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XXIII. JOHN HENRY PESTALOZZI.
This great educational reformer, the greatest perhaps since the Reformation of the sixteenth century, was born January 12, 1746, in the beautiful town of Zürich. He was lacking in administrative ability, but possessed a deep love and noble enthusiasm for humanity. Intellectual force was subordinate in him to imagination and sensibility. He engaged in several famous educational experiments, all which, in spite of their failure, were fruitful in blessings to mankind. It was through his efforts, unselfish and self-sacrificing, that what was best in educational theory up to his time obtained permanent recognition. He gave a new impulse to popular education, from which he expected great improvement in the moral, intellectual, and social condition of Europe.
Having failed as a farmer, Pestalozzi turned his farm, to which he had given the name of Neuhof, into an industrial school for the poor. He soon had fifty children under his charge to provide for. His plan was to combine study with remunerative labor; but after five years the school was closed in 1780, leaving him heavily involved in debt, but greatly enriched in educational experience.
The next few years were devoted chiefly to authorship as a means of earning a livelihood. He turned his pedagogical studies and experience to good account. “ The Evening Hour of a Hermit,” an educational treatise in the form of aphorisms, appeared in 1780. In 1782 he edited for a few
montlis the Swiss News, a weekly newspaper, in which from time to time he touched upon educational matters.
In 1787 he published the fourth and last volume of “ Leonard and Gertrude," an educational novel descriptive of humble scenes and conditions in his native land.
In 1798, upon the recommendation of the Swiss directors, Pestalozzi took charge of nearly a hundred destitute and homeless children at Stanz. They composed a heterogeneous mass that would have been appalling to any one with less enthusiasm than Pestalozzi. With almost superhuman zeal he addressed himself to the work of improving their condition, and in the space of a few months wrought so great a change in them that they no longer seemed the same beings. But in less than a year the school was broken up by the return of the French army, which had previously devastated the district. In 1799 Pestalozzi wrote a letter to his friend Gessner, in which he gave a detailed account of the work at Stanz. This letter, a large part of which follows this sketch, is interesting for the light it throws on the character and pedagogy of Pestalozzi.
In 1805 he opened a school at Yverdun, where he attained his greatest triumphs. He achieved a European reputation, and kings and philosophers united in showing him regard. Yverdun became a place of pilgrimage for philanthropists and educators from all parts of Europe. For a time the progress, happiness, and high moral tone of its pupils made the school at once a model and an inspiration in education ; but at length in 1825 internal dissension brought the work to an ignominious end. The following year Pestalozzi published “ The Song of the Swan," in which he gave a clear statement of his educational labors and principles. Ile died February 17, 1827.
The following extracts present Pestalozzi's educational system with clearness and fulness. The following summary
however, prepared by his biographer Morf, will be found very helpful :
1. Sense-impression is the foundation of instruction. “2. Language must be connected with sense-impression.
3. The time for learning is not the time for judgment and criticism.
“4. In each branch instruction must begin with the simplest elements, and proceed gradually by following the child's developments; that is, by a series of steps which are psychologically connected.
5. A pause must be made at each stage of the instruction sufficiently long for the child to get the new matter thoroughly into his grasp and under his control.
“6. Teaching must follow the path of development, and not that of dogmatic exposition
“7. The individuality of the pupil must be sacred for the teacher.
“8. The chief aim of elementary instruction is not to furnish the child with knowledge and talents, but to develop and increase the powers of his mind.
9. To knowledge must be joined power; to what is known, the ability to turn it to account
10. The relations between master and pupil, especially so far as discipline is concerned, must be established and regulated by love.
“II. Instruction must be subordinated to the higher end of education."
No education would be worth a jot that resulted in a loss of manliness and lightness of heart. So long as there is joy
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in the child's face, ardor and enthusiasm in all his games, so long as happiness accompanies most of his impressions, there is nothing to fear. Short moments of self-subjugation quickly followed by new interests and new joys do not dishearten. To see peace and happiness resulting from habits of order and obedience is the true preparation for social life.
Be in no hurry to get on, but make the first step sound before moving; in this way you will avoid confusion and waste. Order, exactness, completion - alas, not thus was my character formed. And in the case of my own child in particular, I am in great danger of being blinded by his quickness, and rapid progress, and, dazzled by the unusual extent of his knowledge, of forgetting how much ignorance lurks behind this apparent development, and how much has yet to be done before we can go farther. Completeness, orderliness, absence of confusion — what important points !
Lead your child out into Nature, teach him on the hilltops and in the valleys. There he will listen better, and the sense of freedom will give him more strength to overcome difficulties. But in these hours of freedom let him be taught by Nature rather than by you. Let him fully realize that she is the real teacher and that you, with your art, do nothing more than walk quietly at her side. Should a bird sing or an insect hum on a leaf, at once stop your talk; bird and insect are teaching him; you may be silent.
I would say to the teacher, Be thoroughly convinced of the immense value of liberty; do not let vanity make you anxious to see your efforts producing premature fruit; let your child be as free as possible, and seek diligently for every means of ensuring his liberty, peace of mind, and good humor. Teach him absolutely nothing by words that you can teach him by the things themselves ; let him see for himself, hear, find out, fall, pick himself up, make mistakes; no
word, in short, when action is possible. What he can do for himself, let him do it; let him be always occupied, always active, and let the time you leave him to himself represent by far the greatest part of his childhood. You will then see that Nature teaches him better than men.
THE EVENING HOUR OF A HERMIT, 1780.
I. Man! in thyself, in the inward consciousness of thine own strength, is the instrument intended by Nature for thy development.
2. The path of Nature, which develops the forces of humanity, must be easy and open to all; education, which brings true wisdom and peace of mind, must be simple and within everybody's reach.
Nature develops all the forces of humanity by exercising them; they increase with use.
4. The exercise of a man's faculties and talents, to be profitable, must follow the course laid down by Nature for the education of humanity.
5. This is why the man who, in simplicity and innocence, exercises his forces and faculties with order, calmness, and steady application, is naturally led to true human wisdom; whereas he who subverts the order of Nature, and thus breaks the due connection between the different branches of his knowledge, destroys in himself not only the true basis of knowledge, but the very need of such a basis, and becomes incapable of appreciating the advantages of truth.
6. Thou who wouldst be a father to thy child, do not expect too much of him till his mind has been strengthened by practice in the things he can understand; and beware of harshness and constraint.
7. When men are anxious to go too fast, and are not satisfied with Nature's method of development, they im