A Philosophy of Education Volume 6 Book 2 Chapter 3


A HUNDRED years ago, about the close of the Napoleonic wars, there was such another stirring among the dry bones as we are aware of to-day. All the world knew then, as now, that war was the outcome of the wrong thinking of ignorance, and that education was the nostrum for minds diseased.
          Prussia led the way; not the children but the young people were the immediate concern of Statesmen, and, guided by the philosophy of Fichte, and organised under the statesmanship of Stein, that noble league of youth, the Tugendbund, came into being. Prussia was miserably impoverished, but her concern was not with the arts which should make her rich; her young people looked to philosophic principles for precept and to history for example, and, it was well with the land.
          Not only in Prussia but throughout western Europe there was a more or less active intellectual renaissance, but, whether because the times were not ripe or the peoples were not worthy, the high ideals of the early days of the century were superseded by the utilitarian motive.          When the ‘Continuation School’ movement revived, envy of the commercial and manufacturing successes of England actuated the new effort; and already in 1829 a Pavarian statesman had announced that if you would have the fruit you must sow the seed, that is, manufacturing success is to be had only at the cost of technical education.
          We all know the result in the great Munich schools where first-rate organisation and admirable teaching have produced an appreciable effect upon German industries. But the best German minds have long been aware that “an education which has powerful economic interests behind it is apt to become too narrowly utilitarian in motive and to lose that ideal element which gives all education its chief power over character.” As Mr. Lecky has said concerning morals, “the Utilitarian theory is profoundly immoral.”
          The occasion brought forth the man; we know how in 1900 Dr. Kirschensteiner chanced to see the announcement of a prize offered for an essay on the best way of training youth. He wrote the essay, was crowned by the Academy of his country, and that essay in pamphlet form has influenced opinion and directed action throughout the west: Professors Dewey and Stanley Hall in the United States, Dr. Armstrong and Sir Philip Magnus at home, are among its leading exponents.
          And what was the note of this new gospel of education? Practically that same note which had proceeded from England, France, Switzerland, a century earlier: a utilitarian education should be universal and compulsory; child and adolescent should be “saturated with the spirit of service, provided with the instruments of effective self-direction.” Behold, Utopia at hand! every young person fitted, body and soul, for the uses of society; as for his own uses, what he should be in and for himself—why, what matter?
          It is not that the eminent educationalists I have referred to would willingly sacrifice the individual youth to society; on the contrary they would raise him, give him place and power, give him opportunity; place his feet on the rungs of that ladder we used to hear about; but we have all been misled by mistaken views as to the function of education. We have believed that knowledge
may be derived from sensation, that what we have seen with our eyes and our hands have handled affords us the nutriment our souls demand. No doubt a boy uses his mind to some purpose when he makes, for example, an ingenious model; and, seeing mind at work, we run away with the notion that food and work are synonymous terms; for the body they may be so in a certain sense, for work brings pay and pay buys food, but no such indirect transaction is possible to mind; a mind perpetually at heavy work is a sort of intellectual navvy*, whose food must be proportioned to his labour. Our great statesmen, Gladstone, Lord Salisbury and others, knew this, and their wide and deep reading in other matters than politics should not occasion surprise.
          The War has forced new ideas upon us; we begin, for instance, to realise the avidity of the adult mind for instruction; it was startling to read of 1,500 soldier candidates for twenty vacant places in a certain class. We begin to see that mind, the mind of all sorts and conditions of men, requires its rations, wholesome and regularly served. As things are we shall have to see to it that everybody gets fed; but our hope is that henceforth we shall bring up our young people with self-sustaining minds, as well as self-sustaining bodies, by a due ordering of the process of education. We hope so to awaken and direct mind hunger that every man’s mind will look after itself.
          What is the proper food of mind, has already been discussed but we may assume that education should make our boys and girls rich towards God (we remember the fool of the parable who failed because he was not “rich towards God”), rich towards society and rich towards themselves. I will not press my point by urging the moral bankruptcy which has been exposed to us during recent years as co-existent
with, if not caused by, utilitarian education; for the catastrophe has been accelerated by the sort of moral madness of which we too have had our seasons in the past,—witness our Barnaby Rudge and Peveril of the Peak episodes; we have indeed been carried off our feet by a fallacious notion once and again, but our national insanity has on each occasion been short-lived because our education hitherto has not taught us to believe a lie.
          We are not worse than others, and if we think well of ourselves as a nation, why, national pride and personal modesty do not go ill together; in peace-time we have bitter things to say of our British working-man, but all the same he compares favourably with the somewhat sardonic Latin, the sullen Teuton, whom we all know. And the better man does the better work. We have heard much of German efficiency, and perhaps the German excels in little matters like doors that shut, blinds that draw, springs that act, things of domestic utility important in a country with a more extreme climate than ours; but these are little matters and perhaps our failing is, not to do our best except on big occasions; give us a big job or a big war and we show our mettle.
          But probably in all our considerable industries we excel. German women will purr over the material of our dresses with “Ach, englisches Tuch!” Well dressed men are English tailored in English cloths. We buy, or bought, things “made in Germany” because they were cheap, but the most costly and most desired goods in German shops are advertised as “englisch.”
          This is a point to be borne in mind in considering the education of adolescents. We are given to depreciating ourselves and each other, but in fact we have no lee-way to make up; as both a manufacturing and commercial nation we are well in the van and are without inducement
to sell the people’s birthright for a mess of pottage.
          Before I come to the point I desire to make, let us consider whether the problem of Continuation Schools has been attacked anywhere more successfully than in those countries of Middle Europe. Some of them, Germany especially, have done all that is to be done in response to the cry for efficiency with its resultant big returns and high wages; but from the beginning of the Continuation School movement in, say, 1806, the four north-western countries have worked towards different ends. In Denmark they have, not Continuation Schools, but People’s High Schools, a pleasanter name for possibly a pleasanter thing.
          Denmark, like Germany, was, as we know, devastated by the Napoleonic wars, but had been vitalised by the liberation of its serfs in 1788, and this prepared the ground for Grundtvig, that poet, historian and enthusiast, who became the “Father of the People’s High Schools.”
          “Where there is most life, there is the victory,” said he, and the immediate way to an access of life he saw in “A Danish High School accessible to young people all over the land,” a school which should inspire “admiration for what is great, love for what is beautiful, faithfulness and affection, peace and unity, innocent cheerfulness, pleasure and mirth.” Observe, there is no word of ‘efficiency’ in this poet’s dream, but he did assure Charles VIII that with such a school, “a well of healing in the land,” he might afford to smile at the newspapers, whether they chose to praise or blame The King gave heed, begged for a further development of his plans than was afforded in the original pamphlet, and by 1845 the schools he had dreamed of began to be.
          We cannot follow the development of these Danish People’s Schools, but in 1903-4 their pupils numbered over three thousand men and rather more women, and wise men cherished the hope that “the new Danish
school for youth is to have the good fortune to blend all classes of the people into one.”
          All of these High Schools bear the mark of the genius of their “Father”—whose pupils have known how to sum up his teaching in three sayings,—“Spirit is might; Spirit reveals itself in spirit; Spirit works only in freedom.” We are able to trace the source of these sayings, and indeed this movement seems to have been from the first profoundly Christian—Christian in no narrow sense, but sharing the wide liberality of that Allegoria filosofica della Religione Cattolica conceived by the ‘Angelic Doctor’ and pictured by Simone Memmi on the walls of the Spanish chapel in Santa Maria Novella (Florence): the several teachers commemorated were themselves illustrious pagans but not therefore the less under Divine teaching. Here, it seems to me, is an educational credo worth reviving in these utilitarian days, and some such creed seems to have been Grundtvig’s, though probably independently conceived. His great hope is that “above all, some acquaintance with popular literature, especially with the poetry and history of one’s own country, will create a brand new world of readers all over the land.”
          I cannot go into the question of the Agricultural Schools of which it is said that “the Danish Agricultural School is the child of the Danish Folkshöjskole, and must, like this, have Christian faith and national life for its basis.” In the careless days before the War we could all testify to the excellence of Danish butter, but did we consider the “resolution and capacity” with which Danish peasants passed over from the making of poor butter in their various small holdings to the “manufacture in co-operative dairies of butter of an almost uniform fineness”? This, too, says an eminent Swedish Professor, is due to the High Schools, for, said he, “Just as the enrichment of the soil gives the best conditions
for the seeds sown in it, so a well-grounded humanistic training provides the surest basis for business capacity, and not the least so in the case of the coming farmers.”[1] These are weighty words deserving our consideration at a moment when we, too, are on the eve of a new departure.
          The three neighbouring countries watched the experiments in Denmark with keen interest, and almost simultaneously People’s High Schools sprang up in all four.
          These northern High Schools, necessarily winter schools, were not open at the time of my visit, but two or three things casually observed might, I think, be traced to their influence. For instance, Copenhagen itself, as compared with Munich, strikes one as a city with a soul. At the Hague, again, I saw an artisan in his working clothes shewing pictures in one of the galleries to his boy of seven who looked earnestly and listened eagerly. The young people in the great Delft porcelain works shewed traces of culture and gentleness in countenance and manner. But nothing struck me more than what I saw in the general shop of an out of the way village in Sweden; the villagers were peasants and the one shop sold cabbages and herrings, cheese and calico; but across the small-paned window was a shelf closely packed with volumes in paper covers which had not had time to get dusty; of course I could not read all the titles, but among them were translations from French, German and English. I noticed slim volumes of Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, Ruskin, Carlyle and the last thing out One felt assured that the village was in ‘kingdom come,’ that of a long winter’s evening, in any home, one read aloud whilst the rest worked, that there was much to talk about when friends met and lovers walked. (How sad, by the way, to read that ‘Tommy,’ whom we all
love and revere, is quick to form friendships but that these do not progress for the friends have nothing to talk about.) Think of little plays got up, of public readings given by the villagers themselves; might such things be with us, the lure of the town would cease to draw our village men and maids, for the village that can offer a happy community life, sustained by the people themselves, is able to hold its people.
          Our upper and middle classes, professional and other, are singularly stable folk, and they are so, not because of their material but of their intellectual well-being; in this sense only they are most of them the ‘Haves’ as compared with the ‘Have-nots.’ The reason is not far to seek. Are there not agitators abroad whose business it is to sow seeds of discontent in the gaping minds of the multitude? The full mind passes on, but that which is empty seizes on any new notion with avidity, and is hardly to be blamed for doing so; a hungry mind takes what it can get, and the baker is apt to be lenient about prosecuting the starving man who steals a loaf. I do not hesitate to say that the constantly recurring misery of our age, ‘Labour Unrest,’ is to be laid at the door, not of the working man, but of the nation which has not troubled itself to consider the natural hunger of mind and the manner of meat such hunger demands.
          I have tried to establish that the Kultur offered by the Munich type of Continuation School has had no good effect upon morals or manners and no conspicuously good effect upon manufactures.
          That England is under no necessity to follow Germany’s lead in this matter for Germany allows our superiority by paying a high price for our goods.
          That Denmark and the neighbouring states, on the contrary, excel in those things in which we fall short. That the People’s High Schools of Denmark are
worthier of our imitation than the Continuation Schools of Germany.
          That they are so because character and conduct, intelligence and initiative, are the outcome of a humanistic education in which the knowledge of God is put first.
          But we cannot take educational prescriptions designed for another patient; the Grundtvig Schools are for students ranging from eighteen to twenty-five, not for the more difficult ages from fourteen to eighteen. Again, these People’s High Schools are residential. In countries so largely agricultural it is possible for a great part of the young adult population to spend the five winter months year by year at one of these People’s High Schools. Their case and ours do not go on all fours. Our problem is the young adolescent in a country largely manufacturing.
          Now, we have received our cloth, and not in ungenerous measure. How shall we cut our coat, that is, how shall we spend those seven or eight hours a week in which “Education” is to do her part for the young citizen? If we take the easiest way, we shall let the boy do what he is doing for the rest of the week,—work for his employer, whether directly, by way of increased output, or indirectly, by way of increased skill. This would be a betrayal. No employer wishes to take with one hand what he gives with the other; besides, what employer doubts the ability of his staff to train his young employees? Again, the technique of any employment takes but little time to understand. It is the practice that is of value, and such practice is—work. Continuation Schools should not exist for technical instruction; they are established definitely for the sort of education of which such instruction forms no part; and will not the evening hours be free as they are at present for technical classes, gymnastic clubs, and various forms of recreative exercise?
          This particular gift of time must be dedicated to things of the mind if we believe that mind too requires its rations and that to use the mind is by no means the same thing as to feed it.
          With the best will in the world to give boys and girls something on which to chew the cud, real mind-stuff for digestion and assimilation, we find that the flood-gates are opened; an ocean of things good to know overwhelms us and we have—eight hours a week! We seize on that blessed word compromise and see two possibilities: we are in a hurry to make good citizens. Now, good citizens must have sound opinions about law, duty, work, wages, what not; so we pour opinions into the young people from the lips of lecturer or teacher, his opinions, which they are intended to take as theirs. In the next place there is so much to be learned that a selection must needs be made; the teacher makes this selection and the young people are “poured into like a bucket,” which, says Carlyle, “is not exhilarating to any soul.” Some ground is covered; teachers and Education Authorities are satisfied; and if, when the time comes, the young people leave school discontented and uneasy, if their work bore them and their leisure bore them, if their pleasures are mean and meagre, and if they become men and women rather eager than otherwise for the excitement of a strike, that is because the Continuation, as the Elementary, School will have failed to find them.
          This is the real educational difficulty in schools for all classes, for pupils of all ages,—the enormous field of knowledge which it is necessary to cover in order to live with intelligence and moral insight. Know one thing well and you have the power to apprehend many things is the academic solution, which has not worked altogether badly, but it cannot be stretched to fit our present occasion,—the “Enlightenment of the Masses.” What we
may call the ‘academic’ doctrine assumes that mind like body is capable of development in various directions by means of due exercise. Profounder educational thought, however, reveals mind to us as of enormous capacity, self-active, present in everyone and making but one demand—its proper pabulum. Feed mind duly and its activities take care of themselves. As the well-fed workman is fit for all his labours, so the duly nourished mind knows, thinks, feels, judges with general righteousness. The good man and magnanimous citizen is he who has been fed with food convenient for him.
          Such a view of education naturally includes religion, not only “for his God doth instruct him and doth teach him,” but because we may take knowledge roughly as of three sorts,—knowledge of God, to be got first-hand through the sacred writings, knowledge of man, to be arrived at through history, poetry, tale; through the customs of cities and nations, civics; through the laws of self-government, morals. One other great branch of knowledge remains. Every youth should know some thing of the flowers of the field, the birds of the air, the stars in their courses, the innumerable phenomena that come under general observation; he should have some knowledge of physics, though chemistry perhaps should be reserved for those who have a vocation that way.

          Here are we on the verge of that new life for our country which we all purpose, faced with infinite possibilities on either hand,—the vast range of knowledge and the vast educability of mind. Another certainty presents itself, that we have not time for short cuts: the training of muscle and sense, however necessary, does not nourish mind; and, on the other hand, the verbiage of a lecturer is not assimilated. There is no education but self-education and only as the young student works with his own mind is anything effected.
          But we are not without hope. An astounding field
has been opened to us; thousands of children in Council Schools are doing incredible things with freedom and joy. They have taken in hand their own education and are greedy of knowledge for its own sake, knowledge in the three great fields that I have indicated.
          The fact is that a great discovery has been vouchsafed to us, greater, I think, as concerns education, than any since the invention of the first alphabet. Let us again refer to Coleridge[2] on the origin of great discoveries. Coleridge gives no qualification to the minds which receive these great ideas, they are not described as great minds, but, he says, they are “previously prepared to receive them,” that is, the great ideas. If the reader will forgive me for saying so I think my mind has been so prepared-by extraordinary incapacity in one direction, the direction, roughly, of academic attainments, and by some degree of capacity in other directions, and it has been gradually borne in upon me that this in- capacity and this capacity are pretty general, and perhaps afford a key to the problem of education. A further preparation came to me in unusual opportunities for testing and understanding the minds of children and young people. I am anxious to bring this idea of a discovery before the reader because our methods are so simple and obvious that people are inclined to take them up at random and say that extensive reading is a “good idea which we have all tried more or less” and that free narration “is a good plan in which there is nothing new.” It is true that we all read and that narration is as natural as breathing, its value depending solely upon what is narrated. What we have perhaps failed to discover hitherto is the immense hunger for knowledge (curiosity) existing in everyone and the immeasurable power of attention with which everyone is endowed; that everyone likes knowledge best in a literary form; that the knowledge should be exceedingly various concerning many
things on which the mind of man reflects; but that knowledge is acquired only by what we may call “the act of knowing,” which is both encouraged and tested by narration, and which further requires the later test and record afforded by examinations. This is nothing new, you will say, and possibly no natural law in action appears extra- ordinarily new; we take flying already as a matter of course; but though there is nothing surprising in the action of natural laws, the results are exceedingly surprising, and to that test we willingly submit these methods.
          “All is not for all” was the sad conclusion of that Danish patriot and prophet. No doubt Grundtvig thought of the impassable barriers presented by a poor and mean vocabulary and a field of thought without literary background. So “all is not for all” he said, even as a prophet of our own proclaims that a worthy education is only for the élite. Books are not for the people, was Grundtvig’s conclusion; wherefore those young Danes were lectured to by men of enthusiasm who had their country’s literature and history at their fingers’ ends and could convey the temper of their own minds. A great deal was effected, but minds nourished at the lips of a teacher have not the stability of those which seek their own meat.
          But what if all were for all, if the great hope of Comenius —“All knowledge for all men”—were in process of taking shape? This is what we have established in many thousands of cases, even in those of dull and backward children, that any person can understand any book of the right calibre (a question to be determined mainly by the age of the young reader); that the book must be in literary form; that children and young persons require no elucidation of what they read; that their attention does not flag while so engaged; that they master a few pages at a single reading so thoroughly that they can ‘tell it back’ at the time or months later
whether it be the Pilgrim’s Progress or one of Bacon’s Essays or Shakespeare’s plays; that they throw individuality into this telling back so that no two tell quite the same tale; that they learn incidentally to write and speak with vigour and style and usually to spell well. Now this art of telling back is Education and is very enriching. We all practise it, we go over in our minds the points of a conversation, a lecture, a sermon, an article, and we are so made that only those ideas and arguments which we go over are we able to retain. Desultory reading or hearing is entertaining and refreshing, but is only educative here and there as our attention is strongly arrested. Further, we not only retain but realise, understand, what we thus go over. Each incident stands out, every phrase acquires new force, each link in the argument is riveted, in fact we have performed The Act of Knowing, and that which we have read, or heard, becomes a part of ourselves, it is assimilated after the due rejection of waste matter. Like those famous men of old we have found out  “knowledge meet for the people” and to our surprise it is the best knowledge conveyed in the best form that they demand. Is it possible that hitherto we have all been like those other teachers of the past who were chidden because they had taken away the key of knowledge, not entering in themselves and hindering those who would enter in.
          To-day we are in this position. We realise that there is an act of knowing to be performed; that no one can know without this act, that it must be self-performed, that it is as agreeable and natural to the average child or man as singing is to the song thrush, that “to know” is indeed a natural function. Yet we hear of the incuria which prevails in most schools, while there before us are the young consumed with the desire to know, can we but find out what they want to know and how they require to be taught.
          Humanistic education, whether in English or Latin, affects conduct powerfully; knowledge of this sort is very welcome to children and young persons; a good deal of ground may be covered because a single reading of a passage suffices; this sort of humanistic work has been tried with good effect; and if our Continuation Schools are to be of value they must afford an education on some such lines.
          The Parents’ Union School, originally organised[3] for the benefit of children educated at home, is worked by means of programmes followed by examination papers sent out term by term. When the same work, if not the whole of it, was taken up by Council Schools,[4] the advantage of such an organisation was apparent, especially in that it afforded a common curriculum for children of all classes. By using this curriculum we were enabled to see that the slum child in a poor school compares quite favourably with the child of clever or opulent parents who had given heed to his education.
          Now one of our national difficulties is the fact that we have no common basis of thought or ground for reflection. No doubt, by pretty copious reading, links of common interests might be established, and the schoolroom might do at least as much for the general life as does the cricket-pitch. The scheme works practically without a hitch in Council Schools; this is the sort of work that the highest class in these Schools, (in Standard VII), are doing with great success and very great delight. They read English, French and General History (three or four volumes), two or three books dealing with citizenship and morals from various points of view; Literature, contemporary with the history read (several works); natural history, physical geography and science (three or four books); Scripture (chiefly the Bible). Every term brings a new programme of work, the continuation
usually of books already in reading. Children in Secondary Schools and in families remain for one year in Form IV and that work seems adapted to the status of Continuation Schools for the first year or two. After that the more advanced programme (Forms V and VI) might be used in the same way. This work would appeal to young people as being unlike the ordinary school grind, and as giving them opportunity for consecutive speaking and essay writing.
          There is probably no better test of a liberal education than the number of names a person is able to use accurately and familiarly as occasion requires. We all recollect a character of Miss Austen’s who had no opinion to offer as to whether the Bermudas should be described as the West Indies or not, because she had never called them anything in her life!
          Now, here is an alphabetical (uncorrected) list taken from the examination papers of a girl of thirteen, containing 213 proper names, all of them used accurately, easily and with interest.
          Amaziah, Ariel, Ayrshire, Arcot, America, Austrian Army, Artemidorus, Antium, Aufidius, Auditors, Apotheosis, Altai Mts., Assouan, Africa, Atbara, Annulosa, Arachnoida, Armadillo, Albumen, Abdomen, Auricles, Angle, Arc. Burns (Robert), Bastille, Bombay, Bengal, Burke, Black Hole of Calcutta, British Museum, Benevolence, Basalt, Butterfly, Beetles, Blood-vessels, Berber, Blue Nile. Baghdad, Burne Jones. Cowper, Calcutta, Clive, Canada, Colonel Luttrel, Cleopatra, Candace, Coriolanus, Cassowary, Corinorants, Curlews, Cranes, Calyptra, Cotton grass, Chalk, Conglomerate, Crustacea, Cheiroptera, Carnivora, Chyle, Centre of Circle, China Proper, Canton, Cairo, Cheops, Circe. ‘Dick Primrose,’ “Deserted Village,” Dupleix, Demotic characters, Ducks, Despotic Government, Doctor Livingstone, Deposits, Delta, Liaphragm, Duodenum. England, East India Company, Economical Reform, Europe, Emperor of Austria, Empress of Russia, Emu, Eastern Turkestan, Egypt.
France, Frederick the Great, Frederick William of Prussia, Flightless birds, First Cataract, Foraminifera. Gadarenes, Gizeh, Great Commoner, George III, General Warrants, Governor General, Grace and Free-will, Greek language, Generosity, Gulls, Granite, Grubs, Gastric juice, Globules. Huldah, Highlands of Scotland, Herodotus, Hieroglyphics, Herons, Hoang-ho, Hedgehog, Hydrochloric Acid, Hydrocarbons, Heart. Isaiah, India, Influence of light. Josiah, Judah, Jehosaphat, Jerusalem, Jonas, Jonah, Jesuits, Jansenists, Japan. Künersdorf, Kuen Lun Mts., Kioto, Karnac, Khartum, Kolcheng, Kalabari. Lord North, “Lords in Waiting” of Love, Land birds, Lamellæ, Luxor, Lake Ngami, Loanda, Lake Nyassa. Manasseh, Mongolia, Manchuria, Madras, Mahrattas, Member of Parliament, Middlesex, Methodists, Mississippi Company, Maria Theresa, Mummies, Microscopic Shells, Membrane. Nagasaki, Nile, Nitrogenous food. ‘Olivia Primrose,’ Ostriches. Pharisees, ‘Primrose (Mrs.),’ Philosophers Plassey, Pitt, Prime Minister, Pragmatic Sanction, Prague, Peace of Hubertusburg, Pity, Puffins, Penguins, Plovers, Pelicans, Plants, Polytrichum formosum, Peristom, Porphyric, Puddingstone, Pepsin, Peptone, Pancreas, Pulmonary artery, Pamir Plateau, Prairies, Pyramid, Portuguese West Africa. Quilemane. Rome, Rossbach, Rosetta Stone, Rhea, Rodentia. Sea of Galilee, ‘Sophia Primrose,’ Surajah Dowlah, Seven Years’ War, Silesia, Saxony, Secretary, Storks, Sandpipers, Seedlings. “The Task,” Treaty of Dresden, Tullus, Trade Unions, Trustees, Treasurer, Tropical countries. Ulysses, Ungulata. Volcanic eruptions, Vermes, Vertebrate, Villi, Ventricles, Vernæ Cavæ, Vicar of Wakefield, Volscians, Vice President. Wallace, Walpole, War of Independence, Wilkes, Whitfield, Wesley, War of the Austrian Succession, Water birds, Wady Halfa. Yang-tse-kiang. Zonga, Zambesi, Zorndorff.
          This is ‘Secondary’ work, but supposing the young people of a Continuation School, who could not read all the books on the programmes, got some degree of intimacy, some association, with, say, one hundred such names in a term, we might believe that they were receiving a liberal education. This is the sort of work we hope to see done in Continuation Schools by pupils from fourteen to sixteen. The young people of the future between sixteen and eighteen should be prepared to work in Forms V and VI.
         It is not the best children that answer the examination questions; the general rule is that everybody takes every question. I have touched only on the more humanistic subjects as whatever is done in Mathematics, for instance, the Head of the Continuation School will no doubt arrange; and indeed so much has been done in the Elementary School already that probably the keeping of fictitious account books would be a sufficient exercise for young people who show some mathematical talent. No cost whatever is attached to the adoption and continued working of this method[5] except the cost of books and of these, young wage-earners would no doubt buy their own, so that by degrees each would form his little library of books that he has read, understands and knows his way about. I should like to quote a few sentences from Professor Eucken on the education of the people:—
          “By education of the people it must not for a moment be supposed that we mean a special kind of education. We do not refer to a condensed preparation of our spiritual and intellectual possessions, suitable for the needs and interests of the great masses; we are not thinking of a diluted concoction of the real draught of education which we are so kind and condescending as to dispense to the majority. No!…. there is only one education common to us all.”  “We can all unite in the construction of a spiritual world over against that of petty human routine. Thus there is, in truth, a possibility of a truly human education, and therefore of a true education of the people.”
          The Jena Professor sees clearly enough the task before us all; but he sees, or sets forth, no possible way of accomplishing it, nor is there any other way than that which we have set forth that can afford this sort of liberal education; the electric telegraph was not discovered twice over.
          After all our protests we are in our way utilitarian for no other study is so remunerative as that of the ‘humanities.’ Let me draw the reader’s attention to one point. Instability, unrest, among our wage-earners is the serious danger threatening our social life. Now it is said that nothing can act but where it is and the class which acts steadily where it is, at some outpost of empire, on a home estate, in Parliament, where you will, is the class educated at Public Schools, that is, men brought up on the ‘humanities.’ Strong language will be used about the deadness and decadence of these men although they do much of our national work. Their defects are obvious and manifold, but still, as I say, the public work that is done is, for the most part, done by men whom no one could describe as progressive. Is there not some confusion of ideas about this fetish of progress? Do we not confound progress with movement, action, assuming that where these are there is necessarily advance? Whereas much of our activity is like the waves of the sea, going always and arriving never. What we desire is the still progress of growth that comes of root striking downwards and fruit urging upwards. And this progress in character and conduct is not attained through conditions of environment or influence but only through the growth of ideas, received with conscious intellectual effort. It will be possible to have only a little of this strong meat in Continuation Schools, but a little goes a long way, how far, our Public School men illustrate; for a careful analysis will bring us to the conclusion that not
Latin and Greek, Games, Athletics, or environment, but the ‘humanities’ in English alone will bring forth the stability and efficiency which we desire to see in all classes of society.
          I have said that we have after all a generous allowance of cloth from which to cut our garment, seven or eight hours a week. In that time we may get in, page for page, book for book, as full a complement of the ‘humanities,’ poetry, history, essay, tragedy, comedy, philosophy, between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, as our public men have imbibed at their schools. To be sure these do it in the classic tongues while for those there is only plain English; but however duly we magnify Greek literature we cannot honestly say that that of England is second to any the world has yet seen. We can give to the people the thought of the best minds and we can secure on their part the conscious intellectual effort, the act of knowing, which bears fruit in capability, character and conduct. We cannot offer to the people the grace of scholarship in the allotted time, but no doubt earnest souls will find a way to get this surpassing excellence also; if there be profit in ‘grinding at Grammar’ that they must forego, too, but the inspiration and delight of entering into an intellectual world full of associations, this they should have, a well of healing and fountain of delight.
          Now a common ground of thought is inestimable in what may be called its cohesive value; and what we desire to afford to the nation at large is such another background of thought, sketched in like that of the Public School man from the books men and women have read at school, books which made them intimate with Pitt and Fox, ‘Dick Swiveller,’ ‘Mrs. Quickly,’ with daffodils and clouds and nightingales as the poets have seen them, with a thousand promiscuous and seemingly purposeless scenes and sayings which somehow combine
to serve the purpose of a background throwing the thoughts and incidents of to-day into clear relief. For this reason we, like the Public Schools, all read the same books, with such an intensive single reading that for the rest of the lives of these young people phrases or allusions they come across will kindle in their eyes that ‘light which never was on sea or land.’ We may hope that Public Schools will presently add this modicum of English to their classical studies; then the candidate for election will have something to appeal to other than the desire to better himself, which is supposed to dominate every man. By the way, is the paucity of literary or historical allusions, not in Latin, to be heard in the House due to the fact that the audience cannot be counted upon to rise to a reference not included in the well-known school books? If so, we shall change all that; once the masses read, the classes must read, too, and the Peace will be signalised by a new bond of intellectual life in common.
          “There is no more dreadful sight,” says Goethe, “than ignorance in action,” and is not this the sight that is at the present time dismaying us all? Demos is king to-day, and who may dispute his right? But let us all give him the chance to become that philosopher-king who according to an ancient dream was to be the fit ruler, or rulers, of the people. The hopeful sign is that Demos himself perceives his lack, and clamours for the humanistic education in which he sees his salvation.

*a labourer, manual labor

[1] cf. Continuation Schools, ed. by Sir Michael Sadler, and published by the Manchester University, 1908, to which the writer is greatly indebted.

[2] Page 106.

[3] 1890.

[4] 1913.

[5] In Elementary and Continuation Schools.

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