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Methods of Teaching

Editorial Note: This speech originally appeared in the Minutes of the North Carolina State Teachers Educational Association (Raleigh: Baptist Standard Point, 1883: 5-13. The Chesnutt Archive was unable to obtain images of the original publication.

Methods of Teaching

Speech to the North Carolina State Teachers Educational Association, Raleigh, N.C., 23 November 1882

The term education, in its narrowest and most generally accepted use, signifies merely the training of the intellect, and the acquiring of those first principles of knowledge which are taught in our schools and commonly supposed to be the best preparation for the work of life. A broader and better definition of its meaning is, the drawing out or unfolding of all the faculties of intellect, body and conscience or the moral sense, in a harmonious and well-balanced development, giving to each faculty its due proportion of training, regarding no one attribute of the man as superior, but holding each to be supreme in its sphere, and all equally necessary to a perfect whole.

Taking this meaning of the word, a perfect theory of education must rest upon, 1st, a perfect mental philosophy; 2d, a perfect physiology; 3rd, a perfect system of ethics; and, 4th, a right conception of the true end of existence. These four parts would constitute a perfect anthropology, or science of the whole man. That we have them all, few would be willing to affirm; and until we have them, we must be content with imperfect theories and imperfect methods. While we cannot look upon modern methods of culture as perfect, we can with justice believe that they have partaken of the general advance of civilization. "History," it has been said, "is philosophy teaching by example"; and the student will find this truth as applicable to the history of education as to government, or arts, or morals, or any department of life.

In primitive ages education was purely physical. Men taught their sons to hunt and fish and gather the fruits of the forest. Later they learned to till the soil, to tend flocks and herds, to make clothing and tents, and to fashion rude pottery. Moral instruction was given at a very early period, and, as we learn from Holy Writ, the domestic affections,—the duties of parents and children, and of husband and wife,—and a simple form of monotheism, were inculcated from the creation of man. A rude, symbolic worship, including burnt offerings and sacrifices were known to the sons of Adam. The Patriarch was prophet, priest, and king, and without doubt his children were instructed by him in the duties of offices.

With the growth of civilization, man's wants became more numerous and diversified. Politics had to be studied that rulers might govern well; military science, in order that wars might be successfully carried on; and in every department of life, each new need called for a new class of workers to supply it.

This knowledge was of course very crude, and the methods of acquiring it experimental. Men learned war on the battle-field, and not at military schools; they learned theology in the temple, not at the seminary; they learned architecture with the rule and the compass, and not in industrial and polytechnic schools. This method of learning had its advantages, which, somehow or other we cannot even now secure by any other but the same old methods. "Iter longum per præcepta est," says Seneca, "breve et efficax per exempla," the road is long by precept, but short and efficacious by example.

Learning then, in primitive ages, was chiefly, if not entirely, for its practical value. Useless learning is, indeed, not desirable at any time; but it remained for the men of another age to discover that truth is valuable in itself, and to devote themselves to learning, simply for the love of truth and the desire to find it out. This intellectual revolution took place in Greece. The Athenian philsophers are the first who merit the title of Teachers, and the influence of their philosophy is felt in every department of science down to the present day. They were the first to realize that education is not merely a preparation for life, but an integral part of it; that development is the highest duty and privilege of man, and that whatever promotes development is valuable—is indeed invaluable in a system of education.

Socrates, of all the Grecian philosophers, has the greatest claim to the title of educator. It was his plan to draw out truth by questioning and analogies. His method is still in use among teachers, and is known as the Socratic, or drawing-out method. Socrates exerted a powerful influence on Greek thought, and broke the power of the Sophists, a school of false philosophers, whose theories had long enslaved the Greek intellect, and his mind went out beyond the limit of material things, and caught glimpses of the power and goodness of the one true God; as a traveller sees through intervening mists the majestic outline of a distant mountain. Socrates was in advance of his age, and paid the penalty with his life.

Plato, "the broad," the pupil of Socrates, was the first to lay down a theory of education. In his Republic and Laws he sets forth a complete scheme of an ideal government, in which the children are the property of the State whose duty it was to educate them. He believed infancy was the most important period of life, as the impressions then made are never effaced. The studies he used to cultivate the mind were arithmetic, geometry, philosophy, music, rhetoric, declamation, poetic composition, the principles of taste, and morals.

The "foremost man of all the Greeks" was Aristotle, the pupil of Socrates, and tutor of Alexander the Great. Aristotle was the founder of the Peripatetic school of philosophy. He taught dialectics, physical science, philosophy, politics, ethics, and rhetoric. His vast learning attracted pupils from all parts of the world, and his philosophy soon superseded that of all former teachers and held undisputed sway over the intellectual world for twenty centuries. Aristotle was the first to reduce dialectics or logic to a science. He invented the syllogism, the magic key which has unlocked so many of the mysteries of the mind and matter. His treatise of Politics contained a theory of education which was a further development of the doctrines of his master Plato.

But perhaps Aristotle rendered the greatest service to the intellectual world, not by his original researches, but by his labors in another direction. He was an intellectual architect. He systematized learning. He gathered up the scattered fragments of science and fitted them together into a harmonious whole. He was among philosophers what Shakspeare[sic] was among poets, and Napoleon among generals. So rounded and complete did his system seem, that nineteen centuries later, when Scheiner, a German student of astronomy, informed his master that he had seen spots on the sun, he was dismissed as follows: "I have read Aristotle's works from end to end many times, and I assure you I do not find anything in them similar to that which you mention. Go, my son, tranquilize yourself; be assured that what you take for spots are the faults of either your glasses or your own eyes."

Aristotle gave instructions in the form of lectures, which he delivered while walking in a pleasant grove near Athens, called Academia. He was accompanied in these walks by his pupils who took notes and propounded queries—very much after the fashion in which instruction is given in the higher scientific and professional studies at the present day.

With the death of Aristotle the race of great philosophers disappeared. There were schools of philosophy and dialectics at Alexandria and Athens for several centuries later, but they added nothing material to the sum of human knowledge.

The Roman Empire added little to the purely intellectual progress of mankind. Its influence was distributive, rather than productive. The empire was almost entirely under the sway of the Greek learning, which was spread throughout its borders. In agriculture and jurisprudence the Romans made great progress, and by the patronage of the best emperors, many great literary works were given to the world. The emperor Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic philosopher, wrote on educational topics and established schools for orphans.

The next great influence felt in the world of learning was that of Christianity, which for many years lighted up the declining glory of Rome. The early church produced many great men among the early fathers, but the growth of the papal system soon caused ignorance and superstition to settle like a nightmare over the face of Europe and brought on the period of a thousand years of mental and moral stagnation known as the Dark Age. During this period the study of the classics was discontinued in the schools; theology, church history, and the scholastic philosophy were the principal subjects of study; and learning was confined almost entirely to the priesthood. Men lived, and studied, and died—and left the world no better than they found it.

With the discovery of America and the invention of the art of printing, a ray of light broke upon the intellectual darkness of Europe. The Protestant Reformation, pioneered by Martin Luther, was the next step toward the light.

Under the policy of the Roman Church—its policy to-day—the masses were kept in ignorance. The Bible was held to be "strong meat, not fit for babes." It was therefore kept from the common people, and read by the priests only. When Luther in his famous theses proclaimed the right of the masses to read the Scriptures, it was a necessary corollary that they must be taught in order to know how to read them. He discarded the scholastic philosophy, and insisted on the development of thought and the culture of the reasoning powers by new methods. By means of his teachings and those of his friend Melanchthon, Protestant Germany soon recognized the right of the whole people to be educated, and the German states began the work of teaching them. This is the corner-stone of the modern theory of education. The right of the masses to be taught, and, a fortiori, the duty of the State to teach them.

The greatest influence exerted on the intellectual world after the revival of learning was produced by the Inductive Philosophy of Lord Bacon. Hitherto the schools of Europe had taught the scholastic philosophy, a debased form of Aristotelianism, devoted chiefly to the discussion of silly quibbles, theories of moral perfection, and attempts to solve questions which from their very nature were insoluble. It was a stationary, or rather a stagnant philosophy. "The chief peculiarity of Bacon's philosophy," says Macaulay, "seems to us to have been this—that it aimed at things altogether different from those which his predecessors had proposed to themselves. Two words form the key to the Baconian doctrine—utility and progress. The ancient philosophy disdained to be useful, and was content to be stationary." The end which Bacon proposed to gain from his philosophy, "was the multiplying of human enjoyments and the mitigating of human sufferings." The Baconian philosophy considered nothing that conduce to this end unworthy of it. It advanced into every department of knowledge; and by a careful observation of natural phenomena, and a careful tracing of effect to cause, it sought to increase the sum of human learning.

The impetus given to education by these great events—the Reformation, the discovery of the art of printing, and the introduction of the Baconian philosophy, was attended by the rise of multitudes of teachers and systems of teaching. With these begin what may be called Modern Methods of Teaching.

The first of these schools was that of the classicists, who revived the study of the Latin and Greek classics which had fallen into disuse during the Dark Age. Wolfgang Ratich, a distinguished classicist, introduced a new method of teaching languages. The greatest of this school of educators was Bishop John Amos Comenius, of Holland, who in his Janua and Methodus Novissima taught languages and science by a new method. Though his method had been abandoned, yet its influence is still felt in the educational systems of Northern Europe.

The school of Pietists embraced such men as Fenelon, Spener, and Francke. In the purity of their lives and the loftiness of their aims they remain to this day unsurpassed. Fenelon advocated female education, Francke established Orphan Asylums and probably the first Normal School ever established.

The Humanists were a school of educators who insisted on a more thorough study of the classics, or humanities as they were called. Heyne the philologist, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and the philosopher John Locke belonged to this school. Philanthropinism, a school led by John Bernhard Basedow, of Germany, was also popular among many teachers.

The man who has exerted the most influence on the education of the race within the last hundred years is J. H. Pestalozzi, of Switzerland. To him we are indebted for the best theory of education that has yet been given to the world; and his system, with various modifications, forms at the present day the foundation of the educational systems of Europe and America.

Pestalozzi was not what would be called a successful man—especially in America, where success is measured in dollars and cents. His life was a series of failures. He taught his own method but indifferently, and every enterprise he undertook seemed doomed to failure. But "he builded better than he knew," and initiated a great educational movement which in other hands accomplished all that he claimed for it.

Pestalozzi adopted the premise laid down at the beginning of this paper—that education should be based on mental philosophy. The labors of Kant, Locke, and Dugald Stewart, in metaphysics, had opened the way, and it remained only for him to devise methods for the development of each mental faculty in the order of its natural growth. He taught,

that education should proceed according to the laws of nature; that it was the duty of the teacher to assist this by exciting the child to self-activity, and rendering him only a limited degree of assistance; that progress should be slow and gradual, but uninterrupted, never passing to a second topic till the first is fully understood; that the memory and the understanding should not be unduly cultivated, but all the faculties developed in harmony; that the peculiarities of every child, and of each sex should be carefully studied in order to adapt instruction to them; that the elements of all knowledge were Form, number and Language, and that these elements should be taught with simplicity and thoroughness; that the art of observing should be acquired and the perceptive faculties well developed; that every topic of instruction should become an exercise for the reflective powers; that mental arithmetic, geometry, and the arts of drawing and modeling objects of beauty, were all important exercises for training, strengthening and disciplining the mind; that the laws of language should be developed from within, and the exercises in it made not only to cultivate the intellect, but to improve the affections; that vocal music should be taught in schools, not by note, but by a careful study of the element—any principles of music; that the Socratic method was not suited to young minds, and that in the early stages of instruction, dictation by the teacher and repetition by the scholar is preferable, and, at a more advanced stage, the giving out of problems by the teacher, to be solved by the pupil without assistance; that religious instruction should begin with the mother, the filial feelings of the child should be first cultivated, and directed toward God, and that formal religious instruction should be reserved to a later period, when the child can understand it; that despotic and cruel government in schools was improper, but that mutual affection between pupil and teacher was a better incitement to intellectual activity than prizes or other stimulants to emulation; and, finally that the exercise of the senses and the thorough cultivation of the physical powers were of very great importance to the complete development of the child.

Such was the theory of Pestalozzi. The defects of his system were, that while it quickened the intellect, it neglected the memory, and imparted too little useful knowledge. Modern methods of teaching are all based upon the Pestalozzian theory, with such modifications as have been suggested by experience and more advanced knowledge.

Jacotot, a Frenchman, who lived from 1740 to 1780, in his system of teaching, gave more exercise to the memory than Pestalozzi. He required his pupils to memorize each lesson, and at the first recitation he explained the difficulties; at the next recitation the lesson was repeated, and the pupils explained it themselves. He claimed that in this way they learned more and acquired a greater command of language than by the Pestalozzian method. His system is still followed by many teachers and possesses some excellent features.

The Method of Sagan was taught by Felbiger, an Austrian Bishop, and is the system now employed in the public schools of Austria. It regards everything taught from a purely practical or utilitarian point of view. Classes were taught by the simultaneous system, or that of reciting in classes. It was further supplemented by frequent examinations to test the progress of the pupils. The principal defect in this system is, that it cultivates the intelligence at the expense of the memory, and does not allow sufficient room for the pupil's individuality—regarding him as a mere machine—just as a soldier is regarded in the army—as a part of a system, to the utter disregard of his individuality. The graded schools of our day, with their rigid classification and frequent examinations, are based on the method of Sagan.

The monitorial system, or the plan of using advanced pupils as teachers of the lower grades, was introduced by Joseph Lancaster, an Englishman and a Quaker. The theory is that the pupil, being more on an intellectual level with his companions, can better make the lesson clear to their understandings than a teacher who is far in advance of them. This system was for a time very popular in this country and in England, but it is now generally abandoned, except when adopted, occasionally, from motives of economy. In my own experience I have found it to work poorly. The more advanced a teacher is, the better he can teach the simplest branches. The recognition of this fact has caused some of the Northern cities to raise the pay of primary teachers to level with that of teachers of the higher branches; and it has even been suggested that the best teachers be assigned to the primary grades.

The Pestalozzian theory has been most minutely developed in practice by Friedrich Froebel, of Germany, who was born in 1782 and died in 1852. Froebel was the inventor of the kindergarten, a system for educating very young children, which has been very popular in Germany for many years. The kindergarten is a systematized course of object lessons which is begun with the child at the age of three or thereabouts, and continued till its mind is sufficiently matured to begin the usual course of study pursued in the schools. It is based on the Pestalozzian principle that the elements of all knowledge are Form, Number and Language. It is devoted mainly to the development of the perceptive faculties, which are most active in youth. Children are taught color by means of colored balls; they are taught form by drawing, modeling, etc; language is developed by a careful system of questioning; counting is taught; and rhythm and harmony are cultivated by means of movement exercises and vocal music. The discipline is mild and home-like; and the efforts of the teacher are directed to furnish the mind of the child, in its most active period, employment which will please, instruct and develop it. The system as taught by Froebel included twenty gifts, or sets of materials. The first gift consists of colored balls for teaching color; the second of a sphere, a cube, and a cylinder for teaching form, the third, fourth, and fifth, of blocks for building; the seventh, eighth and ninth, of staffs and rings for designing or laying figures; the tenth, materials for drawing; the eleventh, of materials for card perforating; twelfth, materials for embroidering; thirteenth, materials for paper-cutting; the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth, of slats for braiding or interlacing; the eighteenth, of materials for paper-folding; the nineteenth, materials for peas-work; the twentieth, materials for modeling in clay or plaster. Very few kindergarten, however, employ all the occupations abovementioned.

This system, with various additions and modifications, is taught in many schools throughout the country, and in a few in our own State. For developing the perceptive faculties it is better than any but the best home training; and it is an excellent preparation for school work. There are many teachers in Germany, and some in America, who were pupils of Froebel himself; and schools for the training of kindergarten can be found in most of our large cities.

There has been for some years a discussion as to whether the classics, which since the revival of learning have held the foremost place in the curricula of our higher institutions of learning, are the best medium of intellectual culture. The argument in favor of the classics is, that they have been taught so long that our whole literature is pervaded with classical knowledge, or language formed from Greek and Latin roots, that every branch of science and philosophy is filled with classical allusions; and that the treasures of ancient literature can be better understood and appreciated in the original than in any translation; and that, aside from these important considerations, the experience of centuries has shown them to be the best means of cultivating taste, memory, and language. The argument against the classics is that they are studied mainly for intellectual culture; and that the same degree of intellectual culture could be secured, and more useful knowledge imparted by the study of mathematics, the sciences, and the modern languages. The German States, to their glory be it said, the first in every educational movement, have established schools of both classes. The Gymnasien teach the classics and the higher mathematics; the Realschulen teach the science, mathematics and the modern languages, to the exclusion of classical studies. A careful comparison of results is being made, but the experiment is not yet completed. The presumption lies with the classical school, and is sustained by the prejudice of centuries; the burden of proof lives with the Realschule, and only the most positive and unequivocal proofs of the superiority of the latter can destroy the prestige of classical learning. It is my opinion that in this, as in most things, there is a golden mean, which can be attained by a judicious combination of the two methods.

Normal schools are a natural outgrowth of the modern theory of education. The history of the gradual development of Normal schools, and the discussion of their utility would easily furnish material for a paper of much greater length than this. Normal schools were first established in Germany, as early as 1705, by Augustus Herman Francke, formerly mentioned as a member of the Pietistic school. The first Normal school established in this country was in Massachusetts, and opened in 1839. The establishment of Normal schools in any community is evidence of the advancing position of the teacher's profession in public estimation. The people recognize the claims of the profession, and schools are established to train teachers, as lawyers, doctors, and members of other professions are trained. Indeed, so many are the improvements introduced in discipline and methods of instruction, so intellectual is the activity in pedagogical circles, that a teacher must have special preparation to attain to anything like eminence in his profession.

Another evidence of the growing activity in the profession is the rapid increase, during late years, of the number of educational journals. By the discussion of methods, and the spread of information on educational topics, these journals supply a want long felt among teachers. One can no more hope to keep abreast of the times in educational science without a good paper of this class, than he can hope to understand politics without a good newspaper.

Methods of Discipline are attracting no small share of attention among educators of our day. The general tendency, in theory and practice, is toward greater mildness in discipline. The old régime of the rod and the ferule is still fresh in our memory. The fiction of the last generation is full of realistic and thrilling portrayals of the barbarities practiced, in the name of discipline, in public and private schools. Dotheboys Hall, in Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, is no great exaggeration of the system of terrorism carried on by English teachers even so late as Dickens' own day. But there has been a great revulsion in popular sentiment, which has resulted in the abolition of corporal punishment in many schools, and its restriction, in others, to a few more grave offenses against discipline. The doctrine of moral suasion, or the appeal to the conscience of the pupil, has in many cases been carried out with the best results. In other instances it has proved a conspicuous failure—leading one to the conclusion that the best method would be a combination of the two—or as a distinguished American educator expresses it, moral suasion well whipped in. For pupils of advanced years and standing corporal punishment should be discarded entirely, and incorrigible children should be dismissed, or sent to reform schools. There is in the school system of Cleveland, Ohio, a School for Refractory Children, to which all the "hard cases" of the other schools are sent. The fear of being sent to this school places a wholesome restraint on the pupils of the other schools. With respect to rules, I find in my own experience that the best system of discipline is that which secures the best government with the fewest rules—the maximum of government with the minimum of rules.

Among the experiments in this direction, the system of discipline adopted by Col. Parker in the school at Quincy, Mass., and carried on by his successor, Superintendent Brown, is not the least interesting. "It includes," says the New England Journal of Education,

a large freedom from the usual restraints of school exercises; free use of illustrative objects in instruction; the attempt to draw out the ideas of the children in order to improve and develop them; the practice of requiring the children to set down these ideas on the blackboard in their view, that all may see whether they are correct and full, or whether they need amendment; and with all this a large amount of practical elementary work in reading, writing, spelling, map-making and the like. The school is made to resemble in its liberty a family busied in educational work.

This system seems to be a return to the original Pestalozzian method, and is said to work well. A curious innovation in French public schools is the introduction of school savings-banks. These are conducted by the teachers, who receive deposits and issue certificates for them, payable on demand, under certain conditions. This system is making rapid progress in France. It is claimed that it teaches the children economy and forms business habits. There were in France in 1871, 24,273 school savings-banks, in which the deposits amounted to 6,228,560 francs, or about one and a quarter million dollars. In Germany the large majority of teachers condemn the system as unpedagogical—as not being properly the work of the school, but of the family, and as adding too much to the already overcrowded curriculum of the public schools.

There has been, within a few years, a marked change of sentiment with reference to college government. In most schools the faculty are responsible for the discipline as well as the instruction. A few peculiar modes lately introduced will indicate the prevailing tendency.

The Illinois State University organized a students' government in 1870. A committee of the older students, assisted by the President, drew up a constitution and by-laws, which were adopted by the students. This constitution provided for the election of a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer by the sutdents, and the appointment of a marshal and three judges by the President. The law-making power was vested in the general assembly of the students, the President having an absolute veto. Laws were made for the preservation of order in the buildings; against gambling and drinking; against injury to college buildings—the rules usually made by the faculty of the institution. The penalties consisted of fines varying from five cents to five dollars. Several cases were turned over to the faculty, who retained full power to suspend or expel.

Two or three years later, the growth of the university, with other modifying circumstances, made some changes in the form of government necessary. All legislative power is vested in a senate of twenty-two, elected by the general assembly of the students. Amendments to the constitution are proposed in the senate, but must be adopted by the general asssembly of the students. There is a senate chamber and court-room fitted up for the purpose; and trials, elections, etc., are carried on according to the usual forms.

In Amherst College, the whole marking system has been abolished. There is an assignment of rank in the awarding of diplomas, but the old scale of 100, with its first, second and third classes, etc., has been abolished entirely. When a student enters he signs the rules of the College. This is regarded as a contract to which he is a party. His membership depends on his good conduct. Any violation of the rules is regarded as a violation of the contract. He violates the contract, and it ceases to be binding. There is no expulsion, or vote of censure, but he simply ceases to be a member of the school.

These methods, explained at greater length in the Report of the Commissioner of Education, 1880, are really only a return to old methods. Trotzendorf, of Silesia, Germany, who lived in the latter part of the sixteenth century, was the first teacher who we know to have committed the government of his pupils to themselves, organizing them into a court or senate, to decide on the offences committed and the punishment deserved; in his system, the senate was composed of pupils whose behavior, for a month previous, had been most exemplary. He also first introduced the monitorial system, which was afterwards developed by Joseph Lancaster and others.

In Wellesley Female College, Mass., the system of written examinations has been abolished, on the ground that they are no true test of scholarship, and are unduly exciting and exhausting to the pupils.

The changes made in our labor system by the organization of trades and labor unions, have brought the subject of industrial education into a prominence which it has never before attained, though it has been discussed for many years. The systematic attempt of labor unions to limit the number of workmen in order to keep up the price of labor, has almost caused the disappearance of apprenticeship, and threatens to leave the next generation without skilled workmen. In the South, the old generation of artisans is dying out, and there are none to take their places. In many Southern towns it is impossible to get fine work done; and at the North, the best stone-masons, painters, and house-decorators are of foreign birth. Such a state of affairs is alarming, and the establishment of industrial schools urged as a remedy. As a concession to this feeling, the use of tools has been introduced in some of the Massachusetts public schools; and industrial drawing in many schools throughout the country. There are industrial departments at Hampton Institute, Va., at the Carlisle Indian school, Penn., and in various other institutions; and there are about fifty schools which make a specialty of industrial training. There is no doubt that this class of schools will increase in numbers and importance in the near future. "Without doubt," says Dr. Philbrick, in a paper on "Technical Education," "the best Pedagogical authority is everywhere overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of annexing the workshop to the common school, and in favor of insisting on a sound and thorough general education as the most truly practical preparation for life." While this is true, I think that by a careful selection of studies, such as may discipline the mind, and at the same time teach the principles underlying all technological work—such studies, for instance, as drawing, geometry, applied mathematics, etc., and the establishment of separate industrial courses of training, to be taken up after leaving the common school—we can do much in this direction without materially encroaching upon the time given to purely intellectual culture in our schools. In the revised school law of North Carolina, drawing was omitted from the studies in which teachers are examined. This is a retrograde movement. We advance but slowly—let us "hold fast to that which is good."

There is no special system of teaching generally followed in the United States. Our methods are a confused jumble of different methods, occasionally a judicious combination of methods; and in too many cases are distinguished by a total absence of method. The paucity of information on educational subjects leaves most teachers ignorant of the labors of great educators. The recent introduction of Normal Schools into our country has not given time for a careful teaching of systems. The low estimation in which the profession of teaching is held, and the poor remuneration offered to teachers, has not had a tendency to draw the best informed men to the profession. Our best institutions generally pursue an eclectic system, which is in most cases left to the choice of the individual teacher, and judged by its fruits.

A perfect system of education must be based, as I remarked before, on a perfect anthropology. There is no lack of activity in the discussion of theories, and all over the civilized world there is a healthy interest developing in educational science. "All Roads[sic] lead to Rome," and every subject discussed, new methods proposed, will help the cause forward. Men will more fully appreciate the value of learning, and the importance of correct methods of imparting it. The world is yet in its infancy and a thousand years hence our knowledge will seem as crude, our methods as imperfect as those of the middle age appear to us. Sursum corda! my fellow workers! The perfect school, and the perfect teachers will yet exist, if not in this world, in a higher sphere, where the stories of infinite knowledge will be placed at our disposal, and we shall have an eternity in which to learn them.

SOURCE: "Methods of Teaching," Minutes of the North Carolina State Teachers Educational Association (Raleigh: Baptist Standard Print, 1883), 5-13. The 23-24 November 1882 conference program in this publication cited the title "Modern Methods of Teaching"; but the title of the published version of the speech itself, which is not limited in focus to the modern era, is here retained. On the same day, 23 November, Chesnutt also delivered another, no longer extant paper, "The Importance of Organization."