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complished with them to add to the sum of human knowledge, bring about the desired transformation?
Can the natural course of evolution solve the problem? We have satisfied by this means many questions which have given more or less trouble. Anything which relieves personal responsibility is received with very little questioning. One form of evolution is constantly before us in our social world; responsibility has little to do with the process. It is “ Evolution by Atrophy,” and its tendency is towards degenerative and eliminatory selection of superior elements, the casting off of that which is not used, or encouraged, or favored. These means will never reach the higher civilization. The education along the lines of least resistance produces nothing. The praisemonger accomplishes nothing and the evolution by atrophy degenerates into nothing of value. Growth and constant growth is needed for the nation's welfare, and its. destiny depends, as is stated, 21 " upon the quality of the elements of which it is composed and by which it is directed. If a nation is rich in energetic and intelligent qualities, the greatest of disasters can only have a transitory and limited influence. When the contrary is the case, the same circumstances may produce an arrest in development or a complete decline and fall."
To prevent atrophy the best must be used. The best must be nourished and the best given all possible resources.
The responsibility which is part of the citizen's duty is (1) that the homes of the children be true homes, (2) that the secondary education shall be so arranged that the teaching of stupidity will not result, (3) that the higher institutions of learning shall have the highest atmospheres or souls for the highest ideals and that those institutions possessed of evil spirits should not be regarded as the places for the education of the youth of the nation, (4) that the teachers shall be men of effective characters; specialists in many cases, but specialists in a true sense of the word. President Butler calls our attention to this need, one other danger, common to all universities, whether American or German, lies in the excessive specialization which is so often warmly recommended to university students. Its inevitable result is loss of ability to see things in their proper proportions, as well as loss of sympathy with learning as a whole. Perhaps the division of labor cannot be carried too far for the value of the product, but certainly it can be carried too far for the good of the laborer. Signs are not wanting that this narrowing of view and sympathy is already taking place; but the university has in its faculty of philosophy the means to correct it if it will. What science and practical life alike need is not the narrow men, but broad men sharpened to a point. To train such is the highest function of the American university; and by its success in producing them must efficiency be finally tested,” (5) that the teachers in the higher institutions shall be encouraged to enter the field of research in order that they may add something, in their special fields, to the sum of human knowledge.
91 Evolution by atrophy, Demoor, p. 290.
Interest in these questions will insure the future for making of citizens who will meet the responsibilities of life. They will be born men and women. They will live as men and women and die honored as such. The occupations of life will not require every effort of the low ideal based on the money which can be grasped during the years of existence, and success will not be $UCCE$$.
It is more easy for the public to see results which are produced in a rush. An exhibition of what has been accomplished in education appeals very readily to the public, and notoriety results. The slow and sure building processes in education do not appeal to the masses. The rush is too often mistaken for results accomplished. It is the one who proclaims that he is to do something in the future who is too often regarded as the one who accomplishes what is of benefit, while the silent worker is ignored.
Confidence on part of the public that the problems of education will ultimately in the future prove satisfactory gives no guarantee that it will be so, it simply relieves present responsibility and transfers it to the future generations. The responsibility for an effective career in which it is realized that
Character is man's destiny" is necessary for parents and the youth of the land. If a young man or woman can be made to appreciate that they have in their possession the results of the efforts of the best years of their parents and that the realization of this responsibility is shown in the manner in which they make effective the blessings which come to them in the home, school, college, and after-life it will be a sure foundation for the highest effective citizenship.
In an editorial in a prominent paper, in speaking of certain tendencies on the part of the public, the following is of interest:
“The whole situation, we say, is a sad one. It is sad because it reveals an utter failure to discriminate between the pretentious things and the real things in human life. It is sad because the results will be more and more destructive of quality, of manner, of appreciation of the sound and the beautiful, which only long years of hard experience can reproduce. When we have learned to desire sound goods, careful workmanship, judicious decisions, considerate treatment of patrons,-in short, wisdom, rather than humbug, pretense,
plunging,' and 'hustling,'—we shall again have in the employ of corporations, in the newspaper offices, and in the universities, men of age and experience.”
There is much to be learned on these great questions which are related to effective education. One of the most important is that a teacher who cannot devise a proper education for his own children and whose children are noted for their ineffective characters is not equipped to instruct the children of others, regardless how many rash statements may be made to the contrary. More is needed of effective work and less of the razzledazzle in science and education.
The necessity for attention to true education comes to us from past history as Le Bon states: 22 “ The mental constitution of beings cannot escape these physiological laws. The brain cell that is not utilized ceases to fulfill its functions, and mental dispositions it took centuries to form may be promptly lost. Courage, energy, the spirit of enterprise, and various qualities of character that were a long time in being acquired disappear quickly enough when they cease to be exercised. This fact explains how it is that a people always requires a very long time to raise itself to a high level of culture, and in some cases a very short time to descend into the abyss of decadence.
5? The psychology of the peoples, p. 213.
“When the causes are examined that led to the successive ruin of the various peoples with which history is concerned, whether the people in question be the Persians, the Romans, or any other nation, the fundamental factor in their fall is always found to be a change in their mental constitution resulting from the deterioration of their character. I cannot call to mind a single people that has disappeared in consequence of the deterioriation of its intelligence.”
So with the responsibility of citizenship there will come a realization that the safety of the nation will depend upon the guards which are about our higher institutions of learning, insuring the greatest possible freedom for that which is highest in truth and thought in order that the environment may be a soul-building one, giving to every student as a heritage for the future an effective character, with his knowledge whether it be classical or scientific, so that life may be effective and practical in every way. The barbarian in education will not be tolerated as a luxury, but will be regarded as was the barbarian of old who endeavored to destroy the old civilization by his inrush of low ideals without consideration for anything besides his selfish motives for accomplishing selfish purposes, to the destruction of the nation and the formation of conditions for the survival of the unfit.
J. B. WEEMS CREWE, VA.
ON TEACHING LATIN 1
In the presence of those who have been constantly engaged for years in fitting students for college, it requires some hardihood in one whose practical experience in preparatory teaching dates back nearly a generation to discourse at all dogmatically on methods of instruction in preparatory schools. What the material is, what the conditions are, and how with the given material and conditions the best results can be attained, must .surely be best known to those whose daily work is a study of these very problems.
Yet altho the college examiner and instructor may not presume to lay down the law as to methods in preparatory work, he does have occasion to observe the results actually reached; and as it is his function to continue and complete the work begun in the preparatory school, he is in the best position to estimate the value of the course as a whole, and to state, at least in a general way, wherein it can be made more fruitful. I know that the attitude of the practical teacher toward people who have remarks to make, “in a general way,” on educational matters, is much like that of the burnt child toward the fire, and not unnaturally. Education, as the formative department of human activity, especially engages the freakish speculations of closet philosophers, who would take the child at birth,—yes, and long before birth,—and put him and all connected with him thru a series of fads and whimseys that would surely kill both body and soul. But there are theories and theories; educational cranks and practical teachers. Views and convictions that have been reached after long experience, whether they have crystallized into a theory or not, should have some value, and ought
i This paper, substantially as here given, was read at a meeting of the High School Teachers Association at Biddeford, Me.