Cambridge Essays on Education eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about Cambridge Essays on Education.

[Footnote 1:  Les Lois de l’Imitation, 1911, p. 87.]

[Footnote 2:  Reported in Evening Standard, 11 Sept. 1916.]

[Footnote 3:  Two Cambridge men spoke, one being Lord Rayleigh, the Chairman, and ten Oxford men, besides one originally Cambridge, for several years an Oxford professor.]

[Footnote 4:  Journ. of Heredity, VIII. 1917, p. 53.]

VIII

ATHLETICS

By F. B. MALIM

Master of Haileybury College

At a conference held by the Froebel Society in January, 1917, the subject for discussion was the employment of women teachers in boys’ schools.  With some of the questions considered, whether women should have shorter hours than men, whether they are capable of enforcing discipline, and the like, I am not now concerned; but I was interested to hear from one speaker after another that a woman was at a real disadvantage in a boys’ school, because she could not take part in the games.  The speakers did not come from the public schools, whose devotion to athletics constitutes, we are sometimes told, a public danger, but mainly from primary and secondary day schools in London.  But none the less it was assumed that a boy’s games are an essential part of his education.  The same assumption is made by the managers of boys’ clubs and similar organisations which are endeavouring to carry on the education of boys who have left the elementary schools at the age of fourteen.  In spite of the great difficulty of finding grounds to play on in the neighbourhood of great towns, cricket and football are encouraged by any possible means among the working lads of our industrial centres.  Games are more and more being regarded as a desirable element in the education of the British boy, and are provided for him and organised for him by those responsible for his environment.  But this is quite a modern development.  I have been told by one who was at Marlborough in the very early days of that school, that so far were the authorities from providing any means of playing cricket, that the boys themselves were obliged to subscribe small sums for the purchase of the necessary material.  The book containing the names of the subscribers fell into the hands of the head master, who gated for the term all boys on the list, assuming without inquiry that they were the clients of a juvenile bookmaker.

When we ask why we have come to regard games as a part of a boy’s education, we shall naturally answer first that a full education is concerned with the proper development of the body.  For this purpose we may employ the old fashioned gymnastic exercises, the modern Swedish exercises or outdoor games.  And of these the greatest is games.  “So far,” says Dr. Saleeby, “as true race culture is concerned, we should regard our muscles merely as servants or instruments of the will.  Since we have learnt to employ external forces for our purposes,

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