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bim. His religious instruction and other Sabbath exercises exerted a profound influence upon the neglected children of the manufacturing school at Mühlhausen.
While a student at Basle, Tobler exercised a predominating influence over numbers of his fellow students, in inciting them to industry, and inspiring them with the idea of the honorableness of their future calling. He was one of the fourtders there of a society for intellectual improvement; an enterprise which later events rendered prophetical. A very remarkable difference was to be observed between the after lives of those who were his friends, and others.
While he was teacher and director of the female school at Basle, he followed in general the doctrines of Basedow, Campe, and Salzmann. His method of teaching was substantially that which has since been named the Socratic. By strictly adhering to this method he endeavored to call into life and to develop the minds and hearts of his scholars, not however in the ancient Greek spirit, but in that of Christ; and thus he proceeded until the man appeared upon the stage, who gave an entirely new meaning to the word Education, who completely apprehended the entire subjects of education and instruction, who established thein as an independent art and science, and made an epoch in their history. To Pestalozzi Tobler adhered, and was afterward his steady disciple.
Tobler fully comprehended Pestalozzi's idea and method, in their general collective significance for humanity and education. Their individual principle separately was more difficult of comprehension to him. He understood it to be Spontaneous Activity. This, however, he considered only as a receiving and working faculty, to be developed by perception and drilling (i. e. Receptivity and Spontaneity ; Nature and Capacity ; Faculties ;) and in this opinion he was quite correct, as well as in regard to the relation of these faculties to the three subjects of instruction, nature, man, and God. But Pestalozzi had determined a third sub-division of this Spontaneous Activity, before unrecognized, and had distinguished within it the elements pertaining to the intellect and to the feelings, viz., that of the productive spontaneous activity of the moral and intellectual powers, (the talents ?) In this consists the peculiarity and importance of Pestalozzi's discoveries in method, and of the discoveries and the revolution thus originated. It is by operating according to this distinction that the progress of the development and general training of human nature is assured, and the real intellectual and moral emancipation of the schools substantially established.
During the first period of Pestalozzi's institution, Tobler took part
with all in everything as a beloved teacher and pupil. In a general activity of this kind consisted what might be called Pestalozzi's jubilee. Then, all the teachers were pupils, and all the pupils teachers; so far as they brought forward indepeudent matter of their own, and furnished results of their own inner activity. After a time, however, the necessity of the separation and ordering of different departments of instruction and drilling; rendered it necessary for Tobler to select some special department of labor; and he selected the real branches ; and among them, that of elementary geography. He established the principles of this study by reference to the actual surface of earth, and to the pupil's own sphere of vision, with a success which entitles him to the name of the father of the new method in geography. Ritter, who knew his labors, and proceeded onward from their termination, passed beyond the sphere of education, by a giant stride forward in his science.
Tobler's personal relations with Pestalozzi were neither fortunate nor enduring. Pestalozzi had not the faculty of determining the proper place for each of his assistants, and of laying out for each of them his appointed work. He was neither an organizer por administrator; and he regarded Tobler's wishes in this respect as mere assumption and weakness. Tobler could not bring out the real value of his views, without their complete display in actual operation. Whoever could at once put a matter into a distinctly practical form could in Pestalozzi's eyes do everything; and whoever fell at all short of this, nothing. Tobler, therefore, wholly absorbed in the business of elementarizing, did nothing to please or satisfy Pestalozzi. The elementarizing of instruction, and of the so-called "real branches," required too much at once; namely, the investigation and harmonious arrangement of the elements and laws of two spheres, viz., that of children's powers, and that of the proposed subject-matter of them. Pestalozzi required from Tobler, simple, rapid and immediate results from this investigation, even when the indispensable materials for them were wanting. Both Tobler and Pestalozzi, moreover, were in the habit of very plain speaking; and as husband and father, Tobler could not devote his entire life to Pestalozzi.
This false position of Tobler's gradually became that of the teachers and pupils of the institution. And Pestalozzi's disposition and opinions passed more and more under the influence of a single on of the assistant teachers (Schmid.)
At München Buchsee, Tobler was a promoter of the separation be. tween Pestalozzi and von Fellenberg. Coöperation with the latter, was possible only on condition of complete submission to his authority;
a claim which von Fellenberg made on the gronnd of his social position. But the views of the two men were too radically different; of the world, of men, and of pedagogy. It is true that pedagogically, von Fellenberg proceeded on Pestalozzi's principles; but it was upon those principles as he entertained them when he wrote Leonard and Gertrude; when he considered the common school as a valuable instrumentality for the training by society of its needed members; i. e., for education to agriculture, manufacturing, and trades. This view was in harmony with the caste-spirit of society; "The individual was not considered as a moral person, and society subordinated to him as to a superior being, but he was placed quite below it.” Pestalozzi bad, while at Stanz and Burgdorf, risen very far above this view. He had turned about, let go his consideration of mere purposes, and had laid hold upon the principle of personal exterior independence; not merely as a negative, but as a positive fact. This starting point von Fellenberg did not recognize; and Tobler, therefore, could not agree with him. The true reason why no union between von Fellenberg and Pestalozzi and the Pestalozzians never took place is, therefore, not to be sought amongst any accidental circumstances, but in their radical opposition of views
In Mühlhausen, and afterward in Glarus, Tobler established new schools. His want of adaptedness to the demands of the times upon the teacher and educator here came sharply out. He experienced, by the severe lesson of falling into poverty and want, the truth, that no one, even if possessed of a lofty new truth, strong by nature, and really deserving of confidence and support, can unpunished oppose himself to the tendencies of the age. Every new truth has its martyrs; and a pedagogical truth as well as others.
His real excellence, and his maturest, he showed at St. Gall, while director and center of his school there, as educator and instructor of his pupils, as guide to his assistants, and as unwearied and unsatisfied investigator after new applications of the Pestalozzian method to language, geography and Natural History. He invented a useful alphabetical and reading machine, arranged a simplified mode of mapdrawing, and a good though unfinished course of instruction in Natural History. Having continual reference to the common schools, ho paid much attention to the subject of obtaining cheap materials for instruction, and took great interest in the training of teachers, for which also he accomplished considerable good.
An idea which never left him after his connection with Pestalozzi, was the training of mothers as teachers; and the establishment of the belief of the destiny and fitness of the female sex for this high
No. 13.—[VOL. V., No. 1.)—14.
calling. Even in his latter years he was still enthusiastic upon this subject, and Niederer's female school at Geneva, owes to him much that is valuable.
The following account of Tobler's educational experiments and failures, is given in his own words, in Pestalozzi's “Eliza and Christopher."
“ After having been, for six years, practically engaged in education, I found the result of my labors by no means answering my expectations. The energy of the children, their internal powers, did not increase according to the measure of my exertions, por even in proportion to the extent of positive information which they had acquired : nor did the knowledge which I imparted to them appear to me to have a sufficiently strong hold upon their minds, or to be so well connected in its various parts, as I felt it ought to be.
I made use of the best juvenile works that were to be had at that time. But these books contained words, of which the greater part were unintelligible to children, and ideas far beyond the sphere of their own experience; and consequently formed, altogether, so strong a contrast with the mode of thinking, feeling, and speaking, natural to their age, that it took endless time and trouble to explain all that they could not understand. But this process of explaining was in itself a tedious job, and, after all, it did no more toward advancing their true internal development, than is done toward dispelling darkness by introducing a few detached rays of light in a dark room, or in the obscurity of a dense, impenetrable mist. The reason of this was, that these books descended to the profoundest depths of human knowledge, or ascended above the clouds, nay, and to the uppermost heavens of eternal glory, before an opportunity was offered to the children of resting their feet on the solid ground of mother earth ; on which, nevertheless, it is absolutely necessary that men should be allowed to stand, if they are to learn walking before flying; and for the latter, moreover, if it is to be flying indeed, their wings must have time to grow.
An obscure foreboding of those truths in my mind, induced me, at an early period, to try to entertain my younger pupils with matters of immediate perception, and to clear up the ideas of the elder ones by Socratic conversations. The result of the former plan was, that the little ones acquired a variety of knowledge not generally to be met with at that age. I endeavored to combine this mode of instruction with the methods I found in the most approved works; but whichever of those books I took in hand, they were all written in such a manner as to presuppose the very thing which the children were in a great measure to acquire by them, viz., the knowledge of language. The consequence was, that my Socratic conversations with the elder pupils led to no better result than all other explanations of words by words, to which no real knowledge corresponds in the children's minds, and of which they have, consequently, no clear notion, as regards either cach of them taken separately, or the connection in which they are placed together. This was the case with my pupils, and, therefore, the explanation which they seemed to understand to-day, would a few days after be completely vanished from their minds, in a manner to me incomprehensible; and the more pains I took to make everything plain to them, the less did they evince energy or desire to rescue things from that obscurity and confusion in which they naturally appear.
With such experience daily before me, I felt myself invincibly impeded in my progress to the end which I had proposed to myself. I began to converse on the subject with as many schoolmasters, and others engaged or interested in education, as were accessible to me, in whatever direction : but I found, that although their libraries were well furnished with works on education, of which our age has been so productive, yet they saw themselves placed in the same difficulty with myself, and were no more successful with their pupils than I was with mine. Seeing this, I felt with what an increased weight these difficulties must oppress the masters of public schools, unless, indeed, they were rendered too callous for such a feeling by a professional spirit. I had a strong, but, unfortunately, not a clear impression of the defects of education in all its departments, and I exerted myself to the utmost to find a remedy. I made a determination to collect, partly from my
own experience, and partly from works on the subject, all the means, methods, and contrivances, by which it seemed to me possible that the difficulties under which I labored, might be removed at every stage of instruction. But I soon found that my life would not suffice for that purpose. Meanwhile I had already completed whole volumes of scraps and extracts, when Fischer, in several of his letters, drew my attention to the inethod of Pestalozzi. I soon began to suspect that he was about to reach the end I was aimning at, without my circuitous means ; and that most of my difficulties arose out of the very nature of the plan which I followed, and which was far too scientific and systematic. I then began to see, that in the same manner the artificial methods, invented in our age, were the very sources of all the defects of modern education. On the contrary, I saw Pestalozzi equally free from my peculiar difficulties, and from the general failings, and I accounted for this by the fact, that he rejected all our ingenious contrivances, all our well-framed systems. Some of the means employed by him, that for instance of making children draw on slates, seemed to me so simple, that my only puzzle was, how I could have gone on so long without hitting upon them. I was struck with the idea that all his discoveries, seemed to be of the kind which might be termed “obvious,” they were none of them far-fetched. But what most attached me to his method, was his principle of re-educating mothers for that for which they are originally destined by nature, for this principle I had long cherished and kept in view, in the course of my experiments.
I was confirmed in these views by Krüsi, who, at his visit in Basle, gave, in the girls' school, practical specimens of Pestalozzi's mode of teaching spelling, reading, and arithmetic. Pastor Faesch, and Mr. De Brunn, who had in part organiz. ed the instruction and management of that institution, according to the loose hints which had as yet reached us on the Pestalozzian method, perceived immediately what a powerful impression was produced upon the children by their spelling and reading together in a stated measure of time. Krüsi had also brought with him some school materials for the instruction in writing and arithmetic, and some leaves of a vocabulary, which Pestalozzi intended to draw up as a first readingbook for children ; which enabled us to see the bearing which Pestalozzi's method had upon the development of the different faculties of human nature. All this contributed to mature in me, very rapidly, the determination to join Pestalozzi, according to his wish.
I went to Burgdorf, and the first impression of the experiment, in the state in which it then was, fully answered my expectations. I was astonished to see what a striking degree of energy the children generally evinced, and how simple, and yet manifold, were the means of development by which that energy was elicited. Pestalozzi took no notice whatever of all the existing systems and methods; the ideas which he presented to the minds of his pupils were all extremely simple; his means of instruction were distinctly subdivided, each part being calculated for a precise period in the progress of development; whatever was complicated and confused, he rejected; by a few words he conveyed much, and with little apparent exertion produced a powerful effect; he kept always close to the point then under consideration ; some of his branches of instruction seemed like a new creation, raised from the elements of art and nature : all this I saw, and my attention was excited to the highest degree.
There were some parts of his experiment, it is true, which seemed to me rather unnatural; of this description was, for instance, the repetition of difficult and coinplicated sentences, which could not, at first, but make a very confused impression upon his pupils. But I saw, on the other hand, what a power he had of leading children into clear ideas; yet I mentioned my doubts to him. His answer was, that nature herself presented all sorts of perceptions to our senses in confusion and obscurity, and that she brings them to clearness afterward. To this argument I had nothing to reply,* especially as I saw that he attached no value to the details
* The obvious reply was, that the perceptions which nature presents, however confused, or otherwise obscure, they may be, are realities, and therefore contain in themselves the very elements of clearn-es, and at the same time, a strong inducement to search for those elements. But confused impressions made upon us by words, are not realities, but mere shadows; they have in themselves the elements of contusion, and they offer neither an inducement, nor the means, for clearing them up. The former call out the mind, the latter cramp it. The very power which Pestalozzi possessert over his pupils, what was it owing to, according to the statements both of himself and his friends, but to his making a rule of supplying the child wh a clear and distinct notion of the reality, before he gave him the sign or shadow, the name ?