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all natural instruction into purely artificial pedagogic instruction, and have come to simulate the real and direct methods of known efficacy with fictitious proceedings which have no real virtue. The progress of pedagogy has consisted in the piling up of pedagogical conceits, developed in impertinent discussion about the classical or the not-classical, the literary or the scientific, the theoretical or the practical, the cyclical or the serial ; spoken, written or acted; by sketches, engravings, etc. ; gay or serious; and volumes and more volumes are written; schools are changed and renewed, and they never escape from the cycle of pedagogy, but move ever in the direction opposite the right one.
In order that we may not stray off in the same direction, we must fix the sphere of application of pedagogy. It has a definite and exact boundary. It is an error to assume that all which facilitates the process of learning improves it; an excess of pedagogism is deleterious; we have said repeatedly that pedagogy demands the cessation of spontaneous activity; the intellectual laziness of the schools encourages this excess. Pedagogy serves for the solution of an intellectual difficulty, and as this difficulty is relative, depending upon the intelligence and previous knowledge of the learner, the bound of pedagogy is marked by the intellectual power of the learner at the moment when he is being taught; for the clever, half a word, a simple gesture, is sufficient; for the stupid, even long explanations are not enough; the slower the learner the bigger the dose of pedagogy which must be administered. In the employment, then, of pedagogy there must be an exact equation between it and the understanding of the pupil.
Precisely because of this necessity of its being adequate, the pedagogic method becomes annoying and even odious when employed in excess. This feeling of repugnance which it inspires marks instinctively the limit of its employment; genuine teachers in all lines avoid pedagogy; all students hate it.
The evident reason for its unpleasant effect is that it demands the abandonment of the natural functions and the application of attention and effort to that which is artificial and alien ; the simplification of an operation by working backward, for example, taking apart a machine solely that the pupil may understand the working of the pieces. The clever learner, as soon as he catches sight of the solution of the difficulty, has enough of pedagogy ; explaining more is supposing him a fool. It is not without reason that children have always been tired and disgusted in school. The teacher himself, whose business is to pretend that his drudgery is agreeable, grows weary and develops, a crabbed disposition. Weariness of school is a universal phenomenon of all ages and countries, even with peoples and among individuals and classes in which desire to learn has been keenest. Teachers and schools have been able to exist as they are precisely because of the disdain and even general abhorrence which genuine teachers in all lines feel toward pedagogical instruction. It must, then, have for its limit the particular and relative difficulty which confronts the student, ceasing as soon as he overcomes his difficulty.
Moreover, the method of pedagogy should be applied, if possible, at the precise moment when the difficulty occurs; and this moment must be followed immediately or as soon as possible by the action. It is the moment when the learner attends to the matter and is interested by it, without distraction of his attention or its direction to the manner in which he is being taught; when the stimuli are the strongest and effort means most; when the end of the instruction is seen very clearly. If this be not the case, it is likely to be wearisome and purposeless; like jumping four or five meters before you reach the ditch.
The anticipatory method of pedagogic instruction in all the schools has reversed the natural process; the will and prevision of him who teaches have replaced the will and prevision of the learner. Since this is true we should not be surprised that the process lacks the pupil's co-operation, a necessary requisite for learning. Moreover, there is danger that he be taught material which could be better learned without pedagogic instruction. Hence the habit of teaching reading, writing, counting, etc., many years before they are needed; that is, accustoming the children to cover themselves with skins in summer, foreseeing the necessity of their so covering themselves in winter. Thus it has been possible to establish schools, for the behoof of the teacher, which purport to teach all the professions pedagogically, without permitting the learner to apply himself to anything that genuinely belongs to the profession; thus one may become a physician without ever having treated a case; and law and social theories, it is said, are learned by those who have not yet informed themselves of the organization of their own families; and authority is given for the pleading of cases to young men incapable of executing a simple receipt form. Because of this anticipation, young men in some countries pass the years in pedagogic exercises until they are twenty-five; and just because they foresee the difficulties of life, this life turns out all the more difficult for them; for they have seen it through the warped spectacles of a pedagogue. And as pedagogy simulates everything, fictitious virtues are considered real. And the foolish public aids in this mystification. It has been said: “ The appearance of merit and the image of virtue win the suffrages of the multitude.” They give the name of study and knowledge to a useless gymnasium of rhetoric and subtlety, which every school becomes that misses its true function. “Those learned in schools,” says Huxley,* “ are generally vain all the morning and stupid in the afternoon."
The application of pedagogy at the exact time of the action assumes that the pupil is at the side of the master of a trade or profession, performing actions from his own initiative, away from the school, the office of the pedagogue. This places the pedagogue in a bad light, since he avoids the master to obviate unpleasant comparisons. Moreover, this requirement forces the teacher to follow the march of the scholar; but the teacher, vainly conscious of the exalted character of his mission, puffed up by his position, insists that he be followed. And when the youth are removed from direct instruction, the efficiency of the pedagogic tool is lessened, since the stimulus of action itself is the best spur to quicken the understanding and conquer all difficulties.
Pedagogy 'must govern herself, not by the end or desire of pedagogy, but by the end, desire or duty of the learner; before this desire is born, or this obligation is felt, the natural stimuli are lacking which are necessary to secure effectiveness for any scheme of learning. Since this requirement is not met, it is easy to err by employing worthless methods, such as are ordinarily applied in the schools, and moreover because of ignorance of this requirement the natural advance has been reversed. In place of the youth determining their own professions in a natural environment, the choice of vocation rests with the teacher, that is to say, with him who is the worst qualified for this function; how can he, by his position a man who does not apply his knowledge to any real vocation, have the experience necessary to decide the professions of others? For this cause it frequently happens that youths and even children plan their vocation in a pedagogical environment, and when they become men they learn that they are not fitted for the real vocation. An example of this occurred in my own home. A brother of mine discovered that he was not suited for a physician when he was twenty-five years old, after he had received his doctorate of medicine, and had obtained, as had happened throughout almost his entire course, the highest grades.
In the same way the material which is to be learned pedagogically should not be chosen by the teacher for his benefit or convenience, but for the behoof of the student, according to the conditions of his life, according to his capacity, social condition, family, etc.—that is, the materials must be useful to the particular pupil. Pedagogues have caviled much about materials, seeking for them an absolute value; it is folly to expect to find a single absolute direction, in the progress of learning, where each one must take a different path, and where it is precisely upon this diversity of direction that the social order and harmony depend. Such an attempt is seeking three feet on a cat. But as the pedagogue depends for a livelihood upon pedagogical organization, he is tempted to settle upon the materials and arrangement which best lend themselves to an extensive and well remunerated intervention on his part; he seeks to bend others to himself and not himself to others; and he teaches many things that are completely useless, provided only that they have an appearance of brilliancy and ornateness.
" In the past, said a Spaniard of the eighteenth century, “wise men were
troubled at the vain questions which the youth discuss in the lecture room; the which, when they entered business, were not at all conducive to the utility or the benefit of the public." “ Et ideo," says Petronious, “ adolescentulos existimo in scholis stultissimos fieri, quia nihil ex iis quæ in usu habentur, aut audiunt, aut vident." Indeed, with more or less marked exceptions, prompted by the discretion of the public, the exclusively pedagogical has been thus in all times and nations.
The purely relative character of the difficulty, according to the intelligence of the pupil, the necessity of resolving it in the nearest possible moment to the action, etc., now make perfectly evident to us another condition of efficacy, which is that the instruction must be individual; since as we must fit the concrete case (in the great majority of instances), as well as the particular situation of the pupil, each individual must be taught separately ; each child needs a' method, an adaptation, an equation. But this interferes with the comfort of the pedagogue, and he invents another theory: the convenience of pedagogically instructing multitudes, that is to say, sustaining as the ideal method the teaching or practicing collectively things which must then be done by the pupils separately. Granted that it is necessary or convenient to teach collectively those exercises which in normal life are collective, for example, the formation of a military battalion ; but to teach reading collectively and writing collectively, and to teach collectively all the matters of a profession, like that of law or medicine, could be the idea only of the pedagogues, whose effort, like that of all the rest of the world, has been to gain the largest possible salary with the least possible effort.
If pedagogy is to accomplish its object of simplifying difficulties in the path of the learner's progress so that the learner may completely vanquish them himself, it must be admitted that there must consequently be employed for pedagogical instruction the most real and direct elements; and the instruction should be given in the most normal situation and circumstances of life; that is to say, if a table is to be made, it will be better to teach table making out of real wood in the carpenter's shop than out of pasteboard in the school; it is not enough to have the peda