The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Thoughts on Education, by Mandell Creighton, D.D. (Longmans, 5/- net). Dr. Creighton's Thoughts on Education is a possession. They do not, as Mrs. Creighton remarks in her preface, propose any system of education; indeed systems failed to interest him; he was too true an educator to care for anything but the practice and principles of education. These papers have been gathered under difficulties. Many of them exist only in newspaper reports, but, such as they are, they embody the insight of the historical mind, the enthusiasm of the educator and the serious fervour of the Christian Bishop. They deal with such questions as The Child and the Education Question, Examinations, The Training of the Schoolboy, The Art of Teaching, The Hope of the Teacher, The Use of Books;--in fact these thirty papers cover a wide field of thought and touch upon questions that exercise most of us. It is not too much to say that in each paper there are sentences of epigrammatic force and terseness which present the subject in a new aspect and leave nothing more to be said. From the inspiring address to Sunday School teachers on The Hope of the Teacher we get "That our daughters may be as corner stones polished--there is no picture here of useless grace; quiet solidity of character receives its due adornment, and while it supports the fabric gladdens the passer-by." And this from Apollos: A Model for Sunday School Teachers:--"You must try and make them feel that Christ is knocking at the door of each of their little hearts, and you must realise with reverent awe that it is your work to help the little trembling fingers to undo the bolt and lift the latch to admit that gracious and majestic visitant." We must add two or three sentences from The Art of Teaching (which will commend themselves especially to members of the P.N.E.U):--"As regards teaching itself, however, I believe it to be an incommunicable art, a gift which may best be defined as the power of showing others some reason why they should learn . . . That is just what the good teacher does; he brings knowledge and his pupil into a vital relationship; and the object of teaching is to establish that relationship on an intelligible basis . . . The acceptance of knowledge is an internal process which no external process can achieve . . . A child is much more idealistic than a grown-up person and readily responds to an ideal impulse . . . Remember that memory is a power which does not need to be especially developed. It is the most worthless of our mental powers, and a true teacher should always try and prevent his pupils from relying on it." This volume comes to us as a welcome memorial of the late Bishop of London.
Pastor Agnorum: A Schoolmaster's Afterthoughts, by J. Huntley Skrine, Warden of Glenalmond (Longmans, 5/- net). We have in Pastor Agnorum another delightful and stimulating book about education; not a number of collected papers this time but a carefully ordered work. It is addressed to schoolmasters, Headmasters for the most part, by no means an easy class to approach from the rostrum; but Mr. Skrine writes with so scholarly an ease and grace, sprinkles his matter so cunningly with the Attic salt of his wit, that we venture to predict that even his hard sayings will be genially received by the appreciative audience he has in view. But the rest of us are not to be left out in the interest of masters. This is a book for us all--fathers, mothers, teachers--whoever is interested in the bringing up, not only of boys, but of girls also. The "shepherd's" calling, he tells us, is "to nourish, rule and lead," and he must learn his method by the study of the Incarnation. From the life of the Pastor Pastorum he must learn to teach with authority, that is, he must know and feel what he teaches, but must seek, not to reproduce himself, but to produce the pupil's self. He must teach "not without a parable," school lessons must be a parable of the art of living well; humane letters, science lessons, mathematics, can be such parables. He must be a preacher of the gospel to the poor, that is, he must teach, not some of his boys, but all, only he must also "give to him that hath." As a ruler, he must deduce the government of school from the ideas of chivalry. The secrets of chivalry are (1) Truth, which must be taught without convention or class narrowness; (2) Freedom, which needs to be interpreted, (3) Courtesy, which must be popularised, (4) Hardihood, which should not be only of the body, (5) Chastity and Womanworship, (6) Religion, (7) Brotherliness without exclusiveness or partiality. The richness and unusualness of this book may be judged of from the fact that so far we have been quoting solely from the table of contents. Seven chapters are devoted to the consideration of the shepherd as the life of the school, inspirer, teacher. Then follows the consideration of the fold. Our Round Table sets forth how chivalry can become the bond of Head and Colleagues. This is a singularly ennobling and purifying chapter and throws much light upon what is often a difficult relation, and here, especially, we admire the wit and charm which make hard things good to be listened to. The chapter on Some Knights of the Round Table, which gives us racy pictures of several types of master, and that on The Parent as a Neglected Factor, are capital reading. The subtlety with which the author justifies that old-fashioned institution, the Family, and even ventures to hold up its casual ways for the consideration, if not the imitation, of the schoolmaster, is an example of how the salt of wit may flavour discernment. The book is a witty and even worldly-wise apologia for Christianity, for the high chivalry of Christianity among masters and scholars; and we earnestly commend it to those other pastors who have but a few sheep to tend in that little fold which they call home. Reverence, insight and common sense must needs grow from the seed-thoughts the author has dropped.
The Profession of Teaching, by Archdeacon James M. Wilson, M.A. (Mercury and Times Office, Kendal, 6d.). We can only give a line to Archdeacon Wilson's capital pamphlet, but our counsel is--read it.
The Training of Teachers and Methods of Instruction, by S. S. [Simon Somerville] Laurie, LL.D. (Cambridge Press, 6/-). Here we have another thoughtful and admirable work on education. The questions treated of are practical, On Professorships and Lectureships on Education, The Philosophy of Mind and the Training of Teachers, Liberal Education in the Primary School, Geography in the School, History and Citizenship in the School, etc. Steeped in Greek philosophy, inspired by Christian truth, Professor Laurie never fails to throw light on his subject. This, for example, on the difference between the secondary school and the university, is worth bearing in mind:--"Speaking generally, the secondary school is concerned chiefly with the instruments of knowledge, the university with knowledge itself as science and philosophy. Its aim accordingly, is chiefly Nutrition; but no longer nutrition of mere feeling as in the primary school, but of Ideas. Training and discipline are, it is true, involved in the true grasp of ideas, but they are not the specific university aim. The nutrition of ideas--this is the great academic function it seems to me. Nor are discipline and training to be given by the university, but by the student himself."
Culture and Restraint, by Hugh Black (Hodder and Stoughton, second edition, 6/-). Mr. Black has written a book of singular power and interest. He states the problem in his first chapter, Zion against Greece--a problem which we all recognise--in the author's words,--"the two tendencies, which we can call Hebraism and Hellenism if we will, oppose each other and make their clamant appeal to us all." These respective claims Mr. Black examines with singular liberality and culture. No treaties of the kind would be of value unless the writer brought wide reading both in philosophy, history and literature to bear upon his subject; this condition Mr. Black satisfies very fully, and his pregnant unadorned sentences give added weight to the work. The argument is too close for us to follow in a short review. We can only say that, while such a book should be always timely and always interesting, it seems to us particularly well worth while at the present moment to show abundant reason for not saying with the ascetic, on the one hand, that "everything must be sacrificed to the soul" or with the aesthetic, on the other, that fulness of living is the end of life. Mr. Black finds the solution of this perennial problem in Christianity. "The 'pale Galilean' has conquered against all the full-blooded gospels of the natural joy of life, but conquered in the grandest way of conquest, not by the extermination of the opponent but by changing the enemy into a friend . . . When thought, and art, and literature, and knowledge, and life are brought into subjection to the obedience of Christ, that is the true victory.
'Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!'"
Notes of Lessons on the Herbartian Method, by M. Fennell (Longmans). Miss Fennell has a preface interesting to anyone who is curious about Herbartian methods. Then follow a series of singularly thoughtful and painstaking lessons or, rather, notes of lessons. We wish we could enjoy them and praise them. Do our readers know the effect of a mincing machine upon chicken? It goes in a little difficult to masticate and manage in a sandwich, but agreeable to the palate. It comes out a quite smooth substance, easy to manage, capable of taking pleasing shapes, but altogether flavourless. This is the sort of process that poetry, biography and other subjects go through in these clever and painstaking lessons. We doubt if children would not find the flavor--the interest of the subject--disappears in the course of the lesson.
The Sunrise of Revelation, by M. [Mary] Bramston (Murray, 5/- net). We congratulate Miss Bramston on the production of an earnest and thoughtful book upon New Testament teaching for use in elementary schools. Her idea is that "we want our young people to read their Bibles," but that the careful study of the New Testament should be preceded by a course of general New Testament teaching. She keeps two rules in view, first, that the Bible may be studied from an evidential point of view and, secondly, that miracles are not to be explained away, perceiving that our Lord's miracles are a manifestation of a higher series of laws. We like the calm intellectual, rather than emotional tone of the book, seeing that the author treats her subject with the utmost reverence.
The Amateur Gardener, by Mrs. [Jane] Loudon, revised by W. Robinson (Warne & Co., 1/-). This is a quite admirable gardening book free from pretty talk, and very full of practical instruction, in fact it seems to us to be Mr. Robinson's big and costly garden book (and that surely is without an equal) on a small scale, i.e., on a scale suitable for small gardens. The capital illustrations are the same in both books.
George Eliot, Warwick Edition (Blackwood & Sons, 2/- per volume). We have already had occasion to speak in praise of the Warwick Edition of George Eliot's novels, now completed by the four volumes which have reached us for review--Daniel Deronda (2 vols.), the Poems (1 vol.), and the Essays (1 vol.). It is agreeable to be tempted to read once more the essays, moral and critical, of so great a thinker. The three essays on German subjects,--Heine, Weimar and the German peasant,--are especially interesting. The Spanish Gipsy, Jubal, and the other Poems, in this edition, is a real gift, a little volume delightful to handle, and offering a most inviting page.
The New Century Scott (Nelson, 2/- a volume). Here, again, we have charming volumes, and so pleasing and easily turned a page, with such capital type, that we are inclined to give up any preference we may have had for India paper.
["The New Century Scott" is "Nelson's New Century Classics" pocket-sized set of Sir Walter Scott's books with ultra-thin pages, to go along with the "New Century Thackeray," "The New Century Dickens," etc.]
Bell's Miniature Series of Painters (1/- each, net). Messrs. George Bell & Sons are doing a great deal towards making us an art-loving nation. These shilling handbooks are invaluable. There is no attempt to popularise art or to talk down to the reader, but, in each case, we get such an introduction to the artist as an art-lover would welcome:--
[George Romney, The Clavering Children, 1777; The children of Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Marquess of Stafford, 1776-77]
[Others in the series:
Typed by Blossom Barden, Apr 2020; Proofread by LNL, Apr 2020
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