So far then on the more negative side. I have indicated my strong belief that much may be done to train the mind in self-control. Indeed our whole education is built upon the faith that we can, perhaps not implant new faculties, but develop dormant ones; and I am persuaded that when future generations come to survey our methods and processes of education, they will regard with deep bewilderment the amazing fact that we applied so careful a training to other faculties, and yet left so helplessly alone the training of the imaginative faculty, upon which, as I have said, our happiness and unhappiness mainly depend. We must, all of us be aware of the fact that there have been times in our lives when all was prosperous, and when we were yet overshadowed with dreary thoughts; or again times when in discomfort, or under the shadow of failure, or at critical or tragic moments, we have had an unreasonable alertness and cheerfulness. All that is due to the subconscious mind, and we ought at least to try experiments in making it obey us better.
I now pass on to consider a further possibility, and that is of training and developing a higher sort of creative imagination. It is all in reality part of the same subject, because it seems to be certain that most human beings suffer by the suppression or the dormancy of existing faculties. It is here, I believe, that much of our intellectual education fails, from the tendency to direct so much attention to purely logical and reasoning faculties, and to the resolute subtraction from education of pure and simple enjoyment. I used to try many experiments as a schoolmaster, and I remember at one time bribing a slow and unintelligent class into some sort of concentration by promising that I would tell a story for a few minutes at the end of school, if a bit of work had been satisfactorily mastered. It certainly produced a lot of cheerful effort; my story was simple enough, description as brief and vivid as I could make it, and brisk tangible incidents. But the silence, the luxurious abandonment of small minds to an older and more pictorial imagination, the dancing light in open eyes, did really give me for once a sense of power which I never had in teaching Latin Prose or the Greek conditional sentence. I always told stories for an hour on Sunday evenings to the boys in my house, and though few of my intellectual and ethical counsels are remembered by old pupils, I never met one who did pot recollect the stories.
Now we have here, I believe, a source of intellectual pleasure which is consistently neglected and even despised. It is regarded as a mere luxury; but we do not make the mistake of substituting gymnastics for games, and removing the pleasure of personal performance. Why can we not also do something to encourage what old Hawtrey used so beautifully to call "the sweet pride of authorship"? The worst of it all is that we look so much to tangible results. I do not mean that we must try to develop Shakespeares, Shelleys, Thackerays; such airy creatures have a way of catering for themselves! I do riot at all want to turn out a generation of third-rate writing amateurs. But many boys have a distinct pleasure not only in listening to imaginations, and riding like the beetle on the engine, but in evoking and realising some little vision and creation of their own brains. Of course there are boys to whom mental activity is all of the nature of a cross laid upon them for some purpose, wise or unwise. But there are also a good many shy boys, who will not venture to make themselves conspicuous by literary and imaginative feats, and who yet if it were a matter of course and wont, would throw themselves with intense pleasure into literary creation. The work done, for instance, at Shrewsbury, at the Perse School, at Carlisle Grammar School, in this direction—I daresay it is done elsewhere, but I have seen the work of these three schools with my own eyes—show what quite average boys are capable of in both English poetry and English prose.
One of the best points of such a system of literary composition is that even if slower boys cannot effect much, it gives a most wholesome opening to the creative faculties of boys, whose minds, if stifled and compressed, are most likely to work in unwholesome and tormenting directions.
My suggestion then becomes part of a larger plea, the plea for more direct cultivation of enjoyment in education. Some of our worst mistakes in education arise from our not basing it upon the actual needs and faculties of human nature, but upon the supposed constitution of a child constructed by the starved imagination of pedants and moralists and practical men.
One of the first requisites in cultivating intellectual and artistic pleasure is to build up taste out of the actual perceptions of the child. That is a factor which has been most stubbornly and unintelligently disregarded in education. Developments in character are of the nature of living things; they cannot be superimposed they must be rooted in the temperament and they must draw nurture and sustenance out of the spirit, as the seed imbibes its substance from the unseen soil and the hidden waters. But what has been constantly done is to introduce the broadest effects and the simplest romance, directly and suddenly to the biggest masterpieces. The absence of all gradation and reconciliation has been characteristic of our literary education. Of course there is an initial difficulty in the case of the classics, that there is very little in either Greek or Latin which really appeals to an immature taste at all; and such books as might appeal to inquisitive and inexperienced minds, such as Homer or the Anabasis of Xenophon, are made unattractive by the method of giving such short snippets, and insisting on what used to be called thorough parsing. Even Alice in Wonderland, let me say, could only prove a drearily bewildering book, if read at the rate of twenty lines a lesson, and if the principal tenses of all the verbs had to be repeated correctly. It is absolutely essential, if any love of literature is to be superinduced, that something should be read fast enough to give some sense of continuity and range and horizon. The practice of dictionary-turning is sufficient by itself to destroy intellectual pleasure, but it used to be defended as a base sort of bribe to strengthen memory: it was argued that boys would try to remember words to save themselves the trouble of looking them up. But this has no origin in fact. Boys used not to be encouraged to guess at words, but to be punished for shirking work if they had not looked them out. It is to be hoped that English will be in the future increasingly taught in schools; but even so there is the danger of connecting it too much with erudition. The old Clarendon Press Shakespeare was an almost perfect example of how not to edit Shakespeare for boys; the introductions were learned and scholarly, the notes were crammed with philology, derivation, illustration. As a matter of fact there is a good deal that is interesting, even to small minds, in the connection and derivation of words, if briskly communicated. Most boys are responsive to the pleasure of finding a familiar word concealed under a variation of shape; but this should be conveyed orally. What is really requisite is that boys should be taught how to read a book intelligently. In dealing with classical books, vocabulary must be always a difficulty, and I myself very much doubt the advisability in the case of average boys of attempting to teach more than one foreign language at a time, especially when in dealing, say, with three kindred languages, such as Latin, French, and English, the same word, such as spiritus, esprit, and spirit bear very different significations. The great need is that there should be some work going on in which the boys should not be conscious of dragging an ever-increasing burden of memory. Let me take a concrete case. A poem like the Morte d'Arthur, or The Lay of the Last Minstrel, is well within the comprehension of quite small boys. These could be read in a class, after an introductory lecture as to date, scene, dramatis personae, with perfect ease, words explained as they occurred, difficult passages paraphrased, and the whole action of the story could pass rapidly before the eye. Most boys have a distinct pleasure in rhyme and metre. Of course it is an immense gain if the master can really read in a spirited and moving manner, and a training in reading aloud should form a part of every schoolmaster's outfit. I should wish to see this reading lesson a daily hour for all younger boys, so as to form a real basis of education. Three of these hours could be given to English, and three to French, for in French there is a wide range both of simple narrative stories and historical romances. The aim to be kept in view would be the very simple one of proving that interest, amusement and emotion can be derived from books which, unassisted, only boys of tougher intellectual fibre could be expected to attack. The personalities of the authors of these books should be carefully described, and the result of such reading, persevered in steadily, would be, what is one of the most stimulating rewards of wider knowledge, the sudden realisation, that is, that books and authors are not lonely and isolated phenomena, but that the literature of a nation is like a branching tree, all connected and intertwined, and that the books of a race mirror faithfully and vividly the ideas of the age out of which they sprang. What makes books dull is the absence of any knowledge by the reader of why the author was at the trouble of expressing himself in that particular way at that particular time. When, as a small boy, I read a book of which the whole genesis was obscure to me, it used to appear to me vaguely that it must have been as disagreeable to the author to write it as it was for me to read it. But if it can be once grasped that books are the outcome of a writer's interest or sense of beauty or emotion or joy, the whole matter wears a different aspect.
The same principle applies with just the same force to history and geography; both of these studies can be made interesting, if they are not regarded as isolated groups of phenomena, but are approached from the boy's own experience as opening away and outwards from what is going on about him. The object is or ought to be slowly to extend the boy's horizon, to show him that history holds the seeds and roots of the present, and that geography is the life-drama which he sees about him, enacting itself under different climatic and physiographical conditions. The dreariness and dreadfulness of knowledge to the immature mind is because it represents itself as a mass of dry facts to be mastered without having any visible or tangible connection with the boy's own experience. The aim should rather be to teach him to look with zest and interest at what is going on outside his own narrow circle, and to help him to move perceptively along the paths of time and space which diverge in all directions from the scene where he finds himself.
It may be indisputably stated that all connected knowledge is stimulating, and that all unconnected knowledge is at best mechanical. Perhaps one of the most fruitful of all subjects is vivid biography, and no serious educator could perform a more valuable task than in providing a series of biographies of great men, really intelligible to youthful minds. As a rule, biographies of the first order require an amount of detailed knowledge in the reader which puts them out of the reach of ill-stored minds. But I have again and again found with boys that simple biographical lectures are among the most attractive of all lessons. At one time, with my private pupils, I would take a book at random out of my shelves, read an interesting extract or two, and then say that I would try to show why the author chose such a subject, why he wrote as he did, and how it all sprang out of his life and character and circumstances.
Of course the difficulty in all this is that the field of knowledge is so vast and various, while the capacities of boys are so small, and the time to be spent on their education so short, that we quail before the attempt to grapple with the problem. We have moreover a vague idea that the well-informed man ought to have a general notion of the world as it is, the course of history, the literature of the ages; and at the same time the scientists are maintaining that a general knowledge of the laws and processes of nature is even more urgently needed. I cannot treat of science here, but I fully subscribe to the belief that a general knowledge of science is essential. But the result of our believing that it is advisable to know so much, is that we attempt to spread the thinnest and driest paste of knowledge over the mind, and all the vivid life of it evaporates in the process. The thing is, frankly, far too big to attempt; and, we must henceforth set our faces against the attainment; of mere knowledge as either advisable or possible. What we must try to do is to educate the faculties of curiosity, interest, imagination and sympathy; we must begin from the boy himself, and conduct him away from himself. What we really ought to aim at is to give him the sense that he is surrounded by strange and beautiful mysteries of nature, of which he can himself observe certain phenomena; that human history, as well as the great world about him, is crowded with interesting and animating figures who have laboured, toiled, loved, acted, suffered, sinned, have felt the impulse both of base and selfish desires, but no less of beautiful, exalted, and inspiring hopes. We want to convince the young that it is not well to be narrow, close-fisted, insolent, suspicious, petty, self-satisfied. Imaginative sympathy, that is to be the end of all our efforts. If we aim only at producing sympathy, we may get a vague sentimentalism which is just distressed by apparent suffering, and anxious to relieve it momentarily, without reflecting whether it is not the outcome of perfectly curable faults of system and habit. If we aim only at imagination, then we get a barren artistic pleasure in dramatic situations and romantic effects. What we ought to aim at is the sympathy which pities and feels for others, as well as admires and imitates them; and this must be reinforced by the imagination which can concern itself with the causes of what otherwise are but vague emotions. We want to make boys on the one hand detest tyranny and high-handedness and bigotry and ruthless exercise of power, and on the other hand mistrust stupidity and ignorance and baseness and selfishness and suspiciousness. The study of high literature is valuable not as a mere exercise in erudition and linguistic nicety and critical taste, but because the great books mirror best the highest hopes and visions of human nature. The precise extent of the intellectual range matters very little, compared with the perceptiveness and emotion by which the realisation of other lives, other needs, other activities, other problems are accompanied.
I must not be supposed, in saying this, to be leaving out of sight the virile exercise of logical and rational faculties; but that is another side of education; and the grave deficiency which I detect in the old theory was that practically all the powers and devices of education were devoted to what was called fortifying the mind and making it into a perfect instrument, while there were left out of sight the motives which were to guide the use of that instrument, and the boy was led to suppose that he was to fortify his mind solely for his own advantage. This individualist theory must somehow be modified. The aim of the process I have described is not simply to indicate to the boy the amount of selfish pleasure which he can obtain from literary masterpieces; it is rather to show the boy that he is not alone and isolated, in a world where it is advisable for him to take and keep all that he can; but that he is one of a great fellowship of emotions and interests, and that his happiness depends upon his becoming aware of this, while his usefulness and nobleness must depend upon his disinterestedness, and upon the extent to which he is willing to share his advantages. The teaching of civics, as it is called, may be of some use in this direction, as showing a boy his points of contact with society. But no instruction in the constitution of society is profitable, unless somehow or other the dutiful motive is kindled, and the heroic virtue of service made beautiful.
When then I speak of the training of the imagination, I really mean the kindling of motive; and here again I claim that this must be based on a boy's own experience. He understands well enough the possibility of feeling emotion in relation to a small circle, his home and his immediate friends. But he is probably, like most young creatures, and indeed like a good many elderly ones, inclined to be suspicious of all that is strange and foreign, and to anticipate hostility or indifference. What he would willingly share with a relation or friend, he eagerly withholds from an outsider. To cultivate his imaginative sympathy, to give him an insight into the ways and thoughts of other men, to show to him that the same qualities which evoke his trust and love are not the monopoly of his own small circle—this is just what must be taught, because it is exactly what is not instinctively evolved.
The training of the imagination then is a deliberate effort to persuade the young to believe in the real nobility and beauty of life, in the great ideas which are moulding society and welding communities together. It cannot be done in a year or a decade; but it ought to be the first aim of education to initiate the imagination of the young into the idea of fellowship, and to make the thought of selfish individualism intolerable. It is not perhaps the only end of education, but I can hardly believe that it has any nobler or more sacred end.
RELIGION AT SCHOOL
By W. W. VAUGHAN
The Master of Wellington College
"After all, how seldom does a Christian education teach one anything worth knowing about Christianity." These are the words of a man whom the public schools are proud to claim, a man who has seen Christian education, whether given in the elementary or in the secondary schools tested by the slow fires of peace, and by the quick devouring furnace of war. They seem at first sight to be a verdict of "guilty" against the teachers or the system in which they play a part. That verdict will not be accepted without protest by those incriminated, but even the protesters will feel some compunction, and now that they can no longer question the heroic "student" as to what he means, and go to him for advice as to the remedies for this failure, they should search their hearts and their experience for the help he might have given, had he not laid down his arms and his life on the Somme last autumn.
For long the need of help has been felt. The teaching of religion may have been less talked and written about, and less organised by societies and associations, than have been other subjects dealt with at school, but the problem of how best to make it a living force in youth and an enduring force throughout the whole of life is often wrestled with at conferences of schoolmasters which do not publish their proceedings, and by little groups of men who feel the need of one another's help. It is certainly always present in the minds, if not in the hearts, of every head master, boarding-house master and tutor in England. These know well what the difficulties are; these know that a short cut to any subject is often a long way round: that a short cut to religion leads too often either to a slough of doubt or else to a pharisaical hilltop, from which there is no path to the great mountains where the Holy Spirit really dwells.
It is never well to insist too much on difficulties, but a bare statement of those that surround this subject is needed. There are the difficulties of course common to every subject; the difficulty of attracting the real teacher, keeping him as a teacher, improving him as a teacher when he has been attracted. Even those who start out on their career with a determination that the teaching of religion at all events should have its full share of their time and thought, find that as their teaching life goes on and fresh duties crowd in to usurp more and more all their energies, that the time they can spare, and the thought they can give, either to the preparation of their divinity lessons, or to the enriching and cultivation of their own souls, shrink. Now and then they are cruelly disappointed at the result of their efforts as some conspicuous failure seems to prove their teaching vain; they are often depressed by the apparent apathy of the leaders of the Church, by their manifest reluctance even to allow others to make the new bottles which can alone hold the new wine.
Schoolmasters belong to a devoted and to a comparatively learned profession. They should belong, especially those who feel the needs—and all must to some extent—of the religious life of the school, also to a learning profession; and their learning should go beyond the experience of boyish failings, and boyish tragedies, and boyish virtues with which they are almost daily brought into contact; beyond the dictionaries and handbooks that enable the Bible lesson to be well prepared; it should go out into the books that deal with the philosophy and the history of religion—the books of Harnack and Illingworth, Hort and Inge, Bevan and Glover, and of others who make us feel how narrow our outlook on our religion is. It would of course be foolish to drag our pupils with us exactly to the point to which these books may have brought us after many years' experience, but it is essential that we should know of the existence of such a distant point if we are to give to those we teach any idea of there being beyond the limits that they can reach at school a great and wonderful and inspiring region which they, with the help of such leaders as have been mentioned can, nay must, explore for themselves if religion is to be something more than mere emotion, fitful in its working, liable to succumb to all the stronger emotions with which life attacks the citadel of the soul.
Another difficulty is that the teacher of religion is being more continuously and searchingly tested than the teacher of any other subject. The man who expatiates in the form-room on the beauties of literature, and is suspected of never reading a book is looked upon as merely a harmless fraud by those he teaches. The man who preaches, whether officially in the pulpit or unofficially in the class-room or study, a high standard of conduct, and is unsuccessful in his own efforts to attain it, depreciates for all the value of religion. Patience and industry and long-suffering and charitableness are virtues that bear the hall mark of Christianity, but they are virtues in which the best men fail continually, are conscious of their own failure and would plead for merciful judgment. If the parish priest is exposed to the criticism of those among whom he lives, a still fiercer light beats upon the pulpit or the desk of the schoolmaster. His consciousness of this sometimes leads him to reduce his teaching to the limits of his practice, instead of extending the former and having faith in his power to bring the latter up to this level. Indeed, when teachers and those who are taught are living so close together, both, from a not unworthy fear of insincerity, are liable to make themselves and their ideals out to be worse than they are. It is sympathy alone that can overcome this difficulty. Indeed, it is safe to say that without sympathy—sympathy that understands difficulties, working equally in those who are old and those who are young—religion at school must be a very cautious and probably a very barren power.
Again, the schoolmaster is tempted, and even when he is not tempted the boys credit him with yielding to the temptation to treat religion as a super-policeman: something to make discipline easy and consequently to make his own life smooth. It is no good explaining too often that the aim is to get at religion through discipline, but this aim should ever be before us. Man cannot too early in life realise that discipline of itself is valueless. Its inestimable value in war, as in all the activities of life, is due to its being the necessary preliminary preparation for courageous action, noble thought, wise self-control and unselfish self-surrender. But above all these difficulties, dominating them all, affecting them all, perhaps poisoning them all, is the fact, not to be escaped though it is often ignored, that so many of the traditions of school life, as of national life, seem founded on a basis opposed to Christ's teaching. It is very hard to go through a day of our lives, or even a short railway journey, and not offend against the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount. Older people have never been able to solve this dilemma: the rulers find it more difficult than the ruled. The whole of school life is stimulated by the principle of competition, and kept together by a healthy and, on the whole, a kindly self-assertion which is hard to reconcile with the ideals that are upheld in the New Testament. Yet at school, quite as much as in the World, competition and self-assertion are tempered by abundant friendliness and generosity; and at school if not in the world, there are an increasing number of individuals who have so much spiritual power that they never need to exercise the more worldly power that clashes with the Beatitudes. Of this power boys seldom talk, except to some specially sympathetic ear at some specially heart-opening moment, but many are dumbly aware of it and they cultivate it, often unconsciously but to the great gain of those around them, by prayer and faithful worship. But even these richer natures are uncomfortably conscious that there is a conflict between what Christ commands and what the world advises. That conflict will not cease until faith has more power over our lives. It cannot grow naturally at school among boys, when it does not live in the nation among men; but it would indeed be faithless to miss, through fear of the world's withering power, any opportunity of quickening pure religion among the young. Though these opportunities vary very much in the day and the boarding school, they may be said to occur:
(1) In the scripture lesson;
(2) In the services whether held in chapel or, as is often the case especially in day schools, in the hall;
(3) In the preparation for confirmation;
(4) In all lessons in and out of school.
There is a great difference of opinion as to what should be taught in the scripture lesson, and who should teach it. It is easy enough to quote instances of extraordinary ignorance, to argue that, because a man who is in the trenches shocks his chaplain by his real or affected neglect of the facts of Bible history or the dogmas of the Church, therefore he has never had an opportunity of learning them; that same man would probably not give a much more impressive account of the profane subjects in the school curriculum. There is, too, the fact that a man may have forgotten everything of a subject and yet may have learnt much from it. Every teacher knows this, if every schoolboy does not. No one shrinks so much from revealing what he knows as the boy who is conscious that he has learnt a thing and is not sure that he can show his knowledge accurately. No subject has been left so free from what is supposed to be the sterilising influence of examinations as divinity. In many schools there have been one or two inspiring teachers of this subject who justify this system, but on the whole the result does not confirm the opinion that all would be well if we could have complete freedom from examinations. If in the future the harvest in religion is to be more worthy of the seed that is sown and the trouble of cultivation, we must face with more frankness, especially in the later years of a boy's life, all the difficulties that are presented by the problems of the Bible and Church History. We must have more courage in going beyond the syllabuses that are drawn up by universities and ecclesiastical societies. Both have to play for safety, but they are dull cards that this stake requires.
Teachers have overcome their timidity in dealing with the difficulties presented by the Old Testament. Very few now hesitate to take the book of Genesis, and, at all events if they are dealing with a high form, they let the boys see that the conflict between science and religion is only apparent, and that the victory of science does not mean the defeat of religion. If they have been lucky enough to use Driver's book on Genesis they will have felt on sure ground and any learner who has half understood it will have a shield against some of the weapons that assailed and defeated his father's generation. No teacher now would be afraid of making clear the problems presented by the book of Daniel or the book of Job, but when the New Testament is approached much more diffidence is felt, and indeed ought to be felt. Diffidence ought not however to involve silence.
A wise teacher has said that it is not the miracles of Christ but his standard that keeps men away from his Church, and therefore outside the influence for which the Church stands. True though this may be of men as life goes on, of the young it is not the whole truth. In those critical years of a man's religion—between eighteen and twenty-five—it is the sudden or the slow-growing doubt about the miracles of the New Testament, as much as the lofty standard that the "Follow me" of Christ requires, that makes the profession and even the holding of a religious faith so hard. More and more are the schools trying to prepare those in their charge for the perils that threaten the physical health and the character of the young; but it is tragic that they should be so unwilling to face frankly the perils that will sap the man's faith, and so expose his soul to the assaults of the world and the devil. It is very hard to put oneself in another's place; perhaps harder for the schoolmaster than for any other man, but when we are teaching such a subject as religion—a subject whose roots must perish if they cannot draw moisture from the springs of sincerity, we should try to imagine what must be the feelings of the thoughtful boy when he first discovers that the lessons which he has so often learnt and the Creeds that he has so often repeated were taken by his teachers in a sense which they carefully concealed from him. More harm is done by the economy of truth than by the suggestion of doubt.
It may be extraordinarily difficult to treat these problems of the New Testament with becoming reverence; but is it not true to say that the day when it becomes easy to any man to do so will be the day when he ought to stop dealing with them? The real irreverence, the only irreverence, is the glib confidence of the ignorant or the cynical concealment of one who knows but dare not tell. What idea of the New Testament does the average boy who leaves, say in the fifth form, carry away with him from his public school? He may know that certain facts are told in one Gospel and not in another; that there are certain inconsistencies in the accounts given by the different Synoptic Gospels of the same miracle, or what is apparently the same miracle. He may be able to explain the parables more fully than their author ever meant them to be explained; he may have at his fingers' ends St Paul's journeys and even have been thrilled by St Paul's shipwreck, but he will probably have missed the meaning of the good news for himself and the power to treasure it for his life's strength.
This failure to appreciate and to accept the challenge of religion—a failure shown later on in life in a certain diffidence about foreign missions, and in the toleration of social conditions that deny Christ as flatly as ever Peter did—is not the fault of the schools alone. The schools only reflect the world outside and the homes from which they are recruited. In neither is there as much light as there should be. The difficulty of the vicious circle dominates this as so many other problems. School reacts on the world, the world on the home and the home on school, the blame cannot be apportioned, need not be apportioned; how the circle can be broken it is much more important to determine. From time to time it has been broken, so decisively too that for a while the riddle seems solved, at all events the old way is abandoned for ever. Arnold's work at Rugby must have involved such a breach. His work has never had to be done all over again and there have been many to keep it in repair, but it needs to be extended now in the light of new problems, scientific, social and international. For this, as for all other extensions, courage is needed. The courage to face the difficulties that modern research and modern thought involve and the courage to point out that our Lord, though in his short career he changed the bias of men's lives, never claimed to leave man a detailed guide for conduct or for happiness. It was to a simple society that he taught the laws of purity and love, he did not extend the range of their application beyond the needs of the Pharisee, the Sadducee, the Scribe, the peasant and the dweller in the little towns through which he shed the light of his presence. These laws sanctify the whole of life because they dominate the heart, from which all life must spring, but they do not answer all questions about all the subordinate provinces of life. The arts in their narrow sense, philosophy, even pleasure, they pass by. Man will not neglect the one or distort the other if he has really breathed the spirit of Christ, but at times the urgency of his Master's business will seem to shut them out of his life.
All this needs learning by the old, and explaining to the young, for otherwise life will be one-sided, and when the day comes, as come it must to those who think, when a choice must be made, and there seems no alternative to following literally in Christ's footsteps and turning the back on much of the beauty and the thrill of the world, bewilderment will seize the chooser and at the best he will dedicate himself to a joyless and unattractive puritanism, or surrender himself to a rudderless voyage across the ocean of life. Religion at school must touch with its refining power the impulses, aesthetic and intellectual, that become powerful in late boyhood and early manhood. If, as so often is the case, it ignores their existence, or endeavours to starve them, they may well assert themselves with fatal power, to coarsen and degrade the whole of life.
The scripture lesson will indeed miss its opportunity if it does not, in the later stages of a boy's career, set him thinking on these subjects, and help him to a wise appreciation of the holiness of beauty as well as of the beauty of holiness. To accomplish this task the language of the Bible itself gives noble help. All the qualities of great literature shine forth from it and it should put to shame and flight the tawdry and the melodramatic. It is an ill service not to make all familiar with the actual words of Holy Writ. Commentaries and Bible histories may be at times convenient tools, but they are only tools, and accurate knowledge of what they teach is no compensation for a want of respectful familiarity with the text itself.
Hardly less important for good and evil are the chapel services. They are much attacked. It has been argued that public worship is distasteful in later life because of the compulsory chapels of boyhood. If this were really so, evidence should be forthcoming that those who come from schools where there is no compulsory attendance at chapel, because there is no chapel to attend, are more eager to avail themselves of the opportunities offered by college chapels than are their more chapel ridden contemporaries. No one, however, can be quite satisfied that chapel services are as helpful as they might be. The difficulty is how to improve them. The suggestion that they should all be voluntary is at first sight attractive but there are two insuperable difficulties. The one is the power of fashion, for it might well become fashionable in a certain house not to attend chapel. Those who know anything of the inside of schools know how such a fashion would deter many of the best boys from going, and martyrdom ought not to be part of the training of school life. The other difficulty is more subtle, but none the less real it originates in the boys' quite healthy fear of claiming merit. Those in authority, if wise, would not count attendance at chapel for righteousness, but some of the most sensitive boys might think that they would do so, and might stay away in consequence, and thus deprive themselves of something they really valued. Two or three, not many, might come from a wrong motive, and perhaps these would stay to pray, but they would be no compensation for the loss of the others.
From time to time it is possible to have voluntary services, and attendance at Holy Communion should always be voluntary, not only in name but in fact. On the whole it is better that a boy who neglects this duty should go on neglecting it, than that those who come should feel that their presence is noted with approval or the reverse.
But it is different with the daily service. Irksome it may sometimes be, not only to boys; but half its virtue lies in the fact that all are there in body and may sometimes be there in spirit too. The familiarity of the oft-repeated prayers and the oft-sung hymns leads to inattention perhaps, but seldom, it may be hoped, to callousness; religious emotion may only occasionally be stirred but the thread of natural piety, binding man to man and man to God, is strengthened, as fresh strands are added. At the least it may be claimed for the chapel services that they rescue from our hours of business some minutes each day in which our thoughts are free to make their way to the throne of God. Christ's promise to bring rest to those who come to him has been fulfilled in many a school chapel. Those of us who have had to pass through the valley of sorrow and temptation and loneliness—and who has not?—know that this is no mean claim. Boys, even men, often grumble at what they really value. To do so is our national defect, misleading to the onlooker. The truth is, we are so fearful of being accused of casting our pearls before swine, that we often pretend, even to ourselves, that what we know to be the most precious pearl in our possession is valueless.
Most masters and boys would agree that, in the few weeks preceding confirmation, the religious life is deepest and most sincere. There is a moving of the waters then, and many make the effort, and step in, and are made whole for the time at all events. As to what exactly goes on in the mind of anyone at such a time there can be no certainty. There is the obvious danger of a reaction, and, guard against it as one may, it exists and sometimes leads to disaster; but there is another danger to which the schoolmaster is then liable, it is the danger of making confirmation an occasion for much talk on sexual difficulties. The existence of these should be faced, but at any time rather than at confirmation, except so far as they occur quite naturally in dealing with the commandments.
It is a real disaster for a child to associate this time, when he should be trying to shoulder enthusiastically his responsibilities as a citizen of God's Kingdom upon earth, with any particular sin. He must indeed overcome evil, but he must overcome it with good. It is on good that his eyes should be fixed. It is towards the Lord of all that is good that his heart should be uplifted. Anyone who has had to do with this time knows what it means in a boy's religious life, how reluctant he is to speak of it, how perilous it is to disturb his reluctance by inquisitive question or excessive exhortation. He knows, too, how much his own nature has gained by contact at such times with the reverent stirrings of less world-stained souls, how wondrous has been the spiritual refreshment that has come to him from the unconscious witness of the younger heart.
For most boys it is a loss not to be confirmed at school, which for the time is the centre of their energies, their hopes, their disappointments and their temptations; but the loss to the masters who share their preparation would be irreparable. They may sometimes blunder from want of knowledge and experience, but their will to help is strong, and perhaps not least persuasive when chastened by diffidence.
But all these scripture lessons, chapel services and confirmation preparation will be powerless to produce a Christian education, if they be not held together by every lesson and by the whole life of the school. Industry and obedience, truthfulness and fidelity to duty, unselfishness and thoroughness, must form the soil without which no religious plant can grow; and these are taught and learnt in the struggle with Latin prose, or mathematics, or French grammar, or scientific formula; as well as in the cricket field, on the football ground, in the give and take, the pains and the pleasures of daily life.
It is hard for us in England to imagine a purely secular education, the very buildings of many of our schools would protest against it; perhaps it is equally difficult for us to realise how far we fall short of what we might accomplish did the spirit of Christianity really inform our lives.
To-day is our opportunity. The claims of education are being listened to as they never have been in England. Money in millions is being promised, the value of this subject or that is being canvassed, the most venerable traditions are being shaken. It is a time of hope, but a time of danger too. All sorts of plans are being formed for breaking down the partition walls that divide man from man, and class from class, and nation from nation; there is only one plan that will not leave the ground encumbered by ruins.
That is the plan of which good men in all ages have caught glimpses, and which the Son of Man set out for us to follow. The peril now lies, not in the fact of nothing being done, but in some starved idea of a narrow patriotism.
The war has surely taught two lessons;—one that the efforts we made before 1914 to guard our country from spiritual and moral foes were shamefully trivial compared with those we have made since to keep our visible foe at bay; the other that our responsibilities for the future, if we are to justify our claims to be the champions of justice and weakness, can never be borne unless we learn ourselves, and teach each generation as it grows up, to face the fierce light that shines from heaven. All sorts of devices, ecclesiastical and political have been adopted to break up that light and make it tolerable for our weak eyes. Men have been so afraid of children being blinded by it that they have allowed them to sit, some in darkness, and others in the twilight of compromise.
It has been said that for the average man in the ancient world there existed two main guides and sanctions for his conduct of life, namely the welfare of his city, and the laws and traditions of his ancestors. Has the average man much wiser guides or stronger sanctions now? Is a much nobler appeal made to the children of England than was made to the children of Athens? Just before Joshua led his people over the Jordan, he instructed them how the ark of the covenant was to go before them and a space to be left between them and it, so that they might know the way by which they must go, for they had not passed this way before. Once again a river of decision has to be crossed, a road has to be trodden along which men have not passed before. Whether we speak of reconstruction or a new start or use any other metaphor to show our conviction that war has changed all things, the idea is the same. We must see to it that the ark of the covenant is borne before our nation and our schools, along the way that is new and still full of stones of stumbling.
Either the old landmarks have disappeared or a new land has to be explored. Somehow, all things have to be made new, for even the spiritual things have been destroyed or are found wanting. It is to the schools, to the homes, to the mothers of England that the richest opportunity comes. If they can solve the difficulty of making the Christian education and the Christian life react upon one another the partition walls between religion and conduct will be broken down for every age. Intentionally or unintentionally, these walls have been built up, perhaps by the teachers and parents, certainly by the conventions of life. The result is that though there is more true religion in the schools than is acknowledged by those outside and than those within care to boast of, and though the standard of conduct is not ignoble, there is too little fusion; both components are brittle, they cannot stand the strain of sudden temptation, they lack enduring power. No one will forget how in those first months of war, consolation was offered even from pulpits for all the horrors and the sadness and the waste of conflict in the thought that as a nation we should be purged of selfishness, of luxury, of sensuality, of all the vices that peace engenders. That is surely a shameful confession, that our religion had been in vain. We had to wait for, and partake in, a three years' orgy of cruelty and violence to learn what our Lord had taught us in three years of gentleness. If we are going to teach the same lessons about war when peace is made, to keep alive the fires of hate, and to keep smouldering the embers of suspicion, we shall be confessing that a Christian education cannot teach us anything about Christianity.
The student in arms would not have had us despair. Peace when it comes will make demands on our fortitude. There will be many lying in the no-man's land between vice and virtue who will need to be rescued at great risk. There will be many forlorn hopes to be led against disease, the foster child of vice, that has gained strength under the cover of war. The disappointing days of peace will give an opportunity for the development of Christian qualities fully as great as the bracing days of battle. Teachers will need to gird up their loins for the task of giving a wise welcome to the thousands that an awakened State will send to sit at their feet, and unless they can give spiritual food as well as worldly wisdom and paying knowledge, the souls of the new-comers will be starved beyond the remedy of any free meals. How to spiritualise education is the real problem, for it is only by a spiritualised education that we can escape from the avalanche of materialism that is hanging over the European world just now. No syllabus, no act of Parliament can do this. There is no royal road which all can travel. It has been done, to some extent, in the past, and it will have to be done, to a much greater extent, in the future by the layman and the laywoman, by the teachers of all denominations, by some even whom inspectors may consider inefficient and whom children may tolerate as queer. It will be done best by the best teachers, but all teachers can share in the work on the one condition that they have consciously or unconsciously dedicated themselves to the task. For a teacher to write much about it is impossible, he must know how greatly he has failed. And he has not the recompense that comes to many who fail, in the shape of certain knowledge why success has been withheld.
That his failure is shared by those who strive to make religion move the world of men is no consolation. Indeed, that thought might make him hopeless did it not suggest that the aims and methods of both may be wrong. It is possible to have hoped too much from the school chapels being full, it is possible to fear too much from the churches being empty. Piety is no doubt fostered by attendance at a religious service, but there is some distance between piety and true religion. It would probably not be untrue to say that Christian education has seemed more concerned with the ceremonial duties of religion than with its spiritual enthusiasm, more eager about faith in some particular explanation of the past than about faith in a re-creation of the future, more attentive to the machinery of the organisation of the Church than to the words and commands of its Founder. As the Church has become more powerful in the world, it has lost its power over men's hearts. To some it has seemed an institution for the relief of poverty, to others the support of the "haves" against the "have-nots," but to too few has it been the home of spiritual adventures, the maintainer of spiritual values. Men have escaped from the relentless simplicity of the Master's commands by attention to the complicated machinery which disregard of them has made necessary. This may not have been consciously marked by the young, but the atmosphere of religion that they have had to breathe has been the tired atmosphere of the ecclesiastical workshop, and not the bracing air of free service. Some restoration of the hopefulness of the early Christians is needed; hopefulness is not now the note of what is taught, though with it is sometimes confused the boisterous cheerfulness that is wrongly supposed to attract the young. The appeal of the Church must be based on looking forward, not backward, on hope, rather than on repentance.
The Church will have less to do with the world than it had in the past, because it will have shaken off the fetters of the world: it will not be always explaining to the young how they can enjoy the world and yet deny the world: it will not need to explain itself so often, to insist so pathetically on the superiority of its own channels of influence, but it will attract to itself, or rather to the work that it is trying to do—for it will have forgotten self—all the adventurous spirits who are prepared to risk pain and failure as fellow-workers in fulfilling the purposes of God in the world. What is worth knowing about Christianity is surely first and foremost that it is a leaven that might leaven the whole world; and that until that leaven works in each individual heart, in each society, where two or three are gathered together, Christ's presence cannot be claimed. As this knowledge is gained, it will be possible for the learner to know in his heart, and not merely by heart, what is meant by the great mysterious terms Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection; as this knowledge is tested and proved true by experience of life, the meaning and power of prayer will become clearer. A clue will have been put into the hand of each as he travels along the way which he has not passed heretofore. It will not lead all by the same path but it will lead all towards that "great and high mountain," whence "that great city, the Holy Jerusalem" may be seen. If the teacher is wise, when the mountain top is nigh and before that vision breaks upon his fellow-traveller's sight, he will stand aside with thankful heart, and close his task with the prayer that the Glory of God may shine more brightly and more continuously on the newcomer, than it has shone on him.
[Footnote 1: Nothing is said here about the co-operation of the home with the school. In religion as in all other matters it is assumed. The influence of the home cannot be exaggerated but schoolmasters must resist the temptation to shift the burden of responsibility for any failure on to other shoulders.]
By A. MANSBRIDGE
Founder of the Workers' Educational Association
DIRECT TRAINING FOR CITIZENSHIP
There is no institution in national life which can free itself from the responsibility of training for citizenship those who come under its influence, whether they be men or women. The problem is common to all institutions, although it may present itself in diverse forms appropriate to varying ages and experiences. It is primarily the problem of all schools and places of education.
The aim of education, according to Comenius, is "to train generally all who are born to all that is human." From that definition it follows that the purpose of any school must be to bear its part in developing to the utmost the powers of body, mind and spirit for the common good. It must be to secure the application of the finest attributes of the race to the work of developing citizenship, which is the art of living together on the highest plane of human life.
Citizenship is, in reality, the focusing point of all human virtues though it is often illuminated by the consciousness of a city not made with hands. It represents in a practical form the spirit of courage, unselfishness and sympathy consecrated to service in time of war and peace. Generally speaking, in England and her Dominions, citizenship is developed in harmony with an ideal of democracy.
"The progress of democracy is irresistible," says De Tocqueville, "because it is the most uniform, the most ancient and the most permanent tendency to be found in history."
But its right working is dependent entirely upon uplift not only of mind but of spirit. The democratic community, above all other communities, must have within itself schools which at one and the same time impart information concerning the theory and methods of its government and inspire consecration to social service rather than to individual welfare, schools which reveal the transcendence of the interests of the State as compared with the interests of any individual or group of individuals within it. The democratic State has been compared to "one huge Christian personality, one mighty growth or stature of an honest man." Out of this comparison arises the idea of citizenship reaching out beyond the boundaries of a single State—one honest man among many—and thus responsibility is placed upon the schools to develop knowledge of, and sympathy with, the activities and aspirations of human life in many nations. The comity of nations depends directly upon the intellectual and spiritual honesty which obtains in each of them, and true strength of nationality arises more from the exercise of these qualities than from extent of area or of productive power.
Every subject taught in a school should serve the needs of the larger citizenship; if it fails to do so it is either wrongly taught or superfluous.
Social welfare depends upon the right use of knowledge by the individual, however restricted or developed that knowledge may be, whether it be acquired in elementary school or university.
There has been much discussion concerning the relative importance of the development of community spirit in the schools and the introduction of the direct teaching of citizenship. The methods are not mutually exclusive; their operations are distinct. The school which does not develop community spirit, which does not fit into its place in the work of training the complete man, is obviously imperfect. The same cannot be said of the school which does not provide direct instruction in citizenship; for teaching may be given in so many indirect ways. Some consideration of what has happened in this connection both in England and America will perhaps be most helpful, although the intangible nature of the results would render dangerous any attempt to make definite pronouncements on their success or failure.
Largely as the result of the realisation of the immediate relationship between national education and national productivity there are abundant signs that the English educational system is about to be developed. The ordinary argument has been well put:
A new national spirit has been aroused in our people by the war; if we are to recover and improve our position at the end of the war, that national spirit must be maintained; for unless every man and woman comes to know and feel that industry, agriculture, commerce, shipping, and credit, are national concerns, and that education is a potent means for the promotion of these objects among others, we shall fail in the great effort of national recuperation. In plainer words, our great firms will not make money, wages will fall, and wage-earners will be out of work.
The possibility of the extension of the educational system to meet the needs of technical training need not cause disquiet among those whose desire is for fulness of citizenship, if they are prepared to insist that teachers shall be trained on broad and comprehensive lines and that every vocational course shall include instruction in direct citizenship. The argument is ready to hand and simple. If all men and women must strive to work wisely and well, so also should they learn how to participate in the government, local and national, which their work supports. Moreover the right study of a trade or profession induces a perception of the inter-relationship of all human activity.
On the other hand it is important that vocational work, at least so far as it is carried out by manual training, should be introduced into schemes of liberal education. In this connection it is worth recalling that in a recent report, the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education expressed with complete conviction the opinion that manual training was indispensable in places of secondary education:
We consider that our secondary education has been too exclusively concerned with the cultivation of the mind by means of books and the instruction of the teacher. To this essential aim there must be added as a condition of balance and completeness that of fostering those qualities of mind and that skill of hand which are evoked by systematic work.
In this way would be generated that "sympathetic and understanding contact between all brainworkers and the complete men who work with both hands and brain" so strongly pleaded for by Professor Lethaby who insists that "some teaching about the service of labour must be got into all our educational schemes."
It must be remembered that the question of vocational training affects chiefly the proposed system of compulsory continuation school education up to the age of eighteen, which has yet to be established for all boys and girls not in attendance at secondary schools or who have not completed a satisfactory period of attendance.
The inadequacy of the period of education allotted to the vast mass of the population and the need for educational reform in many directions can only be noted; both these matters however affect citizenship profoundly.
It is upon the expectation of early development on the following lines, indicated without detail, that our consideration of the possibilities of schools in regard to citizenship must be based:
(1) A longer period of elementary school life during which no child shall be employed for other than educational purposes.
(2) The establishment of compulsory continuation schools for all boys and girls up to the age of eighteen, the hours of attendance to be allowed out of reasonable working hours.
(3) Complete opportunity for qualified boys and girls to continue their technical or humane studies from the elementary school to the university.
(4) A distinct improvement in the supply and power of teachers, chiefly as the result of better training in connection with universities and the establishment of a remuneration which will enable them to live in the manner demanded by the nature and responsibilities of their calling.
The two main aspects of the development of citizenship through the schools which have already been noted may be summarised as follows, and may be considered separately:
(1) The direct teaching of civics or of citizenship;
(2) The development through the ordinary school community of the qualities of the good citizen.
[Footnote 1: Interim Report of the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education on Scholarships for Higher Education, May, 1916.]
[Footnote 2: See Final Report of the Departmental Committee on Juvenile Education in Relation to Employment after the War, 1917, Cd. 8512. The Bill "to make further provision with respect to Education in England and Wales and for purposes connected therewith" [Bill 89], had not been introduced by Mr Fisher when this article was written.]
THE DIRECT STUDY OF CITIZENSHIP
The study in schools of civic relations has been developed to a much greater extent in America than in England. This is probably due largely to the fact that the American need is the more obvious. In normal times, there is a constant influx of people of different nationalities to the United States whom it is the aim of the government to make into American citizens. At the same time there is in America a greater disposition than in England to adapt abstract study to practical ends, to link the class-room to the factory, to the city hall, and to the Capitol itself. As one of her scholars says:
Both the inspiration and the romance of the scholar's life lie in the perfect assurance that any truth, however remote or isolated, has its part in the unity of the world of truth and its undreamed of applicability to service.
There are in America numerous societies, among them the National Education Association, the American Historical Association, the National Municipal League, the American Political Science Association, which are working steadily to make the study of civics an essential feature of every part of the educational system. Their prime purposes are summarised as follows:
(1) To awaken a knowledge of the fact that the citizen is in a social environment whose laws bind him for his own good;
(2) To acquaint the citizen with the forms of organisation and methods of administration of government in its several departments.
They claim that this can best be done by means of bringing the young citizen into direct contact with the significant facts of the life of his own local community and of the national community. To indicate this more clearly they have applied to the study the name of "Community Civics."
The argument that a sense of unreality may arise as a result of the apparent completeness of knowledge gained in the school is met by the close contact maintained all the time with the community outside.
There is unanimity of opinion that civics shall be taught from the elementary school onwards:
"We believe," runs the report of the Committee of Eight of the American Historical Association, "that elementary civics should permeate the entire school life of the child. In the early grades the most effective features of this instruction will be directly connected with the teaching of regular subjects in the course of study. Through story, poem and song there is the quickening of those emotions which influence civic life. The works and biographies of great men furnish many opportunities for incidental instruction in civics. The elements of geography serve to emphasise the interdependence of men—the very earliest lesson in civic instruction. A study of pictures and architecture arouses the desire for civic beauty and orderliness."
A recent inquiry by a Committee of the American Political Science Association makes it quite clear that the subject is actually taught in the bulk of the elementary and secondary schools of the various States and that generally the results are satisfactory, or indicate clearly necessary reforms. The difficulty of providing suitable text-books is partly met by the addition of supplementary local information.
There are very few colleges and universities which do not provide courses in political science.
No claim is made that the teaching of civics makes of necessity good citizens, but merely that it makes the good citizen into a better one. The justification of the subject lies in its own content.
It is a study of an important phase of human society and, for this reason the same value as elementary science or history.
There is, moreover, throughout the various American reports, an insistence on the power of the community ideal in the school and the necessity for discipline in the performance of school duties and a due appreciation of the importance of individual action in relation to the class and to the school.
In England there has been much general and uncoordinated advocacy of the direct teaching of citizenship, but, for various reasons, it does not appear to have been introduced generally into the schools, nor does there appear to be any immediate likelihood of development in the existing schools.
The Civic and Moral Education League made definite inquiry, in 1915, of teachers and schools. They pronounced the results to be disappointing, though they comforted themselves with the incontrovertible dictum that "the people who are doing most have least time to talk about it." As the result of their inquiry, they drew up a statement of the aims of civics which in general and in detail differed little from the ideas accepted in America.
If compulsory continued education is introduced, for boys and girls who now have no school education after the elementary school, it is of the utmost importance that the direct study should be included in some form or other before the age of eighteen is reached, and it is in connection with this type of school rather than in connection with the elementary or secondary school that constructive efforts should be made.
It must be remembered that Mr. Acland, when Minister for Education, introduced the subject into the Elementary Code of 1895 and provided a detailed syllabus. This was generally approved not only as the action of a progressive administrator but as an evidence of the new spirit of freedom beginning to reveal itself in the educational system.
There are some education authorities, like the County of Chester, which enact that the study of citizenship shall proceed side by side with religious education, but the majority leave it to the teachers to do all that is necessary by the adaptation of other subjects and the development of school spirit.
The elaborate nature of Mr. Acland's syllabus tended to defeat its object, and some held it to be psychologically unsound, but there has also been lack of suitable text-books. In general, however, the whole subject depends peculiarly upon the personality of the teacher who feels no lack of text-books if he is alive to the interest of his lesson.
In Studies in Board Schools, there is a delightful study of a lesson on "Rates" to young citizens with the altruistic text, "All for Each, Each for All." "Citizen Carrots," a tired newspaper boy up every morning at five, is revealed as responding with great enthusiasm to this interesting lesson which commences with a drawing on a blackboard of a "regulation workhouse, a board school, a free library, a lamp post, a water-cart, a dustman, a policeman, a steam roller, a navvy or two, and a long-handled shovel stuck in a heap of soil." A hypothetical payer of rates, "Mrs Smith," is revealed as getting a great deal for her rates:
She is protected from any harm; her property is safe; she can walk about the streets with comfort by day or night; her drains are seen to; her rubbish is taken away for her; she has books and newspapers to read; if she has ten children, she can have them well taught for nothing—so that if they are willing to learn, and attend school regularly, they can very easily make their own living when they grow up; if she is ill, she can go to the infirmary for medicine; and if, when she grows old, she is unable to pay rent or buy food or clothes, these things are provided for her.
"And please, sir, the Parks," interjected the eager Carrots.
If the definition of a good citizen propounded by Professor Masterman is true—that he is one who pays his rates without grumbling—"Citizen Carrots," whatever his disadvantages, is intellectually anyhow on the way to become such a citizen, and certainly in the sketch, "Citizen Carrots" is determined that the rates shall be expended properly because he himself will have a vote in later days.
It is probable that lessons such as these are more frequent than the time-tables would indicate. There are few head masters of elementary schools who would disclaim the adequate teaching of citizenship in their schools. They would explain that the treatment of history and geography proceeding from local standpoints was effective in this direction, and it is the rule rather than otherwise for visits to be paid to places of historic interest within reach of the schools. Advantage is also taken of such days as Empire Day to stimulate interest in the State, as well as to impart knowledge concerning its organisation. All this is reinforced by the use of appropriate reading books which are instruments of indirect, but not necessarily less effective, instruction.
The larger opportunities which secondary schools offer have not been taken advantage of to induce the specific study of civics to any greater extent that in the elementary schools, although many schools are able to devote at least a period each week to the consideration of current events, and, naturally, the teaching of history and geography includes much more completely the consideration of institutions both at home and abroad.
The idea of the regional or local survey is gaining ground and in some respects it will prove to serve the same purpose as the "Community Civics" of the American high school.
There have been attempts to introduce economics into the secondary school curriculum, but they have not persisted to any extent. In the Memorandum of Curricula of Secondary Schools issued by the Board of Education in 1913, it is suggested that "it will sometimes be desirable to provide, for those who propose on leaving school to enter business, a special commercial course with special study of the more technical side of economic theory and some study of political and constitutional history." For the rest there is no mention of the subjects intimately connected with government. It is clear that the Board expects that out of the subjects of the ordinary curriculum, with such special efforts suggested by public interest as may from time to time occur, the student will gain a general knowledge of the affairs of the community round about, some knowledge of the principles of politics, clear ideas concerning movements for social reform, and some acquaintance with international problems. If he does so, he will have secured a useful introduction to the studies associated with adult life.
An intelligent study of languages will help materially in this direction and, whilst this is specially true in the cases of Greek and Latin, there is no reason why modern languages should not serve the same purpose. It is, however, often the case that the study of the history and institutions of modern countries is not associated sufficiently with the study of their language.
The public and grammar schools of England, as contrasted with the newer secondary schools, are more especially the homes of classical studies, and it is through the working of these schools that the knowledge of institutions in ancient Greece and Rome will have its greatest effect on citizenship.
The study of political science as a specific subject is gaining ground in universities, whilst the study of the Empire and its institutions has naturally made rapid progress during the last few years. There may also be noted distinct tendencies, arising out of the experience of the war, towards the foundation of schools destined to deal with the institutions and the thought of foreign countries. In the schools of economics and history there is fulness of attempt to study all that can be included under the generic title of civics which, after all, may be defined as political and social science interpreted in immediate and practical ways.
[Footnote 1: Peabody, The Religion of an Educated Man.]
[Footnote 2: Haines, The Teaching of Government.]
[Footnote 3: Haines, The Teaching of Government.]
[Footnote 4: Bourne, The Teaching of History and Civics in the Elementary and the Secondary School.]
[Footnote 5: Charles Morley, 1897.]
INDIRECT TRAINING FOR CITIZENSHIP
After all is said and done the ideal training for citizenship in the schools depends more upon the wisdom engendered in the pupil than upon the direct study of civics. If the spirits of men and women are set in a right direction they will reach out for knowledge as for hid treasure. "Wisdom is more moving than any motion; she passeth and goeth through all things by reason of her pureness."
It happens also in natural sequence that the spirit developed in a school will lead to the construction of institutions in connection with school life calculated to secure its adequate expression.
Elementary schools, however, are much handicapped in this way. If it comes about that work other than educational or recreative is forbidden to children during the years of attendance at school, and also that the period of school life is lengthened, there will be opportunity for the development of games on a self-governing basis. Elementary school children have a large measure of initiative; all they need is a real chance to exercise it. They would willingly make their schools real centres of child life. Many children at present have little else than narrow tenements and the streets, out of which influences arise which war continually against the social influences of the school.
The opportunity afforded by well-ordered leisure would be accentuated by the more complete operation of movements such as boys' brigades, boy scouts, girl guides, and Church lads' brigades, which are in their several ways doing much to develop citizenship. Such bodies are now in effect educational authorities, and classes are organised by them in connection with the Board of Education.
There have been many attempts to introduce self-governing experiments into elementary schools and, whilst they have often been defeated by reason of the immaturity of the children, yet some of them have met with great success. The election of monitors on the lines of a general election is an instance of success in this direction. The ideas which have arisen from the advocacy of the Montessori system have induced methods of greater freedom in connection with many aspects of elementary school life. The Caldecott Community, dealing with working-class children in the neighbourhood of St. Pancras, has tried many interesting experiments. That, however, of the introduction of children's courts of justice had to be abandoned, but not until many valuable lessons in child psychology had been learnt.
Side by side with the elementary school, there are rising in England experiments similar to those undertaken by such organisations as the School City and the George Junior Republics of America. The most notable among them is the Little Commonwealth, Dorchester, which has achieved astonishing results through the process of taking delinquent children and allowing them self-government. But, hopeful as the prospects are, their ultimate effect will be best estimated when their pupils, restored in youth to the honourable service of the community, are taking their full share in life as adult citizens, and naturally every care is taken in the organisation of these institutions to ensure that the transition from their sheltered citizenship to the outside world shall not be of so abrupt a nature as to tend to render unreal and remote the life in which the children have taken part.
Nearly all of the more recent experiments in regard to the school and its kindred institutions are co-operative in principle and in method, but it is probably Utopian to conceive an educational method which shall achieve the highest success without having included within it the element of competition. If competition is a method obtaining outside the school it is bound to reproduce itself within it. The only possible thing for the school to do is to restrict the influence of competition to the channels where it can be beneficial.
The method by which elementary school children pass to the secondary school is by means of competitive scholarships. In common with the Consultative Committee of the Board of Education it is necessary to accept the fact that at present "the scholarship system is too firmly rooted in the manner, habits and character of this country to be dislodged, even if it were thrice condemned by theory." But, in the interests of citizenship, scholarships should be awarded as the result of non-competitive tests, if only to secure that every child shall receive the education for which he or she is fitted.
The stress and strain imposed upon many who climb the ladder of education, often occasioned by the inadequacy of the scholarship for the purposes to which it is to be applied, tend to develop characteristics which are so strongly individual as to be distinctly anti-social.
It is unfortunate that in many subjects of the curriculum it is not merely bad form to help one's neighbour but distinctly a school sin, and this makes it necessary for a balance to be struck by the introduction of subjects at which all can work for the good of the class or the school. Manual work and local surveys are subjects of this nature and should be encouraged side by side with games of which there are three essential aspects:—the individual achievement, the winning of the match or race, and "playing the game." In reference to citizenship the last of these is the only one which ultimately matters.
It is generally admitted that the great public schools are those which are most characteristic of English boy life at its best. Glorying as they do in a splendid tradition, they have always had in addition the opportunity of adapting themselves to new needs. Their reform is always under discussion and perchance they are waiting even now for some Arnold or Thring to lead them in a new England, for new it will inevitably be. Even so, the sense of responsibility they have developed has been translated into the terms of English government over half the world.
The objective of the public school boy anxious to take a part in government at home has always been parliament, or such local institutions as demand his service in accordance with the tradition of his family. The tendency to despise the homely duties of a city councillor or poor law guardian is, however, passing. There are few schools which do not welcome visitors to speak to the boys who have first-hand acquaintance with the life of the poor or who are indeed of that life themselves. In this way boys get to realise, as far as it is possible through sympathy, what it means to be out of work, what it means to be hungry for unattainable learning, what children have to suffer, and, in addition to the practical interest which many boys immediately develop, it cannot be doubted that many ideals for the conduct of social life in the future are conceived, even if dimly, for the first time. Thanks to the unremitting efforts of large-minded head masters, public school boys more and more realise that they are beneficiaries of the spirit of a past day, not only in the sense of the creation of a noble tradition but actually in regard to the material provision of buildings and the financial support of teaching.
There is likely to be an extension of university education in the near future. The ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge with their great college system will be strengthened, as will be the universities which were established at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. The demand for the better training of teachers will result inevitably in the creation of more universities. The inadequate sum which this country has spent upon university education up to the present will be greatly increased.
As a direct result of the opportunity which university life gives to undergraduates for the development of self-governing institutions, there can be little doubt that the university must be regarded above all other schools and most institutions as powerful in the development of good citizenship. The public school tradition will be carried directly into the older universities and in increasing measure into the new universities as the best spirit of the public schools gradually permeates the whole system of our education even down to the elementary schools themselves. When these opportunities so lavishly provided for the development of student life in its self-governing aspects are realised and when above it all there stand great teachers in the lineage of those described by Cardinal Newman in his eulogy of Athens—"the very presence of Plato" to the student, "a stay for his mind to rest on, a burning thought in his heart, a bond of union with men like himself, ever afterwards"—little else can be desired. In every university there must be such teachers, or universities will tend to fall to the level of the life about them. "You can infuse," said Lord Rosebery at the Congress of the Universities of the Empire, "character, and morals and energy and patriotism by the tone and atmosphere of your university and your professors."
From one point of view, all the old universities of Europe—Bologna, Paris, Prague, Oxford, Cambridge, etc.—must be regarded as definite and conscious protests against the dividing and isolating—the anti-civic—forces of the periods of their institution. They represent historically the development of communities for common interest and protection in the great and holy cause of the pursuit of learning, and above all things their story is the story of the growth of European unity and citizenship.
The feudal and ecclesiastical order of the old mediaeval world were both alike threatened by the power that had so strangely sprung up in the midst of them. Feudalism rested on local isolation, on the severance of kingdom from kingdom and barony from barony, on the distinction of blood and race, on the supremacy of material or brute force, on an allegiance determined by accidents of place and social position. The University, on the other hand, was a protest against this isolation of man from man. The smallest school was European and not local.