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with bodily exercises, a model which never can be equaled. It is true that, according to the accounts of travelers, they surpass Europeans in keenness of sight, hearing, and smell. But are they therefore models of the cultivation of the senses ?
This is confusing the idea of a human cultivation of the senses with an animal one; corporeal perfection of the senses with intellectual. The preceding observations have shown how different these are; examples will make the difference still more evident.
There are many men who have hearing so keen as to distinguish faint sounds at a very great distance, but who have no feeling at all for pure or beautiful music. There are most accurate piano-tuners and music-masters, who can distinguish every fault in any instrument amongst a full orchestra ; but who, notwithstanding this fineness of ear, are so destitute of an intellectual ear for music as to prefer the most vulgar sort of it.
There are, again, others who can not tune any instrument accurately, and still less guide an orchestra ; who are inspired by good music, and show distinct dislike to bad. Contrast with these keen and delicate bearers, Beethoven, who was almost deaf; and, again, there was another great harmonist, who said that perusing the score of a composition gave him more pleasure than the execution of the music, because the latter never equaled his ideal. He was thus capable of intellectual musical pleasure, even had he been completely deaf.
The case is similar with the eyes. Among my mineralogical pupils, I found some with very healthy bodily organs, who could perceive the smallest objects, and still were incapable of comprehending forms, of distinguishing like from unlike; in short, they had eyes, but did not see. On the other hand, there were others, whose eyes were weak, and who were as it were blind to small crystals, but who felt all the beauty of the larger ones, and closely followed all their varieties of color. So, I have known exceedingly short-sighted young men, who still had the greatest taste for pictures. And, again, there are many very keen-sighted persons, who gaze without emotion on the most magnificent pictures, sculptures, and churches.
The great distinction between the bodily and the intellectual senses might be illustrated by many other examples.
Surely these animal sharp eyes and ears of the Indian are not our models. It is the spiritually-illuminated eyes of a Raphæl, a van Eyck, an Erwin von Stein, the divinely-consecrated ears of Handel and Leo, which are the noblest specimens of the cultivation of the human senses, which are the divine models for men.
Regard was had in the schools to the cultivation of the senses quite a long time ago; or at least so it would appear. So-called “ Intuitional Exercises ” were introduced ; Pestalozzi giving them an impulse, especially in his "Book for Mothers." "The child," says Pestalozzi, "and indeed man universally, must be first made acquainted with what lies next him, before he can attend to the acquiring a knowledge of what is further off. The nearest visible object to the child is his own body, and this he should first of all observe, under the direction of the mother. She must, with bim, follow the Book for Mothers,' step by step, going through every division and subdivision of it, step by step, to the furthest details.”
Thus, for instance, we find in that work:
"The first joint of the middle toe of the right foot. The middle joint of the middle toe of the right foot. The last joint of the middle toe of the right foot. The first joint of the middle toe of the left foot. The second joint of the middle toe of the left foot. The last joint of the middle toe of the left foot.
“My body has two limbs above and two below.
“My two upper limbs have two shoulders, two shoulder-joints, two upper-arms, two elbows, two elbow-joints, two fore-arms, two wrists, and two bands.
"Each of my two upper limbs has one shoulder, one shoulder-joint, one upper-arm, one elbow, one elbow-joint, one fore-arm, one wrist, and one hand.
“My two hands have two wrists, two palms, two thumbs, two forefingers, two middle fingers, two ring-fingers, and two little-fingers.
Each of my two hands has one wrist, one palm, one thumb, one fore-finger, one middle-finger, one ring-finger, and one little finger.
“My two palms have two balls of the thumbs ; each of my two palms has one ball of the thunib.”
“My two great toes have four joints, two front and two back; four knuckles, two front and two back; and four joint-lengths, two front and two back.
“ Each of my two great toes has two joints, one front and one back; two knuckles, one front and one back; and two joint-lengths, one front and one back.
“ The ten fingers of my two hands have twenty-eight joints, ten first, eight middle, and ten last; twenty-eight joint-lengths, ten first, eight middle, and ten last; and twenty-eight knuckles, ten first, eight middle, and two last.
" The five fingers of one hand,” &c., &c.
It is evident how infinitely wearisome and unnatural such a mode of observing and naming over all the parts of the body must be, both
and old. And it is an error to take his own body as the first object which comes under the notice of the child. Without some natural or artificial mirror, man would not see his face, and some other portions of his body, all his life long. A child is much more attracted by objects which stimulate his senses by color, brightness, smell, or taste. He would very much prefer cherries or apples to “the middle joint of the little toe of the right foot.”
Several detected Pestalozzi's error. But, taking his principle as true, that it is necessary to begin with what is nearest at hand, they took subjects from the school-room; and the doors, windows, walls, seats, and desks were observed, described, and named, down to their smallest parts. I give an example.*
" The school-room and what it contains.
1. Without detailed definition.
compound, how compound ? within reach; necessary; ac
cidentally pertaining to the room. b. Use of articles in and about the room. c. Description of individual things, by their color, their form, their
parts, the connection of their parts. d. Materials of which the separate things and their parts are made.”
The description of the windows alone fills two closely-printed pages. It says, among other things:
“ The teacher should now have each of the separate parts of the window given in their order; as, the panes, the sash, the putty, the pulley, the button, the catch, the sash-bolt; lastly, the whole window, the window-frame, the molding.
Thus the whole window has been analyzed, and its parts considered. It only now remains to reconstruct it.”
It would be much better, instead of all this wearisome, pedantic enumeration and hyper-pedantic reconstruction, to say, " The windows in the school-room are long and four-sided.”
That such a methodical and wearisome method of instruction would throw active children either into despair or sleep, is clear. They had better jump about over the desks and seats in sport, than to describe them in this insufferably-affected way; they had better analyze perhaps not a whole window, but now and then a pane, in
, their play, and let the glazier “reconstruct " it, than to analyze and construct it in words.
It is a pity that something can not be found to use as a subject of instruction in the school besides what the boys naturally learn in
* From Denzel's “ System of Education," (Erziehung slehre,) 3, 32.
their own experience. They know the windows, and seats, and desks, without any teaching; and will never call a desk a seat, or the contrary. For what purpose should he consider separately, and name, all the parts of the window; the pulley, the catch, the sash-bolt ? What interest have they in these? Such details and names may be left to the glazier, the carpenter, and the locksınith. Every trade is a little separate people, with a peculiar language; but all these separate people understand each other, not in their trade-language, but in the language of their country. The trade-language belongs to the peculiar employment of each trade; each one has to do with many things which have no concern with the others, and can not concern them, unless they neglect their own business. Aud fellow-tradesmen discuss the matters of their trade, in their peculiar trade-language.
Justus Möser, who had an eminently sound understanding, says,* “My miller played me yesterday a comical trick. He came to my window and said that there must be four iron nuts on the standards and standard-pieces, opposite the crank; and all the frames, boxes, bolting-cloths, and springs wanted fixing; one of the iron post-belts will not work any longer with the shifting-piece, and — He
spoke German, my friend, and I understood well enough that he was talking about a windmill; but I am no windmill-builder, to understand the thousand details of a mill, and their names. But at that point the knave began to laugh, and said, with a queer gesture, that the pastor did the same thing on Sundays; that he spoke nothing but learned words, that took the very hearing and seeing away from the poor people; and that he would do better, he thought, to do as he (the miller) did, and furnish good meal to the parish, and keep his terms of art for architects."
The application to this sort of "intuitional instruction” is clear; and is doubly forcible because the teachers are not architects, and only affect a knowledge of these technical matters.
A remark of Herr Roth is very true, and very applicable to the present object. He says, “ There are many things which, when rap
, idly discussed, on a proper occasion, are interesting to children ; when, if studied by the hour, and methodically taught and reviewed, they would be most wearisome to them. To ask, cursorily, What is the difference between this table and that one ? is very well; but to be staring at tables and desks, year in and year out, and describing them, is quite another thing."
The word “stare" is precisely appropriate; the exercise is a lifeless and forced one. The window and its parts are reflected in the staring eyes of the stupified and wearied child; and his lifeless
• Putriotic Fantasies,” (Patrivtische Phantasieen,) 3, 23.
repetition of what the teacher says over to him corresponds with the lifeless reflection in his eyes.
Close consideration will show that this sort of instruction is much * more an exercise in language than of the senses, although one of the most unintellectual kind. The intuition in the case is only to give the teacher an opportunity to talk; and accordingly it makes little difference what the object exhibited is, whether a picture by Raphael or a tavern-sign, the Strasburg cathedral or a wretched stable. Words can be made about any thing and every thing. The inquiry is scarcely made, Whether any knowledge is gained by the intuition; and not at all, Whether a permanent remembrance is insured of the thing shown. Very few seem to have an idea how quiet, undisturbed, and often-repeated the bodily intuition must be, in order to the obtaining of such a recollection, for the mental assimilation of the thing shown; and how the pupil's words should be only the product of this assimilation. No one seems to consider this process of real generation of words. A piece of gypsum is shown to a boy; he is made to repeat three times, " That is gypsum ;” and then the specimen is put aside, and it is fancied that the boy has an actual knowledge of gypsum.
It will now be asked, Should intuitional exercises be quite onnitted in school? I reply, Such wooden, methodical exercises on desks and seats may be omitted, as may all drilling merely for the sake of the drill; and, further, so may all drilling that is to give practice in nothing except the mere use of words.* The hunter, the painter, the stone-cutter, &c., do not train their eyes, nor does the musician his ear, for the sake of training it. Children, properly instructed in natural knowledge and in drawing, will be sure to use their eyes; and, as they penetrate further and further into their subject, they will, in the most natural manner, arrive at an increased accuracy of expression for the objects which they perceive by their senses.
Children are frequently found, especially in the common schools, who are as if dumb. How sball they be made to speak? I would recommend that they should be spoken to, not in a stiff school-fashion and school-lone, which would make them stupider than ever, but, as far as possible, in an entirely usual manner and tone, and on some common subject, which they understand, and on which questions may be put to them. Tables and desks may be Used for this purpose, but not methodically analyzed.