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Thoughts on Educational Topics and Institutions   By: (1818-1905)

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First Page:

THOUGHTS

ON

EDUCATIONAL TOPICS

AND

INSTITUTIONS.

BY

GEORGE S. BOUTWELL.

BOSTON: PHILLIPS, SAMPSON AND COMPANY. MDCCCLIX.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by GEORGE S. BOUTWELL, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

STEREOTYPED BY HOBART AND ROBBINS, BOSTON.

To

THE TEACHERS OF MASSACHUSETTS,

WHOSE

ENLIGHTENED DEVOTION TO THEIR DUTIES

HAS

CONTRIBUTED EFFECTUALLY TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING,

This Volume

IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED. G. S. B.

CONTENTS.

PAGE THE INTRINSIC NATURE AND VALUE OF LEARNING, AND ITS INFLUENCE UPON LABOR, 9

EDUCATION AND CRIME, 49

REFORMATION OF CHILDREN, 75

THE CARE AND REFORMATION OF THE NEGLECTED AND EXPOSED CLASSES OF CHILDREN, 86

ELEMENTARY TRAINING IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, 131

THE RELATIVE MERITS OF PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS AND ENDOWED ACADEMIES, 152

THE HIGH SCHOOL SYSTEM, 164

NORMAL SCHOOL TRAINING, 203

FEMALE EDUCATION, 221

THE INFLUENCE, DUTIES, AND REWARDS, OF TEACHERS, 241

LIBERTY AND LEARNING, 274

MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL FUND, 308

A SYSTEM OF AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION, 339

THE INTRINSIC NATURE AND VALUE OF LEARNING, AND ITS INFLUENCE UPON LABOR.

[Lecture before the American Institute of Instruction.]

Words and terms have, to different minds, various significations; and we often find definitions changing in the progress of events. Bailey says learning is "skill in languages or sciences." To this, Walker adds what he calls "literature," and "skill in anything, good or bad." Dr. Webster enlarges the meaning of the word still more, and says, "Learning is the knowledge of principles or facts received by instruction or study; acquired knowledge or ideas in any branch of science or literature; erudition; literature; science; knowledge acquired by experience, experiment, or observation." Milton gives us a rhetorical definition in a negative form, which is of equal value, at least, with any authority yet cited. "And though a linguist," says Milton, "should pride himself to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world into, yet if he have not studied the solid things in them, as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing so much to be esteemed a learned man, as any yeoman or tradesman competently wise in his mother dialect only." "Language is but the instrument conveying to us things useful to be known."

This is kindred to the saying of Locke, that "men of much reading are greatly learned, but may be little knowing." We must give to the term learning a broad definition, if we accept Milton's statement that its end "is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright;" for this necessarily implies that we are to study carefully everything relating to the nature of our existence, to the spot and scene of our existence, with its mysterious phenomena, and its comparatively unexplained laws. And we must, moreover, always keep in view the personal relations and duties which the Creator has imposed upon the members of the human race. The knowledge of these relations and duties is one form of learning; the disposition and the ability to observe and practise these relations and duties, is another and a higher form of learning. The first is the learning of the theologian, the schoolman; the latter is the learning of the practical Christian. Both ought to exist; but when they are separated, we place things above signs, facts above forms, life above ideas... Continue reading book >>




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