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of pupils of every age and of every disposition.

514. Judgment of Pere Girard. — In 1809 the Pere
Girard 1 was commissioned by the Swiss government to
inspect the institute. The result was not favorable, though
Girard acknowledges that he conceived the idea of his own
method from studying at first hand that of Pestalozzi.

The principal criticism of Girard bears on the abuse of
mathematics, which, under the influence of Schmid, became
in fact more and more the principal occupation of teachers
and pupils.

"I made the remark," he says, " to my old friend Pes-
talozzi, that the mathematics exercised an unjustifiable sway
in his establishment, and that I feared the results of this on
the education that was given. Whereupon he replied to me
with spirit, as was his manner : ' This is because I wish my
children to believe nothing which cannot be demonstrated as
clearly to them as that two and two make four.' My reply
was in the same strain : ' In that case, if I had thirty sons,
I would not entrust one of them to you, for it would be
impossible for you to demonstrate to him, as you can that
two and two make four, that I am his father, and that I
have a right to his obedience.' "

1 See the following chapter.



438 THE HISTOKY OF PEDAGOGY.

It is evident that Pestalozzi was deviating from his own
inclinations. The general character of his pedagogy is in
fact to avoid abstraction, and in all things to aim at concrete
and living intuition. Even in religion, he deliberately
excluded dogmatic teaching, precise and literal form, and
sought only to awaken in the soul a religious sentiment,
sincere and profound. The Pere Girard had remarked to
him that the religious instruction of his pupils was vague
and indeterminate, and that their aspirations lacked the
doctrinal form. "The form," replied Pestalozzi, "I am
still looking- for it ! "

515. The Last Years of Pestalozzi. — Disheartened by
the decadence of his institute, Pestalozzi left Yverdun in
1824, and sought a retreat at Neuhof, on the farm where he
had tried his first experiments in popular education. It is
here that he wrote his last two works, — The Swan's Song and
My Destinies. January 25, 1827, he was taken to Brugg to
consult a physician. He died there February 17; and two
days after he was buried at Birr. It is there that the Canton
of Argovia erected a monument to him in 1846, with the
following inscription : —

" Here lies Henry Pestalozzi, born at Zurich, January 12,
1746, died at Brugg, February 17, 1827, savior of the poor
at Neuhof, preacher of the people in Leonard and Gertrude,
father of orphans at Stanz, founder of the new people's
school at Burgdorf and at Munchen-Buchsee, educator of
humanity at Yverdun, man, Christian, citizen: everything
for others, nothing for himself. Blessed be his name."

516. Essential Principles. — Pestalozzi never took the
trouble to formulate the essential principles of his pedagogy.
Incapable of all labor in abstract reflection, he borrowed
from his friends, on every possible occasion, the logical



PESTALOZZI. 439

exposition of his own methods. In his first letter to Gess-
ner, he is only too happy to reproduce the observations of
the philanthropist Fischer, who distinguished five essential
principles in his system : —

1. To give the mind an intensive culture, and not simply ;
extensive : to form the mind, and not to content one's self:
with furnishing it ;

2. To connect all instruction with the study of language ;

3. To furnish the mind for all its operations with funda-
mental data, mother ideas ;

4. To simplify the mechanism of instruction and study ;

5. To popularize science.

On several points, indeed, Pestalozzi calls in question the
translation which Fischer has given of his thought ; but,
notwithstanding these reservations, powerless to find a more
exact formula, he accepts as a finality this interpretation of
his doctrine.

Later, another witness of the life of Pestalozzi, Morf, also
condensed into a few maxims the pedagogy of the great
teacher : —

1. Intuition is the basis of instruction ;

2. Language ought to be associated with intuition ;

3. The time to learn is not that of judging and of criti-
cising ;

4. In each branch, instruction ought to begin with the
simplest elements, and to progress by degrees while follow-
ing the development of the child, that is to say, through a
series of steps psychologically connected ;

5. We should dwell long enough on each part of the in-
struction for the pupil to gain a complete mastery of it;

G. Instruction ought to follow the order of natural
development, and not that of synthetic exposition ;
7. The individuality of the child is sacred ;



440 THE HISTOltY OF PEDAGOGY.

8. The principal end of elementary instruction is not tc
cause the child to acquire knowledge and talents, but to
develop and increase the forces of his intelligence ;

9. To wisdom there must be joined power; to theoretical
knowledge, practical skill ;

10. The relations between master and pupil ought to be
based on love ;

11. Instruction proper ought to be made subordinate to
the higher purpose of education.

Each one of these aphorisms would need a long com-
mentary. It is sufficient, however, to study them in the aggre-
gate, in order to form an almost exact idea of that truly
humane pedagogy which reposes on psychological principles.

Kriisi could say of his master: "With respect to the
ordinary knowledge and practices of the school, Pestalozzi
was far below a good village magister; but he possessed
something infinitely superior to that which can be given by a
course of instruction, whatever it may be. He knew that
which remains concealed from a great number of teachers, —
the human spirit and the laws of its development and culture,
the human heart and the means of vivifying it and ennobling
it."

517. Pedagogical Processes. — The pedagogy of Pesta-
lozzi is no less valid in its processes than in its principles.
Without presuming to enumerate everything, we will indicate
succinctly some of the scholastic practices which he employed
and recommended : —

The child should know how to speak before learning to
read.

For reading, use should be made of movable letters glued
on pasteboard. Before writing, the pupil should draw.
The first exercises in writing should be upon slates.






PESTALOZZI. 441

In the study of language, the evolution of nature should
be followed, first stiKlying nouns, then qualificatives, and
finally propositions.

The elements of computation shall be taught by the aid of
material objects taken as units, or at least by means of strokes
drawn on a board. Oral computation shall be the most
employed.

The pupil ought, in order to form an accurate and exact
idea of numbers, to conceive them always as a collection of
strokes or of concrete things, and not as abstract figures.
A small table divided into squares in which points are rep-
resented, serves to teach addition, subtraction, multiplica-
tion, and division.

There was neither book nor copy-book in the schools ot
Burgdorf.

The children had nothing to learn b} r heart. They had to
repeat all at once and in accord the instructions of the
master. Each lesson lasted but an hour, and was followed
by a short interval devoted to recreation.

Manual labor, making paper boxes, working in the garden,
gymnastics, were associated with mental labor. The last
hour of each day was devoted to optional labor. The pupils
said, " We are working for ourselves."

A few hours a week were devoted to military exercises.

Surely everything is not to be commended in the processes
which we have just indicated. It is not necessary, for ex-
ample, that the child conceive, when he computes, the con-
tent of numbers, and Pestalozzi sometimes makes an abuse
of sense intuition. He introduces analysis, and an analysis
too subtile and too minute, into studies where nature alone
does her work. " My method," he said, " is but a refinement
of the processes of nature." He refines too much.



442 THE HISTORY OF PEDAGOGY.

518,. Pestalozzi and Rousseau. — Pestalozzi has often
acknowledged what he owed to Rousseau. "My chimerical
and unpractical spirit was takeu," he said, "with that chimer-
ical and impracticable book. . . . The system of liberty ideally
established by Rousseau, excited in me an infinite longing
for a wider and more bounteous sphere of activit} 7 ."

The great superiority of Pestalozzi over Rousseau is that
he worked for the people, — that he applied to a great num-
ber of children the principles which Rousseau embodied only
in an individual and privileged education. Emile, after all,
is an aristocrat. He is rich, and of good ancestry ; and is
endowed with all the gifts of nature and fortune. Real pu-
pils do not offer, in general, to the action of teachers, mate-
rial as docile and* complaisant. Pestalozzi had to do only
with children of the common people, who have everything to
learn at school, because they have found at home, with busy
or careless parents, neither encouragement nor example, —
because their earl}' years have been only a long intellectual
slumber. For these benumbed natures, many exercises are
necessary which would properly be regarded as useless if it
were a question of instructing children of another condition.
Before condemning, before ridiculing, the trifling practices of
Pestalozzi, and of teachers of the same school, we should
consider the use to which these processes were applied. The
real organizer of the education of childhood and of the peo-
ple, Pestalozzi has a right to the plaudits of all those who
are interested in the future of the masses of the people.

*

519. Conclusion. — We should not flatter ourselves that
merely by means of an analysis of Pestalozzi's methods, we
can comprehend the service of a man who excelled in the
warmth of his charity, in his ardor of devotion and of propa-
gandism, and in I know not what that makes a grand per-



PESTALOZZI. 443

sonalit}', more than by the clearness and the exactness of
his theories. It is somewhat with Pestalozzi as with those
great actors who cany with them to their tomb a part of the
secret of their art.

He was especially great in heart and in love. To read
some of his writings, we would sometimes be tempted to say
that his intellect was far inferior to the expectation excited
by his name ; but what a splendid revenge he takes in the
domain of sentiment !

He passionately loved the people. He knew their suffer-
ings, and nothing turned him from his anxiety to cure them.
In the presence of a beautiful landscape, he thought less of
the charming scene that was displayed before his eyes than
of the poor people who, under those splendors' of nature, led
a life of misery.

That which assures him an immortal glory is the high pur-
pose that he set before himself, — his ardor to regenerate
humanity through instruction. Of what consequence is it
that the results obtained were so disproportionate to his
efforts, and that he could say, "The contrast between what
I would and what I could is so great that it cannot be ex-
pressed " ? Even the French Revolution did not succeed in
the matter of instruction, in making its works commensurate
with its aspirations.

The love and the admiration of all the friends of instruction
are forever secured to Pestalozzi. He was the most suo-o-es-
tive, the most stimulating, of modern educators. If it was
not given him to act snlliciently on French pedagogy, he was
in Germany the great inspirer of reform in popular education.
While he was despised by Bonaparte, he obtained, in 1802,
from the philosopher Fichte, this fine compliment, "It is
from the institute of Pestalozzi that I expect the regenera-
tion of the German nation."



444 THE HISTORY OF PEDAGOGY.

[520. Analytical Summary. — 1. Inveniam viam aid
faciam. To know the end is to find the way ; and to be pos-
sessed of an impulse to reach an end is to make a way.
There are thus two categories of educational reformers.
Some see a goal by the light of reason and reflection, and
then lay out a logical route to it which they may or may not
traverse, but which some one will ultimately traverse.
Others are dominated by an intense feeling, and grope their
uncertain way towards a goal whose outline and position are
only'dimly discerned through the mists of emotion. With
some, the motive is intellectual, with others, it is emotional ;
and in their higher manifestations these endowments are mu-
tually exclusive.

2. Pestalozzi belongs pre-eminently to the emotional re-
formers. He felt intensely, but he saw vaguely. His im-
pulses were the highest and the noblest that can animate the
human soul, but at ever}' stage in his career his success was
compromised by his inability to see things in their normal
relations and proportions. Conscious of his inability to
frame a rational defence of his system, he was glad to bor-
row philosophic insight from abroad ; but he could not live
with colleagues who would test the logic of his methods.

3. Tested b} - the simplest rules of order, symmetry, and
economy, the schools organized by Pestalozzi were failures ;
but tested by the exalted humanity, the heroic devotion, and
self-sacrifice of their founder, and by the new life which,
through his example, was henceforth to animate the teaching
profession, his schools were successful beyond all precedent.
Judged by modern standards, Pestalozzi was a poor teacher,
but an unsurpassed educator.

4. The conception which the humanitarian warmth of Pes-
talozzi's nature converted into a motive, was that true edu-
tion is a growth, the outward evolution of an inward life.



PESTALOZZI. 445

The conception itself was as old as David and Socrates, but
it had ceased to have the power of a living truth.

5. The history of human thought shows that there has
ever been a tendency to separate form from content, or letter
from spirit, and as constant a predilection for form or letter,
as distinguished from content or spirit ; and the essential
work of reform has consisted in reanimation. This illustrates
and defines Pestalozzi's mission as an educator. The story
of his devotion and suffering is the most pathetic in the his-
tory of education, and it should be unnecessary to repeat the
lesson that was taught at such cost.]



CHAPTER XIX.

THE SUCCESSORS OF PESTALOZZI. FEGEBEL AND THE

PERE GIRARD.

THE PEDAGOGY OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY ; FECEBEL (1782-1852) ;
YOUTH OF FRCEBEL J DIFFEREXT EMPLOYMENTS; CALL TO TEACH;
FRCEBEL AND PESTALOZZI ; TREATISE ON THE SPHERICAL ; NEW
STUDIES J INSTITUTE OF KEILHAU ; THE EDUCATION OF MAN J
ANALYSIS OF THAT WORK; LOVE FOR CHILDREN; UNITY OF EDU-
CATION J DIFFERENT STAGES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF MAN J
NATURALISM OF FRCEBEL; NEW EXPERIMENTS IN TEACHING; KIN-
DERGARTENS J ORIGIN OF THE KINDERGARTENS ; THE GIFTS OF
FRCEBEL; APPEAL TO THE INSTINCTS OF THE CHILD ; IMPORTANCE
OF SPORTS ; PRINCIPAL NEEDS OF THE CHILD J FAULTS IN FRCEBEL'S
METHOD ; THE LAST ESTABLISHMENTS OF FRCEBEL ; FRCEBEL AND
DIESTERWEG J POPULARITY OF FRCEBEL ; THE PERE GIRARD (1765-
1850); LIFE OF THE PERE GIRARD; PLAN OF EDUCATION FOR HEL-
VETIA J LAST YEARS OF THE PERE GIRARD; TEACHING OF TUB
MOTHER TONGUE J GRAMMAR OF IDEAS ; DISCREET USE OF RULES ;
EDUCATIVE COURSE IN THE MOTHER TONGUE ; ANALYSIS OF THAT
WORK ; MORAL ARITHMETIC J MORAL GEOGRAPHY ; INFLUENCE OF
GIRARD ; ANALYTICAL SUMMARY.



521. The Pedagogy of the Nineteenth Century. —
Pestalozzi really belongs to our century by the close of his
career, and especially by the posthumous gloiy of his name.
With Froebel and the Pere Girard, we enter completely
upon the nineteenth century ; both, in different degrees and
with characteristics of their own, continue the work of
Pestalozzi.



THE SUCCESSORS OF PESTALOZZI. 44T

522. Frosbel (1782-1852).— It may be said of Froebel
as of Pestalozzi, that in France at least, he is more praised
than known, more celebrated than studied. We have been
tardy in speaking of him, — it is scarcely twenty years since ;
but it seems that our admiration has sought to atone for the
slowness of its manifestation by its vivacity and its ardor.
The name of the founder of Kindergartens has become almost
popular, while his writings have remained almost unknown.

An impartial and thorough stud}' of Froebel' s work will
abate rather than encourage this excessive infatuation and
this somewhat artificial enthusiasm. Assuredly, Froebel
had grand qualities as a teacher ; but he lacked a profound
classical culture and also the sense of proportion. Like
most of the Germans of this century, he has ventured on the
conceptions of a nebulous philosophy, and following the
steps of Hegel, he has too often deserted the route of obser-
vation and experiment, to strike out into metaphysical diva-
gations. Froebel's imagination magnifies and distorts every-
thing. He cannot see objects as they are, but lends them
a symbolical meaning, and wanders off into transcendental
and obscure considerations. But his practical work is worth
more than his writings, and he cannot be denied the glory
of having been a bold and happy innovator in the field of
early education.

523. The Youth of Frcebel. — Froebel was born in
Thuringia in 1782. He lost his mother almost at birth, and
was educated by his father and his uncle, both village
pastors. We recollect that by a contrary destiny. Pestalozzi
was brought up by his mother. From his earliest years he
manifested remarkable traits of character, and also mental
tendencies which were a little singular. He was dreamy and
wholly penetrated with a profound religious sentiment.



448 THE HISTORY OF PEDAGOGY.

Thus, the day when -he believed that he was assured bj- per»
emptory reasoniug that he was not doomed to eternal flames,
was an event in his life. Ardently enamored of nature, he
considers her as the true inspirer of humanity. This had
also been the conception of Rousseau and of Pestalozzi, but
it exhibits itself with much more power in the case of
Froebel.

It is difficult to comprehend the exaggeration of his
thought when he says that nature, attentively observed,
appears to us as the symbol of the highest aspirations of
human life.

"Entire nature, even the world of crystals and stones,
teaches us to recognize good and evil, but nowhere in a more
living, tranquil, clear, and evident way than in the world of
plants and flowers."

Morality, thus understood, is a little vague. We do not
deny that the calm life of the fields contributes to surround
us with a pure atmosphere, and to beget within us wholesome
and elevated aspirations ; but one must have a singularly
sentimental temperament to believe that nature can give us
" the clearest and the most obvious " lessons in morals.

524. Different Occupations. — The first part of Froe-
bel's life gives evidence of a certain unsteadiness of mind.
Inconstant in his tastes, he cannot settle on a fixed mode of
life. Improvident and poor, like Pestalozzi, he is in turn
forester, intendant, architect, preceptor ; he feels his way
up to the day when his vocation as a teacher is suddenly
revealed to him. Moreover, he studies everything, — law,
mineralogy, agriculture, mathematics.

525. Vocation to Teach. — It was in 1805, at Frankfort,
that Froebel began to teach. He was then twenty-three.
The teacher Gruner offered him a position as instructor in



THE SUCCESSORS OF PESTALOZZI. 449

the model school which he directed ; Froebel accepted, but
he was of that number who do nothing artlessly.

"An accidental circumstance determined my decision. I
received news that my certificates were lost [certificates that
he had sent to an architect to secure a position with him].
I then concluded that Providence had intended, by this inci-
dent, to take from me the possibility of a return backward."

At the end of a few days he wrote to his brother
Christopher : —

"It is astonishing how my duties please me. From the
first lesson it seemed to me that I had never done anything
else, and that I was born for that very thing. I could no
longer make it seem to me that I had previously thought of
following any occupation but this, and yet I confess that the
idea of becoming a teacher had never occurred to me."

526. Frcebel and Pestalozzi. — At the school in Frank-
fort, Froebel, still a novice in the art of teaching, attempted
scarcely more than scrupulously to apply the Pestalozzian
methods.

And upon many points Froebel remained to the end a
faithful disciple of Pestalozzi. Intuition is the fundamental
principle of his method, and we might say that his effort in
pedagogy consists chiefly in organizing into a system the
sense intuitions which Pestalozzi proposed to the child some-
what at random and without plan.

Froebel had had direct relations with Pestalozzi. In 1808
he went to Yverdun with three of his pupils, and there spent
two years, taking part in the work of the institute, and
becoming acquainted with the methods of the master. He
declares that it was a " decisive" epoch in his life.

But let us note, in passing, the difference in character
between Pestalozzi and Froebel. While Pestalozzi is ever



450 THE HISTORY OF PEDAGOGY.

ready to accuse himself with a touching humility, Froebel
regards himself as almost infallible. He never attributes
failure to his own insufficiency, but lays the blame on destiny
or on the ill-will of others. Pestalozzi is ever forgetting
himself, and he is so neglectful as to be uncouth in his attire.
" He never knew how to dress," say his biographers ; "his
distraction made him forget sometimes his cravat, and at
others his garters." Froebel, on the contrary, affected an
elegant and theatrical bearing. He studied effect. At cer-
tain periods, as we are told, he wore Hessian boots and a
Tyrolese cap with high plumes.

527. The Treatise on Sphericity (1811). — It was
about 1811 that the peculiar originality of Froebel manifested
itself, and this was done, it must be confessed, in an unfortu-
nate way, by the publication of his Treatise o?i Sphericity.

Pestalozzi somewhere wrote : "If my life is entitled to
any credit, it is that of having placed the square at the basis
of an intuitive instruction which has never yet been given to
a people." 1 This language coming from Pestalozzi is cer-
tainly calculated to surprise us ; but at least Pestalozzi
meant square in the proper sense of the term, as a
geometrical figure, or as a form for drawiug. "When Froe-
bel speaks to us of the sphere, and makes of it the basis of
education, it is a wholly different thing.

In reading the Treatise on Sphericity, we are sometimes
tempted to inquire whether we have to do with a well-
balanced mind, or whether an exuberant imagination has not
caused the author to lose the consciousness of reality.

According to Froebel, the sphere is the ideal form : —

" The sphere seems like the prototype or the unity of all
bodies and of all forms. Not an angle, not a line, not a

1 Comment Gertrude instruit ses enfants, translated by Darin, p. 204.



THE SUCCESSORS OF PESTALOZZI. 451

plane, not a surface, is shown in it, and yet it has all points
and all surfaces."

Let this pass ; but besides this, the sphere has mysterious
relations with spiritual things ; it teaches the perfection of
the moral life.

"To labor conscientiously at the development of the
spherical nature of a being, is to effect the education of a
being."

An incident borrowed from the life of Froebel will com-
plete the picture. He enlisted as a volunteer in 1812, and
made the campaigns of 1812-1813, with Langethal and Mid-
dendorf, who were afterward to be his colleagues. After
the war, he returned to Berlin, passing through the whole of
Germany. During the whole journey, he says, " I was seek-
ing something, but without reaching a definite idea of what
I was in quest of, and nothing could satisfy me. Wholly
engrossed in this thought, I entered one day into a very
beautiful garden, ornamented with plants the most various.
I admired them, and yet none of them brought relief to my
inmost feeling.

" Passing them in review, at a glance, in my soul, I sud-
denly discovered that among them there was no lily. . . .
Then I knew what was lacking in that garden, and what I
was looking for. How could my inmost feeling have mani-
fested itself to me in a more beautiful way? You seek, I
said to myself, tranquil peace of heart, harmony of life, and
purity of soul, in the image of the lily, that peaceful flower,
simple and pure. The garden, with all its varied flowers,



Online LibraryGabriel CompayréThe history of pedagogy → online text (page 35 of 48)