Too many of our teachers in all grades of schools confine themselves too closely to the element of instruction, and many of them fail to recognize the importance of education and training. This is, perhaps, owing to the delicacy which the instructor's work assumes in the educational stage. Here the teaching should be full of suggestions and sympathetic guidance to develop the reasoning faculties and guard them against inaccurate and discursive habits. In the technical school there is a certain amount of preliminary instructional and educational work that must be done, without which no real progress in thorough and systematic training can be made. But this is a condition, I think, that is not fully appreciated by some of our technical schools. While I believe most thoroughly in elementary instruction and advanced education, I fear that too many of our higher institutions of learning neglect the importance of scientific drill, discipline, and mental gymnastics, on which the development and value of the mind as an instrument for the acquisition of real knowledge so much depend. Wrongly directed education, often so painfully acquired, lies like rubbish in the mind; it can not take root and quicken into life and grow, for the means are mistaken for the end, the working machinery is mistaken for the finished product. The great difficulty lies in too many young men to-day being overtaught in the hypotheses and under trained in the realities of life. We need more practical education and training, and possibly less speculative philosophy. This is demonstrated by the outcry that comes to us from Germany against overeducation. But there is certainly not too much practical education: generations will come and pass away before there will be danger of that. Still, this protest, coming as it does from one of the most intellectual countries of the world, where speculative philosophy flourishes most, will have its reaction in our leading institutions of learning, and will give us a deeper appreciation of practical education. The present educational methods being inductive and reflective, pertain more to the realities of life and less to its graces than the theories held half a century ago. The new education teaches us that it is unwise to spend the best years of one's life pursuing studies that are merely cultural, for most of us certainly have as much need of knowledge as of culture. We send our children to school to seek for knowledge, for we know that when they study for the love of knowledge culture will come as an incident in the attainment of it. The thing formerly considered was only mental discipline, and the result was depression; while the object now is to keep the mind alert, expectant, and enthusiastic by presenting the delights and rewards of learning. We now teach our boys to realize the activities of their own senses, to see that knowledge only comes to them through these avenues.
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/690
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.