Page images

up to the very end of the course, when it becomes of the first moment. When he has arrived at this final stage the apprentice, who now only needs the practice of his trade to become a workman, leaves the national schoci and goes either into a workshop or into a technical school, in the proper sense of the term. Hence these establishments provide a general preparation for artisan and industrial life.”

The distinction between the technical department of these schools, which the pupil enters at 14 to 16 years of age, and the schools already described is clearly brought out by the weekly programmes presented on page 618. These four State schools and the schools of commerce and industry form, with the numerous trade schools, schools of agriculture, and the higher technical schools for which France is justly celebrated, a complete system of special training adapted to every form of industrial demand.

It will readily be seen that peculiar prominence has been given to the idea of industrial training for the French masses in contrast with the classical education provided for the élite of the nation, but as opportunities for the advancement of the people and their political power increase the evil effects of an extreme social cleavage in education become more and more apparent. The Government has recently endeavored to break down these class distinctions by correlating the higher primary schools to the classical colleges. The new programme for the latter (lycées and communal colleges) includes a scientific course without Latin and Greek. The relation of this course to that of the higher primary schools will be seen by comparing the secondary programme (pp. 619-621) with the programmes already considered. This is the last of a series of efforts looking to the unification of the whole scheme of public education in France.

Chapter XIV (pp. 623–677) contains a number of reports on educational subjects and institutions received by the Department of Commerce and Labor from United States consuls abroad and kindly furnished to this Office by that Department. These reports become increasingly interesting from year to year. The most comprehensive of these reports come from Germany, a country which continues to develop new ideas in education and new institutions to embody them. We find there, for instance, a Hebrew school of agriculture, a school to prepare farmers for the colonies, general and special schools for local industries, trade schools and secondary technical schools, recently, also, “practical medical schools" to supplement the theoretical medical courses of universities. These new schools are evidently on the plan of the London hospital medical schools--St. Bartholomew's, Guy's, and others-which have long been noted. An article on “ Education and the elimination of crime" from a German magazine gives some convincing proofs that education is the best means for the prevention of erime. Great Britain, for instance, in 1850, had only 11 school children to every 1,000 inhabitants, and 122 criminals to every 100,000,


[blocks in formation]


while in 1887 the number of school children was 125 to every 1,000, but only 38 criminals to every 100,000. The number of youthful criminals fell during that period from 45.8 i 21.5 to the 100,000. Also worthy of consideration is an account of the prison population in Japan, where the number of prisoners shows on the whole a tendency to decrease, which may be owing to the marked increase in school attendance in that Empire, though the consul reporting the facts attributes the apparent diminution of crime to other agencies. The report on industrial education in Europe shows that considerable progress has been made in this particular. There is, however, one feature of special education in Germany which deserves notice. Nowhere in Germany have the utilitarians encroached upon the elementary school (age of pupils, 6-14). Special education, be it commercial, agricultural, industrial, technical, or trade education, is reserved for pupils who have passed through the elementary school; that is, for children from 14 to 18



age. The German Empire being a union of 26 States, and school affairs being administered by the governments of the separate States, as is the case in this country, it has always been difficult to obtain information on the subject of expenditures for the German schools as a whole. Recently the imperial statistical office in Berlin has undertaken the work of collecting the school statistics of the entire Empire. The first results of this work are given in a consular report from Frankfort. It appears that the number of pupils attending the German public elementary schools was 8,829,812 in 1901, and that the total cost of their maintenance was 412,886,000 marks, or about $100,000,000. This sum does not include expenditures for high schools, nor for kindergartens, nor for any special (evening or day) schools devoted to commercial, industrial, technical, agricultural, or other special instruction.

Commercial education occupies a large space in the consular reports. In Germany, at least, this form of education is comparatively new, since most of the commercial schools of that country do not date back further than 1885. The announcement is made from Munich that young women have gained, at last, admission to the university on equal terms with young men.

Medical supervision of schools in Berlin and Paris is the subject of a report from Frankfort which shows the slight difference in method of the two systems. The chapter closes with a report on Russian schools made by our consul in Vladivostok, Siberia. It reveals a condition of public education which explains the high percentage of illiteracy in Russia.

Chapter XV (pp. 669-687) contains a list of foreign higher seats of learning revised up to the summer of 1903. The list is somewhat longer than that in the preceding report, from the addition of theological, law, and other professional schools, colleges, and independent faculties of Europe. These higher seats of learning are grouped

according to date of founding, number of students, alphabetically, and by countries. This last list shows a great array of institutions for general culture and special studies in Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. In order to facilitate correspondence with foreign seats of learning the names of the acting heads---rectors, chancellors, or directors—will be given in future. In attendance at universities and technological and professional schools of all kinds, Germany outranks all other countries, having one student in such institutions for every 800 inhabitants. The only noticeable decrease is found in the number of American students in Germany, while the number of other foreign students steadily increases.

Chapter XVI (pp. 689–719) contains a concise historical account of the kindergarten in the United States by Miss Laura Fisher, director of the public kindergartens of Boston. After quoting early expressions from Hon. Henry Barnard and others introducing this institution to American notice, the author enters upon the history of kindergartens in this country, first naturally describing the private institutions and mentioning names that have become famous in the cause of infant training, such as Miss Peabody, Mrs. Kriege, Mrs. Boelte, John Kraus, and others. She then turns her attention to the charity kindergartens, and again a large number of well-remembered and revered names meet the eye of the reader. Here we see mentioned Mrs. S. H. Hill, Mrs. Pauline A. Shaw, Miss L. B. Pingree, and many others. Then the author enlarges upon the subject of public kindergartens. The work of Miss Susan E. Blow in St. Louis here occupies the chief place of honor, for it was due to her labors that the kindergarten came to be introduced into the public schools. Perhaps in nothing is the public kindergarten so potent as in its influence upon primary school methods, just as was confidently expected when public kindergartens were first introduced in St. Louis. Four timely questions relating to management and organization receive attention. In a subsequent section of the chapter, the author discusses kindergarten principles and practices and advocates an enlargement of the sphere of activity of kindergarten pupils. The kindergarten normal schools come in for a discussion, their courses of study are quoted, and an outlook into the future of the kindergarten closes the chapter. The statistics are grouped well, and reveal a healthy growth all over the country.

Physical training.-In Chapter XVII (pp. 721-757) Dr. E. M. Hartwell, late director of physical training in the public schools of Boston, gives a general view of the subject of physical training, including the physiological principles on which it is based, its aims, the different typical systems, and the distinctive features that characterize this form of training in the United States, as well as its prevailing tendencies.

The human body is a machine capable of transforming the potential energy of food stuffs, derived from the blood, into active energy, manifested as mechanical work. Of its great variety of component mechanisms the most important are the nervous and muscular tissues. Nearly all the rest of the body is occupied (1) in preparing the raw food and bringing it to be built up into these tissues, and (2) in receiving and preparing for ejection the waste matters. On the harmoniously balanced working of these two processes the health of the organism largely depends. To promote this well-ordered working and turn the net income of the body to the fullest and best account, so that it will not be spent in confused or excessive muscular movements, the neuromuscular mechanism should form proper habits of action. The development of such habits is accomplished through the practice of regulated neuro-muscular exercises. Such exercises, properly combined and adapted to the sex, age, health, and mental capacity of different individuals, are designated collectively by the term “physical training."

Doctor Hartwell specifies the beneficial effects, either direct or indirect, of neuro-muscular exercise upon the different mechanisms of the body in turn-upon the structural parts of the muscles, in producing a normal degree of size and working power, brought about by improved nutrition; upon the neural parts, by developing advantageous babits in respect to the origination and transmission of stimuli. The effect upon the processes of digestion, assimilation, and excretion is important, though indirect, being produced by changes in the volume, distribution, and quality of the general blood stream. In fact, the nutrition and growth of all the tissues are promoted by muscular exercise. “The normal growth and development of the motor areas of the brain depend in large measure on the normal exercise of the muscles whose movements are represented by them.” This development of the neural mechanisms is to be regarded as the most important of the special effects of “muscular” exercise.

Following Mercier, Doctor Hartwell classifies bodily movements into central (movements of the trunk), peripheral (of the fingers, mouth, eyes, etc.), and intermediate; and cites a corresponding classification of the nervous mechanisms which represent these movements (low, higher, and highest level centers), adopted by some writers. Lowlevel, fundamental nerve centers are developed early, being practically complete at birth, while high-level accessory centers are the latest formed and the most highly specialized, and are less stable. As the nervous system is the most important object of education, the principle is laid down that all education, whether mental or physical, should conform to the laws that determine its growth and development. Hence provision should be made first of all and continuously for the exercise and training of the fundamental and central neuro-muscular mechanisms, and care taken not to prematurely subject undeveloped accessory centers to strenuous discipline. The movements of the cen

[ocr errors]

tral groups of muscles have, moreover, great influence in determining the quality and volume of the blood stream. The most typical of central movements, that of breathing, is amenable to discipline; a teacher can prevent a pupil from forming the habit of stuttering by showing him how to acquire proper control over his breathing movements.

To illustrate the beneficial effects of a regulated course of physical training in developing the mental faculties, two examples are given. One case is that of an idiot boy 8 years old, who was subjected to a course of training according to the theories and under the direction of the late Dr. E. Seguin. At the beginning the boy had no command of his hand; could not put it or his fingers in any prescribed attitude. After two years' training his bodily movements had been brought under control and his intelligence awakened to the extent that he was able to enter a school for ordinary children and do fairly well at his lessons.

Another instance is that of an experimental class in physical culture at the Elmira (New York) State Reformatory, composed of dullards who were making almost no progress in school work. The object was to ascertain if physical culture, as comprised in frequent baths, massage, and daily calisthenics, would not stimulate mental power. Muscular development was not aimed at. The experiment continued five months, with such satisfactory results that the State thereupon added to the reformatory plant a suitable gymnasium and bath house.

Doctor Hartwell divides the period of bodily immaturity, covering the first twenty-four years of life, into three equal periods of eight years each. The conditions which characterize each of these periods are duly set forth by him, as well as the peculiar type of physical training called for in each case.

Considering physical training in its most general aspect, and including in the term martial and athletic sports as well as gymnastic exercises, the number of representative systems may be reduced to five: (1) the Grecian, (2) the mediæval or knightly, (3) the British, (4) the German, and (5) the Swedish. Each of these systems has certain broad distinguishing features, though in some respects they overlap each other. British sports probably stand next to Grecian in point of age; they have undergone but slight modification at the hands of educational reformers, and are mainly athletic, being almost devoid of pedagogical aims or methods. On the other hand, German training is singularly lacking in the athletical element. The Swedish training is of the strictly gymnastic type. · German and Swedish gymnastics have been developed largely of set purpose, whereas British sports are a spontaneous expression of the national spirit.

The founding of the Dessau philanthropinum in 1774 marks the first step in the development of German gymnastics, though it was not until the early years of the next century that the system was more

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »