The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Our Library.

by Victor H. Allemandy.
Volume 13, 1902, pg. 149-152


The name of Mr. Rooper is well-known to all readers of the Parents' Review. Whatever educational journal one picks up there is generally a contribution from the pen of His Majesty's Inspector for the district of Southampton. Mr. Rooper is entitled to an eminent position among modern educational reformers. His book, which consists of "Essays and Lectures on Current Educational Topics," is a valuable contribution on education in general, the essays and lectures having "been prepared for audiences composed of parents and teachers." "The subjects which are dealt with cover a wide range, but some points that perhaps seem lightly handled--as, for instance, the study of apperception, have in reality received more than a superficial consideration." . . . . "The best hopes of the Writer will be realised if he prove to have succeeded in placing in an accessible form some important statements and conclusions which are buried in pamphlets, foreign blue books, and ponderous philosophical treatises."

The list of essays is a formidable one, the most important being:--Reverence; or The Ideal in Education, Bad Bringing up, A Pot of Green Feathers, Object Teaching; or Words and Things, Teachers and Inspectors in Germany, Lyonesse: Education at Home versus Education at a Public School, Mothers and Sons: The Religious Difficulty, Frobel: Herford's Students' Frobel, Address on Evening Schools, Art for Children, On the Relation of Manual Occupations to other Studies in Elementary Schools, Handwork in Education, A Plea for Sloyd, etc.

The opening essay shows the need for the earnest inculcation of reverence in its bearing on patriotism, civic life, beauty, and the Christian life, a need which is acutely felt by every earnest teacher. "Bad Bringing up" is considered in Chapter II., followed by a charming essay on "A Pot of Green Feathers." "As the title of this chapter seems a little strange a few words are necessary to explain its meaning. Some years ago I was listening to an object-lesson given to a class of very young children by a pupil teacher, who chose for her subject a pot of beautiful fresh green ferns. She began by holding up the plant before the class, and asking whether any child could say what it was. At first no child answered, but presently a little girls said, 'It is a pot of green feathers.' Thereupon the teachers turned to me and said, 'Poor little thing! She knows no better.'" Apperception is admirably explained and our readers should compare this essay with Dr. Lange's "Apperception," reviewed in these columns in May last.

In the essay on "Object Teaching" the writer says: "I have attempted to introduce English readers to a group of German thinkers who have worked out theoretically and practically the bearing of certain important philosophic principles on practical education." Mr. Rooper shews in this chapter that teachers should be acquainted with philosophic principles in order to be successful. Object teaching in his opinion should be "the foundation of all learning, however abstract or advanced. Object teaching has so much in common with other kinds of teaching, especially with language lessons and information lessons, that it is frequently confused with them." The various processes by which an object is analysed and afterwards presented as a whole are lucidly given. Comparison, association, contrast, etc, play an important part in any object lesson. "Good object teaching leads to (1) accurate perception and (2) accurate description."

So much is said, nowadays, about the National System of Education in Germany when discussing our educational system or, at least, want of an educational system that a brochure from the pen of one who spent some time in Germany should be invaluable. In the chapter on "Teachers and Inspectors in Germany" Mr. Rooper states "what Germans themselves think and say of their own system." A noble tribute is paid to German teachers in the following statement: "In my admiration of the German teacher I am second to none. I think that both in theory and practice he excels the teachers of other nations." This is fully amplified, but readers must peruse and study the chapter for themselves.

An amusing little story forms the introduction to the chapter on Frobel, which is unfortunately too long to be condensed here, but it is stated "to meet the objection of those who plausibly maintain that mothers have no need of a philosopher to aid them in the early training of their children!"

"The philosophy of Frobel is based on a careful study of the way in which he saw the most intelligent mothers dealing with their children, and his originality consisted even more in explaining the principle of their success than in originating novel methods of his own." We shall, however, discuss Frobel's principles of education more fully in a succeeding article.

Inadequate justice has been done to Mr. Rooper's book, as I have only been able to hint at a few of the most interesting topics, but I hope sufficient has been said to send the reader to the book itself. Reluctantly, I have had to omit any mention of such interesting subjects as Evening Schools, art in schools, manual instruction, and others.

Proofreader's Note: Selected Writings of Thomas Godolphin Rooper includes these essays:
     The Pot of Green Feathers
     Object Teaching, or, Words and Things
     Drawing in Infant Schools, A Study in Practical Psychology
     Methods of Teaching Children between Seven and Nine Years of Age
     On the Relations of Manual Occupations to other Studies in Elementary Schools
     Handwork in Education
     A Plea for Slojd
     Address on Manual Training
     The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life: Technical Education of Women
     Practical Instruction in Rural Schools
     An Experiment in School Gardening
     Geography in Elementary Education
     On Methods of Teaching Geography
     Lord Collingwood's Theory and Practice of Education
     Lyonesse: Education at Home vs Education at Public School
     Mothers and Sons: The Religious Difficulty
     Reverence: or, The Ideal in Education
     Gaiety in Education
     Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra: A Literary Object Study

The shorter Apperception, or, The Essential Mental Operation in the Act of Learning: An Essay on "A Pot of Green Feathers" is also online.

"LECTURES ON TEACHING," by Sir Joshua Fitch, M.A.

Sir Joshua Fitch's lectures were delivered at the University of Cambridge during the Lent Term, 1880, and relate mainly to the practical aspects of a teacher's work. The book is one of the educational classics, and is frequently set by the Board of Education as one of the books on education to be studied by students in training colleges.

There are fifteen chapters in all. I., The Teacher and his Assistants; II., The School--Its Aims and Organization; III., The Schoolroom and its Appliances; IV., Discipline; V., Learning and Remembering; VI., Examining; VII., Preparatory Training; VIII., The Study of Language IX., The English Language; X., Arithmetic as an Art; XI., Arithmetic as a Science; XII., Geography and the Learning of Facts; XIII., History; XIV., Natural Science; and, XV., The Correlation of Studies.

As will be seen from this category, nearly all the lectures are concerned with the work of teachers, and as such will be of little interest to parents except those who wish to become acquainted with the various methods of teaching the ordinary subjects of the school curriculum.

The chapter on "The Correlation of Studies" is highly interesting. "A pupil who leaves school," says Dr. Fitch, "knowing only one language besides his own, and having learned it by comparison with his own, knowing also one branch of mathematics besides arithmetic, and one branch of natural science, is better educated, better fitted to receive all the subsequent knowledge which the experience of life may bring, and to know what to do with it, than the classical scholar, the mathematician, or the scientist pure and simple." A splendid protest against early specialization!

On the convertibility of intellectual forces, he says, "In the physical sciences there are the doctrines of the conservation of energy and also of the convertibility of forces. You know that heat is a mode of motion, that when you can generate one kind of force--say electricity--it is capable of transmutation into light, or some other kind of energy, and that radiant energy itself is said to be convertible into sound. And there is a similar law of convertibility in intellectual forced. Every piece of knowledge honestly acquired turns out to have unexpected relations with much other knowledge.
Every kind of mental power, once evoked and applied to a worthy purpose, becomes available for other purposes, and is capable of being transformed into power of another kind."

Typed by happi, Aug 2019; Proofread by LNL, Apr 2020