Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/580

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day's debate, is the fact that it has at last dawned upon the leaders of opinion and the makers of our laws that "education" and "instruction" are different things, and that a man may learn a great many "facts" at school, and have his education to begin when he leaves it. It is lamentable that we have to be continually reminded that we are the only one of the great European countries where this distinction is not recognized and practically carried out in education. Our whole system of education, hitherto, has been a mere cramming of the children's memories with words, words, words, to the weariness of children and teachers, and with results unsatisfactory to all concerned. As the Times puts it, "To be taught something about gravitation, about atmospheric pressure, about the effects of temperature, and other simple matters of like kind, which would admit of experimental illustration, and which would call upon the learner to make statements in his own words instead of in those of somebody else, would be so many steps toward real mental development." Sir John Lubbock gave a most conclusive refutation of the idea that the teaching of science must be attended with hitherto unexperienced difficulties, and at the same time proved what a relief science-teaching would be to the ordinary dull routine of instruction, when he told the House that in the Scotch schools the authorities began to take alarm because science-teaching was found so comparatively easy and pleasant by the children. As to the argument that children who have been taught to know something about the object and forces with which they come every day into contact contract a distaste for manual labor, we should have thought it had been long ago played out; it has almost as much force as the story told by another speaker of the boy who had been impudent to his master because the latter could not read his newspaper.

It is unnecessary for us to go again into the merits of the question which has been so often and so thoroughly discussed in these pages, especially as the Times has put it quite as forcibly as there is occasion for doing at present. It certainly seems sad, nationally suicidal, indeed, that a few more millions of those who will have the destinies of this country in their hands are likely to be launched into active life, with all their education to acquire, ere legislation steps in to give us the advantages which nearly every other civilized nation gives to its children. Every day we hear of the ignorance of the working-classes, every other month "congresses" are held to devise means to remedy the consequences of this ignorance—ignorance of the laws of health, ignorance of household economy, ignorance of the implements and objects of labor, ignorance of the laws of labor and production, ignorance of the nature of the commonest objects with which they come into contact every day, ignorance of almost everything which it would be useful and nationally beneficial for them to know—an ignorance, alas! more or less shared by the "curled darlings" of the nation. Yet while every day's paper shows how keen is the industrial competition with other