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who still speak disrespectfully of kindergartens are unconsciously influenced by its spirit, and are applying principles, which would never have been clear to them if Froebel had not objectively revealed them by his kindergarten methods.
Dr. Harris, in the preface to the "Education of Man," says: "Those who persistently read Froebel's works are always growing in insight and in power of higher achievement." There is no teacher to whom this statement does not apply. It is as true of the college professor as of the primary teacher. No other educational writings bear re-reading so well as Froebel's, because his insights were clearer, more comprehensive, more distinctive, and therefore more difficult of general comprehension, than those of any other writer. Men trained under old methods are unable fully to grasp his ideas, as they have no conceptions to which they can be definitely related. It requires experience and training to prepare the minds of teachers to apperceive Froebel's ideas. The next generation, especially those who are fortunate enough to receive a kindergarten training, will apperceive Froebel's principles more fully, and interpret him more truly than we can hope to do.
What is the kindergarten spirit? The distinctive spirit of the kindergarten is the result of Frobel's recognition of the sacredness of the child's selfhood or individuality. He taught that every child has special power, and that its fullest growth and truest education cannot be attained unless this special power becomes the dominant element in its life-the central current to which all its other powers form tributary streams. By individuality Froebel meant the divine element in the child-the only element possessing power to stimulate and coördinate all its physical, intellectual, and moral activities. He gave to selfhood its rightful place as the guide of the child's powers. At the same time that he trained the individual powers of a child he developed its individuality. Individuality and the individual powers should be clearly distinguished. Individuality is the originating and controlling element of character that starts the individual powers to act, and guides them while at work. The motive power of character is even more important than the operative power, and should be trained more definitely. As motive power is higher than operative power, it is more susceptible to training.
He believed that the divinity in the child, its individuality, its originality, its distinctive characteristics, its selfhood, was the part of its nature that should be most definitely trained, because on its development he based all his hope for the child itself and for its uplifting influence on its fellowmen.
He objected to every system that magnified knowledge at the expense of the child, and his whole life was a protest against the
"stamping and molding" processes of teachers who failed to recognize the sacredness of the child's selfhood. What he valued most was not power, but creative power.. He summed up his conceptions of individuality in the germ thought, that, "the fulfillment of man's destiny is the representation of the divine nature within him.” Towards the accomplishment of this destiny by each child he constantly aimed in working out the details of every part of his educational work. This ideal made creative freedom a logical conception, and gave it educational value. Without it the suggestion of creative power would be absurd, and spontaneity might lead to anarchy instead of harmonious growth towards truth, justice, and perfect freedom.
This foundation educational principle-the recognition of the sacredness of the child's selfhood-led Froebel to discover the leading features of his educational system. It revealed to him the vital importance of the intelligent, systematic, and persistent study of the child. It made the child, and not the knowledge to be communicated to it, the focus of educational thought. It led him to make freedom and happiness the sources of productive interest and the essential conditions of child-development. It taught him that the divinity in the child should not be passive or merely responsive to suggestion from others, but that selfhood should be self-active, —that is, active in the conception as well as the execution of an idea; in motive as well as in deed; in originating as well as in operating; in seeing as well as in doing, and realizing this he made selfactivity the highest process of human development. It showed him that the divinity in the child should not cease to grow, but should increase in power through progressive stages, and on this he founded his law of evolution. It gave him a clear conception of the true function of the individual, as a perfect unit in the universal unity.
The study of the child, reverence for its individuality, joyousness and spontaneity, true self-activity, progressive evolution, perfect community of feeling, and coöperation in action for the accomplishment of a common beneficent purpose; these are the essential elements of the spirit of Froebel's kindergarten.
How has this spirit influenced the higher departments of educational thought and practice?
My answer must not be understood to apply to all the higher institutions of learning. The reforms wrought by the kindergarten spirit are working gradually upward from the primary through the intermediate departments. This is natural, because at first kindergarten methods were studied much more than the principles on which they are based. Until recently high school and college men could be divided into two classes; those who denied that the
kindergarten had any educational value, and those who were graciously willing to admit that it might possibly possess some slight educational advantages for very young children. A great awakening has been going on in the best high schools and colleges during the last few years, and the indications are that the next ten years will do much to verify Mr. Courthope Bowen's predictions. The springtime is here, and the life is flowing upward to the apparently dead high school and college branches. Some of them are green with fresh leaves, and white already with the blossoms of progress that give promise of rich and abundant fruit.
A deep and widespread interest has been aroused during the past ten years in high schools, normal schools, and even universities, in scientific child study. The kindergartens undoubtedly deserve the credit for arousing this general and earnest study of the child. They made the child the center of interest, and the chief agent in its own development. They became objective representations of great principles, not as theories but as vital realities in active operation. Applied principles reveal truth more definitely in an hour than the theoretical exposition of the same truth can do in a century. The kindergartens respected the child's selfhood; they elevated it above the knowledge it is intended to use; they aimed to deal with its divinity rather than its depravity; they helped to make real Emerson's ideal, that the child is the "sun of the world;" they proved that the child is the supreme educational factor; and by making these facts and principles objective, they guided the world to the study of the child, and placed educational investigation on a logical basis.
The kindergarten spirit has affected the discipline of the schools more than it has yet influenced the methods of teaching. In a single generation it has transformed the disciplinary agencies of the schools. Rev. J. G. Fitch said in his official report to the English government two years ago, that "the kindergarten had so thoroughly changed the discipline of the English schools that the disciplinary terms now used in the official instructions to teachers would not have been understood by them a few years ago."
Even in high schools, colleges, and universities the old autocratic, domineering, arbitrary, coercive, mandatory spirit has almost disappeared. The former antagonism between teacher and pupils or students is becoming rapidly less, and the new era of coöperative harmony has dawned in good secondary schools and universities.
Froebel recognized the value of the teacher's guidance, but he realized very clearly that the teacher's influence might be too great. His profound respect for the selfhood of the child was so great that he would not allow the teacher to overshadow it or prevent its free growth by restrictive domination. Restriction dwarfs, coercion blights, and domination destroys individuality, and therefore Froebel waged against them a war of extermination. He refused to destroy power in the effort to educate. His comprehension of the interrelationships existing between all the truly developing processes of nature made him decide, that even between essential freedom and desirable control there must be a course that produces perfect harmony, so he sought the "perfect law of liberty" that he might guide childhood without destroying its spontaneity.
He believed so thoroughly in the law of evolutionary development through successive stages of human growth that he did not expect finished character in the child. He allowed little children a condition of liberty which shocked the martinets, and agitates some of them still. He denied that anarchy was caused by freedom, but asserted strongly that it was the natural result of coercive control, and that unnatural control, especially during unconscious childhood, made it self-conscious in the weakening sense, and led to a natural indifference or resistance to constituted authority in the subsequent conscious period.
He found self-activity to be the intermediary process to produce harmony between spontaneity and control, and interest to be the motive that leads to self-activity when the selfhood has not been made passive by arbitrary control. With loving sympathy as an attractive power, making the teacher a friend instead of a domineering autocrat, and with the interested self-activity of the child as the central thought in the teacher's philosophy, he knew discipline would soon settle itself in a natural way. He refused to believe that children are happier when they are doing wrong than when doing right, and never doubted for a moment that they are more contented when engaged in appropriate occupations than when idle. Productivity being, according to his philosophy, the true function of humanity, he reasoned that creative self-activity is the most perfect source of human happiness, and the only rational agency in truly developing discipline.
But, it may be answered, all children do not like to work. This statement Froebel declined to accept. It is very likely to be true that all children do not like to do work chosen for them by their teachers, and to which they are driven by the teacher's authority. The wonder is that there is so little rebellion against work selected by others, and towards which children
are driven by authority and not drawn by interest. Even when the persuasive power is the witchery of loving reverence for the teacher, work chosen by the teacher never has the maximum of power to interest or develop, and cannot long hold the attention of the pupil or make the path of duty the path of pleasure. Froebel held that children do love productive work if they are trained to plan it as well as perform it. "They yield themselves," said he, "in childlike trust and cheerfulness to their formative and creative interest." The methods of most schools in the past destroyed the formative and creative interest by making the pupil passive instead of active, receptive instead of executive.
During the early, unconscious period of the child's development, Froebel would have the control of mother and kindergartner so thoroughly in harmony with the spontaneity of the child as not to be felt by it. The highest disciplinary skill of the mother or kindergartner is shown by the transference of the child's interest from evil to good in so natural a way that the child is not conscious of the external, guiding influence in making the change, or of its own surrender of one interest for another. When the child becomes conscious of its own personality, the teacher's duty is still to maintain the harmony between control and spontaneity. Now, however, both the control and spontaneity belong to the pupil. The control should become self-control, and this should be developed, first by a clear recognition of the rights of others, and second by the realization of the personal advantages resulting from self-control in subordinating the undesirable to the desirable in one's own tendencies. In the higher departments the teacher should be the confidential friend of the pupil, and not a mere dictator to whom the pupil should render unquestioning obedience. Exigencies may arise when the teacher may wisely say "Thou shalt," or "Thou shalt not," as the result of the "better choice between two evils." Such an incident is always a moral catastrophe, and the wise teacher undoes the evil so far as possible when the conditions that precipitated the collision have passed away.
As new generations of children trained in the kindergarten and filled with its spirit of individual liberty and individual responsibility rise through the schools to the universities, they will expect and receive a fuller recognition of their ability to exercise selfcontrol and share in the management and discipline of the institutions in which they are being trained. A freer race will demand and deserve still greater freedom. When perfect freedom and full responsibility for individual action are the supreme elements in the management and discipline of colleges and universities, the young men and women in them will receive the best training in good