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Master of Magdalene College

With an Introduction by the Right Hon. Viscount Bryce, O.M.



The scheme of publishing a volume of essays dealing with underlying
aims and principles of education was originated by the University
Press Syndicate. It seemed to promise something both of use and
interest, and the further arrangements were entrusted to a small
Committee, with myself as secretary and acting editor.

Our idea has been this: at a time of much educational enterprise and
unrest, we believed that it would be advisable to collect the opinions
of a few experienced teachers and administrators upon certain
questions of the theory and motive of education which lie a little
beneath the surface.

To deal with current and practical problems does not seem the _first_
need at present. Just now, work is both common as well as fashionable;
most people are doing their best; and, if anything, the danger is that
organisation should outrun foresight and intelligence. Moreover a
weakening of the old compulsion of the classics has resulted, not in
perfect freedom, but in a tendency on the part of some scientific
enthusiasts simply to substitute compulsory science for compulsory
literature, when the real question rather is whether obligatory
subjects should not be diminished as far as possible, and more
sympathetic attention given to faculty and aptitude.

We have attempted to avoid mere current controversial topics, and to
encourage our contributors to define as far as possible the aim and
outlook of education, as the word is now interpreted.

We have not furthered any educational conspiracy, nor attempted any
fusion of view. Our plan has been first to select some of the most
pressing of modern problems, next to find well-equipped experts and
students to deal with each, and then to give the various writers as
free a hand as possible, desiring them to speak with the utmost
frankness and personal candour. We have not directed the plan or
treatment or scope of any essay; and my own editorial supervision has
consisted merely in making detailed suggestions on smaller points, in
exhorting contributors to be punctual and diligent, and generally
revising what the New Testament calls jots and tittles. We have been
very fortunate in meeting with but few refusals, and our contributors
readily responded to the wish which we expressed, that they should
write from the personal rather than from the judicial point of view,
and follow their own chosen method of treatment.

We take the opportunity of expressing our obligations to all who have
helped us, and to Viscount Bryce for bestowing, as few are so justly
entitled to do, an educational benediction upon our scheme and volume.


August 18, 1917



By the Right Hon. VISCOUNT BRYCE, O.M.


By JOHN LEWIS PATON, M.A., High Master of
Manchester Grammar School; formerly Fellow of
St John's College, Cambridge, Assistant Master at
Rugby School, Head Master of University College


By the Very Rev. WILLIAM RALPH INGE, D.D.,
Dean of St Paul's, Honorary Fellow of Jesus College,
Cambridge, and of Hertford College, Oxford;
formerly Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity,
Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, Assistant
Master at Eton College, Fellow and Tutor of
Hertford College, Oxford


LL.D., Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge;
formerly Assistant Master at Eton College


of Wellington College; formerly Assistant Master
at Clifton College, and Head Master of Giggleswick


By ALBERT MANSBRIDGE, M.A., Joint-Secretary
of the Cambridge University Tutorial Classes
Committee; Founder and formerly Secretary of
the Workers' Educational Association


By NOWELL SMITH, M.A., Head Master of
Sherborne School; formerly Fellow of Magdalen
College, Oxford, Fellow and Tutor of New College,
Oxford, Assistant Master at Winchester College


By WILLIAM BATESON, F.R.S., Director of the
John Innes Horticultural Institution, Honorary
Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge; formerly
Professor of Biology in the University of Cambridge


of Haileybury College; formerly Assistant Master
at Marlborough College, Head Master of Sedbergh


By JOHN HADEN BADLEY, M.A., Head Master of
Bedales School


Head Master of Mill Hill School


By FRANK ROSCOE, Secretary of the Teachers
Registration Council


In times of anxiety and discontent, when discontent has engendered the
belief that great and widespread economic and social changes are
needed, there is a risk that men or States may act hastily, rushing to
new schemes which seem promising chiefly because they are new,
catching at expedients that have a superficial air of practicality,
and forgetting the general theory upon which practical plans should be
based. At such moments there is special need for the restatement and
enforcement by argument of sound principles. To such principles so far
as they relate to education it is the aim of these essays to recall
the public mind. They cover so many branches of educational theory and
deal with them so fully and clearly, being the work of skilled and
vigorous thinkers, that it would be idle for me to enter in a short
introduction upon those topics which they have discussed with special
knowledge far greater than I possess. All I shall attempt is to
present a few scattered observations on the general problems of
education as they stand to-day.

The largest of those problems, viz., how to provide elementary
instruction for the whole population, is far less urgent now than it
was fifty years ago. The Act of 1870, followed by the Act which made
school-attendance compulsory, has done its work. What is wanted now
is Quality rather than Quantity. Quantity is doubtless needed in one
respect. Children ought to stay longer at school and ought to have
more encouragement to continue education after they leave the
elementary school. But it is chiefly an improvement in the teaching
that is wanted, and that of course means the securing of higher
competence in the teacher by raising the remuneration and the status
of the teaching profession[1].

The next problem is how to find the finest minds among the children of
the country and bring them by adequate training to the highest
efficiency. The sifting out of these best minds is a matter of
educational organisation and machinery; and the process will become
the easier when the elementary teachers, who ought to bear a part in
selecting those who are most fitted to be sent on to secondary
schools, have themselves become better qualified for the task of
discrimination. The question how to train these best minds when sifted
out would lead me into the tangled controversy as to the respective
educational values of various subjects of instruction, a topic which I
must not deal with here. What I do wish to dwell upon is the supreme
importance to the progress of a nation of the best talent it
possesses. In every country there is a certain percentage of the
population who are fitted by their superior intelligence, industry,
and force of character to be the leaders in every branch of action
and thought. It is a small percentage, but it may be increased by
discovering ability in places where the conditions do not favour its
development, and setting it where it will have a better chance of
growth, just as a seedling tree brought out of the dry shade may shoot
up when planted where sun and rain can reach it freely. I am not
thinking of those exceptionally great and powerful minds, of whom
there may not be more than four or five in a generation, who make
brilliant discoveries or change the currents of thought, but rather of
persons of a capacity high, if not quite first rate, which enables
them, granted fair chances, to rise quickly into positions where they
can effectively serve the community. These men, whatever occupation
they follow, be it that of abstract thinking, or literary production,
or scientific research, or the conduct of affairs, whether commercial
or political or administrative, are the dynamic strength of the
country when they enter manhood, and its realised wealth when they are
in their fullest vigour thirty years later. We need more of them, and
more of them may be found by taking pains.

The volume of thought continuously applied to the work of life,
whether it be applied in the library or study or laboratory, or in the
workshop or factory or counting-house or council chamber, has not been
keeping pace with the growth of our population, our wealth, our
responsibilities. It is not to-day sufficient for the increasing
vastness and complexity of the problems that confront a great nation.
We in Great Britain have been too apt to rely upon our energy and
courage and practical resourcefulness in emergencies, and thus have
tended to neglect those efforts to accumulate knowledge, and consider
how it can be most usefully applied, which should precede and
accompany action. This deficiency is happily one that can be removed,
while a want of qualities which are the gift of nature is less
curable. The "efficiency" which is on every one's mouth cannot be
extemporised by rushing hastily into action, however energetic. It is
the fruit of patient and exact determination of and reflection upon
the facts to be dealt with.

The view that it was the finest minds that ought to be most cared for,
and that to them of right belonged not merely leadership, but even
control also, was carried by the ancients, and especially by Plato and
Aristotle, almost to excess. Their ideal, and indeed that of most
Greek thinkers, was the maintenance among the masses of the military
valour and discipline which the State needed for its protection, and
the cultivation among the chosen few of the highest intellectual and
moral excellence. In the Middle Ages, when power as well as rank
belonged to two classes, nobles and clergy, the ideal of education
took a religious colour, and that training was most valued which made
men loyal to the Church and to sound doctrine, with the prospect of
bliss in the world to come. In our times, educational ideals have
become not merely more earthly but more material. Modern doctrines of
equality have discredited the ancient view that the chief aim of
instruction is to prepare the few Wise and Good for the government of
the State. It is not merely upon this world but also upon the material
things of this world, power and the acquisition of territory,
industrial production, commerce, finance, wealth and prosperity in all
its forms, that the modern eye is fixed. There has been a drifting
away from that respect for learning which was strong in the Middle
Ages and lasted down into the eighteenth century. In some countries,
as in our own, that which instruction and training may accomplish has
been rated far below the standard of the ancients. Yet in our own time
we have seen two striking examples to show that their estimate was
hardly too high. Think of the power which the constant holding up,
during long centuries, of certain ideals and standards of conduct,
exerted upon the Japanese people, instilling sentiments of loyalty to
the sovereign and inspiring a certain conception of chivalric duty
which Europe did not reach even when monarchy and chivalry stood
highest. Think of that boundless devotion to the State as an
omnipotent and all-absorbing power, superseding morality and
suppressing the individual, which within the short span of two
generations has taken possession of Germany. In the latter case at
least the incessant preaching and teaching of a theory which lowers
the citizen's independence and individuality while it saps his moral
sense seems to us a misdirection of educational effort. But in it
education has at least displayed its power.

Can a fair statement of the educational ideals which we might here and
now set before ourselves be found in saying that there are three
chief aims to be sought as respects those we have called the best

One aim is to fit men to be at least explorers, even if not
discoverers, in the fields of science and learning.

A second is to fit them to be leaders in the field of action, leaders
not only by their initiative and their diligence, but also by the
power and the habit of turning a full stream of thought and knowledge
upon whatever work they have to do.

A third is to give them the taste for, and the habit of enjoying,
intellectual pleasures.

Many moralists, ancient and modern, have given pleasure a bad name,
because they saw that the most alluring and powerfully seductive
pleasures, pleasures which appeal to all men alike, were indulged to
excess, and became a source of evil. But men will have pleasure and
ought to have pleasure. The best way of drawing them off from the more
dangerous pleasures is to teach them to enjoy the better kinds.
Moreover the quieter pleasures of the intellect mean Rest, and a
greater fitness for resuming work.

The pity is that so many sources capable of affording delight are
ignored or imperfectly appreciated. May not this be partly the fault
of the lines which our education has followed? Perhaps some kinds of
study would have fared better if their defenders had dwelt more upon
the pleasure they afford and less upon their supposed utility. The
champions of Greek and Latin have dilated on the value of grammar as a
mental discipline, and argued that the best way to acquire a good
English style is to know the ancient languages, a proposition
discredited by many examples to the contrary. It is really this
insistence on grammatical minutiae that has proved repellent to young
people and suggested the dictum that "it doesn't much matter what you
teach a boy so long as he hates it." Better had it been, abandoning
the notion that every one should learn Greek, to dwell upon the
boundless pleasure which minds of imagination and literary taste
derive from carrying in memory the gems of ancient wisdom which are
more easily remembered because they are not in our own language, and
the finest passages of ancient poetry. There are plenty of
things - indeed there are far more things - in modern literature as
noble and as beautiful as the best of the ancients can give us. But
they are not the same things. The ancient poets have the freshness and
the fragrance of the springtime of the world [2]. Or take another sort
of instance. Take the pleasures which nature spreads before us with a
generous hand, hills and fields and woods and rocks, flowers and the
songs of birds, the ever-shifting aspects of clouds and of landscapes
under light and shadow. How few persons in most countries - for there
is in this respect a difference between different peoples - notice
these things. Everybody sees them few observe them or derive pleasure
from them. Is not this largely because attention has not been properly
called to them? They have not been taught to look at natural objects
closely and see the variety there is in them. Persons in whom no taste
for pictures has ever been formed by their having been taken to see,
good pictures and told what constitutes merit, are, when led into a
picture gallery, usually interested in the subjects. They like to see
a sportsman shooting wild fowl, or a battle scene, or even a prize
fight, or a mother tending a sick child, because these incidents
appeal to them. But they seldom see in a picture anything but the
subject; they do not appreciate: imaginative quality or composition,
or colour, or light and shade or indeed anything except exact
imitation of the actual. So in nature the average man is; struck by
something so exceptional as a lofty rock, like Ailsa Craig or the
Needles off the Isle of Wight, or an eclipse of the moon, or perhaps a
blood-red sunset; but he does not notice and consequently draws no
pleasure from landscapes in general, whether noble; or quietly
beautiful. The capacity for taking pleasure, in all these things may
not be absent. There is reason: to think that most children possess
it, because when they are shown how to observe they usually respond,
quickly perceiving, for instance, the differences between one flower
and another, quickly, even when quite young, learning the distinctive
characters and names of each, enjoying the process of recognising
each when they walk along the lanes, as indeed every intelligent
child enjoys the exercise of its observing powers. The disproportionate
growth of our urban population, a thing regrettable in other respects
also, has no doubt made it more difficult to give young people a
familiar knowledge of nature, but the facilities for going into the
country and the happy lengthening of summer holidays render it easier
than formerly to provide opportunities for Nature Study, which,
properly conducted, is a recreation and not a lesson. There is no
source of enjoyment which lasts so keen all through life or which fits
one better for other enjoyments, such as those of art and of travel.
Of the value of the habit of alert observation for other purposes I
say nothing, wishing here to insist only upon what it may do for

It is often alleged that in England boys and girls show less mental
curiosity, less desire for knowledge than those of most European
countries, or even than those of the three smaller countries north and
west of England in which the Celtic element is stronger than it is in
South Britain. A parallel charge has, ever since the days of Matthew
Arnold, been brought against the English upper and middle classes. He
declared that they care less for the "things of the mind" and show
less respect to eminence in science, literature and art, than is the
case elsewhere, as for instance in France, Germany, or Italy (to which
one may add the United States); and he thus explained the scanty
interest taken by these classes in educational progress.

Should this latter charge be well founded, the fact it notes would
tend to perpetuate the former evil, for the indifference of parents
reacts upon the school and upon the pupils. The love of knowledge is
so natural and awakens so early in the normal child, that even if it
be somewhat less keen among English than among French or Scottish
children, we may well believe our deficiencies to be largely due to
faulty and unstimulative methods of teaching, and may trust that they
will diminish when these methods have been improved.

If it be true that the English public generally show a want of
interest in and faint appreciation of the value of education, the
stern discipline of war will do something to remove this indifference.
The comparative poverty and reduction of luxurious habits; which this
war will bring in its train, along with a sense of the need that has
arisen for turning to the fullest account all the intellectual
resources of the country so that it may maintain its place in the
world, - these things may be expected to work a change for the better,
and lead parents to set more store upon the mental and less upon the
athletic achievements of their sons.

Be this as it may, no one to-day denies that much remains to be done
to spread a sense of the value of science for those branches of
industry to which (as especially to agriculture) it has been
imperfectly applied, to strengthen and develop the teaching of
scientific theory as the foundation of technical and practical
scientific work, and above all to equip with the largest measure of
knowledge and by the most stimulating training those on whom nature
has bestowed the most vigorous and flexible minds. To-day e see that
the heads of great businesses, industrial and financial, are looking
out for men of university distinction to be placed in responsible
posts - a thing which did not happen fifty years ago - because the
conditions of modern business have grown too intricate to be handled
by any but the best trained brains. The same need is at least equally
true of many branches of that administrative work which is now being
thrust, in growing volume, upon the State and its officials.

If we feel this as respects the internal economic life of our country,
is it not true also of the international life of the world? In the
stress and competition of our times, the future belongs to the nations
that recognise the worth of Knowledge and Thought, and best understand
how to apply the accumulated experience of the past. In the long run
it is knowledge and wisdom that rule the world, not knowledge only,
but knowledge applied with that width of view and sympathetic
comprehension of men, and of other nations, which are the essence of

[Footnote 1: This has been clearly seen and admirably stated by the
present President of the Board of Education.]

[Footnote 2: Take for instance this little fragment of Alcman:

Greek: _Ou m heti, parthenikai meligaryest imerophônoi,
Gyia pherein dynatai. Bale dê Bale kêrylos eiên,
Hos t hepi kymatos hanthos ham alkyonessi potêtai
Nêleges hêtor hechôn haliporphyros eiaros hornis._

What can be more exquisite than the epithets in the first line, or
more fresh and delicate and tender in imaginative quality than the
three last? A modern poet of equal genius would treat the topic with
equal force and grace, but the charm, the untranslatable charm of
antique simplicity, would be absent.]




High Master of Manchester Grammar School

The last century, with all its brilliant achievement in scientific
discovery and increase of production, was spiritually a failure. The
sadness of that spiritual failure crushed the heart of Clough, turned
Carlyle from a thinker into a scold, and Matthew Arnold from a poet
into a writer of prose.

The secret of failure was that the great forces which move mankind
were out of touch with each other, and furnished no mutual support.
Art had no vital relation with industry; work was dissociated from
joy; political economy was at issue with humanity; science was at
daggers drawn with religion; action did not correspond to thought,
being to seeming; and finally the individual was conceived as having
claims and interests at variance with the claims and interests of the
society of which he formed a part, in fact as standing out against it,
in an opposition so sharply marked that one of the greatest thinkers
could write a book with the title "Man _versus_ the State." As a
result, nation was divided against nation, labour against capital,
town against country, sex against sex, the hearts of the children
were set against the fathers, the Church fought against the State,
and, worst of all, Church fought against Church.

The discords of the great society were reflect inevitably in the
sphere of education. The elementary schools of the nation were divided
into two conflicting groups, and both were separated by an estranging
gulf from the grammar schools and high schools as the grammar schools
in turn were shut off from the public schools on the one hand, and
from the schools of art, music, and of technology on the other There
was no cohesion, no concerted effort, no mutual support, no great plan
of advance, no homologating idea.

This fact in itself is sufficient to account for the ineffectiveness,
the despondencies, the insincerities and ceaseless unrest of Western
civilisation in the nineteenth century. The tree of human life cannot
flower and bear fruit for the healing of the nations when its great
life-forces spend themselves in making war on each other.

If the experience of the century which lies before us is to be
different, it must be made so by means of education. Education is the

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