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his pupils, though strict, is cordial and homely. The teach-
ing methods are naturally freer students and teachers
speak their minds more freely ; lessons in chemistry and
history, for instance, last sometimes three and four hours
at a stretch, allowing for the ordinary pauses of a quarter
of an hour between each lesson ; but it can scarcely be said
that a systematic attempt is made to transform the ordin-
ary ways of teaching.

I was interested in the question, whether the blessings
of a country education could not be extended to all chil-

Moral Education of Boys in Germany 229

dren ; and Dr. Lietz agreed that there would be no insuper-
able difficulty in gradually removing the schools generally
to large open spaces just outside towns. It would be
interesting to see some experiments in that direction
free fares and perhaps free dinners being included. Such
schools might save the town populations from physical
degeneration and decay. 1


The principal conclusions to which the inquiry has led
me are as follows :

1. Teachers should receive special instruction in ethics
in the training colleges, if the present moral results in
the schools are to be improved. It would be necessary
to add a two years' course of lessons as part of the peda-
gogy course ; in the first year, general practical ethics, as
an introduction to a knowledge of the social environment,
and the moral nature and impressibility of the child and
of adults; and in the second year, applied ethics, as a
guide as to how the various subjects in the curriculum
could be made to yield the utmost ethical good.

2. The various school subjects should be more methodi-
cally utilised for ethical ends. For instance, in history a
dynamical point of view should be adopted instead of the
usual statical one. The reading-books, at present the
chief material for ethical teaching, should be brought up
to date. They contain some of the sentimental and arti-
ficial stories which were in vogue half a century ago ; the
want of variety and originality is conspicuous.

3. Systematic moral instruction should be introduced
into the schools, for the purpose of supplementing and
focusing the indirect and casual attempts to inculcate
moral principles.

1 The open-air schools in Charlottenburg, London, Manchester and
elsewhere show a movement in this direction.

230 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

4. The methods of teaching should be reformed, in
such a manner as to allow of the fullest co-operation of
the pupils with the teachers, in order to develop the free
judgment of the children and their line of acting with
energy and independence. The schools fail at present in
training independence of mind ; the reform movements at
Hamburg and Bremen are attempts to solve this problem.

5. I think that it would be desirable to organise national
committees and societies, for the purpose of working out
the ethical problems of school life, and of stimulating
interest in conscious moral education. There also seems
to be a need for an international periodical dealing with
moral education. This last suggestion was considered, by
many of the educational authorities whom I consulted,
especially practical and important.



Member of the Exeter Education Committee.

THE inquiry made by me at the request of the Committee
in the early summer of 1907 took me into Prussia, the
Free City of Hamburg, Baden, Wiirttemberg, Saxony and
Bavaria. In the course of my tour I visited forty-seven
girls' schools and training colleges (vtz., eight primary
schools, two middle schools, seventeen higher schools,
fourteen special schools and six training colleges) and was
present at seventy-three lessons. Everywhere I was re-
ceived with the greatest kindness, and was furnished with
valuable information. What I saw convinced me that
Germany has much to teach us, but that she in her turn
could learn much from the strong corporate spirit in our
best schools, and from the English school games and school
societies which develop powers of initiative and the sense
of personal responsibility.


Moral lessons do not appear, as such, on the time-
tables ; but without exception I found a keen apprecia-
tion of their importance, and an honest conviction that
German instruction and education (the two are never even
verbally confused) are penetrated by a deep moral purpose.


232 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

Every teacher spoke of the moral value of religious teach-
ing, but many considered that a definite and systematised
teaching of morality would be dry and unattractive ; that
a moral atmosphere interpenetrating every subject was
better calculated to attain the desired end ; and that,
moreover, the practical value of all such teaching must
ultimately rest on the personality of the teacher. Asked
how teachers could be prepared to exercise such influence,
the usual reply was that they and their teachers were
formed under moral and religious influences ; and that in the
training colleges a certain amount of scientific ethic was
included in Pddagogik. I gathered that there would be
no general objection to widening and deepening the scope
of such teaching ; but I nowhere detected any conscious-
ness of weakness in the present system.


I heard twelve lessons on this subject, some on Bible
history, others dealing with daily life and duty. In
most of the lessons the moral side was pressed home.
Religious teaching in the lower forms is given by the
ordinary teachers ; in the upper classes either entirely or
in part by ministers of religion. The latter, though
masters of their subject, are not always trained and ex-
perienced teachers ; and the difference between the classes
taken by them and those taken by the regular teachers
was striking. In ,the former, the girls were neither so
eager nor so concentrated ; individual thought was often
less stimulated; the teacher talked more, and the class


The school readers are in fact graduated moral lesson
books. The careful way in which each lesson is ex-

The Education of Girls in Germany 233

plained, commented on, and illustrated by songs, poems
or pictures, awakens the imagination of the children, and
impresses the moral truth on their conscience. In the
higher forms, where classical ballads, lyrics and dramas
are studied, the same care to draw out moral truths is
observable. Lessons on Das Lied von der Glocke and
Hermann und Dorothea stand out in my memory as
excellent examples. The critical faculty is not only
fostered by the teacher's comments, but the girls' own
discrimination is called out; and in the higher forms
essays involving independent thought are written. The
arts of recitation and reading aloud are studied, and the
intelligent reading of quite young children is often re-
markable. I heard girls of thirteen recite the Erl Konig in
four parts with real dramatic power. The lives of great
writers are studied, and these give opportunity for moral
lessons. Libraries are attached to almost all schools, and
private reading is enjoined or encouraged. At one pri-
mary school in Berlin, I was told that not to be allowed
to borrow a book from the library was a severe punish-
ment; and not only fiction, but biography, travel and
national history are eagerly read.

National feeling is encouraged by the great care be-
stowed on the teaching of the mother-tongue; more
hours per week are devoted to it than to any other sub-
ject. Great attention is given to clear enunciation and
expression ; and there is a strong movement to keep the
language pure from foreign words. Patriotism is fostered
by national festivals in honour of the memory of great
men in all departments of life. Royal birthdays and days
commemorating great national events, such as the battle
of Sedan, are made the occasion of school festivities, and
are marked by excursions, concerts, dramatic representa-
tions, and addresses.

The teaching of history is excellent in all grades of

234 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

girls' schools. Many of the great steps in the religious,
political or social history of Germany are familiar to the
children, and in the lessons brilliant sketches are given
of outstanding personalities. Patriotic songs and poems
are often introduced.

In the lessons in geography, for which the teaching of
Heimatkunde lays a good foundation, the love of home,
city and country are earnestly inculcated. I heard many
lessons of this kind in which moral teaching was given.
A sense of natural beauty, of admiration for great and
good citizens, of civic duty and respect for law is culti-
vated. The duty of the city to provide schools, water
and light, good roads, police, etc., is explained, and in
this connection I heard the consequent duty of cheerful
payment of rates enforced. Small social duties are pointed
out : " If you pick up something in the street, what must
you do with it ? " " If you see an accident, whom must
you tell ? " " To whom do the public buildings and
gardens belong ? " and the duty following on ownership
is made clear. The names and services of great states-
men, writers and philanthropists, born in their city, are
familiar to children of eight and nine ; and personal ob-
servation is encouraged. "What did you like best in
such an excursion?" "What do you admire most in
such a garden ? " Frequent school walks and excursions
are also used to inculcate local patriotism, and do a good
deal to promote esprit de corps.


Singing is well taught ; and its significance, social, re-
ligious and political, is recognised. A common knowledge
of the words and music of many hymns and songs is a
strong bond of unity, for if a well-known Volkslied is
started among any company of Germans, from all parts
of the Empire, it is instinctively taken up and sung by all.

The Education of Girls in Germany 235

In the teaching of drawing, which is universal, the sense
of form seems to be more cultivated than that of colour.
I saw hardly any brushwork. On the whole, the general
average is not up to the standard of our good schools.


In theory, the physical importance and the moral
possibilities of this side of school life and training are
amply recognised. But the general average of excellence
falls below ours. There is a lack of briskness and spirit,
and a certain timidity which at present hampers the
work. A special costume is only worn in a few instances.
The teaching is too largely in the hands of men. On
every account a thoroughly trained woman teacher is

The short pauses between all lessons and the long
pause in the middle of the morning are, in fine weather,
spent out of doors ; and there is plenty of free movement,
and games of ball, such as rounders. Many of the
higher schools have tennis courts, and at one boarding
school I heard of cricket. The majority of schools of all
grades have certain afternoons set apart for games, which
are organised and shared by the teachers. These are
sometimes so far compulsory that girls who do not join
are expected to do work meanwhile. In one case in
Prussia parents objected to these games on social grounds ;
but on the whole there is very distinct progress ; what
seems lacking is more responsibility in the hands of the


This is wise, kindly and thorough. Obedience seems
to be a habit of mind. National characteristics come in
here ; the military training of the whole manhood of a
nation reacts on the women and children ; habits of

236 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

obedience, self-control and order in the men call out
these qualities in the household. Again, children are
seldom relegated to nurseries and schoolrooms, but are
much with their parents, and if not trained to habits of
obedience would be an intolerable nuisance to every


The courtesy and consideration of directors to their
staff is noticeable. They never enter a classroom with-
out knocking, nor was I ever allowed by the director
to attend a lesson until the consent of the teacher had
been asked. The children stand to greet the entrance
of the director or any visitor, and in many schools say :
"Guten Morgen, Herr Direktor". In passing him or
any teacher in the corridor, the girls bow, or make the
pretty little curtsey still habitual in Germany from little
girls to their elders. A whole class often shakes hands
with the teacher on leaving, and sometimes younger
children shook hands with me too. A chair was always
brought for me, and a book handed to me, without any
order being given. I must allude also to what seems to
me one of the finest flowers of good manners, viz., entire
absence of self-consciousness. The long detailed answers
given by girls of all ages, often with real power of ex-
pression, and always clearly and in correct sequence,
struck me as much as anything. A good-natured laugh
often greets a mistake, in which the girl who makes it
frequently joins heartily. Teachers also are quite free
from self-consciousness, even when teaching English before
an Englishwoman, and would sometimes ask me to read
aloud a passage and ask a few questions on it, so as to
test the knowledge of the class.

The directors are kind and even fatherly, and are

The Education of Girls in Germany 237

evidently much respected by the girls. The patience and
courtesy of the teachers is unfailing, but the intimate and
friendly relations which often exist in England are hardly
possible where so large a proportion of the staff are men.
Sometimes a woman teacher is attached to each class, re-
ceives and dismisses it, and generally supervises conduct ;
but my personal opinion is, that the influence of a wise,
sympathetic, carefully trained woman as head, is one
which can ill be spared in a girl's education. I was told,
"we Germans hold that the school should be the con-
tinuation of home life, and that the influence of father
and mother should be represented by men and women
teachers ". I asked where did the mother's influence
come in in boys' school ? which drew out a smiling con-
fession of inconsistency.


I made as many inquiries as I could on the important
question of co-education. The general impression left on
my mind was that teachers were fully aware of the wide-
spread interest in the question, and some were distinctly
in favour of it in theory ; but the large majority considered
that Germany, at any rate, was not ripe for it ; and from
all I know of German life, I think there must be a season
of freer and more natural intercourse between boys and
girls before co-education could be profitable. At present
the change would be too abrupt. There is a distinct
movement in the direction of freer intercourse in society,
and games are much more played together ; but the
German girl is still too susceptible, and in some cases too
sentimental for co-education. Of course, it may be said
it would act as a corrective ; but I think the way still
needs some preparation in the higher schools, before it
could be generally introduced with a fair chance of suc-

238 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools


Great care is taken to make intercourse as complete as
possible. Detailed reports are sent home, and must be
countersigned by parents. The latter are invited to
school meetings and entertainments. Every director
has frequent Sprech Stunden, when he is free to receive
parents. In reply to a question : " Do the parents show
much interest in the children's progress ? " one director
answered, with a twinkle in his eye, " Almost too much ".


These are strictly exacted, and in the poorest primary
school I never saw a dirty or ragged child. Wire baskets
are provided, and not the smallest scrap of paper is ever
seen about. Children bring rolls to eat in the pause, but
stone fruit is forbidden. I was struck by the quiet and
suitable dress of girls and training college students. In
one school all conspicuous ornaments are forbidden ; and
sham pearls, flapping lace collars, and flying ends of ribbon
are never seen. Girls put up their hair earlier than with
us, and it is invariably neatly and becomingly done ; the
smooth thick plaits neatly tied or crossed and put round
the head always looked well, and are kept neat. It is
exceptional to find any primary school unprovided with
douche baths ; time is made for their use during school
hours and a teacher superintends. In many cases 75 per
cent, of the children use the baths.


Perhaps the weakest point in the system of girls' edu-
cation throughout Germany is the early age at which
girls leave school. Girls who leave when barely seventeen
lose one or two of the most valuable years of school life,
not only from the intellectual but the moral standpoint.
It is very common in well-to-do families to send them

The Education of Girls in Germany 239

for a year to a foreign boarding school. Here they may
learn a foreign language; but they are subjected at a
very susceptible age to wholly new influences, which,
even if good, may only have time to work as disturbing,
rather than as constructive, forces. The alternatives are
to " mark time " at home, languidly pursuing some " accom-
plishment," or to enter into the full swing of a society
life when still far too young. Slowly, but surely, this is
being recognised ; and as the country becomes richer,
parents are more able and willing to give their daughters
another year or two of preparation for life. Various
opportunities now exist, in addition to the extra year
arranged by many schools, and an increasing number
pass on to study at a university, or in a training college,
not only for professional but for personal purposes. To
show how fully the difficulty is recognised by the best
teachers, I should like to refer to a small brochure of
great interest by Prof. Gaudig, of Leipzig, called Ein
Fortbildungs Jahr fur die Schulerinnen der Hoheren
Madchen Schule, published by Teubner.

Every opportunity is offered to girls who have passed
through a primary school ; day and evening classes for
almost all subjects exist. In Berlin girls in business
attend evening classes in hundreds, chiefly for commercial
subjects. I visited, and was invited to dine at, a large day
cookery school, also in Berlin, attended by the daughters
of well-to-do artisans. The cooking was excellent, and
the training in scrupulous cleanliness and order, the neat
laying of the tables, and orderly eating of the meal, was a
valuable object-lesson. The Carola School at Leipzig is
doing a splendid work in many different lines, with large
day and evening classes. I was present one evening when
over 200 girls from business houses were learning cookery
and needlework, although the usual working hours are
from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. with a midday break.

240 Moral Instruction and Training in Schools

For girls who have spent ten years, from six to sixteen,
at a higher school, I should mention two new and valuable
types of schools, or rather colleges, which are growing up :
the one fitting especially for country life, the other for
social work. There are now several institutions on the
lines of Swanley or Studley College, giving general (not
professional) training in horticulture, bee and poultry-keep-
ing, cookery and laundry. I visited one in a beautiful old
house in the Isartal and found a busy and happy com-
munity. In four years 100 girls have passed through the
school, of whom two-thirds have taken up useful work at
home. The lady superintendent is convinced all are lead-
ing happier, more useful, more reasonable lives, as a result
of their training ; the full course lasts two years. Personal
responsibility is cultivated, each girl being responsible for
definite work. I was struck by the remark that the first
sole charge of living things, whether plants or animals, had
a marked effect on character. Several old students are now
giving peripatetic courses in cookery and poultry-keeping
in country districts, as is also done by the pupils of the
Carola School in Leipzig, which is doing excellent work
for girls of all classes.

The second type of school or college is the Tochter
Heim, founded in 1 894 by Prof. Zimmer, of Berlin, of which
six now exist. The training offered here combines that
of college and " settlement," and arose out of the founder's
recognition of the need of a somewhat new type of educa-
tion to suit modem conditions. The full course lasts two
years, and only girls who have completed the higher schools'
course are eligible. The teaching is divided into three
sections :

I. Continuation Course, including religion, especially
Church history ; ethics ; the elements of philosophy, and
some insight into the literature of Germany, France and
England, with a slight sketch of Indian and classical litera-

The Education of Girls in Germany 241

ture, as well as that of other European countries ; history,
including that of art and music ; hygiene ; part singing ;
drawing and botany.

2. Domestic Economy Course, viz,, cooking ; laundry ;
dress-cutting ; housewifery ; chemistry of foods ; house-
hold accounts ; gardening and poultry-keeping.

3. Social Course, including, on the theoretical side, study
of the public organisation of poor relief ; sanitation ;
education ; popularisation of art, and economic, civic, moral
and religious work of all kinds ; some teaching of psycho-
logy and the science of education and " first aid ". The
practical work includes assistance in kindergarten ; also
in out-patients' departments of hospitals ; house to house
visiting in company with a deaconess ; assistance at
children's services ; lessons in cookery to the children of
the neighbourhood ; happy evenings for the people, and
visits to neighbouring philanthropic and municipal institu-

There is much out-of-door exercise and open-air nature
study, and all this combined with home life, as the
numbers in each " Heim " are not allowed to be too large
for individual care and development. It is pleasant to
hear that more applications are received than can be
entertained, and a visitor is at once struck by the happy
purposeful look of the girls. Of course, there is some
opposition ; it is said too much is attempted, and naturally
any profound study of so many subjects in two years is
quite impossible. But the life develops many interests,
and kindles wide sympathies, giving a healthy outlet to
many sides of a girl's nature.

VOL. II. 16




THE Ethical Culture School, established and maintained
by the New York Society for Ethical Culture, has from the
first made the formation of character its central and
dominating purpose. With this end in view, it has in-
cluded, as an integral part of its curriculum, direct moral
instruction for all pupils of the school, from the kinder-
garten up through the high school The general outline
of the scheme and the principles upon which it was
founded were elaborated by the founder and rector of the
school, Prof. Felix Adler, as far back as 1892, in his
volume entitled Moral Instruction of Children}- Although
some important deviations from the plan as therein out-
lined have since been introduced, and a course for the
high school has been added to the elementary course
there sketched, the work of the school remains substanti-
ally the same as is presented in that volume. Moreover,
the growth of the Society for Ethical Culture has involved
the establishment and development of classes for young
men and young women, and for adults, for whom addi-
tional courses of ethical instruction have been worked out.
Thus at the present time, the scheme of ethical teaching

1 Published by Appleton, New York.

Moral Instruction in Ethical Culture Schools 243

and discipline may be said to cover all ages, from the
infant to the mature adult.

The work of instruction takes place in the day school
of the Society for Ethical Culture, comprising about 450
pupils; in the Sunday school (or children's Sunday as-
sembly), with an enrolment of about 150; and in various

Online LibraryMichael SadlerMoral instruction and training in schools; report of an international inquiry .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 21 of 32)