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THE LIBRARY

OF
THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA
LOS ANGELES



GIFT



A MODERN SCHOOL



A MODERN SCHOOL



BY



PAUL H. HANUS

PROFESSOR OF THE HISTORY AND ART OF TEACHING
IN HARVARD UNIVERSITY



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.
1913

All rights reserved



COPYRIGHT, 1904,
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.



Set up and electrotyped. Published February, 1904. Reprinted
March, 1905; June, 1909; November, 1911 ; October, 1913.



Education.
Library

L-B



PREFACE

THIS book is published with the hope that it
may interest the general reader as well as the
professional student and teacher. The book en-
deavors to set forth the scope and aims of a
modern school, more particularly of a secondary
school, and the conditions essential to its highest
efficiency. The last chapter offers some testi-
mony on the working of the elective system,
a contemporary question of great importance to
both schools and colleges, but the testimony
offered pertains only to the college.

The first chapter, which gives its name to the
whole book, deals specifically with the central
theme; and in it I have endeavored to extend
and strengthen conceptions already set forth in
certain portions of an earlier book, " Educational
Aims and Educational Values." Where it has
served my present purpose, I have occasionally
used the language of the earlier presentation.



VI PREFACE

The next seven chapters contain a fuller treat-
ment of certain topics than was appropriate or
expedient in the first chapter, and discuss also
the internal and external conditions which seem
to me essential to a high degree of success in
the work of any school.

Thus, Chapter II, by means of a brief his-
torical survey of the development of American
secondary schools, supports the contention that
no public school can survive and prosper that
does not offer equal opportunities to all who
contribute to its support; Chapter III similarly
contends that, next to adequately comprehensive
instruction, the elective system, and complete
articulation of the secondary school with the
lower grades are natural and rational means for
making the secondary school serve impartially
the needs of all; Chapter IV describes a strong
contemporary tendency toward a six-year pro-
gramme (" course ") for all public high schools,
and toward regarding that programme as a part
of a well-articulated scheme from the primary
school through the college, a tendency which
has already been approved in the preceding
chapters; Chapters V and VI set forth the



PREFACE vu

responsibilities of the individual home and of the
community as well as of teachers and adminis-
trative officers in the practical endeavor to make
the school serve the ends for which it exists ;
Chapter VII urges the necessity of organizing
contemporary educational experience in order to
bring the testimony of experience to bear in
effective fashion on the solution of educational
problems, and Chapter VIII emphasizes the
help the university can give in the training of
teachers, both matters of serious import to all
who are interested in making the school a pro-
gressively efficient instrument of education.

Here and there the reader will find occasional
repetitions. These are due mainly to the fact
that the several chapters were written (and all
but two of them published, although not in their
present form) as independent articles in the peri-
odicals named below; but the repetitions have
been allowed to remain because they seemed to
me to serve a distinct purpose in their present
context.

My thanks are due the Educational Review,
the Popular Science Monthly, the International
Monthly (now Quarterly), the Forum, the Har-



VU1 PREFACE

vard Monthly, and the Harvard Graduates Maga-
zine for permission to print as chapters of this
book the articles or portions of articles referred
to above, which appeared in their columns at
various times from 1899 to October, 1903.

PAUL H. HANUS.
JANUARY, 1904.



CONTENTS
I

PACK

A MODERN SCHOOL ........ 3

II

THE ACADEMY AND THE PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL 43

III

Two CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS IN EDUCATION . . .71

IV
A SIX-YEAR HIGH SCHOOL PROGRAMME .... 99

V
THE SCHOOL AND THE HOME 113

VI

OUR FAITH IN EDUCATION 155

VII

OBSTACLES TO EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS . . . .211

ix



x CONTENTS

VIII

PAGE

EDUCATION AS A UNIVERSITY STUDY AND THE PROFES-
SIONAL TRAINING OF COLLEGE-BRED TEACHERS . .251

IX

GRADUATE TESTIMONY ON THE ELECTIVE SYSTEM . . 287



A MODERN SCHOOL



A MODERN SCHOOL

THE education demanded by a democratic so-
ciety to-day is an education that prepares a youth (
to overcome the inevitable difficulties that stand
in the way of his material and spiritual advance-,
ment ; an education that, from the beginning, pro-
motes his normal physical development through
the most salutary environment and appropriate
physical training; that opens his mind and lets
the world in through every natural power of ob-
servation and assimilation ; that cultivates hand-
power as well as head-power ; that inculcates the
appreciation of beauty in nature and in art, and
insists on the performance of duty to self and to
others ; an education that in youth and early man-
hood, while continuing the work already done,
enables the youth to discover his own powers
and limitations, and that impels him through oft-
repeated intellectual conquests or other forms of

3



4 A MODERN SCHOOL

productive effort to look forward to a life of habit-
ual achievement with his head or his hands, or
both ; that enables him to analyze for himself the
intellectual, economic, and political problems of
his time, and that gives the insight, the interest,
and the power to deal with them as successfully
as possible for his own advancement and for social
service; and, finally, that causes him to realize
that the only way to win and to retain the prizes
of life, namely, wealth, culture, leisure, honor, is
an ever-increasing usefulness, and thus makes him
feel that a life without growth and without service
is not worth living.

That is to say, the education demanded by
democratic society in modern times must be a
preparation for an active life. Now, the only
real preparation for life's duties, opportunities,
and privileges is participation in them, so far as
they can be rendered intelligible, interesting, and
accessible to children and youth of school age;
and hence the first duty of all education is to pro-
vide this participation as fully and as freely as
possible. From the beginning, such an education
cannot be limited to the school arts reading,
writing, ciphering. It must acquaint the pupil



A MODERN SCHOOL 5

with his material and social environment, in order
that every avenue to knowledge may be opened
to him, and every incipient power receive appro-
priate cultivation. Any other course is a post-
ponement of education, not education. Such a
postponement is a permanent loss to the individual
and to society. It is a perversion of opportunity,
and an economic waste.

We have but lately learned this lesson. We
have learned that reading, writing, arithmetic, and
English grammar the school arts constitute
only the instruments of an elementary education
and not education itself. To concentrate a child's
attention on the school arts during eight or nine
years is to exaggerate their importance, is to
regard them as an end in themselves, instead of a
means to an end. It is true the school arts must
be learned : the pupil's later progress will depend
largely on his command over oral, written, and
printed speech, but it does not require eight or
nine years of almost exclusive devotion to the
school arts to acquire this command. Such ex-
clusive devotion to the school arts cuts the pupil
off from the very education we are aiming at,
namely, preparation for life interests through par-



6 A MODERN SCHOOL

ticipation in them. Eight or nine years spent on
the school arts together with book geography and
a little United States history have usually left the
pupil at about fourteen years of age without a
permanent interest in nature, or in human in-
stitutions and human achievements, whether in
the field of literature, science, and art, or in the
industrial, commercial, and political life of his
time ; and, what is worse, without much inclina-
tion to acquire such interest by further study.

This is the natural result of an attempt to pre-
pare for life without using life's opportunities as
the source and means of such preparation. Ac-
cordingly we have changed our plan. Through
elementary natural science we are bringing
nature into the schoolroom and we go out to
meet it; we bring literature, history, civics, art,
manual training, and an elementary study of
industry and commerce into the school as a
means of preparation for life, instead of "pre-
paring " our pupils for contact with these sources
of inspiration, guidance, and training, in an in-
definite future. We have learned that a child
should know how to read and write by the end of
the third school year, i.e. at about nine years of



A MODERN SCHOOL 7

age; that in about five years (by eleven years
of age) he can learn all the arithmetic he needs
for the ordinary affairs of life and for further
progress in mathematics; and that during the
rest of his elementary school training the pupil's
progress in the school arts should be incidental
to his pursuit of other subjects.

That is to say, we have learned that elementary
or pre-secondary education, should provide the
most salutary environment for the pupil, and pro-
mote his normal physical development through
appropriate training ; it should stimulate and
gratify curiosity in every field of worthy human
activity, and utilize this curiosity both for the
acquisition of knowledge, and for the develop-
ment of permanent interest in and power over
this knowledge; it should acquaint the pupil
with his duties and his privileges as a tem-
porarily dependent member of society, and pro-
mote the development of habits of thought and
conduct in harmony with his growing insight.
At about the age of twelve or thirteen, the
period of secondary education should begin.
This brings me to the question I am to dis-
cuss, namely, What is the function of a modern



8 A MODERN SCHOOL

secondary school, and how should it be organ-
ized and administered to discharge this func-
tion satisfactorily ?

This question must be answered both for the
individual and for society ; i.e. we are to ask what
should a modern secondary school do for the
individual as an individual; and at the same
time, how can it meet the legitimate demands of
society ? It is clear that the needs of the indi-
vidual and of society are but different aspects of
the same fundamental need. Individuals are to
be made responsive to the varied interests of
life, and to acquire a command over them. But
society demands that the knowledge and power
of individuals shall conduce to the general wel-
fare ; that each individual shall not only be wise
and good, but that he shall be wise to some pur-
pose, be good for something; that a man's knowl-
edge, power, and character shall not only afford
him personal satisfaction, but that they shall be
available for social service. In the following dis-
cussion, these two aspects of the function of the
modern school will be kept in mind throughout,
and, in general, no attempt will be made to
keep them distinct. But it may conduce to



A MODERN SCHOOL 9

clearness if we consider them separately, at the
outset.

First, then, how may the school meet the le-
gitimate demands of society ? The school is the
institution set apart by society for the education
of children and youth. Remembering that edu-
cation means preparation for life's worthy inter-
ests and activities through participation in them,
I answer that a modern school can meet the
legitimate demands of society only by adapting
its aims, means, and methods to the changing
needs of a progressive civilization. This is true
whether the school is supported by public funds
or by private generosity and fees. Such adapta-
tion is, indeed, the only condition on which any
human institution can survive and prosper. No
human institution, and, in particular, no school
can flourish in any age unless it conspicuously
promotes the material or the spiritual interests of
men as then understood and it does not de-
serve to. The proof of this statement is afforded,
if proof is needed, by the history of secondary
schools in the United States.

I have pointed out elsewhere that our secon-
dary schools originated in Massachusetts, as col-



10 A MODERN SCHOOL

lege preparatory schools; that, as such, they
served, from the beginning, the educational needs
of only a limited portion of the community, since
their aims and the scope of their work were tech-
nical designed to provide the necessary pre-
collegiate training of clergymen; that this
technical character of the schools, in spite of
the fact that the narrow curriculum, consisting
only of the elements of Latin and Greek and
later a little mathematics, comprised the ele-
ments of liberal culture, as then understood,
could not, alone, permanently hold the support
of the majority of the community; that even
as preparatory training for clergymen, it grad-
ually possessed a diminishing value to the
whole community, since the growth of liberality
in religion pointed to the possibility of many
roads to salvation and to the real service of God,
to say nothing of the gradually diminishing
lustre of the clergyman's calling, and his de-
clining influence in secular even more than in
spiritual affairs; that, meanwhile, the whole
community necessarily felt the steadily increas-
ing pressure of comprehensive and imperative
secular interests for which the school made no



A MODERN SCHOOL II

direct provision whatever, and, also, the harass-
ing burdens laid upon it by poverty, struggles
with the wilderness, and conflicts and wars with
the Indians, and, later, the great struggle for
independence; and that, owing chiefly to these
causes, together with the rise of the academies
and the establishment of the district system, the
town grammar school the public secondary
school declined, until it seemed likely to die
out, save in a few of the largest towns of the
Commonwealth. 1

At the same time, I tried to show that when,
through private initiative and private generosity,
the New England academies arose to take up
the work of preparation for college which the
Latin grammar schools had failed to perform,
they clearly demonstrated the possibility and
the wisdom of providing also, at the same time,
a secondary education adapted to the special
needs and the briefer educational careers of
non-collegiate pupils of both sexes; that this
demonstration gradually enabled secondary edu-
cation to win widespread recognition, as pos-
sessing distinct functions of its own, whatever

1 Chapter II, "The Academy and the Public High School."



12 A MODERN SCHOOL

the future career or future educational oppor-
tunities of the pupils might be; and that the
interest in public secondary education, thus
extended and enriched, gradually gathered the
necessary strength to overcome the indifference
and most of the opposition on the part of the
general public, and ultimately brought about,
during the years from 1826 to the present
time, the enthusiastic support of our public
high schools as we know them to-day.

In other words, I have tried to show that
although this country, through the Common-
wealth of Massachusetts, was early committed
to the duty of maintaining secondary schools
supported partly or wholly by local taxes,
it took nearly two hundred years for the com-
munities of Massachusetts to really accept the
duty they had recognized from the very be-
ginning ; and this duty was accepted then
only because, meanwhile, a new conception of
the scope and meaning of public secondary
education had been gradually evolved.

So much for the influence of conformity or
want of conformity to the contemporary demands
of society on the permanence and prosperity of



A MODERN SCHOOL 13

the school. It is equally true that unless the
school meets the needs of the individual, unless
it promotes conspicuously his development as
an individual, he will turn from it with dissatis-
faction as soon as he becomes aware of the
discrepancy between his needs and the opportu-
nities which the school affords for meeting
them. And this is particularly true of the
secondary school and the college, because the
pupil is then old enough to measure their influ-
ence on his expanding and developing interests,
needs, powers, and duties.

It need hardly be pointed out, therefore, that
the period of secondary education is extremely
important. The years covered by it, say from
the pupil's thirteenth to his nineteenth or twen-
tieth year, mark the transition from early child-
hood into later childhood and youth ; the period
during which the child learns to put away child-
ish things and to appreciate the interests and
purposes of men ; to find his place in the social
whole, and to realize the interdependence of
public and private interests. It is the period
when life aims and life habits emerge distinctly,
and, under wise direction, become dominant life



14 A MODERN SCHOOL

influences ; or when, under adverse circum-
stances, these aims become atrophied for want
of proper cultivation, or even perverted through
false training. In any event, they rapidly de-
velop stability ; and, so far as they are amenable
to education, may, therefore, be permanently in-
fluenced.

Now, an individual's dominant interests and
powers wholly determine the kind of work
he voluntarily engages in, and also the sources
of his pleasure, and thus, ultimately, wholly
determine the range and quality of his pro-
ductiveness and the character of his public
and private life. To carry forward the work of
development already begun in elementary edu-
cation, and so to discharge its duty to the indi-
vidual, it is, therefore, clear that the secondary
school should especially promote the discovery and
development of each pupil's dominant interests
and powers ; and further, that it should seek to
render these interests and powers subservient to
life's serious purposes, and also to the possibility
of participation in the refined pleasures of life.

The serious purposes of life are, first, self-
support; or, when that is unnecessary, some



A MODERN SCHOOL 15

worthy form of service; second, intelligent, ac-
tive participation in human affairs the inten-
tion to be one who, while performing his private
duties and enjoying whatever leisure he may
earn or deserve, is to work with his fellow-men
for the continuous improvement and happiness
of his race, his nation, and his own immediate
community.

The refined pleasures of life are found in
the ability to participate with intelligence and
appreciation in the intellectual and aesthetic
interests of cultivated men. These pleasures,
like most of the inspiration to worthy living in
the pursuit of the serious purposes of life, are
brought within the reach of men through gen-
eral culture.

The important place occupied by secondary
education in a democratic society is now ap-
parent. It covers the plastic years of later
childhood and youth, the years during which
the youth's mental life is organized and per-
manently fixed; and it is the most widely
available organized social force for elevating,
refining, and unifying a democratic society.

It will be seen that the foregoing statement



16 A MODERN SCHOOL

of the function of a modern school comprises
three classes of aims: namely, vocational aims,
social aims, and culture aims. These three aims
are, of course, not separable in practice, although
they can be rarely, if ever, equally influential
in determining any particular phase of school
work. Moreover, the only way to realize the
culture aims, for many pupils, will be the close
affiliation which the pupils must be led to see
between these and the vocational and social or
civic aims. These three aims, then, ought to-
gether to permeate and underlie all the activi-
ties of the secondary school. We may, however,
discuss them separately.

But what is general culture ? Ever since the
Renaissance the meaning attached to this term,
until recently, has been well-nigh restricted to
acquaintance with the historical culture of the
race embodied in the language, history, and
literature of ancient Greece and Rome, together
with some knowledge of mathematics ; that is
to say, general culture has been nearly synony-
mous with classical scholarship. But a glance
at modern programmes of study in secondary
schools and colleges, whether these programmes



A MODERN SCHOOL 17

are prescribed or elective, or a moment's reflec-
tion, will show that the modern idea of general
culture is much broader than classical scholar-
ship. It is a truism to say that the range of
life interests, the problems, and the resources of
civilization, have increased enormously since the
Renaissance. While we feel on every hand the
influence of classical traditions in our modern
culture, and while, therefore, we can never wish
to dispense with classical scholarship as an ele-
ment of general culture, it still remains true
that a new culture and a new civilization have
arisen since the Renaissance, and especially
since the eighteenth century, which have their
own resources of inspiration and guidance, and
present their own problems for solution. To be
ignorant of these resources and problems is for
the modern man to be out of relation with his
time, is to miss general culture.

The process of adjusting ourselves to this re-
vised and enlarged conception of general cul-
ture is now going on. The old narrow ideal
is tenacious of life. It is powerfully intrenched
in existing programmes of study, and in edu-
cational traditions ; in particular, it is sustained



1 8 A MODERN SCHOOL

by collegiate preferences for classical studies
in secondary schools ; and, lastly and chiefly, it
is strong by virtue of real achievements in the
education of many generations of men. But
alone it can no longer suffice.

The progress of civilization has brought with
it new problems, and hence new demands on
the individual. While it is true, in a sense,
that no one can study the civilization of Greece
and Rome without indirectly studying our own,
because our own civilization is rooted in those
older civilizations, such study cannot be success-
fully attempted in the secondary school by
studying the classical languages themselves. A
more or less thorough acquaintance with the
elements of these languages, together with a
very limited appreciation of small portions of
say three Latin authors and two or three Greek
authors, is all that is really accomplished. I
need hardly insist further (and yet the fact
deserves emphasis) that an acquaintance with
the elements of two languages is a very dif-
ferent thing from an acquaintance with the
civilizations which those languages express
from an appreciation of the thought and institu-



A MODERN SCHOOL 19

tions of the people who used those languages.
Incidentally, through the historical and explana-
tory notes, an approach to such comprehension
and appreciation may be gained ; but this can
be obtained much better in the secondary school,
by studying the history instead of the languages
of the nations concerned.

How clear a comprehension of our civilization
could a Greek youth of the age of Pericles,
miraculously transferred to the twentieth cen-
tury, get from a few pages of General Grant's
memoirs, Lockhart's " Life of Scott," and two or
three books of Chaucer's " Canterbury Tales " ?
Or, how thoroughly would our institutions be
understood by a young Roman of the Augustan
age from a few pages of Lord Roberts's " Forty
Years in India," Macaulay's speeches, and " Para-
dise Lost " ? Or, again, no one thinks of arguing
that secondary school pupils can best under-
stand Germany and France and the influence
of their culture and institutions on our own by
studying the elements of the German and
French languages and small portions of the
writings of say Goethe, Schiller, and Bismarck,
and of Moliere, Victor Hugo, and Guizot. Such



20 A MODERN SCHOOL

a claim would be preposterous. When we wish
a secondary school pupil to understand France
and Germany and their influence on our own
development, we very properly set the pupil


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Online LibraryPaul H. (Paul Henry) HanusA modern school → online text (page 1 of 15)