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The formalism into which the reformation as an educational movement hardened, as in the gymnasiums of Sturm and the Jesuits, again defeated this ideal adjustment of claims, thus giving rise to new conflicts in behalf of human freedom. Among the most important postreformation movements in behalf of human freedom we may enumerate realism and naturalism and the religious concomitant of both, namely, pietism in its various forms. The educational movements beginning with Pestalozzianism all exalt the individual along lines that perfect the social whole and subordinate both to the ultimate purposes of God, with infinite gain to both the individual and society. In short, the course of events, as we shall see, clearly shows that any system of education which failed to adjust human relations to divine purposes gave way in time to something more promising, and that the hope of finally adjusting all conflicting claims should be the teacher's supreme ideal. , This thematic purpose of the volume should be kept in constant view, for only thus will the student of education attain to the professional perspective, to that holier vision, that compelling inspiration, without which he cannot become morally identified with the great cause for which he is to labor and to pray. This idealism, this stimulating vision, is best attained by beginning at the beginning, and coming up to the nearer present without delay, thus attracting the learner by the novelty and imperfection of the far past and producing at the same time that sustained interest which proper approach to dramatic climax assures.
It is evident that the study of educational ideals or problems must be based upon the study of the complex history which produces them. These historical connections have been woven into the web and woof of our text. It must be the major task of the volume to exercise the student of education in this argument of cause and effect, the origin of educational problems and their solution in school systems. Such training should make him an expert interpreter of his own profession and a contributor to the cause which he is to serve. We have tried to heighten this effect and to enrich the laboratory of our educational problems by bringing the student into intimate biographical relation with the fertile and forceful personalities to whom educational systems owe their origin, success, or failure.
The practical purpose of the volume should be evident enough. The historical perspective to which such thinking leads produces spiritual comradeship with the great reformers, and thus acts as a powerful professional stimulus. The unceasing challenge of the student's judgment in the solution of problems by the great reformers, the measure of success to which they attained in the system of means to ends proposed, the estimate which he is constantly called upon to make as he passes from century to century, from nation to nation, from reformer to reformer, should certainly help to qualify him for the expert manipulation of means to ends in his own tasks. To insure this result as much as possible, the student of this volume is constantly required to compare the whole past with the present, find fitness or unfitness of means and ends, estimate ideals and their force, enrich his conclusions by appeals to psychology, ethics, sociology, and real life.
The writer acknowledges with profound respect the debt he owes to the authorities whom he consulted in the preparation of this volume, and to Doctor Ellwood P. Cubberley, who read the manuscript, for his courtesy, appreciation, and helpful suggestions. The volume is dedicated with pleasure to thousands of graduates with whom long and happy association has made the volume possible, and to many thousands still on the way to the schoolroom. That the work may serve its purpose is his sincerest hope.