A Method for Educating Human Persons: Not a System

A Method for Educating Human Persons: Not a System

(A five part series)

1st Principle: Excellence in education requires the consistent application of a congruent method that reflects the nature of a child, the nature of knowledge, and the purpose of education.

Method versus System[1]

Traditional Methods of Education.––Never was it more necessary for parents [and teachers] to face for themselves this question of education in all its bearings. Hitherto, children have been brought up upon traditional methods mainly…

That children should be trained to endure hardness, was a principle of the old regime. "I shall never make a sailor if I can't face the wind and rain," said a little fellow of five who was taken out on a bitter night to see a torchlight procession; and, though, shaking with cold, he declined the shelter of a shed. Nowadays, the shed is everything; the children must not be permitted to suffer from fatigue or exposure.

That children should do as they are bid, mind their books, and take pleasure as it offers when nothing stands in the way, sums up the old theory; now, the pleasures of children are apt to be made more account than their duties. Formerly, they were brought up in subjection; now, the elders give place, and the world is made for the children.

English people rarely go so far as the parents of that story in French Home Life, who arrived an hour late at a dinner party, because they had been desired by their girl of three to undress and go to bed when she did, and were able to steal away only when the child was asleep. We do not go so far, but that is the direction in which we are now moving; and how far the new theories of education are wise and humane, the outcome of more widely spread physiological and psychological knowledge, and how far they just pander to child worship to which we are all succumbing, is not a question to be decided off hand.

At any rate, it is not too much to say that a parent [or teacher] who does not follow reasonably a method of education, fully thought out, fails––now, more than ever before––to fulfill the claims his children have upon him.

Next Part 2 - Method a Way to an End


[1] Mason, Charlotte, Home Education pp. 7-11 (excerpts)