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educationist would ignore. Indeed, it has led many people
to acquiesce in their children being taught about mysteries
which to themselves are meaningless or untrue. But this
is a procedure quite unworthy of a rational being.

It remains then to ask what we can say about this ideal
so as to make it clearer to our minds. But before at-
tempting this I would admit that however great be the
necessity of investing our morality with mystery, there
will always be room for moral instruction in such subjects
as truthfulness, patriotism, chastity, etc., which though it
would be abortive without the ideal, need not explicitly
refer to it. So much of concession I would willingly
make to those who earnestly advocate moral teaching
with or without religion.

What characteristics, then, of this ideal teaching are
indicated for us by the undeniable facts of human nature ?

1. First, children require it to be teaching about a
Person. There is no other form of teaching that they
can respond to : and I think we should be cautious about
assuming that an adult can dispense with the personal
element, and feed on the abstract, when we remember
Christ's words about our becoming as little children.
Moreover, readers of Dr. Illingworth's book on Personality
will remember how deeply this child-instinct operates
within us all.

2. Secondly, adolescents find morality tremendously
difficult, not only or perhaps chiefly in the mortifying
the appetites but in subjugating the element of self-
assertiveness. This points to a duty resting upon their
elders, not to leave unused any help that is to hand. If
a child requires personality in his ideal to help a weak
understanding, a boy requires it just as much to help
a weak will.

Relation of Religion and Morality in Education 87

3. So far we have secured for the growing boy that
unspeakably precious thing which is called by many
names; the nourishing, sustaining intercourse with an
unseen personal guide and upholder. But the moment
he conceives the idea of life which he can receive and has
received, it is absolutely necessary that it should be trans-
lated into concrete action, or it will evaporate in abstract
yearnings : and the action must be altruistic. Well would
it have been indeed for England if the idea of social
service had been closely knit to that of the reception of
Grace, and vast will be the change if teachers and parents
bring the choice of a profession under the dominion of
this inspiring claim. If it is to be effective the boy ought
to feel that every thought of self-interest is a bar to the
reception of the higher life, which he is now called upon
to exercise, not in isolation, but as a member of a divinely
founded society.



By the Rev. MICHAEL MAKER, D.Litt., S.J.,
Director of Studies at St. Mary's Hall Training College, Stonyhurst.

ANY practical scheme of education, particularly of moral
education, ought, it appears to me, to be consciously based
on some previously accepted theory of moral conduct, on
some consistent and intelligible view as to the meaning
and value of life. This must, I think, be obvious on a
moment's reflection. The result to be attained ought
to be distinctly conceived before the relative values of the
means to be employed can be rightly appraised. Yet,
not unfrequently, this is overlooked, even by persons
who expend considerable labour and thought on the de-
tails of the machinery of education.

Now the Catholic Church presents a philosophy of
conduct, a theory of the purpose of human existence,
which, whether it be accepted or not, is generally conceded
to be definite, clear and intelligible. Further, the forma-
tion of all her members in habits of virtue, so that they
may individually realise that purpose, she has always
proclaimed to be the very raison detre of her own
existence. As a consequence, the moral education of the
young she has ever deemed to be one of the most im-
portant of her functions.

The substance of Catholic teaching on moral philosophy

The Catholic Church and Moral Education 89

in relation to the present topic in rough outline is this.
The purpose of human life is the perfection of man's
rational nature as a whole. This is to be attained by the
accomplishment of the Divine Will here, which will result
in enduring felicity through intimate union with the In-
finite Good hereafter. The Divine Will is revealed in
the form of Moral Law through conscience. A large
and most important group of man's duties have God
Himself for their direct object. All his duties have their
ultimate grounds of obligation in God in the Divine
Will prescribing action consonant with Divine Reason.
The supreme sanction of conduct in the last resort is the
final possession or loss of God, which virtue or vice en-
tails. Thus, and thus only, can we conceive the Cosmos
of Duty as completely rational, and human life as always
worth living. Whilst natural reason, as conscience, when
properly developed, will enable a man to recognise in
general the principles of the Moral Law and of personal
and social duty, the Christian revelation is for the
Catholic the transcendently greatest event in the moral
history of the world, and the incomparably most precious
agency in the moral education and development of the
human race. It has come to elevate and clarify man's
ethical ideal, to perfect his moral sensibility, to stimulate
his sense of moral responsibility, to instruct and guide his
conscience by positive precept and counsel in the detailed
apprehension of his duties, and to encourage and support
him in all his moral struggles with the refreshing hope
which can make the bitterest lot sweet, the most crushing
burden light.

Such in brief being the Catholic theory of ethics, we
have here the key to the attitude of the Church in regard
to moral education in every century and in every nation.
For her, moral and religious instruction will be always in
large part identical ; and in a considerable part of the re-

90 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

mainder they are so closely connected and independent
that the attempt to divorce them would, we believe, be
injurious to both. In the Catholic view, the more the re-
ligious motive of the realisation of the Divine Will is made
to animate all man's conduct his civic or social duties as
well as those relating immediately to the worship of God
the better and more meritorious will that conduct be ;
whilst on the other hand, the need of constant efficacious
motive is the most frequent cause of ethical failure in the
hour of strong temptation. When a child asks and chil-
dren do ask very hard questions "Why may I not lie?
or steal ? or yield to an impure temptation ? " the ethical
instructor must, according to the Catholic view, be pre-
pared to give not merely an answer, but an adequate
answer. To reply, " Lying is mean, honesty is essential
to the public welfare and to your own success, impurity
conflicts with the principles of hygiene," may be very true,
but in our view these replies are so inadequate that they
scarcely contain the ethical element at all. For us the
answer is : " These acts may not be done because they are
sinful, because they are forbidden by an all-wise and all-
powerful God, who has created you and preserves you " ;
and, if the question be pushed further, " He has forbidden
these things because they are in conflict with the eternal
goodness and holiness which constitutes His very nature".
Again, in regard to moral training these same philo-
sophical principles lead the Church to attach the greatest
importance to the disciplinary value of specifically religious
exercises. Apart altogether from all theological views as
to the significance of Grace, or the supernatural efficacy of
Prayer, Catholic moralists have always been wont to insist
much on the psychological value of many specifically
religious exercises, such as that of preparation for reception
of the Sacraments, in fostering habits of self-restraint, of
reflection and of general moral sensibility.

The Catholic Church and Moral Education 91

Again, the philosophy adopted by the Church has never
lost sight of the complex constitution of man, nor of the
numerous and varying springs of action that go to make
up the concrete individual. Sensation, imagination, sesthe-
tic feelings, passion, will, intellect and conscience, the
functions and appetencies of the bodily organism as well
as the higher spiritual yearnings of the soul, are all essential
attributes or constituents of human nature. The moral
theology of the Church recognises them all and the part
each has a claim to play in the economy of man's existence ;
and every presentation of the Catholic doctrine of moral
education seeks to establish its basis in that moral theo-
logy. Whilst appreciating the value of intellectual de-
velopment, especially in so far as it makes for moral
progress, her experience of mankind has not led the
Church into an over-enthusiastic estimate of mere in-
tellectual information in the work of ethical betterment.
The view, for instance, which seemed to prevail amongst
a considerable number of ardent educationists forty
years ago, that the universal dispensation of the " three
R's " would speedily result in the moral reformation of
the mass of the nation, was a belief in which the Catholic
Church could not participate. Nor does she feel very
sanguine as to the special ethical efficacy of more accurate
scientific instruction regarding the laws of hygiene or the
functions of citizenship in the modern state though of
course she fully recognises the utility of such knowledge.
Her practice, in fact, has always given expression to the
conviction that the moral character of man, in so far as
it is influenced by education, is the result of a consensus
of forces which all contribute their share in varying degrees
to the final product, and she has constantly exhibited
keen anxiety in regard to the co-operation of the sub-
sidiary agencies in the formation of the growing youth.

In her view the ethically educative forces include, be-

92 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

sides more formal moral instruction, the religious teaching
which the child receives, the doctrinal parts of which
frequently supply the motive or justification for his moral
precepts ; the various exercises of religious worship, prayer,
spiritual exhortation and systematic effort for the purifica-
tion of the conscience ; the society of the child's com-
panions, the moral and religious ideal which is kept before
them, and the practical ethical standard which actually
prevails among them ; the personality of the teacher, his
religious convictions and his moral ideals (with which, we
believe, he cannot help infecting his pupils, if he is in
earnest) ; the consistency 'between his ethical teaching and
his own conduct ; the home influences ; in fact, the totality
of factors which go to constitute the psychological climate
in the midst of which the soul of the child is formed and
developed during its most plastic years. It is precisely
because the Catholic Church takes this biological view of
the process of moral education that she struggles, often at
the cost of acute sacrifice, to maintain what in current
controversies is called the Catholic "atmosphere" in her
schools. And I venture to think that whatever view be
taken as to the political aspect of the problem, those who
have devoted close observation to the growth of the
child's mind during school life will admit the soundness of
the psychological insight of the Church in her appreciation
of the importance of these collateral agencies. The formal
teaching, whether of religious doctrines or ethical principles,
is but one of several forces influencing belief and conduct.
If the others are unfavourable, mere instruction will have
but small effect.

Whilst, however, according to our view of moral edu-
cation, all ethical instruction should be animated and
strengthened by religious motive, and throughout the
whole process of education a homogeneous ethical and
religious atmosphere, in which all the influences are

The Catholic Church and Moral Education 93

favourable to the convictions forming the basis of both the
ethical and religious life, should be secured to our children,
yet in the actual material contents of the syllabus which
constitutes the ethical curriculum of our schools, in forms
of organisation and in the machinery of discipline, we
readily recognise that there should be room for free varia-
tion from age to age and country to country, according to
variation in the civic, social and economic needs of the
nation, and improved knowledge of methods of teaching.



[Question asked : If you had a free hand, what reforms
would you introduce in courses of study, or in educational
organisation or otherwise, in order to increase the ethical effici-
ency of school training ?]

1. Dr. William James, Professor of Philosophy, Har-
vard University, U.S.A. :

I should increase enormously the amount of manual or
" motor " training relatively to the book-work, and not let
the latter preponderate till the age of fifteen or sixteen.

2. Dr. G. Stanley Hall, President of Clark University,
Worcester, Mass., U.S.A. :

(a) I would have a manual for each grade made by a
committee, somewhat like the French books for Instruc-
tion morale et civique.

() I would introduce selections from the Bible and have
religious instruction in the schools.

(c) I would have text-books in practical and personal
morals, beginning with rules of health ; training for volition
and without disowning the spiritual basis of ethics.

(d) I would rely much on honour to supplement con-


The Ethical Efficiency of Education 95

3. Monsieur Alfred Fouillee, Member of the Institute
of France :

According to my view, morals ought to be taught at
every stage in the course of study in all schools and colleges
in a form independent of all religious beliefs. I am not
hostile to those beliefs, and claim for them respect, but
the moral instruction should be independent of them and
based upon reason alone.

The fundamental principles of this instruction should

(a) The high worth of human nature, with its power of
thought, its moral consciousness and its capacity for in-
tellectual generalisation.

(fr) The high worth of human society.

These principles are at one and the same time scientific
and philosophical.

4. The Rev. Dr. Charles Gore, Bishop of Birming-

In general, I should desire two classes of reforms :

(a) The lengthening of the time of compulsory training
till seventeen or eighteen, with such limitation of boy (and
girl) labour as would leave a real sufficiency of time and
strength for the effective continuation of education in
evening classes after the regular school life is over.

(b) The frank recognition that the child should be,
where possible, brought up under three influences :

The Home.

The State (including the schoolmaster).

The Church (or religious body to which his parents


I do not think we shall do the best we can morally and
ethically except by deliberately bringing the third of these
factors plainly upon the field. I do not think the State

96 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

can teach religion ; but I think it can in England still say
to every child, " You are expected to be properly taught
your religion, and we will see to it that every possible
facility is given to the ministers or representatives of your
religion to do this ".

These are the two main alterations of method which I

Besides this, I would go as far as possible in giving free-
dom to each headmaster to teach the boys as he thinks

5. Dr. Bernard Bosanquet, late Professor of Moral
Philosophy, University of St. Andrews :

I would start from the idea of the influence which is ex-
erted on the pupils by the tone of the school, by the organi-
sation of its work and play, and by the personality of the
teachers. But I would try to provide for making it more
explicit, and, in spite of the dangers, "improving the
occasion," both in school and in games. What I have in
mind especially is the preaching in Chapel in a great
secondary school ; valuable not qud denominational teach-
ing but qud pointing familiarly the lessons of everyday
school life, and the outlook on public life so far as boys
could understand it. I recall a single sermon by the
present Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, on the
position of the English peasant, merely putting the points
and saying, " Think it over, don't forget it," which I believe
must have remained with those who heard it, however
young. Again there is a fear of the moral effects of com-
petition for prizes, etc. But, as explained and enforced on
us at school, they were the best training in chivalry and
generosity that I ever received. Such occasions constantly
arise in school life.

I would organise games, with good playing fields (how-
ever costly) even in the poorest schools.

The Ethical Efficiency of Education 97

Further, I would pay very great attention, prospectively
during the training of the teacher, to the educational in-
fluence which may be exerted by the tone of the school,
by the personality of the teacher and by the organisation
of work and play. I would put before him a large view
of his duty and responsibility, and of the need of tact and
adaptation. I know that an elementary school teacher
cannot preach ; but he can talk, and make remarks, and
point out the greatness of books, characters, etc.

As to the moral lesson in class, direct or indirect, I
would leave the head teacher a very free hand to organise
it as he feels equal to it, and as he sees opportunity and
aptitude among his scholars.

All this suggests a danger of priggishness. But with
manly well-trained men (and women !) I don't think the
risk is great, and I think it should be run. " Rugby-ism "
in a school is bad, but indifference is worse. I should not
teach social dogmas or controverted points (I thought a
Birmingham syllabus on charity, poor-laws, etc., all wrong),
but should make the teacher understand that he is respon-
sible for bringing up his scholars towards being sensible,
dutiful public-spirited men and women. I think the young
Athenian's oath and the " Duty towards my neighbour" of
the Anglican Catechism might be used ; but I would leave
the teacher free, even with the Bible !

6. From Dr. Felix Adler, Society for Ethical Culture,
City of New York :

The order of the school, the rules requiring punctuality,
consideration for the good of the entire school community,
etc., should be explained to the pupils, especially to the older
pupils, and should be rested as far as possible on their con-
scious assent.

The discipline of the school should be of such a character
VOL. I. 7

98 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

as to enforce the true aim and end for which punishment is
administered. In flagrant cases, a committee of the older
pupils may be called in to act in an advisory capacity.
In general, the authorities should endeavour to affect the
public opinion of the school by inculcating right ideas into
the minds of those who are leaders among their fellows.

All subjects should be taught from the evolutionary
point of view. By evolution I understand not any particu-
lar philosophy of evolution, but the general principle of
progressive development. Thus in connection with the
teaching of science, the history of the development of scien-
tific ideas, from the Greeks downward, may be taught, at
least in elementary fashion, so as to convey to the pupil's
mind the idea of the gradual growth of scientific knowledge
and a sense of the effort by which this growth was achieved.
Biographies of some of the great scientific thinkers and
discoverers should be used for this purpose. The human
element should be made prominent, even in connection with
the more abstract forms of knowledge.

The history of art should be taught in the same manner,
in connection with the work of drawing and clay modelling.

The history of inventions should be taught in connection
with manual training, etc. The purpose in view should
be to impress in many ways upon the mind of the pupil
the idea of mankind as a unitary being, advancing through
toil and struggle on the path of civilisation ; to elicit a
livelier sense of the debt we owe to the past, and of the
obligation resting upon us toward future generations.

The teaching of literature as an art should be fruitful of
ethical applications, both because of the close connection
between art and morals, and more specifically because of
the ideal types of manhood and womanhood which are
presented for study and appreciation in the literary master-

The teaching of history I regard as especially valuable

The Ethical Efficiency of Education 99

for the illustration and the deepening of the evolutionary
idea. This subject, it seems to me, should be taught in
such a way as to leave in the mind of the pupil a distinct
apprehension of the contributions to civilisation which
have been made by the great civilisations of the past ; and
at the same time to indicate, though of course only in a
general way, some of the problems that remain unsolved.

Among the ethical influences of the school, one must rate
as of the highest importance the personality of the teachers.
But here I should like to add that the greatest good is to
be expected not from the teacher taken singly in his attitude
toward the pupils, but rather from the relations of the staff
of teachers to one another. Just as in the home, it is
neither the father nor the mother singly that creates the
right atmosphere, but the relations of father and mother
to one another ; so in the school, it is the co-operation of
the teachers, the esteem they exhibit for one another, the
joint sense of responsibility which they display, that will
produce an ennobling effect upon the school community.

As to the subject of specific moral instruction, I should
like to reserve my views for a detailed and qualified state-
ment later on. I only wish to add, that the value of such
instruction depends entirely upon the qualifications of the
teacher; and the right qualifications are so rare, that I
seriously question the wisdom of introducing moral in-
struction into the schools too hastily and too generally.
Corruptio optimi pessima.






Headmaster of King Edward VII. School, Lytham.


ANY attempt to give an account of the methods of moral
instruction and training followed in English secondary
schools is rendered difficult by the fact that these schools
are of very diverse types, representing distinct lines of
educational tradition and aiming to some extent at dif-
ferent ethical ideals. Nor is it easy to distinguish definite
types of schools, for one type shades off into another, and
there are many subdivisions. Still, disregarding minor
differences, it is possible roughly to divide our secondary
schools for boys into five classes: (i) the Public Schools
with the Preparatory Schools connected with them ; (2) the
endowed Grammar Schools ; (3) the Municipal and County
Schools; (4) the Private and Proprietary Schools, and
(5) the schools maintained by religious bodies. A good
many municipal and county schools, and some grammar
and private schools, are attended by both boys and girls.

If we take representation on the Headmasters' Confer-
ence as the differentia of a Public School (in the narrowest
sense of the word), the English Public Schools are ninety-

1 Mr. Bompas Smith prepared this report after an extensive inquiry
undertaken on behalf of the Committee.

IO4 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

seven in number, and educate something over 30,000 boys.
Altogether fifty-eight of the Public Schools have a majority
of boarders. The remaining thirty-nine are primarily day
schools, situated as a rule in the larger towns, and attended
in the main by the sons of professional and business men
but with a varying proportion of boys coming from working-
class homes, often by the help of scholarships. At Clifton
and a few other schools the numbers of the day boys and

Online LibraryMichael SadlerMoral instruction and training in schools; report of an international inquiry .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 45)