Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/222

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

basis of modern views of life's needs, it is partly because they are more easily introduced and retained as electives and partly because there is no agreement as to which studies will be the best to prescribe.

The idea that reformers desire to have a course containing studies good for children and studies not good for them and to trust the scholars' likes and dislikes to guide them to the former, is absurd. Whether they are right in assuming that what is best for one boy may not be best for another, that his teachers and parents can help him to pick out a course of study better for him than any inflexible course prescribed for all can be, is a question of importance, but one which Professor M√ľnsterberg does not try to answer. Instead, he tells us about his gratitude to his parents and teachers for never letting him neglect his steady toil at prescribed Greek for the pursuits which he himself elected out of school, such as electrical engineering, botany, novel-writing, reading Arabic, writing books on the prehistoric anthropology of West Prussia, etc., etc. Now, this confession about his early life absolves us from paying any further attention to his experience as a lesson to our high-school youths. The youth M√ľnsterberg and the average high-school student do not belong in the same class. For he was evidently an eminent boy as he is an eminent man. We must admit, however, that the rigorous discipline afforded by the prescribed Latin and Greek is evidenced in the present stern moral sense of the professor, who is willing to abandon his chosen and favorite pursuit, laboratory experimentation, and at the call of duty give himself to the hated but necessary tasks of writing philosophical disquisitions, political discussions and articles on school reform.