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The true ideal.-Illustration.
RIGHT VIEWS OF EDUCATION.
Every teacher, before he begins the work of instruction, should have some definite idea of what constitutes an education ; otherwise he may work to very little
purpose. The painter, who would execute a beautiful picture, must have beforehand a true and clear conception of beauty in his own mind. The same may be said of the sculptor. That rude block of marble, unsightly to the eyes of other men, contains the godlike form, the symmetrical proportion, the life-like attitude of the finished and polished statue; and the whole is as clear to his mental eye before the chisel is applied as it is to his bodily vision when the work is completed. With this perfect ideal in the mind at the outset, every stroke of the chisel has its object. Not a blow is struck, but it is guided by 'consummate skill; not a chip is removed, but to develop the ideal of the artist. And when the late unsightly marble, as if by miraculous power, stands out before the astonished spectator in all the perfection of beauty,—when it almost breathes and speaks,—it is to the artist but the realization of his own conception. Now let the same astonished and delighted spectator,
A spectator's efforts.—The difference.
with the same instruments, attempt to produce another statue from a similar block. On this side he scores too deep; on the other he leaves a protuberance; here by carelessness he encroaches upon the rounded limb; there by accident he hews a chip from off the nose ; by want of skill one eye ill-mates the other; one hand is distorted as if racked by pangs of the gout; the other is paralyzed and deathlike. Such would be his signal failure. Thus he might fail a thousand times. Indeed it would be matter of strange surprise if in a thousand efforts he should once succeed.
Now the difference between the artist and the spectator lies chiefly in this,-the one knows beforehand what he means to do; the other works without any plan. The one has studied beauty till he can see it in the rugged block; the other only knows it when it is presented to him. The former, having an ideal, produces it with unerring skill; the latter, having no conception to guide him, brings out deformity.
“What sculpture is to the block of marble,” says Addison, “education is to the human soul ;” and may I not add, that the sculptor is a type of the true educator,—while the spectator, of whom I have been speaking, may aptly represent too many false teachers who without study or forethought enter upon the delicate business of fashioning the human soul, blindly experimenting amidst the wreck of their heaven-descended material, maiming and marring, with scarcely the possibility of final success,-almost with the certainty of a melancholy failure !
Blindness of employers.—Nlustrated.
In other things besides education men are wiser. They follow more the teachings of nature and of com
But in education, where a child has but one opportunity for mental training, as he can be a child but once,-where success, unerring success, is every thing to him for time and eternity, and where a mistake may be most ruinous to him,-in education, men often forget their ordinary wisdom and providence, and commit the most important concerns to the most incompetent hands. “The prevailing opinions,” says Geo. B. Emerson, “in regard to this art are such as the common sense of mankind and the experience of centuries have shown to be absurd as to every other art and pursuit of civilized life. To be qualified to discourse upon our moral and religious duties, a man must be educated by years of study; to be able to administer to the body in disease, he must be educated by a careful examination of the body in health and in disease, and of the effects produced on it by external agents; to be able to make out a conveyance of property, or to draw a writ, he must be educated; to navigate a ship, he must be educated by years of service before the mast or on the quarter-deck; to transfer the products of the earth or of art from the producer to the consumer, he must be educated; to make a hat or a coat, he must be educated by years of apprenticeship; to make a plow, he must be educated; to make a nail, or a shoe for a horse or an ox, he must be educated ;—but to prepare a man to do all these things ;-to train the body in its most tender
Many poor teachers.-Defects in teaching.
years, according to the laws of health, so that it should be strong to resist disease; to fill the mind with useful knowledge, to educate it to comprehend all the relations of society, to bring out all its powers into full and harmonious action; to educate the moral nature, in which the very sentiment of duty resides, that it may be fitted for an honorable and worthy fulfilment of the public and private offices of life; to do all this is supposed to require no study, no apprenticeship, no preparation !"
Many teachers, therefore, encouraged by this unaccountable indifference in the community, have entered the teachers' profession without any idea of the responsibilities assumed or of the end to be secured by their labors, aside from receiving, at the close of their term, the compensation for their service in dollars and cents. And even many who have entered this profession with good intentions, have made the most deplorable mistakes from a want of an adequate idea of what constitutes an education. Too often has educating a child been considered simply the act of imparting to it a certain amount of knowledge, or of “carrying it through” a certain number of studies, more or less. Education has too frequently been held to be a cultivation of the intellectual to the neglect of the moral powers; and the poor body, too, except among savages, has had but little share in its privileges or benefits. In a very large number of our schools, the physical and the moral have both been sacrificed to the intellectual. Even some of our public speakers have dwelt upon the necessity of
Knowledge may be unsafe. A great question.
intelligence to the perpetuity of our free institutions, scarcely seeming to be aware that intelligence, without moral principle to direct and regulate it, might become the very engine through which evil men might effect our overthrow. Who has not seen that an educated man without virtue is but the more capable of doing evil ? Who does not know that knowledge misdirected, becomes, instead of a boon to be desired, a bane to be deprecated ?
From what has been said, I place it among the highest qualifications of the teacher that he should have just views of education. I consider it all-important that he should have a well-defined object at which to aim, whenever he meets a young mind in the transition state. He should have an ideal of a well-educated human soul, tenanting a healthy, well-developed human body; an ideal which he at once and systematically labors to reach, as does the sculptor when he commences his work upon the quarried marble. “What is it to educate a human being aright ?" should be one of the first questions the candidate for the teacher's office should ask himself with the deepest seriousness. I say the candidate ; for this question should be settled if possible before he begins his work. It is a great question, and he may not be able to answer it in a day. Let him consult the dictates of his own mind,-let him consult the teachings of experience and of wisdom, as they are to be found in the writings of Milton, Locke, Wyse, Cousin, Brougham, and others of the eastern continent, and of Wayland, Potter, Mann, G. B. Emer