Cambridge Essays on Education eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 229 pages of information about Cambridge Essays on Education.

The improvement of any one branch of industry ultimately means the improvement of those engaged therein.  Scientific agriculture, for example, is hardly possible until we have scientific agriculturists.  In like manner real success in practical life depends on the temper and character of the practitioner even more than upon his technical equipment.  There are, however, three great obstacles to the progress of the nation as a whole, obstacles which can only be removed very gradually, and by the continuous action of many moral forces.  We are far too little concerned with intellectual interests.  “No nation, I imagine,” says Mr Temple, “has ever gone so far as England in its neglect of and contempt for the intellect.  If goodness of character means the capacity to serve our nation as useful citizens, it is unobtainable by any one who is content to let his mind slumber.”  Then again we suffer from the low ideal which leads us to worship success.  From his earliest years a boy learns from his surroundings, if not by actual precept, to strive not so much to be something as somebody.  The love of power rather than fame may be the “last infirmity of noble minds,” but it is probably the first infirmity of many ignoble ones.  Herein lies the justification of the criticism of a friendly alien.  “You pride yourselves on your incorruptibility, and quite rightly; for in England there is probably less actual bribery by means of money than in any other country. But you can all be bribed by power.”  Lastly (to quote Mr Hichens yet once more), “Strong pressure is being brought to bear to commercialise our education, to make it a paying proposition, to make it subservient to the God of Wealth and thus convert us into a money-making mob.  Ruskin has said that ’no nation can last that has made a mob of itself.’  Above all a nation cannot last as a money-making mob.  It cannot with impunity—­it cannot with existence—­go on despising literature, despising science, despising art, despising nature, despising compassion, and concentrating its soul on pence.”




Secretary of the Teachers Registration Council

The title of this chapter is prophetic rather than descriptive for although teachers often claim for their work a professional status and find their claim recognised by the common use of the phrase “teaching profession” yet it must be admitted that teachers do not form a true professional body.  They include in their ranks instructors of all types, from the university professor to the private teacher or “professor” of music.  Their terms of engagement and rate of remuneration exhibit every possible variety.  Their fitness to undertake the work of teaching is not tested specifically, save in the case of certain classes of teachers in public elementary schools, nor is there any general agreement as to the proper nature and scope

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Cambridge Essays on Education from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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