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'In Boston, the courses of study have heretofore, it is safe to say, faced directly towards Harvard College. Of late the people are beginning to say: Why cannot the studies be so selected that pupils may, at graduation, enter directly into the school of Technology?
It settles pointedly to this: In fact, the people are not averse to paying for the support of schools, but they do object to the courses of study which are there established, and which face the upper schools exclusively, instead of serving immediately the severe necessities of life.
My attempt at this point is not to take sides as to the desirableness of this or that, but simply to note a fact.
Right at this point also rests the inevitable struggle between what is called the old and the new education.
If history can throw any light upon this struggle, it surely points to these results: Either the masses will abandon the contest, and will settle down into an unlettered peasantry, or else they will withhold public support if not allowed such studies as prepare the youth for the material living which imperatively commands them. In the United States the latter alternative will prevail-it has already attained most respectful attention. For almost every college and university in the land has, within recent years, extended the curriculum of studies in this very direction.
This struggle is hotly contested; yet it is a kind of Bunker Hill victory for the British-a few of them will ruin the cause; or it is the contest of the Laocoön-the spirit of antiquity; the old pagan priest struggles hard and bravely; but it is against fearful odds.
Even to-day this is obvious; for, as the buds swell into life here, and the leaf springs up there, and the mercury in the thermometer shows signs of excitement upward, while spring is not yet fully arrived, and summer three months away, even so is the march of branches of study in schools; for this industrial school this year; that school of science last year; this college introducing this branch, and that one another practical study. All these things note the inevitable struggle that is going forward, and they show, also, where the final victory will restwith the "march of events."
Witness the following. In the Daily Tribune, June 12, 1877, occurs this:
"LONDON, MONDAY, June 11, 1877.
"A special dispatch from Berlin to The Times says: "A bill introducing a new system of public instruction in Prussia, which is to remodel the famous institutions dating from the beginning of this century, has just been completed by a special commission. By the new bill the classical tendency of liberal instruction will be somewhat modified, while regarding elementary instruction, advantage has been derived from American experience of the free school system."
It may be remarked, further, that the conditions which underlie, and which affect and disturb the old courses of study-notably the classicalare essentially different in the United States from what they are in Europe. In Europe, civilization, enlightenment, learning through schools, have come down to the masses from the upper or governing classes. The lower schools have been granted and established by the nobilityby the government. In the United States it is quite the reverse; the masses establish, substantially, most of the schools, even to the university-certainly nearly all of the lower and secular schools.
Another element of difference exists: Our people talk about the fact that well-trained and skilled laborers are not so plenty in the United States as in Europe. European civilization and the genius of her institutions are less flexible than with us. There, the youth are beset round about with barriers of caste, which tend to restrain individual adventure; here, the youth come upon the field of action with almost an innate conviction that they are masters of all they survey, or that they can and will be monarchs of all the out-lying territory.
Hence, an artisan bred in Europe is trained to one exclusive phase of skill; he acquires great expertness in that special department of handicraft.
In the United States, a would-be artisan cannot even spend the time of an apprenticeship, and he rests uneasy at the very thought of devoting himself to one exclusive department of labor. He is inclined to study the whole work, and invent a machine that will do the complete labor for him.
As rapidly as the demands of our civilization compel it, hardly before, will our youth address themselves to special handicraft. But the preparation for this must be had through schools, rather than through apprenticeship. Hence, again, will an increasing population in any State of the Union come to demand studies which directly prepare for manual technicalities. But this will be demanded by the people as a matter of right for themselves, and will not be graciously granted to the masses by the nobility as in Europe; nor yet will it be granted as a matter of State economy, in order to conciliate the masses or to keep them from pauperism.
Opposed to all this is the tenacity of the life of the old courses of study those studies which claim a sort of "divine right" to the attention of youth. This power is strong, and it yields only slowly. These courses of study claim to develop man as man, whatever the phrase may mean. They actually do develop man intellectually and morally, and as a social being, or man as a member of society, if at all; and it is conceded that they do accomplish something worthy, yet possibly not in the most excellent manner, with fullest measure.
The Hon. Edward A. Freeman, a classicist, says: "The fashion of the day, by a not unnatural reaction, seems to be turning against ancient and classical learning altogether. As long as we have classical' schools instead of general schools of language; as long as we, in any way, recognize the distinction implied in the words 'classical' and 'ancient,' we are pleading guilty to the charge "-that of exclusiveness and of the divine right of the classics. (Comparative Politics, pp. 335-6, Ed. 1874.)
IV. ARGUMENT FROM THE NATURE OF THE CASE.
Before proceeding further in the investigation, it may be best to inquire somewhat about the phrases, "man as man," and " Iman as a member of society."
Man as man, in the popular mind, stands alone. To develop man as man, is to educate man with the outlook directly towards the subjective self of the man under tuition. It includes the idea that man is a complete unit in and of himself; that this unit exists as an entity. It is conceded that man is necessarily a member of society; but it is held that what is best for the man himself, looking inward, is therefore best for the society of which he is a member. Yet somewhat strangely, it
would seem, it is also held that the glory of man is to benefit and serve his generation.
Without assailing this position, let it be questioned for information and reason.
Is the development of a thing an absolute or a relative fact? Is man, as man, an absolute fact or a relative fact? In what manner can it appear that man serves his fellow-man? Is it of any consequence to the educator whether a man be educated or not, unless the idea of society be introduced? Does not the fact that the pleas put forward by the old courses of study-that they do best fit man for his life's duties— of itself most effectually stultify the idea of man as man? What is man as man? Is he more than man, as related to another man, or as he is not some other man? What concern is it to the educator whether this man can think, or read, or write, or translate a foreign tongue, if he be the only individual in the universal convention? Who will explain the consistency of the idea of an English-speaking student learning Latin and Greek, with the idea of developing man as man, rather than as a member of a great and extended society? What is meant by the expression that one man is abler than another, if not that society furnishes the standard? Why is it desirable that there should be a strong man, if not to be among men? Who knows a strong man when he sees one? What is meant by moral responsibility as distinguished from the religious, if not the responsibility that man bears towards man as a member of society? What is the import of the expression, "It is not good for man to be alone?' Is not man's very nature cast in a mould recognizing man as a member of society, rather than as an unsocial being? What is the actual essence of the saying, that whatever best develops the man best benefits society, if it be not that even here the man rests on society? Inasmuch as wealth is clearly for the benefit of society first, and inasmuch as education has always been the gaining force in the contest between wealth and education-because of this, how can courses of study rest, unless they rest upon man as a member of society?
In the light of the foregoing, it may now be asked if it be possible to develop man as man, and attach any ordinary meaning to the phrase? It is assumed that man may be developed, but it must be by means of society; his only value to the State is that which he bears to society. Even "charity" relates to society; all of man's labors are for himself as `a member of society; the religious and Christian ideas are, that man is to be a blessing to his fellow-man, for without this service to God is not acceptable. The golden rule teaches, "That one should do unto others as he would they should do unto him ;" i. e., the golden rule makes man a member of society.
Literature and Art flourished under commercial stimulus, which is one of the elemental forces of society.
I am asked if it be possible, under the theory that courses of study rest upon man as a member of society, for him to secure unto himself a discipline that shall elevate his own subjective self far above that of his surrounding fellow-men, and whether he can do it independently.
I answer that he can stand with his head towering high over all his fellow-men, yet his feet must tread the common highway with his neighbors; he has risen up, through and out of society, because he has grown upwards into and outwards among higher social facts and relations, and all else thereby implied than have his fellow-men. His greatness stands
erect and secures nourishment because its roots strike out wide and deep into social life, and the deeper they strike into the heart and head of society, the more enduring is the survival of his greatness. Man may grow above his fellow-man, but it may not be independent of society.
V. RECAPITULATION, CONSEQUENCES, CONCLUSION.
Whence, in recapitulation, it appears that courses of study are actually based upon the idea of developing man, not as man, but as a member of society.
This has been shown by the history of civilization, the uses of studiesby the needs of man in the growth of society-that is, by the very nature of the case, and it has been shown by the very reason of the thing itself, as well as by the impossibility of its being anything beside.
In further consideration upon this matter, note the following from that erudite English student of civilization, Tylor, in Primitive Culture, says: "Culture or civilization, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society." (Vol. I., p. 1.)
This being so, why not face it directly and without the halo of romance, and honestly come to the task of arranging courses of study for man as a member of society?
Let educators consider well their times, their seasons, and the evident tendencies thereof-let courses of study come to them. Then will all circumstances be together in harmony, and the periodical attacks upon our school systems will lessen in frequency. The only possible way to prevent struggles in nature is to follow her laws. Whenever one complains that the stone is heavy, it is sure that he has exerted his strength in opposition to nature's law of gravity. So in arranging courses of studywhenever it becomes evident from ample experience that these are not producing results conformable to the demands of society, it is time to stop and honestly adjust the discordant elements into harmony.
As a consequence from this, it may be asked: Should the courses of study face directly and altogether the needs of man as a member of society? Should they not aim at the development of the individual? Should they be exclusively utilitarian?
I answer: If by utilitarian is meant exclusively that which concerns the material outlook of life, I ask whether society is best served by this course? and I answer in the negative. If by utilitarian be meant that which will best serve society in its widest and most liberal well-being— in its material, in its intellectual, and in its moral and religious growththen I answer in the affirmative, by all means let all the studies be utilitarian as unto man as a member of society.
Two young men begin their school life; they are boys together; it cannot possibly be predicted what will be the final sphere of life with each. What shall they do-what shall they study? This very uncertainty lends a fearful force to the courses of study which they shall follow. This very possibility that circumstances may throw one into this line of activity, and that one into that, makes it all-important that both be so educated for society, as members of it, that they shall be able to serve it acceptably whenever and wherever circumstances or choice shall set them down into this or that arena of life.
It is said to me that the nation is composed of individuals; that as
are the individuals so will the nation be. This is granted, and it is assumed correct. This establishes the point at issue. If we would have the State and the Nation high, noble, honest, of good repute, train the youth for this desired society.
What harm would have come of it had there been only one individual in New York city, a few years since, and had that individual been the Hon. Mr. Ring? What causes the stir; the man or the member of society?
But this whole problem is still in an unsettled state. It is by no means certain, by demonstration, what are the best studies for schools in which the purpose is to benefit society. Whether the study shall be Latin or algebra, or industrial drawing, is hardly revealed at this writing. The answer is possibly looming up in the horizon, but not yet distinctly read by all. The forces of material and of civilized growths are bringing solutions to the horizon, but the struggle is still obvious.
Yet, however the elements in the present state of the case all converge upon this one point, not man as man, but man as a member of society, is the true objective centre and limit of courses of study in schools.
Finally, that our schools may be improved in theory and in fact, is before me in a strong light; and that our schools and our public school systems will always rest firmly and proudly in the hearts of the American people, is my unswerving belief. That the basis of courses of study of schools must rest upon the idea of the development of man as a member of society-although not now so regarded-this is a fact which the coming years will raise clearly into view before the educators of that day.