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he had presented in his own paper, and proportionally interested in the fact that these views had been realised in successful practice. It therefore occurred to him that he should be doing a service to the cause of education by bringing them under the notice of English teachers, and of all who take an interest in the improvement of elementary instruction. He has a profound conviction—which many others share with him—that what is demanded by the present times is not so much extended machinery as better teachers—teachers more thoroughly acquainted with the nature of the mind with which they are professedly dealing, and capable of making their knowledge of the processes of education more productive in results; and, moreover, that the improved teaching which is needed, must begin at the beginning. As things are, we adopt conventional opinions respecting the essentials of instruction-frequently confounding the means with the endand entrust the most delicate and difficult part of the process--the early development and training of the mind —to teachers who have no other idea of teaching than that it is a sort of mechanical grinding, which is somehow or other to produce the desired result. We all recognize the usual product of such grinding in countless examples of children exposed to it, who grow up to manhood and pass their lives in the possession of eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear, and minds that have never been taught to think. The teaching, however, which ends in such results as these is, to speak strictly, no teaching at all.
It fails altogether as an agency for quickening intelligence through the acquisition of knowledge. The teacher has not done what he engaged to do. He professed to be an artist aiming to secure, through the resources of his art, a definite end ; that end he has not secured. He undertook—what nature left alone does not undertake—to teach his pupils not only to think, but to think with a fixed purpose in view; not only to set, their minds in motion, but to direct that motion so as to make it effectual for (1) the acquisition of exact knowledge, (2) the formation of good mental habits, (3) and consequently, the attainment of a consciousness of power applicable to all cases of mental action. His work has proved inefficient in all these respects, and he has therefore failed in the very object of his existence.
The didactic method—the method of endless telling, explaining, thinking for the pupil, and ordering him to learn-has had its day. It is, then, worth while to consider whether it may not be superseded by one which recognizes the native ability of the human mind, under competent guidance, to work out its own education by means of its own active exercise.
Miss Youmans' method, by providing for the exercise of the pupil's own mind on concrete facts, which are to be observed, investigated, judged of, and described by himself, is an obvious recognition of this principle; and in carrying it out she supersedes “the usual desultory practice of object-teaching in noting the disconnected properties of casual objects,' by training him to use her own words) not only to observe the sensible facts, but constantly to put them into those relations of thought by which they become organized knowledge. · In general, then, the purpose of this little book is to give the elementary teacher an enlarged and enlightened view of his proper functions, to fix attention on principles rather than routine, to supersede didactic cramming by systematic mental training; and, in short, to place the noble art of teaching upon a solid foundation.
The editor has added a few notes by way of enforcing the author's general argument, and in his Supplement' has endeavoured to illustrate a principle to which he attaches great importance, as the key-note to the art of teaching; namely, that the process by which the pupil learns being essentially one of subjective, conscious, selfinstruction, the teacher's counterpart, conscious objective process, ought always to recognize this fact; that, in short, only in proportion as the teacher aids, without superseding, the pupil's own efforts to teach himself, will he be successful in his teaching.... .
From a conviction, moreover, that the study of a descriptive science like Botany does not sufficiently develope the instinct for experiment, nor supply a training in the doctrine of forces, he has shown, by a typical lesson, how the elements of mechanics may be learnt by young children through their own observation and experiments, without explanations from the teacher—the learners being considered in the light of investigators, seeking to ascertain at first hand facts and their interpretation.
4, KILDARE GARDENS, W.
May 1, 1872,