( Originally Published 1921 )
THE first movement for the recognition of the importance of scientific research had taken place at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Its herald was Bacon. It was followed by efforts to introduce teaching about natural phenomena into schools. The movement proved abortive, and a century and a half passed before it was renewed with any serious prospect of success. It is important to examine the reasons for the failure of the earlier movement if we are to understand why it was that the teaching of natural science first became possible at the period which we have now reached.
Let us take our stand for a moment in the year 1648. We might well have thought that the knowledge of the natural world had made great strides. In mathematics the spread of the Arabic notation had made arithmetical computation comparatively easy, algebra had become known to Western Europe, trigonometry had been established a century before by Mailer's table of sines, decimals had been invented in 1586 and logarithms in 1614. In astronomy, the science most dependent on mathematics, Kepler's results published in 1609 and 1619 had made for the acceptance of the theory of the Solar system which Copernicus had put forward in 1543. In the more observational sciences, the blind following of Aristotle was yielding to observation and experiment. All Europe knew how large and small stones had been dropped from the leaning tower of Pisa to settle the question whether the larger and heavier would fall more quickly. Scientific instruments were constantly being invented—the telescope, microscope (16o8), thermometer (162o), and barometer (1643). Mechanics, hydrostatics, pneumatics, and light had become established branches of knowledge. The force of magnetism had been discovered by Gilbert (1600), and in a different domain Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood (1628) had laid the foundation of modern physiology.
Yet the possibilities of making natural science a branch of school education were by no means as rosy as this list might suggest. There were no scientific societies or scientific periodicals. It was hard even for one investigator to learn what another was doing, and almost impossible for the general public to know that anything was being done at all; and there was no body of expert opinion to discriminate between the discoverer and the quack. Books on the possibility of reaching the moon were taken seriously, while Gilbert was set aside even by Bacon as an impostor. Bacon was almost the only man who had a clear idea as to the methods by which scientific research would progress in the future, and even he held a very mechanical view of the inductive process. He regarded it as a method almost as easily reducible to rule as the syllogistic method which preceded it. The educational innovators who believed themselves to be his followers—Hartlib, Petty, Dury, Comenius, and the like—did indeed realise the need of research, but as a body they seem to have thought that they had lighted on an instrument which would have done its work in some fifty or a hundred years' time and that, even before it had made all dark places bright, they could forthwith proceed to teach a systematic exposition of the universe. " Pansophia" was but a new scholasticism. We have merely to read the headings of the chapters in Comenius's text-book of Physics to see that the teaching of `"natural philosophy" in the schools of the seventeenth century would have been radically unscientific. It would have taught nothing of method, it would have given more false information than true, and it would have annexed to the sphere of authority the one domain which, by its neglect in schools, was left free from its domination.
Mathematics, however, was ripe for inclusion in the school curriculum; it found a definitely organised body of principles capable of being so taught that the pupil had full scope for the use of his intelligence. Whereas natural philosophy would at that date have tended to produce an attitude of passive receptivity, mathematics would have promoted active thought. For no single branch of experimental and non-mathematical science had advanced beyond its beginnings, and the teaching of such science would have been the teaching of smatterings. The text-books would probably have been Pliny and the other ancient writers enumerated by Vives and Milton, and what little recent research there was could easily be taught to the sixth standard of an elementary school.
When we pass on to 183o, what a change do we find ! Chemistry, in the seventeenth century still associated with the black art, has entered on a new career with Priestley's discovery of oxygen in 1784. Geology has sprung into being; the order in which the sedimentary rocks were deposited has been determined; the classificatory stage is making way for the explanatory as it is realised what immense effects can be produced by the steady operation of minute processes over enormous periods. Botany and zoology indeed cannot be said to have entered on the explanatory stage till the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859, but there was a vast difference between the work of Jussieu and Cuvier and the fairy tales which were told in the name of "natural history" at the time of the Renaissance. The progress of physiology had made medicine something more than a dangerous double-edged tool. Electricity had been discovered. Still, it must be confessed that even in 183o mathematics and its astronomical and physical applications were still far ahead of the non-mathematical branches of science.
While the sequence of actual discoveries is fairly well known, it is less commonly recognised that the advent of each new science meant an addition to our ideas of scientific method. Though existing sciences might have worked out their methods so well that their students could in six months pass through centuries of scientific discovery, yet the best exponents of a new science would still for several generations be groping for a method. So long as mathematics had the field almost to itself, men's ideas of scientific method were almost entirely deductive. For, though astronomy involved observation and physics experiment, the work which tried the investigator's mettle consisted in the mathematical and deductive calculations involved in verifying the hypothesis. Kepler, Descartes and Newton are the scientific men of genius in the seventeenth century. But the rise of chemistry involved an emphasis on an entirely different attitude of mind; initiative was now displayed in devising. experiments which would isolate a particular phenomenon not merely in thought but in the physical world of things. Geology was different again. Here genius was shown in the invention of hypotheses; thé hypotheses occurred only to the investigator who could hold vast bodies of evidence in one grasp of his mind; and they were tested by seeing how far they explained all the known facts. For the time being the biological sciences called mainly for a perfection of the power of punctilious . observation. The truth of the doctrine of the relativity of scientific method is perhaps best realised if we think of the sciences which are hardly yet out of the groping stage, such as anthropology and meteorology. The sciences which deal with the past history of man, as geology deals with the past history of the surface of the Earth, illustrate it particularly well. Attempts to explain the growth of languages, mythology, religious and social institutions, were in the second half of the nineteenth century almost in the same tentative condition as many of the physical sciences in the first half of the seventeenth, and it was possible in this sphere for such speculations as the sun-myth theory to obtain general recognition. It is true that, as a science advances, it may lose some of its peculiarities of method; there is now a physical chemistry and a chemical biology, and, since the discovery of radium emanations, there is beginning to be an evolutionary chemistry; but the approximation is never complete.
There is of course a sense in which all scientific reasoning is of one general type. There are certain tools which every science applies more or less—observation, experiment, statistics, mathematical processes, hypothesis and verification. These tools are used to do two main types of work, deductive and inductive reasoning. But in the case of each separate science researchers have to learn how much of the work each tool will do, at what stage in the collection of evidence hypotheses may profitably be formed, what scope is afforded for experiment, how the complexity of causes and effects is to be disentangled. No man could by the study of Mill's or any other canons of induction develop the chemical or the geological or the biological sense. Sometimes perhaps a guiding principle in the technique of a particular science is run to death. The layman has a suspicion that this has occasionally happened with the geological principle of never explaining by crustal movements anything which can be conceivably due to the action of water or ice. But the exceptions only prove the rule that the expert in any science has acquired an added sense which tells him how to use his own tools.
Perhaps the very diversity of the subjects discovered by the general term "natural science" was one of the chief obstacles to the demand for the inclusion of science in the school curriculum. The different branches involved so many different methods, gave such a very different training, and based their claims to inclusion on such very different grounds that the general public was perplexed. The story of the struggle of science for admission to places of higher education is generally told in the form of a record of a campaign between scientific enlightenment and classical obscurantism. This method of writing certainly gives the actual incidents of the struggle, in much the same way as the despatches of war correspondents give the separate incidents of a battle. It is probably more picturesque; the account of a hand to hand combat between Huxley and the bishop of Oxford gives scope for descriptive power. But it is possible that, as in the case of a war, the real explanation of the success or failure of the combatants is only to be discovered by examining how far there existed unity of command among their respective general staffs. And we think that such an examination would show that from 183o to 187o the cause of science was represented by a number of distinct armies whose leaders were in no agreement as to the reasons why they thought science should be taught, what should be included under the term, to whom it should be taught, or what were the right methods of teaching it.
At the beginning of the century the only representatives of the scientific as distinct from the humanistic side of studies at the universities were the mathematicians ; they alone represented the only side of scientific knowledge which had a long tradition behind it; and we might have expected them to have been the first to attack the classical monopoly in the schools. Indeed the neglect of mathematics was a much more striking evidence of the extent to which the schools had lagged behind the progress of modern thought than the total absence of such a new subject as chemistry. At Cambridge mathematics was in so dominant a position that no candidate could take the classical tripos till he had obtained mathematical honours. The interest of the intellectual world in mathematical studies is shown by the number of articles on them in the Edinburgh Review, which astonishes the reader of the present day who is not accustomed to see such topics treated outside the pages of distinctly scientific journals. We may well begin therefore by noting the attacks on the university mathematicians and the position which they themselves took up.
In 18o5 and again in 183o, the Edinburgh Reviewers, who were loth to miss an opportunity of criticising the English universities, took up the question of their treatment of mathematics. The charges against the two universities were different; the fault of Oxford was that it neglected mathematics altogether, that of Cambridge that it clung to old-fashioned geometrical methods in preference to more modern analytic methods; but in both cases the result was a failure to produce original mathematicians whose work would compare with their continental contemporaries. Copleston's reply on behalf of Oxford to the earlier attack, and still more the fact that it was regarded by his fellow Oxonians as a masterly vindication of the University, is a striking evidence how profoundly the Oxford tutor of those days was out of touch with the intellectual progress of his age. Whewell's line of defence on behalf of Cambridge at the time of the second attack was of a very different character. Many of his views appear old-fashioned at the present day, but he has at least a coherent theory of university education and is not averse from change as such.
Whewell wrote at a time when murmurs of the coming storm were beginning to be heard but no eminent exponent of the scientific demand had arisen. There was a vague desire to make education more "practical." Liebig had introduced chemistry into the German university of Giessen in 1825. The British Association had been founded in 1831. Men were working hard to found the new sciences. The connection of science with industry was for the first time being recognised. Working men were crying out even more than the leaders of industry for instruction in the new learning. Articles, letters, and speeches were suggesting that the material of education should be changed, though no book had yet been written to set forth the new ideas, nor had anyone really thought out what form the new education should take.
Whewell, however, the champion of the mathematicians, goes a very small way in support of changes in the curriculum. Like all educationalists of his day he approaches the question from the point of view of giving a logical training to the mind. He is quite ready to admit that the universities should prepare certain of their students to be the future researchers in chemistry, geology, and biology. But he declares that "habits of thought must be formed among other subjects," though, when formed, "they may well be employed on these1." He believes, in short, that persons who are to build up the new sciences on sound lines must be prepared by studying those which have already reached a high degree of organisation. The value of the older mathematical sciences in giving this training depends, he holds, on the methods employed in studying them.
Analytic mathematics only makes mathematicians, the study of geometrical mathematics makes reasoners. Analytic methods are mechanical: a result comes out, but you have not thought it out; "we dismiss from our minds altogether the conceptions of the things which the symbols represent," "the steps of the process are not acts of thought," "we are carried along as in a railroad carriages1." They afford no training—or a bad training—for the ordinary affairs of life. "If we can only have analytic mathematics in our system of education, we have little reason to wish to have in it any mathematics at all." The following is his description of what mathematics, studied along the right lines should do. "We are in that study concerned with long trains of reasoning in which each link hangs from all the preceding. The language contains a constant succession of short and rapid references to what has been proved already; and it is justly assumed that each of these brief movements helps the reasoner forwards in a course of infallible certainty and security. Each of these hasty glances must possess the clearness of intuitive evidence and the certainty of mature reflection ; and yet must leave the reasoner's mind entirely free to turn instantly to the next point of his progress": hence, he argues, comes the success of mathematics in having trained so many eminent lawyers." He interprets the whole history of the development of human thought from Thales onwards as showing that, where the exact sciences were honoured, there progress was made; but, whenever they were subordinated to speculative systems, there followed stagnation. Looking around the Europe of his own day, he sees the greatest cause for alarm in the fact that Germany seems to be dominated by metaphysicians. " Those who are universally allowed to be the greatest philosophers of our own day in the German universities, Hegel and Schelling, cannot understand that Newton went further than Kepler had gone in physical astronomy and despise Newton's optical doctrines in comparison with the vague Aristotelian dogmas of G6-the respecting colours1." Some-times Whewell's language might be interpreted by modern educationalists as inculcating a belief in authority. "The critical system seems to me to be properly addressed, not to students who are undergoing education, but to philosophers who have been already completely educated"; " nor can I believe that to put young men in such a position at the period of their lives when they ought to be quietly forming their minds for future action can have any other result than to fill them with a shallow conceit of their own importance2." But it is not to authority in any bad sense that he wishes the learner to yield, but to the force of proof. He wishes to train the mind in subjects where conclusions can be subjected to undeniable tests, in order that he may really feel the nature of truth and may know that facts cannot be argued into being other than they really are. Had not Whewell an intuition of the danger into which Germany has been led by prematurely committing research in subjects where conclusions are not easily tested to persons in whose minds the feeling of truth has not been firmly planted? And had the new sciences yet reached a stage where by themselves and without a preliminary gymnastic of mathematics and physics they could plant this feeling? Would a man whose studies had consisted in learning and accepting the recent discoveries of elementary chemistry and classificatory biology, in observing and memorising the parts of the human frame, and in hearing lectures on the contending hypotheses of opposing geological schools, have been a competent judge whether a hypothesis was or was not proved? And, till a man can judge of the hypotheses of others, is he fit to form hypotheses of his own? If it be replied that it is only by forming hypotheses of your own that you can learn to pronounce judgment on those of others; there is much force in the contention; but, if you try to form them upon a subject-matter where experts differ, how can you tell whether you are learning how to form them rightly? It would appear that, so long as any subject is in its infancy, its exponents must begin by studying more advanced subjects and as wide a range as possible of these subjects, so that they do not confuse the special methods of each subject with the general principles which determine whether a proposition is proved or not.
Whewell's programme consisted (I) in teaching mathematics at school by practical methods1-he suggests a syllabus in mensuration; (2) in making mechanics and hydrostatics compulsory in the early stages of the university course2; (3) in restricting the growth in the number of university examinations which were beginning to crush out the voluntary pursuit of side-tracks, and in restoring the importance of college tutorial work3; (4) in studying the older branches of science historically and reading accounts of discoveries by the original discoverers, such as Newton4, and in asking questions in the tripos on the difficulties which those discoverers had met in the course of their researches and the ways in which they had over-come them5; (5) in introducing some way through the course optional college lectures on what he calls the "progressive" sciences, in order to stimulate the mature student of real intellectual tastes by the sight of little-explored regions in which he could exercise his talents6; and (6) in establishing a post-graduate tripos in these sciences for those who wished to continue the study of them.
Reform is often brought about not by men with the widest views who see many sides of a question, but by enthusiasts who see one side only—the side which pre-ceding generations have neglected—and work for it heart and soul; as, for instance, Rousseau, the most unbalanced of educational writers, was also the most effective. Now Whewell was a better judge of a good education, of the possibilities which various subjects possessed for giving it, and of the methods of teaching which would bring out those possibilities, than many later scientific partisans; but it is doubtful whether such discriminating moderation would have advanced the cause of science far, even though the establishment of the Natural Sciences Tripos at Cam-bridge in 1851 and of the honours school at Oxford in 1853 preceded the main period of agitation. But the fact that science had to enlist less thoughtful partisans in order to win success was partly responsible for the uneducational methods by which it was at first taught.
George Combe, the earliest of these partisans, was not really a scientific man at all. Self-educated, he was attracted by the phrenological ideas of the German Spurzheim. Phrenology at this period had a great attraction for a certain type of mind, because it appeared to offer a clear and simple materialistic explanation of human action and to bring it within the operation of laws which physical science could readily investigate. On the basis of phrenology as a physiology of the mind a scheme of education was to be constructed as the mind's diet. The idea harmonised well with the prevalent educational theory which regarded the mind as divided into a number of faculties; for it was these faculties which the phrenologists believed that they had located in particular parts of the brain. Psychology was in those days in the pre-scientific stage through which all sciences have passed, and attempts to build education upon it were like building upon the sand. The present prejudice of old-fashioned teachers against it is a survival from those days. All writers of that period repeated Pestalozzi's dictum that education consisted in the "harmonious development of all the faculties," which to the phrenologist meant all parts of the brain. But Combe was no clear thinker and from an ultra-disciplinarian theory he somehow reached an informational system of practice. His theory was expressed in the sentence, " We should train to do more than to know. In framing books for schools it would be well to ask ourselves, 'What does this book teach people to do? ' " Theoretically then he condemns the mere receiving of information; indeed his ground of attack on language teaching is that this is all it is. " Language, apart from its applications, is a collection of mere unmeaning arbitrary sounds'." But like the realists of the seventeenth century, whose educational axioms are excellent, he does not seem to see their bearing on problems of curriculum. Logically he should have admitted no subject without facing the question, Can school children manipulate this subject? Practically he seems only concerned with the value of the knowledge which is conveyed by a subject on the tacit assumption that it is mastered. He therefore demands the subordination of the "instrumental" subjects, by which he means those which teach us how to use the tools of thought, to those which give "positive" knowledge. As with the German Philanthropinists, physiology is to be taught because bodily health is desirable, phrenology because mental health is desirable, ethics to make us good individuals, sociology to make us good citizens (not history, because it is a record of cruelty2), and various branches of science to make us good workpeople. A smattering of everything is of course a logical outcome of the theory of a harmonious (interpreted as equal) development of all the faculties; but the idea of developing them by practice seems to have been lost in the attempt to secure their equality, since in no one of them would the pupil ever reach the stage at which he would be anything but a recipient.
After adumbrating his views in the Phrenological journal in 1827 and amplifying them in lectures to the Edinburgh Philosophical Society from 1830 to 1840, he was able in 1848 to establish Williams's Secular School in Edinburgh with an encyclopaedic curriculum ; but, though it started with éclat, it collapsed in 1854. It was, however, imitated by other "secular schools" in various towns, as was not unnatural at a time when facilities for higher elementary education were almost non-existent and when those for lower secondary education were miserably poor; but the schools were mostly ephemeral. Combe's strong point was what we may call the political side of education. He did good work in emphasising that the extension of the franchise in Great Britain would be a blessing or a curse according as the masses were educated or not, and that an illiterate proletariat might ruin the rising democracy of America. His aims—the inculcation of the social sense and a feeling of responsibility, the attraction of thoughtful men into political life1, and the recognition that some subjects which give the idea of causation must be included in the curriculum2—were excellent. The speeches and articles which he continued to produce all his life had a stirring effect; but he had not sufficient practical acquaintance with the process of education to be a guide as to the means by which it was possible to effect ends which we have now all come to recognise as desirable.
A much more permanent effect was produced when the demand for the teaching of science was voiced by a man of recognised intellectual prestige, Herbert Spencer, in a series of articles issued between 1854 and 1859 and after-wards published in book form. But it was Spencer's reputation and not his arguments which produced the effect. They display Spencer's weakness, not his strength. His strength lay in the extent of his knowledge, especially on matters which at that time were little studied, and in his power of inventing new theories. His weakness lay in a lack of judgment as to what constitutes proof and a sacrifice of logic to pre-formed opinions. A mind which would have excelled in the scholastic controversies of the Middle Ages was filled with the scientific knowledge of the nineteenth century and was set the task of supporting a philosophic system by means of facts supplied by the natural sciences. A bitter assailant of authority, he won his educational reputation on the strength of the authority which the mass of Englishmen allow to a man of science on any matter which he discusses. Just as his political writing does little more than give a philosophical flavour to the current individualistic tenets of the Manchester school, and his ethical writing than suggesting an evolutionary basis for current Utilitarianism, so his educational writing did little more than voice the contemporary views of English Pestalozzians on method, of Utilitarians on curriculum, and of the followers of Rousseau on discipline. Yet his essays were long regarded as possessing weight when the contemporary writers from whom he had culled his educational views were forgotten. Milton's Tractate is perhaps the only other pamphlet or article which has been regarded as an educational classic by virtue of the author's reputation in other fields.
There is little or nothing in the articles which had not been said already by Combe or Wyse or other contemporary writers, and there is very little except the fourth article, on physical education, which will bear criticism. The first three deal with curriculum, method, and discipline. Spencer is satisfied that he has solved the problem of curriculum when he has answered the question, "What knowledge is of most worth? " He does not tell us whose knowledge it is or to whom it is of worth. He commits a well-known logical fallacy when he proves that it is of value to the community that there should be some persons who know each science and imagines that he has thereby proved that it is of value to each individual man that he should know them all. He does not even stop to enquire if, how far, and at what age a school child is capable of profiting by the physiology which preserves life directly, by the whole cycle of physical sciences which, as forming the basis of industrial processes, preserve it indirectly, by the psychology which enables parents to bring up their children properly, by the comparative sociology which is to make enlightened citizens, and by the anatomy and astronomy which are to make us spend our leisure nobly in the criticism of art from the standpoint of its scientific accuracy. When he proclaims the necessity of learning all the sciences, he has not a word to suggest whether he has in mind the captains of industry, the foremen, the skilled artisans, or the unskilled workmen, nor does he hint at the difficulty of carrying out his programme in the elementary school, which pupils of that day commonly left at twelve. As he could not altogether ignore the prevalent belief that the directly useful subjects are not the best for training—in other words that it is necessary to feed beginners on the intellectual milk which they can digest rather than on the strong meat of later stages—the champion of induction brushes the difficulty aside with the a priori assumption that "it is contrary to the beautiful economy of Nature" that one subject should be useful as knowledge and another as discipline. A still more remark-able betrayal of inductive philosophy occurs when he places history on the index and, like Combe, wishes to substitute for it an abstract course in comparative sociology, of which the laws, if true, can only be based on the recorded facts of history. But facts have an awkward way of upsetting a priori theories, and the political doctrinaire does not care for an uncensored study of them.
When he comes to deal with methods, Spencer finds his hands tied by the curriculum which he has already laid down. It is useless to assert that the " order in which the faculties" develop must be followed as regards methods of teaching when you have ignored that order in your choice of subjects. True, he never tells us what the order of development is, but we can hardly believe that he thought it to be of such a kind as would enable children under twelve to employ their critical powers on the abstractions of comparative sociology. The only justification for Spencer's chapter on curriculum would be that it was intended for university students: but in that case why did he follow it up by a chapter on method which could only apply to infants? For the second chapter gives us no concrete examples of teaching beyond the infant stage—presumably because the English Pestalozzians from whom he takes them were mainly concerned with that stage.
The article on discipline is a restatement of Rousseau's theory of the discipline of natural consequences, presumably handed down through intermediate sources, since Spencer declared that, when he wrote it, he had not read the Émile. A fundamental ambiguity deprives his version of the theory of all real meaning. At the outset he uses the phrase "natural discipline" as meaning the discipline which comes from the laws of inanimate nature, as equivalent to Rousseau's discipline des choses, which is opposed to the discipline of persons. But, having committed himself to the assertion that these consequences are "proportionate to the offence" and therefore just, he finds himself in difficulties. The discipline "of things" often punishes a small act of carelessness with death. He therefore tries to escape from the meshes by changing the meaning of the word "natural." It now comes to mean "such as we should reasonably expect," even where reasonable expectations would point to the displeasure of parents or teachers and not to a reaction of inanimate "things" at all. But he has now entangled himself worse than ever; for what is to exclude from our reasonable expectations the natural reactions of Dr Keate or of the policeman? So " reasonable " has to be explained as " sensible," and the whole theory of natural consequences has come to mean that parents and teachers ought to act in such a way as to produce the right effect on the child ! He does indeed give some unexceptionable instances of sensible behaviour towards children; but they have nothing to do with the laws of inanimate nature, but seem to be instances of a sound principle of punishment which was afterwards enunciated by Gilbert and Sullivan.
Underlying the whole argument is a confusion of thought which enabled Spencer to convince himself that some moral quality attaches to that operation of physical laws whereby effect follows on cause. Actions, he holds, are wrong if they cause pain; natural laws secure that the pain follows, and there is the punishment! But what if it is A who sins and B who suffers the pain? Buddhists and Greek tragedians might hold that the punishment always ultimately recoils on the transgressor, because they allowed for agencies more moral than physical laws; but could Spencer hold that physical laws will bring all transgressions home to roost? No; acts are wrong which cause pain to others, but a child will be deterred from them on that account only if he has first become unselfish, and Spencer never probes to the heart, where unselfishness is to be found. He knows only of motives which appeal to enlightened selfishness. This implicit denial of altruistic motives is the worst point in Spencer's theory. Not that his training really provides even for the self-regarding virtues; for, if we were to wait for Nature's punishments for gluttony and sensuality, the harm would be done years before any indication of the punishment were foreseen. Spencer seems to think it is a merit in Nature that she never gives warning of her punishments. Rather, Nature is non-moral and Man has to step in with a more merciful justice.
In considering Spencer's article on discipline we have strayed rather far from the progress of science to a place in education; but it has been already pointed out that the scientific movement was closely bound up with other tendencies in nineteenth century education, and we cannot understand why science commended itself to some persons and roused the antagonism of others unless we see the company which it kept. If old-fashioned teachers suspected science of producing that kind of non-moral outlook which we have since seen fully developed in the Prussian intellectual caste, Spencer's third article was not calculated to allay their suspicions.
Spencer's claim for science was primarily utilitarian. But almost at the same time a plea for the teaching of science was put forward in a quarter from which it could hardly have been expected and by a writer who appealed to a totally different body of admirers. Ruskin, in a short appendix to the Stones of Venice1, discusses briefly the subject-matter of a curriculum; and, though brief, his six pages present a coherent theory. His aim may be summed up in the one word "Outlook": the knowledge which is worth having is that which determines our mode of regarding life, our attitude to the universe and to our fellow-beings, the aims which we set before us, and to a large extent the sources from which we draw our happiness. The primary defect in the current disciplinarian conception of education was that it aimed only at producing a capable mind, but did not provide that mind with material on which to exercise its capacity. Ruskin's exposure of this defect was primarily directed against universities; but it is probable that, however true it may have been in his own undergraduate days, the progress of the newer human-ism was fast making it untrue of contemporary Oxford. The schools, however, in spite of Arnold, were still devoted to the worship of form, and few of their pupils, save those who afterwards took honours at the universities, would be led to think seriously on political or social questions, on the new vision of the material universe which geology and biology were opening up, or on the religious questions which were perplexing the minds of thoughtful men. From the point of view of outlook Ruskin declares that an educated person "ought to know three things ; first, where he is; second, where he is going; thirdly, what he ought to do under the circumstances. First, where he is: that is to say, what sort of a world he has got into: how large it is; what kind of creatures live in it and how; what it is made of, and what may be made of it. Secondly, where he is going"; that is to say, religion. And " thirdly, what he had best do under those circumstances ; that is to say, what faculties he possesses; what are the present state and wants of mankind; what is his place in society; and what are the readiest means in his power of attaining happiness and diffusing it."
Ruskin's exposition of the failure of the existing educational system to produce "educated men" capable of understanding contemporary events on the Continent or social movements at home is excellent, but it does not concern our present purpose. On the neglect of science, with which we are here concerned, he says: "Our present European system of so-called education despises natural history." Even on the Continent the "result is that, unless a man's natural instincts urge him to the pursuit of the physical sciences too strongly to be resisted, he 'enters life utterly ignorant of them." "The main mischief of it is that it leaves the greater number of men without the natural food which God intended for their intellects. For one man who is fitted for the study of words, fifty are fitted for the study of things, and were intended to have a perpetual, simple and religious delight in watching the processes or admiring the creatures of the natural universe. Deprived of this source of pleasure, nothing is left to them but ambition or dissipation; and the vices of the upper classes of Europe are, I believe, chiefly to be attributed to this single cause." Here is a line of thought which would probably sound strange to most scientific men; it has little connection with the motives which have actually led to the admission of science to a place in higher education; but it has had much to do with the introduction of nature-study, as distinct from natural science, into our elementary schools. Ruskin's concern is with the aesthetic and emotional rather than with the intellectual side of our nature, and he discovered what many scientific men failed to discover, that there is a mode of studying nature which appeals to the former just as there is a mode which appeals to the latter. With this mode of studying nature Art has close connections; and an artist of genius could not fail to see them. Nature is the mother of Art, and nature-study is Art's act of filial devotion. At the elementary stage we believe that drawing and nature-study are so closely allied as to be practically one subject and that a child will never truly love one without the other. If he loves natural objects he will wish to depict them; and he will see no beauty in his productions unless they are reproductions of the beauty of nature.
However, nature-study is not natural science; nature-study belongs to that recreative side of life which Herbert Spencer rated so low; while natural science is a rigorous discipline of the intellect. We do not expect to see as the motto inscribed on the entrance to a laboratory the well-known lines:
"He prayeth best who loveth best
though, to their honour, there are many biologists of whom it is true.
The real protagonist of the scientific cause, however, was T. H. Huxley. To many devotees of the old literary subjects, his addresses must have revealed for the first time that hard scientific work may be a pleasure, that there is a satisfaction almost aesthetic in following a train of scientific reasoning, and that the solution of a problem yields a delight akin to that felt by the winner of a race. The utilitarian plea had indeed been overdone; many an opponent accepted the premise that the sciences had a greater marketable value than the humanities, and drew from it a conclusion precisely the opposite from that which was intended, namely that they were therefore ignoble and inferior. Huxley was not content with proving science to be useful; he proclaimed the grandeur of its subject-matter, the nobility of its quest, and the worth of the intellectual qualities which it developed. His addresses on this theme are no cold appeal to the intellect; indeed it would be difficult to preserve their flavour in a summary. The reader feels that he has been permitted to look into a noble mind, and his conviction that there is a value in what he has seen there is an act of intuition rather than of argument.
Indeed the humanities themselves owe a great debt to Huxley. For not only did he show up the half truth of Pope's old adage that " the proper study of mankind is man," but he made out a strong case for a still more serious charge against the school classics of fifty years ago, that they were not a study of man after all. They were a study of language and style, but not of literature. The true humanities are literature, history, philosophy, and sociology; the classics at their best are only an introduction to these true humanities and at their worst are pure gerund-grinding. Nor are Greek and Latin the only avenues to the study of man. Huxley outlined a curriculum which should consist, in addition to natural science, of the theory of morals and of political and social life, the history of our own country with incidental geography, English literature together with translations of the greatest writings in foreign tongues, English composition, drawing, and either music or painting'. Even now we doubt if any course of which natural science is the centre has attained Huxley's ideals on the humanist side; but there is no doubt that, whereas the classical curriculum of Huxley's time laid itself open to his criticisms, that of twenty years later achieved his aims more fully than any rival which has yet been discovered. An attack on a system often results in its improvement where the object was its destruction.
We said that it is impossible to make a satisfactory abstract of Huxley's writings. What follows is not an abstract of any particular essay, it does not reproduce his forms of expression, and it may not give the exact stress which he laid on each particular point. It is an attempt to run through the various functions of science which in different connections he brought to the fore.
First, children should in the days of childhood make friends with Nature. They should love and admire. The instincts which draw them to her must be given play before they are atrophied by disuse. Familiarity will breed knowledge, knowledge curiosity, and curiosity observation. It was many years before much was done to realise this ideal. Modern nature-study is only about twenty years old, and much teaching which passes under the name is still a miserable fiasco. In the future it may be hoped that a love of nature will really be fostered by schools, though perhaps not in the class room, and it may exercise a vast moralising influence. In boarding-schools natural history societies have come to revive this natural taste, which it was feared that games had finally driven out, and there is reason to hope that in the future it will humanise many a life which would otherwise become a prey to sensuality or discontent, will restore the sense of beauty to a nation which is tending to estimate values in terms of cash, will implant the seeds of the scientific attitude, and will re-introduce the spirit of reverence into subjects which may otherwise sell wisdom captive for thirty pieces of silver into the land of industrial bondage changes our whole outlook on the universe. Instead of regarding the Earth as the centre of a tiny world created six thousand years ago, we know it to be a speck in an abysmal star-strewn space, but a speck with a wondrous story stretching over myriads of years; and we know that each of its infinite species of plant and animal inhabitants has an ancestry which goes far back into the past, an ancestry of strange forms which lived in vanished marshes or on the shores of forgotten seas as strange as themselves. And all these things must be taken into account when we ask, What is our life, and whence? why is it, and what is its goal?
Thirdly, the history of science is the history of the growth of the idea of causation and it may be that the study of science is essential in order'to fix that idea in the minds of most human beings. Certainly no man who has not acquired this sense can be called educated. Legislators will only feel a sense of responsibility if they realise in-tensely, that, as is the sowing, so also is the harvest : the masses will recognise that hygiene is not a fad of sanitary inspectors only if they are accustomed to think in terms of immutable natural laws which will not yield to the customs or desires of man; in whatever sphere progress is to be substituted for conservatism, it is possible only when the change is seen to be no arbitrary preference of a school but is necessitated because Nature will only give us what we desire on condition that we seek it by the means that she lays down.
Fourthly—and this is a position which needs very careful discussion, and to which we shall have to return later—Huxley claims that there is one universal method under-lying the methods of all the separate sciences. "The life, the fortune, and the happiness of every one of us, and, more or less, of those who are connected with us, depend upon our knowing something of the rules of a game in-finitely more difficult and complicated than chess....The chess-board is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always just and fair and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance. To the man who plays well the highest stakes are paid with that sort of overflowing generosity with which the strong shows delight in strength. And one who plays ill is check-mated—without haste but without remorse....Well, what I mean by Education is learning the rules of that mighty game1."
Lastly, the crown of a scientific education is the capacity to conduct independent research. A few only may attain it; but progress depends on those few, and, through the neglect of science in its education, Great Britain was doing an amount of research absurdly small compared with that accomplished by Germany. With the chemists, such as Sir William Ramsay, the research argument seems to have outweighed all the others.
Huxley's campaign was therefore directed to attain all objectives which his predecessors had attacked singly, and others besides. Such strategy involved a considerable widening of the battle front, though it had the advantage that success at any one point would probably facilitate subsequent stages of the operation against others. The first aim necessitated an assault on the Kindergarten, the infant school, preparatory school, and elementary school. If these positions were taken, this first objective would probably be reached, whether the secondary school and university remained in the hands of the humanists or passed into those of the scientists. The strategy on this part of the line was, however, hopelessly mismanaged. It was essential to success that nature-study, not elementary science, should conduct this part of the attack; and Huxley's writings, as well as those of Ruskin and perhaps of Matthew Arnold, would suggest that this was what was proposed. Actually, physiography was the only unit of nature-study which was brought into action; the rest of nature-study was moved out of the line, not to reappear till the twentieth century; physiography actually obtained a lodgment in the elementary school, where it found itself so isolated that it had to be withdrawn and reorganised as a section of geography. The motive for this mistake in strategy undoubtedly was that the scientists did not take the first aim as seriously as the remainder and believed that physics and chemistry would be better able to secure the next point in the line—the post-elementary annexes of the elementary school and the secondary school—if they could capture the upper standards of the elementary school. The unsuitability of these two sciences for effective work in the elementary zone was not recognised till after the failure of Armstrong's attempt to secure success by arming them with the new weapon of heurism.
The second, third, and fourth aims are all concerned with the age from twelve to nineteen. They have as their respective objects the widening of outlook, the creation of an idea of causality, and the development of sound habits of reasoning. But, though the teacher has in each case pupils of the same age, he will have to adopt different means to secure each of these three aims, and it was this problem which the advocates of science did not clearly present to themselves and which even now cannot be said to have been solved.
The second aim, that of creating outlook, requires that the results of many sciences should be taught, but it does not necessitate a training in the methods of any one of them. In a word, it asks for "popular science." Popular astronomy extends our outlook in space, popular geology and popular biology in time : our whole mode of thinking is utterly different from that of pre-Copernican and pre-Darwinian man. The intensive study of one or two sciences, least of all of the two sciences which are now fashionable in schools, physics and chemistry, will not give this know-ledge. A real understanding of the means by which such knowledge was attained would involve a study far more protracted than is possible for the ordinary schoolboy. He may be told in very rough outline the kind of considerations which influenced the scientific discoverers—how the distances of the planets and consequently their velocities were determined, how rocks containing certain fossils are always found below those containing others, how variations which increase adaptability to environment are found in an increasing series. A clever pupil will appreciate the character of the proof; but the average pupil probably does not reach even this stage; and not even the clever pupil can be said to be in possession of the evidence as a juryman is in possession of the evidence in a criminal trial, far less to be in the position either of the barrister who has worked it into shape or the judge who is an expert critic. In the main it is a case of acceptance on authority; and the majority of pupils at the end of such popular courses will have scarcely any more idea of the reign of law than they had at the beginning. Hence the opponents of scientific teaching were somewhat contemptuous of any instruction which might be given in furtherance of this aim and the advocates of a scientific curriculum had an uneasy feeling that to lay stress on it might expose their subject to a suspicion of intellectual inferiority; and so it was allowed tacitly to drop out of the programmer1, though, owing to the prevalence of confused thinking, it is probable that it is often regarded as one of the advantages to be gained from the study of "science" even when "science" means elementary physics and chemistry.
The third aim—the creation of an idea of causality—opens up a wide field of controversy. One feels about it, as about the second aim, that any conception of education which does not recognise its importance is lacking in an essential element. But many persons seem to acquire an idea of causality without any formal training in natural sciences. Their minds appear to be so attuned to that note that they vibrate to it whencesoever it reaches them. History, politics, economics, strategy, business, the everyday affairs of life, all seem schools in which they may learn it. It is its very universality which impresses them. Others seem never to acquire it even from natural science. The laboratory is to them a place where all experiments go wrong and Chance is king as much as elsewhere. The truth seems to be somewhat as follows. Common experience would suggest that events were divided into two classes, those where even babes and savages perceive uniformity, such as the sequence of day and night, and those which appear to be the sport of chance, such as the British weather. The effect on a flabby mind of a course, say, in chemistry is to convince it that the inside of a chemical laboratory may possibly have to be regarded as part of the domain of uniformity; but such a mind is not prone to generalisation, conscious or unconscious, and continues to assign to the realm of Chance all else which it so assigned before the assumed course in chemistry. The early advocates of science did not realise that the majority of mankind may be born with minds of such a description: consequently we do not know even at-the present day what proportion of pupils are really capable of thinking scientifically all round, after the study of a single branch of science, or of several, and what proportion is incapable of ever properly forming the scientific habit of mind at all: hence we are still in the dark whether more science or whether none is what is needed for the majority.
The fourth aim needs the most careful consideration of all. It must be carefully distinguished from the third. We do not suppose that even the stoutest opponents of the transference of mental attitudes from one subject-matter to another would deny that really educated persons recognise the universality of law; but the most scientific mind may go wrong as to what the particular laws are which are operative in a field with which he is not well acquainted. How far can training in some branches of science secure a less chance of coming to false conclusions in others? Earlier in the chapter we argued that the history of scientific discovery seems to show that there is not, in any sense which helps the pioneer in a new branch of science, a uniform scientific method. A training in some other subject in which exact reasoning is needed will be of some assistance, but much modification in methods will be required as the enquirer proceeds further in the new subject. Five minutes spent with an archaeologist will convince you that there is an archaeological sense as much as there is a geological or a biological sense and that it can not be comprised in a set of formulae. A master mind like Huxley's can to some extent, if one may use the expression, generalise such a sense. But can a fifth form boy? Apparently here again, as in the case of the formation of the idea of uniformity at all, the effect on one mind is limited in sphere to a particular subject-matter while its effect on another is wider in scope. To one man particular processes of scientific thinking may give a fuller appreciation of the lines of procedure which are involved in all searches after truth, to another they remain merely the tricks of one particular science. But, if this is granted, a further question arises. Is every branch of science equally fitted to produce this wider appreciation of the methods by which truth is attained? Huxley, without apparently realising to what corollaries his contention might commit him, answered in the affirmative. His answer was prompted by the charge of "inexactitude" brought against his own speciality, the biological sciences, which implied that they were less fitted to produce the result than the mathematical sciences. Huxley does not really meet the point of this charge. He has no difficulty in showing that the particular facts of biology are beyond a doubt, and that some of these facts are established by experiment, that is by artificial isolation, as well as by observation. But the point which his opponents intended to make was that the wide theories of biology cannot carry the same absolute conviction as the wide theories of astronomy, physics, or even chemistry. It is implied that, when the pupil cannot see the certainty of the conclusions so clearly that he cannot possibly think otherwise, he has to some extent to depend on the judgment of another: he is in part dependent on authority and to that extent lacks the "feel" how the thing becomes certain. Hence he is at a loss when he is required to have this feeling of certainty in another case. Huxley has not disproved the position taken up, for instance, by Whewell at an earlier date, that students should be introduced to the less exact sciences through the portal of the more exact. A number of further questions suggest themselves. If Whewell was right, how far should the preliminary training be carried, if it is on the one hand to save the pupil from a careless attitude towards truth in the less exact sciences and yet on the other hand is to avoid the formation of a specialised physical or chemical demand for certainty which might be actually prejudicial in botany or zoology? Is it even certain that natural science in any of its branches is the best instrument with which to start the training of school pupils in the methods of scientific thinking?
Thus, after considering the three aims which would seem to dominate scientific teaching between the ages of twelve and twenty-one--the period of secondary schooling and the lower stages of a university course—we cannot feel that Huxley or any of his contemporaries had either estimated sufficiently the difficulties at any of the points of attack or considered the relations between one point of attack and another; and, though they succeeded in establishing physics and chemistry within the enemy's lines, it is doubtful how much nearer they came to their ultimate objectives.
The fifth aim, the encouragement of research, immediately concerns only the highest stage of university work, but it has a very great bearing on procedure at the lower stages. Learning natural science means learning the elements of research. It is unfortunate that the difference between the humanities and the sciences in this respect is too often forgotten. Fifty years ago the predominance of the humanities, and therefore of humanistic aims and methods, was so strong that it was hard to convince people that a scientific training means not the communication of the results of research, not a critical estimate of the re-searches of others, but learning how to research. To-day the predominance of natural science is tending to make a training for research appear to be commensurate with education not only in science but in the humanities ; in Germany it has apparently already done so. In reality there is an important difference in the rôle of research between the sciences and the humanities. In the humanities, research may profit others but it is not their main educative value to the learner. Whereas in the sciences creativeness is but research carried to a high point, in the humanities the two things may be quite different. No man ever became a dramatist by discovering new facts about Shakespeare's life or a poet by a comparative study of the metres of two languages. Even in history the good to the learner and to the world ultimately comes from tracing the connections between events, from evaluating them, and from the development of a social sense; the discovery of new facts is only a step in the process. If the humanities are taught solely with a view of training critics and professors, they will abandon the higher task of making men wise for the lower task of making them learned. This is the truth which needs emphasis to-day; but the place of research in science was what needed to be impressed on the men of fifty years ago.
1859 is a memorable date in the history of science as it saw the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species. It also witnessed the first grants from the State towards scientific education and the establishment of science degrees in London University. The leading actors are now all on the stage and the controversy has begun. Unfortunately it was too often carried on, not with a desire to see the strong points in opponents' contentions, but simply to secure dialectical success. As if the odium paedagogicum was not enough, the odium theologicum must needs enter. Though the alliance between Aristotelianism and orthodoxy had set Catholicism and science in opposition in the days of the Renaissance, there had been no hostility in Protestant England during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Milton took care that the universe of Paradise Lost should be strictly reconcilable with Copernican astronomy; Newton was devoutly religious; and educationalists at the close of the eighteenth century were constantly and sincerely urging that a study of the creation would inculcate a reverence for the Creator. Geology provoked the first cry of alarm; but as yet there was no panic. Indeed with a man like Charles Kingsley geology became an intrinsic part of his religion. But the joint monopoly of classics and Anglicanism at the two ancient universities tended to promote a separation. The future theologians drifted as a matter of course to Oxford and Cambridge and never made the acquaintance of science or its votaries. The sciences were left in outer darkness where they consorted with all varieties of unorthodoxy. Of course the division was not hard-and-fast; Mark Pattison was not a man of science and A. R. Wallace was not an opponent of religion. But in the mind of the ordinary bishop Science was represented by the names of Darwin, Huxley and Spencer; and in the minds of this trio Charles Kingsley did not stand for a typical representative of orthodoxy. Enough passion had already been roused before 1859; the lightning-flash of the Origin of Species really cleared the air. The rapid acceptance of the evolutionary theory by scientific opinion made it obvious that, if orthodox science were to be pronounced heretical theology, educated men would be placed on the horns of an impossible dilemma. Temple, one of the small band of open-minded clergy who from the first accepted Darwinism, instead of suffering excommunication, lived to become Archbishop of Canterbury; and the odium theologicum was not handed on to the second generation.
While controversialists were "taking the side of the angels " or of the monkeys instead of deciding the relative importance of the various aims which were being urged for the teaching of science or the kind of curriculum which would combine those aims, utilitarian considerations were very naturally deciding what kind of scientific curriculum would ultimately emerge. In 1839 a committee appointed to enquire into the best method of encouraging the fine arts had recommended the establishment of a Normal School of Design. Science had come in as an ally of the arts and crafts; and the Science and Art Department, South Kensington, resulted. The great Industrial Exhibition drew attention to the defect of British handicrafts at the moment when science was " in the air," and in 1859 Parliament consented to the system of what became known as South Kensington grants. In 1851 there had been only thirty-eight science classes with 1300 pupils in the country; encouraged by these grants there were in 1861 seventy science schools with 2543 pupils. But the all-important problem of a supply of teachers was not effectively grappled with. The proposal to set up a strong central School of Science which would have produced a crop of efficient teachers was abandoned, and in its place was adopted the • miserable substitute of an examination for science teachers. Before this examination was abandoned the pathway of scientific teaching was already clogged by a body of teachers who mistook cram for education and had no idea how to extract from their subject its inherent educational value, who had acquired a knowledge of facts without being really trained, narrow specialists from whom no broad outlook could be expected. The Public Schools Commission of 1868 reported in favour of introducing two kinds of sciences into the seven schools, the first represented by physics and chemistry and the second by "comparative physiology" and natural history; and the chairman of the Endowed Schools Commission afterwards stated1 that it was the intention of that Commission to insist on one branch of science being taught in all schools and two in schools with a "modern" curriculum. The second demand sounds moderate beside the first, and it is evident that the Public School Commissioners had a very inadequate conception of the demands on time which branches of science make. Eventually the Royal Commission on Scientific Instruction, generally known as the Devonshire Commission, sat from 1871 to 1875, and presented a series of reports on the place of science in every grade of education.
This Commission was intended to act as a general head-quarters for the scientific army to decide the plan of operations, and as such it was urgently needed. The allied armies of mathematicians who were proud to discover a truth " which could not possibly be of any use to anybody," of chemists intent on preserving British industry against foreign competition, of biologists and geologists setting out with a missionary zeal to spread a new outlook on the universe, of naturalists intent on using Nature as a purifying agent on the pettinesses of economic man, and of physiologists eager to improve sanitary conditions and the national physique, had each found that they had rushed certain positions and each believed that the next position on its own front was the key of the situation. Amongst them they had established honours examinations in Natural Science at the older universities, set up Colleges of a predominantly scientific character in London and other large towns, instituted classes for the diffusion of scientific knowledge among artisans, secured South Kensington grants for "Science and Art" classes, devised examinations for science teachers and made the public schools invite down a few perambulating scientific lecturers ! Yet they had only taken the outworks. In 1870 the vast bulk of candidates for honours at the old universities were still studying the humanities or mathematics, the provincial colleges even where they existed had not yet attained university rank, the secondary schools scarcely taught science at all, there were few teachers of science and most of these had received a very narrow training, the smatterings of facts taught in a few elementary schools could not be called scientific teaching, and technical instruction was sadly deficient.
The Commission investigated the teaching of science at every grade of education—elementary schools and training colleges, South Kensington classes, the universities, museums, colleges and secondary schools, and published reports on each grade as soon as their work on it was complete. Their work showed the barrenness of the land beyond a doubt and inaugurated a rapid spread of scientific teaching in every branch of education. As regards the merit of its policy, it may be roughly said to have been best at the higher and worst at the lower stages.
The elementary stage does not fall within our scope. Action at the next stage was taken rapidly, the reorganisation of the South Kensington "Schools of Science" being largely carried out by Huxley in 1872. The result was a very doubtful success. Huxley, as we have seen, showed in his essays that he had a clear idea in what a good general education should consist, but his reorganised schools did not give it. Eighteen out of twenty-four hours were devoted to science and mathematics. In the remaining six hours what room was there for his moral and social training, his civic training through history and geography, his literature, music, and one or two languages? The problem was not approached from a broad point of view: instead of starting with the idea of a complete education in which science should have its due place, it was treated purely as a question of pushing the claims of science. Schools of Science were neither technical schools following a sound general education nor schools giving such an education. Without any such intention, but as a direct consequence of this partial view, the reformers practically brought it about that science was consoled for a subordination in the higher grades of secondary education by being given undisputed sway over a lower grade of quasi-secondary schools1 with an earlier leaving age and an inferior status. Twenty years later the Bryce Commission unreservedly condemned the system on the ground that South Kensington schools suffered from a permanent examination fever. Nowhere was the insidious system of payment by results worked out so elaborately, and nowhere was education so completely replaced by "cramming." One of the first acts of the Board of Education after its constitution in 1899 was to assimilate these schools to the broader type of secondary schools which they encouraged.
In the ordinary type of secondary school the Devonshire Commissioners found that science had very little place. In 65 out of 128 endowed schools from which returns were received, no science at all was taught. Of these only thirteen possessed laboratories1. It may be safely assumed that al-most every school in which it was taught would send returns. The Report recommends that science should be allotted six hours weekly on the time-table of all public and endowed schools and should be allowed one-sixth of the marks in all internal or leaving examinations. It may be noted that the Report assumes that the advice of the Public Schools Commissioners against a division of schools into sides would be taken, an assumption which a few years' experience showed to be incorrect. More significant than anything which the Report contains is a vital point which it omits—the character of the scientific teaching to be given. No wonder. All the scientific specialists could agree in urging that "science" should be taught ; but unanimity would have ceased the moment they tried to determine what science. On this point the most they tell us is that many authorities believe physics to be a better school subject than chemistry2.
The absence of all thought concerning curriculum and method from the minds of academic adherents of science makes it desirable to notice one of the few expositions of the scientific standpoint which came from the pens of practical schoolmasters—the essay by Wilson, science master at Rugby, in Farrar's Essays on a Liberal Education (1867). Wilson is one of those who believed physics to be a better school subject than chemistry and he sees the need of thinking out a policy on the vital points which the Commissioners ignored.
His main idea is that the study of two unlike branches of natural science is a necessary part of any complete education which is to give an all-round power of intelligent thought. In other words, the education of which science is a part, not science by itself, is to fulfil our third and fourth aims. His general view of the advantages of science does not substantially differ from that of Huxley. By appealing to native interests, science puts the pupil into the right active attitude of mind; it increases his grip, as is seen by his progress in other subjects, especially as regards activity of thought and sustained attention; it arouses and utilises curiosity; it is exact, it is "an applied logic." He lays stress on accurate observation, exact reasoning, and power of judging evidence, "than which there is no characteristic so marked of the educated man." Mathematics does not serve the same purpose. Science serves also as a preliminary to the research aim ; for it is the business of the school to discover special aptitudes. He does not forget outlook; but he quotes from a report of the British Association to the effect that giving a literary acquaintance with scientific facts is not teaching science. Such an acquaintance can be easily given in addition; but it will be taken from sciences other than those which are formally studied—from astronomy, geology, and physical geography'. Here we have the usual aims, but in addition a clear conception as to the means which elsewhere we have lacked. He claims no monopoly for science; we have to deal with Man as well as with Nature; and he regrets that so many advocates of science have ignored the claims of the aesthetic side of our being.
He next discusses the choice of the two subjects for formal study. Since science proceeds from facts to laws, not from laws to facts, a certain broad array of facts must be known to the pupil before he can apply scientific methods; it is useless to supply foreign facts and forthwith expect him to deal with them scientifically. With what branches of science can he most easily deal scientifically? Geology and chemistry lend themselves too readily to cram. Botany and physics he does not think suffer from this defect, at least intrinsically, though "what they may become with bad text-books and bad teachers it is hard to say, but it is an important consideration." The next twenty years indeed were to see the teaching of science ruined by neglect of this consideration ! Wilson's methods, unlike those of Armstrong later, made no attempt to delude the schoolboy into the belief that he was discovering everything for himself. But they distinctly aimed at making him think. The teacher ought to make the pupils teach themselves, by thinking out the subject with them, by taking up their suggestions and illustrations, by criticising and hunting them down, by starting them on a fresh scent when they are at fault, by reminding them of some familiar fact which they had overlooked, and so eliciting out of the chaos of vague notions that are afloat something of order and concatenation and interest before the key to the mystery is given, even if after all it has to be given." He starts in the middle of the school and proposes to extend science teaching a class lower each year till experience determines the lowest point at which effective teaching can be given, and, when once that point has been determined, to carry on the science teaching therefrom up to the stage where the boys begin to specialise.
Had some such policy as regards curriculum and method been officially adopted, the history of science teaching during the next twenty years might have been very different. During the seventies and eighties it gradually found its way into secondary schools. But, amid the welter of confused opinions as to aims, utilitarianism naturally triumphed. The subject which was commonly introduced was not physics, which would have formed the best introduction to scientific method, nor any of the open-air sciences which would have aroused a sense of the wonders to be found in Nature, but chemistry, the subject which appeared most likely to provide an immediate source of livelihood, and chemistry taught by rule of thumb. " What science may become with bad text-books and bad teachers " and bad examinations was now to be seen. The London Matriculation Examination had most influence on the schools which were most likely to take science; and in that examination it was possible to pass in chemistry without entering a laboratory—indeed it was the easiest way. The headmasters of the first-grade schools, whose prejudices needed to be overcome, were confirmed in their belief that science was an uneducative "cram" subject; and, faced with a utilitarian demand from certain parents for a subject in whose merits they did not believe, they solved the difficulty by dividing their schools into two sides, a classical and a modern, and relegating science to the modern side. The more promising pupils were kept in the classical side to be prepared for university scholarships; and the modern side was welcomed as a means of disposing of stupid boys who would otherwise retard their progress. Then the failure of these stupid boys to get on in life was used as an argument for the inferiority of science as an intellectual discipline.
We must hurry over the later stages and postpone the technical and university sides of science teaching to a later chapter1. In the nineties Armstrong, enthusiastic in his belief that chemistry was the finest of educational organa, but recognising that it was a tool blunted by bad modes of using it, started a crusade in favour of the "heuristic method," by which the pupil was supposed to discover everything for himself. Of course the pupil did nothing of the kind, as was discovered as soon as the London School Board allowed its pupils to be used as corpora vilia for this impossible experiment. But other causes were at work to improve the position of science. The technical schools which were established in the eighties brought out the fact that technical education can only be based on a sound general training in science, not on scientific cram. The provincial colleges developed into universities and began to produce an adequate supply of teachers in addition to furnishing recruits to industry. Science steadily increased the number of its followers in the older universities. Examinations were improved. A tradition of sound methods of teaching was established. In all the larger schools physics was introduced and was begun before chemistry. Botany, always popular in girls' schools, began to be taught so as to produce scientific habits of mind. There are, however, still schools in which chemistry is the only branch of science taught, and these can hardly be said to give a scientific training. The Board of Education has reformed the curriculum of the old Schools of Science. Finally the war has created a rush to receive a scientific training. Though in part this will probably prove to be a transient phenomenon, it will correct the balance which has hitherto inclined too strongly in favour of the humanities.
There has been an attempt to represent the nearness with which the Germans came to victory as due to a sup-posed predominance of science in German education. In point of fact classics play a greater part in the school education of Germany than of England. The real error in English education is that it has been too specialised, leaving the man who has been trained in the humanities, and who naturally gravitates into the government of men, without even that bowing acquaintance with science which leads him to see where it is needed and when to call in the expert. German education is proponderatingly scientific only in the sense that in German universities the humanities have been studied in what we may call a scientific instead of a humanistic spirit; and this loss of the humanistic spirit is far from calling for imitation. The humanistic spirit is the soul of civilisation. The Greek world shows us that nations may be civilised with a very poor knowledge of natural science, though it is equally true that scientific enquiry will be one of the results which flow from civilisation. But the inventions of modern science do not make a nation civilised—for two reasons; because science appeals only to the brain and not to the heart, and because it primarily demands the training of a small intellectual class. Russia is proving this fact. Russia had her small band of scientific experts; she had all the externals supplied by a century of scientific discovery; but below this was a proletariat unacquainted with literature, economics, and history, who were incapable of intelligent thought on morals, religion, politics, or social relations; and they have acted as men unacquainted with the rudiments of the humanities must act. Germany's case has been different and the consequences have been different. Germany suffered from an intellectual caste who thought purely in terms of physical cause and effect and disdained that outcome of the humanistic way of studying the humanities which Thomas Arnold called moral thoughtfulness. They studied literature, history, and philosophy, but with the head alone and not with the heart. Nemesis delayed, but when she struck her blow, she struck deep.