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mission of the highest culture of our civilization and of the most lasting spiritual conquests of mankind to minds sufficiently matured to grasp them in their fullness.
The high school, in its character as a last step in public education, may be called the people's university, because its aim is to introduce a pupil to the spiritual treasures of the race; but it also is the people's university in regard to the fact that its teaching must be largely elementary and popular. The mode of teaching the high school pupil must differ essentially from the college method, because he has not had the preparatory training which the college presupposes. The high school is a continuation of the elementary school, and its work, while of a higher range, must frequently be elementary in mode of presentation and drill. In the college the course may be elective; in the high school it should be largely prescribed.
In framing the course of study of a high school, three standpoints seem possible: (1) We may consider chiefly the demands of life; (2) the greatest weight may be given to proficiency in leading studies; or (3) highest emphasis may be laid on the growth and development of the learner and his highest interests. For the sake of brevity, let us call these the realistic, the scholastic, and the ideal standpoints. It goes without saying that neither of these has ever been urged to the exclusion of the rest; but more stress has been laid occasionally on one than on the others. A purely realistic principle in the sense of preparing for a special calling would require a specializing of instruction which a school for general education could not undertake. In fact, the best preparation for life is the school which develops the strongest individuality and quick-witted and thoughtful industry.
The scholastic standpoint would determine the course of study of the high school by setting forth the needs of each individual study from the standpoint of the special teacher, and making the totality of such demands constitute the course of study.
The danger of certain defects is imminent in a plan designed from an exclusively scholastic standpoint.
The specialist will almost inevitably be driven to the conclusion that the pupil should have better preparation before he begins his work at the high school, and that a larger share of time should be given to it after he has commenced the study.
If a course of study originating in this plan were introduced, it would indeed be a case where in each study the left hand would not know what the right one is doing. Unity of work is all the more necessary because, unlike the elementary school, where the pupil is all day long in one room and under the instruction of one
teacher, he passes in the high school from room to room, and is taught by a number of persons; and the personal unity of the work which the instruction by one teacher implies does not exist in the high school. It is all the more necessary, therefore, that a unifying principle should underlie the whole course of study.
From the third standpoint, which we have called the ideal one, the aims of high school education might be thus defined:
1. The high school should communicate to its pupils the typical elements of the highest culture-achievements of the race.
2. It should bring the pupil into close touch with the spiritual life of his country and his time.
3. It should awaken and widen the higher human and civic interests in the pupil, and arouse and stimulate aspirations toward an active life in their service.
The psychological demand remains preeminent. A course of study must be formed, not merely by the requirements of the various sciences but by the laws and needs of the growing soul of youth.
High school education differs from that of the elementary school and from that of the college, but partakes of either; it is the connecting link between the two radically different educational principles which the two extremes of school education, the primary school and the university, contain. All education leads the mind to seize the world and hold it in a spiritual grasp. The principle of the elementary school is, that the world adjusts itself to the child in order that the youth may learn to adjust himself to the world. In presenting information to little children, we select, we arrange, we grade, we use all contrivances and devices which ingenuity may indicate, to help the child seize the elements of knowledge with his yet feeble grasp. As the household adjusts itself, in a measure, to the imperious baby, so serious science and the rigid world of knowledge must be modified, and altered, and rearranged, to be suitable to the childish taste and his power of assimilation. On the other end of the school career of man stands the university, where the demand is made that the student should grasp unaided the highest thoughts and systems of science or knowledge in their scientific independence. While at the beginning of man's education art predominates over matter, the art of teaching over the material of instruction (of which little can be given at a time, with much art in presenting it), there is, at the end of all scholastic life, in university teaching, much matter and less art-or rather, artificein presentation. Midway between these two extremes stands the high school.
In accordance with these views, a method should prevail in the high school which, while still considering the learner's difficulty, and therefore using the art of pedagogics in presenting matter, begins to lay more and more stress on the matter of instruction and less on pedagogical devices.
In the process of learning there is a double activity. Instruction makes the external world ideal, since every step in becoming acquainted with the material things in the world or the data of human relations means, that, through the process of learning, facts become ideas. Learning, however, consists, not only of receiving information, but in activity, which starts with an idea and gives to it external expression through language, the exercise of skill, or other work. Thus we find a second element in the process of learning; namely, the ideal within becomes an external reality without. When the mind is receiving information the external becomes internal; while any activity in writing, or drawing, or speaking, and the like, makes the idea actual and external. The proper play of these two sides constitutes the fullness of the educational process. Assimilation and activity, or receptivity and spontaneity, are the two poles around which the world of the schoolroom-elementary school or high school-must revolve. Where one factor predominates over the other too much, readjustment is needed.
The studies which are most closely allied to the will, and which subserve the idea of making the spiritual within real without, are the arts of expression, and they should stand in a central place in a high school course of study, extending from one end of the course to the other. We expect as one of the results of higher education, refinement in the modes of expression; clearer, richer, more forcible speech; writing, more logical in thought and more correct and beautiful in form. As a study of expression, drawing, too, should retain its place. There is a peculiar connection between studies that cultivate the art of expression and the life of the soul within. The physiological and mechanical element involved in their practice seems to open channels to the external world by which the soul finds a readier way to manifest itself and grow in strength and activity. The study of expression is of higher than merely formal value; it reacts on all the forms of receptivity, and knowledge becomes assimilated more easily and more thoroughly when there is a corresponding activity in which it is put to use. Drawing necessitates keener observation; expression, through language, requires clearer ideas; thus spontaneity helps receptivity, and activity helps assimilation.
As a further study in the direction of volitional training, gymnastics and calisthenics should not be denied a place.
Turning now to the side of receptivity, or to the studies which the pupil is to assimilate, physiology, perhaps, should be placed earliest in the course. Its importance for the preservation of healthy life renders it desirable that all high school children, even if they leave after the first year of study, should partake of this instruction.
The anatomical element in physiology should be limited; and those topics most necessary for self-preservation-especially hygiene-occupy the principal place. How to take care of the body, in health and disease, together with some information concerning the treatment of ordinary accidents [and, perhaps, some ideas in connection with nursing the sick] should form prominent topics. Life interests should predominate over scholastic interests.
In mathematics, algebra and plane geometry form the indispensable continuation of arithmetic in the schoolroom. The psychological importance of algebra lies in the pure mathematical reasoning which it requires; and while objective teaching is needed at the outset, since the subject is new to the child, the emphasis must be laid on that part which gives the peculiar and necessary training for which the study has a place in the high school curriculum, namely, strict and clear reasoning.
Of natural science, botany, physics, and chemistry, together with physiology or biology, seem to form a sufficient curriculum for the four years of the high school course. On the side of the humanities, general history should occupy a prominent place in the high school program; but I would add to it lessons in United States history, of much less elementary character than the corresponding study in the elementary school. In our day, economic questions stand in the foreground. While the elements of history taught in the lower schools give a child a good idea of the growth and development of our political institutions, a maturity of mind is required for the comprehension of the economic and civic topics that form the lifeinterests of the day which the pupil in the elementary school does not possess, and which is too important to be omitted altogether. A one-volume history of the United States, somewhat in the style of Green's "Shorter History of the English People," with more stress laid on the last fifty years than on the earlier history, would be a valuable addition to our pedagogical literature.
The study of the elements of philosophy should have a place in the higher grades of the high school, both on account of the peculiar training which this study gives and also on account of the the deeper insight which it tends to produce into those profound problems which have always formed the highest aim of human thought. If an enlightened view of the world is to be one of the
results of high school education, this study may be granted a place, to advantage, in the university of the people. Connected therewith should be the lesson in ethics, including rules of conduct. Ethics will not make a human being moral, but it will deepen moral convictions by showing the nature of ethical action and by making ethical relations and principles clear and definite.
The art feeling is developed in the form of music in the elementary school; in the high school musical instruction should be continued and raised to a higher level by bringing to the notice of the pupil the noblest works, as far as they can be brought into the schoolroom. There is another side of art which the high school cannot neglect,-representative art. If drawing lessons form part of the high school curriculum, they should be connected with the history of ornament and historical design. In addition to these features, the study of the history of art, grouped around representative paintings or works of architecture and sculpture, should be embodied in the high school course.
In one form, art is studied in every high school in the country,— in the form of literature,—for which, perhaps, the artistic side (the sense of the beautiful) should receive additional emphasis.
We have spoken of language as a mode of expression; we shall now speak of it as a subject of information. In the high school the study of grammar should be carried on in two directions. It should rise to the study of style and the laws of rhetoric, and it should also trace briefly the historical development of the language, which gives the reason for existing forms, through a brief course of historical grammar.
In the study of literature great progress has been made in the last ten or twelve years by bringing the children into contact directly with the famous authors of the English tongue. In the selection of authors a historical principle should be observed and authors of the various modern periods of English literature should be read, reserving the few authors of older times, Chaucer and Spenser, for the senior year, after historical grammar has been studied to some extent. English literature, like the Greek, has the good fortune of having one grandest representative. Just as with the Greek boy the study of Homer was an education in itself, so with the English or American high school boy or girl the study of Shakespeare contains the elements of the grandest literary education. Shakespeare should be read, not only incidentally with other authors, but should be made the special object of study for a longer period, say, for a whole year, with two or three lessons per week, in the senior class. History of literature has been justly discarded as the substitute of