Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything


Books Menu

Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog


- Mankind in the Making - 40/49 -

those who have had the experience that to learn Latin and Greek more or less thoroughly and then to stumble through one or two Latin and Greek authors "in the original" has an educational value surpassing any conceivable alternative. There is a mysterious benefit from one's private translation however bad that no other translation however good can impart. Plato, for example, who has certainly in the very best translations, quite perceptibly no greater mind than Lord Bacon, Newton, Darwin, or Adam Smith, becomes god-like to all who pass beyond the Little-Go. The controversy is as old as the Battle of the Books, a quite interminable wrangle, which I will not even attempt to summarize here. For my own part I believe all this defence of the classics on the part of men with classical education is but one more example of that human weakness that splashes Oxford metaphysical writings with needless tags and shreds of Greek and set Demetrius the silversmith bawling in the streets. If the reader is of another opinion there is no need to convert him in this present argument, provided only that he will admit the uselessness of his high mystery for the training of the larger mass of modern men. By his standards they are beneath it. A convention upon this issue between the two parties therefore is attainable. Let us admit the classical course for the parents who like and can afford this sort of thing for their sons and daughters. Let us withdraw all objections to its endowment, unless it is quite excessive endowment. Let the classical be the senior service, and the classical professor, to use his own queer way of putting things, _primus inter pares_. That will make four courses altogether, the Classical, the Historical, the Biological, and the Physical, for one or more of which all the secondary schools and colleges in that great English-speaking community at which the New Republic aims should be organized. [Footnote: One may, however, suggest one other course as possible under special conditions. There is one sort of art that requires not only a very rigorous and exhaustive training, but also an early commencement, and that is music, at once the most isolated and the most universal of arts. Exceptional gifts in the direction of music will have appeared in the schooling stage, and it is quite conceivable that the college phase for those who are destined for a musical career should have as its backbone a "grind" in the theory and practice of music, with languages and general culture relegated to a Section ii.]

It may be objected that this is an idealized proposal, and that existing conditions, which are, of course, the material out of which new conditions are to be made do not present anything like this form. As a matter of fact, if only the reader will allow for a certain difference in terminology, they do. What I have here called Schooling is, so far as the age of the pupils go, typically presented in Great Britain by what is called the elementary school, and in America by the public school, and certain schools that unanalytical people in England, mistaking a social for an educational difference, seem disposed to class with secondary schools, the inferior Grammar Schools, the cheaper private schools, and what are called Preparatory Schools, [Footnote: As things are, there is no doubt a considerable advantage in the child from a good home going on to a good preparatory school instead of entering a public elementary school, and the passage above must not be misread as a sweeping condemnation of such establishments.] are really also elementary schools. The latter have more social pretension and sometimes far less efficiency than a Government Elementary School, but that is all the difference. All these schools admit of a gradual approximation to the ideal of schooling already set forth in the sixth of these papers. Some are already within a measureable distance of that ideal. And above these elementary schools, above the School grade proper, and answering to what is here called College, there is a great variety of day and evening schools of the most varied description which agree all of them in the presentation of a second phase in the educational process beginning about the age of thirteen to sixteen and going on to nineteen and twenty. In Great Britain such institutions are sometimes called secondary schools and sometimes colleges, and they have no distinct boundary line to separate them from the University proper, on the one hand, or the organized Science Schools and the Higher Grade Board Schools and evening classes of the poorer sort. The Universities and medical schools are, indeed, hampered with work quite similar to that of secondary schools and which the secondary schools have failed to do, the Cambridge undergraduate before his Little-Go, the London University medical student before his Preliminary Scientific Examination, are simply doing the belated work of this second stage. And there is, I doubt not, a similar vague complexity in America. But through the fog something very like the boundary line here placed about fourteen is again and again made out; not only the general requirements for efficient education, but the trend of present tendency seems to be towards a scheme of three stages in which a first stage of nine or ten years of increasingly serious Schooling (Primary Education), from a very light beginning about five up to about fourteen, is to be followed by a second stage of College education (Secondary Education), from fourteen or sixteen to an upward boundary determined by class and various facilities, and this is to be succeeded by a third stage, which we will now proceed to consider in detail.

Let us make it clear at once that this third stage is a much ampler thing than the graduation or post graduation work of a university. It may or it may not include that as an ingredient. But the intention is to express all those agencies (other than political, social, and economic forces, and the suggestions that arise from them), that go to increase and build up the mental structure of the man or woman. This includes the pulpit, so far as it is still a vehicle for the importation of ideas and emotions, the stage, books that do anything more than pass the time, newspapers, the Grove and the Agora. These all, in greater or lesser degrees, work powerfully together to make the citizen. They work most powerfully, of course, in those plastic unsettled years that last from adolescence to the middle twenties, but often in very slowly diminishing intensity right into the closing decades of middle age. However things may have been in the quieter past when newspapers did not exist, when creeds were rigid, plays mere spectacles to be seen only "in Town," and books rare, the fact remains that to-day everybody goes much further and learns far more than any of the professedly educational agencies can be held accountable for. There was a time, perhaps, when a man really did "settle down" intellectually, at the end of his days of learning, when the only way-- outside the libraries and households of a few princely personages--to go on thinking and to participate in the secular development of ideas, was to go to a University and hear and dispute. But those days have gone for a hundred years at least. They have gone by, and the strange thing is that a very large proportion of those who write and talk about education have not discovered they have gone by, and still think and talk of Universities as though they were the only sources and repositories of wisdom. They conjure up a vision in my mind of an absent-minded water-seller, bearing his precious jars and crying his wares knee-deep, and going deeper into a rising stream. Or if that does not seem just to the University in the past, an image of a gardener, who long ago developed a novel variety of some great flower which has now scattered its wind-borne seed everywhere, but who still proffers you for sale in a confidential, condescending manner a very little, very dear packet of that universal commodity. Until the advent of Mr. Ewart (with his Public Libraries' Act), Mr. Passmore Edwards, and Mr. Andrew Carnegie, the stream of endowment for research and teaching flowed just as exclusively to the Universities as it did in Tudor times.

Let us deal, then, first with the finally less important and more formal portion of the third stage in the educational process; that is to say, with the University Course. One may conceive that so far as positive teaching and learning go, a considerable proportion of the population will never pass beyond the second stage at all. They will fail to keep up in the course of that stage, or they will branch off into the special development of some special aptitude. The failures will gravitate into positions a little better perhaps, but analogous to those taken up by the failures of the Schooling phase. The common clerks and common shop-hands, for example, would come out here. The others, who fall out without completing their College course, but who may not be College failures at all, will be all sorts of artists and specializing persons of that type. A great many girls, for economic and other reasons, will probably never get beyond the College stage. They will pass from the Biological and Historical courses into employment, or marry, or enter domestic life. But what may finally become a much larger proportion of New Republican citizens will either from the beginning, taking the College course in the evening, or after a year or so of full attendance at the College course, start also upon the third- grade work, the preparation for the upper ranks of some technical and commercial employment, for the systematic and liberal instruction that will replace the old rule-of-thumb apprenticeship. One can imagine a great variety of methods of combining the apprenticeship phase of serious occupation with the College course. Many waking up to the demands of life may do better for themselves with a desperately clutched College course of evening classes than others who will have progressed comfortably in day Colleges. There should be opportunity by means of scholarship openings for such cases of a late awakening to struggle back into the higher education. There may be every gradation from such students to those who will go completely and exhaustively through the College and who will then go on at one and twenty or two and twenty to equally complete and exhaustive work in the third grade. One imagines the third grade in its completeness as a most varied choice of thorough studies carried on for three or four years after eighteen or twenty-one, special schools of medicine, law, engineering, psychology, and educational science, economics and political science, economics and commercial science, philosophy and theology, and physical science. Quite apart from the obvious personal limitation, the discussion of the method of dealing specifically with each of these subjects would be too diversified and special a theme to occupy me now. The larger fact to which attention has to be given is this: that all these studies and all the technical study and such like preparation at lower levels of the third stage must be as it were floating in a common body of Thought, which is the unifying principle, the common initiative, the real common life of the truly civilized state, and that this body of Thought is no longer to be contained within the form of a University. It is the larger of the two things. And the last question, therefore, in these speculations is the general organization of that body of Thought, that is to say of contemporary literature, using the word in its widest sense to cover all that is good in journalism, all untechnical speculative, philosophical writing, all that is true and new in the drama, in poetry, fiction or any other distinctly literary form, and all scientific publication that is not purely a matter of recording or technical working out, all scientific publication that is, that deals with general ideas.

There was a time when the higher education was conceived of as entirely a matter of learning. To endow chairs and teachers, and to enable promising scholars to come and hear the latter was the complete organization of the higher education. It is within quite recent years that the conception of endowing research for its own sake, leaving the Research Professor free altogether from direct teaching or with only a few good pupils whose work consisted chiefly in assimilating his ideas and helping with his researches, has become at all widely acceptable. Indirectly, of course, the Research Professor is just as much a teacher as the Teaching Professor, because his results become accessible as he writes them. Our work now is to broaden both the conception of research and of teaching, to recognize that whatever imports fresh and valid ideas, fresh and valid aspects--not simply of chemical and physical matters, but of aesthetic, social, and political matters, partakes of the honour and claims of research--and that whatever conveys ideas and aspects vividly and clearly and invigoratingly, not simply by word of mouth but by book or picture or article, is teaching. The publication of books, the whole business of bringing the contemporary book most efficiently home to the general reader, the business of contemporary

Mankind in the Making - 40/49

Previous Page     Next Page

  1   10   20   30   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   49 

Schulers Books Home

 Games Menu

Dice Poker
Tic Tac Toe


Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything