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life in the present, should have greater emphasis in the schools. School life should deal more with life outside the school.
History serves several purposes in the process of education.
First, It provides material out of which the imagination may construct historical pictures, conditions of home life in the past, the deeds of patriots and heroes. It improves the imagination.
Second. It cultivates the habit of noting men's actions, of discerning the environment of men, and of judging of motives and feelings. It assists in social adjustment.
Third. It fixes the general desire to search for truth, and to base conclusions upon facts. It leads to logical thought.
Fourth. It reveals the origin and nature of present conditions and institutions, and leads to a more rational patriotism.
The gradual development of the mind calls for the “spiral” method in history, just as in arithmetic and in science. Herbert Spencer gives this principle: “There can be no correct idea of a part without a corresponding idea of the correlative whole.” If this be correct, the usual custom of teaching the history of the United States in the grammar grades, and no other history, is not logical, nor is it psychological. The child may get from the history of his country the necessary stories for imagination, patriotism, and heroism; but it cannot get the logical relation of this country to the past, nor can he form adequate judgment on its importance in the present and future. History should be taught in accord with the psychological demand for unities. The glance at the whole is essential to an appreciation of any part. In the development of civilization, the United States is but the fruit of a long period of growth. The childhood of the race prepares for its manhood. The conditions of the past, the beginnings of thought, the primitive industries, the growth of ideas concerning liberty and property, all these enable a better understanding of the history of our country, which is but the fruitage of centuries gone before.
If it be true that the child lives over the history of the race, which theory we all are able to accept in part, there is a time in childhood to cultivate the imagination; and the stories of the mythical period of the race, if used at all, should be used in childhood. The traditions of nations, in the twilight of history, follow close upon the myth. Then come the authentic heroes, about whom cluster the great actions which determine social conditions and which constitute real history.
History should be presented from the child's point of view. Concrete and realistic presentation of such facts that come within the experiences of childhood, will fix impressions and arouse interest more readily than will a
discussion of the ethical or economic principles involved. A child cannot experience the impulses of a man. "Taxation without representation is tyranny" is an everlasting principle of our government; but the discussion of that principle does not appeal to the average pupil in the grades with so much interest as does the story of Bunker Hill, or the boy hood of Benjamin Franklin. It is easy to make a mistake, not only by presenting the history of our country as a' cross-section of civilization, but by presenting it in a method too abstract. There is danger of "foundering" a pupil's mind by attempting to give him the food fit for a statesman. The teacher may feel intensely upon certain lines of thought which the pupils cannot assimilate, and the text-books may deal too exclusively with features on the level with the voter and law-maker. Children form their ideals from deeds and doers, more than from sermons and moral advice. Men of all ages have been moved by the same emotions and passions. Strength has ever tried to encroach upon weakness, tyranny has ever tried to limit human liberty. The story of the race, from the dawn of civilization to the present time, illustrates the growth of liberty and prepares for the consideration of our own country with wider and more definite views of its worth and destiny. Tho children cannot understand the logic of history, they can feel the impulses of men who make history, if the deeds of men are presented in such a manner as will permit a comparison with child life.
THE COMMON SCHOOL AND THE COMMONER SCHOOL.
From Life as a School Study. It is a well-known fact that children love to go to school not to what we call “the Common School,” but to the commoner school which we call “Life." Before he can talk a child begins to ask questions— by tasting everything. As he gets the rest of his five senses he spends them all for information about life and the machinery of life. What the child wants most and needs most is something which will tell what it is to be a man, a woman; what it is for which Nature and his other teachers — the teacher in the home and the teacher in the school — wish to get him ready; which will attract him to the school knowledge by showing him what it is good for.
Young men are disposed to be in a hurry. They are in haste to be rich; to be educated; to be honored and applauded; to reach some high official position. Their fathers toiled up the stairs, but they want to take the eleva
A student proposed to President Dwight to take a short cut to education. “Well,” said the president, "when God makes a squash he takes six weeks; a mushroom matures in a night; but when he makes an oak he takes 100 years.” The law of progress is patience, plodding, getting up early in the morning and keeping at it all day and day after day. Character cannot be extemporized; there are no hot-house methods for developing stalwart manhood.
Current Educational Thought.
A CLEAN LIFE.
DAVID STARR JORDAN
Stanford University. At the University chapel Saturday, September 23, President Jordan gave his address on a "A Clean Life.” He characterized it as a plea for a sound and sober life, in which to be clean is to be strong. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are, in essence, the same thing. The law of life is that everything we get has its cost. No action is without an expenditure of energy
“Temptation,” said Dr. Jordan, “plays a part in the development of character. Exercise of self-denial makes the self-made man. He who has learned to resist temptation has learned to say no. Some day self-denial will be taught more severely to children. The strength of the Pilgrims lay not in their creed, but in their hatred of all that was evil. The broad road and the flowery path lead to weakness and misery. There is no happiness without denial. There is no pleasure equal to that of conquering a vicious habit.
“No sinner starts out to be evil. Decay goes on step by step. Bad men are not all bad, and good men are not all good. The gamblers and drunkards of Bret Harte's stories are capable of noble sentiments. The cause of sin is the desire for short cuts to happiness. The happiness of sin leaves a different taste in the morning, while to true happiness there is no reaction."
The speaker pointed out and described the five roads that are followed under the delusion that they supply these short cuts. First is Indolence, the attempt to secure the pleasure of rest without effort. All the vices have been attributed to idleness. The second is gambling in all its forms, the desire to get something for nothing. The thief may even be a respected member of society, if he is the right kind of a thief, for money is power. The appeal to chance is adverse to happiness.
Licentiousness, third road, the desire to secure the pleasures of unearned love, is most insidious. Equal marriage demands equal purity of heart. Love's arch foe is lust. Open vice brings with it degradation. Secret vice brings to this end most surely, for the man who leads a double life cannot permanently conceal his nature. Much that passes under other names is only veiled licentiousness.
Fourth is precocity. Precocious fruit is not good fruit. The precocious apple is always bad at the core. To guard the future is the greatest duty of the young man. Nature guards against precocity in animals, but the precocious boy is thrown into the midst of the hotbed of the temptations to vice. The examples upon every hand of obscene suggestion in our cities corrupt the youth. Vulgarity breeds precocity. It is vulgar to wear dirty linen when one can be clean, to laugh at cheap jokes, to read the sensational newspaper. The forces that make for vulgarity lead to obscenity. The city of the future will not permit the existence of slums and tippling houses, for the same reason that it prohibits cesspools and pigpens. Profanity is one form of vulgarity. The bravest of men are soft of tongue and quiet of action.
The fifth short-cut is that of intemperance. Pain is the warning to the brain that something is wrong. Thru abnormal conditions this pain, such as that caused by nerve-exciting drugs, is sometimes interpreted as keenest pleasure. Every drug leaves a scar on the nerve. Moderate drinking is not so very bad so long as it is moderate. Some of the best men in the world are moderate drinkers and smokers; some of the worse scoundrels are most abstemious. But, whatever one may think of table drinking, perpendicular drinking, the drinking to get drunk, destroys the vigor of life. A normal man can be convivial without drinking.
Some turbulent spirits plunge into sin because they revolt against conventionality. For these there is hope. When they realize the bonds of conventionality is sin by which they are surrounded, they will again revolt. It is such spirits that have been the great conversions, that are the brands spatched from the fire. The time will come when the only opening for the man of intemperate habits will be politics. The railroad, the steamship lines, the big corporations have cast him off. Only the long-suffering people, liberal and generous, are left as his resource. Municipal politics have become his specialty. For this reason our cities will continue to reek with the scandal of political jobbery.
Emotional excess is a woman's form of drunkenness. Nervous prostration is her delirium tremens. To cultivate emotion for emotion's sake is to live a sensuous life.
Among the desired short-cuts to happiness is jealousy of the man more successful than you. To live to enjoy life is to live to enjoy it to the end. Idleness does not bring rest; rest does not bring pleasure.
AGRICULTURE AS A SCIENCE FOR THE ELEMENTARY
BY JOSEPH CARTER,
Superintendent of City Schools, Champaign, Ill. Science does not seem likely to take a permanent place in the elementary schools under the name of Nature Study as the term is now understood. Yet nature study is so very valuable, and its results of such high educational and economic worth, that it should be continued. How can this be done? Any science may best be taken up on the side nearest the experience of the pupil. No other subject is so near the experience of so many children as agriculture. Agriculture has at its foundations very many of the sciences. It deals with nature — living nature. It is a subject about which all lines of nature study are easily correlated.
The teacher might begin with a window garden and teach the germination of seeds, the development of plants, the effect of sunlight on them, and many other things. Probably eighty per cent of our pupils are in schools where it is possible to have a garden out of doors where not only vegetables, but the larger fruits - apples, plums, pears and the like - could be raised. Here could be studied many things that pertain to the growth of plants - the insects that visit them, and what insects are beneficial and what are injurious. and also how to destroy the injurious ones. The life history of these insects can be studied. This garden can be made a labratory where most delightful experiments can be made, and where knowledge can be gained at first hand. Here the soil can be studied. Its origin and nature can be discovered — its evolution from a fiery rock to the fertile food for plants. The birds will visit this garden and they, too, can be studied.
Agriculture is a science whose study takes people out of doors. There is a growing tendency in our schools to adopt the sedentary life of the literary man. Too much we are leading the children to think that wisdom is found only at the desk of the literary fellow. Too many children there are whose school training is mainly an effort to give them the ability to apprehend what was in the mind of the author of some so-called literary masterpiece. We work laboriously to teach them to say: "I think thy thoughts after thee, O De Quincy," instead of leading them where they joyously can say, "I think Thy thoughts after Thee, O God."
The average child comes to school all saturated with nature — all alive to its every change, and eager for its wonderful and delightful story. Instead of teaching him along the lines of his experience, we turn him in the direction of literature and myth and fairy mysticism, thereby pullifying all the apperceptive capital he has previously accumulated. We do not object to this literary matter in toto, but we do object to its being the total of his training, and we think the teaching of agriculture offers a satisfactory supplement to it.
BY W. H. SNYDER,
We Americans of all nations should be students of geography. Our isolation, extent of territory, commercial and expansive spirit make it expedient that we should acquaint ourselves in all ways possible with the rest of the world. Altho the American is by nature a traveler, yet our home geography extends over such vast distances, and the oceans so effectually shut off our shoulder to shoulder intercourse with other nations, that it is only thru study that the most of us will ever be brought to appreciate the conditions of other peoples. These conditions must be appreciated if we are ever to wisely take the position for which we as a nation seem foreordained.