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BY ROSWELL C. SMITH,
PRACTICAL AND MENTAL ARITHMETIC,'
TRUMAN & SPOF FORD.
1 85 7.
THE NEW YORK
ASTOR, LENOX AND
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1832. by
PERKINS & MARVIN,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts. THE following work was composed, as is indicated by the title, on what is styled in Germany and Switzerland the " Producttve System of instruction.” It is in these countries that the subject of Education has been deemed a matter of paramount importance. The art of teaching, particularly, has there been mont ably and miuutely investigated. To give a brief account of the different systems which have prevailed there, may not be irrelevant on the present occasion, as they assist in forming an opinion of the comparative merits of the " Productive System," on which this work is principally based.
" In reference to intellectual education, the persons who were instrumental in prodacing the reformation in schools, in the last century, in these countries, may be divided into four ciasses--the Hunanists, Philan thropists, Pestalozzian and the Productive Schools
" At the restoration of learning, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, tho classics were brought out from the libraries of the cloisters in which they had been buried. As they presented the only exemples of exakted sentiments and elevated style which the secular literature of the age afforded, they were regarded as ine orly means of acquiring enlarged views and a liberal education; the study of them received the proud title of Furnity; and the zealous and meritoriouz men who employed this means for the revival of learning, were subsequently terined Hunanists.
" The rigid Humanists maintained that the Greek and Latin authors are the only source of sound learning, whether in philosophy or rhetoric, in poetry or history, in medicine or law, and even in the elemente of religion; all has come to us from Greeco and Rome. The learning of the Greek and Latin languager is the only foundation of a thorough education ;' the knowledge of the grammar ought to precede all other knowledge; and philologists are the only thoroughly learned men.'
“ The Humanists maintained the entire sway of the learned world until about the middle of the last centary, when the school of the Philanthropists arose. Disgusted with the extravagant manner in which the ancient languages were extolled, they were led to examine into the foundations of their pretensions. While they yielded the palm to the ancients in all that relates to matters of taste and beauty, they maintained that this superiority arose from the fact, that the ancients derived their views directly from the inspection of na. ture and the observation of man, instead of occupying themselves, as we do, with the mere pictures of them drawn by others ;--they pointed to the obvious truth, that the world is older and vastly more experienced than it was two thousand years ago; that is regard to all that relates to buman knowledge, the present generation are really the ancients. They believed that much time was lost by the indiscriminate and exclusive use of the classics as the foundation of education, which ought to be spent in acquisition of practical knowledge, and that by this tedious and laborious task, without any perceptible advantage to the pupil, they were often disgusted with every species of intellectual effort. They also pointed out the moral corruption which arises from many of the examples and sentiments of the ancients, and especially disapproved that discipline of compulsion and violence, by which children have been forced to this ungrateful omployment. They urged the importance of leading by the atraction of knowledge itsell, rather than by force. They paid much attention to the development of the bodily constitution and powers, and profemed to aim at forming men, and not mere scholars.
* But, with the ordinary weakness of human nature, in avoiding one extreme, they ran into the opposite. They forgot the valuable influence of these studies, properly regulated, upon the faculties and habits of the mind.
“ Notwithstanding their error, the Philanthropist unquestionably exerted much influence on the improve ment of education. The extravagant views of the Humanists were considerably modified ; and although many still retain the exclusive maxims of their predecessors, many admit, as stated in the German Con versations Lexicon, that 'all should be embraced in education which can promote the formation of the man, and prepare kim for the eternal destiny of his spirit. The Philanthropists
also prepared the way for their successors of the School of Pestalozzi. This remarkable man adopted many of the opinions of his predecessors of the Philanthropic school, especially those which related to the development of the bodily powers, and the methods of discipline, and religious instruction. He perceived however, that, in assuming practical utility as the exclusive test of the value of particular objects of instruction, they had too much beglectod the development of the mind itself. In seeking to avoid this error, however, he did not entirely escape the other extreme. He assunied, as a fundamental principle, that a certain development of mind was necessary for every rank and every occupation. The means of this development be supposed himself to bave found, so far as the intellectual faculties were concerned, in the elements of form and number, which are combined in the science of Mathematics, in Language, and in Natural History. The Mathematics appear to have assumed a preponderance in practice, which was unfavorable to the regular and barmonious cultivation of other powers. The senses and the bodily powers he endeavored to develop, in accordance with the views of the Philanthropic school, by the careful examination of the various objects of dature and art, which surround the pupil, by means of music, and by gymnastic exercises, alternated or combined with labor. Pestalozzi himself was remarkably the creature of powerful impulses, which were usually of the most mild and benevolent kind, and preserved a child-like character in this respect, even to old age. It was probably this temperament which led him to eatimate at a low rate the importance of posi. tive religious truth in the education of children, and to maintain that the mere habit of faith and love, if cultivated towards earthly parents and benefactors, would of course be transferred to our heavenly Father, whenever his character should be exhibited to the mind of the child. The fundamental error of this view was established by the unhappy experience of his own institution; and his own example afforded the most striking evidence that the noblest impulses, not directed by established principles, may lead to imprudence and ruin, and thus defeat their own ends. This principle, combined with tho want of tact in reference to the affairs of common life, materially impaired his powers of usefulness as a practical instructor of youth.
The rapid progress of his ideas rarely allowed bim to execute bis own plans; and, according to his own system, too much time was employed in the profound development of principles to admit of much attention to their practical application. But, as one of his admirer observed, he seemed destined to educate ideas and not children. He combated, with unehrinking boldness, and untiring perseverance, through a long life, both by his example and by his numerous publications, the prejudices and abuses of the age, in reference * education. He attacked, with great rigor and no small degree of success, that favorite maxim of bigotry and tyranny, that obedience and devotion are the legitimate offspring of ignoranco. He denounced that degrading system which considers it enough to enable
map to procure a subsistence for himself and his offspring and in this manne: to merely place him on a level with tho beast of the forest; and which deems every thing lost whose value cannot be estimated in money. Ho arged upon the consciences of parents and of rulers, with an energy approaching that of the ancient prophets, the solemu duties which Divine Provi. dence had imposed upon them, in nmitting to their charge the present and future destinies of their tellow beings. In this way he produced an impu'se, which pervaded the continent of Europe, and which, by pieans of his popular and theoretical works, reached the cottages of the poor and palaces of the great. His institution at Yverdun was crowded with men of every pation, not merely those who were led by the same benevolence which inspired him, but by the agents of kings, and noblemen, and public institutions, who came to make themselves acquainted with his principles, in order to become fellow.laborers in his plans of benev. olence,
* As an example of this, it may be mentioned that, on one of those occasions (frequently occurring) oa which he was reduced to extremity for want of the means of supplying his large family, be borrowed 400 from a friend for this purpose. In going home, he met a peasant wringing his hands ia despair for the logs of his cow. Pestalozzi put the entire bag of money into his hands, and ran off' to escape his ths oks.