« AnteriorContinuar »
487 tion in life was free, without examination or qualification, to open a school anywhere; although preparation for the functions he undertook was required in the surgeon who assisted to bring a boy into the world, or might one day assist, perhaps, to send him out of it; in the chemist, the attorney, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the whole round of crafts and trades, the schoolmaster excepted, . . the Yorkshire schoolmasters were the lowest round in the whole ladder."
Thackeray, in a loving tribute to the great novelist, says:—
Dotheboys Hall was a cheap school. There were many such establishments in the northern country. Parents were ashamed that never were ashamed before until the kind satirist laughed at them; relatives were frightened; scores of little scholars were taken away; poor schoolmasters had to shut their shops up, every pedagogue was voted a Squeers, and many suffered, no doubt, unjustly; but afterwards school-boys' backs were not so much caned, school-boys' meat was less tough and more plentiful, and school-boys' milk was not so sky-blue."
To an American, accustomed to the systematic methods of the closing years of the nineteenth century, the English system. of to-dayor rather the lack of system seems even now of perplexing intricacy. The grading of schools so familiar with us as primary, grammar, and high schools under the guidance of town or state does not exist in England, save in a few instances, where it is far from being a success on account of the friction of those in control. The higher subjects are never taught in many schools, for the simple reason that the teacher is not qualified to do so. Too often teaching seems the last resort of the man in search of a means of livelihood, and the proper training of teachers has been a matter of small consideration, until recently.
When a "public school" is spoken of in England one of the large endowed schools is meant, such as Eton or Rugby. These are boarding schools, supported by the income from endowments, together with the tuition paid by the pupils, who are chiefly the sons of wealthy men or the nobility. Many of the characteristics of the nation make schools of this sort a necessity. In the families of military and naval officers, diplomatic and colonial officials, it is impossible for the children to be educated under the parental eyes. The owners of great estates living
far from educational centers must send their boys away from home to be properly trained.
A large part of the schools are independent of the State, to whom they are subject only in respect to the fulfillment of the obligations laid down in their charters.
In other instances the school board have control of the affairs, this board being elected by all the tax-payers, women included. A limit is now placed upon the age of children employed in factories, shops and mines.
As a general thing public and private agencies unite in the maintenance and control of the English schools.
Sectarianism is to-day one of the crying evils that deserve to be banished from the realm. Over half of the teachers receive their appointments from the fact that they belong to the Anglican or Roman Catholic Church. The leading State Church newspaper, the Guardian, says:—
"In order to keep going our own church schools we are obliged to block wherever we can the general advance of the educational movement.
To-day there is not a sufficient number of public free schools to educate more than half of the children, while the remainder are obliged, under penalty of the law, to attend sectarian schools. Everywhere is seen an appalling want of national organization.
To an American, where education is as common, as freeand I had almost said as important— a thing as the very air we breathe, this indifference of the English people to this great question seems almost unaccountable.
Is it not a deplorable fact that a nation whose sway extends over Canada, India, Australia, South Africa and the islands of the sea spends $350,000,000 on her war debts, while only a paltry $65,000,000-barely one sixth-is devoted to education? Is this not a weighty question for a nation's consideration—a nation where one fifth of the adults are unable to write their own names? The hope of a nation lies in its youth.
"We are fired with the hope to reform men. After many experiments we find that we must begin earlier
The signs, however, are more encouraging than ever before. The new century lies before us. The pulse of the nation throbs with new life, and the brotherhood of man-the banding together for one common good-is the watchword of the times.
Universal education may not come to our brothers in England this year or next, or for many years to come, but do we not all unite with England's late poet laureate, as he sings in Locksley Hall:
"Forward, forward let us range,
Let the great world spin forever down the ringing grooves of change."
IN THE SPIRIT.
T. S. LOWDEN, PH.D., DEAN DEPARTMENT PSYCHOLOGY AND PEDAGOGY, EAST
ERN INDIANA NORMAL UNIVERSITY, MUNCIE, INDIANA.
T is evident that the teacher must have character with high ideals and live thereto, possess scholarship, be cultured and equipped professionally, if any degree of success in her work is hoped for; but with it all, her work will prove well-nigh a failure, be a spiritless, mechanical, daily grind, unless she is earnest, responsive, sympathetic-"In the Spirit." What is it to be "In the Spirit?" Illustration and example best answer. John was "In the Spirit" on Patmos. "I was in the isle for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." It was the Lord's day, and a silence was brooding over the lonely Ægean isle, broken only by the dash of waves against the rock-bound coast. The day and place lent auspice to spirit, but above all was heart, intent, purpose, the life of that "beloved disciple," that induced the heavens to open and reveal themselves. To the honest heart, the responsive soul, the sincere life, heaven is ever near if he but divine; ever willing to divulge its secrets and joys if he but importune. To the wayfarer the way opens if he but seek." Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you." But the "asking," "seeking," "knocking" must be done "In the Spirit." Without responsiveness, sincerity, earnestness and sympathy our petitions, pleadings, labors, our lives, avail not.
Sometime since I was obliged to walk several miles along a railroad, closely skirted on one side by a ravine, on the other by overhanging cliffs and, rugged slopes. For three-quarters of a mile the track was thickly covered with rough slag from the iron mills. I had the alternative of walking the railing or trudging through the slag. It was a laborious journey. The afternoon of the following day I returned the same way. It was one of those days early in November,
"As still such days will come
To call the squirrel and the bee
The sky was azure, thinly veiled o'er here and there with flocculent clouds, through which the sun shone with mellow, autumnal light, enveloping hill and vale in purple hue. A gentle breeze came out of the south. An occasional dandelion dared yet appear; a spray of aster yet remained. The grass with its recent growth, new, tender, green, carpeted the ground beneath the leafless oaks. The rills hastening toward the rivulets made music with their murmuring notes, purling over the shallows. The assembled waters, gathered from the hills, tumbling o'er the distant dam gave undertone in symphony. Near by in the thicket the red bird whistled merrily, while up the hillside in the wood, the haughty, quarrelsome jay was scolding a solitary crow that cawed in joy for the sunshine. Even the belated butterfly (Philodice), with her clouded sulphur wings, rejoiced to float in the balmy air, while the tiger caterpillar was anxiously hastening along, nervous, lest he be too late for transformation. Over all this life and beauty, so soon to depart, there brooded that ominous silence, that foreboding stillness which portends the oncoming storm. Alas, that such days are so rare! but thanks that they come at all, for,
"Far through the memory shines a happy day
I strolled, I lingered, I rested. My nerves were at peace. My limbs were filled with the warmth of life, my thoughts with
buoyancy, my heart with joy. I felt, I thought, I sympathized, I responded to the wonderful, the beautiful, the life about me. My soul was filled. Tears of gratitude welled up that I, "poor worm of dust," was a part of all this life and loveliness: "A centred self, which feels, and is "—a part of all life's mystery.
All the while I was in the domain of my inner self, unmindful of the toils and cares of life. Suddenly the spell was broken when by chance I turned about and saw that I had again but unconsciously plodded through the slag, which only yesterday had caused so much annoyance. But yesterday it was "me" who was. To-day it is "I" that is. Yesterday there was sensitivity to ills; to-day a respondence to charms. Yesterday the slag detained "me," my outer life or external self, and so it does to-day; but to-day, likewise, is my inner life, the interior self, touched, moved, delighted, so that the exuberance thereof o'erflows and quenches the ills of "me." To-day I am "In the Spirit." I can see, feel, realize, sympathize, respond. It is clear that
"All I see in earth and sky,
Star, flower, beast, bird, is a part of me.
Which thrills the universal frame."
How much of life we see is slag, even though we be in the midst of the good and beautiful, so abundant and broadcast about us, unless with the discerning eye of the inner self we penetrate, the veil, perceive, understand and comprehend the world, its fullness and the richness thereof! Each creates his world, his universe, and makes his inner or outer self the center of it. His world is spiritual or material inasmuch as it is generated by his inner or outer life. We are prone to see the slag in life. We see too oft "through glasses darkly." Slag there is in life, and slag there needs must be, but we should learn to know the slag and profit by it. The duties incident to the teacher's life can not be counted slag. Our interest in life, in growth and development, childhood, right, truth and the beautiful; our interest in humanity, the race, its future welfare, should be wholly sufficient to stimulate our inner life, and make us live In the Spirit."
Comenius must have been "In the Spirit." No man can give