The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Volume 14, 1903, pgs. 716-719
Education: Disciplinary, Civic and Moral, by L. Wynn Williams (Simpkin Marshall). Mr. Williams' chief contention is "that the most deadly poison to education—flagellation—must be officially prohibited, and that the School City system—representative government by the child community—must be instituted." The idea of the School City may be Utopian and may be open to objections, but we commend the chapter on the "Charter of the School City" to the consideration of persons concerned with public education. The mere possibility of such an organisation is one of the advantages which we owe to the new Education Bill.
The Teacher and the Child, by H. Thiselton Mark (Fisher Unwin, 1/6). There is a certain humanness about Mr. Thiselton Mark's capital little book which we welcome with much pleasure. Mr. Mark has made himself master of the educational thought of the day, including, apparently, P.N.E.U. thought, but "technical language is avoided. The chapters are half-hours of educational theory addressed mainly to volunteer workers in education, whether in the Sunday school, the night school, or in the home." The chapters on the training of the mind and on the training of character are helpful and inspiring.
The Making of Citizens: A Study in Comparative Education, by R. E. Hughes (The Contemporary Science Series, Walter Scott, 6/-). Mr. Hughes presents us in this volume with an invaluable and considerable piece of work. His attempt has been "to place before my readers a complete and accurate account of the present position of education in the four principal countries of the world." These are, in the order in which they are taken up by the author—England, Germany, France, and the United States. The statistics are usually taken from official sources, and we certainly think that the volume is calculated to throw light upon the way in which "sister peoples deal with many pressing educational and social problems." But the volume does not consist of statistics only. Mr. Hughes brings a welcome quota of personal leading and light to the discussion of the subjects in hand. This, for example, is suggestive: "As intellectual sovereign of the German secondary school, Shakespeare reigns supreme. There is no comparison between the devotion and care that Shakespeare receives in the German and English schools."
Mothers' Guide to the Care of Children, by L. Leney, M.D. (Pearson, 3/6). Dr. Lydia Leney has written a plain and practical handbook for mothers. There are few ailments or diseases of children for which practical hints may not be found here, and, what is more immediately useful, symptoms are carefully described and their treatment indicated. Indeed, we should have judged that in some cases—typhoid fever, for example—it would have been enough to say, "Send for the doctor," but that Dr. Lydia Leney in her preface states that her book is meant to be of use in the Colonies and in remote districts where a doctor is not to be had at a few minutes' notice.
Education in Accordance with Natural Law, by C. B. Ingham (Novello, 3/-). We greatly like Mr. Ingham's book. It is a thoughtful and sensible consideration of education, and is also an indictment of much of the educational practice in our schools, modestly worded and logically considered. What strikes us as a very strong point in Mr. Ingham's treatise is his recognition of the fact that a chief end of education is to teach people to employ their leisure. "What does modern education lead to?" he asks, and adds that "The methods in which the hours of personal leisure are employed afford the only reliable indication of the status or level to which the individual's intellect and sentiments really belong." An examination of the pursuits and interests of our "educated" youth from this point of view is not encouraging. Again, we are in sympathy with Mr. Ingham as regards the foundation period in education. He requires that "on the extent and strength of the foundations depend the character of the building," even though these "pass out of sight as the building rises." That is our contention also. We are with the author again when he shows that the education whose function is largely to prepare for examinations produces flabbiness of mental tissue, leaving behind no craving for mental exercise and no desire for nourishment. Without committing ourselves to all Mr. Ingham's statements, we heartily commend these "suggestions for the consideration of parents, teachers and social reformers."
The Work of Botticelli (Newnes' Art Library, 3/6). Certainly, the young people of to-day have extraordinary facilities for the study of art. A generation ago Botticelli was little more than a name to "the general," vide[?] Punch's joke, "Is Botticelli a wine or a cheese?" To-day the name of the great Renaissance painter is a household word: and before we go in search of his pictures we may study their outline minutely in such a volume as this-a most important preparation for educational travel. Here are some sixty-four photographs of the most famous pictures-some of them photographs of details; which should afford a good first step in the study of Botticelli. An interesting notice of Sandro Botticelli, by Richard Davy, introduces the work. We congratulate Mr. George Newnes on the issue of such a work at such a price.
Arnold Countryside Readers (Books i., 10d.; ii., 1/-; iii., ½; iv., ¼), and Seaside Readers (1/6), are extremely admirable. We are not quite sure that we like the plan of mixing incidents and poems proper to countryside and seaside with nature lore proper, but we rather think we do. To go from Robinson Crusoe's island to a capital chapter on barnacles, and from that to Kingsley's Three Fishers, and from that to Captain Cook, and thence to why the plaice is flat, is probably more interesting to children than a series of fish lessons or shell lessons. A child will put these things together in his notion of the wonders of the sea; and an elementary school child has not the chance of getting the composite notions which comes to the young reader of many books. The articles are very well written, from the point of view of the interest of knowledge, and not from that of the imbecility of children! Many writers of children's books have the offensive habit of writing down to their readers. We venture to say that there are few well-informed persons who will not be able to learn something new from the nature papers; this sort of thing for example—"The Roman snail is not one of those that have a door to their shell, but before it goes to rest for the winter it makes itself a thick chalky door, which quite closes the mouth of the shell and keeps out the cold."
The Mother's Book of Song, edited by J. H. Burn (Grant Richards 3/-). Anthologies are many, but this is the age of baby worship, and Mr. Burn owes us no apology, but challenges our gratitude for his book of baby songs. All the poems have little children for their theme. Some of them are old favourites, many are new to us. Some are poems of perfect beauty, and some fail a little in literary charm, but in every one of them is that glamour of childhood which bewitches us all. This is a book which mothers will love, and it is rather for their delectation than for that of their babies. The illustrations by Mr. Charles Robinson are most sympathetic and engaging.
Life and Health, by A. F. Blaisdell (Ginn & Co., 4/6). The author remarks in the preface that "The few facts which the young student is able to learn in school about the anatomy and physiology of the human body are of little value in themselves. Such facts, however, become of supreme importance and practical worth when they enable him to understand a few of the great laws of health, and to apply them intelligently to his daily living. Hence the author has aimed to lay marked emphasis upon such points as bear directly upon personal health." We think Mr. Blaisdell's principle is sound, and that he has succeeded in producing an intelligent and sufficiently interesting text book on physiology. We are particularly interested in the sense and voice experiments in the chapters on those subjects.
English Composition (Part I.), by Amy Kimpster (Norland Press). Here is a book, admirable in its thoroughness and method, which sets forth with much completeness all that, according to our experience, ought not to be done in teaching children to write and speak their own language. The book is written from what we have called the point of view of the imbecility of children, and indeed it might be useful in teaching actual imbecile children. But what the ordinary child, of whatever class, wants is a vocabulary to be got from a copious supply of books. Given the right book, he is perfectly able to narrate what he has read or heard in complete sentences and in good English. By-and-by he writes his narrative, and has learned the art of composition. The better the books he reads, the better will be his style; and he can do infinitely well without sentence-building on the blackboard, or the meagre, wretched little sentences drawn out of him by way of "summary." Education would advance by leaps and bounds if we could believe that children have minds which act upon knowledge as their digestive organs act upon food.
Private Schools' Association (Incorporated) Handbook (29, Old Queen Street, Westminster, 1/-). We are glad to see that the private schools have formed themselves into an Association. This should be a useful handbook.
Elementary Geometry, containing the subject matter of Euclid's two first books, by Chintamani Mukergi, B.A. (The Indian Press, Allahabad, 10 A$.) This is one of the many books which have appeared with the object of presenting elementary geometry to children in a more suitable form than that of Euclid's elements. These books fall mainly into two classes—(1) Those in which Euclid's arrangement and methods of proof are disregarded; (2) Those which are merely modern versions of Euclid. Mr. Mukergi's book may be described as a compromise between these two lines of treatment. He is sufficiently independent to rearrange his subject matter under the heads of angles, triangles, parallels and quadrilaterals, and area of rectilineal figures, and to adopt a modern definition of an angle, as well as to omit nine of Euclid's propositions and to introduce others. On the other hand, it is to be regretted that the book contains no exercises, and may be only used for memory work. Also, with the exception of the algebraical solutions of the propositions belonging to Eu. II., there is no attempt made to connect algebra and arithmetic with geometry. In many cases the language is as roundabout as that of Euclid. See. Prop. IX., Sec. II., including the note. The questions seem unnecessary.
Proofread by Leslie Noelani Laurio, September 2008
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