Imágenes de páginas

native to suspension. Yet I am sure it can be dispensed with. I have taught in one State where it is forbidden by law, and I found no difficulty in securing the very best discipline. But any sudden change might seriously affect discipline in schools where it has been frequently used. It is possible to gradually eliminate the practice to a very large extent. 15. It is a good thing to be held in reserve. I would not abolish it by decree. It is passing as civilization advances and the skill of teachers increases. 16. It is of value. Better teachers would use it somewhat less frequently. 17. Have used it but few times in my life. I once got excellent results by turning an incorrigible boy over a desk, giving him one blow, with a pause of five minutes for reflection on his misdemeanors, then another blow followed by another period of reflection, then a third blow and interval. I never had any trouble with that boy again, and he lived to thank me for the discipline and the opportunities for reflection. He said that he found it easy to bear the former, but couldn't stand the latter. 18. My opinion of its value is high. The ministry of pain is mysterious, but it is one of the highest ministries in the hands of God or man.

Perhaps comment is unnecessary on the facts and opinions thus reported. We will only say in conclusion that the same. fundamental differences of philosophic conception underlying this educational question about the use of corporal punishment in our schools are also at the basis of many other questions now in public debate. There are those who hold that the use of force in the attainment of moral ends is never right. To such persons, if they are consistent, war is always wrong, the doctrine of retribution in theology is an anomaly, no state and no individual should ever resort to force in self-defense, and should pursue only such ends as may be gained by a patient non-resistance and a submissive meekness. The father should cease to whip his child and the teacher her pupil. On the other hand, and as a matter of fact, the great majority of mankind, while recognizing the beauty of such an ideal social condition, find it at present impossible of practical realization. The forces evil are so aggressive that they must be met and overcome, sometimes at least, by a counter appeal to force. There are those who are amenable to no other argument. Happily, the

signs of the times show that a direction has been taken and progress is being made toward a better day and order. This tendency is clearly shown in the schools, which are so powerful in the making of public opinion. It is revealed in the facts and opinions that are here given. The tendency is distinctly away from the use of physical reactions as a means of moral discipline. This reform will precede the abolishment of great national armaments, armored ships and "long Toms." It will be one step toward the day of universal peace and happiness. So, though the millennium has not come yet, let us rejoice that it is coming. When it is but a little nearer the birch and the rattan will surely disappear into the limbo of a final oblivion.




T became the proud privilege of two English queens to witness great and lasting changes in the educational system of the motherland. Previous to the reign of Queen Elizabeth the children had been sadly neglected by the state, which had yet to learn the truth embodied in those words of old, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones."

To be sure, there were provisions made for the education of the favored youth of the land as far back as the introduction of Christianity, but these methods were of the crudest and most primitive sort. For hundreds of years institutions of learning were to be found only in connection with monasteries, and many, even, of these were swept away when the fierce tribes from the north came down upon the island.

We read of how the good King Alfred sent for learned men from abroad-John of Saxony, Asser of St. David's, and Grimbald the provost of St. Omer-to found schools for his people. Many, also, of the children of noblemen received instruction at the king's court, together with the young princes and princesses.

But the clergy of those remote days seem to have been the most interested and most active in the educational movements. Aside from their own duties connected with church and monastery, we find many of them devoting a large part of their spare time to teaching. Especial attention, however, was given to those pupils destined for the service of church or state.

Near the close of the fourteenth century William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, founded Winchester, which is to-day the oldest school in England. After five hundred years there remains in its constitution many striking features impressed upon it by this great bishop of the greatest of the Plantagenet kings.

Few of the laity were able to read, and it was to the priests that the people looked for instruction of all kinds. Nearly every monastery and nunnery had a school attached to it, where the boys were taught Latin and Greek, and the girls Latin and English, with, perhaps, a little embroidery. This, however, was for the better class only, and the children of craftsmen obtained only such meager instruction as was received at home, where their time was spent in more homely duties.

That a great gulf intervened, socially as well as intellectually, between the schoolboys of then and now is evident when we read that it was a common occurrence on the festal days for the boys to argue with each other about "the principles of grammar and the rules of the past and future tense"; a delightful pastime, we have no doubt!

But with the fall of the monasteries these schools vanished in appalling numbers. Yet precocious children lived even in those stormy days of the old motherland. We are told that Lucy Hutchinson was able to read at four years of age, while eight tutors were employed to teach her languages, writing, music, needlework and dancing when she had reached the age of seven. The girls of the sixteenth century were also trained in the preparation of simples and medicines.

Following the Reformation, however, there seems to have been a new enthusiasm felt for the cause of learning,—an era great and eventful in the history of the nation. It is stated that during Queen Elizabeth's reign no less than one hundred and fifteen schools were established, which still survive and are doing effective work in their sphere. From these so-called grammar schools have gone forth men whose names are famous in the annals of their native country,-such names as Lord Byron, Pepys the diarist, Shelley, Hallam the historian, and England's grand old man, William Gladstone.

But the days that followed were dark days for the cause. England was then an England whose very air was rife with dissensions and revolutions. It was an England where it was an easy thing for men to die; an England that sent Raleigh to prison; an England that executed many an innocent prisoner in the old Tower of London; an England where the tide of freedom was at low ebb.

The Rev. J. Hirst Hollowell, in a recent article in EDUCATION, says: "If we in England have been moving timidly and doubtfully along the path of progress, and are still far from every goal of religious and educational equality, remember, in explanation, how much of our best blood was drained away from us in the Mayflower."

Near the close of the eighteenth century the commercial classes, having during this time risen to wealth and importance, began to see the incongruity of schools in which nothing was taught but Latin and Greek, and the after life of many of the pupils a life which in hundreds of instances was spent in trade. Then it was that, profiting by their own experience, many of the wealthy men resolved to be benefactors to their class, and we are told that it was a common sight to see in many towns a free school "over whose gates was generally set up the effigy of a boy in blue or green, with an inscription betokening that by the last will of Alderman A. B. this school had been founded for twenty poor boys, to be clothed and taught reading, writing and arithmetic." While the grammar schools were graduating ministers and doctors and lawyers these free schools were training skillful handicraftsmen.

The girls seem to have been defrauded of their rights in many instances where large sums of money and grants of land` were given for the founding of schools for both sexes, but which were used exclusively for boys. Home education was the most popular method for teaching girls for many years, and a governess of often questionable ability instructed the girls of the family, while the boys were sent to one of the large public schools.

With the passing years England had learned much, but she has still much to learn. Not yet had the child been recognized as a potent factor in the life of a nation.

But during the nineteenth century a renaissance of learning seems to have swept over the country, and the age of Queen Victoria rivals that of Elizabeth in the zeal and importance of its educational movements. Gradually it is dawning upon the English people that a great responsibility rests upon them in the training of the children of the nation. As has been well said, "The highest responsibility of life has been entrusted to you in the gift, from the Lord, of a little child." Nevertheless, our English cousins, accustomed as they have been for so long to consider the childhood of the nations of minor importance, have been slower in their progress than any other European nation.

The question of whether or not a child should be educated was left for the greater part to the fancy of the parents. Yet it was an Englishman who tells us: "It makes very little difference what the trade, business, or branch of learning; in mechanical labor, or intellectual effort, the educated man is always superior to the common laborer. One who is in the habit of applying his powers in the right way will carry his system into any occupation, and it will help him as much to handle a rope as to write a poem."

But this article, education could only be obtained in many instances by the payment of a fee, and whoever was not able to do this must go without; for education was not a necessity, apparently, but only a luxury.

At last a system of taxation was established for the support of public education, and the House of Commons made active efforts in that direction. Bills were proposed, but many were unsuccessful.

The boys of the last generation had a loyal champion in Charles Dickens, who with Froebel, that great educator across the Channel, have been called the "best interpreters of Christ's ideals of childhood." In his books nineteen different schools are described. Through his depicting in humorous caricature those Yorkshire schools as shown in Nicholas Nickleby he helped to banish a system which was a disgrace to any country. Of these schools he writes:

"Of the monstrous neglect of education in England . . . private schools long afforded a notable example. Although any man who had proved his unfitness for any other occupa

« AnteriorContinuar »