Foster Watson.

The encyclopaedia and dictionary of education; a comprehensive, practical and authoritative guide on all matters connected with education, including educational principles and practice, various types of teaching institutions, and educational systems throughout the world (Volume v. 1) online

. (page 31 of 138)
Online LibraryFoster WatsonThe encyclopaedia and dictionary of education; a comprehensive, practical and authoritative guide on all matters connected with education, including educational principles and practice, various types of teaching institutions, and educational systems throughout the world (Volume v. 1) → online text (page 31 of 138)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

trary, to be an increased resistance to the passage
of impulses at many of these places. But, when
once an impulse succeeds in passing across, it
breaks down some of this resistance more or less
permanently; so that the next time one of the
neurones in question is in a state of excitation, the
impulse will spread more readily.

No universally accepted answer has been given
as to how the first passage of energy is secured.
McDougall and others have adopted what they call
the Drainage Theory. They suppose that when a
given neurone is in excitation, it tends to attract
or drain energy from any others at all excited, thus

increasing and continuing its activity. Now, this
is the case when the neurones involved in one
mental process (e.g., the perception of B) are excited
immediately after those involved in another (e.g.,
the perception of A). For the excitations involved
in the last-mentioned state have not completely
subsided when the supervening excitations are
aroused. Nervous energy is thus drawn through
certain synapses, leaving a path more open than
before. The openness of the path (i.e., the strength
of the association) will depend on the amount of
energy involved. If I am very strongly impressed
by two things attended to in close connection, a
single experience will suffice to form a permanent
association. This is the case when great interest is
aroused (e.g., the boy keen on county cricket can
give the scores of the prominent players in a par-
ticular match after once reading them). Obviously,
then, the more teachers can arouse their pupils'
interest, the more ready will be the memorizing
Intense interest cannot always be aroused where
strong associations are necessary (e.g., in the case
of the multiplication table). Repetition may be
necessary for the formation of such associations.

The foregoing orocess of association is sometimes
called association by contiguity. Some psychologists
distinguish contiguity in place from that in time ;
but, from the purely psychological standpoint, the
former merely enables the two things in question
to be perceived in close temporal connection.

Association by Similarity. The earlier psycholo-
gists made much of what they termed association
by similarity. My grandfather's name recalls him
to mind because the two have been previously
associated by contiguity. But an old man now seen
for the first time twenty years after my grand-
father's death may also recall the latter. Similarity,
we are told, is the bond in this case. If my grand-
father has been dead twenty years, and I now see
another old man for the first time, I can never have
associated the two by virtue of contiguity. But let
us examine the matter more closely. The eyes, the
nose, the long, white beard of the old man now seen
are practically the same as my grandfather's, and,
being now re-presented, recall the rest of the whole
which constitutes my grandfather. The association
on which the recall depends is not, in this case, an
association between the two separate individuals,
but the connection which was inevitably formed
among the various elements which constituted for
me my grandfather. In the present old man, some
of these elements now occur again, and these recall
the others which were associated with them — by
virtue of contiguity — ^twenty years ago. This close
connection, which is formed among the various
elements or aspects of one thing (as distinguished
from the association between one whole and an-
other separate whole), has been called, by Stout,
complication (see above).

Not only do the cases usually cited as instances
of " association by similarity " rest also upon con-
tiguity, but the very thing (similarity) which is
supposed to distinguish them from the cases, usually
quoted as instances of association by contiguity, is
also a feature — and, indeed, still more completely
so — of the latter. As Lloyd Morgan says: " I think
it may be said that all association is by contiguity,
and that all suggestion is by similars, for we never
have the same presentation twice, though it may
on the second occasion be another presentation
from what we call the same source " (Psychology
for Teachers, p. 80).





Association by Contrast. Several other so-called
forms of association have been mentioned by the
older psychologists. Black suggests white ; good,
bad ; empty, full ; etc. It has been asserted that
such instances arc cases of association by contrast,
whereas the bond is still contiguity. We can dis-
tinguish and thus abstract qualities by comparison
of things possessing one quality in greater or less
contrast with another. Now, the most striking
contrasts occur when directly opposite qualities
are in close proximity (e.g., black stands out most
clearly, and is hence most readily abstracted when
contiguous to white). So with good and bad, etc.
Since these qualities are most clearly distinguished
when thus occurring, strong associations are formed
by reason of this frequent contiguity. B. D.

ASSOCIATION.— (See Five Formal Lesson-
steps, The.)

ASSOCIATION.— (See Memory.)

AND Assyria, Education in.)

Oriental Education in Great Britain.)

ASTASIA. — Usually an hysterical disorder, re-
sulting in the loss of the power to walk or to stand.

ASTELl, MARY (1668-1731).— Advocated the
right of women to education before Mary WoUstone-
croft Godwin (1759-1797). She was the daughter of
a merchant of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and was taught
philosophy, logic, and mathematics by her uncle,
a clergyman. After the age of 20 years, she lived
at Chelsea. In 1694 she pubUshed A Serious
Proposal to the Ladies, for the Advancement of
Their True and Greatest Interest, followed, in
1697, by a second part, " wherein a method is
offered for the Improvement of their Minds."
Unfortunately, Miss Astell, who wrote anonymously
as a ^" Lover of her Sex," called her proposed
ladies' college a " monastery, or, if you will, a
Religious Retirement," and this roused the keen
opposition of Bishop Burnet, who said the institu-
tion would be reputed a " nunnery," and he
therefore opposed the plan.

Yiews. Miss Astell's project combined religious
motives with academic aspirations. She claims
that women are as capable of training as men are.
She wishes the proposed Retreat from the world
to fit women to do the greatest good in it by
" enlarging " their minds. She urges that there
are no accounts in history of so many great women
as when they were educated in the cloisters between
A.D. 1500 and 1600.

" Since God has given women, as well as men,
intelligent souls, why should they be forbidden to
improve them ? . . And as exercise enlarges and
exalts any faculty, so, through want of using, it
becomes cramped and lessened ; if, therefore, we
male little or no use of our understandings we shall
shortly have none to use." Women should be edu-
cated to discover their own real duties. Many women
learn the French language, but true educational
direction would lead them to use it in the study
of Descartes and Malebranche rather than by reading
idle novels and romances. " Why should it not be
thought as genteel to understand French philosophy
as to be accoutred in a French mode ? " The

religious trammg should be carefully developed,
especially on the practical side of piety and charity.
Public worship was to be " after the cathedral
manner." The fasts of the Church were to be
observed. Music and other diversions were to be
followed. Friendships would be formed in such a
community, the effect of which would react on the
outer world as the members of the society mixed
in it. Well-trained women will be available for
better educating young children and for other
social purposes. If it be objected that education
will make women vain and assuming, the answer
is "that a smattering may." It is the business of
learning "never to speak but to the purpose."
The husband who wins an educated wife is
a much happier man on account of his wife's

In 1696, Miss Astell published, also anonymously,
an Essay in Defence of the Female Sex, probably
the best treatise on women's rights written before
1700. This is as important a treatise, educationally,
as the Proposal. Miss Astell strongly advocates
more solid training in the knowledge and use
of the vernacular. Like Emerson later, she con-
siders that translations can largely replace linguistic
accomplishments, and praises the Earl of Ros-
common, Mr. Cowley, Mr. Dryden, Mr. Congreve
for their educational services in this direction.
She urges that the name of learning is unjustly
limited to Latin and Greek, and claims the title
of learned for those who understand "perfectly"
Italian, French, Spanish, High Dutch, etc., and
who also know the history of those coimtries.
She also recognizes the place in culture of modern
philosophy, astronomy, geometry, and algebra.

Perhaps the most striking comment on educa-
tional topics by Miss Astell will be thought to be
her anticipation of Rousseau's appeal to Nature.
She says ; "I take Nature to be the first-born of
universal learning." It is as ridiculous for a man
to count himself more learned than another if he
have no greater knowledge of things, because he
is more versed in languages as it would be for
an old fellow to tell a young one that his own eyes
were better than the other's, because he reads with
.spectacles, the other without."

Criticisms. Miss Astell had to meet the attacks
of The Taller (Nos. 32, 59, 63), who ridiculed her
views by an imagined invasion of the " ReUgious
Retreat " by the young Society beaux, who, by
their flattery, win their way to kissing the maid,
and even Madonella herself, the name by which the
authoress is introduced.

It is remarkable that so little is heard of her
incisive pioneer work on "Women's. Rights":
Reflections upon Marriage, 1700, urging that
women might have other and " higher ambitions "
than marriage.

Miss Astell made many friends, so varied as
Queen Anne ; John Norris of Bemerton ; Lady
Elizabeth Hastings (of whom Steele said : " To love
her, is a liberal education ") ; Dean Hickes ; Lady
Mary Wortley Montagu, with regard to whom the
well-known story is told that Miss Astell made the
" solemn promise " that if departed spirits might
re-visit earth, she would return to see Lady
Montagu. The latter survived Miss Astell thirty
years, but there is no record of the appearance of
her friend to her.

Miss Astell wrote the Preface to Lady Mary
Montagu's Letters, as issued in 1724, when character-
istically she says : "I am malicious enough to


Bif penninfiion of IJie

Training College for State School Teachers, Melbourne

Agent General of Victoria

By permission of the High Commissioner for New Zealand

School of Arts, Canterbury College, Christchurch, New Zealand

969— [face p. 112)

Plate VIII









desire the world should see to how much better
purpose the ladies travel than their lords."

F. W.
References —

AsTELL, Mary. Serious Proposal to the Ladies. (First

Edition of the two parts, 1697.)
Defence of the Female Sex (1696).

Ballard, G. Memoirs of British Ladies, pp. 306-317.
Blunt, R. In Chevne Walk and Thereabout, pp. 58-93.

(London: 1913.)
Mc'Ilquiiam, Harriett. Mary Astell and Lady

Worlley Montagu. (Article in the Westminster

Review for March, ,1897.)
Montagu, Lady Mary. Letters ; Vol. I, pp. 84-87.

(Two Vols, edited by W. Moy Thomas, 1893.)
Dictionary of National Biography. (Vol. II, pp. 201-2.)

ASTIGMATISM (See Eyesight of School

Children, The.)

ASTROLOGY. — A science which for many ages
was identical with astronomy, and of which one
branch dealt with the movements of the heavenly
bodies, and the other with the influence of those
movements on the earth and its inhabitants.
Astronomy was separated from astrology after the
discovery, by Copernicus, that the earth was one
of the members of the solar system, and that the
sun was the centre of that system.

The sources of astrology must be looked for in
very distant ages. The Chaldeans, Persians and
Egyptians mapped out the year and the seasons
by studying the movements of the heavenly bodies ;
and the religious systems of these and other ancient
nations represented the constellations as the abode
of the gods after they had migrated from the
mountains, seas and groves of the earth. Thus
arose the belief that the constellations of the Zodiac
presided over and influenced all that went on upon
the earth. The days of the week were dedicated to
deities, and the Romans divided days into dies fasti
(luclcy) and dies nefasti (unlucky), according to
their view of the influence of the presiding deities.
After the belief in the gods had died out, the con-
viction that the stars exercised influence over the
destinies of men still survived. Character was
believed to be determined by the planets presiding
at birth ; and, even now, a person's temperament
is described as saturnine or mercurial.

The chief use made of this science by its pro-
fessors was to forecast events, especially in the life
of man. For this purpose, the Zodiac was divided
into three " houses " for each of the four ages of
man — a cardinal, a succeeding, and a declining
house. Disasters were foretold by certain com-
binations of planets in any of the " houses," while
other combinations were considered auspicious.
Eclipses portended misfortunes, and astrologers
found a forecast of misfortune more reliable than
one of good fortune. Most of the pioneers of modern
astronomy were, at first, students of astrology, and
in their researches discovered valuable truths.
Both Tycho Brahe and his pupil Kepler made
remarkable predictions in the course of their
studies, and the latter discovered what are known
as his " laws " as a believer in astrology.

ASTROLOGY,— (See Astronomy, History of
THE Teaching of.)


The Astronomical Society was founded in January,
1820, by a small committee of eight persons.

8— (969

Its objects were to promote the study of the stars
and other heavenly bodies, and to collect informa-
tion on astronomical subjects. The Committee of
1820 decided that all persons nominated and
approved by themselves should be eligible for
membership ; and employed Sir John Herschel
to draw up an address, which was circulated widely
among scientific and other societies to explain the
aims of the new Society. The Astronomical Society
at once began to catalogue the stars ; and to this
end. Sir John Herschel spent some years in the
Southern Hemisphere, and afterwards published,
in 1847, a complete survey of the southern sky.

From 1827, the Society began to publish its
Monthly Notices containing observations by its
members and all the prominent astronomers of the
nineteenth century. The Monthly Notices and
Annual Reports provide a continuous history of
the activities of the Society.

A collection of instruments and a library were
formed at an early period. Medals were awarded to
persons distinguished either for great inventions or
for writings of merit, one of the early recipients
being Sir John Herschel in 1836.

To the labours of the Astronomical Society we
owe much of our present knowledge of the asteroids,
the nature of double stars, comets, echpses, and
the surface of the moon. The Society obtained a
Charter in 1830, and from that time has been
known as the Royal Astronomical Society ; its
headquarters are at Burlington House, London, W.l.

Fellows may use the letters F.R.A.S. after their


OF, — From the most remote antiquity, astronomy
was the most practical of studies, since it was by
it that all measurements of time and all directions
at sea were determined. In mediaeval times,
astronomy was one of the subjects of the quad-
nvimn. (See Seven Liberal Arts.) The intro-
duction of Arabic knowledge into Europe through
Spain (see Renaissance) intensified astronomical
studies. The Renaissance emphasized the study
of the Greek astronomer Ptolemy and his text-
book, the MeyaAr^ ^vVra^is Tt\s harpovo^Jiias. The
Arabs called it /xeyia-Tri (the greatest); and the
Arabic for " greatest " was Almagest, the name by
which Ptolemy's book had become known in the
Middle Ages. Ptolemy explained the motion of the
planets and sun round the earth by a system of
" excentrics " and " epicycles." The universe, it
has been said, according to his view, was conceived
of in the form of an onion with its rinds aU fitting
one over the other, and the earth in the centre.
Such an interpretation led to the idea of the influ-
ence of the surrounding heavenly bodies on the
earth bringing wind, rain, storm, and affecting man
physically and mentally. Thus astrology as the
theory of influences of heavenly bodies almost
followed inevitably from the explanation of astro-
nomy proper of the apparent motion of the heavenly
bodies. Ptolemy (fl, c. a.d. 150) treated of astro-
nomy in his Alinagest, but he also wrote the
Tetrabiblon, which dealt with astrology. The great
Roman authority', who summed up the whole of the
astronomical knowledge of his time, founded on
Ptolemy, was Manilius (a.d. 1st century). The
elementary mediaeval text-book was Boethius
(c. 480-524) ; and, in England, in the thirteenth
century, wrote John of Holywood (or Johannes
de Sacro-bosco), whose famous Sphaera Mundi





was written about 1256. It is a mistake to
suppose that Ptolemy's application of geometrical
treatment to astronomy is puerile. De Morgan con-
siders that the mental disciphne involved in master-
ing Ptolemy's system was great. Bologna was,
perhaps, the chief centre of astronomical and
astrological studies. Thus Cecco d'Ascoli both
taught and suppUed astrological horoscopes and

Modern Astronomy. Modern astronomy dates
from Copernicus, who died in 1543, the year in
which his de Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium was
published. In this work, Copernicus criticized the
Ptolemic theory, and suggested that the sun was
the centre of the solar system, and the earth
revolved round it. His theory was developed
by Tycho Brahe (who died in 1601); Kepler in
1630; Galileo in 1642. Newton's Principia was not
published tiU 1697.

The academic teaching of astronomy in England
begins with the estabUshment of the Chair in
Gresham College, by Sir Thomas Gresham, in 1596.
In 1619, Sir Henry Savile founded the Professorship
in Astronomy at Oxford. It is suggested that the
professor is to teach the Ptolemaic theory, but he
is debarred from professing the doctrine of nativi-
ties, and " all judicial astrology without exception."
The first English public school to include astronomy
in the curriculum was the Mathematical School of
Christ's Hospital, established in 1673. After that
time, astronomy was taught in English schools,
principally in the private navigation schools (see
Navigation in England, History of Train-
ing in) and in young ladies' academies of the
eighteenth century, in lessons on the Globes.

Amongst the advocates of astronomy-teaching
were J. L. Vives (q.v.), 1531, on the grounds of
usefulness for navigation, and the calculation of
seasons ; Robert Recorde (q.v.) in 1556, in the Castle
of Knowledge, apparently the first Englishman to
accept Copernicus's new view; Lord Herbert of
Cherbury in the first half of the seventeenth century ;
and John Milton (q.v.) taught astronomy in his
school in Aldersgate Street, 1639-1646. F. W.

References —
Berry, A. Short History of Astronomy. (London.

1899.) .

HiNKS, A. R. Astronomy. (Home University Library.)
Manrz, a. La Manic et L' Astrologie dans F Antiquite

et au Moyen Age. (Paris, 1877.)
Watson, Foster The Beginning of the Teaching of

Modern Subjects in England. (London, 1909 1

[Chapter X, pp. 352-393.]


OF. — An astronomer who undertakes to write
upon this subject is particularly faced with
the difficulty that success in teaching Astronomy
must necessarily depend upon the insight of the
teacher into the really serious difficulties that must
be overcome before the most elementary, and yet
the most fundamental, truths of astronorny can' be
realized. It is easy enough to teach a number of
interesting but disconnected facts : such as, that
the surface of the sun is sometimes spotted ;' that
the moon is a dead, cold volcanic world ; that the
stars are suns, like our own sun, but often bigger,
brighter, and hotter. It may, perhaps, be doubted!
however, whether a series of descriptive paragraphs,
such as these might be, is of any marked educa-
tional value; and whether they are or not, they
leave untouched the fundamental difficulty that
a child who had acquired quite a catalogue of facts

of the purely descriptive kind might be totally
unable to comprehend the causes of the every-day
phenomena of night and day, of the rising and
setting of the sun, of the seasons and of the
seasonal variations of daylight. These are the real
points of contact between astronomy and every-day
life, and they are points upon which every person
vrith the least pretensions to education should be
fully informed. Yet it is probable that not one
person in fifty could give a really clear idea of the
reasons why the days are longer in summer than
they are in winter, or of the constellations which
might be seen equally in England and in New
Zealand on a given month in the year.

Initial Diiflculties. There is a very real difficulty
which cannot be ignored in any attempt to teach
these matters. For their understanding they
demand a certain geometrical sense, which is hardly
to be found in the majority of children or of their
elders, or even, perhaps, of some of their teachers.
In order to see whether a child is competent to
learn, or a teacher competent to teach, the funda-
mentals of astronomy, I would propose that they
should first undertake to explain the rotundity of
the earth : that a man can live in any part of the
earth without realizing that he is upon the surface
of a sphere, and without any comprehension of the
fact that the direction he calls vertically downwards
is not parallel to the vertical of other people.
One may suggest that, with the children, a beginning
should be made with a lesson on the subject :
" What we call downwards." We define this
" direction downwards " as the direction in which
weight will fall, or a pendulum will hang ; and it
is not difficult to proceed from this to the notion
that " horizontal is at right angles to downwards,"
and that the surfaces of fluids at rest and the
surface of the sea taken at large are horizontal.
It is horizontal, but it is not fiat. We must care-
fully draw this distinction as we proceed to learn
the rotundity of the earth. How shall this be
taught ? At the seaside it is comparatively easy.
Away from the sea, it is hard to discover any
experimental method of showing the rotundity of
the earth which is within the comprehension of the
ordinary mind. Therefore, one must be content
with explaining the phenomenon of the disappear-
ance of a ship at sea, and with the assurance that
the same effect takes place all over the world to
very much the same degree ; and that, therefore,
the sailor can verify for himself that the earth is
approximately of the same degree of roundness at
every point. The landsman must be content to
accept the statement of the sailor. He must also
accept the traveller's assurance that, wherever one
goes upon the surface of the earth, there is always
the same experience of what downwards means,
and always the same evidence that the level surface
of water is at right angles to the downward

Putting together these two notions — that the
downward direction is at right angles to the surface
of the sea, and that the surface of the sea is not
flat, but round — one may proceed to the idea that
the direction downwards and the direction of the
force of gravity are determined by an attraction
of the earth as a whole upon all parts of it, and
upon all bodies in the neighbourhood of the surface ;
and that this is why the New Zealander feels no
more astray than the Englishman, although their
respective notions of downwards are very nearly
opposite. To teach this successfully must





necessarily be very far from easy, because the roots

Online LibraryFoster WatsonThe encyclopaedia and dictionary of education; a comprehensive, practical and authoritative guide on all matters connected with education, including educational principles and practice, various types of teaching institutions, and educational systems throughout the world (Volume v. 1) → online text (page 31 of 138)