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fond and grateful hearts, which he has fashioned for immortality.
" What needs our Arnold for his honor'd bones,
The history of the world is the history of reforms and improvements in the education of the race.
Thales, and Pythagoras, and Socrates, and Plato, and Aristotle, and Quinctilian, were all distinguished as educational reformers.
Milton and Locke are later examples of uncommon powers of mind, that have been enlisted in the cause of educational improvement.
All the civilized nations of the world are now vying with each other in their efforts to advance the cause of popular instruction.
In our own country, a fresh impulse was given to this movement about a quarter of a century ago. The interest which was then awakened manifested itself in the publication of the Academician, at New York, by Albert and John W. Picket; in the appearance of several important Essays upon Popular Education and Schools for Teachers, by James G. Carter and Thomas H. Gallaudet; in the establishment of the Journal of Education, by William Russell, and the Annals of Education, by William C. Woodbridge; in the appearance of such works as Hall's Lectures on School-Keeping; in the organization of the American Institute of Instruction, at Boston, and the Western Literary Institute and College of Professional Teachers, at Cincinnati; in the establishment of the Troy Female Seminary, by Mrs. Willard, the Teachers' Seminary at Andover, by S. R. Hall, and an Institution at Ipswich, for the education of Female Teachers, by Miss Z. P. Grant; and in various other improvements then introduced, both in the manner and the means of instruction.
The zeal thus awakened did not prove a mere temporary excitement. The fire has continued to burn and increase till the present time.
Among the more recent manifestations of this progressive movement, are our Normal Schools; our State, County, and Town Superintendents of Schools ; Teachers' Institutes; improvements in the construction of school-houses; and the publication of numerous popular educational journals.
The views of educational reformers are no longer regarded as visionary speculations and impracticable theories. They gain the ear of legislative bodies, and move our law-givers to action. Popular sentiment, in all our most enlightened States, is enlisted in the movement, and it must finally triumph.
But, notwithstanding the numerous educational improvements that have followed each other in such rapid succession, the 19th verse of the third chapter of Genesis still reads just as it did three thousand years ago : " In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.”
The two great objects of intellectual education, are mental discipline and the acquisition of knowledge.
The highest and most important of these objects is mental discipline, or the power of using the mind to the best advantage.
The price of this discipline is effort. No man ever yet made intellectual progress without intellectual labor. It is this alone that can strengthen and invigorate the noble faculties with which we are endowed.
However much we may regret that we do not live a century later, because we cannot have the benefit of the improvements that are to be made during the next hundred years; of one thing we may rest assured, that intellectual eminence will be attained during the 20th century just as it is in the 19th,by the labor of the brain. We are not to look for any new discovery or invention that shall supersede the necessity of mental toil; we are not to desire it.
If we had but to supplicate some kind genius, and he would at once endow us with all the knowledge in the universe, the gift would prove a curse to us, and not a blessing. We must have the discipline of acquiring knowledge, and in the manner established by the Author of our being. Without this discipline, our intellectual stores would be worse than useless.
The general law of intellectual growth is manifestly this: -- whatever may be the mental power which we at any time possess, it requires a repetition of mental efforts, equal in degree to those which we have put forth before, to prevent actual deterioration. Every considerable step of advance from this point, must be by a new and still higher intellectual performance.
There are many impediments in the path of the student, which it is desirable to remove; but he who attempts to remove all difficulties, or as many of them as possible, wars against the highest law of intellectual development.
There cannot be a more fatal error in education, than that of a teacher who adopts the sentiment, that his duty requires him to render the daily tasks of his pupils as easy as possible.
A simple example will illustrate the two classes of difficulties to which I refer — those which it is desirable to remove from the path of the pupil, and those which we should not attempt to remove.
In the solution of a difficult problem in mathematics, the pupil has two distinct branches of labor before him. One of these is to examine carefully the nature of the question, and discover or invent some method of comparison and combination which will give the answer sought. This is the highest, and by far the most important portion of his labor.
The other part consists in the half mechanical process of multiplying, dividing, &c. to obtain the result, after the method of working is once distinctly and fully before the mind.