« НазадПродовжити »
Bowen's A Layman's Study of the English McLennan's Recent Discussions of the Patri-
archal Theory. George Ilarris . . .602
Views of Madame Guyon. Wm. J. Tucker 447 Language. L. II. El rell . . .
Mountains. Geo. Leon Walker . . . .222 Perry's A Sanskrit Primer. John Alery . . 451
Cummings's Nature in Scripture. Edward on the Development of Christianity. Ed.
ward Y. Ilincks .
Ragozin's The Story of Chaldea.. John Put:-
Chas. Sprague Smith . . . .
Lander's ( Meta) The Tobacco Problem. c Chapman ..
via;. . . . . 112
Communication. Rev. H. C. Trumbull . . 559 Reply. Rev. E. M. Viltum
Vol. V.- JANUARY, 1886. — No. XXV.
(077*SITY: EDUCATION, NEW AND OLD.
THERE are few things more astonishing than the rapidity and apparent ease with which periods of conservative thinking and practice are sometimes followed by great and even radical changes. Opinions which have long been regarded as having the necessary quality of rational principles are at such times contested and discarded; practices that have come to be associated with sacred ideas of duty and of religion are deemed unreasonable and are abandoned. Indeed, in this generation and land of ours, such great and radical changes have become so frequent as almost to fail of exciting the astonishment they really merit. Moreover, there are few subjects — at least among those concerning which the world has commonly been supposed to have settled conclusions on the basis of a sufficient experience - that are just now in a more precarious condition than that of education. For tens of centuries the so-called civilized world has discussed and practiced touching the question how best to train the young. For a less number of centuries a considerable part of the civilized world has been much at its ease in the gratifying belief that it was answering the question wisely. But now the New Education, as brought to our no tice afresh by Professor Palmer's article in the November number of this Review, claims to have made beyond doubt the discovery that the answer bitherto practically given must be almost completely reversed. The language used by the article alluded to is not a bit too strong to express the completeness of the proposed
1 This article continues the discussion opened by Professor Palmer. The gumber containing his paper will be sent to new subscribers who may desire to receive it. It can also be obtained by forwarding thirty cents to the publishers. The discussion will be continued in further contributions to the Review from eminent teachers. — Eps.
Copyright, 1883, by Houghton, MIYYLIN & Co.
reversal. The New Education has avowedly thrown away an “established principle;" has organized a college " from the top almost to the bottom on a wholly different plan ;” has wrought “a revolution like that in the England of Victoria.”
It would be an error to suppose, however, that even so revolutionary a change in education should be denied fair consideration, on the ground that what seems to contradict a well-nigh universal experience cannot, of course, be wise and true. If the New Education should finally come to have matters according to its liking in all our educational institutions, such a change of custom would not be wholly without a parallel in the history of the subject. It would perhaps not be greater than the change which took place in the culture of Greek youth when the Sophists captivated them all by adding rhetoric and dialectic to the ancient disciplines of music, mathematics, and gymnastics. Nor can it be wholly forgotten that the ancient classics only a few (enturies since turned out much of the theology and metaphysics from the universities of Europe, in order to mako a place for themselves as the new learning of the day. The truth is, that poetry, mathematics, and philosophy are about the only branches of human knowledge that have everywhere and in all times been regarded as studies indispensable to what the civilized world bas agreed to call culture. Yet these are perhaps the studies which are at present least prized of all by that class of youth who are fired with the ambition to choose wholly for themselves a training suited to the so-called “practical life” of business, polities, journalism, etc.
Accordingly, we are not among those who, when startling new views are proposed in opposition to ancient convictions and customs, refuse to tolerate the possibility of such views being largely or mainly trustworthy. But, on the other hand, the advocates of the New Education can scarcely expect, in the exercise of fairness and good judgment, that a scheme which they admit to be no less than “revolutionary” should be hastily caught at for its novelty by thoughtful educators. Professor Palmer's description of the Harvard method calls upon us all to discard many cherished convictions; we may justly expect it to enforce its call with many and valid reasons. It asks for a large faith ; we may ask of it some assured pledge that the faith will not be misplaced. It seems to me, then, that little fault could be found with any educator of youth, whose mind worked in a moderately conservative fashion, if he should decline to estimate highly the detailed facts which make up the very limited experience of the New Education. In
other words, I do not think that the trial of the Harvard method is yet old enough to be critically weighed and pronounced upon. It is true that the elective system was adopted there, to a certain small extent, as long ago as 1825. But until 1879 “some prescribed study remained ” for juniors; till 1884 for sophomores. During only a single year have freshmen in Harvard College chosen a majority of their own studies. But it is precisely to making all of the last two years of the college course elective, and to giving any considerable play to the elective system in the earlier years, that the opponents of the Harvard method have most decided objections. For it by no means follows that, because some choice of his own studies is good for the young man of twenty-one or twenty-two years, therefore the entire control of his studies should be committed to the boy from eighteen to twenty. As to whether it is wise that freshmen and sophomores should be placed. completely under the elective system, Harvard itself has, then, barely two years of experience; and for the upper classes only a . few years more. No graduates of the New Education have yet gone out into the world. But it will surely take more than one whole generation to prove what the real and final outcome of so profound changes in education is to be. Is it ungenerous toward progress when we declare that the experience of a single educational institution for scarcely a moiety of its four years' course — whatever that experiente may have been — is a very inadequate proof of the desirableness of a “revolution” in education? We cannot sample the orchard by chewing the blossoms of a single tree.
Let it not be supposed, however, that there is reason to shrink from the detailed examination of the statistics with which Professor Palmer has argued the cause of the New Education. For one, I heartily thank him for them. They are so clearly and fairly presented, and so courteously urged, that nothing more in that direction can be for the present demanded. I am especially glad to have the affair of passing his article in critical review take so tangible a shape. It gives me a coveted opportunity to bring forward corresponding statistics which have not been formed under the influence of the Harvard method. It thus becomes a task definitely set me by the editors of the “ Andover Review" to compare one college with another. I need not apologize, to remove any of that odium which almost inevitably attaches itself to such work of comparison. The question of fact is raised by tn, previous article commending the so-called New Education : How
does it work? What better way to answer the question thus raised than to compare the tabulated results (so far as such results can be tabulated) of the new method with those reached by a somewhat different method ? I select Yale to compare with Harvard, as a matter of course, for I am a teacher at Yale, and can most easily obtain trustworthy statistics concerning educational affairs in my own college. Moreover, there is a certain fitness in comparing these two great institutions. Harvard is avowedly the only thorough representative of what Professor Palmer calls the New Education; Yale is certainly the leading representative of those more conservative tendencies in education to which what is called “new” is understood to be opposed. I shall, therefore, follow his argument from experience, point by point, showing how the results of experience here compare with those obtained at Harvard under its new method.
Before bringing forward statistics, and thus putting myself into the attitude of an antagonist or carping critic toward Professor Palmer, I crave the opportunity of expressing my sympathy and agreement with him on several important points. It is true that the world of science and learning has changed and enlarged with wonderful rapidity of late. It is, of course, also true that both the matter and the method of education must change accordingly. The literary communication of nations is now such that no man can be the most successful student of any subject who is not able to use at least two or three of those languages in which the results of modern researches are chiefly recorded. The ancient classics can never again hold the same relatively great or exclusive place in the study of language, or as mental discipline. The new science, psychological and political, no less than physical, will certainly have its rights regarded. The subject-matter of education must change. It is also true that methods of education must change. The modern teacher stands in a different relation to his pupils from that held by the teacher of bygono days. He has a larger work than that of giving out tasks; he must rely on something more in his hearers than their reverence for his ex-officio dignity and their readiness to accept his ipse dixit. He must also stand in relations towards his pupils that are different from those which formerly obtained with respect to their discipline in manners and morals.
But it is simple matter of fact that all our most respectable educational institutions are recognizing the facts and truths to which I have just alluded, and are recognizing them in practical