Society, we may safely admit, is not perfect; and if the anarchist can point out possible improvements, then he is a helper from whom we should not turn away. But metaphysical views of the nature of state can give no help in any practical problem.
Being convinced by the course of recent events that the public needs professional guides in social affairs, the Society for Education Extension, of Hartford, Conn., has projected a School of Sociology, to be opened in the present autumn. Chester D. Hartranft, D. D., is to be its president, and among the lecturers already secured are Professors John Bascom, Austin Abbott, Otis T. Mason, William Libbey. Jr., William M. Sloane, and William O. Atwater, We have long maintained that definite laws underlie the phenomena of human society, or, in other words, that a science of sociology is possible. We should be glad to see a good institution for research and instruction in this field established, and hope that the undertaking of the Hartford society will meet with all deserved success.
Systematic Science Teaching. By Edward Gardnier Howe. International Education Series, No. 27. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1894. Pp. 326. Price, $1.50.
This is a book the value of which to the educator, both parent and teacher, it would be difficult to overestimate. To the advanced instructors of to-day the value of science teaching is no longer in question. The book is full of suggestion, and shows the line of investigation adapted to each province of Nature.
Dr. Harris well says, in his preface, that the pupil must get not only the dead results but also the living method—the method of observation and discovery; that the powers of observation are strengthened chiefly by learning to think about what one sees; that seeing only fails to produce that cultivation of observation that the capacity for scientific observation produces—the act of recognizing, not the mere seeing, giving scientific knowledge. He goes on to say: "Science leads to invention, and invention leads to the demand for a scientifically educated class of laborers. Education emancipates the laborer from the deadening effects of repetition and habit, the monotony of mere mechanical toil, and opens to him a vista of new inventions and more useful combinations." The necessity is suggested for the introduction of the results and methods of science into the elementary schools as early as possible, in view of their influence upon civilization.
Mr. Howe's work is very carefully graded, and he insures the constant interest of the pupil by a happy selection of objects from Nature. The most valuable feature, however, of this work is the detailed hints and directions to the teacher and pupil, that will secure correct and accurate habits of scientific observation.
The results of this systematic teaching of science have been exceedingly satisfactory. Interest has rarely flagged, and the senses have been developed to a surprising degree; the hand has been trained in the art of experiment, and the mental powers have made a steady and healthy growth. An exactness and freedom of expression have been attained which is the truest index of a mind full of observed facts and trained to the thoughtful consideration of matters presented. The advanced pupil has gone to the study of books with ease and profit, but the work has reached deeper and further; the inborn love of childhood for birds, flowers, and pretty stones has quickly responded to wise encouragement and become the present source of much happiness, and this of the purest sort. Incidentally tending to keep out low pleasures, it has been in many cases the prelude to the recreations of mature life.
That with the pleasurable acquiring of much useful knowledge the sense can be quickened, the mental powers developed, and a loving interest in ever-present and pure things be fostered, which in mature life shall render us in a great degree independent of time, place, or man's device for needed recreation, is certainly all that need be said in its favor.