Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 497 pages of information about Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects.

As suggesting a final reason for making education a process of self-instruction, and by consequence a process of pleasurable instruction, we may advert to the fact that, in proportion as it is made so, is there a probability that it will not cease when schooldays end.  As long as the acquisition of knowledge is rendered habitually repugnant, so long will there be a prevailing tendency to discontinue it when free from the coercion of parents and masters.  And when the acquisition of knowledge has been rendered habitually gratifying, then will there be as prevailing a tendency to continue, without superintendence, that self-culture previously carried on under superintendence.  These results are inevitable.  While the laws of mental association remain true—­while men dislike the things and places that suggest painful recollections, and delight in those which call to mind by-gone pleasures—­painful lessons will make knowledge repulsive, and pleasurable lessons will make it attractive.  The men to whom in boyhood information came in dreary tasks along with threats of punishment, and who were never led into habits of independent inquiry, are unlikely to be students in after years; while those to whom it came in the natural forms, at the proper times, and who remember its facts as not only interesting in themselves, but as the occasions of a long series of gratifying successes, are likely to continue through life that self-instruction commenced in youth.

[1] Those who seek aid in carrying out the system of culture above described, will find it in a little work entitled Inventional Geometry; published by J. and C. Mozley, Paternoster Row, London.


The greatest defect in our programmes of education is entirely overlooked.  While much is being done in the detailed improvement of our systems in respect both of matter and manner, the most pressing desideratum has not yet been even recognised as a desideratum.  To prepare the young for the duties of life is tacitly admitted to be the end which parents and schoolmasters should have in view; and happily, the value of the things taught, and the goodness of the methods followed in teaching them, are now ostensibly judged by their fitness to this end.  The propriety of substituting for an exclusively classical training, a training in which the modern languages shall have a share, is argued on this ground.  The necessity of increasing the amount of science is urged for like reasons.  But though some care is taken to fit youth of both sexes for society and citizenship, no care whatever is taken to fit them for the position of parents.  While it is seen that for the purpose of gaining a livelihood, an elaborate preparation is needed, it appears to be thought that for the bringing up of children, no preparation whatever is needed.  While many years are spent by a boy in gaining knowledge of which the chief value is that it constitutes “the

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Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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