Page images

over the relatively passive apperception of the most interested receptive attitude of the pupil's mind results, therefore, from two causes: The mind acts with more potency in the first apperception, and the resulting mental content possesses more perfect homogeneity and more responsive energy. The executive tendency of the mind secured only by self-activity is a most essential element in character.

In discipline and training Herbart was much more coercive than Freebel, although less so than most of his predecessors and some of his successors. He made a much larger use of compulsion, both in forcing attention to study and in controlling the conduct, than Freebel. Fræbel recognized the selfhood of the child as the true source of interest and the surest controlling force. He would not check effort, because he desired above all else positivity of character. He would not stop the current of real individual energy; he would change its direction when it was wrong by changing the pupil's center of interest. His constant purpose was to secure reform and progress through the child, so that it might become self-directing and self-progressive. Herbart recognized with great clearness the necessity for control; Fræbel saw the harmony between spontaneity and control“the perfect law of liberty.” Yet Herbart acknowledged the individuality of the child. He wrote many wise things about it. He says, for instance: “The teacher ought to make it a point of honor to leave the individuality as untouched as possible.” He criticises severely those teachers who "dominate the feelings of the pupil, and, holding him by this bond, unceasingly disturb the youthful character to such an extent that it can never know itself.” But even his disciples acknowledge the fact that there is at least an apparent incongruity between his conception of the mind of the child as built up "entirely of presentations,” and a true recognition of individuality. Herbart himself saw this. It is clearly impossible to give individuality its full recognition when the conception of the soul is reduced to the smallest possible degree. The more the soul idea is limited the less important does individuality become, and the more potent does the teacher become as a decider of destiny. Freebel's conception of · the soul as an element of divinity in the child gave him a reverence for individuality so profound that he demanded of the mother and teacher two things for the child: Freedom, and opportunity for creative activity in applying and extending the knowledge gained by experience and instruction.

The characteristics of the systems of Herbart and Freebel may be summarized as follows:

Both Herbart and Fræbel made high moral character the great purpose of education.

Herbart limited the original capacity of the human soul to one power, “that of entering into relations with the external world,” or, as De Garmo defines Herbart's idea, "he assigned to the soul merely the capacity of self-preservation.” Freebel regarded the soul as a germ of divinity that must inevitably develop in power and that should develop by its own creative self-activity.

Herbart studied the child to mold it; Freebel studied it to guide it in its growth.

Herbart studied the child as a philosopher; Frobel studied it as a sympathetic friend.

Herbart's recognition of individuality was limited by his conception of the inherent powers of the soul; Frobel's idea of the child soul necessarily led him to reverence individuality as the central element in human development, and as the thing that made the increase of human power desirable.

Herbart saw the need of control much more clearly than the need of freedom; Frobel saw the harmony between freedom and control.

Herbart made instruction the basis of virtue; Frobel made morality depend on true living in the home and in the school, on the awakening of the ideal as a counterpoise to the sensual, and on the recognition of and reverence for the life principle in and behind nature.

Herbart made will result from action; Freebel made action result from will. Self-activity developed the will according to Freebel, but he taught that the will increased in power as the result of its exercise in causing creative self-activity.

Herbart's contributions to pedagogy are a matchless discussion of interest, a thorough exposition of apperception, and a philosophic foundation for co-ordination of studies, so that they may produce the most definite and most beneficial results on character. Fræbel revealed the law of creative self-activity as the source of growth, including in it the most intense and most certain interest and the most perfect apperception; and the law of universal unity, in which unity of studies (correlation or concentration) was definitely recognized, although it is not the most important part of Freebel's comprehensive idea of unity. Frobel's chief influence on educational forces rests on his reco ition of woman as an educational factor outside of the home as well as in it, and his extension of the period of training by providing his comprehensive kindergarten system for little children. The kindergarten is an objective illustration of the results of reverent child study, and has undoubtedly led to the universal interest in the systematic study of the child which during the past ten years has become the most prominent characteristic of educational investigation. Freebel influenced educational thought and practice, too, to a large extent, by his use of play as an educational force. Others had recognized the value of play, but Fræbel was the first to organize play as an essential element in training.

Herbart aimed to produce in his pupils the spirit and the power of co-operative and productive activity. In this ideal he was the peer of all other educators except Froebel, and the superior of most of them. Froebel's ideal was co-operative, productive, and creative self-activity.


MRS. EUDORA L. HAILMAN, Washington, D. C.-In reading an account of Herbart's educational activity, we are surprised to see no mention of Froebel, although their life-work ran along similar paths and although Herbart was familiar with Pestalozzi's work and had opportunity to familiarize himself with Froebel's.

Among the explanations which might be given for this the most plausible as well as most charitable is found in his failure to recognize the value of early and carliest life development and his blindness to woman's share in this. All recognized education in his time was mere instruction, and even that in the hands of men only, who, from necessity, could not divine the soul of the infant being. Infant psychology is concurrent with the advent of the woman teacher and with the recognition of woman as the most important agent in the education of mankipd. From the cradle to the grave it is woman who inspires, sustains, restrains, encourages, and guides. It is woman who has brought to schools and colleges humane methods of discipline. Therefore, any system of education which would lay claim to real merit must acknowledge the essential importance of early childhood. If education meant merely a logical piling up in the mind of more or less valuable information, we might do well to follow the Herbartian method. But the world is on a higher plane to-day in these matters than it was fifty years ago. The view is broader and deeper. The two men who did most to lift us upon this higher plane are Pestalozzi and Froebel.

The principal reason for this lies in the recognition on their part of early childhood as the beginning point in the work of education, and the acknowledgment of the relative infallibility of woman's method of developing soul. This is the chief difference as I see it between the educational schemes of Herbart and Froebel.

Herbart directed his attention to the school-life of the child, or rather of the boy child, with reference to the advancement of learning and the establishment of ethical character in citizenship. Froebel directed his attention to the growing development of childhood towards all-sided humanity, of which learning and citizenship are incidents. He saw and utilized the value of the first six years in child-life as essential in the development of soul. He emphasized what Herbart failed to appreciate sufficiently—the careful attention to the training of the senses, both in seeing and doing, through which all percepts, concepts, appercepts, or whatnots of idea life are set in motion,

Herbart emphasizes the importance of stimulating interest in the child's mind, but does not recognize in his work the child's spontaneity upon which Froebel based a doctrine of interest broader, deeper, and more vital than that of Herbart. He paid too much regard to the correlation, co-ordination, concentration, and other externalities in school studies, but failed to grasp the nature of the child. Hence much artificial formalism and little natural development; possible enhancement of talent and certain arrest of genius; much accumulation of traditional lore, but atrophy of the creative impulses upon which human progress, or, as Froebel would say, the revelation of God in man depends.

Herbart strikes a key note of the pedagogics of the kindergarten in what he calls interests arising from association with others, but fails to provide means for unfolding these interests in a truly helpful life of benevolent co-ordination. Herbart makes much of voluntary attention, but fails to build it on the strong foundation of illumined spontaneous interest of which Froebel never loses sight. Voluntary attention not so founded is cold and unimpassioned, lacks vitality, dies in erudition, and fails of life-fruitage.

Herbart and Herbartism is rich in devices, artificial courses of study, forced adaptations of painfully selected ex cathedra details to cruder generalizations of child-life-schedulings without end; but fails in regard for the child's individuality, in which Froebel sees the renewed promise of the ultimate revelation of God in.


Both Herbart and Froebel emphasize the importance of experience in mental life. But Herbart limits it to its value in the apperception of stored treasures of learning, while Froebel extends it to all the varied moods of self-expression in an active, beneficent life. Herbart's child learns to see how to do; Froebel's child sees and does all along the line.

I confess that I realize keenly the difficulty of a comparison between Herbart and Froebel without constant danger of seeming unfairness to Herbart. Herbart has done much for which he deserves the gratitude of teachers with reference to school instruction and its value in character training; but Froebel's work embraces every phase of soul-unfolding. To compare the two is like comparing Pike's Peak with the Rocky Mountains. To compare Herbart's "General Principles of Pedagogics” with Froebel's "Education of Man" is like comparing a commentary on one of the books of the Bible with the Bible as a whole.

All honor to the commentary as far as it goes, and let us sincerely thank the author for the light he throws on the particular book of which he treats, but let us not fall into the error of taking the texts for life sermons in our work from the commentary.

DR. W. N. HAILMAN, Washington, D. C.-I agree with the proposition, that it is always an injury in the work of education if those who teach follow some one leader and not the child. I think one of the chief hindrances to the development of Herbartism is its name. We have in the kindergarten gotten entirely rid of Troebel. We don't call ourselves Froebellian any more. We are followers of the kindergarten idea. Men die and women die, but the principles live forever, and we follow the principles. Froebel himself was bitterly opposed to the term Froebellian. "Personal foliowing,” he said, "separates, and principles alone unite. Follow the principles I have indicated, but not me. I am but the weak exponent of the dawn of insight into that principle, and you, who do this work, must see it more clearly than I have done."

To place the name of any man at the head of a system will necessarily narrow and weaken its development. The comparison between Froebel and Herbart seems almost impossible, for the reason already given, that Herbartism deals with a course of study in school. It does not deal with education; it looks primarily upon instruction. Froebel looks primarily upon the child, and uses instruction as a method of development. This is a very important difference between the two. Herbart transmits the tradition of the race to the child; the kindergarten and its educational principles seek to unfold a divinity that lives in the child. The kindergarten deals always with the child-helps the process of evolution. Herbart goes upon the idea of culture epochs-declares that every human being in its development must pass through all the various periods of development through which the human race has gone.

Yet, granting that this is true, it does not follow that it is a correct educational principle to fix the child successively in all these periods; to make him for a little while a savage, and for another little while a half savage, and then a civilized being.

This arrests development. We want to give the children the best ideals of the present. Upon these ideals sball they stand. When these are firmly impressed on their souls, when they have the attitude towards the ideals of the present and future, then they can look with profit upon the ideals of the past which we have dismissed.

We don't want to arrest development. I was brought up in Switzerland. My teachers had heard of Herbart and we were taught some upon Herbartian methods. We were taught, more particularly, the Bible history. I remember the influence which Bible history had upon my mind. I see it with a sort of dread even now. I had been taught in my daily life to look with reverence upon social institutions. I saw my father and mother a unit in the family of which I was a part. Then I learned about the patriarchs, whom we were almost taught to worship, having several wives, and it impressed itself upon me that possibly my father might indulge in several wives, and that possibly when I grew up I might be as fortunate us the patriarchs. This had to be undone in my mind. My moral status was demoralized. So in regard to other things about patriarchs which even at that day I could not appreciate. I went to school to a little town that was two or three miles away from the village. Every morning I walked the three miles and in the evening I walked the three miles back to my home. I remember one day after we had been taught that history in which Jacob deceived Esau out of his birthright with the approval of God, I walked home the whole way protesting against the injustice on the part of God.

I called him, in a childish way, all sorts of ugly names, all to myself. There is some of the effect of the culture epoch. How does the kindergarten handle this? It says we must give only the best. How does nature handle it in the physical development? Does she give to the little child food which it cannot digest? No; she makes him strong first before she subjects him to the task of taking less digestible food.

Now, the kindergarten does the same. The kindergarten would make the child a social being, and therefore places him, not into a savage state but into an ideal little society, in which everything is kindliness and helpfulness, in which there is not competition but co-ordination, in which one helps and appreciates the help of another.

Then, when this attitude is established, it shows him that in life there are not ideal societies, but that he must labor, and forward, and strive towards this, which has been made his attitude,

Education and instruction are two different things. Herbart would teach; the kindergarten would develop-would develop soul. Erudition and life are the out. comes of the two-erudition of Herbart and life of kindergarten, but life includes erudition; therefore it is all that Herbartism would be.

The kindergarten, then, as I take it, has no quarrel with Herbart. The kinder•garten accepts everything that Herbart has given us, and the followers of these

« PreviousContinue »