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Germany-While the German nation has the smallest per cent of illiteracy of any nation in the world, yet neither the Catholic nor the Protestant element has the lowest rate of illiteracy. This belongs to the Jewish element. Of 100 Protestant children 91.63 per cent attend the elementary, 4.87 per cent the middle, 3.25 per cent the high school, and .25 per cent the university. For 100 Catholic children the 4 departments run respectively 97.21, 4.18,1.48, and .13. While for the Jews the per cent in 100 children is 53.71, 24.40, 21.20, and 1.69. That is, of Catholic and Protestant children about 10 in 100 go beyond the first or elementary grade, while 47 in 100 of the Jewish children go beyond the first grade. These figures apply only to the city of Berlin, however, where the Jews are both numerous and wealthy. This is a most remarkable revelation, and the advantage is with Jewish children, not in Berlin alone, but also throughout the empire. It is said that the same fact holds true in our American schools. Why is it that the Jewish mind aspires to the highest plane in education? It would look as though the higher average of health among the Jewish race leads to a greater measure of mental activity and sustains it. The greater average in wealth also helps to the same end. The study is an interesting one, and a comparison of statistics covering all nations would be desirable.
The following comparative columns are highly instructive, inasmuch as they illustrate the effect of compulsory education in Germany:
Ratio of illiteracy.
The figures represent the ratio of illiteracy found among army recruits. (Centr. Archiv.)
General survey.—A French educational journal contains the following items of information. Some of these statements are not quite correct, compared with statistical information available in the Bureau of Education (see Annual Report of the Commissioner of 1888–89), but it is reasonable to suppose that the figures here presented are obtained by omitting (a) private, (b) secondary instruction; hence they are here reproduced as probably representing public elementary schools only.
The proportion of the total population that was enrolled in school in the principal countries of the civilized world was as follows:
(a) In general.-Russia, Roumania, and Servia, about 80 per cent; AustriaHungary, 42 per cent; Ireland, 21 per cent; France, 15 per cent; Belgium, 15 per cent; Holland, 10 per cent; United States (white), 8 per cent; Scotland, 7 per cent; Switzerland, 2.5 per cent. In Sweden, Denmark, Bavaria, Würtemburg, Saxony it is very rare to find a person that can not read.
(b) Can read only.-Germany, 94 per cent (evidently too low a figure); England, 91; Austria, 88 (does not agree with statement under "Illiteracy" a); France, 88 per cent; Italy, 74 per cent; Spain, 69 per cent; Russia, 53 per cent.
(c) Can compute.-Germany, 89 per cent; England, 81 per cent; France, 77 per cent; Austria, 75 per cent; Italy, 53 per cent; Spain, 49 per cent; Russia, 39 per cent.
(d) Know another language than the mother tongue.-Germany, 69 per cent; Austria, 61 per cent; England, 34 per cent; France, 29 per cent; Italy, 28 per cent; Spain, 13 per cent. (These statements are, to say little, very extravagant.)
(e) Have received a classical education.-Germany, 32 per cent; England, 21 per cent; France, 20 per cent; Italy, 17 per cent; Austria, 13 per cent; Spain, 7 per cent; Russia, 2 per cent.
These statements vary but little from similar ones published a year ago. (Revue Pedag.)
Learning languages through self-instruction.-In an age like ours that brings people of foreign tongues into contact so often, an age in which the polyglot literature of periodicals and books plays an important rôle, the number of adults who learn foreign languages through self-help is by no means small. Each of these self-made linguists is likely to have his own method and reach the goal he sets for himself in his own inimitable way. But though every road leads to Rome, a sensible pilgrim will want to know several to choose from. For this reason such quiet indefatigable workers may be reminded of the methods of two men who, by means of self-instruction, acquired an unusually great amount of linguistic kowledge and have become famous in this respect-Schliemann and Macaulay. Schliemann, the distinguished German archæologist, who "first served as a commercial clerk, then, when he became head of a commercial house doing an extended and successful business, learned English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian; later on, modern and ancient Greek: lastly, Latin." He writes of himself in his Ilios: "Then I occupied myself for two years exclusively with ancient Greek literature and, I may say, I read cursorily during this time nearly all the classics, and the Iliad and Odyssey several times. Of Greek grammar I merely learned the declensions and the regular and irregular verbs; but with grammar rules I lost not a minute of my precious time, for when I saw that not a single one of all the boys who had been tortured with tedious grammar rules for more than eight years was able afterwards to write a Greek letter without making hundreds of the coarsest errors, I concluded that the method followed in the high schools was radically wrong. My opinion is that one can gain a thorough knowledge of Greek or any grammar only through practice, i. e., through thoughtful and attentive reading of classic prose, and through memorizing some of its best model pieces. Following the primitive method, I learned ancient Greek, and now can use it like a living language. I fluently write in it, and orally express my thoughts readily and without difficulty on any given subject, provided always I have thoughts to express on that subject. I am familiar with all the rules of grammar, though I rarely know whether the rules I follow in speech and writing are recorded in grammar or not." Schliemann fails to tell us how he read the first Greek work. Doubtless he did it with the aid of a translation, and not with a dictionary.
Lord Macaulay, the great English historian, learned modern languages in like manner. "When I want to learn a language," he wrote from Calcutta in 1836,"I always begin with_the_Bible, which I can read without a dictionary (Macaulay knew the English New Testament by heart). In the course of a few days I know the patch words (prepositions and conjunctions), and the commonest syntactical rules, and come into possession of a pretty large vocabulary. Then I attack some good classic work. Thus I learned Spanish and Portuguese, and a similar method I shall some day employ in learning German." A year later he wrote: "On my way home I intend to learn German. I am told that is a difficult language, but I do not believe that there is any language which I can not master in four months,
working 10 hours daily." And a few months later: "When I arrive in England I mean to have mastered German. In my leisure hours I have broken the ice by reading Luther's translation of the New Testament half through, and I am now quickly making my way through Schiller's history of the Thirty Year's War. Schiller's style pleases me very much. His history is rich in very correct and rofound thoughts, expressed in so imple and pleasing a language that only blockheads can think him superficial.
The prodigious knowledge of languages of a Macaulay or Schliemann are usually explained by the supposition that they possessed an extraordinary licgnistic talent. However, that may be a fallacy. If we consider that these linguistic genuises were always persons who permitted themselves no other recreation and pleasure than reading, and consequently employed every available moment in reading, we shall look upon the wonderful results mentioned rather as a feat of enormous diligence and incessant practice. What Macaulay, outside of his professional and literary activity read, is truly fabulous. It seems as though he had read every English book published; the bad and unimportant books once, classic works repeatedly, and the historians (both English and foreign) incessantly. Hence the English saying: "A book which has not been read by anybody, save Macaulay."
On his way home from India he read Schiller's and Gcethe's complete works, Müller's Swiss History, some works of Tieck and Lessing, as well as the works of other less noted German authors. In a letter to his sister he writes: "I have during the entire voyage read with grand enjoyment, having devoured Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian, French, and English; folios, quarto, octavo, and other volumes." And to a friend he wrote more in detail: "I have read with a truly voracious appetite the Iliad and the Odyssey, Virgil, Horace, Caesar's Memoirs, Bacon's De Augmentis, Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, Tasso, Don Quixote, Gibbon's Decline and Fall of Rome, Mill's India, all the 70 volumes of Voltaire, Sismondi's History of France, and the seven thick folio volumes of the Biographia Brittanica." Critical and asthetic views, together with notes upon the impressions some of these works had made upon him, or upon the rising or sinking of an author in his estimation after having read him, form the conclusion of his letter.
Concerning the manner of his reading, he says "I do not read any longer as I read in college, but like a man of the world. If I come across a word I do not know I pass it unless it be that its sen e is essential for the comprehension of the sentence."
Bulwer-Lytton, the romance writer, dramatist, and politician, expresses himself in a school oration concerning regular work as preferable to inborn linguistic talent by saying: "Only he can really accomplish much who does not attempt too much at one time. I have traveled much, have occupied much of my time with politics and other public and private business, and besides, have written more than 60 volumes, some on subjects which required much study and searching investigation. And now, how much time do you believe, my young hearers, I spent in study on an average, that is, in reading and writing? Three hours a day, and when Parliament is in session, even less. But during these hours my heart and soul are enlisted. It is therefore not necessary, that in order to accomplish much intellectual work, one should attempt to do much at a time; but it is absolutely essential that he work regularly and every day. If once a week you pour a whole tub full of water on a stone, no impression is made, but if you continually let a drop fall on it, the proverb tells you that the stone will be worn away."
From the foregoing we may take two lessons: (a) Do not base the study of a foreign language upon a grammar (with vocabulary, rules, etc.), but upon a work written in the respective language. (b) Work regularly and daily.
To use the same method with adults and young people would, however, not seem advisable. The school method must needs be different from the method of the adult "autodidact," self-teacher. The pupil is young and has a teacher who stimulates him; the autodidact has a mature mind and learns without a teacher and without stimulants. He who stands between the two as a link, is the student of the upper classes of secondary schools, the young man of 16 to 20 years of age. This youth is ripening in judgment and character and may, or ought to be led to treat himself as the autodidact does. When he enters life or a university he will be the better enabled to cope with difficulties, the more he has learned to help and teach himself. The joy of learning" this wonderful stimulus must not be quenched by too much assistance. (After SchweizLehrerztg.)
France. The French minister of public instruction, noting that in learning English it is the pronunciation that is the most difficult part, has decreed, in accordance with arrangements made with the minister of posts and telegraphs, that in future the Paris London telephone line is to be placed at the disposal of students of languages. Other international lines as erected are to be used in the same way.
11.-LIBRARIES FOR PUPILS AND TEACHERS.
School Libraries in France.-There can be no doubt that the inhabitants of large cities can find the necessary and desirable books for recreative and instructive reading without difficulty, even though they may not have a well arranged public library such as nearly all American cities have. But it is quite a different thing in the country. Both the collection of books as well as the proper persons to advise in the purchase of books, are often wanting. This is the case in France more than in other countries. The inconveniences-want of books for those who have left the schools, and a proper person who could make a suitable selection in the purchase of books-have been met in France by establishing libraries in the city and village schoolhouses, the use of which is free for pupils and adults.
As early as the year 1869, M. Roland, the then minister of instruction, ordered that in the building plans of schoolhouses, the expense of which is partly borne by the state, should provide for a suitable library room, This order indirectly stimulated the establishment of school libraries. Previous to that, books had been procured, but despite liberal expenditures, the collection had melted away, owing, no doubt, to the want of proper supervision and administration.
A ministerial order of June 1, 1860, which with slight changes is still in force regulated the organization of new libraries. Article 1 of this order made it obligatory to establish a library in every public school which should contain (a) the books used by th pupils in the schoolroom and others to aid them in their studies; (b) instructive and entertaining works for the use of adults. The library should be placed under the supervision and management of a teacher of the school, and should at all times be subject to the inspection of the supervisory school authorities.
Of course the selection of books to be purchased offered various difficulties, hence it was determined that the school inspector of the district should pass judgment over the selection. However, it was soon found that this unduly increased the duties of the inspectors, burdened as they were, with the supervision of instruction and the keeping of records. Hence the minister of instruction created a permanent library commission, who were instructed to make and publish lists and catalogues of books suitable for pupils as well as for rural communities. This commission entered into an agreement with one of the largest publishing houses in Paris, which was to furnish the books mentioned in the catalogue to communities at reduced prices. The first catalogue of this commission appeared in 1868.
Aside of this action on the part of the Government, several bequests of private persons and subsequent State appropriations have made the rapid growth and spread of these libraries possible. While in 1834 France had only 4,873 of such school libraries, it had in 1878 20,871; and in 1889 their number had increased to 36,326. The number of volumes borrowed was 5,576,586 in 1889. The money derived from private persons, communal and provincial authorities, amounted to 4,680,689 franes in 11 years, from 1878 until 1889. During the same time the minister of instruction spent 2,250,000 francs for the establishment and maintenance of these libraries from appropriations made by the state for his department.
Now, as rega ds the rules and regulations in force, they date from the year 1862, as has already been stated, and have not since essentially changed, except the law of June 16, 1881, which decreed abolishment of tuition fees, affected these libraries; for since the school assumed the character of gratuitiveness a great number of very poor children entered it. Hence, the number of free textbooks had to be materially increased, which necessitated strict economy and even temporary cessation of the purchase of books for adults until the state came to the rescue.
It is quite interesting to peruse the catalogues published by the permanent library commission, the last one of which was published in 1888. It mentions 2,594 works, among which we find alphabetically and topically arranged diction
aries, biographies, histories, books of travel, literature, national economy, morals, hygiene, agriculture, history of art, and miscellaneous books. Authors and publishers submit their works for examination, if they wish to have them recommended by the commission. The titles of those inspected and found suitable are first published in the bulletin administratif of the minister; after that they are inserted in the catalogues of the commission.
In order to cause the local school authorities as little expense as possible the mails transmit the books without postage, just as the United States Government does its own publications. Usually several communities combine to send one order blank filled out to the minister, who hands it over to the publisher with whom the agreement has been made.
According to the last census France had 36,121 communities. If we compare with this number the number of school libraries in existence, namely 36,336, it would seem as though every community of France had one or more of such libraries. That is, however, not the case. A great many large cominunities have several schools, while in some places a common library exists for two schools. In 1889 France had 25,402 boys', 23,452 girls', and 18.681 mixed schools, a total of 67,515. Now, if we compare the number of school libraries with this total number of schools we find that there are still 31,189 schools without a library.
The reports, which we have quoted at length, demand establishment of new libraries and increased purchase of books in order to promote the intellectual culture of the people. We read, "Every government of France, since the year 1789, has bestowed attention upon intellectual liberation of the people. Since the decree of the year 1891, which ordered that common gratuitous instruction should be introduced for all citizens and all stata of society until June 16, 1881, which brought the famous law that was the crowning of the work begun nearly a hundred years ago, the most distinguished men of France and lawgivers have occupied themselves with the necessity of intellectual development of the people through instruction and education. But school instruction can have an abiding result only when the pupils, after leaving school, are offered opportunities for further development." This correct, although not everywhere appreciated idea, gave rise to the establishment of continuation schools. However, this course of instruction, excellent as it may be, can not do all that is desirable, because French children go to work at a much carlier age than is customary in other countries; hence the absolute necessity of libraries. The countryman in the hamlet, the laborer in town, all find in them sources of instruction and recreation. Books at home are the most natural complement of school instruction. (After L. Fleischer.)
Pedagogical libraries in France.-The French pedagogical libraries, intended for the exclusive use of teachers, are in organic connection with the cantonal (or township) school conferences. A statute of February 10, 1837, mentions them first, and article 15 orders that they be preserved and increased by means of contributions of teachers, or other gifts and bequests. But when in 1849 all educational meetings were prohibited, on account of apprehension of their becoming political clubs, the libraries "melted away." In 1875 they were revived. A ministerial decree of January 4, 1876, promised active assistance on the part of the central government, which "recognized the just demands of many teachers for professional libraries." A later order, dated May 15, 1879, created a commission which was charged with designing a plan of organization for libraries, the object of which was to acquaint teachers with the best books and methods of teaching for elementary schools. This commission, of which the minister of public education was chairman, resolved to leave the establishment of such libraries to private enterprise, and confined its labors to issuing a catalogue containing the titles of books that deserved to be studied. This catalogue was published in 1880; a second, much larger, edition appeared in 1888. (Memoires et documents scolaires publiés par le Musée pedagogique" (1. serie) fasc. No. 22, contains this catalogue). Since 1880 the credit opened by the central government for teachers' libraries that had been made available by placing them in school houses, was raised 20,000 francs ($4,000); besides this sum. the minister of education allows the management of these libraries 30,000 francs ($6,000) annually.
The management of these teachers' libraries is not uniform throughout the many departments of France. The different rules and regulations in force vary considerably. Hence, in order to obtain an insight into the working of the libraries the different regulations would have to be compared. Most of the libraries are the result of cooperation on the part of teachers. When a respectable nucleus is formed the Government recognizes the institution and subsidizes it. The following are the leading rules: