—and the payment of this obligation spells life to him. Thus he inevitably interprets patriotism in terms of industry, economy, thrift, and the full conservation of time and energy, that he may render a good account of his stewardship to his country.
Spelling as patriotism.—With this broad conception in mind the teacher elevates patriotism to the rank of a motive and proceeds to organize all the school activities in consonance with this conception. Actuated by this high motive the pupils, in time, come to look upon correct spelling not only as a comfort and a convenience, but also as a form of patriotism in that it is an exponent of intelligent observation and as such wins respect and commendation from people at home and people abroad. Or, to put the case negatively, if we were all deficient in the matter of spelling, the people of other lands would hold us up to ridicule because of this defect; but if we are expert in the art of spelling, they have greater respect for us and for our schools. Hence, such a simple matter as spelling tends to invest the flag of our country with better and fuller significance. Thus spelling becomes woven into the life processes, not as a mere task of the school, but as a privilege vouchsafed to every one who yearns to see his country win distinction.
Patriotism a determining motive.—In like manner the teacher runs the entire gamut of school studies and shows how each one may become a manifestation of patriotism. If she has her pupils exchange letters with pupils in the schools of other countries, they see, at once, that their spelling, their writing, and their composition will all be carefully assessed in the formation of an estimate of ourselves and our schools. It is evident, therefore, that the pupils will give forth their best efforts in all these lines that the country they represent may appear to the best advantage. In such an exercise the motive of patriotism will far outweigh in importance the motive of grades. Besides, the letters are written to real people about real life, and, hence, life and patriotism become synonymous in their thinking, and all their school work becomes more vital because of their patriotism.
History.—In the study of history, the pupils readily discover that the men and women who have given distinction to their respective countries have done so, in the main, by reason of their attainments in science, in letters, and in statesmanship. They are led to think of Goethals in the field of applied mathematics; of Burbank in the realm of botany; of Edison in physics; of Scott and Burns in literature; of Max Mueller in philology; of Schliemann in archaeology; of Washington and Lincoln in the realm of statesmanship; and of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton in philanthropy. They discover that France deemed it an honor to have Erasmus as her guest so long as he found it agreeable to live in that country, and that many countries vied with one another in claiming Homer as their own. Phillips Brooks was a patriot, not alone because of his profession of love for his country, but because of what he did that added luster to the name of his country.
Efficiency.—The study of physiology and hygiene affords a wide field for the contemplation and practice of patriotic endeavor. The care of the body is a patriotic exercise in that it promotes health and vigor, and these underlie efficiency. Anything short of efficiency is unpatriotic because it amounts to a subtraction from the possible best that may be done to advance the interests of society. The shiftless man is not a patriot, nor yet the man who enervates his body by practices that render him less than efficient. The intemperate man may shout lustily at sight of the flag, but his noise only proclaims his lack of real patriotism. An honest day's work would redound far more to the glory of his country than his noisy protestations. Seeing that behind every deliberate action there lies a motive, the higher the motive the more noble will be the action. If, then, we can achieve temperance through the motive of patriotism, society will be the beneficiary, not only of temperance itself, but also of many concomitant benefits.
Temperance.—Temperance may be induced, of course, through the motives of economy, good health, and the like, but the motive of patriotism includes all these and, therefore, stands at the summit. Waste, in whatever form, is evermore unpatriotic. Conservation is patriotism, whether of natural resources, human life, human energy, or time. The intemperate man wastes his substance, his energies, his opportunities, his self-respect, and his moral fiber. Very often, too, he becomes a charge upon society and abrogates the right of his family to live comfortably and agreeably. Hence, he must be accounted unpatriotic. If all men in our country were such as he, our land would be derided by the other nations of the world. He brings his country into disrepute instead of glorifying it because he does less than his full share in contributing to its well-being. He renders himself less than a typical American and brings reproach upon his country instead of honor.
Sanitation.—One of the chief variants of the general subject of physiology and hygiene is sanitation, and this, even yet, affords a field for aggressive and constructive patriotism. Grime and crime go hand in hand; but, as a people, we have been somewhat slow in our recognition of this patent truth. Patriotism as well as charity should begin at home, and the man who professes a love for his country should make that part of his country which he calls his home so sanitary and so attractive that it will attest the sincerity of his profession. If he loves his country sincerely, he must love his back yard, and what he really loves he will care for. It does him no credit to have the flag floating above a home that proclaims his shiftlessness. His feeling for sanitation, attractiveness, and right conditions as touching his own home surroundings will expand until it includes his neighborhood, his county, his State, and his entire country.
A typical patriot.—A typical patriot is the busy, intelligent, frugal, cultured housewife whose home is her kingdom and who uses her powers to make that kingdom glorious. She regrets neither the time nor the effort that is required to make her home clean, artistic, and comfortable. She places upon it the stamp of her character, industry, and good taste. She supplies it with things that delight the senses and point the way to culture. To such a home the crude and the bizarre are a profanation. She administers her home as a sacred trust in the interests of her family and never for exhibition purposes. Her home is an expression of herself, and her children will carry into life the standards that she inculcates through the agency of the home. Life is better for the family and for the community because her home is what it is, and, in consequence, her patriotism is far-reaching in its influence. If all homes were such as this, our country would be exploited as representing the highest plane of civilization the world has yet attained. The vitalized teacher is constantly striving to have this standard of home and home life become the standard of her pupils.