TWO BOOKS OF EDUCATIONAL OPINION.
Studies in the History of Educational Opinion from the Renaissance. By S. S. Laurie, A.M., IeL.D. (Cambridge University Press. 6s.)—Dr. Laurie has given us here an extremely good small work that will be of value in the libraries of those who follow with intelligent interest the growth of thought on what we may call the philosophy of education. He divides his book into two parts: the that deals with thought on education during that period of the Renaissance which precedes the age when the full effect of the
Reformation was snaking itself felt through Europe. It would have been interesting if he could have added to this period Seine
3i-tracts from the "Doctrinale Puerornm" of Alexander a Villa Dei, written at the opening of the thirteenth century, and con; demned by Roger Bacon. The second part of Dr. Laurie's book deals with the educational opinions of Francis Bacon, John Amos Comenius, John Milton, John Locke, and Herbert Spencer. This part of the book would have been of considerably greater value had the opinions on education of Puffendorf, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, and Henry Brougham been added. The views of Bentham are of peculiar value, and are set out in his "Principles of the Penal Code" and the "Constitutional Code." Apart, however, from these omissions, the book is of real value, and we welcome the full way in which Locke's opinions on educa- tion are set before the reader. Locke's condemnation of corporal punishment and the brutalities of the educational methods of his time is an evidence of his clear views on the upbringing of children. Unfortunately his views, like those of his contem- porary Comenitts, were given to idle ears in England. Though we may agree with much that Dr. Laurie has to say with respect to Mr. Herbert Spencer's educational views, we think that this philosopher's ideas are hardly treated with the courtesy which his great position demands.—Interest and Education : the Doctrine of Interest and its Concrete Applica- tion. By Charles de Garmo. (MaQuillan and Co. 4s. 6d. net.) —Professor, de Garmo, of Cornell University, in this entirely admirable book brings the reader face to face with the latest development of educational opinion,—opinion formed by the in- vestigation of the constant interaction of the philosophy and the practice of teaching. Professor de Garmo not only realises with Sir Joshua Fitch and others that education is both an art and a science, but also appreciates the fact that it is a branch of philosophy. The title of the book—Interest and Education—is the keynote to the theory of education here developed. "Interest," we are told, "Bs a feeling that accompanies the idea of self-expression." A toy is an object of interest to a child because it enables him " to realise himself in play. But in the school the object sought often seems woefully remote from any analogous self- expression on the part of the pupil." The truth of this statement is, of course, one of the most lamentable facts in our modern education system, and it is this question of interest that Professor de Garmo considers the main problem of the practical teacher. Elia argument runs somewhat as follows: If the interest which naturally attaches to the object of self-expression can be intro- duced into the means used to attain that object, we have work and not drudgery. It is, therefore, the duty of the teacher to intro- duce this interest into the means that lead to the end of education. In order to do this, the ideas brought before the pupil must be, to use the terminology of the book, not only clear, but vivid. A. clear idea is an illuminating intellectual process; it becomes vivid when it passes into action. Ideas carried into action stimulate the mind and create interest. Thus we are told that "no form of literary work in a high school could excel, in value and attractiveness, weekly reports upon scientific discoveries and inventions." Hence, the argument runs, every student should have some knowledge of the three great branches of human mental activity : (a) the human sciences,—languages, literature, art, and history ; (b) the natural sciences ; (c) the economic sciences. He can only thus realise how thought is related to action. Modern education, however, in the school is regarded by children "as an enforced prescription, while the life outside of the schoolroom furnishes them all their incentives to action," and pupils become men in spite of, and not because of, their school-days. It is the fault of the teachers that there is not more "freedom, well-being, peace, and power" in the world. The city child has lost the unconscious education that an open-air country life gave his forefathers. This education must be, and can be, more than replaced. The modern child has more school-time than his predecessor, and this additional time must be employed wisely. The school at present is used only for the same purposes as when it was supplemented by the outdoor education. It must now take the place of that supplement. There must be "physical educative work and spontaneous pUy," especially the former, in England. Every educative impression must (to use Professor James's phrase) have a corresponding expression. The object is not to teach trades, but to train the hand in relation to the mind, and so create lifelong interests. Professor de Garmo goes fully into the necessary methods of teaching, an we wish we could follow him further. His book from cover to cover holds the mind, and ,!',;:ald be read by every one interested in education.