Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

NUMBER, FORM, AND LANGUAGE.

215

before his mind in darkness and confusion. The following was the result of my inquiry

“He must direct his attention to the following three points :
“1. How many objects, and of how many sorts he has before him.
“2. What is their appearance, their shape, or outline.

“3. What are their names; in what manner he may represent each by a sound or word.

“To succeed in this examination, he must obviously have the power :

“1. To view dissimilar objects according to their shape, and to form an idea of what is contained within the shape of each.

“2. To distinguish those objects numerically, and to form an idea of them, either in the plurality in which they exist, or in the unity which he gives to them in his mind.

“ 3. To give to the ideas, so formed upon the basis of shape and number, expression in language, and thereby to impress them more firmly upon his mind.

“Hence I concluded, that number, form,* and language, when brought in connexion with each other, are the elements of instruction; inasmuch, as the whole of the external properties of objects is contained within the sphere of their outline and their numerical proportions, and brought home, distinctly, to our consciousness, by language. It must therefore be laid down, as a fundamental law in education, that instruction is to be founded upon this threefold basis, in order to enable children

“1. To view every object which falls under their perception, as a unit; that is to say, as distinct from all the other objects with which it seems connected.

“ 2. To make themselves acquainted with its form or outline, with its measure and its proportions.

“ 3. To designate, as early as possible, by corresponding names, all the objects which have thus come to their knowledge.

“ Upon these three fundamental points all elementary instruction is to be built: and it is evident, therefore, that the object of our first exertions in education must be, to develop and strengthen, in that manner which is most conformable to nature, the faculties of number, of form, and of language, since upon the healthy state, as it were, of those faculties, the correctness of our perceptions essentially depends. This requires that the means by which those faculties are developed and cultivated, should

• When this elementary branch of instruction is spoken of, we prefer the abstract and more general term “ form;" whilst, in application to real objects, the usage of the English language obliges us to substitute in its place the concrete and more limited term “shape.”

216

WILY THEY ARE FUNDAMENTAL POINTS.

be brought to the utmost simplicity, to perfect consistency and harmony with each other.

“ The only difficulty that occurred to my mind, after I had made this discovery, was the question: How is it that the other properties of things, of which our five senses apprise us, do not as well as number, form, and name, constitute elementary points of our knowledge ?' But I soon found, that number, form, and name, are found universally in all objects, whereas the other properties discoverable by the five senses are not common to all, but

vary in the different sorts of objects. There seemed, therefore, to me, to be this essential difference between the number, form, and name of an object, and its other properties, that the three former only can be considered as constituting fundamental points of knowledge.

Our author here quite forgets that the name is not at all a property of the object, but a sign to supply its place. Yet strange to tell, in this, as in most cases, where his theory is erroneous, his practical view is correct; a fact, strange in itself, but easily accounted for, if we consider that his theories were the result of his practical views, and not his practical views the result of his theories. He could err, therefore, in the latter, without prejudice to the former.

As regards the point in question, it is correct, that number, form, and language, constitute the three elementary and fundamental branches of instruction, not from the reason assigned by Pestalozzi: but, the two former, because they are the abstract expressions of the universal laws of outward creation, form with reference to space, and number with reference to time; to which laws all the other properties of visible things are subject : and language, because it is the expression of the internal law of human nature, which, as a mirror of the universe, contains in itself a reflexion of the external world. The two former are essentially consistent with truth, because in outward creation the law, or will of God, is manifested with undeviating necessity. The latter is consistent with truth, only so far as it is the result of a mind internally restored by reception of, and submission to the divine life; of a mind, emphatically speaking, in-formed of the truth.

CHAPTER XXII.

Pestalozzi's View of the Connexion of the Different Branches of

Instruction - The Mother's Manual.

The letter from which we have given some extracts, in the preceding chapter, is followed in the original by an abstract of the “elementary branches ;” after which, in two letters, the author enters upon a retrospect of his views and plans; and, while he details his mode of proceeding concerning those parts of the method in which success had been obtained or was anticipated by him, he assigns what he considers the causes of his failure in those subjects, on which he saw himself equally forsaken by experience and by hope. These letters are again followed by three others, in which, after having devoted the body of his work to “intellectual education,” or “the acquisition of knowledge,” he treats, in the first, of the necessity, rather than of the mode, of acquiring “practical abilities,” or, as we should term it, combining industry with education; in the second, of moral education, founded upon maternal love as its principle; and in the third, which closes the work, of religious education.

Pestalozzi's classification of the different branches of knowledge varies considerably from the common arrangement, and it will therefore be necessary to follow him through some of the remarks, by which he introduces

218

THE KNOWLEDGE OF SOUNDS SUBDIVIDED.

his outline. Beginning from sound, as the first means of elementary instruction, he derives from it the following branches :

“1. Instruction in sounds, by which the several organs are to be cultivated.

“ 2. Instruction in words, with which a knowledge of single objects is to be connected.

“ 3. Instruction in language, which is to lead the child to express himself appropriately concerning the objects that have come to his knowledge, and all that he is able to know about them."

The instruction in sounds is again subdivided, as concerning

“1. Sounds of Speech.
“ 2. Sounds of Music."

« the

The instruction in “words," as that by which the child learns to “name the different objects," is then distinguished from the instruction in “ language,” designated as process of denominating the properties of these objects.” This process is subdivided as follows:

“I. Designation of the form and number of every object;" coinciding with the second and third “elementary means."

“ II. Designation of all the other properties of objects, whether they be discovered by our senses, or by our imagination and judgment.”

Under this head a vast range of knowledge is comprehended, as will appear from the following statement:

I now distinguish the treasures of language, which are, as it were, the testimony of past ages ning the universe, under the

heads : “1. Geography “ 2. History “3. Physical Science.

“4. Natural History. “But in order to avoid useless repetitions, and to make the course as short as possible, I subdivide these four heads at once into about forty sections,

[blocks in formation]

and present to the child the names of different objects only in these subdivisions.

“I then take up the particular object of our observation, man himself, and arrange the whole of what language contains concerning him, under the following heads:

“1. Man as a merely physical or animal being. 2. Man as a social, still animal being.

“ 3. Man as a moral and intellectual being, raised above the level of animal existence.

“These three heads I subdivide again into about forty sections, comprehending all that is to be said concerning man.

“ III. Determination of the objects, their properties and different states, according to time and other relations in which they are placed, with a view still farther to illustrate all that the child has before learned concerning the nature, powers of action, and so on, of each object. This leads to the outline of a practical grammar.”

The confusion of this arrangement seems to have struck Pestalozzi himself; since, in a note, added in the second edition, he states, that “all these experiments were afterwards laid aside as the results of views not sufficiently matured.” Nevertheless, as Pestalozzi has not, either in the work before us, or elsewhere, supplied us with a more satisfactory view of the subject, we are obliged to have recourse to the above outline, so much the more as the remarks which he makes upon each particular branch, many of which are in themselves valuable, are all founded upon it.

The second means of elementary instruction, treated of by Pestalozzi, is form, under which head he gives the following subdivision :

“1. The art of Measuring.
“ 2. The art of Drawing.

“ 3. The art of Writing.”. Lastly, our author enters upon the subject of number, as the third means of elementary instruction, in which no subdivision is made, and which closes the abstract on “the elementary branches of the method.”

In order to enable our readers to form a perfectly clear view of the manner in which Pestalozzi viewed the con

« AnteriorContinuar »