Thursday, November 01, 2007

The following is from Charles A. Bennett's History of Manual and Industrial Education up to 1870:
Dr. Mayo, an Englishman who spent some time at Yverdun and later established a Pestaozzian school at Cheam in Surrey, gives the following incident:

One day the master having presented to his class the engraving of a ladder, a lively little boy exclaimed, But there is a real ladder in the court-yard; why not talk about it rather than the picture?” “The engraving is here,” said the master, “and it is more convenient to talk about what is before your eyes than to go into the court-yard to talk about the other.” The boy’s observation, thus ended was for that time disregarded. Soon after, the engraving of a window formed the subject of examination. “But why,” exclaimed the same little objector, “why talk of this picture of a window when there is a real window in the room, and there is no need to go into the court-yard for it?” Again the remark was silenced, but in the evening both circumstances were mentioned to Pestalozzi. “The boy is right,” said he, “the reality is better than the counterfeit; put away the engravings, and let the class be instructed by means of real objects.
Charles Bennett further explains:
This decision to use real objects in teaching led to taking the children out into the fields and elsewhere, but as the subject-matter sought was not always organized in the teacher’s minds the method led to difficulties and had to be modified. Pestalozzi believed that children in school should learn to work, not only because of the economic value of skill and the habit of labor, but because this experience gave sense-impressions which, like the study of objects, became the basis of knowledge. He recognized the fact that “doing leads to knowing.”
August Abrahamson, founder with his nephew Otto Salomon of the Sloyd Teacher Training School at Nääs, was so inspired by the teachings of Pestalozzi, that he picked up a stone from Pestalozzi's grave which he kept on his desk the remainder of his life. At the grave-site which he shares with Otto Salomon are words which in English mean, "Good can be done even from the grave." As we remind ourselves of teachers like Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Salomon and others, we keep that stone on our desks as well and keep the great potential of education alive.

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