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Title: Cambridge Essays on Education
Author: Various
Language: English
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CAMBRIDGE ESSAYS ON EDUCATION

EDITED BY A.C. BENSON, C.V.O., LL.D.
Master of Magdalene College

With an Introduction by the Right Hon. Viscount Bryce, O.M.

1919



PREFACE


The scheme of publishing a volume of essays dealing with underlying
aims and principles of education was originated by the University
Press Syndicate. It seemed to promise something both of use and
interest, and the further arrangements were entrusted to a small
Committee, with myself as secretary and acting editor.

Our idea has been this: at a time of much educational enterprise and
unrest, we believed that it would be advisable to collect the opinions
of a few experienced teachers and administrators upon certain
questions of the theory and motive of education which lie a little
beneath the surface.

To deal with current and practical problems does not seem the _first_
need at present. Just now, work is both common as well as fashionable;
most people are doing their best; and, if anything, the danger is that
organisation should outrun foresight and intelligence. Moreover a
weakening of the old compulsion of the classics has resulted, not in
perfect freedom, but in a tendency on the part of some scientific
enthusiasts simply to substitute compulsory science for compulsory
literature, when the real question rather is whether obligatory
subjects should not be diminished as far as possible, and more
sympathetic attention given to faculty and aptitude.

We have attempted to avoid mere current controversial topics, and to
encourage our contributors to define as far as possible the aim and
outlook of education, as the word is now interpreted.

We have not furthered any educational conspiracy, nor attempted any
fusion of view. Our plan has been first to select some of the most
pressing of modern problems, next to find well-equipped experts and
students to deal with each, and then to give the various writers as
free a hand as possible, desiring them to speak with the utmost
frankness and personal candour. We have not directed the plan or
treatment or scope of any essay; and my own editorial supervision has
consisted merely in making detailed suggestions on smaller points, in
exhorting contributors to be punctual and diligent, and generally
revising what the New Testament calls jots and tittles. We have been
very fortunate in meeting with but few refusals, and our contributors
readily responded to the wish which we expressed, that they should
write from the personal rather than from the judicial point of view,
and follow their own chosen method of treatment.

We take the opportunity of expressing our obligations to all who have
helped us, and to Viscount Bryce for bestowing, as few are so justly
entitled to do, an educational benediction upon our scheme and volume.

A.C. BENSON

MAGDALENE COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE
August 18, 1917



CONTENTS


      INTRODUCTION

      By the Right Hon. VISCOUNT BRYCE, O.M.


I.    THE AIM OF EDUCATIONAL REFORM

      By JOHN LEWIS PATON, M.A., High Master of
      Manchester Grammar School; formerly Fellow of
      St John's College, Cambridge, Assistant Master at
      Rugby School, Head Master of University College
      School


II.   THE TRAINING OF THE REASON

      By the Very Rev. WILLIAM RALPH INGE, D.D.,
      Dean of St Paul's, Honorary Fellow of Jesus College,
      Cambridge, and of Hertford College, Oxford;
      formerly Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity,
      Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, Assistant
      Master at Eton College, Fellow and Tutor of
      Hertford College, Oxford


III.  THE TRAINING OF THE IMAGINATION

      By ARTHUR CHRISTOPHER BENSON, C.V.O.,
      LL.D., Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge;
      formerly Assistant Master at Eton College


IV.   RELIGION AT SCHOOL

      By WILLIAM WYAMAR VAUGHAN, M.A., Master
      of Wellington College; formerly Assistant Master
      at Clifton College, and Head Master of Giggleswick
      School


V.    CITIZENSHIP

      By ALBERT MANSBRIDGE, M.A., Joint-Secretary
      of the Cambridge University Tutorial Classes
      Committee; Founder and formerly Secretary of
      the Workers' Educational Association


VI.   THE PLACE OF LITERATURE IN EDUCATION

      By NOWELL SMITH, M.A., Head Master of
      Sherborne School; formerly Fellow of Magdalen
      College, Oxford, Fellow and Tutor of New College,
      Oxford, Assistant Master at Winchester College


VII.  THE PLACE OF SCIENCE IN EDUCATION

      By WILLIAM BATESON, F.R.S., Director of the
      John Innes Horticultural Institution, Honorary
      Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge; formerly
      Professor of Biology in the University of Cambridge


VIII. ATHLETICS

      By FREDERIC BLAGDEN MALIM, M.A., Master
      of Haileybury College; formerly Assistant Master
      at Marlborough College, Head Master of Sedbergh
      School


IX.   THE USE OF LEISURE

      By JOHN HADEN BADLEY, M.A., Head Master of
      Bedales School


X.    PREPARATION FOR PRACTICAL LIFE

      By Sir JOHN DAVID MCCLURE, LL.D., D.MUS.,
      Head Master of Mill Hill School


XI.   TEACHING AS A PROFESSION

      By FRANK ROSCOE, Secretary of the Teachers
      Registration Council



INTRODUCTION


In times of anxiety and discontent, when discontent has engendered the
belief that great and widespread economic and social changes are
needed, there is a risk that men or States may act hastily, rushing to
new schemes which seem promising chiefly because they are new,
catching at expedients that have a superficial air of practicality,
and forgetting the general theory upon which practical plans should be
based. At such moments there is special need for the restatement and
enforcement by argument of sound principles. To such principles so far
as they relate to education it is the aim of these essays to recall
the public mind. They cover so many branches of educational theory and
deal with them so fully and clearly, being the work of skilled and
vigorous thinkers, that it would be idle for me to enter in a short
introduction upon those topics which they have discussed with special
knowledge far greater than I possess. All I shall attempt is to
present a few scattered observations on the general problems of
education as they stand to-day.

The largest of those problems, viz., how to provide elementary
instruction for the whole population, is far less urgent now than it
was fifty years ago. The Act of 1870, followed by the Act which made
school-attendance compulsory, has done its work. What is wanted now
is Quality rather than Quantity. Quantity is doubtless needed in one
respect. Children ought to stay longer at school and ought to have
more encouragement to continue education after they leave the
elementary school. But it is chiefly an improvement in the teaching
that is wanted, and that of course means the securing of higher
competence in the teacher by raising the remuneration and the status
of the teaching profession[1].

The next problem is how to find the finest minds among the children of
the country and bring them by adequate training to the highest
efficiency. The sifting out of these best minds is a matter of
educational organisation and machinery; and the process will become
the easier when the elementary teachers, who ought to bear a part in
selecting those who are most fitted to be sent on to secondary
schools, have themselves become better qualified for the task of
discrimination. The question how to train these best minds when sifted
out would lead me into the tangled controversy as to the respective
educational values of various subjects of instruction, a topic which I
must not deal with here. What I do wish to dwell upon is the supreme
importance to the progress of a nation of the best talent it
possesses. In every country there is a certain percentage of the
population who are fitted by their superior intelligence, industry,
and force of character to be the leaders in every branch of action
and thought. It is a small percentage, but it may be increased by
discovering ability in places where the conditions do not favour its
development, and setting it where it will have a better chance of
growth, just as a seedling tree brought out of the dry shade may shoot
up when planted where sun and rain can reach it freely. I am not
thinking of those exceptionally great and powerful minds, of whom
there may not be more than four or five in a generation, who make
brilliant discoveries or change the currents of thought, but rather of
persons of a capacity high, if not quite first rate, which enables
them, granted fair chances, to rise quickly into positions where they
can effectively serve the community. These men, whatever occupation
they follow, be it that of abstract thinking, or literary production,
or scientific research, or the conduct of affairs, whether commercial
or political or administrative, are the dynamic strength of the
country when they enter manhood, and its realised wealth when they are
in their fullest vigour thirty years later. We need more of them, and
more of them may be found by taking pains.

The volume of thought continuously applied to the work of life,
whether it be applied in the library or study or laboratory, or in the
workshop or factory or counting-house or council chamber, has not been
keeping pace with the growth of our population, our wealth, our
responsibilities. It is not to-day sufficient for the increasing
vastness and complexity of the problems that confront a great nation.
We in Great Britain have been too apt to rely upon our energy and
courage and practical resourcefulness in emergencies, and thus have
tended to neglect those efforts to accumulate knowledge, and consider
how it can be most usefully applied, which should precede and
accompany action. This deficiency is happily one that can be removed,
while a want of qualities which are the gift of nature is less
curable. The "efficiency" which is on every one's mouth cannot be
extemporised by rushing hastily into action, however energetic. It is
the fruit of patient and exact determination of and reflection upon
the facts to be dealt with.

The view that it was the finest minds that ought to be most cared for,
and that to them of right belonged not merely leadership, but even
control also, was carried by the ancients, and especially by Plato and
Aristotle, almost to excess. Their ideal, and indeed that of most
Greek thinkers, was the maintenance among the masses of the military
valour and discipline which the State needed for its protection, and
the cultivation among the chosen few of the highest intellectual and
moral excellence. In the Middle Ages, when power as well as rank
belonged to two classes, nobles and clergy, the ideal of education
took a religious colour, and that training was most valued which made
men loyal to the Church and to sound doctrine, with the prospect of
bliss in the world to come. In our times, educational ideals have
become not merely more earthly but more material. Modern doctrines of
equality have discredited the ancient view that the chief aim of
instruction is to prepare the few Wise and Good for the government of
the State. It is not merely upon this world but also upon the material
things of this world, power and the acquisition of territory,
industrial production, commerce, finance, wealth and prosperity in all
its forms, that the modern eye is fixed. There has been a drifting
away from that respect for learning which was strong in the Middle
Ages and lasted down into the eighteenth century. In some countries,
as in our own, that which instruction and training may accomplish has
been rated far below the standard of the ancients. Yet in our own time
we have seen two striking examples to show that their estimate was
hardly too high. Think of the power which the constant holding up,
during long centuries, of certain ideals and standards of conduct,
exerted upon the Japanese people, instilling sentiments of loyalty to
the sovereign and inspiring a certain conception of chivalric duty
which Europe did not reach even when monarchy and chivalry stood
highest. Think of that boundless devotion to the State as an
omnipotent and all-absorbing power, superseding morality and
suppressing the individual, which within the short span of two
generations has taken possession of Germany. In the latter case at
least the incessant preaching and teaching of a theory which lowers
the citizen's independence and individuality while it saps his moral
sense seems to us a misdirection of educational effort. But in it
education has at least displayed its power.

Can a fair statement of the educational ideals which we might here and
now set before ourselves be found in saying that there are three
chief aims to be sought as respects those we have called the best
minds?

One aim is to fit men to be at least explorers, even if not
discoverers, in the fields of science and learning.

A second is to fit them to be leaders in the field of action, leaders
not only by their initiative and their diligence, but also by the
power and the habit of turning a full stream of thought and knowledge
upon whatever work they have to do.

A third is to give them the taste for, and the habit of enjoying,
intellectual pleasures.

Many moralists, ancient and modern, have given pleasure a bad name,
because they saw that the most alluring and powerfully seductive
pleasures, pleasures which appeal to all men alike, were indulged to
excess, and became a source of evil. But men will have pleasure and
ought to have pleasure. The best way of drawing them off from the more
dangerous pleasures is to teach them to enjoy the better kinds.
Moreover the quieter pleasures of the intellect mean Rest, and a
greater fitness for resuming work.

The pity is that so many sources capable of affording delight are
ignored or imperfectly appreciated. May not this be partly the fault
of the lines which our education has followed? Perhaps some kinds of
study would have fared better if their defenders had dwelt more upon
the pleasure they afford and less upon their supposed utility. The
champions of Greek and Latin have dilated on the value of grammar as a
mental discipline, and argued that the best way to acquire a good
English style is to know the ancient languages, a proposition
discredited by many examples to the contrary. It is really this
insistence on grammatical minutiae that has proved repellent to young
people and suggested the dictum that "it doesn't much matter what you
teach a boy so long as he hates it." Better had it been, abandoning
the notion that every one should learn Greek, to dwell upon the
boundless pleasure which minds of imagination and literary taste
derive from carrying in memory the gems of ancient wisdom which are
more easily remembered because they are not in our own language, and
the finest passages of ancient poetry. There are plenty of
things--indeed there are far more things--in modern literature as
noble and as beautiful as the best of the ancients can give us. But
they are not the same things. The ancient poets have the freshness and
the fragrance of the springtime of the world [2]. Or take another sort
of instance. Take the pleasures which nature spreads before us with a
generous hand, hills and fields and woods and rocks, flowers and the
songs of birds, the ever-shifting aspects of clouds and of landscapes
under light and shadow. How few persons in most countries--for there
is in this respect a difference between different peoples--notice
these things. Everybody sees them few observe them or derive pleasure
from them. Is not this largely because attention has not been properly
called to them? They have not been taught to look at natural objects
closely and see the variety there is in them. Persons in whom no taste
for pictures has ever been formed by their having been taken to see,
good pictures and told what constitutes merit, are, when led into a
picture gallery, usually interested in the subjects. They like to see
a sportsman shooting wild fowl, or a battle scene, or even a prize
fight, or a mother tending a sick child, because these incidents
appeal to them. But they seldom see in a picture anything but the
subject; they do not appreciate: imaginative quality or composition,
or colour, or light and shade or indeed anything except exact
imitation of the actual. So in nature the average man is; struck by
something so exceptional as a lofty rock, like Ailsa Craig or the
Needles off the Isle of Wight, or an eclipse of the moon, or perhaps a
blood-red sunset; but he does not notice and consequently draws no
pleasure from landscapes in general, whether noble; or quietly
beautiful. The capacity for taking pleasure, in all these things may
not be absent. There is reason: to think that most children possess
it, because when they are shown how to observe they usually respond,
quickly perceiving, for instance, the differences between one flower
and another, quickly, even when quite young, learning the distinctive
characters and names of each, enjoying the process of recognising
each when they walk along the lanes, as indeed every intelligent
child enjoys the exercise of its observing powers. The disproportionate
growth of our urban population, a thing regrettable in other respects
also, has no doubt made it more difficult to give young people a
familiar knowledge of nature, but the facilities for going into the
country and the happy lengthening of summer holidays render it easier
than formerly to provide opportunities for Nature Study, which,
properly conducted, is a recreation and not a lesson. There is no
source of enjoyment which lasts so keen all through life or which fits
one better for other enjoyments, such as those of art and of travel.
Of the value of the habit of alert observation for other purposes I
say nothing, wishing here to insist only upon what it may do for
delight.

It is often alleged that in England boys and girls show less mental
curiosity, less desire for knowledge than those of most European
countries, or even than those of the three smaller countries north and
west of England in which the Celtic element is stronger than it is in
South Britain. A parallel charge has, ever since the days of Matthew
Arnold, been brought against the English upper and middle classes. He
declared that they care less for the "things of the mind" and show
less respect to eminence in science, literature and art, than is the
case elsewhere, as for instance in France, Germany, or Italy (to which
one may add the United States); and he thus explained the scanty
interest taken by these classes in educational progress.

Should this latter charge be well founded, the fact it notes would
tend to perpetuate the former evil, for the indifference of parents
reacts upon the school and upon the pupils. The love of knowledge is
so natural and awakens so early in the normal child, that even if it
be somewhat less keen among English than among French or Scottish
children, we may well believe our deficiencies to be largely due to
faulty and unstimulative methods of teaching, and may trust that they
will diminish when these methods have been improved.

If it be true that the English public generally show a want of
interest in and faint appreciation of the value of education, the
stern discipline of war will do something to remove this indifference.
The comparative poverty and reduction of luxurious habits; which this
war will bring in its train, along with a sense of the need that has
arisen for turning to the fullest account all the intellectual
resources of the country so that it may maintain its place in the
world,--these things may be expected to work a change for the better,
and lead parents to set more store upon the mental and less upon the
athletic achievements of their sons.

Be this as it may, no one to-day denies that much remains to be done
to spread a sense of the value of science for those branches of
industry to which (as especially to agriculture) it has been
imperfectly applied, to strengthen and develop the teaching of
scientific theory as the foundation of technical and practical
scientific work, and above all to equip with the largest measure of
knowledge and by the most stimulating training those on whom nature
has bestowed the most vigorous and flexible minds. To-day e see that
the heads of great businesses, industrial and financial, are looking
out for men of university distinction to be placed in responsible
posts--a thing which did not happen fifty years ago--because the
conditions of modern business have grown too intricate to be handled
by any but the best trained brains. The same need is at least equally
true of many branches of that administrative work which is now being
thrust, in growing volume, upon the State and its officials.

If we feel this as respects the internal economic life of our country,
is it not true also of the international life of the world? In the
stress and competition of our times, the future belongs to the nations
that recognise the worth of Knowledge and Thought, and best understand
how to apply the accumulated experience of the past. In the long run
it is knowledge and wisdom that rule the world, not knowledge only,
but knowledge applied with that width of view and sympathetic
comprehension of men, and of other nations, which are the essence of
statesmanship.

[Footnote 1: This has been clearly seen and admirably stated by the
present President of the Board of Education.]

[Footnote 2: Take for instance this little fragment of Alcman:

Greek: _Ou m heti, parthenikai meligaryest imerophônoi,
        Gyia pherein dynatai. Bale dê Bale kêrylos eiên,
        Hos t hepi kymatos hanthos ham alkyonessi potêtai
        Nêleges hêtor hechôn haliporphyros eiaros hornis._

What can be more exquisite than the epithets in the first line, or
more fresh and delicate and tender in imaginative quality than the
three last? A modern poet of equal genius would treat the topic with
equal force and grace, but the charm, the untranslatable charm of
antique simplicity, would be absent.]



I

THE AIM OF EDUCATIONAL REFORM

By J. L. PATON

High Master of Manchester Grammar School


The last century, with all its brilliant achievement in scientific
discovery and increase of production, was spiritually a failure. The
sadness of that spiritual failure crushed the heart of Clough, turned
Carlyle from a thinker into a scold, and Matthew Arnold from a poet
into a writer of prose.

The secret of failure was that the great forces which move mankind
were out of touch with each other, and furnished no mutual support.
Art had no vital relation with industry; work was dissociated from
joy; political economy was at issue with humanity; science was at
daggers drawn with religion; action did not correspond to thought,
being to seeming; and finally the individual was conceived as having
claims and interests at variance with the claims and interests of the
society of which he formed a part, in fact as standing out against it,
in an opposition so sharply marked that one of the greatest thinkers
could write a book with the title "Man _versus_ the State." As a
result, nation was divided against nation, labour against capital,
town against country, sex against sex, the hearts of the children
were set against the fathers, the Church fought against the State,
and, worst of all, Church fought against Church.

The discords of the great society were reflect inevitably in the
sphere of education. The elementary schools of the nation were divided
into two conflicting groups, and both were separated by an estranging
gulf from the grammar schools and high schools as the grammar schools
in turn were shut off from the public schools on the one hand, and
from the schools of art, music, and of technology on the other There
was no cohesion, no concerted effort, no mutual support, no great plan
of advance, no homologating idea.

This fact in itself is sufficient to account for the ineffectiveness,
the despondencies, the insincerities and ceaseless unrest of Western
civilisation in the nineteenth century. The tree of human life cannot
flower and bear fruit for the healing of the nations when its great
life-forces spend themselves in making war on each other.

If the experience of the century which lies before us is to be
different, it must be made so by means of education. Education is the
science which deals with the world as it is capable of becoming. Other
sciences deal with things as they are, and formulate the laws which
they find to prevail in things as they are. The eyes of education are
fixed always upon the future, and philosophy of whatever kind,
directly adumbrates a Utopia, thinks on educational lines.

The aim of education must therefore be as wide as it is high, it must
be co-extensive with life. The advance must be along the whole front,
not on a small sector only. William Morris, when he tried his hand at
painting, used to say, that what bothered him always was the frame: he
could not conceive of art as something "framed off" and isolated from
life. Just as William Morris wanted to turn all life into art, so with
education. It cannot be "framed off" and detached from the larger
aspects of political and social well-being; it takes all life for its
province. It is not an end in itself, any more than the individuals
with whom it deals; it acts upon the individual, but through the
individual it acts upon the mass, and its aim is nothing less than the
right ordering of human society.

To cope with a task which can be stated in these terms, education must
be free. A new age postulates a new education. The traditions which
have dominated hitherto must one by one be challenged to render
account of themselves, that which is good in them must be conserved
and assimilated, that which is effete must be scrapped and rejected.
Neither can the administrative machinery, as it exists, be taken for
granted; unless it shows those powers of adaptation and growth which
show it to be alive and not dead, it too must be scrapped and
rejected; new wine is fatal to old skins. Education must regain once
more what she possessed at the time of the Renascence--the power of
direction; she must be mistress of her fate.

Further, if education is to be a force which makes for co-operation
in place of conflict, she must not be divided against herself. She
must leave behind forever the separations and snobberies, the
misunderstandings, the wordy battles beloved of pedants and
politicians. The smoke and dust of controversy obscures her vision,
and she needs all her energies to tackle the great task which
confronts her. In this regard nothing is so full of promise for the
future as the new sense of unity which is beginning both to animate
and actuate the whole teaching profession, from the University to the
Kindergarten, and has already eventuated in the formation of a
Teachers Registration Council, on which all sorts and conditions of
education are represented.

The materialists have not been slow to see their chance, to challenge
the old tradition of literary education, and to urge the claims of
science. But the aim which they place before us is frankly stated--it
is the acquisition of wealth; they are "on manna bent and mortal
ends," and their conception of the future is a world in which one
nation competes against another for the acquisition of markets and
commodities. In effect, therefore, materialism challenges the
classics, but it accepts the self-seeking ideals of the past
generations, and accepts also, as an integral part of the future, the
scramble of conflicting interests, labour against capital, nation
against nation, man against man. Now the first characteristic of the
genuine scientific mind is the power of learning by experience. Real
science never makes the same mistake twice. Obviously the repetition
of the past can only eventuate in the repetition of the present. And
that is precisely what education sets itself to counteract. The
materialist forgets three outstanding and obvious facts. Firstly,
science cannot be the whole of knowledge, because "science" (in his
limited sense of the term) deals only with what appears. Secondly,
power of insight depends not so much upon the senses as on moral
qualities, the sense of sympathy and of fairness; it needs
self-discipline as well as knowledge both of oneself and one's
fellow-man. "How can a man," says Carlyle, "without clear vision in
his heart first of all, have any clear vision in the head?" "Eyes and
ears," said the ancient philosopher, "are bad witnesses for such as
have barbarian souls." Thirdly, the tragedy of the past generation was
not its failure to accumulate wealth; in that respect it was more
successful than any generation which preceded it. The tragedy of the
nineteenth century was that, when it had acquired wealth, it had no
clear idea, either individually or collectively, what to do with it.

And yet the house of humanity faces both ways; it looks out towards
the world of appearances as well as to the world of spirit, and is, in
fact, the meeting-place of both. Materialism is not wrong because it
deals with material things. It is wrong because it deals with nothing
else. It is wrong, also, in education because taking the point of view
of the adult, it makes the material product itself the all-important
thing. In every right conception of education the child is central.
The child is interested in things. It wants first to _sense_ them, or
as Froebel would say "to make the outer inner"; it wants to play with
them, to construct with them, and along the line of this inward
propulsion the educational process has to act. The "thing-studies" if
one may so term them, which have been introduced into the curriculum,
such as gardening, manual training (with cardboard, wood, metal),
cooking, painting, modelling, games and dramatisation, are it is true
later introductions, adopted mainly from utilitarian motive; and they
have been ingrafted on the original trunk, being at first regarded as
detachable extras, but they quickly showed that they were an organic
part of the real educative process; they have already reacted on the
other subjects of the curriculum, and have, in the earlier stages of
education become central. In the same way, vocation is having great
influence upon the higher terminal stages of education. All this is
part of the most important of all correlations, the correlation of
school with life.

But the child's interest in things is social. Through the primitive
occupations of mankind, he is entering step by step into the heritage
of the race and into a richer fuller personal experience. The science
which enlists a child's interest is not that which is presented from
the logical, abstract point of view. The way in which the child
acquires it is the same as that in which mankind acquired it--his
occupation presents certain difficulties, to overcome these
difficulties he has to exercise his thought, he invents and
experiments; and so thought reacts upon occupation, occupation reacts
upon thought. And out of that reciprocal action science is born. In
the same way his play is social--in his games too he enters into the
heritage of the race, and in playing them he is learning unconsciously
the greatest of all arts, the art of living with others. In his play
as well as in his school work the lines of his natural development
show how he can be trained to co-operate with the law of human
progress.

This fitness and readiness to co-operate with the great movement of
human progress, all-round fitness of body, mind and spirit, provides
the formula which fuses and reconciles two growing tendencies in
modern education.

There is in the first place the movement towards self-expression and
self-development--postulating for the scholar a larger measure of
liberty in thought and action, and self-direction than hitherto--this
movement is represented mainly by Dr Montessori, and by "What is and
what might be"; it is a movement which is spreading upwards from the
infant school to the higher standards. Side by side with it is the
movement towards the fuller development of corporate life in the
school, the movement which trains the child to put the school first in
his thoughts, to live for the society to which he belongs and find his
own personal well-being in the well-being of that society. This has
been, ever since Arnold, sedulously fostered in the games of the
public schools, and fruitful of good results in that limited sphere;
it has been applied with conspicuous success to the development of
self-government, and it has reached its fullest expression in the
little Commonwealth of Mr Homer Lane. But we are beginning to
recognise its wider applications, it is capable of transforming the
spirit of the class-room activities as well as the activities of a
playing field, it is in every way as applicable to the elementary
school as to Eton, or Rugby, or Harrow, and to girls as well as to
boys.

These two movements towards a fuller liberty of self-fulfilment, and
towards a fuller and stronger social life, are convergent, and
supplement, or rather complement, each other. Personality, after all,
is best defined as "capacity for fellowship," and only in the social
milieu can the individual find his real self-fulfilling. Unless he
functions socially, the individual develops into eccentricity,
negative criticism, and the cynical aloofness of the "superior
person." On the other hand without freedom of individual development,
the organisation of life becomes the death of the soul. Prussia has
shown how the psychology of the crowd can be skilfully manipulated for
the most sinister ends. It is a happy omen for our democracy that both
these complementary movements are combined in the new life of the
schools. To both appeals, the appeal of personal freedom, and the
appeal of the corporate life, the British child is peculiarly
responsive. Round these two health-centres the form of the new system
will take shape and grow.

And growth it must be, not building. The body is not built up on the
skeleton, the skeleton is secreted by the growing body. The hope of
education is in the living principle of hope and enthusiasm, which
stretches out towards perfection. One distrusts instinctively at the
present time anything schematic. There are men, able enough as
organisers, who will be ready to sit down and produce at two days'
notice a full cut-and-dried scheme of educational reconstruction. They
will take our present resources, and make the best of them, no doubt,
re-arranging and re-manipulating them, and making them go as far as
they can. They will shape the whole thing out in wood, and the result
will be wooden. It will be static and stratified, with no upward lift.
But that is not the way. Education is a thing of the spirit, it is
instinct with life, [Greek: thermon ti pragma] as Aristotle would
say, drawing upon resources that are not its own, "unseen yet crescive
in its faculty" and in its growth taking to itself such outward form
as it needs for the purpose of its inward life. Six years at least it
will take for the new spirit to work itself out into the definite
larger forms.

That does not mean that it will come without hard purposeful thinking
and much patient effort. Education does not "happen" any more than
"art happens,"--and just as with the arts of the middle ages, so the
well-being of education depends not on the chance appearance of a few
men of genius but on the right training and love of the ordinary
workman for his work. Education is a spiritual endeavour, and it will
come, as the things of the spirit come, through patience in
well-doing, through concentration of purpose on the highest, through
drawing continually on the inexhaustible resources of the spiritual
world. The supreme "maker" is the poet, the man of vision. For the
administrator, the task is different from what it has been. It is for
him to watch and help experiments, to prevent the abuse of freedom,
not to preserve uniformities but to select variations. But he is
handling a power which, as George Meredith says, "is a heaven-sent
steeplechaser, and takes a flying leap of the ordinary barriers."

To-morrow is the day of opportunity. To-day is the day of preparation.
Yesterday's ideals have become the practical politics of the present
hour. Our countrymen recognise now as they have never done before that
the problem of national reconstruction is in the main a problem of
national education: "the future welfare of the nation," to use Mr
Fisher's words, "depends upon its schools." Men make light now of the
extra millions which a few years ago seemed to bar the way of
progress. At the same time the discipline of the last three years has
hammered into us a new consciousness of national solidarity and social
obligation. As the whole energies of a united people are at this
moment concentrated on the duty of destruction which is laid upon us,
so after the war with no less urgency and no less oneness of heart the
whole energies of a united nation must be concentrated on the
upbuilding of life. That upbuilding is to be economic as well as
spiritual, but those who think out most deeply the need of the
economic situation, are most surely convinced that the problems of
industry and commerce are at the bottom human problems and cannot find
solution without a new sense of "co-operation and brotherliness[1]."

Such is the need and such the task. England is looking to her schools
as she never did before. The aim of her education must be both high
and wide, higher than lucre, wider than the nation. And the aim of our
education cannot be fulfilled until the education of other peoples is
infused with the same spirit. Education, like finance, must be planned
on international lines by international consensus with a view to world
peace. Only so can it fulfil the ultimate end which already looms on
the horizon,

    Becoming when the time has birth
    A lever to uplift the earth
  And roll it on another course.

[Footnote 1: Mr Angus Watson in _Eclipse or Empire_, p. 88.]



II

THE TRAINING OF THE REASON

By W. R. INGE

Dean of St Paul's


The ideal object of education is that we should learn all that it
concerns us to know, in order that thereby we may become all that it
concerns us to be. In other words, the aim of education is the
knowledge not of facts but of values. Values are facts apprehended in
their relation to each other, and to ourselves. The wise man is he who
knows the relative values of things. In this knowledge, and in the use
made of it, is summed up the whole conduct of life. What are the
things which are best worth winning for their own sakes, and what
price must I pay to win them? And what are the things which, since I
cannot have everything, I must be content to let go? How can I best
choose among the various subjects of human interest, and the various
objects of human endeavour, so that my activities may help and not
hinder each other, and that my life may have a unity, or at least a
centre round which my subordinate activities may be grouped. These are
the chief questions which a man would ask, who desired to plan his
life on rational principles, and whom circumstances allowed to choose
his occupation. He would desire to know himself, and to know the
world, in order to give and receive the best value for his sojourn in
it.

We English for the most part accept this view of education, and we add
that the experience of life, or what we call knowledge of the world,
is the best school of practical wisdom. We do not however identify
practical wisdom with the life of reason but with that empirical
substitute for it which we call common sense. There is in all classes
a deep distrust of ideas, often amounting to what Plato called
_misologia_, "hatred of reason." An Englishman, as Bishop Creighton
said, not only has no ideas; he hates an idea when he meets one. We
discount the opinion of one who bases his judgment on first
principles. We think that we have observed that in high politics, for
example, the only irreparable mistakes are those which are made by
logical intellectualists. We would rather trust our fortunes to an
honest opportunist, who sees by a kind of intuition what is the next
step to be taken, and cares for no logic except the logic of facts.
Reason, as Aristotle says, "moves nothing"; it can analyse and
synthesise given data, but only after isolating them from the living
stream of time and change. It turns a concrete situation into lifeless
abstractions, and juggles with counters when it should be observing
realities. Our prejudices against logic as a principle of conduct have
been fortified by our national experience. We are not a quick-witted
race; and we have succeeded where others have failed by dint of a kind
of instinct for improvising the right course of action, a gift which
is mainly the result of certain elementary virtues which we practise
without thinking about them, justice, tolerance, and moderation. These
qualities have, we think and think truly, been often wanting in the
Latin nations, which pride themselves on lucidity of intellect and
logical consistency in obedience to general principles. Recent
philosophy has encouraged these advocates of common sense, who have
long been "pragmatists" without knowing it, to profess their faith
without shame. Intellect has been disparaged and instinct has been
exalted. Intuition is a safer guide than reason, we are told; for
intuition goes straight to the heart of a situation and has already
acted while reason is debating. Much of this new philosophy is a kind
of higher obscurantism; the man in the street applauds Bergson and
William James because he dislikes science and logic, and values will,
courage and sentiment. He used to be fond of repeating that Waterloo
was won on the playing fields of our public schools, until it was
painfully obvious that Colenso and Spion Kop were lost in the same
place. We have muddled through so often that we have come half to
believe in a providence which watches over unintelligent virtue. "Be
good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever," we have said to
Britannia. So we have acquiesced in being the worst educated people
west of the Slav frontier.

I do not wish to dwell on the disadvantages which we have thus
incurred in international competition--our inferiority to Germany in
chemistry, and to almost every continental nation in scientific
agriculture. This lesson we are learning, and are not likely to
forget. It is our spiritual loss which we need to realise more fully.
In the first place, the majority of Englishmen have no thought-out
purpose in life beyond the call of "duty," which is an empty ideal
until we know what our duty is. Confusion of means and ends is
especially common in this country, though it is certainly to be found
everywhere. The passion for irrational accumulation is one example of
the error, which causes the gravest social inconvenience. The largest
part of social injustice and suffering is caused by the unchecked
indulgence of the acquisitive instinct by those who have the
opportunity of indulging it, and who have formed a blind habit of
indulging it. No one, however selfish, who had formed any reasonable
estimate of the relative values of life, would devote his whole time
to the economical exploitation of his neighbours, in order to pile up
the instruments of a fuller life, which he will never use. To regard
business as a kind of game is, from the highest point of view, right,
and our nation gains greatly by applying the ethics of sport to all
our external activities; but we err in living for our games, whether
they happen to be commerce or football. A friend of mine expostulated
with a Yorkshire manufacturer who was spending his old age in
unnecessary toil for the benefit of a spendthrift heir. The old man
answered, "If it gives him half as much pleasure to spend my half
million as it has given me to make it, I don't grudge it him." That is
not the spirit of the real miser or Mammon-worshipper. It is the
spirit of a natural idealist who from want of education has no
rational standard of good. When such a man intervenes in educational
matters, he is sure to take the standpoint of the so-called practical
man, because he is blind to the higher values of life. He will wish to
make knowledge and wisdom instruments for the production of wealth, or
the improvement of the material condition of the poor. But knowledge
and wisdom refuse to be so treated. Like goodness and beauty, wisdom
is one of the absolute values, the divine ideas. As one of the
Cambridge Platonists said, we must not make our intellectual faculties
Gibeonites, hewers of wood and drawers of water to the will and
affections. Wisdom must be sought for its own sake or we shall not
find it. Another effect of our _misologia_ is the degradation of
reasonable sympathy into sentimentalism, which regards pain as the
worst of evils, and endeavours always to remove the effects of folly
and wrong-doing, without investigating the causes. That such
sentimentalism is often kind only to be cruel, and that it frequently
robs honest Peter to pay dishonest Paul, needs no demonstration.
Sentimentalism does not believe that prevention is better than cure,
and practical politicians know too well that a scientific treatment of
social maladies is out of the question in this country. Others become
fanatics, that is to say, worldlings who are too narrow and violent to
understand the world. The root of the evil is that a whole range of
the higher values is inaccessible to the majority, because they know
nothing of intellectual wealth. And yet the real wealth of a nation
consists in its imponderable possessions--in those things wherein one
man's gain is not another man's loss, and which are not proved
incapable of increase by any laws of thermo-dynamics. An inexhaustible
treasure is freely open to all who have passed through a good course
of mental training, a treasure which we can make our own according to
our capacities, and our share of which we would not barter for any
goods which the law of the land can give or take away. "The
intelligent man," says Plato, "will prize those studies which result
in his soul getting soberness, righteousness and wisdom, and will less
value the others." The studies which have this effect are those which
teach us to admire and understand the good, the true and the
beautiful. They are, may we not say, humanism and science, pursued in
a spirit of "admiration, hope and love." The trained reason is
disinterested and fearless. It is not afraid of public opinion,
because it "counts it a small thing that it should be judged by man's
judgment"; its interests are so much wider than the incidents of a
private career that base self-centred indulgence and selfish ambition
are impossible to it. It is saved from pettiness, from ignorance, and
from bigotry. It will not fall a victim to those undisciplined and
disproportioned enthusiasms which we call fads, and which are a
peculiar feature of English and North American civilisation. Such
reforms as are carried out in this country are usually effected not by
the reason of the many, but by the fanaticism of the few. A just
balance may on the whole be preserved, but there is not much balance
in the judgments of individuals.

Matthew Arnold, whose exhortations to his countrymen now seem almost
prophetic, drew a strong contrast between the intellectual frivolity,
or rather insensibility, of his countrymen and the earnestness of the
Germans. He saw that England was saved a hundred years ago by the high
spirit and proud resolution of a real aristocracy, which nevertheless
was, like all aristocracies, "destitute of ideas." Our great families,
he shows, could no longer save us, even if they had retained their
influence, because power is now conferred by disciplined knowledge and
applied science. It is the same warning which George Meredith
reiterated with increasing earnestness in his late poems. What England
needs, he says, is "brain."

  Warn her, Bard, that Power is pressing
    Hotly for his dues this hour,
  Tell her that no drunken blessing
    Stops the onward march of Power,
  Has she ears to take forewarnings,
    She will cleanse her of her stains,
  Feed and speed for braver mornings
    Valorously the growth of brains.
  Power, the hard man knit for action
    Reads each nation on the brow;
  Cripple, fool, and petrifaction
    Fall to him--are falling now.

And again:

  She impious to the Lord of hosts
  The valour of her off-spring boasts,
  Mindless that now on land and main
  His heeded prayer is active brain.

These faithful prophets were not heeded, and we have had to learn our
lesson in the school of experience. She is a good teacher but her fees
are very high.

The author of _Friendship's Garland_ ended with a despairing appeal to
the democracy, when his jeremiads evoked no response from the upper
class, whom he called barbarians, or from the middle class, whom he
regarded as incurably vulgar. The middle classes are apt to receive
hard measure; they have few friends and many critics. We must go back
to Euripides to find the bold statement that they are the best part of
the community and "the salvation of the State"; but it is, on the
whole, true. And our middle class is only superficially vulgar.
Vulgarity, as Mr Robert Bridges has lately said, "is blindness to
values; it is spiritual death." The middle class in Matthew Arnold's
time was no doubt deplorably blind to artistic values; its productions
survive to convict it of what he called Philistinism; but it is no
longer devoid of taste or indifferent to beauty. And it has never been
a contemptible artist in life. Mr Bridges describes the progress of
vulgarity as an inverted Platonic progress. We descend, he says, from
ugly forms to ugly conduct, and from ugly conduct to ugly principles,
till we finally arrive at the absolute ugliness which is vulgarity.
This identification of insensibility to beauty with moral baseness was
something of a paradox even in Greece, and does not fit the English
character at all. Our towns are ugly enough; our public buildings
rouse no enthusiasm; and many of our monuments and stained glass
windows seem to shout for a friendly Zeppelin to obliterate them. But
we British have not descended to ugly conduct. Pericles and Plato
would have found the bearing of this people in its supreme trial more
"beautiful" than the Parthenon itself. The nation has shaken off its
vulgarity even more easily and completely than its slackness and
self-indulgence. We have borne ourselves with a courage, restraint,
and dignity which, a Greek would say, could have only been expected of
philosophers. And we certainly are not a nation of philosophers. We
must not then be too hasty in calling all contempt for intellect
vulgar. We have sinned by undervaluing the life of reason; but we are
not really a vulgar people. Our secular faith, the real religion of
the average Englishman, has its centre in the idea of a gentleman,
which has of course no essential connection with heraldry or property
in land. The upper classes, who live by it, are not vulgar, in spite
of the absence of ideas with which Matthew Arnold twits them; the
middle classes who also respect this ideal, are further protected by
sound moral traditions; and the lower classes have a cheery sense of
humour which is a great antiseptic against vulgarity. But though the
Poet Laureate has not, in my opinion, hit the mark in calling
vulgarity our national sin, he has done well in calling attention to
the danger which may beset educational reform from what we may call
democratism, the tendency to level down all superiorities in the name
of equality and good fellowship. It is the opposite fault to the
aristocraticism which beyond all else led to the decline of Greek
culture--the assumption that the lower classes must remain excluded
from intellectual and even from moral excellence. With us there is a
tendency to condemn ideals of self-culture which can be called
"aristocratic." But we need specialists in this as in every other
field, and the populace must learn that there is such a thing as real
superiority, which has the right and duty to claim a scope for its
full exercise.

The fashionable disparagement of reason, and exaltation of will,
feeling or instinct would be more dangerous in a less scientific age.
The Italian metaphysician Aliotta has lately brought together in one
survey the numerous leaders in the great "reaction against science,"
and they are a formidable band. Pragmatists, voluntarists, activists,
subjective idealists, emotional mystics, and religious conservatives,
have all joined in assaulting the fortress of science which half a
century ago seemed impregnable. But the besieged garrison continues to
use its own methods and to trust in its own hypotheses; and the
results justify the confidence with which the assaults of the
philosophers are ignored. We are told that the scientific method is
ultimately appropriate only to the abstractions of mathematics. But
nature herself seems to have a taste for mathematical methods. A sane
idealism believes that the eternal verities are adumbrated, not
travestied, in the phenomenal world, and does not forget how much of
what we call observation of nature is demonstrably the work of mind.
The world as known to science is itself a spiritual world from which
certain valuations are, for special purposes, excluded. To deny the
authority of the discursive reason, which has its proper province in
this sphere, is to destroy the possibility of all knowledge. Nor can
we, without loss and danger, or instinct or intuition above reason.
Instinct is a faculty which belongs to unprogressive species. It is
necessarily unadaptable and unable to deal with any new situation.
Consecrated custom may keep Chinese civilisation safe in a state of
torpid immobility for five thousand years; but fifty years of Europe
will achieve more, and will at last present Cathay with the
alternative of moving on or moving off. Instinct might lead us on if
progress were an automatic law of nature, but this belief, though
widely held, is sheer superstition.

We have to convert the public mind in this country to faith in trained
and disciplined reason. We have to convince our fellow-citizens not
only that the duty of self-preservation requires us to be mentally as
well equipped as the French, Germans and Americans, but that a trained
intelligence is in itself "more precious than rubies." Blake said that
"a fool shall never get to Heaven, be he never so holy." It is at any
rate true that ignorance misses the best things in this life If
Englishmen would only believe this, the whole spirit of our education
would be changed, which is much more important than to change the
subjects taught. It does not matter very much what is taught; the
important question to ask is what is learnt. This is why the
controversy about religious education was mainly fatuous. The
"religious lesson" can hardly ever make a child religious; religion,
in point of fact, is seldom taught at all; it is caught, by contact
with someone who has it. Other subjects can be taught and can be
learnt; but the teaching will be stiff collar-work, and the learning
evanescent, if the pupil is not interested in the subject. And how
little encouragement the average boy gets at home to train his reason
and form intellectual tastes! He may probably be exhorted to "do well
in his examination," which means that he is to swallow carefully
prepared gobbets of crude information, to be presently disgorged in
the same state. The examination system flourishes best where there is
no genuine desire for mental cultivation. If there were any widespread
enthusiasm for knowledge as an integral part of life the revolt
against this mechanical and commercialised system of testing results
would be universal. As things are, a clever boy trains for an
examination as he trains for a race; and goes out of training as fast
as possible when it is over. Meanwhile the romance of his life is
centred in those more generous and less individual competitions in the
green fields, which our schools and universities have developed to
such perfection. In classes which have small opportunities for
physical exercises, vicarious athletics, with not a little betting,
are a disastrous substitute. But the soul is dyed the colour of its
leisure thoughts. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." This is
why no change in the curriculum can do much for education, as long as
the pupils imbibe no respect for intellectual values at home, and find
none among their school-fellows. And yet the capacity for real
intellectual interest is only latent in most boys. It can be kindled
in a whole class by a master who really loves and believes in his
subject. Some of the best public school teachers in the last century
were hot-tempered men whose disciplinary performances were ludicrous.
But they were enthusiastic humanists, and keen scholars passed year by
year out of their class-rooms.

The importance of a good curriculum is often exaggerated. But a bad
selection of subjects, and a bad method of teaching them, may condemn
even the best teacher to ineffectiveness. Nothing, for example, can
well be more unintelligent than the manner of teaching the classics in
our public schools. The portions of Greek and Latin authors construed
during a lesson are so short that the boys can get no idea of the book
as a whole; long before they finish it they are moved up into another
form. And over all the teaching hangs the menace of the impending
examination, the riddling Sphinx which, as Seeley said in a telling
quotation from Sophocles, forces us to attend to what is at our feet,
neglecting all else--all the imponderables in which the true value of
education consists. The tyranny of examinations has an important
influence upon the choice of subjects as well as upon the manner of
teaching them; for some subjects, which are remarkably stimulating to
the mind of the pupil, are neglected, because they are not well
adapted for examinations. Among these, unfortunately, are our own
literature and language.

It is therefore necessary, even in a short essay which professes to
deal only with generalities, to make some suggestions as to the main
subjects which our education should include. As has been indicated
already, I would divide them into main classes--science and humanism.
Every boy should be instructed in both branches up to a certain point.
We must firmly resist those who wish to make education purely
scientific, those who, in Bacon's words, "call upon men to sell their
books and build furnaces, quitting and forsaking Minerva and the Muses
and relying upon Vulcan." We want no young specialists of twelve years
old; and a youth without a tincture of humanism can never become

  A man foursquare, withouten flaw ywrought.

Of the teaching of science I am not competent to speak. But as an
instrument of mind-training, and even of liberal education, it seems
to me to have a far higher value than is usually conceded to it by
humanists. To direct the imagination to the infinitely great and the
infinitely small, to vistas of time in which a thousand years are as
one day; to the tremendous forces imprisoned in minute particles of
matter; to the amazing complexity of the mechanism by which the organs
of the human body perform their work; to analyse the light which has
travelled for centuries from some distant star; to retrace the history
of the earth and the evolution of its inhabitants--such studies cannot
fail to elevate the mind, and only prejudice will disparage them. They
promote also a fine respect for truth and fact, for order and outline,
as the Greeks said, with a wholesome dislike of sophistry and
rhetoric. The air which blows about scientific studies is like the air
of a mountain top--thin, but pure and bracing. And as a subject of
education science has a further advantage which can hardly be
overestimated. It is in science that most of the new discoveries are
being made. "The rapture of the forward view" belongs to science more
than to any other study. We may take it as a well-established
principle in education that the most advanced teachers should be
researchers and discoverers as well as lecturers, and that the rank
and file should be learners as well as instructors. There is no
subject in which this ideal is so nearly attainable as in science.

And yet science, even for its own sake, must not claim to occupy the
whole of education. The mere _Naturforscher_ is apt to be a poor
philosopher himself, and his pupils may turn out very poor
philosophers indeed. The laws of psychical and spiritual life are not
the same as the laws of chemistry or biology; and the besetting sin of
the scientist is to try to explain everything in terms of its origin
instead of in terms of its full development: "by their roots," he
says, "and not by their fruits, ye shall know them." This is a
contradiction of Aristotle [Greek: (_hê physis telos hestin_)],
and of a greater than Aristotle. The training of the reason must
include the study of the human mind, "the throne of the Deity," in its
most characteristic products. Besides science, we must have humanism,
as the other main branch of our curriculum.

The advocates of the old classical education have been gallantly
fighting a losing battle for over half a century; they are now
preparing to accept inevitable defeat. But their cause is not lost, if
they will face the situation fairly. It is only lost if they persist
in identifying classical education with linguistic proficiency. The
study of foreign languages is a fairly good mental discipline for the
majority; for the minority it may be either more or less than a fair
discipline. But only a small fraction of mankind is capable of
enthusiasm for language, for its own sake. The art of expressing ideas
in appropriate and beautiful forms is one of the noblest of human
achievements, and the two classical languages contain many of the
finest examples of good writing that humanity has produced. But the
average boy is incapable of appreciating these values, and the waste
of time which might have been profitably spent is, under our present
system, most deplorable. It may also be maintained that the
conscientious editor and the conscientious tutor have between them
ruined the classics as a mental discipline. Fifty years ago, English
commentatorship was so poor that the pupil had to use his wits in
reading the classics; now if one goes into an undergraduate's room,
one finds him reading the text with the help of a translation, two
editions with notes, and a lecture note-book. No faculty is being used
except the memory, which Bishop Creighton calls "the most worthless of
our mental powers." The practice of prose and verse composition, often
ignorantly decried, has far more educational value; but it belongs to
the linguistic art which, if we are right, is not to be demanded of
all students. Are we then to restrict the study of the classics to
those who have a pretty taste for style? If so, the cause of classical
education is indeed lost. But I can see no reason why some of the
great Greek and Latin authors should not be read, _in translations_,
as part of the normal training in history, philosophy and literature.
I am well aware of the loss which a great author necessarily suffers
by translation; but I have no hesitation in saying that the average
boy would learn far more of Greek literature, and would imbibe far
more of the Greek spirit, by reading the whole of Herodotus,
Thucydides, the _Republic_ of Plato, and some of the plays in good
translations, than he now acquires by going through the classical mill
at a public school. The classics, like almost all other literature,
must be read in masses to be appreciated. Boys think them dull mainly
because of the absurd way in which they are made to study them.

I shall not make any ambitious attempt to sketch out a scheme of
literary studies. My subject is the training of the reason. But two
principles seem to me to be of primary importance. The first is that
we should study the psychology of the developing reason at different
ages, and adapt our method of teaching accordingly. The memory is at
its best from the age of ten to fifteen, or thereabouts. Facts and
dates, and even long pieces of poetry, which have been committed to
memory in early boyhood, remain with us as a possession for life. We
would most of us give a great deal in middle age to recover that
astonishingly retentive memory which we possessed as little boys. On
the other hand, ratiocination at that age is difficult and irksome. A
young boy would rather learn twenty rules than apply one principle.
Accordingly the first years of boyhood are the time for learning by
heart. Quantities of good poetry, and useful facts of all kinds should
be entrusted to the boy's memory to keep: will assimilate them
readily, and without any mental overstrain. But eight or ten years
later, "cramming" is injurious both to the health and to the
intellect. Years have brought, if not the philosophic mind, yet at any
rate a mind which can think and argue. The memory is weaker and the
process of loading it with facts is more unpleasant. At this stage the
whole system of teaching should be different. One great evil of
examinations is that they prolong the stage of mere memorising to an
age at which it is not only useless but hurtful. Another valuable
guide is furnished by observing what authors the intelligent boy likes
and dislikes. His taste ought certainly to be consulted, if our main
object is to interest him in the things of the mind. The average
intelligent boy likes Homer and does not like Virgil; he is interested
by Tacitus and bored by Cicero; he loves Shakespeare and revels in
Macaulay, who has a special affinity for the eternal schoolboy.

My other principle is that since we are training young Englishmen,
whom we hope to turn into true and loyal citizens, we shall presumably
find them most responsive to the language, literature, and history of
their own country. This would be a commonplace, not worth uttering, in
any other country; in England it is, unfortunately, far from being
generally accepted Nothing sets in a stronger light the inertia and
thoughtlessness, not to say stupidity, of the British character in all
matters outside the domain of material and moral interests, than our
neglect of the magnificent spiritual heritage which we possess in our
own history and literature. Wordsworth, in one of those noble sonnets
which are now, we are glad to hear, being read by thousands in the
trenches and by myriads at home, proclaims his faith in the victory of
his country over Napoleon because he thinks of her glorious past.

  We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
    That Shakespeare spake, the faith and morals hold
  That Milton held. In everything we are sprung
    Of Earth's best blood, have titles manifold.

It is a high boast, but it is true. But what have we done to fire the
imagination of our boys and girls with the vision of our great and
ancient nation, now struggling for its existence? What have we taught
them of Shakespeare and Milton, of Elizabeth and Cromwell, of Nelson
and Wellington? Have we ever tried to make them understand that they
are called to be the temporary custodians of very glorious traditions,
and the trustees of a spiritual wealth compared with which the gold
mines of the Rand are but dross? Do we even teach them, in any
rational manner, the fine old language which has been slowly perfected
for centuries, and which is now being used up and debased by the
rubbishy newspapers which form almost the sole reading of the
majority? We have marvelled at the slowness with which the masses
realised that the country was in danger, and at the stubbornness with
which some of the working class clung to their sectional interests and
ambitions when the very life of England was at stake. In France the
whole people saw at once what was upon them; the single word _patrie_
was enough to unite them in a common enthusiasm and stern
determination. With us it was hardly so; many good judges think that
but for the "Lusitania" outrage and the Zeppelins, part of the
population would have been half-hearted about the war, and we should
have failed to give adequate support to our allies. The cause is not
selfishness but ignorance and want of imagination; and what have we
done to tap the sources of an intelligent patriotism? We are being
saved not by the reasoned conviction of the populace, but by its
native pugnacity and bull-dog courage. This is not the place to go
into details about English studies; but can anyone doubt that they
could be made the basis of a far better education than we now give in
our schools? We have especially to remember that there is a real
danger of the modern Englishman being cut off from the living past.
Scientific studies include the earlier phases of the earth, but not
the past of the human race and the British people. Christianity has
been a valuable educator in this way, especially when it includes an
intelligent knowledge the Bible. But the secular education of the
masses is now so much severed from the stream of tradition and
sentiment which unites us with the older civilisations, that the very
language of the Churches is becoming unintelligible to them, and the
influence of organised religion touches only a dwindling minority.
And yet the past lives in us all; lives inevitably in its dangers,
which the accumulated experience of civilisation, valued so slightly
by us on its spiritual side, can alone help us to surmount. A nation
like an individual, must "wish his days to be bound each to each by
natural piety." It too must strive to keep its memory green, to
remember the days of old and the years that are past. The Jews have
always had, in their sacred books, a magnificent embodiment of the
spirit of their race; and who can say how much of their incomparable
tenacity and ineradicable hopefulness has been due to the education
thus imparted to every Jewish child? We need a Bible of the English
race, which shall be hardly less sacred to each succeeding generation
of young Britons than the Old Testament is to the Jews. England ought
to be, and may be, the spiritual home of one quarter of the human
race, for ages after our task as a world-power shall have been brought
to a successful issue, and after we in this little island have
accepted the position of mother to nations greater than ourselves. But
England's future is precious only to those to whom her past is dear.

I am not suggesting that the history and literatures of other
countries should be neglected, or that foreign languages should form
no part of education. But the main object is to turn out good
Englishmen, who may continue worthily and even develop further a
glorious national tradition. To do this, we must appeal constantly to
the imagination, which Wordsworth has boldly called "reason in her
most exalted mood." We may thus bring a little poetry and romance into
the monotonous lives of our hand-workers. It may well be that their
discontent has more to do with the starving of their spiritual nature
than we suppose. For the intellectual life, like divine philosophy, is
not dull and crabbed, as fools suppose, but musical as is Apollo's
lute.

Can we end with a definition of the happiness and well-being, which is
the goal of education, as of all else that we try to do? Probably we
cannot do better than accept the famous definition of Aristotle, which
however we must be careful to translate rightly. "Happiness, or
well-being, is an activity of the soul directed towards excellence, in
an unhampered life." Happiness consists in doing rather than being;
the activity must be that of the soul--the whole man acting as a
person; it must be directed towards excellence--not exclusively moral
virtue, but the best work that we can do, of whatever kind; and it
must be unhampered--we must be given the opportunity of doing the best
that is in us to do. To awaken the soul; to hold up before it the
images of whatsoever things are true, lovely, noble, pure, and of good
report; and to remove the obstacles which stunt and cripple the mind;
this is the work which we have called the Training of the Reason.



III

THE TRAINING OF THE IMAGINATION

BY A. C. BENSON

Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge


It might be hastily assumed by a reader bent on critical
consideration, that the subject of my essay had a certain levity or
fancifulness about it. Works of imagination, as by a curious
juxtaposition they are called, are apt to lie under an indefinable
suspicion, as including unbusinesslike and romantic fictions, of which
the clear-cut and well-balanced mind must beware, except for the sake,
perhaps, of the frankest and least serious kind of recreation.
Considering the part which the best and noblest works of imagination
must always play in a literary education, it has often surprised me to
reflect how little scope ordinary literary exercises give for the use
of that particular faculty. The old themes and verses aimed at
producing decorous centos culled from the works of classical
rhetoricians and poets. No boy, at least in my day, was ever
encouraged to take a line of his own, and to strike out freely across
country in pursuit of imagined adventures. Even English teaching in
its earlier stages seldom aimed at more than transcriptions of actual
experience, a day spent in the country, or a walk beside the sea.
Only quite recently have boys and girls been encouraged to write poems
and stories out of their own imaginations; and even now there are
plenty of educational critics who would consider such exercises as
dilettante things lacking in practical solidity.

But I desire in this essay to go further back into the roots of the
subject, and my first position is plainly this; that imagination, pure
and simple, is a common enough faculty; not perhaps the creative
imagination which can array scenes of life, construct romantic
experiences, and embody imaginary characters in dramatic situations,
but the much simpler sort of imagination which takes pleasure in
recalling past memories, and in forecasting and anticipating
interesting events. The boy who, weary of the school-term, considers
what he will do on the first day of the holidays, or who anxiously
forebodes paternal displeasure, is exercising his imagination; and the
truth is that the faculty of imagination plays an immense part in all
human happiness and unhappiness, considering that, whenever we take
refuge from the present in memories or in anticipations, we are using
it. The first point then that I shall consider is whether this
restless and influential faculty ought not in any case to be
_trained_, so that it may not either be atrophied or become
over-dominant; and the second point will be the further consideration
as to whether the faculty of creative imagination is a thing which
should be deliberately developed.

In the first place then, it seems to me simply extraordinary that so
little heed is paid in education to the using and controlling of what
is one of the most potent instinctive forces of the mind. We take
careful thought how to strengthen and fortify the body, we go on to
spending many hours upon putting memory through its paces, and in
developing the reason and the intelligence; we pass on from that to
exercising and purifying the character and the will; we try to make
vice detestable and virtue desirable. But meanwhile, what is the
little mind doing? It submits to the drudgery imposed upon it, it
accommodates itself more or less to the conditions of its life; it
learns a certain conduct and demeanour for use in public. Yet all the
time the thought of the boy is running backwards and forwards in
secrecy, considering the memories of its experience, pleasant or
unpleasant, and comforting itself in tedious hours by framing little
plans for the future. I remember my old schoolmastering days, and the
hours I spent with a class of boys sitting in front of me; how
constantly one saw boys in the midst of their work, with pen suspended
and page unturned, look up with that expression denoting that some
vision had passed before the inward eye--which, as Wordsworth justly
observes, constitutes "the bliss of solitude"--obliterating for a
moment the surrounding scene. I do not mean that the thought was a
distant or an exalted one--probably it was some entirely trivial
reminiscence, or the anticipation of some coming amusement. But I do
not think I exaggerate when I say that probably the greater part of a
human being's unoccupied hours, and probably a considerable part of
the hours supposed to be occupied, are spent in some similar exercise
of the imagination. What a confirmation of this is to be found in the
phenomena of sleep and dreams! Then the instinct is steadily at work,
neither remembering nor anticipating, but weaving together the results
of experience into a self-taught tale.

And then if one considers later life, it is no exaggeration to say
that the greater part of human happiness and unhappiness consists in
the dwelling upon what has been, what may be, what might be, and,
alas, in our worst moments, upon what might have been "My unhappiest
experiences," said Lord Beaconsfield, "have been those which never
happened"; and again the same acute critic of life said that half the
clever people he knew were under the impression that they were hated
and envied, the other half that they were admired and loved;--and that
neither were right!

The imaginative faculty then is a species of self-representation, the
power of considering our own life and position as from the outside;
from it arise both the cheerful hopes and schemes of the sound mind,
and the shadowy anxieties and fears of the mind which lacks
robustness. It certainly does seem singular that this deep and
persistent element in human life is left so untrained and unregarded,
to range at will, to feed upon itself. All that the teacher does is to
insist as far as possible on a certain concentration of the mind on
business at particular times, and if he has ethical purposes at
heart, he may sometimes speak to a boy on the advisability of not
allowing his mind to dwell upon base or sensual thoughts; but how
little attempt is ever made to train the mind in deliberate and
continuous self-control!

The latest school of pathologists, in the treatment of obsessed or
insane persons, pay very close attention to the subjects of their
dreams, and attribute much nerve-misery to the atrophy, or suppression
by circumstances, of instincts which betray themselves in dreams. I am
inclined to think that the educators of the future must somehow
contrive to do more--indeed they cannot well do less than is actually
done--in teaching the control of that secret undercurrent of thought
in which happiness and unhappiness really reside. Those who have lived
much with boys will know what havoc suspense or disappointment or
anxiety or sensuality or unpopularity can make in an immature
character. It seems to me that we ought not to leave all this without
guidance or direction, but to make a frontal attack upon it. I do not
mean that it is necessary to probe too deeply into the imagination,
but I believe that the subject should be frankly spoken about, and
suggestions made. The point is to get the will to work, and to induce
the mind, in the first place, to realise and practise its power of
self-command; and in the second place, to show that it is possible to
evict an unwholesome thought by the deliberate welcoming and
entertaining of a wholesome one. The best of all cures is to provide
every boy with some occupation which he indubitably loves. There are
a good many boys whose work is not interesting to them, and a certain
number to whom the prescribed games are a matter of routine rather
than of active pleasure. Indeed it may be said that hardly any boys
enjoy either work or games in which they see no possibility of any
personal distinction. It is therefore of great importance that every
boy whose chances of successful performance are small should be
encouraged to have a definite hobby; for an occupation which the mind
can remember with pleasure and anticipate with delight supplies the
food for the restless imagination, which may otherwise become dreary
from inaction, or tainted by thoughts of baser pleasure. A
schoolmaster only salves his conscience by supplying a strict
time-table and regular games. A house master ought to be most careful
in the case of boys whose work is languid and proficiency in games
small, to find out what the boy really likes and enjoys, and to
encourage it by every means in his power. That is the best corrective,
to administer wholesome food for the mind to digest. But I believe
that good teachers ought to go much further, and speak quite plainly
to boys, from time to time, on the necessity of practising control of
thought. My own experience is that boys were always interested in any
talk, call it ethical or religious, which based itself directly upon
their own actual experience. I can conceive that a teacher who told a
class to sit still for three minutes and think about anything they
pleased, and added that he would then have something to tell them,
might have an admirable object-lesson in getting them to consider how
swift and far-ranging their fancies had been; or again he might
practise them in concentration of thought by asking them to think for
five minutes on a perfectly definite thing--to imagine themselves in a
wood, or by the sea, or in a chemist's shop, let us say, and then
getting them to put down on paper a list of definite objects which
they had imagined. The process could be infinitely extended; but if it
were done with some regularity, it would certainly b possible to train
boys to concentrate themselves in reflection and recollected
observation. Or again a quality might be propounded, such as
generosity or spitefulness, and the boys required to construct an
imaginary anecdote of the simplest kind to illustrate it. This would
have the effect of training the mind at all events to focus itself,
and this is just what drudgery pure and simple will not do. The aim is
not to train mere memory or logical accuracy, but to strengthen that
great faculty which we loosely call imagination, which is the power of
evoking mental images, and of migrating from the present into the past
or the future.

I believe it to be a very notable lack in our theory of education that
so little attempt is made to bring the will to bear upon what may be
called the subconscious mind. It is that strange undercurrent of
thought which is so imprudently neglected which throws up on its
banks, without any apparent purpose or aim, the ideas and images which
lurk within it. I do not say that such a training would immediately
give self-control, but most peoples' worst sufferings are caused by
what is called "having something on their mind"; and yet, so far as I
know, in the process of education, no attempt whatever is made, except
quite incidentally, to dispossess the strong man armed by the stronger
victor, or to help immature minds to hold an unpleasant or a pleasant
thought at arm's length, or to train them in the power of resolutely
substituting a current of more wholesome images. The subconscious mind
is too often treated as a thing beyond control, and yet the
pathological power of suggestion, by which a thought is implanted like
a seed in the mind, which presently appears to be rooted and
flowering, ought to show us that we have within our reach an
extraordinarily potent psychological implement.

So far then on the more negative side. I have indicated my strong
belief that much may be done to train the mind in self-control. Indeed
our whole education is built upon the faith that we can, perhaps not
implant new faculties, but develop dormant ones; and I am persuaded
that when future generations come to survey our methods and processes
of education, they will regard with deep bewilderment the amazing fact
that we applied so careful a training to other faculties, and yet left
so helplessly alone the training of the imaginative faculty, upon
which, as I have said, our happiness and unhappiness mainly depend. We
must, all of us be aware of the fact that there have been times in our
lives when all was prosperous, and when we were yet overshadowed with
dreary thoughts; or again times when in discomfort, or under the
shadow of failure, or at critical or tragic moments, we have had an
unreasonable alertness and cheerfulness. All that is due to the
subconscious mind, and we ought at least to try experiments in making
it obey us better.

I now pass on to consider a further possibility, and that is of
training and developing a higher sort of creative imagination. It is
all in reality part of the same subject, because it seems to be
certain that most human beings suffer by the suppression or the
dormancy of existing faculties. It is here, I believe, that much of
our intellectual education fails, from the tendency to direct so much
attention to purely logical and reasoning faculties, and to the
resolute subtraction from education of pure and simple enjoyment. I
used to try many experiments as a schoolmaster, and I remember at one
time bribing a slow and unintelligent class into some sort of
concentration by promising that I would tell a story for a few minutes
at the end of school, if a bit of work had been satisfactorily
mastered. It certainly produced a lot of cheerful effort; my story was
simple enough, description as brief and vivid as I could make it, and
brisk tangible incidents. But the silence, the luxurious abandonment
of small minds to an older and more pictorial imagination, the dancing
light in open eyes, did really give me for once a sense of power which
I never had in teaching Latin Prose or the Greek conditional sentence.
I always told stories for an hour on Sunday evenings to the boys in my
house, and though few of my intellectual and ethical counsels are
remembered by old pupils, I never met one who did pot recollect the
stories.

Now we have here, I believe, a source of intellectual pleasure which
is consistently neglected and even despised. It is regarded as a mere
luxury; but we do not make the mistake of substituting gymnastics for
games, and removing the pleasure of personal performance. Why can we
not also do something to encourage what old Hawtrey used so
beautifully to call "the sweet pride of authorship"? The worst of it
all is that we look so much to tangible results. I do not mean that we
must try to develop Shakespeares, Shelleys, Thackerays; such airy
creatures have a way of catering for themselves! I do riot at all want
to turn out a generation of third-rate writing amateurs. But many boys
have a distinct pleasure not only in listening to imaginations, and
riding like the beetle on the engine, but in evoking and realising
some little vision and creation of their own brains. Of course there
are boys to whom mental activity is all of the nature of a cross laid
upon them for some purpose, wise or unwise. But there are also a good
many shy boys, who will not venture to make themselves conspicuous by
literary and imaginative feats, and who yet if it were a matter of
course and wont, would throw themselves with intense pleasure into
literary creation. The work done, for instance, at Shrewsbury, at the
Perse School, at Carlisle Grammar School, in this direction--I daresay
it is done elsewhere, but I have seen the work of these three schools
with my own eyes--show what quite average boys are capable of in both
English poetry and English prose.

One of the best points of such a system of literary composition is
that even if slower boys cannot effect much, it gives a most wholesome
opening to the creative faculties of boys, whose minds, if stifled and
compressed, are most likely to work in unwholesome and tormenting
directions.

My suggestion then becomes part of a larger plea, the plea for more
direct cultivation of enjoyment in education. Some of our worst
mistakes in education arise from our not basing it upon the actual
needs and faculties of human nature, but upon the supposed
constitution of a child constructed by the starved imagination of
pedants and moralists and practical men.

One of the first requisites in cultivating intellectual and artistic
pleasure is to build up taste out of the actual perceptions of the
child. That is a factor which has been most stubbornly and
unintelligently disregarded in education. Developments in character
are of the nature of living things; they cannot be superimposed they
must be rooted in the temperament and they must draw nurture and
sustenance out of the spirit, as the seed imbibes its substance from
the unseen soil and the hidden waters. But what has been constantly
done is to introduce the broadest effects and the simplest romance,
directly and suddenly to the biggest masterpieces. The absence of all
gradation and reconciliation has been characteristic of our literary
education. Of course there is an initial difficulty in the case of the
classics, that there is very little in either Greek or Latin which
really appeals to an immature taste at all; and such books as might
appeal to inquisitive and inexperienced minds, such as Homer or the
_Anabasis_ of Xenophon, are made unattractive by the method of giving
such short snippets, and insisting on what used to be called thorough
parsing. Even _Alice in Wonderland_, let me say, could only prove a
drearily bewildering book, if read at the rate of twenty lines a
lesson, and if the principal tenses of all the verbs had to be
repeated correctly. It is absolutely essential, if any love of
literature is to be superinduced, that something should be read fast
enough to give some sense of continuity and range and horizon. The
practice of dictionary-turning is sufficient by itself to destroy
intellectual pleasure, but it used to be defended as a base sort of
bribe to strengthen memory: it was argued that boys would try to
remember words to save themselves the trouble of looking them up. But
this has no origin in fact. Boys used not to be encouraged to guess at
words, but to be punished for shirking work if they had not looked
them out. It is to be hoped that English will be in the future
increasingly taught in schools; but even so there is the danger of
connecting it too much with erudition. The old _Clarendon Press
Shakespeare_ was an almost perfect example of how not to edit
Shakespeare for boys; the introductions were learned and scholarly,
the notes were crammed with philology, derivation, illustration. As a
matter of fact there is a good deal that is interesting, even to small
minds, in the connection and derivation of words, if briskly
communicated. Most boys are responsive to the pleasure of finding a
familiar word concealed under a variation of shape; but this should be
conveyed orally. What is really requisite is that boys should be
taught how to read a book intelligently. In dealing with classical
books, vocabulary must be always a difficulty, and I myself very much
doubt the advisability in the case of average boys of attempting to
teach more than one foreign language at a time, especially when in
dealing, say, with three kindred languages, such as Latin, French, and
English, the same word, such as _spiritus_, _esprit_, and _spirit_
bear very different significations. The great need is that there
should be some work going on in which the boys should not be conscious
of dragging an ever-increasing burden of memory. Let me take a
concrete case. A poem like the _Morte d'Arthur_, or _The Lay of the
Last Minstrel_, is well within the comprehension of quite small boys.
These could be read in a class, after an introductory lecture as to
date, scene, dramatis personae, with perfect ease, words explained as
they occurred, difficult passages paraphrased, and the whole action of
the story could pass rapidly before the eye. Most boys have a distinct
pleasure in rhyme and metre. Of course it is an immense gain if the
master can really read in a spirited and moving manner, and a training
in reading aloud should form a part of every schoolmaster's outfit. I
should wish to see this reading lesson a daily hour for all younger
boys, so as to form a real basis of education. Three of these hours
could be given to English, and three to French, for in French there is
a wide range both of simple narrative stories and historical romances.
The aim to be kept in view would be the very simple one of proving
that interest, amusement and emotion can be derived from books which,
unassisted, only boys of tougher intellectual fibre could be expected
to attack. The personalities of the authors of these books should be
carefully described, and the result of such reading, persevered in
steadily, would be, what is one of the most stimulating rewards of
wider knowledge, the sudden realisation, that is, that books and
authors are not lonely and isolated phenomena, but that the literature
of a nation is like a branching tree, all connected and intertwined,
and that the books of a race mirror faithfully and vividly the ideas
of the age out of which they sprang. What makes books dull is the
absence of any knowledge by the reader of why the author was at the
trouble of expressing himself in that particular way at that
particular time. When, as a small boy, I read a book of which the
whole genesis was obscure to me, it used to appear to me vaguely that
it must have been as disagreeable to the author to write it as it was
for me to read it. But if it can be once grasped that books are the
outcome of a writer's interest or sense of beauty or emotion or joy,
the whole matter wears a different aspect.

The same principle applies with just the same force to history and
geography; both of these studies can be made interesting, if they are
not regarded as isolated groups of phenomena, but are approached from
the boy's own experience as opening away and outwards from what is
going on about him. The object is or ought to be slowly to extend the
boy's horizon, to show him that history holds the seeds and roots of
the present, and that geography is the life-drama which he sees about
him, enacting itself under different climatic and physiographical
conditions. The dreariness and dreadfulness of knowledge to the
immature mind is because it represents itself as a mass of dry facts
to be mastered without having any visible or tangible connection with
the boy's own experience. The aim should rather be to teach him to
look with zest and interest at what is going on outside his own narrow
circle, and to help him to move perceptively along the paths of time
and space which diverge in all directions from the scene where he
finds himself.

It may be indisputably stated that all connected knowledge is
stimulating, and that all unconnected knowledge is at best mechanical.
Perhaps one of the most fruitful of all subjects is vivid biography,
and no serious educator could perform a more valuable task than in
providing a series of biographies of great men, really intelligible to
youthful minds. As a rule, biographies of the first order require an
amount of detailed knowledge in the reader which puts them out of the
reach of ill-stored minds. But I have again and again found with boys
that simple biographical lectures are among the most attractive of all
lessons. At one time, with my private pupils, I would take a book at
random out of my shelves, read an interesting extract or two, and then
say that I would try to show why the author chose such a subject, why
he wrote as he did, and how it all sprang out of his life and
character and circumstances.

Of course the difficulty in all this is that the field of knowledge is
so vast and various, while the capacities of boys are so small, and
the time to be spent on their education so short, that we quail before
the attempt to grapple with the problem. We have moreover a vague idea
that the well-informed man ought to have a general notion of the world
as it is, the course of history, the literature of the ages; and at
the same time the scientists are maintaining that a general knowledge
of the laws and processes of nature is even more urgently needed. I
cannot treat of science here, but I fully subscribe to the belief that
a general knowledge of science is essential. But the result of our
believing that it is advisable to know so much, is that we attempt to
spread the thinnest and driest paste of knowledge over the mind, and
all the vivid life of it evaporates in the process. The thing is,
frankly, far too big to attempt; and, we must henceforth set our faces
against the attainment; of mere knowledge as either advisable or
possible. What we must try to do is to educate the faculties of
curiosity, interest, imagination and sympathy; we must begin from the
boy himself, and conduct him away from himself. What we really ought
to aim at is to give him the sense that he is surrounded by strange
and beautiful mysteries of nature, of which he can himself observe
certain phenomena; that human history, as well as the great world
about him, is crowded with interesting and animating figures who have
laboured, toiled, loved, acted, suffered, sinned, have felt the
impulse both of base and selfish desires, but no less of beautiful,
exalted, and inspiring hopes. We want to convince the young that it is
not well to be narrow, close-fisted, insolent, suspicious, petty,
self-satisfied. _Imaginative sympathy_, that is to be the end of all
our efforts. If we aim only at producing sympathy, we may get a vague
sentimentalism which is just distressed by apparent suffering, and
anxious to relieve it momentarily, without reflecting whether it is
not the outcome of perfectly curable faults of system and habit. If we
aim only at imagination, then we get a barren artistic pleasure in
dramatic situations and romantic effects. What we ought to aim at is
the sympathy which pities and feels for others, as well as admires and
imitates them; and this must be reinforced by the imagination which
can concern itself with the causes of what otherwise are but vague
emotions. We want to make boys on the one hand detest tyranny and
high-handedness and bigotry and ruthless exercise of power, and on the
other hand mistrust stupidity and ignorance and baseness and
selfishness and suspiciousness. The study of high literature is
valuable not as a mere exercise in erudition and linguistic nicety and
critical taste, but because the great books mirror best the highest
hopes and visions of human nature. The precise extent of the
intellectual range matters very little, compared with the
perceptiveness and emotion by which the realisation of other lives,
other needs, other activities, other problems are accompanied.

I must not be supposed, in saying this, to be leaving out of sight the
virile exercise of logical and rational faculties; but that is another
side of education; and the grave deficiency which I detect in the old
theory was that practically all the powers and devices of education
were devoted to what was called fortifying the mind and making it into
a perfect instrument, while there were left out of sight the motives
which were to guide the use of that instrument, and the boy was led to
suppose that he was to fortify his mind solely for his own advantage.
This individualist theory must somehow be modified. The aim of the
process I have described is not simply to indicate to the boy the
amount of selfish pleasure which he can obtain from literary
masterpieces; it is rather to show the boy that he is not alone and
isolated, in a world where it is advisable for him to take and keep
all that he can; but that he is one of a great fellowship of emotions
and interests, and that his happiness depends upon his becoming aware
of this, while his usefulness and nobleness must depend upon his
disinterestedness, and upon the extent to which he is willing to share
his advantages. The teaching of civics, as it is called, may be of
some use in this direction, as showing a boy his points of contact
with society. But no instruction in the constitution of society is
profitable, unless somehow or other the dutiful motive is kindled,
and the heroic virtue of service made beautiful.

When then I speak of the training of the imagination, I really mean
the kindling of motive; and here again I claim that this must be based
on a boy's own experience. He understands well enough the possibility
of feeling emotion in relation to a small circle, his home and his
immediate friends. But he is probably, like most young creatures, and
indeed like a good many elderly ones, inclined to be suspicious of all
that is strange and foreign, and to anticipate hostility or
indifference. What he would willingly share with a relation or friend,
he eagerly withholds from an outsider. To cultivate his imaginative
sympathy, to give him an insight into the ways and thoughts of other
men, to show to him that the same qualities which evoke his trust and
love are not the monopoly of his own small circle--this is just what
must be taught, because it is exactly what is not instinctively
evolved.

The training of the imagination then is a deliberate effort to
persuade the young to believe in the real nobility and beauty of life,
in the great ideas which are moulding society and welding communities
together. It cannot be done in a year or a decade; but it ought to be
the first aim of education to initiate the imagination of the young
into the idea of fellowship, and to make the thought of selfish
individualism intolerable. It is not perhaps the only end of
education, but I can hardly believe that it has any nobler or more
sacred end.



IV

RELIGION AT SCHOOL

By W. W. VAUGHAN

The Master of Wellington College


"After all, how seldom does a Christian education teach one anything
worth knowing about Christianity." These are the words of a man whom
the public schools are proud to claim, a man who has seen Christian
education, whether given in the elementary or in the secondary schools
tested by the slow fires of peace, and by the quick devouring furnace
of war. They seem at first sight to be a verdict of "guilty" against
the teachers or the system in which they play a part. That verdict
will not be accepted without protest by those incriminated, but even
the protesters will feel some compunction, and now that they can no
longer question the heroic "student" as to what he means, and go to
him for advice as to the remedies for this failure, they should search
their hearts and their experience for the help he might have given,
had he not laid down his arms and his life on the Somme last autumn.

For long the need of help has been felt. The teaching of religion may
have been less talked and written about, and less organised by
societies and associations, than have been other subjects dealt with
at school, but the problem of how best to make it a living force in
youth and an enduring force throughout the whole of life is often
wrestled with at conferences of schoolmasters which do not publish
their proceedings, and by little groups of men who feel the need of
one another's help. It is certainly always present in the minds, if
not in the hearts, of every head master, boarding-house master and
tutor in England. These know well what the difficulties are; these
know that a short cut to any subject is often a long way round: that a
short cut to religion leads too often either to a slough of doubt or
else to a pharisaical hilltop, from which there is no path to the
great mountains where the Holy Spirit really dwells.

It is never well to insist too much on difficulties, but a bare
statement of those that surround this subject is needed. There are the
difficulties of course common to every subject; the difficulty of
attracting the real teacher, keeping him as a teacher, improving him
as a teacher when he has been attracted. Even those who start out on
their career with a determination that the teaching of religion at all
events should have its full share of their time and thought, find that
as their teaching life goes on and fresh duties crowd in to usurp more
and more all their energies, that the time they can spare, and the
thought they can give, either to the preparation of their divinity
lessons, or to the enriching and cultivation of their own souls,
shrink. Now and then they are cruelly disappointed at the result of
their efforts as some conspicuous failure seems to prove their
teaching vain; they are often depressed by the apparent apathy of the
leaders of the Church, by their manifest reluctance even to allow
others to make the new bottles which can alone hold the new wine.

Schoolmasters belong to a devoted and to a comparatively learned
profession. They should belong, especially those who feel the
needs--and all must to some extent--of the religious life of the
school, also to a learning profession; and their learning should go
beyond the experience of boyish failings, and boyish tragedies, and
boyish virtues with which they are almost daily brought into contact;
beyond the dictionaries and handbooks that enable the Bible lesson to
be well prepared; it should go out into the books that deal with the
philosophy and the history of religion--the books of Harnack and
Illingworth, Hort and Inge, Bevan and Glover, and of others who make
us feel how narrow our outlook on our religion is. It would of course
be foolish to drag our pupils with us exactly to the point to which
these books may have brought us after many years' experience, but it
is essential that we should know of the existence of such a distant
point if we are to give to those we teach any idea of there being
beyond the limits that they can reach at school a great and wonderful
and inspiring region which they, with the help of such leaders as have
been mentioned can, nay must, explore for themselves if religion is to
be something more than mere emotion, fitful in its working, liable to
succumb to all the stronger emotions with which life attacks the
citadel of the soul.

Another difficulty is that the teacher of religion is being more
continuously and searchingly tested than the teacher of any other
subject. The man who expatiates in the form-room on the beauties of
literature, and is suspected of never reading a book is looked upon as
merely a harmless fraud by those he teaches. The man who preaches,
whether officially in the pulpit or unofficially in the class-room or
study, a high standard of conduct, and is unsuccessful in his own
efforts to attain it, depreciates for all the value of religion.
Patience and industry and long-suffering and charitableness are
virtues that bear the hall mark of Christianity, but they are virtues
in which the best men fail continually, are conscious of their own
failure and would plead for merciful judgment. If the parish priest is
exposed to the criticism of those among whom he lives, a still fiercer
light beats upon the pulpit or the desk of the schoolmaster. His
consciousness of this sometimes leads him to reduce his teaching to
the limits of his practice, instead of extending the former and having
faith in his power to bring the latter up to this level. Indeed, when
teachers and those who are taught are living so close together, both,
from a not unworthy fear of insincerity, are liable to make themselves
and their ideals out to be worse than they are. It is sympathy alone
that can overcome this difficulty. Indeed, it is safe to say that
without sympathy--sympathy that understands difficulties, working
equally in those who are old and those who are young--religion at
school must be a very cautious and probably a very barren power.

Again, the schoolmaster is tempted, and even when he is not tempted
the boys credit him with yielding to the temptation to treat religion
as a super-policeman: something to make discipline easy and
consequently to make his own life smooth. It is no good explaining too
often that the aim is to get at religion through discipline, but this
aim should ever be before us. Man cannot too early in life realise
that discipline of itself is valueless. Its inestimable value in war,
as in all the activities of life, is due to its being the necessary
preliminary preparation for courageous action, noble thought, wise
self-control and unselfish self-surrender. But above all these
difficulties, dominating them all, affecting them all, perhaps
poisoning them all, is the fact, not to be escaped though it is often
ignored, that so many of the traditions of school life, as of national
life, seem founded on a basis opposed to Christ's teaching. It is very
hard to go through a day of our lives, or even a short railway
journey, and not offend against the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount.
Older people have never been able to solve this dilemma: the rulers
find it more difficult than the ruled. The whole of school life is
stimulated by the principle of competition, and kept together by a
healthy and, on the whole, a kindly self-assertion which is hard to
reconcile with the ideals that are upheld in the New Testament. Yet at
school, quite as much as in the World, competition and self-assertion
are tempered by abundant friendliness and generosity; and at school
if not in the world, there are an increasing number of individuals who
have so much spiritual power that they never need to exercise the more
worldly power that clashes with the Beatitudes. Of this power boys
seldom talk, except to some specially sympathetic ear at some
specially heart-opening moment, but many are dumbly aware of it and
they cultivate it, often unconsciously but to the great gain of those
around them, by prayer and faithful worship. But even these richer
natures are uncomfortably conscious that there is a conflict between
what Christ commands and what the world advises. That conflict will
not cease until faith has more power over our lives. It cannot grow
naturally at school among boys, when it does not live in the nation
among men; but it would indeed be faithless to miss, through fear of
the world's withering power, any opportunity of quickening pure
religion among the young. Though these opportunities vary very much in
the day and the boarding school, they may be said to occur:

(1) In the scripture lesson;

(2) In the services whether held in chapel or, as is often the case
especially in day schools, in the hall;

(3) In the preparation for confirmation;

(4) In all lessons in and out of school.

There is a great difference of opinion as to what should be taught in
the scripture lesson, and who should teach it. It is easy enough to
quote instances of extraordinary ignorance, to argue that, because a
man who is in the trenches shocks his chaplain by his real or
affected neglect of the facts of Bible history or the dogmas of the
Church, therefore he has never had an opportunity of learning them;
that same man would probably not give a much more impressive account
of the profane subjects in the school curriculum. There is, too, the
fact that a man may have forgotten everything of a subject and yet may
have learnt much from it. Every teacher knows this, if every schoolboy
does not. No one shrinks so much from revealing what he knows as the
boy who is conscious that he has learnt a thing and is not sure that
he can show his knowledge accurately. No subject has been left so free
from what is supposed to be the sterilising influence of examinations
as divinity. In many schools there have been one or two inspiring
teachers of this subject who justify this system, but on the whole the
result does not confirm the opinion that all would be well if we could
have complete freedom from examinations. If in the future the harvest
in religion is to be more worthy of the seed that is sown and the
trouble of cultivation, we must face with more frankness, especially
in the later years of a boy's life, all the difficulties that are
presented by the problems of the Bible and Church History. We must
have more courage in going beyond the syllabuses that are drawn up by
universities and ecclesiastical societies. Both have to play for
safety, but they are dull cards that this stake requires.

Teachers have overcome their timidity in dealing with the difficulties
presented by the Old Testament. Very few now hesitate to take the book
of Genesis, and, at all events if they are dealing with a high form,
they let the boys see that the conflict between science and religion
is only apparent, and that the victory of science does not mean the
defeat of religion. If they have been lucky enough to use Driver's
book on Genesis they will have felt on sure ground and any learner who
has half understood it will have a shield against some of the weapons
that assailed and defeated his father's generation. No teacher now
would be afraid of making clear the problems presented by the book of
Daniel or the book of Job, but when the New Testament is approached
much more diffidence is felt, and indeed ought to be felt. Diffidence
ought not however to involve silence.

A wise teacher has said that it is not the miracles of Christ but his
standard that keeps men away from his Church, and therefore outside
the influence for which the Church stands. True though this may be of
men as life goes on, of the young it is not the whole truth. In those
critical years of a man's religion--between eighteen and
twenty-five--it is the sudden or the slow-growing doubt about the
miracles of the New Testament, as much as the lofty standard that the
"Follow me" of Christ requires, that makes the profession and even the
holding of a religious faith so hard. More and more are the schools
trying to prepare those in their charge for the perils that threaten
the physical health and the character of the young; but it is tragic
that they should be so unwilling to face frankly the perils that will
sap the man's faith, and so expose his soul to the assaults of the
world and the devil. It is very hard to put oneself in another's
place; perhaps harder for the schoolmaster than for any other man, but
when we are teaching such a subject as religion--a subject whose roots
must perish if they cannot draw moisture from the springs of
sincerity, we should try to imagine what must be the feelings of the
thoughtful boy when he first discovers that the lessons which he has
so often learnt and the Creeds that he has so often repeated were
taken by his teachers in a sense which they carefully concealed from
him. More harm is done by the economy of truth than by the suggestion
of doubt.

It may be extraordinarily difficult to treat these problems of the New
Testament with becoming reverence; but is it not true to say that the
day when it becomes easy to any man to do so will be the day when he
ought to stop dealing with them? The real irreverence, the only
irreverence, is the glib confidence of the ignorant or the cynical
concealment of one who knows but dare not tell. What idea of the New
Testament does the average boy who leaves, say in the fifth form,
carry away with him from his public school? He may know that certain
facts are told in one Gospel and not in another; that there are
certain inconsistencies in the accounts given by the different
Synoptic Gospels of the same miracle, or what is apparently the same
miracle. He may be able to explain the parables more fully than their
author ever meant them to be explained; he may have at his fingers'
ends St Paul's journeys and even have been thrilled by St Paul's
shipwreck, but he will probably have missed the meaning of the good
news for himself and the power to treasure it for his life's strength.

This failure to appreciate and to accept the challenge of religion--a
failure shown later on in life in a certain diffidence about foreign
missions, and in the toleration of social conditions that deny Christ
as flatly as ever Peter did--is not the fault of the schools alone.
The schools only reflect the world outside and the homes from which
they are recruited. In neither is there as much light as there should
be. The difficulty of the vicious circle dominates this as so many
other problems. School reacts on the world, the world on the home[1]
and the home on school, the blame cannot be apportioned, need not be
apportioned; how the circle can be broken it is much more important to
determine. From time to time it has been broken, so decisively too
that for a while the riddle seems solved, at all events the old way is
abandoned for ever. Arnold's work at Rugby must have involved such a
breach. His work has never had to be done all over again and there
have been many to keep it in repair, but it needs to be extended now
in the light of new problems, scientific, social and international.
For this, as for all other extensions, courage is needed. The courage
to face the difficulties that modern research and modern thought
involve and the courage to point out that our Lord, though in his
short career he changed the bias of men's lives, never claimed to
leave man a detailed guide for conduct or for happiness. It was to a
simple society that he taught the laws of purity and love, he did not
extend the range of their application beyond the needs of the
Pharisee, the Sadducee, the Scribe, the peasant and the dweller in the
little towns through which he shed the light of his presence. These
laws sanctify the whole of life because they dominate the heart, from
which all life must spring, but they do not answer all questions about
all the subordinate provinces of life. The arts in their narrow sense,
philosophy, even pleasure, they pass by. Man will not neglect the one
or distort the other if he has really breathed the spirit of Christ,
but at times the urgency of his Master's business will seem to shut
them out of his life.

All this needs learning by the old, and explaining to the young, for
otherwise life will be one-sided, and when the day comes, as come it
must to those who think, when a choice must be made, and there seems
no alternative to following literally in Christ's footsteps and
turning the back on much of the beauty and the thrill of the world,
bewilderment will seize the chooser and at the best he will dedicate
himself to a joyless and unattractive puritanism, or surrender himself
to a rudderless voyage across the ocean of life. Religion at school
must touch with its refining power the impulses, aesthetic and
intellectual, that become powerful in late boyhood and early manhood.
If, as so often is the case, it ignores their existence, or endeavours
to starve them, they may well assert themselves with fatal power, to
coarsen and degrade the whole of life.

The scripture lesson will indeed miss its opportunity if it does not,
in the later stages of a boy's career, set him thinking on these
subjects, and help him to a wise appreciation of the holiness of
beauty as well as of the beauty of holiness. To accomplish this task
the language of the Bible itself gives noble help. All the qualities
of great literature shine forth from it and it should put to shame and
flight the tawdry and the melodramatic. It is an ill service not to
make all familiar with the actual words of Holy Writ. Commentaries and
Bible histories may be at times convenient tools, but they are only
tools, and accurate knowledge of what they teach is no compensation
for a want of respectful familiarity with the text itself.

Hardly less important for good and evil are the chapel services. They
are much attacked. It has been argued that public worship is
distasteful in later life because of the compulsory chapels of
boyhood. If this were really so, evidence should be forthcoming that
those who come from schools where there is no compulsory attendance at
chapel, because there is no chapel to attend, are more eager to avail
themselves of the opportunities offered by college chapels than are
their more chapel ridden contemporaries. No one, however, can be quite
satisfied that chapel services are as helpful as they might be. The
difficulty is how to improve them. The suggestion that they should all
be voluntary is at first sight attractive but there are two
insuperable difficulties. The one is the power of fashion, for it
might well become fashionable in a certain house not to attend chapel.
Those who know anything of the inside of schools know how such a
fashion would deter many of the best boys from going, and martyrdom
ought not to be part of the training of school life. The other
difficulty is more subtle, but none the less real it originates in the
boys' quite healthy fear of claiming merit. Those in authority, if
wise, would not count attendance at chapel for righteousness, but some
of the most sensitive boys might think that they would do so, and
might stay away in consequence, and thus deprive themselves of
something they really valued. Two or three, not many, might come from
a wrong motive, and perhaps these would stay to pray, but they would
be no compensation for the loss of the others.

From time to time it is possible to have voluntary services, and
attendance at Holy Communion should always be voluntary, not only in
name but in fact. On the whole it is better that a boy who neglects
this duty should go on neglecting it, than that those who come should
feel that their presence is noted with approval or the reverse.

But it is different with the daily service. Irksome it may sometimes
be, not only to boys; but half its virtue lies in the fact that all
are there in body and may sometimes be there in spirit too. The
familiarity of the oft-repeated prayers and the oft-sung hymns leads
to inattention perhaps, but seldom, it may be hoped, to callousness;
religious emotion may only occasionally be stirred but the thread of
natural piety, binding man to man and man to God, is strengthened, as
fresh strands are added. At the least it may be claimed for the
chapel services that they rescue from our hours of business some
minutes each day in which our thoughts are free to make their way to
the throne of God. Christ's promise to bring rest to those who come to
him has been fulfilled in many a school chapel. Those of us who have
had to pass through the valley of sorrow and temptation and
loneliness--and who has not?--know that this is no mean claim. Boys,
even men, often grumble at what they really value. To do so is our
national defect, misleading to the onlooker. The truth is, we are so
fearful of being accused of casting our pearls before swine, that we
often pretend, even to ourselves, that what we know to be the most
precious pearl in our possession is valueless.

Most masters and boys would agree that, in the few weeks preceding
confirmation, the religious life is deepest and most sincere. There is
a moving of the waters then, and many make the effort, and step in,
and are made whole for the time at all events. As to what exactly goes
on in the mind of anyone at such a time there can be no certainty.
There is the obvious danger of a reaction, and, guard against it as
one may, it exists and sometimes leads to disaster; but there is
another danger to which the schoolmaster is then liable, it is the
danger of making confirmation an occasion for much talk on sexual
difficulties. The existence of these should be faced, but at any time
rather than at confirmation, except so far as they occur quite
naturally in dealing with the commandments.

It is a real disaster for a child to associate this time, when he
should be trying to shoulder enthusiastically his responsibilities as
a citizen of God's Kingdom upon earth, with any particular sin. He
must indeed overcome evil, but he must overcome it with good. It is on
good that his eyes should be fixed. It is towards the Lord of all that
is good that his heart should be uplifted. Anyone who has had to do
with this time knows what it means in a boy's religious life, how
reluctant he is to speak of it, how perilous it is to disturb his
reluctance by inquisitive question or excessive exhortation. He knows,
too, how much his own nature has gained by contact at such times with
the reverent stirrings of less world-stained souls, how wondrous has
been the spiritual refreshment that has come to him from the
unconscious witness of the younger heart.

For most boys it is a loss not to be confirmed at school, which for
the time is the centre of their energies, their hopes, their
disappointments and their temptations; but the loss to the masters who
share their preparation would be irreparable. They may sometimes
blunder from want of knowledge and experience, but their will to help
is strong, and perhaps not least persuasive when chastened by
diffidence.

But all these scripture lessons, chapel services and confirmation
preparation will be powerless to produce a Christian education, if
they be not held together by every lesson and by the whole life of the
school. Industry and obedience, truthfulness and fidelity to duty,
unselfishness and thoroughness, must form the soil without which no
religious plant can grow; and these are taught and learnt in the
struggle with Latin prose, or mathematics, or French grammar, or
scientific formula; as well as in the cricket field, on the football
ground, in the give and take, the pains and the pleasures of daily
life.

It is hard for us in England to imagine a purely secular education,
the very buildings of many of our schools would protest against it;
perhaps it is equally difficult for us to realise how far we fall
short of what we might accomplish did the spirit of Christianity
really inform our lives.

To-day is our opportunity. The claims of education are being listened
to as they never have been in England. Money in millions is being
promised, the value of this subject or that is being canvassed, the
most venerable traditions are being shaken. It is a time of hope, but
a time of danger too. All sorts of plans are being formed for breaking
down the partition walls that divide man from man, and class from
class, and nation from nation; there is only one plan that will not
leave the ground encumbered by ruins.

That is the plan of which good men in all ages have caught glimpses,
and which the Son of Man set out for us to follow. The peril now lies,
not in the fact of nothing being done, but in some starved idea of a
narrow patriotism.

The war has surely taught two lessons;--one that the efforts we made
before 1914 to guard our country from spiritual and moral foes were
shamefully trivial compared with those we have made since to keep our
visible foe at bay; the other that our responsibilities for the
future, if we are to justify our claims to be the champions of justice
and weakness, can never be borne unless we learn ourselves, and teach
each generation as it grows up, to face the fierce light that shines
from heaven. All sorts of devices, ecclesiastical and political have
been adopted to break up that light and make it tolerable for our weak
eyes. Men have been so afraid of children being blinded by it that
they have allowed them to sit, some in darkness, and others in the
twilight of compromise.

It has been said that for the average man in the ancient world there
existed two main guides and sanctions for his conduct of life, namely
the welfare of his city, and the laws and traditions of his ancestors.
Has the average man much wiser guides or stronger sanctions now? Is a
much nobler appeal made to the children of England than was made to
the children of Athens? Just before Joshua led his people over the
Jordan, he instructed them how the ark of the covenant was to go
before them and a space to be left between them and it, so that they
might know the way by which they must go, _for they had not passed
this way before_. Once again a river of decision has to be crossed, a
road has to be trodden along which men have not passed before. Whether
we speak of reconstruction or a new start or use any other metaphor to
show our conviction that war has changed all things, the idea is the
same. We must see to it that the ark of the covenant is borne before
our nation and our schools, along the way that is new and still full
of stones of stumbling.

Either the old landmarks have disappeared or a new land has to be
explored. Somehow, all things have to be made new, for even the
spiritual things have been destroyed or are found wanting. It is to
the schools, to the homes, to the mothers of England that the richest
opportunity comes. If they can solve the difficulty of making the
Christian education and the Christian life react upon one another the
partition walls between religion and conduct will be broken down for
every age. Intentionally or unintentionally, these walls have been
built up, perhaps by the teachers and parents, certainly by the
conventions of life. The result is that though there is more true
religion in the schools than is acknowledged by those outside and than
those within care to boast of, and though the standard of conduct is
not ignoble, there is too little fusion; both components are brittle,
they cannot stand the strain of sudden temptation, they lack enduring
power. No one will forget how in those first months of war,
consolation was offered even from pulpits for all the horrors and the
sadness and the waste of conflict in the thought that as a nation we
should be purged of selfishness, of luxury, of sensuality, of all the
vices that peace engenders. That is surely a shameful confession, that
our religion had been in vain. We had to wait for, and partake in, a
three years' orgy of cruelty and violence to learn what our Lord had
taught us in three years of gentleness. If we are going to teach the
same lessons about war when peace is made, to keep alive the fires of
hate, and to keep smouldering the embers of suspicion, we shall be
confessing that a Christian education cannot teach us anything about
Christianity.

The student in arms would not have had us despair. Peace when it comes
will make demands on our fortitude. There will be many lying in the
no-man's land between vice and virtue who will need to be rescued at
great risk. There will be many forlorn hopes to be led against
disease, the foster child of vice, that has gained strength under the
cover of war. The disappointing days of peace will give an opportunity
for the development of Christian qualities fully as great as the
bracing days of battle. Teachers will need to gird up their loins for
the task of giving a wise welcome to the thousands that an awakened
State will send to sit at their feet, and unless they can give
spiritual food as well as worldly wisdom and paying knowledge, the
souls of the new-comers will be starved beyond the remedy of any free
meals. How to spiritualise education is the real problem, for it is
only by a spiritualised education that we can escape from the
avalanche of materialism that is hanging over the European world just
now. No syllabus, no act of Parliament can do this. There is no royal
road which all can travel. It has been done, to some extent, in the
past, and it will have to be done, to a much greater extent, in the
future by the layman and the laywoman, by the teachers of all
denominations, by some even whom inspectors may consider inefficient
and whom children may tolerate as queer. It will be done best by the
best teachers, but all teachers can share in the work on the one
condition that they have consciously or unconsciously dedicated
themselves to the task. For a teacher to write much about it is
impossible, he must know how greatly he has failed. And he has not the
recompense that comes to many who fail, in the shape of certain
knowledge why success has been withheld.

That his failure is shared by those who strive to make religion move
the world of men is no consolation. Indeed, that thought might make
him hopeless did it not suggest that the aims and methods of both may
be wrong. It is possible to have hoped too much from the school
chapels being full, it is possible to fear too much from the churches
being empty. Piety is no doubt fostered by attendance at a religious
service, but there is some distance between piety and true religion.
It would probably not be untrue to say that Christian education has
seemed more concerned with the ceremonial duties of religion than with
its spiritual enthusiasm, more eager about faith in some particular
explanation of the past than about faith in a re-creation of the
future, more attentive to the machinery of the organisation of the
Church than to the words and commands of its Founder. As the Church
has become more powerful in the world, it has lost its power over
men's hearts. To some it has seemed an institution for the relief of
poverty, to others the support of the "haves" against the "have-nots,"
but to too few has it been the home of spiritual adventures, the
maintainer of spiritual values. Men have escaped from the relentless
simplicity of the Master's commands by attention to the complicated
machinery which disregard of them has made necessary. This may not
have been consciously marked by the young, but the atmosphere of
religion that they have had to breathe has been the tired atmosphere
of the ecclesiastical workshop, and not the bracing air of free
service. Some restoration of the hopefulness of the early Christians
is needed; hopefulness is not now the note of what is taught, though
with it is sometimes confused the boisterous cheerfulness that is
wrongly supposed to attract the young. The appeal of the Church must
be based on looking forward, not backward, on hope, rather than on
repentance.

The Church will have less to do with the world than it had in the
past, because it will have shaken off the fetters of the world: it
will not be always explaining to the young how they can enjoy the
world and yet deny the world: it will not need to explain itself so
often, to insist so pathetically on the superiority of its own
channels of influence, but it will attract to itself, or rather to the
work that it is trying to do--for it will have forgotten self--all the
adventurous spirits who are prepared to risk pain and failure as
fellow-workers in fulfilling the purposes of God in the world. What is
worth knowing about Christianity is surely first and foremost that it
is a leaven that might leaven the whole world; and that until that
leaven works in each individual heart, in each society, where two or
three are gathered together, Christ's presence cannot be claimed. As
this knowledge is gained, it will be possible for the learner to know
in his heart, and not merely by heart, what is meant by the great
mysterious terms Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection; as this
knowledge is tested and proved true by experience of life, the meaning
and power of prayer will become clearer. A clue will have been put
into the hand of each as he travels along the way which he has not
passed heretofore. It will not lead all by the same path but it will
lead all towards that "great and high mountain," whence "that great
city, the Holy Jerusalem" may be seen. If the teacher is wise, when
the mountain top is nigh and before that vision breaks upon his
fellow-traveller's sight, he will stand aside with thankful heart, and
close his task with the prayer that the Glory of God may shine more
brightly and more continuously on the newcomer, than it has shone on
him.

[Footnote 1: Nothing is said here about the co-operation of the home
with the school. In religion as in all other matters it is assumed.
The influence of the home cannot be exaggerated but schoolmasters must
resist the temptation to shift the burden of responsibility for any
failure on to other shoulders.]



V

CITIZENSHIP

By A. MANSBRIDGE

Founder of the Workers' Educational Association


I

DIRECT TRAINING FOR CITIZENSHIP


There is no institution in national life which can free itself from
the responsibility of training for citizenship those who come under
its influence, whether they be men or women. The problem is common to
all institutions, although it may present itself in diverse forms
appropriate to varying ages and experiences. It is primarily the
problem of all schools and places of education.

The aim of education, according to Comenius, is "to train generally
all who are born to all that is human." From that definition it
follows that the purpose of any school must be to bear its part in
developing to the utmost the powers of body, mind and spirit for the
common good. It must be to secure the application of the finest
attributes of the race to the work of developing citizenship, which is
the art of living together on the highest plane of human life.

Citizenship is, in reality, the focusing point of all human virtues
though it is often illuminated by the consciousness of a city not made
with hands. It represents in a practical form the spirit of courage,
unselfishness and sympathy consecrated to service in time of war and
peace. Generally speaking, in England and her Dominions, citizenship
is developed in harmony with an ideal of democracy.

     "The progress of democracy is irresistible," says De Tocqueville,
     "because it is the most uniform, the most ancient and the most
     permanent tendency to be found in history."

But its right working is dependent entirely upon uplift not only of
mind but of spirit. The democratic community, above all other
communities, must have within itself schools which at one and the same
time impart information concerning the theory and methods of its
government and inspire consecration to social service rather than to
individual welfare, schools which reveal the transcendence of the
interests of the State as compared with the interests of any
individual or group of individuals within it. The democratic State has
been compared to "one huge Christian personality, one mighty growth or
stature of an honest man." Out of this comparison arises the idea of
citizenship reaching out beyond the boundaries of a single State--one
honest man among many--and thus responsibility is placed upon the
schools to develop knowledge of, and sympathy with, the activities and
aspirations of human life in many nations. The comity of nations
depends directly upon the intellectual and spiritual honesty which
obtains in each of them, and true strength of nationality arises more
from the exercise of these qualities than from extent of area or of
productive power.

Every subject taught in a school should serve the needs of the larger
citizenship; if it fails to do so it is either wrongly taught or
superfluous.

Social welfare depends upon the right use of knowledge by the
individual, however restricted or developed that knowledge may be,
whether it be acquired in elementary school or university.

There has been much discussion concerning the relative importance of
the development of community spirit in the schools and the
introduction of the direct teaching of citizenship. The methods are
not mutually exclusive; their operations are distinct. The school
which does not develop community spirit, which does not fit into its
place in the work of training the complete man, is obviously
imperfect. The same cannot be said of the school which does not
provide direct instruction in citizenship; for teaching may be given
in so many indirect ways. Some consideration of what has happened in
this connection both in England and America will perhaps be most
helpful, although the intangible nature of the results would render
dangerous any attempt to make definite pronouncements on their success
or failure.

Largely as the result of the realisation of the immediate relationship
between national education and national productivity there are
abundant signs that the English educational system is about to be
developed. The ordinary argument has been well put:

     A new national spirit has been aroused in our people by the war; if
     we are to recover and improve our position at the end of the war,
     that national spirit must be maintained; for unless every man and
     woman comes to know and feel that industry, agriculture, commerce,
     shipping, and credit, are national concerns, and that education is
     a potent means for the promotion of these objects among others, we
     shall fail in the great effort of national recuperation. In plainer
     words, our great firms will not make money, wages will fall, and
     wage-earners will be out of work[1].

The possibility of the extension of the educational system to meet the
needs of technical training need not cause disquiet among those whose
desire is for fulness of citizenship, if they are prepared to insist
that teachers shall be trained on broad and comprehensive lines and
that every vocational course shall include instruction in direct
citizenship. The argument is ready to hand and simple. If all men and
women must strive to work wisely and well, so also should they learn
how to participate in the government, local and national, which their
work supports. Moreover the right study of a trade or profession
induces a perception of the inter-relationship of all human activity.

On the other hand it is important that vocational work, at least so
far as it is carried out by manual training, should be introduced into
schemes of liberal education. In this connection it is worth recalling
that in a recent report, the Consultative Committee of the Board of
Education expressed with complete conviction the opinion that manual
training was indispensable in places of secondary education:

     We consider that our secondary education has been too exclusively
     concerned with the cultivation of the mind by means of books and
     the instruction of the teacher. To this essential aim there must be
     added as a condition of balance and completeness that of fostering
     those qualities of mind and that skill of hand which are evoked by
     systematic work.

In this way would be generated that "sympathetic and understanding
contact between all brainworkers and the complete men who work with
both hands and brain" so strongly pleaded for by Professor Lethaby who
insists that "some teaching about the service of labour must be got
into all our educational schemes."

It must be remembered that the question of vocational training affects
chiefly the proposed system of compulsory continuation school
education up to the age of eighteen, which has yet to be established
for all boys and girls not in attendance at secondary schools or who
have not completed a satisfactory period of attendance[2].

The inadequacy of the period of education allotted to the vast mass of
the population and the need for educational reform in many directions
can only be noted; both these matters however affect citizenship
profoundly.

It is upon the expectation of early development on the following
lines, indicated without detail, that our consideration of the
possibilities of schools in regard to citizenship must be based:

(1) A longer period of elementary school life during which no child
shall be employed for other than educational purposes.

(2) The establishment of compulsory continuation schools for all boys
and girls up to the age of eighteen, the hours of attendance to be
allowed out of reasonable working hours.

(3) Complete opportunity for qualified boys and girls to continue
their technical or humane studies from the elementary school to the
university.

(4) A distinct improvement in the supply and power of teachers,
chiefly as the result of better training in connection with
universities and the establishment of a remuneration which will enable
them to live in the manner demanded by the nature and responsibilities
of their calling.

The two main aspects of the development of citizenship through the
schools which have already been noted may be summarised as follows,
and may be considered separately:

(1) The direct teaching of civics or of citizenship;

(2) The development through the ordinary school community of the
qualities of the good citizen.

[Footnote 1: _Interim Report of the Consultative Committee of the
Board of Education on Scholarships for Higher Education, May_, 1916.]

[Footnote 2: See _Final Report of the Departmental Committee on
Juvenile Education in Relation to Employment after the War_, 1917, Cd.
8512. The Bill "to make further provision with respect to Education in
England and Wales and for purposes connected therewith" [Bill 89], had
not been introduced by Mr Fisher when this article was written.]



THE DIRECT STUDY OF CITIZENSHIP


The study in schools of civic relations has been developed to a much
greater extent in America than in England. This is probably due
largely to the fact that the American need is the more obvious. In
normal times, there is a constant influx of people of different
nationalities to the United States whom it is the aim of the
government to make into American citizens. At the same time there is
in America a greater disposition than in England to adapt abstract
study to practical ends, to link the class-room to the factory, to the
city hall, and to the Capitol itself. As one of her scholars says:

     Both the inspiration and the romance of the scholar's life lie in
     the perfect assurance that any truth, however remote or isolated,
     has its part in the unity of the world of truth and its undreamed
     of applicability to service[1].

There are in America numerous societies, among them the National
Education Association, the American Historical Association, the
National Municipal League, the American Political Science Association,
which are working steadily to make the study of civics an essential
feature of every part of the educational system. Their prime purposes
are summarised as follows:

     (1) To awaken a knowledge of the fact that the citizen is in a
     social environment whose laws bind him for his own good;

     (2) To acquaint the citizen with the forms of organisation and
     methods of administration of government in its several
     departments[2].

They claim that this can best be done by means of bringing the young
citizen into direct contact with the significant facts of the life of
his own local community and of the national community. To indicate
this more clearly they have applied to the study the name of
"Community Civics."

The argument that a sense of unreality may arise as a result of the
apparent completeness of knowledge gained in the school is met by the
close contact maintained all the time with the community outside.

There is unanimity of opinion that civics shall be taught from the
elementary school onwards:

     "We believe," runs the report of the Committee of Eight of the
     American Historical Association, "that elementary civics should
     permeate the entire school life of the child. In the early grades
     the most effective features of this instruction will be directly
     connected with the teaching of regular subjects in the course of
     study. Through story, poem and song there is the quickening of
     those emotions which influence civic life. The works and
     biographies of great men furnish many opportunities for incidental
     instruction in civics. The elements of geography serve to emphasise
     the interdependence of men--the very earliest lesson in civic
     instruction. A study of pictures and architecture arouses the
     desire for civic beauty and orderliness[3]."

A recent inquiry by a Committee of the American Political Science
Association makes it quite clear that the subject is actually taught
in the bulk of the elementary and secondary schools of the various
States and that generally the results are satisfactory, or indicate
clearly necessary reforms. The difficulty of providing suitable
text-books is partly met by the addition of supplementary local
information.

There are very few colleges and universities which do not provide
courses in political science.

No claim is made that the teaching of civics makes of necessity good
citizens, but merely that it makes the good citizen into a better
one. The justification of the subject lies in its own content.

     It is a study of an important phase of human society and, for this
     reason the same value as elementary science or history[4].

There is, moreover, throughout the various American reports, an
insistence on the power of the community ideal in the school and the
necessity for discipline in the performance of school duties and a due
appreciation of the importance of individual action in relation to the
class and to the school.

In England there has been much general and uncoordinated advocacy of
the direct teaching of citizenship, but, for various reasons, it does
not appear to have been introduced generally into the schools, nor
does there appear to be any immediate likelihood of development in the
existing schools.

The Civic and Moral Education League made definite inquiry, in 1915,
of teachers and schools. They pronounced the results to be
disappointing, though they comforted themselves with the
incontrovertible dictum that "the people who are doing most have least
time to talk about it." As the result of their inquiry, they drew up a
statement of the aims of civics which in general and in detail
differed little from the ideas accepted in America.

If compulsory continued education is introduced, for boys and girls
who now have no school education after the elementary school, it is of
the utmost importance that the direct study should be included in
some form or other before the age of eighteen is reached, and it is
in connection with this type of school rather than in connection with
the elementary or secondary school that constructive efforts should be
made.

It must be remembered that Mr. Acland, when Minister for Education,
introduced the subject into the Elementary Code of 1895 and provided a
detailed syllabus. This was generally approved not only as the action
of a progressive administrator but as an evidence of the new spirit of
freedom beginning to reveal itself in the educational system.

There are some education authorities, like the County of Chester,
which enact that the study of citizenship shall proceed side by side
with religious education, but the majority leave it to the teachers to
do all that is necessary by the adaptation of other subjects and the
development of school spirit.

The elaborate nature of Mr. Acland's syllabus tended to defeat its
object, and some held it to be psychologically unsound, but there has
also been lack of suitable text-books. In general, however, the whole
subject depends peculiarly upon the personality of the teacher who
feels no lack of text-books if he is alive to the interest of his
lesson.

In _Studies in Board Schools_[5], there is a delightful study of a
lesson on "Rates" to young citizens with the altruistic text, "All for
Each, Each for All." "Citizen Carrots," a tired newspaper boy up every
morning at five, is revealed as responding with great enthusiasm to
this interesting lesson which commences with a drawing on a
blackboard of a "regulation workhouse, a board school, a free library,
a lamp post, a water-cart, a dustman, a policeman, a steam roller, a
navvy or two, and a long-handled shovel stuck in a heap of soil." A
hypothetical payer of rates, "Mrs Smith," is revealed as getting a
great deal for her rates:

     She is protected from any harm; her property is safe; she can walk
     about the streets with comfort by day or night; her drains are seen
     to; her rubbish is taken away for her; she has books and newspapers
     to read; if she has ten children, she can have them well taught for
     nothing--so that if they are willing to learn, and attend school
     regularly, they can very easily make their own living when they
     grow up; if she is ill, she can go to the infirmary for medicine;
     and if, when she grows old, she is unable to pay rent or buy food
     or clothes, these things are provided for her.

     "And please, sir, the Parks," interjected the eager Carrots.

If the definition of a good citizen propounded by Professor Masterman
is true--that he is one who pays his rates without grumbling--"Citizen
Carrots," whatever his disadvantages, is intellectually anyhow on the
way to become such a citizen, and certainly in the sketch, "Citizen
Carrots" is determined that the rates shall be expended properly
because he himself will have a vote in later days.

It is probable that lessons such as these are more frequent than the
time-tables would indicate. There are few head masters of elementary
schools who would disclaim the adequate teaching of citizenship in
their schools. They would explain that the treatment of history and
geography proceeding from local standpoints was effective in this
direction, and it is the rule rather than otherwise for visits to be
paid to places of historic interest within reach of the schools.
Advantage is also taken of such days as Empire Day to stimulate
interest in the State, as well as to impart knowledge concerning its
organisation. All this is reinforced by the use of appropriate reading
books which are instruments of indirect, but not necessarily less
effective, instruction.

The larger opportunities which secondary schools offer have not been
taken advantage of to induce the specific study of civics to any
greater extent that in the elementary schools, although many schools
are able to devote at least a period each week to the consideration of
current events, and, naturally, the teaching of history and geography
includes much more completely the consideration of institutions both
at home and abroad.

The idea of the regional or local survey is gaining ground and in some
respects it will prove to serve the same purpose as the "Community
Civics" of the American high school.

There have been attempts to introduce economics into the secondary
school curriculum, but they have not persisted to any extent. In the
_Memorandum of Curricula of Secondary Schools_ issued by the Board of
Education in 1913, it is suggested that "it will sometimes be
desirable to provide, for those who propose on leaving school to enter
business, a special commercial course with special study of the more
technical side of economic theory and some study of political and
constitutional history." For the rest there is no mention of the
subjects intimately connected with government. It is clear that the
Board expects that out of the subjects of the ordinary curriculum,
with such special efforts suggested by public interest as may from
time to time occur, the student will gain a general knowledge of the
affairs of the community round about, some knowledge of the principles
of politics, clear ideas concerning movements for social reform, and
some acquaintance with international problems. If he does so, he will
have secured a useful introduction to the studies associated with
adult life.

An intelligent study of languages will help materially in this
direction and, whilst this is specially true in the cases of Greek and
Latin, there is no reason why modern languages should not serve the
same purpose. It is, however, often the case that the study of the
history and institutions of modern countries is not associated
sufficiently with the study of their language.

The public and grammar schools of England, as contrasted with the
newer secondary schools, are more especially the homes of classical
studies, and it is through the working of these schools that the
knowledge of institutions in ancient Greece and Rome will have its
greatest effect on citizenship.

The study of political science as a specific subject is gaining ground
in universities, whilst the study of the Empire and its institutions
has naturally made rapid progress during the last few years. There may
also be noted distinct tendencies, arising out of the experience of
the war, towards the foundation of schools destined to deal with the
institutions and the thought of foreign countries. In the schools of
economics and history there is fulness of attempt to study all that
can be included under the generic title of civics which, after all,
may be defined as political and social science interpreted in
immediate and practical ways.

[Footnote 1: Peabody, _The Religion of an Educated Man_.]

[Footnote 2: Haines, _The Teaching of Government_.]

[Footnote 3: Haines, _The Teaching of Government._]

[Footnote 4: Bourne, _The Teaching of History and Civics in the
Elementary and the Secondary School_.]

[Footnote 5: Charles Morley, 1897.]



II

INDIRECT TRAINING FOR CITIZENSHIP


After all is said and done the ideal training for citizenship in the
schools depends more upon the wisdom engendered in the pupil than upon
the direct study of civics. If the spirits of men and women are set in
a right direction they will reach out for knowledge as for hid
treasure. "Wisdom is more moving than any motion; she passeth and
goeth through all things by reason of her pureness[1]."

It happens also in natural sequence that the spirit developed in a
school will lead to the construction of institutions in connection
with school life calculated to secure its adequate expression.

Elementary schools, however, are much handicapped in this way. If it
comes about that work other than educational or recreative is
forbidden to children during the years of attendance at school, and
also that the period of school life is lengthened, there will be
opportunity for the development of games on a self-governing basis.
Elementary school children have a large measure of initiative; all
they need is a real chance to exercise it. They would willingly make
their schools real centres of child life. Many children at present
have little else than narrow tenements and the streets, out of which
influences arise which war continually against the social influences
of the school.

The opportunity afforded by well-ordered leisure would be accentuated
by the more complete operation of movements such as boys' brigades,
boy scouts, girl guides, and Church lads' brigades, which are in their
several ways doing much to develop citizenship. Such bodies are now in
effect educational authorities, and classes are organised by them in
connection with the Board of Education.

There have been many attempts to introduce self-governing experiments
into elementary schools and, whilst they have often been defeated by
reason of the immaturity of the children, yet some of them have met
with great success. The election of monitors on the lines of a general
election is an instance of success in this direction. The ideas which
have arisen from the advocacy of the Montessori system have induced
methods of greater freedom in connection with many aspects of
elementary school life. The Caldecott Community, dealing with
working-class children in the neighbourhood of St. Pancras, has tried
many interesting experiments. That, however, of the introduction of
children's courts of justice had to be abandoned, but not until many
valuable lessons in child psychology had been learnt.

Side by side with the elementary school, there are rising in England
experiments similar to those undertaken by such organisations as the
School City and the George Junior Republics of America. The most
notable among them is the Little Commonwealth, Dorchester, which has
achieved astonishing results through the process of taking delinquent
children and allowing them self-government. But, hopeful as the
prospects are, their ultimate effect will be best estimated when their
pupils, restored in youth to the honourable service of the community,
are taking their full share in life as adult citizens, and naturally
every care is taken in the organisation of these institutions to
ensure that the transition from their sheltered citizenship to the
outside world shall not be of so abrupt a nature as to tend to render
unreal and remote the life in which the children have taken part.

Nearly all of the more recent experiments in regard to the school and
its kindred institutions are co-operative in principle and in method,
but it is probably Utopian to conceive an educational method which
shall achieve the highest success without having included within it
the element of competition. If competition is a method obtaining
outside the school it is bound to reproduce itself within it. The only
possible thing for the school to do is to restrict the influence of
competition to the channels where it can be beneficial.

The method by which elementary school children pass to the secondary
school is by means of competitive scholarships. In common with the
Consultative Committee of the Board of Education it is necessary to
accept the fact that at present "the scholarship system is too firmly
rooted in the manner, habits and character of this country to be
dislodged, even if it were thrice condemned by theory[2]." But, in the
interests of citizenship, scholarships should be awarded as the result
of non-competitive tests, if only to secure that every child shall
receive the education for which he or she is fitted.

The stress and strain imposed upon many who climb the ladder of
education, often occasioned by the inadequacy of the scholarship for
the purposes to which it is to be applied, tend to develop
characteristics which are so strongly individual as to be distinctly
anti-social.

It is unfortunate that in many subjects of the curriculum it is not
merely bad form to help one's neighbour but distinctly a school sin,
and this makes it necessary for a balance to be struck by the
introduction of subjects at which all can work for the good of the
class or the school. Manual work and local surveys are subjects of
this nature and should be encouraged side by side with games of which
there are three essential aspects:--the individual achievement, the
winning of the match or race, and "playing the game." In reference to
citizenship the last of these is the only one which ultimately
matters.

It is generally admitted that the great public schools are those which
are most characteristic of English boy life at its best. Glorying as
they do in a splendid tradition, they have always had in addition the
opportunity of adapting themselves to new needs. Their reform is
always under discussion and perchance they are waiting even now for
some Arnold or Thring to lead them in a new England, for new it will
inevitably be. Even so, the sense of responsibility they have
developed has been translated into the terms of English government
over half the world.

The objective of the public school boy anxious to take a part in
government at home has always been parliament, or such local
institutions as demand his service in accordance with the tradition of
his family. The tendency to despise the homely duties of a city
councillor or poor law guardian is, however, passing. There are few
schools which do not welcome visitors to speak to the boys who have
first-hand acquaintance with the life of the poor or who are indeed of
that life themselves. In this way boys get to realise, as far as it is
possible through sympathy, what it means to be out of work, what it
means to be hungry for unattainable learning, what children have to
suffer, and, in addition to the practical interest which many boys
immediately develop, it cannot be doubted that many ideals for the
conduct of social life in the future are conceived, even if dimly, for
the first time. Thanks to the unremitting efforts of large-minded head
masters, public school boys more and more realise that they are
beneficiaries of the spirit of a past day, not only in the sense of
the creation of a noble tradition but actually in regard to the
material provision of buildings and the financial support of
teaching.

There is likely to be an extension of university education in the near
future. The ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge with their
great college system will be strengthened, as will be the universities
which were established at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning
of the twentieth centuries. The demand for the better training of
teachers will result inevitably in the creation of more universities.
The inadequate sum which this country has spent upon university
education up to the present will be greatly increased.

As a direct result of the opportunity which university life gives to
undergraduates for the development of self-governing institutions,
there can be little doubt that the university must be regarded above
all other schools and most institutions as powerful in the development
of good citizenship. The public school tradition will be carried
directly into the older universities and in increasing measure into
the new universities as the best spirit of the public schools
gradually permeates the whole system of our education even down to the
elementary schools themselves. When these opportunities so lavishly
provided for the development of student life in its self-governing
aspects are realised and when above it all there stand great teachers
in the lineage of those described by Cardinal Newman in his eulogy of
Athens--"the very presence of Plato" to the student, "a stay for his
mind to rest on, a burning thought in his heart, a bond of union with
men like himself, ever afterwards"--little else can be desired. In
every university there must be such teachers, or universities will
tend to fall to the level of the life about them. "You can infuse,"
said Lord Rosebery at the Congress of the Universities of the Empire,
"character, and morals and energy and patriotism by the tone and
atmosphere of your university and your professors."

From one point of view, all the old universities of Europe--Bologna,
Paris, Prague, Oxford, Cambridge, etc.--must be regarded as definite
and conscious protests against the dividing and isolating--the
anti-civic--forces of the periods of their institution. They represent
historically the development of communities for common interest and
protection in the great and holy cause of the pursuit of learning, and
above all things their story is the story of the growth of European
unity and citizenship.

     The feudal and ecclesiastical order of the old mediaeval world were
     both alike threatened by the power that had so strangely sprung up
     in the midst of them. Feudalism rested on local isolation, on the
     severance of kingdom from kingdom and barony from barony, on the
     distinction of blood and race, on the supremacy of material or
     brute force, on an allegiance determined by accidents of place and
     social position. The University, on the other hand, was a protest
     against this isolation of man from man. The smallest school was
     European and not local[3].

The spirit which is characteristic of a university in its best
aspects, linked with the spirit which is inherent in the ranks of
working people, has on more occasions than one set on foot movements
for the education of the people. One of the most notable instances of
this unity found expression at the Oxford Co-operative Congress of
1882, when Arnold Toynbee urged co-operators to undertake the
education of the citizen. By this he meant: "the education of each
member of the community as regards the relation in which he stands to
other individual citizens and to the community as a whole." "We have
abandoned," he said further, "and rightly abandoned the attempt to
realise citizenship by separating ourselves from society. We will
never abandon the belief that it has yet to be won amid the stress and
confusion of the ordinary world in which we move." From that day to
this co-operators have always had before them an ideal of education in
citizenship and have organised definite teaching year by year.

Another instance of even greater power lies in the co-operation
between the pioneers of the University Extension Movement at Cambridge
and the working men, particularly of Rochdale and Nottingham, to be
followed later by that unprecedented revival of learning amongst
working people which took place in Northumberland and Durham in the
days before the great coal strike. At a later date, in 1903, the same
kind of united action gave rise to the movement of the Workers'
Educational Association, which has always conceived its purpose to be
the development of citizenship in and through education pursued in
common by university man and working man alike. The system of
University Tutorial Classes originated by this Association has been
based upon an ideal of citizenship, and not primarily upon a
determination to acquire knowledge, although it was clearly seen that
vague aspirations towards good citizenship without the harnessing of
all available knowledge to its cause would be futile. After exception
has been made for the body of young men and women who are determined
to acquire technical education for the laudable purpose of advancing
both their position in life and their utility to society, it is clear
that no educational appeal to working men and women will have the
least effect if it is not directed towards the purpose of enriching
their life, and through them the life of the community. The proof of
this lies in the fact that, after they have striven together for years
in Tutorial Classes, they ask for no recognition--in fact they have
declined it when it has been offered--and have devoted their powers to
voluntary civic work and the work of the associations or unions to
which they belong, as well as in very many instances, to the spreading
of education throughout the districts in which they live. It is
largely due to the leaven of educational enthusiasm which has thus
been generated that there is a unanimous movement on the part of
working people towards a complete educational system including within
it compulsory attendance at continuation schools during the day.

The problems that hedge about continuation schools are many, but it is
clear that they will be regarded by educationists and by at least some
employers as above all else training for citizenship based upon the
vocation to which the boy or girl may be devoting himself or herself
in working hours. The narrowness of the daily occupation, divorced as
it is from the whole spirit and intent of apprenticeship, will be
broadened directly the consideration of daily work is placed in the
continuation school both on a higher plane and in a complete setting.

The compulsory evening school will fail unless it induces a demand for
recreation of a pure kind which may be associated with the voluntary
evening school and continued along the lines of study into the years
of adult life. And even if it is impossible for every student of
capacity in the continuation school to pass into the university or
technological college, it may be hoped that there need not fail to be
opportunities for reaching the heights of ascertained knowledge in the
University Tutorial Class. In the future, as now, only in greater
degree, such classes will be regarded as an essential part of
university work, and will provide opportunity for the study of those
subjects which are most nearly related to citizenship.

It is one of the fundamental principles of the Workers' Educational
Association that every person, when not under the power of some
hostile over-mastering influence, is ready to respond to an
educational appeal. Not indeed that all are ready or able to become
scholars, but that all are anxious to look with understanding eyes at
the things which are pure and beautiful. Tired men and women are made
better citizens if they are taken, as they often are, to picture
galleries and museums, to places of historic interest and of scenic
beauty, and are helped to understand them by the power of a
sympathetic guide. It is by the extension of work of this sort, which
can be carried out almost to a limitless extent that the true purpose
of social reform will be best served. It is by such means that the
press may be elevated, the level of the cinema raised, the efforts of
the demagogue neutralised.

The Workers' Educational Association is based upon the work of the
elementary school and of the associations of working people, notably
the co-operative societies and trade unions. The democratic methods
obtaining in those associations have themselves proved a valuable
contribution to citizenship, and have determined the democratic nature
of all adult education. The right and freedom of the student to study
what he wishes finds its counterpart in the reasonable demand that man
shall live out his life as he wills, provided it moves in a true
direction and is in harmony with the needs and aspirations of his
fellows.

It has seemed in this review of the relation of schools and places of
education to the development of citizenship that the fact of the
operation of social influences has been implicit at every point. In
any case there is, and can be, no doubt that the school, whilst
instant in its effect upon the mind of the time, is always being
either hindered or helped by the conditions obtaining in the society
in which it is set. The relations existing between society and school
are revealed in a process of action and reaction. Wilhelm von
Humboldt said that "whatever we wish to see introduced into the life
of a nation must first be introduced into its schools." Among other
things, it is necessary to develop in the schools an appreciation of
all work that is necessary for human welfare. This is the crux of all
effort towards citizenship through education. In the long run there
can be no full citizenship unless there is fulness of intention to
discover capacity and to develop it not for the individual but for the
common good. This is primarily the task of an educational system. If a
man is set to work for which he is not fitted, whether it be the work
of a student or a miner, he is thwarted in his innate desire to attain
to the full expression of his being in and through association with
his fellow-men, whereas, when a man is doing the right work, that for
which he has capacity, he rejoices in his labour and strives
continually to perfect it by development of all his powers. The
exercise of good citizenship follows naturally as the inevitable
result of a rightly developed life. It may not be the citizenship
which is exercised by taking active and direct part in methods of
government. The son of Sirach, meditating on the place of the
craftsman, said:

     All these trust to their hands: and every one is wise in his work.
     Without these cannot a city be inhabited ... they will maintain the
     state of the world, and all their desire is in the work of their
     craft[4].

The times are different and the needs of people have changed, but the
true test of a citizen may be more in the healthiness of dominating
purpose than in the possession and satisfaction of a variety of
desires. To "maintain the state of the world" is no mean ambition.

If it is difficult for a man to become the good citizen when employed
on work for which he is unfitted, it is even more difficult for the
man to do so who is set to shoddy work or to work which damages the
community.

The task laid upon the school is heavy, but it does not stand alone.
The family and the Church are its natural allies in the modern State.

All alike will make mistakes, but, if they clearly set before them the
intention to do their utmost to free the capacity of all for the
accomplishment of the good of all, wisdom will increase and many
tragedies in life will be averted.

Thus lofty ideals have presented themselves, but they will secure
universal admission apart from the immediate practical considerations
which bulk so largely and often so falsely in the minds of men, and
which are frequently suggested by limitations of finance and lack of
faith in the all-sufficient power of wisdom.

It is in the consecration of a people to its highest ideals that the
true city and the true State become realised on earth and the measure
of its consecration, in spite of all devices of teaching or training
however wise, determines the true level of citizenship at any time in
any place.

[Footnote 1: _Wisdom of Solomon_, vii. 24.]

[Footnote 2: _Interim Report of the Consultative Committee of the
Board of Education on Scholarships for Higher Education_, 1916.]

[Footnote 3: J.R. Green, _A Short History of the English People_.]

[Footnote 4: _Ecclesiasticus_, xxxviii. 31-34.]



SOME BOOKS ON CITIZENSHIP


[1]American Political Science Assoc. The Teaching of Government. 1916.
Macmillan. 5s. 0d. net.

[1]BAKER, J.H. Educational Aims and Civic Needs. 1913. Longmans. 3s.
6d. net.

[1]BALCH, G.T. The Method of Teaching Patriotism in Public Schools.
1890. New York: Van Nostrand.

[1]BOURNE, H.E. The Teaching of History and Civics. 1915. Longmans.
6s. 0d. net.

[1]DEWEY, JOHN. Democracy and Education. 1916. Macmillan. 6s. 0d. net.

[1]DEWEY JOHN. The School and Society. 1915. Chicago Univ. Press. 4s.
0d. net.

[1]DEWEY, JOHN and EVELYN. Schools of To-Morrow. 1915. Dent. 5s. 0d.
net.

FINDLAY, J.J. The School. 1912. Williams and Norgate. 1s. 3d. net.

[1]HALL, G. STANLEY. Educational Problems. 2 vols. 1911. Appleton.
31s. 6d. net. Ch. 24. Civic Education.

[1]HENDERSON, C.H. Education and the Larger Life. 1902. Boston:
Houghton. 6s. 0d.

[1]HUGHES, E.H. The Teaching of Citizenship. 1909. Boston: Wilde. 6s.
0d.

HUGHES, M.L.V. Citizens To Be. 1915. Constable. 4s. 6d. net.

[1]JENKS, J.W. Citizenship and the Schools. 1909. New York: Holt. 6s.
0d.

KERSCHENSTEINER, GEORG. Education for Citizenship. Tr. A.J. Pressland.
1915. Harrap. 2s. 0d. net. The Schools and the Nation. 1914.
Macmillan. 6s. 0d. net.

[1]MONROE, PAUL. (Ed.) Cyclopedia of Education. 5 vols. Macmillan.
105s. 0d. net.

MORGAN, ALEXANDER. Education and Social Progress. 1916. Longmans. 3s.
6d. net.

Oxford and Working Class Education. Clarendon Press, 1s. net.

PATERSON, ALEXANDER. Across the Bridges. 1912. Arnold. 1s. 0d. net.

SADLER, M.E. (Ed.). Continuation Schools in England and Elsewhere.
1908. Manchester University Press. 8s. 6d. net.

SCOTT, C.A. Social Education. 1908. Ginn. 6s. 0d. net.

WALLAS, GRAHAM. The Great Society. 1914. Macmillan. 7s. 6d. net.

See also:

Board of Education. Reports.

Civics and Moral Education League Papers, 6 York Buildings, Adelphi,
W.C. 2.

[Footnote 1: American.]



VI

THE PLACE OF LITERATURE IN EDUCATION

By NOWELL SMITH

Head Master of Sherborne School


Education is a subject upon which everyone--or at least every
parent--considers himself entitled to have opinions and to express
them. But educational treatises or the considered views of educational
experts have a very limited popularity, and in fact arouse little
interest outside the circle of the experts themselves. Even the
average teacher, who is himself, if only he realised it, inside the
circle, pays little heed to the broader aspects of education, chiefly,
no doubt, because in the daily practice of the art of education he
cannot step aside and see it as a whole; he cannot see the wood for
the trees. The indifference of laymen however is mainly due to the
fact that educational theory, like other special subjects, inevitably
acquires a jargon of its own, an indispensable shorthand, as it were,
for experts, but far too abstract and technical for outsiders.

And his technical language too often reacts upon the actual ideas of
the educational theorist, who tends to lose sight of the variety of
concrete boys and girls in his abstract reasonings, necessary as these
are. We are apt to forget that what is sauce for the goose may not be
sauce for the gander, and still more perhaps that what is sauce for
the swan may not be sauce for either of these humbler but deserving
fowl. But it is certain that in discussing education we ought
constantly to envisage the actual individuals to be educated.
Otherwise our "average pupil of fifteen plus" is only too likely to
become a mere monster of the imagination, and the intellectual
_pabulum_, which we propose to offer, suited to the digestion of no
human boy or girl in "this very world, which is the world of all of
us."

In considering, then, the place of literature in education, I propose
to keep constantly before my eyes the people with whose education I am
personally familiar, namely, myself, my children, and the various
types of public school boy which I have known as boy, as
undergraduate, as college tutor and as schoolmaster. I say various
types of public school boy; for although there still is a public
school type in general which is easily recognisable by certain marked
superficial characteristics, the popular notion that all public school
boys are very much alike in character and outlook is a mere delusion.

Again, I propose, when I speak of literature, to mean literature, and
not a compendious term for anything that is not science. The
opposition that has in modern times been set up between science on the
one hand and a jumble of studies labelled either literary or
"humanistic" studies on the other is to my mind wholly unfounded in
the nature of things, and destructive of any liberal view of
education. It may perhaps be held that literature in its most literal
sense is a name for anything that is expressed by means of
intelligible language--a use of the word which certainly admits of no
comparison with the meaning of science, but which also leads to no
ideas of any educational interest. But I take the word literature in
its common acceptation; and, while admitting that I can give no
precise and exhaustive definition, I will venture to describe it as
the expression of thought or emotion in any linguistic forms which
have aesthetic value. Thus the subject-matter of literature is only
limited by experience: as Emile Faguet says somewhere--without
claiming to have made a discovery--_la littérature est une chose qui
touche à toutes choses_. And the tones of literature range from Isaiah
to Wycherley, from Thucydides to Tolstoy; its forms from Pindar to a
folk song, from Racine to Rudyard Kipling, from Gibbon to Herodotus or
Froissart. And while no two people would agree in drawing the line of
aesthetic value which should determine whether any given verbal
expression of thought or emotion was literature or not--a fact which
is not without importance in the choice of books for forming the taste
of our pupils--yet, for the purpose of discussing the place and
function of literature in education, we all know well enough what we
mean by the word in the general sense which I have attempted to
describe.

As this is not a tractate on education as a whole, I must risk
something for the sake of brevity, and will venture to lay down
dogmatically that the objects of literary studies as a part of
education are (1) the formation of a personality fitted for civilised
life, (2) the provision of a permanent source of pure and inalienable
pleasure, and (3) the immediate pleasure of the student in the process
of education. None of these objects is exclusive of either of the
others. They cannot in fact be separated in the concrete. But they are
sufficiently different to be treated distinctly.

(1) Hardly anyone would deny that some knowledge and appreciation of
literature is an indispensable part of a complete education. The full
member of a civilised society must be able to subscribe to the
familiar _Homo sum; nihil humanum a me alienum puto_. And literature
is obviously one of the greatest, most intense, and most prolific
interests of humanity. There have always been thinkers, from Plato
downwards, who for moral or political reasons have viewed the power of
literature with distrust: but their fear is itself evidence of that
power. Thus literature is a very important part both of the past and
of contemporary life, and no one can enter fully into either without
some real knowledge of it. A man may be a very great man or a very
good man without any literary culture; he may do his country and the
world imperishable services in peace or war. But the older the world
grows, the rarer must these unlettered geniuses become. Literature in
one form or another--too often no doubt put to vile uses--has become
so much part of the very texture of civilised life that a wide-awake
mind can scarcely fail to take notice of it. And in any case we need
not consider that kind of special genius which education does little
either to make or mar. No one is likely seriously to deny that for
taking a full and intelligent part in the normal life of a civilised
community--in love and friendship, in the family and in society, in
the study and practice of citizenship of all degrees--some literary
culture is absolutely necessary; nor indeed that, subject to a due
balance of qualities and acquirements, the wider and deeper the
literary culture the more valuable a member of society the possessor
will be. The lubricant of society in all its functions, whether of
business or leisure, is sympathy, and a sufficient quantity, as it
were, of sympathy to lubricate the complex mechanism of civilised life
can only be supplied by a widespread knowledge of the best, and a
great deal more than the best, of what has been and is being thought
and said in the world. Personal intercourse with one another and a
common apprehension of God as our Father are even more powerful
sources of sympathy; but literature provides innumerable channels for
the intercommunication and distribution of these sources, without
which the sympathies of individuals may be strong and lively, but will
almost always be narrowly circumscribed. It is very true that to know
mankind only through books is no knowledge of mankind at all; but ever
since man discovered how to perpetuate his utterances in writing it
has been increasingly true that literature is the principal means of
widening and deepening such knowledge.

This object of literary studies, the formation of a personality
fitted for civilised life, may be summed up in the familiar graceful
words of Ovid, who was thinking almost entirely of literature when he
wrote

            ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes
  Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros.

And it is only the lack, in so many of the greatest writers, and the
neglect, in so many educators and educational systems, of that due
balance of qualities and acquirements of which I spoke just now, which
have induced in superficial minds a distrust and often a contempt of
literature as a subject of education. The good citizen or man of the
world--in the best sense of the phrase--must not be the slave of
literary proclivities to the ruin of his functions as father or
husband or friend or man of action and affairs. The world of letters,
if lived in too exclusively, is an unreal world, though without it the
actual world is almost meaningless. Now the _genus irritabile vatum_,
even when their thoughts, as Carlyle put it, "enrich the blood of the
world," have very generally appeared to the plain man of goodwill as
very defective in the art of living. If their aspirations have been
above the standards of their day, their practice has often been below
them in such essentially social qualities as probity, faithfulness,
consideration for others. Moreover their outlook upon life, intense
and inspiring though it be, is often a very partial one. Even so, it
does not follow that because a poet or a philosopher is not in every
respect "the compleat gentleman," a citizen _totus teres atque
rotundus_, his works are not profitable for the building up of that
character. If it did, we must by parity of reasoning discard the
discoveries of a misanthropic inventor and the theories of a bigamous
chemist. We go to Plato and Catullus, to Shakespeare and Shelley, for
what they have to give: if we go with our own pet notions of what that
ought to be, we are naturally as disgusted as Herbert Spencer was with
Homer and Tolstoy with Shakespeare. Tolstoy is indeed a case in point.
He is one of the giants of literature, whose masterpieces are already
classics; and this position is unaffected by the various judgments
that may be formed either of his critical or of his practical wisdom.

The lack then of a due balance of qualities and acquirements in so
many authors, and we may add other artists, is a cause, but no
justification, of that belittlement and even distrust of the literary
side of education which are on the whole marked features of the
English attitude to-day. But a more potent cause and a real
justification of this attitude is the neglect of due balance of
qualities and acquirements by so many educators and educational
systems. Great educators have themselves rarely been narrow-minded
men; but the traditions they have founded have gone the way of all
traditions.

What begins as an inspiration hardens into a formula. The ideals of
the Renascence were caricatured in their offspring of the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries. Not only did the evolution of modern life
with its cities, its printing press, its gunpowder, its steam engine
and the rest, destroy the need of the well-to-do to be trained in the
practical arts of chivalry, of the chase, of husbandry, even of music
and design, so that the bodily activities of boys became relegated to
the sphere of mere games and pastimes; but as books usurped more and
more of the hours of boyhood, so the instructors of youth fell more
and more into the fatally easy path of formal and grammatical
treatment. The subject-matter of education was indeed literature, and
the very noblest literatures, mainly those of Greece and Rome: but
there was little of literary or humane interest about the study of it;
its meaning and spirit were concealed from all but the few who could
surmount the fences of linguistic pedantry and artificial technique
with which it was surrounded.

I do not know when the expression "the dead languages" was invented:
but certainly Latin and Greek have been treated as very dead languages
by the great majority of teachers for a very long time. And as "modern
subjects," history, geography, modern languages and literatures,
gradually thrust their way into the curriculum, each was subjected as
far as possible to the same mummification. There is a theory still
widely held among teachers that the value of a subject or of a method
of instruction depends upon the amount of drudgery which it involves
or the degree of repulsion which it excites. The theory rests upon a
confusion between the ideas of discipline and punishment, which itself
is probably due to the strongly Judaistic tone of our so-called
Christianity. At any rate, far too many schoolmasters suffer from
conscientious scruples about allowing the spirits of freedom,
initiative, curiosity, enjoyment, to blow through their class-rooms.

There has been, always to some extent, but with gathering force in
recent years, a natural revolt against this mixture of puritanism,
scholasticism, and dilettantism, which made the intellectual side of
public school education such a failure except for the few who were
born with the spoon of scholarship in their mouths. The irruption of
that turbulent rascal, natural science, has perhaps had most to do
with humanising our humanistic studies. It was a great step when boys
who could not make verses were allowed to make if it was but a smell;
and even breaking a test-tube once in a while is more educative than
breaking the gender-rules every day of the week. Many of my friends,
who label themselves humanists, are in a panic about this, and look
upon me sadly as a renegade because I, who owe almost everything to a
"classical education," am ready (they think) to sell the pass of
"compulsory Greek" to a horde of money-grubbing barbarians who will
turn our flowery groves of Academe into mere factories of commercial
efficiency. But fear is a treacherous guide. They are the victims of
that abstract generalisation of which I spoke at the outset. I check
their forebodings by reference to concrete personalities, myself, my
children, and the hundreds of boys I have known. And I see more and
more plainly, as I study the infinite variety of our mental lineaments
and the common stock of human nature and civilised society which
unites us, that literature is a permanent and indispensable and even
inevitable element in our education; and that moreover it can only
have free scope and growth in the expanding personality of the young
in a due and therefore a varying harmony with other interests. I and
my children and my schoolboys have eyes and ears and hands--and even
legs! We have, as Aristotle rightly saw, an appetite for knowledge,
and that appetite cannot be satisfied, though it may be choked, by a
sole diet of literature. We have desires of many kinds demanding
satisfaction and requiring government. We have a sense of duty and
vocation: we know that we and our families must eat to live and to
carry on the race. We resent, in our inarticulate way, these sneers at
our Philistinism, commercialism, athleticism, materialism, from
dim-eyed pedants on the one hand and superior persons on the other,
who have evidently forgotten, if they ever saw, the whole purport of
that Greek literature the name of which they take in vain. No! _La
littérature est une chose qui touche à toutes choses_; but if we are
to shut our eyes to all the "things" which evoke it, it becomes what
it is to so many, whose education has been in name predominantly
literary, "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying
nothing."

(2) The argument has already insensibly led us to treat by implication
the second, and indeed the third of our assumed objects. But in our
modern insistence upon social relations and citizenship--a very proper
insistence, still too much warped and hampered by selfishness and
prejudice--there is a real danger of our forgetting how much of our
conscious existence is passed, in a true sense, at leisure and alone.
It is our ideal on the one side to be "all things to all men": and for
any approach to this ideal, as we have seen, the knowledge and
sympathy born of literature are indispensable. But on the other side
no man or woman is completely fitted out without provision for the
blank spaces, the passages and waiting rooms, as it were, to say
nothing of the actual "recreation rooms" of the house of life. And
there is no provision so abundant, so accessible to all, so permanent,
so independent of fortune, and at once so mellowing and fortifying, as
literature. Our happiness or discontent depends far more, than on
anything else, on the habitual occupation of our mind when it is free
to choose its occupation. And, since thought is instantaneous, even
the busiest of us has far more of that freedom than he knows what to
do with unless he has a mental treasury from which he can at will
bring forth things new and old. It is impossible to exaggerate the
importance of hobbies in a man's own life--and of course indirectly in
his relations with his fellows. A single hobby is dangerous. You ride
it to death or it becomes your master. You need at least a pair of
them in the stable. What they are must depend, you say, upon the
temperament, the bent of the individual. True: but our main
responsibility as educators consists in our "bending of the twig." It
is not temperament nor destiny which renders so many men and women
unable to fill their leisure moments with anything more exhilarating
than, gossip, grumbling, or perpetual bridge. Perhaps the greatest
blessing which a parent or a teacher can confer on a boy or girl is
discreet, unpriggish, and unpatronising, encouragement and guidance in
the discovery and development of hobbies: and if I may venture on a
piece of advice to anyone who needs it, I should say: "Try to secure
that everyone grows up with at least two hobbies; and whatever one of
them may be, let the other be literature, or some branch of
literature."

  Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,
  Are a substantial world, both pure and good;
  Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
  Our pastime and our happiness will grow.

(3) At this point I can imagine someone, who recognises the importance
of literary culture in the equipment of a man or woman of the world,
and perhaps feels even more strongly the truth summed up in these
lines of Wordsworth, expressing the doubt whether the second at least
of these objects can be secured, or will not rather be precluded, by
admitting the study of literature as such into the school curriculum.
This doubt, which I have heard expressed by many lovers of literature,
notably by the late Canon Ainger, is not lightly to be disregarded. It
is to be met, however, in my opinion, by keeping clearly before our
eyes the third of the objects which we assumed to be aimed at by
literary studies as a branch of education--the immediate pleasure of
the student. The two objects which we have already discussed are
ulterior objects, which should be part of the fundamental faith of
the teacher; but while the teacher is in contact with his pupils they
should be forgotten in the glowing conviction that the study of
literature is, at that very moment, the most delightful thing in the
world. Of course we all know, or should know, that this is the only
attitude of mind for the best teaching in any subject whatever. It
takes a great deal more than enthusiasm to make a competent teacher;
and it is easy to prepare pupils successfully for almost any written
examination without any enthusiasm for anything except success. But,
cramming apart, a bored teacher is inevitably a boring one: and while
unfortunately the converse is not universally true and an enthusiastic
teacher may fail to communicate his enthusiasm, yet it is quite
certain that you cannot communicate enthusiasm if you are not
possessed of it.

But this enthusiasm, indispensable for the best teaching of anything,
is, so to speak, doubly indispensable for even competent teaching of
literature. On the one hand the ulterior objects of the study, of
which I have tried to indicate the importance, are of an impalpable
kind. I doubt if there is any subject of the curriculum which it would
be so difficult to commend to an uninterested pupil by an appeal to
simple utilitarian motives. On the other hand there clings to
literature, and particularly to poetry, which is the quintessence of
literature, an air of pleasure-seeking, of holiday, of irresponsibility
and detachment from the work-a-day world, which must captivate the
student, or else the study itself will seem very poor fooling compared
with football or hockey. If the attitude of the teacher reflects the old
question of the Latin Grammar "Why should I teach you letters?" he would
better turn to some other subject which his pupils will more easily
recognise as appropriate to school hours.

  What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
  That he should weep for her--

unless indeed he be a candidate for Responsions?

"Ah! it is just as I expected," says my friend Orbilius at this point:
"this literature-lesson of yours is to be mere play, a 'soft-option'
for our modern youth, who is not to be made to stand up to the tussle
with Latin prose or riders in geometry." Softly, my friend! It is
quite true that those twin engines of education, classics and
mathematics, are adapted partly by long practice, but partly, as I too
believe, by their very nature, to discipline the youthful mind to
habits of intellectual honesty, of accuracy, of industry and
perseverance. It is true that they accomplish some of this
discipline--though at what a cost!--in the hands of indifferent
teachers. It is true that every other subject of the usual curriculum
is much more obviously liable than they are to the dangers of
idleness, unreality, false pretence; and that the scoffs, for
instance, about "playing with test-tubes," "tracing maps," "dishing up
history notes," are in fact too often deserved. But in the first
place, if the object to be attained is a worthy one, it is our
business to face the dangers of the road, and not to give up the
object. If a knowledge and love of literature is part of the
birthright of our children, and a part which, as things are, very
many of them will never obtain away from school, then we teachers must
strive to give it them, even if the process seems shockingly frivolous
to the grammarian or the geometrician. And, secondly, it is not true
that the study of literature, even in the mother tongue, cannot be a
discipline and a delight together. The two are very far from
incompatible: indeed that discipline is most effective which is almost
or quite unconsciously self-imposed in the joyous exercise of one's
own faculties. The genuine footballer and the genuine scholar will
both agree with Ferdinand the lover, that

  There be some sports are painful, and their labour
  Delight in them sets off.

And the "labour" of the boy or girl who is really wrapped up in a play
of Shakespeare or is striving to express the growing sense of beauty
in fitting forms of language, is no less truly spiritual discipline
because it is felt not as pain but as interest and delight.

It is fortunately no part of my business to endeavour to instruct
teachers in the methods of imparting the love and knowledge of
literature. But the value of literary studies in education depends so
much upon the spirit in which they are pursued that I may perhaps be
permitted a few more words on the practical side of the subject. I
have already repeated the truism that no one can impart enthusiasm who
is not himself possessed of it: but even the lover of literature
sometimes lacks that clear consciousness of aim, and that sympathetic
understanding of the personality of his pupil; which are both
essential to successful teaching. Just as the clever young graduate is
tempted to dictate his own admirable history notes to a class of boys,
or to puzzle them with the latest theories in archaeology or
philosophy, so the literary teacher is apt to dazzle his pupils with
brilliant but to them unintelligible criticism, or to surfeit them
with literary history, or to impose upon them an inappropriate
literary diet because it happens to suit his maturer taste or even his
caprice. No one is likely to deny that such errors are possible; but I
should not venture to speak so decidedly, if I were not aware of
having too often fallen into them myself. And the only safeguard for
the teacher is the familiar "Keep your eye on the object"--and that in
a double sense. We must have a clear conception of our aim, and also a
living sympathy with our pupils. I have attempted to indicate the aim,
the equipment of boy or girl for civilised life and for spiritual
enjoyment. It will be sympathy with our pupils which will chiefly
dictate both the method and the material of our instruction. In the
early stages of education this sympathy is generally to be found
either in parents, if they are fond of literature, or in the teacher,
who is usually of the more sympathetic sex. The stories and poetry
offered to children nowadays seem to be, as a rule, sympathetically,
if sometimes rather uncritically, chosen. The importance of voice and
ear in receiving the due impression of literature is recognised; and
the value of the child's own expression of its imaginations and its
sense of rhythm and assonance is understood. Probably more teachers
than Mr. Lamborn supposes would heartily subscribe to the faith which
glows in his delightful little book _The Rudiments of Criticism_,
though there must be very few who would not be stimulated by reading
it.

It is when we come to the middle stage, at any rate of boyhood--for of
girls' schools I am not qualified to speak--that there is a good deal
to be done before the cultivation of literary taste, and all that this
carries with it, will be successfully pursued. In the past, the Latin
and Greek classics were, for the few who really absorbed them, both a
potent inspiration and an unrivalled discipline in taste: but it is
noteworthy how few even of the _élite_ acquired and retained that
lively and generous love of literature which would have enabled them
to sow seeds of the divine fire far and wide--"of joy in widest
commonalty spread." Considering the intensity with which the classics
have been studied in the old universities and public schools of the
United Kingdom, the fine flower of scholarship achieved, the sure
touch of style and criticism, one cannot help being amazed at the low
standard of literary culture in the rank and file of the classes from
which this _élite_ has been drawn. How rare has been the power, or
even apparently the desire, of a Bradley or a Verrall or a Murray, to
carry the flower of their classical culture into the fields of modern
literary study! And how few and fumbling the attempts of ordinary
classical teachers to train their pupils in the appreciation of our
English literature!

In recent years a new type of literary teachers has been rising, who
owe little, at any rate directly, to the old classical training; and
although their zeal is often undisciplined and "not according to
knowledge," with them lies the future hope of literary training in our
schools. They bring to their task an enthusiasm which was too often
lacking in the "grand old fortifying classical curriculum"; but it is
to be hoped that, as the importance of their subject becomes more and
more recognised, they will achieve a method which will embody all that
was valuable, while discarding much that was narrow and pedantic, in
classical teaching. And in particular may they all realise, as many
already do, what the classical teacher, however unconsciously, held as
an axiom, that in order to enter into the spirit of literature, to
appreciate style, to understand in any true sense the meaning of great
author's, it is not enough for pupils to listen and to read, and then
perhaps to write essays about what they have heard and read. They must
also _make_ something, exercise that creative, and at the same time
imitative, artistic faculty, which surely is the motive power of most
of our progress, at least in early life. Nothing has struck me more
forcibly than the intense interest which boys will take in their own
crude efforts at writing a poem or a story or essay, while they are
still quite unable to appreciate with discrimination, or even to enjoy
with any sustained feeling, the poetry or prose of the great masters.
Not that there is anything surprising in this. I know very well that
it was writing Latin verses that taught me to appreciate Virgil, and
writing juvenile epics that led me up to Milton. But it is an order of
progress which we schoolmasters are apt to overlook, expecting our
pupils to appreciate what we know to be good work before they have
that elementary, but most fruitful, experience which can only come
from handling the tools of the craft. The creative and imitative
impulse will die down in the great majority; and we shall not make the
mistake of continuing to exact formal "composition" from maturer
pupils, who no longer find it anything but a drag upon their progress
along the unfolding vistas of knowledge and appreciation. Our object
is not to increase the number of writers, already far too large, but
to increase the number of readers, which can never be too large, to
raise the standard of literary taste, and so to spread pure enjoyment
and all the benefits to society which joy, and joy alone, confers.
Inspired with such an aim, common sense and sympathy will enable us to
overcome the difficulties and avoid the pitfalls which undoubtedly
beset the teaching of that most necessary, most delightful, but most
elusive and imponderable subject, the appreciation of literature.



VII

THE PLACE OF SCIENCE IN EDUCATION

By W. BATESON

Director of the John Innes Horticultural Institution


That secondary education in England fails to do what it might is
scarcely in dispute. The magnitude of the failure will be appreciated
by those who know what other countries accomplish at a fraction of the
cost. Beyond the admission that something is seriously wrong there is
little agreement. We are told that the curriculum is too exclusively
classical, that the classes are too large, the teaching too dull, the
boys too much away from home, the examination-system too oppressive,
athletics overdone. All these things are probably true. Each cause
contributes in its degree to the lamentable result. Yet, as it seems
to me, we may remove them all without making any great improvement.
All the circumstances may be varied, but that intellectual apathy
which has become so marked a characteristic of English life,
especially of English public and social life, may not improbably
continue. Why nations pass into these morbid phases no one can tell.
The spirit of the age, that "polarisation of society" as Tarde[1]
used to call it, in a definite direction, is brought about by no cause
that can be named as yet. It will remain beyond volitional control at
least until we get some real insight into social physiology. That the
attitude or pose of the average Englishman towards education,
knowledge, and learning is largely a phenomenon of infectious
imitation we know. But even if we could name the original, perhaps
real, perhaps fictional, person--for in all likelihood there was such
an one--whom English society in its folly unconsciously selected as a
model, the knowledge would advance us little. The psychology of
imitation is still impenetrable and likely to remain so. The simple
interpretation of our troubles as a form of sloth--a travelling along
lines of least resistance--can scarcely be maintained. For first there
have been times when learning and science were the fashion. Whether
society benefited directly therefrom may, in passing, be doubted, but
certainly learning did. Secondly there are plenty of men who under the
pressure of fashion devote much effort to the improvement of their
form in fatuous sports, which otherwise applied would go a
considerable way in the improvement of their minds and in widening
their range of interests.

Of late things have become worse. In the middle of the nineteenth
century a perfunctory and superficial acquaintance with recent
scientific discovery was not unusual among the upper classes, and the
scientific world was occasionally visited even by the august. These
slender connections have long since withered away. This decline in the
public estimation of science and scientific men has coincided with a
great increase both in the number of scientific students and in the
provision for teaching science. It has occurred also in the period
during which something of the full splendour and power of science has
begun to be revealed. Great regions of knowledge have been penetrated
by the human mind. The powers of man over nature have been multiplied
a hundredfold. The fate of nations hangs literally on the issue of
contemporary experiments in the laboratory; but those who govern the
Empire are quite content to know nothing of all this. Intercommunication
between government departments and scientific advisers has of course
much developed. That, even in this country, was inevitable. Otherwise
the Empire might have collapsed long since. Experts in the sciences
are from time to time invited to confer with heads of Departments and
even Cabinet Ministers, explaining to them, as best they may, the
rudiments of their respective studies, but such occasional
night-school talks to the great are an inadequate recognition of the
position of science in a modern State. Science is not a material to be
bought round the corner by the dram, but the one permanent and
indispensable light in which every action and every policy must be
judged.

To scientific men this is so evident that they are unable to imagine
what the world looks like to other people. They cannot realise that by
a majority of even the educated classes the phenomena of nature and
the affairs of mankind are still seen through the old screens of
mystery and superstition. The man of science regards nature as in
great and ever increasing measure a soluble problem. For the layman
such inquiries are either indifferent and somewhat absurd, or, if they
attract his attention at all, are interesting only as possible sources
of profit. I suspect that the distinction between these two classes of
mind is not to any great degree a product of education.

It is contemporary commonplace that if science were more prominent in
our educational system everybody would learn it and things would come
all right. That interest in science would be extended is probable.
There is in the population a residuum of which we will speak later,
who would profit by the opportunity; but that the congenitally
unscientific, the section from which the heads of government temporal
and spiritual, the lawyers, administrators, politicians, the classes
upon whose minds the public life of this country almost wholly
depends, would by imbibition of scientific diet at any period of life,
however early, be essentially altered seems in a high degree unlikely.
Of the converse case we have long experience, and I would ask those
who entertain such sanguine expectations, whether the results of
administering literature to scientific boys give much encouragement to
their views. This consideration brings us to the one hard,
physiological fact that should form the foundation of all educational
schemes: the congenital diversity of the individual types. Education
has too long been regarded as a kind of cookery: put in such and such
ingredients in given proportions and a definite product will emerge.
But living things have not the uniformity which this theory of
education assumes. Our population is a medley of many kinds which will
continue heterogeneous, to whatever system of education they are
submitted, just as various types of animals maintain their several
characteristics though nourished on identical food, or as you may see
various sorts of apples remaining perfectly distinct though grafted on
the same stock. Their diversity is congenital.

According to the proposal of the reformers the natural sciences should
be universally taught and be given "capital importance" in the
examinations for the government services, but, cordially as we may
approve the suggestion, we ought to consider what exactly its adoption
is likely to effect. The intention of the proposal is doubtless that
our public servants, especially the highest of them, shall, while
preserving the great qualities they now possess, add also a knowledge
of science and especially scientific habits of mind. Such is the
"ample proposition that hope makes." Does experience of men accord
with it at all? Education, whether we like it or not, is a selective
agency. I doubt whether the change proposed will sensibly alter the
characters of the group on whom our choice at present falls. Rather,
if forced upon an unwilling community, must it act by substituting
another group. The most probable result would not be that the type of
men who now fill great positions would become scientific, but rather
that their places would be taken by men of an altogether distinct
mental type. At the present time these two types of men meet but
little. They scarcely know each other. Their differences are profound,
affecting thoughts, ways of looking at things, and mental interests of
every kind. If either could for a moment see the world with the vision
of the other he would be amazed, but to do so he would need at least
to be born again, and probably, as Samuel Butler remarked, of
different parents. No doubt the abler man of either type could learn
with more or less effort or unreadiness the subject-matter and
principles of the other's business, but any one who has watched the
habits of the two classes will perceive that for them in any real
sense to exchange interests, or that either should adopt the scheme of
proportion which the other assigns to the events of nature and of
life, a metamorphosis well nigh miraculous must be presupposed.

The Bishop of London speaking lately on behalf of the National Mission
said that nature helped him to believe in God, and as evidence for his
belief referred to the fact that we are not "blown off" this earth as
it rushes through space, declaring that this catastrophe had been
averted because "Some one" had wrapped seventy miles of atmosphere
round our planet[2]. Does any one think that the Bishop's slip was in
fact due to want of scientific teaching at Marlborough? His chances of
knowing about Sir Isaac Newton, etc., etc., have been as good as those
of many familiar with the accepted version. I would rather suppose
that such sublunary problems had not interested him in the least, and
that he no more cared how we happen to stick on the earth's surface
than St Paul cared how a grain of wheat or any other seed germinates
beneath it, when he similarly was betrayed into an unfortunate
illustration.

So too on the famous occasion--always cited in these debates--when a
Home Secretary defended the Government for having permitted the
importation of fats into Germany on the ground that the discovery that
glycerine could be made from fat was a recent advance in chemistry, he
was not showing the defects of a literary education so much as a want
of interest in the problems of nature, and the subject-matter of
science at large. It is to be presumed indeed that neither fats, nor
glycerine, nor the dependent problem how living bodies are related to
the world they inhabit, had ever before seemed to him interesting. Nor
can we suppose they would, even if chemistry were substituted for
Greek in Responsions.

The difficulty in obtaining full recognition for science lies deeper
than this. It is a part of public opinion or taste which may well
survive changes in the educational system. Blunders about science like
those illustrated above are soon excused. Few think much the worse of
the perpetrators, whereas a corresponding obliviousness to language,
history, literature, and indeed to learning other than their own which
we of the scientific fraternity have agreed to condone in our members
is incompatible with public life of a high order. Both classes have
their disabilities. That of the scientific side is well expressed in
an incident which befell the late Professor Hales. Examining in the
Little-Go _viva voce_, he asked a candidate, with reference to some
line in a Greek play, what passage in Shakespeare it recalled to him,
and received the answer "Please, sir, I am a mathematical man." Some,
no doubt, would rather ignore gravitation. When, for example, one
hears, as I did not long since, several scientific students own in
perfect sincerity that they could not recall anything about Ananias
and Sapphira and another, more enlightened, say that he was sure
Ananias was a name for a liar though he could not tell why, one is
driven to admit that ignorance of this special but not uncommon kind
does imply more than inability to remember an old legend. We may be
reluctant to confess the fact, but though most scientific men have
some recreation, often even artistic in nature, we have with rare
exceptions withdrawn from the world in which letters, history and the
arts have immediate value, and simple allusions to these topics find
us wanting. Of the two kinds of disability which is the more grave?
Truly gross ignorance of science darkens more of a man's mental
horizon, and in its possible bearing on the destinies of a race is far
more dangerous than even total blindness to the course of human
history and endeavour; and yet it is difficult to question the popular
verdict that to know nothing of gravitation though ridiculous is
venial, while to know nothing of Ananias is an offence which can never
be forgiven.

That is the real difficulty. The people of this country have
definitely preferred the unscientific type, holding the other
virtually in contempt. Their choice may be right or wrong, but that it
is reversible seems unlikely. Such revolutions in public opinion are
rare events. Democracy moreover inevitably worships and is swayed by
the spoken word. As inevitably, the range and purposes of science
daily more and more transcend the comprehension--even the educated
comprehension--of the vulgar, who will of course elevate the nimble
and versatile, speaking a familiar language, above dull and
inarticulate natural philosophers.

In these discussions there is a disposition to forget how very largely
natural science is already included in the educational curriculum both
at schools and universities. Schools subsidised by the Board of
Education are obliged to provide science-teaching. The public schools
have equipment, in some cases a superb equipment, for teaching at
least physics and chemistry. At the newer universities there are great
and vigorous schools of science. Of the old universities Cambridge
stands out as a chief centre of scientific activity. In several
branches of science Cambridge is without question pre-eminent. The
endowments both of the university and the colleges are freely used for
the advancement of the sciences. Not only in these material ways are
scientific studies in no sense neglected, but the position of the
sciences is recognised and even envied by those who follow other kinds
of learning. The scientific schools of Cambridge form perhaps the
dominant force among the resident body of the university, and except
by virtue of some great increase in the endowments, it would be
impossible to extend further the scientific side of Cambridge and
still maintain other forms of intellectual activity in such proportion
as to preserve that healthy co-ordination which is the life of a great
university.

At Oxford the case is no doubt very different. The measure in which
the sciences are esteemed appears only too plainly in the small
proportion of Fellowships filled by men of science. Progress has
nevertheless begun. At the remarkable Conference called in May, 1916,
to protest against the neglect of science it was noticeable that the
speakers were, in overwhelming majority, Oxford men[3].

Among the educational institutions of England there is no general
neglect to provide teaching of natural science and much of the
language used in reference to the problem of reform is not really in
accord with fact. Probably no boy able to afford a good secondary
school, certainly none able to proceed to a university, is debarred
from scientific teaching merely because it does not "form an integral
part" of the curriculum. This alone suffices to prove that the real
cause of the deplorable neglect of science is to be sought elsewhere.
The fundamental difficulty is that which has been already indicated,
that public taste and judgment deliberately prefers the type known as
literary, or as it might with more propriety be designated, "vocal."
In the schools there is no lack of science teaching, but the small
percentage of boys whose minds develop early and whose general
capacity for learning and aptitude for affairs mark them out as
leaders, rarely have much instinct for science, and avoid such
teaching, finding it irksome and unsatisfying. These it is, who going
afterwards to the universities, in preponderating numbers to Oxford,
make for themselves a congenial atmosphere, disturbed only by faint
ripples of that vast intellectual renascence in which the new shape of
civilisation is forming. With self-complacency unshaken, they assume
in due course charge of Church and State, the Press, and in general
the leadership of the country. As lawyers and journalists they do our
talking for us, let who will do the thinking. Observe that their
strength lies in the possession of a special gift, which under the
conditions of democratic government has a prodigious opportunity.
Uncomfortable as the reflection may be, it is not to be denied that
the countries in which science has already attained the greatest
influence and recognition in public affairs are Germany and Japan,
where the opinions of the ignorant are not invited. But facts must be
recognised, and our government is likely to remain in the hands of
those who have the gift of speech. A general substitution of
scientific men for the "vocal" could scarcely be achieved, even if the
change were desirable. The utmost limit of success which the
conditions admit is some inoculation of scientific interest and ideas
upon the susceptible members of the classes already preferred. That a
large proportion of those persons are in the biological sense
resistant to all such influences must be expected. Granting however
that a section perhaps even the majority, of our [Greek: beltistoi]
may prove unamenable to the influences of science no one can doubt
that under the present system of education a proportion of not
unintelligent boys in practice have little option. From earliest youth
classics are offered to them as almost the sole vehicle of education.
They do sufficiently well in classics, as they probably would on any
other curriculum, to justify themselves and their advisers in thinking
that they have made a good beginning to which it is safer to stick.
The system has a huge momentum, and so, holding to the "great wheel"
that goes up the hill, they let it draw them after. In their protest
against the monotony of the courses provided for young boys the
reformers are right. The trouble is not that science is not taught in
the schools, but that in schools of the highest type, with certain
exceptions, the young boys are not offered it.

Realising the determinism which modern biological knowledge has
compelled us to accept, we suspect that the power of education to
modify the destinies of individuals is relatively small. Abrogating
larger hopes we recognise education in its two scientific aspects, as
a selective agency, but equally as a provision of opportunity. In view
therefore of the congenital diversity of the individual types, that
provision should be as diverse and manifold as possible, and the very
first essential in an adequate scheme of education is that to the
minds of the young something of everything should be offered, some
part of all the kinds of intellectual sustenance in which the minds of
men have grown and rejoiced. That should be the ideal. Nothing of
varied stimulus or attraction that can be offered should be withheld.
So only will the young mind discover its aptitudes and powers. This
ideal education should bring all into contact with _beauty_ as seen
first in literature, ancient and modern, with the great models of art
and the patterns of nobility of thought and of conduct; and no less
should it show to all the _truth_ of the natural world, the changeless
systems of the universe, as revealed in astronomy or in chemistry,
something too of the truth about life, what we animals really are,
what our place and what our powers, a truth ungarbled whether by
prudery or mysticism.

But presented with this ideal the schoolmaster will reply that
something of everything means nothing _thorough_. I know the objection
and what it commonly stands for. It is the cloak and pretext for that
accursed pedantry and cant which turns every sort of teaching to a
blight. Thoroughness is the excuse for giving boys grammar and
accidence in the name of Greek: diagrams, formulae and numerical
examples in the name of science. Stripped of disguise this love of
thoroughness is nothing but an indolent resolve to make things easy
for the teacher, and, worse still, for the examiner. Live teaching is
hard work. It demands continual freshness and a mind alert. The
dullest man can hear irregular verbs, and with the book he knows
whether they are said right or wrong, but to take a text and show
what the passage means to the world, to reconstruct the scene and the
conditions in which it was written, to show the origins and the fruits
of ideas or of discoveries, demand qualities of a very different
order. The plea for thoroughness may no doubt be offered in perfect
sincerity. There are plenty of men, especially among those who desire
the office of a pedagogue, whose field of vision is constricted to a
slit. If they were painters their work would be in the slang of the
day, "tight." One small group of facts they see hard and sharp,
without atmosphere or value. Their own knowledge having no capacity
for extension, no width or relationship to the world at large, they
cannot imagine that breadth in itself may be a merit. Adepts in a
petty erudition without vital antecedents or consequences, they would
willingly see the world shrivel to the dimensions of their own
landscape.

Anticipating here the applause of the reforming party, to avoid
misapprehension let it be expressly observed that pedantry of this
sort is in no sense the special prerogative of teachers of classics.
We meet it everywhere. Among teachers of science the type abounds, and
from the papers set in any Natural Sciences Tripos, not to speak of
scholarship examinations of every kind, it would be possible to
extract question after question that ought never to have been set,
referring to things that need never have been taught, and knowledge
that no one but a pedant would dream of carrying in his head for a
week.

The splendid purpose which science serves is the inculcation of
principle and balance, not facts. There is something horrible and
terrifying in the doctrine so often preached, reiterated of course by
speaker after speaker at the "Neglect of Science" meeting, that
science is to be preferred because of its utility. If the choice were
really between dead classics and dead science, or if science is to be
vivified by an infusion of commercial, utilitarian spirit, then a
thousand times rather let us keep to the classics as the staple of
education. They at least have no "use." At least they hold the keys to
the glorious places, to the fulness of literature and to the
thoughtful speech of all kindred nations, nor are they demeaned with
sordid, shop-keeper utility. This was plainly in the mind of the Poet
Laureate, who speaking at the meeting I have referred to, said well
that "a merely utilitarian science can never win the spiritual respect
of mankind." The main objection that the humanists make to the
introduction of natural science as a necessary subject of education,
is, he declared, that science is not spiritual, that it does not work
in the sphere of ideas. He went on very properly to show how perverse
is such a representation of science, but, alas, in further
recommendation of science as a safe subject of instruction he added
that the antagonism of science to religion is ended, and that the
contest had been a passing phase. Reading this we may wonder whether
we are in fairness entitled to Dr Bridges's approval. "Tastes sweet
the water with such specks of earth?" Since he spoke of the
"unscientific attitude" of Professor Huxley as a thing of the past,
candour obliges us to insist emphatically that the struggle continues
and must perpetually be renewed. Huxley was opposing the teaching of
science to that of revelation. In these days the ground has shifted,
and supernatural teachings make preferably their defence by an appeal
to intuition and other obscure phenomena which can be trusted to defy
investigation. Against all such apocryphal glosses of evidential truth
science protests with equal vehemence, and were Huxley here he would
treat Bergson and his allies with the same scorn and contumely that he
meted out to the Bishop of Oxford on the notorious occasion to which
Dr Bridges made reference. As well might we decorate our writings with
Plantin title-pages, showing the author embraced by angels and
inspiring muses, as recommend ourselves in these disguises.

Agnosticism is the very life and mainspring of science. Not merely as
to the supernatural but as to the natural world must science believe
nothing save under compulsion. Little of value has a man got from
science who has not learned to be slow of faith. Those early lessons
in the study of the natural world will be the best which most frankly
declare our ignorance, exciting the mind to attack the unknown by
showing how soon the frontier of knowledge is reached. "We don't know"
should be ever in the mouth of the teacher, followed sometimes by "we
may find out yet." Not merely to the investigator but to the pupil the
interest of science is strongest in the growing edges of knowledge.
The student should be transported thither with the briefest possible
delay. Details of those parts of science which by present means of
investigation are worked out and reduced to general expressions are
dull and lifeless. Many and many a boy has been repelled, gathering
from what he hears in class that science is a catalogue of names and
facts interminable.

In childhood he may have felt curiosity about nature and the common
impulse to watch and collect, but when he begins scientific lessons he
discovers too often that they relate not even to the kind of fact
which nature is for him, or to the subjects of his early curiosity and
wonder, but to things that have no obvious interest at all,
measurements of mechanical forces, reaction-formulae, and similar
materials.

All these, it is true, man has gradually accumulated with infinite
labour; upon them, and of such materials has the great fabric of
science been reared: but to insist that the approaches to science
shall be open only to those who will surmount these gratuitous
obstacles is mere perversity. Men's minds do not work in that way. How
many would discover the grandeur of a Gothic building if they were
prevented from seeing one until they could work out stresses and
strains, date mouldings, and even perhaps cut templates? Most of us,
to be sure, enjoy the cathedrals more when we acquire some such
knowledge, and those who are to be architects must acquire it, but we
can scarcely be astonished if beginners turn away in disgust from
science presented on those terms.

It is from considerations of this kind that I am led to believe that
for most boys the easiest and most attractive introduction to science
is from the biological side. Admittedly chemistry is the more
fundamental study, and some rudimentary chemical notions must be
imparted very early, but if the framework subject-matter be animals
and plants, very sensible progress in realising what science means and
aims at doing will have been made before the things of daily life are
left behind. These first formal lessons in science should continue and
extend the boy's own attempts to find out how the world is made.

I shall be charged with running counter both to common sense and to
authority in expressing parenthetically the further conviction that,
in biology at least, laboratory work is now largely overdone. Whether
this is so at schools I cannot tell, but at the universities whole
mornings and afternoons spent in making elaborate preparations,
drawings and series of sections, are frequently wasted. These courses
were devised with the highest motives. Students were to "find out
everything for themselves." Generally they are doing nothing of the
kind. It may have been so once, but with text-books perfected and
teaching stereotyped, the more industrious are slavishly verifying
what has been verified repeatedly, or at best acquiring manipulative
skill. The rest are doing nothing whatever. They would be better
employed taking a walk, devilling for some investigator, browsing in
museums or libraries, or even arguing with each other. Certainly a few
lessons in the use of indexes and books of reference would be far more
valuable. Students of every grade must of course do some laboratory
work, and all should see as much material as possible. My protest is
solely against those long, torpid hours compulsorily given to labour
which will lead to nothing of novelty, and serves only to teach what
can be got readily in other ways. There are a few whose souls crave
such employment. By all means let them follow it.

But whatever is good for maturer students, biology for schoolboys
should be of a less academic cast.

The natural history of animals and plants has the obvious merit that
it prolongs the inborn curiosity of youth, that its subject-matter is
universally at hand, accessible in holidays and in the absence of
teachers or laboratories, and best of all that through biological
study the significance of science appears immediately, disclosing the
true story of man's relation to the world. From natural history the
transition to the other sciences, especially to chemistry and physics,
is easy and again natural. In the study of life many of the
fundamental conceptions of those sciences are met with on the
threshold, and boys whose aptitudes are rather of the physical order
will at once feel the impulse to follow nature from that aspect.
Biology is the more inclusive study. A man may be a good chemist and
miss the broad meaning of science altogether, being sometimes indeed
more devoid of such comprehension than many a philosopher fresh from
Classical Greats.

In appealing for a progress from the general to the particular I am
not blind to the dangers. Biology for the young readily degenerates
into a mawkish "nature-study," or all-for-the-best claptrap about
adaptation, but a sure remedy is the strong tonic of agnosticism,
teaching one of the best lessons science has to offer, the resolute
rejection of authority.

Some take comfort in the hope that all subjects may be taught as
branches of science, but the fact that must permanently postpone
arrival at this educational Utopia is that a great proportion of
teachers are not and can never be made scientific. Nothing proceeding
from such persons will by the working of any schedule, regulation, or
even Order of the Board be ever made to bear any colourable
resemblance to science. Moreover as has already been indicated, there
are plenty of pupils also who will flourish and probably reach their
highest development taught by unscientific men, pupils whose minds
would be sterilised or starved by that very nourishment which to our
thinking is the more generous. Were we a homogeneous population one
diet for all might be justifiable, but as things are, we should offer
the greatest possible variety.

From Rousseau onwards educationists, deriving their views, I suppose,
from some metaphysical or theological conception of human equality,
speak continually of the "mind of the child" as if the young of our
species conformed to a single type. If the general spread of
biological knowledge serves merely to expose that foolish assumption
there would be progress to record. Dr Blakeslee[4], a well-known
American biologist, lately gave a good illustration of this. In a
paper on education he showed photographs of two varieties of maize.
The ripe fruits of both are colourless if their sheaths be unbroken.
The one, if exposed to the light before ripening, by rupture of its
sheath, turns red. The second, otherwise indistinguishable, acquires
no red colour though uncovered to the full sun. If these maizes were
two boys, not improbably the one would be caned for failing to respond
to treatment so efficacious in the case of the other. When we hear
that such a man has developed too exclusively one side of his nature,
with what propriety do we assume that he had any other side to
develop? Or when we say that such-and-such a course of study tends to
make boys too exclusively literary, or scientific, or what not, do we
not really mean that it provides too exclusively for those whose
aptitudes are of these respective kinds? Living in the midst of a
mongrel population we note the divers powers of our fellows and we
thoughtlessly imagine that if something different had happened to us,
we can't say what, we should have been able to rival them. A little
honest examination of our powers shows how vain are such suppositions.
The right course is to make some provision for all sorts, since
unscientific teaching and unscientific persons will remain with us
always.

Teaching of this universal and undifferentiated sort, provided for all
in common, should be continued up to the age at which pupils begin to
show their tastes and aptitudes, in general about 16, after which
stage such latitude of choice should be given as the resources of the
school can provide.

Of what should the undifferentiated teaching consist? Coming from a
cultivated home a boy of 10 may be expected to have learned the
rudiments of Latin, and at least one modern language, preferably
French, _colloquially_, arithmetic, outlines of geography, tales from
Plutarch and from other histories. Going to a preparatory school he
will read easy Latin texts _with translations_ and notes; French
books, geography including the elements of astronomy, beginning also
algebra and geometry. At 12 dropping French except perhaps a reading
once a week, he will begin Greek, by means of easy passages again with
the translations beside him, continuing the rest as before.
Transferred at 14-1/2 to a public school he will go on with Latin,
starting Latin prose, Greek texts, again read fast with translations.
He will now have his first formal introduction to science in the guise
of biology, leading up to lessons and demonstrations in chemistry and
physics. At about 16-1/2 he may drop classics _or mathematics_
according as his tastes have declared themselves, adding modern
languages instead, continuing science in all cases, greater or less in
amount according to his proclivities.

Boys with special mathematical ability will of course need special
treatment. Moreover provision of German for all has avowedly not been
made. For all it is desirable and for many indispensable. But as the
number who read it for pleasure, never very large, seems likely to
diminish, German may perhaps be reserved as a tool, the use of which
must be acquired when necessary.

Such a scheme, I submit, makes no impossible demand on the time-table,
allowing indeed many spare hours for accessory subjects such as
readings in English or history. Note the main features of this
programme. The time for things worth learning is found by dropping
_grammar_ as a subject of special study. There are to be no lessons in
grammar or accidence as such, nor of course any verse compositions
except for older boys specialising in classics. _Mathematics_ also is
treated as a subject which need not be carried beyond the rudiments
unless mathematical or physical ability is shown. For other boys it
leads literally nowhere, being a road impassable.

All the languages are to be taught as we learn them in later life,
when the desire or necessity arises, by means of easy passages with
the translation at our side. Our present practice not only fails to
teach languages but it succeeds in teaching how _not_ to learn a
language. Who thinks of beginning Russian by studying the "aspects" of
the verbs, or by committing to memory the 28 paradigms which German
grammarians have devised on the analogy of Latin declensions?
Auxiliary verbs are the pedagogue's delight, but who begins Spanish by
trying to discriminate between _tener_ and _haber_, or _ser_ and
_estar_, or who learns tables of exceptions to improve his French?
These things come by use or not at all.

If languages are treated not as lessons but as vehicles of speech, and
if the authors are read so that we may find out what they say and how
they say it, and at such a pace that we follow the train of thought or
the story, all who have any sense of language at all can attend and
with pleasure too. What chance has a boy of enjoying an author when he
knows him only as a task to be droned through, thirty lines at a time?
Small blame to the pupil who never discovers that the great authors
were men of like passions with ourselves, that the Homeric songs were
made to be shouted at feasts to heroes full of drink and glory, that
Herodotus is telling of wonders that his friends, and we too, want to
hear, that in the tragedies we hear the voice of Sophocles dictating,
choked with emotion and tears; that even Roman historians wrote
because they had something to tell, and Caesar, dull proser that he
is, composed the _Commentaries_ not to provide us with style or
grammatical curiosities, but as a record of extraordinary events. To
get into touch with any author he must be read at a good pace, and by
reading of that kind there is plenty of time for a boy before he
reaches 17 to make acquaintance with much of the best literature both
of Greek and Latin.

Education must be brought up to date; but if in accomplishing that, we
lose Greek, it will have been sacrificed to obstinate formalism and
pedagogic tradition. The defence of classics as a basis of education
is generally misrepresented by opponents. The unique value of the
classics is not in any begetting of literary style. We are thinking of
readers not of writers. Much of the best literature is the work of
unlettered men, as they never tire of telling us, but it is for the
enjoyment and understanding of books and of the world that continuity
with the past should be maintained. John Bunyan wrote sterling prose,
knowing no language but his own. But how much could he read? What
judgments could he form? We want also to keep classics and especially
Greek as the bountiful source of material and of colour, decoration
for the jejune lives of common men. If classics cease to be generally
taught and become the appanage of a few scholars, the gulf between the
literary and the scientific will be made still wider. Milton will need
more explanatory notes than O. Henry. Who will trouble about us
scientific students then? We shall be marked off from the beginning,
and in the world of laboratories Hector, Antigone and Pericles will
soon share the fate of poor Ananias and Sapphira.

I come now to the gravest part of the whole question. We plead for the
preservation of literature, especially classical literature, as the
staple of education in the name of beauty and understanding: but no
less do we demand science in the name of truth and advancement. Given
that our demand succeeds, what consequences may we expect? Nothing
immediate, as I fear. In opening the discussion it was argued that
even if scientific knowledge be widely diffused, any great change in
the composition of the ruling classes is scarcely attainable under
present conditions of social organisation. Even if science stand equal
with classics in examinations for the services the general tenor of
the public mind will in all likelihood be undisturbed. Yet it is for
such a revolution that science really calls, and come it will in any
community dominated by natural knowledge. Science saves us from
blunders about glycerine, shows how to economise fuel and to make
artificial nitrates, but these, though they decide national destinies,
are merely the sheaf of the wave-offering: the harvest is behind. For
natural knowledge is destined to give man not only a direct control of
the material world but new interpretations of higher problems. Though
we in England make a stand upon the ancient way, peoples elsewhere
will move on. Those who have grasped the meaning of science,
especially biological science, are feeling after new rules of conduct.
The old criteria based on ignorance have little worth. "Rights,"
whether of persons or of nations, may be abstractions well-founded in
law or philosophy, but the modern world sooner or later will annul
them.

The general ignorance of science has lasted so long that we have
virtually two codes of right and duty, that founded on natural truth
and that emanating from tradition, which almost alone finds public
expression in this country. Whether we look at the cruelty which
passes for justice in our criminal courts, at the prolongation of
suffering which custom demands as a part of medical ethics, at this
very question of education, or indeed at any problem of social life,
we see ahead and know that science proclaims wiser and gentler creeds.
When in the wider sphere of national policy we read the declared
ideals of statesmen, we turn away with a shrug. They bid us exalt
national sentiment as a purifying and redeeming influence, and in the
next breath proclaim that the sole way to avert the ruin now menacing
the world is to guarantee to all nations freedom to develop,
"unhindered, unthreatened, unafraid." So, forsooth, are we to end war.
Nature laughs at such dreams. The life of one is the death of another.
Where are the teeming populations of the West Indies, where the
civilisations of Mexico or of Peru, where are the blackfellows of
Australia? Since means of subsistence are limited, the fancy that one
group can increase or develop save at the expense of another is an
illusion, instantly dissipated by appeal to biological fact, nor would
a biologist-statesman look for permanent stability in a multiplication
of competing communities, some vigorous, others worthless, but all
growing in population. Rather must a people familiar with science see
how small and ephemeral a thing is the pride of nations, knowing that
both the peace of the world and the progress of civilisation are to be
sought not by the hardening of national boundaries but in the
substitution of cosmopolitan for national aspiration.

[Footnote 1: _Les Lois de l'Imitation_, 1911, p. 87.]

[Footnote 2: Reported in _Evening Standard_, 11 Sept. 1916.]

[Footnote 3: Two Cambridge men spoke, one being Lord Rayleigh, the
Chairman, and ten Oxford men, besides one originally Cambridge, for
several years an Oxford professor.]

[Footnote 4: _Journ. of Heredity_, VIII. 1917, p. 53.]



VIII

ATHLETICS

By F. B. MALIM

Master of Haileybury College


At a conference held by the Froebel Society in January, 1917, the
subject for discussion was the employment of women teachers in boys'
schools. With some of the questions considered, whether women should
have shorter hours than men, whether they are capable of enforcing
discipline, and the like, I am not now concerned; but I was interested
to hear from one speaker after another that a woman was at a real
disadvantage in a boys' school, because she could not take part in the
games. The speakers did not come from the public schools, whose
devotion to athletics constitutes, we are sometimes told, a public
danger, but mainly from primary and secondary day schools in London.
But none the less it was assumed that a boy's games are an essential
part of his education. The same assumption is made by the managers of
boys' clubs and similar organisations which are endeavouring to carry
on the education of boys who have left the elementary schools at the
age of fourteen. In spite of the great difficulty of finding grounds
to play on in the neighbourhood of great towns, cricket and football
are encouraged by any possible means among the working lads of our
industrial centres. Games are more and more being regarded as a
desirable element in the education of the British boy, and are
provided for him and organised for him by those responsible for his
environment. But this is quite a modern development. I have been told
by one who was at Marlborough in the very early days of that school,
that so far were the authorities from providing any means of playing
cricket, that the boys themselves were obliged to subscribe small sums
for the purchase of the necessary material. The book containing the
names of the subscribers fell into the hands of the head master, who
gated for the term all boys on the list, assuming without inquiry that
they were the clients of a juvenile bookmaker.

When we ask why we have come to regard games as a part of a boy's
education, we shall naturally answer first that a full education is
concerned with the proper development of the body. For this purpose we
may employ the old fashioned gymnastic exercises, the modern Swedish
exercises or outdoor games. And of these the greatest is games. "So
far," says Dr. Saleeby, "as true race culture is concerned, we should
regard our muscles merely as servants or instruments of the will.
Since we have learnt to employ external forces for our purposes, the
mere bulk of a muscle is now a matter of little importance. Of the
utmost importance, on the other hand, is the power to coordinate and
graduate the activity of our muscles, so that they may become highly
trained servants. This is a matter however not of muscle at all, but
of nervous education. Its foundation cannot be laid by mechanical
things, like dumb-bells and exercises, but by games in which will and
purpose and co-ordination are incessantly employed. In other words the
only physical culture worth talking about is nervous culture. The
principles here laid down are daily defied in very large measure in
our nurseries, our schools and our barrack yards. The play of a child,
spontaneous and purposeful, is supremely human and characteristic.
Although when considered from the outside, it is simply a means of
muscular development, properly considered it is really the means of
nervous development. Here we see muscles used as human muscles should
be used, as instruments of mind. In schools the same principles should
be recognised. From the biological and psychological point of view,
the playing field is immensely superior to the gymnasium[1]."

It would be a mistake to under-estimate the value of the Swedish
system of physical exercises. Its object is not the abnormal
development of muscle, but the production of a healthy, alert and well
balanced body. The military authorities in the last three years have
been confronted with the problem of restoring promptness of movement,
erectness of carriage, poise and flexibility to numbers of men whose
muscles have been given a one-sided development by the constant
performance of one kind of manual work, or have grown flabby by long
sitting at a desk, and the task would have been much less successfully
tackled without the aid of the Swedish methods. In schools these
exercises may be used with real benefit given two conditions, small
classes and a really skilled instructor. For the value a boy derives
from the exercises, to a very large extent depends upon himself, on
the concentration of his own will. It is almost impossible to make
sure in a large class that this concentration is given, and any kind
of exercise done without purpose or resolution rapidly degenerates
into the most useless gesticulations. But though we may use physical
exercises as an aid, I should be sorry to see them ever regarded as a
substitute for games. Even supposing that they were an adequate
substitute in the development of the body (which I doubt) they cannot
claim to have an effect at all comparable to that of games in the
development of character. Sometimes the most extravagant claims are
put forward on behalf of athletics as a school of character, almost as
extravagant as are the terms in which at other times the "brutal
athlete" is denounced. I don't think it is found by experience that
athletes cherish higher ideals or are more humble-minded than their
less muscular fellows; I doubt if they become more charitable in their
judgments or more liberal in their giving. We must carefully limit the
claims we make, and then we shall find that we have surer grounds to
go on. What virtues can we reasonably suppose to be developed by
games? First I should put physical courage. It certainly requires
courage to collar a fast and heavy opponent at football, to fall on
the ball at the feet of a charging pack or to stand up to fast bowling
on a bumpy wicket. Schoolboy opinion is rightly intolerant of a
"funk," and we should not attach too small a value to this first of
the manly virtues. Considering as we must the virtues which we are to
develop in a nation, we realise that for the security of the nation
courage in her young men is indispensable. That it has been bred in
the sons of England is attested by the fields of Flanders and the
beaches of Gallipoli. We shall therefore give no heed to those who
decry the danger of some schoolboy games. For we shall remember that
just as few things that are worth gaining can be won without toil, so
there are some things which can only be won by taking risks. Few
things are less attractive in a boy than the habit of playing for
safety; in the old prudence is natural and perhaps admirable, in the
young it is precocious and unlovely. But we need not introduce
unnecessary risk by the matching of boys of unequal size and age. The
practice, for example, of house games in which the boys of one house
play together, without regard to size or skill, is very much inferior
to an organisation of games by means of "sets," graded solely by the
proficiency which boys have shown. In each set boys are matched with
others whose skill approximates to their own; they are not overpowered
by the strength of older boys and can get the proper enjoyment from
the display of such skill as they possess.

And as we desire our games to foster the spirit that faces danger, so
we shall wish them to foster the spirit that faces hardship, the
spirit of endurance. That is why I think that golf and lawn tennis are
not fit school games; they are not painful enough. I am afraid we
ought on the same ground to let racquets go, though for training in
alertness and sheer skill, in the nice harmony of eye and hand
racquets has no equal. But cricket, football, hockey, fives can all be
painful enough; often victory is only to be won by a clinching of the
teeth and the sternest resolve to "stick to it" in face of exhaustion.
This is the merit of two forms of athletics which have been oftenest
the subject of attack, rowing and running. Both of course should be
carefully watched by the school doctor; for both careful training is
necessary. But a sport which encourages boys to deny themselves
luxuries, to scorn ease, to conquer bodily weariness by the exercise
of the will, is not one which should be banished because for some the
spirit has triumphed to the hurt of the flesh. In a self-indulgent age
when sometimes it has seemed that the gibe of our enemies is true,
that the most characteristic English word is "comfort," it is good to
retain in our schools some forms of activity in which comfort is never
considered at all. The Ithaca which was [Greek: hagathê koyrotrophos]
was also [Greek: trêcheia].

Again no boy can meet with real athletic success who has not learnt to
control his temper. It is not merely that public opinion despises the
man who is a bad loser; but that to lose your temper very often means
to lose the game. It may be true that a Rugby forward does not
develop his finest game until an opponent's elbow has met his nose and
given an extra spice to his onslaught. But in the majority of contests
the man who keeps his head will win. Notably this is true in boxing, a
fine instrument of education, whatever may be the objections to the
prize ring. So dispassionate a scientist as Professor Hall in his
monumental work on Adolescence, describes boxing as "a manly art, a
superb school for quickness of eye and hand, decision, full of will
and self-control. The moment this is lost, stinging punishment
follows. Hence it is the surest of all cures for excessive
irascibility, and has been found to have a most beneficial effect upon
a peevish or unmanly disposition."

But perhaps the best lesson that a boy can learn from his games, is
the lesson that he must play for his side and not for himself. He does
not always learn it; the cricketer who plays for his average, the
three-quarters who tries to score himself, are not unknown, though
boyish opinion rightly condemns them. Popular school ethics are
thoroughly sound on this point, and it is the virtue of inter-school
and inter-house competitions, that in them a boy learns what it is to
forget self and to think of a cause. There is a society outside
himself which has its claim upon him, whose victory is his victory,
whose defeat is his defeat. Whether victory comes through him or
through another, is nothing so long as victory be won; later in life
men may play games for their health's sake or for enjoyment, but they
lose that thrill of intense patriotism, the more intense because of
the smallness of the society that arouses it, with which they battled
in the mud of some November day for the honour of their school or
house. Small wonder that when school-fellows meet after years of
separation, the memories to which they most gladly return, are the
memories of hard-won victories and manfully contested defeats.

But victory must be won by fair means. There is a story (possibly
without historical foundation) that a foreign visitor to Oxford said
that the thing that struck him most in that great university was the
fact that there were 3000 men there who would rather lose a game than
win it by unfair means. It would be absurd to pretend that that spirit
is universal: the commercial organisation of professional football and
the development of betting have gone a long way to degrade a noble
sport. But the standard of fair play in school games is high, and it
is the encouragement of this spirit by cricket and football that
renders them so valuable an aid in the activities of boys' clubs in
artisan districts. It has been argued that the prevalence of this
generous temper among our troops has been a real handicap in war; that
we have too much regarded hostilities as a game in which there were
certain rules to be observed, and that when we found ourselves matched
against a foe whose object was to win by any means, fair or foul, the
soldiers who were fettered by the scruples of honour were necessarily
inferior to their unscrupulous foe. It has perhaps yet to be proved
that in the long run the unchivalrous fighter always wins, and I doubt
whether any of us would really prefer that even in war we should set
aside the scruples of fair play. But in the arts and pursuits of peace
that man is best equipped to play a noble part who realises that there
are rules in the great game of life which an honourable man will
respect, that there are advantages which he must not take. How often
does some rather inarticulate hero, who has refused some tempting
prospect or spurned some specious offer, explain his act of
self-denial by the simple phrase of his boyhood, "I thought it wasn't
quite playing the game." Schoolboy honour is not always a faultless
thing; sometimes it means the hiding of real iniquity. But the honour
of the playing field is a generous code, and to have learnt its rules
is to have learnt the best that the public opinion of a boy community
can teach.

The chairman of a great engineering firm recently told the
Incorporated Association of Headmasters, that when he went to Oxford
to get recruits for his firm, he did not look for men who had got a
First in Greats, but for men who would have got a First, if they had
worked. For these men had probably given a good deal of their time to
rowing or games and had thereby learnt something of the art of dealing
with men. The student who sticks to his books learns many lessons, but
not this. To be captain of a house or of a school, and to do it well
is to practise the art of governing on a small scale. A sore
temptation to the schoolmaster is to interfere too much in school
games. He sees obvious mistakes being made, wrong tactics being
adopted, the wrong sides chosen, and he longs to interfere. He is
anxious for victories, and forgets that after all victories are a very
secondary business, that games are only a means, not an end, that if
he does not let the boys really govern and make their mistakes, the
game is failing to provide the training that it ought to give. It is
undoubted that schools which are carefully coached by competent
players, where the responsibility is largely taken out of the
captain's hands, are more likely to win their matches. But much is
lost, though the game may be won. The strong captain who goes his own
way, chooses his own side, frames his own tactics and inspires the
whole team with his own spirit, has had a practical training in the
management of men which will stand him in good stead in the greater
affairs of life. "We are not very well satisfied" said a War Office
official, "with the stamp of young officer we are getting. Many of
them never seem to have played a game in their lives, though they are
first-rate mathematicians." And there is no doubt that whether for war
or peace mathematics is not a substitute for leadership.

Courage, endurance, self-control, public spirit, fair play,
leadership, these are the virtues which we find may be encouraged by
the practice of games at school. It is not a complete list of the
Christian virtues, perhaps rather we might call them Pagan virtues,
but it is a fine list for all that. And the best of it is that they
are as it were unconsciously learnt, acquired by practice, not by
inculcation. The boy who follows virtue for its own sake would be, I
fear, a sad prig, but the boy who follows a football for the sake of
his house, may develop virtue and enjoy the process.

But what are we to put on the other side of the account? If it be true
that athletics is a fine school for character, what is the ground for
the frequent complaint that the public schools make a "fetish" of
athleticism? What precisely is the complaint? It is this, that boys
regard, and are encouraged to regard their games as the most important
side of their school life, that their interest in them is so
overpowering that they have no interest left for the development of
the intellect or the acquisition of knowledge, that prominent
athletes, not brilliant scholars, are the heroes of a boy community,
and that in consequence many men of the better nourished classes,
after they have left school, look upon their amusements as the main
business of life, give to them the industry and concentration which
should be bestowed upon science, letters or industry, and swell the
ranks of the amiable and incompetent amateur. It is argued that
schools are converted into pleasant athletic clubs, and that boys,
instead of learning there to work, merely learn to play. Now this is a
serious indictment; it is a good thing to learn to play, but it is not
the only thing a school should teach. Riding, shooting and speaking
the truth may have been an adequate curriculum for an ancient Persian,
but it would not provide a sufficient equipment to enable a man to
face the stress of modern competition, or to understand the
developments of the science and industry of to-day.

Is too much time given to the playing of games? In winter time I
should say No. I suppose that if we include teaching hours and
preparation, a boy spends some six hours a day on his intellectual
work, or if you prefer, he is supposed to spend that time. A game of
football two or three times a week, does not last more than an hour
and a quarter; if you add a liberal allowance for changing and baths,
two hours is the whole time occupied. A game of fives or a physical
drill class need not demand more than an hour. The game that really
wastes time--and I am sorry to admit it--is cricket. I am not thinking
so much of the long waits in the pavilion when two batsmen on a side
are well set, and the rest have nothing to do but to applaud. I see no
way out of that difficulty, so long as wickets are prepared as they
are now by artistic groundsmen. I am thinking rather of the excessive
practice at nets. An enthusiastic house captain is apt to believe that
by assiduous practice the most unlikely and awkward recruit can be
converted into a useful batsman, and the result is that he will drive
all his house day after day to the nets, until they begin to loathe
the sight of a cricket ball.

We should recognise that cricket is a game for the few; the majority
of boys can never make good cricketers. And happy are those schools
which are near a river and can provide an alternative exercise in the
summer, which does not require exceptional quickness of eye and wrist
and does provide a splendid discipline of body and spirit. In the
summer it is well to exempt all boys from cricket, who have really a
taste for natural history or photography. Summer half-holidays are
emphatically the time for hobbies, and it is a serious charge against
our games if they are organised to such a pitch that hobbies are
practically prohibited. The zealous captain will object that such
"slacking" is destroying the spirit of the house. We must endeavour to
point out to him that the unwilling player never makes a good player,
and that such a boy may be finding his proper development in the
pursuit of butterflies, a development which he would never gain by
unsuccessful and involuntary cricket. House masters too are apt to
complain that freedom for hobbies is subversive of discipline, and to
quote the old adage about Satan and idle hands. That there is risk, is
not to be denied. But you cannot run a school without taking risks.
Our whole system of leaving the government largely in the hands of
boys is full of risks. Sometimes it brings shipwreck; more often it
does not. For in the majority of cases the policy of confidence is
justified by results.

There is one way of wasting time that is heartily to be condemned, the
waste involved in looking on. I am inclined to think that if all
athletic contests took place without a ring of spectators, we should
get all the good of games and very little of the evil. Certainly
professional football would lose its blacker sides if there were no
gate money and no betting. Few men or boys are the worse for playing
games; it is the applause of the mob that turns their heads. But I am
afraid I am not logical enough to say that I would forbid boys to
watch matches against another school; the emotions that lead to the
"breathless hush in the Close" are so compounded of patriotism and
jealousy for the honour of the school, that they are far from ignoble.
But I would not have boys compelled to watch the games against clubs
and other non-school teams. Above all, if they watch, they must have a
run or a game to stir their own blood. The half-holiday must not be
spent in shivering on a touchline and then crowding round a fire.

That the athlete is a school hero and the scholar is not, is most
certainly true. The scholar may once in a way reflect glory on the
school by success in an examination, but generally he is regarded as a
self-regarding person, who is not likely to help to win the matches of
the year. But the hero-worship is not undiscriminating; conceit,
selfishness, surliness will go far to nullify the influence of
physical strength and skill. Boys' admiration for physical prowess is
natural and not unhealthy. The harm is done by the advertisement given
to such prowess by foolish elders. Foremost among such unwise
influences I should put the press. Even modest boys may begin to think
their achievements in the field are of public importance when they
find their names in print. Some papers publish portraits of prominent
players, or a series of articles on "Football at X--" or "The
prospects of the Cricket Season at Y--". The suggestion that there is
a public which is interested in the features of a schoolboy captain,
or wishes to know the methods of training and coaching which have led
to the success of a school fifteen, is likely to give boys an entirely
exaggerated notion of their own importance and to justify in their
minds the dedication of a great deal of time to the successes which
receive this kind of public recognition.

Next there is the parent. Our ever active critics are apt to forget
that schools are to a large extent mirrors, reflecting the tone and
opinion of the homes from which boys come. The parent who says when
the boy joins the school, "I do not mind whether he gets in the sixth,
but I want to see him in the eleven," is by no means an uncommon
parent. I have no objection to his wanting to see his boy in the
eleven, the deplorable thing is that he is indifferent to intellectual
progress. I have heard an elder brother say, "Tom has not got into his
house eleven yet, but he brought home a prize last term. I have
written to tell him he must change all that, we can't have him
disgracing the family." When a candidate has failed to qualify for
admission to the school at the entrance examination, I have had
letters of surprised and pained protest, pointing out that Jack is an
exceptionally promising cricketer. It is assumed that we should be
only too glad to welcome the athlete without regard to his standard of
work. If we could get the majority of parents to recognise the
schoolmaster's point of view, that while games are an important
element of education, they are only one element, and that there are
others which must not be neglected, we should have made a real step
forward towards the elimination of the excessive reverence paid to
the athlete.

After the press and the parent comes millinery. Perhaps it is Utopian
to suggest that "caps" can be entirely abolished; but the enterprise
of haberdashers and the weakness of school authorities have led to a
multiplication of blazers, ribbons, caps, jerseys, stockings, badges,
scarves and the like, which certainly tend to mark off the successful
player from his fellows, and to make him a cynosure of the vulgar and
an object of complacent admiration to himself. Success in games should
be its own reward. In some cases it certainly is. And the paradox is
that very often it is those who are least bountifully endowed by
nature who profit most. Some there are who have such natural gifts of
strength and dexterity, that from the first they can excel at any
game. Triumphs come to them without hard struggle, and they breathe
the incense of applause. But others have a clumsier hand, a slower
foot, and yet they have a determination to excel, a resolution in
sticking to their task that brings them at the last to a fair measure
of skill. Such a boy is already rewarded by the toughening of the will
that perseverance brings: he does not need a ribbon on his sweater. To
give the other, the natural athlete, a coloured scarf, is to run the
risk of making him over-value the gifts he owes to nature.

There is no reason why a boy who excels in games should not excel in
work. The two are not competing sides of education, they are
complementary. The schoolmaster's ideal is that his boys should gain
the advantages of both. The athlete who neglects his work, grows up
with a poorly furnished mind and an untrained judgment. The student
who neglects his games, grows up without the nervous development that
fits his body to be the instrument of his will, and without the
knowledge of men and the habit of dealing with men which are
indispensable in many callings. It has been proved again and again
that it is possible to get the advantages of both these sides of
school life. There is no reason why the playing of school games should
be anything but a help to the intellectual development of a boy.

But the constant talking about games is by no means harmless, though
it is true boys might be talking of worse things. It is related that a
French educational critic was once descanting to an English head
master on the monotony of the conversation of English public school
boys: "they talk of nothing but football." But when he was asked, "And
of what do French school boys generally talk?" he was silent. But if
"cricket shop" saves us from worse topics, it certainly is destructive
of rational conversation on subjects of more general interest. In
great boarding schools we collect a population of boys under quite
abnormal conditions, cut off for the greater part of their social life
from intercourse with older people. It is, I think, a general
experience that boys who have been at day schools and are the sons of
intelligent parents, have their minds more awakened to the questions
of the day in politics, or art, or literature than boys of equal
ability who have been at a boarding school. They have had the
advantage of hearing their father and his friends discussing topics
which are outside the range of school life. Boarding schools are often
built in some country place away from the surging life of towns, where
the noise of political strife and the roar of the traffic of the world
are but dimly heard. In such seclusion the life of the school,
particularly the active life of the playing fields, occupies the focus
of a boy's consciousness. The geographical conditions tend to narrow
the range of his interests, and he remains a boy when others are
growing to be men. Those who have the wider tastes, are deterred from
talking about them by the ever present fear of "side." They will talk
freely to a master of architecture or music or Japanese prints, but
they are chary of betraying these enthusiasms to their fellows. And
masters are not free from blame: I suppose we all of us sometimes bow
down in the house of Rimmon, and when the conversation languishes at
the tea-table, fall back on a discussion of the last house match. It
is the line of least resistance, and after a strenuous day's work it
is not easy to maintain a monologue about Home Rule. Not the least of
the boons of the war is that it has ousted games from the foremost
place as a topic of conversation. I have not noticed that they are
less keenly played, although the increase of military work has
diminished the time given to them; but they have ceased to monopolise
the thoughts of boys. The problem then of reducing the absorption in
games is the problem of finding and providing other absorbing
interests. We cannot, fortunately, always have the counter-irritant
of war. Where we fail now, is that the intellectual training of a boy
does not interest him enough in most cases to give him subjects of
conversation out of school. We give some few new interests by means of
societies, literary, antiquarian or scientific. But the main problem
is to make every boy see that the work he does in school is connected
with his life, that it is meant to open to him the shut doors around
him through which he may go out into all the highways and byways of
the world.

Do school games produce the man who regards games as the main business
of life? We must emphasise "main." It is certain that they do
encourage Englishmen to devote some part of their working life to
healthy exercise--and few, I suppose, would wish them to do otherwise.
The Indian civilian does not make a worse judge for playing polo, nor
is Benin worse administered since golf-links were laid out there. But
there are men who never outgrow the boyish narrowness of view that
games are the things that matter most. These remain the ruling
passion, because no stronger passion comes to drive it out. For this
the schools must bear part of the blame, for they have not taught
clearly enough that athletics are a means but not an end. Not all the
blame, for surely some must rest on a society which tolerates the
idler, and has no reproach for the man who says "I live only for
hunting and golf." And here as elsewhere, I believe we are judged more
by a few failures than by many successes. We can all of us in our
experience recall many an honest athlete who is now doing splendid
service to Church or State, doughty curates, self-sacrificing doctors,
soldiers who are real leaders of men. When they became men they put
away childish things, but they have not forgotten what they owe to the
discipline of their boyish games. Games are not the first thing in
life for them now, but they have no doubt that they can do their work
better from an occasional afternoon's play. They see things in their
right proportion, because they know that the first thing is to have a
job and do it well. If we can teach boys to begin to understand that
truth while they are at school, we shall have exorcised the bogey of
athleticism. I should expect to find (though I do not know) that the
authorities at Osborne and Dartmouth do not need to bother their minds
about that bogey. Their boys play games with all a sailor's
heartiness, but their ambition is not to be a first-class athlete, but
to be a first-class sailor, and the games take their proper place. It
may be desirable to reduce the time devoted to games, though as I have
said I doubt if there is any need to do so, except for cricket. It may
be that we should give more time to handicraft, or military drill. But
these things will not change the spirit. What we need to do is to make
clearer the object of education in which athletics form a part, that
there may be more sense of reality in the boy's school time, more
understanding that he is at school to fit himself manfully and capably
to play his part on the wider stage of life.

[Footnote 1: C.W. Saleeby, _Parenthood and Race Culture_, pp. 62, 63.]



IX

THE USE OF LEISURE

By J. H. BADLEY

Head Master of Bedales School


To teach a sensible use of leisure, healthy both for mind and body, is
by no means the least important part of education. Nor is it by any
means the least pressing, or the least difficult, of school problems.
"Loafing" at times that have no recognised duties assigned them, is
generally a sign of slackness in work and play as well; and if we do
not find occupation for thoughts and hands, the rhyme tells us who
will. The devils of cruelty and uncleanness will be ready to enter the
empty house, and fill it at least with unwholesome talk, and
thoughtless if not ill-natured "ragging." Yet work and games, whatever
keenness we arouse and encourage in these, cannot fill a boy's whole
time and thoughts--or, if they do, his life, whether he is student or
athlete, or even the occasional combination of both, is still a narrow
one and likely to get narrower as years go by. If life to the
uneducated means a soulless round of labour varied by the public-house
and the "pictures," so to the half-educated it is apt, except in war
time, to mean the office and the club, with interests that do not go
beyond golf and motoring and bridge. If our lives are emptier and our
interests narrower than they need be, it is partly the result of a
narrow and unsatisfying education, which leaves half our powers
undeveloped and interests untouched, and too often only succeeds in
giving us a distaste for those which it touches. Both for the sake of
the present, therefore, to avoid the dangers of unfilled leisure, and
still more for the sake of the future, the wise schoolmaster does all
he can to foster, in addition to keenness in the regular work and
games, interests, both individual and social, of other kinds as well.
He will make opportunities for various handicrafts: he will try to
stimulate lines of investigation not arranged for in the
class-routine; he will encourage the formation of societies both for
discussion and active pursuits, for instruction and entertainment. It
is the purpose of this essay to suggest what, along these lines, is
possible in the school.

But the reasons so far given for the encouragement of leisure-time
interests are mainly negative. In order to realise to the full the
importance of this side of education, we must look rather at their
positive value. From whichever point of view one looks at it,
physical, intellectual, or social, this value is not small. Some of
these interests contribute directly to health in being outdoor
pursuits; and these, in not letting games furnish the only motive and
means of exercise, can help to establish habits and motives of no
little help in later life, when games are no longer easy to keep up.
And even in the years when the call of games is strongest, some
rivalry of other outdoor pursuits is useful as a preventive of
absorption in athleticism, easily carried to excess at school so as to
shut out finer interests and influences. It was a consciousness of
this that led Captain Scott, in the letter written in those last hours
among the Antarctic snows, thinking of his boy at home, and the
education that he wished for him, to write: "Make the boy interested
in natural history, if you can; it is better than games: they
encourage it in some schools."

Besides health--and health, we must remember, is not only a bodily
matter, but depends on mental as well as bodily activity, and on the
enjoyment of the activity that comes from its being mainly
voluntary--the pursuits that we are considering can do much to train
skill of various kinds. The class-work represents the minimum that we
expect a boy to know; but there is much that necessarily lies outside
it of hardly less value. Many a boy learns as much from the hobby on
which he spends his free time as from the work he does in class.
Sometimes, indeed, such a free-time hobby reveals the bent that might
otherwise have gone undiscovered, and determines the choice of a
special line of work for the future career.

But the chief value of such interests lies rather in their influence
on other work, and on the general development of character. In giving
scope for many kinds of skill, they are helping the intellectual
training; and however ready we may be to pay lip-service to the
principle of learning by doing, and to admit the educational
importance of the hand in brain-development, in most of our school
work we still ignore these things, so far as any practical
application of them is concerned. One is sometimes tempted to wonder
if in the future there may not be so complete a reaction from our
present ideas and methods as to make what are now regarded as mere
hobbies the main matter of education, and to relegate much of the
present school course, as the writing of verses has already been
relegated, to the category of optional side-shows. At any rate these
free-time interests can supply a very useful stimulus to much of the
routine work. In these a boy may find himself for the first time, and
discover, despite his experience in class, that he is no fool. Or at
least he may find there a centre of interest, otherwise lacking, round
which other interests can group, and to which knowledge obtained in
various class-subjects can attach itself, and so get for him a meaning
and a use. And further, if we do not make the mistake of narrowing the
range of choice, and allow, at any rate at first, a succession of
interests, the very range and variety of these pursuits is an antidote
against the tendency to early specialisation, encouraged by
scholarship and entrance examinations, which is one of the dangers
against which we need to be on our guard. If, therefore, without mere
dissipation of interest, we can widen the range of mental activities
and encourage, by discussions, essays, lectures and so forth, reading
round and outside the subjects dealt with in class, this is all to the
good.

And all this has a social as well as an individual aspect. The
meetings for the purposes just mentioned, as well as those for
entertainment, have, like games, a real educational value, and do
much to cement the comradeship of common interests and common aims
that is one of the best things school has to give. And not only among
those of the same age. These are things in which the example and
influence of the older are particularly helpful to the younger. They
can become, like the games, and perhaps to an even greater extent, one
of the interests that help to bind together past and present members
of a school. And they afford an opportunity for masters to meet boys
on a more personal and friendly footing, and to get the mutual
knowledge and respect which are all-important if education is to be,
in Thring's definition, a transmission of life through the living to
the living. That the organisation of leisure-time pursuits is of the
utmost help to the school as well as to the boy, is the unanimous
verdict of the schools in which it has long been a tradition. The
master who has had charge, for the past five-and-twenty years, of this
organisation in one such school writes that there they consider such
pursuits as the very life-blood of the school, and the only rational
method of maintaining discipline.

If what has here been said is admitted, it is plain that to teach, by
every means in our power, the use of leisure, is one of the most
important things a school has to do. We might, therefore, turn at once
to the consideration of the various means for such teaching that
experience has shown to be practicable in the school. But before doing
so, there is yet another reason, the most far-reaching of all, to be
urged for regarding this as a side of education fully as necessary,
at the present time above all, as those sides that none would
question. Great as is the direct and immediate value of the interests
and occupations thus to be encouraged, their indirect influence is
more valuable still, if they teach not only handiness and
adaptiveness, but also call forth initiative and individuality, and so
help to develop the complete and many-sided human personality which is
the crown and purpose of education as of life. We do not now think of
education as merely book-learning, nor even as concerned only with
mind and body, or only as fitting preparation for skilled work and
cultured leisure; but rather as the development of the whole human
being, with all his possibilities, interests, and motives, as well as
powers, his feelings and imagination no less than reason and will. In
a word, education is training for life, with all that this connotes,
and, as we learn to live only by living, must be thought of not merely
as preparation for life, but as a life itself. Plainly, if we give it
a meaning as wide as this, a great part of education lies outside the
school, in the influences of the home surroundings and, after school,
of occupation and the whole social environment. But during the school
years--and they are the most impressionable of all--it is the school
life that is for most the chief formative influence; and now more
necessarily so than ever. When, a few generations back, life was
still, in the main, life in the country, and most things were still
made at home or in the village, the most important part of education
lay, except for a few, outside the school. Now it is the other way.
Town life, the replacing of home-made by factory-made goods, the
disappearance of the best part of home life before the demands of
industry on the one side and the growth of luxury on the other--these
things are signs of a tendency that has swept away most of the
practical home-education, and thrown it all upon the school. And the
schools have even yet hardly realised the full meaning of this change.
Instead of having to provide only a part of education--the specially
intellectual and, in the public schools at least, the physical
side--we have now to think of the whole nature of the growing boy or
girl, and, by the environment and the occupations we provide, to
appeal to interests and motives, and give occasion for the right use
of powers, that may otherwise be undeveloped or misused. A school
cannot now consist merely of class-rooms and playing fields. This is
recognised by the addition of laboratories and workshops, gymnasium,
swimming-bath, lecture-hall, museum, art-school, music-rooms--all now
essentials of a day school as much as of a boarding school. But many
of these things are still only partially made use of, and are apt to
be regarded rather as ornamental excrescences, to be used by the few
who have a special bent that way, at an extra charge, than as an
integral part of education for all. All the interests and means of
training that they represent, and others as well, need to be brought
more into the daily routine; to some extent in place of the too
exclusively literary, or at least bookish, training, that has hitherto
been the staple of education, but more, perhaps, since it is not
possible to include in the regular curriculum _all_ that is of value,
as optional subjects and free-time occupations, though organised as
part of the school course. For it is not only the few who already know
their bent who need opportunity to be made for following it, but
rather those who will not discover their powers without practice, or
their interests without suggestion or encouragement. In this respect
the war has brought opportunities of no little value to the school,
not only in the absorbing interest in the war itself and the desire
for knowledge and readiness for effort that it awakens, but also in
the demands it has made for practical work of many kinds that boys and
girls can do, and the lessons of service that it has taught. Work on
the land and in the shops, for those whose school time is already too
short, is a curtailment, only to be made as a last resort, of the kind
of learning they will have no other opportunity to acquire; but it
gives to the public schoolboy the feeling of reality that most of his
school work lacks. Such opportunities of doing what is seen to be
productive and necessary work, are, like the making of things for
those at the front, and for the wounded, both in themselves and in the
motives that inspire them, a valuable part of education that should
not be forgotten when the present need for them is over.

If, then, by the fullest use of leisure occupations, we are, like
Canning, to call in a new world to redress the balance of the old,
what, in actual practice, is possible in the school? For an answer to
this question one has only to see what is done in the schools of the
Society of Friends, in which the use of leisure in these ways has
always been a strongly marked feature long before it was taken up by
others, with a tradition, indeed, in the older schools, of sixty or a
hundred years of accumulated experience behind it. Instead of singling
out, for description of the use it makes of leisure, any one school in
which it might be supposed that there were special conditions present,
it will be best to enumerate the various activities that have long
been practised in several different schools. Of those selected for the
purpose not all are connected with the Society of Friends; some are
for boys and some for girls only, and some co-educational; but alike
in being boarding schools, and in keeping their boys and girls from an
early age until, at the end of their school life, they go on to the
university or to their business or professional training. A few of the
pursuits to be mentioned are obviously more appropriate for boys,
others for girls; but the differences between those that are followed
in schools for boys and those for girls are surprisingly small, and to
give separate lists would only involve much needless repetition.

For the sake of clearness, it may be well to group the various
activities according as they are mainly outdoor or indoor occupations.
In the outdoor group, games and sports need not be included, as being,
in most cases, as much a part of the ordinary school course as the
class-work. They only become free-time pursuits, in the sense here
intended, in so far as practice for them is optional, and a large
amount of free time spent upon it. Thus, for example, while swimming
is, or should be, compulsory for all, and a regular time found for it
in the school time-table, it is entirely a voluntary matter to go in,
as in many schools a large number do, for the tests of the Royal
Humane Society. Apart from games, the outdoor pursuit that occupies
the largest place is probably, in most of these schools, some branch
of natural history (which may perhaps be held to include geology as
well as the study of plant and animal life)--not so much by the making
of collections, though this usually serves as a beginning, as by the
keeping of diaries, notes of observations illustrated by drawings and
photographs, and experimental work, in connection, perhaps, with work
done in science classes. Similarly in the study of archaeology, visits
to places of interest--there are always many old churches within
reach, if not other buildings of equal interest--give matter for
written notes as well as for drawings and photographs; and in at least
one case, the fact that the neighbourhood is rich in Roman remains has
given opportunity, under the guidance of a keen classical
archaeologist, for the laying bare of more than one Roman villa, and
for making interesting additions to the school museum. Besides their
use in the service of other pursuits, sketching and photography also
have many votaries for their own sake, though the former is usually
more dependent on encouragement from above. Then there is gardening.
The tenure of a plot of ground is a joy to many children; and in the
opinion of the writer, some experience, and some experimental work,
in the growing of the most necessary food plants, as well as flowers,
should form part of the education of all at a certain stage, whether
in school time or in free time. For some, where the conditions are
favourable, this can be extended to the care of fruit-trees, bees,
poultry, and to some kinds of farm-work. The needs of war-time have
brought something of this into many schools, to the real gain of
education, now and later, if it can be retained, at least as a
possibility of choice. So also with the care of the playing fields:
the more that the work needed for a game is thrown upon the players
themselves, the more does it contribute to education. And so too with
constructive work of any kind that, with some help of suggestion or
direction, is within the compass even of comparatively unskilled
labour. A lengthy list could be given of things accomplished in this
way, with an educational value all the greater for their practical
purpose, from Ruskin's famous road down to the last field levelled and
pavilion built or shed put up, by voluntary effort and in time found
by the workers without encroaching on regular school work. And lastly,
an outdoor occupation for free time which, in the earlier days of
school life, we shall do well to encourage--both for its own value and
the manifold interests that it encourages and lessons that it teaches,
and also for its bearing on questions of national service that will
remain to be answered after the war--is the wide range of activities
comprised in scouting, undoubtedly one of the chief educational
advances of our time. Whatever differences of views there may be on
the wider questions of military service for national defence, and of
making military training a specific part of education, few can deny
that, with a view to national service of _some_ kind, the use made by
Sir Robert Baden-Powell of instincts natural to all at a particular
stage of growth, by an organisation which can be kept entirely free
from the failings of militarism, is a development of the utmost
educational, as well as national, value. If a school already develops,
by other means, all the activities trained by scouting, and utilises
in other ways the instincts and motives to which it makes appeal,
there may be little or nothing to be gained by its adoption. But of
how many schools can this be said? For the rest it undoubtedly offers
a way of doing, at the stage of growth for which it is best fitted,
much of what, if there is any truth in what has been urged above, is,
from the point of view of individual development, of greater
importance now than ever before. If, in addition to this, it will go
far to solve the problem of national service, and to remove the need
for conscription in the continental form, there is every reason to
give it a prominent place in the activities encouraged, if not
insisted upon, at school.

Let us now turn to the group of indoor pursuits, which, if they have
not quite so direct a bearing upon health, are in another way even
more important; for a large part of leisure, even at school and still
more, in all probability, afterwards, falls at times and under
conditions that make some indoor occupation necessary, and the waste
or misuse of these times is likely to be greater. In this group
certain things need be no more than mentioned, as either applying, at
any given time, only to a few picked individuals, or else likely, in
the majority of schools, to be made a regular part of the school
routine; such as, of the one kind, the editing of the school magazine,
or membership of the school fire-brigade with the frequent practices
that this involves; or, of the other kind, special gymnastics
(including such things as boxing and fencing), or lectures and
concerts and other entertainments given to the school, as
distinguished from those given by members of it, the preparation for
which gives occupation beforehand to much of their leisure. Of the
free-time pursuits more properly so called, in which many can share,
the commonest are probably the various school societies. Most schools
have one or more debating societies, with meetings at regular
intervals throughout the winter terms, for the discussion of questions
of general or special interest; the difficulty being more often to
find a subject than speakers. Many also have Essay or Literary
societies, for reading papers and discussing the books and writers
treated of, which involve a considerable amount of previous reading.
Besides these most schools now have similar societies, in addition to
those for carrying out the field-work already mentioned, for holding
lectures and discussions on various branches of science. Some also
have a musical society for gaining fuller acquaintance with the works
of the chief composers; and a dramatic society for reading and acting
plays as occasion allows. Allied with these interests is voluntary
laboratory work in some branch of science, both by individuals and
groups, which may not unfairly be dignified with the name of research,
even if it is only the re-discovery of what has been worked out by
others. In some schools special provision is made for encouraging
optional work of this kind in astronomy; in others it may be wireless
telegraphy, or the use of vegetable dyes, and so forth. In some of
this work even the younger can take part; and of the many reasons for
its encouragement not the least is the wide field it opens to
individual initiative.

Besides all these more specially intellectual interests, and of still
wider appeal, various kinds of handicrafts afford abundant occupation,
some for the longer and some also for the shorter periods of leisure.
Wood-work, carving, work in metal or leather, pottery, basket-plaiting,
bookbinding, needlework and embroidery, knitting, netting hammocks and
so forth--the only limit to the number of such crafts is the limit to
the knowledge and energy of those who can start and direct them, and
to the space available, as some can only be carried on in rooms reserved
for such work. So, too, with various kinds of art-work--drawing,
modelling, lettering, making posters for entertainments; or music, both
individual and concerted, orchestra practice, part-singing, glee-clubs
and so on; or morrice and other folk-dances, now happily being widely
revived. And lastly there are indoor games, some of which, like chess
(cards are probably best confined to the sanatorium), have a high
training value, and others afford a useful occasional outlet to high
spirits; and entertainments got up by some society, or perhaps by a
single form, for the rest of the "house" or school, such as a concert
or play or even an occasional fancy-dress dance, the preparation for
which will happily occupy free time for as long beforehand as is
allowed, and does much to encourage ingenuity, especially if strict
conditions are imposed that all that is required must be made for the
purpose and not bought.

But by this time many questions will have arisen in the mind of the
reader, especially if much of what has been enumerated lies outside
his school experience; questions that demand an immediate answer. Even
if all this free-time work and play may have a certain value, how can
time be found for it without encroaching on the regular work and games
which, after all, must be the main concern of the school? And even
supposing that time could be found for both, will not all this
voluntary activity and pleasure-work absorb the interests and energies
that ought to be given to the more serious, if less attractive,
studies? And again, how can all this wide range of activity be
controlled? Who is going to teach, or look after, all these things?
How are they to be kept going? Are they, or any of them, to be
compulsory, or is a boy or girl to be allowed to do anything or
nothing, or to flit, butterfly-fashion, from one to another, learning
nothing except to fritter away energy in endless mental dissipation?

Only a brief answer can be attempted to these questions. It might
indeed be given in the answer to the old puzzle, _solvitur ambulando_;
for, given a clear aim and common sense, most difficulties in
education disappear as one goes on. It is, in fact, a question of
educational values; that settled, matters of detail soon settle
themselves. From what has been said above, it will be plain that the
writer is one of those who think these voluntary free-time activities
of such value that they are willing, in order to make room for them,
to jettison some of the traditions that have gathered about school
work and games. Let the morning hours be reserved for the severer
kinds of class work, but let the afternoons be mainly given to active
pursuits of other kinds as well as games; and on one of them at least
let expeditions in pursuit of the outdoor interests above outlined be
an alternative to the games chosen by the keen players, or compulsory
for those without an equivalent hobby. Then, too, in the evenings let
preparation be varied with handicrafts (the result will be an
intellectual gain rather than loss), and time be reserved for the
meetings of societies or for entertainments. It may be well to say
here that while every one of the things above mentioned is an actual
fact in some school, in none, probably, are all attempted at once,
nor, of course, do any of their members take up many of these pursuits
at the same time; but it is surprising how much can be done by
treating a part of some afternoons and evenings in the week as leisure
time for these pursuits. When this is done, there is usually a
particular member of the Staff whose task it is, either permanently or
in rotation, to see what is being done, to give suggestions and
encouragement to beginners, and to see, if necessary, that freedom
does not mean disorder. Naturally, in the case of handicrafts, others
also take part as actual teachers or at least as fellow-workers; but
though it is generally helpful for members of the Staff to join in all
such work and in discussions, the aim of it all is likely to be more
fully attained if as much as possible of the organisation and
direction is left to members of the school. So, too, with the question
of compulsion. Not all have so strong a bent as to know what they want
to do, and sometimes interests come only by actual experience. It is
well, therefore, to have an understanding that, at certain times, all
must follow some one of the possible occupations; but the more it can
be left to the individual choice, and the wider the range of choice,
the better for the purpose we have in view. Not all country rambles
need have a definite object, nor all time be actively filled that
might be left for reading. But without a definite object few will make
a habit of walking, or learn to know and love the country; and not
all, especially where there is a multiplicity of other interests, will
form the habit of reading unless regular times are set apart for it,
times when books must be read and not merely magazines. How far
freedom of change from one occupation to another is desirable is
largely an individual question. The younger need to try many things
before they can settle down to one, in order to discover their real
interests and to exercise their faculties. But it is well to have a
strict limit to the number of things that may be taken up at once, and
a fixed length of time to be given to each before it may be replaced
by another. With the older, this, as a rule, settles itself, on the
one hand by growing interest in one or two directions, and on the
other by the increasing demands of the school work and approaching
examinations. It is the younger, therefore, who need most
encouragement. In schools where, as said above, there is a long
tradition of such free-time work, there is the less need for anything
beyond suggestions and general supervision. Yet even in these it is
found helpful to have, at the beginning of the year, talks upon the
subject by some member of the Staff, or an old boy perhaps who has
devoted himself to some particular branch, in order to explain what
can be done and the standard to be maintained. In several of them
prizes are offered every year, either by the school or by the Old
Scholars' Association or by individual old scholars, for good work in
many of the categories mentioned above; these in some schools being
the only prizes given. In some cases they are money prizes, as in
certain kinds of work the tools or materials used are costly; in
others the prizes are not given to individuals, but in the form of a
"trophy" to the form or "house" that shows up the best record for the
term or year; in others, again, the need of prizes is not felt, but
interest and keenness to maintain a good standard are kept up by the
public show, held each year, of work done in leisure time. And, it may
be added, a great stimulus in itself is the wider freedom that can be
earned by those who follow certain branches of study, in the way, for
instance, of expeditions, on foot or by bicycle, to places where they
can be pursued.

But with all this there is, of course, the danger that so much energy
may be absorbed in these pursuits that little is left for the ordinary
school work. In some few cases, where there is a strong natural bent
and the free-time pursuit is a serious object of study, this may be a
thing not to be discouraged, as it will provide the truest means of
education. But in most cases care is needed to see that the due
proportion is kept, and especially that mere amusement is not allowed
to occupy the whole of leisure, still less to distract thought and
effort from serious work. By making entertainments, which might, if
too frequent or too elaborate, have this effect, dependent on the
school work being well done, this danger can be minimised. For the
rest, if free-time work is found to take the first place in a boy's
thoughts, may not this be a sign that the ordinary curriculum and
methods of teaching are capable of improvement, and that more use of
these natural interests may with advantage be made in class time as
well? Not that work of any kind can be all pleasure or always
outwardly interesting; there is plenty of hard spade-work needed in
any study seriously followed, in class or out. But if in education
keenness is the first essential and personality the final aim,
interest and freedom must have a larger place than is usually allowed
them in the class-room if the real education is not to centre in the
self-chosen and self-directed pursuits of leisure.

One word more. It must not be supposed that all that has been
described is only possible, or only needed, in the boarding school or
only for a specially leisured class. If, as has here been urged,
these activities and interests form an integral part of education in
its fullest meaning, they are just as necessary in the day school and
cannot be left to chance and the home to see to. And of all the needed
reforms in elementary education, amongst the most needed is the
greater utilisation of the active interests and instincts of children,
in a training that would have a wider outlook and a closer bearing,
through practical experience, both on the work of life and the use of
leisure.



X

PREPARATION FOR PRACTICAL LIFE

By SIR J. D. McCLURE

Head Master of Mill Hill School


I


It is, perhaps, the chief glory of the Ideal Commonwealth that each
and every member thereof is found in his right place. His profession
is also his vocation; in it is his pride; through it he attains to the
_joie de vivre_; by it he makes his contribution to the happiness of
his fellows and to the welfare and progress of the State. The
contemplation of the Ideal, however, would seem to be nature's anodyne
for experience of the Actual. In practical life, all attempts, however
earnest and continuous, to realise this ideal are frustrated by one or
more of many difficulties; and though the Millennium follows hard upon
Armageddon, we cannot assume that in the period vaguely known as
"after the war" these difficulties will be fewer in number or less in
magnitude. Some of the more obvious may be briefly considered.

In theory, every child is "good for something"; in practice, all
efforts to discover for what some children are good prove unavailing.
The napkin may be shaken never so vigorously, but the talent remains
hidden. In every school there are many honest fellows who seem to have
no decided bent in any direction, and who would probably do equally
well, or equally badly, in any one of half-a-dozen different
employments. Some of these boys are steady, reliable, not unduly
averse from labour, willing--even anxious--to be guided and to carry
out instructions, yet are quite unable to manifest a preference for
any one kind of work.

Others, again, show real enthusiasm for a business or profession, but
do not possess those qualities which are essential to success therein;
yet they are allowed to follow their supposed bent, and spend the
priceless years of adolescence in the achievement of costly failure.
Many a promising mechanic has been spoiled by the ill-considered
attempts to make a passable engineer; and the annals of every
profession abound in parallel instances of misdirected zeal. In saying
this, however, one would not wish to undervalue enthusiasm, nor to
deny that it sometimes reveals or develops latent and unsuspected
talents.

The life-work of many is determined largely, if not entirely, by what
may be termed family considerations. There is room for a boy in the
business of his father or some other relative. The fitness of the boy
for the particular employment is not, as a rule, seriously considered;
it is held, perhaps, to be sufficiently proved by the fact that he is
his father's son. He is more likely to be called upon to recognise the
special dispensations of a beneficent Providence on his behalf. It is
natural that a man should wish the fruits of his labour to benefit his
family in the first instance, at any rate; and the desire to set his
children well on the road of life's journey seems entirely laudable.
It is easy to hold what others have won, to build on foundations which
others have laid, and to do this with all their experience and
goodwill to aid him. Hence when the father retires he has the solid
satisfaction of knowing that

  Resigned unto the Heavenly Will,
  His son keeps on the business still.

It cannot be denied that this policy is often successful; but it is
equally undeniable that it is directly responsible for the presence of
many incompetent men in positions which none but the most competent
should occupy. There are many long-established firms hastening to
decay because even they are not strong enough to withstand the
disastrous consequences of successive infusions of new (and young)
blood.

Many, too, are deterred from undertaking congenial work by reason of
the inadequate income to be derived therefrom, and the unsatisfactory
prospects which it presents. Let it suffice to mention the teaching
profession, which fails to attract in any considerable numbers the
right kind of men and women. A large proportion of its members did not
become teachers from deliberate choice, but, having failed in their
attempt to secure other employment, were forced to betake themselves
to the ever-open portals of the great Refuge for the Destitute, and
become teachers (or, at least, become classified as such). True there
are a few "prizes" in the profession, and to some of the _rude
donati_ the Church holds out a helping hand; but the lay members
cannot look forward even to the "congenial gloom of a Colonial
Bishopric."

Others, again, are attracted to employments (for which they may have
no special aptitude) by the large salaries or profits which are to be
earned therein, often with but little trouble or previous training--or
so, at least, they believe. The idea of vocation is quite obscured,
and a man's occupation is in effect the shortest distance from poverty
which he cannot endure, to wealth and leisure which he may not know
how to use.

It frequently happens, too, that a young man is unable to afford
either the time or the expense necessary to qualify for the profession
which he desires to enter, and for which he is well adapted by his
talents and temperament. Not a few prefer in such circumstances to
"play for safety," and secure a post in the Civil Service.

It is plain from such considerations as these that all attempts to
realise the Utopian ideal must needs be, for the present at least, but
very partially successful. Politics are not the only sphere in which
"action is one long second-best." Even if it were possible at the
present time to train each youth for that calling which his own gifts
and temperament, or the reasoned judgment of his parents, selected as
his life-work, it is very far from certain that he would ultimately
find himself engaged therein. English institutions are largely based
on the doctrine of individual liberty, and those statutes which
establish or safeguard individual rights are not unjustly regarded as
the "bulwarks of the Constitution." But the inalienable right of a
father to choose a profession for his son, or of the son to choose one
for himself, is often exercised without any real inquiry into the
conditions of success in the profession selected. Hence the frequent
complaints about the "overcrowding of the professions" either in
certain localities or in the country at large. The Bar affords a
glaring example. "There be many which are bred unto the law, yet is
the law not bread unto them." The number of recruits which any one
branch of industry requires in a single year is not constant, and, in
some cases, is subject to great fluctuations; yet there are few or no
statistics available for the guidance of those who are specially
concerned with that branch, or who are considering the desirability of
entering it. The establishment of Employment Exchanges is a tacit
admission of the need of such statistics, and--though less
certainly--of the duty of the Government to provide them. Yet even if
they were provided it seems beyond dispute that, in the absence of
strong pressure or compulsion from the State, the choice of
individuals would not always be in accordance with the national needs.
The entry to certain professions--for instance that of medicine--is
most properly safeguarded by regulations and restrictions imposed by
bodies to which the State has delegated certain powers and duties. It
may happen that in one of these professions the number of members is
greatly in excess, or falls far short of the national requirements;
yet neither State nor Professional Council has power to refuse
admission to any duly qualified candidate, or to compel certain
selected people to undergo the training necessary for qualification.
It is quite conceivable, however, that circumstances might arise which
would render such action not merely desirable but absolutely essential
to the national well-being; indeed it is at least arguable that such
circumstances have already arisen. The popular doctrine of the early
Victorian era, that the welfare of the community could best be secured
by allowing every man to seek his own interests in the way chosen by
himself, has been greatly modified or wholly abandoned. So far are we
from believing that national efficiency is to be attained by
individual liberty that some are in real danger of regarding the two
as essentially antagonistic. The nation, as a whole, supported the
Legislature in the establishment of compulsory military service; it
did so without enthusiasm and only because of the general conviction
that such a policy was demanded by the magnitude of the issues at
stake. Britons have always been ready, even eager, to give their lives
for their country; but, even now, most of them prefer that the
obligation to do so should be a moral, rather than a legal one. The
doctrine of individual liberty implies the minimum of State
interference. Hence there is no country in the world where so much has
been left to individual initiative and voluntary effort as in England;
and, though of late the number of Government officials has greatly
increased, it still remains true that an enormous amount of important
work, of a kind which is elsewhere done by salaried servants of the
State, is in the hands of voluntary associations or of men who, though
appointed or recognised by the State, receive no salary for their
services. Nor can it be denied that the work has been, on the whole,
well done. A traditional practice of such a kind cannot be (and ought
not to be) abandoned at once or without careful consideration; yet the
changed conditions of domestic and international politics render some
modification necessary.

If the Legislature has protected the purchaser--in spite of the
doctrine of "caveat emptor"--by enactments against adulteration of
food, and has in addition, created machinery to enforce those
enactments, are not we justified in asking that it shall also protect
us against incompetence, especially in cases where the effects, though
not so obvious, are even more harmful to the community than those
which spring from impure food? The prevention of overcrowding in
occupations would seem to be the business of the State quite as much
as is the prevention of overcrowding in dwelling-houses and factories.
The best interests of the nation demand that the entrance to the
teaching profession--to take one example out of many--should be
safeguarded at least as carefully as the entrance to medicine or law.
The supreme importance of the functions exercised by teachers is far
from being generally realised, even by teachers themselves; yet upon
the effective realisation of that importance the future welfare of the
nation largely depends. Doubtless most of us would prefer that the
supply of teachers should be maintained by voluntary enlistment, and
that their training should be undertaken, like that of medical
students, by institutions which owe their origin to private or public
beneficence rather than to the State; nevertheless, the obligation to
secure adequate numbers of suitable candidates and to provide for
their professional training rests ultimately on the State. The
obligation has been partially recognised as far as elementary
education is concerned, but it is by no means confined to that branch.

It is well to realise at this point that the efficient discharge of
the duty thus imposed will of necessity involve a much greater degree
of compulsion on both teachers and pupils than has hitherto been
employed. The terrible spectacle of the unutilised resources of
humanity, which everywhere confronts us in the larger relations of our
national life, has been responsible for certain tentatives which have
either failed altogether to achieve their object, or have been but
partially successful. Much has been heard of the educational
ladder--incidentally it may be noted that the educational sieve is
equally necessary, though not equally popular--and some attempts have
been made to enable a boy or girl of parts to climb from the
elementary school to the university without excessive difficulty. To
supplement the glaring deficiencies of elementary education a
few--ridiculously few--continuation schools have been established.
That these and similar measures have failed of success is largely due
to the fact that the State has been content to provide facilities, but
has refrained from exercising that degree of compulsion which alone
could ensure that they would be utilised by those for whose benefit
they were created. "Such continuation schools as England possesses,"
says a German critic, "are without the indispensable condition of
compulsion." The reforms recently outlined by the President of the
Board of Education show that he, at any rate, admits the criticism to
be well grounded. A system which compels a child to attend school
until he is fourteen and then leaves him to his own resources can do
little to create, and less to satisfy, a thirst for knowledge. During
the most critical years of his life--fourteen to eighteen--he is left
without guidance, without discipline, without ideals, often without
even the desire of remembering or using the little he knows. He is
led, as it were, to the threshold of the temple, but the fast-closed
door forbids him to enter and behold the glories of the interior. Year
by year there is an appalling waste of good human material; and
thousands of those whom nature intended to be captains of industry are
relegated, in consequence of undeveloped or imperfectly trained
capacity, to the ranks, or become hewers of wood and drawers of water.
Many drift with other groups of human wastage to the unemployed,
thence to the unemployable, and so to the gutter and the grave. The
poor we have always with us; but the wastrel--like the pauper--"is a
work of art, the creation of wasteful sympathy and legislative
inefficiency."

We must be careful, however, in speaking of "the State" to avoid the
error of supposing that it is a divinely appointed entity, endowed
with power and wisdom from on high. It is, in short, the nation in
miniature. Even if the Legislature were composed exclusively of the
highest wisdom, the most enlightened patriotism in the country, its
enactments must needs fall short of its own standards, and be but
little in advance of those of the average of the nation. It must still
acknowledge with Solon. "These are not the best laws I could make, but
they are the best which my nation is fitted to receive." We cannot
blame the State without, in fact, condemning ourselves. The absence of
any widespread enthusiasm for education, or appreciation of its
possibilities; the claims of vested interests; the exigencies of Party
Government; and, above all, the murderous tenacity of individual
rights have proved well-nigh insuperable obstacles in the path of true
educational reform. On the whole we have received as good laws as we
have deserved. The changed conditions due to the war, and the changed
temper of the nation afford a unique opportunity for wiser counsels,
and--to some extent--guarantee that they shall receive careful and
sympathetic consideration.

It may be objected, however, that in taking the teaching profession to
exemplify the duty of the State to assume responsibility for both
individual and community, we have chosen a case which is exceptional
rather than typical; that many, perhaps most, of the other vocations
may be safely left to themselves, or, at least left to develop along
their own lines with the minimum of State interference. It cannot be
denied that there is force in these objections. It should suffice,
however, to remark that, if the duty of the State to secure the
efficiency of its members in their several callings be admitted, the
question of the extent to which, and the manner in which control is
exercised is one of detail rather than of principle, and may therefore
be settled by the common sense and practical experience of the parties
chiefly concerned.

A much more difficult problem is sure to arise, sooner or later, in
connection with the utilisation of efficients. Some few years ago the
present Prime Minister called attention to the waste of power involved
in the training of the rich. They receive, he said, the best that
money can buy; their bodies and brains are disciplined; and then "they
devote themselves to a life of idleness." It is "a stupid waste of
first-class material." Instead of contributing to the work of the
world, they "kill their time by tearing along roads at perilous speed,
or do nothing at enormous expense." It has needed the bloodiest war in
history to reveal the splendid heroism latent in young men of this
class. Who can withhold from them gratitude, honour, nay even
reverence? But the problem still remains how are the priceless
qualities, which have been so freely devoted to the national welfare
on the battlefield, to be utilised for the greater works of peace
which await us? Are we to recognise the right to be idle as well as
the right to work? Is there to be a kind of second Thellusson Act,
directed against accumulations of leisure? Or are we to attempt the
discovery of some great principle of Conservation of Spiritual Energy,
by the application of which these men may make a contribution worthy
of themselves to the national life and character? Who can answer?

But though it is freely admitted on all hands that some check upon
aggressive individualism is imperatively necessary, and that it is no
longer possible to rely entirely upon voluntary organisations however
useful, there are not a few of our countrymen who view with grave
concern any increase in the power and authority of the State. They
point out that such increase tends inevitably towards the despotism of
an oligarchy, and that such a despotism, however benevolent in its
inception, ruthlessly sacrifices individual interests and liberty to
the real or supposed good of the State; that even where constitutional
forms remain the spirit which animated them has departed; that
officialism and bureaucracy with their attendant evils become supreme,
and that the national character steadily deteriorates. They warn us
that we may pay too high a price even for organisation and efficiency;
and, though it is natural that we should admire certain qualities
which we do not possess, we ought not to overlook the fact that those
methods which have produced the most perfect national organisation in
the history of the world are also responsible for orgies of brutality
without parallel among civilised peoples. That such warnings are
needful cannot be doubted; but may it not be urged that they indicate
dangers incident to a course of action rather than the inevitable
consequences thereof? In adapting ourselves to new conditions we must
needs take risks. No British Government could stamp out voluntaryism
even if it wished to do so; and none has yet manifested any such
desire. The nation does not want that kind of national unity of which
Germany is so proud, and which seems so admirably adapted to her
needs; for the English character and genius rest upon a conception of
freedom which renders such a unity foreign and even repulsive to its
temper. Whatever be the changes which lie before us, the worship of
the State is the one form of idolatry into which the British people
are least likely to fall.



II


The recent adaptation of factories and workshops to the production of
war material is only typical of what goes on year by year in peace time,
though, of course, to a less degree and in less dramatic fashion. Not
only are men constantly adapting themselves and their machinery to
changed conditions of production, but they are applying the experience
and skill gained in the pursuit of one occupation to the problems of
another for which it has been exchanged. The comparative ease with which
this is done is evidence of the widespread existence of that gift which
our enemies call the power of "muddling through," but which has been
termed--without wholly sacrificing truth to politeness--the "concurrent
adaptability to environment." The British sailor as "handy man" has few
equals and no superiors, and he is, in some sort, typical of the nation.
The testimony of Thucydides to Themistocles ([Greek: kratistos dê oytos
aytoschediazein ta deonta egeneto]) might with equal or even greater
truth be applied to many Englishmen to-day. As this power [Greek:
aytoschediazein ta deonta] in the present war saved the Allies from
defeat at the outset, so we hope and believe it will carry them on to
victory at the last. Yet it becomes a snare if it leads its possessor to
neglect preparation or despise organisation, for neither of which can it
ever be an entirely satisfactory substitute, albeit a very costly one.
At the same time we should recognise that any system of training which
seriously impairs this power tends to deprive us of one of the most
valuable of our national assets. It follows that, for the majority at
least, exclusive or excessive specialisation in training--vocational or
otherwise--so far from being an advantage, is a positive drawback; for,
as we have seen, a large proportion of our youth manifest no marked bent
in any particular direction, and of those who do but a small proportion
are capable of that hypertrophy which the highest specialisation
demands.

It is important to remember that, though school life is a preparation
for practical life, vocational education ought not to begin until a
comparatively late stage in a boy's career, if indeed it begins at all
while he remains at school. On this it would seem that all
professional bodies are agreed; for the entrance examinations, which
they have accepted or established are all framed to test a boy's
general education and not his knowledge of the special subjects to
which he will afterwards devote himself. The evils of premature
specialisation are too well known to require even enumeration, and
they are increased rather than diminished if that premature
specialisation is vocational. The importance of technical training as
the means whereby a man is enabled rightly to use the hours of work
can hardly be exaggerated; but the value of his work, his worth to his
fellows, and his rank in the scale of manhood depend, to at least an
equal degree, upon the way in which he uses the hours of leisure. It
is one of the greatest of the many functions of a good school to train
its members to a wise use of leisure; and though this is not always
achieved by direct means the result is none the less valuable. In
every calling there must needs be much of what can only be to all save
its most enthusiastic devotees--and, at times, even to them--dull
routine and drudgery. A man cannot do his best, or be his best, unless
he is able to overcome the paralysing influences thus brought to bear
upon him by securing mental and spiritual freshness and stimulus; in
other words his "inward man must be renewed day by day." There are
many agencies which may contribute to such a result; but school
memories, school friendships, school "interests" take a foremost place
among them. Many boys by the time they leave school have developed an
interest or hobby--literary, scientific or practical; and the hobby
has an ethical, as well as an economic value. Nor is this all.
Excessive devotion to "Bread Studies," whether voluntary or
compulsory, tends to make a man's vocation the prison of his soul.
Professor Eucken recently told his countrymen that the greater their
perfection in work grew, the smaller grew their souls. Any rational
interest, therefore, which helps a man to shake off his fetters, helps
also to preserve his humanity and to keep him in touch with his
fellows. Dr A.C. Benson tells of a distinguished Frenchman who
remarked to him, "In France a boy goes to school or college, and
perhaps does his best. But he does not get the sort of passion for the
honour and prosperity of his school or college which you English seem
to feel." It is this wondrous faculty of inspiring unselfish devotion
which makes our schools the spiritual power-houses of the nation. This
love for an abstraction, which even the dullest boys feel, is the
beginning of much that makes English life sweet and pure. It is the
same spirit which, in later years, moves men to do such splendid
voluntary work for their church, their town, their country, and even
in some cases leads them "to take the whole world for their parish."

However much we may strive to reach the beautiful Montessori ideal,
the fact remains that there must be some lessons, some duties, which
the pupil heartily dislikes and would gladly avoid if he could; but
they must be done promptly and satisfactorily, and, if not cheerfully,
at least without audible murmuring. Eventually he may, and often does,
come to like them; at any rate he realises that they are not set
before him in order to irritate or punish him, but as part of his
school training. It will be agreed that the acquirement of a habit of
doing distasteful things, even under compulsion, because they are part
of one's duty is no bad preparation for a life in which most days
bring their quota of unpleasant duties which cannot be avoided,
delegated, or postponed.

At the present time, however, there is a real danger--in some quarters
at least--of unduly emphasising the specifically vocational, or
"practical" side of education. The man of affairs knows little or
nothing of young minds and their limitations, of the conditions under
which teaching is done, or of the educational values of the various
studies in a school curriculum. He is prone to choose subjects chiefly
or solely because of their immediate practical utility. Thus in his
view the chief reason for learning a modern language is that business
communications will thereby be facilitated. One could wish that he
would be content to indicate the end which he has in view, and which
he sees clearly, and leave the means of obtaining it to the judgment
and experience of the teacher; for in education, as in other spheres
of action, the obvious way is rarely the right way, and very often the
way of disaster. Yet it is a distinct gain to have the practical man
brought into the administration of educational affairs; for teachers
are, as a rule, too little in contact with the world of commerce to
know much of the needs and ideas of business men. The Board of
Education has already established a Consultative Committee of
Educationists. Why should not a similar standing Committee, consisting
of representatives of the Chambers of Commerce of the country be also
appointed? Such a Committee could render, as could no other body,
invaluable service to the cause of education.

From a recent article by Professor Leacock we learn that some twenty
years ago there was a considerable change in the Canadian schools and
universities. "The railroad magnate, the corporation manager, the
promoter, the multiform director, and all the rest of the group known
as captains of industry, began to besiege the universities clamouring
for practical training for their sons." Mr Leacock tells of a "great
and famous Canadian public school," which he attended, at which
practical banking was taught so resolutely that they had wire gratings
and little wickets, books labelled with the utmost correctness, and
all manner of real-looking things. It all came to an end, and now it
appears that in Canada they are beginning to find that the great thing
is to give a schoolboy a mind that will do anything; when the time
comes "you will train your banker in a bank." It may be that everybody
has not recognised this, and that the railroad magnates and the rest
of them are not yet fully convinced; but Mr Leacock declares that the
most successful schools of commerce will not now attempt to teach the
mechanism of business, because "the solid, orthodox studies of the
university programme, taken in suitable, selective groups, offer the
most practical training in regard to intellectual equipment, that the
world has yet devised."

To the same purport is the evidence given by Mr H.A. Roberts,
Secretary of the Cambridge Appointments Board (see _Minutes of
Evidence taken before the Royal Commission on the Civil Service, 22nd
November 1912-13th December 1912_, pp. 66-73). The whole of this
testimony deserves careful study. For some few years past the heads
of the great business firms, in this country and abroad, have been
applying in ever increasing numbers to Cambridge (and to Oxford also,
though in this case statistics do not appear to be available) for men
to take charge of departments and agencies; to become, in fact,
"captains of industry." In the year before the war (1913-14) about 135
men were transferred from Cambridge University to commercial posts
through the agency of the Board[1]. One might naturally suppose that
the majority of these were science men; on the contrary, owing no
doubt to the greater number of other posts open to them, they were
fewer than might have been expected. Graduates from every Tripos are
found in the 135 in numbers roughly proportional to the numbers in the
various Tripos lists. Shortly before the war an advertisement of an
important managership of some works--in South America, if I remember
rightly--ended with the intimation that, other things being equal,
preference would be given to a man who had taken a good degree in
Classical Honours.

That most of such men are successful in their occupations might be
deemed to be proved by the steady increase in the number of
applications made for their services. There is, however, more definite
evidence available. A member of one of the largest business firms in
the country testified to the same Royal Commission that of the 46
Cambridge men who had been taken into his employment during the
previous seven years 43 had done excellently well, two had left before
their probationary period was ended to take up other work; and one
only had proved unsatisfactory. This evidence could easily be
supplemented did space permit. It is clear, then, that in many
callings what is wanted--to begin with, at any rate--is not so much
technical knowledge as trained intelligence.

Another reason for thus choosing university men is not difficult to
discover. When Mr W.L. Hichens (Chairman of Cammell, Laird and Co.)
addressed the Incorporated Association of Headmasters in January last
he declared that in choosing university graduates for business he
looked out for the man who might have got a First in Greats or
history, if he had worked--a man who had other interests as well, who
was President of the Common Room, who had been pleasant in the Common
Room, or on the river, or rowed in his college "Eight," or had done
something else which showed that he could get on with his fellow-men.
In business getting on means getting on with men.

The experience of Mr Hichens is so valuable that I cannot do better
than quote further. "A big industrial organisation such as my firm,
has, or should have three main sub-divisions--the manufacturing
branch, the commercial branch, and the research or laboratory
branch.... I will not deal with the rank and file, but with the better
educated apprentices, who expect to rise to positions of
responsibility. On the workshop side, we prefer that the lads should
come to us between sixteen and seventeen, and, if possible (after
serving an apprenticeship in the shops and drawing office), that they
should then go to a university and take an engineering course.

"On the commercial side also we prefer to get the boys between sixteen
and seventeen. We have recently, however, reserved a limited number of
vacancies for university men. The research department also is, in the
main, recruited from university men. But there is this difference,
that, whereas the research men should have received a scientific
training at the university we require no specialised education in the
case of university men joining the commercial side. Specialised
education at school is of no practical value. There is ample time
after a boy has started business to acquire all the technical
knowledge that his brain is capable of assimilating. What we want when
we take a boy is to assure ourselves that he has ability and moral
strength of character, and I submit that the true function of
education is to teach him how to learn and how to live--not how to
make a living. We are interested naturally to know that a boy has an
aptitude for languages or mathematics, but it is immaterial to us
whether he has acquired his aptitude, say for learning languages,
through learning Latin and Greek or French and German. The educational
value is paramount, the vocational negligible. If, therefore, modern
languages are taught because they will be useful in later life, while
Latin and Greek are omitted because they have no practical use,
although their educational value may be greater, you will be
bartering away the boy's rightful heritage of knowledge for a mess of
pottage."

There are doubtless many different opinions as to the best way of
training boys to become engineers, and in giving the results of his
experience Mr Hichens does not claim that he is voicing the unanimous
and well-considered judgments of the whole profession. His statement
that "specialised education at school is of no practical value to us"
would certainly be challenged by those schools which possess a strong,
well-organised engineering side for their elder boys. But there would
be substantial unanimity--begotten of long and often bitter
experience--in favour of his plea that a sound general education up to
the age of sixteen or seventeen at any rate, is an indispensable
condition of satisfactory vocational training. "I venture to think,"
says Mr Hichens, "that the tendency of modern education is often in
the wrong direction--that too little attention is given to the
foundations which lie buried out of sight, below the ground, and too
much to a showy superstructure. We pay too much heed to the parents
who want an immediate return in kind on their money, and forget that
education consists in tilling the ground and sowing the seed--forget,
too, that the seed must grow of itself."

It would appear from what has already been said that though the
necessity for vocational training exists in most, if not in all cases,
the time in a boy's life at which such training ought to begin is far
from being the same for all callings. Even where there is general
agreement as to the normal age, exceptional circumstances or
exceptional ability may justify the postponement of vocational
instruction to a much later period than would usually be desirable.
Thus the fact that two of the most distinguished members of the
medical profession graduated as Senior Wrangler and Senior Classic
respectively, will not justify the average medical student in waiting
until he is twenty-three before commencing his professional training.
If it be true that in some quarters "specialised education" has been
demanded for young boys, it is equally true that many youths pass
through school and enter the university without any clear idea of
whither they are tending. This uncertainty may be due to a belief that
"something is sure to turn up," to the magnitude of their allowances
and the ease of their circumstances, occasionally, perhaps, to
excessive timidity or underestimation of their powers; but, from
whatever cause it springs, such an attitude of mind is deplorable in
itself, and fraught with grave moral dangers. It ought to be possible
in the case of a boy of sixteen or seventeen to say with some approach
to certainty, for what employments he is quite unsuitable, and to
indicate the general direction, at least, in which he should seek his
life-work. The _onus_ of choice is too often laid upon the boy
himself; and the form in which the question is put--What would you
_like_ to be?--makes him the judge not only of his own desires and
abilities, but also of the conditions of callings with which he can,
at best, be but imperfectly acquainted. There is here fine scope for
the co-operation of parents and teachers not only with each other but
with the various professional and business organisations. It is
generally supposed to be the duty of a head master to observe and
study the boys committed to his care. It is equally important that he
should extend that study and observation to their parents--as an act
of justice to the boys, if for no other reason. But there are other
reasons. There is knowledge to be gotten from every parent--or at
least from every father--about his profession or business--knowledge
which, as a rule, he is quite willing to impart. If, in addition, a
head master avails himself of the opportunities of getting into touch
with men of affairs, leaders of commerce, professional men of all
kinds, his advice to parents as to suitable careers for their sons
becomes enormously more valuable. At the very least he may save them
from some of the more flagrant forms of error; for instance, he may
convince them that there are other and more valuable indications of
fitness for engineering than the ability to take a bicycle to pieces,
and a desire "to see the wheels go round"; and that a boy who is "good
at sums" will not, of necessity, make a good accountant. In short, he
may prevent them from mistaking a hobby for a vocation.

[Footnote 1: In this connection it may be noted that 43 per cent. of
the members of Trinity College--where the normal number of
undergraduates in residence is over 600--on leaving the university
devote themselves to business.]



III


It ought to be clearly stated that in writing of schools I have had in
mind those which are usually known as public schools; for in the
general preparation for practical life the public school boy enjoys
many advantages which do not fall to the lot of his less-favoured
brother in the elementary school. Not only does his education continue
for some years longer, but it is conducted along broader lines, and
gives him a greater variety of knowledge and a wider outlook. He
comes, too, as a rule, from those classes of the community in which
there are long standing traditions of discipline, culture, and what
may be called the spirit of _noblesse oblige_. These traditions do
not, of themselves, keep him from folly, idleness, or even vice; but
they do help him to endure hardship, to submit to authority, to
cultivate the corporate spirit, to maintain certain standards of
schoolboy honour, and, as he himself would say, "to play the game."
Though in the class-room it may be that appeals are largely made to
individualism and selfishness, yet on the playing fields he learns
something of the value of co-operation and the virtue of
unselfishness. From the very first he begins to develop a sense of
civic and collective responsibility, and, in his later years at
school, he finds that as a prefect or monitor he has a direct share in
the government of the community of which he is a member, and a direct
responsibility for its welfare. Nor does this sense of corporate life
die out when he leaves, for then the Old Boys' Association claims him,
and adds a new interest to the past, while maintaining the old
inspiration for the future.

With the elementary school boy it is not so. To him, as to his
parents, the primal curse is painfully real: work is the sole and not
always effectual means of warding off starvation. He realises that as
soon as the law permits he is to be "turned into money" and must
needs become a wage-earner. As a contributor to the family exchequer
he claims a voice in his own government, and resists all the attempts
of parents, masters, or the State itself to encroach upon his liberty.
He begins work with both mind and body immature and ill-trained. There
has been little to teach him _esprit de corps_; he has never felt the
sobering influence of responsibility; the only discipline he has
experienced is that of the class-room, for the O.T.C. and organised
games are to him unknown; and when he leaves there is very rarely any
Association of Old Boys to keep him in touch with his fellows or the
school. Here and there voluntary organisations such as the Boy Scouts
have done something--though little--to improve his lot; but, in the
main, the evils are untouched. To find the remedy for them is not the
least of the many great problems of the future.

The improvement of any one branch of industry ultimately means the
improvement of those engaged therein. Scientific agriculture, for
example, is hardly possible until we have scientific agriculturists.
In like manner real success in practical life depends on the temper
and character of the practitioner even more than upon his technical
equipment. There are, however, three great obstacles to the progress
of the nation as a whole, obstacles which can only be removed very
gradually, and by the continuous action of many moral forces. We are
far too little concerned with intellectual interests. "No nation, I
imagine," says Mr Temple, "has ever gone so far as England in its
neglect of and contempt for the intellect. If goodness of character
means the capacity to serve our nation as useful citizens, it is
unobtainable by any one who is content to let his mind slumber." Then
again we suffer from the low ideal which leads us to worship success.
From his earliest years a boy learns from his surroundings, if not by
actual precept, to strive not so much to be something as somebody. The
love of power rather than fame may be the "last infirmity of noble
minds," but it is probably the first infirmity of many ignoble ones.
Herein lies the justification of the criticism of a friendly alien.
"You pride yourselves on your incorruptibility, and quite rightly; for
in England there is probably less actual bribery by means of money
than in any other country. _But you can all be bribed by power_."
Lastly (to quote Mr Hichens yet once more), "Strong pressure is being
brought to bear to commercialise our education, to make it a paying
proposition, to make it subservient to the God of Wealth and thus
convert us into a money-making mob. Ruskin has said that 'no nation
can last that has made a mob of itself.' Above all a nation cannot
last as a money-making mob. It cannot with impunity--it cannot with
existence--go on despising literature, despising science, despising
art, despising nature, despising compassion, and concentrating its
soul on pence."



XI

TEACHING AS A PROFESSION

By FRANK ROSCOE

Secretary of the Teachers Registration Council


The title of this chapter is prophetic rather than descriptive for
although teachers often claim for their work a professional status and
find their claim recognised by the common use of the phrase "teaching
profession" yet it must be admitted that teachers do not form a true
professional body. They include in their ranks instructors of all
types, from the university professor to the private teacher or
"professor" of music. Their terms of engagement and rate of
remuneration exhibit every possible variety. Their fitness to
undertake the work of teaching is not tested specifically, save in the
case of certain classes of teachers in public elementary schools, nor
is there any general agreement as to the proper nature and scope of
such a test, could one be devised. Usually, it is true, the
prospective employer demands evidence that the intending teacher has
some knowledge of the subject he is to teach. He may seek to satisfy
himself that the applicant has other desirable qualities, personal and
physical, which will fit him to take an active and useful part in
school work. These inquiries, however, will have little or no
reference to his skill in teaching, apart from what is called
discipline or form management.

The characteristics of a true profession are not easily defined, but
it may be assumed that they include the existence of a body of
scientific principles as the foundation of the work and the exercise
of some measure of control by the profession itself in regard to the
qualifications of those who seek to enter its ranks. Taken together,
these two characteristics may be said to mark off a true profession
from a business or trade. The skilled craftsman or artisan may belong
to a union which seeks to control the entrance to its ranks, but the
difference between the member of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers
and the member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers is that the
former belongs to a body chiefly concerned with the application of
certain methods while the latter belongs to one which is concerned
with those methods, not only in their application but also in their
origin and development. It is recognised that there is a body of
scientific knowledge underlying the practice of engineering, and the
various professional institutions of engineers seek to extend this
knowledge, while claiming also the right to ascertain the
qualifications of those who desire to become members of their
profession. The same is true in different ways with regard to the
professions of law and medicine. It is to be noted also that within
these professions the admitted member is on a footing of equality with
all his colleagues save only so far as his professional skill and
eminence entitle him to special consideration.

It will be seen at once that there are great difficulties to be
overcome before teaching can be truly described as a profession. The
diversity of the work is so great that it may be held that teaching is
not one calling but a blend of many. It is difficult to find any
common link between the university professor, the head master of a
great public school, an instructor in physical training, and a
kindergarten teacher. It is not easy to bring together the head master
of a preparatory school, working in complete independence, and the
head master of a public elementary school, dealing with pupils of
about the same age as those in the preparatory school, but controlled
and directed by an elected public authority under the general
supervision of the Board of Education. Yet despite these apparent
divergences of aim all teachers may be regarded as pursuing the same
end. They are engaged in bringing to bear upon their pupils certain
formal and purposeful influences with the object of enabling them to
play their part in the business of life. Such formal influences are
seconded by countless informal ones. School and university alone do
not make the complete man and it is an important part of the teacher's
task to second his direct and purposeful teaching by the influence of
his own personality and conduct, and by securing that the form or
school is in harmony with the general aim of his work.

Skill in imparting instruction is by no means the whole of the
equipment required by a teacher. It is indeed possible to give "a good
lesson" or a series of "good lessons" and yet to fail in the real work
of teaching. In some branches far too much stress has been laid on
the more purely technical and mechanical attributes of good teaching
as distinct from the finer and more permanent qualities such as
intellectual stimulus, the awakening of a spirit of inquiry, and the
development of a true corporate sense. By way of excuse it may be said
that teaching has tended to become a form of drill chiefly in those
schools where the classes have been too large to permit of anything
better than rigid discipline and a constant attention to the learning
of facts. Teachers in such circumstances are gravely handicapped in
all the more enduring and important parts of their work. Very large
schools and classes of an unwieldy size tend to turn the teacher into
a mere drill sergeant.

While full provision should always be made for the exercise of the
teacher's individuality there must be sought some unifying principle
in all forms of teaching work. Unless it is agreed that the imparting
of instruction demands special skill as distinct from knowledge of the
subject-matter we shall be driven to accept the view that the teacher,
as such, deserves no more consideration than any casual worker. No
claim to rank as a profession can be maintained on behalf of teachers
if it is held that their work may be undertaken with no more
preparation than is involved in the study of the subject or subjects
they purpose to teach. A true profession implies a "mystery" or at
least an art or craft and some knowledge of this would seem to be
essential for teachers if they are to have professional status.

The difficulty in this connection is that the principles of teaching
have not yet been worked out satisfactorily. Our knowledge of the
operations of the mind develops very slowly and those who carry out
investigations in this field of research are few in number. Their
conclusions are not necessarily related to teaching practice but cover
a wider field. The study of applied psychology with special reference
to the work of the teacher needs to be encouraged since it will serve
to enlarge that body of scientific principle which should form the
basis of teaching work. It is by no means necessary, or even
desirable, that teachers should be expected to spend their time in
psychological research. Their business is to teach and this requires
that they should devote themselves to applying in practice the truths
ascertained and verified by the psychologists. For this purpose it
will be necessary that they should know something of the method by
which these truths are sought and proved. It is also an advantage for
teachers to learn something of the history of education, not as a
series of biographies of so-called Great Educators but rather with the
object of learning what has been suggested and attempted in former
times. Such a knowledge furnishes the teacher with the necessary power
to deal with new proposals and with the many "systems" and "methods"
which are continually arising. Instead of becoming an eager advocate
of every novelty or adopting an attitude of indiscriminate scepticism
he will be in some measure able to estimate the true merit of new
proposals, and his knowledge of mental operations will serve as an
aid in judging whether they have any germ of sound principle. The
alternative plan of leaving the teacher to learn his craft solely by
practice often has the result of confining him too closely to narrow
and stereotyped methods, based either on the imperfect recollection of
his own schooldays, or on the method of some other teacher. Imitation
is cramping and serves to destroy the qualities of initiative and
adaptability which are indispensable to success in teaching.

It will be noted that no extravagant demand is put forward on behalf
of what is called training in teaching. The methods of training
hitherto practised have been based too frequently on the assumption
that it is possible to fashion a teacher from the outside, as it were,
by causing him to attend lectures on psychology and teaching method
and to hear a course of demonstration lessons. This plan may fail
completely since it is possible to write excellent examination answers
on the subjects named and even to give a prepared lesson reasonably
well without being fitted to undertake the charge of a form. It should
be recognised that the practice of teaching can be acquired only in
the class-room under conditions which are normal and therefore
entirely different from those existing in the practising school of a
training college. When this truth is fully apprehended we may expect
to find that the young teacher is required to spend his first year in
a school where the head master and one or more members of the regular
staff are qualified to guide his early efforts and to establish the
necessary link between his knowledge of theory and his requirements
in practice.

The Departments of Education in the universities should be encouraged
to develop systematic research into the principles of teaching and
should be in close touch with the schools in which teachers are
receiving their practical training.

The plan suggested will be free from the reproach often levelled
against the existing method of training teachers, namely, that it is
too theoretical and produces people who can talk glibly about
education without being able to manage a class. It will also recognise
the truth that the young teacher has much to learn in regard to the
art or craft of teaching and that there are certain general principles
which he must know and follow if he is to be successful in his chosen
work. The application of these principles to his own circumstances is
a matter of practice, for in teaching, as in any other art, the
element of personality far outweighs in its importance any matter of
formal technique or special method. The ascertained and accepted
principles underlying all teaching should be known and thereafter the
teacher should develop his own method, reflecting in his practice the
bent of his mind.

The recognition of a principle does not of necessity involve
uniformity in practice. Freedom in execution is possible only within
the limits of an art. The problem is to define these limits in such a
liberal manner as will allow for variety and individual expression.
The saying that teachers are born, not made, is one which may be made
of those who practise any art, but the poet or painter can exercise
his innate gifts only within certain limits and with regard to certain
rules. It is no less fatal to his art for him to abandon all rules
than it is for him to accept every rule slavishly and apply it to
himself without intelligence.

The acceptance of the principle that there is an art or at least a
craft of teaching is a condition precedent to any attempt to make
teaching a profession in reality as well as in name.

The further requirement is that those who are engaged in teaching
should have some power of controlling the conditions under which they
work and more especially of testing the qualifications of those who
desire to join their ranks. This demands a recognition of the
essential unity of all teaching work and a consequent effort to bring
all teachers together as members of one body, possessing a certain
unity or solidarity in spite of its apparent diversities. To form such
a body is a task of great difficulty since the various types of
teachers have in the past tended to separate themselves into groups,
each having its own association and machinery for the protection of
its own interests. Apart from the teaching staffs of the various
universities, there are in England and Wales over fifty associations
of teachers, ranging from the National Union of Teachers with over
ninety thousand subscribing members to bodies numbering only a few
score adherents. These associations reflect the great diversity of
teaching work already described, but all alike are seeking to promote
freedom for the teacher in his work and to advance professional
objects. Such aspirations have been in the minds of teachers for many
years and from time to time attempts have been made to realise them by
establishing a professional Council with its necessary adjunct of a
Register of qualified persons. Seventy years ago the College of
Preceptors, with its grades of Associate, Licentiate and Fellow,
suggesting a comparison with the College of Physicians, was
established with the object of "raising the standard of the profession
by providing a guarantee of fitness and respectability." The College
Register was to contain the names of all those who were qualified to
conduct schools, and admission to the Register was controlled by the
College itself in order to provide a means of excluding all who were
likely to bring discredit upon the calling of a teacher by reason of
their inefficiency or misconduct. The scheme thus launched was,
however, not comprehensive, since it concerned chiefly the teachers
who conducted private schools and did not contemplate the inclusion of
those who were engaged in universities, public schools, or the
elementary schools working under the then recently established scheme
of State grants. Teachers in schools of this last description were
apparently intended by the government of the day to be regarded as
civil servants, appointed and paid by the State. Subsequent
legislation modified this arrangement, but teachers in schools
receiving government grants are still subject to a measure of control,
and those in public elementary schools are licensed by the State
before being allowed to teach. It will be seen that the effort to
organise a teaching profession was hampered from the start by the
fact that teachers were not entirely free to set up their own
conditions, since the State had already taken charge of one branch,
while further difficulties arose from the varied character of
different forms of teaching work and from the circumstance that some
of these forms were traditionally associated with membership of
another profession, that of a clergyman.

Hence it was that despite several attempts to institute a Register of
Teachers and to organise a profession the difficulties seemed to be
insurmountable. Between the years 1869 and 1899 several bills were
introduced in Parliament with the object of setting up a Register of
Teachers but all met with opposition and were abandoned. The Board of
Education Act of 1899 gave powers for constituting by Order in Council
a Consultative Committee to advise the Board on any matter referred to
the Committee and also to frame, with the approval of the Board,
regulations for a Register of Teachers. It was not until 1902 that an
Order in Council established a Registration Council and laid down
regulations for the institution of a Register. The Council thus
established consisted of twelve members, six of whom were nominated by
the President of the Board of Education while one was elected by each
of the following bodies: the Headmasters' Conference, the Headmasters'
Association, the Head Mistresses' Association, the College of
Preceptors, the Teachers' Guild, and the National Union of Teachers.
The members of the Council were to hold office for three years, and
afterwards, on 1 April, 1905, the constitution of the Council was to
be revised. The duty assigned to the Council was that of establishing
and keeping a Register of Teachers in accordance with the regulations
framed by the Consultative Committee and approved by the Board of
Education. Subject to the approval of the Board the Council was
empowered to appoint officers and to pay them. The income was to be
provided by fees for registration and the accounts were to be audited
and published annually by the Board to whom the Council was also
required to submit a report of its proceedings once a year.

Under this scheme a Register was set up, with two columns, A and B. In
the former were placed the names of all teachers who had obtained the
government certificate as teachers in public elementary schools. This
involved no application or payment by such teachers, who were thus
registered automatically. Column B was reserved for teachers in
secondary schools, public and private. Registration in these cases was
voluntary and demanded the payment of a registration fee of one guinea
in addition to evidence of acceptable qualification in regard to
academic standing and professional training. Although teachers of
experience were admitted on easier terms the regulations were intended
to ensure that, after a given date, everybody who was accepted for
registration should have passed satisfactorily through a course of
training in teaching. As designed in the first instance Column B
furnished no place for teachers of special subjects and it became
necessary to institute supplemental Registers in regard to music and
other branches which had come to form part of the ordinary curriculum
of a secondary school.

The scheme thus provided a Register divided into groups according to
the nature of the accepted applicant's work. Such an arrangement
presented many difficulties since it ignored all university teachers
and assigned the others to different categories depending in some
instances on the type of school in which they chanced to be working
and in others on the subject which they happened to be teaching.

A professional Register constructed on these lines had the seeming
advantage of supplying information as to the type of work for which
the individual teacher was best fitted. On the other hand it was held
that the division of teachers into categories was unsound in principle
and the teachers in public elementary schools were not slow to resent
the suggestion that they belonged to an inferior rank and were
properly to be excused the payment of a fee. They pointed out that
many of their number held academic qualifications which were higher
than those required to secure admission to Column B wherein some
eleven thousand teachers had been registered, of whom not more than
one half were graduates. The views thus expressed were shared by many
other teachers and it speedily became manifest that the proposed
Register could not succeed. In the Annual Report of 1905 the Council
stated that under existing conditions it was not practicable to frame
and publish an alphabetical Register of Teachers such as appeared to
be contemplated in the Act of 1899. In June, 1906, the Board of
Education published a memorandum stating the reasons which had led it
to take the opportunity afforded by impending legislation to abolish
the Register, and in the Education Bill of 1906 a clause was inserted
which removed from the Consultative Committee the obligation to frame
a Register of Teachers. This clause was strongly opposed by many
associations of teachers. It was urged by these bodies that although
one scheme had failed yet a Register was still possible and desirable.
It was held by many that the task assigned to the Registration Council
had been an impossible one since the conditions of supervision and
control imposed under the Act of 1899 left the Council very little
freedom and wholly precluded the establishment of a self-governing
profession. The general opinion seemed to be that any future Register
must be in one column avoiding any attempt to divide those registered
into different classes and that any future Council must be as
independent and widely representative as possible. This opinion found
expression and official sanction in a memorandum issued by the Board
of Education in 1911 after several conferences had been held for the
purpose of promoting a new registration scheme. The memorandum stated
that: "It should not be so much the kinds of teachers likely to be
most rapidly or easily admitted to the Register that should specially
determine the composition of the Council but rather the larger and
more general conception of the unification of the Teaching
Profession." This new and wider idea served to govern the formation of
the Teachers Registration Council which was established by an Order
in Council of February, 1912. The body constituted by this Order
consists wholly of teachers and includes eleven representatives of
each of the following classes: the Teaching Staffs of Universities,
the Associations of Teachers in Public Elementary Schools, the
Associations of Teachers in Secondary Schools, and the Associations of
Teachers of Specialist Subjects. The Council thus numbers forty-four
and it is ordered that the chairman shall be elected by the Council
from outside its own body. At least one woman must be elected by each
appointing body which sends more than one representative to the
Council provided that the body includes women among its members. It
will be seen that the constitution aimed at forming a Council wholly
independent and thoroughly representative. This quality was further
ensured by the establishment of ten committees, representing various
forms of specialist teaching and providing that any conditions of
registration framed by the Council should be submitted to these
committees before publication.

The first Council under this scheme was formed in 1912 and held office
for three years as prescribed by the Order in Council. The chairman
was the Right Honourable A.H. Dyke Acland and the members included the
Vice-Chancellors of several universities and representatives of
forty-two associations of teachers. The first duty of the Council was
to devise conditions of registration and these were framed during
1913, being published at the end of that year. They provide in the
first place that up to the end of 1920 any teacher may be admitted to
registration who produces evidence of having taught under
circumstances approved by the Council for a minimum period of five
years. Regard for existing interests led to the setting up of a period
of grace before the full conditions of registration came into force.
After 1920, however, these become more stringent and require that
before being admitted to registration the teacher shall produce
evidence of knowledge and experience, while all save university
teachers are also required to have undertaken a course of training in
teaching. Under both the temporary and later arrangement the minimum
age for registration is twenty-five and the fee is a single payment of
one guinea. There is no annual subscription.

The second Council was elected in 1915 and appointed as its chairman
Dr Michael E. Sadler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds. Up
to the middle of July, 1916, the number of teachers admitted to the
Register was 17,628 and the names of these were included in the
_Official List of Registered Teachers_ issued by the Council at the
beginning of 1917. The Register itself is too voluminous for
publication since it comprises all the particulars which an accepted
applicant has submitted. All registered teachers receive a copy of
their own register entry together with a certificate of registration.
It will be seen that the task of receiving and considering
applications for registration forms an important part of the Council's
work. But it is by no means its chief function. As is shown in the
Board of Education memorandum already quoted the Council is intended
to promote the unification of the teaching profession. The Register
is nothing more than the symbol of this unity and the Council is
charged with the important task of expressing the views of teachers as
a body on all matters concerning their work. This is shown in the
speech made by the Minister of Education at the first meeting of the
Council. After welcoming the members he added:

"The object of the Council would be not only the formation of a
Register of Teachers. There were many other spheres and fields of
usefulness for a Council representative of the Teaching Profession. He
hoped that they would be able to speak with one voice as representing
the Teaching Profession, and that the Board would be able to consult
with them. So long as he was head of the Board they would always be
most anxious to co-operate with the Council and would attach due
weight to their views. He hoped that they on their side would realise
some of the Board's difficulties and that the atmosphere of friendly
relationship which he trusted had already been established would
continue."

The functions of the Council are thus seen to extend beyond the mere
compilation of a Register of Teachers and to include constant
co-operation with those engaged in educational administration. In view
of the desire which is now generally expressed for a closer union
between the directive and executive elements in all branches of
industry it is safe to assume that the Teachers' Council will grow
steadily in importance, especially if it is seen to have the support
of all teachers.

Meanwhile it furnishes the framework of a possible teaching
profession and gives promise of securing for the teacher a definite
status by establishing a standard of attainment and qualification.
More than this will be required, however, if the work of teaching is
to be placed on its proper level in public esteem. Those who undertake
the work must be led to look for something more than material gain.
The teacher needs a sense of vocation no less than the clergyman or
doctor. It has been said that "teaching is the noblest of professions
but the sorriest of trades" and the absence of any real enthusiasm for
the work inevitably produces an attitude of mind which is alien to the
spirit of a real teacher. The material reward of the teacher has
accurately reflected the want of public esteem attaching to his work.
For the most part a meagre pittance has been all that he could
anticipate and this has led to a steady decline in the number of
recruits. A profession should furnish a reasonable prospect of a
career and a fair chance of gaining distinction. Such opportunities
have been far too few in teaching to attract able and ambitious young
men in adequate number. The remedy is to open every branch of
educational work and administration to those who have proved
themselves to be efficient teachers. The national welfare demands that
those who are to be charged with the task of training future citizens
should be drawn from the most able of our young people, to whom
teaching should offer a career not less attractive than other
callings. In particular the teacher should be regarded as a member of
a profession and trusted to carry out his duties in a responsible
manner. Excessive supervision and inspection will tend to discourage
and eventually destroy that quality of initiative which is
indispensable in all teaching. Freed from the monetary cares which now
oppress him, definitely established as a member of a profession having
some voice in its own concerns, encouraged to exercise his art under
conditions of the greatest possible freedom, and provided with
reasonable opportunity for advancement, the teacher will be able to
take up his work in a new spirit. We may then demand from new-comers a
sense of vocation and expect with some justification that teachers
will be able to avoid the professional groove which is hardly to be
escaped and which is quite inevitable if the conditions of one's work
preclude opportunity for maintaining freshness of mind and a variety
of personal interest. Such limitations as accompany inadequate
salaries, lack of prospects and absence of professional status convert
teaching into "a dull mechanic art" and deprive it of its chief
elements of enjoyment, namely the free exercise of personality and the
recurring satisfaction of seeing minds develop under instruction, so
that we are conscious of our part in helping the future citizens to
make the most of their lives. It is this power of impressing one's own
personality on the pliable mind of youth which brings at once the
greatest responsibility and the highest reward to the teacher and
attaches to his task a true professional character since it may not be
undertaken fittingly by any who cherish low aims or despise their
work.





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