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invited for the purpose, such debates are in danger of de-
veloping into a battle of the wits. The whole atmosphere
seems at present too exclusively intellectual. It is at the
other extreme from the crude and sentimental moralising
so often associated with Sunday schools. It sees the end
too exclusively in giving and getting information. It does
not encourage persistence of will as it does alertness of

All the religious bodies in Wales are now paying a
ereat deal of attention to schemes of instruction. Their


courses of lessons are not identical, but the main ideas

The Sunday Schools and the Adult Schools 393

are the same. Scholars are divided into four groups :
(i) Children under thirteen ; (2) boys and girls between
thirteen and sixteen ; (3) young people between sixteen
and twenty-one ; (4) those over twenty-one years of age.
The lessons are founded entirely on the Bible, though in
some cases catechisms are also used, and annual examina-
tions form an important part of the work. But so far the
Welsh Sunday school has taken a somewhat narrow view
of biblical study, and is not yet conscious of its broadly
educational mission and its place in the development of
character. It sees the end too exclusively in giving
formal biblical instruction. The general basis of scheme
is as follows : (i) Stories and life narratives of heroes for
the children; (2) biography and history for early adol-
escence ; (3) thought-material for late adolescence and
adults. But the idea is not worked out systematically ;
the choice is too limited, and the outlook too narrow.
The lessons are chosen only from year to year ; and no
definite plan is worked out for the progressive education of
the child and adolescent throughout his career.

The Welsh Sunday school has many strong and prom-
ising features. It has still a very firm grip on the
adolescents and adults. The adult classes contain only a
small number of persons, and the work is carried on by
free and open discussion. A large amount of voluntary
help is at the disposal of the schools for teaching. There
is a very clear consciousness that grading is necessary not
only in the method of dealing with the lesson, but in the
material of the lesson itself. There is no craving for uni-
formity, and the committees which draw up the schemes
have a free hand, and are not bound by tradition. The
methods of teaching are simple and direct, in welcome
contrast to the dependence on extraneous aid and elabor-
ate apparatus which is becoming a temptation for many
Sunday schools.

394 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

Changes in aim and method are however urgently needed.
Not only must more .suitable buildings be provided, but
the Sunday school must be more deliberately used as an
educational instrument for the development of Christian
character. The general interests of morality and religion
demand that it should not continue to be exclusively a
Bible school, though the Bible will remain the chief source
of its teaching. This will involve a closer co-ordination of
its work .and methods with those of modern education in
general. The schemes of instruction need to be more
systematically graded, and filled with a more directly
ethical purpose. Much more attention must be given to
the training of teachers ; and expert guidance must be
provided for the free discussions of the adult classes to
prevent them from degenerating into arid controversy.

Communicated by Mr. Charles F. Cooper (condensed).

The ethical movement stands for man's moral autonomy
and interdependence. Hence the teaching in ethical
Sunday schools is based on the principle that human love
and righteousness are the very life and texture of morality.
Love of goodness and the love of one's fellows are the
true motives for right conduct; and self-reliance and co-
operation are the true sources of help. The teachers
therefore present in concrete form, suitable to the develop-
ing moral consciousness of the children, the facts and truths
of the moral life, and seek in all the activities of the
schools to cultivate the corporate spirit.

Ethical Sunday schools work more or less consciously
to produce a specific type of character, which, while
undertaking a rigorous self-culture of its moral nature,
will find its good in reacting beneficently through per-
sonal, civic and political action upon other personalities

The Sunday Schools and the Adult Schools 395

and the social environment, so as to elicit and develop their
possibilities for good.

In this way the pupil is led to regard the duties of the
family, of the vocations, the duties of the citizen to the
State, the duties of nation to nation, as so many means
and opportunities of eliciting the hidden possibilities of
the larger spiritual life, and of growing as an individual
more and more into the stature of the spiritual whole
of which he is a member. The last outlook that is
opened is upon a perfect society, an ideal community
of spiritual beings, a Kingdom of Heaven, a City of the

Towards producing such a type of social and personal
perfection the training and incidental moral teaching given
in the day schools are totally inadequate. Characters are
thus produced which adapt themselves to, rather than
react beneficially upon, the faulty environment. This
was only to be expected from an education which has
been content with the delusion that moral character and
enlightenment are by-products of training and instruction
in every other subject, and themselves need no specific
guidance and instruction. " Incidental teaching," as the
founder of the organised ethical movement well says,
"cannot cover the ground. . . . The moral truths which
are delivered by the incidental method are fragments
which the pupil does not know how to piece together.
By this method he is moralised in spots."

The Sunday schools of the Ethical Societies are organ-
ised to co-operate with the home, the day school and the
social conscience by giving moral insight and direction to
enable the children better to interpret the meanings of the
duties and privileges that arise in the relations of life.
The discussion and consideration of matters of conduct by
an assembly of children give them their first ideas of the
meaning of public opinion and bring its influence to bear

396 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

on them. Even home and home duties gain in importance
and receive a more reverent and respectful consideration
through intelligent and sympathetic outside discussion of
them. Another important advantage is the feeling of
association with others in a good cause.

The teaching in the ethical Sunday schools strives to
be pre-eminently true to the great truths of pedagogy, such
as concrete before abstract, from the simple to the com-
plex, the doctrine of interest and encouragement of self-
activity, the enlargement and enriching of the " circle of
thought". Accordingly the facts of the moral life are
conveyed by stories, fairy tales, fables, sagas, legends,
mythology, Bible and history stories and biographies,
according to the ages of the children. They must be
dramatically told, with due detail of scene, so as to let the
children feel that morality lives and moves in the concrete
world. Other methods are freely open, such as liberal
questioning, and the use of nature study or science for
symbol and illustration.

Thus are supplied the presentations which go to build
up the child's moral ideas and determine his will, and add
their forces to the living example of good parents and
teachers. The value of these ideal characters and situa-
tions lies, as Lange showed, in generating pure moral
thinking. " So long as the child exercises his moral judg-
ment upon himself and his surroundings, the decision is
seldom free from selfish interest. Very different is it
when, in fancied intercourse with ideal persons of antiquity,
the child is impelled to ethical perception and judgment."
The instincts of hero-worship and imitation give a moral
direction to his will, and he feels his oneness with the
moral order of the universe.

From thirteen years' experience the writer can say with
confidence that the fear of priggishness being developed
under this instruction is entirely unfounded. A more

The Sunday Schools and the Adult Schools 397

frank, social, independent, healthy-minded set of young
people it has never been his privilege to meet.

Closeness to the child's nature and actual experiences
must be always maintained. The moral knowledge that
the child already has must be classified and organised. In
some schools the children are allowed, before the actual
lesson, to relate what has specially interested them in the
week. The teacher is thus in a position to know the
children's interests and surroundings, and the dangers and
influences to which they are individually submitted. This
gives him a firm basis from which to counteract, control
or encourage tendencies he observes in them.

Some schools keep a book of cuttings contributed by the
children, consisting of accounts of heroic actions, discoveries
by men of science, biographical notices, anything which
shows the work and love of man for man, or the obliga-
tions and purposes of life.

On the assembling of the school a little service is held,
consisting of ethical hymns, concerted songs, recitations,
and occasionally a short paper on (say) heroism, comrade-
ship and the like, by one of the older children. By the
music, the poetry, the simple ceremonies and responses, it
is sought to make the children feel as well as know that
the good in life is the transcendently important thing.

Christmas or New Year, spring and autumn festivals, are
held by the combined schools. The corporate spirit is
fostered as much as possible in every way, and is especially
directed to some good end, such as the alleviation of some
distress or suffering. All activities, libraries, clubs, etc.,
are as far as possible self-governing, and carried on by the
children themselves on democratic principles.

These activities are utilised also as factors in the forma-
tion of ideals of civic and national duties. It should be
noted that many of the lessons to the elder children aim
at fostering a patriotic spirit directed towards an en-

398 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

lightened national ideal, and ultimately towards an ideal of
universal peace and brotherhood.


Communicated by Mr. John W. Hirst, Hon. Sec. of the Yorkshire
Socialist Sunday School Union (condensed).

In view of the numbers of Sunday schools already exist-
ing it may be asked why Socialists should require schools
of their own. The answer lies in the principles of Socialism.
Its basis is the service of each individual to every other
individual ; and the Socialist pledges himself to bring what-
ever religious belief he may hold out of the sphere of
church or chapel and materialise it here and now in
actual deeds of justice and love. The Socialist believes
that here within each one of us, potentially, dwells the
kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of hell. He wants
to see the kingdom of love and happiness established here
and now. He believes (i) that morality is the fulfilment
of our duty to our neighbours ; (2) that the present social
system is immoral because it ignores the claims of the
weak and distressed ; (3) that society can be reorganised
on a basis of love and justice, and that it is every man's
duty to use all available social forces in bringing about
that reorganisation ; (4) that selfishness is due to narrow-
mindedness and lack of the ability to put oneself in the
place of others; (5) that by developing the imagination
by means of literature, music and pictures, and leading
into reasonable (and not merely sentimental) sympathy
with all that is heroic and noble, the balance needful to
truly moral action may be secured.

As no schools existed in which all these principles were
taught, Socialists were forced to organise their own. After
much thought and discussion the following generalisations
were accepted as a basis :

The Sunday Schools and the Adult Schools 399

A child is a gradually developing organism, with his
own peculiarities and limitations. His interests are solely
personal, social and concrete. He lives up to the ethical
standard of those around him, and has no other means of
forming a standard of conduct. He judges acts to be
good or evil according as their results are pleasurable or
otherwise. The power of abstraction comes slowly and late
in his development ; but as he grows his point of view
changes continually ; and finally the process of the moral
idea is from Egoism to Altruism.

In accordance with these principles the end before us
involves the training of individuals whose outlook on life
should include all men of all times and nationalities ; who
should see in society an organisation for the purpose of
mutual service; and who should recognise the moral
beauty of sacrificing purely personal benefit for the good
of the whole. This is but the practical working out of the
fundamental precept of Christianity, " Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself," with this difference only, that we
conceive of love as bearing justice in her arms. We
do not, however, attempt to thrust upon children what, to
them, would be mere catchwords of Socialism. We are
content if they become accustomed to the forms of our
society, if they acquire the habit of meeting together in
gentleness and sociability, and taking their part in social
intercourse. As they grow from childhood to youth and
early manhood and womanhood, we can then present the
case for our creed of love and justice, put them in pos-
session of facts relating to both sides of the case, and
give them entire freedom of debate.

The children are classified broadly on a basis of age.
From seven to about eight and a half we use the homely
fairy and folk story, always dealing with personalities,
always indicating broadly the beauty of unselfishness, and
leaving the moral to soak in as it may. Then come the

400 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

stories of the heroic types, Celt, Greek, Teuton, advancing
to the grand old Romans with their lesson of patriotism.
After this we introduce literature dealing with the heroes
who opened up communication between peoples, from
Nearchus and Hanno to Columbus, and on again to the
heroic discoverers of our own time, thus revealing to the
children when they are beginning to ask the extent of the
earth, who are their brothers in the great family of man.
Then follow stories dealing with the essential facts under-
lying society, viz., the production of food, clothes, and
shelter. Next we deal specifically with our own England,
and the great social movement of the past : and the same
test is always applied, did this man or this movement aim
at the good of the whole ?

At fifteen or thereabout when boys and girls begin to
know what the struggle for a livelihood means, some
attempt is made by a course of reading of Dickens to
gather together their ideas as to the causes underlying the
poverty, ignorance, and misery which he so vividly de-
picts. At sixteen or seventeen they pass to books dealing
more plainly with problems of working-class life, and
study the thoughts and works of social reformers, Robert
Owen, Charles Kingsley, Carlyle, Ruskin, Morris. Now
comes the time for inquiry whether this commercial in-
dividualist system fulfils the function of society by giving a
man the right to labour, and the right to live and develop
himself to the fullest ; what ideal governs society now ? Is
that ideal a great or a right one ?

The courses planned for the adult classes cover a wide
field. One studies the great religions, an attempt being
made to analyse the message of each. Christ's command-
ment " that ye love one another " is the very heart of our
own teaching ; but we cannot be content with merely
thinking, we must do. Other courses deal with child-
nature, for our teachers, fathers and mothers ; evolution in

The Sunday Schools and the Adult Schools 401

its relation to human life ; or the scientific, philosophic and
political aspects of Socialism.

These schools are for our own children as far as possible.
We admit no child without the parent's consent. We
realise that our greatest efforts are inadequate, but the
schools are necessitated by the failure of society to pro-
vide us with similar education elsewhere. The schools in
Glasgow, London, Lancashire and Cheshire, and York-
shire, are organised into unions, to secure unity in method
of teaching in their respective areas. The scheme of
teaching above described has not yet been universally
adopted, but there is every probability that with some
slight modifications it will be accepted by the whole
National Movement. 1 Lastly, considerable attention is
being paid to recreation on week-evenings. An interest-
ing development of this work in the London schools and
in those of Lancashire and Cheshire, is the revival of the
English Morris-Dance and Folk Song. In many schools
classes for teaching Morris-Dancing, and for the singing
of traditional English songs, have been established, and
the movement is spreading rapidly.

1 See the " Course of Literature arranged forSocialist Sunday Schools "
(price one penny), published by the Yorkshire and the Lancashire and
Cheshire Socialist Sunday School Unions.

VOL. I. 26



By Miss E. P. HUGHES,
Member of the Glamorgan Education Committee.

1. Differentiation in Wales. There are geographical,
racial and historical causes which have tended to differenti-
ate Wales from the rest of the British Isles. Her high
mountains and many valleys, her ancient races and lan-
guage, and her historic sentiments have not only separated
her to a considerable extent from the life of England, but
have also divided and subdivided the Principality into
districts which still differ strikingly from one another. It
became necessary, therefore, in conducting this investiga-
tion not only to take into consideration the past history
of Wales, but also to visit many parts of the country,
and as far as possible to get into touch with teachers and
administrators of education in every district.

2. Welsh Educational History . Education in Wales has
had a history of its own. Old customs, traditions, sayings
and institutions carefully preserve memories of an ancient
civilisation which still has an appreciable effect on the lives
and feelings of the people, e.g., no investigation of Welsh
education can ignore the Eisteddfods. The great religious
revival in Wales during the eighteenth century profoundly
affected her intellectual and her moral education. The
extraordinary educational revival during the last half-
century gave her an organised system of secondary educa-


An Inquiry into Moral Education in Wales 403

tion before England, and has brought higher education
within the reach not only of every clever boy and girl in
the Principality, but also of a considerable number of those
of average ability.

3. Method of Investigation. The method of my in-
vestigation has been as follows : With the help of several
men and women connected with Welsh education, I drew
up a large number of detailed questions on moral education.
Nearly all the large local authorities, and many of the
smaller, distributed these at their own cost to all the schools
in their areas ; thus, with the further help of a few friends,
I have been enabled to reach with rare exceptions every
school in Wales. I received in return nearly 500 docu-
ments and many letters from every county and almost
from every district. This shows how widespread is the
interest in the subject. I have supplemented the informa-
tion thus received by interviewing a considerable number
of representative persons, by visiting a number of repre-
sentative schools, and by a considerable correspondence.

4. The Share of the Churches in Moral Education.
The definite religious and moral education of adults and
children has been carried on by the Christian Churches to
a greater extent in Wales than in England. In the words
of a representative Welshman very much in touch with the
educational and religious life in Wales : " For the Welsh
there can be no ethics apart from religion. All their
past morality has come through religion." This view has
been stated by many Welsh teachers. The organisation
of religious education by the churches is on an elaborate
scale. The attendance of children at Sunday schools is
very large, and the work carried on there is becoming
increasingly more organised by syllabus, text-books,
examinations, etc. This is supplemented by a very widely
spread system of weekly Bible classes. Adult Sunday
schools, still well attended in the more thoroughly Welsh


404 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

districts, are a striking feature of the country. The
numerous, lengthy and eloquent sermons, characteristic
of Welsh services, have also had no inconsiderable share
in the intellectual and moral education of the people.
Several teachers considered that most Welsh children
receive so much religious instruction in connection with
their respective churches that it is not necessary to include
it in primary and secondary schools. But a large majority
of the teachers apparently were of the opinion that no
satisfactory education could be given which did not include
moral education, and that this must be based on religion.

5. A Difference of Emphasis on Virtues. The emphasis
laid on certain virtues in Wales is characteristic of the
nation. It seems clear that Wales has valuable moral
assets to be carefully utilised for the benefit of individuals
and of the country, and that there are certain salient
national moral defects which should be considered in any
careful scheme of moral education in Wales.

To illustrate this difference of emphasis I will take the
two virtues of kindliness and truth. It has been very
widely stated that Welsh children are apt to fail in
accuracy and truthfulness. A careful investigation has
divulged the following facts : " It is very much more
common in Wales to withhold truth than to state a false-
hood ". " In a great moral crisis the amount of truth
reasonably to be expected is about the same in Wales as
elsewhere." " It is in the small affairs of life where most
untruth is to be found in Wales; " and " in a very large
number of cases it is caused by a conflict between truth
and kindliness, in which kindliness wins". " The Welsh
child is very sensitive to his human environment ; " " is
very sociable ; " " cares very much for the opinion of his
fellows ; " " has much personal loyalty for his friends,
and values very highly the virtue of kindliness ". These
qualities increase his charm; aided by his vivid imagina-

An Inquiry into Moral Education in Wales 405

tion, make him very tactful and polite, and help him
quickly to adjust himself to foreigners. On the other
hand, because of these qualities, it costs him a great deal
to go against public opinion ; and he often declines, even
to the extent of sacrificing truth, 'to give information
which may hurt a friend.

This difference of emphasis is also brought out vividly
in connection with school discipline. It must be re-
membered that nine out of every ten of our secondary
schools are new, and have few traditions except the
national tradition that learning is of considerable value
and worth much sacrifice. One-tenth of the pupils in our
secondary schools are forced, through geographical con-
ditions, to live away from home. They reside chiefly in
lodgings, because the poverty of the country makes hostels
in many places an impossibility. Consequently very few
Welsh schools have a nucleus of boarders. Several teachers
considered that a nucleus of boarders increases the influence
of the staff, and makes possible a more rapid alteration of
tone and moral atmosphere. A large number of pupils
have to go through the demoralising process of travelling
by train every day. The short time spent in our secondary
schools by the majority of the pupils is a distinct drawback
in school government. A large part of the population of
Wales has lately gone through very rapid economic
changes which usually tend to increase the difficulties of
discipline. But, in spite of all these facts, it has been stated
by a very large proportion of the teachers with whom I

Online LibraryMichael SadlerMoral instruction and training in schools; report of an international inquiry .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 45)