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94. CANTERBURY PILGRIMS (Re-Told)
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less technical matters dealt with in the address, she is able to quote the right authorities, and she quotes them to excellent purpose.
As a nation we may be said to have tackled with a fair degree of success the problem of the education of the child under twelve years of age. But as yet we have not gone far with the education of the adolescent, and we are only beginning to see the tremendous possibilities of adult education. Are we, by the way, in danger of becoming an over-educated nation, as some people seem to think? There is no such risk. But there is a risk of our becoming to some extent an inappropriately educated nation. That is the risk which, as the Duchess of Atholl with unerring insight shows, at present attends our schemes for the adolescent. The raising of the school744 leaving age, taken as a mere abstract formula, or as a mere battle-cry, will never do. We must first consider the forms of education appropriate to the whole body of adolescent boys and girls, and then we must consider 746 how far we are able to provide what we see to be desir
A prominent statesman of the Victorian period is said to have declared that it was a positive disadvantage for a minister of the Crown to know anything about the business of his department. Which reminds one of Sydney Smith's remark that it is a disadvantage to read a book before reviewing it, because the reading makes one so prejudiced. Anyhow, it is a tradition of government in this country that ministerial responsibility shall rest upon a basis of wisdom and common sense, rather than upon a basis of special knowledge. For example, our ministers and parliamentary secretaries for education have not, as a rule, been persons of experience in education. There have been exceptions, and obviously the most brilliant of those exceptions was the case of Mr. Fisher. But Mr. Fisher was not in the true succession, for the true succession consists of persons who, on merely political grounds, are deemed to deserve high office. The political heads of the Board of Education, like the political heads of other departments of State, have mostly had to rely upon their natural share of wisdom and common sense. They have usually brought no special knowledge to their task, and have not been at pains to acquire it during their term of office.
The presidential address recently delivered by the Duchess of Atholl to the Education Section of the British Association marks her, too, as one of the exceptions. The address, if we may be allowed to say so, shows not only that she is a person of sane and balanced judgment, which was to be expected, but also that she has taken great care to inform herself adequately even upon such a theme as the true psychology of handworkwhich, taking precedent as our guide, we certainly should not have expected. In this, and in other more or
able. It would be worse than useless to drive adolescent boys and girls into unsuitable schools staffed by unsuitable teachers.
Under the Act of 1902, we have gone on providing a form of adolescent education which may justly be described as in the main literary and scientific. It may also justly be described as the type of education which fits a young person to pass on to a university. The trouble is that the vast majority of them never do and never will pass on to a university. We say "never will," because we quite agree with the Duchess of Atholl that the efficiency of our educational system is not to be judged by the number of young men and women we send to the universities, but rather by the standard of our universities; and we should add that in this respect America, up to the present, furnishes us with a warning rather than an example.
Already we have too many pupils in secondary schools receiving an education of marked academic bias. The task that lies before us is not an extension of that kind
of opportunity, but the creation of opportunities for young people of a more practical turn of mind. The Duchess gives an interesting analysis of the reasons why we have failed hitherto to make such provision. Foremost among those reasons is, we believe, the fact that the educational system has been devised and worked by persons, whether administrators or teachers, whose whole upbringing and outlook are entirely academic. Such persons are apt to believe, and indeed often make no secret of their belief, that practical activities require no brains, whereas the truth is that such activities require talent of an order different from, though not necessarily inferior to, that which brings academic success. As the Duchess of Atholl insists, all handwork that is worth the name is also brain work. Perhaps, by the way, the very term "handwork" ought to be abolished in these discussions, and replaced by a better one, because of the obvious misunderstandings to which it gives rise.
That a politically responsible person should have appeared as a student of education among other students of education, and that she should have for this occasion exchanged a parliament of national business for a parliament of science, was an act of courage. But no one will think the less of the Duchess of Atholl because the ideals for which she stood at Leeds cannot at once be realized at Westminster.
APART from its special subject-matter the presidential address by Sir Arthur Keith at the Leeds meeting of the British Association suggests certain
The British Association
reflections of a broadly educational character. One of them is the essential humility of the true man of science. Darwin was a conspicuous example of that virtue, as Newton was before him, Sir Arthur Keith is in that respect, as in others, a true disciple of Darwin. He marshalled the significant scraps of evidence of which he and his brethren feel sure, but he was at least as insistent upon the vast unknown that awaits investigation, especially in the region of causes as distinguished from facts. The example of great men of science ought to be a warning to our cocksure guides in other fields of human activity. Another reflection suggested by the address is that if you want a complicated subject clearly and simply stated, your best plan is to appeal to a master of that subject. Many examples could be given from presidential addresses to the British Association, and Sir Arthur Keith's will rank high among them. It was a popular exposition in the best sense of the term, for it put a great issue with crystal clearness, without giving people the impression that a special effort was being made to amuse them.
dominating post-school activities which must ultimately absorb the large majority of pupils. Our own position is, we hope, well known. None is more determined than we to cherish and protect those spiritual values which it is the function of education to foster and increase none more than we would oppose any tendency to diminish the cultural mission of our schools. But we realize that no particular subject has a monopoly of those qualities to which we give the vague but satisfying name of culture. We believe, too, that the interaction of education and industry need not mean that the former will become mechanical and soulless. On the contrary we believe, with one of the contributors to the British Association discussion, that education will humanize industry no less than make it efficient." Neither can we neglect the cumulative implications which arise out of the Board of Education's Report for 1924-5 and the Balfour, Malcolm, and Hadow Committees. No one, we are convinced, could quarrel with this view of the latter Committee: The educationalist, unless he would build castles in the air, is bound at every turn to take into account the probable future of the children and the nature of the industrial society into which the majority will enter. . . . School and industry are different facets of a single society."
THE British Association discussion must be regarded as the beginning, not by any means as the end, of the matter. Excellent as were the papers, carefully prepared as they were by persons well qualified by their special experience to give opinions which must merit our
HE subject of Sir Arthur Keith's address," Darwin's theory of man's descent as it stands to-day," is, of course, of special interest to those of our readers who are concerned directly with the teaching of biology, but in another sense it is of interest to teachers generally. During the last fifty years or so, the principle respect, they all possess points which need careful
of evolution has been applied far beyond the province of plant and animal life. It has affected the vocabulary and the idiom which we employ, whatever our particular intellectual interests happen to be. And, to take an example which comes home to all teachers, the evolutionary way of regarding human advance from infancy, through childhood, adolescence, and maturity, to old age, has profoundly influenced educational thought. At one point many of us may not feel so confident as our eminent biologists seem to feel. Immeasurable, say they, as are the differences between the mentality of man and ape, they are differences of degree, not of kind, and it is just the expansion of certain parts of the anthropoid brain which has given man his powers of feeling, understanding, acting, speaking, and learning. One may have little or no sympathy with “fundamentalism," and may wholeheartedly accept the general findings of science, and yet may have a suspicion that human ideals of beauty and truth and goodness require more explanation than evolution pure and simple is likely to provide.
ELSEWHERE in this issue we have outlined the papers on Education and Industry read to the Educational Science Section of the British Association at its Leeds meeting. The general Education and problem round which they revolve is Industry: of considerably more than passing interest. As our Own columns have frequently testified, it is one which demands immediate attention if education is not to become a feeble and anaemic thing with no active and vivid connexion with the
Two Debatable Points.
We need quote but two: Mr. Wall's suggestions as to more efficient curricula are attractive. They have an air of efficient simplicity. But are they so simple as they appear? Is there yet any agreement as to what are the simplest facts of history, geography, science, economics, or citizenship? Almost immediately matters of long and perhaps acrimonious debate are opened up. Again we know that, despite the undoubted success of Loughborough College, there exist two very distinct and opposing opinions concerning the advisability of making a technological institution too closely akin to an actual workshop by adopting graded production rather than the method of the exercise.' We are aware, of course, that Dr. Schofield did not say-and so far as we are aware never has said--that the production way is the best and final way; but we can easily imagine districts other than Loughborough where the opposition to that method would come not only from educationists, but would involve very delicate forces. Here, again, we have a glimpse of the wide issues which must be settled before the problems of education and industry are solved. In the meantime educational opinion is ripening, and leading industrialists are taking even greater interest in problems hitherto either neglected or regarded as not of vital importance. The two sides are realizing their mutual dependence. Nothing but good can come out of that realization.
Biology in the
He deplored the tendency to concentrate unduly on botany in girls' schools and the even more undesirable tendency to omit all study of living organisms in boys' schools. It was maintained that the study of biology was essential to enable the pupil to understand man's place in nature and to develop a sound philosophy of life. The subject made an immediate appeal to the interest of children, gave opportunities for exact observation and critical comparison, and provided a natural introduction to sex instruction. The syllabus
should not separate the study of plants from that of animals, but should emphasize the fundamental resemblances between the two. It should stress the relationship of the organism to its environment and the inter-relations between all living things in the biological community, while the idea of evolution should be implicit throughout.
And Adverse Conditions.
no pioneer problems of equal magnitude await the explorer, and it seems unlikely that any new land of importance remains to be discovered. The depths of the basin, however, are not yet known, and the fluctuation in the extent of the Arctic sea-ice has not yet been satisfactorily explained. In both regions, the problem of the best kind of equipment and the most effective method of transport for exploring parties still remains a somewhat debatable question.
DR. RUDMOSE BROWN proceeded to show that
the north Polar lands are likely to become important as regards settlement and production. He pointed out that in the Arctic region beyond Grazing Lands the northern limit of trees, there are in the Arctic Region. about five million square miles of icefree land; most of this land is covered with some kind of tundra vegetation (such as grass, willow shoots, lichens, and mosses) and in favoured places the plant growth attains a luxuriance and vigour which has little relation to latitude and contradicts all pre-conceived notions of Arctic productivity. On these Arctic prairie lands, stock raising will in course of time probably take the place of hunting. Experiments in reindeer breeding in Alaska, begun in 1891, have been entirely successful. Basing his figures on the results obtained in Alaska, Stefansson, the famous explorer, has calculated that the Arctic tundras as a whole are capable of supporting about a hundred million reindeer, and five times as many musk ox. Even if half this number could be raised, it would mean a food production equal to ten times the total number of sheep that Australia now supports. In temperate regions, rich grazing areas invariably become agricultural lands, but in the Arctic tundra the farmer can never displace the herdsman because of the climatic conditions. The possibility therefore arises that, in years to come, a migration of white men may take place from the temperate to the Arctic pasture lands to provide a meat supply for the ever-growing population of industrial countries. Whether such a migration will be followed by the gradual disappearance of the Eskimo is, of course, one of the secrets of the future.
DISCUSSION followed in which representatives from the Education Section took part, and in the course of which the difficulties due to the lack of qualified teachers, the correlation of the teaching of physiology with that of physics and chemistry, the obtaining of the necessary zoological material, were raised. It was interesting to hear that in one large boys' school the first difficulty had been overcome, the existing teachers having taken steps to prepare themselves for the teaching of biology, so that at the present time all the science specialists were able to share in the biological work. Prof. Laurie saw ground for hope in the fact that all the bodies which examine for the First School Certificate, with the exception of Bristol, now set biology papers, although in some cases these have only recently been introduced. He also quoted figures which showed that the number of pupils taking the papers is slowly increasing. There can be no divergence of opinion as to the desirability of the inclusion of biological teaching in the school curriculum, and the value of the subject is greatest in the case of the large majority of pupils whose science work ends with their school career. Those in control of training colleges could do much to insist on this, but the teachers have the matter in their own hands. Where they realize, as in theN his presidential address to the Section of Agriculture instance mentioned above, the significance of the omission, there is soon an end to the neglect of this vital subject.
FTER the North Pole had been reached by Peary in 1909, and the South Pole by Amundsen and Scott in 1911-12, many people believed that there was no further need for Polar exploration. In his address to the Geographical Section of the British Association, Dr. Rudmose Brown stated that scientific expeditions are still needed to extend our knowledge of both Polar regions. He pointed out that detailed research is necessary to solve problems such as the following: The delineation of the coast line of the Antarctic Continent, as little is known about it except the lands round Ross Sea and Weddell Sea respectively; the structure and stratigraphy of the continent, and its former connexions with other lands of the southern hemisphere; the causes of the fierce Antarctic blizzards, and an investigation of the precipitation in an anticyclonic area which has resulted in the formation and growth of a great ice sheet. In the north Polar regions,
at the meeting of the British Association, Mr. C. G. T. Morison pleads for higher culture in the education of the agricultural worker, and more agriAgriculture and cultural enlightenment in the general public. He points out that one of the real needs of the agricultural industry is to keep the best men on the land, and that this will be possible only when the employer can pay wages comparable to those obtainable in other industries. To attain this end the value of the worker's output must be increased. increased. In other industries the worth of prolonged education, apart from vocational training, has been proved. Hence Mr. Morison is justified in urging continuation of the general education of the agricultural wage-earner during the years immediately succeeding the school-leaving age, and in expressing the hope not only that employers will come to feel that such education has its value, but also that the workers themselves will realize that only when they have adequate education and training can they expect wages comparable to those paid in urban industries. So far as the manual worker is concerned, the problem resolves itself into so educating