« PreviousContinue »
Missouri, and other states promises to be eminently successful. Teaching is made to rank with theology, law, and medicine. College graduates should no more undertake to teach without special preparation, than to practise law or medicine without special preparation. Teaching is an art to be learned. The recognition of these facts by our higher institutions marks an immense advance.
FOR TWO WORLDS.
IN some allotment of the wide domain of education, in its large and comprehensive sense, embracing the culture of the whole being, and of every human being for two worlds, we can find objects and room enough for any sacrifice of time, money, and labor we may have to bestow in its behalf. Ever since the Great Teacher condescended to dwell among men, the progress of this cause has been upward and onward, and its final triumph has been longed for and prayed for, and believed in by every lover of his race. And although there is much that is dark and despairing in the past and present condition of society, yet when we study the nature of education, and the necessity and capabilities of improvement all around us, with the sure word of prophecy in our hands, and with the evidence of what has already been accomplished, the future rises bright and glorious before us, and on its forehead is the morning star, the herald of a better day than has yet dawned upon our world. In this sublime possibility, nay, in the sure word of God, let us in our hours of doubt and despondency, reassure our hope, strengthen our faith, and con
firm the unconquerable will. The cause of education. cannot fail, unless all the laws which have heretofore governed the progress of society shall cease to operate, and Christianity shall prove to be a fable, and liberty a dream.
GOOD books are an essential aid to good teaching. The proper kind of books for class exercises are those which contain the objects of study without the author's explanation of the thoughts; such as books of carefully selected sentences, and carefully written narratives and descriptions, to be used with the objects in teaching beginners to read; carefully selected and carefully written books to be used in teaching how to read an author; books of problems to be solved, of sentences to be translated and analyzed, carefully selected and graded ; books of topics to direct the learner in his study of objects and in his experiments; books containing historical documents and records for the study of the past; and choice books on the various subjects of study, in which the best thoughts of the writer have been crystallized, showing what others have observed, imagined, thought, and done, which are to be read for the thoughts of the writer.
ALBERT G. BOYDEN.
It is only by infusing great principles into the common mind that revolutions in human society are brought about.
SLOWLY RIPENED FRUIT.
WHERE a permanent reform appears to have been instantaneously effected, it will be found that the happy result was but the sudden plucking of fruit which had slowly ripened. Successful revolutions proceed like all other formative processes from inward germs. The institutions of a people are always the reflection of its heart and its intelligence; and in proportion as these are purified and enlightened, must its public life manifest the dominion of universal reason. The subtle and irresistible movement of mind, silently but thoroughly correcting opinion and changing society, brings liberty both to the soul and to the world. All the despotisms on earth cannot stay its coming. Every fallacy that man discards is an emancipation; every superstition. that is thrown by is a redeeming from captivity.
If philosophy does nothing more for the student than to teach him to face the profound questions of life with composure, patience, and respect, believing that there is an infinite choice between conclusions, that all inquiry tends to the light, and that there is a safe path toward that light, it has given an intellectual and moral footing far beyond either dogmatic belief or despairing unbelief. At all events, he will escape mistaking flat and superficial statements for complete and final truths. It is worth as much to us to be brought face to face with things we cannot measure, but must in some way meet,
as to be taught the simplest and clearest facts in knowledge. Conventional minds may run the circuit of life under conventional morality, regarded as a sort of superficial deposit in race development; yet in the progress of centuries this conventional morality will show itself amenable to the silent explorations of philosophy, and to those patient minds that are busy therein.
KNOWLEDGE FOR PAINS.
THE knowledge of languages, sciences, histories, etc., is not innate to us; it does not of itself spring in our minds; it is not any ways incident by chance, or infused by grace (except rarely by miracle); common observation doth not produce it; it cannot be purchased at any rate, except by that for which, it was said of old, the gods sell all things, that is, for pains; without which the best wit and the greatest capacity may not render a man learned, as the best soil will not yield good fruit or grain if they be not planted nor sown therein.
IT is not worth while to discuss whether a method ought to be easy or hard. But we should even go on to say that it is the duty of a teacher not to rest as long as any difficulty exists which by any change of method can be removed. Involuntary learning is of as little use to the mind as involuntary exercise to the body.
Now it is certain that a large proportion of boys dislike the work which they have to do. Some like it;
some are indifferent; a great many simply hate it. We maintain that an educator of boys has no business to be satisfied as long as this is the case. A very few may dislike all intellectual labor, just as a very few men dislike it; but these cases are as rare with boys as with men. The great mass of human beings, whether young or old, have appetites for mental food of some kind, and the reason that so many turn away from it is, that what is given them is not what they can digest. There is a sort of incongruity, which falls little short of injustice, in punishing a boy for being idle, when we know that the work which the system of his school exacts is as cramping and distorting to his mind as an ill-fitting boot to the foot. No one would claim indeed that every pupil shall have his tastes suited with minute accuracy; and the energy of a boy, if he is in good health, and otherwise happy, will carry him through minor difficulties. But no young boy since the world began has liked a Latin syntax, or a "formation of tenses," or felt anything in them for his mind to fasten upon and care for. Consider the case of a stupid boy, or an unclassical boy, at school, and the load of repulsive labor which we lay upon him. For many hours every day we expect him to devote himself, without hope of distinction or reward, to a subject which he dislikes and fears. He has no interest in it; he has no expectation of being the better for it; he never does well; he rarely escapes doing ill. He is sometimes treated with strictness for faults to which the successful among his neighbors have no temptation; and, when he is not visited with punishment, he at least is often regarded with contempt. He may be full of lively sympathies, eager after things that interest him,