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geography in its old form, cosmology, included almost the entire field now occupied by the sciences that deal with nature. Its frequent definition,-a description of the earth-including, of course, the air above and the mines beneath, and not limited to a mathemathical surface, includes almost everything that can ever be of interest to man. The special sciences have split off from it somewhat, as the different humanistic branches have gradually split off from philosophy or geology yet earlier. Again, our text-books in geography in recent decades, as an inspection shows, are mostly written by men who would not be recognized as members of any geographical society, and many of whcm lack a collegiate education. The same is true of a number of those who are most prominent representatives or advocates of its methods. So the doctors of our sick men are not recognized by the general school. In bis comprehensive memoir upon the subject, Mr. Scott Keltie, among two hundred and twenty-nine text-books in geography, mentions only three American ones. Geography, while it has bad able representatives in special departments of it in this country, is the favorite tumbling ground for the half-educated or uneducated, and has never felt those stimulating influences that are always working from the university departments, downward; but has been left almost entirely to be shaped by the schoolmaster and the publisher. It has nearly all the defects of popularized science, without the saving merits of the latter, -of having been made by experts.
I would by no meams advocate the entire abolition of geography from the school courses, but I would not only greatly reduce the text-books and time, but put the work much later, and teach most of the matter now included in it in the high school, in proper scientific connection, part of it with history, part with astronomy, part with geology, part with natural history, etc.,-the elements of all of these to be thus made room for at the expense of their common enemy. This in a way would respect and not actually injure the unity of the child's mind. I do not expect these changes to be sudden. The methods and text-books of teaching nature which I would substitute are not yet sufficiently perfected, but we do now know, from the study of the child's mind and the order of the development of both its interests and its powers, that all these are disregarded and sometimes outraged by the modern American school geographies. I hope the time will come when, in the new university developments impending, we can have enough professors of geography among them all, by the methods of the division of labor, the essential departments properly included under this name, and this will help to reduce the hypertrophy and congestion and chaos from which the schools are now suffering. Indeed, I think the students of childhood will before long be ready with a recipe for making these text-books and courses that will obviate many of these evils; but I have space here only to characterize what is now, since theology has withdrawn most of her objections to science teaching, its next most formidable and hereditary foe.
In some sections of our country it would almost seem that nature work is declining relatively to its former prominence, and is certainly far less central than it should be. City life is unfavorable to fresh contact with nature at very many points, and adequate illustrative material is hard to get; so that teachers sometimes give up in despair, because these branches cannot be presented according to modern object
Moreover, city chili ren are, as abundant records show, amazingly ignorant of the commonest phenomena of nature. On the other hand, there has been recent progress which we must all hail with great joy. Religion and science are
The Western Journal of Education.
each giving abundant signs that the long warfare between them is drawing to a close. This means an immense economy of energy, hitherto wasted in conflict between two great human interests, neither of which can satisfactorily flourish without the other. Many do not realize how far we have advanced since the days of Huxley's greatest bitterness, Tyndall's prayer gage, and the crass materialism of Buechner and Moleschott. Faith and science cannot be opposed. The great Heart of the universe does not do one thing in his works and say another in his word. The attitude of young scientific students toward religion is growing more and more favorable. Clergymen are more interested in science, and the plea that it must be an element in all theological training and also in the Sunday-school is now being heard. We also hear fewer denunciations of "science falsely so called" in the pulpit, and the same student now often believes in and is interested in Genesis and in geology. The mystery and lawfulness of nature everywhere inclines to that religious awe, reverence and dependence which Schleiermacher well makes the basis of religion in the soul. The same great biologos that presided over the formation of the amoeba, jelly fish and the ascending orders of vertebrate life, up to man, is not yet adequately expressed, but has in it the momentum of far higher evolution. The super man that is to be and above all the Jesus of life and ideal, which is at the very top of the organic evolutionary series, the highest branch of the great family tree of which we and even the animals beneath us are lower twigs, shows us toward what lofty goal the best devolopmental influences in the world are tending.
We read of the venerable Bæda gazing thru his rude astronomic tube, and pausing to write a Magvifcat or a Gloria in Excelsis; of St. Francis D'Assisi addressing stars, flowers and worms as his brothers and sisters; we see the order and perfect structure of the lowest and most repulsive things, and realize that nature is a veil; as the term indicates, that it is pregnant with the about-to-be; and when we realize how all things seem to cry out for a higher explanation, and strain our eyes to see thru the azure, our heart sings the ancient and only song of Horus, "Hush, all hush.” There is no matter that is dead or inert. What seems so is an accident, perhaps merely of temperature, or we know not what. This world is dynamic, and made of pure force, and that is spiritual. Of her most repulsive aspects we might use the language which that quaint and recent English genius poet applied to bis mistress, who was homely, but with every charm of character and spirit, when he cries, "I cannot see thy countenance, love, for thy soul.”
There surely is a renaissance, a revival of the love of nature abroad in the world to-day. The book stores show it in numberless new books, with large sales, on feins, mushrooms, birds and stars, which the people buy and read. Magazines, lecture courses, the vast body of new popular science extension work show the same thing; altho there are many mucker or Philistine souls whose hearts are still hardened against the knocking of the still, small, pleading voice of this holy spirit. I well remember how the faithful country pastor of my youth, at the close of his revival sermons, used to say, pointing a long finger in turn toward almost all of us, “And now, do you, and you, really love God; and, if not, will you now turn from the error of your ways before it is too late?” And I say to you, with no less solemn sanction and no less unction, Do you each now really love nature in this day when her holy spirit is so abundantly poured out on us, or are you still aliens and exiles from her great repose ? If so, come, taste and see that she is of all things the purest, noblest,
The Love and Study of Nature.
greatest and truest. She can console, inspire and reveal. She is the great all-mother from whose bosom we sprung, and to which at least all that is mortal of us will return. In affliction, in calamity, when conscious purpose and endeavor fail, we can sink back into her everlasting arms; and when creeds and philosophies weaken or fade, we know that if our bark sink it is to a larger sea. Science pow tells us that there is no void, but that infinite space is full of ethereal energy. We know that wherever on this earth life is possible, it exists; and that some great power behind and under all causes every species to multiply, sometimes with amazing rapidity, so that, were this fecund energy unchecked by selective and other influences, a single species would literally fill the world. Science has taught us, too, that there is no chaos, but everywhere there is law; and the slow evolution of sex and parenthood shows us that at the bottom and top of all is love. The highest and latest product of all is man, and the supreme function of all that we call the environment thruout this complex magazine of forces and influences is the intuition of the soul, as if everything existed to bring these to their fullest maturity. Thus childhood and youth at their best and in their full glory are the consummate flowers of nature, and more worthy than anything else on earth of love, reverence and devoted service. Unity with nature is tite glory of childhood, and unity with nature and with childhood is the glory of fatherhood and motherhood.
School Gardens. There is nothing more desolate than the average surroundings of the public school, and it would be cheerful news to learn that the recent pamphlet brought out by the United States Department of Agriculture upon the School Gardens of the Rhine might bring about a reform in this direction. Attention is called to the matter by a writer in the Outlook, who finds the pamphlet highly suggestive. Says the writer: "It is a common experience to enter from an absolutely barren schoolyard into a schoolroom decorated with botanical and natural history charts, and to find that these charts and text-books are the only mediums used for teaching these branches of the natural sciences. The pamphlet above named shows the practical application of the schoolroom work. Tho grounds are cultivated entirely by the pupils, two hours' work per week being compulsory. The result is that the community life is affected. The farms and gardens are cultivated with new knowledge; the boys and girls work in the home grounds with greatly increased interest. Destructive insects and disease are watched for. The products of the farms and gardens in this district bring the best prices; because they are handled with care and intelligence. The first requisite for such work is such practical knowledge as will make success possible. The introduction of the school garden into this country is entirely feasible. It would create a new avenue of employment for the students in our agricultural colleges and experiment stations; it will make another avenue for the use of the knowledge collected by our Department of Agriculture. Our township system would make a practical division for the control of one agricultural supervisor and instructor."
THE LAZIEST ONE.-Parent-"Who is the laziest boy in your class, Johnny?" Johnny -"I dunno." "I should think you would know. When all the others are industriously writ. ing or studying their lessone, who is he that sits idly in his seat and watches the rest, instead of working himself ?" "Why, the teacher.”
BY CHAS. W. ELIOT. MAGINE this building, this whole building, filled a hundred times over with
There must be 250,000 school children in the province of Chicago. There ought to be at least 50,000 teachers dealing with those children. Now, I know, of course, that there are not so many, but one teacher to about five children would be about right. I read the other day that in Chicago there were from sixty to seventy children to a teacher. Now, good schools are an absolute impossibility under that one condition. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, you have good reason to study the organization of the school system of Chicago.
We must have in an American city possessing a large school system a school board, or school committee, as we used to call it. It is a very important practical question how large shall that committee be. My friend, Professor Butler, said it must be small. How small? I should like to ask. As large as can get comfortably around a table of moderate size, so that they can talk together without listing their voices, without looking to any gallery, without thinking of anything but the straight road to do the right public service; without any ulterior object beyond their work; without any motive except to get thru their business quickly, safely, prudently, and without any thought of self, knowing each other, accustomed to each other's modes of thought; knowing, therefore, how quickly to reach each other's minds and come to an agreement and a conclusion.
How many in such a board ? Five, seven, nine, perhaps; that the outside limit. But such a board must have a high degree of permanence; therefore, only a part of all these members should be replaced each year. If the board is five, replace one a year. If it is seven, replace two in two successive years, and then three. If it is nine, replace three a year, perhaps, tho that is too prompt a change. Why replace slowly? Because in every large American city a school board needs foresight and experience.
It is not extraordinary, perhaps, but deplorable, how little foresight has been shown in the management of American schools. In Boston, my birth place, I may add that no foresight was shown for ten years in the arrangement of the school districts and buildings. It is better now, but so little foresight was shown that the movement of population, deserting school buildings in some districts, found no schoolhouses whatever in other di-tricts. Any prudent, cautious business man, studying his own business, would have foreseen the whole of this. Our school committee foresaw none of it. In order to have foresight, and experience, and good observation, a school board should be slowly replaced.
What is a school board to do? To determine simply the general policy of the schools in two respects: First, on the educational side, the policy with regard to the selection of teachers, the promotion of teachers, the salary of teachers, the retiring allowances of teachers; then, on the other side, the business work. It is an immense business to carry on a large school system in a large city.
*Address of President Charles W. Eliot at the Department of Superintendence, Chicago, February 27 1900.
My friend, Professor Butler, pointed out there was great unrest in all the cities regarding the school systems. Why is that? Have we degenerated ? Not at all. It is simply that the problems of education have multiplied, and most of them are novel.
I heard a distinguished citizen of Chicago saying yesterday that Chicago had had to build everything new within the last forty years, that the best citizens of Chicago had been devoting themselves to these new problems on this ground so few years ago unoccupied by civilization. But that is not at all peculiar to Chicago. There is not an American city that has not been made over within the last thirty years.
Perhaps you think Boston is an old place. Quite the contrary. It has been made all over. Its sewerage system is entirely new, its water system is new, and its school system has had to be reconstructed. All its transportation methods have been remade within ten years. There is not an American city in which the great problems of municipal administration are not all novel. And that is a great reason that the great cities of America are in a condition of unrest about their schools. They know that the school systems have all to be remade.
I say the school board should determine the general policy. Is it to execute its own policy? Not at all. That is the trouble with most city school committees at this day. The school committee contains twenty-one to fifty men and women. It determines possibly something of the general policy, and then it undertakes to execute its own policy.
In the school committee of the city of Boston the entire committee is divided into sub-committees, and executive functions are assigned to those special committees, and that is where the present system utterly breaks down. How could it be otherwise ?
I am not acquainted with the personal composition of the school committee of Chicago, but I know what are in the cities around Cambridge, where I live. An important part of the school committee's executive work is assigned to a committee of three persons. One is an excellent grocer, another is a tolerably good tinsmith, another is an extremely incompetent and vulgar physician. And an important part of the executive work of that school committee is intrusted to those three persons, not one of whom has the slightest competency of performing it.
Then, to add to the difficulty, these special committees are all the time shifting. They have no executive experience. Even these people might learn something if they only had the opportunity. But they have no chance. In a year or two they are all out, and a large number of entirely inexperienced special committees try again to execute the policy of the general committee.
This is by no means a fictitious instance. This is not an imagination. This is simply the fact about the executive functions of the sub-committees of American school committees. This is simply an absurd condition of things, ladies and gentle
It is monstrous that an intelligent public should submit to such forms of business management.
What does a good school committee of men and women, seven, I will say, want for executing its wisely devised policies? It wants two experts in two different fields, having two different kinds of quality and experience. We sometimes hear experts talked about as if they were some extraordinary variety of the human species utterly aristocratic in nature, not to be thought of in American administrations.