Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/579

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SCIENCE IN THE ENGLISH SCHOOLS.

distant time be adopted by Parliament; but in the mean while there is a still more important department of teaching which is wholly neglected, and concerning which the deficiencies of home instruction are at least equally manifest. We refer to a proper knowledge of the influence of conduct upon life. It should be the duty of every schoolmaster to try and make his pupils understand how production—that is to say, industry—leads to wealth; and how destruction—that is to say, idleness—leads to poverty. The reason why confidence in others is necessary to all enterprise, and the reason why honesty, in the largest sense of the word, is the only root of confidence, should in like manner be enforced by precept and illustrated by example; and such teaching, if it could only be made general, would do more to heal the breach between capital and labor than all the panaceas of all the politicians who have ever sought to figure as the "friends of the working-man."—London Times.

 

 

We print with pleasure on another page a remarkable article from the Times of Monday. In itself the article may present nothing remarkable to the readers of Nature, but, as the deliberate utterance of the leading organ of opinion in this country, it marks a distinct stage of progress toward a more enlightened conception of what constitutes education. We hope that it is significant of the near approach of a radical change of the conception in this country of what subjects should be included in elementary education. We need not be surprised at the fate of Sir John Lubbock's bill for the introduction of elementary science into schools, when such erroneous conceptions of what science is apparently exist in the mind of the Minister of Education in the House of Commons, Lord George Hamilton. The Vice-President of the Council has much to learn, when his idea of the Royal Society, one of the most venerable institutions in the country, is that of a kind of select Polytechnic, where "lectures" are delivered on "biology, chemistry, natural history, mechanics, astronomy, mathematics, and botany." But he is new to his work, and we must hope that the debate of Thursday last may lead him to obtain a more accurate conception of what is meant by elementary science.

Dr. Lyon Playfair, we believe, pointed out what is one of the great hinderances to the introduction of science into elementary schools; the mere name, "science," frightens ministers, inspectors, school boards, and teachers; perhaps if the simpler phrase, "elementary knowledge," were used, the simple-minded individuals in whose hands is the training of our future citizens might find that they themselves had been compelled to become acquainted with it to their cost after they left school, and that it would have been much better for them had they had some little training in it before entering into the thick of the fight.

The most notable feature in the Times article, as well as in Thurs-