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art; just as he who would speak correctly, by the rules of grammar; and he who would sing correctly, by the rules of singing." This art of teaching applies, like that of logic, to all languages, arts and sciences; and is such a universal art of teaching as Ratich's. It discusses among other things, "how to distinguish among minds and gifts, so that the quicker may not be delayed, and that, on the contrary, those who are by nature not so quick, may not remain behind; how and in what order to arrange the exercises, how to assist the understanding, how to strengthen the memory, to sharpen the intellect, without violence and after the true course of nature. This art of teaching, no less than other arts, has its fixed basis and certain rules, founded not only upon the nature and understanding, the memory and the whole being of man, but also upon the peculiarities of languages, arts, and sciences; and it admits no means of teaching which are not deduced from sure grounds, and founded upon proof."
Helwig argues further against the usual unintelligent learning by rote, and translating into strange languages; "the requiring what has not been taught; the remembering what is not understood; the practicing what has not been learned.” Ratich remedies this, relieves the boys from their misery, and puts the chief labor upon the teacher, who, however, finds it easier than before, “ since, if he is not fully master of every thing connected with the language or art which he teaches, still, while he is teaching it to others, he himself, becomes ready, prompt, and thorough in it." Under the usual teaching, the result is uncertain, and every thing must be done by guess. “Most persons,” he says, “choke themselves upon the bitter root, even to weariness, before they can get the least taste of the lovely fruit; that is, they have to torment and plague themselves, before they can see or know of the least use for their efforts.”
Helwig proceeds to oppose the tyranny of the Latin ; " as every such language directly injures the knowledge of the mother tongue, and as all arts and sciences may be easily and with advantage learned in the German language." Men, in general, have no need of Latin; "just as if Latin were the only measure of all the other arts and sciences, and the only means of attaining them."
Thus the new method leaves to the languages, arts, and sciences, their natural freedom. For," continues Helwig," he who has abjured the tyranny of the Latin, may, according to his preferences or his necessities, learn one or another language, and use it, or devote himself entirely to one single art or science, and enrich it with new discoveries, as the Greeks, Hebrews, and others have done; who would never have done so much for posterity if they had been obliged to
martyr themselves with the grammar as many years as our own youth.” If the monopolizing Latin is removed, Hebrew, Greek, and even Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, would be attended to.
The mother tongue, in particular, would not be neglected; as it has great excellencies, and ought to be correctly and systematically learned, as the ancient Greeks and Romans learned their native tongues. “Besides,” says Helwig, “it is a clear truth that all arts and sciences, logic, ethics, political economy, mensuration, medicine, drawing, weighing, astronomy, architecture, fortification, and as many more as there are, can be more easily, conveniently, correctly, thoroughly, and successfully learned and taught in the German language, than in the Greek, Latin, or Arabic."
In order to introduce Ratich's method, grammars and compends must be prepared according to it, and“ books of roots and words.”
In conclusion, Helwig recommends the subject to princes and authorities, parents and teachers.
I can scarcely say how many of the principles of the modern Methodians, and of their views, appear in this report. Polemics against the usual method of instruction, against the tyranny of Latin, against mechanical learning by rote, and neglect of the understanding; and on the other hand, the promise of a new, easy, brief and certain method of instruction, by whose aid both scholar and teacher would be spared fatigue and doubt, which made but little requisition upon the teacher; the bringing forward of the understanding, and the low estimate of the memory; the equalizing of the Greek, Hebrew, &c., with the Latin; and especially the requisition that the mother tongue should be reinstated in its rights, and, still more, that it should be learned “correctly and systematically."
Grawer's report (of Jena) upon Ratich, is chiefly directed against the opponents of the new method. Objections had been heard, just as they are to-day, if any thing new is sought to be introduced in the school system. He says, “Do you ask, has nobody, up to this time, known how to teach youth languages correctly? Did our forefathers know nothing about it? Is the art now for the first time discovered ?"* Grawer answers, “is it true that the method of instructing youth in languages, is so incapable of improvement? When music has risen to such a state of perfection, within the last eighty years, from so small a beginning, and yet have our forefathers left no improvements to be made in didactics ?” These questions were, however, occasioned by Ratich's too violent
attacks upon the accepted method of teaching, and his extravagant valuation of his own.
The second objection was, that if learning should be taught in the German language, it would become altogether too common, so that all without distinction, would be learned, and the rightful learned men would fall into disrespect. Learning, answers Grawer, is bound up with no language, although there is a belief, that, absolutely no one can be learned unless he understands Latin and Greek; and on the contrary, that if any one knows Latin and Greek, even if he knows nothing else besides, he is a very learned man.* We have heard something of the same kind in our own times.
Meyfart's report praises especially Ratich's orthodox Lutheranism, and says
that he omits useless studies, and substitutes others.t Ratich's life and labors are, in many respects, diametrically opposed to those of Johannes Sturm. The latter succeeded in every thing, because he labored in the spirit of the age, and, therefore, had the support of the age. He was only the head master among many who pursued the same design with him. Upon this purpose Sturm kept his eyes fixed clearly and steadily, and followed it résolutely and earnestly. On the contrary, many of Ratich's ideas were new and unintelligible, and even irritating to his contemporaries. He had sagacity enough to perceive the wants of the systems in vogue, but not enough to remedy them. He indicated many improvements, but only shadowed them forth in general principles. If he undertakes to work out any of his principles, to put them in practice in the school, he shows himself entirely confused and incompetent. Trusting in his principles, he promised what his practical incapacity would not permit him to perform; and thus, even with his well-wishers, he appeared a charlatan. This conflict between his ideal and his want of skill for the realization of it, made him unsuccessful, and in this he is a characteristic forerunner of the later Methodians, especially of Pestalozzi. Sturm, as a man skillful in his calling, known and recognized by his age, was, on the contrary, successful.
Ratich's works are in Latin, diffuse to tediousness, and pedantic in structure and style. Those of his followers are sometimes in German, but singularly interlarded with Latin words, showing that they were still under the “ tyrannical dominion” of that language.
* Grawer, 63-65.
+ 1 omit what Meyfart says about " Instrumenta inservientia and dirigentia,” as obscure. " By means of the former," he says, “all can be learned which will enable one to attain to a knowledge of things and of language ; and to the power of effective labor; and it therefore consisted, partly in knowing and partly in laboring." This sounds very much like Bacon. As Instrumenta dirigentia, he names, eutactica, epistemonica, mnemonia, glossodidactica, praseodidactica, noematicodidactica, organicodidactica,
WORKS OF AND RELATING TO Ratici. Ratich wrote many books, of which the following have come to my knowledge :
1. Universal Encyclopædia for Ratich's Didactics. Kothen, 1619. This is apparently the same with the Allunterweisung nach der Lehrart Ratichii, 1619. This Encyclopædia contains 13 pages of almost nothing except definitions of thirty-two literary studies. For example: “What is Encyclopædia ? Ans. It is the course of rightly instructing the human mind in all things which can be known. How is it divided ? Ans. Into dogmatics and didactics. What is dogmatics? Ans. It is the system of methodically explaining studies." At the end is given the following synopsis :
Encyclopædia is divided into two parts : into
Active. (Metaphysics, Physics, Mathematics.) (Ethics, Politics, Economics.)
Mixed. (Arithmetic, Geometry.)
Cosmography, Optics.) 2. Universal Grammar for Ratich's didactics : Kothen, 1619. (This appeared in Latin, German, Italian and French.) Like the Encyclopædia, it is in catechetical form, and has twenty pages, mostly of definitions. For example : “What is grammar ? Ans. Grammar is the system instrumental for correct speech. How many things are to be considered, relating to correct speech? Ans. Two; essence, and attribute. Wbat is the essence of correct speech? Ans. The essence of correct speech is its agreement with approved authors," etc.
To this catechism is added a tabulated view of the Latin conjugations and declensions. Both the Encyclopædia and the Grammar are little enough adapted to give a knowledge of Ratich's method.
3. The new method of instruction of Ratich and the Ratichians : by Johannes Rhenius. Leipsic, 1626. This collection includes:
1. W. Ratich's general introduction to the method of learning languages.
as a model for other languages: by certain Ratichians. 3. Principles on which the Ratichian system is chiefly founded. Rhenius says, in his preface, that he received these three treatises from the hand of his friend Ratich, and that two of them are by fellow-laborers of his at Augsburg. My respected friend Herr Rector Vömel of Frankfort, has been kind enough to communicate them to me; they are of great importance for understanding the peculiarities of Ratich's method. I have quoted from all of them.
Besides the manuals under the above heads 1 and 2, Ratich published the following books, mentioned by Jöcher, Schwarz and Massmann. I have not been able to obtain them, although I went for that purpose to Kothen, where they appeared. New Didactics. 1619. Rhetoric. Physics. Metaphysics. Compendium of Latin Grammar. Compendium of Logic. 1621. Practice in Greek. 1620. Little manual for beginners. To each of these titles are added the words for Ratich's Didactics.'' 4. Memorial presented to the German Electoral Diet of the Einpire at Frank
fort, 27th and 28th May, 1612. This memorial exists in manuscript in the city archives of Frankfort.
To these works of Ratich are to be added the following works expressing the opinions of his contemporaries:
5. Short report on the didactics, or art of teaching, of Wolfgang Ratich. In which he gives directions how the languages, arts and sciences may be learned more easily, quickly, correctly, certainly and completely, than has heretofore been the case. Written and published by Christopher Helwig, Doctor of Sacred Thevlogy, and Joachim Jung, Philosopher ; both professors at Giessen. Printed in the year 1614.
This report I received, as also the subsequent works, through my friend Professor Massmann, who reprinted them with valuable remarks, in part 1 of vol 7, for 1827, of Schwarz's Independent Year-book for German common schools.
6. Report on the didactics, or art of teaching, of Wolfgang Ratich. In which he gives directions how youth can learn languages very easily and quickly, without special constraint or wearisomeness. Composed and written by request, by several professors of the University of Jepa, in which also various idle and useless questions are answered. Jena, 1714.
At the end of the report are the names of A. Grawer, Doctor and professor of the Holy Scriptures. Zacharias Bendel, Doctor of philosophy and medicine and public professor. Balthasar Gualtherus, professor of the Hebrew and Greek languages. M. Michael Wolfius, public professor of physics. I have quoted from Grawer.
7. Report on the new method, as it has been put in practice in the instruction of youth in the schools of the principality of Weimar; both in the German classes and in the classes in Latin grammar. Composed by Johannes Kromayer, court chaplain there, under the General Superintendeney. Weimar : J. Weidner, 1619.
For this important work also I am obliged to the kindness of Herr Professor Massmann, who found them in the library at Munich.
8. Humble relation. On the system of instruction of Herr Wolfgang Ratich, put into the hands of his excellency the Chancellor and High Councilor of the Kingdom of Sweden, at Gross-Sommerda, March 15, 1634. Signed, at the con. clusion, in these words: Signed, at Erfurt, March 10, 1634. Hieronymus Brückner, Doctor ; Jobannes Matthäus Meyfart ; Stephanus Ziegler, Doctor of Sacred Theology.
This Relation, which was addressed to the Chancellor Oxenstiern, was printed by Herr Director Dr. Niemeyer in his examination programme, Halle, 1840; where he has also made valuable contributions to our knowledge of Ratich. The original Relation is preserved in the ducal libary at Gutha. Among the contributions just referred to, is an abstract of one of Ratich's works, also found at Gotha, with the title: "The universal system of a Christian school, and how to establish and maintain it, in the true and natural faith, and in harmony of language, out of the Holy Divine writings, Nature and Language, according to the educational system of Ratich. Written by
Ratichii symbolum, Gewohnheit verschwind, Vernunfft uberwind, Wahrheit platz-find. Kranichfeld, 1632."
In three other programmes by Dr. Niemeyer, of the years 1841, 1842 and 1843, his interesting communications respecting Ratich are continued. I have quoted the programme of 1840 as "Niemeyer A," the second as Niemeyer B," the third as “ Niemeyer C," and the fourth as “ Niemeyer D."
In programmes A and D, Dr. Niemeyer cites, among others, the following important works relative to Ratich :
Brief account of a celebrated teacher of the last century, Wolfgang Ratichius. By J. C. Förster: Halle. Printed by Michaelis, 1782.
Didactic accrued interest; or, certain meditations, and decrees of wise men cited under each; whence clearly appears what is to be thought of the method commonly called the Ratichian. By M. J. Blocius, of the school at Magdeburg, 1621.
Ordinance of the honorable Council of the City of Magdeburg, relative to the didactics of Herr Wolfgang Ratich. Magdeburg, 1641.
Hientzsch's Weekly Journal of the common schools. Vol. 1, Nos. 5 to 8.