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 9 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 9 of 138)
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side. The only special science was agricultural
chemistry, which had two weU-developed branches:
first, the chemistry of soils and manures, greatly
dependent on the work of Lawes and Gilbert at
Rothamsted; and, second, the chemistry of animal
nutrition, inspired on the theoretical side by the
work of €he early medical physiologists and in the
more practical aspects of cattle feeding by that of
German workers in tliis field. In botany, there was
little agricultural specialization, but the study of
grasses and, in a less degree, of plant diseases had
some technical outcome. Again, some of the
known facts of geology and entomology had an
agricultural bearing. In practice, for many years
the nucleus staff of a college consisted of a lecturer
in agriculture and a lecturer in agricultural chem-
istry, the former including the elements of the other
sciences mentioned in his teaching. In the modern
college, the staff contains more specialists. Agri-
cultural botany is now generally taught as a special



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subject, and includes mycology; entomologj' and
animal physiology are often treated separately.
The more technical subjects of surveying, book-
keeping, poultry-keeping are often taught systemat-
ically, and at some of the smaller institutions
technical instruction in cheese-making is added.
Lastly, the elements of the veterinary art are
generally taught by a specialist. When the out-
look of the institution is more elementary, the
teaching becomes concentrated on the actual
operations of the farm; and the applied results of
science are only introduced as necessary, with less
consideration of the " theorj' " and experimental
data from which they have been derived. All the
agricultural colleges have farms attached to them:
in some, practical manual work is expected of the
students; at others, open-air demonstration classes
are regularly conducted; while, at some, only occa-
sional visits for special purposes are paid to the
farm. It cannot be said that practice in regard to
the use of the farm for instructional purposes, or,
indeed, in regard to the syllabus generally, has yet
crystallized; but it is generally agreed that the
curriculum should aim at a complete training in
principles, which must be supplemented by actual
practice during residence on a farm.

Finally, one of the most important and useful
functions of the Agricultural College is to provide
advice for farmers on technical and scientific ques-
tions, and to conduct original research in the agri-
cultural sciences. The provision of adequate funds
for the promotion of scientific research in agri-
culture dates from 1910 only; but, when the War
broke out, considerable additions to knowledge had
already been made at the institutes founded or
extended by the aid of Development grants. The
territory still to be invaded, however, is immense;
but the awakened interest of the nation in the
application of scientific research to the advance-
ment of industry, justifies confident hopes for the
future; while the recognition of the national impor-
tance and the essential dignity of agriculture may
promote in our husbandmen a still higher standard
of endeavour and a more enlightened interest in
the science of their art than they have shown in
the immediate past. (For Education in Agriculture
Abroad, see the articles on Education in the
respective countries, especially Denmark, United
States, France, and Germany.) A. B. B.

AGRICULTURE IN SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES,

THE TEACHING OF.— The problem of agricultural
education is no new one in this country. As far
back as 1651, Hartlib published his Essay for the
Advancement of Husbandry-learning ; or, Proposi-
tions for the Erecting of a Colledge of Husbandry,
and, in order thereunto, for the Taking in of Pupills
or Apprentices : and, in 1696, Bellairs 'WTOte a book
called Proposals for Raising a College of Industry
of all Useful Trades and Husbandry. A century
later (1799), Marshall, an important agricultural
author, described his Proposal for a Rural Institute
or College of Agriculture, and the Earl of Egmont
is said by Young to have had on his estate a col-
lege where farming was systematically taught.
The first of the existing enterprises in this country
was the permanent establishment, in 1790, by Sir
William Pulteney of the Chair of Agriculture and
Rural Economy at Edinburgh; six years later, the
Sibthorpian Professorship of Rural Economy at
Oxford was founded. These, however, impor-
tant as they are, were only isolated chairs at great



universities : the Cirencester College, devoted
wholly to agriculture, was established in 1842,
and played a great part in the development of
the agriculture of the Empire till 1916, when it was
closed.

Thus there has long been college training for
those who could afford it. For those who could not,
the facilities were not so good. In 1875, the old
Science and Art Department instituted examina-
tions in agriculture, granting certificates with a
view to inducing schoolmasters and others to start
evening classes and spread knowledge to a wider
circle. These efforts, though good, were insufficient;
and farmers urged seriously that school-education
did nothing to help the boy who wished to take up
practical farming — nay, that education positively
unfitted a boy for farming. A great change came in
1890, when the Local Taxation (Customs and
Excise) Act put the so-called " whiskey money " at
the disposal of the county authorities for tech-
nical education, and made provision for the first
time for agricultural colleges, farm institutes,
and other agencies for agricultural instruction.
Various institutions began to spring up, and at
the present time a number are receiving Government
grants.

In deciding on the proper means of teaching
agriculture, it is first of all essential to envisage
clearly the obj ect in view. Agriculture means strictly
the cultivation of the land, but it also includes the
growth of crops and the care of animals. The suc-
cessful pursuit of agriculture involves the successful
control of the growing plant and of the living
animal. Agriculture, in short, is essentially a science.
-But it is something more: being carried out mainly
for profit, it is a business as well. In reality, the.
science and the business are wholly distinct, and it
is a misfortune that the same man is usually
expected to manage both. There is now some
tendency to segregation, and numerous posts on
the scientific side are arising in connection with the
colleges and county councils for which business
aptitude is not essential.

The recognition of these facts indicates the lines
on which agricultural education must proceed.
As the agriculturist has to deal with living things,
he must be observant and adaptable, and possess
a knowledge of the ways of living things. No know-
ledge of rules, however complete, is sufficient,
because no two living things are quite alike; every
animal or crop is certain to present some abnormal
features. Secondly, the agriculturist must have
knowledge of the methods used elsewhere and of
the results obtained, in order that he may be able
to pick out anjrthing that seems specially suitable
to his own conditions. And, lastly, seeing that agri-
culture is not so lucrative as other bu.sinesses, the
farmer must be shown some of the wonderful
interest of the countryside, so that he may find in
the greater fullness of life some compensation for
the lack of opportunities to amass wealth.

Agriculture in Elementary Schools. It is generally
recognized that this education should begin in the
elementary school, but at first aim only at the
first and third of these objects. The child can be
taught something of the ways of plants and animals;
of the properties of soils, air, and water; and of the
general phenomena of the countryside: this is
already widely done under the name of " Nature
Study." The essence of this Nature Stud}' is that
the thing itself should be before the class: the
children should see and handle it, and observe for



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themselves its significant properties. It is ttiis lliat
constitutes tlie great practical difliciilty: not only
has the material to be provided, but the teacher
has to stand the cross-examination oJ his class, and
run the certain danger of being asked questions
which he cannot answer and on which his text-
books are exasperatingly silent. Thus Nature Study
differs from most other school work; the multiplica-
tion table, for example, is completely known, and
the teacher could answer with promptitude and
certainty any questions his scholars asked; the pro-
perties of a leaf, however, are not completely known,
and even the wisest may easily find himself beaten
by the simple question of a child. Much useful
information can be obtained froni The Book of
Nature Study, edited by J. B. Farmer; and from
the "Nature Study Series" of the Cambridge
University Press. But no book completely suits the
purpose, and it is highl}' desirable that the teacher
should be linked up with the man of science working
in the laboratory, to whom awkward questions can
be referred. The teacher and the man of science are
alike ready and willing, but the link is not yet pro-
vided: summer courses at university colleges seem
to be the best method.

It is not the purpose of the writer to discuss
Nature Study at length; the main point is that a
well-conducted Nature Study class provides the
best means of teaching children the general ways
of plants and animals, and arousing their interest
in the common objects of the countryside. In the
elementary school, this is as much as can be done.

Outside the classroom, however, it is possible to
go further. The school garden affords opportunities
for teaching the elementary principles of soil manage-
ment and crop production, besides inculcating the
love of one of the most useful of the countryman's
arts.

Tho Rural Secondary School. After the elementary
school stage, the children fall into two groups; some
vnW go straight to work, while others will go on to
secondary schools.

Unfortunately, we are not well provided with
rural secondary schools, although some of the
grammar schools (e.g., Shepton Mallet, Brewood,
Dauntsey, and Barnard Castle) have rural sides.
They exist in America, and a considerable number
of text-books have been written for them.

The work at rural secondary schools should be
mainly educational, but \rith a distinctly vocational
bias. The pupil should be taught the elementary
properties of soils, and the simple facts of the gro^vth
of plants and animals. Experience has shown that
a definite self-contained subject can be made,
treated in a scientific manner and of definite educa-
tional value. The teacher in Great Britain will find
the " Farm Institute Series " of the Cambridge
University Press useful.

At this stage, the aim is still to educate the pupil;
to develop his intelligence and thinking powers;
but this is done through the common processes of
agriculture. Incidentally, the pupil learns a great
deal of purely technical matter; of things done to
secure a better return or a higher profit; in the
main, however, he learns " why " rather than
" how." These secondary schools should not only
teach something about the living things of the farm,
but also about machinery, which is playing an
increasing part in agriculture. The internal com-
bustion engine has revolutionized life in all sorts of
ways, and is coming on the farm; no one can tell
where it will stop. Already it has given us the



tractor and the motor plough, and the farmer of
the future who knows nothing about machinery
will be severely handicapped in the struggle for
existence.

Further, these schools should teach the elements
of book-keeping, this being very necessary to
successful farming.

This programme is probably extended enough,
and it is undesirable to overload it by introducing
too many subjects. It is probably unnecessary, for
example, to teach chemistry or botany on the
ordinary conventional lines; the simple laws of
Nature, of course, must be taught, but that can be
done as well by studying air, water, the soil, and
the growing plant, as by any olher means: T. S.
Dymond's book Chemistry for Farm Students fur-
nishes an example. But the syllabus ought to
include some literary subject. The farmer has long
winter evenings at home; it is not easy to go out
even if he wishes, and he must have some change
from farm work. If at school he could be given a
taste for English literature he would have an
abiding possession of great value. But the course
needs careful thinking out: it is no use strangling
the pupil's incipient taste by giving him something
which is far beyond him and which he is never
likely to read again once his school days are over.

The Rural Evening School. Evening schools
should work on substantially the same lines. It
must be recognized, however, that there are peculiar
difficulties, which are intensified by the rule requir-
ing a certain minimum attendance at the class.
Country boys have to walk considerable distances
to school and, after a hard day's work in the open
air, are more likely to go to sleep than to attend
to a serious lesson. No general advice can be given:
the course must obviously be on definite lines, and
be made as interesting and topical as possible.
Until the Education Act (1918) there was no means
of enforcing attendance at evening schools, and
the teacher had to make his course serve the
double purpose of attracting pupils and instructing
them.

The evening class work requires supplementing
by more strictly technical and manual work, which
is possible only by daylight on an actual farm and
requires skilled itinerant instructdrs. Hedging,
thatching, milking, care of poultry, etc., are all
suitable subjects. Work of this sort is usually
popular, especiaUy where there is the stimulus of
competitions for prizes. It can be considerably
extended by having market-day lectures on manur-
ing, feeding, etc. It is necessary, however, to avoid
the error of making this the sole work in agri-
cultural education: counties where this is the case
are notoriously backward, whilst those that take a
more liberal view and make a wider provision have
the reward of seeing a great demand arise. Instances
are afforded by Kent, Surrey, Yorkshire, etc., where,
in addition to the ordinary instruction, flourishing
colleges have arisen, well filled with students.

Agricultural Colleges and Farm Institutes. Some

of the pupils will pass from the secondary or evening

school to college These, again, fall into two groups:

1 . Those who propose to take up practical farming

and run it as a business.

2 Those who wish to foUow agriculture, not as a
business, but as a science, and who therefore wish
to qualify for advisory or teaching work.

Those taking up farming as a business must go
through a carefully worked out technical training
at the college, stress being laid on farm classes,



29



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woodwork, ironwork, soil management, etc. The
method of teaching is the same, whether the course
lasts for six weeks or two years, and whether the
institution is a college or a farm institute. Colleges
situated in the country (e.g., the Harper Adams
College at Newport, Salop; the Midland at Kingston,
Derby; and Wye, in Kent) have for this work an
obvious advantage over those situated in towns.

Students who are going in for advisory and
administrative posts require different treatment.
The main purpose is to turn out highly educated,
intelligent men and women capable of grasping new
ideas, and of critically examining matters presented
to them. Actual technical knowledge is less impor-
tant than highly developed intelligence. The
teacher's problem is, therefore, similar to that of
the secondary school and of the ordinary scientific
departments of the university colleges.

The London University gives a B.Sc. degree in
Agriculture which is open to private students or
students of any institution in the Empire: the syl-
labus gives a useful indication of the lines on which
work may proceed, whether the candidate proposes
to try for a degree or not.

The Agricultural Expert. Finally, the training of
the expert demands attention. This is on the same
principles as the others, but a higher degree of
intelligence and critical ability is required. On the
whole, the best training is afforded by pure science,
where the methods of presenting the subject have
been more fuUy developed, and the demands on the
student's intellectual powers are consequently
greater. The best results are usually afforded by
a training in an Honours School of Science at one
of the universities: the student should be good
enough to obtain a First Class. He can then proceed
to study the technical side at one of the agricultural
colleges, but it is not always necessary for him to
enter as a student: an opportunity may arise for
taking a subordinate post on the staff. Most of the
agricultural experts of to-daj' obtained their training
in this manner. E. J. R.

AGRIPPA, HENRY CORNELIUS. —Born at

Cologne in 1486, he was of a noble family which
had been greatly distinguished in the Italian wars
of Maximilian I. After graduating as Doctor of
Laws and Doctor of Medicine, he travelled in
France, Spain, and England ; and, later, taught
theology in Pavia and Turin. He married and
settled at Metz, and was appointed physician to the
Queen-mother of Francis I ; but his opposition to
the popular superstitions of the age led to his
expulsion from the Court.

In 1529 he was appointed Historiographer to
Charles V, and began his work with a history of
Charles's government. In 1530, he published a
treatise on the Vanity of the Sciences, a satire on
contemporary professors, in which he exposed
popular errors ; and Occult Philosophy. These
works were much in advance of the age, and
Agrippa's superior knowledge led his persecutors
to accuse him of being guilty of irreligious practices.
A prosecution in 1531 brought imprisonment at
Brussels and, after his release, a further imprison-
ment for a libel on the Queen-mother. On his
final release, he went to Grenoble, where he died in
the same year (1535).

Agrippa was an admirer of Luther and in general
sympathy with his attempts to reform the clergy ;
but he objected to the tyranny exercised by
the" mendicant friars over the consciences of



men, and remained in the Roman Catholic
communion.

AIDS, VISUAL. — Few subjects are now taught
in schools without visual aids to assist the eye, the
chief organ by which everyone must learn. Pictures,
at first rigidly excluded from reading books, are
now one of the chief criteria of the value of such
books. Pictures and diagrams adorn classroom
walls as aids to learning, understanding, and
remembering. All elementary teaching of arith-
metic is aided by concrete illustrations, such as
beads, sticks, coloured chalks, squared paper,
cards, coins, actual weights and measures. Most
schools have their collection of natural and manu-
factured objects useful in the study of Nature and
of mechanical processes. The magic-lantern and the
cinematograph are most useful visual aids for
teaching geography, natural history, and literature.

AIL3IENTS AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES IN
SCHOOL LIFE.— From the school point of view,
these can be divided into: (1) The completely dis-
abling, which render it impossible or inadvisable for
the child to attend school; (2) the incompletely dis-
abling, which do not entirely prevent school
attendance, but impair the school efficiency.

AU illnesses associated with an elevation of
temperature are completely disabling. Every school
teacher should have in his possession a clinical
thermometer, and should be familiar with its use.
It can be taken as an absolute rule that no child
with a raised body temperature can safely remain
in school. He ought to be sent home or go to bed.
If this rule were universally acted on, many cases
of ordinary influenza colds or chills would be
promptly dealt with which would otherwise develop
into pneumonia. Many epidemics of infectious ill-
ness, particularly measles, would be limited if
teachers observed these matters closely. If simple
" stomach ache " were dealt mth as being possibly
of a more ser-ious nature, many attacks of appendi-
citis would be robbed of their virulence, and many
lives be saved. Ordinary influenza colds should
always be recognized as suspicious. Children should
always be kept away from school during the acute
stage. If this were done as a routine thing, it is
highly probable that the amount of absence from
school owing to sickness would be largely diminished
instead of increased.

The Infectious Diseases that need recognition in
school life are —

1. Feverish Colds and Infectious Sore
Thro.\ts.

2. Measles, which begins about fourteen days
after exposure to infection with a feeling of chilh-
ness, tiredness, shght headache and sore throat,
and a watery condition of the eyes, together with
some sneezing. About the third or fourth day,
measles manifests itself by a spotted red rash over
the face, chest, and arms.

3. Scarlatina, which begins generally about two
to eight days after exposure to infection, with head-
ache, sore throat, often vomiting, chilliness, back-
ache or aching pain in the limbs, offensive breath,
and raised temperature. Within about 24-48 hours,
a fine red rash appears at the front of the arms,
chest and back, forehead and face, and soon spreads
over the bodj^

Occasionally the disease is so mild that it is not
detected. A child may, therefore, continue in school
till some complication, such as Bright's disease.



30



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DICTIONARY OF EDUCATION



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occurs. This is characterized by puffiness of the
face, headache, and lassitude. Often, on close
inspection, small scales of peeling skin may be
noticed in the palm of the hand or between the
fingers, in the crease of the elbows, or the inner
part of the upper arnis, or on the forehead or
neck.

4. Diphtheria, in its usual form, occurs as a
severe illness with sudden onset, great pain in the
throat, offensive breath, great pain and, may be,
swelling in the angle of the jaws. The milder forms
are dangerous from the fact that they are often
overlooked, and not infrequently occur in a very
obscure and insidious form. If the diphtheria
bacilli invade the nose, the poison may be limited
to the nasal passages. The throat itself may be
clear. The patient then suffers from a stuffy nose,
which persists a long time — may be several weeks.
He seems to be only slightly ailing, and has no
raised body temperature. When several cases of
diphtheria occur in a series, it is necessary to have
all the children very carefully examined, and speci-
mens of the secretion taken from each child by-
means of swabs, to be sent to a pubhc health
laboratory for microscopic examination. It has
been recorded that a single mild unobserved case
of such nasal diphtheria was the cause of three
deaths in a class in a public elementary school
before the actual source was accidentally discovered.

Mumps is characterized by a swelling at one side
of the face at the angle of the jaw, generally, but
not invariably, painful. It occurs about three
weeks after infection. Within seven to eight days,
it frequently spreads to the other side of the face.

Chicken-pox is frequently, but not invariably,
a mild disease. It may, however, be followed by
a prolonged period of debilit)'. It is associated with
slight stomach disturbance, debility, and tiredness.
After a few days, a few red raised spots, which soon
contain clear fluid, appear on the chest and trunk.
These give place to a scab mth some red, inflamed
skin around. The spots generally first appear on
the body, and nray be only few in number. Within
two or three days, new crops appear, and the pro-
cess is repeated while the illness persists; that is to
say, for about three weeks.

Incompletely Disabling School Ailments. Owing
to the much greater excitabiUty of the reflex
nervous system in children, any bodily disorder
has a great effect in disabling the current of thought,
and rendering mental concentration impossible.
Even mild forms of toothache, headache, or rheuma-
tism quite disable a child from concentrating his
attention on school work, and cause him to dissipate
his energies in such a way as tcj lead him into diffi-
culties with those whose duty it is to secure some



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 9 of 138)