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THE PESTALOZZIAN SYSTEM OF EDUCATION. In the account of the Philanthropinic school of education, * in the number of the “Annals ” for Nov. last, it was observed : “ It is a part of the feebleness of human nature, to vibrate incessantly, from one extreme to another. Our views are seldom perfectly just : our institutions remain ever imperfect. When we launeh into the broad ocean of discovery, we seldom fail to encounter storms; and when we keep near the shore, we cannot always avoid the rocks and quicksands.
It is not less true that there is in the vibrations of the human mind, a kind of cycle, or regular period of revolution, which brings it back to the same train of thought and feeling, which was long since abandoned. Every useful plan, and institution, and custom, and system of truth is liable to abuse and exaggeration; and in seeking to avoid the errors into which it has imperceptibly led, it is often entirely abandoned. The reformer, who should but correct and amend, destroys. The building which needs only to be repaired and improved, is torn down by the zeal of those who perceive its defects - and the structure, which is formed from its ruins, is often too imperfect to afford a shelter, or too frail to resist a single storm. · Still, in the course of ages, there is an evident progress. It is by successive falls, that our race, like its children, learns the art of walking in safety. We are not so easily deluded with
• The word Philanthropinic is derived from the name Philanthropin, wbich was applied, by Basedow, to an institution founded upon his principles. It should not be written Philanthropic as in a former article.
General Principles of his System. labored to discover the true and simple means of education, He treated his pupils with uniform sympathy and tenderness, and thus attempted to awaken love and confidence in their hearts, and to sow the seed of every good feeling. He therefore assumed faith and love as the only true foundation of a system of education.
He subsequently established a school in more regular form in Burgdorf, in the canton of Berne, to which his benevolence and talents attracted a number of fellow-laborers. Here he endeavored to ascertain the principles which should govern the development of the infant faculties, and the proper period, for the commencement and completion of each course of instruction in this view. The philosophical friends, who had been won by the excellence of his character and plans, assisted him in reducing his views to a scientific form.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF THE PESTALOZZIAN SYSTEM. As the result of his investigations, Pestalozzi assumed as a fundamental principle, that education, in order to fit man for his destination, must proceed according to the laws of nature. To adopt the language of his followers -- that it must not act as an arbitrary mediator between the child and nature, between man and God, pursuing its own artificial arrangements, instead of the indications of Providence — that it should assist the course of natural development, instead of doing it violence that it should watch, and follow its progress, instead of attempting to mark out a path agreeably to a preconceived system.
1. In view of this principle, he did not choose, like Basedow, to cultivate the mind in a material way, merely by inculcating and engrafting everything relating to external objects, and giving mechanical skill. He sought, on the contrary, to develope, and exercise, and strengthen the faculties of the child by a steady course of excitement to self-activity, with a limited degree of assistance to his efforts.
2. In opposition to the haste, and blind groping of many teachers without system, he endeavored to find the proper point for commencing, and to proceed in a slow and gradual, but un. interrupted course, from one point to another - always waiting until the first should have a certain degree of distinctness in the mind of the child, before entering upon the exhibition of the second. To pursue any other course would only give superficial knowledge which would neither afford pleasure to the child, nor promote its real progress.
3. He opposed the undue cultivation of the memory and un
Compared with those of Basedow.
derstanding, as hostile to true education. He placed the essence of education, in the harmonious and uniform development of every faculty, so that the body should not be in advance of the mind, and that in the development of the mind, neither the physical powers, nor the affections should be neglected ; and that skill in action should be acquired at the same time with knowledge. When this point is secured, we may know that education has really begun, and that it is not merely superficial
4. He required close attention and constant reference to the peculiarities of every child, and of each sex, as well as to the charıcteristics of the people among whom he lived, in order that he might acquire the development and qualifications necessary for the situation to which the Creator destined him, when he gave him these active faculties, and be prepared to labor successfully for those among whom he was placed by his birth.
5. While Basedow introduced a multitude of subjects of instruction into the schools, without special regard to the development of the intellectual powers, Pestalozzi considered this plan as superficial. He limited the elementary subjects of instruction to Form, Number and Language, as the essential condition of definite and distinct knowledge; and believed that these elements should be taught with the utmost possible simplicity, comprehensiveness and mutual connection.
6. Pestalozzi, as well as Basedow, desired that instruction should commence with the intuition or simple perception of external objects and their relations. He was not, however, satisfied with this alone, but wished that the art of observing should also be acquired. He thought the things perceived of less consequence, than the cultivation of the perceptive powers, which should enable the child to observe completely-toexhaust the subjects which should be brought before his mind.
7. While the Philanthropinists attached great importance to special exercises of reflection, Pestalozzi would not make this a subject of separate study. He maintained that every subject of instruction should be properly treated, and thus become an exercise of thought; and believed, that lessons on number, and proportion and size would give the best occasion for it.
8. Pestalozzi, as well as Basedow, attached great importance to Arithmetic, particularly to Mental Arithmetic. He valued it, however, not merely in the limited view of its practical usefulness, but as an excellent means of strengthening the mind. He also introduced Geometry into the elementary schools, and the art connected with it, of modelling and drawing beautiful objects. He wished, in this way, to train the eye,
Introduction of Vocal Music.
the hand, and the touch for that more advanced species of drawing which had not been thought of before. Proceeding from the simple and intuitive, to the more complicated and difficult forms, he arranged a series of exercises so gradual and complete, that the method of teaching this subject, was soon brought to a good degree of perfection.
9. The Philanthropinists introduced the instruction of language into the common schools, but limited it chiefly to the writing of letters and preparation of essays. But Pestalozzi was not satis-, fied with a lifeless repetition of the rules of grammar, nor yet with mere exercises for common life. He aimed at a development of the laws of language from within — an introduction into its internal nature and construction and peculiar spirit which would not only cultivate the intellect, but also improve the affections. It is impossible to do justice to his method of instruction on this subject, in a brief sketch like the present but those who have witnessed its progress and results, are fully aware of its practical character and value.
10. Like Basedow, Rochow and others, Pestalozzi introduced vocal music into the circle of school studies, on account of its powerful influence on the heart. But he was not satisfied that the children should learn to sing a few melodies by note or by
He wished them to know the rules of melody and rhythm, and dynamic -- to pursue a regular course of instruction, descending to its very elements, and rendering the musical notes as familiar as the sounds of the letters. The extensive work of Nageli and Pfeiffer has contributed very much to give this branch of instruction a better form.*
11. He opposed the abuse which was made of the Socratic method in many of the Philanthropinic and other schools, by attempting to draw something out of children before they had received any knowledge. He recommends on the contrary, in the early periods of instruction the established method of dictation by the teacher and repetition by the scholar, with a proper regard to rhythm, and at a later period, especially in the mathematical and other subjects which involve reasoning, the modern method in which the teacher merely gives out the problems in a proper order and leaves them to be solved by the pupils, by the exertion of their own powers.
12. Pestalozzi opposes strenuously the opinion that religious instruction should be addressed exclusively to the understanding;
* The essential features of the system are presented in the Manual, published under the direction of the Boston Academy of Music, and its happy results have been fully verified in the schools for vocal music under the care of that society, as well as in other parts of the United States.
Defects of Pestalozzi's System.
and shows that religion lies deep in the hearts of men, and that it should not be enstamped from without, but developed from within. That the basis of religious feeling is to be found in the childish disposition to love, to thankfulness, to veneration, obedience and confidence towards its parents ; that these should be cultivated and strengthened and directed towards God; and that religion should be formally treated of at a later period in connection with the feelings thus excited. As he requires the mother to direct the first development of all the faculties of her child, he assigns to her especially the task of first cultivating the religious feelings.
13. Pestalozzi agreed with Basedow, that mutual affection ought to reign between the educator and the pupil, both in the house and in the school, in order to render education effectual and useful. He was, therefore, as little disposed as Basedow, sustain school despotism – but he did not rely on artificial excitements, such as those addressed to emulation. He preferred that the children should find their best reward in the consciousness of increased intellectual vigor; and expected the teacher to render the instruction so attractive, that the delightful feeling of progress should be the strongest excitement to industry and to morality.
14. Pestalozzi attached as much importance to the cultivation of the bodily powers, and the exercise of the senses, as the Philanthropinists, and in his publications, pointed out a graduated course for this purpose. But as Gutsmuths, Vieth, Jahn, and Clias treated this subject very fully, nothing farther was written concerning it by his immediate followers.
Such are the great principles which entitle Pestalozzi to the high praise of having given a more natural, a more comprehensive and deeper foundation for education and instruction, and of having called into being a method which is far superior to any that preceded it.
DEFECTS OF THE PESTALOZZIAN SYSTEM. But with all the excellences of the system of education adopted by Pestalozzi, truth requires us to state that it also involves serious defects, which are not sufficiently noticed by the writer before us.
1. In his zeal for the improvement of the mind itself, and for those modes of instruction which were calculated to develope and invigorate its faculties, Pestalozzi forgot too much the necessity of general positive knowledge, as the material for thought