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for he knew not how to give proper employment to all these children, what to teach them, or by what means to keep them in order. All the notions he had hitherto acquired about keeping school were confined to the "setting" of spelling and reading lessons, to be "got by heart;" to the "saying " of the same lessons by turns, followed by the chastisement of the rod if the task was not properly got. From the experience of his own boyhood, however, he knew likewise that, with this mode of "keeping school," the greater part of the children are idling away most of the school-hours, and by idleness are led to a variety of follies and immoralities; that in this manner the time which is most available for education is allowed to pass by without any benefit to them, and that the few advantages which they may derive from their instruction are not even sufficient to counterbalance the ill effects which must necessarily result from such "school-keeping."
Pastor Schiess, the minister of the place, who was very actively combating the old routine, assisted him in his school, during the first eight weeks. From the very beginning they divided the scholars into three classes. With this division, and the use of some spelling and reading-books on an improved plan, which had recently been introduced in the school, they succeeded in making a number of children spell and read together, and thus keeping them generally occupied to a far greater extent than had been possible before.
The new reading-book, that had been introduced by the minister, contained religious truths in short paragraphs, and in biblical sentences; various facts of physical science, natural history, and geography, were concisely stated, and information was given on interesting points of the political constitution of the country. Krüsi observed his pastor, when he read it with the children, putting some questions at the end of each paragraph, in order to see whether they actually understood what they had read. Krüsi tried to do the same thing, and succeeded in making most of the scholars perfectly familiar with the contents of the readingbook. But this was only because, like good old Huebner, he adapted his questions to the answers which were to be found, ready made, in the book, and because he neither demanded nor expected any other answer, except literally those which the book had put into the children's mouths, long before any question was devised to elicit them. The true reason of his success was, that there was a complete absence of all mental exercise in this his system of catechisation. It is, however, to be observed, that that mode of instruction which originally was termed catechisation, is, no more than Krüsi's system of questioning, an exercise of the mind; it is a mere analysis of words, relieving the child, as far as words are concerned, from the confusion of a whole sentence, the different parts of which are presented to the mind separately and distinctly; it can, therefore, only have merit when used as a preparatory step to the further exercise of clearing up the ideas represented by those words. This latter exercise, commonly termed Socratic instruction, has only of late been mixed up with the business of catechising, which was originally confined to religious subjects exclusively.
The children thus catechised by Krüsi were held up by the minister as examples to his elder catechumens. Afterward it was required of Krüsi, that he should, after the fashion of those times, combine this narrow analysis of words, called catechising, with the Socratic manner, which takes up the subject in a higher sense. But an uncultivated and superficial mind does not dive into those depths from which Socrates derived spirit and truth; and it was, therefore, quito natural that, in his new system of questioning, Krüsi should not succeed. Ho had no internal basis for his questions, nor had the children any for their answers. They had no language for things which they knew not, and no books which furnished them with a well-framed answer to every question, whether they understood it or not.
Krüsi, however, had not then that clear insight into the nature of those two methods which might have enabled him to apprehend their difference. He had not yet learned that mere catechising, especially if it runs upon abstract terms, leads to no more than the art of separating words and handling analytical forms; but that, in itself, it is nothing but a parrot-like repetition of sounds without understanding: nor was he aware that Socratic questions are not to be addressed
"Good old Huebner" is the author of a Scripture history in German, to which are attached sets of "useful questions and answers," such as our readers may find in many a "good new" manual of our enlightened and improved systems."
to children, such as his pupils at Gais, who were equally destitute of the internal fund, that is, of real knowledge,—and of the external means, that is, of language wherein to convey that knowledge. The failure of his attempt rendered him unjust to himself; he thought the fault lay entirely with himself, imagining that every good schoolmaster must be able, by his questions, to elicit from the children correct and precise answers on all manner of moral and religious subjects.
We have already noticed the circumstances which brought Krüsi to Burgdorf.
The more he labored with Fischer the higher seemed to him the mountain which lay in his way, and the less did he feel in himself of that power which he saw would be necessary to reach its summit. However, during the very first days after his arrival, Krüsi was present at some of the conversations I had with Fischer on the subject of popular education, when I expressed my decided disapprobation of the Socratic manner of our young candidates, adding, that it was not my wish to bring children to a premature judgment, on any subject, but that my endeavor was rather to check their judgment, until the children should have an opportunity of viewing the subject from all sides, and under a variety of circumstances, and until they should be perfectly familiar with the words expressive of its nature and its qualities. Krüsi was struck with these remarks; he felt it was there that his own deficiency lay; he found that he himself stood in need of that same elementary instruction which I designed for my children.
Fischer exerted himself with all his power to introduce Krüsi to different departments of science, that he might be able afterward to teach them. But Krüsi felt every day more that the way of books was not the one for him to make progress in, because on every subject he was destitute of that preliminary knowledge of things and their names, which, to a greater or lesser extent, books presuppose. On the other hand, he witnessed the effect which I produced upon my children, by leading them back to the first elements of human knowledge, and by dwelling on these elements with unwearied patience; and the result of his observation tended to confirm him in the notions he had formed concerning the causes of his own inability. Thus by degrees his whole view of instruction underwent a great change, and he began in his own mind to place it on a different foundation. He now perceived clearly the tendency of my experiments, which was to develop the internal power of the child rather than to produce those results which, nevertheless, were produced as the necessary consequences of my proceedings; and seeing the application of this principle to the development of different faculties by different branches of instruction, he came to the conviction that the effect of my method was to lay in the child a foundation of knowledge and further progress, such as it would be impossible to obtain by any other.
Fischer's death accelerated the union between Pestalozzi and Krüsi, which had been contemplated by the latter almost from the first moment of his acquaintance with his paternal friend. The following account of the view which he took of Pestalozzi's plan, after he had for some time enjoyed the advantage of practical co-operation with him, is, notwithstanding its great deficiencies, an interesting testimony in favor of the experiment, in the course of which these ideas urged themselves upon an evidently unprejudiced mind.
1. A well-arranged nomenclature, indelibly impressed upon the mind, is to serve as a general foundation, on the ground of which both teacher and children may, subsequently, develop clear and distinct ideas on every branch of knowledge, by a gradual but well-secured progress from the first elements.
2. Exercises concerning lines, angles, curves, &c., (such as I began to introduce at that time,) are calculated to give children such a distinctness and precision in the perception of objects, as will enable them to form a clear notion of whatever falls within the sphere of their observation.
3. The mode of beginning arithmetical instruction by means of real objects, or at least strokes and dots, representing the different numbers, gives great precision
and certainty in the elements, and secures the further progress of the child against error and confusion.
4. The sentences, descriptive of the acts of walking, standing, lying, sitting, &c., which I gave the children to learn, led Krüsi to perceive the connection between the beginnings of my instruction and the purpose at which I was aiming, viz., to produce a general clearness in the mind on all subjects. He soon felt, that if children are made to describe in this manner things which are so clear to them that experience can not render them any clearer, they must thereby be checked in the presumption of describing things of which they have no knowledge; and, at the same time, they must acquire the power of describing whatever they do know, to a degree which will enable them to give consistent, definite, concise, and comprehensive descriptions of whatever falls within reach of their observation. 5. A few words which I dropped on one occasion, on the tendency of my method to abate prejudice, struck him very forcibly. Speaking of the manifold exertions, and the tedious arguments, by which prejudices are generally combated, I observed that these means had about as much power to counteract them as the ringing of the bells had to disperse thunder-storms, but that the only true safeguard against the influences of prejudice was a conviction of the truth, founded upon self-observation. For truth, so acquired, is in its very nature an impediment to the reception of prejudice and error in the mind; so much so, that if men thus taught are made acquainted with the existence of prevailing false notions by the never-ceasing cant of society, there is not in their minds any ground for that ignoble seed to rest on, or to grow up in, and the effect must therefore be very different from what it proves to be in the common-place men of our age, who have both truth and error thrust into their imagination, not by intuition and observation, but by the mere charm of words, as it were by a magic lantern.
When reflecting upon these remarks, he came to the conviction, that the silence with which, in my plan of instruction, errors and prejudice were passed over, was likely to prove more effectual in counteracting them than all the endless verbiage which he had hitherto seen employed for that purpose.
6. In consequence of our gathering plants during the summer, and of the conversations to which this gave rise, he was brought to the conviction that the whole round of knowledge, to the acquisition of which our senses are instrumental, depended on an attentive observation of nature, and on a careful collection and preservation of whatever she presents to our thirst of knowledge.
These were the views on the ground of which he conceived the possibility of establishing such a method of instruction as he felt was most needed; viz., one which would cause all the branches of knowledge to bear upon one another, with such coherence and consistency as would require, on the part of the master, nothing but a knowledge of the mode of applying it, and, with that knowledge, would enable him to obtain, not only for his children but even for himself, all that is considered to be the object of instruction. That is to say, he saw that, with this method, positive learning might be dispensed with, and that nothing was wanted but sound common sense, and practicable ability in teaching, in order not only to lead the minds of children to the acquirement of solid information, but likewise to bring parents and teachers to a satisfactory degree of independence and unfettered mental activity concerning those branches of knowledge, in which they would submit themselves to the course prescribed by the method.
During his six years' experience as village schoolmaster, a considerable number of children, of all ages, had passed through his hands; but with all the pains he took, he had never seen the faculties of the children developed to the degree to which they were carried by my plan; nor had he ever witnessed in thein such an extent and solidity of knowledge, precision of thought, and independence of feeling.
He inquired into the causes of the difference between his school and mine.
He found, in the first instance, that, even at the earliest period of instruction, a certain feeling of energy was not so much produced,—for it exists in every mind not enervated by artificial treatment, as an evidence of innate power,-as kept alive in consequence of my beginning at the very easiest task, and exercising
It is a superstitious practice, kept up to this day in many parts of Switzerland and Germany, to ring the church-bells at the approach of a thunder-storm, under the impression that the sacred toll will effectually remove the danger.
it to a point of practical perfection before I proceeded; which, again, was not done in an incoherent manner, but by a gradual and almost insensible addition to what the child had already acquired.
With this method, he used to say, you need not push on children, you have only to lead them. Formerly, whatever he wanted to teach, he was obliged to introduce by some such phrase as this: "Pray, do think, if you please!" Can't you remember, now ?"
It could not be otherwise. If, for instance, in arithmetic, he asked, "How many times seven are there in sixty-three?" the child had no palpable basis on which to rest his inquiry for the answer, and was, therefore, unable to solve the question, otherwise than by a wearisome process of recollection; but, according to my method, he has nine times seven objects before him, which he has learned to count as nine sevens; the answer to the above question is, therefore, with him, not a matter of memory; for although the question, perhaps, may be put to him for the first time, yet he knew long ago, by intuition and practice, that in sixtythree there are nine sevens; and the same is the case in all the other branches of my method.
To adduce another instance: he had in vain endeavored to accustom his children to write the initials of substantives with capital letters ;* the rule by which they were to go was constantly forgotten. Now, on the contrary, the same children, having read through some pages of a vocabulary constructed on my plan, conceived of themselves the idea of continuing that vocabulary out of their own resources, and, by writing long lists of substantives, proved that they had a clear notion of the distinctive character of that sort of words. The remark which Krüsi made, that with this method children do not want to be pushed on, is so correct, that it may be considered as a proof of something imperfect in the mode of instruction, if the child still requires any kind of stimulus to thought; and the method can be considered as perfect only where every exercise proposed to the child is so immediately the result of what he has learned before, that it requires no other exertion on his part than the application of what he already knows.
Krüsi further observed that the detached words and pictures, which I used to lay before the children in teaching them to read, produced upon their minds a very different effect from that of the compound phrases commonly used in schools. He, therefore, now began to examine these phrases themselves somewhat more closely, and he found that it was utterly impossible for children to form any distinct notions of the different words of which they are composed; because they do not consist of simple elements before known to the children, and put together in an obvious connection, but that they are unintelligible combinations of objects mostly or entirely unknown. To employ children's minds in the unraveling of such phrases is contrary to nature; it exceeds their powers, and leads to delusion, inasmuch as it introduces them to trains of ideas which are perfectly foreign to them, as regards not only the nature of the objects to which they refer, but likewise the artificial language in which they are clothed, and of which the children have not even acquired the bare elements. Krüsi saw that I was no advocate for this hodge-podge of pedantry; but that I did with my children as nature does with savages, first bringing an image before their eyes, and then seeking a word to express the perception to which it gives rise. He saw that, from so simple an acquaintance with the object, no conclusions, no inferences followed; that there was no doctrine, no point of opinion inculcated, nothing that would prematurely excite them to decide between truth and error; it was a mere matter of intuition, a real basis for conclusions and inferences to be drawn hereafter; a guide to future discoveries, which, as well as their past experience, they might associate with the substantial knowledge thus acquired.
He entered more and more into the spirit of my method; he perceived that every thing depended on reducing the different branches of knowledge to their very simplest elements, and proceeding from them in an uninterrupted progress, by small and gradual additions. He became every day better fitted to second me in the experiments which I myself made on the ground of the above principles; and, with his assistance, I completed, in a short time, a spelling-book, and a course of arithmetic, upon my own plan.
In the German language, every substantive, and every word used as a substantive is written at the beginning with a capital letter.
Krüsi himself considered the time he spent in Burgdorf the happiest The conviction that they were exert an influence for good upon
and most fruitful of all his life. laboring for a cause which was to thousands of their fellow-men filled all the laborers there with enthusiasm, and made every effort and every new creation a delight which they would not have exchanged for all the treasures of earth.
The important year 1805, in which Napoleon decreed the reseparation of Switzerland, brought the institution at Burgdorf to an end; the castle reverted to the canton and was occupied by the high bailiff. Pestalozzi, after contemplating for some time the transfer of his institution to Münchenbuchsee, determined to continue it at Yverdun, on the lake of Neufchâtel. For this purpose he received permission to use the old castle there; and all his teachers joyfully gathered around him again. In Yverdun, the institution acquired a European reputation; from all directions there resorted to it not only pupils, (of whom it contained in its most prosperous condition above two hundred,) but also youths and men of riper age and experience, who sought to become acquainted with the discoveries of Pestalozzi, in order to fit themselves for learning and teaching in the great field of human education. An active and significant life grew up within the walls of the modest little institution, to which there gathered pilgrims both great and small from all parts of Europe. The seed there sown bore fruit a thousand-fold throughout all parts of Germany, and especially in Prussia, where the benevolent king highly valued the efforts and the method of Pestalozzi, and sent several young men of talents to make themselves acquainted with the latter.
Besides this undertaking, whose good influence was intended to reach boys, youths, and men of all classes and of all beliefs, Pestalozzi's scheme contemplated also the extension of the advantages of an improved education to girls, in order that they might be trained in their great vocation as mothers. To this end he connected with his institution, in 1806, a girls' institute, under the management of Krüsi and Hopf, the latter of whom was married. This institution succeeded. Pestalozzi's best teachers helped to instruct in it. Among those who patronized it, Krüsi always remembered with affection a wealthy landowner, (Stamm,) of Schleitheim, who sent to Yverdun not only four daughters, but a niece as a sort of guardian, two nephews, and a young man who he was assisting to train himself for the work of teaching. Truly we might almost say, in the words of Jesus, "I have not found such faith, no, not in Israel!" Of the operations of the institution Krüsi says: "It gives us heartfelt pleasure; but we had not foreseen the continually greater demands to be made upon our